My family and I had anticipated this cruise for a long time especially since we had no problems on out previous NCL sailings. We have sailed on RCL (Oasis, Liberty), Carnival (Breeze, Legend), NCL (Jewel,Gem,Epic), and Disney (Magic).
What was supposed to be a nice, relaxing vacation turned out to be the opposite and reflected the true "New York" experience, which this ship is all about. Literally! The New York attitudes from staff, massive crowds, limited space and small tiny rooms and balconies like you would find in a cramped NY apartment. If this is what the NCL head office was going for, they hit the nail right in the head. We hadn't experienced this on previous NCL sailings. The only complaint we had on the Epic was the bathroom lay out and smokiness in the casino, which I guess they hadn't listened to guest comments because on the Breakaway, it was the same deal! On to the review!
Embarkation: Fast, efficient, no complaints. We got there after the rush of the crowds and it all went smoothly.
Ship Decor and Layout: The ship is very different in terms of the design NCL used to have in with their Jewel class, the Breakaway resembles more of the Epic. It is tastefully done but the layout is awful! Small corridors, not enough space for people traffic, crammed seating at the buffet and venues. This is the biggest problem. There are way too many people for the ship of this size. NCL really needs to take tips from Royal Caribbean on ship design. On the Oasis, there was plenty of space and it never felt crowded, except for normal things like when shows let out, parades, etc. On the Breakaway it always felt crowded like NYC!!
Food:Basic and expected in Taste Savor and Manhattan Room. We all know NCL is all about upselling and getting you to the specialty restaurants, but for the price you pay for this ship, the menu should be better for the non fee dining areas. We did go to Le Bistro and Moderno. Both were excellent but again you are paying for it, right? Buffet was your typical buffet on NCL...acceptable, just again CROWDED!
Cabin: Smallest one we have ever encountered on a ship! Ridiculous and unacceptable!
Service: AWFUL! This is what would make me not want to cruise on a NCL ship again! A lot of staff seemed new and even the veterans didn't seem to care about any of your concerns. Most of the time it felt like they just said things to get you out of their face. Very arrogant and obnoxious attitudes! NCL really needs to look into this because a lot of people on here have complained about the customer service. The only person who was sincere was our room attendant who was always smiling and happy.
Entertainment: We loved Sam Allen! Very entertaining but again trying to find a seat was nearly impossible, standing room only. Rock of Ages was ok, we have seen the broadway version so this was amateurish to that. Burn the floor we saw in the manhattan room. It was nice and high energy but after awhile it gets boring unless you are a dance lover.
Pool Deck and Ropes Course: Pool Deck is a JOKE!! really NCL? The pool was so small, no one could swim, just stand there or sit on the outer parts of the pool. It was disgusting to see. Also when the pool did clear out, seemed like everyones spray on tan or dirty bodies came off because the pool water was brown. It was difficult trying to find a chair as well..again because there are too many people. There were a lot of fights between the staff and guests because the staff would remove the towels and belongings off the chairs if the chair hogs did not return. The slides were fun, but again overly crowded. Ropes Course was enjoyable.
Ports: Bermuda was beautiful as always! Loved Horseshoe Bay and Elbow Beach!
Overall: I would not recommend the Breakaway to anyone! If you are hesitant about booking this ship or thinking about canceling your cruise, do it! Go on the NCL Jewel Class or even the Epic if you want larger. Don't waste your money on here. If you really want to experience a mega ship, go on Royal Caribbeans Oasis or Allure of the Seas. They know how to design ships that don't make you feel like a sardine in a can! This was not a vacation, it seemed more like rush hour in NYC!