I sailed on the Breakaway with a group of 5 ages 18, 27, 30, 53 & 55 on the August 18th sailing to Bermuda. Prior to sailing, I kept up with ALL reviews posted on this site. To start, this is freestyle cruising. Not "wing it" cruising. I took all negative comments seriously and to avoid possible headaches, I made ALL of my upgrade restaurant and show reservations prior to sailing to GUARANTEE my dinners for the times I wanted. I felt the hour I spent on the phone with the staff to prebook everything in advance took away the stress of doing it after I boarded the ship. If you wait, be prepared to wait in line or not be guaranteed a seat at the restaurant or shows you would like to enjoy. I also prebooked my excursions. All a time saver. This way you can board the ship, set up your account and that's your only worry. I preordered ship cocktail to the room and chocolate covered strawberries which were there waiting for us and very tasty.
Embankment-A breeze! I live 5 mins from the city and the ride in was smooth. We dropped off our luggage, grabbed breakfast that was available for sale there and waited to be called to board. We arrived early because I wanted to purchase Vibe passes. I was the second group to board the ship and the Vibe passes were already sold out. That wasn't something I was able to prebook in advance unfortunately. There was staff outside the ship greeting us as we got on and they were very happy, dancing, clapping, leaving my feeling welcomed and ready for a great trip.
Once we arrived, we went up for lunch at O'Sheehans which had no wait and plenty of seats and good food. Our rooms were ready right after. We did attend the mandatory safety drill which was a joke, but I guess it was necessary.
Rooms- I stayed in a BA balcony on level 11. The room was beautiful with lots of storage under the bed for our suitcases to go. Lots of shelving in the closet. Wasn't enough hangers, but we called and asked for more and they immediately brought us more. The fridge came stocked, however, we asked to have the items removed to avoid extra charges if a item went missing. The balcony was small, but served its purpose to sit out with coffee and wine. The bathroom was very spacious! Lots more storage for toiletries. The shower was stand up and large with a bar for woman to use to shave.
Restaurants- I ate at Taste, Savor, the buffet, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Cagneys, Tappanyaki and Moderno. All were awesome and I'm happy I chose to enhance my experience by doing the upgrades. If I couldn't finish a meal or was too full for desert, they would be happy to send to to my room for me to enjoy at a later time.
Pool/Slides/Spice H2O- I'm not one for crowds so I listened to peoples complaints about lack of lounge chairs. I went straight to Spice h2o and they never ran out of lounge chairs. The drink servers kept coming with drinks, very attentive staff in spice, ever misting people with spray bottles to help keep cool. There is no pool in spice, but a great waterfall feature to hang out at as well as Luke warm hot tubs. The kiddie pool area did have lots of families with children there so I avoided that area altogether. It was also very slippery there so be careful walking. The slides had lines, so I found the best time to try those repeatedly was during the day while in port at Bermuda. No lines then! The slides were a lot of fun!
The casino was nice. I am also a nonsmoker, and the casino smoke didn't seem to bother me at all. Actually I was never bothered once on the ship.
Room service- good selection and they were always on time.
Ice bar- $20 cover, can only book on the ship, get two vodka drinks with entry. They also have non alcoholic drinks available and yes, children are welcome to experience this as well.
Staff- went above and beyond and work extremely hard. I did tip extra on the excellent service I received nonstop. Except at taste and savor. Food was worth the wait, but service was slow. They were always smiling and greeting us as we walked by.
Fire and Ice- A must see especially the Michael Jackson tribute.
Second city shows were also enjoyable.
The waterfront- beautiful. Bars, seating, music scattered, optional outdoor restaurant seating
Game room was cool, but don't leave children unattended because playing the games might rack up money quickly on your account.
Bermuda was beautiful! I had the best time there! The natives are helpful and friendly and highly recommend a privat island tour in a taxi. The busses and ferries, although convenient, can get crowded and uncomfortable. Being docked there for 3 days was great because you can come and go as often as you like and that process itself was unbelievably easy. They sell 1,2 and 3 day unlimited bus and ferry tickets when you get through the customs area.
Disembarkment- Piece of cake!
Overall, I loved this ship, the food, entertainment, staff, Bermuda and the whole experience. I think people need to stop complaining and consider prebooking as much as possible prior to sailing. Also, the lack of chairs situations, wake up earlier, set up your room service the night before, get up and get ready to grab your chairs. Spice h20 is the way to go though. This ship deserves way better reviews and ratings than what it has been getting probably by over cynical people. Read all reviews, both good and bad and piece together how to make your vacation less stressful and very enjoyable. Happy sailing!