This was the 19th cruise for my wife and I, and out third for NCL. Previously, we sailed on the Escape and Pride of America. As we live in the Central Florida area, we did not fly or stay at a hotel before joining the Breakaway. We sailed with family (all adults) and a family friend, who was new to cruising.
I hate to start on a bad note, but embarkation was a mess. It took over an hour to get from dropping off our bags to getting checked in. We were in a Carnival building for some reason. The Carnival computers were pushed to the side and the check in staff were using rows of portable computers to check us in. The guy directing passengers to a specific check in person was so short he couldn’t see where there was space for new people to go. Another employee was trying to help him, but they weren’t communicating to each other. People were crisscrossing and bumping into each other like crazy. It was simply a mess.
We found the Breakaway to be a nice ship and laid out quite well. We did encounter some lines, but more on that later. The ship offers a variety of dining and entertainment options, and our cabin was laid out well. I found the placement of the casino rather odd. The space for the casino shares a three-deck staircase with the onboard shops, a bar, and some food options. While it was beautiful to see, it made navigating the desired locations a little clumsy.
We stayed in a mini-suite on Deck 13. We had booked a balcony originally, but the price drop allowed us to upgrade with no additional cost. If you chose this category, I’ll remind you that the word “mini” is not to be taken lightly. While yes, the room provides a very small amount of extra square footage, we found it to be not worth the extra cost. The bathroom had glass doors and double sink which was nice, but in our opinion not worth the extra cost. The balcony barely allowed enough space for my wife and I to stand comfortably. I suspect that NCL wants those to enjoy the “suite life” to be in the Haven area, because had we booked this room intentionally, we would have left feeling suckered. We also had repeated electrical issues in our cabin. My wife’s hair dryer kept tripping the breaker (we assume), killing power to all the outlets. We tried to compensate by unplugging other things while she used it, to no avail. We learned quickly the last thing we did (before calling electricians) in the morning was drying her hair. Our cabin steward did an acceptable job but neglected to bring our bill or luggage tags the final night onboard. We always carry off our luggage and had enough OBC to cover our expenses, so it didn’t affect us, but passengers in need would have had to call to find their tags.
Difficult to navigate, small signage, poorly designed. None of the ticket machines worked so waiting to leave the garage took longer. I expected more from the "cruise capital of the world."
Pool and beach area were beautiful. Food and drinks were good, but very expensive ($40 for 3 drinks? What is this, Disneyworld?)