We were concerned about the many negative reviews of the Breakaway and considered cancelling BUT we are glad we didn't. Two adults on our 16th cruise but first time on NCL - no children.
EMBARKATION: as easy and simple as reviewers have noted. Just have your papers, passports and all ID's ready. We breezed on board.
DISEMBARKATION: about as easy as previously reviewed. We waited until about 9:30 and let the majority leave ahead of us so we avoided the initial crowds. Access to taxis and cars seemed simple. We are NYers do transport was not an issue.
ROOM: 5th deck - forward room 5455 was perfect for us. Excellent access to stairs and elevators - never an issue getting an elevator on this deck. easy walk upstairs one floor to main deck and meals etc. Excellent location on a corner - ultra quiet at night and rarely any corridor noise/traffic. Room much larger than expected - loads of shelves and cubby holes to place items. Empty luggage firs under bed. Large bath facility - we were happy with size. Room clean up was complete and excellent daily. Our stateroom attendant was around almost all the time.
FOOD: We eat earlier so we never seemed to wait for anything. Often, we kept say WHERE IS EVERYONE? We were in gym at 6am daily ant then at Garden Cafe for breakfast by 7:15 - never busy then (except last day for disembarkation) Much more variety than necessary from Omelet and fresh egg station to all breakfast meats, pancakes, waffles, potatoes, sides, poached eggs, eggs Benedict, variety of cereals, yogurts, oatmeal, grits, biscuits & gravy, fruits and a large variety of breakfast breads, muffins etc. I can't think of anything else that anyone could want. And the quality was just fine.
GARDEN CAFE: we also ate there at times for lunch and dinner. Again, easy in and out. Buffet counters are split up for passenger convenience - usually a carving station, soups, Asian station, Chicken dishes of many cultures, fruits and veggies or all types, sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, chicken tenders etc and one night delicious seafood chowder and also lobster tails - yum - and no limit - and again - no wait on line.
Also tried the Garden Grill one flight up for delicious sandwiches made to order. Seems a little knows secret - but stop by and check out their food.
Overall we were very happy with the Garden Cafe and found the food quite good. I read many reviews critical to the food but we were happy/ After all, how delicious does tuna fish salad have to be?
MANHATTAN ROOM, TASTE and SAVOR: Ate dinner early a few nights. No wait. No reservation. We were always seated by a ships window - because we arrived at the opening - 5:30 or whenever. We found the variety and quality of food just fine and the service was prompt and friendly. We were always out within the hour and did notice lines waiting to be seated. Pays to arrive early - if you can. We did lunch at Taste and at Savor and that was just fine.
We ate at LE BRISTRO - french - it was fantastic. no wait..excellent service and exquisite cuisine - escargot (snails) in butter, garlic and wine then french onion soup followed by chicken coq au vin and to top it off a chocolate Napolian style dessert that was off the charts. Also, we tried MODERNO - Brazilian cuisine - again no wait - excellent service and delicious food. One suggestion, COME HUNGRY, to this place. The delicious food is endless and you don't want to miss any of it.
O'SHEEANS PUB - nice place with typical pub food. WE disliked the corned beef - to chewy and fatty. Can't understand how a chef can serve such poor beef. No pride in that dish. Excellent wings, burgers and a delicious surprise is their chicken pot pie. Try that for lunch. BEST of teh PUB look on the menu and order the free vanilla hot brownie sundae with syrup. OMG - to die for --tastes like a chocolate souffle. DON'T leave the ship without savoring one or several of those free sundaes. A delicious lunch - in itself.
We didn't try the other premium restaurants.
We saw Rock of Ages, the magician and the Second City - all excellent - BUT Rock of Ages is for adults or mature teens.
POOLS: what can I say - crowded as expected. That's were all the people were. We are not pool people so we didn't spend too much time there. Often, too many people in the pool and just standing there. No room to enjoy it - except cool off. Not our cruise enjoyment.
CASINO: we liked it - even won money. Not as smokey as previously described. I have some lung issues and never felt uncomfortable there.
ATRIUM LOBBY : 2 decks high with a huge movie screen - CON: why do they need to blast the volume of the screen presentations? Volume is way too loud. We tried to voice a complaint to guest services on the same deck but she couldn't hear us - why?..she said the volume was too loud. go figure/
CONS: too many stupid people starting fights and arguments over saved pool deck chairs and saved seats in the main theater. Maybe they need more security present.
WATERFRONT: we loved this idea. Very comfy and the staff are excellent.
SUPERVISION: We encountered supervisors, minor and higher level ships offices frequently around the ship. We were often stopped and asked out opinions of things and supervision seems interested in hearing passengers responses.
BERMUDA: Is another world. We have been there many times before - but first time cruising there. We know the lay of the land and rented a large scooter to travel about. We know the roads, the drivers and the dangers and are comfortable - BUT we would never recommend anyone unfamiliar with the island and British driving habits NOT rent a scooter.
OVERALL: we were very happy and impressed with our cruise.
We had been very concerned about earlier reviews and concluded that maybe NCL paid attention and addressed many of them. We would definitely do this again. We cant speak for the teens and other kids experiences. We did encounter parents who seemed happy with their kids' experiences.
MUST DOs: Listen in on the music in FAT CATS - excellent. And no pressure inside to spend money. Explore the WATERFRONT - especially a drink at MALTINGS. The dueling pianos at HOWL at the MOON. Listen to the live performances in the Atrium - we heard - tributes to Whitney Houston, Motown, Michael Jackson and Tine Turner - absolutely excellent. Also, if you visit Horseshoe Bay beach then pay the $2 for the cab ride up the hill to the bus stop. Don't try to walk up after a day in the sun. Just a suggestion.
One last MUST DO : Take your time and enjoy yourselves. Don't rush. Enjoy watching the ocean with someone special and share a glass of wine or coffee.