We were on the July 14th sailing. This was my 6th cruise but my first with NCL. I was traveling with my husband and two sons, ages 19 and 23 along with my brother and sister-in-law and my nephews, 20 and 14 and my niece, 14. We were both celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and decided on the Breakaway as a family celebration. My first impressions of NCL were not too positive. I called NCL directly to make our reservations and the PC that I got really had no clue what he was doing but once he was assigned to me no other PC would help me. After our reservations were made he left NCL but every PC that I dealt with was worse than the other. It seemed that every PC had different information and no one was consistent. Finally, I did get a PC, Lisa, that knew what she was doing. We had booked two balcony rooms and two inside cabins on deck 10. After reading some reviews I did not expect this cruise to be as wonderful as it was. Going with an open mind was key.
First, I want to thank all those who wrote reviews prior to my sailing especially Gambee and Slice of Life. I am one of those people that love a lot of information and likes to be prepared versus being surprised. The information I received from cruise critic helped make this cruise a success. My family called me their personal cruise director. Thank you to Bamblin for arranging our M&G. I am so glad that I got to meet you and 1witchydiva and her husband. My one regret is that we never saw each other again.
NCL is definitely listening to the complaints and suggestions that are being made. Some of the changes that have been made since the initial sailings are:
- when embarking on the ship they have music and crew members dancing and welcoming you aboard. Also on the last day when we walked off the ship, crew members were there to say goodbye and to thank you for sailing with NCL.
- in the beginning people complained that there were no washy, washy people when entering the buffet area. They now have washy, washy people when you get off the elevators in addition to sinks in the buffet area as well as hand sanitizer machines. We saw hand sanitizer machines all over the ship. Some times you just can't please everyone. While waiting to get on an elevator outside the buffet I witnessed a guest getting off the elevator and when the washy, washy girl offered to spray the guest's hand the rude guest got very nasty with the washy girl. I felt so bad for her and told her that some people just have no manners. These people were there to do their job because other people complained that they weren't there. If you don't want to be sprayed just say no, thank you. No need to jump down any ones throat.
- in the buffet at breakfast time they have two people walking around to serve you coffee. They were the most energetic and friendly people you could meet. It started your day with a smile.
- many complaints were that the crew were not friendly. Every crew person we came across said hello and asked how our day was. Many engaged in conversations with us. We saw many ship officers out and about and talking to the guests. At every meal in the MDR, Sheehan's or in a specialty restaurant either the maitre d or an officer came over to make sure our meal was good.
- guest services had dummy room cards so that you can leave them in the room slot.
We arrived at Pier 88 at 10:20. There were no lines and we checked in right away. We were allowed on the ship at 11:20. They did give out numbers but after they called a few numbers they let the majority of people on the ship to allow for room for those checking in. We went to guest services and reservations to clear up some errors made by PC. Dropped off our carry on bags to our rooms that were already made up and then went to lunch in the Garden Cafe.
We had plenty of room in our cabin. There was so much storage space that we did not use most of it. I did bring extra hangers but I am sure if you ask your room steward they would get them for you. One of the rooms had the bed by the closet and the other had it by the balcony. IMO I really didn't see much of a preference of having the room one way or the other. Our room the beds were near the closet and we had no problem getting things in or out of the closet. The balcony was not that large but on many times all four or five of us were able to stand outside together. We just moved the chairs into the room and there was plenty of room to stand and watch us sail away from Bermuda. We were starboard and our room faced the water while docked in Bermuda, it was a beautiful view to wake up to every day. All four rooms were always cleaned and turn down service each night with towel animals, 6 out of 7 nights. Our mini fridge wasn't working and within 30 minutes of placing a call an officer and our steward arrived with a new fridge. One of the closet doors got stuck and our steward came right in and fixed it. One day when we arrived back in our room there was a tray of petit fours waiting for us. The only noise we heard was the flushing of the toilets from other rooms. I never heard any noise from the hall. I would recommend a balcony room. The inside cabins (10449) were not that small however they were dark. I am a person who needs light. For the boys it worked out fine because they like their rooms dark anyway. Only one night did they say they heard rock and roll music perhaps coming from the Breakaway theater. These rooms were located right around the corner from the balcony which was very convenient. Hallways are very narrow. Be prepared to walk a lot. Since we were forward on the ship we did A LOT of walking. This was a good thing since it helped burn some calories after all the eating we did. We never had a problem getting an elevator thou a lot of times we just took the stairs to burn up those calories. If you are a person that doesn't like to walk you should opt for a room mid ship. We never felt the boat rock when we were in our room, not even on the way back to New York. We did feel it rock when we were in the buffet which was on deck 15 Aft and when we were in the theater on Saturday night, deck 7 Forward.
We never had a bad meal, well once. We ate in La Cucina and I had ordered the Lobster Fettuccine. As soon as the server put it in front of me I could smell a very strong fish odor. When I tasted it there was a potent fishy taste. I know lobster is from the fish family but this did not smell or taste right. I should have listened to Gambee because his mom had this dish and got sick. When the server came to ask how everything was I told her that it just didn't taste right. She took it from me and said that it was unacceptable and I needed to be pleased. She asked me what I would like instead. I said I didn't want to have to wait since everyone else already had their food and she assured me that my dish would be out within minutes. And yes it was. I ordered the shrimp with the eggplant and it came out hot and was delicious. Because they changed the times of the shows we didn't have time for dessert and she had the desserts sent to our room. The tiramisu was out of this world, highly recommend. We ate in the Manhattan Room, Taste, and Garden Buffet. Once in the Manhattan Room my husband tried a mixed drink. He did not like the way it tasted and gave it to me. When the server heard he did not like it she took the drink off the bill. This was not expected since I was drinking the drink. Good customer service. On the second night they serve small lobster tails in the Buffet. They are not Maine lobster tails but they were cooked right and were very good. We never had a problem getting a big round table for nine in the buffet area. O'Sheehans was a big hit. We would go there for a late snack. We had lunch there twice and everything was good. The chicken pot pie was very tasty and the walnut brownie sundae was the best I have ever eaten and I am a connoisseur of desserts,lol. I wish I had one as I am typing this long review.
We saw Rock of Ages, we all thought it was good except my husband. The adults went to see Burn the Floor and we enjoyed that. We saw Howl at the Moon, Fire and Ice. Sam Allen was great and we saw him twice. We saw the magician, comedian, more comedian Nick Lewin and enjoyed him. We ventured into Bliss but not much was happening there. The Glow party and 80's party were filled with kids. The Breakaway does have the best entertainment of any other ship that I have been on. One complaint was that there was not much of a night life for the 19 to 23 year olds. Every venue they went to was always filled with kids 14 and under. They attempted to go to the College Meet on two different nights and there were way too many young kids there, high schoolers not college kids. We went to the Cirque show on our first night. We had scheduled it for another night but since the PC had made a mistake when trying to book all nine of us we had to go to the reservation desk to change the reservation. When we were there they offered us to see the show that night and they were giving a 25% discount to anyone who wanted to go. Since they were no longer serving lobster in the dining room on the first night we decided to see the Cirque show. It was well worth $22.50 and I would say even the new price of $39.99. We had two booths, 6 in one booth and 3 in the other since it was not sold out. Almost every character that performed on stage stopped at our table which added a personal touch to the show. In fact my nephew was picked to go up on stage. The steak and shrimp were very good. When we first sat down the server came over to us to see if we had any special health concerns and needed to have the food cooked a certain way. We were also able to order the steak the way we like to eat it, ie, rare/well done. We asked for a chicken nugget platter and fries for one of the 14 year olds and there was no problem with that. The common thread we found on the Breakaway was that if you needed something just ask and it was done. This show is a must see! On the last night after the shows in the Breakaway theater Julie and members of the crew plus officers parade into the theater to bid you farewell and to thank you for cruising like a Norwegian. It was a special touch yet very sad because we knew this was the end of our cruise and vacation.
I did not do the slides or the rope course because I am recovering from a shoulder injury but everyone else did the slides numerous times during the week and never had to wait more than ten minutes. They only waited 15 minutes for the rope course and they had a blast doing it. Shuffle board was a big hit as was ping pong. We really didn't use the pool because it was way too crowded.
Julie the cruise director was visible throughout the week. Every time I saw her she asked how our cruise was going and if everything was okay. Fortunately for us we really did not have anything to complain about to her. If I was to say anything negative it would be that NCL should have made the Atrium larger or had a different venue for the shows. There were never enough seats to sit and enjoy the different activities that were going on. You needed to get there real early and hope for a seat. We stood for many shows but sometimes you needed to see what was going on. We would catch the different activities that took place on the tv in the room but it just wasn't the same as being there in person. Also I think NCL needs to stay consistent with their rules. The dress code for the Manhattan Room is supposed to be nice shirts and long pants for men. We saw many men wearing tee shirts with writing on them. In Le Bistro one night men had shorts on and that was okay but the next night when someone tried to get in with dress shorts it was not allowed. Saving of the deck chairs is a problem on most ships, wish there was a way they could really enforce no chair hogging. Children were allowed in every pool, jumping in and running around. Hot tubs were the biggest hang outs for young children. We knew that there would be a lot of children on this cruise since it is summer. I would suggest to anyone that does not have small children to take this cruise after September when school is in session. Just too many little kids.
This was my fifth time to Bermuda, not all by cruise. Bermuda is beautiful and so are the people that live there. We purchased ticket books instead of transportation passes. They sell the ticket books in the white trailer next to the ship. It was much cheaper for us to buy tickets than passes. We left the remaining tickets in the room for the steward to use. On Wednesday we rented jet skis from Somerset Bridge Water Sports. They paid for our taxi ride there and we took the bus back to the ship. Matt was our guide and we had a great time. Wednesday night we went to Hamilton by ferry for Harbour Nights. It was okay. There were many street vendors and the stores were open late. A great time to shop. Gosling's had free rum tasting and liquor to purchase, was much cheaper there than on the ship. They will even ship your liquor to the ship for free. Thursday morning we went walking around dockyard and did some more shopping. In the afternoon we rented a pontoon, a boat that fits 10 adults, from Fantasea/Island Tour Centre. We had the pontoon for four hours and found a private island where we could snorkel. It was so calming and relaxing to just go where we wanted to go. Friday we took the bus to Horseshoe Bay to swim and enjoy the pink sand. When we got back we walked around Dockyard again and then went back to the ship. We really enjoyed the party atmosphere that greeted us upon going back to the ship. There was dancing, music, characters, stilt walker, jello, lemonade, ice pops and wet towels. Everyday they had wet towels, water and towel exchange waiting for you.
We carried our luggage off the ship. We left our room at 8:15 after having breakfast in the Garden Cafe. Thanks to Slice of Life I knew to take the Aft elevators to deck 7. Crew members were lined up to say thank you and goodbye. When we walked down the ramp to get to customs there was a line on the other side but since we came from the Aft side they let us walk right in. We went right to the customs agent and were out of the building without encountering any lines or anyone in front of us. The only thing I did not like was that you had to cross over 12th Ave. and wait on the other side of the highway for your pickup.
We had a fabulous vacation and enjoyed the cruise very much. I hope that many of you have the same experience as we did. Happy sailing!!!