We sailed on the Breakaway at the end of September. We had a wonderful time!
I was worried after reading every review since it’s first sailing but was pleasantly surprised that this wonderful crew has taken feedback from customers and are constantly improving to make our experience better. I must be honest. The thought crossed my mind to cancel after so many complaining reviews. I am so glad I didn’t! I would sail breakaway again in a heartbeat! So don’t let others reviews scare you into cancelling your sailing of this beautiful ship. No vacation is absolutely perfect in every way for 7 days straight. But this is pretty darn close.
We are in our late 30’s traveling with two children and a group of 11 people, various ages. There weren't a ton of kids on this ship since school was back in session. There were on the other hand a nice mixed age variation. It was enjoyable with something for everyone.
Here are a couple things I was especially concerned about prior to the cruise. Here is my feedback regarding these issues.
SMOKE SMELL: The thing that I was most concerned about was the smoke smell. After experiencing it, I would like to share our experience. The smell is NOT throughout the ship like some have over exaggerated. But it is very heavy and downright gross in the casino. Overall we avoided walking through the 7th level where the casino was. Unfortunately the Bliss Lounge is off the casino so we had to walk through it to get to that area. Thankfully once you get in there we couldn’t smell the smoke. The other area we were bothered by the smoke was the noodle bar. We really enjoyed the food there but the smoke smell shortened our visit and kept us from visiting again. There were a few times you could smell it in O’shehans and the atrium but even at peak times it was not very strong and didn’t deter us from enjoying those areas.
STATEROOMS: Yes it was tight but that was our expectation. We were still able to unpack completely and store our suitcases under the bed. The bathroom is a generous size compared to other ships. The other concern I had was the noise from other cabins. I am a very light sleeper and was really concerned about this. I have to testify that I never ever heard anything from any other cabins or floors. It was a very quiet cabin. Our stateroom steward was outstanding and so kind.
CROWDS: I was very concerned about this because who wants to feel crowded on vacation. We never felt this way. There were only about 3800 people on this sailing and it didn’t seem like very many at all. We never had to wait long for an elevator. (And BTW they are in great locations and are sufficient for this ship) Always there were chairs around the pool available. It definitely doesn't feel like the 5th largest ship in the world.
SAFETY: Some reviews questioned the safety of this crew. We found the opposite. Yes, the muster drill is quick, maybe 5 minutes once they get everybody in. But not much needs to be covered except where to meet and how to put the life jacket on. On the other hand when the passengers are off discovering Bermuda the crew went through a very thorough safety and evacuation drills. Lowering every life boat and much more. Actually the most prepared crew I have seen yet. This captain is very careful and safe.
DINING: I will definitely be sailing on this ship again. But, I will get the specialty dining package next time. (When you login into myNCL there is a email they send to you ahead of time offering 3 dinners for like $53 or something similar) This would have really enriched my vacation. I am a bit of a foodie and found the included dining options just ok and a bit disappointing.
Must DO’s: Our favorite onboard activities: Margarita Tasting - This was super fun and they are very generous with the drinks. You get 5 margaritas for $15 plus some extra tequila shots. Great deal and Great Fun! They also have a mojito tasting that we got 4 Mojitos for $15 and a martini tasting that we missedâ˜¹.
We also loved the Dancing with the Breakaway Stars held in the atrium. It was absolutely hilarious! The atrium was a fun place to have activities held. When they ran out of chairs, they would bring some in and try to accommodate as much as possible. This cruise director “Dan the Man” was absolutely awesome. His staff is hilarious!
Ultimately the aspect that brings me back to this is ship is the entertainment. It is really the best at sea! I’ve been on many sailings and this is really the best ever entertainment! Every night was top notch Broadway entertainment. We were sad to miss Slam Allen on this sailing but we loved Fire and Ice. In fact I wish we would have attended more of the showings of them. Couldn’t get enough of her. She did an amazing tribute to Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Tina Turner.
BERMUDA: We purchased the three day ferry/bus passes for $35 each. Others thought it was a value, but I did not. It just depends on how much you want to travel the island. It would have saved us a lot of money to just pay per ride. We just did a few beaches and Kings Wharf. We had a strong storm the 2nd day so we got dumped on with rain at the beach and dripping wet coming back to the ship. I thought Bermuda was clean and had some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It was nice to see but not sure we would go back anytime soon. Kind of stuffy and expensive. I personally enjoyed the beauty and festivities of Cabo better. I was primarily on this cruise for the ship not the port.
QUICK TIP: When disembarking in NYC after your cruise you don't have to cross over that busy road and catch a cab with everybody else. As you come out of the terminal and before you cross the street, look to your right and there is a really large elevator that will take you up to the arrivals area. There you will see all the people getting out of the taxi's to get on the ship. You can grab one of those taxis really easily and off you go. No waiting with a thousand people in the middle of a busy street.
The ship’s employees were so friendly. They work so hard, especially the hardworking people in the buffet. This crew really does want immediate feedback if there is a problem. Many times throughout the cruise the heads of departments offered their personal numbers to contact them if there were any problems. (Something you won't see on RCL) So I say skip guest services who weren't all that friendly anyway and talk to the department head if you have a big problem. We didn't need to of course but I have never seen such a crew that really cares to change something if it’s not just right for you.
This ship is absolutely beautiful down to every last detail. They did NOT skimp on the décor. I really enjoyed seeing the attention to detail in all the public areas. Even the wall paper in the bathroom stalls was cool. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the attention to detail that was put into this beautiful new ship.
Enjoy your vacation! We sure did!