As a return cruiser with NCL, I had a high expectation for the Breakaway. Unfortunately, most of my experiences on my most recent cruise to Bermuda reflected on how the line now nickel and dimes you to death on everything.
- Chocolates on your bed? Not unless you're a Latitudes SILVER member. How pathetic of NCL.
- Want to play Bingo? MINIMUM card purchase is $39 USD. Most expensive package? $70!
- Photos start at $20 for a table shot at diner.
- Most mixed drinks $8 or more, 15% gratuity AUTOMATICALLY added whether or not it was good!
- Casino players need 1500 points (somewhere around $1,750 wagered) for free drinks.
- OCEAN BLUE at $49. Quite possibly the biggest ripoff of any restaurant, anywhere. Avoid at all costs!
In addition, I found the staff to be numb to legitimate complaints and stare blindly when confronted with issues. If you have a problem that can't be resolved on-ship, make sure it happens during the week because NCL customer service is closed on weekends!
In fairness, I am not an ex-employee or have some gripe with NCL. I had a great experience on the GEM several years ago and generally think NCL is still one of the better lines. That said, THEY ARE REGRESSING. The Breakaway and its staff need to remember that is a VACATION for those on the ship. In some instances, perhaps the ONLY one people get each year. It's NOT cheap, and I find cruise director Julie constantly going over the intercom reminding people to buy drinks downright OFFENSIVE. We're already on the ship, we're already buying stuff; you don't need to mine us for more.
The lone bright spots were definitely the entertainment. Rock of Ages, Burn the floor, Second City, and Cirque Jungle Dreams were all quality, entertaining shows. Why they needed to marry the Cirque show to a FIXED $20 dinner fee is beyond me, but the show is worth it regardless.
As I pointed out earlier, if you listen to only one thing I say in this review, I beg of you... stay away from OCEAN BLUE. It's another example of some 'celebrity' chef selling their name to a third-party only to crush the quality of the experience. Everyone, and I mean everyone, that we talked to all went out of their way to mention how disappointed they were with OCEAN BLUE. Shame on both NCL and Gregory Zakarian for robbing the cruise going public of their hard earned $49 for what amounts to a so-so meal. Think about it -- 6 days into a cruise, HOW FRESH CAN THE FISH BE? I am stunned the price was recently raised from $35. None of the premium restaurants, perhaps short of Cagney's, was worth the admission fee.