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This is a very bad ship if you don't enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke. Inside the ship, the casino (where smoking is allowed most times) is centrally located with lots of open area to many other decks. The result is it reeks of cigarette smoke all throughout the center of the ship, even if you are not on the casino deck. Outside the ship, they have a special smoking area RIGHT NEXT TO THE POOL AREA. I really enjoy the pools and hot tubs, but I hate the smell of cigarette smoke. This was bad for me since all the smokers go to the smoking area, smoke, and the entire pool deck reeks of smoke. 2 out of the 4 hot tubs are right near the smoking area, so rule those out if you don't REALLY like the smell of cigarette / cigar smoke. The pool is also close enough that you can pretty much expect to smell cigarette smoke anywhere in the pool. The other 2 hot tubs are on the other side of the smoking room and I smelled cigarette smoke consistently most days. I think there might have been 2 days where the wind was strong enough to blow the smoke in the opposite direction. This ruined my enjoyment of the pool area. This area is also where they have live entertainment such as bands, morning exercise, poolside competitions, etc. It's a shame that you can't enjoy this entertainment without breathing in 2nd hand smoke. The back of the ship has a movie deck with 2 hot tubs and a bar. People smoked at the bar and you smelt the cigarette smoke everywhere if you wanted to watch the movie or enjoy the hot tub. Also, it was very hard to watch the movie from the hot tub because they had a huge wood box in the way of the screen! I've been on at least 6 different ships and this is, BY FAR, the worst ship in terms of smelling smoke. And to finish it off, to disembark, there was a HUGE line that snaked its way all throughout the casino that took hours. So you were standing in a line smelling the terrible smoke smell for hours. There were some really nice things I enjoyed on this ship; it's too bad the prevalent smell of cigarette smoke will keep me from ever returning on this ship. For example, the comedian Jean Pierre Parent was amazingly funny! I loved every minute of his show. This guy is good enough to successfully make it in Las Vegas if he wanted. I like the layout of the buffet area and for the most part there were not long lines. The only time I really noticed long lines is right when the buffet area opens or near the end where only one side of the buffet is open. The food quality in the buffet was overall good and very good at the regular dine in restaurants for lunch and dinner. Some of the food at the dine in restaurants was fantastic (lamb, deserts, etc.). I went to savor / moderno / o' sheehan's for lunch and the manhattan room for dinner. They expect you to dress up for dinner all nights in the manhattan room, even on the night that says "dress up or not night: What do you feel like wearing tonight? Feeling a little glamorous? Maybe just some comfy khakis and polo? With cruising, there's no formal policy, so you're free to wear whatever you wish.". No formal policy is a complete LIE, so if you want to go make sure you bring long pants / shoes for men. I liked how the manhattan room had live music some nights, but we were never seated near the music. I probably should have requested to sit closer to it at least once, but I didn't. Twice we were sat in a corner area in the manhattan room that had TERRIBLE lighting. The entire restaurant is kept dimly lit which I don't mind, but one area is where the food staff go in / out of the kitchen area. That area has VERY BRIGHT lights and no door, so depending on how you are seated you might be staring into bright lights for your whole meal which stinks because it's hard to see anything else around you like your family members or the food. A pretty poor design if you ask me. We went to o' sheehan's once for lunch right when it opened. One of our main items that we ordered never arrived and our server left after about 20 minutes. I don't know where he was relocated to or if he got seriously hurt, but he never returned. It took us about 20 minutes to realize for sure he wasn't coming back. No one told us. We had to flag down another server and she was nice enough to help us, even though we were not her table. This added an extra 45 minutes to the meal. The food at o sheehan's was okay, but not good enough for me to want to return a second time (I preferred the lunch at the buffet and savor / moderno). Compared to other ships, the breakaway does not have a whole lot of nice areas to sit outside and watch the ocean from the front or back. And what areas they do have, some of them are completely covered by glass so it makes taking pictures or enjoying the sea breeze nearly impossible. I like the feeling of being outside in nature, and this ship tries to shelter you from that feeling. A real shame for me! Also, I could not find a dark spot on the ship to enjoy watching the stars at night. I was disappointed by all of this, since I really enjoy taking pictures during sail away or sailing into port and during sunrise / sunset. I also like watching shooting stars when out at sea (which I can't do where I live because of too much light), but this ship was also too light to really watch for shooting stars. I liked how on the food deck you could walk around the side of the ship and use binoculars for free. That was nice. Our room itself (5115) was overall okay with enough space to walk around and a good layout. The location was TERRIBLE. We were right under the main theater and most nights had loud noise (bass) that kept us awake until about midnight on average, some nights later. This is a terrible room if you like to sleep. We booked using the inside guarantee and we were guaranteed a terrible room. I called before our cruise to see if another room was available, but the lady said the ship was completely booked. The cabin safe could have been a little larger (not enough room for 2 people's items). I was very surprised the shelves for clothes were exposed. The only way you could cover up one shelf is if you covered up the entire wardrobe area. I didn't like that. The AC is only on if you keep a card in the card slot, so I recommend bringing a spare card to keep in your room card slot if you like to walk into a cool room without having to wait for it to cool off. I know why Norwegian does this, but I want my room cool from the start. Sorry. The hallways on the 5th floor are extra wide which was a nice treat. The live entertainment was very loud. Way too loud for my preference. On the 5th night I wanted to watch the show 'burn the floor'. I didn't have a reservation so I had to wait for standby. Just before the show started I was let in and found a spot at the very back of the theater. Even at the very back of the theater near the top row, the music was TOO loud. Now I know why I couldn't sleep in my room underneath the theater!!! The show itself was okay. The cruise director (the person who regularly makes announcements over the PA system), talked in a completely monotone voice with a VERY hard Philippine accent. He was very boring to listen to and hard to understand. Usually cruise directors are much more exciting and entertaining. If I managed this ship, I think I would find another cruise director. The aft deck 16 hot tubs (spice h2o) close at 9:30pm!!! I've been on many norwegian ships where the hours of operation show the hut tubs close at around 10pm or 11pm, but the staff usually wait until midnight. Not on this ship! Holy cow. I was in a hot tube at spice h2o watching a movie and right at 9:30 the guy asked me to get out (probably about 30 minutes before the movie ended). It was freezing back there with all the wind and I sat watching the rest of the movie cold and shivering (and that's not a joke, it was cold because of a strong cold front!). Some of the entertainment (e.g: newlywed game, couples competition, etc.) was held in venues way too small for the amount of spectators. This results in the majority of people needing to stand with a terrible view of the entertainment blocking the flow of walking traffic. I was very surprised they didn't have this figured out better by now... Also, every time I walked by the customer service desk there was always a decent size line. I'm used to the customer service desk lines going away after the first day or two on most ships I've been on, but this ship always had a wait. They might afford to hire another customer service worker and computer station for them. In terms of ports of call, our first port was Harvest Caye Belize. We got off to look around but didn't find much to do for free, so we went to the beach. The beach itself was not as nice as the beaches we have in SW Florida, which was a little disappointing. There were signs near the water saying watch out for stinging jelly fish, swim at your own risk. I walked into the water to see if I could see any jelly fish and sure enough, they were there. I don't know much about different types of jelly fish, so I don't know if what I saw were the stinging type or not, but there were certainly jelly fish in those waters. We decided to stay out of the water. I was under the false impression that this was a cruise-line private island, but it is not There was no free lunch served on the island, everything was for sale. We saw some kayaks but they were not included in the cruise fare. There was a nice pool area in the center, which is where most people were. By the time we got to it, it was too crowded. This was a bit of a let down, so we went back on board the ship. Our only other port of call was Coasta Maya, Mexico. If you don't do an excursion out of the little tourist trap area, I think you will be pretty disappointed in what they have to offer. The pool was way too cold to enjoy (probably in the 60s). Sadly a cold front pushed through. I didn't see a single person in the pool! There were not any beaches to enjoy without leaving the area. The area itself was mostly shops with items for sale. Sadly, it was typical Mexican pushy sales (way too pushy for my preference). We left to go back on the ship. Before we got on the ship though, we spent some time enjoying the natural beauty in the water of the dock. I saw a spotted eagle ray and some really cool looking fish! Water quality was very good. That was the highlight of this port of call for me. I'm in no rush to return to either of these ports of call. Same overall feeling with this ship, too. I've been on other ships that I've enjoyed more which cost MUCH less for the same duration, so I'll keepaway from the breakaway. This was my first time on a ship of this size and wanted to try it at least once. I've heard very good things about the Norwegian escape and decided to try this ship seeing as how it was a sister ship, but my hunch says the escape is better. It's rated better.... I wonder what they do differently?

Some good things, some terrible things

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review by towert7

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Inside Stateroom
This is a very bad ship if you don't enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke. Inside the ship, the casino (where smoking is allowed most times) is centrally located with lots of open area to many other decks. The result is it reeks of cigarette smoke all throughout the center of the ship, even if you are not on the casino deck. Outside the ship, they have a special smoking area RIGHT NEXT TO THE POOL AREA. I really enjoy the pools and hot tubs, but I hate the smell of cigarette smoke. This was bad for me since all the smokers go to the smoking area, smoke, and the entire pool deck reeks of smoke. 2 out of the 4 hot tubs are right near the smoking area, so rule those out if you don't REALLY like the smell of cigarette / cigar smoke. The pool is also close enough that you can pretty much expect to smell cigarette smoke anywhere in the pool. The other 2 hot tubs are on the other side of the smoking room and I smelled cigarette smoke consistently most days. I think there might have been 2 days where the wind was strong enough to blow the smoke in the opposite direction. This ruined my enjoyment of the pool area. This area is also where they have live entertainment such as bands, morning exercise, poolside competitions, etc. It's a shame that you can't enjoy this entertainment without breathing in 2nd hand smoke. The back of the ship has a movie deck with 2 hot tubs and a bar. People smoked at the bar and you smelt the cigarette smoke everywhere if you wanted to watch the movie or enjoy the hot tub. Also, it was very hard to watch the movie from the hot tub because they had a huge wood box in the way of the screen! I've been on at least 6 different ships and this is, BY FAR, the worst ship in terms of smelling smoke. And to finish it off, to disembark, there was a HUGE line that snaked its way all throughout the casino that took hours. So you were standing in a line smelling the terrible smoke smell for hours.

There were some really nice things I enjoyed on this ship; it's too bad the prevalent smell of cigarette smoke will keep me from ever returning on this ship. For example, the comedian Jean Pierre Parent was amazingly funny! I loved every minute of his show. This guy is good enough to successfully make it in Las Vegas if he wanted.

I like the layout of the buffet area and for the most part there were not long lines. The only time I really noticed long lines is right when the buffet area opens or near the end where only one side of the buffet is open. The food quality in the buffet was overall good and very good at the regular dine in restaurants for lunch and dinner. Some of the food at the dine in restaurants was fantastic (lamb, deserts, etc.). I went to savor / moderno / o' sheehan's for lunch and the manhattan room for dinner. They expect you to dress up for dinner all nights in the manhattan room, even on the night that says "dress up or not night: What do you feel like wearing tonight? Feeling a little glamorous? Maybe just some comfy khakis and polo? With cruising, there's no formal policy, so you're free to wear whatever you wish.". No formal policy is a complete LIE, so if you want to go make sure you bring long pants / shoes for men. I liked how the manhattan room had live music some nights, but we were never seated near the music. I probably should have requested to sit closer to it at least once, but I didn't. Twice we were sat in a corner area in the manhattan room that had TERRIBLE lighting. The entire restaurant is kept dimly lit which I don't mind, but one area is where the food staff go in / out of the kitchen area. That area has VERY BRIGHT lights and no door, so depending on how you are seated you might be staring into bright lights for your whole meal which stinks because it's hard to see anything else around you like your family members or the food. A pretty poor design if you ask me. We went to o' sheehan's once for lunch right when it opened. One of our main items that we ordered never arrived and our server left after about 20 minutes. I don't know where he was relocated to or if he got seriously hurt, but he never returned. It took us about 20 minutes to realize for sure he wasn't coming back. No one told us. We had to flag down another server and she was nice enough to help us, even though we were not her table. This added an extra 45 minutes to the meal. The food at o sheehan's was okay, but not good enough for me to want to return a second time (I preferred the lunch at the buffet and savor / moderno).

Compared to other ships, the breakaway does not have a whole lot of nice areas to sit outside and watch the ocean from the front or back. And what areas they do have, some of them are completely covered by glass so it makes taking pictures or enjoying the sea breeze nearly impossible. I like the feeling of being outside in nature, and this ship tries to shelter you from that feeling. A real shame for me! Also, I could not find a dark spot on the ship to enjoy watching the stars at night. I was disappointed by all of this, since I really enjoy taking pictures during sail away or sailing into port and during sunrise / sunset. I also like watching shooting stars when out at sea (which I can't do where I live because of too much light), but this ship was also too light to really watch for shooting stars. I liked how on the food deck you could walk around the side of the ship and use binoculars for free. That was nice.

Our room itself (5115) was overall okay with enough space to walk around and a good layout. The location was TERRIBLE. We were right under the main theater and most nights had loud noise (bass) that kept us awake until about midnight on average, some nights later. This is a terrible room if you like to sleep. We booked using the inside guarantee and we were guaranteed a terrible room. I called before our cruise to see if another room was available, but the lady said the ship was completely booked. The cabin safe could have been a little larger (not enough room for 2 people's items). I was very surprised the shelves for clothes were exposed. The only way you could cover up one shelf is if you covered up the entire wardrobe area. I didn't like that. The AC is only on if you keep a card in the card slot, so I recommend bringing a spare card to keep in your room card slot if you like to walk into a cool room without having to wait for it to cool off. I know why Norwegian does this, but I want my room cool from the start. Sorry. The hallways on the 5th floor are extra wide which was a nice treat.

The live entertainment was very loud. Way too loud for my preference. On the 5th night I wanted to watch the show 'burn the floor'. I didn't have a reservation so I had to wait for standby. Just before the show started I was let in and found a spot at the very back of the theater. Even at the very back of the theater near the top row, the music was TOO loud. Now I know why I couldn't sleep in my room underneath the theater!!! The show itself was okay.

The cruise director (the person who regularly makes announcements over the PA system), talked in a completely monotone voice with a VERY hard Philippine accent. He was very boring to listen to and hard to understand. Usually cruise directors are much more exciting and entertaining. If I managed this ship, I think I would find another cruise director.

The aft deck 16 hot tubs (spice h2o) close at 9:30pm!!! I've been on many norwegian ships where the hours of operation show the hut tubs close at around 10pm or 11pm, but the staff usually wait until midnight. Not on this ship! Holy cow. I was in a hot tube at spice h2o watching a movie and right at 9:30 the guy asked me to get out (probably about 30 minutes before the movie ended). It was freezing back there with all the wind and I sat watching the rest of the movie cold and shivering (and that's not a joke, it was cold because of a strong cold front!).

Some of the entertainment (e.g: newlywed game, couples competition, etc.) was held in venues way too small for the amount of spectators. This results in the majority of people needing to stand with a terrible view of the entertainment blocking the flow of walking traffic. I was very surprised they didn't have this figured out better by now...

Also, every time I walked by the customer service desk there was always a decent size line. I'm used to the customer service desk lines going away after the first day or two on most ships I've been on, but this ship always had a wait. They might afford to hire another customer service worker and computer station for them.

In terms of ports of call, our first port was Harvest Caye Belize. We got off to look around but didn't find much to do for free, so we went to the beach. The beach itself was not as nice as the beaches we have in SW Florida, which was a little disappointing. There were signs near the water saying watch out for stinging jelly fish, swim at your own risk. I walked into the water to see if I could see any jelly fish and sure enough, they were there. I don't know much about different types of jelly fish, so I don't know if what I saw were the stinging type or not, but there were certainly jelly fish in those waters. We decided to stay out of the water. I was under the false impression that this was a cruise-line private island, but it is not There was no free lunch served on the island, everything was for sale. We saw some kayaks but they were not included in the cruise fare. There was a nice pool area in the center, which is where most people were. By the time we got to it, it was too crowded. This was a bit of a let down, so we went back on board the ship.

Our only other port of call was Coasta Maya, Mexico. If you don't do an excursion out of the little tourist trap area, I think you will be pretty disappointed in what they have to offer. The pool was way too cold to enjoy (probably in the 60s). Sadly a cold front pushed through. I didn't see a single person in the pool! There were not any beaches to enjoy without leaving the area. The area itself was mostly shops with items for sale. Sadly, it was typical Mexican pushy sales (way too pushy for my preference). We left to go back on the ship. Before we got on the ship though, we spent some time enjoying the natural beauty in the water of the dock. I saw a spotted eagle ray and some really cool looking fish! Water quality was very good. That was the highlight of this port of call for me.

I'm in no rush to return to either of these ports of call. Same overall feeling with this ship, too. I've been on other ships that I've enjoyed more which cost MUCH less for the same duration, so I'll keepaway from the breakaway. This was my first time on a ship of this size and wanted to try it at least once. I've heard very good things about the Norwegian escape and decided to try this ship seeing as how it was a sister ship, but my hunch says the escape is better. It's rated better.... I wonder what they do differently?
towert7’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Inside Stateroom
Cabin IB
The room itself (5115) was overall okay with enough space to walk around and a good layout. The location was TERRIBLE. We were right under the main theater and most nights had loud noise (bass) that kept us awake until about midnight on average, some nights later. This is a terrible room if you like to sleep. We booked using the inside guarantee and we were guaranteed a terrible room. The cabin safe could have been a little larger (not enough room for 2 people's items). I was very surprised the shelves for clothes were exposed. The only way you could cover up one shelf is if you covered up the entire wardrobe area. I didn't like that. The AC is only on if you keep a card in the card slot, so I recommend bringing a spare card to keep in your room card slot if you like to walk into a cool room without having to wait for it to cool off. I know why Norwegian does this, but I want my room cool from the start. Sorry. The hallways on the 5th floor are extra wide which was nice.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Costa Maya
    Our only other port of call was Coasta Maya, Mexico. If you don't do an excursion out of the little tourist trap area, I think you will be pretty disappointed in what they have to offer. The pool was way too cold to enjoy (probably in the 60s). Sadly a cold front pushed through. I didn't see a single person in the pool! There weren’t any beaches to enjoy without leaving the area. The area itself was mostly shops with items for sale. Sadly, it was typical Mexican pushy sales (way too pushy for my preference). We left to go back on the ship. Before we got on the ship though, we spent some time enjoying the natural beauty in the water of the dock. I saw a spotted eagle ray and some really cool looking fish! Water quality was very good. That was the highlight of this port of call for me.
    View All 2,623 Costa Maya Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Costa Maya Cruise Port Review
  • Harvest Caye
    Our first port was Harvest Caye Belize. We got off to look around but didn't find much to do for free, so we went to the beach. The beach itself was not as nice as the beaches we have in SW Florida, which was a little disappointing. There were signs near the water saying watch out for stinging jelly fish, swim at your own risk. I walked into the water to see if I could see any jelly fish and sure enough, they were there. I don't know much about different types of jelly fish, so I don't know if what I saw were the stinging type or not, but there were certainly jelly fish in those waters. We decided to stay out of the water. I was under the false impression that this was a cruise-line private island, but it is NOT There was no free lunch served on the island, everything was for sale. We saw some kayaks but they were not included in the cruise fare. There was a nice pool area in the center, which is where most people were. By the time we got to it, it was crowded. This was a bit of a let down, so we went back on board the ship.
    View All 1,264 Harvest Caye Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Harvest Caye Cruise Port Review
  • Miami
    I like sailing out of port miami, but driving into port miami is very crazy! Finding parking is always a challenge.
    View All 2,459 Miami Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Miami Cruise Port Review