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This review highlights some of the highs and lows of our trip. We've rated this cruise "4" overall and we have tried to balance our comments accordingly, though we have taken the time to explain the "less favorable" parts thoroughly. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION We picked this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. The cities were amazing. Getting on and off in each port was easy and smooth (except for St. Petersburg, which involved a long, slow process). We began and ended our cruise Copenhagen and spent several days exploring before and after the cruise. Great decision. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. We used public transportation to get to and from the cruise ship, to the airport and throughout Copenhagen. HIGHLY recommend you check into this. An all day pass is about $12-13 USD and a trip to/from airport is about $5-6 one way. Can't believe how many people pay NCL $25 USD per person to take a bus to the airport (except for those who cannot walk, carry luggage short distances, etc). SHIP We loved the beauty of the refurbished ship. It is clean, contemporary, "new" looking and very stylish. We did not like the public areas. We have sailed on the "jewel" class NCL ships (Gem, Jade, Pearl, etc) and while they are not as impressive looking, they are much less crowded and much less noisy in the public areas. With 4000 passengers on board, NCL did not put enough money into increasing the public spaces on the Breakaway. Everywhere was crowded. Elevators, restaurants, atrium, bars, pools, etc. We were so tired of pushing and shoving and ended up finding chairs and tables outside (near the martini bar) to sit at during most of our down time. The weather was wonderful for our entire sailing, so sitting outside without the crowds was heavenly. This was our first summer cruise and we had not anticipated children on board being so unruly. Perhaps we are just used to US expectations of kids in public places but we were not expecting screaming, running, falling on the ground, rolling around, winding the leash that they were attached to around their parents and other passenger's legs (yes, children on leashes acting like unruly puppies), tired children up at midnight, pre-teenage children running around the hallways near staterooms and screaming (in Italian?) as they got on the elevators (more than once), etc. We could go on and on. The parents did nothing to try to re-direct their children. They just kept talking to other adults, drinking and ignoring their naughty children. We did ask the pre-teenage children to "please stop running around", but not sure they spoke English. It was odd to be on a nicely appointed cruise ship with children acting like they were at an amusement park. Shame on the parents. CABIN Our cabin was clean, quiet, modern and slightly larger than other inside staterooms that we have had. We've gotten pretty good at using the space efficiently. On this ship we had no drawers, just shelves and closet space. DINING Restaurant service was slow. (That's true with all NCL cruise ships) Waiter takes your order, then you wait. Behind the scenes, the food is "staged" and covered to stay warm. By the time it gets to you, it is closer to room temperature. We do not eat at buffets, so we always go to the sit down restaurants. Food taste is good, with some interesting menu choices and some things that are just so-so. Our behind the scenes tour told us that the NCL menus are changing with the beginning of the roll out occurring in Sept 2018. This is good news. Speaking as people who have been on 8 NCL cruises in the past two years, we are very tired of the same menus offered for the entire NCL fleet. No uniqueness per ship. The rollout won't be unique per ship either, but at least it will be a long overdue change to bring some variety for frequent cruisers. Sometimes we are waiting for our food, another soda or drink, our coffee, etc and we would look around and see servers who are resetting tables for lunch or dinner and only our server is running around like crazy. Why can't NCL see this too?? Those tables can wait to be reset later. HELP the servers who are obviously overwhelmed! We asked one of the managers who came to our table if they were short staffed. He said, "oh no we are not short staffed" and asked if we had been waiting long. YES we wanted to shout. Aren't you looking around and seeing the server running around trying to do ten things at once while the customers are just sitting there?! For the most part, we just took the waiting in stride and reminded ourselves that we were on vacation. CRUISE DIRECTOR/STAFF AND ACTIVITIES The cruise director, Roberto, speaks many languages, and at first it was impressive to hear him make announcements in 4 different languages, but after awhile, it got old as each announcement takes 4 times as long to make. There has to be a better way. Speaking of the cruise director... he was not very visible and when we did see him, he is by far the least approachable and least friendly of the 8 cruise directors we have met in the past two years. His staff was not very visible. By the end of the cruise, I only knew one cruise staff member's name. The onboard activities were limited. Trivia was on average of once per day or less. No origami, arts and crafts, etc. Many activities held in the atrium. Seating is difficult, crowded, hard to see even from the overhead balcony. Other NCL ships have cards that you get initialed after activities, then at the end of the cruise you turn the cards in for a prize, like a T shirt. Now they give you a plastic prize IF you are the winner. So if you attend an event, they no longer value that as deserving a prize at the end of the cruise. After I won some a can "coozie" and a fabric frisbee (which I gave away to a child), I lost interest in attending activities. OTHER STAFF Customer service area is crowded, slow and the treatment is harsh. They are by far the worst representatives for "customer service." Is that done on purpose, NCL? Cruise Next staff is fun, friendly and very approachable. We loved seeing them around the ship and having short conversations! Some of the bartenders are wonderful. Some took the time to get to know us, remember our names, remember what we drank, etc. The same is true of the drink servers. Cabin steward was friendly and efficient. He kept our room in great shape. ENTERTAINMENT Mixed. Some good, some mediocre and some we skipped. Not our favorite cruise for entertainment by far. LAUNDRY SERVICE Platinum members get a free bag of laundry. When our clothes had not arrived back after 48 hours, we called the front desk. We were told laundry takes 48 hours. We explained that that was why we were calling. When the person on the phone asked if we were using a coupon, we explained it was our "free bag" benefit. "Oh in that case," she said, "yours will take 3 to 4 DAYS." We thought it was odd that NCL values us as Platinum Latitudes members by giving us a "free bag" of laundry, then de-values us by making us wait twice as long as paying customers. SHORE EXCURSIONS We booked all of ours through and independent company and they were all EXCELLENT. We did use the free voucher we were given for Nynsham to Stockholm transfer. The bus ride to Stockholm was fine. The bus ride home was not. They sent a bus knowing it was NOT air conditioned. We know this because they tried to use the same bus with the people on the 2:45 (?) earlier pickup and those people refused to get on it after being told there was no air. For us, they did not tell us about the "no air conditioning" till we were pulling away and asked the driver to put on the air. There were no windows to open and it was about 85-90 degrees F in the bus (30-32 degrees C). We were beyond hot and really feared someone might get ill. One group of about 8 people could not take it any longer and after about 15 minutes on the bus they asked to be let off. The bus driver let them off and continued our ride through the city of Stockholm to some kind of station. At this point, the driver pulled over and told us he had called for a new bus. We spent 10 minutes waiting on a city sidewalk, when an air conditioned bus came, we boarded and were on our way. This resulted in our getting back to port 1/2 hour later than the busses that left at the same time. Would we go again? For the ports, yes. We would not be excited to go on the Breakaway again. Overall, we do like NCL. We like freestyle cruising. We like the friendliness of the bar staff and drink servers. We had many vacation heroes.

Ports were best part! Crowds on ship were the worst part.

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by flowerchildpeace

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Family Inside Stateroom
This review highlights some of the highs and lows of our trip. We've rated this cruise "4" overall and we have tried to balance our comments accordingly, though we have taken the time to explain the "less favorable" parts thoroughly.

EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION

We picked this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. The cities were amazing. Getting on and off in each port was easy and smooth (except for St. Petersburg, which involved a long, slow process).

We began and ended our cruise Copenhagen and spent several days exploring before and after the cruise. Great decision. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. We used public transportation to get to and from the cruise ship, to the airport and throughout Copenhagen. HIGHLY recommend you check into this. An all day pass is about $12-13 USD and a trip to/from airport is about $5-6 one way. Can't believe how many people pay NCL $25 USD per person to take a bus to the airport (except for those who cannot walk, carry luggage short distances, etc).

SHIP

We loved the beauty of the refurbished ship. It is clean, contemporary, "new" looking and very stylish. We did not like the public areas. We have sailed on the "jewel" class NCL ships (Gem, Jade, Pearl, etc) and while they are not as impressive looking, they are much less crowded and much less noisy in the public areas. With 4000 passengers on board, NCL did not put enough money into increasing the public spaces on the Breakaway. Everywhere was crowded. Elevators, restaurants, atrium, bars, pools, etc. We were so tired of pushing and shoving and ended up finding chairs and tables outside (near the martini bar) to sit at during most of our down time. The weather was wonderful for our entire sailing, so sitting outside without the crowds was heavenly.

This was our first summer cruise and we had not anticipated children on board being so unruly. Perhaps we are just used to US expectations of kids in public places but we were not expecting screaming, running, falling on the ground, rolling around, winding the leash that they were attached to around their parents and other passenger's legs (yes, children on leashes acting like unruly puppies), tired children up at midnight, pre-teenage children running around the hallways near staterooms and screaming (in Italian?) as they got on the elevators (more than once), etc. We could go on and on. The parents did nothing to try to re-direct their children. They just kept talking to other adults, drinking and ignoring their naughty children. We did ask the pre-teenage children to "please stop running around", but not sure they spoke English. It was odd to be on a nicely appointed cruise ship with children acting like they were at an amusement park. Shame on the parents.

CABIN

Our cabin was clean, quiet, modern and slightly larger than other inside staterooms that we have had. We've gotten pretty good at using the space efficiently. On this ship we had no drawers, just shelves and closet space.

DINING

Restaurant service was slow. (That's true with all NCL cruise ships) Waiter takes your order, then you wait. Behind the scenes, the food is "staged" and covered to stay warm. By the time it gets to you, it is closer to room temperature. We do not eat at buffets, so we always go to the sit down restaurants. Food taste is good, with some interesting menu choices and some things that are just so-so. Our behind the scenes tour told us that the NCL menus are changing with the beginning of the roll out occurring in Sept 2018. This is good news. Speaking as people who have been on 8 NCL cruises in the past two years, we are very tired of the same menus offered for the entire NCL fleet. No uniqueness per ship. The rollout won't be unique per ship either, but at least it will be a long overdue change to bring some variety for frequent cruisers.

Sometimes we are waiting for our food, another soda or drink, our coffee, etc and we would look around and see servers who are resetting tables for lunch or dinner and only our server is running around like crazy. Why can't NCL see this too?? Those tables can wait to be reset later. HELP the servers who are obviously overwhelmed! We asked one of the managers who came to our table if they were short staffed. He said, "oh no we are not short staffed" and asked if we had been waiting long. YES we wanted to shout. Aren't you looking around and seeing the server running around trying to do ten things at once while the customers are just sitting there?! For the most part, we just took the waiting in stride and reminded ourselves that we were on vacation.

CRUISE DIRECTOR/STAFF AND ACTIVITIES

The cruise director, Roberto, speaks many languages, and at first it was impressive to hear him make announcements in 4 different languages, but after awhile, it got old as each announcement takes 4 times as long to make. There has to be a better way.

Speaking of the cruise director... he was not very visible and when we did see him, he is by far the least approachable and least friendly of the 8 cruise directors we have met in the past two years. His staff was not very visible. By the end of the cruise, I only knew one cruise staff member's name. The onboard activities were limited. Trivia was on average of once per day or less. No origami, arts and crafts, etc. Many activities held in the atrium. Seating is difficult, crowded, hard to see even from the overhead balcony. Other NCL ships have cards that you get initialed after activities, then at the end of the cruise you turn the cards in for a prize, like a T shirt. Now they give you a plastic prize IF you are the winner. So if you attend an event, they no longer value that as deserving a prize at the end of the cruise. After I won some a can "coozie" and a fabric frisbee (which I gave away to a child), I lost interest in attending activities.

OTHER STAFF

Customer service area is crowded, slow and the treatment is harsh. They are by far the worst representatives for "customer service." Is that done on purpose, NCL?

Cruise Next staff is fun, friendly and very approachable. We loved seeing them around the ship and having short conversations!

Some of the bartenders are wonderful. Some took the time to get to know us, remember our names, remember what we drank, etc. The same is true of the drink servers.

Cabin steward was friendly and efficient. He kept our room in great shape.

ENTERTAINMENT

Mixed. Some good, some mediocre and some we skipped. Not our favorite cruise for entertainment by far.

LAUNDRY SERVICE

Platinum members get a free bag of laundry. When our clothes had not arrived back after 48 hours, we called the front desk. We were told laundry takes 48 hours. We explained that that was why we were calling. When the person on the phone asked if we were using a coupon, we explained it was our "free bag" benefit. "Oh in that case," she said, "yours will take 3 to 4 DAYS." We thought it was odd that NCL values us as Platinum Latitudes members by giving us a "free bag" of laundry, then de-values us by making us wait twice as long as paying customers.

SHORE EXCURSIONS

We booked all of ours through and independent company and they were all EXCELLENT. We did use the free voucher we were given for Nynsham to Stockholm transfer. The bus ride to Stockholm was fine. The bus ride home was not. They sent a bus knowing it was NOT air conditioned. We know this because they tried to use the same bus with the people on the 2:45 (?) earlier pickup and those people refused to get on it after being told there was no air. For us, they did not tell us about the "no air conditioning" till we were pulling away and asked the driver to put on the air. There were no windows to open and it was about 85-90 degrees F in the bus (30-32 degrees C). We were beyond hot and really feared someone might get ill. One group of about 8 people could not take it any longer and after about 15 minutes on the bus they asked to be let off. The bus driver let them off and continued our ride through the city of Stockholm to some kind of station. At this point, the driver pulled over and told us he had called for a new bus. We spent 10 minutes waiting on a city sidewalk, when an air conditioned bus came, we boarded and were on our way. This resulted in our getting back to port 1/2 hour later than the busses that left at the same time.

Would we go again? For the ports, yes. We would not be excited to go on the Breakaway again. Overall, we do like NCL. We like freestyle cruising. We like the friendliness of the bar staff and drink servers. We had many vacation heroes.
flowerchildpeace’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Family Inside Stateroom
Cabin I2 12657
Clean. Slightly larger than inside rooms on other ships.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews