My husband and I sailed the Breakaway to Bermuda on July 7th. We both had a great time and really enjoyed the ship. Following is a somewhat lengthy out-take of our week.
The most standout pluses for us were the ships entertainment and the ships officers.
The Breakaway can keep you going, going and going! There was so much to do we didnt even make a dent in all the Breakaway had to offer. We did see Rock of Ages (saw the original on Broadway and really liked it and thought Breakaways production did it justice), Burn the Floor with great dancing and a Sexy edge to it, and Second Citys Late Adult show, we are fans of Second City. The Aqua Park and Sports Deck by day can satisfy the adventurous type and after dark the nightlife on this ship reminded me of Vegas. Unlike most of our other cruises, where around midnight after all of the headliner shows, the only action is found in the casino or at one of the discos, and as you walk around it seems like most people went to bed, NOT so on The Breakaway. This ship was still jumping after midnight. At night you can wonder from one lounge to the next checking out all of the live music; Jazz, Dueling Pianos, Fire and Ice, DJ sounds and shows. There was energy. You had people milling about and having a good time. If one of the venues was too crowded, you just mosey on over to another one where you could find some space.
The Officers were seen everywhere and I mean everywhere and they were involved and were intent for everyone to have a great experience. I spoke with many and it seems they have heard the previous complaints and were trying ways to address and correct them and it seems they are on the right track. Yes there were some negatives, but most we were prepared for or they were so insignificant and could not affect our overall experience. For instance, usually on sea days we spend time by the adult pools, unfortunately, as has been reported, the pool is just too crowded. Its not even that you have a hard time finding a lounge chair (which if you are not out there scouting early will be true); we didnt even bother to look since everyone was sitting elbow to elbow it just did not seem at all appealing to be crammed in like that to sit near a pool that was jam packed with people. I would imagine if not sailing in the peak of the summer season this would not be as much of an issue, but this was July and it was hot! Though Spice H2O was not AS crowded, it too was crowded as well. We did spend a couple of hours sitting up there in the waterfalls (there was no available loungers when we arrived) on one of the sea days and that satisfied our need for a lounge by the pool experience. With the water slides, rope course, etc. you can find other things to do on your sea days, some are free like trivia, some have a cost associated with them like the tastings and the casino.
Sailing as Platinum on NCL we really enjoyed our perks. With priority embarkation we were on the ship by 11:20 after arriving at the Pier at 10:45. We were able to leave our carry-on baggage in our cabin upon boarding and went to have lunch without having to drag our bags along with us. During lunch in Taste/Savor (not sure which one it was) they announced that the cabins were ready (this was somewhere around 1:30 PM) so after eating we went back to our room.
For an inside, 8415, the cabin was small but was quite comfortable for 2 adults (our cabin did not have sleeping for 3rd or 4th guest and would imagine it would feel very tight with others in the room). Found the bed to be extremely comfortable, the bedding had a creamy feel to it! Loved it. Our luggage arrived while we were there (before 3:00 PM) so we were able to get our unpacking complete (knowing there were no drawers we brought extra hangars and pretty much hung all of our clothing). We met our cabin steward, Anthony, at this time. I made some requests: extra ice and emptying of mini-fridge. Anthony said to just take the things from the fridge and place them on the floor under the desk and assured me he would not charge us (before we disembarked we replaced everything, and as Anthony promised, we were not charged). BTW, Anthony was an amazing steward!
They conduct a very quick and painless muster drill (they swipe your key card to insure attendance and if you dont attend you will be required to make it up the next day).
For Sail Away we grabbed a cocktail and headed out to the Waterfront and sat out by Fat Cats. We thought this was a great peaceful spot to watch the Statue of Liberty go by but if you want to experience going under the Ver. Bridge you will need to be on the upper decks.
As Casino Guests we were invited to and attended a welcome aboard party which was held at Fat Cats after sail away. They served cocktails and snacks and introduced themselves. The casino opened shortly after. The casino is large compared to other ships but the layout was not to my liking, broken up into different sections, sort of like spokes on a wheel. The casino workers were friendly and the dealers were a lot of fun. Did not see much winning happening on the slots (actually I did not see any hand payouts and I spent a lot of time in there, but maybe they happened when I was elsewhere, but usually you hear about those wins from others). This was my first sailing with the new CAS program and level drink cards, the experience was not all that different. Some of the cocktail waiters were fussier about the free drink card rules than others but not where it was a problem.
We had our CC Meet and Greet at 11:00 in Cagneys on the first sea day. We had a great turn out of members, as well as the Senior Officers (minus the Captain he does his own M&G look for it in the Freestyle) and Crew. It was an enjoyable event and I urge others to join their roll call and attend this function. We met some delightful fellow travelers that we hung out with here and there throughout the week and really enjoyed their company. I was also told by several other attendees that issues or concerns they were having magically disappeared after meeting the Officers at the M&G
We attended the Martini Tasting at Shakers Bar twice during the sailing. There was a good turn out and we had a great time. Ended up seated with some delightful cruise critic members. We like these events as it is a nice way to meet and interact with other cruisers, not to mention how the liquor loosens everyone up which makes for some good laughs. I will say that I would have preferred a different venue for this event since the seating at this bar is in groupings and the chairs are very high-backed which prevents you from socializing with those around you. Unlike the Malting Bar where they held the Margarita Tastings the seating there is more theater style, great for interaction. It was $15 per person (plus gratuity) and you received 4 martini samples. The first was about a glass and the last sample was practically full. I believe all of the tastings were $15 per person. My DH attended the beer tasting once during the week. He said though he had fun, the samples were a bit lame; Coors Lite, Miller Lite, nothing special. BTW, you can attend these tastings and not participate in the fee drinking and just enjoy the information and the laughs. You can also share a tasting with someone.
We tried to get as many different dining experiences in as possible since there are so many on this ship. We went to the Manhattan Room for dinner somewhere around 8:30 the first night. I was a little concerned about the reported wait times in the MDR from previous cruisers and was quite happy to discover there was no wait at this time. There was also no lobster tail on the menu as previous cruisers reported. Though I did miss the lobster (just the idea of it I guess), we really enjoyed dining here; we were impressed with the decor and we had a table for two on the edge of the dance floor by the band. Had a nice dinner and bottle of wine and even did a little dancing! This was the only night we dined here and would have liked to have had at least one other dinner in Manhattan but with so many dining choices we never got around to it.
We ate at LeBistro twice as this is our favorite restaurant and we always eat here at least once. Our food did not disappoint us. For the first time ever on one of the nights I ordered the Coq au Vin (I usually have the lamb which I did the first night we ate here) and was blown away by how delicious this dish was. I like chicken but never really get excited eating it, this was really special and I think my new favorite at LeBistro. We found the service exceptional both nights, however, as we were leaving one night we came upon a couple we met at our M&G who were dining there as well and they had nothing nice to say about their dining experience. They said they found the Hostess intrusive, the food orders came out not in the right order, and they were not happy overall. They had a table right by ours so assume they had the same servers as we did. We, Happy Customers/Them, Not Happy! Whatever!
Dinner at Cagneys, we both had the Filet, medium rare. I had Bearnaise sauce on the side my husband the Peppercorn Sauce and both of us liked it very much. I had the Split Pea Soup (love the rich decadent creamy flavor of this old favorite) but I was disappointed in Cagneys version as theirs was in a clear broth and the peas were firm. It didnt taste bad, just didnt taste like traditional split pea soup. The crab salad app I thought was delicious as well as the side of mushrooms. Our table at Cagneys overlooked the dance floor of the Manhattan Room. We dined this evening somewhat early, 6:45, and noticed the dancers below were pretty much all under the age of 10 at that time. Our assumption was if you are looking for a more sophisticated dinner and dance experience in the Manhattan Room you should probably dine after 8 PM as we did on the first night.
We had dinner at the Noodle Bar one night since I read so many good things about it. The food was very good. Fried pot stickers (our favorite) and steamed dumplings for starters, Seafood Ramon and Beef Fun Chow as entree with some lovely dipping sauces on the side. The portions were nice and very affordable the bill was about $17. Well worth it.
Dinner at LaCuccina. The decor in the restaurant was so charming. The service was outstanding. The bread and dipping sauces, loved. The pizza (as an app.) loved. I had grilled shrimp, it was okay. DH had lobster over fettuccini, just okay. Not an overwhelming culinary experience, but not bad and I would definitely dine here again just for the decor and the apps and desserts alone.
We dined (by special invite) at the Haven Restaurant for dinner one night and were really quite impressed with the meal. We both ordered the Filet, medium rare, and it was just as good as Cagneys (probably was the same). Sides and service were great as well. I suspect Haven guests ate very well this week without ever having to venture to any other venue.
Did the Buffet at Breakfast for quickness and convenience. The made to order omelets were very good, but we did wait in line for about 20 minutes which defeated the quick concept so only had them once. They had a nice selection of everything breakfast - fruits, cereals, eggs, pancakes, meats, etc. so if there is a long line (there are 2 omelet stations one on each side) you will not go hungry with the other choices.
OSheehans for lunch twice. This is such a fun place, with the games and bowling and bar. Not sure I like eating here as much as the traditional blue lagoon but the old favorites, wings and things, are available here. I had fish and chips one day and chicken pot pie the other and both were very good.
The Seafood Take Out Window is only open sea days and we did not get around to it until Saturday, the final sea day. I regret our delay as I would have snacked here way more often. Loved the crab on toast and the lobster sandwich.
Love the itinerary of this trip as you get to spend 3 days in Bermuda. It is such a pleasure not having to rush back to the ship and doing your own thing. It was very hot, no occasional cool breezes this week as you sometimes may find in July. We went to Horseshoe Beach by bus the first day and arrived around noon, it was somewhat crowded but we found ourselves a nice spot. Day two we ferried over to Hamilton and caught the #10 bus to the Aquarium and Zoo. This was such a nice trip and if you are not in the mood for a beach day I recommend this, especially for a hot day as there are many shaded areas in the zoo and the aquarium is all air conditioned. $10 per person, takes about 2 hours or so to do both.
Afterward we headed back to Dockyard and had lunch at Frog and Onion and then we went to the new mini golf course right next to Snorkel Park. This really was the nicest mini golf I have ever seen, unfortunately it was way too hot and we baked out there. Upon our return to Bermuda we will definitely visit the course again BUT we will do it at night when the sun goes down. They were charging $15 per person.
Our last day in Bermuda my DH went to Port Royal Golf Course with a ship tour (he does this on every visit and raves about it) and I stayed on the ship and enjoyed a wonderful massage in the Spa. Ahhh!
The week seems to just fly by and before you know it you are packing up your cabin and filling out your customs form for disembarking. Though we took our sweet time eating breakfast and walking as slow as possible, we were off the ship and outside waiting for our ride by 9:30.