Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by Tamara Meaux: First time on NCL
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First time on NCL
After the long wait (we booked our cruise, November 2012), my Husband and I flew from Phoenix to Newark on Friday 6/7, I am from New York so we wanted to have some time to visit with family and friends. We booked 2 nights at the beginning of our cruise and one night at the end of our cruise at the Holiday Inn located at 57th and 9th in Midtown Manhattan. It was the absolute perfect place to stay, so convenient to everything and only a few minutes from the cruise terminal. The rooms will be fully renovated in January 2014 and for us it was the perfect place to stay. On the morning of our cruise, we took a cab to the cruise terminal, I believe it cost less than $10 including the tip.
We arrived at approximately 11:30 a.m. Upon our arrival we walked toward the entrance and there inside the terminal was our beautiful ship. It was surreal to stand in front of the Breakaway for both of us. We had been watching the ship come and go from both the New York Harbor and the Bermuda Port More by video for the weeks leading up to our departure so being in person with the ship was like meeting a celebrity. Anyway, a porter met us and took our luggage and then directed us to where we needed to go. They broke up the check in by floor level and since we were on level 10 in room 10808 (mini-suite), we were told we needed to walk to the back of the terminal. Upon arriving there was a line, but it really moved quickly and got longer behind us as we stood there. Arriving at the time we did, was a good thing. We met a nice couple who had cruised on NCL before and told us how great it was. Both my husband and I have been on Carnival, Disney and Royal Caribbean and this was our first NCL cruise. Soon it was our turn to get checked in, give the credit card we would be using for the cruise and to take our pictures for our ship cards. We were both so excited we could not be happier. Once we received our cards we were off to get checked into the ship. First we took a professional picture of us in front of a picture of the Breakaway and then we checked in with our cards for the first time and walked up to the ship. We were greeted by many NCL staff and then we entered the ship, all we both could say, was how absolutely stunning the ship is. The ship is the biggest and most beautiful ship we have ever been on. Everything was done in such a classy and really beautiful way. We took the elevator to our room. We were staying in a mini-suite and had seen some photos on line, so had an idea of what the room would look like. The mini-suite was cozy, not like the Junior Suite we had on RCL more like a balcony room. The balcony was not huge but fit 2 chairs and a small table, it was sufficient for my husband and I. The bed was extremely comfortable and if you took a nap during the day, the black out drapes were great. There is a small sofa couch with drawers built in underneath, the closet is not very big but it fit both of our clothes for the week and there is a safe and several shelves which we were able to use too. There is a desk with a mirror above it, a hairdryer tucked underneath the desk and a small stool of which you can open and store more stuff inside. There is a nice flat screen tv in the room too. The bathroom was very nice, the double sink was really good and the shower was excellent. We met our Room Steward Manny right away, he was from Nicaragua and since I speak Spanish I spoke to him in Spanish and he liked that. We decided to leave our room and explore the ship. First stop was the spa. I signed up for a deep tissue massage for 6/10 and my husband decided to try the acupuncture after speaking to the acupuncturist. We then visited the shopping area, which was very impressive. After walking around a bit more we decided to have lunch in the Garden Buffet. The buffet is aesthetically very nice and we never seemed to have a problem finding a table. In fact, most of the time the tables were near the window, which was nice. The food at the buffet was fair, but plentiful. There are a few sections that repeat itself if you walk around and that is good. There is a beverage station as well as wine dispensers in the buffet area. The desserts were ok, nothing special until our last day when we found a white cake with whipped cream and fruit that was really delicious. The people serving the food were not very helpful as I am a Pescetarian and it seemed that just getting their attention was difficult and when I did, no one seemed to know things. It was at times frustrating. The people in the dining room were very nice and at times were walking around either serving coffee or other things to the guests. My husband and I both thought it was a nice touch. After having lunch we explored the ship a little more and went back to our room expecting our luggage to arrive, but it still did not. At this point it was getting close to departure so we decided to get our sailing away drinks and return to our balcony. When we got back to our room still no luggage but did not worry too much about it and enjoyed sailing out of the beautiful New York Harbor with drinks in hand. It was so much fun seeing the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano bridge so close. By the time we were completely out of port we still had not received our luggage so we went to look for our room steward who said he would find it for us. Surely enough a few minutes later my husbands bag arrived and a few minutes after that mine did too. We had booked a visit to the Ice Bar at 6:30. It is $20 per person and they give you a cape with a hood and gloves to wear inside. It is very, very cold as one can imagine and they will give you 2 drinks per person in ice glasses. The Ice Bar is ok, not too exciting and because it was so cold, we ended up leaving pretty quickly. They were nice enough to put our drinks in to go glasses, which we appreciated. We both freshened up for dinner and decided to dine in the Manhattan Room, but were not able to since my husband was in shorts. So we chose to eat at the Taste restaurant. We waited with a pager for a few minutes at the bar and then were promptly seated. Our waiter was not much of a waiter to speak of. It took 20 minutes and my husband getting up to even get a drink order. Once the drink orders were placed and served we placed our dinner orders. Soon a basket of cold and not very good bread arrived. The bread basket pretty much was the same throughout the cruise, cold and almost stale. Anyway, our food arrived and it was nothing to speak of, just ok. We were very disappointed as we diet heavily before a cruise so we can enjoy the cuisine and here we were being served nothing special. The most interesting thing about this dining experience was that when we ordered a decaf coffee and a cup of tea at the end of the meal, we were told there would be a charge. Thus began the nickel and diming experience of NCL. We were absolutely shocked. This meal was included and the fact they would charge us for something so trivial as a coffee and tea was shocking. After dinner we decided to give Fat Cats a try and got to hear the amazing Slam Allen Blues Band, which we really enjoyed. We then gave the Howling at the Moon, Dueling pianos a try. It was AWFUL!! Not funny and the singing was horrible. Would not recommend wasting your time at this venue. Surprisingly, there was nothing else going on at this time and so we just decided to go to bed. On our first day at sea we decided to order a continental breakfast delivered to our room. It was our 10 year of knowing each other anniversary so we thought it would be nice to have breakfast delivered to our room. The breakfast basically consisted of some coffee, tea and a few cinnamon rolls and croissants. Nothing special but it was nice to dine on our balcony. Unfortunately we requested the delivery between 7:30-8:00 a.m. and they delivered everything at 6:40 a.m. After getting ready for the day, we went down to Guest Services to purchase 2 ferry/bus passes for our time in Bermuda. We got the 2 day passes and paid $25 each. It is great that NCL offers this, as it saved us time when we arrived in Bermuda. Soon, it was time for my Deep Tissue Massage and for my husbands Acupuncture treatments. The front desk agent brought me to a very comfortable and peaceful area to wait for my massage therapist. Soon Joanne arrived and took me to my treatment room. She was very nice and gave me a very good massage. I met my husband back in the room when it was over and he really enjoyed the Acupuncture treatment, so much so, that he bought a few more to do over the week. We then decided to try O Sheehan s for lunch. The food was o.k. but filling. It was a little bit of a chilly, wet day so we stayed inside for most of the day, getting used to the ship. We had a 6:30 p.m. reservation for Cagney s so we got ready for dinner, took a few photos and then went to dinner. Our waiter was very nice and the food was once again o.k. We had reservations for Burn the Floor after dinner. The dancers are very talented but the show was not very exciting. After Burn the Floor we went to the Adult Karaoke to watch. Although it was supposed to be Adult Karaoke, there were kids running around and dancing. This became a common theme throughout our cruise, kids running around and screaming, even when it was an adult only venue. With nothing else to do, we decided to go to bed. The next day at sea we had breakfast at the Garden Cafe. The food was o.k. It seems like the eggs are powdered which is fine but after a few days, they seem less so. The French toast was pretty good, but the fried potatoes and sticky buns stole the show. My husband had another Acupuncture treatment so I went down to Fat Cats to attend a trivia game. There was a very small turnout, only 5 of us but it was fun. Gustav was the host and he was extremely nice and funny too. A couple won the trivia and were nice enough to give out some of their winnings to myself and the other couple attending. When my husband returned from his treatment, we went down to the pool. We were able to find 2 chairs near the ping pong tables, so the relaxation was limited but nice while it lasted. I had seen in the Freestyle Daily that there was going to be a $10 sale at Tradewinds and decided to go down and give it a try. Well, it was all the same $10 things you see at the airport and certainly was not a deal. I was very disappointed but as with the rest of our trip, NCL, was not interested in giving too much away on this cruise. Our next stop was an Origami folding class, there was probably about 10 people who attended. We learned to make boxes, and it was something to pass the time. Next stop was the towel folding show, which was fun and interesting to watch. It is amazing how many animals are made out of towels, too bad our room steward only made them for us 3 out of the 6 nights we were at sea. (as tacky as they are, I look forward to them and was just another disappointment on this ship) Our next stop was the art auction, here we had fun as neither of us ever attended an art auction. We ended up purchasing a Fathers Day gift for my father and a print for our home. The Art people are very nice and accommodating. We had reservations for La Cucina and soon had to great ready to make our dinner. La Cucina has a nice ambiance to it. We were promptly seated by a nice window and our server was extremely nice. This was the only night on the cruise where we were served fresh bread and it was delicious. My husband had the Chicken Parmigiana and loved it. I just had a pasta with a pesto sauce. Mine was good but not overly exciting. After dinner we played a few games at the casino and then over to Rock of Ages. We were completely impressed by this show. The actors were great and the show was a huge success. Once again children were in the auditorium and it is definitely not a show for children. In fact, a child in our row was escorted out by her mother soon after the show began. This was a good thing but of course disrupted us while we were trying to enjoy it. Anyway, Rock of Ages is a definite go see.
On Wednesday, we finally made it to Bermuda, so excited! It is such a beautiful place. I had been to Bermuda as a child and going back was great. The water is stunning and the whole feeling there is great. We decided to have a quick breakfast on the ship and then to take the ferry to St. Georges. The ferry was packed and a nice couple sat with us. We took the orange line and it took about 40 minutes to get to St. Georges from the port. Once we were off of the ship we stopped in the Heritage Museum and paid $5 each to see the museum and a short video, it was very interesting. We then walked around St. Georges a bit. It is a very quaint town with many shops and pretty things to see. We then went to Wahoos for lunch which ended up being perfect timing as there was a huge downpour. My husband had the Fish and Chips which he did not particularly care for and I had the Wahoo bites which were amazing. We ended up sharing a coconut and vanilla gelato to pass the time for the rain to stop and it was amazing. Highly recommend stopping at Wahoos for the gelato. We had reservations for high tea at Sweet P.s for 2:00 p.m. and so we visited the perfumery (in the same building) and then went to Sweet P.s. The Owner was extremely nice and the high tea was lovely and highly recommended. After our high tea we found Crystal, she is a horse and carriage driver who took us on the most wonderful carriage ride all over St. Georges. We learned so much from her and got to see so many beautiful things. If you want to set up a private tour, her prices are very reasonable and her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org, the name of the carriage ride is Bronco Stables. After the carriage ride it was time for us to leave as the last ferry left the docks at 5:15 p.m. It started to rain again but fortunately they have a covered area to wait for the ferry. The ferry was packed but we were able to find a seat and enjoyed a peaceful ride back to the ship. Tonight we decided to dine in the Manhattan Room. We really liked the Manhattan Room for the ambiance but the food was once again nothing great. However for the rest of our trip this ended up being our go to place because of the extra added entertainment that was provided. Tonight was the Newlywed Game and Julie, our cruise director did a great job of hosting it. It was hysterical and we enjoyed it very much. Shortly after that, was the Dancing with the Breakaway Stars show which we also very much enjoyed.
On Thursday we woke up, had a quick breakfast and took the blue line ferry to Hamilton. The ride to Hamilton from the port is about 20 minutes and the ferry was pretty empty. When we arrived in Hamilton we just started walking around to see the sites. We decided to go into the City Hall building and found a brochure for a self guided tour and thought it would be fun to do it. It was really great as we got to see so much. It took about 3 hours and you definitely need a good pair of walking shoes and be able to walk up and down hills (our legs hurt the next day and we are pretty fit). We really enjoyed seeing all of the sites but our favorites were the Fort of Hamilton, really gorgeous views and the St. Theresas Church. Again, there were gorgeous views from there if you are able to walk up the winding and narrow steps. We lost our way a few times and the people of Bermuda are probably the nicest people we have ever met. People were literally stopping on their Mopeds to help us, this was without us asking for help. We have never met nicer people in any of our travels, it was wonderful. We walked around the town of Hamilton a little more and then got on the 3:00 p.m. ferry back to port. We decided to have dinner at the Manhattan Room once again and some of the dancers from Burn the Floor performed, it was very nice. After dinner we had some time before the Glo party, so we attended a Trivia game and then went to watch Deal or no Deal. The time came for us to attend the Glo Party. There was a sign upon entering that clearly stated it was for adults, 18 years of age and older but once again, what did we see? Children dancing on the dance floor and even children in strollers. It was very disappointing and we only stayed a little while and decided to leave and just go to bed.
The last day we were in Bermuda we chose to visit the Dockyard area. Our first stop were the rum cakes and so we tasted almost all of them and decided we would pick up a few of the Traditional flavor as gifts for family and friends later on in the day. We then watched the glass blowers, which was really beautiful and worth taking the time to watch. We really enjoyed the shopping in the clock tower. It was so much larger than we expected and were able to buy some reasonably priced souvenirs in there. Unfortunately I paid $5 per bottle of pink sand when 2 minutes later I saw it for $3 each, but hey they were gifts so it was no big deal. We decided to do lunch on the ship that day and after paid our $10 each admission to visit the Commanders house and Dolphin Quest. The $10 per person admission is well worth it as it allows you access to so much. First stop was watching the dolphins and their trainers. There was a few schools there on the day we were at port and they were able to do signals with the dolphins, so it was very cute. After spending about a half hour watching the dolphins we went to the museum located in the same area and learned a lot about the history of the island. Next stop was the Commanders house, what a beautiful home with tons of rooms and tons of history. We really enjoyed our visit there. Another stop we made which was I believe $3 per person was a ship right near the port. It is a replication of the first ship from the US that arrived in Bermuda and there is quite a bit of history and very much worth the $3 per person fare. We were sad to see our time in Bermuda come to a close but absolutely loved the time we did have and appreciated every minute. We wanted to make sure we returned to the ship well before the 4:00 time frame that was requested by NCL and so we sat on our balcony awaiting departure. Unfortunately there were 5 people who showed up late and we departed about a half hour late. It was fine because we were certainly not in a rush to leave beautiful Bermuda. That evening we had a reservation at Le Bistro so we got ready for dinner, took a few photos and arrived at Le Bistro where we were promptly seated. The food at Le Bistro was ok, nothing special but the desserts were excellent. After dinner we went to the 80s Music Trivia game. Soon after we went to our reserved seating at the Second City Comedy show. It was very funny but sadly only lasted 45 minutes, which surprised both my husband and I. The fireworks were scheduled to go off at 11:00 p.m. but due to high winds they were cancelled. Also due to the high winds no one was allowed on the outside decks. This was fine but caused everyone to go to the few things that were going on inside at the time and caused a lot of crowding. We decided to go to O Sheehans for a snack. My husband had a sundae and I had the pound cake with strawberries, both of our desserts were very good. At this point, with very little to do, we decided to go to the photo area to purchase our photos. We made sure all week to take a lot since on another cruise line we were able to purchase a package deal and get them all. When we arrived at the photo shop we spoke to Jason regarding purchasing the package deal for our photos. He said this was not offered and the photos were $20.00 each. My husband questioned this by asking if there were any options as far as packages go and Jason became quite rude and said that there were not packages offered and there are never packages offered on any cruise lines including the one we were previously on. At this point both my husband and I were not happy. This man is calling us a liar and I have the photos from our previous cruise on my phone (we purchased a disc that I downloaded onto my phone) and I was getting ready to show them to him, but we just decided to walk away. This was very disturbing. We ended up purchasing 3 photos and would have spent a lot more (we took over 70) if they offered a package. My husband who is usually very mild mannered asked the lady that we purchased our photos from the name of the man that was so rude to us and my husband promptly went to guest relations to put in a complaint. By the next morning we received a call from the photo shop with apologies and they wanted to give us a free photo. We did not take them up on the offer but appreciated the gesture and the prompt apology. After we returned from our vacation, friends of ours who just sailed on the Norwegian Star told us that they offered a photo package on their ship so, why they dont offer one on the Breakaway is beyond me. In the end NCL lost out on us spending a few hundred more because of this.
On Saturday, our last full day on the ship, the boat was extremely rocky. I generally do not get seasick but I was definitely nauseous from all of the rocking. I luckily brought along my seabands and they helped tremendously. We decided to have a quick continental room service breakfast again to enjoy our balcony. My husband had an acupuncture appointment and I had a manicure appointment. My Manicurist Latoya was excellent and very nice. I enjoyed my time with her and although I was still not feeling great with the waves she made the experience very nice. Lunch was at the Garden Cafe and nothing really special but we did find a wonderful white cake with white frosting and fruit. It was delicious and I wish they would have served it every day. Later in the day we attended the Talent show with the Breakaway Staff. It was really good, lots of very talented people. We really thought Gustav was an excellent singer but everyone was really good. For dinner we went to the Manhattan Room where they had a great band playing and they had the farewell dinner, it was very nice. We then went back to the room to pack. We chose the option of leaving the ship ourselves since we were going to stay one more day in the City. After our packing was complete we saw a great Magician/Comedian and enjoyed that very much.
In closing we thought the Breakaway was a stunning ship and probably the most beautiful ship we have been on thus far. The rooms are not as nice as the suites we have been on in other ships but they are still nice. The food on the ship was fair, with a few exceptions. Bermuda is wonderful and the people could not be nicer. Norwegian has a lot to learn regarding the constant charging of their customers, it was a real turnoff as were the number of children running around in the adult only areas. Norwegian will not be a top cruise for us to choose in the future but we are glad that we had the opportunity to try it out. Less
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Cabin review: 10808
We stayed in a mini suite. We have stayed in suites on other cruise lines and found them to be much larger than the one we were in on the Breakaway. There is a pretty good amount of storage, room for your luggage under the bed, a sliding closet that just fits a weeks worth of clothing for 2, several shelves in the closet and a security box. There are also drawers under the sofa. On the side of the desk there area few more small shelves which are very handy too. The bathroom is very nice and in there are several drawers and a place to put your items on top of the sink. Our room was Starboard side, midship and it was in a great location.