11/17/2013 Breakaway sailing to Bahamas - partner & I have cruised several times on most of the larger cruise lines. Probably 4th or 5th on NCL. I've been researching, reading reviews since the Breakaway started and originally was hesitant. But as the summer/fall went along, the reviews got better. Overall, I did enjoy the cruise - although I have had better NCL cruises.
Cabin 11912 - Aft Balcony. Great cabin with plenty of room. Very large balcony - I enjoyed sleeping out there a few nights. Had a chair and 2 recliners. Never really had an issue with ship exhaust - some people reviewed about it, but I never smelt/saw anything. Pretty good view also to watch the fireworks off the back of the ship and didn't have to worry about finding a place up top. Cabin steward was very good about attending to room at various times.
Ship - thought the overall decor of the ship was very nice, not the usual gawdy stuff on some of the ships. My biggest complaint about the ship itself was there was no deck you can walk around the entire ship. Most of the other cruise ships, you can walk around the entire ship on Deck 8 or so. The running/jogging track on Deck 16 is very inadequate if you want to walk and get a little excercise. I never found the ship crowded - unless of course a show was getting out or something like that.
Food/Restaurants - Ate a few times and Taste and Savor and enjoyed our meals a lot. Service was also very good at both. Ate in Manhattan Room, once for dinner and once alone at breakfast. Service was horrendously slow, although the entertainment at night was a nice touch. Also at at Le Bistro and Cagney's. Both were worth the additional cost and meals & service were great.
Activities/Entertainment - Lots of places to go, things to do like trivia. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but did meet/talk with many people during these times and had a lot of fun. Saw the Cirque Dinner show the first night (reduced price) and it was a great show. I think dinner actually gets in the way, but dinner was good too. Rock of Ages show was great. People reviewed about the uncomfortable seats in the theater - YES, they are. Gotta kind of sit forward to avoid sitting on a bar. Enjoyed Bliss a few nights of disco or karaoke.
Casino - spent some time there. Yes, it is smoky. But like any casino. They could do better with ventilation you would think. But expected it. I can see how non-smokers (which I am) would be bothered by the smoke as it does permeate up to Deck 8 and down to Deck 6.
Overall experience was favorable. I give this a 4, although I've had 5's on other NCL cruises. Those cruises beat out by better overall service from staff. Many here were friendly and helpful and eager to please. Other cruises seemed like everyone went out of there way to please.
Biggest disappointment - it was foggy when we left. Could not see 5 feet off the ship and missed the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan Skyline and Verrazano Bridge. Oh well. Also remember if you sail out of New York in Nov - Feb, you will miss an outside day when leaving and miss an outside day when sailing back because of the weather. Lots to do inside, but still you lose outside days.
Almost forgot - Unlimited Beverage Package. If you are a drinker to moderation or more, the UB Package is a great deal. It includes almost all liquors, beers & wine, plus soda/water/juice/coffees. For 2 of us, it cost about $800 for the week. We did save our receipts throughout the cruise, because many times we'd leave an additional tip for some very attentive waiters. Totaled up all our receipts when home and saved over $800 doing the UB Package. Now that's a great deal!