It seems that everyone paid less for this cruise then I did. We booked 2 months prior and overpaid by $1500. We were upgraded to a mid ship mini-suite when I saw the price drop a week after I booked. I wanted money back but this was the best they could do for us. It turned out that midship on the Breakaway isn't a great choice. There are no elevators in the middle of the ship just at the aft and forward so you had a long hike no matter where you wanted to go. We were mid 9th floor upgraded to a mini-suite that was the same size as a balcony room except it had a double sink in the bathroom. We were constantly waiting for the too few elevators to get anywhere on the ship as there were too few elevators and they were always packed like the NYC theme of the NYC subway system during rush hour. Many people were holding tissues and coughing and sneezing and it was quite unappealing to me. My husband came home with 102 fever and is now sneezing and coughing as well. We didn't find this new ship prettier then the Jewel or Gem which we took in past winters out of New York. We did see some major improvements and major failures. I will start by listing the improvements.
Very fast embarkation.
Crew waiting to sign you up for shows and dinner reservations as soon as you arrived.
Our cabin was ready at 1:30.
There were ample chaise lounges in the shade when in the past it was impossible to find a place to sit anywhere.
There were always ample tables in the buffet.
The Manhattan Dining room was lovely an had dinner music and dancing.
It was wonderful to escape the cold.
People weren't in your face trying to sell you things wherever you went like; pushing photos, drinks, excursions, shows, shopping, art, jewelry etc. It felt like your choice if you wanted anything you asked for it not forced into it.
The sports bar was huge and very appealing to sports enthusiasts
The entertainment was wonderful. Burn the Floor was better then Broadway, Rock of Ages was almost 2 hours long, Slam Allen was a real talent and so were the lounge groups that played in the Atrium and on the pool deck. ( I forgot their name, maybe Tropic) There were 4 entertainers playing a cello, violin, viola and singing and dancing who were beyond great.
The crew was very friendly and smiling.
Our Steward, Dave, was excellent. We were always greeted with a friendly smile and everything was always perfect in our cabin. Spotless.
The young lady Sylvia from South Africa, always seated us in the Manhattan dining room, promptly with a friendly greeting and always said goodbye when we left the dining area.
The gentleman Clive, from Jamaica, that walks around the dining room was always helpful. When our dinners were not to our liking he made certain we'd get something else. He was like a guardian angel.
Now for the negatives:
Having been on previous cruises out of NYC (Jewel and Gem) the ports are always the same except for the addition of one port. On this cruise it was St Kitts.
You go to San Juan at night and it isn't safe to walk around Old San Juan or the outskirts after dark. Unless you are on an excursion you have to go back on the ship at dark.
If you don't take excursions, no one gives you any advice to help you enjoy the islands on your own. You are at the mercy of the cab drivers or the local tourism offices.
We were taken to Sapphire Beach on St Thomas and it was burned down. The mini-bus driver had many others going to Coki Beach and Hidden Beach and should have told us. We were then taken by a taxi from the burned down beach to Hidden Beach which had no lounge chairs available. We wound up at the restaurant instead of the beach.
The ship doesn't dock at the downtown dock in St. Thomas, where the better shopping is.
If you were on prior cruises from NYC the entertainment is the same to a large extent. We saw Michael Finney, Rod Long, Brenda the Hypnotist and 2nd City 2 years in a row. The routines were even the same. Even though we enjoyed Michael Finney and Rod Long for the 2nd time, we would have preferred different entertainers. Brenda and 2nd City we walked out on.
The beds are hard as rocks and small.
The shower should come with instructions. It is hard to get a stong water flow from the top shower head.
The balcony is tiny.
The huge water tube creation is used by a handful of people and would have been better to have an enclosed pool deck for colder days at sea or rainy days.
There were crazy climbing things that no one used.( the ship is mostly seniors)
The cruise director was funny when in the theater but you never saw him otherwise.
The entertainment staff was not particularly fun or friendly.
If you traveled as a couple you left not knowing anyone new,
The disembarkation was very slow and there were no porters at the terminal to help all the seniors all looking for help. It was a free for all and a major struggle to get your luggage out to the street and find a cab. Not a great way to end a vacation.
After weighing all the pro's and con's, we had a great time escaping the cold, visiting beautiful islands and getting lots of pampering, exercise and relaxation. If there aren't any other ships leaving from NYC next winter I guess we will consider going again on the Breakaway but now we know to wait till the last minute to book. We felt like we overpaid by a lot and didn't like that feeling.