I booked the crossing nearly 18 months ago, and with great gusto, I finally boarded the Breakaway in Southampton on April 30th. (I booked directly with NCL prior to deck layouts and announcements of amenities).
I traveled with 3 friends. Each of us had our own exterior cabins.
I was not disappointed. I was elated that the ship was sailing about 2 thirds full which lends itself to having more space then usually. Checkin was fine. NCL announced boarding between 11 and noon and that is what occurred. Passing security was easy, and checkin was handled well with no issues. The terminal had seating for passengers waiting to board (passengers were issued color codes for boarding order). No rush. No big deal. The idea worked well for those in my group. All in our party checked in online. The porter provided baggage tags upon arrival to the terminal. We arrived at the terminal at 11:15, passed security, checked-in, waited with our fellow passengers and were on the ship by noon.
Ship staff was immediately available for answering of questions - where can we make show reservations? Where can we make dining reservations? Is there a drink package - water bottle package? and so on....Each question was answered with conviction, and directions to the appropriate area were provided. We did not experience any lines while we walked through the ship checking items off of our to-do list.
Cabin 13144 had a balcony (port side). I found the room better then Epic as the room had 90-degree angles (no curves). Storage was ample and the bathroom was a good size. In the shower hot water came up fast. Pressure was nice. Toilet flushed when needed.
I appreciated that the inside cabins were not across the hall, but rather in corridors between Port and Starboard. Cabin staff was wonderful. My cabin was spotless at all times. "Robert" addressed me whenever he saw me. He was great.
We did participate in the gym classes taking several Fly Wheel and TRX classes. We found the knowledge of the instructors helpful. Flywheel is amazing and will do well with the NY market. The workout area is split into cardio (with windows), and weight rooms across the hall. The rooms are tight of space which requires a bit more politeness then on other ships. It works. Often the ships performers are working out. They are friendly and could be your special workout buddy or spotter.
We did do mani and pedi and had a great time. We are not light weights so we also purchased training sessions and thought the trainers did a great job working us out and tried to break us.
Deck space. Much better then Epic. More loungers then Epic. There are 3 decks for strolling. All exposed to the elements, but your on the ocean. Get outside! All strolling decks provided enough space for walking and lounging to coexist.
Dining. We ate at the buffet, included rooms and fee rooms. We enjoyed all of them. We over heard other passengers complaining about the lack of lobster on the menu. Get over it. We did not have the chance to dine at OCEAN BLUE, but heard raves about presentation and service.
Rock of Ages - I would not see this on Broadway as it is not my taste, but we did enjoy seeing the show on the ship. Cirque - great show. Bliss - DJ was good. He played a variaty of music and did not play the same tunes night after night. NCL finally retired the White Hot Party. It was time. The replacement GLOW party was fun and lent to interaction of guest. A great time. (we always felt the White party with its winged staffers was about them, and nto about the guests. GLOW solved that.
Peeves - hated - lauded:
- B'away needs to get their speaker system worked out and fast. The music is TOO loud on the decks, whether it be the band, played digital music or announcements. Julie's voice will haunt me for ever as she was BLASTED whenever she came on. Canned music in the Manhattan room was way too loud, and was eventually turned off. Deal or no Deal - blasted.
- Julie was a great cruise director, but some of her staffers thought or acted as they owned the place sucking the steam from the passengers.
- Does NCL have stock in Michael Jackson Thriller? Get rid of it. The 80's party was fun until MJ came on. There are thousands of hits to pick from, why him?
- Martini tasting (and others) could be held in a restauant space allowing for the group to actually hear the drink description.
- Glasses in bars, lounges, and restaurants were often spotted (or worse - finger or lip stick). Drinks were often sent back to be remade in clean glass. Twice I asked restaurant servers to replace stemware which they properly did removing the old, AFTER placeing the clean down.
to Cagneys staff. My menu accidentally knocked my glass of Merlot over and onto my companion's white shirt. Without notice, Cagney's informed us they would clean the shirt at no cost. An embarrassed for sure, this was our problem not their's which they did not need to handle. The shirt came back the next day spotless.
We enjoyed out time on B'away. We met amazing people. Loved the staff. We return.