Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by KozCruise: Breakaway- Pleasantly Surprised!
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Breakaway- Pleasantly Surprised!
We cruised on the NCL Breakaway (NCLB) on the August 17-25 sailing from NY to Bermuda. As a means of background, we opted for 2 inside cabins for our family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids) and traveled with 2 other families, each with 2 adults and 2 kids. This was the 5th cruise for my wife and I (previously on Princess, RC, and NCL Dawn) and first for the 3 kids in our family.
Let me begin by saying that I expected the worst, given the very recent negative reviews by alot of individuals on this site and others. What I've walked away from after the fact is that people will truly look to complain about anything, and that if you can't just relax and let things slide a bit on vacation you will never enjoy yourself.
Embarkation- smooth. We arrived in NYC after having driven about 1 hour from home on Long Island, dropped the bags downstairs along with the family, and after a quick loop, parked the car upstairs directly over the boarding area. We were processed through security More and NCL's check-in (we are Lattitudes members and took part in online check in prior) in less than 1 hour. Boarding was smooth- wait for your number and board the ship along with the rest of your group. Upon boarding, we headed for one of the open restaurants and had a great meal. Departure from NYC was timely and festive. Sure, there were alot of people on the top deck, but everyone of course wanted to take in the great views as we departed NY and cruised under the bridge.
Room(s)- Again, we opted for 2 inside cabins over the family stateroom which was offered, primarily because it afforded additional square footage and a second bathroom. We found the rooms to be large, well appointed and laid out quite logically. Connecting cabins helped as well. Our cabin steward was always available, smiling and happy to accommodate any requests we had. The room was promptly cleaned after we left for breakfast/pool in the morning, and turned down just as efficiently in the evening. Request- install room safes which can at least hold an ipad or small laptop!!!
Restaurants- Since we booked through Costco.com, we were given 3 restaurant "covers" for certain specialty restaurants, which we of course took full advantage of. Over the course of the week we ate at the following restaurants.
Buffet- only for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was typical of what you would find on any cruise, while lunch offerings were fairly decent as well. 8/10.
Manhattan Room- VERY SLOW SERVICE which made it difficult with so many young kids in our group. It took 20 minutes just to get the first round of drinks, and no priority was made on taking the kids' food order upon seating, which was done in other restaurants. Worst meal of the entire week. If you have a large group or priorities which include doing something else besides waiting for your food for 2 hours, look elsewhere. Also, if you fancy a glass of wine before the meal, make sure to order one with you at the bar outside and carry it in, as it appears to take upwards of 20 minutes at any restaurant before drinks are brought over. 2/10
Cagneys Steakhouse- great meals, quality of food was superb and portions were amazing. Probably our best meal of the entire week. 10/10.
La Cuccina- another great meal, solid service and very nice offerings on the menu. This was our last meal of the cruise and everyone in our party really enjoyed themselves. 10/10
O'Shannahans- Irish Pub offering more than standard bar fare. Portions were on the small side but as it's a cruise you can always request more. Food came out very quickly and it's a very lively environment in the middle of the casino, boardwalk-type games and live entertainment. 9/10.
Taste- of the 3 main dining rooms. Again, a long wait for drinks for everyone but the food was quite good and wait staff was responsive to requests during the meal. 8/10
Teppenaki- Hibachi. We've had better back home but the kids enjoyed themselves. Food portions were generous and the chef did your basic bag of tricks in terms of entertainment. 8/10
In the end, if you're looking to book a few specialty restaurants you really can't go wrong with Cagneys or La Cuccina. I eat in a good amount of Manhattan restaurants with great frequency for work-related meetings and truly enjoyed both meals.
Entertainment- This is where NCL fell short for our family, as there really wasn't much offered. The headliners are all adult-oriented, and this includes Rock of Ages, 2nd City, a Broadway revival and a variation of Cirque. What were we left with? A really lame magician from Denmark and Dora/Diego/Sponge Bob meet and greets. Sure, there were some poolside Nickelodeon themed activities for kids, but I feel as though NCL could do much better in this area. 3/10- but from a family perspective. If it was just the wife and I traveling alone I'm sure that the score would be higher.
Pools- Having cruised on other lines before I was disappointed with the layout of the pools on the NCLB. The pools are quite small considering just how many passengers are onboard. The one pool which allows small children was packed nearly shoulder to shoulder at some points during sea days, to the point where you really didn't want to be inside. The kiddie splash area was quite nice and kept our 2 year old very busy for long stretches of the day. One criticism- the kiddie pool had a small slide covered in some plastic material which had ripped towards the bottom on the previous cruise. No attempt was made by NCL to remedy this very unsightly and potentially dangerous condition, as it exposed the bare part of the slide underneath. Deck chairs were more difficult to come by on sea days, but our attitude was that if we haven't seen you in over an hour, and nobody in your group came by to sit in a chair, we'd ask a deck steward to move your stuff- this was commonly done by alot of groups as "chair-hogging" was so bad that by 9AM you couldn't find an available lounge chair anywhere. Service on deck was great as waiters were always nearby, and you never had to wait long for a drink. The DJ/Band was awesome and kept everyone well entertained. Bathrooms were nearby and always clean. A bonus on this ship- waterslides. We took full advantage of the slides and it kept our kids busy for hours. 7/10- score would be higher if pools offered more in terms of size.
Miscellaneous- A full size walking track would be nice. The track here is 1/8 of a mile and after 10AM becomes obstructed by deck chairs on either side. This was a poor design on NCL's part, as we've been on other ships which were set up more logically. Extras to keep the family busy- Ropes course with zip line, rock climbing, trampoline- all were fantastic. We didn't use the kids club as the kids in our group all had each other, plus we enjoyed spending so much time with them. We found staff members to be very friendly overall and the ship was always clean. Great emphasis placed on keeping hands clean, with staff members spraying your hands upon entering the buffet, and sanitizing stations all over the ship.
Disembarkation- smooth. You pick the time you want to disembark and tag your bags accordingly. By the time our group was called at 9:15 AM, we were off the ship, through Customs/Immigration and with bags in hand all by 10:05. Home by 11:15- VERY EASY!
Overall- we had a great experience on the ship and didn't allow little things to tarnish our experience. We would definitely recommend this cruise to others and hope that they have similar positive experiences. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Breakaway
We opted for 2 inside cabins over the family stateroom which was offered, primarily because it afforded additional square footage and a second bathroom. We found the rooms to be large, well appointed and laid out quite logically. Connecting cabins helped as well. Our cabin steward was always available, smiling and happy to accommodate any requests we had. The room was promptly cleaned after we left for breakfast/pool in the morning, and turned down just as efficiently in the evening. Request- install room safes which can at least hold an ipad or small laptop!!!Score 10/10.
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