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 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!