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Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
3,650 Reviews

Service? What's that?

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by Cfichera

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2019
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Aft-Facing Balcony Stateroom

My friends were going on this cruise and had been on Norwegian before, my family and I had not. This ship had the worst service in history, my family and I were SHOCKED. We bought the ultimate drink package and thought we'd get a chance to use it but that was just a dream, unfortunately. The bars were completely understaffed. We had to wait 30 minutes each time we wanted a drink from the bar (really the only place you can get drinks on the ship unless you want juice). We even waited 30 minutes even if we only wanted a pepsi or diet pepsi. We asked a server to get us drinks or a pepsi and were given dirty looks as if we'd committed some kind of crime. None of the staff or bartenders even understand the drink package or ultimate drink package. My friend had to print out the info on the drink package to show those in charge that san pelligrino water was actually included in the package (otherwise they were charging us for the bottles). For days I tried to get diet soda cans in our room but I was repeatedly told this was not possible, the ship didn't have diet soda. WHAT? And certainly didn't have any cans of diet soda... On the 4th day, my friend met with the Food & Beverage General Manager who advised that yes there was cans of diet soda and the GM sent 6-7 to the room (this was greatly appreciated). But why did it take 4 days, repeated interactions with staff, guest services, housekeeping, room service etc.? If you have a problem in your room, don't bother calling anyone, they never answer the phone anyway. The sun and pool deck were terribly over crowded - the lounge chairs had no space between them and people were practically on top of each other. In many cases, people were reserving lounge chairs from 6 or 7 am. There were open lounges at the top sun deck but it was so windy up there, it was uncomfortable. The pool easily had several hundred people in it, so if you didn't get it in early and stay in it, you couldn't get in it at all in the afternoon. The ropes course and slides were nice but since it was always terribly windy these were typically closed. (If you have been on Royal Carribean's Anthem of the Seas or Harmony of the Seas and loved it, you'll be bored out of your mind on this ship. There isn't enough for the 13 year olds to do especially with the wind problem. The main/regular dining options have horrible food and even worse service. Our server never even got us drinks and dinner took 2 hours. No one on this ship knows anything. We would go to guest services for information, they would send us elsewhere. We'd go to the X place as directed by guest services, and X place had no idea and would send us back to guest services. Guest services would send us back or to somewhere new. To say that the staff and servers are uninformed and don't care is an understatement and they certainly show it.

The exception being the specialty dining. The service in the specialty dining - particularly Ocean Blue and Cagney's was great and the food was even better. We ate here several times (we wouldn't dare go to the Manhattan dining room or any other regular/main dining room). Also, don't bother with O'Sheehan - this dining experience also took several hours and the server was clearly overworked and unable to manage the guest load. Most of the food here wasn't great but the wings were pretty good. We also ate in the Italian restaurant - good food and decent service. Our kids (6 of them) ate in the hibachi restaurant and enjoyed that as well. The entertainment - music and comedians were great. Very enjoyable. Booking an excursion was challenging and we were told that the excursion we wanted was filled. So we went to Virgin Gorda on our own (saving hundreds) and it was beautiful. Definitely worth the trip. We were scratching our heads because we only saw 5 people from the cruise at Virgin Gorda Baths all day and the excursion certainly wasn't completely booked as we were told. The spa was nice but the staff didn't appear to be knowledgeable and are always pushing products even after I said "I don't want to buy anything" they still kept coming, pushing stuff. It made it a very uncomfortable experience. The thermal spa was also nice but it was difficult to get a chair and the floor was slippery, I wiped out and hurt my arm and knee. I made an appointment in the spa for a mother-daughter massage which was re-scheduled 3x because our reservation kept going "missing" - finally on our last day when it was there, we got our massage. During the massage, my daughter's massage therapist left the room for 10 minutes. I asked my therapist if she was okay and was coming back. My massage therapist said yes she left because of the weather. My daughter's massage therapist finally came back and resumed her massage. A few minutes later, she left again and I realized the vomiting noises I heard (and was hearing again), was my daughter's massage therapist. I couldn't believe it!! How could she be vomiting and then resume my daughter's massage as if everything was just fine?? Once I realized what was happening, of course, I became very green around the gills but I immediately stopped the massage. With the norovirus being commonplace among cruise ships, I would expect if someone was feeling ill or vomiting, he/she would not work on or with the guests. In this case, I think the massage therapist was sea sick but I can't be sure. I am so grossed out and horrified. Just as bad, I paid for this debacle and am worried sick about what my daughter was exposed to. On the last full day, there was a storm in the afternoon. The staff was slow to realize the impact of the storm and tie down lounge chairs to prevent them from being blown all around (into people etc). Do yourself a favor - go on any other cruise line.

Cfichera's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Aft-Facing Balcony Stateroom

Cabin was decent. Not enough outlets and none were close to the bed. My husband sleeps with a medical device and he needed an extension chord (which was provided) to operate it.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

San Juan

We arrived late afternoon so we explored on our own. Would be better if the boat got there earlier in the day so my family didn't have to walk around San Juan at night.


Beautiful Megan's beach - was almost impossible to get a lounge chair here too.

View All 269 Beach Reviews
Virgin Gorda Baths

The cruise said this excursion was completely booked so we did it ourselves. Was awesome and highly recommend. We saved a bunch but question whether it was really completely booked since we only saw a handful of Norwegian guests at the baths and beach. Probably like everything else, we were given wrong information.

View All 12 Virgin Gorda Baths Reviews

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