We arrived at the port and were in the quite short Security line by 11:20. Had our documents handy for inspection which went quickly. After Security you need to pay attention as deck #s are broken out into different check-in lines, as well as lines by Latitudes or non-Latitudes or gold/plat/suites/vip. Quick check-in and we went right to our cabins.
We had a category BA balcony cabin forward on deck 11. Bed was near sliding glass door. Bathroom had good storage space and felt quite spacious for a ship. Closet is divided in two: half is hangers (we brought extra which was a good idea) and half shelves. Safe is on one of those shelves. There were 2 robes in the closet already. Counter top with phone, ice, glasses, and coffee maker which I loved. There was a shelf above this counter which came in very handy. Some more storage under the counter too, and a fridge. Very pleasant decor and good storage space. There had been talk about the balconies being tiny, but it seemed to be about the same size as Jewel, Gem, etc. Clean and shiny though! I would have liked at least one chair that had a reclining back. One oddity was there is a gap between the 2 sliding glass doors when closed. I wondered why we could hear outside conversations so clearly while in the cabin. Also made it a bit annoying when people had outside conversations at 2am.
Our Muster station was the theater, as it was for way too many others. The stairwells were moving very slowly due to the number of people. The theater was overflowing with nowhere near enough seats for all the people assigned to this muster station. We let the person at our # station scan our cards then we stood in the back as all seats were taken. Many stood in the back too. I cannot imagine what this would be like in a real emergency. At least it was quick.
The buffet, OSheehans, and one of the dining rooms were open for lunch day of embarkation. I love NCL buffets whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. Spent the most time at the Asian station. Could always find something we liked. Various hot dishes, meats and/or veggie/pasta dishes, pizza, burgers, soups, salad bar. Ice cream! Soft serve in 4 places (if I remember correctly) and hard ice cream behind a counter on the starboard side buffet during lunch and dinner times. Macadamia brittle was wonderful! Breakfast was the same every day but a very good variety. For us, the food on Norwegian ships is the standout in the mass market cruiseline world. Also, a new feature is sinks in various cutouts in the buffet area for hand-washing, which we used instead of the antibacterial cleanser dispensers. No washy-washy person in the buffet. We had breakfast at OSheehans one day, and it was usually quite busy. The bar near the ice room was nice and had great cocktails. All the dining rooms were lovely though we only ate in one of them once. Did not use the Waterfront area for any meals. We had a cupcake from Carlo's; it was good.
Waterpark was very cool and we did get on most of the slides later in the cruise. Ropes course looked very good but we didn't get to it--next time. Kiddie waterpark was very nice and the kids seemed to enjoy it. Pool area was very crowded on sea days as would be expected. I thought there were plenty of loungers all over the various top decks and at Spice H20 aft.
If you order your show tickets online ahead of time, you do not get a paper ticket. We didn't know this and waited in a long box office line (its hours will be in the Freestyle Daily) just to find out that no ticket is needed--just a scan of our cruise card upon arrival at our show time. If it said that anywhere, I must have missed it. Shows we saw were The Second City--I enjoy the skits and then the improv more than just the improv. Rock of Ages was ok. Burn the Floor was amazing--the dancers and the musicians. I think I enjoyed watching the drummer as much as the dancers. I would go to this show again. Dancing with the Breakaway Stars was quite entertaining. Slam Allen & his band in Fat Cats lounge were incredible. Howl at the Moon did well and it was fun to watch them play off each other. Some nights it was more interactive than others.
The Library is tucked away down a hallway along with some conference rooms and the Card Room. Library has some Rockettes costumes which were very cool. I always liked Bob Mackie designs.
Gift shop for t-shirts, gold by the inch, etc. is set up in a corridor that you have to walk through which is good for their business, but not so good for those just passing through. Creates blocks in moving along.
Went to Guest Services to change some $ and was a bit surprised at being told quite curtly "we do not have any change." Now we do occasionally do this on various cruises, and never ever have I heard that one! Asking how this could be on the third day of a cruise, some change did show up and our mission was accomplished. One other time I stopped by to ask about the fireworks and again found a less-than-friendly agent. There is a separate Onboard Credit counter which is open certain hours.
Unfortunately we were downwind from smokers. Perhaps someday NCL will reevaluate their smoking policy. The casino was also very smoky and since it was near the 3-tiered chandelier open atrium area, the entire area would smell smoky, as far forward as OSheehans. Not a good design.
There are touch screens throughout the ship to give you directions to a place on the ship or see what events are going on anytime during the day. I liked this feature.
This ship has 4,000 people with just two elevator banks. Just not efficient for passengers.
There were the following tastings for fee: beer, wine, margarita and mojito.
There was a (maybe more than one) silver/gold/platinum Latitudes Rewards party at Spice H20. I do like that outdoor space. The only issue is if the weather is less than cooperative, there is not a similarly large space anywhere on the ship, so the 80s party ended up in the Atrium which just is not large enough.
Bring back the WHITE HOT PARTY! Don't know why they wouldn't have what could be considered their signature party it on this ship.
Why are the menus not on the TV in the cabin? You can order show tickets which is convenient. Very few tv channels.
Jogging track is in a bad place among deck chairs and is also very short.
I like that NCL kept the fish on the hallway carpets so you knew which way is forward.
I do wish people would be more considerate with noise, e.g., rearranging their few pieces of deck furniture, walking loudly, slamming doors (why would you do that?!) and just being aware that they are not the only people on the ship.
Bermuda. We ported starboard side to the dock. We had day passes at a resort so we shared a taxi with some others from our roll call. The second day we got a bus/ferry pass and went to St. Georges, wandered around a bit, stopped at Supermart to get some drinks and snacks, and walked up the hill past the Unfinished Church (which you can no longer go in) and over to Tobacco Bay. Lovely. We took a bus back into Hamilton, wandered a bit, and then the ferry back to the ship. We did an evening sunset sail out of Hamilton as well. We did not experience any delays with lines getting off and on the ship at any time while in Bermuda. Due to the winds that evening the fireworks were cancelled, and though the captain said it would maybe happen Saturday, no fireworks this cruise. That was disappointing. There were huge swells and it made for a pitch and roll that I liked a lot. That was the first time we felt any motion on the ship but we didn't mind at all. Thought the ship handled it quite well. By mid-day Saturday the sea was very calm again.
We went under the Verrazano at 4:30am and were at the dock by 5:30am. First easy walk-off (that I heard) was at 6:45am. We had breakfast and then walked off at 7:30am. Very nice and quick.
I liked this ship a lot. Even though the cabin was not soundproof (we had a heavy walker above us who liked to get up early, we could hear people talking in the cabin next door, toilets flushing, etc.), our cabin was functional and comfortable. As I mentioned, we really enjoy the food on NCL. There are so many activities and entertainment options on this ship. Is it perfect? Of course not, but I do not expect perfection. And yes, I would cruise Breakaway again!