This was my 4th cruise, and the first time on a megaship, all with NCL.
It is always a better week on a ship that it is at work, and I got the much needed refresher from my trip on the Breakaway! My goal was to get some much needed R&R after this insane winter we had, and that goal was accomplished! BTW this was my first solo cruise as my husband couldn’t get away. As some background, I am mobility impaired and I do use a cane.
What can I say about the Breakaway? I felt like I was in a giant hotel rather than a ship. She is beautiful! But, it lost the “ship feel”. 678 Ocean Place is such a small area, it took me a day to realize that is where I was. Smoke from the casino only bothered me once when everyone was headed back home, the last sea day, and decided to spend all their money. There is a non-smoking section and I used a slot play coupon there, came out in the positive without any breathing difficulties!
I had the BEST room steward ever!! Edwin really went above and beyond. The staff was wonderful, I cannot say anything negative about any of the crew.
The waterfront was the best innovation yet! During the day there were plenty of loungers, nicely shaded, no crowds. This is where I watched the fireworks without any crowds. They were directly overhead which was a neat experience! This was my favorite outside space on the ship. Only once or twice did I venture to the top outside decks.
As for the length of the ship, I had no issues walking it, and did so several times a day.
I must say that I was thoroughly impressed with the studios. I am a fluffier person and the studio was fine. The perplexing thing was the lack of drawers. None. Only shelves in the closet, which made for an unorganized week. The shower could have been a hair larger, but it was fine and perfectly usable. The toilet area was roomier than that was on our Star aft balcony cabin. I did enjoy the studio lounge and it was very nice to have a gourmet coffee beverage machine and other beverages at your finger tips. Thank goodness for this machine as I was able to partake of a decent hot beverage. The coffee elsewhere was sludge, the strongest I have ever had.
The only elevator issues I had were after muster. Our muster station was the theater, where they crammed as many in as they could (more on the theater later). The backlog to get to the elevator by able bodied passengers, rudely blocking handicapped passengers afterwards was insane. I waited for 45 minutes to get on the elevator, and missed sail away during this time! I did get outside on the waterfront just in time to go past Ellis Island and Lady Liberty, but I was so sore for standing for so long, it was not enjoyable. I was very worried that the elevators would be an issue the rest of the week, but they were not. For the most part, people were very nice and helpful, holding the elevators for me and being aware that I was not as able as everyone else.
I really struggled on this ship the first 2.5 days with my food allergies. If this had been my first cruise, I would say it would have been my last because of this. I have also written a letter to corporate as I really hope I do not have this difficulty on our October cruise. I think that the size of the ship, and how many people it has to serve (4000 guests), that they just do not have the TIME to do something special for someone who needs it, but this is not a valid excuse. I ran into the cruise director at Uptown Grill on the first port day, and when I could not eat most of what was on the buffet, aside from a deli sandwich, he took my stateroom number and contacted the restaurant manager for me. I had specially made sauces from that point on. Most were delicious, but our last night’s dinner in The Manhattan Room was very lacking. The better service and meals were in Savor or Taste. I did not eat in a specialty restaurant.
Another point of contention is the lack of “handicap friendliness”. I did not venture to the top deck pool area, but was told there are no steps to the pools. I did get to see the Haven pool area, and there are no steps there. I would not have been happy if I paid a premium for a suite and was unable to access the pool because of the lack of steps! I was tempted, but I did not go to the spa so I do not know what the accessibility is for the thermal suite.
The theatre area is also lacking. On the smaller ships you can access the theatre seating from both deck 6 & 7. On the Breakaway, you can only access this via deck 7 (unless special arrangements are made to sit in the front row). The seating is not comfortable, and if you are a fluffier person, you will be even more uncomfortable. I was able to snag ONE comfortable chair in the far back, where a wheelchair user would sit if I got there just as the theatre doors opened for the shows. I did meet some very nice people sitting here, but would have enjoyed sitting in the middle of the theater for a better view like I have done on my previous cruises. If this chair was taken, the box office staff did bring me a wooden straight chair to sit in. It was all about the numbers – how many can they cram in a small space. This is not what I expected on a year old ship.
Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy was a WONDERFUL show and well worth the $39.99 charge! Many people said it was comparable to Vegas Cirque shows. As for the dinner, the did handle my allergy here after the CD spoke with the RM. Prior to this, the box office staff just told me that the dinner was complimentary. I am glad I was able to enjoy my meal and it was just fine. Rock of Ages was fun with a twist to the movie and Burn the Floor was beautifully choreographed.
All in all, I am glad I got away and had this experience. I think my husband and I will stick to the smaller ships for now, unless something magical happens with the new builds.