Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by Winston Wolf: Breakaway didn't disappoint!
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Breakaway didn't disappoint!
This is a shortened version of what I posted on the Cruise Critic NCL Board.
My wife and I sailed on Norwegian Breakaway from NYC to Bermuda on May 18-25th. This was my first cruise and her second (but first in over 20 years).
We booked this cruise as a 10th Anniversary trip (no kids!) about 10 months prior to sailing and in the months from booking on , I had done a TON of reading on CC about Breakaway and at a few points had gotten a little freaked out about what the experience would be like. Below are my thoughts from our trip.
We flew into NYC the day before to make sure we wouldn’t miss the ship in case we had cancelled flights, but everything went smoothly. Stayed down by the WTC and spent the day doing 9/11 stuff.
The morning of our trip I woke up early and walked a couple blocks to the Hudson River to watch Breakaway sail in. It was really cool to see this ship I’ve been thinking about for almost a year right in front of me and More know that in just a few hours we’d be boarding. Anyway, cool moment for me. Wife slept. Haha.
Embarkation was easy and in no time flat we were in line to get Vibe passes. Best money we spent on the cruise. (more on this in a bit)
We booked a Category M6 cabin (Lg balcony Mini Suite) which was fantastic. No motion issues to speak of except the last day but the whole ship was rocking and rolling that last Sea Day. Plenty of storage for two of the worst overpackers that you've ever seen and an enormous balcony to enjoy witth two lounge chairs, two regular chairs, and two small tables.
As I said, this was my first cruise and my wife’s previous was on the SS Norway, so I don’t have much to compare it against, but I liked the layout of the ship. Daytime is spent on the upper decks, and night time in and around Ocean Place 678. Much has been made of how packed the pool deck is, and I would agree that it’s busy, but every single time I was around the main pool deck, there were available loungers. Were they out in the sun? No. But if you wanted that, you could easily have headed up to deck 17 over by Vibe or overlooking the pool deck to get one in the sunshine. (We sailed with a full ship).
As I said, Vibe was the best money we spent all week. It was our total retreat for the week and frankly made our vacation. If we ever sail a Breakaway Class ship again (likely) we wouldn’t hesitate to spend the money again. If we didn’t get it, I’d be sorely disappointed. Never went to Spice H20 during the day to check out how busy that was in the daytime.
A lot has been said of the Smokiness in and around the Casino. Neither of us are smokers and neither of us felt it was all that bad except in certain pockets of the casino. Was it noticeable in other spots in Ocean Place 678? Sure. But in my opinion the issue has been really overblown.
We mainly ate in the MDRs / Buffets and found the food to be good. Many in the CC group who were more frequent NCL passengers were really pleased with the updated menus. We only ate in one Specialty Restaurant, Le Bistro, which was excellent. I got a fantastic Pork tenderloin dish and my wife had a phenominal filet mignon. Best meal we had on the ship. The food for the Cirque meal was OK. Good, not great.
Entertainment on the ship is everywhere and excellent. The highlight for us was Rock of Ages which was as good as what we saw with the Touring Company a few years ago. A super fun show, especially if you enjoy 80's hair metal music...but IS NOT FOR CHILDREN.
Bermuda was great, highlighted by our Helmet Dive trip. What a really cool experience. Getting around the island is very easy by bus and ferry. Taxis are expensive. We went by Tobacco Bay which is one of the most scenic places I've ever seen before in my life. If we ever make it back to Bermuda we'll spend at least a 1/2 day there on the beach. Wifi in the dockyard is very difficult to connect to. Bet bet for connecting is in the Clocktower Mall.
For being the 5th largest cruise ship in the world (I think) Breakway didn't feel that big. There wasn't anywhere we couldn't be within 5 minutes even though our cabin was so far forward. I was surprised by how small it felt given all the comments I'd read on Cruise Critic.
Anyway, kudos to NCL on Breakaway, she’s fantastic. This has turned our family on to a whole new set of options and ideas for family vacations in the coming years. It certainly won’t be the last time we sail NCL and look forward to trying Getaway, Escape, and Bliss in the future! Thanks for reading! Less
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Cabin review: 8730
We booked a Category M6 (Large Balcony Mini-suite) Cabin. They’re all located on deck 8 Forward. These have a balcony which I estimated at 12 feet long by 9 feet wide. It’s big. Ours had 2 lounge chairs, two standard chairs and two small tables with room to spare. Really great. We were on the Starboard side of the ship in cabin 8730. The bed was by the closet which we preferred to give us more room to not block the balcony door. We didn’t have an issue accessing the closet with the bed right there but it’s true that it doesn’t give you a lot of space. If you’re a larger person…you might have problems with it. The room itself was nice. Nothing fancy and other than the bathroom, no difference from a standard balcony room (other than the balcony itself of course). So now seems the time to address a few things I’d read about the various Balcony categories. Our M6 was as I said around 12x9. I had read various things about how much or little they were “exposed”. This concerned me a bit and was a big reason why I had looked into switching to an aft balcony. Since I’m a big nerd, I took some graph paper and sketched it out based on what I knew of dimensions. I came to the conclusion that people would really have to want to look down at you to do so. So we kept our M6 and put to rest the B1 thing. The M6 was about 1/3 covered by the B6 on deck 9. Those appeared to be around 7’x9’. So now you’re saying….but Winston…if yours is 12’x9’ and the B6 is 7’x 9’, isn’t that over half covered? The answer is no. Look at pics. The B6s are set back from where the M6s are. The doors are not above each other. I assume this is from the bigger bathrooms. Anyway, like I said. About 4 feet of cover on the M6 balcony with another 8 feet exposed. The standard balconies above the B6’s on deck 9 were about 4’x 9’ so the B6’s get about 4 feet of cover too. The standard balconies are not big…but doable for two average sized people. If you’re tall, you’ll have problems unless you sit sideways. One other thing I’d heard about was debris falling onto these balconies because they stick out from the others. We found one cigarette butt after the first morning. That was it. Didn’t ruin our day.We also really thought the bathroom in the Minisuites would be great. Expectations not met on this one. The shower, while big and impressive looking, is just bad. The jets hurt and are just weird to use. The overhead shower has such little pressure and is so close to the wall that you basically had to pin yourself against the wall to get any water on you. Renders 60% of the shower space useless. Nice idea, but poor execution in my opinion. So my reco is if you’re upgrading to the MiniSuite because you think the bathroom is something spectacular, you might want to save a few bucks. Having the dual sink was cool, but ironically the water was not. It was HOT. Like scalding HOT. If you moved the handle to the cold side you got lukewarm water, and the pressure was bad. Now since this is my first cruise, maybe the BA water pressure is good for ships…but I didn’t expect it to be like it was. So there you go. The cabin had ample storage space for my wife and me. We are overpackers. We each took a large suitcase and a rollaboard size suitcase. The suitcases fit under the bed great, and all our clothes into the closet or other storage spaces. Despite hearing that you couldn’t make it fit, we fit our iPad2 into the safe in the closet. You had to angle it a bit, but it fit.One last think about the M6…half of them were still unsold up to a few weeks before our sailing. While other cabin prices dropped significantly in price, ours never fell below what I paid all those months earlier. A couple weeks before sailing they had all disappeared. I suspect they were handed out as up-sells. We loved this cabin location and would easily book it again, especially if we were travelling with our kids (big balcony) despite the disappointing shower.