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tripleboom

My Norwegian Breakaway Family Cruise Review - April 7, 2019

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As I mentioned before, I was really impressed with how well our boys took to snorkeling. So after we finished our lunch, we decided to wander out a little further away from the beach.  This was where our day went from great to incredible.  This beach is exceptionally good for young snorkelers as it remains fairly shallow water quite a ways out.  As you can see in the photo below, the very light blue is all really shallow water that was MAYBE waist deep on me. The area where it starts to get a little darker is actually all seagrass covered area, but we just floated out over the top of this area to where there's a narrow path in which water turns light blue again.  That area is a very shallow sand bar that was knee deep on me.  When you swim out a little further you'll run into a coral reef where we spent most of our afternoon.

 

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There was a pretty decent variety of fish in these reefs and the boys... ok... we ALL really enjoyed seeing the wildlife dart in and out of all the nooks and crannies.  We've all heard the coral reef conservation speeches before, and we gave our kids the same speech, but it would appear this reef has been the victim of quite a bit of human spoliation.  Sad to see, but glad the fish have stuck around.  I do hope you enjoy this video of our time spent in the water there!  

 

As a side note, I did bring a bunch of filters for my GoPro.  When we snorkeled in Honduras back in 2017, the filters really helped to bring out the more natural colors of the reefs and fish. Without the filters there seemed to be a lot cloudier view of the reefs and less vibrancy.  But again, that was in Honduras.  On this trip to Yaya Beach, I felt like the water was so clear that a filter was unneeded.  I was glad to see when reviewing the video when we got home that I had made the right call. Perfect water with no filter needed!

 

 

Landon couldn't be bothered to lift his mask for our family snorkeling picture.  Too much good stuff to see!

 

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Really enjoying the day by day summary of your trip.

 

Are you planning to review the food on the ship?  I get a little nervous at times going on a cruise that food will not be that good.

 

George

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30 minutes ago, Tigerman4LSU said:

Really enjoying the day by day summary of your trip.

 

Are you planning to review the food on the ship?  I get a little nervous at times going on a cruise that food will not be that good.

 

George

Hi George,

 

I have to admit that the food porn is severely lacking in my review.  We had a wonderful time at Teppanyaki and I'll touch on one other specialty dining experience from our last day at sea, but other than that we spent most of our dining time in the buffet. The challenge of getting two kids fed and then off to the day's activities made dining in the MDRs a pipe dream.  We had a shot at it one night, but the menu was not that appealing and there was a bit of a wait that would leave us missing out on any other activities on the ship.

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Other than the food being a bit meh, the only other knock I have on Yaya is the traffic from vendors walking the beach. We had told the boys earlier that this could be expected, and that a simple "no thank you," should do the trick.  It did do the trick, but if you're looking for a day of relaxing, uninterrupted in your beach chair, then I won't lie, you'll have some frequent interruptions. 

 

That said, I spent so much time in the water with the boys that it never rose to the level of annoyance; just a reflexive "no thanks" when I saw someone approaching.

 

By about 1:00 we decided that we should probably start heading back toward the port.  I've never been interested in being a pier runner, and even less so with kids in tow.  So we headed ashore, got the snorkel gear returned, and started packing up our area. When we were just about out of there we were stopped by one more peddler.  He offered our boys each one of these wonderfully created keepsakes of their time.  I was not about to disappoint the boys, and honestly we were all impressed with the craftsmanship and clear personal pride this man had in his creations.

 

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With our new "pets" in tow, we bid a fond farewell to Yaya Beach.  Honestly, whether Maya Chan is available or not, we'll be back to Yaya Beach the next time we stop in Costa Maya.

 

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On 4/20/2019 at 10:00 AM, crusinnole89 said:

I'm loving this review, we'll be on the Breakaway in 3 months! 

This review is awesome!! I'm following as we will also be on the Breakaway in 3 mos!! July 21

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Again, I can't say enough about the great time we had at Yaya. To the best of my recollection, this is how fast the day went.

 

 

After we were all packed up, we headed back to the streets where another large number of cabs were waiting for the beach club guests that needed a lift back to port.  Another $8 + tip and ten minutes later we were back at the entrance to the port shopping complex.  Having made good time and no longer having any concerns about making it back to the pier on time, we took a couple moments for the obligatory Costa Mayan photo.

 

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We again weaved our way through the port shopping area feeling a bit like a rat in a maze again, only this maze had tequila and knick knack pit stops scattered throughout.  After stopping to watch the dolphins for a few minutes...

 

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...we finally found our way back to the pier and took one last glimpse at that beautiful water.

 

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With three ships now in port including the Breakaway, the pier was full of passengers still coming and going, but I managed to grab the Smooth Q for one last trip up the pier.

 

 

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1 hour ago, zencruisers said:

I am really enjoying your review and pictures.

 

48 minutes ago, CruiserCindy said:

Beautiful pictures!!!!!

 

 

Thanks to be both of you! I've enjoyed putting together the review!  As for the photos, I'm a novice photographer. The beauty of these locations do me a lot of favors in what I've been able to capture. ☺️

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Loving this review. I sail on the Breakaway on 1st June. First time with NCL.

The excitement on your boys’ faces just shines through all of these pics. They are just adorable.

 

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The only benefit of the earlier scheduled departure from Costa Maya, was that we got back to the ship in enough time to try to hit some of the athletics complex activities that we likely wouldn't have otherwise found time for.  We knew that the Ropes Course can regularly get shutdown due to high winds, so we wanted to boogie up there as quickly as possible.  We got back to the room, changed out of our day's swimwear, and changed into shorts, tees, and tennis shoes (Closed toes are required on the course).  

 

I had previously done the Ropes Course on the Escape, and used a head mount for my GoPro then to capture it all.  However, when we got to the Ropes Course line, I was told that a) only a chest mount for the GoPro would be allowed and b) that Stacy's cold shoulder top would not be allowed either.  OOPS!! So we hustled back down to Deck 9, ran forward, changed mounts and a shirt, and headed back to the aft and back up to Deck 17 to get in our harnesses and go.  😅

 

I was a little worried about how each of the boys would take to the height and (because by now we had left port) the moving ocean below them during the course, but to my delight and relief, they both handled it like champs!  No fear in these two for the most part.  The only bummer was that by the time we got up there, the winds had started to pick up a bit.  We saw some people still using the starboard side of the course, which meant that the "Plank" and zip line portions were still open, so we were hopeful.  Just as we got to the cut off point for access to the starboard side, we were met by an NCL crew member who let us know they were shutting down the starboard side, starting with us.  Just as an extra cruelty, we could see the others still finishing up the zipline on the starboard side as we worked on finishing the half of the course we were allowed to.  A bummer for sure, but I'm glad they're always operating in the interest of safety first.

 

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After we were off the ropes course, the boys wanted to try the trampoline and spider slide on Deck 17 as far aft and port as you can get, as well as try the rock wall on for size.  At the trampoline, Landon saw one of his favorite crew members! Cici is a fantastic crew member from China, and she first met Landon on our first sea day when he was in an endless loop going down the slides on the pool deck.  Cici had kept Landon entertained while waiting in the long lines by dancing with him.  We had seen Cici from down below on the sea day, but hadn't met her yet.  We were so happy to see her again at the trampoline complex, and Landon and Cici were all too happy to show off their dance moves for the camera.  I really do love NCL's fun-loving crews! It's people like Cici that can make a great cruise into an absolutely unforgettable one!

 

 

After the trampoline fun, we scooted over to the Rock Climbing Wall (accessed on Deck 16) and each kid made their way to the top to ring the bell!  Another addition to this perfect day of ours!

 

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2 hours ago, sunkisd said:

This review is awesome!! I'm following as we will also be on the Breakaway in 3 mos!! July 21

 

Thanks for following along! I'm excited for you! We had such a great time on the Breakaway. The only negative thing I have to say is that they made us get off.  Not cool.

 

42 minutes ago, Deeliteful said:

Loving this review. I sail on the Breakaway on 1st June. First time with NCL.

The excitement on your boys’ faces just shines through all of these pics. They are just adorable.

 

 

Thanks @Deeliteful! We're pretty fond of them too. I think we'll keep 'em around for a while yet. ☺️

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Great review.  Cute kids and love seeing their genuine smiles.  As a kid, our family never or rarely ever went on vacation so I just cant imagine the joy and excitement of such an incredible vacation as a kid.

Since you mentioned you sailed Escape, how did the Breakaway compare?  I know they are very similar but was curious.

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2 hours ago, david_sobe said:

Since you mentioned you sailed Escape, how did the Breakaway compare?  I know they are very similar but was curious.

 

There are a fair amount of differences, but these are the ones that really stood out:

  • The tube slide with the transparent section. A little freaky to ride through, but I loved it!ht3s6ir.jpg

 

  • The District Brewhouse - This bar has a trifecta going for it. Great views while still being inside the ship, great selection of craft brews (both canned and a ton on tap), and typically had some great music in the evenings.
  • We never did get the chance to go, but a lot of people rave about Food Republic. Next time... Next time.

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On a day in which my rapidly retreating hairline allowed for my scalp to see far too much sun, the end of our day at the beach and on the sports deck meant a welcome respite from the sun for the rest of the evening.  Tonight we would go see Rock of Ages in the Breakaway's theater.  Showings were only available at 6:30 or 9:30 PM, which was the source of one minor annoyance I had to deal with.  Splash Academy doesn't open until 7 PM, and while some past CC board topics seemed to indicate that arrangements could be made with the Splash Academy staff to drop kids off earlier, this sailing's staff made it very clear that drop off would not begin until 7 PM, no exceptions.

 

Knowing that we'd be on the ship again in 2020, I thought about just foregoing the show altogether, but having never seen this show on dry land let alone at sea, I didn't want to risk a change in entertainment between now and May 2020.  Carpe diem and all that I suppose.  So we decided to drop the kids off at 7 PM, grab some dinner, catch the show, and know that we'd be letting the kids stay an hour into the "Late Night Fun Zone," time, a cost-added, after-hours child care program.  From 10:30 PM until as late as 1:30 AM, parents can pay $6/hr for the first kid, and $4/hr for each additional sibling.  Knowing that the show should wrap up by 11:30, we felt ok (especially with a sea day tomorrow) shelling out the $10 and letting the kids stay up a bit later.  I'm still annoyed that parents of young children have the choice of either missing evening theater entertainment altogether, or having their kids stay up past midnight and pay extra for the privilege of doing so.  But, as annoyances go, this one was relatively minor.

 

So with all that planning and plotting behind us, we got the kids fed at the buffet, with plans to have an MDR meal ourselves before the show.  After we got the kiddos fed, we went down to Taste and Savor. Wait times were not prohibitive, but the menu on this particular evening wasn't all that appealing either.  We decided against the sit down meal, and opted to go to O'Sheehan's instead.  Stacy went with the fajitas while I opted for the BBQ burger.  The service was again quick on this evening, which allowed us to retreat to the cabin for a bit before the show. The sunset on this evening was not at all disappointing.

 

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I even managed to get the last glimpses of sunlight in the same shot as the moon.

 

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With the sun now sunk well below the horizon, we headed to the theater and got in line at around 8:45. The line was already about 40 people deep at 45 minutes before showtime, so I'm glad we arrived when we did.  Once the doors opened, we snagged a pair of seats about ten rows back, grabbed a couple of drinks, and watched the pre-show which consisted of watching the folks in the row ahead of us argue over whether or not one could save a block of seats for others still coming.  No blows were exchanged, but I think I would have acquiesced eventually and told my shipmate to find his own seat if he was going to show up 5 minutes before curtain. But maybe that's just me.

 

Things were much cheerier in our row. 🙂

 

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The show itself was a riot!  There were scenes that plenty would find racy, but nothing I wouldn't have been able to see on the pool deck during the sexy legs competition. 😂  The show, with its language and racy costumes and actions, is certainly not for children, and the PA announcements ahead of the show frequently repeated this mantra.  But as long as you can set aside any uptightness for a night, anyone should be able to enjoy the show.

 

Following the show, we were able to snag the kids right at the 11:30 mark, meaning that we paid $10 for the both of them for that extra hour of care.  This particular evening had been the kids' own version of the Glow Party that's held for the adults on the ship.  Splash Academy supplied the kids with glow necklaces and bracelets, but I brought along a few similar items with us so the boys could go all out.  It sounded as though they had a killer time!

 

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And that put a wrap on a very full day #4 on the Breakaway.  Tomorrow, would be a sea day, and our last on the ship.

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Posted (edited)

Day 5 - At Sea

 

As it was with our first day at sea, and particularly after such a long, full day the day before, we elected to let the kids sleep in a little bit. Ok, WE wanted to sleep in and were happy the boys let us do so!  Even still, we were up and getting around by 9:00 or so.  While the boys were getting ready, we stepped out to the balcony to start soaking in the last day of tropical sun.

 

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After we got dressed, we headed up to the buffet to recharge.  The boys were hoping to squeeze in a little more pool time before we had to bring them to an afternoon Splash Academy session.  We told them they could play more on the pool deck or do Splash Academy, and they were ALL over going back to Splash Academy.

 

While we were finishing up at breakfast, a young girl came over to our table, offered a shy smile, then said, "See you at the pool, Landon!" before she ran off.  Apparently Landon and this young lady had made plans to meet up at the pool the night before.  I wasn't about to let Landon break a young girl's heart, so we headed back to the room, changed into the swim gear, and headed to the pool.  

 

Here's Landon's little friend with her back to the camera.

 

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Connor's best "That's enough pictures, Dad" face.

 

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We also managed to squeeze in a few more trips down the slides for good measure.

 

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Edited by tripleboom

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After our time at the pool, we had to get the boys changed again and ready to go to Splash Academy. They were coming up on their shining moment!  Throughout the week the kids had been working on skills and tricks to be part of the Splashtacular Extravaganza, a circus style show that the kids put on for parents on the last day of the cruise.  The boys had kept us in the dark about what they'd been doing, so we were going to be surprised by their roles in the show.

 

The show was scheduled for 3 PM, so after dropping the boys off at Splash Academy Stacy and I headed for the theater to make sure we could get good seats for their show.  Deal or No Deal was still going on so we sat through the last couple of rounds of that before that crowd departed and we then settled into the second row for the show.

 

Soon the kids all started to get paraded in and took their seats in the audience wing areas to wait for their turn on stage.  While I spotted Landon right away, Connor was nowhere to be seen.  Hmmmm. 🤔

 

Before long, the show got underway and Splash Academy staff serves as the ring leaders of this circus.

 

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Unfortunately, the first announcement they made was that the show would be delayed as we all had to go through the muster drill one more time.  The ring leader asked for the circus clowns to come out and show us the muster drill again.

 

That's when we saw Connor in full clown gear come out onto the stage with a handful of other kids.  Let me tell you, this kid is a natural born ham.  He enjoyed his moments in the spotlight far too much if you ask me!

 

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His little butt wiggles at the end still put me in stitches! 🤣

 

 

Earlier in the week Landon had told us time and time again that he wanted no part of this circus thing.  Putting on a show for anyone, let alone an audience mostly full of strangers made him super nervous. But when the time came, he was ready! He didn't look overly happy about it, but I think he was just very focused on his act more than anything.  His scarf juggling was flawless, and by the end he did have a big smile on his face!

 

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1 hour ago, zencruisers said:

We board the Breakaway this Sunday. Your pictures and commentary are awesome!

 

If my own experience is any indication, you're going to have a terrific time! Have a blast!!

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Loving your review, looks like ye had a great time!  I'm  looking forward to our sailing on Breakaway in August even more now 😊

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Thank you for taking the time to do such a detailed review. I don’t have kids but it makes me happily remember the great family holidays we had as children. 

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"With three ships now in port including the Breakaway, the pier was full of passengers still coming and going,"

 

That was us on the Jade.  We were pretty shocked to find that indeed you CAN see into the fancy bathroom windows in the suites/haven.  (We made sure to close ours up for the remainder of our trip when we were in port.)    Thanks for the show!

 

We only had 30-40 kids on our ship and while my kiddo loved the kids club they didn't have enough to do the clown/circus show at the end of the cruise.  

 

In Costa Maya, we went to the waterpark and based on your review we clearly did not make the right choice.  Thank you for sharing your photos and your review.   We'll be on the Breakaway next August and are counting the days (and trolling CC to kill time. )

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After the kids' show, they were all taken back to Splash Academy until it closed at 5 PM. This gave Stacy and I the chance to head back to the cabin and take care of a couple needed tasks.  First and foremost, I needed to go to the atrium to pick out our colored tags for disembarkation.  Other than disembarkation itself, I don't think I've had a sadder stroll on a cruise ship.  The finality of picking out tags and declaring when you agree to voluntarily leave the ship just seems so mean!

 

I consoled myself with another couple of pictures of the 678 Ocean Place chandelier.

 

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Upon my return to the room, I started packing up as much as I could, trying to get ahead of the task a bit.  Finally 5 O'Clock rolled around, and Stacy went to grab the kids.  When she left to do that, I headed down to Deck 6 to get in line for the Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy Dinner Show.  We had reserved this experience on the first day of the cruise, and decided to shell out the money for the kids to come with us. We knew that Burn the Floor wouldn't have interested them much and that Rock of Ages would have scarred them for life, so we thought we'd book this experience to give them a little taste of the entertainment available on board.  

 

When I arrived at the entrance to the Spiegel Tent, I found that I was actually the first in line.  I knew with a dinner theater set up that it'd serve us well to arrive early to get a good seat.  I also knew that many of the best seats would have been reserved for Haven guests, so it was all the more important to get there early.  I passed the time until the doors opened by chatting with a mother and daughter pair from Texas as well as amusing myself with the fun house mirrors posted outside.

 

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Stacy hadn't arrived yet with the boys, but when the doors opened, they scanned by sign & sail card, asked how many were in my party, and escorted me to a table with seats right at the foot of the round stage that sat near the slightly off-center, round stage in the room.

 

As more and more guests filed in, and the appointed start time of 6:15 neared, I hadn't seen Stacy yet.  I began fearing that I'd have to defend their seats in similar fashion to the Rock of Ages family in front of us the previous night. Fortunately, with about 10 minutes to spare, Stacy and the boys arrived.  I came to find out that in the excitement of the post-show, Connor had either elected not to or never had the chance to wash the clown makeup off his face.  Rather than risk looking silly, or worse yet being mistaken for a performer, Stacy hurried back to the cabin to clean Connor up.  Our apologies to the staff tasked with getting THAT towel back white again!

 

Once we were settled in, the waitstaff began serving the prix fixe meal to us.  They did offer a chicken strips and fries alternative for the young ones, but the price per person for the show was a fixed $47.99 regardless of age or meal selected.  Because we still had an SDP credit left, Stacy and I cost only $12/person for our two dinner show admissions.

 

As many have opined before, the meal itself is nothing to write home about, and is probably sub-par compared to the meals offered in the MDR.  A prosciutto & mozzarella antipasto was served first, followed by a surf & turf main course consisting of jumbo shrimp, beef tenderloin, potato fingerlings (they were just simple potato wedges, let's not dress it up more than is needed), and broccoli.  Of the main course items, the shrimp was actually quite good.  The steak was overdone and swimming in a glaze of some sort, but I had known about the knocks on the food in here well ahead of arriving.  Apparently the couple near us had not been, and the gentleman called for the management to discuss his concerns. His significant other was soon after served a plate of chicken strips and fries. 😄 Finally, the dessert trio of a mini-red velvet cupcake, creme caramel, and chocolate cake were served. All three of these were really quite good I found.

 

Throughout the dinner service, a number of cast members waltzed and pranced about in costumes reflective of the jungle theme.  While photos and video during the show itself were strictly prohibited, we were encouraged to take photos during this time.

 

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A hunched over human costumed to look like an emu?  ✔️

 

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Once the dinner plates were all cleared, the lights came down and the show began.  With trapeze acts, jugglers that juggled a half dozen balls while riding a hoverboard, a juggler that did so while riding a unicycle on a slack line, jugglers that juggled other humans, a pair of roller skaters that skated around the platform at speeds that wouldn't be advised on dry land let alone on a rocking cruise ship.  All in all, it was a VERY impressive show filled with lots of "Ooooohs," and "Ahhhhhhs," gasps, and laughter from adults and children alike.

 

Sadly, I believe that as of the end of this month, this show is no longer being offered on the Breakaway. Knowing that, I am all the gladder for having paid what we did to watch this show with our boys.  Sub-par meal or not, it was worth every penny for the entertainment alone!

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