Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by SliceOfLife: 5/19 Breakaway Sailing to Bermuda Review
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5/19 Breakaway Sailing to Bermuda Review
Just a little bit about myself, this is my third cruise, Sky, Epic and now the Breakaway. I'm 32 and have been married for 5 years and we have no kids. I'm a pretty easy going person and I try to make the best out of life. I booked the Breakaway for the ship and not the destination. I was weary of sailing to Bermuda because I have heard the seas can get quite rough. I decided what the heck, I want to sail on the nice new shiny ship so I booked it about 9 months out. I wanted to take advantage of the extra latitudes points!
Travel to NYC
We took the Amtrak train to Penn Station in NYC. It was really great not having to hassle with flying! It's so weird to travel without having to go through security. The train arrived on time and thankfully since it was Sunday the train wasn't very crowded and there was plenty of room for all of my luggage!! My largest piece of luggage is a 28" hard case and it fit with no problems with room to spare. It was a More peaceful 3 hour train ride. We arrived into Penn Station on time at 9:47 am. We stopped by from some ten bucks (oh I mean Starbucks). We had been up since 4am and I needed some caffeine. After we finished up our drinks we exited onto 8thave to hail a cab to the port! It was pouring down rain so thankfully there were plenty of cabs lined up. It was about 10:15 when we got in the cab and made our way to the port. Our driver mentioned there were lots of activities going on in the city. There was a walk near the port that ended up causing some delays. It was around 10:40 by the time we made it to pier 88. Our tax ride cost $11.50. We did get held up a bit in traffic but nothing too horrendous. I have only cruised out of Miami so it was quite the treat with the very nice porters at the pier!! They weren't rushing you around or being rude and they were all so very friendly. After the luggage was taken care of it was time to check in.
Check in was a breeze. In less than 10 minutes we were through security and already check in with our key cards! We were boarding group 7. I noticed at 11 there were still people leaving the ship! We later found out some people got held up with customs. There was an announcement that boarding would begin at noon and our cabins would be ready at the same time. My advice is to get to the port as early as you can. The line to check in grew very long after 11:30. One of our roll call peeps had boarding group 30. I don't know what time he made it on the ship. We boarded around 12:15. There were lots of friendly staff to welcome us onboard. We made our way to our room, a mid ship mini suite room 11228 to drop off our carryon's.
Cabin (Mid Ship Mini Suite room 11228)
I love the room! I did my research and from sailing on the Epic, I knew bed placement was key to a happy cabin. I made sure our cabin had the bed by the balcony. I highly recommend this setup because it make the cabin feel more open and it flows better. On our cabin crawl we saw a cabin with the bed near the door and the bed was so close to the closet it was hard to maneuver around. The shower in the mini suite is awesome! It is HUGE!!! It has a spa type shower head with several jets. The water pressure in our room was phenomenal! I heard complaints from others on our cabin crawl their water pressure was not so great. My only complaint about the shower is the placement of the shampoo/body wash dispenser. It's on the side and I was constantly bumping into it with my arm. I don't understand why it's not on the wall with the showerhead. There is a small raised shelf on the bottom of the shower for ladies to shave their legs. There are two wire shelves in the shower to put all you shampoo, conditioner and such. Just a reminder there is no bar soap so bring your own! There are plenty of spots to store things in the bathroom. There are two drawers on the bottom of the sink to store items and there is a pull out drawer under the tissue box. There is no standard electric plug in the bathroom, only one to plug in your razors and that is located on the ceiling of the mirror next to the lights. The storage is lacking compared to the Epic. The closet has five shelves plus a long top shelf that extends the length of the closet. The safe is super small, there is really only room for cash, jewelry, passports and a small camera. Under the TV there are two cabinets for storage. The first cabinet is a bit shallow but it's still manageable to store things. The other cabinet is deeper but is oddly angled. There is also storage in the weird cube shaped stool under the desk. Our cabin has a pull down bed from the ceiling so all the storage under the couch was occupied by extra bedding. For the cabins without the pull down bed one of the drawers under the couch is empty. There is plenty of room under the bed to store luggage. Everyone's big concern is the balconette. Is it small? Yes? Is it horrifyingly small like people claim it to be? No. There was enough room for my husband and I to stand next to each other on the balcony with the two chairs and table out there. I think the pictures make it hard to determine the size. I rearranged our balcony chairs to have one on each end of the balcony and the table in the middle. It gave us more room to move around and sit. Even with the chairs not angled we still had room to sit and not have our knees in the glass. For the record I am 5'10" and my husband is 6'2".
I know many of you have been concerned about the power only being on when a card is in the card slot. I left a note for our room steward that we would be leaving a dummy card in the slot to charge things. When we came back in the afternoon there was a blank key card left for us to use. I thought that was really nice.
There are only 2 standard US plugs in the cabin located under the mirror by the coffee maker. There are no plugs near the bed so if you need medical equipment for sleeping bring an extension cord. The hair dryer is located under the desk in the cabin and is hardwired in the way. Let me tell you, a woman did not design this cabin! It is the worst hair dryer location. It is very awkward to stand and blow dry your hair. The cord gets caught on the desk and you can't pull it up very high to reach the back of your head. Keep in mind I'm tall so shorter people might not have a problem. I ended up having to sit on the little cube stool to dry my hair. Again, the cord gets caught up on the desk making it difficult to maneuver. While the hair dryer performs great, very powerful and hot, I really wish I would have brought my own to use.
A note about pillows, I usually bring my own on the cruise but I decided to try and pack lighter and left mine at home. I am sorry I did. I thought with this being a brand new ships the pillows would be extra fluffy and wonderful, yeah not so much. They feel a bit clumpy! I just asked my room steward Angelo if I could have a feather pillow. He said he would deliver one tonight, yay!!!
Lunch - Uptown Grill
After we dropped off our carry on's we made our way to Uptown Grill for lunch. It was empty! For lunch they had waffle fries, burgers, hot dogs cooked in caramelized onions, brats, made to order sandwiches (Reuben, turkey, and pastrami) and they also had pasta salad and potato salad. For dessert they had mini pies. I had a hot dog with caramelized onions, waffle fries, and a bit of the pasta salad. All were really good. I had a cherry mini pie for dessert. My husband had the brats and waffle fries. He picked a mystery pie that had a top crust on it so you couldn't see the contents. It turned out to be a Sheppard's pie! I think they need to label the pies better! It should not be in with the dessert pies. His face was priceless when he dug into and found meat in there!
Muster Drill and Sailaway
After lunch we walked around the inside of the ship to check things out and familiarize ourselves with the layout. It was still raining so we avoided the outside areas. It was time for the muster drill which was pretty quick and easy. Our location was held in Bliss. One thing I did not like about our muster station was the lack of seating. We saw several older people standing and I felt really bad for them. The muster was over and it was time to head over to Gambee's luxurious aft balcony for the sailaway! It was great to finally get to meet the face behind the screen name. Gambee and his Mom are two of the nicest people I have met. The weather was very crappy for the sailaway but at least the company was great! We left the port late because some passengers were held up in the traffic jams. The next day we had heard it took a passenger 2 hour to get from La Guardia to the port. They called NCL on their way and the ship was held for them. We finally pushed off the side of the pier to make our way to Bermuda!! I had an aft cabin on the Epic and I know firsthand how awful the ship vibration is when pushing off from the pier. Let me tell you how surprised I was that the Breakaway felt the same if not worse! The look on Gambee's face was priceless. It was like an earthquake! We enjoyed tasty Bon Voyage cake (which by the way is a HUGE cake!) and great conversation. Great pictures of the skyline and statue of liberty were out of the question with all of the fog and rain. Going under the bridge was amazing! It's miracle the ship can fit under it. After the sailaway it was time to get ready for dinner.
Dinner - Cagney's
When we got to our cabin our room steward Angelo had placed all of our luggage inside the cabin. After unpacking it was almost 7:00 pm and we made our way down to Savor to get a table. We were told it was a 45 minute wait. People were being given pagers so they knew when their table was ready. I was starving so I thought why not try Cagney's since it's been getting some rave reviews from the Transatlantic peeps. We were seated right away at Cagney's! Service the entire meal was great! Our waiter was very nice and attentive. For our appetizers I ordered the Beef Rib Confit and the Mexican Cesar salad and my husband ordered the beef wagyu sliders and split pea soup. The Beef rib was amazing! It was so flavorful and tender. It came with hummus and red pepper puree to dip the confit in and it also had three very fresh baby pita pockets to stuff everything it. Yum!!! I was lucky to snag a bite of my husband's beef sliders, which were also amazing! I love wagyu beef, it's so tender and full of flavor. The Mexican Cesar salad was really just a Cesar salad inside a fried flour taco bowl . I tried a little piece of the taco bowl and it was very oily and fried tasting. My husband thought the split pea soup was good. He thought the mint was a bit odd at first but found it blended well with the soup. I didn't try any of it. I ordered the 16 ozRibeye with Cagney Fries and my husband ordered the bone in Ribeye with mac & cheese. This is where Cagney's became disappointing. My steak had almost no flavor besides the grilled taste, I added salt and pepper and it didn't really help make it taste better. My husband's steak was like a salt lick! I joked with him saying maybe they seasoned his steak twice mistaking it for mine since it didn't have any flavor. The sides were just so-so. The best Cagney's fries came from the Sky, they failed to replicate them on the Epic and now the Breakaway. I didn't taste any of the truffle oil that was used. The mac and cheese was also a little disappointing because it was cooked in a ton of garlic! The desserts were very good! I had the oreo cheesecake which was huge and really really good!! My husband had macadamia and coconut ice cream sandwich. I didn't try any but he said it was really good. I don't think I would eat at Cagney's again. Like I said, the Sky was the best experience, the Epic and Breakaway were so-so. (We ran into island2islandfcbc later in the week and they said they had the best Cagney's dinner to date. I guess it's just hit or miss right now as the new crew settles in).
After dinner we walked around the ship and took some more pictures and then returned to our cabin to call it a night. Waking up at 4:00 am was catching up fast!!
Today was sea day number one and it was a wet and windy day. According to the navigation channel we were experiencing 8ft waves. The movement in the ship was very subtle mid ship but you could feel it in the forward and aft parts. Even though you could feel the movement it was a side to side feeling and if you didn't focus on the movement, you just tuned it out.
Breakfast - Garden Cafe
We tried the buffet for breakfast. It was a mad house!! We got there around 8:30. We were able to easily find a seat so that was a plus. I noticed that people tend to gather in the beginning of the buffet and if you keep walking the crowds dissipate to a degree. I had a made to order egg white omelet with ham, mushrooms, sautEed onions and cheese. I was not a fan of the omelet due to the onions. They were very strong and just overpowered everything. I decided to get some French toast, hash browns, and a piece of bacon. The French toast and hash browns were great. I did not like the bacon, I remember not liking the bacon on the Epic and thought I'd give it another try, same verdict. It's just not for me!
Shopping and Meet and Greet
After breakfast we roamed around the ship taking more pictures and stopped by the shopping area to pick up my Breakaway Ornament. The gift shop (if you want to call it that) is set up differently than on the other ships. It's located in the middle of a hallway with center kiosks and the sides of the walls have display cases that you can shop out of. There were plenty of different items that said Breakaway Inaugural sailing. I saw t-shirts, polo shirts, coffee mugs, water bottles, key chains, pen and paper pads, and fleece jackets that had inaugural sailing on it. I took plenty of pictures so stay tuned for those.
It was time for our Meet and Greet in Cagney's. I think about half the peeps who signed up came to the Meet and Greet. None of the officers spoke, Julie the cruise director did all the talking. I was a bit surprised none of the officers or head of the departments spoke. On the Epic everyone spoke a little bit about what they do on the ship. We were given a card with the head officers names and extension numbers to call if we had any trouble. It was great to meet a lot of the people who had been posting on the roll call for so long. We've run into several of them throughout the cruise. It's nice to see a smiling familiar face and have a quick chat.
After the Meet and Greet we went on a cabin crawl and saw an aft balcony, forward haven suite, hump balcony room, ocean view, and inside room. It was very informative to see all the rooms in person. I've seen all these rooms online from the Transatlantic reviews but seeing it in person is totally different. The forward haven suite was nice but the balcony was super tiny! I didn't take any pictures on the cabin crawl I'll leave that for Gambee to post in his much more detailed review.
Lunch - O'Sheehan's
Once we saw all the cabins some of us stayed together to chat and grab a bite to eat at O'Sheehan's. I think there were at least 12 (Xenagurl, island2islandfcbc, mjm8325, nickle0806, balclover1961, and my husband and I) of us all stuffed around a table. It was a lot of fun to chat about this and that. O'Sheehan's was packed because it had started pouring down rain again. Considering how busy they were and that we had such a large party the service was good. Plenty of refills on our water and all the food came out at the same time. I did notice if you sit in the bar area and by the games the menu is limited but you can ask for something that is on the full menu and they'll serve it to you. I ordered the chicken pot pie and my husband had the burger. Both really good and tasted the same as when we were on the Epic.
Dinner - Savor
I thought we would give the new main dining room a try for tonight's dinner. A note on sea days, Savor opens at 5:00pm, Taste and the Manhattan Room open at 5:30pm. We showed up a few minutes after 5:00pm to see a long line formed outside. It took about 10 minutes to get to the front reception desk and to be seated. I noticed they were set up for some very large groups of people. The party before us had 19 in their group! A waiter arrived promptly to our table to take our orders. I ordered the fried pork spring roll and pork medallions and my husband ordered the French onion soup and the spaghetti carbonara. There was a nice bread assortment on the table to enjoy while we waited for our appetizers. Service was very slow. It took about 20 minutes to get our appetizers. Both appetizers were really good so that's a plus. We did notice the food came out in huge waves. We would see 12 plates of appetizers come up to be given to the tables around us. Dinner took about 25 minutes to arrive after our appetizers. My husband's pasta was really good! I should have picked what he had to eat. My pork medallions were a bit overcooked (I guess better to be overcooked than undercooked and get sick) the potatoes that went with my meal were really good. I wouldn't call them medallions either, more like three large chunks of pork. It took about ten minutes after we finished eating to get the dessert menus. We both ordered the cheesecake with strawberry compote. It was good but not as amazing as the Oreo cheesecake from Cagney's. Overall it took almost an hour and 20 minutes to get through dinner.
Burn the Floor
A very big thank you to Island2Islandfcbc on making sure we got to Burn the Floor! I forgot it was already Monday when she asked what we were doing tonight. I said oh I don't know, nothing much. We do have Burn the Floor on Monday and Rock of Ages on Tuesday. She looks at me sand said today is Monday!!! Yikes!!!
We arrived to the theater at 6:45pm expecting it to be completely packed but it wasn't. We snagged fifth row aisle seats! If you can get an aisle seat do, because some of the dancers leave the main floor and dance on the stairs. I thought the show was great, very energetic and the female vocalist was amazing! Two thumbs up from me! Also at the end of the show Julie the cruise directors joins in for the end of the dance number. Very fun! I've seen Julie all over the ship and she always has a smile on her face and is greeting everyone.
Howl at the Moon
I forgot to mention tonight was Norwegian's Night Out (Dress Up or Not Night). We had our pictures taken on the stairs outside of Headliners and mjm8325 from our roll call spotted us while they were in line to get into Headliners to see Howl at the Moon. They asked if we wanted to join them and sit together and we happily accepted. The show was amazing!! I thought it was better than the Epic. I already forgot the performers name's I remember Drew from Detroit, the other guy was from Chicago and I can't remember where the girl was from. It was a very lively and fun going crowd. Lots of great music and crowd participation. We ended up staying until midnight and didn't want to leave but we were getting tired and those chairs are very uncomfortable after sitting there for so long.
Tuesday May 21
Breakfast - Uptown Grill
Today we chose to visit Uptown Grill for breakfast. It's a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Garden Cafe. There were only a handful of people there at 8:30. I had a very tasty sausage, egg and cheese English muffin sandwich, crispy hash browns and a yogurt parfait. My husband had an egg and cheese sandwich with sausage links on the side. Everything was great except for the yogurt parfait. It had some kind of strawberry pie type filling inside, it's hard to describe but it was too sweet and I didn't care for it. We also tried the very huge cinnamon rolls! They were amazing, you can get them with an orange glaze, regular glaze, or what looks to be a caramel glaze.
The sun was finally out so it was time to stake a claim to a sun loungers in Spice H20. The pool deck was filling up fast and to my surprise Spice was pretty empty at 10:00 am. My husband went off to try the slides and he had a great time for out there for two hours. He tried the freefall slides and now you have to wear a yellow body board on your back. Spice filled up fast after 11 and chairs were hard to come by. A couple next to me helped fuel the chair hogging and they took up 3 loungers! Two for them and one for all of their crap. Some people are just ridiculous!
Lunch - Garden Cafe
For lunch we stopped by the Garden Cafe to try out some lunch items. I had a slice of fresh out of the oven cheese pizza and a slice of Asian chicken in a mushroom sauce. Both were really good! My husband had a bacon, pineapple and teriyaki burger. For dessert a soft serve ice cream cone! We never saw the cold fruit soups during lunch or dinner and crepes are only available during dinner.
Today was the hotdog eating contest by the pool. You put your name in a bucket and they pulled out three names for people to participate. There were two men and one woman who were chosen. The challenge is to eat up to 10 hotdogs in 10 minutes. The prize was a trophy and a bottle of champagne. One guy ended up eating 6 hotdogs, the other guy 5, and the woman 3. It was entertaining to watch. Afterwards we tried to do the ropes course that opened at 2 but the line was really long so we decided to skip out. We walked around the ship and took more pictures.
Dinner - Savor
We decided to try Savor again since it's the only dining room open at 5:00pm and when you're trying to make a 7:00pm show, time is of the essence. We were in line promptly at 5:00pm and were seated at 5:13pm. Again, lots of tables were being set up to accommodate huge parties. A party of 16 sat nearby and we saw other groups of 9 or 6. I don't know if the large groups are playing a role in the slow dinner service. Our waiter came by and we both ordered the Mexican corn chowder soup and the wild mushroom and cheese ravioli. Tonight's bread assortment was different than the prior nights. Again service was very slow, taking almost 20 minutes to get ours appetizers. The soup was pretty good, a bit of an odd consistency with the cheese melting into the pureed corn soup. It was almost a half hour by the time dinner arrived. The ravioli was very good, just a bit salty, but still enjoyable. I should mention the portion was on the small side with only three ravioli. It took a while for someone to come over and take our dessert order. Throughout this dinner our server changed four times. The previous night we did have a separate waiter for desserts. I like the idea of a different server for dessert to help free up the other waiters for dinner service. I ordered the bread pudding for dessert and my husband ordered the Kahlua tiramisu cake. Both were tasty. Tonight's dinner service was almost an hour and 45 minutes. The line to get in when we left was insane!!!
Rock of Ages
Let me first say I have never seen Rock of Ages on Broadway or the movie. I thought the show was okay. The music was good, lots of classic 80's music. The musical part was eh, some parts were funny. This is not, I repeat not a show for kids! It was repeated through the cruise that Rock of Ages was adults only, however parent's don't seem to listen or care, because we saw several families with young kids. They promptly left after the first ten minutes! About twenty minutes in a lot of elderly folks left as well. There are a lot of cruse words and some people might not like all the women in lingerie (it was all tasteful and nothing provocative in my opinion, you see much worse on the Victoria Secret runway show on TV). My husband and I toughed it out and stayed for the entire show. It was an hour and a half long (the daily said an hour and 15 minutes). The sex scene people are in a huff about really is nothing to get worked up about. The couple goes into a bathroom stall and you see legs up in the air. I don't see what the big deal is. Anyway, I wasn't a fan of the show, lots of people were laughing, clapping their hands and really getting into the show.
Afterwards we ran into Island2Islandfcbc and sat and talked for a bit until it was their turn to see Rock of Ages. They've seen the Broadway show so I'm curious on their take of the Breakaway version.
Crepes at the Garden Cafe
We parted ways and headed to the buffet to hunt down the crepes. My husband is a big fan of crepes so he was a happy camper when he found them up there. I had a lemon meringue tart and it was excellent. We stopped by Fat Cats to listen to Slam Allen however it was completely packed so we gave up and went to our room.
Wednesday May 22, 2013
Welcome to Bermuda!!! It was a happy moment to wake up and see land after two sea days. Lucky for us our cabin is port side and we docked starboard so we have a fantastic view of the water and distant Bermuda. The Starboard side has a lovely view of the dock and ongoing construction. The dock is not yet finished so we could only enter and exit at the forward gangway. Not a big deal since everyone can come and go as they please for three days, there wasn't a line to get off or get back on the ship.
Breakfast - Garden Cafe
Back to the Garden Cafe for breakfast. We have yet to try the main dining room for breakfast because I've heard from people the service is very slow. I got my usual French toast, sausage, hash browns, cinnamon roll and this time I added fresh fruit to the mix and a slice of breakfast pizza. The pizza was really good! It had a nice crispy crust with scrambled eggs, sausage, tomatoes (I picked those off), kidney beans (weird ingredient for pizza) and cheese.. My husband had the eggs benedict, French toast sausage, and cinnamon roll. We had no trouble finding a seat again. The buffet was crowded around the entrances and once again if you keep walking you'll find the crowd thins out.
We got off the ship to explore the Dockyard area. We saw lots of crazy people on scooters, if you rent one, you really do take your life into your own hands! Anyway we spent almost an hour in the Dockyard Glassworks Glass Blowing shop. There is so much to look at and of course there are glass blowing demonstrations and you can just sit and watch other workers make small glass sculptures. They sell lots of different pieces of glass in all price ranges. I really liked the glass necklaces and figurines that were for sale. We also sampled some of the Rum Cakes that are for sale in the section across from the glass blowing. We tried the coconut and rum swizzle, but were excellent. I thought they were better than the Rum cakes found in Nassau.
Next we walked over to the Pharmacy/Multi purpose store (I don't remember the real name). They had lots of fun souvenirs, food, ice cream, and toiletries. Pretty much if you need it they will have it kind of store. I bought a glass hand painted ornament with palm trees on it.
We then walked over to the Bermuda Clayworks store. They had some really amazing pieces of work. Again a nice range of prices so anyone can afford something there. The downstairs is primarly the works of Jon Faulkner, there are some truly amazing pieces to look at. I had my eye on a clay sushi plate set but decided the price was too much since I would want two sets. If you walk upstairs you'll find lots of neat mugs, coasters, trinket boxes, and such. We checked out the little Mall in town and then made our way back to the ship.
Lunch - O'Sheehans
The main dining rooms are not open while in Bermuda. Your lunch choices are the Garden Buffet, Uptown Grill, 24/7 pizza, or O'Sheehans. The service and lunch was excellent! I think it also helps that they ship was mostly empty at the time. I had the mozzarella sticks, grilled chicken sandwich and brownie sundae, and my husband ordered the spicy buffalo wings, Reuben sandwich, and the strawberry pound cake. I will mention I had received two mozzarella sticks, and on the Epic I received four.
After lunch we played a game of bowling. It's tucked away on the bar side of O'Sheehans. I did like the location change because having them in the restaurant like on the Epic made for a noisy dining experience. It is $5 per person per game. You get to wear your own shoes, bonus! It is a much smaller bowling alley. My husband referred to it as Duck Pin bowling. The bowling balls have to finger holes so you just under hand the ball down the alley. I did really well! I scored several strikes! I only do this good when I play Will bowling!! The bowling pins are attached to a rope system and at one point during the game two pins wrapped around each other. My husband crawled under the pins to correct them but it resulted in a missed frame. Oh well, not sure what else could have been done about it. A tip for bowling, make sure the light is green before you go. Sometimes you think the pins have been reset and they're ready but they will lift up again and if you bowl when the light is red, it won't count the ball and the system gets cranky. So only bowl when the light is green!
Mini Golf/Ropes Course
Next up we tried out the mini golf course. They must have stocked up on colored golf balls when they docked in New York. I remember reading the Transatlantic folks only had white ones and it was hard to keep track of whose ball was whose. The putters are pretty short, so for us taller peeps there is some hunching over involved. None of the holes are overly difficult, however, I could see on sea days mini golf could be quite the fun challenge! We enjoyed our game and it was now time to make our way to the Ropes course.
You have to sign an e-waiver, get weighed (max 300lbs), and then get suited up. Just a note you can wear glasses/sunglasses, but everything else has to come off (jewelry, nothing in your pockets, you get the idea). I made my way to the stairs and up I went to try out the course. I also only made it to the top and didn't go any further!! Yup, I wimped out. I will say I have zero depth perception so it makes judging distances very difficult so I had a very hard time trying to determine how far I had to go to put my foot down and so on. Anyway, my husband did the entire course and had a lot of fun. He walked the plank twice and rode the zip line twice. Throughout the day a photographer was up in the ropes course so you'll have pictures with a fun ropes course border if you want to buy one of the pictures.
Dinner - Manhattan Rom
I thought we would give the Manhattan Room a chance for dinner tonight. The Burn the Floor dancers were giving a performance at 6:30. We got to dinner at 5:55pm and there was no wait. Yay! I think it also helps most passengers were off the ship. I ordered the mushroom quesadillas, the kung pao chicken, and the southern pecan pie. My husband ordered the same appetizer, the chief special which was a mushroom risotto with shrimp, and the southern pecan pie. Everything was excellent! I think this was the best meal yet, second being O'Sheehans earlier for lunch. The dancers were fun to watch while dining. It was a little loud when the band was playing before the dancers took the stage, but I didn't think it was as loud as on the Epic. Tonight was the fastest dinner service as well. We were in and out in less than an hour! Our waitress was also very friendly and brought over two glasses of ice for our Sprite's without us even asking.
Howl at the Moon - again!
We enjoyed Howl at the Moon so much the other night we decided to check it out again. It was scheduled at the same time as the Newlywed/Not so newlywed game. I really wanted to see it but I gave up the chance so we could see Howl again. Big mistake... BIG!! I wouldn't have thought the shows would be nearly the same!! We sat through 4 songs, all were the same as the previous day, same shtick, and everything. I was not a happy camper. We got up and left and tried to get into the Newlywed game, it was held at the Spiegel Tent. Nope, not happening the place was packed with people spilling out of the doors standing. Boo! Nothing else really caught our eye entertainment wise so we decided to call it a day, but first we would try Carlos Bake Shop before bed.
Carlos Bake Shop
There is a small variety of Carlos Bake Shop goodies available in the Atrium. The regular bake shop on the Waterfront is only open from 12-5. I ordered a regular cannoli and my husband ordered the lobster tail. The cannoli was pretty good, I've had much better from a local Italian dessert restaurant in my city. The lobster tail I thought was better than the cannoli. I don't understand why the lobster tail is advertised as a lobster cannoli because the filling is nothing like a cannoli. The filling reminded me of a vanilla pudding sauce.
Thursday May 23
Happy Birthday to my Husband. We booked Hartley's helmet dive as part of his birthday celebration. I ordered the birthday celebration package. Our cabin was decorated with two happy birthday signs, balloons, and balloon streamers. He also had a HUGE cake delivered to our cabin. There was also a postcard that said to bring this card to the maitre d on the night of your celebration (they bring you more cake).
Breakfast - Garden Buffett
We met up with Lindsy34 from our roll call for breakfast in the Garden Cafe. Had the usual breakfast goodies, French toast, sausage, hash browns, and fruit. My husband really loved the eggs benedict from the day before and got those again. Another great breakfast experience at the Garden Cafe.
Hartley's Helmet Dive
Three (well six people) of us from the roll call did the Helmet Dive together, Lindsy34, nickle0806, my husband and I. For some reason Hartley's is no longer part of any cruise lines shore excursions so you have to book directly with Hartley's. Booking is very easy, just call the number listed on their website and give them your info. They will take your credit card info over the phone to hold your slot but you're not charged anything at the time of booking. We called on Wednesday to verify that our dive was still on. They will sometimes cancel if the weather is crappy. Anyway, we walked over to the meeting spot and waited a few minutes for Greg and his deck mate Andrew to pick us up. There were only the six of us for the dive today.
On the way to the dive site Greg talked about the fish we would see, what we could and could not touch, how the helmets worked and all that good stuff. Greg is full of stories and interesting information. Since the water was cold we all had to wear wetsuits. After stuffing ourselves in the wetsuits it was time to get in the water. Andrew so kindly filled our wetsuits up with hot water so we all stayed nice and warm. The water was a bit cold on the feet but they quickly adjusted to the water temperature. The helmets are placed on your head and down the ladder you go. You are given a white plastic circle to hold onto while all the other divers make their way into the water. Throughout the dive everyone holds on to the circle so everyone can stay together and not wander off. Greg took all of our pictures, fed the fish, the blue angel fish would swim happily through a little hoop Greg had. We all took turns holding or petting fish. I never thought I would do something like that! Nickle0806had a serious fish phobia but overcame it and also touched the fish. It was very very cool. We spent over an hour down there since we were such a small group and his only dive for the day. I became overwhelmed after being down there for so long. The sides of the helmet glass look different than in the front and with my glasses it was really starting to mess with my head. I gave the finger up signal that I wanted to go up and Greg came right over and got me safely back on the boat. The dive at that point was almost over because about five minutes later everyone else started coming up.
You can buy a DVD with all the videos and pictures of your dive for $30. We decided to get the DVD even though we took our own waterproof video camera. I figure this guy does these dives every day and takes great pictures, might as well go ahead and buy the DVD in the event our video turns out like crap. (I just looked at all the pictures and they turned out great. It was worth the money!)
The dive was an awesome experience, everyone in our group had a fantastic time. I would highly recommend it!!
Lunch - Garden Cafe
After such a long helmet dive we were starving so off to the buffet we went! I had a really tasty bbq pulled pork Panini with potato chips, and a pretzel roll. You cannot forget about the famous pretzel rolls!! We had an ice cream cone to go and it was time to pick out a chair to lounge on and get ready for the slides!
My husband has been enjoying the slides all week so I finally decided to stop reading my Nook and enjoy them with him. I first tried the open blue slide. You can either sit up to go slower or lie down and go faster. I chose to lie down with my arms crossed to go faster. It was really fun! Lots of twists and turns! The best parts of all of the slides and pools is the fact they're heated!! Next up was the freefall water slide. You have to be weighed in (300 lbs max) and then fitted for a back body board. After climbing what feels like a million steps you finally make it to the top. You can choose to race the person next to you or go solo. Once you're in the canister the door closes and the countdown begins... 3...2....1..... queue blood curdling scream!!! Oh my goodness, adrenaline rush! Wow!! It was quite the experience. I rode both the red and blue slides. When you get to the end of the side try to forcefully blow air out of your nose so you don't get water in it. There is a serious water flow area to slow you down and water will try and find its up your nose. I didn't try the whip today, I will save that for another day. After the slides we spent some time in the pool. Our pool time was cut short because there were several kids who thought it would be fun to run and jump into the pool constantly, even though there are signs posted everywhere do not run and jump into the pool.
Dinner - Ocean Blue
I pre-booked Ocean Blue at the 45 day reservation mark and I'm glad I did since the prices when up from $35 to $49! The restaurant itself is beautiful. I loved the soft blues and brown colors throughout. The service was top notch, our waitress was very friendly and attentive. The meal starts out with the mascarpone cheese bread and butter. The bread was very good, it sort of reminded me of an everything bagel. I ordered the grilled prawns as an appetizer and my husband ordered the fried calamari. Both were excellent, the grilled prawns you only get four pieces of prawns and some tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and croutons. The prawns were so tender and flavorful. They did not have a strong seafood flavor like some larger prawns can have. The calamari is the best bang for your buck, you get a crock filled high with fried calamari and jalapenos and a side of red pepper puree. The calamari was cooked perfectly. Next up the main course! I ordered the scallops with pork belly and my husband ordered the Delmonico steak. You get three scallops and two pieces of pork belly. I thought everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned just right. The crispy bottom layer of the pork belly was amazing. The Delmonico steak is huge!! A 16oz piece of tasty tasty moo!!! I was lucky my husband shared some of his streak with me. Oh my goodness... best steak EVER!!! That's saying something because I've had Kobe steak several times and this steak blew them out of the water. The salt that seasoned the top of the steak was incredible. It was cooked perfectly, so tender and juicy and the flavor was amazing. Yum yum yum!! My husband said he would pay the new $49 surcharge for the steak. The steak was obviously big and worth the price. The scallops were great, but for the price I would have expected six scallops instead of three. For dessert I ordered the lemon meringue tart and my husband ordered the cardamom apple crisp. Again both were excellent. We were also offered a little plate of treats with a raspberry gummy type square, a truffle and some espresso type thing. I don't remember the real names of everything but they were all delicious. Overall I thought it thought it was a fantastic experience. I loved the restaurant, it was so quiet and intimate. I would go back!!
Friday May 24
Breakfast - Garden Cafe
Yup, the same old same old. Everything was great and not too crowded today.
We went back to the dockyard to buy some pottery at the Clayworks shop. We never took the courtesy train shuttle that goes all around the dockyard. It does look like a great way to see the Dockyard! Later in the day we went to the Craft Market to buy bottles of pink sand. If you're shopping for pink sand keep walking around until you find what looks like mini alcohol bottles filled with sand. They were only $3 each! I found a tiny little cube with sand and they wanted $7.50.
I really wanted to see a pink sand beach before it was too late so we bought a few bus tokens and we were off. We had perfect timing because as soon as we got on the bus we were off! Today was a holiday so the buses would start running every half hour once the afternoon came. It took about 35 minutes to get to the beach. We didn't go to the beach to lay out in the sun, I wanted pictures so we didn't bother with renting anything. The beach wasn't too crowded but I can see that in the summer time it would be packed!! I explored the natural caves the water carved out and my husband climbed the giant rock formation to take pictures for me. I am not coordinated enough to climb up something like that!The water was warm enough to swim in as we saw plenty of people enjoying the high waves. It was very windy today. We spent about an hour at the beach before we walked up the mountain to get back to the bus. There is a shuttle that will take you up the mountain for $2 a person, kids under 10 are free. We caught the express bus back and it took about a half hour. Just a note, if you catch the express bus it will sit and wait for it to fill up with passengers before departing.
Lunch - Garden Cafe
We really wanted to go to O'Sheehans again but we were so hungry from our beach adventure we went to the buffet. I had two slices of fresh pepperoni pizza and a really good pasta in a white sauce with ham (or some type of ham product). Everything was really good. We stopped by the hard ice cream part of the buffet to get ice cream to take to our room to go with the giant birthday cake we got for my husband's birthday. I had the rocky road and my husband had the rum raisin. Again, yummy!!
I wanted to get daytime pictures and videos of my husband on the ropes course. Today the photographer was on the ropes course taking photos of people doing the zipline. You could also rent a Go Pro helmet and you could have the video recording from your adventure for $29.95. The waterslide and ropes course cruise staff alternate stations so my husband became good friends with them!
We stayed on our balcony for the sailaway because we had to get ready for our 6:00pm dinner reservation at Modnero. We left late because 5 passengers were unaccounted for. After waiting almost a half hour we left at 5:30pm without them. Oops! I am amazed how people cannot make it back to the ship on time. Oh well, that was an expensive mistake on their part!!! I also want to point out how amazing the Breakaway maneuvers. We did a 180 degree turn from the dock so smoothly.
Dinner - Moderno
We dined at Moderno on the Epic so we knew what to expect. The salad bar once again was filled with amazing tasty dishes. It is so easy to fill up on salad bar! Next up meat! Lots and lots of meat!! I tried everything except for the lamb. My favorite was the pork rib and my least favorite was the beef rib. The servers did a great job keeping everything flowing. They would ask if you would like a different type of meat and then send the server over with what you wanted. We skipped dessert and had the mini birthday cake that we received a card for. Yes, more cake! We still had ¾ of a cake left from the real birthday cake!! We didn't care for the Moderno desserts on the Epic so this worked out well. Just a note for those of you who are motion sensitive, I would not book Modnero when you are leaving Bermuda. The ship makes some sharp turns navigating out of the Bermuda waters and it is very noticeable.
O'Sheehans Pac Man
O'Seehans has Pac Man and other video arcade games to play for $1 a game. My husband was kept very entertained by pac man. He's pretty good at it so he played one game for 15 minutes.
I wanted to point out for $1 you can have a squished penny made with 5 different penny designs. I chose the penny with the Breakaway on it. You just to pick your penny design first, swipe your card, and roll the crank six times.
55 to Stay Alive
This was a how in the atrium it's supposed to be similar to Minute to Win it. It's free to participate in. You can write your name down on a piece of paper and they randomly draw names. People were asked to flip cups over with one finger, bounce ping pong balls off a table into a garbage bin, unroll toilet paper with only the tube around two fingers (that was hilarious) and take as many tissues out with your non-dominate hand. Overall it was very funny and everyone walked away as a winner.
Michael Finney - Comedian/Magician
I remember him being on the Epic but we didn't see his show back then. He was pretty funny and entertaining. Simon the assistant cruise director came out to do a juggle act with audience participation. I really enjoyed this part, I thought it was very funny. Simon is quite talented with juggling and he has quite the sense of humor. There were plenty of kids in the audience, some parts did have adult innuendos but I am pretty sure they all went over the kids heads. If you have time to check out the show I recommend it.
80's Party and Fireworks
Word of advice, get there early!! It fills up fast and becomes overcrowded! Spice H20 is open to everyone so those with kids can bring them along. Half of Spice is blocked off because it's the fallout zone for the fireworks. We lucked out and nickle0806 from our roll call spotted us and waved us over to their spot. Not too long after we showed up balclover1961 joined us. The best place to stand is right where the rope off the one section of spice near the entrance. We stood on the stairs and had the perfect view for the fireworks. The 80's music was fantastic all your favorites are played! It was very amusing to watch the cruise staffed all dressed up in 80's outfits and dancing. I thought the fireworks were great, they might have been 10 or 15 minutes long. It was packed but enjoyable.
Saturday May 25
I woke up around 5am to some serious wave action going on. I checked out the navigation channel to see 12ft waves and high winds. Yay, what a great way to end the cruise. It was also pouring down rain. I tried to go back to sleep but it was useless. I got up to take a shower around 7:30 and got ready for breakfast.
Breakfast - Garden Cafe
Yup, predictable! We would have gone to Uptown Grill but it was cold and windy up there so we opted for the trusty buffet. We got the usual, again everything was good. Not as crowded today!!
The weather was clearing up and the sun was shining so I got the camera out to get last day pictures of my husband using the waterslides.
I was very surprised the waterpark was open because of the high winds and waves. My husband was the only one on the slides for about a half hour and then some other people braved the winds to ride them. He was entertained for about an hour and then it was time to call it quits and go to lunch.
Lunch - O'Sheehan's
Since our lunch at O'Sheehan's the other day was so wonderful we decided to go back. Wow, it was slammed. Just about everyone was inside because of the weather and a lot of people had the same idea to try O'Sheehan's. We didn't have to wait long for a seat but it did take about ten minutes for a server to come over acknowledge us. He brought over our silverware and disappeared for another ten minutes before taking our order. I ordered the fried mozzarella sticks again and the chicken sandwich with spicy mayo. My husband ordered the spicy chicken wings and burger. We waited about a half hour for our food, and all of a sudden here comes my mozzarella sticks (there were four this time! and chicken sandwich. My husband's burger came about five minutes later, no chicken wings yet, they showed up a few minutes after his burger. We were never offered to refills on our water. It was just a busy mess. We skipped dessert because we still had a mountain of birthday cake to eat.
The ocean was really getting rough, over 18 foot waves and the wind was picking up even more. The ship was making some creaking noises and the elevators were making a shuttering noise. We went back to our cabin to start packing up. I was thankful for our midship balcony because you could feel the side to side motion but not the up and down.
We went to the Atrium for the Rockettes Q&A session. Two Rockettes talked about what it is like to audition for the Rockettes, how many shows they perform, their training and fitness regimen, height requirements and other fun little tidbits of information. They also showed videos of the auditions, clips from their shows, and some other stuff. It was worth going to. During our cruise the Rockettes had dance lessons and stretch classes you could attend. I was a smidge disappointed after the Q&A that the girls did not do any leg kicks. They did stay around to have their pictures taken with little girls which was really cute.
The ship was really rocking and rolling now. It was noticeable a lot of passengers were not out and about. I have a feeling there were some green faces stuck in their cabins.
Dinner - Savor
We went to Savor for dinner. We never tried Taste since they opened at 5:30pm and I didn't want to have to deal with the crowd over there. I don't know if it's been mentioned before but Savor and Taste are right across the deck from each other. We got there right when they opened and it took about 10 minutes to get seated. Our waiter showed up a few minutes after we sat down to take our order. I had the fried tempura mushrooms and the Beef Stroganoff with mushrooms, and my husband had the same appetizer and the grilled pork chop. We were enjoying our bread basket when about 5 minutes later our fried mushrooms showed up. What!! I was shocked!! Could it be the food service finally synched up and we would have a speedy service?? Yeah right!! After our appetizers (which were good) it would be another half hour for dinner to show up. The beef stroganoff was different, it reminded me more of an Asian dish than anything else. It had peppers, shredded beets, beef strips and wide egg noodles. It claimed to have mushrooms but I never found any. It was my least favorite meal of the cruise. My husband enjoyed his pork chop that came with mashed potatoes. For dessert he ordered the coconut soufflE and I had the chocolate raspberry cake. The coconut soufflE was really good the chocolate raspberry cake was not so good. It had a weird chocolate taste to it. I don't really know how else to describe it.
We went to the picture department to pick out the photos we wanted to buy along with an Inaugural Breakaway photo frame!! We had some good pictures, especially of my husband doing the walk the plank. The pictures from the freefall slide were hilarious but not worthy enough to spend $12.95 on. If you want some entertainment just browse through the slide pictures posted up on the public photo boards.
The photo area was mobbed so we waited in line for a while to pay for everything. There were never any photo specials except for embarkation day so there is no sense on waiting until the last minute to get pictures. Avoid the crowds!!
Next we went to Tradewinds, they were having a glass figure sale buy two for $12. I thought it as a good deal and we picked up a glass turtle and an owl. Very fun!!
We ran into Gambee and his Mom enjoying the huge seafood platter at the Raw Bar. He said it was very very good and we chatted about the motion of the ship which he told us was much worse in his Aft cabin. Yikes!!
We dropped everything off to our room and it was time to go to Fat Cats!
Fat Cats - Slam Allen Band
We have been trying all week to get in and finally today we had luck. Again I think it was because half the ship was feeling green. We were up to 21ft waves by this point. Whee, does this ship move!! Thankfully I never got sick, yay for Bonine, pressure point bands, and ginger chews!! Anyway, Slam was amazing!! I really wish we could have seen his show more than once. We stayed for almost 2 hours and then I needed to get up and walk around because the ship motion was driving me crazy.
Majority Rules - Game Show
We decided to go to the Atrium for the Majority Rules game show. We teamed up with the couple next to us and had a great time. Simon the assistant cruise director was our host. He is so witty! I really loved him, he made the show very entertaining.
After the show it was time to head back to our cabin and pack up to go home. We still had 21 ft waves and the winds across the deck were 62mph. Crazy!!
Sunday May 26
I slept like crap, the motion of the ship made it hard for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I think it was 3am before the seas started to calm down and I could get to sleep. I had asked guest services the night before what time we were expected to pass the Statue of Liberty, they said between 4:00am - 4:30am. Imagine my surprise at 6:00am when we were coming into view of the Statue. I quickly grabbed my camera to snap some pictures of the Statue and skyline.
Breakfast - Garden Cafe
Today's dining options were the Garden Cafe, Uptown Grill or Savor. It was really cold out so off to the Garden Cafe for the usual breakfast fare. Considering we got to breakfast around 7:00am it wasn't slammed with people. I wonder if some passengers were still feeling green from the night before?
We were out of our rooms at 8:00am and killed some time by sitting in the Atrium. Our train was leaving Penn Station at noon so we had some time to waste. At 9:00am we decided to start to make our way to get off the ship. We did the self-debarkation. We did get held up a bit because the escalators in Customs was getting backed up and only one escalator was working. I am so glad we always do self-debarkation, the sea of bags was overwhelming to look at! I cannot imagine trying to find your bag down there!!!
We sailed through customs, the guy barely glanced at our customs forms and he didn't even want to look at my passport. I'll take it, best customs experience ever!! The customs people in Miami are so rude so it was a very nice breath of fresh air to deal with NYC customs.
Oh, a tip on getting off the ship, choose the aft of the ship to disembark, you won't have to walk forever to get to the customs escalator.
We took the elevator to the second floor of the pier to catch a taxi. There was a long line of empty taxis waiting for us so we got in the first available one and we were off to Penn Station. Our taxi driver drove like a crazy man! We were flying down streets. It didn't take any time to get to Penn Station and our cab fare was only $8.50.
If you are a latitudes member make sure you get the ship pin! They were supposed to be in your cabin but for some reason mine were not. All it took was a quick trip to the Cruise Consultant desk to fix that problem.
Go to Guest Services and ask for the Breakaway lanyard/card holder. They're free!! Get one before they run out!
I tried out the NCL iConcierge App on my iPhone. It was really hit or miss when it would work. Gambee and I were talking about it at the Meet & Greet, his was working and mine was not. Or mine would work for a few minutes and then stop. When it's working, it is the great app of all times. You can book dinner reservations, shows, check your onboard account, and look at what's going on. I managed to book Modnerno on the app, but it didn't show up on my vacation planner. I made a trip to the Restaurant Reservation desk and they confirmed I did have a reservation.
If you have been on the Epic you'll pretty much know what to expect on the Breakaway. These mega ships are not like the others in NCL's fleet. It is important to make dinner and show reservations in advance. When the Breakaway is sailing at full capacity I can see it will be near impossible to get standby seating for the show.
Overall I think the food was really good, very similar to the Epic. The service was slow in the MDR's and I'm hoping over time when the crew gets used to each other it will pick up. Try to make reservations for the specialty restaurants before you board the ship. The prime dining times filled up quickly.
I would also make sure you book all shows at the 45 day mark. Most of the shows were sold out. You can stand in the standby line and 10 minutes before the show starts all the reservations are released. I will tell you, the theater fills up so if you want a good seat, book your reservation in advance.
Ropes Course/Freefall Water Slide - you cannot wear jewelry of any kind. I saw people get turned away. Trust me, you do not want to climb a million steps just to have to walk back down because you have jewelry on.
The Breakaway really does take the best of the Epic and combines it with the Waterfront for a truly remarkable cruise. You feel much more connected with the sea on the Breakaway. I look forward to seeing the design of the Breakaway Plus!
I don't know if I mentioned it here, I didn't think the Waterfront was ever overcrowded. During sea days there was plenty of room to walk around and not run into a million people. This might change when they're sailing at full capacity. I think next week's reviews will truly be the test of how crowded things can get. I know they're expecting 1,300 kids!
I did not care for the location of Shanghai, it is right in the casino! If you're a smoker, then the location will not bother you. It was a bit smoky over there so it would not have been an enjoyable meal for me. The casino does get smoky, the layout is just about the same as the Epic. I did not notice the smoke smell wafting up the open atrium, but you could smell it before and after the casino. I would like to see a design where you don't have to travel through the casino to get to other parts of the ship.
I'm sure I'm forgetting some things so I'll post them when I remember!
I hope you enjoyed my review. I thought the ship was beautiful and so full of awesome things to do. If you get bored on this ship, there is something wrong with you!! I will admit sometime's there were lull's in fun activities that appealed to us, so we would just walk around the ship or sit on our balcony and watch the world go by.
I worked on this review every night before I went to bed to make sure I wouldn't forget anything.
I remembered some stuff to add.
I love the hand washing stations in the Garden Cafe and Uptown Grill. Great addition to keeping germs at bay.
On another note about germs, some of the doors you have to touch a sensor to open, now that doesn't make sense since you're trying to keep germ contact to a minimum.
I thought the A/C in the room worked great. There is a little button on the side of the thermostat that has a snowflake that you can press and it lights up blue. I have no idea what it does. Someone from the rollcall asked their room steward what it did and they didn't even know. On our cabin crawl a few people had their heat on and their rooms were toasty!
The balconies have a light on them.
There are plenty of fun little sitting areas scattered inside the ship.
All the way forward on the public sundeck there are three cabanas, padded lounger chairs and padded lounge beds. There is only a handful so if you want them, you better make your way there quickly in the morning. Less
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Cabin review: MA11228 Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Be sure to choose a cabin with the bed by the balcony door. You will have a lot more room to access your closet.