To begin with I have never written a review or even ventured an opinion about a cruise or a ship I was on. But given the number of poor ratings from other members I thought I would offer my humble opinion.
My wife an I have sailed many times on most every cruise line going back to the Home Lines Oceanic in the 70's. We to this point prefer to sail with Princess whenever we can but would opt for almost any line with 2 exceptions - Carnival is not our kind of sailing experience and because of a poor experience with NCL Gem we hesitated about the sailing the Breakaway. My daughter having sailed her asked me to give NCL another try and I did.
From my first encounter with sales until the very moment we docked back home NCL exceeded every expectation.
Now for the cruise---
The Breakaway is one of the more elegantly beautiful ships afloat. My daughter cruised the QM 2 and puts breakaway in that kind of classic sophistication without being "stuffy". This ship is well designed to accommodate the number of people on board, we never had a sense of really being overwhelmed by her capacity on the contrary except for the popular goings on in the Atrium there was never a time we had to search for a seat or seek a position to view the entertainment. Our balcony cabin on 9 was typical - as to size- the balcony was small but we hardly ever do anything but sit and enjoy God's natural beauty at sea, if you enjoy eating out on the balcony it is gong to be a challenge. Closet space is small compared to other lines - but with packing cubes and packing light - the problem is solved. HOWEVER the bathroom and shower is awesome compared to other ships.
We hit some heavy seas 12-14 foot swells - and Breakaway handled them beautifully - given the stormy weather - none of the other passengers seemed to be unable to handle the occasional movement felt onboard.
Her dining options are numerous the reservation system is easy to use and works effectively. Manhattan, Taste and Savor are you main dining rooms and we loved each of them. There were a number of issues with orders being fulfilled accurately- but it had more to do with mis-communication, my propensity to speak rapidly ( being a New Yawker) and the crew members difficulty with English. You are on vacation and stuff happens. The food was great most of the time and okay sometimes, but this is no different than other lines.
we ate at Moderno and loved it, La Cucina (the ossbucco was falling off the bone tender), O Sheehans chicken tenders, pot pie, and ice cream sundaes were awesome, the corned beef left us disappointed. Great selection of brews on tap and bottled. Carlo's Bakery Lobster Tail (this coming from an Italian from bensonhurst where Villa Abate rules) was among the best we have ever had!
A special note I have not in all of my cruise experiences ever seen so many top brass personnel overseeing the whole operation, Prem the head of Hotel operations was everywhere on board, as well as other top brass. The dining room crew could not have been more pleasant and efficient, and willing to accommodate every request. Hats off to NCL you have truly redeemed yourself in my humble opinion.
The options for having a good time are numerous - people enjoyed the variety of things to do. My wife is a Bingo nut and was upset at the prices being charged however at the end of the week we spent about the same as any other cruise, but there were fewer sessions with bigger payoffs. Not a fan of the scratch off instant win cards, but we saw someone hit for $2000. on the last day, there were a few others who won hundreds.
The entertainment on board was top notch -Scooter (asst cruise dir. )was a favorite of ours- we truly enjoyed Deal or no Deal --- The Glow party was a smash hit to everyone there (be sure to bring along reflective tee shirts) the fireworks - well who doesn't like fireworks? at sea no less.
I am sorry to hear that others have after experiencing the same cruise came away with opposing views- all I can say is:
"This ship - This crew and This cruise will go down as one of the best My lovely wife and I have ever been on and we will sail her again and again."