This is my first review and I have only been on NCL ships, so I cant compare to other cruiselines. My family consists of my hubby and myself, my son 16 years old and my daughter who is 12 years old. We had no special dietary issues, only one of us has a food allergy- grapes. We are failrly new to cruising,although already addicted, and we are really easy going and we dont ask for much. This was also the first time that we stayed in a suite. I booked this cruise in 2011 as a surprise for hubby. No one in my family knew we were staying in a suite or that we would have Haven access. I managed to not tell my family for almost two years.
Thank you Bamblin for setting up the meet and greet. It was wonderful meeting you. I had a lot of fun meeting Gershep and her husband too. We hung out on that gorgeous S6 balcony.
I am breaking it down into sections, so you can skip over what it not important to you.
Gambee, Slice of Life and Xenagurl, did awesome photo intensive and video, reviews. I can not top the best, so mine will not be as in depth. :)
Embarktion- We got there early, around 10am. The sight of this ship in person for the first time is amazing. Absolutey breathtaking. Very quick walk through the baggage security line. After we went through there, there was a woman standing there holding a Haven sign. We went with her to the Haven area. Juice,fruit and cookies were available. We did our card pictures, and we sat and we were boarded at 1115am. They took us straight to the Haven area.(If you want that pre-board picture, please inquire as we were not offered to take the picture.I know that first picture is very special for some people.) Ryan was our concierge and he gave a small speech. He was very friendly. We were told at noon the Haven restaurant would be open for lunch and our rooms would also be ready at that time. While we were waiting, the staff brought around burgers and fries and sandwiches.
Haven Restaurant-- The Haven restaurant for lunch was good. Staff very very nice and friendly. We had pre- purchased the unlimited soda package. One staff member took our cards, and went to go the stickers put on our cards and got the cups for us. Mr S, the Maitre D of the Haven Restaurant was fantastic. He made his presence known, in a very good way. He kept his eye on staff and assisted them. He went to every single table and talked to everyone.
Sailaway- we stayed on the Haven deck and we were lucky enough to be able to sit on one of the little beds. Beautiful view. The Haven staff were coming around offering drinks.
Elevators- Sometimes it was hard to get an elevator, sometimes it was not. In all fairness, I may have found it a little harder than others, since not all elevators go to floor 16. Just be aware they close quick. It closed on my husband a few times.
Room-S6 Deck 14-14272. What can I say except , I love that room. Love, love love it. We measured the balcony at 8 feet deep and around 20 feet across. The balcony had 2 lounge chirs, 2 wicker chairs with a little table, and a seating table with 4 more chairs. Master bathroom had double sinks, a seperate room with door for the bathroom and shower .I believe the closet space is different here than on deck 11. We had 3 different closets. One in the master bedroom is a double. Their is a closet right before you walk into the master mathroom and one in the hallway. When you first walk in is the second bathroom. It has just a sink ,toilet and a shower. It also has some storage areas.
The bath tub is a really nice size. Just to note--you have to raise your leg up a bit to get in. If anyone has mobility issues, they might need a helping hand getting in or out.
There were two flat panel televisions. One in the master bedroom and one in the living room area.There were also two dvd players. There is a vanity table with a blow dryer, magnifying mirror. We were all very happy with the amount of storage we had.
If you are planning to use the sofa bed for sleeping, please ask for two pillow toppers. That bed is realy hard. My kids slept fine and did not complain but I noticed how hard it was when I sat on it.
The noise from h20 did not bother us the first night. I heard the music from a distance. The second night on----it was a bit annoying. I was okay, but my kids had a hard time falling asleep. They turned on the television and that helped. .The base for a few minutes was so bad. I can only describe it as an elephant in a tutu dancing. That is the first image that came to my mind.It only lasted 5-10 minutes and then it was lowered to a much better level. Hubby and I went out to the balcony and listened to the music and danced. If you cant beat em, join em. :) I was not surprised when noone wanted to get up early in the morning..
I get violently seasick but I wanted this room. I usually stay midship. I can tell you that in my personal experience, the aft has more motion than I initially thought it would. I felt a side to side rocking a lot. It did not bother my husband, son or daughter. I appeared to be the one that felt it the most. Thankfully, I had the patch on so it did not ruin my vacation. Also, it did appear to get better for me as the days went on. Then Saturday morning, it was really rocking. I asked Armando and he said this is usually how it is on Saturday as the boat is moving much faster. He offered green apples, which really helped. He also reccommended not to lay down. Get some air and go somewhere. We also folowed that advice, and I did feel better. What could I expect? I am on a boat. :)
I did notice with this particular room, the divider for the balcony next door is sort of rounded. I am saying that because privacy may be an issue for some. They can definately see onto your balcony and you can easily see over to theirs. All you have to do with be to go to the end of the balcony, turn your head slightly and you can see the other balcony.
I will tell you that if you stay in the S6, and you plan on going to the haven frequently, it is a long walk. I just wanted to let anyone know who may not want to walk or unable to walk long distances. Personally, I will take an S6 again and walk. The balcony and aft views were that amazing.
The hallways are very narrow. When a cleaning cart in in the hallway, you have to really squeeze by, sometimes walking sideways. I did saw many with scooters and wheelchairs. I hope some one who was utilizing one, can share their experiences on if they had any issues . It is narrow.
As we were leaving the ship to go to Bermuda, the hallway where room 5200 was, on deck 5, was much wider than I saw on other decks. Definately not as narrow.
Room Steward- Anna was the absolute best. I adored her,as did my husband and children. Towel animals every night. She kept the room beautiful. She always stopped by to see if we needed anything. She was very friendly too.It was my birthday on Monday and I guess she rang the bell and we did not hear it, as we were all on the balcony. :) She went to the room next to us and stuck her head over from the balcony and said Happy Birthday. She gave me a cupcake and a card.
Haven-The Haven was sold out this cruise I was told. It was definately not empty. I believe this is to be expected as I chose prime time-July- to cruise. Very hard to find a chair on the first floor by the pool on sea days, but many,many were available on the upper decks. There were a lot of families that I saw in The Haven. There were also all age groups. There are only 7 lounge chairs around the Haven poolside on the first deck.There are 6 in the water.
I am not complaining, I am just going to state the facts below:
Kids were in all the hottubs on the first day. I saw no adults in the pool on embarkation day untill after 8pm.
I only saw one child doing cannonballs into the Haven pool. I also saw tub toys in the Haven pool. Including a pail. I saw this on emarkation day and the last day. It did not ruin our Haven experience. I am just stating what I saw. We met some wonderful people. From the US and as far as Switzerland.
On most evenings, the Haven pool area was empty . We were the only ones there.
The Haven staff were wonderful. I had a wonderful experience with anyone I dealt with in the Haven area.
I did not have any negative interactions with any of the cruisers in the haven.
Butler- Our bulter was Armando and he was fantastic. He introduced himself to me and my family, as we were in the Haven area waiting for our rooms. He gave me his card with his extension number. He said he would be by later on after everyone was settled in but to call him if we needed anything before then. He stopped by the room a few hours later and went over the coffee maker, room service, escorting to shows if we wanted. We spent some time talking to him. He told us the hours that he would be working but reminded us that we can call anytime as there is a night butler that covers him. He was so sweet to my kids. Talking to them,asking questions, asking them what things do they like to do, what kind of food they like. He also came to sing Happy Birthday to me. :) He kept me supplied with my pretzel bread right out of the oven. We didnt ask for too much. We did have breakfast in the room many days. It was easier than trying to get my kids up and moving. If you get him as your butler, just tell him what you want or need from him. He was not intrusive but he kept reminiding us to call him if we needed anything. He brought afternoon snacks everyday.
Main Pool---- I did the plunge-Free fall slide. It was awesome. I loved it. The line looked a bit long but it went rather quick. No jewelry, no earrings, nothing. My hubby was removing my earings as we were waiting to go on. Water shoes were ok.
The pool area- I really , really want to say I loved it and it was wonerful--but I cant. It was so packed on sea days. I really think they needed to make larger pools or more of them. Again, I expected this as it is July. Kids pool, adult pool did not matter. Everyone was in both. There just wasnt enough room. I did not even attempt to get a chair. I did not go out to the pool area at 7 or 8 am,so I do not know if it was easier then to get a chair. Whenever I walked by, I saw tons of chairs with a towel, or a shoe or sunscreen but nobody in them. I did not stay around so I have no idea if those were the chair hogs in full force or not.
Cagneys We loved Cagneys. My daughter had the garlic shrimp, my son had the wagu sliders and the lobster and shrimp with linguini. I love that creme brulee.
Teppa- The family loved it. The cooks were joking around and interacting with everyone at the table. There were 3 tables in a row and they all started cooking at the same time.They started singing gangham style and dancing a bit. We enjoyed the food. They changed the rock of ages time from 7pm to 630pm. I had reserved Teppa for 5. Due to the time change, we could not have dessert to make the 630 pm show. I must say, that when the waitress at Teppa heard why we were not waiting for dessert, she had our dessert sent up to our room. When we returned to our room from Rock of Ages, our desserts were on the table.
Venues- I will say that I felt that the venues should have been made bigger. I wanted to go to Fat Catz,but I could not get in the door. Packed. I stood on the waterfront area so I could hear him ,but I couldnt see. All venues we attempted ,I noticed the same. Not anywhere near big enough for all the people that wanted to attend.
Rock Of Ages- I thought it was okay. Hubby liked it a lot. Personally, it was a little over an hour and a half long, I think they could have made it a bit shorter. But thats just my opinion. I know this been said a million times, but it is really not for kids. The woman were dressed in bra and underwear and garter belts. Some cursing. And a part of the stage set was a Live Nude sign. Sexual innuendo.
Fire and Ice--- I enjoyed watching them. I was only able to get a seat in the Atrium once to watch them. It was packed. I stood the other times.
Cirque- I enjoyed the show. They have a set menu, but they will work with you if you have food allergies etc. I thought the food was okay but I liked the show better. :)
Ocean Blue-Eh, it was okay. I liked the fried calamari and the Delmonico steak. We may have enjoyed it more but Saturday was a very rocky sea day and we werent feeling our best. Personally, I do not think I would pay that high an amount again.
Hot dog cart- the elusive hot dog truck was spoted many times by the pool area.
Ice Bar- What can I say except hubby wanted to go, I went and froze. Lol. They give you jackets and gloves. If anyone plans on going, I would recommend long pants and closed shoes. I went in with sandals and shorts, and my legs were freezing. It is not that large, which may not be so bad as you can all huddle together for warmth. ?. 20 dollars per person and that includes 2 drinks. They were taking reservations in front of the ice bar.
Dining -Osheenans- Service was a bit slow and the food was okay. No complaints.
Excursions -We did the dolphin encounter. It was expensive but I think it was worth it. We had so much fun playing and interacting with the dolphins. They do not allow you to bring a camera to the dolphin area. They take pictures. (Who is surprised about that ) lol The pictures are sort of expensive too but they offer packages.The staff were wonderful and made sure we all got to interact with the dolphins. It was only our family with one specific worker. Her name was Rebecca and she was great.
Hubby went scuba diving. He did the two tank dive.My daughter did not want to join him. Something about no way am I diving in the Bermuda Triangle. :) If you scuba, make sure you have your Pad card with you. They request to see it before you can dive. There are also a few releases you have to sign.
Horseshoe Bay-We took the excursion thru the boat. A bus picked us at at the end of the pier. The bus dropped us off in the parking lot of the beach. Very nice beach. You can rent a chair and umbrella, Cash only on the beach.
Wifi- The package in Bemuda-for 3 days is 15.00. I was able to connect from the aft balcony. At times it was very fast and at times a little spotty. That is to be expected. The ships was very slow and expensive. You can go to the dock in Bermuda and get the internet card. They accept cash only there. You can also purchase the internet package with your phone or computer, and use a credit card. I believe they only accepted Visa or Mastercard.
Fireworks- We were able to see the fireworks from our balcony. Perfect view. They exploded right above the balcony level. Mr S and other staff reccommended we stay on our balcony as h20 was packed. I can not say if you could see them clearly from other balconies. There were at 1045 pm on Friday night.
Disembarktion- We carried our own baggage off. A long line on 7 to get off and then a line to get thru customs. They made us walk across the street for a cab. That is different that the last time we sailed out of New York. We just took the elevator to the second floor and grabbed a cab.
Final thoughts-- I loved the Breakaway. We had so much fun. Personally, I would not sail the Breakaway again during the busy, packed times, unless I was in the Haven. I really think having the Haven area was a huge plus for us. We could get away from the crowds if we wanted too. And that S6 balcony, who really needed to go anywhere? :)
Because of the size of the ship and the size of the venues, you need to pre-book most of your shows or specialty restaurants. I think that kind of takes away a bit of the freestyle concept. I found that we had to do things around our pre-booked restaurants and shows. Not a deal breaker but I never had to do all this pre-booking before. Again, just my opinion. Of course when I tried to change to different times, everything was booked or we would have had to eat dinner at 10 pm. If I was ever to be fortunate enough to be Haven guest again, I do not think I would book so many specialty restaurants. I think I would have just taken it day by day.