What a contradiction in different aspects of this cruise. Like the little girl who was some times very, very good and at other times very, very bad, the Breakaway presented many faces in so many different places. I’ve sail over thirty times on several different lines. On this trip, we experience the best and the worst. I’ll try to point these out in the following:
Embarkation – Easy drop off and unloading of luggage. The lines inside moved rapidly and the staff was polite and knowledgeable. It took about 45 minutes from exiting the car to boarding the ship. Since we had no special boarding perk with this cruise line, I think it went rather well.
Initial impression of the ship – She is new so therefore there was little in disrepair. The colors were much more muted than on the other NCL ships that we’ve been on. The décor was very pleasing to the eye. She looked good.
Our cabin – The room was well appointed in the usual ship fare. The bed was comfortable. The sofa was not. The bathroom was ok and the shower was larger than on most ships. Nice!
Our balcony – OK there was a balcony – it had to be the smallest I’ve ever seen - Just able to fit two chairs and a 10”X10” table.
The atrium – Great BIG screen; Limited but good seating; and viewing access from the next level, and lots of action.
The casino – Almost all tables were $10 min. Friendly and personable dealers. Many penny slots. Well run slot and blackjack tournaments. Layout was good but all too many smokers.
Dining options – We did use the specialty dining rooms.
Breakfast – In the main dining room (Manhattan Room) it was hard to get a “shared” table. Food arrived lukewarm. Eggs benedict were not overcooked as is the case on most other ships. After two visits with poor location seating, we visited the Garden Café (buffet) for the balance of the stay. There was a very good selection of foods and it was easy to find a table. There were other locations that we never got too.
Lunch – The Irish pub (You did not have to buy drinks) offered a sit down meal with table service. Went there three times and they had the same menu. I tried three meals and they were all good. The balance of the time we went to the buffet.
Diner – The ambiance of this room was great with all the wood but too many tables were in very bad locations. One night we requested a shared table and were seated at a table for six. Next to us were two other tables for six had four and two people seated, respectively. After about 15 minutes, the waiter came to us and told us there were no others joining us and we would be served at this table missing the four other spots. We excused ourselves and went to the Taste restaurant. Excellent food.
It should be noted that the wait service was exceptional and in the buffet the bus boy/girl kept the table free of used dishes. These people did a bang up job.
Many people enjoy the open seating concept but also love to share tables. It does not appear that the maitre d’ could understand nor do anything to provide this service.
If you are lucky enough to get a shared table in the Manhattan Room, you might have to suffer through some very loud music from the shows and diner music. Many people complained to no avail.
Entertainment – The Burn the Floor Dancers – we saw two shows and both were great. My wife loves good dancing and said that these were the best she has seen on her 33 cruises. The Rock of Ages Shows was very loud, very “rock”, and very sexually suggestive. All the other shows were of mediocre cruise ship quality.
Stateroom service – On every other cruise I’ve given an additional to the room steward. I’m very easy to please and appreciative of good service. This was not good service. Our room was not made up until mid afternoon and on two nights it was never turned down. He didn’t replace all our towels on three occasions. I will say that the room appeared clean.
Pool & sundeck – Much too small to handle this ship. There was a kid’s pool area and an adult pool. Lot’s of stuff for kids to do. AND THERE WE LOTS OF KIDS. Almost impossible to find a sunny location near the pool. You had to go up on the second level to get a sunny area and there was plenty of room. All the chairs were lounge chairs that were very low and did not have arms. It was very difficult, for me, to get into and out of these chairs.
Debarkation – Very smooth getting off, getting luggage, and getting picked up. (Just note people picking you up could be on the lower or upper ramp)