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Greetings!  I am new to NCL but not new to cruising.  We have done 8 cruises, all on Carnival.  Note:  We love Carnival and it suits us just fine.  We dress up for formal nights.  We wear appropriate clothing in dining room at all other times. 

 

Yesterday, we booked a 7 day cruise out of New Orleans for our 10 year Anniversary in February 2022.  I know it is a long way away, but the 2 for 1 deposit and all the FREE @ SEA offerings were too good to pass up.  We will be on the Breakaway.  Any tips, pointers, gee whizzes, or wisdom you can share with me about the ship and the experience is greatly appreciated. 

 

THANK YOU in Advance!!

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8 minutes ago, d-lite-n-cruisin said:

Greetings!  I am new to NCL but not new to cruising.  We have done 8 cruises, all on Carnival.  Note:  We love Carnival and it suits us just fine.  We dress up for formal nights.  We wear appropriate clothing in dining room at all other times. 

 

Yesterday, we booked a 7 day cruise out of New Orleans for our 10 year Anniversary in February 2022.  I know it is a long way away, but the 2 for 1 deposit and all the FREE @ SEA offerings were too good to pass up.  We will be on the Breakaway.  Any tips, pointers, gee whizzes, or wisdom you can share with me about the ship and the experience is greatly appreciated. 

 

THANK YOU in Advance!!

 

Have been on the Breakaway 17 times... and I can tell you it's a great ship. If you have never seen an all-ice bar before, I'd recommend trying it out. It's one of those one and done things, so see it then! With the passes, you get a free drink, which is nice. Also -- if you got the dining package with your FAS promotion, I would recommend trying out the specialty restaurats, like Le Bistro (French), La Cucina (Italian), Cagney's (Steakhouse) or Moderno (Brazilian Steakhouse). 

 

One big tip I can offer you since this is your first time is to book your shows and dining reservations in advance. You can start doing so at around the 120 day out mark. This will be a big help one you get onboard. 

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3 minutes ago, d-lite-n-cruisin said:

Greetings!  I am new to NCL but not new to cruising.  We have done 8 cruises, all on Carnival.  Note:  We love Carnival and it suits us just fine.  We dress up for formal nights.  We wear appropriate clothing in dining room at all other times. 

 

Yesterday, we booked a 7 day cruise out of New Orleans for our 10 year Anniversary in February 2022.  I know it is a long way away, but the 2 for 1 deposit and all the FREE @ SEA offerings were too good to pass up.  We will be on the Breakaway.  Any tips, pointers, gee whizzes, or wisdom you can share with me about the ship and the experience is greatly appreciated. 

 

THANK YOU in Advance!!

 

First of all, congats on your upcoming 10 year anniversary! I also love Carnival and have sailed with them 4 times, I believe. The best time was a 12 day Med cruise out of Civitavecchia (port for Rome), Italy on the then brand new Carnival Dream.

 

I have only sailed with NCL one time, way back in the day, on the Sunward out of Miami. This is the only experience I have with NCL and it is obviously dated, so probably of no help. Once cruising resumes, I plan on possibly sailing solo (recently divorced) with NCL because of their excellent solo program (i.e. numerous studio staterooms plus the solo lounge. Also, a dedicated ship staffer to assist solos by arranging solo group dining, shows, etc). Unfortunately (and I wish they were), Carnival is not very solo friendly like NCL is.

 

Anyway, sorry that I can't be of much help since I have not recently sailed with NCL. But, there are plenty of veteran NCL and Breakaway cruisers here on this CC board that will definitely be able to help you out. Best of luck and by Feb 2022, I'm sure we'll all be cruising again!

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9 minutes ago, romalley99 said:

 

Have been on the Breakaway 17 times... and I can tell you it's a great ship. If you have never seen an all-ice bar before, I'd recommend trying it out. It's one of those one and done things, so see it then! With the passes, you get a free drink, which is nice. Also -- if you got the dining package with your FAS promotion, I would recommend trying out the specialty restaurats, like Le Bistro (French), La Cucina (Italian), Cagney's (Steakhouse) or Moderno (Brazilian Steakhouse). 

 

One big tip I can offer you since this is your first time is to book your shows and dining reservations in advance. You can start doing so at around the 120 day out mark. This will be a big help one you get onboard. 

PERFECT!!  Thank you so much.  We received al of the FAS promotions.  Drinks, dinners, internet, and shore excursion discounts per port.  I love Brazilian Steakhouses, that is for sure.  I think the Ice Bar would be COOL.... pun intended.

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1 minute ago, farmersfight said:

 

First of all, congats on your upcoming 10 year anniversary! I also love Carnival and have sailed with them 4 times, I believe. The best time was a 12 day Med cruise out of Civitavecchia (port for Rome), Italy on the then brand new Carnival Dream.

 

I have only sailed with NCL one time, way back in the day, on the Sunward out of Miami. This is the only experience I have with NCL and it is obviously dated, so probably of no help. Once cruising resumes, I plan on possibly sailing solo (recently divorced) with NCL because of their excellent solo program (i.e. numerous studio staterooms plus the solo lounge. Also, a dedicated ship staffer to assist solos by arranging solo group dining, shows, etc). Unfortunately (and I wish they were), Carnival is not very solo friendly like NCL is.

 

Anyway, sorry that I can't be of much help since I have not recently sailed with NCL. But, there are plenty of veteran NCL and Breakaway cruisers here on this CC board that will definitely be able to help you out. Best of luck and by Feb 2022, I'm sure we'll all be cruising again!

Thank you!  We did the Med from Athens to Barcelona on the Carnival Vista.  Memories that last a lifetime.  I saw where NCL had those solo cabins.  That is really cool of them.  Can't wait to cruise again!

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1 minute ago, d-lite-n-cruisin said:

I am not going to just act like I didn't see this amazingly ridiculous number.  17??!!??  WOW

 

Funny, I was just going to say the same exact thing, lol! I told you there would be veteran Breakaway cruisers on here!

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1 minute ago, d-lite-n-cruisin said:

PERFECT!!  Thank you so much.  We received al of the FAS promotions.  Drinks, dinners, internet, and shore excursion discounts per port.  I love Brazilian Steakhouses, that is for sure.  I think the Ice Bar would be COOL.... pun intended.

 

Beautiful! The Shore Excursion credit is $50 per port and you can also upgrade the internet package you get with the FAS to unlimited for like $80 bucks usually. May be worth it if you are a big internet user like me? 🙂

 

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Just now, farmersfight said:

 

Funny, I was just going to say the same exact thing, lol! I told you there would be veteran Breakaway cruisers on here!

 

4 minutes ago, d-lite-n-cruisin said:

I am not going to just act like I didn't see this amazingly ridiculous number.  17??!!??  WOW

 

Hahah, yes. Given she was based in NYC for 5 years straight... it was easy 😜 

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We have sailed on Breakaway three times and enjoyed her very much each time.  One of the things that was unique about sailing out of NOLA was how long it took to get down the Mississippi river (approximately 8 hours, I think).  Anyway, the first night we curled up with a blanket on our balcony and watched as we sailed down the river.  We passed other ships (Carnival) and cargo along the way.  They were so close to us I thought we could reach out and touch them.  The lights were so pretty.  It's been by far one of my favorite embarkation days!

 

Also, if you are a fan of visiting the thermal suite, I highly recommend you give the spa thermal area a try.  I believe NCL has designed the best thermal area in the industry.  And there's lots of lounge seating with some pretty spectacular views.  

 

Need a place to get away from the noise?  Try the water front on deck 8.  Lots of quiet places to relax and the bar, port side, I think is very convenient.

 

Enjoy!

Edited by Georgia_Peaches
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I second the idea of getting the thermal spa pass. It's one of the reasons we love NCL. Very quiet. No kids. Great place to chill, try the water features, steam and sauna. They provide robes, towels, lockers and non-alcohol refreshments. Plus the changing area has showers that are considerably larger than cabins.

Consider Vibe passes. Private open air adult-only area on upper deck with hot tub, loungers and bar. You have to board in first groups to get passes. They only sell about 60. Beat a path to Guest Services to purchase. I think we boarded 2nd group and they sold out a few folks behind us in line.

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My wife and I have been on the Breakaway once but have sailed out of NO many times.  It is a nice ship.  The ropes course is fun especially the plank.  Sid Norman's Pour House usually has classic rock music and the whiskey bar right around the corner makes good cocktails.  For specialty restaurants, Le Bistro is one of the best and we have heard Ocean Blue is good but we have not been there personally.  Also the waterfront is a nice area to chill on sea days.  I would spend a couple days before or after the cruise to experience New Orleans.  It is an amazing city with great food and music.  I am happy you got your 8th anniversary cruise in before Covid.  We have a cruise in January....hoping it goes.

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Love the Breakaway....sailed her 2X. Not sure who/what the entertainment will be when you sail, but overall I think NCL has the best entertainment among all the mainstream cruise lines.

 

Specialty restaurants are all good (as are the "non specialty" restaurants, too).  

 

Waterfront is where I spent most of my time while at sea.  I even had dinner at Cagney's, Ocean Blue and LaCucina on the Waterfront...which was wonderful.

 

 

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We have sailed on the Breakaway twice before, as well as on many of her sister ships, the Bliss, Escape, Getaway, and Joy.  We also are booked again on the Breakaway out of New Orleans this coming February at Mardi Gras time.  I'll echo the comments about booking shows and specialty dining in advance.  Don't get left holding the bag (or unused dinner coupons!).  We did the Ice Bar on the Epic - it was fun, they provide cold weather gear, but it really is a one-and-done experience.  If you take an SLR camera with you to the ice bar on the Breakaway, be advised that it may take hours for it to defog after you come back out of the cold.  Le Bistro is our favorite restaurant on NCL ships.  If you enjoy lamb, be sure to order the lamb chops there.  I think its the best thing on the menu.  NCL slowly seems to be phasing out the Moderno restaurants in favor of the "Q", a semi-Texas style barbeque dining experience.  Moderno may be gone from the Breakaway by the time you sail.

 

NCL changed its rules recently in regard to the way the $50 shore excursion credit is applied.  The credit only can be used by the person listed first on the room reservation.  If both passengers are taking tours at the same port, the $50 comes off the price of passenger number one's ticket.  If only the second passenger takes a tour while guest #1 stays on board or roams the port on their own, you lose the credit.  Your Breakaway cruise features many snorkel and scuba tours.  If one of you swims while the other plans to walk around town on their own, make sure the swimmer's name is listed first on your reservation.

 

The Breakaway can carry more than 4000 passengers.  If your cruise is near capacity, getting on and off can take a while.  Plan ahead and be ready for some delays.  In most ports the ship can put out two or even three gangways.  In some places that isn't practical, and with only one way on or off it can slow things down.

 

Be sure to download the NCL App before you leave home for New Orleans.  You can use it on board to access tour reviews, the daily schedule, your expense folio, and much more.

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We did our first NCL cruise out of NO on the Breakaway as well! We have sailed Princess, Disney, Royal & Celebrity prior.

We fell in LOVE with the Breakaway!

 

Our favorite area was the Waterfront. Many did not find it until late in the cruise so it was rarely busy. This is an open deck that many bars & restaurants open out to--not sure why EVERY ship does not have this! We spent many hours out there!

 

Our 2nd favorite place was Syd's place that opens onto the Waterfront. They had the best band I've heard on a ship; not sure it will be the same band, but this was a mostly 80s cover band. SO much fun!

 

We ate in the dining room that had a stage in the middle of it each night. Some nights there was a band, other nights the dancers performed. I really wouldn't have thought we would care but we really enjoyed the entertainment! Felt very upscale old school. Overall we were very pleased with the meals. We had heard NCL food was subpar to other lines but we didn't find this to be true. Did I love every meal I ordered? No. But overall quite pleased. (only could choose 1 perk at that time) 

DO make dinner & show reservations EARLY.

We liked the Irish pub a lot for breakfast but were always disappointed with other meals.

 

Shows were great, comedy place was great too.

Thought about the Adult Vibe area but there is no pool! Just hot tubs. We just found seats on upper decks to enjoy the sun for a few hours each day.

The only thing we didn't care for was the casino--and we are gamblers!! (this was a poker cruise) It is VERY VERY smoky & this turned us off. Only non-smoky place was the VP bar near the noodle restaurant (which we wanted to try but could never get reservations!!) 

 

Ports:

Costa Maya: HIGHLY recommend Jaime's at the Blue Reef. Tiny bit of beach, AI, FABULOUS food, wonderful man owns it--he comes  chats with every guest each day. Very special. ($50PP)

Cozumel: I recommend Nachi Cochum, an AI that limits to 100 guest/day. Large beach, pool. Lovely quiet place to relax--we have done it several times. ($55PP)

Harvest Cay--it is a private island that doesn't act like one. Your drink package does not work here like other places. Lovely place but just a heads up.

Belize--I had a rotten head cold so we didn't get off here, but sat on the Waterfront & watched construction workers. Surprisingly interesting. (so was my nap...)

 

Warning--NO port is a sloppy mess. Zero organization. Just be prepared.

But we did love NO--had never been. HIGHLY recommend staying a the Old No. 77 Hotel.  Very cool place, WONDERFUl bar & restaurant, close to Bourbon Street, Harrahs & the port.

Edited by KKB
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If you like Carnival, you will like NCL.  We personally only liked the Haven on the Breakaway, as we found the ship, especially the pool area much too crowded for us.  

 

We also aren't fans of carnival- so I think if you enjoy Carnival, the breakaway similar.  Enjoy your cruise

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To reiterate what Georgia_Peaches stated above, the trip down the Mississippi is great. I believe it took around 9 hours or so to get out to sea once we left NO. At one point, we were able to see the pilot get on and off the ship, which was a great site to witness. 

 

If possible, I would recommend spending at least one day in NO before cruising. There is so much history and restaurants to choose from. Plus, just walking along the riverfront can be extremely relaxing. 

 

On the ship, there are so many restaurants to choose from. If I had to choose just one specialty dining, it definitely would be Cagney's. They are NCL's steakhouse and in my opinion, have some of the best steaks out there, even better than what you can find on land. As oromalley99 stated above, definitely try to make specialty dinner reservations ahead of time. 

 

When I started cruising for the first time in January 2015 (with NCL), one of the main things that attracted me to the brand was: not having to dress up formally for dinner and being able eat at any regular restaurant without having to make pre-arranged reservations. While I'm not a huge fan of plays/musicals, I will say that they do have some great entertainment. It takes a lot for me to laugh and some of the gameshows where they have the audience participating (The Newly Wed Not So Newly Wed game)  literally had me in tears I was laughing so hard (some of the things are for "adult audiences" only) - if you like this stuff, go to it. 

 

Congrats on your special occasion and have fun!

Edited by DCCyclist
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On 7/1/2020 at 4:57 AM, d-lite-n-cruisin said:

Greetings!  I am new to NCL but not new to cruising.  We have done 8 cruises, all on Carnival.  Note:  We love Carnival and it suits us just fine.  We dress up for formal nights.  We wear appropriate clothing in dining room at all other times. 

Welcome to NCL. I think that our Breakaway could is only 4 or 5. The first link below is slightly older, but was specific to the Norwegian Breakaway. The second link is from a Thanksgiving Cruise on the Norwegian Encore last year with more up to date menus and pricing. 
 

Enjoy the Breakaway. 
 

 

 

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Welcome to Norwegian Cruise Lines!  I presume since you mention that you like dressing up on formal nights, that you realize you can do so aboard Breakaway but don’t have to.  It’s the reason we started sailing them back during our working days.  After wearing a coat and tie everyday, it was the last thing I wanted to do on vacation.  Anywho, with Freestyle, you can wear just about what you want when you want.  Breakaway will have a couple of nights when they will have photographers set up to take portraits and this is the night those who want to dress formally usually do so. The rest of us enjoy seeing folks dressed to the nines. 
 

I second the PP’s recommendation for Le Bistro.  In addition to the lamb chops, the filet is better IMHO than any steak at Cagney’s.  Also, the mushroom soup is truly delicious. 
 

if your ship is full (our Baltic on Breakaway was very much so), they may offer breakfast in Moderno.  It became our favorite location as it wasn’t crazy full with people. They offered a buffet with two or three dishes plus a huge cold buffet on the Moderno’s salad bar.  This was all pre-Covid so YMMV.  😢

 

I have to say that the haste to make reservations pre-cruise is one of the things I hate about the new mega-ships.  How do I know what I want to eat on a Tuesday 120 days before my cruise?  What if I miss my favorite dish in the MDR that night?  So unlike all the other folks, I will advise that you can dine just fine without making reservations ahead of time. Sure, if you want to celebrate your anniversary (Congratulations!) on a particular night, go ahead and make that reservation when you can.  But as long as you don’t mind maybe having to take a beeper for the MDR (like you probably have to do at your hometown restaurants sometimes) or having to adjust the time you want to eat in one of the specialty restaurants, you can experience the original Freestyle cruising. Eat when you want, generally where you want. Same goes for the shows. I had to go stand In a 10 min line one morning to get tickets for Rock of Ages, but that night there were at least 50 folks who just showed up and took remaining seats.  I think they all this option 10 min before show time, but check as I may be completely wrong on the time. I know some folks were lined up when we went into the theater with our tickets 20-30 minutes before the show. 
 

If you like crepes, the crepe station at the buffet was our favorite for desserts when we didn’t like anything offered in the MDR. Also, if you’re a Musli fan, it is usually offered in the buffet and is quite tasty. 
 

Enjoy your first Norwegian cruise, hopefully it won’t be your last!

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