We sailed the Mediterranean in September on the Epic and decided that the Breakaway would be exciting since it was supposed to be better than Epic and fix all the problems that ship had. We instead found ourselves saying, "Epic was so much better!" about everything we encountered.
Despite the ship being very overcrowded, the biggest thing that stood out was that with a New York ship comes a New York attitude. Everyone from Pennsylvania and Delaware was commenting on how rude fellow passengers were. From line jumping, to a fist fight in the atrium, to being screamed at for accidentally touching a fellow passengers shirt as the wind blew it off his chair onto the ground (he said we picked it up and threw it). More surprising however, was that the staff must be new to the cruise industry, as their attitude was just as bad. On the Epic, we were treated above and beyond like one expects to be treated on a cruise. Staff would be looking at the floor half the time, never greeting you on the Breakaway. At Carlos' bakeshop, I placed my order and the woman went over and took another guests order at the gelato window, started scooping their gelato and never came back until the other woman helped me five minutes later. People were leaving the line because nobody could do their job. Pretty difficult putting cupcakes in a box. It was the strangest thing! At Moderno, we sat down and asked for a menu since there were 8 of us and only 2 menu's offered. The hostess rolled her eyes, said she would get more, and then never returned. She went back to her hostess stand and stood there since it wasn't busy. The staff was just off and seemed as though they didn't receive any training. I hope this corrects itself because it will drive many passengers away. At 6 pm, the wait for the manhattan room was 1 hour, what? On the Epic, we had a 15 minute wait once and were offered vouchers for free champagne. On the Breakaway, we were told try Taste or Savor on the other end of the ship, they have availability. Walked all the way over and a 45 minute wait! That's how we ended up at Moderno.
Also, on day 1 they lost our suitcase until 8 pm, not sure how that happens when everyone else's that were on the same cart showed up just fine. No explanation and FYI, if they lose your luggage, they are only required to give you $100. Trip insurance is recommended for that very fact alone.
Another issue we had was that our bed smelled like ben-gay. We kept telling them it was in the mattress, nobody believed us. 5 phone calls were made, then a duvet was put over the mattress, and then a sheet on top of that. The smell seeped through the duvet and sheet again. Everyday, we would smell like intense ben-gay. On the second to last day, the head of housekeeping came to ask about the situation. My wife made him smell the actual mattress. He reluctantly did so, and agreed and asked what ben-gay was. He returned with a bottle of champagne, 2 Breakaway hardcover books, and 2 Breakaway tote bags for us. Very nice gesture but after 5 nights, that is not acceptable. Its pretty bad when your 2 year old says the bed stinks. Last guest really liked ben-gay I guess. Really gross considering they sweat it into the mattress.
The ship itself looks beautiful and the food was AMAZING everywhere we went. Our room was of sufficient size (family mini-suite). Wish there was better weather, had 22 foot waves coming home and wow, lots of sick people. I thought a ship of that size would've fared better. I agree with other reviewers about everything being additional. At least the ropes course was free but again, that was even crowded and the high winds made it unsafe but nonetheless, we were up there because they said it was okay.
Last complaint, we started our vacation with 3 NCL towels for 3 guests. Every time we returned to our room, our steward would take our 3rd towel. These cost money if they're not returned. This happened five times. YES, five times. We resorted to just taking them off his cart because he was creating a real issue for us.
We love cruising however, our one year marriage with NCL has ended in a bitter divorce!