Hi everyone! So for Christmas 2013 my family had decided to try the NCL Breakaway. We were very hesitant booking this after reading the reviews but all in all we had a great time.
A little background information about me is that I am probably one of the youngest cruise reviewers. Being only 19 years old people may think I am a bit amateur to be writing a review but non the less, this was my 10th cruise within the past 7 years so I think I know what I'm talking about. I have cruised with RCL, NCL, Holland America, and Carnival.
We chose the Breakaway for its convenience of leaving from NYC because we are from CT. A short 2 hour car drive and parking right at the port, we thought we would be on the boat in no time. Wrong. We weren't allowed on the boat until 12:00 pm making us wait for nearly 2 hours. We normally leave from Florida and down there, you get on the boat almost instantly after getting your seapass card. And there are usually snacks and water if you have to wait. NYC was terrible, not enough seats for everybody to sit as they wait and no snacks or water provided. The Manhattan cruise terminal needs to work on this.
The boat was great. It was brand new to 2013. I've been on RCL Oasis of the Seas so it was pretty hard to find a boat that would even come close. The Breakaway still fell short compared to the Oasis though. Some of the ship highlights were the atrium areas between floors 6,7,8. This is where most of the activites happened and most people hung around at night because it was the center of the shops, casino, 24 hr restaurant, and stage and screen where movies were played and they had different shows. Bliss nightclub was fun after 11:00pm. Obviously I am young and after 11:00 was when the older crowd left and the younger crowd came in. Bliss needs more sitting areas though. The dance floor was nice and big but lacked on places to sit to take a break. Didn't gamble myself but others seemed to enjoy themselves at the casino. Gym was way too small to accommodate everyone. The way it was designed was that you were back and forth between a room of cardio machines and a room for weights. Not enough equipment and you were always waiting around to use a machine. Did not use spa.
Shows were good but I didn’t like how they made you reserve seats in advanced. Burn the Floor was very good and Rock of Ages was too. The comedy show was hilarious and I wanted to see it again but there weren’t any seats left for the showing. I think it should be first come first serve like most of the other boats. And they should have more show times. Some days we were forced to aimlessly walk around the boat after dinner because there was nothing else we could do.
Other perks of this boat were deck features including the ropes course. It actually proved challenging and the zipline at the end was a lot of fun. Did not use the rock climbing wall or mini golf but others said they were fun. Sadly didn't get the chance to use the water slides because lines were either way to long or it was too cold but they looked awesome and the people getting off sounded like they were a blast. But like the other reviews, NCL should have made the pool bigger to accommodate everyone who didn’t have the VIBE or Haven package. Hot tubs were also barely warm and the no kids in the hot tub rule didn’t apply.
The food was surprisingly good. Like I said earlier, we were hesitant with booking with NCL again because the last two times, the food was terrible. I was happy to see that they changed things around. Steak was on point every day. I must have consumed at least a pound of steak a day. Desserts were ok. The only thing I would recommend to NCL is to use less salt in their foods. A few days, my meals were so salty I could only eat a bite or two. Food was usually hot. The buffet was ok, I've had better on all other cruises. The dining rooms always had great service. With NCL being a freestyle cruise, I was nervous about getting proper service but they exceeded especially in the Manhattan Room. O’Sheehans was open 24/7 and it was great to have a late night snack after dancing all night in Bliss. Didn’t eat at any specialty restaurants but got sushi at the sushi bar and it was very good. The Carlos Bakery was a rip off and can barley fit 5 people in the store at a time.
My brother and I shared room 12100. This was an ocean view room in the front of the boat. It was really cool that we had a window that was facing the front of the boat. Awesome view of NYC before we left. Bad thing was that it was a long walk to stairs and elevator. Our room steward was great and was very pleasant and cheerful. There was a lack in storage space in the room. We were surprised to see not a single drawer in the entire room. Closet was fine but my brother and I lived out of our suitcases for the most part.
We knew that we were taking our chances when booking a cruise from NYC in the winter time. The day we left was absolutely gorgeous seeing that it was December 22nd, and 70 degrees in NYC. The next day we were at sea. It was a rocky and cold sea day. I thought that being a brand new huge boat, the boat would have better stabilizers to help with the rocking of the boat. Now I don’t personally get sea sick but many others on the cruise had that problem. It was also too cold to be out on the deck still. Our third day was in Port Canaveral, Florida. Of course the day we get there, it’s a mere 63 degrees. Too cold for the beach and not enough time to do a Disney park (my opinion, even though they offer Disney shore excursions). So we spent that day inside the boat as well. Our fourth day which was also Christmas day was supposed to be spent at Great Stirrup Cay- the private island in the Bahamas. We had to skip it and go straight to Nassau because the water was too choppy for the tenders to carry passengers safely. Nassau was finally warm and we docked their overnight so we were able to go to the Atlantis bright and early the next morning. Sadly the two days we spent in Nassau were our only warm days. Our trip back up to New York were also too cold to use the deck activities unless you were layered up.
We very much enjoyed our vacation. I think we would have enjoyed it more if we took this itinerary during the spring or summer because it was just too cold. NCL has stepped up their game with the Breakaway. I can see myself going on NCL again but I will always be a RCL fan.