We had planned a trip out West starting in California and ending up in Arizona, but our trave agent had recently returned from a cruise to Bermuda on NCL's Breakaway out of NYC and said it was fabulous. We normally get suites since we travel with three families and normally have at least 11 kids with us. From the outside the ship was magnifcent althought the inside looked like this new ship had been around for at least 5+ years. They must have been experiencing some sort of sanitation issue because at times the hallways smelled like a septic tank.
We have travelled on Royal Carribean and they seem to have things a bit more organized. Instructions and information were difficult to come by. It was nearly impossible to get dinner reservations and once we did they changed the show times that we had scheduled and sent us a message on our tv set. When we travel we try and enjoy the trip and not watch tv so we missed the message and when we went to guest services they basically acted like it was no big deal. They did have the box office manager call me once I asked to speak to a Manager and when she left two messages in the room I called her back and she acted like I should have been waiting on her call. Again, we did not plan on staying in the rooms waiting on a call. The staff with the exception of the entertainment crew lacked training in customer service or more likely were overworked since the ship is so crowded.
The food in the specialty retaurants where an upchage is required was good, but the buffet was pretty bad. In fact even our kids did not want to eat at the buffet. With lots of kids under the age of twelve, they ironically ran out of ice cream cones on the 4th day?? That did not make for happy kids in our group, but maybe it was just a strategy to get them to spend more money in the kids arcade. Be careful, before you know it your kids will rack up hundreds of dollars in arcade charges.
The cleaning crew was fair at best. This might be due to the fact that tipping was not optional and was automatically included on the bill as a daily service charge. It seemed like we were always chasing down towels and asking them to pick up dirty plates and cups. The beach towels are a joke, our stewart had not left us any towels and when we went to get some by the pool they wanted $25 deposit on the towels. Where are the towels going to go, overboard. If they are so concerned with towel thefts they should just use white towels. I could care less about having a beach towel that says NCL. I went to fill in a guest questionaiire and they did not have any. All they had were cruise hero nomination forms. They said to got to the website, but I could not find it there either. Speaking of internet use, the internet for such a new ship is awful and awfuly expensive, even the system would go down in the casino and we had to wait to get cash?? As slow as it is you spend all of your minutes waiting and running out of pre paid minutes before you connect. I had decided to use the laundry service and select express sefvie to be back by 6 pm the same day, but had to call the next morning when they never showed up. One of my shirts came back with a bleach stain as well.
On a high note, the entertainment was very good, the Rock of Ages and Cirque shows were suprisingly very good. The only show that was disapointing was the hyped up magician. We kept waiting for the show to get interesting and it never did. Don't waste you time on bingo or Deal or No Deal, the payouts are awful if you can even win. Long and short of it, it would have been a much more enjoyable trip for our group and even the staff, if the ship was not so over crowded. Might be worthwhile to send the Managers to some sort of Ritz Carlton traing to teach them and the staff the benefits of professional and courteus customer service.
Good luck getting into the specialty restaurants, on the ropes course, a treadmill, the water slides, pool, or for that matter a lawn chair unless you get there at 6 am. I will continue to cruise but NCL will not be my line of choice.