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gmbhardy

Breakaway Disappointment

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I wholeheartedly support the notion that there’s no such thing as a bad cruise. Our recent cruise on the Oct.20 sailing of the Breakaway (Eastern Caribbean out of Miami) really put that theory to the test. We are Platinum Plus and have taken 16 cruises on NCL in the past three and a half years. We love the NCL experience and have six more future cruises booked. All of the problems we encountered were not earth shattering issues, some readers will consider them petty, but it was the shear number of them that alarmed us. I really hope this was a one off circumstance but if this is the new norm, the cruising experience on NCL is in a rapid state of decline. The overall operation of a business can only absorb so many cutbacks before the product morphs into a less desirable commodity. Here’s what went wrong on this particular cruise.

Embarkation: Some technological glitch delayed boarding. Because we were in a priority boarding group the delay for us was only about an hour. Others reported delays of four plus hours (can’t believe no one reported this on CC). We were still able to get lunch but many cruisers didn’t. This resulted in the muster drill being delayed as people were still boarding the ship, but the Cruise Director kept announcing the standard 3:30 pm time for the drill. When we showed up at our station for the drill there were no NCL staff there to conduct the drill and scan cards. Everyone wondered what was going on and eventually an announcement was made explaining that the drill would begin in 15 minutes. An hour later the drill finally started. Why they simply didn’t announce the delay upfront is beyond me.

Cabin Problems. First day toilet wouldn’t flush. Third day gasket around balcony door came off. Fourth night circuit breaker tripped knocking out power outlets, TV and fridge. They were all dealt with in a timely manner but they were still inconvenient. Our balcony glass partition was not cleaned for the entire week, so by the last day you could barely see through it. No more toiletries, no beach towels, no ice and no towel animals. I know some of these have been gone for a little while, but I think it’s still worth mentioning.

Food and Beverage: No prime rib, anywhere all week. No more jumbo shrimp appetizer at Cagney’s. A hot dog stand set up in the Atrium on the first sea day served stone cold wieners. Some liquor brands were not in stock,  so some specialty cocktails were not available. We enjoy having breakfast at a buffet setup in Moderno and Cagney’s but the Prime Meridian Bar was closed so Mimosas were not available (the bar has always been open in the past). 

Service: Most bartenders were great but some staff were genuinely miserable. The general cleanliness of the ship was below the standards we are use to on NCL. I know it’s hard to keep elevators clean but every single one was dirty, every single time we used one (maybe that’s more of a reflection on the clientele than the cleaning procedures but I’m not going there on this thread). One day we were in Savor having lunch. My wife ordered a burger and fries and so did a few other people at tables around us. After the plates were delivered the waiter with a squeeze catchup bottle in hand circled the tables asking “would madam like some catchup” squeeze, splat and there it was. It was a disaster waiting to happen but the splattering skill of the server was exceptional.  I thought the whole thing was hysterically funny. Apparently he didn’t have time to put the ketchup in the little cups that is the normal tradition. My wife’s lunch order at O’Sheehans was misplaced one day so she ended up receiving only half of it. One night my wife requested a Black Russian at the outside Shakers Martini Bar and received a vodka and Pepsi instead. She eventually received the right drink but the server rescanned our card so it was recorded as another purchase.

General Items: I read that the Platinum waiting area in the terminal now had refreshments and pastries available - nope. The internet was awful, hardly useable. The Latitudes function (also known as the CruiseNext cheerleading party) was the typical waste of time unless you like cheap wine and processed cheese. Our go to watering hole during the day is the Vibe public area bar. We learned that whole area was going to be closed the following week for a special function (apparently venues throughout the ship were going to be closed throughout the week to accommodate this group). It’s a good thing we weren’t on that cruise because I would have been livid. The ship also seemed to be unusually crowded. 

It’s really staggering how much the product has deteriorated over the past three years. We originally started cruising because the experience was a classy notch above many other vacation experiences, but not any longer. Other posters maintain its no different on the other lines and that’s sad for the entire industry. We probably noticed a lot of these little cut backs because we have the good fortune to cruise often. Maybe others who cruise less frequently wouldn’t notice them, but we did and it left us somewhat deflated..Finding efficiencies to increase margins is understandable but when it erodes the core experience so appreciably you wonder if cruising is indeed worth it.  As I said earlier,  maybe this cruise was a one off because we were on the Breakaway in August and had a wonderful cruise, the point being, for what you pay for a cruise your experience on any particular sailing shouldn’t be a crap shoot.





Sent from my iPad

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Sounds like you had a miserable cruise, which was very different then my Breakaway cruise, which was very good other than I learned I don't like the mega ships...too many people.  

 

Please post your cabin number, so folks can avoid it, since it had so many issues.

 

Also, you did know that you could have asked for ice and towel animals.  I understand them not automatically doing them, as many don't want one or both items and it is a waste of time making them for those folks.

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Sorry about your problems with the cruise.  I was on the Breakaway in Sept. out of Miami and didn't experience any problems.  I had an inside cabin.  Always had ice and towel animals. The room was perfectly maintained.  

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1 hour ago, gmbhardy said:

No more toiletries, no beach towels, no ice and no towel animals

 

No more toiletries or beach towels? Can anyone confirm? Sailing Breakaway Sunday...

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8 minutes ago, Bdonnelly11 said:

 

No more toiletries or beach towels? Can anyone confirm? Sailing Breakaway Sunday...

I was on the Breakaway in September.  There was hand soap in a dispenser in the bathroom as well as a shampoo/conditioner combo and body wash in dispensers in the shower.  Beach towels were available on the pool deck and anytime you got off the ship.  

 

We had a great experience on the Breakaway.  Our room was clean and I did ask for towel animals as I had a first time cruiser with our party.  Our toilet did stop flushing twice but they came and fixed it quickly both times.  I thought the food was good and we only had one slow service in the dining room at breakfast.  All other meals were timely.  We did eat in three specialty restaurants but all other meals in the MDR other than port day lunches at the buffet.  We had no trouble getting drinks and nothing we asked for was not available.  

 

This was our second trip on NCL and both times were good experiences.  We have also been on Carnival, RCL and Disney for reference.  I think both trips compared with CCL and RCL but not DCL but I did not expect it to.  DCL charges more because you get more.  

 

Hope that helps a bit

 

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When we were on the Breakaway in April I didn't notice the Prime Meridian bar being open during breakfast, which was served in Moderno.

 

Is it usually open, or may this have been something that changed a while ago?

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It's always interesting to see these types of disappointing reviews.  As the recent thread on the Getaway Atlantic crossing reflected similar issues. 

 

The interesting part is,  what's the back story causing these issues?   It usually seems to happen when they have a large turnover of crew and possibly a good percentage of the new crew just haven't the experience or are not into the swing of the schedule onboard the ship.  This may include managers and officers in addition to the staff.

 

I also wonder if the crew was distracted in preparation for the next weeks event in that they are limited to the number of hours they can work in their shift and have additional work to their normal routine and have to shortcut in order to keep "afloat" 

 

-Sean 

Edited by wilmingtech

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I had forgotten how special a cruise could be.  So many little amenities on NCL have gone the way of the dinosaur and the crew isn't nearly as cheerful as they were years ago.   My Alaskan cruise with Holland America this past June reminded me of how special cruising can be.  Although I'm Platinum level with NCL, the cruise I have booked on the Epic in January will be my last with them.  And yes, the Latitudes party has become an absolute joke.

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I think Princess offers the experience you are looking for.  We love it.  Service, food, attention to detail,  all a cut above.  

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Too bad you had a bad cruise. For the amount of money you paid you should have been able to enjoy.

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Death by a thousand cuts. Every price increase, food, drinks, grats, etc. raises expectations that one is getting something better because it costs more. It is just human nature. When we actually get less, the disappointment hits harder.  I'm sure they assume new cruisers don't know what they are missing and there will always be new people to take our places. Until there aren't any more...

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I check out the reviews section from time to time.  The reviews from Breakaway have really been bad lately. It seems they never recovered from the Dorian week.

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4 hours ago, Bdonnelly11 said:

 

No more toiletries or beach towels? Can anyone confirm? Sailing Breakaway Sunday...

On Escape recently there were no toiletries, except the body wash and shampoo in the shower, and soap by the sink... and they were totally adequate. I believe it is a trend in land-based hotels too to do away with toiletries, it is a trend catching on and NCL is ahead of the pack.

 

No beach towels in the cabin, but they are available at the pool and gangway upon request.

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Interesting.  I have never sailed on an NCL cruise that did not feature prime rib in multiple locations on multiple nights. 

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9 hours ago, gmbhardy said:

I wholeheartedly support the notion that there’s no such thing as a bad cruise. Our recent cruise on the Oct.20 sailing of the Breakaway (Eastern Caribbean out of Miami) really put that theory to the test. We are Platinum Plus and have taken 16 cruises on NCL in the past three and a half years. We love the NCL experience and have six more future cruises booked. All of the problems we encountered were not earth shattering issues, some readers will consider them petty, but it was the shear number of them that alarmed us. I really hope this was a one off circumstance but if this is the new norm, the cruising experience on NCL is in a rapid state of decline. The overall operation of a business can only absorb so many cutbacks before the product morphs into a less desirable commodity. Here’s what went wrong on this particular cruise.

Embarkation: Some technological glitch delayed boarding. Because we were in a priority boarding group the delay for us was only about an hour. Others reported delays of four plus hours (can’t believe no one reported this on CC). We were still able to get lunch but many cruisers didn’t. This resulted in the muster drill being delayed as people were still boarding the ship, but the Cruise Director kept announcing the standard 3:30 pm time for the drill. When we showed up at our station for the drill there were no NCL staff there to conduct the drill and scan cards. Everyone wondered what was going on and eventually an announcement was made explaining that the drill would begin in 15 minutes. An hour later the drill finally started. Why they simply didn’t announce the delay upfront is beyond me.

Cabin Problems. First day toilet wouldn’t flush. Third day gasket around balcony door came off. Fourth night circuit breaker tripped knocking out power outlets, TV and fridge. They were all dealt with in a timely manner but they were still inconvenient. Our balcony glass partition was not cleaned for the entire week, so by the last day you could barely see through it. No more toiletries, no beach towels, no ice and no towel animals. I know some of these have been gone for a little while, but I think it’s still worth mentioning.

Food and Beverage: No prime rib, anywhere all week. No more jumbo shrimp appetizer at Cagney’s. A hot dog stand set up in the Atrium on the first sea day served stone cold wieners. Some liquor brands were not in stock,  so some specialty cocktails were not available. We enjoy having breakfast at a buffet setup in Moderno and Cagney’s but the Prime Meridian Bar was closed so Mimosas were not available (the bar has always been open in the past). 

Service: Most bartenders were great but some staff were genuinely miserable. The general cleanliness of the ship was below the standards we are use to on NCL. I know it’s hard to keep elevators clean but every single one was dirty, every single time we used one (maybe that’s more of a reflection on the clientele than the cleaning procedures but I’m not going there on this thread). One day we were in Savor having lunch. My wife ordered a burger and fries and so did a few other people at tables around us. After the plates were delivered the waiter with a squeeze catchup bottle in hand circled the tables asking “would madam like some catchup” squeeze, splat and there it was. It was a disaster waiting to happen but the splattering skill of the server was exceptional.  I thought the whole thing was hysterically funny. Apparently he didn’t have time to put the ketchup in the little cups that is the normal tradition. My wife’s lunch order at O’Sheehans was misplaced one day so she ended up receiving only half of it. One night my wife requested a Black Russian at the outside Shakers Martini Bar and received a vodka and Pepsi instead. She eventually received the right drink but the server rescanned our card so it was recorded as another purchase.

General Items: I read that the Platinum waiting area in the terminal now had refreshments and pastries available - nope. The internet was awful, hardly useable. The Latitudes function (also known as the CruiseNext cheerleading party) was the typical waste of time unless you like cheap wine and processed cheese. Our go to watering hole during the day is the Vibe public area bar. We learned that whole area was going to be closed the following week for a special function (apparently venues throughout the ship were going to be closed throughout the week to accommodate this group). It’s a good thing we weren’t on that cruise because I would have been livid. The ship also seemed to be unusually crowded. 

It’s really staggering how much the product has deteriorated over the past three years. We originally started cruising because the experience was a classy notch above many other vacation experiences, but not any longer. Other posters maintain its no different on the other lines and that’s sad for the entire industry. We probably noticed a lot of these little cut backs because we have the good fortune to cruise often. Maybe others who cruise less frequently wouldn’t notice them, but we did and it left us somewhat deflated..Finding efficiencies to increase margins is understandable but when it erodes the core experience so appreciably you wonder if cruising is indeed worth it.  As I said earlier,  maybe this cruise was a one off because we were on the Breakaway in August and had a wonderful cruise, the point being, for what you pay for a cruise your experience on any particular sailing shouldn’t be a crap shoot.





Sent from my iPad

As you can read from my handle there are certain things we come to expect in life... unfortunately, NCL is trying to compete with the masses and grab the biggest market share... they are doing what they set out to do... are they perfect every time? No. But they are providing a mass market vacation for the common once or twice a year balcony cruiser...think Toyota... that the masses would approve of and buy into... the haven is more like... think Lexus..a little more refined... quieter cabin.. nicer material... but basically the same car... same parent company... but profits per vehicle are higher...

it seems like you and your cruise preferences have ‘out grown’ the NCL product... it doesn’t make you a bad person.. but at the end of the day... we like to feel like we are getting a return on our hard earned money with a service or experience that WOWS us... NCL has been falling short... but so has the rest of this mid level cruise segment...

I think if you start cruising the higher lines... you may start to like what is out there... yes it’s a higher price point but should also provide a higher return on your investment you are seeking.

 

“We teach people how we want to be treated” - Guy Fieri

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The issue I have and probably many other seasoned NCL cruisers have is the amount of slippage over the past few years.  I won't even go back beyond 10 years.  Even in the last 10 years, just about every time I cruise, something has been cut or taken away.  You constantly wonder, what is going away next?  Newer cruisers probably won't notice or care, but some of us do notice and do care.

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16 hours ago, dgreeney said:

Sorry about your problems with the cruise.  I was on the Breakaway in Sept. out of Miami and didn't experience any problems.  I had an inside cabin.  Always had ice and towel animals. The room was perfectly maintained.  

We were on the Breakaway also in September.  We did not have towel animals or ice in the rooms.  For us, that wasn't a deal breaker.  Similar to the original poster's experience, our toilet flushed only intermittently, and was never fixed during the cruise.  With two notable exceptions, we found the experience with bar tenders much less pleasant than on previous NCL cruises.  Friendly bar tenders should be the norm, not the exception.  We found the beef selections in the main dining room to be excellent, and the food was overall very good.  

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OP, I feel the same about our recent NCL experiences on Dawn and Escape. The level of service is way down from what it used to be. Those little touches that made cruising with NCL special are dissapearing, little by little. We are also reconsidering our booked cruises with NCL.

Edited by Aldeya

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18 hours ago, gmbhardy said:

I wholeheartedly support the notion that there’s no such thing as a bad cruise. Our recent cruise on the Oct.20 sailing of the Breakaway (Eastern Caribbean out of Miami) really put that theory to the test. We are Platinum Plus and have taken 16 cruises on NCL in the past three and a half years. We love the NCL experience and have six more future cruises booked. All of the problems we encountered were not earth shattering issues, some readers will consider them petty, but it was the shear number of them that alarmed us. I really hope this was a one off circumstance but if this is the new norm, the cruising experience on NCL is in a rapid state of decline. The overall operation of a business can only absorb so many cutbacks before the product morphs into a less desirable commodity. Here’s what went wrong on this particular cruise.

Embarkation: Some technological glitch delayed boarding. Because we were in a priority boarding group the delay for us was only about an hour. Others reported delays of four plus hours (can’t believe no one reported this on CC). We were still able to get lunch but many cruisers didn’t. This resulted in the muster drill being delayed as people were still boarding the ship, but the Cruise Director kept announcing the standard 3:30 pm time for the drill. When we showed up at our station for the drill there were no NCL staff there to conduct the drill and scan cards. Everyone wondered what was going on and eventually an announcement was made explaining that the drill would begin in 15 minutes. An hour later the drill finally started. Why they simply didn’t announce the delay upfront is beyond me.

Cabin Problems. First day toilet wouldn’t flush. Third day gasket around balcony door came off. Fourth night circuit breaker tripped knocking out power outlets, TV and fridge. They were all dealt with in a timely manner but they were still inconvenient. Our balcony glass partition was not cleaned for the entire week, so by the last day you could barely see through it. No more toiletries, no beach towels, no ice and no towel animals. I know some of these have been gone for a little while, but I think it’s still worth mentioning.

Food and Beverage: No prime rib, anywhere all week. No more jumbo shrimp appetizer at Cagney’s. A hot dog stand set up in the Atrium on the first sea day served stone cold wieners. Some liquor brands were not in stock,  so some specialty cocktails were not available. We enjoy having breakfast at a buffet setup in Moderno and Cagney’s but the Prime Meridian Bar was closed so Mimosas were not available (the bar has always been open in the past). 

Service: Most bartenders were great but some staff were genuinely miserable. The general cleanliness of the ship was below the standards we are use to on NCL. I know it’s hard to keep elevators clean but every single one was dirty, every single time we used one (maybe that’s more of a reflection on the clientele than the cleaning procedures but I’m not going there on this thread). One day we were in Savor having lunch. My wife ordered a burger and fries and so did a few other people at tables around us. After the plates were delivered the waiter with a squeeze catchup bottle in hand circled the tables asking “would madam like some catchup” squeeze, splat and there it was. It was a disaster waiting to happen but the splattering skill of the server was exceptional.  I thought the whole thing was hysterically funny. Apparently he didn’t have time to put the ketchup in the little cups that is the normal tradition. My wife’s lunch order at O’Sheehans was misplaced one day so she ended up receiving only half of it. One night my wife requested a Black Russian at the outside Shakers Martini Bar and received a vodka and Pepsi instead. She eventually received the right drink but the server rescanned our card so it was recorded as another purchase.

General Items: I read that the Platinum waiting area in the terminal now had refreshments and pastries available - nope. The internet was awful, hardly useable. The Latitudes function (also known as the CruiseNext cheerleading party) was the typical waste of time unless you like cheap wine and processed cheese. Our go to watering hole during the day is the Vibe public area bar. We learned that whole area was going to be closed the following week for a special function (apparently venues throughout the ship were going to be closed throughout the week to accommodate this group). It’s a good thing we weren’t on that cruise because I would have been livid. The ship also seemed to be unusually crowded. 

It’s really staggering how much the product has deteriorated over the past three years. We originally started cruising because the experience was a classy notch above many other vacation experiences, but not any longer. Other posters maintain its no different on the other lines and that’s sad for the entire industry. We probably noticed a lot of these little cut backs because we have the good fortune to cruise often. Maybe others who cruise less frequently wouldn’t notice them, but we did and it left us somewhat deflated..Finding efficiencies to increase margins is understandable but when it erodes the core experience so appreciably you wonder if cruising is indeed worth it.  As I said earlier,  maybe this cruise was a one off because we were on the Breakaway in August and had a wonderful cruise, the point being, for what you pay for a cruise your experience on any particular sailing shouldn’t be a crap shoot.





Sent from my iPad

wow,very different from our Breakaway cruise just a week before yours. We certainly had no problems with the ship not being clean nor a less than attentive crew from the cabin stewardess to all in the dining rooms. We did find the food lacking a bit, but all in all we didn't have any of what you witnessed. It must have been just one of those "bad" days or should we say weeks for the ship. BTW, I we did have jumbo shrimp cocktail in Ocean Blue and there was prime rib in the MDR. We did not have it as we ate most of our meals in the specialty dining rooms. 

 

One more possibility that comes to mind: I am glad you love NCL.All of us who choose the company as our go to line, love to hear of those who sail the line over and over, but maybe you have sailed the line a bit too much in such a short time. The novelty could be wearing off. Let's hope you next experience is a better one. The biggest gripe we have had and this is our own opinion, mega ships are not for everyone. We know they are not for us. 

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17 hours ago, Bdonnelly11 said:

 

No more toiletries or beach towels? Can anyone confirm? Sailing Breakaway Sunday...

We got our beach towels by the pool or as we left the ship if we needed to take them on a tour but no toiletries which is much like many of the hotels are starting to do. it is a combination of money saving and the envirorment. There was soap dispensers  and bar soap plus shampoo. The ice thing, to our shock we did get ice daily though we never used it and we were in a balcony cabin. 

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We, too, were disappointed with the Breakaway cruise we took in November of 2016 so we decided to give it another try in January of 2018. All I can say is I have never heard so many people complain. For us, we felt like it was used as a training facility for new staff. While we didn’t complain to anyone on the ship, we won’t be returning to the Breakaway again. We have sailed on 6 other NCL ships without the issues we had on the Breakaway so it doesn’t seem to be as much a NCL problem as it is a specific ship problem. All things considered I enjoy the smaller, older ships although headed out on the Epic in 7 weeks and the reviews for that ship are a mixed bag. As long as the weather is warm all is good.

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On 11/13/2019 at 12:54 PM, NLH Arizona said:

Sounds like you had a miserable cruise, which was very different then my Breakaway cruise, which was very good other than I learned I don't like the mega ships...too many people.  

 

Please post your cabin number, so folks can avoid it, since it had so many issues.

 

Also, you did know that you could have asked for ice and towel animals.  I understand them not automatically doing them, as many don't want one or both items and it is a waste of time making them for those folks.

 

Not miserable, just lots of little annoying issues. We were in cabin 13870. I did know we could ask for ice (we did) and we have long lost our infatuation with towel animals but I just wanted to give a heads up to infrequent cruisers.

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15 hours ago, expectthebest said:

As you can read from my handle there are certain things we come to expect in life... unfortunately, NCL is trying to compete with the masses and grab the biggest market share... they are doing what they set out to do... are they perfect every time? No. But they are providing a mass market vacation for the common once or twice a year balcony cruiser...think Toyota... that the masses would approve of and buy into... the haven is more like... think Lexus..a little more refined... quieter cabin.. nicer material... but basically the same car... same parent company... but profits per vehicle are higher...

it seems like you and your cruise preferences have ‘out grown’ the NCL product... it doesn’t make you a bad person.. but at the end of the day... we like to feel like we are getting a return on our hard earned money with a service or experience that WOWS us... NCL has been falling short... but so has the rest of this mid level cruise segment...

I think if you start cruising the higher lines... you may start to like what is out there... yes it’s a higher price point but should also provide a higher return on your investment you are seeking.

 

“We teach people how we want to be treated” - Guy Fieri

 

Loved your post. At first I thought you might be right, but on further reflection I think what would satisfy our needs is a dependable, well running Corolla.

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14 hours ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

Mutiny...justified. 

 

 

Exactly!

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