We are a newlywed couple that has traveled on 14 NCL cruises. Our most recent was the Breakaway which departed 9/1/13 to Bermuda. We wanted to try the newest ship. We have been on the Gem, Spirit, Epic and Dawn several times. This by far was the most disappointing.
Cabin: we have have window rooms to penthouses/ owners suites and decided to go with a mini suite this time. The bathroom was a nice surprise with double sinks and a large shower stall. Room was just big enough for the 2 of us. Balcony was larger than the normal. 2 lounge chairs, little table and 2 chairs fit perfectly with room.
Food: the one thing I don't love about NCL is that you pay extra for food served in specialty restaurants. In most cases it seems as though they are taking food from the buffet. Only difference is you have to pay!
We enjoyed the TEPPANYAKI. Food was great, cooked in front of you with a little show that was entertaining. Well worth it! We didn't even make a reservation. That night we decided to try whatever had an opening and surprisingly they had no wait time!
LE BISTRO- very good. Amazing service. Our waiter was Ronie. He was the best waiter on the ship! He let us order whatever we wanted, even if we didn't like what we chose. Escargot was great. Lobster was OK. Scallops were very good. Cream puffs were amazing!
OCEAN BLUE- if you don't mind paying $50 per person for very salty food....go for it! Wait staff was very attentive. Mussels were very good. Did not enjoy the fried chic pea salad. The risotto and crab meat dinner with olive oil was way too salty and drenched in way too much olive oil to enjoy.
Did not like that it is only 3 small courses and you pay EXTRA for an extra starter. We did not have this issue is any other specialty restaurant.
CHURRASCARIA- I'm not a huge meat eater. I always try to stay away from the meat on the ship unless it is served in Cagneys. It seems like low grade meat to me. The only decent thing was the chicken wrapped in bacon and the sides. The salad bar was nothing fancy, felt like I was in the buffet. The first night, our table got a free bottle of wine. I believe every specialty restaurant did this on the first night.
CAGNEYS- the best dinner on the ship. Steak was cooked perfectly. Sides were good. Stay away from the mac and cheese...buffet food. Oreo cheese cake was good.
SAVOR- we went on the last night as a group of 15. They told us they would accommodate us, but when we showed up they didn't want to. Wait service was horrible! We normally ate at 8pm. We decided to do an early dinner to take advantage of the night life. Sat down at 5:45 and didn't leave until 9pm! All of us were served at different times. Waiter was very confused. He messed up orders with specific food allergies. My dinner came out last when people were already finished eating! Chicken was not good. Had a piece of broccoli and mashed potatoes for dinner!
BARS- there were plenty of bars on the ship. Service was great.
ICE BAR- best experience! We were nervous that is was really going to be freezing, but for someone who is always cold- it was great! They give you tiny gloves and a pullover with a hood. It's kind of like going into a meat locker with ice sculptures and benches made of ice. For $20 you get 2 per made drinks of choice. There are about 5 to choose from (with svedka). Broadway dreams was the best drink! If you are really nice to them and having a good time, you may get an extra drink if you ask nicely. Drinks are served in an ice glass! Definitely worth it if you are with a fun group!
Cigar lounge- my husband smokes cigars. This was the worst cigar bar on all the ships. Very tiny and the ventilation was broken the entire trip! One night they had to leave the outdoor door open to let the smoke out. They had to let guests some in the seats on the deck right outside the room another night.
My husband was very dissapointed because on all other ships he smoked outside next to cigarette smokers. They yelled at him on deck 8 for smoking when nobody was around! Even yelled at him when he was holding it not lit!
There is a $250 fine if you are caught smoking a cigar on your balcony as well. It was pretty much useless for us to get a balcony room!
I understand that the smell can be a little overwhelming, but so is cigarette smoke! And they allow that in the casino inside!
STAFF- aside from the piece of paper saying that we had a concierge for our trip, we never met him or her. That paper was so tiny, I think it got thrown out the first day with all the papers they throw at you. VERY dissapointed. That is a service that is provided to us for a reason. We are both under the age of 30 and decided to take 14 cruises with NCL exclusively. We have reached the Platinum latitudes level. The only perk we see is the free dinners with wine at a specialty restaurant. That's pretty much it!
Servers in Osheeans on the last night were sooooooo rude! Orders were taking too long. Asked twice for a diet coke.... Tried to ignore us as they walked into the kitchen!!!!!! Pretended not to hear us as she bad mouthed us under her breath to a co worker and rolled her eyes when we continued to say "excuse me".... Continued to roll her eyes and walk away when asking for something. She was even dressed in the blue...which I'm assuming is a supervisor in the restaurant. Would not expect that service from NCL.
Our room steward was Anthony. Poor service. We returned to our cabin one night after turn down service and noticed garbage in the sink, a towel thrown on the toilet and a beach towel thrown under the toilet.... That I purposely left with the bath towels to get replaced. He wanted us to reuse the dirty towel that he threw under the toilet! Gross! There was garbage dumped on the floor under the vanity that was not picked up until 3 days later!
Our room came with 4 towels. We were told that if 2 were missing there would be a $25 charge for each! Who wants a towel with stains all over them anyway????! Anthony said not to worry about the charge in case we lost one. Well... We assumed he would replace the towels we used....we were wrong. He told us to walk to the pool deck and ask for them.......once I got there I was told to ask our room steward! So I go back with no towels and tell Athony that we needed 4 fresh towels. He of course said that wasn't his job! Then wanted us to thank him a million times when he replaced only 3 towels. Long story short, we had 3 towels for the remainder of the trip bc Anthony would not replace them and you can only get them on the pool deck if you return the same number of towels.
When we told our friend who we were traveling with, who was on deck 13 about our troubles, he told his steward to mentor Anthony. Of course a supervisor ended up getting involved. The next day I get a phone call in the room. I was alone. It was Anthony. He said he needed to talk to me! I'm shaking at this point. He said "is there a problem?!" Rolling his eyes at me like he couldn't believe I said something. " my supervisor just spoke with me, did I do something wrong??!" He should have never confronted me! Not professional at all. I am on vacation and don't want to be bothered with this nonsense.
My friend approached Anthony after hearing that he just confronted me without my husband there and told him there must be a misunderstanding and to do his best for us. This must have scared Anthony bc he tried a little harder to be our friend....but it was too late for that.
COMMON AREAS- comparable to the Epic. Same set up. Pool is way too small for over 4k passengers. Finding a lounge chair wasn't a huge issue like on other ships. Carlos Bakery was a treat. Veryyyy tiny though.
Always felt crowded!
Loved the decor on the ship. Got so tired of the tacky fish carpets on all other NCL ships!
Loved the promenade on the 8th deck. Wish all ships had that.
We chose to relax and not feel like we had to book everything on this trip. We didn't like that you had to reserve seats to everything that was free. That deterred us from trying to see shows.
Since we went to Bermuda several times, my husband played golf one day...brought his clubs with him...and we wnent to Horseshoe bay beach another day. It was beautiful! Took a taxi there. Ride was fun.
Overall experience- if it wasn't for the group of 13 that we spent most of our time with, it would not have been as fun.
We will not be booking the Breakaway again. Possibly the Epic again, if we choose to continue with NCL. We are curious if the service/ food is better on other cruise lines.