NCL seems to have generated many press releases regarding the size of this ship, which is one of its fleet's newest. The size may serve NCL well but it is detrimental to NCL's ability to serve its customers, perhaps protect its customers, or even provide the activities advertised. For example, the value of a rock wall or jogging track is questionable when NCL expects you to wait two hours to climb the wall for three minutes. The jogging track is unusable for its stated purpose when it is just filled with people, standing in their queues, trying to get somewhere or perhaps just standing on the track because they feel like it. Crew is stretched so thin there are not personnel who simply can wander the ship reminding people not to block the jogging track, take turns on shuffle board - little things that do not mean much to the function of the ship but are crucial to reminding passengers to keep things moving, civil, and don't hog the courts.
Too many people on the ship for the size of the crew. Lasting impressions are of arrogance, incompetence and indifference at best from far to many crew members. They give the impression of just being overworked or underpaid or both. Dinner orders were lost, lunch took an hour to serve sometimes. Our Disney shore excursion was deceptive. The tour did not take us to the park we paid for, but rather to another location and then told us to take another 40 minute bus to the park (each way). I could go on but I think you get the point. This ship is an accident waiting to happen.
This is the impression we left NCL with. Sure, some meals were fine, and the other shore excursions were fine. Cabin was made decently kept. This is the first time a restaurant has actually just lost my entire family's dinner order though. It's the first time an excursion operator said we will drop you off at Magic Kingdom and you can take another bus to Hollywood Studios. We had made reservations at a specialty restaurant that became muddled up; we missed our meal rather without an apology or offer to otherwise accomodate us. The lost value is not so much the money, but it's your vacation time. You only have a limited amount of time for your vacation whether you are spending $1000 or $10,000, and NCL's method of operation causes you to spend your time fixing or dealing with their problems or just waiting in their lines. Our opinion is that NCL does not respect the value of your vacation time.
The Breakaway has been presented as a family friendly cruise. I suppose that is fair; there are activities for children and an apparently decent kids' club.
There is a sign with about 15 paragraphs of Pool Rules posted by the kids pool. The ever-present "No lifeguard on duty", "kids under 12 must be with an adult". No more than 26 people in the pool. This is all well and good. But if NCL wants it's customers to take its safety rules seriously, then it needs to start by taking its own rules seriously. If there is no lifeguard on duty, the lifeguard chair should be removed; not every child can read, and the rules are not very prominently posted. If the other pool rules are really rules and not strategic lawsuit defense, then the two security guards who spend their day leaning against a wall next to the pool need to remind people of the rules.
Overall grade a C- or low C. Things that should have been made easy were difficult. If I were offered a choice between another cruise on this ship for free or a $1500 WalMart gift card, I'd probably head toward Wal-Mart.