My wife and I booked a 7-day cruise to Bermuda on the Norwegian Breakaway, May 19th-26th 2013, to celebrate her retirement last year. This was only our second cruise ever, and our first time with Norwegian! I am not an expert "cruiser" by any means, but I will try to relate my experience the best I can.
My wife and I drove to the New York Terminal at around 1130am and only had a minimal amount of waiting time to get to the embarkation area. Unfortunately it was cold and rainy that day, but we were able to park near the doors to unload our luggage. There were a lot of people in line to register, but we made it through to the gangway in about a half hour. We were cordially greeted by Norwegian staff and we were allowed to go to our room (mid-ship, 9th floor) immediately. Our room had a spacious bathroom, bedroom and living area. We had a nice balcony with 2 chairs and a small table. Perfect for those times with coffee in hand!! Milton was our room attendant and he made us feel at home throughout the entire cruise.
My wife and I toured the ship after having lunch in the Garden Cafe buffet. We were amazed at how big this ship was and how well everything was laid out. The pool/hot tub/sports complex on 15/16 were awesome. The "atrium" is really neat with a huge screen and stage. There is plenty of slots, card tables, etc at the casino on the 7th floor. The theater is spacious and was a perfect place to see all of the shows the ship had to offer. Dining options were plenty and there was something for everyone. The Garden Cafe buffet was great, morning noon or night. Always a large selection and some custom orders are offered as well. The three other "free" restaurants: The Manhattan, Taste and Savor were very nice as well. The Manhattan is a bit more upscale and you do need to wear long pants, if you decide to go there.
We paid $70.00 extra for reservations at Geoffrey Zakarian's Ocean Blue restaurant and that was worth every penny. The waiter, Ceasar, was top-notch and the food offerings were to die for!! Plan on at least one meal at Ocean Blue. There are also other pay restaurants onboard: Teppanyaki, Wasabi, Cagney's Steak House, etc., but we didn't check them out. Other fellow cruisers did try them out and all were happy with their selections.
We had made some reservations to see the stage show "Rock of Ages" on the Internet and we had our date/time locked in (or so we thought). After we boarded the ship, we went to confirm the reservation. The employee tried to look it up, but they had no record of receiving it (??). It made no sense to argue this with a guy that had nothing to do with it, so we just booked another day/time. Hopefully you can see Rock of Ages on future cruises...it was superb!! We also had reservations to see a Second City Comedians Improv show. The show was great, but it was only a half hour long. Didn't even finish my beer before they all shuffled off stage. Not a big deal, but it was surprising that it didn't last longer.
One other complaint we had was the fact that we could hear loud music/singing coming from the bar on the floor below. Our cabin seemed to filter out most of the adjacent rooms noises, but it was annoying to hear the music and singing late at night when we were trying to sleep.
Our 3 days in Bermuda were very exciting. We had booked 4 excursions: a day at Horseshoe Bay beach, Bermuda Triangle evening cruise, Rising Son II catamaran swim & snorkel and a day at Snorkel Park Beach. All tours met at the end of the pier about 10 minutes before the scheduled time, so getting with the tour guides was very simple and stress-free. We enjoyed every tour and highly recommend each and every one of them. Oh and be sure to walk down the road to the mini-golf course on the Atlantic Ocean. One of the best putt-putt courses in the world!! Each of the 18 holes at the course were modeled against real PGA courses around the world!! Very cool!!
We departed Bermuda on the last day and there were plenty of parties to check out. Norwegian even had a superb fireworks display off the back of the ship on one of the last nights of travel. The ride to Bermuda was smooth as silk, but the ride back home to New York was very rough. There were 21 foot waves almost the whole way back, but that was nobody's fault. The captain did what he could to keep the ship as steady as possible.
Passengers are given the option to have their luggage tagged and picked up by the staff the night before you arrive in New York. There is a corresponding time/color for each different tag. You will disembark in order of the time you selected, then go and retrieve your luggage. My wife and I chose the option to "walk-off" our luggage in the morning. You can disembark as early as 7:30 am and we liked that idea. It took about 20 minutes total for us to leave our cabin and make it to the exterior parking deck!! We loaded our luggage into our car and we were on our way home.
I would like to thank all of Norwegian's employees for a job well done. We would most definitely cruise with them again and we highly recommend this cruise to anybody considering a trip to the beautiful island of Bermuda!!