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kpjb

Breakaway thoughts... not really a review

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Posted (edited)

So I got caught up with the holidays and never put together a review for our Breakaway cruise from the first week of December.  Everyone knows the deal, though, so I'm just going to give some random thoughts about our first time on this ship.

 

  • First time cruising from Canaveral and not Miami.  There were dolphins swimming along side the ship out to sea, that was fun.
  • We were told to get to port no earlier than 11am.  We arrived about 10:45 and were on the ship about 10:55.  No holding area or boarding groups, just checked in and walked on.
  • Upon embarking, we went directly to reservations to change our La Cucina res to Ocean Blue and it was totally sold out for the week.  That was disappointing, I thought there was a percentage of tables that they did not book ahead of time.
  • Manhattan room was strictly enforcing the dress code.  We walked up just to see if they'd stop us, and they did.  I was wearing khaki shorts and a polo shirt, and had to go back to the room to put on pants.  What's weird is that my wife was wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt and jean shorts, and they told her that she was fine.  (She changed, too.)
  • Our service in Cagney's and La Cucina was EXCELLENT.  Like, over the top, tipped them extra, filled out vacation hero cards for both of them.
  • Our service in Teppanyaki was subpar.  We were in Teppanyaki on the Getaway last year, and it was the surprise hit of the cruise.  This one was not much of a show and had a disappearing server.
  • The filet in Cagney's was done perfectly, but I have to laugh at prices if you were paying out of pocket.  My son got the bacon appetizer.  It was $14 and was literally 3 pieces of bacon.  Glad it was "free."
  • LOVED the Baths in BVI.  Went on our own and my family of 4 went for the price of one adult on the ship's tour.
  • It took customs an extra long time to clear the ship at USVI, so the captain let us stay in port an extra hour. (You could tell our speed was MAXED OUT on the way to GSC that night.)
  • Haven't been to GSC in a few years.  Seems like there's a lot more service areas for drinks and much more food variety now.  The hand shaken daquiri at the Bacardi bar was excellent.
  • On our tender back from GSC there was a naked dude out on his balcony.  I think it was a mistake because when people started pointing he hustled back in.
  • Didn't do ship excursions even with the excursion credit, but to my surprise, if you rent anything on GSC it counts as an excursion.  So the kids' floater rafts ended up being free.
  • My wife and my first cruise featured Frank Townsend as the comedian.  We both really liked him, and to our surprise he was on this sailing!  Talked to him a few times, really great guy.  Got to sneak away from the kids late one night to catch his adult show.  
  • There was more entertainment on the ship than I remember.  In addition to the normal shows and comedy night there was a comedian on board who did a couple shows a night in the theater on two evenings.  
  • 80s night was sort-of boring.  They need a DJ or at least a playlist made by someone that actually lived in the 80s.  He played 3 Bon Jovi songs in an hour, and 2 of them were You Give Love A Bad Name.
  • Bar service was prompt across the ship, with the exception of Spice H20 during events where they definitely need more staffing.
  • I swear that every bar makes Old Fashioneds differently.
  • OMG, Syd Norman's was fantastic.  We didn't do a lot at night with the kids in tow this time (14 and 8 ) but on the last night after the magician I went over just to check it out.  Told them I'd be back in 1/2 hour and I ended up staying the whole night while they slept.  What a fun band.  It was 80s prom night and they were all decked out, and had so much energy.  Even the bartenders were dancing along.  The place was packed.  This is such an improvement over Fat Cats and the Grammy Experience that preceded it on the -away ships.
  • There were no prime rib nights at O'Sheehans which I didn't mind, but I know a lot of people like that.  Last year on the Getaway I swear there were 3 of them.  They had Ribs, Chicken Parm, and a few other specials instead.
  • They had a complimentary themed lunch buffet available in Moderno on sea days.  I don't remember that in the past.
  • What's with the hot dog carts everywhere?  Atrium, Spice, Pool Deck.  I couldn't escape the hot dogs!
  • When did North & South wine become East & West wine.  It was bothering me the whole time that it was called East & West.  I thought I was going crazy, then sure enough I looked at an old menu when I got back and it did used to be North & South.
  • Martini bar on the Waterfront is good, but I still prefer the mojito bar being there.
  • At one point I was charged for a bottle of wine instead of a glass.  Luckily I check my on board account daily (to make sure the kids didn't spend $5000 in the arcade) and saw it.  After repeated explanations to Guest Relations, they said they'd have to talk to the bar manager but that he was too busy right now and to check back the next day.  Totally thought I was getting the runaround on this, but the next day there was a credit on my account.
  • This was a much different crowd than we're used to.  More families with younger kids and older folks.  A lot fewer 20s-40s couples and friends.  Very American, not many Europeans/South Americans/Asians.  The pool was NEVER crowded, and usually that's the party spot.  I attributed this to sailing out of Canaveral... more families and old people in the Orlando area, and Miami is probably an easier international flight.  It was a good time, but way more laid back than I'm used to on the big ships.
  • There were no Christmas decorations at all on the ship.  Last year we sailed the Getaway on the same week and they were fully decorated when we came on board.

 

Well, I think that's it.  It was a good week, great weather.  Fun time.

 

There are a lot of complaints and bad reviews on this ship.  I was worried when we booked it, but we didn't experience anything that would keep us from going back on her.  Don't believe what you hear.  Experience it for yourself.

Edited by kpjb

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I've been on Breakaway twice and enjoyed each time.  Please explain the comment about wine:  North/South vs. East/West.  That confused me.

 

Sorry about no Christmas decorations.  Kinda stinks.  Maybe they were trying to remain nonsecular?  

 

Why was there a naked man on the balcony?  Of Breakaway or a neighboring ship?

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Thanks so much for sharing!  We are on the Breakaway in February, so I'm thrilled to read that you had such a great time! 😃

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Great post - thanks for sharing your thoughts.   I will be on Breakaway for first time in March (sailed getaway twice before).  I had to laugh at your comment about kids and arcade spending - same here 🤣🤣

 

looking forward to Syd Norman.   That’s new for me.  

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Glad you had Frank Townsend. Very good comedian and even better person. We had him on the Bliss last spring. Looking forward to the Breakaway next November. 

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Nice comments. I'm on the breakaway on Saturday.  This will be my second trip on her.  Last time I'd be in the cigar lounge and folks would stop in during the breaks at Syd Normans and mention how great it was.  I never checked it out, but I'm making a point to check it out this time around

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We were on the Breakaway in August and October and never saw any hot dog carts other than a table serving cold hot dogs in the atrium on sea days. 

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19 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I've been on Breakaway twice and enjoyed each time.  Please explain the comment about wine:  North/South vs. East/West.  That confused me.

 

NCL's "private brand" wine used to be called North & South.  Now it's called East & West.  I thought I was going crazy, but I confirmed afterward that the name did indeed change.

 

19 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

Sorry about no Christmas decorations.  Kinda stinks.  Maybe they were trying to remain nonsecular?  

 

I'm thinking that they just put them up later on this ship.  On the Getaway it looked like they were making good money off of pics by the decorations, so I can't see them not doing it at all.

 

19 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

Why was there a naked man on the balcony?  Of Breakaway or a neighboring ship?

 

It was on the Breakaway, and no idea why.  I did not investigate further! :)

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19 hours ago, kpjb said:

 

  • There was more entertainment on the ship than I remember.  In addition to the normal shows and comedy night there was a comedian on board who did a couple shows a night in the theater on two evenings.  

 

Just noticed this... that was supposed to say a MAGICIAN on board.  There are always comedians on board.  The shows were in the main theater and complimentary.

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When you were turned away from the Manhattan room for wearing shorts, was it the first night?  I thought that the dress code wasn't enforced on the first night.

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"On our tender back from GSC there was a naked dude out on his balcony.  I think it was a mistake because when people started pointing he hustled back in. "

 

LOL...how do you mistakenly go out on your balcony naked?   🙂

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Thanks for your comments! Laughed at the North/South wine observation. I did the same thing.

 

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Thanks for the highlights - great info!  Funny about the old fashioned drinks being inconsistent.  My go to drink is a Manhattan but love OF's too - never found a consistent Manhattan on any ship but this is the first time I'll have drinks included so that's pretty awesome!  

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Thank you for your post.  I feel a lot better after all the negative things I've read the last few months.  We're sailing the Breakaway February 22, 2020 with a group of friends and I'm really looking forward to this cruise.  Of course, any cruise is better than no cruise at all.

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Thank you for taking the time to let us know your thoughts... a nice balanced report!   I also agree, as I've seen him before, Frank Townsend i absolutely hilarious!!!!!!  I think the hot dog carts are due to the New York themed hull art.

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On 1/9/2020 at 10:37 AM, steelersfan4ever said:

When you were turned away from the Manhattan room for wearing shorts, was it the first night?  I thought that the dress code wasn't enforced on the first night.

 

No, it was on the 5th or 6th night of the cruise.

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Thanks for the review, getting ready to go on the Breakaway for the 2nd time next month. I noticed on the daily’s someone else posted that the specials in O’Sheehans had changed a lot, I liked the old sailor’s basket on previous cruises. Do they have the text app for $10 on the Breakaway? 

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I'm not sure about that.  We had the free 250 min of internet and just used that whenever we needed, still had about 100 left over at the end of the week.

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" LOVED the Baths in BVI.  Went on our own and my family of 4 went for the price of one adult on the ship's tour. "

 

Can you tell me which company you went with?

Thanks for all your thoughts on the ship, we are on her in 2 weeks and this was  hugely helpful!!

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"Manhattan room was strictly enforcing the dress code.  We walked up just to see if they'd stop us, and they did.  I was wearing khaki shorts and a polo shirt, and had to go back to the room to put on pants.  What's weird is that my wife was wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt and jean shorts, and they told her that she was fine.  (She changed, too.)"

 

Do you know the dress code for the Manhattan room? 

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On 1/7/2020 at 6:05 PM, kpjb said:

Upon embarking, we went directly to reservations to change our La Cucina res to Ocean Blue and it was totally sold out for the week.  That was disappointing, I thought there was a percentage of tables that they did not book ahead of time.

 

Thanks for your review! The same happened to us on the Getaway in 2018. We booked 44 days out, so restaurant selection was limited and I took what was available. Tried to change to Cagney's the day we embarked, thinking of what I'd read here that said NCL holds a percentage of restaurant reservations, and it was sold out all week. This was a late October sailing, so not as busy as holiday or summer sailings.

 

Will be on the Breakaway in 2021, and have been reading some less-than-stellar reviews, so thanks for providing a balanced one!

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On 1/22/2020 at 1:28 PM, Keata said:

" LOVED the Baths in BVI.  Went on our own and my family of 4 went for the price of one adult on the ship's tour. "

 

Can you tell me which company you went with?

Thanks for all your thoughts on the ship, we are on her in 2 weeks and this was  hugely helpful!!

 

There are two companies that run shuttles. Sensation Ferries and Speedy's.  They have similar pricing, so the decision is mostly on what time their shuttles run and what's convenient for you.

 

There is no discount for booking ahead, so you can just walk up to them.  It's about a 5 or 10 minute walk from where the ship will dock to the smaller dock that the shuttles use.  They'll take you to Virgin Gorda where they'll put you on a private bus/taxi and take you to the top of the baths.  You will still need to pay to access the Baths, it's $3 for adults, free for kids.  They'll ask what shuttle you're taking back and tell you what time to meet back at the top.  It was very easy.

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On 1/22/2020 at 2:03 PM, jessMN74 said:

"Manhattan room was strictly enforcing the dress code.  We walked up just to see if they'd stop us, and they did.  I was wearing khaki shorts and a polo shirt, and had to go back to the room to put on pants.  What's weird is that my wife was wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt and jean shorts, and they told her that she was fine.  (She changed, too.)"

 

Do you know the dress code for the Manhattan room? 

 

Long pants and collared shirts for guys. They didn't seem to care about what women wore.

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I have been on the Breakaway twice and Escape once. Both very similar in my opinion.   

 

I loved the 80's at H20 for the first two trips.  Didn't get there the third trip.   

 

Howl at the Moon is a favorite and I really missed it when we went on the Jewel and they didn't have it! 

 

 The Syd Norman's Pour House was fun too BUT it is just too small.  Go at least a half hour before the event starts so 'maybe' you can get a seat.  So many nights we had to skip it as there was no room.   

 

Loved all the shows on board including comedians and magicians.   

 

It's nice to see the restaurants follow the dress code.  My husband was reminded to take his hat off in Savor/Taste. 

 

The only thing that really bothers me on the Breakaway is the lack of pool space.  I have been on ships where the pool area is huge and the seating is all around it and sloped to lots of people can see the action and enjoy the sun.   

 

Oh and the Atrium area for game shows is way too small too. Never enough seats, so once again, go early!

 

I don't ever recall seeing hot dog stands?   I only noticed hot dogs in the buffet.   

 

And the bottom line is: A vacation is what you make it!   Even if you miss a port or things don't go perfect, you are in charge of making your trip fun.  

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