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Norwegian's various activity choices and freestyle dining make it an easy pick for us. We are just under platinum members and this was roughly our 8th cruise on NCL. We have been on other cruise lines, but prefer this one the best because we don't like kids (on vacation) and we love food. We can do whatever we want, whenever we want. We tend to be kind of anti-social so for us to NOT to be forced to have to sit with strangers and make fake small talk is a plus. We also like to take naps and do things on a whim, so the fact that we can go and eat wherever we want or change reservations or just show up... makes all the difference. The food in the various restaurants are definitely a draw, as I've been on all major cruise lines before, and they have the best quality food that is available around my schedule. We got the drink package and the food package (it's our go-to choices when they have the freestyle offers) and were very happy with both and worth the cost for taxes and tips. We love the options of the specialty restaurants because every night feels like date night, and even though the food in the regular places is really good, these feel just a little bit more special. We are a bit cheap when it comes to drinking, so the drink package makes us feel like we are splurging. The variety of bars and the different drinks were fun to try, again without having to feel like we were spending a lot of money or having to feel guilty for paying money for a drink we didn't like. I was a little upset with the small amounts of food in the appetizer section of one the pay restaurants. At the french place, I got three small scallops on a plate... which were more of an amuse bouche more than an appetizer and almost looked comical because it was just so small and sad looking, even though it was delicious. Although, in the end, there was more than enough food to satiate any appetite, it still felt like I was getting a tiny amount when I (technically) paid more for it. Plus, the choice of only two appetizers feels limited (with the meal plan you can choose two apps, a main, and a dessert). Again, its more than enough food, but I like options and sometimes get overwhelmed. I would have been perfectly happy with 3 scallops if I could have tried other things (like the soups are amazing and worth every penny at the French restaurant but...so are the other apps). The only other upsetting 'food' thing is that it's a Pepsi ship (bleh!) and the coffee is never consistent. Technically not a big deal, other ships that feature coke products and better coffee are becoming more alluring. Although there are a lot of options for excursions, we aren't really excursion people. We get off the boat, walk around, and get back on and are happy with that. The options they have are just the same ones they always have. They don't really have options for people who aren't really into active activities. We had a 50 dollar credit each port but never really found something we liked to use it on (why am I paying to go to a resort to eat and drink when I can stay on the boat for 'free'? There needs to be something more than just sitting on a beach to get me to pay an extra 100$ per person) We did get a clamshell on the beach at their beautiful private island and that was pretty nice (simple, but nice to have on such a hot and sunny day). Their private island is really beafutiful with a small zoo, beautiful beach and pool area, and shops and a few places to eat (although you'll have to pay for food/drinks). I'm not normally a complainer, but my biggest complaint about this cruise was the up-selling of Cruise Next. One of the main reasons we choose NCL over any other cruises is because you feel like you have paid for your cruise that you get to enjoy and not feel bad for not being able to afford everything else. The last (and final) time we went on a Carnival cruise, we were inundated with nonstop up selling from pictures and drinks and shots and all these other things while we were having dinner or trying to walk around. We have never received that before on NCL until this trip. We were at the French restaurant and while we were eating, one of the NCL Cruise Next people stopped to talk to us. We were in the middle of eating so it was really awkward, even though she appeared to be nice, It was still interrupting our meal just tell us to "don't forget to buy a cruise next thing because we have a special promotion (they didn't, they just allow you to buy more which isn't really special). Needless to say, by the time she was done, our food was not the same temperature as when we started. We had technically paid to eat at this restaurant and were still receiving an ad. I felt like it was tacky and very poor taste and sat with me for the rest of the trip because I felt like NCL was better than this. To her credit though, she did notate it was our anniversary and sent us a cake and strawberries to our room which was nice, but still... the experience did leave a bad taste in our mouths, especially since this was one of the main reasons we choose NCL - we get to enjoy the trip we paid for without feeling like we are missing out on upgrades or upsales. On other cruise lines, every time I sat down to eat I was being forced to look at choices I can have if only I pay 20$ more (like steak and lobster used to be free...whats up with that?!) or have to pose for a picture I don't want because I can take my own with my phone. NCL never used to have these (Don't think I didn't notice the 5$ up-charge for the shrimp cocktail at the steak restaurant... so tacky!) My only other complaint was how long disembarkation took. We lucked out and went the 'wrong' way and shaved half the time because people let us in, but even though we took our own luggage, we still had to wait over an hour in line. (If we went the 'right' way we would have been there for almost 2 hours easily). This is definitely something they need to work on - but it might not be their fault as we had to do a picture verification for customs. Still, when the dream is over and the vacation has come to an end, the very last thing you want to do is wait in line (with very little air condition) just to leave. Do yourself a favor and prepay for gratuities. It becomes such a pain to see it on your daily bill and try to figure out onboard credit that you can use vs ones you can't. (speaking of which, the onboard credit - refundable vs. nonrefundable is confusing and sometimes they don't even know how it works!). Most of the people working on the ship genuinely do a great job of service and many go above and beyond to make you feel special. We had a few magical moments when someone went above and beyond. Even if its a little embellishment in my cocktail or bringing me an extra taste of something on the side because I couldn't decide, its more than they have to do. Entertainment was pretty poor - we went to the rock and roll broadway show (we love broadway shows and other entertainment shows) and left about 10 minutes in. It was bad. So, so bad. What happened to the good headliner shows like Blue Man Group and Legally Blonde? Burn the floor was alright. They need to make the big shows more appealing to all audiences across the board. The smaller things like trivia and stuff are cute because they have really good people leading the entertainment that are funny and personable. NCL does a great job of personnel. Always pleasant. With this being said, I will most likely stick with NCL in the future. We had an amazing trip despite the few things that happened. I recently went on a Royal Carribean. The Starbucks coffee and the Coke machines almost make me want to switch over, but not quite...

Free Style keeps us going back

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by Asterix293

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
Norwegian's various activity choices and freestyle dining make it an easy pick for us. We are just under platinum members and this was roughly our 8th cruise on NCL. We have been on other cruise lines, but prefer this one the best because we don't like kids (on vacation) and we love food.

We can do whatever we want, whenever we want. We tend to be kind of anti-social so for us to NOT to be forced to have to sit with strangers and make fake small talk is a plus. We also like to take naps and do things on a whim, so the fact that we can go and eat wherever we want or change reservations or just show up... makes all the difference. The food in the various restaurants are definitely a draw, as I've been on all major cruise lines before, and they have the best quality food that is available around my schedule. We got the drink package and the food package (it's our go-to choices when they have the freestyle offers) and were very happy with both and worth the cost for taxes and tips. We love the options of the specialty restaurants because every night feels like date night, and even though the food in the regular places is really good, these feel just a little bit more special. We are a bit cheap when it comes to drinking, so the drink package makes us feel like we are splurging. The variety of bars and the different drinks were fun to try, again without having to feel like we were spending a lot of money or having to feel guilty for paying money for a drink we didn't like.

I was a little upset with the small amounts of food in the appetizer section of one the pay restaurants. At the french place, I got three small scallops on a plate... which were more of an amuse bouche more than an appetizer and almost looked comical because it was just so small and sad looking, even though it was delicious. Although, in the end, there was more than enough food to satiate any appetite, it still felt like I was getting a tiny amount when I (technically) paid more for it. Plus, the choice of only two appetizers feels limited (with the meal plan you can choose two apps, a main, and a dessert). Again, its more than enough food, but I like options and sometimes get overwhelmed. I would have been perfectly happy with 3 scallops if I could have tried other things (like the soups are amazing and worth every penny at the French restaurant but...so are the other apps). The only other upsetting 'food' thing is that it's a Pepsi ship (bleh!) and the coffee is never consistent. Technically not a big deal, other ships that feature coke products and better coffee are becoming more alluring.

Although there are a lot of options for excursions, we aren't really excursion people. We get off the boat, walk around, and get back on and are happy with that. The options they have are just the same ones they always have. They don't really have options for people who aren't really into active activities. We had a 50 dollar credit each port but never really found something we liked to use it on (why am I paying to go to a resort to eat and drink when I can stay on the boat for 'free'? There needs to be something more than just sitting on a beach to get me to pay an extra 100$ per person) We did get a clamshell on the beach at their beautiful private island and that was pretty nice (simple, but nice to have on such a hot and sunny day). Their private island is really beafutiful with a small zoo, beautiful beach and pool area, and shops and a few places to eat (although you'll have to pay for food/drinks).

I'm not normally a complainer, but my biggest complaint about this cruise was the up-selling of Cruise Next. One of the main reasons we choose NCL over any other cruises is because you feel like you have paid for your cruise that you get to enjoy and not feel bad for not being able to afford everything else. The last (and final) time we went on a Carnival cruise, we were inundated with nonstop up selling from pictures and drinks and shots and all these other things while we were having dinner or trying to walk around. We have never received that before on NCL until this trip. We were at the French restaurant and while we were eating, one of the NCL Cruise Next people stopped to talk to us. We were in the middle of eating so it was really awkward, even though she appeared to be nice, It was still interrupting our meal just tell us to "don't forget to buy a cruise next thing because we have a special promotion (they didn't, they just allow you to buy more which isn't really special). Needless to say, by the time she was done, our food was not the same temperature as when we started. We had technically paid to eat at this restaurant and were still receiving an ad. I felt like it was tacky and very poor taste and sat with me for the rest of the trip because I felt like NCL was better than this. To her credit though, she did notate it was our anniversary and sent us a cake and strawberries to our room which was nice, but still... the experience did leave a bad taste in our mouths, especially since this was one of the main reasons we choose NCL - we get to enjoy the trip we paid for without feeling like we are missing out on upgrades or upsales. On other cruise lines, every time I sat down to eat I was being forced to look at choices I can have if only I pay 20$ more (like steak and lobster used to be free...whats up with that?!) or have to pose for a picture I don't want because I can take my own with my phone. NCL never used to have these (Don't think I didn't notice the 5$ up-charge for the shrimp cocktail at the steak restaurant... so tacky!)

My only other complaint was how long disembarkation took. We lucked out and went the 'wrong' way and shaved half the time because people let us in, but even though we took our own luggage, we still had to wait over an hour in line. (If we went the 'right' way we would have been there for almost 2 hours easily). This is definitely something they need to work on - but it might not be their fault as we had to do a picture verification for customs. Still, when the dream is over and the vacation has come to an end, the very last thing you want to do is wait in line (with very little air condition) just to leave.

Do yourself a favor and prepay for gratuities. It becomes such a pain to see it on your daily bill and try to figure out onboard credit that you can use vs ones you can't. (speaking of which, the onboard credit - refundable vs. nonrefundable is confusing and sometimes they don't even know how it works!). Most of the people working on the ship genuinely do a great job of service and many go above and beyond to make you feel special. We had a few magical moments when someone went above and beyond. Even if its a little embellishment in my cocktail or bringing me an extra taste of something on the side because I couldn't decide, its more than they have to do.

Entertainment was pretty poor - we went to the rock and roll broadway show (we love broadway shows and other entertainment shows) and left about 10 minutes in. It was bad. So, so bad. What happened to the good headliner shows like Blue Man Group and Legally Blonde? Burn the floor was alright. They need to make the big shows more appealing to all audiences across the board. The smaller things like trivia and stuff are cute because they have really good people leading the entertainment that are funny and personable. NCL does a great job of personnel. Always pleasant.

With this being said, I will most likely stick with NCL in the future. We had an amazing trip despite the few things that happened. I recently went on a Royal Carribean. The Starbucks coffee and the Coke machines almost make me want to switch over, but not quite...
Asterix293’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MX 1804
Normal Mini-Suit with Balcony Room. Placement was alright. A bit of a walk - almost right in center of both stairwells and one floor down from buffet which was nice. We choose the mini suite for the bigger bathroom and the amazing shower. Our shower head had a crack and made the water spray at an annoying angle. Within minutes of a phone call someone was there to install a new shower head. If you like shower experiences and room to sit in the bathroom, this is worth the upgrade. Otherwise, stick with a regular balcony room. But, I promise you, a few minutes of that shower might have you changing your mind. The room itself has plenty of room, a coffee maker, nice size balcony (although the chairs are a little snug -- but I'm a big guy so). Kind of a small TV. Lot of storage for clothes and safe in the room. Beds and pillows were very comfortable. The mini suite came with upgraded toiletries which smelled amazing. Temperature in the room was a little disappointing because it was always just under cold... I need it freezing to sleep and it never quite got there!

Cabin steward did a good job. Nothing above and beyond. Room was always spotless and got what we asked for for. Just miss the towel animals and being made to feel special which is what we've always got on a Norwegian cruise.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews