NCL Breakaway initial critique on cruise dated 5/12/13
Boarding was quick and easy. There were no lines that lasted more than two minutes. Plenty of personnel to assist you. Sometimes they were too efficient. The person in charge of our checking gave us info so quickly it was hard to absorb all at once.
This being the first initial cruise to Bermuda I expected a little more fanfare in the way of a celebration . I could not see the difference between this being a first cruise or one that had been taking place for years . It was a disappointment. You would think that the godmothers of the ship, the Rockettes, would be there to greet you as you came on board. At least a few of them?? They seem to lack attention to special events such as us celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary . Although informed they just offered a piece of sheet cake. No special thing to do like ability to renew vows etc.
We had a mini-suite. The only true description was mini!! It felt claustrophobic!
There was no comparison to what Royal Carribean called their mini-suite..a junior suite. It was significantly bigger with a walk in closet. Had I know about this mini I would have gone with offered upgrade to a suite. The overall layout of the room was nice but with two people we kept bumping into each other. There is a couch but it is so hard that it is too uncomfortable to sit on. There is only one television split evenly between bed and couch. Any person on far side of bed or couch would have hard time of viewing tv easily. The balcony is extremely small. The whole cabin gives the appearance that they downsized cabins so they could fit more on the ship which makes good revenue sense but poor repeat business from cruisers.
The bathroom in the mini-suite was adequate with enough room for comfort. However, not much time is spent in the bathroom. I would have preferred more living space. Maybe just the difference between balcony and min-suites are the size of the bathrooms. You use your key upon entry to your cabin and insert it into a card slot within cabin to turn on lights for cabin. Only trouble is at night you need to hold cabin door open while you reach for card slot to turn on lights. Removing it upon exiting is nice since everything is then turned off at once, including television.
What I miss is the soaring atrium found on lots of cruise lines. Breakaway eliminates the fun of a central gathering place of any parades or central place capable of hosting an event. The only small open place that covers multiple decks also houses the casino. Since there is smoking in the casino it permeates to the other floors and affects non smoking areas. Poor planning and poor ventilation.
Restaurants are adequate. The main dining room, the Manhattan, along with sister restaurants all have the same menus. The food is good but not exceptional. On one night the prime rib was extremely tough and the fish dry. There are a lot of speciality restaurants. The two we experienced were the Ocean Blue and Le Bistro. They were both exceptional and worth the extra charge. The only drawback was the fact that there was a table of six that had too much to drink and were extremely loud and continually used foul four letter words. There were even children nearby. The staff did not try to control the situation. I am sure that they do not want to offend guests but fail to recognize the many that took offense at the language.
The entertainment in the main theatre consisting of Burn
The Floor was good. It was like watching Dancing with the Stars. A talented group of dancers but the dancing could have been accompanied but better choices of music. The other main attraction was Rock of Ages. It is one of my least favorite musicals. The cast was good but I hated the musical. I thought it was just me but there were many negative comments overheard on the ship. I am sure that many enjoyed it but it was a poor musical choice for NCL and not appropriate for a mixed, sometimes family oriented group.
The best entertainment was by a couple called Fire and Ice. The singer was one of the best entertainers I have seen on any cruise ship. Don't miss her! When she does renditions of Tina Turner you will be standing on your feet. also catch Howl at the Moon or dueling pianos. A very talented group that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. The Second City group was fair.
The pool area, basketball court, waterslides, obstacle course and other recreational areas were very good and well suited for a younger crowd.
At times they seem to be disorganized on the ship. They didn't completely have their act together. One night they fostered a fireworks show at H20 at the stern of the ship. They could not accommodate the crowds that wished to see the fireworks display. People came and left annoyed. They could have simply resolved this problem by telling people that they could view the fireworks from balconies on the starboard side of the ship. In addition, many times they could not find official photographs that they had taken of us while on the ship.
It does appear that although you may get a decent price for the cruise itself, they will nickel and dime you to death for incidentals.
I would give this ship a rating of 6 out of 10. If you're not a frequent cruiser you would definitely give it a much higher rating. I met people on the ship who have cruised with Norwegian Cruise lines 15 to 20 times. They definitely said that this ship was not one of their favorites.