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BUFFET: An awesome quantity, with enough variety for people with dietary restrictions, although it would have been better had they labelled which dishes were gluten free. I only wish the food had been hot - I never found anything (including coffee) better than lukewarm, which dropped to cold by the time I found a table in busy times. Staff were helpful, efficient and plentiful. Loved the fresh oatmeal, crepes and waffles at breakfast. Bread was generally stale - found mould on one hamburger bun. RESTAURANTS: Le Bistro: good French/international food; parody of French service. Manhattan: very noisy live music, uninteresting food. Moderna: excellent Brazilian BBQ, great service. La Cucina: good Italian food, but served cold, and in a hurry. KIDS: Our 9-year-old went to Kids Club a few times, but didn't enjoy it enough to stay, or return. Our 12-year-old (1 week short of 13) is in high school, but was refused entry to the teen club. He went to the Kids Club once, but didn't want to return. (They let such older kids check themselves out, but only after a minimum stay of 2 hours, which made him reluctant to start.) Royal Caribbean let him in to theirs more than a year previously, and he loved it. In consequence neither of our boys met any other kids they wanted to spend time with, which was a big pity. CREDIT, ADMINISTRATION: I would have liked to have given my kids some credit towards games, but there was no way to do this without giving them unlimited access to my credit card. NICKEL AND DIMING: Thanks to Australian consumer-protection laws, gratuities were all included for us. Staff were good at explaining where there would be extra charges. We didn't need a drinks package for the kids - we got juices and lemonade whenever we wanted them; perhaps they were charged to our adult drinks package. There are still some hidden and excessive charges: room service is complementary (large type), but actually there is a $8 "convenience fee" (very small type); over-priced transfers and shore excursions. MOBILE PHONE USE: I was on a Vodafone international roaming plan, which gave me full mobile data use in all ports ($5/day) other than St Petersburg (where I had to turn mobile roaming off, to avoid $1/MB charges). This was essential because we only used an organised excursion in St Petersburg, and needed to look up public transport and access Google Maps. Happily the ship's mobile phone base stations didn't do data roaming (not sure whether this was them or Vodafone), which meant I could leave my phone on and get data whenever we were close enough to a shore base station, and not otherwise.

Great staff, silly rules

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by OliverBock

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom
BUFFET: An awesome quantity, with enough variety for people with dietary restrictions, although it would have been better had they labelled which dishes were gluten free. I only wish the food had been hot - I never found anything (including coffee) better than lukewarm, which dropped to cold by the time I found a table in busy times. Staff were helpful, efficient and plentiful. Loved the fresh oatmeal, crepes and waffles at breakfast. Bread was generally stale - found mould on one hamburger bun.

RESTAURANTS: Le Bistro: good French/international food; parody of French service. Manhattan: very noisy live music, uninteresting food. Moderna: excellent Brazilian BBQ, great service. La Cucina: good Italian food, but served cold, and in a hurry.

KIDS: Our 9-year-old went to Kids Club a few times, but didn't enjoy it enough to stay, or return. Our 12-year-old (1 week short of 13) is in high school, but was refused entry to the teen club. He went to the Kids Club once, but didn't want to return. (They let such older kids check themselves out, but only after a minimum stay of 2 hours, which made him reluctant to start.) Royal Caribbean let him in to theirs more than a year previously, and he loved it. In consequence neither of our boys met any other kids they wanted to spend time with, which was a big pity.

CREDIT, ADMINISTRATION: I would have liked to have given my kids some credit towards games, but there was no way to do this without giving them unlimited access to my credit card.

NICKEL AND DIMING: Thanks to Australian consumer-protection laws, gratuities were all included for us. Staff were good at explaining where there would be extra charges. We didn't need a drinks package for the kids - we got juices and lemonade whenever we wanted them; perhaps they were charged to our adult drinks package. There are still some hidden and excessive charges: room service is complementary (large type), but actually there is a $8 "convenience fee" (very small type); over-priced transfers and shore excursions.

MOBILE PHONE USE: I was on a Vodafone international roaming plan, which gave me full mobile data use in all ports ($5/day) other than St Petersburg (where I had to turn mobile roaming off, to avoid $1/MB charges). This was essential because we only used an organised excursion in St Petersburg, and needed to look up public transport and access Google Maps. Happily the ship's mobile phone base stations didn't do data roaming (not sure whether this was them or Vodafone), which meant I could leave my phone on and get data whenever we were close enough to a shore base station, and not otherwise.
OliverBock’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom
Cabin BB 9864
Sofa turns into the third bed, and a fourth comes down from the ceiling (which steward must do). Good use of space. Good storage. The only irritation was the their refusal to open the barrier between our room and my Dad's room, next door. The reason given was "safety", which is difficult to understand.

Our steward was friendly and helpful.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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  • Rostock (Warnemunde)
    Old church in Rostock was interesting, with its 16th century astronomical clock, but be there in time to watch its daily display. Not much else there that I could find, though the transport system was good. (We purchased day tickets at Warnemünde station, with help from station staff). Google Maps doesn't show the trams, but they are just what is needed to get from the Hauptbahnhof into the centre of town.

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  • City Tour
    Our incredible guide (Val - SPB Tours) has a huge interest in the city and its history. He entertained us for the whole time, even breaking into song and poetry. (You might think this cheesy, but he had enough cynicism to pull it off.) Our driver Sergei had a perfect mix of care and aggression to get us through the heavy traffic.

    St Petersburg felt like a normal European city - I had a been a bit apprehensive about Russia. Now we will try to find a way to come back for a much longer time, and at our own pace.
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    We split up so one group could see the Abba museum (disappointing) and the other Skansen (much larger than Seurasaari, but same idea, though fewer open buildings and less attractive environment, so not as good). Vasa museum was excellent and "worth a trip" (as Michelin guides would say).

    The cruise offered only buses with late departure + late return or early departure + early return. So we took an early train in and used their late bus to return (we had complimentary tickets because the ship should have gone to Stockholm directly, not Nyneshavn). Buy your Stockholm day train+bus+tram+ferry tickets in the Tourist Information office just off the boat, where you can also get tickets for the shuttles to the station (or walk there in 20 minutes yourself).
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  • Tallinn
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