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Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
3,650 Reviews

Breakaway Christmas Cruise

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by Helly99

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2013
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean

I would like to start by saying that I have been on several cruises and never written a review for any. I read many reviews about the Breakaway on this website and more bad than good. I was a little nervous going on my cruise given all the so-so reviews. I now feel obligated to write a review because I had such a great experience on the Breakaway. I have lived in New York City my whole life and think of myself as a type A personality. I mention this because I want anyone reading to realize what kind of person I am. I expect only quality and good service when I am paying - especially a premium. I now realize that people that write bad reviews want to find reasons and excuses as to why they didn't enjoy their vacation to the fullest. I get that not everyone has a good experience for whatever reasons but complaining about the smallest things is just ridiculous and I just don't get it. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

My husband and I decided to go on the Breakaway because it would be a very easy vacation for us. We realized that it would be a crowded given it was a holiday week. We booked a spa balcony suite and I have to say the room did not disappoint. Our cabin was mid-ship and exactly as we expected. I would say the balcony was a little small but to be honest I don't think it was any smaller than any other balcony I have ever been on. Our cabin stewart, Andrew, was very attentive and accommodating. I asked him when we first met him to please empty the fridge when he got a chance. It was done within hours.

Our embarkation was easy and flawless. We got to the pier a little earlier than we had planned and had to wait about 45 minutes to board but there were no lines and we were able to spend that time booking our spa treatments and talking to other passengers. We were one of the first groups to board and walked around for a bit getting to know the ship before having lunch at O'Sheehan's. The menu is exactly what you would expect at an Irish pub.

I should mention that I did pre-book our shore excursions and some restaurants. However, we did have two credits for dinner that could not be booked in advance so we also decided to take care of our dinner reservations. I loved that you could make reservations via the touch screens located throughout the ship, with the restaurants themselves, or on your cabin TV's.

We ate in mostly specialty restaurants including Cagney's (2x), La Cucina (2x) and Moderno. We had breakfast every morning in the Garden Cafe and never had an issue getting a table. They served the same thing every morning which was fine with us. Lunch we usually grabbed a salad also in the Garden Cafe. I was very satisfied with all the choices. Cagney's ranked up there with any fine steak place in NYC. We went there on lobster night (which we didn't even realize it was lobster night) and the waiter asked us if we wanted the lobster served with our meal. We very much enjoyed La Cucina and it was also well worth the extra money. Everything we ate was delicious. I could have done without eating in Moderno only because we had steak 2 times already but my husband wanted to try it and it was very good. Service in all the restaurants was excellent. We went to the all three of the dining rooms around 9:25pm one night and was told that they were already closed for the evening. We ended up eating in the Garden Cafe and it was surprisingly good. We did eat in the Manhattan dining room and it was good but nothing great. The room itself is lovely with a live band playing.

We went to Disney World in Orlando as a shore excursion. Not NCL's fault but it was very crowded and to be honest not sure I would ever go again during Christmas. i knew it would be crowded but it was wall to wall people most rides were 90+ minutes long and we just didn't have the time to wait on such long lines. We did see a parade but that was pretty much all we got to do.

We didn't get to go to Great Stirrup Cay which was fine with me. To be honest I was glad they decided not to go because of winds and high seas. I was not looking forward to going in a tender. Instead we went to Nassau a day early and spent the night docked. None of the stores were open due to Christmas but it was still nice to get off the boat and take a walk. We were planning on doing some shopping the next day and met with David. He gave us some pointers and do's and don't which turned out to save us a lot of money.

We did go to Atlantis for the day - the excursion we booked gave us access to everything just like a hotel guest. I think the hotel is great but overly expensive. We had lunch there which was nothing fancy - a fruit bowl and a salad which came to over $25. Again, not NCL's fault but wow!

Now, for my favorite part of our cruise - entertainment. Rock of Ages was good. I would say this - It was better than the movie. I thought the cast was really good but the story is sorta silly. I am not a fan to begin with so that is a glowing review in my book. They warn you over and over that the play isn't for kids. Personally I didn't see the big deal but it does have some adult themes. Clearly NCL has gotten some complaints but I think kids hear and see worse in school. Use your own judgement.

Burn the Floor was cancelled due to some cast injuries. I was disappointed but not enough that it would ruin my vacation. People really got into a tizzy. I am sure it was not an easy decision for the line to cancel a headlining show but it is what it is. In its place they put Slam Allen Blues Band in the main theatre. We had seen him a couple of times during the cruise and he is great - very engaging and talented. Very much enjoyed the substitution. Second City was good - exactly what you would expect. Our favorite thing to do almost every night was going to Headliners and enjoy "Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos". It was great just listening to some music and getting to sing along. We did watch game shows and participate in other activities but those were the highlights.

The spa was great! Our room came with a weeklong pass to the thermal spa which we took advantage of in a big way. It was an oasis to getting away from everyone in an adult environment. The ship only makes available a number of passes available. I believe the only other way to have entry is to book a spa treatment. We had a number of treatments which were all excellent but very expensive. And I am saying that as a New Yorker going to New York Spas for massages and facials.

Disembarkation was easy for us. We docked around 6am and was cleared by customs around 7:30am. We were able to take advantage of the "easy walk off disembarkation" and it was. We were off the ship, in a cab, home and unpacked by 8am.

Before finishing I would say just one thing that I really loved about this cruise. My husband and I do not drink and I never felt pressured to order a cocktail or drink. The wait staff would ask and if you said a soda or nothing they responded with a smile and moved on. I have noticed on other ships and other cruise lines there is an overwhelming pressure to drink - I give NCL a lot of credit for this great attitude.

Hope you enjoyed my review.

Helly99's Full Rating Summary
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