This was a perfect example of how better NOT to introduce past or future (paying!) customers to a new ship or product!!
Boarding did not start till shortly before noon, no explanation why and despite the fact some 2000-3000 passengers were already checked in, waiting to be let on board, hoarded like cattle. Not a good start.
There was absolutely no reception of the passengers. Since it was some sort of an inaugural sailing, well it was the first sailing with paying passengers, one would have at least expected a welcome glass of champagne. No, not with NCL, nothing comes free with them.
Staterooms were of course ready by the time we boarded ( they only had agents on the night before anyways which surely did not trash the ship ), again no sight of any recognition or welcome aboard or any other approach or appreciation.
One leaflet was delivered later in the afternoon but that was it. Not even the arrival time or deboarding process in Southampton was explained or mentioned. No ice in the buckets, a sealed fridge, no attendants nearby, nada, nothing. I did not even hear the captain speak, I guess that's falling out of fashion with NCL these days since I did only thear the captain once(!!) on an 11 day Jade cruise recently
Not a good first impression. The ship was full, again, how can you do that if you want to show your new product and make sure it "shines"?
So instead it seemed extremely crowded everywhere and in the end left me disliking this otherwise pretty ship, uncertain whether I want to book NCL again in the future.
I did go to Ocean Blu restaurant for dinner, paid the premium charge of USD 35.-
After all the hype about the restaurant I was quite puzzled to see how small and tucked away it was.
Well, dinner was very good, but one incident again left me puzzled with NCL's strategy and attitude towards customers. When I asked whether I could have a second appetizer, the soup, I was told I had to pay an addition for this and in the end was charged an additional USD 4,25 on top of the cover charge of USD35.-.
Unbelievably cheap from NCL, especially given the fact that all the portions were extremely small and the main course, obviously a fish, had absolutely nothing on the side, no rice, no potato, no veg no nothing. It was just a fish, well done, but still simply not enough as a main course.
I left for the show after dinner, which , without any information other than on the daily planner, had been changed from Rock of Ages to Burn th Floor. Ths show was nothing to write home about and simply was not well received by a European audience. Quiete a few people got up and left early. I felt sorry for the dancers who were incredibly good!
Other impressions from the ship:
- Haven area - did not look half as nice as on Epic but might be better suitable for NYC cruises. If Getaaway however will feature the exact same enclosed area, I doubt that it is gonna be a success.
- Sports Complex on deck absolutely fabulous, the Aqua Park slides are amazing and so is "The Plank".
- Waterfront . The weather wasn't cooperating so I won't comment on this. It looked good and could work just fine and as advertised!
-Ths ship is quite identical to the Epic when it comes to its looks. It has a lot more glass and thus views of the ocean but it is also smaller which, if full, leaves you with a " way too many people" feeling.
- POSH Beach Club excellent, better rhan on Epic.
- Pools small, the whole deck area a big improvement over Epic but still quite "packed".
- Buffet. Very crowded, selection quite basic with not too much variety. The revolving doors to the buffet, whoever thought of that should be slapped on the head. Nightmare and will lead to a lot of anger!
- My inside cabin did not even have a picture on the wall. Very basic, very very small, much too small by today's standards.
- Gym has now been divided into one area for cardio ( they have the views ) and one area for the weights ( they are tucked away ). Did not care for it.
- Spa looked quite nice but is probably too small on a longer and sold out cruise.
So overall Breakaway was not my cup of tea. NCL's beahviour/attitude towards the guests on this cruise makes me look elsewhere first. They made it very clear that they did not value the European guests on this mini cruise. All the talks, all the advertisement is geard towards Americans. So where does that leave us Europeans. I guess we are just good enough to fill the Jade...