I have cruised with NCL and many other lines before. I have been on the DAWN several times as well as the SUN and the JEWEL I was looking forward to the new BREAKAWAY and planned a week vacation with my family over New Year's. Well, to make a long story short, this ship has way too many passengers and not enough staff to handle them. There were constant long lines for everything and while waiting for the tenders to go to Great Stirrup Cay, a fist fight almost broke out in the theatre where the crowd was being held because the staff was not releasing the patrons in the correct order in which they arrived. Also, the common areas are very small and compromised due to the addition of new features like the HAVEN and the water slide area. Thank goodness we were cruising in the winter because there is no way the two tiny pools on board could accommodate even a portion of the almost 4,000 guests.
The food was very disappointing, Bland, poor quality and the buffet was messy and sometimes only half of it was open. There were no special dining events - no midnight or chocolate buffet. The only good food we had was in Le Bistro which is one of the many upcharge restaurants aboard. In fact almost everything worth doing on the ship requires you to pay MORE than your initial fee. There are charges for some of the entertainment, at the special restaurants, at the private pool and club, to use any of the spa services (even if you've booked a massage you pay extra to use the hydro room), it's really ridiculous. It seems like this ship is geared toward income generation and cramming as many people on board as possible without thought of where to put them when they are not in their cabins. The main lobby is horrible. It's dominated by a huge LCD screen tv where they show sports, movies and hold some games and entertainment activities. (A lot of this stuff on the DAWN occurred in the Spinnaker Lounge, but there is nothing like this on the BREAKWAY. that space has become the HAVEN). So every time you go to or through the lobby, it is loud and incredibly crowded. The staff is pleasant, but scarce. While at the pool for 3 hours one day, not one person came by to ask if I wanted drink nor did they pick up towels that were left on the deck. I have had good experiences with NCL before, but will never go back to the BREAKAWAY and have zero interest in exploring the sister ship GETAWAY. Other guests I spoke to on board had a similar experience. They came on to this cruise thinking it would be an elevated version of the NCL experience they had had in the past only to be bitterly disappointed.