Norwegian Breakaway Review

4.5 / 5.0
3,900 reviews

1st Timer's Delight!

Review for the Eastern Mediterranean Cruise on Norwegian Breakaway
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Eric T.
First Time Cruiser • Age 60s

Rating by category

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Additional details

Sail Date: Oct 2023
Cabin: Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom

My wife chose this cruise mainly due to our starting and stopping in Rome {Civitavecchia}, so we spent a few days in Rome after the 10-day adventure. Starting off with a late embarkation due to serious plumbing issues on deck 8, we had a nice first day at sea but arrived late to our first port, Santorini. Taking the cable car was the best way to make the most of an excursion that only lasted a few hours. Standing in line for over an hour was still the best way to see Santorini in what little time we had. Overcast skies kept the afternoon heat at least tolerable for those standing in line without umbrellas or hats. (Excursion tip: Always have a hat and an umbrella in your backpack.) The ship was clean and the crew was tremendous for the most part. The rest of our excursions were smooth and educational, but exhausting.

For a first-timer, it was a cool ship to explore, although they really should open the Arcade to everyone without nickel and diming us, the "art" auctions and photo takers got to be a bit pushy by the end of the cruise. But it was the crew that made the voyage special... officer Marco, a manager of the Savor Restaurant, personally ensured that every one of his customers felt noticed and pampered by his obviously loyal service staff like Judith, who made dinner and even breakfast at the Savor restaurant, an event to look forward to. Watching Marco lead his staff from dangerous service escalators to overfilled trays, helped me understand how important the right people in the right places really are in getting the correct results. Especially in the complimentary restaurants. NCL needs to find more capable officers like Marco, and he should be training them. NCL could do with less of the extremely loud and pushy Maitre 'd at Teppanyaki, the Japanese Benihaha-style steak house that is now happily showcased by very capable and entertaining chefs, who turn out to be the best part of the meal. Note that open flames and hot cooking surfaces are banned on ships because they can cause fires. This will always lead to cold soups, etc... but when you sit and watch your hot appetizers sit around only inches away, getting colder and colder so that by the time they reach you they're even colder, just ask the server to heat it back up and see what happens. The manager will probably come over to see how he can make things better but I couldn't have imagined a more professional or upbeat crew. And then I saw "Fire on the Floor", the dance-inspired theater show and I suddenly realized how the crew was able to tolerate so many passengers, if they get to do that at night! I've seen and worked on and off Broadway, and that show was right up there with some of the best work I've ever seen... and on a SHIP! Unbelievable...

Continuing with the restaurant review, the buffet was pretty good, but a bit boring after the first 5 days. Still, no complaints as the food was always fresh and well seasoned regardless of when you got there at any time. The drinks package was a waste as the wife doesn't drink and although I tried my best, I never made it past two delicious mojitos before strolling back to the stateroom and relaxing on our little balcony. So save your money for shopping or shipping home the extra piece of luggage full of souvenirs you wind up with after doing all your Christmas shopping. All in all, it was a great adventure that I would love to try again. Especially, our excursion to Malta where our guide was actually featured in Rick Steves' episode about the historical island, which was very cool as well as informative. Though the ship was almost full, it didn't feel overcrowded. I have to mention Dean at the customer service desk dealing with an incredibly rude woman blaming NCL for her own mistakes, and how professionally he explained the policy and how his rationality finally calmed her anger. But when she stormed off, we all noticed that DEAN quietly went in the back, closed the door and pulled his stuff together well enough to come right back out to deal with me and my questions about luggage like nothing ever happened. Well done that man! I would have made her walk the plank. There's never any need to be rude to the customer service desk. Period. The pools could have been bigger and the children fewer, but those are things I can determine on my next cruise. Keep the kids out of the adult pool, for a start. All of our excursions were good, except when it got too hot. Again, a travel umbrella not only kept me out of the boiling sun but also helped the wife spot me in the crowds of other excursion tourists. There was always something to do, yet doing nothing was also encouraged. We won't schedule as many excursions next time. Our steward, Alex, was exceptional, by the way. One thing I learned is that if things don't go as planned on a cruise, patience and flexibility go a long way. Hope to come back next year but we'll see what happens. After Covid, it appears that this ship has come a long way. I understand she'll be moving to the Caribbean soon, so we might follow her. Sorry other passengers didn't have as great a time as I did. Perhaps I just don't know any better, being a "first timer". Regardless, I "get it" now and I am hooked. Thanks to NCL Breakaway, it's the cruising life for me!

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom

Great cabin, mid ship, nice balcony. Great steward, Alex.

Get a larger shower if available.

Port Reviews

Athens (Piraeus)

Lots of walking. Carry an umbrella, it's hot.

Katakolon (Olympia)

Educational, also hot.

Malta (Valletta)

Wonderful! Great guide! I think she was on Rick Steve's video of Malta. Would love to stay. So much history, but too many tourists!

Mykonos

Good lunch!

Naples

The wife had what she considered the best pasta of her life.

Loved the excursion!

Santorini

Late arrival due to ship issues. Took the cable car and discovered St. John's Cathedral. Worth every minute.

Rome (Civitavecchia)

Took the private car back to Rome from the disembarkation and it's worth every penny!

Too much luggage and I will have to deal with it on the upcoming land/train part of our European Vacation!

Next three days of Rome/Vatican excursions will be covered at Expedia...

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