The bottom line of my review is that the Breakaway 12 day cruise is amazing. Lots of bad reviews on here, I only had a few "complaints"-if you can call them that- so I wanted to post.
My boyfriend & I are 41 & this is our 5th cruise, 4th with NCL. Boarding in NYC was super easy, using our casino at sea card was a must-almost everyone is a latitudes member now so those lines are long. And its from the Spirit 5 years ago! We don't really gamble! We were ushered past everyone & on the ship at noon despite not even getting to the pier until 11:30. Some advice about checking your bags at the pier-be nice to the guys & tip them well. So many people were rude to them & we thought it couldn't be a coincidence that a lot people still didn't have bags at 8pm & we had ours at 2.....just an observation!
We also tipped our room steward on day 1, along with a note asking for more hangers (you will need them), fresh ice daily & to empty the mini bar. He was awesome-did everything. We were able to hang up everything & had ice fresh twice a day & had room to put our leftover beer from the buckets in the minibar. (I think we had leftover beer once...!!!!!!)
We thought the ship was beautiful-reminded us of Epic in a lot of ways.
Sure it was cold for sailaway-but we dressed warm & had an amazing view of NYC & the Statue of Liberty from deck 16. Not nearly enough people took advantage of that experience.
This trip we really had a chance to see some shows & events we haven't really done before. Game shows with the cruise staff in the atrium, (Ricky & Scooter were hilarious), a comedy magician, karaoke (always good for a laugh), a comedy string quartet, a comedy hypnotist (Brenda Kaye-do NOT miss her) and the list goes on. We aren't into musicals or dancing with the stars type stuff so we skipped Rock of Ages & Burn the Floor. Heard complaints that Rock of Ages was too long but didn't hear comments on Burn the Floor. Also, don't miss the crew talent show. They work so hard on the ship & have hidden talents that were fun to see.
We ate at a lot of specialty restaurants-get the trio package for Cagney's, La Cucina, & Le Bistro. Book ahead of time because while they might not fill up completely, all of the desirable times will. And Cagney's & La Cucina have outdoor "waterfront" seating-so plan those on nights when it will be warm enough to sit out there. If you do our 12 day NYC cruise, it warmed up on Tuesday after our Sunday departure. Coming back, Wednesday was a good day but Thursday (the day before we returned to NYC) it was not suitable to be outside. The waterfront area is so beautiful & one of the main reasons we booked this ship. It goes mostly unused. We couldn't believe more people weren't out there every night. Even if you aren't eating out there it was still so nice & romantic to stroll around there. And Fat Cats is there so you can wander in & out of there. People do go out there to smoke though-so I'm glad we had a balcony cabin on 12 because I'm sure people with balconies on 9 & even 10 could smell it. Speaking of that, we agree with the casino location complaints. The smoke was constant & unfortunately Shanghai's (noodle bar) & Wasabi were right in the middle of it. We ate at both places because we love it so much but I had a coughing fit each time! The other restaurants we tried were Moderno (always amazing) and Teppanyaki-wow. That was a blast-the chef is so fun & we could've eaten that delicious food every night. I know a lot of people don't like to spend the extra money on these specialty restaurants, but keep in mind that they would normally cost at least twice as much as what the cover charges are. Appetizers, entrees, & desserts for 2 at fancy restaurants doesn't cost $40. Don't miss this great food & service.
About the pool area-I also agree that it isn't brilliantly designed. We did have to move to watch the pool events, I wish that area had been more open so that everyone out there could see. And definitely get out there early on sea days!!! By 9:45 it was full. The music situation surprised me-they rarely had a band out there & when they did, they played regular music instead of mostly Caribbean style music that everyone wants to hear on a cruise ship! The band was called Impac-and while I was at first undecided on them as a band-they convinced me during band-oke. People get to sing karaoke with them a few nights during the cruise. The band was so patient & fun with people who weren't skilled singers if you know what I mean....Anyway, when Impac wasn't at the pool, they had a DJ, but he only created a playlist & never talked or got things going so to speak! The last good weather day of our cruise was Wednesday, day 11 I guess, & there weren't any pool games/activities & the DJ just hit play & sat there on a chair the whole time. We were kind of surprised that they didn't take advantage of one last chance to celebrate. But, the weather was amazing & we did the slides again. And we had a blast people watching & ended up staying out there until 5. The water slides- never a line!! No one uses them & they were so fun. The free fall slides-wow after 4 times I still was terrified!
We did the ropes course-well I was forced to actually! It definitely is harder & scarier than it looks. I made it somehow though & have to admit the zip line at the end was kind of cool. My boyfriend "walked the plank" with no hesitation but I walked right on by-no thanks!! They do have to close the course a lot if its windy, so if its open you need to take the time to do it.
Fireworks were great-can't believe they pull that off on a ship. Spice H2O gets too crowded though- they turned us away. The main pool deck was a perfect spot too though.
The ship was full-but I never felt bothered by it. Sure it was busy in some areas at some times-after shows or at breakfast in the buffet. But that's to be expected & there are 4 other breakfast places you can try instead-or get room service daily like we did! It so surprising how impatient people get on vacation!! Relax! I would take a crowded ship in the Caribbean over a day at work anytime....
We thought the crew was amazing-some had been onboard since the first sailing!! Last April!! If they can still smile & work hard after that long....well I have no words.
We only booked one excursion ahead of time-in Barbados-the rest of the ports we felt confident arranging on the pier when we arrived. We did the pirate ship-I think it was called Barbadian Buccaneers. OMGosh was it a blast. We snorkeled, walked the plank & got to swing into the water on a rope! And on the way back they play awesome party music & the complimentary rum punch & local beer is flowing!! The crew was so fun-everyone young & old had a blast. I could have done that in every port!!
The gym was definitely not as great as the Epic's-but it worked. We learned not to go at 8am! They had a few pay classes to go to-I did "NCL Fight Klub" once & it was so worth it. Great, great workout. They also offer free abs classes every day. I did that twice & loved it. Well, sort of!
Coming back into NYC was not so easy unfortunately. We did the independent walk off at 730 am & had to wait an hour for a taxi in 30 degree weather. The line at the taxi stand was blocks long. We were not prepared for that-Miami has spoiled us! We had always just walked off & straight into a cab. It was a pretty frustrating way to end the vacation! While we loved the excitement of sailing out of NYC, we will go back to using Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.
I have never posted on here so I'm sorry if I rambled on & on! I could go on but really all you need to know is that this is YOUR vacation. Relax. Have fun. We just got back yesterday & are in deep denial that its over!! We could've done another 12 days on the Breakaway!