We chose this cruise to see the Baltic States and we were pleased with all the ports. However, the NCL Breakaway was a big disappointment. Embarkation in Copenhagen was easy and we were on board by 12.30 but our mini-suite (12824) was no bigger than our normal verandah cabin on RCI or Celebrity and so don’t imagine suite means spacious! Our cabin steward was delightful and gave us every assistance we asked for.
So, to the problems.
The layout of the ship means that there is no central stairwell/lifts and only a set forward or aft. Our cabin was midway!
The ship’s company when designing had obviously tried to jam as many cabins in as possible at the expense of open lounge areas that were quiet or bars that were quiet. There simply wasn’t a quiet place to sit anywhere on the ship except in the library or card room. Usually these rooms on ships never see a soul from one week to another but on this ship, the library offered a quieter (not quiet, it was right next to the atrium where all the public games were held) place and so was constantly full when we were at sea.
The general noise level of music no matter where you were on the ship became increasingly annoying and I’m glad we only had two sea days. The quietest location was our cabin, as has been said before.
The other annoyance was the fact that we’d prepaid our gratuities (this is obligatory for Australians taking cruises). That in itself wasn’t the problem, but the issue came with the ship’s crew, particularly in the dining room. The second night we went to the main dining room and were shown to a four-person table (only 2 of us) and about five minutes later another couple were shown to the adjacent 4-seater table. They removed the cutlery and then proceeded to serve the other couple first in all things. A minor issue you, the reader might say, but it was pointedly obvious that the second couple had not prepaid gratuities and so the grovelling that went on meant we were ignored, food was served cold and we were disgruntled. The receptionist at the dining room can see who’s prepaid and who hasn’t so all staff are made aware of who they have to butter up and who they don’t. Needless to say we chose the buffet for all future meals.
And finally, we carefully read the ships rules before we embarked, declaring our two bottles of spirits which we were immediately told would be tipped out because the seals were broken (we’d been travelling for three weeks by this stage and had duty free from another country). As there was no opportunity for us to get our hands on the bottles whilst they were below decks, we didn’t see the problem. However, the ship did and on our last night we asked for our bottles to be returned only to be told that they had been ‘tipped out’ and we were not offered any explanation or refund. So, my husband told the purser that we would remove the prepaid gratuities to get some compensation for our loss, to the tune of about $AU360. The ship’s crew missed out and I don’t apologise. The ship’s rules clearly state alcohol must be handed in, which we did, but it didn’t state that bottles must be unopened, one of the bottles was 98% full.
Anyway we won’t cruise with NCL again, too noisy and too crushed
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