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Things I like about the NCL Breakaway ship and this cruise of the Baltic Sea fall far short of what was to be desired or should have been provided. I appreciated greatly that the cabin is well appointed including coffee making facilities. It was wonderful having dinner and not being hassled by waiters selling wine packages. The best thing about this ship is the friendly and capable staff. Being a member of cruise critic meant we were personally introduced to senior staff and provided with their phone numbers on board if we encountered any difficulties. This was an advantage but from reading past reviews of the Breakaway today, the problems we encountered were nothing new to the staff and I prefer instead to share my experience with the public. Now for the list of things that were disappointing, frustrating and which hampered our enjoyment of the holiday. These are in no particular order of importance. 1. We experienced stained and torn bedding, pictures available. We were in balcony statement room cabin 13226 2. 1950 and 60s music was not staged at a reasonable time. Staff must realise that after touring all day, having this entertainment on at 10pm is just was too much to ask of passengers. Us oldies appreciate this style of music. I do not have the stamina to tour all day and party till the sun comes up. I think having this type of entertainment on so late is a self fulfilling prophecy. People don't attend so it does not need to be provided earlier whereas that in my case was not true. 3. Drink waiters are absent in the complementary dining rooms. if they do exist they are not visible and proactive like they are in the casino. In the Garden Cafe it would have been nice to get my food and eat it while it’s hot knowing that the beverages were being provided. There are no trays to help you carry food and drinks simultaneously therefore you have to come and go leaving either your drinks or your meal unattended on the table. 4. There are way too few afternoon free activities if any. Everything is at a price. I have retained the daily programs for further information. This is not my experience on the other cruise lines I have sailed with including Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. 5. The theatre is designed for 797 guests and with 3,963 passengers; it is clear that entertainment is not the priority of the company. From reading past responses it appears that the company believe that having multiple performances solves the lack of seating but their logic is flawed. People can see the show more than once. I tried to book on several occasions without success. After touring during the day on shore it is tiring to stand in line to find out that there are “STILL NO SEATS”. Other ships provide management options for popular shows, this problem needs to be addressed by NCL. Watching shows on theatre screens is certainly not the same as a live show. 6. On the subject of passenger allowances, the ship is designed for 3,963 passengers having double occupancy in the cabins. Paraphrasing what we were told during our lifeboat drill "if you can't get to a lifeboat there is capacity to go with crew" made me question whether there are enough life boats as cabins can take not just 2 but 3 or 4 people and regularly do. I have been unable to find any details about life boat capacity on any web site. If alternative rescue requirements are to be utilised should not the passengers receive this at the drill also. 7. I did not appreciate having jazz playing whilst I was having dinner. This is such an exclusive form of music and I was not surprised when no-one clapped after each song. I felt captive even if it was only for a few items. 8. In room information would be nice; there were no user manuals. One thing I can laugh about now is calling maintenance to fix our shower. It was a nice shower with body jets everywhere but there was no information on how to use it, another case of “operator error”. 9. It took us a couple of days to locate the timepieces aboard. I would like to see clocks especially as they want us to be ready and at meeting points on time. If they are not visible they are not there. 10. We were programmed to dock near Stockholm and had a late scheduled NCL bus to get us to the city. It was a nice sleep in. We awoke not knowing what is happening and why we were still at sea. There were no announcements for quite some time and these were in the hallways only. By the time we got the TV onto the relevant channel the announcement was finished. There was no news item published and the itinerary on the TV showed no change to that published the day before. I was puzzled and rang to find out why we are not in port. What does this mean for departing at Copenhagen, do I need to change my flights or tell the people who are meeting me when I will be there? They need to improve their communications. An example of good communications was when we on a Princess Cruise traversing the Pacific Ocean and we had to turn around to rescue some marooned sailors. We knew what was happening and the effects on our itinerary straight away because the information was published on the boat’s TV program and the frequency of the PA announcements. 11. The quality of entertainment that we could get seats at is not worthy of passengers. We ventured to the Headliners Club to catch the Duelling Piano’s; my husband like most people left after a couple of songs; I lasted a little longer. They were enthusiastic and capable pianists but could not sing. I would expect this quality of entertainment in a talent show and not from a professional. 12. It would have been nice if security smiled back when we reboarded or even just said “hello”. I recognise that they need to be tough at times but welcoming passengers back is not one of them. 13. Smoking in the casino was a real and serious issue. The health of staff and passengers is being put at risk. I felt discriminated against as the “fun and new” machines are located in the “no smoking” section. The majority of passengers are none smoking so management should make at least half of the casino “non smoking” and provide the same machines and tables in the other section for those who choose to smoke. The vast majority of people around me did not smoke. Have management conducted a review to see how many people are smoking in the casino or are they just going by “damned statistics”. 14. On the subject of smoking the ship’s smoking venues should be located at the stern end of the ship. This would mean we can walk through without encountering second hand smoke and also mean that the smoke is blown away out the back of the ship and away from the facilities. 15. On the subject of the casino, why do parents have to bring their children through the casino to get to the theatre. This is alarming for me as it is illegal for children to be in casino’s in so many countries. 16. I appreciated the complimentary wine however I do not drink red wine and was not given a choice. 17. How lovely it would have been to have teaspoons with my coffee rather than bits of sticks which is not a green option as it means fewer trees. In summary this ship has turned me off cruising. Being new to Cruise Critic I now know what to look for before booking a cruise.

Do your homework before choosing this ship

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by Costs$s2Travel

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Things I like about the NCL Breakaway ship and this cruise of the Baltic Sea fall far short of what was to be desired or should have been provided. I appreciated greatly that the cabin is well appointed including coffee making facilities. It was wonderful having dinner and not being hassled by waiters selling wine packages. The best thing about this ship is the friendly and capable staff. Being a member of cruise critic meant we were personally introduced to senior staff and provided with their phone numbers on board if we encountered any difficulties. This was an advantage but from reading past reviews of the Breakaway today, the problems we encountered were nothing new to the staff and I prefer instead to share my experience with the public.

Now for the list of things that were disappointing, frustrating and which hampered our enjoyment of the holiday. These are in no particular order of importance.

1. We experienced stained and torn bedding, pictures available. We were in balcony statement room cabin 13226

2. 1950 and 60s music was not staged at a reasonable time. Staff must realise that after touring all day, having this entertainment on at 10pm is just was too much to ask of passengers. Us oldies appreciate this style of music. I do not have the stamina to tour all day and party till the sun comes up. I think having this type of entertainment on so late is a self fulfilling prophecy. People don't attend so it does not need to be provided earlier whereas that in my case was not true.

3. Drink waiters are absent in the complementary dining rooms. if they do exist they are not visible and proactive like they are in the casino. In the Garden Cafe it would have been nice to get my food and eat it while it’s hot knowing that the beverages were being provided. There are no trays to help you carry food and drinks simultaneously therefore you have to come and go leaving either your drinks or your meal unattended on the table.

4. There are way too few afternoon free activities if any. Everything is at a price. I have retained the daily programs for further information. This is not my experience on the other cruise lines I have sailed with including Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.

5. The theatre is designed for 797 guests and with 3,963 passengers; it is clear that entertainment is not the priority of the company. From reading past responses it appears that the company believe that having multiple performances solves the lack of seating but their logic is flawed. People can see the show more than once. I tried to book on several occasions without success. After touring during the day on shore it is tiring to stand in line to find out that there are “STILL NO SEATS”. Other ships provide management options for popular shows, this problem needs to be addressed by NCL. Watching shows on theatre screens is certainly not the same as a live show.

6. On the subject of passenger allowances, the ship is designed for 3,963 passengers having double occupancy in the cabins. Paraphrasing what we were told during our lifeboat drill "if you can't get to a lifeboat there is capacity to go with crew" made me question whether there are enough life boats as cabins can take not just 2 but 3 or 4 people and regularly do. I have been unable to find any details about life boat capacity on any web site. If alternative rescue requirements are to be utilised should not the passengers receive this at the drill also.

7. I did not appreciate having jazz playing whilst I was having dinner. This is such an exclusive form of music and I was not surprised when no-one clapped after each song. I felt captive even if it was only for a few items.

8. In room information would be nice; there were no user manuals. One thing I can laugh about now is calling maintenance to fix our shower. It was a nice shower with body jets everywhere but there was no information on how to use it, another case of “operator error”.

9. It took us a couple of days to locate the timepieces aboard. I would like to see clocks especially as they want us to be ready and at meeting points on time. If they are not visible they are not there.

10. We were programmed to dock near Stockholm and had a late scheduled NCL bus to get us to the city. It was a nice sleep in. We awoke not knowing what is happening and why we were still at sea. There were no announcements for quite some time and these were in the hallways only. By the time we got the TV onto the relevant channel the announcement was finished. There was no news item published and the itinerary on the TV showed no change to that published the day before. I was puzzled and rang to find out why we are not in port. What does this mean for departing at Copenhagen, do I need to change my flights or tell the people who are meeting me when I will be there? They need to improve their communications. An example of good communications was when we on a Princess Cruise traversing the Pacific Ocean and we had to turn around to rescue some marooned sailors. We knew what was happening and the effects on our itinerary straight away because the information was published on the boat’s TV program and the frequency of the PA announcements.

11. The quality of entertainment that we could get seats at is not worthy of passengers. We ventured to the Headliners Club to catch the Duelling Piano’s; my husband like most people left after a couple of songs; I lasted a little longer. They were enthusiastic and capable pianists but could not sing. I would expect this quality of entertainment in a talent show and not from a professional.

12. It would have been nice if security smiled back when we reboarded or even just said “hello”. I recognise that they need to be tough at times but welcoming passengers back is not one of them.

13. Smoking in the casino was a real and serious issue. The health of staff and passengers is being put at risk. I felt discriminated against as the “fun and new” machines are located in the “no smoking” section. The majority of passengers are none smoking so management should make at least half of the casino “non smoking” and provide the same machines and tables in the other section for those who choose to smoke. The vast majority of people around me did not smoke. Have management conducted a review to see how many people are smoking in the casino or are they just going by “damned statistics”.

14. On the subject of smoking the ship’s smoking venues should be located at the stern end of the ship. This would mean we can walk through without encountering second hand smoke and also mean that the smoke is blown away out the back of the ship and away from the facilities.

15. On the subject of the casino, why do parents have to bring their children through the casino to get to the theatre. This is alarming for me as it is illegal for children to be in casino’s in so many countries.

16. I appreciated the complimentary wine however I do not drink red wine and was not given a choice.

17. How lovely it would have been to have teaspoons with my coffee rather than bits of sticks which is not a green option as it means fewer trees.

In summary this ship has turned me off cruising. Being new to Cruise Critic I now know what to look for before booking a cruise.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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