Ok, let's get the biggie out of the way. This was the trip with the debarkation from hell. The ship could not turn into pier 88 in NYC without the help of a tugboat so by the time noon hit, 4000+ people tried to leave the ship at the same time which resulted in massive lines and cramped staircases.. I live in manhattan so it was just an inconvenience, but for the elderly and those with travel (flights, etc) I bet it was miserable. This is obviously not something that will happen often so I won't judge the entire trip by it.
Onto the week:
Smooth as always. Somehow getting there early and being silver latitudes got me a pretty crappy boarding number. I'll need to figure that one out. Probably stood in the wrong line. Otherwise, we were on the boat by 12:30 and were able to get lunch in Savor, one of the complimentary restaurants.
Cape Canaveral - Went to Kennedy Space Center and really enjoyed it. It's not the most exciting campus but you can't beat seeing spacecrafts up close. Some of the stuff you learn about is amazing.
Great Stirrup Cay (GSC) - The private island. We got a perfect day weather-wise so no complaints here. Tip - avoid the large crowds by walking to the other side of the Bacardi Pavillion. Plenty of lounge chairs and easy access to the water.
Nassau - NCL canceled our excursion because of wind, which couldn't have been more than 5 mph, so I feel like they just lied to us and the excursion we chose wasn't popular enough to make money. It was a glass bottom canoe and snorkel, who wouldn't want to do that? Nassau itself is fine. Some good shopping but nothing great.
We had a 9th deck Large Balcony room. No complaints here and exactly as expected. Large balcony is essentially a regular balcony on most other ships. It's enough to sit comfortably. TV's are useless as ESPN, CNBC, Fox News, etc are all the international versions that don't have live updates. The ability to book entertainment and dinner and see your account is nice.
Specialties are as good as always. Le Bistro is by far the best. Cagneys and Moderno are really good too, except the rooms on the breakaway aren't as intimate as other ships. The complementary restaurants were decent, not spectacular. The menus repeated themselves a lot with a few different options each night. If you are looking for a big ballroom atmosphere that is loud and busy, go to the Manhattan room. It looks nice though. Savor and Taste have the smaller restaurant feel so we chose those most nights. We booked all dinner in advance and then adjusted if needed. O'Sheehan's is a good option for pub food. We only wish the day time menu extended into the later hours.
Plenty of options. Loved Headliners, Fat Cats, and the shakers martini bar. I added up all of our drinking and it was under what you'd pay for the unlimited bev package by almost $100 per person. I'd say we were moderate drinkers (5-6 per day).
There's no shortage of entertainment and plenty of options across the week. Rock of Ages was as good as the broadway version. We saw Howl at the Moon four times (dueling pianos) and it was by far the best music we've seen on any ship. Those guys can play anything. The biggest gripe for entertainment is the lack of a "spinnaker" type venue. Most of the game shows are in the atrium and half the audience is elderly people who have been parked there all day.
Everyone is extremely nice and outgoing. Don't harp on the one waitress who had a bad day.
Had a blast as usual. These trips are what you make of them so ignore all of the nit picky complaints that you see on these reviews. This is a budget cruise. You get what you pay for. This ship is designed so everything runs into each other midship so that's why you'll see complaints about # of people and the smoky casino. Next time i'll probably look for a smaller ship.