Just got back from a one week cruise on the Breakaway. This was our thirteenth cruise on six different cruise lines, five of which were RCCL and this, our third Norwegian Cruise. We sailed on the Gem last year and loved it so much we booked the Jewel six months later and thoroughtly enjoyed that ship also. Naturally we were curious about the Breakaway and just got back. I must say, Norwegian MISSED THE MARK when they designed this ship. We were told the ship was at 80% capacity and we were hard pressed to find a decent, comfortable quiet place to relax, read and enjoy the ride down. It was also had to get away from the smokers, they seemed to be everywhere.
Service was poor and slow in the dining rooms. No friendly conversation. The wait staff seemed overwhelmed with their duties. Despite having reservations (there were 13 in our party), you have to wait in a long line to get into the Manhattan room and on two evenings they didn't even have a suitable table for our group. I had to get a manager one night to make them understand that we weren't going to crowd 13 people at a table for 10. You get the impression that they are urging you to go visit the pay restaurants with the downsized menus and poor slow service. What blew my mind was lobster tail night. Lobster tails were NOT served in the dining room on formal night because we were told it backed up the dining room too much. They are only served in the buffet on formal night and this is not widely publicized. Plus, you stand in a long line and they will only give you two SMALL half tails per visit. If you want more, go to the back of the line. I have never experienced this on any other cruise line or ship. Another negative with the Manhattan room is the long line to get in is ad odds with the folks leaving the dining room. The entrance way is very narrow and often backed up into the elevator area.
Usual events such as trivia, name that tune etc. are held in areas that are way too small to accomodate the attendees so you find yourself standing. And where are you standing? In the narrow corridors where people are trying to get through. Norwegians attempt at bringing in extra chairs and closing off corridor doors to redirect the flow of traffic don't even come close to solving the problem.
Gone are the comfortable desk chairs outside. They have been replaced by the Waterfront for the most part. The Waterfront is an outdoor extension of bars and restaurants with wooden bar stools, tall tables and steel fences. Nice idea but I don't appreciate sitting on a hard wooden bar stool when I want to read a bood, especially when they pipe in loud piano music from inside or have a TV blasting a sporting event. If I want to listen to the piano man, I'll go inside. This is not friendly for those that like to relax outdoors and enjoy the ride. And speaking of outdoors, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BALCONY? Our balcony was so narrow, the person sitting in the doorway had to stand up to allow another person to pass through to get to the other chair. Bad design. The rooms was in face larger I felt as was the bathroom but it came at the expense of a much narrow balcony and much narrow hallway. Often you had to duck into a doorway to allow someone else to pass because there was much less room in the hallways.
The ship is not very friendly for the disabled as thee narrow corridors and many bottlenecks on the decks make manevering difficult.
I could go on but you get the picture and many other issues are discussed in the other reviews. Yes the ship had some positive aspects, but in my opinion there were too many negatives to give it a good rating. We will NOT be sailing on the Breakaway again.