We just got back Sunday 8/10 from our third cruise, one on the Carnival Pride, one on the Disney Dream, and now this one on the Norwegian Breakaway. We have wanted to cruise on the Breakaway for quite a while now, with the convenience of leaving from New York and having it go to beautiful Bermuda for three days. We booked it a few weeks before sailing away, after finding a last minute deal. I was a little concerned with the size of the ship, and that I wouldn’t be able to navigate it and see everything by the end of the cruise, but once you know where everything is, it is quite easy to find everything. The first day was a little confusing, but I explored the entire ship on the second day, so I knew where everything was.
Embarkation: Norwegian had a great system for embarkation. We got to the terminal at about 11:30am, after my grandfather dropped us off. We got there just as they were letting people on the ship, and by the time we were done checking in, we were able to walk right onto the ship without waiting at all. We were on the ship and heading up to the buffet at the Garden Cafe by 12:00pm. The food was ok; we didn’t eat here much, only sometimes to get a quick snack or lunch. Our room was ready within a short period of time, and our bags arrived shortly after. We went to the safety briefing, and then it was up to Spice H2O for the Breakaway Sail Away Party. We got great pictures from there of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty. I found it cool that they showed the Statue of Liberty on the big screen up there, the Statue of Liberty stilt walker was in front of the screen, and the actual Statue of Liberty was right behind us.
Cabin: We had a balcony stateroom on Deck 8. At first, we wanted to get an upgrade, as we were nervous about too much noise from the restaurants and entertainment on our floor, but we loved our location. We were in walking distance from everything, and rarely ever took the elevators. We only heard noise once on Wednesday night, as Rock of Ages was starting in the theater directly below us. Our cabin was quite small, and our family frequently got in each other’s way. But, we made it work. There was a lot of storage, if you looked for it, including two drawers under the couch (which we had turned into a bed, along with the pull-down bed). The only problem with these drawers was that they were frequently off their tracks, and could not be opened if someone was sitting/sleeping on the bed on top of them. But again, we made it work. The bathroom was quite large compared to the ones on other ships. There was enough storage for all of our toiletries, with shelves on the mirror and a cabinet under the sink. Our balcony was very small, but only one person at a time usually used it, which was fine. We used this to our advantage on the last night and left the door open as to get a nice sea breeze into our room.
Food: We got the Ultimate Dining Package, which we found worth it by the end of the cruise. If you purchased the package on the first day of the cruise, you got the Cirque Dreams show included in it, on the first night only. We all wanted to go to the show, but did not want to pay $40pp for it. With the package, we got to see the show and go to most of the specialty restaurants. The food in the restaurants was excellent. We ate at Cagney’s, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Moderno, Teppanyaki, and The Manhattan Room for dinner, then Taste, Savor, or O’Sheehan’s for breakfast. My personal favorites were Cagney’s and The Manhattan Room, as far as atmosphere and food. Teppanyaki was also a really cool experience, and our chef was very entertaining. It was great being able to experience more than just the main dining rooms, and we’ll definitely get the UDP on our next cruise.
Drinks: We didn’t invest in the Ultimate Beverage Package, as we did not find it worth it. But, my dad got two of the beer buckets throughout the course of the cruise, and I got a few pina coladas. We also chose to bring a case of water, a case of 7-Up, and a case of Coke to keep in the room, as all of these things were quite pricey on the ship. The water was also good to have when we were going to Bermuda and planned to walk a lot and sit by the beach.
Crew: I found the crew on the Breakaway to be very hospitable. They were all friendly and always had smiles on their faces. Our room steward, Charles, was very helpful, and if anything was wrong or we needed anything, he took care of it immediately. I also found the entire cruise staff to be energetic and always up for anything. The cruise director, Julie, was always out and about, and I always saw her mingling with guests. Assistant cruise director, Joey, was a lot of fun, too, and we saw him a lot at various games on the ship and at the parties. Jovan, Ricky, Alvin, Christine, and everyone on the cruise staff could always be seen having as good a time as the guests. There were moments when I’d stop at a Bingo session or some event just to say hi to them, and they were so welcoming and open to having a conversation.
Entertainment: I’m splitting this up into sections of the different entertainment options on the cruise, because they all deserve their own review. But first, in general, the entertainment on this ship was incredible. As a performer, I had very high expectations of the entertainment on this ship. It exceeded my expectations by so much, I was astonished. The theme parties on the ship every night were so much fun. My favorite was 80s night, as they played Mtv on the big screen with lots of hits from the 80s, which was cool after seeing Rock of Ages. The fireworks were incredible, even better than the ones Disney set off on the Dream. The music went perfectly with the fireworks. The best part was when they played Purple Rain and the fireworks had purple droplets coming down from them (!!!). Everyone, dressed up or not, had so much fun, and I stayed at the party until the very last song played.
Second City: This was the comedy show on the ship. We got there a little late, so we had to stand, but it was fairly short, so it was fine. All of the comedians were so funny, and so great at improvising. They were able to ask someone about their day, and instantly make a skit about it, even when the girl only answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to their questions. I was laughing throughout the whole show. Also, the people are so nice. I saw them quite a few times after seeing the show, and they always said hi and made conversation. I went in thinking I wasn’t going to like the show, but I left wanting more.
Arvin & Emily: These two are such incredible singers. We heard them on the first night at the Welcome Aboard Show, and I couldn’t wait to watch them perform again. I caught them a few times throughout the cruise, but was only able to sit down and listen to their whole set once, at the Broadway & Movie Hits show, which was awesome. I wish I could’ve caught more of their shows.
Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy: We saw this show on the first night, and it was amazing. The stunts and acts that these people performed were so incredible, I couldn’t believe how some of them were done. Watching the little signs that the performers gave each other throughout the show made it even more suspenseful, as you waited to see what would happen next. My only complaint is that I wish it was a little shorter. It was about two hours, and it started quite early, at 5:15pm. This meant that right after passing the Statue of Liberty at the Sail Away Party, we had to run down to the Spiegel Tent. Also, if it was not included in the Dining Package, we would not have gone, what with the price. Other than that, it was such a great show.
The Rockettes Experience: Since it was the first cruise of the month, two of the Radio City Rockettes were cruising with us! Throughout the cruise, they had meet and greets, Q&As, and dance classes. I, being the Rockette fan that I am, went to every event they had. It was so cool getting to meet two of the world famous Rockettes, and seeing them around the ship. I would definitely do it again during the first cruise of the month to get this experience again.
Burn the Floor: To start off, these dancers are so talented. They made ballroom dancing seem so cool and epic. I couldn’t believe it was possible to dance like that, I have never seen anything like it. After seeing the show, I met one of the dancers on another day in the atrium. He told me they would be performing at The Manhattan Room on Saturday night, so we went and checked them out again. Since it was a surprise performance that no one really knew about, and we had already eaten dinner, they set up seats on the corner of the dance floor for us to watch the show. It was completely different from the main show, and it was so great being able to see them perform one last time and in a show different from their usual one.
Howl at the Moon: This was the dueling pianos act on the ship. I went to the show on the last night after the Burn the Floor show. It was a nice night out, and a great end to the cruise. There were little slips that you could fill out with song recommendations, and if you were lucky, yours was picked and they played it. There’s also a bar, since they perform at Headliners, so you can get drinks throughout the night. I stuck with my usual pina colada. I sat and enjoyed the music for a little, but spent the rest of the night mingling with other people in the room. It was a pretty cool experience, as the casts of Burn the Floor, Second City, and Rock of Ages were also there, enjoying the music. With this, I got to walk around talking to everyone and getting to know them, which was so fun. My parents’ friends, who they met on the ship, were star struck meeting all the dancers and actors, so it was great for everyone. I spent most of my time with ROA though, the people who I came to be with (shoutout to Miki, John, Liz, and Christian!), while my parents and their friends stayed by the dancers outside. And we also got to see John Krause (Drew in ROA) perform a song, so that was pretty cool. Howl at the Moon is so much fun, especially if you go with a group. Just pick a night and go, they’re open pretty late.
Rock of Ages: Gotta save the best for last, right? And the longest. I went into this show expecting just another cruise ship show, with most of the show cut out and pre-Broadway actors. What I saw was the complete opposite. We booked this show for the first showing, 6:30pm on Tuesday night. The set made me feel like I was in The Bourbon Room, and the show made me feel like I was in The Helen Hayes Theater in NYC, watching the show on Broadway. The staging of the show was so incredible, and the actors and band were extremely talented. After seeing the show the first time, I saw it again that night at 9:30pm, then the next night at 6:30pm and 9:30pm, because I had Too Much Time On My Hands (hehe). The last show on Wednesday, I went by myself, and sat in the 2nd row, center, on the aisle. This was the best seat I had out of all four times. I rocked out and sang along with the people next to me, and it was so much fun. The audience participation was so awesome, and I felt like I was a part of the show several times. I caught Stacee Jaxx’s thong, which was cool, and the cast members came down the aisles several times, which was awesome since I was in an aisle seat. Also, after the show, you are able to meet some of the cast members in costume, but the photographers are not allowed to take pictures with your camera, so have someone else take it for you, instead of buying it for $20. EVERYONE, THIS IS NOT A SHOW FOR KIDS. I saw several young children at all four shows, not only at the show, but sitting in the front, in an aisle seat, with their parents behind them or a few seats away. Please, take your kids to Burn the Floor or the Pajama Jam (check your Freestyle Daily), but leave them at the kids’ club for this one. I was talking to the guys who played Stacee and Dennis after the show and a little girl ran up to them saying how much she loved the show. None of us could believe she was at the show, and enjoyed it. Just please, seriously, take advantage of the kids’ club, because this is a show you do not want to miss, and you don’t want to have to walk out in the middle of it because your child is asking why Stacee and Sherrie went potty together. Just, don’t do it. But the cast is extremely sweet, and I miss them dearly. So bottom line: don’t take the kids, and don’t miss the opportunity to experience these people rock out in Rock of Ages.
Pool and Sun Decks: My family did not go in the pool while on the ship; we’re not really a fan of public pools. It didn’t seem like we missed much, most of the time it looked crowded and it wasn’t too big. Also, the area around the pool is quite slippery when wet, so be careful. I was walking back from the buffet one day, walking as slow as possible, and I still slipped. Plus, there’s no space anywhere else to walk, so this was your only option. To get chairs, my dad when out fairly early, around 8:00am and got us four chairs together. We didn’t head up to the pool deck until about 11:00am. They don’t really check to make sure your stuff hasn’t been there over an hour, so you’ll be fine. I didn’t go on any of the slides. My sister attempted to, but they were frequently closed.
Photo Gallery: I love the idea that all of the photos are together, either in your designated binder or on the screens around the gallery. But, these photos are extremely overpriced. It was $20 for one photo, $129 for ten, and $200 for twenty. I believe on Disney it was about $200 for all of our photos, which we purchased. On NCL, there is a USB flash drive option, which has all of your purchased photos on it for $20. I wish there was an option like this that had all of your photos on it, even if it was for a little bit more money. I did end up buying one photo, from ROA with Drew and Lonny (which I then had them sign), but that was my souvenir for the trip. $20 for one 8x10 photo is crazy. But, the staff at the photo gallery is awesome. In Bermuda, at one of the beaches, I slipped on a rock and dropped my camera in the water. It turned on, but the photos taken came out black. When I got back to the ship and brought it to the photo gallery, they told me they couldn’t repair cameras, but would do whatever they could. They took all of the sand out of it and returned it to its previous condition, even though they found it had a scratched sensor. They then told me to just be patient and let it dry out. Few days later, my camera is working again, so thanks to the photo gallery staff for saving the day!
Bermuda: Bermuda was beautiful. Being there for three days was so worth it, and was perfect for exploring the island. We got the three day transportation pass for all of us, which meant we could take the bus and ferry whenever we needed it, which was worth it. When you are in Bermuda, don’t trust public transportation. We missed one ferry and had to take a series of buses and ferries back to the ship, since the next ferry from there wasn’t for two hours. The first day, we started at the opposite end of the island at St. George. The town is so quaint and colorful, lots of history there. We went to a little beach past Clearwater, and there was no one there. It was a bit of a hike, but so worth it. It was like a little hidden treasure that no one knew about. After hiking for a while, being able to go straight into the warm water was perfect. We got a late start that day, so we just relaxed at the beach then went back to the ship. The second day we had plans to get up early and go out, but again, we got a late start. And, it rained in the morning. We planned on going to the caves in the morning, but our bus driver told us they were flooded and closed, so we went to the aquarium and zoo first. These were cool to check out, your typical aquarium and zoo. But, the zoo had a flamingo exhibit, and they had peacocks walking around freely. Once we were done there and it stopped raining, we went to the now open caves. There were two, the Fantasy Cave and the Crystal Cave. We got the pass to do both. It was so cool to see what nature can create, but be warned that there are a lot of stairs and they are steep and slippery. Wear sneakers. And also, bring your camera. For the Crystal Cave, I was told to leave my regular camera and take my water camera instead. There was no reason why I shouldn’t have taken my camera, and I now regret it. After we got out of the caves, we walked across the street to the famed Swizzle Inn to get Rum Swizzles. My parents had these and they said they were really good. I loved that there was free wifi. We then walked down the road to the Grotto Bay Beach Resort, where you’re allowed to go and use their facilities. We stayed at their beach and pool for a while, it was beautiful. Then the third day, we went over to Horseshoe Bay. It was pretty crowded, but it was a nice beach. We met up with the friends we had made throughout the trip, and we hung out with them. There are a lot of hidden caves and places to explore. I went, with a few people we met, through the rocks, which was slightly terrifying. We all got completely scratched up, but it was pretty cool exploring further than just the beach area.
Disembarkation: This was fairly simple. We chose the 9:45am time to get off the ship, which was most convenient for us. We set our bags out in front of our room the night before, and they were easy to find the next morning. We went to breakfast in the morning at Taste with another family we met. They chose to walk-off with their bags, so they left them in the room and had to go back after breakfast. We liked the convenience of being able to leave right after breakfast and not have to worry about lugging our bags off. After leaving the ship at 9:45am, we were out of the terminal by 10:00am. NCL made it so simple and efficient, it was great.
We’re planning on cruising on the Breakaway next Summer, this time with friends, as we loved the ship, being docked in New York, and going to Bermuda. I highly recommend the Breakaway to anyone in New York looking to relax but also have lots of fun. I’m counting down the days until I get to be back on the ship!