Family cruise had highlights and low lights. Breakaway was a relatively nice ship, but not on par with Escape. The absolutely AWFUL circumstance of many NCL casinos being located in the OPEN centrum of their newer ships is honestly the most unthoughtful design I have ever witnessed on any line (and I cruise a lot !). The smell of stale smoke, no matter what they do, permeates every inch of the centrum no matter which mid deck you are on. At debarkation, all passengers are forced to "snake" through an early morning line of nauseating old stale smoke. I assume the employees are so used to this they are not even aware.
The food was average to very good, certainly the variety has widened as compared to NCL a few years back. The mini "suites" are probably not worth the increased fare, however, having said that, the size of the bathroom area and the very large shower would definitely be worth the price for anyone sailing with more than 2 in the cabin. Otherwise, not difference in balcony and mini-suite, very tight quarters as on most of the new era ships.
Many employees were exceptional, and as on all ships, some not so much. Most worrisome was the obvious lack of training in a most important area: muster drill. This even on large ships that pack in thousands of passengers, more with the intent to "meet" the law than to actually create the safest possible practices. People barely able to speak English, and with completely puzzled looks on their faces, are "in charge" for passengers during emergencies. Thousands are "assigned" to various stations in the ship, with little thought to families, small children, or how passengers feel when employees with very heavy accepts begin SHOUTING (no mega or micro phones used) DIFFERENT instructions to the same family with each employee having no skills to work with people save making threats which passengers try to make an instant decision of WHICH employee to "follow". Chaos is not a strong enough word for this particular ship's "muster process". The embarkation process was very smooth despite the fact that New Orleans is suffering from growing pains as a result of its WELL DESERVED popularity of a great port to sail from. Ground personnel for NCL at the terminal were great. Ship came in with an unusually high number of deaths (all of natural causes) and with an extremely serious Norovirus outbreak that resulted in some of the most extreme sanitation methods I have ever witnessed on a Noro outbreak cruise. All menus were destroyed with paper menus handed to each and every dinner at every single meal. No salt, pepper, catsup, etc. etc. on any table in any restaurant. While there was a process for obtaining catsup for fries and other items, it was a very long process (no pre prepared cups of it allowed so you had to wait for an employee to have "time" to obtain a plastic cup and put on gloves to dispense it. Food was cold by the time one left one's table to obtain this, or other such accompaniments, just not worth it. The shows, for the most part, were average to better than average. I had been looking forward to Rock of Ages, but did not think it was a particularly well done version, though it was fine and there were some high moments of course. Was also looking forward to NCL's new private island. It is visually very appealing with a large, free form, resort type pool. The emphasis is definitely on the pool and it adjoining "lodge design" restaurant/bar, with rooftop dining drinking as well as in the AC of main floor dining. The "beach" area left much to be desired, water was very murky and had a terrible smell. This was NOT confined to just one area; this is definitely not an area of clear, inviting water. Drink package are not honored on their island and food is very expensive. Others I talked with during the day found their food to be appealing, but be prepared for a simple lunch, nothing elaborate, just sandwiches,, nachos, non alcohol drinks, fries running $100-$125, about on par with ballparks and arenas. Acceptable except passengers have already paid for both lunch and snacks in their fares, and many other lines provide a bountiful buffet lunch on their islands since, again, the passengers have already paid for meals to be included. Drinks were hit and miss with many bartenders being excellent mixologists, and other venues serving what seem like very poor quality drinks like those pre-mixed at festivals and street fairs.
Nice cabin, beds were reasonably comfortable, and cabin attendant was exceptionally good. With an adult on two children in cabin, it was very tight, but large bathroom was a great help. The balcony was one of the smallest I have ever had, I could be wrong but it may have had 30 some square foot (?) as compared to ships that have 46 sq. ft. as their very smallest, and 56 more the average. Ice for 3 was a problem, very TINY "ice bucket" guaranteed the ice became water very quickly, but attendant did the best he could. The refrigerator was stuffed so full of cruise line articles to sell (alcohol was readily available to children in the refrig. so I packed it up as best I could and tried to get it on the highest shelf in closet since attendant for some strange reason (???) said he was not allowed (?) to just remove it from the reach of the children. Not sure what that was about, have always asked the attendant to clean out the refrigerator before. I like the policy on RCCL which is like those of hotels, the refrigerators are clean and EMPTY, and ready for guests to store ice, water, medicines, etc.
Not to be missed, WWII museum and Boeing air museum (same campus) is on par with a Smithsonian museum.
Poor quality of sea/ocean water, very uninviting. Resort type pool and facilities are very new and very nice !
Hats off to this community which has done so much to create a safe and inviting environment to attract cruise ship business. The fact that they have incorporated, FREE of charge, their native roots and culture, via the compelling Pole Flyers (Danza de los Voladores) is a throw back to what used to make travel so enlightening and educational. The complex includes an exceptionally clean, two story, open air spa/massage facility, resort pool, tiny beach with free lounge chairs (no panhandling, really restful), a wide variety of good reasonably priced food, and, if stall shopping is your "sport", there is plenty of that too. In short, I like Costa Maya and it appears each time I visit, they just keep adding to the beautiful resort type of terminal/port area. The new Starbucks was VERY popular meeting place, LOL !
We were at the "old" dock. Cozumel is Cozumel, what can I say. Have been to the adventure park, it's "ok", not worth the price as compared to ones in the USA where you can spend the entire day. The ruins are always worth return visits and have found several tour operators there to be excellent.