Large Ships Not For Us: Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by spny84
Overall Member Rating
Large Ships Not For Us
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Rooms: The Studio are tiny but nice rooms for 1 person, my son had a non-connecting door one (there aren't many like this) which face side-side versus the usual forward-aft orientation. The "concierge" in the lounge, according to my son, tried hard to get people to meet and get together but our sailing just didn't seem to have More anyone else who wanted to utilize this. My son did mention that there were several scooters and wheelchairs in the studio hallways. The inside was fine, usual fare. We had a B6-Large Balcony 9732. Loved the Large Balcony approx 70 sq feet especially after we saw the tiny one above us. We had a lounger, two chairs and a tiny table. Our balcony did not get damaged during the storm but several around us did and they removed all the chairs from those balconies - so if there was a lounger not sure if it would get back out there. There are no drawers in most of the rooms - under the sofa if you have one; I like having a couple drawers just to throw things into and was glad we had the drawer under the sofa. Note: 9732 is across from the crew stairs, elevators so was noisier than usual. We could also hear people talking during the night (upstairs neighbor) and can definitely hear the scraping of chairs on balconies because you can't move on those little ones.
Public Spaces: This is where NCL messed up. All the public spaces are near each other - either on 6,7,8 or the Pool Deck 15,16 (good for those with limited mobility). Currently the ship allows smoking on all balconies, and any bar that is outdoors, and the casino. The smoke permeates completely. We had two sea days when we were basically trapped inside the ship. The casino smoke covers all inside areas and the cigar bar affects the inside because every time the big sliding door opens huge amounts of smoke escape. The H2O area has a bar with smoking so again can't sit anywhere near that and the waterfront has bars on both sides of the ship so can't walk/sit in this area. Unfortunately we also had 3 smokers around us on our balcony, so we had no escape. The other big thing about the public spaces is there are very few comfortable chairs. So on the storm day (Saturday coming home) everyone wanted an inside place to sit; not enough chairs (and figure many were feeling ill in their rooms). Many of the venues like Bliss (dark,few chairs), Headliners, Fat Cats have hard back chairs so not conducive to sitting and reading/talking so again trapped in the atrium area which is all smoke.
Food: Used Room Service, Pizza, O'Sheehans, Savor, Taste, Wasabi, Ocean Blue - Room Service in the morning had an issue of coming more than a half hour before the time. I reported it and even circled and wrote all over to try to get the correct time, still came a 1/2 hour early. Pizza was hot and delivered in 30 minutes; crust is off texture (kind of chewy) but the pizza was very good. Loved O'Sheehans and had many breakfasts, lunch and snacks in there. Service was excellent except on the last morning (disembarking). We had two lunches at Wasabi and it is a very good sushi place, prices were reasonable - approximately $30 for 5 people. We had a special family dinner in Ocean Blue on the last night. I tried to book in advance and could only book 4 people online; when we boarded I increased it to 5 but had to pay the increased price ($49) that they started the day before our cruise. I've read some reviews and guess we are just used to good food in our area (NYC and upstate where the Culinary Institute of America is); we were not impressed. The best part of dinner was the bread they make; if we had not had the bread we would have gone home hungry. Nothing on the menu is very innovative which is what I expect for $50 and an Iron Chef. The apps we had were the calamari (very good and large serving), carrot soup (very good though lukewarm, this was innovative), beet salad (very good, served with rock shrimp). The main courses we had were the risotto (tiny about 1/4 cup of cooked rice, 1 Tbsp of crab meat, lots of mushrooms but the sherry was poured over top and killed the dish because that was all you could taste. Salmon (about size of half deck of cards), Sea Bass (normal size), Scallops and Pork Belly (2 Scallops-medium size and 2 pieces of Pork Belly same size). No veggies other than garnishes, no other sides. Dessert - order a dessert and not the petit fours (which aren't petit fours but candy/cookies); they give everyone petit fours after your dessert course. We didn't know this and basically all ordered the petit fours. We have eaten at other Iron Chef's restaurants and unfortunately I was extremely disappointed with Geoffrey Zakarians. I definitely would not pay the $50 per person, we discussed it and don't even think it was worth the original $35 per person. The rest of our dinners were in Taste and Savor (which ever one had room for us) we had a couple servers that weren't great but we never waited more than 5 minutes for a table (usually to get a table for 5) and none of our meals took more than 1.5 hours from seating to leaving. One night we were running slow and I mentioned we couldn't have dessert to catch the show and our waitress heard us and delivered the desserts even more quickly. Food is the usual very good conference food, the risotto with shrimp was the best dish we had all week (way better than Ocean Blue's).
Entertainment: The Slides are top notch, better than some of the ones we have been to in amusement parks-note: water is heated. The Ropes Course is fun and worth doing at least once. Didn't use the minigolf, climbing wall, bungee trampoline. Nice Video Arcade up near the H2O area - no smoking; the one near O'Sheehans has the lovely smoke smell. We didn't have a large amount of kids on our cruise so we got to do most things without too big of lines. Burn the Floor is entertaining but could use a little more plot (think it was kind of dances through the decades); the staff was very talented dancing and singing. Rock of Ages is definitely very risque and the staff was talented but the story/show was not good. I think this will disappear because it is not kid friendly and after seeing it, I can't figure out how it stayed on Broadway for so long. Second City was hit or miss, we seemed to have some newbies and their nerves were showing. Howl at the Moon is very good even though the show has many set songs - misleading because they claim it is all request only. If you really want a song to be played you need to put a couple dollars on the request. Drew and Kin are the better ones (this is a rotating show so don't always get them at the beginning). Slam Allen was wonderful; the shows are different even though they start similar. One son used the casino which was fine but remember the payouts are horrendous on ship versus land. We did not use the pool. And the cabanas in front are nice if you can get one. The hammocks were damaged on the Transatlantic (according to staff) so wouldn't expect them back any time soon.
Bermuda was fun, we had excellent weather there. Most of us went Scuba Diving (not with ship-Blue Water Divers in Somerset) this was excellent. We even used the Bermuda Water Taxi which was $7 pp one way from the Dockyard to Blue Water Divers Dock. Technically Wet suits and scuba gear are not allowed on the buses or ferries and regular taxis could deny us. One son went to Hamilton and Horseshoe Beach and thought both were great. There is little food option at Horseshoe Beach, they expected some food stands. The Dockyard is a nice area, much nicer than most Caribbean Islands IMO; don't have tons of liquor, jewelry, and t-shirt stores. Less