First, it was probably my fault for not thinking about College Spring Breakers, but our first cruise was such an incredible disappointment, and I'm certainly not saying college students shouldn't have fun, I work at a college, more it's that this cruise ship is SO huge and has a little itty bitty pool, which we couldn't even get to because all of the drunks and twerkers were in it. Yes, you read correctly, even IF we could get into it with our children, it was rated R. I'm not quite sure what Norwegian is thinking about when having over 4,000 people on-board, and a pool that can't hold 20, even the kids pool, which is 3-4' deep, (tell me my 12 and 14 year old are going to enjoy that), is more like a lap pool.
We never were able to get to a specialty dinner because they were always sold out, we didn't get to any of the comedy shows, sold out, we did get to Rock of Ages, which was a RIOT, and do read that it is meant for mature audiences, and the Burn the Floor dancers have incredible talent, but in eight days, that's all we were able to do. The ports were a bummer too if you didn't want to spend $800 to swim with the dolphins, or $800 to go to Disney etc., Cape Canaveral, nothing but a busy strip where if you want to sit on the beach you have to rent chairs, (nickel and dime), plus we had to pay $50 for the "excursion" of getting a shuttle to and from the terminal to Coco Beach, AND the drivers all had signs asking for tips as that's how they survive? WHAT? Yes, I tipped them, on top of the $400 in tips I'd prepaid. Great Stirrup Cay was BEAUTIFUL but no place to sit, bar line was a mile long, and we only wanted a soda! Food line crazy and closes at two, and Nassau, we did the shopping, and it's certainly an experience, but I was hoping for so much more.
On ship, we bought the soda packages which every person in the room had to have and spent about $250 on that, and we could never get anyone to pay us any attention at the bar to get a drink! My poor daughter was virtually ignored every time she tried to get a soda because she wasn't buying alcohol, even as an adult I was ignored looking for a soda. They should have soda kiosks that work with your ship card if you have a soda package, so you don't have to bother the bartenders, who are also getting tips, and don't have to wait forever. Honestly, if you're not a big drinker or gambler, I don't recommend this cruise at all. It was nice to hit the warmth of FL and Bahamas, but you WILL be cold in March coming out of NYC for more than a day going down and more than a day coming back.
Next, price. We thought we were getting a good deal, again, being our first cruise, and 3rd and 4th passengers were "free", then they tack on over $600 in fees and taxes, then you have to pay another $400 for mandatory daily gratuity charge, per person per day, there's another grand on to your cruise. I just wish all of these charges were up front so someone knew what they were getting into.
Pros: our Steward Felix was awesome! He's been with the company for 18 years cleaning up after all us slobs! The rooms were nice, small of course, but that was expected, and we're a family of four, but clean and cozy. Dan Dan the Cruise Director was a riot as well. As noted, the two shows we were actually able to see, were very good, but we did like Rock of Ages better. I would have liked to do the Cirque dinner, but that would have added on another $200 not including gratuity. The waitstaff in the dining room was SUPER!!! Very caring, very professional, just awesome. We had some of the Spring Breakers in the dining room being obnoxious, and they quieted them right down. Thank God, since we went to the dining room trying to get away from them. Getting in and out of the NY Terminal is pretty breezy, you have 4,000 people trying to get through one place, patience is key, and going in with that attitude is best. Parking at the terminal, though $300, was painless and secure. Disembarking, we chose to take our own luggage off Sunday morning at 8am and it was fine. Tenders, we waited for a LONG time coming back from Great Stirrup, but everyone pretty much left at the same time, so to be expected. I'm a reasonable person.
Cons: mandatory pre-paid gratuity surcharge? Why would I want to tip our waiter in O'Sheehans that pretty much grunted at us, never came back to check on us, never asked if we wanted drinks, literally did not utter a single word, now granted it was very very loud from the music in the Atrium, but he never even came back to ask about dessert. I did go ask the hostess about dessert telling her our waiter was ignoring us and didn't speak, but he still never came back, so we left. This ship is WAY too big for it's britches, really, don't plan on getting near the pool, if you go to the Atrium for an event, don't plan on finding a place to sit. Rock wall was open only three hours a day. the ropes course was open longer, but my kids were too scared, as would I! :o)
Food was ok, we only ate in the dining room once as we didn't see much on the menu that enticed us, it was a little weird, and does not change through the entire cruise, but if you're into duck and escargot, you could eat your weight here. We were never able to reserve a specialty dinner as they were always full, even the noodle place was impossible to get to. We ate at the Garden Cafe all week, which was fine, but towards the end of the week, it's all pretty much the same old same old, and lots of the french fries, pizza, burger, ets. The place was spotless! The staff was great about "washy washy" when you came in and clearing and wiping down tables promptly, sometimes too promptly if you weren't done and went to refill your iced tea! LOL but all good, just go get some more.
All in all, I will never go on the Breakaway again and will look for smaller ships IF we go on another cruise, I think the shine of going has certainly worn off, which is a complete bummer as I was so excited.
Of course it's small, but it was fine. Closet with all kinds of shelves, drawers under the couch, it was absolutely fine. Carpet may need to be replaced before next season.
Why do I need to spend $50 for a 10 minute ride to nowhere AND be requested to tip the drivers BOTH ways??? ultimately, this ended up being a $60 ride.
kids enjoyed renting snorkeling equipment