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Took a week-long cruise to Bermuda with my husband and two teenage sons. Not a total disaster, but wouldn't go again and won't recommend the ship to anyone. Below are my takeaways from the Breakaway: STATEROOM: • Bed and pillows were very comfy. Room was nice and quiet – by the sound of many other reviews, we really lucked out in that regard. • Very poor drainage in the shower. The showerhead and body jets were cool, but the water got so backed up, we couldn’t really use them. Had to just get wet then turn off water to lather up, then turn water back on to rinse off. If water stayed on more than 4 minutes, the water would overflow out of the shower enclosure all over the bathroom floor. When we brought it to the attention of our steward, Danny, we were told this is “typical” of ship plumbing. Nothing was done about it. • We booked a mini-suite with “large” balcony. What a joke. Our balcony was just as narrow as all the others (so no additional water frontage) just deeper. However, with the shallower balconies looking over/in on us, it offered much less privacy than the others. • NOTE: There is NO hair conditioner, face soap, or body lotion in staterooms, only a pump dispenser of body wash and shampoo. If you care about your hair & skin getting dried out, bring your own conditioner, facial cleanser & body lotion. • The hair dryer is permanently affixed in the sleeping portion of the cabin, so cannot be used in the bathroom. A few times I had to awaken napping family members in order to dry my hair (right next to them), because I couldn’t do it in the bathroom. FOOD & DRINK: • We did not eat in any of the premium dining venues, so my review is based on all of the “included” options. Food was mediocre everywhere we ate. We found nothing to rave about. • The three dining rooms serve essentially the same menu, and it changes little from day to day. Really, there’s only one dining room in three places. • Although we didn’t love the cafeteria-like atmosphere of the Garden Café buffet, that’s where we found the greatest selection, so everyone was at least able to get something they liked there. • We found the beverage package WELL worth it! Having a few drinks throughout the day and then again in the evenings REALLY adds up. • NOTE: the scrambled eggs in EVERY buffet we tried were really gross. Go with eggs to order in the omelet stations if at all possible. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES • Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos – I’ve seen Howl at the Moon in Chicago, and this PALED in comparison. James was OK, but the female performer wasn’t good. • Second City Comedy shows – We saw three different shows and, for the most part, they were all funny & entertaining. To have a more enjoyable and interactive experience, suggest some improv topics and/or volunteer to be in the show! (People will then recognize and say hi to you during the cruise when they recognize you!) • Burn the Floor – Dancers were lovely and, I’m sure, quite talented, but we found it a SNOOZER. Unless you’re really into ballroom & classical styles of dancing, it gets pretty boring. Would love to see other types of dancing represented – hip hop, African jazz, Bollywood, disco... just SOMEthing different to spice it up. • Rock of Ages – I’m all for inappropriate humor and entertainment, but the gratuitous, over-the top nature of the sexual language and performances wasn't entertaining. Overall we enjoyed the show, but it would have been better quality and seemed less amateurish if the sexual content was less overt/in your face. Many people walked out of the show mid-way through, clearly disgusted by the material. We were shocked by how many people brought their young children to the show (we saw several from ages 4 to 12ish!) despite NUMEROUS warnings that it’s NOT appropriate for kids. What are parents thinking?! • Justin Lacey – live guitar & piano music in Shakers lounge – What a beautiful voice! We really enjoyed Justin’s performances and we stopped in several nights to listen. He played classics/standards as well as contemporary artists like Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, John Legend. Something for all ages. • Beware the extra charges for the shipboard recreation! My boys loved bowling ($5/person per game), darts ($1/pp/game) & air hockey ($2/pp/game)… but boy did it add up! Other extras that we didn’t try were pop-a-shot basketball, pool, and all video games in the arcade. • The high ropes course was fun, just be prepared for a long wait. Once up there, though, you can play around as long as you like. If it’s not exciting enough for you or your teens, try challenging each other to tests like using no hands on your tether while walking the obstacles, getting across the obstacles as fast as possible (again, no hands), or even walking backwards (no hands!) across the beams. • Mini golf was cute, though nothing super special (and, again, long lines). OVERALL/MISC. • For a huge ship, most areas feel small (many with low ceilings) and the stateroom hallways are SOOO tight/cramped. There’s no “grand” interior space that feels expansive or gives you a sense of the size of this ship. • While many staff were friendly, almost as many didn't want to be bothered. • We disliked how open the smoky casino & bar areas were, allowing the stink of cigarette smoke into the surrounding non-smoking public spaces. Blechh. • There aren’t enough elevator banks and the ones that ARE there are not that well located, so wait times are long and stops are frequent. If you are able bodied, TAKE THE STAIRS! It’s much faster, is great exercise, and will burn off some of the extra calories you’re sure to consume on this cruise! POOL AREAS • Echoing all the other reviewers: a couple of tiny pools is not NEARLY enough to accommodate the # of passengers on this ship or to allow any actual swimming. SO very disappointing. Teen passengers - who aren’t allowed in the adult pool, and want no part of screaming toddlers in the kiddie pools - are especially disadvantaged by this. • As everyone has said before - the chair reserving/hogging issue is absolutely ridiculous! We could usually only find a chair or two for our family of 4 in WAY out-of-the-way inconvenient places far from the pools/activities. • Music at the Deck 15 adult pool was blaring – annoying even to my teen boys – and the over-crowded pool area often looked like an obnoxious spring break scene, full of sloppy drunken passengers (made for some humorous people watching though). • Water slides were fun, but lines are long and the seams between the sections of slide scrape your back on the way down. I could only do them a few times before it got too painful. The Freefall Slides were broken on our last day, which is when we planned to try them, so we never got to use them. FITNESS FACILITY • The free weight area of the fitness room was VERY cramped and usually always crowded. There was always enough cardio equipment for everyone (except the rower - only one of those). • The fitness facility as a whole had almost no open space for those into CrossFit-type functional/bodyweight training (push ups, sit ups, jump rope, burpees, kettlebell swings, etc.). BERMUDA • Just before (during?) our trip, NCL changed the departure time from Bermuda up to 3pm (vs. the 5pm time which was originally planned/advertised). This completely screwed up our plan for Friday, and we had to significantly cut short our time at Horseshoe Bay Beach. We were disappointed to be so rushed in this beautiful, idyllic setting where we had hoped to spend a long, relaxing day. • Highly recommend the Rising Son Catamaran excursion. Captain “Squid” and his crew, “Bubbles” & “Elmo” were fun, laid back, informative, and seemed to truly enjoy what they do. The excursion was more than just snorkeling, offering something for everyone – swimming into & exploring caves, stand-up-paddle boarding, sea kayaking, cliff jumping (off a 25 foot cliff!), or just relaxing on the catamaran or one of two beautiful secluded little beaches we were anchored off of. I loved that Captain Squid checked with me to ensure it was OK for my son to back flip off cliff (rather than just say no due to liability). He also chatted with my son about form & technique (as Squid also did flips off the cliff), which my son appreciated. • Also enjoyed the Hidden Gems excursion but be aware that it is LONG (10am to 5pm). However, you get to see so much, learn lots about Bermuda, and pack in TONS of activities & sights by day’s end. The excursion includes: a jungle hike, spelunking, swimming in a secluded cave, snorkeling, a delicious lunch & ice cream from authentic local venues, climbing to the top of St. David’s lighthouse, cliff jumping, plus a guided tour of everything throughout the day. A fun, informative, jam-packed day! • We found the bus system to be a pain in the butt, slow, inconvenient, and not worth the savings. Take a taxi, shuttle, ferry… or ANYthing other than the public bus system. The time savings and convenience will be worth the extra money (and many offer “tours” while they drive/taxi/ferry you around). • We also enjoyed Fun Golf, which has spectacular views and a cool concept, with miniaturized holes of some of the world's best golf courses.

Lackluster Cruise Experience

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by Curley Girl

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2015
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
Took a week-long cruise to Bermuda with my husband and two teenage sons. Not a total disaster, but wouldn't go again and won't recommend the ship to anyone. Below are my takeaways from the Breakaway:

STATEROOM:

• Bed and pillows were very comfy. Room was nice and quiet – by the sound of many other reviews, we really lucked out in that regard.

• Very poor drainage in the shower. The showerhead and body jets were cool, but the water got so backed up, we couldn’t really use them. Had to just get wet then turn off water to lather up, then turn water back on to rinse off. If water stayed on more than 4 minutes, the water would overflow out of the shower enclosure all over the bathroom floor. When we brought it to the attention of our steward, Danny, we were told this is “typical” of ship plumbing. Nothing was done about it.

• We booked a mini-suite with “large” balcony. What a joke. Our balcony was just as narrow as all the others (so no additional water frontage) just deeper. However, with the shallower balconies looking over/in on us, it offered much less privacy than the others.

• NOTE: There is NO hair conditioner, face soap, or body lotion in staterooms, only a pump dispenser of body wash and shampoo. If you care about your hair & skin getting dried out, bring your own conditioner, facial cleanser & body lotion.

• The hair dryer is permanently affixed in the sleeping portion of the cabin, so cannot be used in the bathroom. A few times I had to awaken napping family members in order to dry my hair (right next to them), because I couldn’t do it in the bathroom.

FOOD & DRINK:

• We did not eat in any of the premium dining venues, so my review is based on all of the “included” options. Food was mediocre everywhere we ate. We found nothing to rave about.

• The three dining rooms serve essentially the same menu, and it changes little from day to day. Really, there’s only one dining room in three places.

• Although we didn’t love the cafeteria-like atmosphere of the Garden Café buffet, that’s where we found the greatest selection, so everyone was at least able to get something they liked there.

• We found the beverage package WELL worth it! Having a few drinks throughout the day and then again in the evenings REALLY adds up.

• NOTE: the scrambled eggs in EVERY buffet we tried were really gross. Go with eggs to order in the omelet stations if at all possible.

ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES

• Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos – I’ve seen Howl at the Moon in Chicago, and this PALED in comparison. James was OK, but the female performer wasn’t good.

• Second City Comedy shows – We saw three different shows and, for the most part, they were all funny & entertaining. To have a more enjoyable and interactive experience, suggest some improv topics and/or volunteer to be in the show! (People will then recognize and say hi to you during the cruise when they recognize you!)

• Burn the Floor – Dancers were lovely and, I’m sure, quite talented, but we found it a SNOOZER. Unless you’re really into ballroom & classical styles of dancing, it gets pretty boring. Would love to see other types of dancing represented – hip hop, African jazz, Bollywood, disco... just SOMEthing different to spice it up.

• Rock of Ages – I’m all for inappropriate humor and entertainment, but the gratuitous, over-the top nature of the sexual language and performances wasn't entertaining. Overall we enjoyed the show, but it would have been better quality and seemed less amateurish if the sexual content was less overt/in your face. Many people walked out of the show mid-way through, clearly disgusted by the material. We were shocked by how many people brought their young children to the show (we saw several from ages 4 to 12ish!) despite NUMEROUS warnings that it’s NOT appropriate for kids. What are parents thinking?!

• Justin Lacey – live guitar & piano music in Shakers lounge – What a beautiful voice! We really enjoyed Justin’s performances and we stopped in several nights to listen. He played classics/standards as well as contemporary artists like Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, John Legend. Something for all ages.

• Beware the extra charges for the shipboard recreation! My boys loved bowling ($5/person per game), darts ($1/pp/game) & air hockey ($2/pp/game)… but boy did it add up! Other extras that we didn’t try were pop-a-shot basketball, pool, and all video games in the arcade.

• The high ropes course was fun, just be prepared for a long wait. Once up there, though, you can play around as long as you like. If it’s not exciting enough for you or your teens, try challenging each other to tests like using no hands on your tether while walking the obstacles, getting across the obstacles as fast as possible (again, no hands), or even walking backwards (no hands!) across the beams.

• Mini golf was cute, though nothing super special (and, again, long lines).

OVERALL/MISC.

• For a huge ship, most areas feel small (many with low ceilings) and the stateroom hallways are SOOO tight/cramped. There’s no “grand” interior space that feels expansive or gives you a sense of the size of this ship.

• While many staff were friendly, almost as many didn't want to be bothered.

• We disliked how open the smoky casino & bar areas were, allowing the stink of cigarette smoke into the surrounding non-smoking public spaces. Blechh.

• There aren’t enough elevator banks and the ones that ARE there are not that well located, so wait times are long and stops are frequent. If you are able bodied, TAKE THE STAIRS! It’s much faster, is great exercise, and will burn off some of the extra calories you’re sure to consume on this cruise!

POOL AREAS

• Echoing all the other reviewers: a couple of tiny pools is not NEARLY enough to accommodate the # of passengers on this ship or to allow any actual swimming. SO very disappointing. Teen passengers - who aren’t allowed in the adult pool, and want no part of screaming toddlers in the kiddie pools - are especially disadvantaged by this.

• As everyone has said before - the chair reserving/hogging issue is absolutely ridiculous! We could usually only find a chair or two for our family of 4 in WAY out-of-the-way inconvenient places far from the pools/activities.

• Music at the Deck 15 adult pool was blaring – annoying even to my teen boys – and the over-crowded pool area often looked like an obnoxious spring break scene, full of sloppy drunken passengers (made for some humorous people watching though).

• Water slides were fun, but lines are long and the seams between the sections of slide scrape your back on the way down. I could only do them a few times before it got too painful. The Freefall Slides were broken on our last day, which is when we planned to try them, so we never got to use them.

FITNESS FACILITY

• The free weight area of the fitness room was VERY cramped and usually always crowded. There was always enough cardio equipment for everyone (except the rower - only one of those).

• The fitness facility as a whole had almost no open space for those into CrossFit-type functional/bodyweight training (push ups, sit ups, jump rope, burpees, kettlebell swings, etc.).

BERMUDA

• Just before (during?) our trip, NCL changed the departure time from Bermuda up to 3pm (vs. the 5pm time which was originally planned/advertised). This completely screwed up our plan for Friday, and we had to significantly cut short our time at Horseshoe Bay Beach. We were disappointed to be so rushed in this beautiful, idyllic setting where we had hoped to spend a long, relaxing day.

• Highly recommend the Rising Son Catamaran excursion. Captain “Squid” and his crew, “Bubbles” & “Elmo” were fun, laid back, informative, and seemed to truly enjoy what they do. The excursion was more than just snorkeling, offering something for everyone – swimming into & exploring caves, stand-up-paddle boarding, sea kayaking, cliff jumping (off a 25 foot cliff!), or just relaxing on the catamaran or one of two beautiful secluded little beaches we were anchored off of. I loved that Captain Squid checked with me to ensure it was OK for my son to back flip off cliff (rather than just say no due to liability). He also chatted with my son about form & technique (as Squid also did flips off the cliff), which my son appreciated.

• Also enjoyed the Hidden Gems excursion but be aware that it is LONG (10am to 5pm). However, you get to see so much, learn lots about Bermuda, and pack in TONS of activities & sights by day’s end. The excursion includes: a jungle hike, spelunking, swimming in a secluded cave, snorkeling, a delicious lunch & ice cream from authentic local venues, climbing to the top of St. David’s lighthouse, cliff jumping, plus a guided tour of everything throughout the day. A fun, informative, jam-packed day!

• We found the bus system to be a pain in the butt, slow, inconvenient, and not worth the savings. Take a taxi, shuttle, ferry… or ANYthing other than the public bus system. The time savings and convenience will be worth the extra money (and many offer “tours” while they drive/taxi/ferry you around).

• We also enjoyed Fun Golf, which has spectacular views and a cool concept, with miniaturized holes of some of the world's best golf courses.
Curley Girl’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin M6 8732
• Was a bit cramped but worked out OK for our family of 4 (two teen boys, both larger than me!). We bumped into each other when in the cabin, but didn't spend much time there.
• Got scared when we arrived and saw that there was just one large bed and one tiny couch (not pull-out and barely twin sized) for our family of 4. Didn't realize there was a twin-sized bed folded up into the ceiling that the porter pulls down and makes up for you each night, then puts away each day. Phew!
• Bed and pillows were very comfy. Room was nice and quiet – by the sound of many other reviews, we really lucked out in that regard.
• Very poor drainage in the shower. The showerhead and body jets were cool, but the water got so backed up, we couldn’t really use them. Had to just get wet then turn off water to lather up, then turn water back on to rinse off. If water stayed on more than 4 minutes, the water would overflow out of the shower enclosure all over the bathroom floor. When we brought it to the attention of our steward, Danny, we were told this is “typical” of ship plumbing. Nothing was done about it.
• We booked a mini-suite with “large” balcony. What a joke. Our balcony was just as narrow as all the others (so no additional water frontage) just deeper. However, with the shallower balconies looking over/in on us, it offered much less privacy than the others.
• NOTE: There is NO hair conditioner, face soap, or body lotion in staterooms, only a pump dispenser of body wash and shampoo. If you care about your hair & skin getting dried out, bring your own conditioner, facial cleanser & body lotion.
• The hair dryer is permanently affixed in the sleeping portion of the cabin, so cannot be used in the bathroom. A few times I had to awaken napping family members in order to dry my hair (right next to them), because I couldn’t do it in the bathroom.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Island Tour
    HIDDEN GEMS ISLAND TOUR - Really enjoyed the Hidden Gems excursion but be aware that it is LONG (10am to 5pm). However, you get to see so much, learn lots about Bermuda, and pack in TONS of activities & sights by day’s end. The excursion includes: a jungle hike, spelunking (aka, caving in a dark, non-commercialized cave - with lighted helmets!), swimming in a secluded cave (yes,"cave," not "cove"), snorkeling, a delicious lunch & ice cream from authentic local venues, climbing to the top of St. David’s lighthouse, cliff jumping, plus a guided tour of everything by our tour guides who are lifelong Bermudians. A fun, informative, jam-packed day!
    View All 10 Island Tour Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    RISING SON II CATAMARAN SAIL & SNORKEL - • Highly recommend the Rising Son Catamaran excursion. Captain “Squid” and his crew, “Bubbles” & “Elmo” were fun, laid back, informative, and seemed to truly enjoy what they do. The excursion was more than just snorkeling, offering something for everyone – swimming into & exploring caves, stand-up-paddle boarding, sea kayaking, cliff jumping (off a 25 foot cliff!), or just relaxing on the catamaran or one of two beautiful secluded little beaches we were anchored off of. I loved that Captain Squid checked with me to ensure it was OK for my son to back flip off cliff (rather than just say no due to liability). He also chatted with my son about form & technique (as Squid also did flips off the cliff), which my son appreciated.
    View All 7 Snorkeling Reviews
  • New York (Manhattan)
    Outside the terminal is crowded, loud and a dirty full of pushy people. Gets a bit better inside the terminal, with most staff trying to expedite the process for you. We arrived earlier than the time we "reserved" online, and were able to get on early without a problem. Overall, it was a fairly quick & painless process, considering.
    View All 1,029 New York (Manhattan) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's New York (Manhattan) Cruise Port Review