First: A BIG thanks to CC. Great info at this site. I was able to make informed decisions. If you want a more detailed review skip the next two paragraphs.
The very short version:
Basically, we had a wonderful time. I would recommend it- but make sure you understand that if you are sailing in the summer, decks WILL be crowded.
The short version: We had a wonderful time. There were some problems. NCL did resolve or attempt to resolve them. Food was good, entertainment was fantastic, room was comfortable and the crew were outstanding. We would recommend the Breakaway. Keep in mind it is summer and the pool will be crowded.
The longer version:
I have followed the Breakaway threads for many months. I was very concerned about our trip. My husband and I (in our 40's) do not vacation often. We have cruised RCCL and Carnival in the past. I wanted everything to be as perfect as possible. Hence, all of the research.
We were coming in from South Jersey and parked at Port Imperial and took the ferry across. We were across the river in no time. We arrived at the pier around 10:30 and boarded 11:40ish. No issues.
We arrived and lunched at Taste. It was quite good.
Aft Balcony 14874. The room was nice. There was plenty of storage. Our room steward, Anna, was wonderful. The balcony was spacious and perfect.
Concerns regarding the noise from H2O/Spice were spot on. Sunday night was fine. Monday was not. (The following 2 pp are about the noise.)
The sound of the bass began around 10:00ish. I was able to deal with it. I expected it. However, at 12:40 the noise was out of control. Please understand, I may not frequent night clubs- but I am not dead at 42. I do attend clubs and like it loud. BUT this was over the top. Might have been the wind carrying the sound. IDK.
Someone from our deck called about the noise. The person who called gave guest services my cabin number so GS called me and sent someone to my room : / Despite this it did continue just as loud until 1:20.
On Monday I attended the Meet and Greet. Julie, the CD, asked us to allow NCL the opportunity to resolve issues. I did kindly bring the noise to her attention on Tuesday. I was reasonable. She told me that she was ask the DJ to tone it down. He did. Issue resolved. Still loud every night- but bearable. Thank you, Julie.
It was good. It was not world class cuisine, and since I was not on a luxury line, I did not expect it. I felt it was mostly equaliviaent to Applebees or TGIFridays.
We ate at the buffet, O'Sheenans, Taste, Savor, Manhattan, LaCucina, Uptown Grill. Buffet was crowded at peak times. We would usually eat breakfast at the buffet before 8:00. No lines. We ate dinner around 6-7. No real lines. There might have been some lines after 8- but I did not see anything as was described during the first several sailings. In fact, I found the crew on the Breakaway to be amazingly efficient.
EVERY crew member- without exception- greeted me each time we crossed paths. I appreciated the courtesy. As stated above, the crew was also very efficient. The Maitre d' and the head chef of the three main dining rooms were greeting guests each of the three nights. They took their time and chatted with us. Nice touch. They also took some notes.
Decks & Pools:
Honestly- too crowded to use. I really think the slides and rope courses are not necessary, but that is me. You could not get near the pool. There is the kids' pool and the nearby adult pool. Kids were in both. Based on the info on CC I went with a Vibe pass and not a spa pass- so I cannot comment about the spa pool.
Deck chairs on Decks 15 and 16 were covered with towels very early in the morning. This in not something limited to NCL. This is a problem that is created by passengers.
I got a pass for both my husband and myself. I used it. He did not. People saved their chairs here as well. There are a limited number of passes for the deck. There is adequate space for those passengers. However, there are not loungers for each person holding a pass. There are chairs, and bar stools too. I did get a lounger each morning. I went up around 8:30 or nine and stayed until at least 12. I felt it was money well spent despite the chair hogs.
We attended Cirque. LOVED IT. Unlike others- I had no trouble watching while I ate. We had standard seats. The view was perfect. The seats were comfortable.
Rock of Ages: I am more of a traditionalist with Broadway shows. I had no problems with it. I just did not really enjoy it.
Burn the Floor: loved it.
We never got a chance to attend Slam Allen. It was too crowded for me when I arrived. Sad to have missed him, but there was never a lack of things to do.
It is smaller than I am used to. It was crowded. Again, you need to be flexible. I wanted to use an elliptical- there was a small wait. So I went with a treadmill. The machines have a 30 minute limit. If no one is waiting- you can restart.
The trip was expensive, but I knew that going in. Overall, my husband and I really enjoyed ourselves. Some of the issues that I had are common to all cruise lines. I was most pleased with the courtesy of the crew. I would recommend the Breakaway. However, if you are looking for an intimate cruise- you are most definitely looking at the wrong ship.
BTW- Bermuda was fabulous but this review was about the Breakaway : )