We just returned from a 7 day Bermuda cruise on Breakaway and had the best time.
Embarkation: Pier 88 on the west side of NYC is fine; easily accessible from 55th street by car. We came by cab, and dropping office luggage was a breeze. Quickly into the check-in area at about 10:15, we were registered by 10:30 and onboard by 11:15!! Now hear this, our room was ready for us immediately, and our luggage arrived by noon!!
The ship: It’s big, with a lot of cozy places, and we think this is the finest ship we’ve been on!! One thing; no wrap-around deck on this ship, so if you like walking around the ship (literally), you can’t do it.
Get the bad news out early: Let me affirm what others have said. The hallways are narrow, the balconies in the non-suite staterooms are small, the adult pool will get crowded, deck chairs in premium areas are scarce (chair hogs apparently wake up early), and you won’t have many television stations to watch on board. The track for walking and running is a joke; eight laps to a mile past the rock climbing wall, a buffet, lounge chairs and folks that walk across the track at only the most inopportune times. Use the fitness center instead. That’s about it, and none of the above was a major concern for us.
Wow: There is a lot to like. Recognizing that tastes differ, we found the venues and food preparation to be excellent. We felt like the complementary dining rooms were more like cozy restaurants, with personalized service. The food choices were satisfactory (we had four dinners in the complementary restaurants, and all our breakfasts and lunches), the preparation was to our specifications and the meals were excellent. We had three premium dinners (Cirque, Moderno and La Cucina), and we found them to be a good value and loved the food. Note: Cirque has a set surf and turf menu (they will adjust for tastes and allergies), Moderno is Brazilian themed, and Cucina is Italian.
What we really were pleased about was that the Irish Pub was open 24/7 for meals!!!! That’s not a buffet, but a sit-down, complementary restaurant; selection is limited, but the food was fine (bar food including burgers, corned beef and chicken pot pie). Of course the buffet had traditional hours for a wider selection (we sampled Asian and were very happy with it).
The Manhattan Room is the place to go for complementary dinners; very good food, great service and entertainment (see below).
Finally the station with tea, coffee, fruit drinks and juice is also available 24/7; we liked that.
The Crew: Attentive, engaged and professional. For those not familiar with NCL, the crew will typically eat in the buffet with passengers, providing a great opportunity to interact, which they seem to encourage. On Breakaway we spent time chatting with the Captain, the Hotel Director, Senior Engineering staff and the builder’s on board rep!!! And they listen!!!
Station managers in all the venues were engaging passengers and staff continuously. The service was exceptional, throughout!!
The Shows, etc: a big hit with us. We enjoyed Cirque, Burn the Floor and Rock of Ages; comedy acts can be hit and miss, no exception here. Some belly laughs, and some groans. Secondary venues were always packed, and got high marks from other guests (we never got in as we were booked up continuously). The casino is large and was packed, as were the bars and dance clubs. We enjoyed H2O dance parties and the fireworks.
BTW, when you have dinner in the Manhattan Room Restaurant, you’ll see a show, be able to dance, have fun!! We enjoyed it greatly.
The stateroom: fine. We had a mid-ship balcony. The room is nice sized, plenty of closet space for two people, it would be tight for three. The shower was bigger than other ships we’ve been on, and serviceable. Bed very comfortable. Has courtesy bar and safe. Balcony small (reprise), poor choices for TV stations (who cares?).
Etc.: the buffet is above average in size, choice, quality and hours of operation. The ropes course, water slides, fitness center, large screen TVs, rock climbing walls, kid zones, pools and (not too) hot tubs keep folks occupied on sea days. Shopping is adequate for necessities. Plenty of watches for sale if keeping time is your thing.
Considering the entire on-board experience (excluding price, destination, etc), I rate this the number one of the 14 cruises I’ve been on. BTW the price was very reasonable, and we love Bermuda, but we really love Europe, so it wouldn't be fair to compare destinations.