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This was our first cruise together however we have both cruised separately with other lines. We are a couple in our 20's from the UK and were a bit apprehensive of what the average age on board would be however we were pleasantly surprised by the mix of guests. First off, embarkation went pretty smoothly. We arrived at Miami around 11:30 and were on board by 12:30 having just a short wait to get through security (we were in boarding group 12). Our first impressions on board were positive - the ship was pretty and clean and the staff were welcoming. It didn't take long to familiarise ourselves with the layout of the ship however we did think there seemed to be a lack of outside space. We went to the Garden Cafe for lunch on embarkation day which was already incredibly busy, as was the pool. This was a good indication of what was to come as the main pool was very overcrowded for the entire cruise. We actually ended up avoiding it. As others have said, if you are not up at the crack of dawn to reserve a bed, forget finding one. There is supposedly a policy to stop people from reserving beds however we never saw this enforced. Luckily, we had booked a large balcony stateroom which had beds on the balcony. We spent quite a lot of time there and were so pleased we had this as an option. Be prepared that people will be drinking A LOT. We personally didn't have any negative experiences but did hear stories of people passing out in hallways and becoming quite rowdy. I know most people have the unlimited drinks package (as did we) but we weren't expecting such long lines at all the bars. It became quite frustrating. We weren't blown away by any of the ports that we visited. We found the NCL excursions to be very pricey so did some exploring of our own instead. St. Thomas and Tortola were fine but very similar visually and we really weren't that impressed by the beaches despite the hype. The biggest disappointment for us however was Great Stirrup Caye. The tender process took forever. The ship arrived around 11am however we didn't make it to the island until just before 2pm (and we were in tender group E... so there were still several more groups to go). It seemed so disorganised and chaotic. By the time we arrived on the island, we were hot, miserable and frustrated. We couldn't even get a drink as the lines at the bars were so long. We actually gave up after about half an hour and took a tender back to the ship. This was the only time during the cruise we were able to sit by the pool for a while as almost everyone had gone onto the island. We ate at three speciality restaurants as we had this included as part of our package. We went to Cagney's, La Cucina and Teppanyaki. Teppanyaki was by far our favourite - the filet mignon was amazing and our chef made the experience fun. The other two were fine but nothing special and we were glad we weren't paying out of pocket for them. We were pleasantly surprised by the main dining rooms and found the food in there far superior to the buffet. There is so much hype about O'Sheehans but we found this underwhelming and again, always overcrowded (even at 1am there was a 30 minute wait for a table!). The entertainment was fine and the Cruise Director and his staff do work very hard although we did find many of the activities weren't really for us. There are a lot of activities you pay extra for such as bingo and Deal or No Deal, which they do promote a lot. We took part in both and again, there were far too many people. The bingo we attended was in the Pour House and it was completely rammed so people were having to stand at the back. Deal or No Deal is held in the atrium and people are saving seats for literally an hour beforehand. If you turn up 20-30 minutes before, good luck finding anywhere to sit. It's the same for any of the evening entertainment in the atrium - we never managed to find a seat. The final disappointment for us was disembarkation. We decided to go with self-disembarkation and it was a nightmare. We joined the queue around 8am and didn't make it off the ship until just before 10am. It was very disorganised and we found people in the line with us who shouldn't have been disembarking yet which meant the lines were much longer than they should have been. Overall, we'd been so looking forward to this cruise and we knew that it was a very large ship but just felt it hasn't been designed to accommodate so many people. A lot of our experiences were negatively impacted by the overcrowding in the public areas and also the price of everything onboard. Disembarkation really was the last straw for us but I do wonder how much this will improve when the NCL port is completed in Miami. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be booking with NCL again.

Disappointing first cruise with NCL

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by cruiser_char

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Large Balcony Stateroom
This was our first cruise together however we have both cruised separately with other lines. We are a couple in our 20's from the UK and were a bit apprehensive of what the average age on board would be however we were pleasantly surprised by the mix of guests.

First off, embarkation went pretty smoothly. We arrived at Miami around 11:30 and were on board by 12:30 having just a short wait to get through security (we were in boarding group 12). Our first impressions on board were positive - the ship was pretty and clean and the staff were welcoming. It didn't take long to familiarise ourselves with the layout of the ship however we did think there seemed to be a lack of outside space.

We went to the Garden Cafe for lunch on embarkation day which was already incredibly busy, as was the pool. This was a good indication of what was to come as the main pool was very overcrowded for the entire cruise. We actually ended up avoiding it. As others have said, if you are not up at the crack of dawn to reserve a bed, forget finding one. There is supposedly a policy to stop people from reserving beds however we never saw this enforced. Luckily, we had booked a large balcony stateroom which had beds on the balcony. We spent quite a lot of time there and were so pleased we had this as an option.

Be prepared that people will be drinking A LOT. We personally didn't have any negative experiences but did hear stories of people passing out in hallways and becoming quite rowdy. I know most people have the unlimited drinks package (as did we) but we weren't expecting such long lines at all the bars. It became quite frustrating.

We weren't blown away by any of the ports that we visited. We found the NCL excursions to be very pricey so did some exploring of our own instead. St. Thomas and Tortola were fine but very similar visually and we really weren't that impressed by the beaches despite the hype. The biggest disappointment for us however was Great Stirrup Caye. The tender process took forever. The ship arrived around 11am however we didn't make it to the island until just before 2pm (and we were in tender group E... so there were still several more groups to go). It seemed so disorganised and chaotic. By the time we arrived on the island, we were hot, miserable and frustrated. We couldn't even get a drink as the lines at the bars were so long. We actually gave up after about half an hour and took a tender back to the ship. This was the only time during the cruise we were able to sit by the pool for a while as almost everyone had gone onto the island.

We ate at three speciality restaurants as we had this included as part of our package. We went to Cagney's, La Cucina and Teppanyaki. Teppanyaki was by far our favourite - the filet mignon was amazing and our chef made the experience fun. The other two were fine but nothing special and we were glad we weren't paying out of pocket for them. We were pleasantly surprised by the main dining rooms and found the food in there far superior to the buffet. There is so much hype about O'Sheehans but we found this underwhelming and again, always overcrowded (even at 1am there was a 30 minute wait for a table!).

The entertainment was fine and the Cruise Director and his staff do work very hard although we did find many of the activities weren't really for us. There are a lot of activities you pay extra for such as bingo and Deal or No Deal, which they do promote a lot. We took part in both and again, there were far too many people. The bingo we attended was in the Pour House and it was completely rammed so people were having to stand at the back. Deal or No Deal is held in the atrium and people are saving seats for literally an hour beforehand. If you turn up 20-30 minutes before, good luck finding anywhere to sit. It's the same for any of the evening entertainment in the atrium - we never managed to find a seat.

The final disappointment for us was disembarkation. We decided to go with self-disembarkation and it was a nightmare. We joined the queue around 8am and didn't make it off the ship until just before 10am. It was very disorganised and we found people in the line with us who shouldn't have been disembarking yet which meant the lines were much longer than they should have been.

Overall, we'd been so looking forward to this cruise and we knew that it was a very large ship but just felt it hasn't been designed to accommodate so many people. A lot of our experiences were negatively impacted by the overcrowding in the public areas and also the price of everything onboard. Disembarkation really was the last straw for us but I do wonder how much this will improve when the NCL port is completed in Miami. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be booking with NCL again.
cruiser_char’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B6 9116
We felt the cabin was well designed with plenty of storage space. The bathroom was bigger than we expected. The bed was comfortable and our room steward was very efficient. We would definitely recommend the large balcony as we had sun loungers outside which really made a difference for us. Relaxing out there on the sea days kind of made the cruise for us.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews