Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by arizonafunandsun: Haven Family Trip Review
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Haven Family Trip Review
NYC port was surprisingly easy. Embarkation was quick, we were on the boat early but there was nothing to do. Everything was closed - slides, pools, spider, trampoline, and ropes course. They didn't open till at least 5:00 pm. Bars, lounges and restaurants understaffed. Haven Bar has one bar tender and one cocktail/bar back - not sufficient for the 50+ people some just trying to get a glass of water as there isn't a beverage station anywhere near the Haven. On other days they set out a canister of water and coffee in the pool area but they did not do this the 1st day when everyone was actually in the pool/lounge area.
Leaving NY - there is no Embarkation party. Very disappointing. Many people go up to the Sundeck which is beautiful. There is not adequate service up there- try to order extras beverages at the lounge if you are luck enough to get up to the bar.
The rooms are great - every detail well thought out. We were in a family suite - the second bedroom is bigger More than on the Epic and while tight you can walk to the bathroom when the bed is pulled out. The Master bathroom is spectacular. The balcony is the smallest we've ever had even when we were in a non-Suite room.
The Shows and the other ship talent are the best we've ever seen. While I reluctantly attended the Nickelodeon Breakfast I was pleasantly surprised how fun it was. The cast of Burn the Floor dances with the characters - well worth the time and extra $.
We also attended the dance classes which are taught by the Burn the Floor cast - that was fun too! It was really fun to see different show cast members appearing at Fat Cats, the Piano by the Martini Bar and at Howl at the Moon.
The sports complex is really cool - but good luck trying to actually experience it - its completely understaffed and that means 1/2 of it is closed at all times. If you have a 4-6 year old kid try really hard to get them on the trampoline as they are too small for the ropes course. The mini ropes course is a joke for that age group. It will be hard to get on the trampoline because they don't have enough staff to have it open very much so be diligent. If you want to do the trampoline you need to be there 10 minutes before it opens and be one of the 1st 15 or so people or you will not be allowed on during those 2 hr. windows. Then be prepared to wait with your kids -like up to 2 hrs. We were one of the few that got to go on the Spider/slide Trampoline and my kids say that was their favorite part of the ship. (Note - The slide is boring because it curves too much and has no drop - the kids have to push themselves down it - but the spider part is fun!) It wasn't a very relaxing wait in the hot sun - there is no water in the sports area - go figure. So either have it with you or have someone bring it to you. You will also have to hear the staff deal with a ton of frustrated parents during your whole wait and you will agree with those parents but its not the environment you would like to have on vacation.
The sports complex was frustrating to me as a Mom. Check the schedule - ok its open - change closes to appropriate attire - go there - oh they have closed the lines as they are too long. Ok haul the family back to the room change into swim suits - pools too crowded. Slides not open - when open long lines. Oh the climbing wall has a short line --hurry, hurry, quick go back to the room - change again!! On top of it all many times the venues would close 1/2 way through the scheduled open time. Many people thought you could get there an hour before closing and get in line - that was not the case. If the ropes course is open for a few hours you need to be there at the start time or they will not let you on. Again be prepared to wait in line. I love waiting in line when I'm on vacation!
The waterslides are fun - the floor dropping out slide should not be missed. No jewelry is allowed including wedding bands. Kids have to be a certain height and I think 100 lbs. After the drop the slide goes up and if the person is too light they will not make it up and around the curve - that's why they have to be 100 lbs.
Ropes course is fun - again you will spend a lot of your vacation standing in line - this is because they are understaffed and it is only open during select hours.
Haven Water fountain - I can't call something with 6 inches of water in it a pool. All I can say is what a waste of space. 4 chairs take up 2/3 of the "pool" and the other section is 4 feet by 12 feet and about 4 feet deep. There are also 2 whirlpools - it is enclosed and feels a bit like a "Holidome" in the Midwest but overall relaxing.
The Haven Sundeck - it's wonderful but it's so far from the downstairs bar that it takes forever to get anything up there (including water/soda etc.). There is no water up there you have to go to the bar downstairs to get anything as it is so poorly staffed. It would be the perfect place to have some appetizers but they don't seem to have any on the menu other than French fry/onion rings. One day we raided the garden cafe (very long walk)and brought it up there. It was great.
Lunch at the Haven pool - hope you have lots of time.... again understaffed and logistically too far from the restaurant.
Dinner/breakfast in the Haven - it was good - handy - matre de was great.
Concierge - very good. Shows are great! All entertainment was great! All classes were fun too!
Bermuda - Wonderful beaches!! Local Bus was easy and friendly. Nice to talk to the locals. We also did the Rising Son - it was alright - kids had fun - it's more of a boat ride to a shallow cove than a snorkeling trip. That being said we all tried the paddle board they had and that was interesting. There is a cave that the kids thought was cool. The other snorkeling excursion boat goes there too. We liked the light house and had fun beach hopping! There is some snorkeling from Elbow beach.
Waterfront - looks fun but the smelly smokers won out.
Main Stairway - that whole area smells - in the morning its of stale cigarette smoke and in the evening just clouds of cigarette smoke.
Cupcakes - you have to hunt to find them - very limited hours when you do. There are no Cake Boss Cupcake decorating classes like Norwegian likes to advertise. These are basically frozen cupcakes that are sold in a window.
Mainroom dining - I love that space - very glamorous - understaffed - no surprise right....
Walking to Haven - Be prepared for very narrow passages. You have to navigate a sea of sun chairs on your way to the Haven. Because they have jammed so many people on this ship the walk ways are literally 1 1/2 -2 feet wide. Wear your flip flops or you will burn you toes waiting to get through the traffic jams. At first I thought that guest had moved these sun chairs but later realized that's how Norwegian has them set up... unbelievable - imagine if there was an emergency. Wouldn't pass fire code in the US.
Overall I would not recommend this ship - unless Norwegian turns some of those guest rooms into staff rooms. There are too many guests - not enough staff even in the Haven. This creates stress on every level which is not what most people want on their vacation. Skip the Breakaway - go on the Epic that's a great ship or better yet come to Arizona! We have great resorts fully staffed - no lines!!!
PS - Newark Airport - beware that while security line looks short it may take up to 2 hours to navigate. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Gibb's Hill Lighthouse
Fun boat ride - nice shallow bay for kids to swim in - snorkeling was not good.