64 New York (Manhattan) Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

I was there to dance every night and eat healthy food. I give it 5 stars for that. I will say that the NCL Escape, its' sister ship, was a little better in that regard. It's H2O Spice was larger and it was great for dancing. ... Read More
I was there to dance every night and eat healthy food. I give it 5 stars for that. I will say that the NCL Escape, its' sister ship, was a little better in that regard. It's H2O Spice was larger and it was great for dancing. Also, their Skyline Bar had a dance floor and it was less claustrophobic than the Social was on the Bliss. On the Bliss, half of the Skyline was taken up with casino machines. We weren't able to go to their private island, due to weather conditions, which has happened before to us, but it wasn't a big problem for me. The seas were too rough for the tenders to go out, so they gave us a each an automatic $32 credit for that. Due to the coronavirus situation, (and norovirus, of course), they took extra cleanliness precautions. We were not allowed to serve ourselves at the Garden buffet, although we were usually allowed to get our own beverages, which is odd. There was an error made on our dinner tab at Q, the Texas rib place, but the correction showed up within minutes after we tracked down the right person to talk to, the next day. We also dined at Le Bistro, the French restaurant, for my birthday. Their food still held up to their previous standards. This was the very last NCL cruise before all cruises ground to a halt. Sigh...I'm really happy we went, because it may be quite a while before we'll have the opportunity again to hit the seas. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We sailed on NCL Bliss on 14-day Western Caribbean cruises out of NYC so on Feb 2, 2020s. The ship visited Cape Canaveral. Great Stirrup Bay in Bahamas, Ochorios in Jamaica, George Town in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize, Maya coast and ... Read More
We sailed on NCL Bliss on 14-day Western Caribbean cruises out of NYC so on Feb 2, 2020s. The ship visited Cape Canaveral. Great Stirrup Bay in Bahamas, Ochorios in Jamaica, George Town in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize, Maya coast and Cozumel Mexico. Great cruise and good staff. We had a standard balcony cabin 12722 on deck 12 with plenty of room for the two of us. Nice ship with lots specialty restaurants good. Buffet was great - better quality food than the general dining (hotter, more variety, very nicely prepared and presented. The only 'complaint' is that there is too much salt added to food throughout. We don't use salt at home, so really notice it We didn't participate in any of the 'activities' like bingo or quiz shows but they had some good entertainment. the 'Beatles' group was standing room only at every show - they needed a bigger venue! They had a rock/pop band who did a good job, and the 'Jersey Boys' was a great performance. Six Boleyn was also good musical described life of King Henry VIII through his 6 wives. There was live music in moist lounges (District Brew House, Mojito bar, atrium and observation lounge). The observation lounge was a great place to get a comfy chair and snack, I spent my days there reading the book, “SEA OF POPPIES” by Amitav Ghosh describing the story of Opium production and trade by the British India company. ON 2nd day Sea day we had cruise critic meet and Greet met the GM of the ship. Sharon complained about lack of body lotion in the bathroom. He took our cabin number and instructed our room attended to supply steady supply of Bulgari body lotion. Afterwards I mentioned him today is Sharon’s birthday. After we came back from lunch our cabin was decorated with Happy birthday sign, Streamers and balloons. He also sent some specialty Chocolate, a bottle of wine. Sharon, her cousin and Aunt enjoyed the wine. I was not happy with luncheon menu at the main dining room. I complained to the Maître Dee. He said I should eat at taste of India. I looked up the Executive Chef Sreekanth Sundram and spoke to him. He informed me Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available for vegetarians at the” Taste of India”. Next morning to my surprise I had an excellent breakfast with Vada, Uthappam, Sambar, Chutney, poori, Potato, with Masala Chai. I also met Rohith Gokulakrishnan Executive Sous Chef from Chennai, Chef Balappan. Everyday I had a feast for breakfast, lunch and dinner We went on Shore excursion on Airboat and crocodile farm in Florida, tour of countryside of Jamaica, Roatan tour to see mangrove reserve, shipwreck and to a beach to watch a local show. Next day we visited the Maya ruins and spice farm in Belize. 9th we visited Mayan coast to see Mayan temple. At Cozumel we visited Mayan Chocolate Farms to learn about history of Chocolates use by Mayans and how Spaniards modified to fit the western taste. Then we visited Mayan Honeybee farm amid the forest. I learned there is no pure Mayan blood descendant, most of them descent of Mayan and Spanish descendants, the last Mayan died in 1850 Overall this cruise is excellent on a new ship with 4,000 capacity. May be less than 10% were people under 40 years old. Most of the guests were seniors, some on walking with Canes, others cruising around on their scooters which took most of the space on the elevators. We were on Deck 12. Most of the entertainments and dining rooms are on Deck 6-8. The Garden Café is deck 16 and lounge is on Deck 15. It is really a struggle to get into the elevators during breakfast, lunch and dinner time. There are 16 elevators for 4,000 peoples which is a handicap. Sometimes I used stairs with huffing and puffing. WE returned on Sunday the 16th after dropping Sharon’s aunt and cousin at the airport for their onward journey to the frozen tundra of Saskatchewan Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our second crossing on QM2, having sailed two years ago Westbound in December. The Atlantic in December *is* the destination for us as much as the QM2 herself, and neither disappointed. Perhaps because this was my second trip ... Read More
This was our second crossing on QM2, having sailed two years ago Westbound in December. The Atlantic in December *is* the destination for us as much as the QM2 herself, and neither disappointed. Perhaps because this was my second trip on QM2, I found the ship even more beautiful than I remembered. I noticed more of the details and the design and was constantly amazed and enchanted. So many beautiful "liner-y" public spaces to spend time in, it was a pleasure just moving through the ship. We spent a great deal of time in the Commodore Club for cocktails before and after dinner, and the Chart Room - my personal favorite. And of course the gallery on 3L was especially captivating on the days when we had "lumpy seas" as Captain Wells called them. The service from the Queens Grill through to all the public rooms was very warm and attentive, especially Rakesh who looked after us so good naturedly in the Commodore Club, making us always feel very welcomed. Osman and team in the Queens Grill ran a very tight ship as well, with near flawless service. There were a couple of gala nights were we arrived at the peak time and things were a bit backed up, but the room itself, and the floor show of all the table side preparations kept us more than entertain. We never went to any of the shows, as for us, dinner was the evening's show. I did attend the three lectures by Maureen Ryan the former Cunard social hostess who chronicled her career from the 1950s to the early 2000s and she was excellent. Likewise the jazz combo in the Chart Room each night was wonderful and the perfect accompaniment to the reasonably sized post-dinner martini and the dark Atlantic waters rushing by. The only negatives to the otherwise completely outstanding QM2 crossing were around the food: The menus and food execution were not really up to scratch.  We were in QG and found the food only about 4 out of five.  The service (thank you Osman and team!) and setting was fantastic,  but the variety of the menus and sometimes the execution was not up to par. This was especially true at breakfast, where not only was the menu very very pedestrian, but where they also struggled to poach eggs properly.    The menus were very tame, not even up to par with what I would call today's wonderful "modern British" fare. The food is more than adequate, but I guess especially in QG I would be looking for bit more flare and sophistication. Osman was very aggressive at offering us off menu items, which we took advantage of. Most were good to very good, but overall I would not sail on QM2 for the food. I had to keep reminding myself that I was on "Queen Mary 2" and not "Normandie 2" and that put things in proper perspective. The new menu in the Verandah does not do justice the beauty and sophistication of that space.  It's a gorgeous room, swanky and sophisticated, so it seemed a but incongruous to be eating steakhouse fare. The wine list by contrast was wonderful, and well stocked with a great range of old-world wines at reasonable process. Still, we've been back for almost 3 weeks now, and I have already had half a dozen dreams about the ship.  I am plotting our return at the first opportunity. I am a foodie normally, so despite the "meh" rating of the food, it speaks volumes that I cannot wait to be back aboard. It was absolutely brilliant, and how enormously lucky I felt to have experienced it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). However, this sailing I was celebrating a milestone of my own as this was my 47th cruise overall and my accomplishment was hitting a full year of my life at sea! Other cruise lines I’ve sailed on are Norwegian Cruise Line (Platinum Plus with over 25 cruises), Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and lastly a couple of times on Carnival. My reviews are typically written in chronological order so you can follow along with when things occurred and what my thoughts on them were. At the end there’s a summary and thank you to staff who stood out. I hope you enjoy! Day 1 – Embarkation Day – New York City After the first cruise to sail from NYC had a bad embarkation, I was happy I wasn’t arriving to Manhattan until Noon on the bus I took down from Boston. Upon arrival to the pier, the porters quickly took our luggage and with a decent tip ($2 per bag), our bags were gone and down the conveyer belt in no time! We entered the terminal and encountered a fairly long security line at 12:30PM. When I had my documents out, the lady pulled me aside and told me to go into another line which was not snaked. I did so and we were at security in no time. The check in counters didn’t have any lines at all. I was taken straight away and we were on the ship by 12:45PM. It was pretty seamless! We embarked the Meraviglia from the front of the ship and walked down the indoor Promenade with the giant LED screen, the largest at sea! It was impressive, although some of the shows watching them looking straight up later in the cruise would make me get dizzy. To best view them, go to deck 7 by the spa and look the long way down the promenade. Helpful Tip: We registered our credit cards at the onboard kiosk on Deck 6 by the elevators mid-ship. There are two types of machines to register your room card with. One takes cash and credit cards, the other one takes credit cards only and is smaller. The cash machine had so many people fiddling with them, I just wanted the card machine and this was located on Deck 6 starboard side. We went to lunch at the Market Place Buffet up on Deck 15. The buffet is quite lengthy. Each side has the same type of sections. In the front on the port side is the pizza station which serves pizza pretty much ALL the time (breakfast pizzas, and a changing variety throughout the rest of the day). There’s a pasta, salad, rotisserie, sweets and wellness sections. On port and starboard side there was ethnic sections which largely consisted of Mexican / Spanish foods throughout our voyage. In the back of the buffet (most didn’t walk that far), there was a stir fry section which was really good. During the voyage, on port days, the back section of the buffet was closed. We grabbed a plate of food and sat on the outside deck overlooking the Hudson River. It was overcast but not too chilly to enjoy a lunch out there. While eating lunch, I connected to the ship’s WiFi and loaded the MSC for Me app. This app is quite handy in booking reservations for all the shows and seeing what’s on. It also has a chat functionality which you can use to stay connected to new found friends on the ship. It was the first cruise where I used the chat functionality and it worked quite well. The app also gives you guidance on where things are in the ship and how to get to them. I strongly urge you to download this prior to the voyage so you can take full advantage of what’s on offer and waste minimal time at the touch screens scattered throughout the ship. After lunch, it was announced the staterooms were ready. We proceeded to our stateroom and the luggage was already there! This was quite impressive given how short of a time it was. The rooms were ready at 2PM. Stateroom 9218: This is a Fantastica balcony stateroom. If you don’t know what Fantastica is, it’s a tier level of room you book on MSC ships where you get certain amenities – main among them is room service. This stateroom was located starboard side on the mid-ship bump out and it was the second to last room heading aft in the mid-ship bump out. MSC seems to have a standard stateroom format as the room looked exactly the same as Seaside. The closet was small and didn’t have enough hangars (we remembered and brought our own). There is two cubbies and two drawers on the right side of the closet with the safe in the middle. There’s also another cubby on the floor of the closet on the right side. The bathroom consisted of a shower with glass door, very deep sink (love the sink design on MSC) and a counter which extends down the wall for storage. There are three shelves in the bathroom. The stateroom was in physically good condition upon initial inspection. It quickly became apparent due to the ship’s configuration with the bump out, we must’ve been on the end of the vacuum line with our neighbors being the last. The toilet was very picky so you had to flush it constantly. We had to get it fixed twice during the voyage. The refrigerator was good at cooling items such as the water containers we brought. There’s a desk drawer under the counter top, it’s quite big and another helpful place to store stuff. The light to the left of the beds was constantly flickering during the voyage. I never used it but when the evening turn down was done, it would flicker. I don’t know if it was an electrical issue or what not. I did not report it. Now this part is important, when the ship was at sea and we had some rough sea conditions due to passing cold fronts, the room was constantly creaking! For a ship as new as this, I couldn’t believe the amount of noise the room made. It wasn’t anything the ship could do to fix it as it was the room itself. I still slept but when you were in the room, you could hear it with the ship’s movement. If you’re a light sleeper, book another room and probably not on the bump out. Of more important note, the room did NOT have any Kleenex / tissues. We asked for a box and were told the ship does not provide them, only to Yacht Club guests. Some guests on the previous voyage (where an illness had started to break out) were given them who were not YC guests. This would later come back to bite MSC big time. If you’re going to be an Eco Ship, why not get rid of bottled water but instead tissues? I’m still scratching my head over this one. After unpacking, we headed down to the dining room to change our dining time. We requested the early seating but when we said early – we didn’t mean 5:15PM. I don’t know why MSC doesn’t allow a person to pick slots in first, second and third order so that if you booked an experience, they could work best to accommodate you. Having fixed dining times is inherently lazy of cruise lines anyway! It’s the one thing on MSC that I do not like. The restaurant manager switched us from Waves at 5:15PM to 6PM in Panorama. Panorama is a really beautiful restaurant aft on the ship. However, what I didn’t realize is when he switched us, we went to a table share with two other couples. Thankfully they turned out to be quite lovely people when tables around us had some really odd pairings with people swapping out. This process took us over 1 hour to do so if you don’t like your dining time, change it first thing when you get on because the people pile up and you don’t want to spend your first day of holiday waiting. At 5PM as we wasted so much time getting the table and time changed, it was the compulsory emergency drill. Our muster station was in the casino (oddly it was on Seaside as well). We arrived early to get a seat for mom and waited and waited. People were not attending the drill like they were required to. Finally, it started and it was over in the blink of an eye. They only demonstrated how to put the life jacket on. The rest was found on the stateroom TVs which was clear during the voyage people did not watch (throwing cigarettes and other items overboard, smoking on the balconies, etc.). Fellow Passengers: There was truly an international mix of passengers on the ship. I became friends with people from Germany, Holland, Canada, Austria and Greece! What unsettled me was the group of people MSC used to fill the ship closer to sailing. I booked fairly last minute (8 weeks out) and thought wow, the ship is still fairly open. However, when they discounted the prices even lower around 3 weeks out, the passenger make up got really interesting both posting online beforehand and on the ship. The Cruise Director joked about it not being a Carnival ship one night in the theater, well I guess he never visited the nightclub. Those folks causing issues were the scum the low pricing MSC did brought onboard, amazingly and not shockingly… all Americans. Before you say how rude, I’m American but I do have a sense of propriety and class. I understand everyone is on holiday but save your offensive shirts, surly (perhaps drunk) comments, feeling up your fellow (perhaps drunk) cruisers for your stateroom or better yet… don’t cruise if you can’t act correctly in public. Most of the latter stuff was in the nightclub. Cruisers also didn’t seem to practice good hygiene either leading to a massive spread of a sinus and upper respiratory bug throughout the ship. Cough etiquette goes a long way. Coughing into your elbow is great way to stop the spread of germs, but most just chose to cough on everyone else. The lack of tissues made the spread of germs on all surfaces even better. Way to go MSC on that one! I will give credit to MSC for trying to make the situation right during the voyage. I truly appreciated the guest services hospitality when my concerns were addressed. It was dinner time in Panorama and the first night menu resembled a similar one to NCL with the vegetable spring rolls. I had the lamb t-bone. The spring rolls were great. The lamb t-bone was incredibly small so I asked for a second portion. Lino, our head waiter, delivered it without issue. Lino and Frederick in Panorama offered great service throughout the cruise. Frederick was very attentive and constantly filling my water glass. The food was way too salty and it just made me thirsty incessantly. Frederick would have to refill my water glass up to five times during the dinner service! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot We booked the 8PM showtime for the ventriloquist. I realize there’s an international audience on the ship so he would say somethings in English and I believe the other parts were Spanish. However, the little character was not really amusing and he was hitting on female passengers and calling other male passengers ugly. It was entertainment but not the kind I experienced on Seaside. I know Meraviglia had to add entertainment to the ship as they only had 7 production shows but this guy was not very entertaining overall. After the long day of traveling and getting up early, after the show I showered and relaxed. It was at this time that we discovered the room service menu’s inadequacies. I remember having room service on the Seaside and not having any issues finding something to eat. This cruise I was up in the buffet for breakfast more than I had anything from room service. Mom found items but it was challenging as she doesn’t like chocolate (and most of the menu was chocolate items) and can’t have dairy. Other entertainment going on the first night was a welcome party from the cruise staff around 10:45PM in the Promenade and the disco with the DJ after 11PM. DAY 2: At Sea The weather was still chilly outside and the seas were kicked up. Cold fronts coming off the USA East Coast would cause issues during various days of the cruise. Today was the Cruise Critic gathering and the ship did it nicely with cocktails being served at 10AM and little bites to eat. This time they let the passengers mingle a bit before they introduced the officers and presented us with a cake. It was a very nice touch and I got to make some great cruise friends along the way! It was today I discovered the Gym on Deck 16 mid-ship and wanted to do a workout since the weather wasn’t warm enough for it. The gym was packed solid and hideously small for a ship this size. Some of the cardio equipment was broken further compounding the crowded feel of the place. I went for a walk around the walking track with mom that goes around mid-ship to aft on Deck 16 to get some steps for the day. While doing the walking track, it’s single file so where possible I walked outside to the right of it to talk with mom. Runners were coming along on the other lane or just running everywhere and not staying in their lane. When you got to the aft section of the Horizon Pool where the track loops around on the Starboard side, you go right through a smoking area! How dumb!! If you’re trying to workout, why on Earth would you want to inhale smoke?! After an early lunch, I decided to go to the gym and finally found a spot to work out on the mat. I did have to work in for one of the two benches near the free weights. Very few guests were sanitizing equipment after use so I did before each usage. The side room which could be a good stretching area, was locked as it had the spin cycles in them. An aerobics room was missing on this ship since they used the basketball/soccer court for those classes. You couldn’t take a mat down there to stretch though! After a brief nap, I went to the single / solo cruisers gathering. It was there that I met two wonderful ladies at the bar who introduced me to some of the bar staff they knew from a previous voyage. All the bartenders and wait staff in the Sky Lounge were really friendly, helpful and out-going. It would become a good place for a pre-club drink or to pass time between activities. It was the first formal night of the cruise and I had the beef tournedos. The meat was cooked to order and very well presented but the sauce was way too salty. I didn’t have time for dessert as the ship had scheduled the LGBT gathering at 6:30PM in the Sky Lounge and I wanted to attend. Both the LGBT and the singles were unhosted events and unlike the Seaside – occurred every night of the cruise from night 2 onward at the Sky Lounge. Since we booked the 9:30PM show because I was unsure whether or not the LGBT gathering would run late or not, mom and I went to the Sportsplex which included the arcade, bowling, F1 simulators and the flight simulators. I purchased the Fun Pass pre-cruise for $100 for what I thought was unlimited usage of the entire complex, it turned out, it wasn’t unlimited but that’s not too much of a worry after the weather finally moderated. Of note, the bowling only had one functional lane meaning you had to arrange an appointment to use it. The 4D Cinema was intense. I played all three of the interactive movies with the skeletons in the mine one being the gentlest of them all. It’s quite an intense experience. The arcade has minimal games for a ship this size: 1 competing motorcycle game, Star Wars Game, shooting game (which didn’t seem to be working during the voyage much) and a demolition style sit down race car game. Turned out I was really good at destroying opponents in this game! The arcade would be a good place to pass time in between moments in the evening hours where entertainment gaps existed. I would highly recommend the Fun Pass at $100. The 4D Cinema is $10 per person, bowling is $25 for a half hour play, F1 was also expensive. One bad weather day and you could easily hit the $100! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: One Day More It was the first production show of the cruise, featuring Broadway hits like Singing in the Rain, Cats, Les Miserables. The productions make extensive use of LED walls for graphics saving tons of space for props and endless costume changes back stage. The production cast tonight was great, the opera singers were more overpowering of their cohort singers in group numbers but I knew they’d both be shining stars during opera night later in the cruise! I would definitely recommend catching this show on the ship! Tonight, was the first night I went to the Attic Club disco on the ship. It was here that I discovered one of the two DJs from the Seaside was onboard (and he wasn’t the better one from Seaside – DJ Tony). At the bar in the nightclub was a younger guy with his head down sleeping, apparently passed out. Security went over to check on him and let him stay there but he put his head back down. Eventually he ordered two Red Bull and was much more awake but only caffeinated. It was a good night out but most hung outside at the Horizon Bar to smoke on the starboard side. With the crosswinds, it would waft across the deck into the non-smoking area making it impossible to get air. The Attic Club was insanely hot as the ship still had the heat on from the colder cruises. I retired shortly around 1AM. DAY 3: At Sea It’s October 30th and the ship began coming alive with Halloween decorations. The culinary team in the buffet carved pumpkins yesterday all day in the kitchen they make the fresh mozzarella in and today they setup a display of them with fake candles. The display was just as you entered the Marketplace Buffet. Also, in the Meraviglia Lounge, they had pumpkins carved on the tables there and the whole bar was even more decorated than the previous day. Actually, the whole Promenade on Deck 6 was alive with Halloween items, including some scary looking man who was later used for photos by the ship’s photography team. The weather was not cooperating so well so the Fun Pass was used to play some bowling, arcade games and 4D Cinema before heading back to rest for the afternoon. The temperature outside was finally starting to moderate a bit but the weather was still overcast with occasional rain showers. We also found a nice place to go for a walk downstairs away from the smokers. It was on Deck 7 forward and was a horseshoe from port side to starboard side through the front tunnel in the ship from one bump out section to the other. It’s by the life rafts and was a good place to go to not be in the direct sunlight as well. There are NO deck chairs on this deck, it was strictly used for walking purposes only and it’s not very well advertised. Crew do a lot of work out on this deck so parts may be shut off as well. Today, the ship delivered strawberries and prosecco to the room as part of the Diamond status Voyager’s Club welcome back gift. Prior to sailing, make sure to status match with your other cruise line’s loyalty club status. On NCL I’m Platinum Plus which makes me Diamond on MSC. Just before dinner it was announced Cirque du Soleil’s scheduled performance of Viaggio was cancelled due to the rough sea conditions. I was scheduled to attend the 9:30PM showing. It would become practically a routine to visit the scheduling guy at the Carousel Lounge to get the shows rescheduled this cruise. Why would you ever build a show lounge at the aft of a ship for a Cirque performance? The least amount of movement is mid-ship! Tonight, after switching the dining time around, the birthday cake showed up to the Panorama restaurant for mom. The first night it was delivered to the Waves Restaurant because we were scheduled to be there but the second night I left early before it could be served. It became a running joke this cruise because the travel agent also bought a cake for my mom’s birthday so there were TWO cakes floating around the ship! The section host, William, did a splendid job of tracking them all down and getting them arranged though! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Born to Rock The second production show of the cruise with the production cast was mom’s favorite. She loves rock music and loved all the tunes. They had Tina Turner and many other rock legends. The production was pretty solid with full usage of LED panels and several wardrobe changes by all. Less group singing in this production so it made it a lot smoother. A definite must catch show! THEME NIGHT: Country and Western Night MSC has several theme nights on their American sailings or so it would seem (some appeared on the Seaside as well). The first theme night was Country and Western. I don’t particularly like country music but I was interested to see what they would do. The cruise staff dressed in Western attire and danced to the same line dance songs you’d hear most other places with a few country dance tunes thrown in for good measure. The overhead LED panels in the promenade had different graphics displaying throughout the event. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show This was an adult’s only improv comedy show. It started slow and just died. It wasn’t too funny and when it took too long to setup the next act, most people, including myself walked out. I felt bad for them but with a more engaging party (Country Night) going on just feet away, I felt my time could be better used to watch people have fun than those four TRYING to be funny. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Black Light Party Cirque du Soleil might’ve been cancelled but the Carousel Lounge was still open for usage. I loved the Carousel Lounge as a nightclub. Yes, the bar had a significant shortage of various types of alcohol requiring you to walk to the casino bar to get your drink but the lighting system and sound systems in there were FAR superior to the Attic Club. It also was much better climate controlled. It was sad the Neon party only lasted one hour before they closed it down at 12:30AM and sent us up to the Attic Club. DAY 4: At Sea – Happy Halloween MSC Meraviglia Finally, a good morning to go sunning on the pool deck after breakfast! I went up for a little while before returning to the room to join my mom at the Welcome Back Cocktail reception on the Promenade Deck 6 for all Voyager’s Club member. The event was attended by all senior staff on the ship with little snacks and drinks being served, including non-alcoholic ones. The best part was the production cast came through and did a song and dance number for us after the captain came by to say some remarks and toast. There was also a history presentation on the LED ceiling. It was very well done and probably the best welcome back party I’ve attended on any cruise line to date! After a buffet lunch, it was time to hit the gym. While most folks were out on the pool deck or worked out earlier, I could find a corner to do my ab workout and didn’t have to battle nearly as many people for the equipment. Dinner tonight was ribs and an Asian Salad. The salad was good. I asked for a double order of the ribs and still felt hungry. I didn’t order more because of the showtime and needing to get to the theater. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot Yes, this ventriloquist came back with a new show dubbed to be full of surprises and laughs. Some of it mirrored the first show and there were new elements. The female he selected from the audience clearly didn’t want to do it and looked like she could’ve punched him at any time. I was sitting in the back and her unwillingness was palpable from there! It was a show to see but again, if he’s on, take a pass on it. THEME NIGHT: Halloween Several cruise guests, largely Americans, dressed up for Halloween. The top 3 were picked by the cruise staff for final voting up on the bridge in the Promenade. I dressed up as Cesar, quite a few vampires around but the winner of the contest was a group of drag Pan Am flight attendants and a pilot. I’ve never had my picture taken by so many cruisers before! A ship’s photographer named Veronica (I think) also snagged me for a photo shoot and she did some amazing poses. She was having a ton of fun with it! I don’t customarily buy ship photos but I did from her shoot. She’s got a good eye! Music tonight was by DJ Fabiano and the LED ceiling was on fire with creative and spooky graphics. I’ve done 3 Halloween parties at sea and this was by far the best one yet! Bravo Meraviglia entertainment team! The after party was up in the Attic Club and Horizon Pool Bar at midnight but since I was getting up to go ashore tomorrow, I went up for a bit and went to bed. Cirque du Soleil was cancelled again tonight, although it was the SONOR show I was scheduled to see. It was again due to the ship swaying in the sea conditions (high winds). DAY 5: Land Ho! ST MAARTEN After a quick breakfast, it was off the ship and in a taxi with other guests to head to Maho Beach. I was heading to Cupecoy Beach, a LGBT friendly beach on the island. It cost me $30 for the trip for myself one way. When we arrived at Maho Beach, the beach was underwater and the sand had gone up over the wall and a bus got stuck causing a traffic jam. This should’ve been my clue to get out but I didn’t. I went to Cupecoy anyway and the beach conditions were similar. The beach was underwater due to the tides and high seas. I stayed and sunned myself on the rocks until some other cruisers from the ship arrived. We walked the different inlets from above and admired the views. I split the van on the way back with the other guys from the ship. It took us one hour to get back to the ship because the traffic was so bad. Mom spent the day walking around Philipsburg, St Maarten and finding tissues. She wasn’t sick at this point but the only option available at the time was to use toilet paper to clean out your nose when you awakened in the morning. This was very silly to her (and eventually to me too when I saw what a lack of it was doing to the ship) so she sought out tissues and made that her day ashore. She was successful. You knew it was starting to get bad on the ship because a hand sanitizer lady appeared in the entry way to the Marketplace Buffet. She wasn’t there until this day. When I arrived back onboard and synced by phone back to the Meraviglia Wi-Fi, the restaurant reservation was gone showing what time we were supposed to have Teppanyaki. My mom reserved the Teppanyaki for me to celebrate a career advancement. SPECIALTY DINING: Kaito Teppanyaki This specialty restaurant is where a cook prepares a meal in front of you using a grill and puts on a show. The price varies depending on what meal you select. I had the Samurai meal which was 7 courses and included sushi, salad, soup, tempura, steak, rice and dessert. Mom had the vegetarian version of it with tofu, cucumber rolls (versus tuna rolls), tempura, salad, soup and dessert. Dominique from the Philippines prepared our meal on the grill and did an excellent job of the show. I asked him if he’d been on NCL doing it as the show was quite similar and he said he actually did work on NCL. If you’ve done Teppanyaki on NCL, this is similar but with more food (courses). Also, during the reservation process, the lady asked my mom if I was celebrating anything and she put it in the computer. To my surprise, during dessert time, the Kaito crew came out with a congratulations cake and sang a modified happy birthday congratulations song to me! I wasn’t expecting it and it caught me off guard… my mom’s payback for the birthday cake for her earlier on I presumed! It was a great meal with excellent service. I would bump into the waitstaff in the mornings up in the buffet and they’d always greet me by name. Impressive! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Antonio Versini: A world of Hands I figured this would be the standard magicians show with sleight of hand magic tricks and such. It actually was that and a whole lot more. He put up this projection light on the starboard side and this circle screen in the back and started doing impressions with his hands of animals, singers while songs were playing and morphed them all together. It was quite impressive and unique as I’d not seen anything like this before at sea. THEME PARTY: White Party A signature event on MSC seems to be their White Party. It’s simple, you wear white and dance the night away. It was the first night a party was held at the Atmosphere Pool outside. It was high energy once the line dance songs ended that accompanied most theme nights on the voyage. We had some good EDM tunes before the party shut down at midnight and moved to the Horizon Pool and Bar on Deck 16 / 18 aft. I stayed up until 1AM enjoying the fun before heading to bed. DJ Fabiano was spinning the after party. At the bar, one of the late bookers was drunk and loudly complaining about how crappy the music was. He was a complete buzzkill for anyone near him at the Horizon Bar. DAY 6: FORT-DE-FRANCE, MARTINIQUE We called on Fort-de-France, Martinique and when the morning started it was sunny and I had a leisurely buffet breakfast. I was joined by another solo from New York who hopped on last minute. She was very pleasant and we chatted for a bit. By the time I got off the ship, the sky had changed and storms were coming. The local dancers were out and performing tunes for photo ops. We decided to head to the museum we couldn’t see the last time we were there because it was Sunday. This time it was Saturday and the museum still closed because it was a holiday weekend for them (All Saints Day). The problem with going to the other side of town was the sky opened up and it down poured. Everyone ran for cover; my very large umbrella was no match for the deluge of rain that came. I ducked into an open shop. It was at this time we began to realize most of the city was closed! After getting soaked, it was time to head back to the ship and change. We decided on a leisurely lunch in the Panorama Dining Room. It was leisurely alright; it took 1.5 hours to get our lunch service and it largely seemed because the waitstaff didn’t want any other people to sit in their section again. We never dined in Panorama for lunch again after this one experience. In the PM, I returned to the gym and did a workout waiting for the sun to come out and then watched as the new guests embarked. The cruise was split into two segments to try and get more of it sold. We had a lot of new faces but sadly the sick ones were still around coughing everywhere. I continued to use my avoidance precautions as best as I could but the buffet was a hot bed of germs. Tonight, seemed to be a Greek themed menu so I stuck with the selection of Greek plates including Zucchini meatballs (Kefeta [sic]), slovaki and a custard pie for dessert. A table mate recommended all the dishes and he was supported by Lino, our head waiter for our table. It was a pretty tasty meal. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Virtual The third production show of the cruise featuring the singers and dancers. The show is with more modern music and features a cast member interacting with a phone which has different apps. Dancers come out as dancing emojis and such. While the costuming was engaging, the show, in my opinion, was the weakest one of all the productions. It just didn’t flow right and seemed wonky as they moved from app to app on an iPhone displayed on the LED screen. THEME NIGHT: Space Party I didn’t know or have anything for this party to wear so I just went as I was. It seemed like a lot of cruisers just showed up because it was on right after the show. It was at 10:15PM in the Promenade. The LED ceiling had different solar system displays and stars showing. It was a nice party with the cruise staff decked out in light up silver wardrobe. The funny part was the party was over at 11PM and they told everyone to check out the after party up at the Horizon Bar. When I went up there along with several other cruise guests, there was no music! Someone messed up this night and left a one-hour gap between the two parties! When the DJ came up, it was music under the stars at the Horizon Bar and not inside at the Attic Club. The lack of music and movement for one hour made me exhausted so I headed to bed shortly after midnight. DAY 7: BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS Our arrival was a nail biter for those of us on the starboard side of the ship. We watched as the ship backed into the channel and then come alongside a shipping container vessel (carrying some MSC containers by the way), and then slowly inching back. It was probably the tightest park job I’ve ever seen by a ship. We had to use this section of the pier because it was Sunday and the trolley trains wouldn’t be working. It was truly a sight to behold and nice work by the shore pilot and the bridge crew for an awesome docking without hitting anything (cargo ship or pier)! It was Sunday so everything was largely closed here. It wasn’t due to the same holiday in Martinique but just a very traditional church-going island. This actually worked in our favor as we decided to head to the Garrison and see if the George Washington House might be open. The ship was doing a tour to it so we figured we would try and the walk was a nice jaunt from the ship. We arrived and found a worker who was doing some clean up and said we could enter for $10USD per person. We did and walked the whole site and when we were leaving, the curator actually had just come back from church to close it up. He opened it before church for the ship’s tour. We lucked out! It was noon so we tried a place close by, one of two that were open for lunch called Brown Sugar Restaurant. It was a buffet lunch for $40 USD per person, since the other food option open was spicy Jamaican, we had to dine here. The service was non-existent. We needed water as the sun had emerged finally and it was a scorcher but the lady seemed to make it a chore to refill the glass even once. The buffet was extensive but not worth the money they were charging. After lunch, we decided to take a taxi back over to the port because it was so hot! The one-way taxi fare cost us $20 USD. Back on the ship, we showered and relaxed. Tonight’s dinner menu was not appetizing. I had the strip steak off the always available menu and it was tough despite requesting it be medium. This was one of two nights where I found the main dining room’s menu seriously disappointing and I’m not a picky person by any means. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Come Il Mare This night featured the Italian opera singers of the Meraviglia. We had heard them in earlier productions but tonight showcased their range. It was a spectacular show. Before the show and the previous night, the cruise director made it a point to say the show wouldn’t be for everyone. It wasn’t for everyone. The interpretations were on the side panels of the words being sung. The problem was the port side panel with the English was partially blocked by the curtain to the stage. I still enjoyed it! An aside: What I found really rude was despite the warning, the folks who had the 8:30 dining time still attended the show and got up and left en masse to their dining room! It was beyond rude given the caliber of the production being put on. MSC needs to put a block on reserving the show times if it overlaps with the person’s scheduled dining times. Folks with late seating need to see the first show only. Folks with the early seating see the second or third shows depending on when they finish. It’s much more respectful to the performers and the audience that way. THEME PARTY: Pirates Party Channel your inner Jack Sparrow mate and come along on the promenade for a fun-filled night at sea! I had a pirate shirt with me after learning of this theme on the Seaside the year prior. It was well-received by the staff who were surprised anyone had anything to go along! It was a typical night of line dances. However, when the party ended at 11PM this time around, I knew there would be a one-hour gap between music so I went straight to bed. DAY 8: GRENADA MSC SHORE EXCURSION: Spices and Rainforest Despite having been on so many cruises, sometimes I do go to someplace new. Today was the day to explore Grenada using a ship’s excursion because I didn’t know the island. I always take an organized tour the first time to a place and then go on my own the second time after I have my bearings. With that said, do NOT take this tour if you’re prone to motion sickness. The roads in Grenada are tight with lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. I got was getting car sick in the back and trying to get some fresh air. The AC in the tour van wasn’t working effectively and the hot air plus the lady who was coughing her head off up front was making me feel more nauseous. Finally, at the lake when I almost puked, the driver let me open the back window. I was fine thereafter but we had already stopped at the spice factory and driven well over an hour like this. The spice factory was short but informative with a 20-minute presentation and then time for shopping in the gift shop out front. The next stops were in the mountain at a lake and national park and then the Annendale Falls. The falls were spectacular and I wish I could’ve gone swimming but timing didn’t allow for it. They had cliff divers doing crazy jumps into the water for money. When the tour returned to the ship, I was still queasy. Overall, there were cheaper taxi options available doing a similar tour minus the nutmeg factory. However, no tour will be without the windy, bumpy roads so keep this in mind. We sailed for Curacao at 2PM. I went back and sunned for a bit before catching the Snow Party up on deck. At the pier welcome back show they had today, they had the snow machine out there and it appeared again on the pool deck for fake snow during this party. I live in New England, the last thing I wanted to see was snow – fake or real! Ha but it was a good afternoon party to have poolside and helped pass the time. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Butcher’s Cut (Elegant Night) As a Diamond member, you are given a choice of complimentary specialty dining. We chose this restaurant. The sommelier was quite helpful in finding mom a non-alcoholic drink she could order since the first one she had ordered; the ship didn’t have one of the ingredients. I ordered a glass of Robert Mondavi and the sommelier delivered it promptly. He was very attentive and so was the specialty restaurant manager who stopped by to say hello. I had the shrimp cocktail, the New York Steak (better quality than main dining room) and cheesecake for dessert. It was a nicely paced meal with great service offered by all. It was a nice evening to have dinner away from Panorama and well done! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Way Yet another production show brought to you by the production cast of the MSC Meraviglia. It was a high energy dance show with some opera thrown in. I sat much closer to the stage than I usually do for this show because it had filled up quite early tonight. The dancers had a soda fountain themed attire and several wardrobe changes. I liked the energy from it and would recommend it. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Cirque du Soleil’s VIAGGIO The production was off to a very slow start. It didn’t seem too engaging. When the jugglers and all the other entertainers got going together, the show ended. It took forever for it to ramp up to something exciting and when it did, it was over in the blink of an eye! Yes, there were people walking on the LED wall sideways and a bike which was being pedaled across the ceiling but this show was not like any other type of Cirque show I’ve seen before. It was my first Cirque du Soleil and frankly, I wasn’t impressed by it. My mother fell asleep because it was boring. Other guests were just as confused as we were when the show ended because it had just started to get good when it did so. Being so short, it meant it had to be high energy the whole way through and instead it seemed like the last 10 minutes were. I would skip this show. I did the drink option for $18 pre-booked online. THEME NIGHT: Gatsby Party The Gatsby Party was taking a step back to the roaring 20s with cruise staff in period costumes. Since I was in Viaggio during most of it, I didn’t hear the actual type of music played but the LED ceiling was still putting on a good show while it was happening. DAY 9: CURACAO We arrived at 1PM. I went up on the sun deck and grabbed some sun before our arrival. I started to feel a bit under the weather today. Mom had started to feel that way at the end of the previous day. By the time we docked at 1PM, I was definitely coming down with something. During the afternoon, mom and I walked over to the Maritime museum and had a look around at the exhibits. The museum was not too far from the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. We had a walking tour of historical buildings in Willemstad we did afterward on our own. The ship was offering something similar but we found this walking tour online and it actually explained buildings quite well. We walked around quite extensively before heading back to the ship. Tonight’s main dining room theme was Tropical Night. The menu featured Jamaican jerk chicken and several other Caribbean favorites. It was a good menu, but not perhaps if you’re not a fan of spicy foods. It seemed like the spices weren’t too heavily applied though to the dishes I had but I have a high tolerance for spice. I went back off the ship after dinner since we were in port until 11PM to grab a drink in town with friends. It was a nice night off the ship. Most of the crew were off the ship that worked during the day, the production casts had the night off and were out and about in town. I returned to the ship and skipped the Tropical Latin Party to go to bed. I was exhausted and wanted to try and beat whatever this sinus thing was happening. Thankfully I had bought more tissues! DAY 10: ARUBA Today, mom and I walked around town which was scorching hot as the sun was out! It looked like it was threatening rain but it never materialized. We first went to the National Aruba Archaeological Museum. It was highlighted in a tour book of the island we had bought years earlier. When we arrived, the gentleman said we were in luck as the museum had just reopened during a ceremony the night prior with a new exhibit as well. The cost of admission was FREE. The museum was quite interactive and extensive on the island’s history and archaeological finds. I enjoyed it and would recommend it! The Aruba Historical Museum was also in Oranjestad and it was a five-dollar admission fee. What the gentleman at the ticket booth failed to state was this museum was also under renovations with the exhibits squished in the middle of the floor and largely unlabeled. They were in the process of moving things around. You could climb the fort tower and get a view in both directions. Overall, I would pass on this museum until they’re done their reorganization of exhibits. The island has a few other museums on offer as well and can be found by going to Visit Aruba’s website. We didn’t go to the model train museum as it was too far out of town. However, there was an antiquities museum in town as well. There was a free trolley running very infrequently from the port taking you on a loop around town. It was free as well. This was new since the last time I was in town. The entire port area had been done over nicely. When we returned to the ship, this was the first port where workers were outside squirting you with hand sanitizer besides the girl in the buffet. The gym was largely deserted so after a late lunch, I went there to do a workout and see if I could sweat out whatever this bug was coming on. I took a brief nap before getting ready for dinner. I didn’t write down what was on the menu tonight but it couldn’t have been too memorable as I didn’t take photos of it either. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Life is Magic Now here was a proper magic show with sleight of hand tricks, the sawing in half of the beautiful lady, putting her in a box and escaping and then switching it out for the magician. The show was definitely engaging and used some of the dancers as well to move things along between his wardrobe changes or setting up for the next act. I would recommend this show if it’s still around on the ship for the 7-day itineraries. For the second time, the production of SONOR from Cirque du Soleil was cancelled due to a technical issue. This time it wasn’t due to rough seas. When I went to go and change out the tickets, they were in the midst of a dress rehearsal or something and there were a bunch of technicians standing around. Since this was the second time I had to re-schedule this show, I wasn’t happy. If they had done this rehearsal earlier in the day instead of going ashore (which they did do because I saw them out), the cast would’ve discovered the technical problem and got it fixed in time. I was starting to regret booking any of the Cirque du Soleil shows on the ship. THEME NIGHT: 60s, 70s and 80s Party The cruise staff once again dressed up in their best 70s outfits, mostly bell-bottoms and glistening tops. The party was true to the time frames in questions featuring songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s which were heard at most of the other parties. I didn’t finish the party and went to bed. DAY 11: At Sea The morning consisted of a Welcome Back party for Diamond Card members only on the deck 6 promenade with more drinks and light snacks available. The LED screen did a performance of outer space landing on Earth and then the Captain and the senior officers appeared on the bridge. They seemed to be keeping their distance from the cruise guests as a good portion of the ship was now sick with whatever upper respiratory / sinus bug was going around. In the afternoon after a buffet lunch, I went out to the sun deck and relaxed. They had a King of the Sea show on at 4PM but it seemed like they picked up random people to do it. It wasn’t overly entertaining so I went back to the room to shower and take a nap. Tonight’s dinner was a formal night and the beef tournedos were on the menu again. I ordered a double of them as the meal was good the first time around. The first one was very tender but the second one on the plate was overcooked. I’m not sure how that occurred but the salt from the covering made me thirsty the rest of the night. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Paz This is a production showcasing the Flamenco dance with the art of Picasso on the LED screens behind the dancers and rotating through the audience projections. The lead dancers did an amazing job. The footwork of both of them was so fast and graceful, it was a good show. The artwork itself was enjoyable to see and how they worked it into the show. Definitely a must catch, especially if you like the flamenco dance. MOVIES UNDER THE STARS: Cars 3 The ship had run a few shows and music video type productions on the big screen at the pool but tonight was Cars 3. I hadn’t seen it in its entirety with my nephew and was waiting on the silent disco to open so I watched it for a bit until I got to a part I saw and then got a drink and came back. It’s nice they have a movie on the big screen because during the day, the screen is largely used for what’s on at the pool deck with no movies playing. There’s just tables and chairs setup but no food on offer like Princess Cruises does with popcorn and such. The bar is open there if you want to do a walk-up drink order. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Silent Disco The Carousel Lounge once again opened up with a silent disco. Housing three channels, one EDM, one Latin and one old school, there was plenty on offer. It seemed most people were on the first channel which the DJ was actually spinning in real time. The other two were pre-recorded it seemed. You had to check in for the headset and check out for it. The problem was, the bar in the Carousel Lounge didn’t have Grey Goose so I had to exit to get a drink at the bar straight ahead in the casino. You also had to hand over the headset when you had to use the bathroom which was just outside the Carousel Lounge. It seemed a little bit silly if they scanned your cruise card for taking one of the headsets. However, the Carousel Lounge was an amazing venue and it was a fun night. The music continued after the Silent Disco ended up at the Horizon Pool and Bar. I stayed up a bit later to dance to the music before finally crashing to bed around 1:30AM. DAY 12: JAMAICA Now if you’re wondering why we hit Jamaica, it was because on November 4, 2019 after sailing from Grenada it was announced due to operational issues on Ocean Cay, the island was not ready to accept ship visits. As a result, the compensation offered was a $100 onboard credit and a 20% of cruise fare paid to be applied to a future cruise. The compensation offered was astounding for missing a private island. I wasn’t sure they were going to make it there when I saw the photos on Cruise Critic prior to sailing but if we did it would’ve been nice to be one of the first. Turns out three sailings stops were cancelled and now it seems on hold for the next sailings as well. Since we would’ve had 3 sea days instead of 2, MSC decided to have the ship call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica since there was berth space available. When we arrived in Jamaica, we pulled in and looked like we were going to dock at the James Bond pier which was not close to anything but swung a hard left and came around to the other closer pier. We didn’t book anything on this island as we’ve seen what we wanted to see. Mom just wanted to go to the shopping center outside the port area with Margaritaville and to find another box of tissues. The tissue hunt brought us way outside the port with all the harassing taxi drivers trying to sell you tours every 2 feet and then other seedy characters trying to sell you marijuana. Both were out of luck, in MA marijuana is legal. I don’t smoke it but told them it was legal back home so didn’t need it. They didn’t like that response. Ha ha! Soon, those annoying folks are not going to find someone to buy it. One interesting thing to note, while the taxi drivers were all local, a predominant part of the stores we visited in search of tissues were not owned by original islanders. We had noticed this in the last few ports but this was really in your face here. No wonder the locals are not making any money if they can’t even sell their tourist wares. It seemed more desperate than my last visit. I truly was annoyed with the locals pushing stuff at me every couple of feet. I wanted to get back to the ship asap. I really wished MSC had gone somewhere, ANYWHERE but Jamaica like Cayman or Cozumel! Tonight, was Italian Night on the ship. In the main dining room, the menu was Italian themed with meatballs as an app, chicken parmigiana and Osso Bucco on order for mains and a lemoncello-type of dessert. The waiter also brought the second cake for my mom that was ordered by the travel agent. It was a nice touch and they did a whole big thing. The cake said Best Wishes and it was handled by William, the section lead. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Meraviglioso Amor The last of the production shows was the second best for mom (Born to Rock her first) and one of my favorites as well. The production featured hits like Gloria, foreign love songs with familiar lyrics so the person knew what it was no matter what language it was. The dancers and singers came together at the end along with the cruise staff and selected staff from different areas to say goodbye to Italian opera singers singing Time to Say Goodbye. It was a fitting close to a great show and a capstone to the production shows presented throughout the voyage. After the show ended, we hurried down the promenade to the logo shop for the Logo Shop Happy Hour where if you buy 3 things you would get 20% off. I bought a Lego version of the ship for my nephew for Christmas and two magnets to give him of the Doremi character for the refrigerator and trip souvenirs. I was also entered to win a ship figurine signed by the Captain. Since it was 9PM, I stuck around for the drawing. I didn’t win it but it was a good thing I hadn’t because my luggage was already overweight! THEME PARTY: MSC Little Italy The cruise staff were dressed in the colors of Italy but sadly I was exhausted so I went to bed after quickly stopping by. To be in theme, just wear red, white or green or all three! DAY 13: Sea Day The last day on the ship meant doing things I’d said I was going to do the whole cruise and never got around to. After walking a bit in the morning after eating breakfast, mom and I stopped by the Bamboo Pool for a smoothie. The Bamboo Pool had a bunch of delicious smoothies and the MSC for Me app tipped me off to them when they offered a special earlier in the cruise. I did stop by and look at the beverage menu and said I would return. I never did until today. I had the Strawberry concoction with yogurt and it was very nice. Mom sampled a different one without the yogurt in it and hers was a purple color so I’m not sure what was in it. The drinks cost $6.50 each but were pretty decent for the price paid. I spent the rest of the morning catching some sun and returned for lunch to the Marketplace to meet up with mom. After lunch we decided to head to the Photo Shop to pick up the complimentary Mediterranean night photo and find the others. I found the Halloween photos and decided to buy one of them. The embarkation photo didn’t look good so we chucked that. Vanessa who did the photo shoot with the Halloween photos rang us up. I asked her why they had printed all these photos when you can tap the cruise card in the kiosks and print them around the corner. It is so wasteful and you have to jack up the price of the photos to cover all the paper and chemical waste. MSC should have a selection pre-cruise where you choose if you want any photos printed or if you want them done digitally and you can request the print be made if you like it. This would be more environmentally friendly and perhaps the cost savings could mean they’d purchase tissues for the staterooms again! Win win, right?! After finishing up with the photos, I met up with some cruise friends at the Polar Aquapark in the aft part of Deck 19. I had not been up there the whole cruise but wanted to try the water slides. The water slides were a ton of fun. Two of them require an inflatable tube to ride, the other one which shoots you into a bowl doesn’t require a tube. The bowl slide was not as fun as you don’t shoot around it as much and then stop and have to climb out and go down the stairs. There are other water features largely geared towards kids but tons of adults were in the water park having fun too! After the water park, I needed some sun to dry off as I had to finish packing stuff including the bathing suit. The girls who I met were in the Aurea area up front on Deck 19. I wondered what this area was like as it faces the pool deck. It wasn’t relaxing because the music from the pool deck is blasting right at you. It was also a bit windy up there since it was so high up. I went back down to Deck 18 forward behind the screen and a nap. At the last dinner we had an amazing time chatting with our table mates and wishing each other well in our future travels. We also missed the Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show. I wasn’t too saddened by missing it and instead enjoyed the company of our fellow table mates a bit longer. We returned to the room to do the last of the packing and get the bags out of the room. They had to be out by 1AM but ours was out by 9:30PM. We went to bed early because we had to meet in the Carousel Lounge at 7:30AM. All Diamond US citizens had to meet at that time and were assigned Lilac 1 luggage tags. DAY 14 – MIAMI, FL, USA I was up at 5:15AM to get ready and the Marketplace Buffet was open at 6AM. When we got upstairs, the Norwegian Breakaway was still in the Miami turning basin. Goodness, what an early start this was! We were in the channel in the early hours of the morning and tied up. The siren they have on the inside of the ship by the bulkhead doors that opens out is so darn loud and ricochets off the buildings it was impossible to sleep with our starboard side facing the pier. This made a long day even longer. We reported to the Carousel Lounge as directed by the information left in our stateroom. You had to vacate your stateroom by 8AM anyway. We noticed none of the luggage tags had been called. This continued for over an hour as we noticed more and more cruisers disappearing from the Carousel Lounge with Lilac tags. We had a noon flight and needed to get off the ship. When 8:30AM came and they said disembarkation had been stopped, I made my move and asked where the actual gang ways were because we needed to get out. The lady told me where they were but disembark had stopped. When it resumed, we were in position and got off. Most of the lilac people had done so as well. There was huge gaps in luggage in the terminal for a luggage color that wasn’t called yet! No wonder the whole disembarkation process was messed up. The line for the non-US citizens inside the terminal was lengthy. All of them needed to be fingerprinted. For US citizens, all they did was snap a photo of the passport with a handheld device and send us on our way. The US citizen line moved faster and those were supposed to be the ones getting off the ship first anyway if people read the instructions! We made it to the airport by 10AM and checked in for our flight home. THOUGHTS ON SHIP DESIGN: The Meraviglia is a ship dubbed for all seasons. Her overall design supports her being a ship for cold weather cruising only. Her top deck is woefully inadequate for the passenger load she has and this will become a problem when the ship commences its Caribbean season. One side of the ship is always shaded from the smokestack back and deck chairs are crammed in every nook and cranny along the walking/jogging track. If you’re looking for a proper sun deck, stick with the MSC Seaside sailing year-round Miami. The ship’s interiors have some really beautiful spaces including the crystal staircases in the atrium. There’s a lot of wasted space on Deck 6 and 7 midship where the entry to the dining rooms and casino / Carousel Lounge are respectively. The gym is a postage stamp and is in dire need of better equipment and expansion. The promenade is great but with all sorts of sales going on and photography setups, it makes passing this area a pinch point every night on the way to the shows. The bathrooms on this ship were always distant from where you were, especially for the nightclub. If you wanted a bathroom that was large enough from the Attic Club, you had to walk down past the kid’s club to the ones by the elevators. The Horizon Pool had a one stall bathroom on Deck 16 but this wasn’t enough to support a mildly packed nightclub. You’d always have to walk a distance to use the bathroom. This didn’t make sense if the goal was alcohol sales! Likewise, for the sun deck, if you are on Deck 18 forward by the solarium roof, you have to come down one deck and go inside across the Bamboo Pool below where you were sunning and into the bathroom there. There didn’t seem like any convenient bathrooms to the Atmosphere pool deck either. You had to go into the Marketplace buffet to go bathroom. I never found it more cumbersome to need a bathroom on any cruise ship than this one! I found this truly odd. The Carousel Lounge is a far superior venue and fully equipped with a lot of audio-visual equipment. I’m surprised only a very small portion of what the equipment was in the lounge was used for Cirque du Soleil. It was evident either the shows were changed in some way to shorten them or to make it easier for the cast. There were projections and a large circular screen which were never deployed during either Viaggio or SONOR. I tend to notice production aspects more and love a good visual show. Sonor used some visuals on the LED wall but not nearly as much as the room was capable of handling. Lastly, the ship’s walking and running tracks are so crammed during warm weather days with sun bathers and people trying to run and walk and just figure out what they’re doing, it would make sense to have walkers use the Deck 7 semi-loop and leave the runners topside. My mom got clipped a few times by runners while staying in her lane. The runners didn’t seem to care or apologize for it either. This ship is not the best for fitness if you’re looking for that. STAFF SHOUT OUT: I always like to recognize staff who went above and beyond to make my holiday memorable. Ahmadi, my stateroom steward for accommodating most special requests (sans tissues) and always greeting me in the hallway no matter the time of day or night when he was working. He got used to our schedule and cleaned our room when we had our dinner. Our dining team of Lino, the main waiter and Frederick, the assistant waiter, were amazing and kept us hydrated and offered us more food if we wanted it. If we wanted more, there was rarely a wait. William who oversaw this team of amazing professionals was also quite attentive and handled a special request to find decaf tea for mom. When coming to the USA, the Meraviglia had to get rid of this nice tea display case which didn’t comply with USCG Vessel Sanitation program inspection criteria. As a result, it was a hunt for various versions of tea. He saw to it mom had her supply! He also oversaw the birthday cake situation and figured out a workable solution! Ryan De Leon in the Sky Lounge and in the nightclub was also amazing. He knew my name and my drink order by heart! Lastly, the Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant cook Dominique for a good show and the team who would greet me whenever they saw me in the Marketplace Buffet when they were up there selling the restaurant. Even the guest services staff on this ship were so kind and helpful (unlike Seaside’s guest service staff). I had a repeated issue with the ink on my stateroom keycard rubbing off in the intense heat topside and they replaced it without issue and with a smile. They have the toughest job on the ship constantly getting yelled at! SUMMARY: The Meraviglia is a nicely decorated ship. The LED panel is a great way to entertain. The night time cruise staff went out of their way to make the ship enjoyable and make sure everyone was dancing. The crew on the ship were the happiest and most efficient if I had to compare it to the Seaside last October. The crew made the trip. The chef could lay off the salt and I’m not a foodie but if I’m saying it was salty, the food was not as good as the Seaside’s preparation was. I didn’t encounter a rude staff member anywhere on the ship and only had slow service once, in the main dining room during lunch. I know the crew had a chance to get off the ship finally in each of the ports we visited. I think that plus a crew party helped to lift spirits among them. Would I recommend the Meraviglia? For top notch service, yes, I would! Would I sail on the Meraviglia again? I’m not so sure I would. If it were the Caribbean and the Seaside were on offer, I would probably sail Seaside instead. If it is a cold weather cruise, then I would consider Meraviglia again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This cruise was a disaster from start to finish! I can't believe we paid so much and got so little in return. - Embarcation was a HUGE fail. There were no signs or people providing information regarding luggage at drop off. There were ... Read More
This cruise was a disaster from start to finish! I can't believe we paid so much and got so little in return. - Embarcation was a HUGE fail. There were no signs or people providing information regarding luggage at drop off. There were 2 stations to hand off luggage. We waited in one of the lines only to be told we were at the wrong place (EVEN) we needed to go to the other one (ODD). How were we supposed to know? The guys handling the luggage were extremely rude, but probably employed by the port not MSC. - Inside was chaos. I wish I had taken a picture. Thousands of passengers trying to make their way with no signs and very few staff directing traffic. Where is the priority line? Good question. My guess is there wasn't one. It took us 2 hours to onboard, but we were "lucky" because it took some passengers over 4 hours. There was only one gangway open! REALLY? I have been on smaller ships, and we regularly had 2 gangways. We heard a lot of possible explanations/excuses, but I have no idea if any were true. Once on the gangway we were shocked to see only one MSC crew member scanning cards. There were two stations, but they were only utilizing one. Ridiculous! - Safety on board was not a priority. The Muster Drill, which is mandatory and emphasized on other ships, was a Cluster. - Despite making our dining reservations immediately upon boarding, we were dismayed to find out that they had all been cancelled the next day. We had issues re-booking and getting the dates/times we had originally selected. - The food was sub-par with the exception of Butcher's Cut. Unfortunately, we didn't have that until our last night. We had the Tryptic dining package, and were surprised by the limited options afforded to us. On our other non-MSC cruises we have had our choice of anything on the menu, with only a few items upcharged (i.e. lobster). Not so on MSC...I was charged $3.84 for a side of mashed potatoes in Ocean Key despite the fact I did not want any of the options offered. So my dinner was going to be mashed potatoes, and they arrived cold. I couldn't believe they still charged me. - The SPA had a number of issues. Poor design in the ladies locker room had the door opening to the lobby, which could cause some unwanted exposure. The lockers are stacked 3 high, and if you are assigned the top one you would need to be 6' tall or stand on the bench (another safety issue). There was water on the floor, but no mats to help prevent slip and falls. There were only 3 thermal chairs, and only 2 were working. Other facilities were not operational as well, yet crew were still trying to sell Spa Packages throughout the cruise. There is apparently no limit to how many they sell, despite the obvious overcrowding. -The captain skipped one port and shortened the stay at Quebec City. This was to be the highlight of the trip, and we looked forward to seeing the fall foliage along the St. Lawrence. Instead, we left at 1am, and missed it. We were told it was because the impending bad weather, but I can't help but think they were trying to avoid refunding another day's port fees. We had been running behind since we left New York. The embarcation issues delayed our departure by hours. It's hard to believe that a ship this large could not make up time. I know weather issues later in the trip are not under MSC's control, but I don't think we were getting the full story. -The phones would not allow anyone to leave messages. Such BASIC functionality, like so many other things on the ship...FAIL! -The TV didn't work the majority of the cruise. Their Highly Sophisticated Satellite System was another bust. We spent over $400 on internet...which was not great...but our only option. - The lines at the Customer Service desk were always long...filled with disgruntled passengers. Sadly, we spent a lot of time there. -The cabin design was odd.I suppose it was intended to be "sleek". However, the safe was located on one shelf in the closet. This limited the drawers to two. The depth of the closet was too shallow, meaning the clothes had to be turned at an angle in order to close the door. There were no other shelves or cubbies around the desk which would have been most helpful for storage. We ended up leaving our suitcases open on the sofa. - There were 2 positives for me on this cruise...our cabin steward was great and they had Dr. Pepper on board. I love DP! Only one bar (in the buffet) would keep them in the fridge, so I didn't get a cold can like I prefer...but still loved having it. -There were 100 people in our group, and our travel agent was with us. He worked non-stop to try and resolve the issues...meeting with ship department heads everyday. I can't imagine how much worse it would have been without him. SUMMARY - this was our worst cruise ever! If I could rate it lower, I would. We are Diamond Plus on RCL, Platinum on NCL, and have cruised on other lines as well...including one other MSC. I can't imagine EVER taking a chance on MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise from vacations to go for a last minute trip. The price was really great and the destination was northeast and Canada. Embarking was super but the room was disappointing. Not for location, but for cleanliness. The rug ... Read More
We chose this cruise from vacations to go for a last minute trip. The price was really great and the destination was northeast and Canada. Embarking was super but the room was disappointing. Not for location, but for cleanliness. The rug in the room was old, stained and dirty. We did not bring slippers because we called princess earlier and the rep said all we had to do was ask. Well that proved to be futile, I emailed Princess during the trip to complain and we finally got them day 3. Meanwhile, I had lined the floor with pool towels. Day 4 we asked for our room cleaned. The steward (who we pre tipped in cash although we did opt to pay gratuities) made up our bed in the same sheets, they were wrinkled with hair in them. The bathroom had hair, the sink wasn't cleaned and the rug had not been vacuumed. I know because we removed the pool towels prior and some cookie crumbs were on the rug. They were still there. The soap on the sink was mashed into the pre formed counter top. There were tea ring stains on the desk. etc. The ship ran out of smoked salmon day 5. Even though they were in nova scotia! The hash browns are GREASY!! There was no lactose free food in the buffet, everything except cold cuts had milk, cream, cheese and butter. No dairy free desserts except jello. Later on, while we were in the disco, an employee entered our room without permission with our privacy notice on the door to bring us chocolate strawberries that neither of us could eat. All of our personal items were out in the room, our handbags, our jewelry, my computer was up and running, they entered and violated our privacy. Princess has changed from our 2 previous cruises with them. Floor supervisor was nasty. When customer service called to ask why we were not happy. She said she was sorry we did not appreciate the gift of strawberries. They still don't get that it wasn't the strawberries we were mad at, it was the violation of privacy, oh and yes, the dirty room. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I choose a transatlantic cruise onboard the magnificent QM2 which departed New York in mid June. I was looking for a complete break after a particularly hectic period and couldn’t have imagined how thoroughly revitalising the experience ... Read More
I choose a transatlantic cruise onboard the magnificent QM2 which departed New York in mid June. I was looking for a complete break after a particularly hectic period and couldn’t have imagined how thoroughly revitalising the experience would end up being. I travelled solo and was amazed at the sheer quantity and variety of things to do - along with the choice to do as much or as little as you like. A typical day for me consisted of breakfast in bed, a walk and sometimes a long sit on the Upper deck, a light buffet lunch, one of the activities in the afternoon (often a short insight tour) or a visit to the library, a workout or pool visit and then the nightly LGBT happy hour each evening at 17:00 in the Commodore Club. I’d then have a late sitting dinner in the Britannia restaurant, where the food was good restaurant quality, on an excellent table of 8 great fellow voyagers, followed by a drink or maybe a spot of roulette in the casino - and repeat! Guests were super friendly and very sociable everywhere onboard and this was really noticeable from day 2, when people started to relax and get into the swing of the voyage. The LGBT happy hour was an absolute blast and a great way to meet like minded people - I met some fantastic people there and also stayed in touch with some of my table colleagues. Service everywhere was genuinely exceptional and the ship is meticulously run - in terms of organisation. As for the ship - she is magnificent in so many ways and I’m so grateful that Cunard had the vision to build a genuine ocean liner to replace the QE2. Gazing out into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean From the promenade decks is a humbling and wonderful way to spend some reflective tine! I left Southampton totally revitalised with some amazing memories - so much so that I’m doing another crossing, this time from Southampton to New York, just before Christmas and for less than the price of a premium economy airfare. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Joining my niece and her two girls for Spring break motivated us to book this cruise along with its convenience as we live in Manhattan. Overall I'd rate this experience under the "meh" category. I'm not a fan ... Read More
Joining my niece and her two girls for Spring break motivated us to book this cruise along with its convenience as we live in Manhattan. Overall I'd rate this experience under the "meh" category. I'm not a fan of these megaships and this confirmed my feeling. Way too many people, service not at Celebrity or Cunard standard for suite guests and, in some food venues, literally ineatable food. Haven concierges are helpful and it's good for embarkation and disembarkation. When I say ineatable I mean ineatable. Steak in Manhattan Room tasted like detergent. The Haven menu sounded good and rarely delivered in quality. Food all felt overly processed and not at what you pay for at Haven rates. Service in the Haven restaurant, though a pleasant room inside and outside dining, didn't live up to what it should be. (Eg waiting 10 minutes in the morning for coffee and coffee cups, I'm not kidding) Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The cruise ship was very smoky. The food was ok. The ship layout caused lots of traffic issues and had no where to relax quietly. And the service... While I don’t regret this cruise, I don’t think I’ll ever go on a Norwegian ... Read More
The cruise ship was very smoky. The food was ok. The ship layout caused lots of traffic issues and had no where to relax quietly. And the service... While I don’t regret this cruise, I don’t think I’ll ever go on a Norwegian Cruise again. The service was awful including changes in our stateroom attendant, catching a bartender in a lie (cause he didn’t want to make the drink I asked for), interrupting several meals by management to question me why I didn’t like my service (not after the meal, while I had an entree on my fork), and then when I did complain i was handed a paper to write my greivances and then ignored. I didn’t feel heard at all. But... the hardest pill to swallow, I felt that several crew members went out of their way to ignore that fact that we are a gay couple. From pulling out chairs across from eachother (all the other couples around us were diagonal), asking questions when I asked to put the beds together, and ignoring our anniversary. The entertainment was as expected. Not fantastic but entertaining certainly. The howl at the moon dueling pianos was by far my favorite entertainment. Water slides and ropes course was fun but not open much. We only dined at the complementary restaurants which were good but rarely remarkable and the food was never served hot. Bread was stale the whole week. The private island far exceeded my expectations (though the food was terrible). Super clean and plenty of chairs for us early birds. The rendering process was incredibly frustrating especially as we had to sit in the theatre for over and hour and then several people were allowed to jump the line without the wait. Makes no sense. Nassau was disappointing. We went on the seahorse catamaran and snorkel which was fun. Very cheap snorkels that didn’t work but after we decided to just ditch the equipment we did enjoy our swim in the clear blue water. The town part was super shady. I was offered drugs twice in the first ten minutes on the island, had two separate instances of attempted cons, was totally ripped off by the lunch spot, and the shops were full of scammers and over aggressive salespeople. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My 60th BDay cruise and I had a blast. This was a last minute decision and I'm so so glad I did. The price was right, I live in New York so its convenient. The Entertainment was great. They also have Celebrities on the ship. I went ... Read More
My 60th BDay cruise and I had a blast. This was a last minute decision and I'm so so glad I did. The price was right, I live in New York so its convenient. The Entertainment was great. They also have Celebrities on the ship. I went to a show to see the fabulous Sharon Wilkins. Matter of fact it was Dinner and a show, A 5 course dinner and a show for a very small fee. I absolutely loved it had a great time watching her singing and mingle in the audience it was up close and personal. I visited all the Specialty restaurants on the ship and enjoyed each and every one. My cabin steward Charlie was great he catered to my every want and need . What I want people to know is fill out those comment cards let the higher ups know you appreciate when all goes right on your vacation. I Did. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have been using NCL for almost a decade, even had our wedding on Breakaway in 2015, but Escape is same class ship tuned down on interior design. Ship is simple design with no personally, practical floating hotel. We stayed in balcony ... Read More
We have been using NCL for almost a decade, even had our wedding on Breakaway in 2015, but Escape is same class ship tuned down on interior design. Ship is simple design with no personally, practical floating hotel. We stayed in balcony room with a baby and toddler and it was OK, steward was OK, always busy and barely have time to anyone to talk. Management of the ship was an amazing crew, and anyone under was complete mess. Waiters in restaurants don't know what they doing and would screw up any simple order. Food in restaurants was OK, but buffet food is awful, minimum choices, a lot of cheap meat, no seafood or even NCL signature Norwegian lox. Specialties restaurant's food was amazing, and pricey and will make your wallet cry! In 14 days cruise we had only 2 free show After Midnight, Brat Pack, second one did not made any sense. Choir of Man show, is paid show with prefix dinner setting, was OK. We had one stop cancel due to 2 heliocopter lifts from the ship first two days with no explanation, and remaining stops were simple beach destinations. We end up spending more time on the ship due to cancelled stop, and there is nothing to do there. Kids sevice is ok for 3+ and for baby you have to pay $20 for 1 hour 50 min selected slot time. Overall experience of this cruise, is that NCL is cutting their cost by taking quality out of scope in any possible way they can. NCL becoming low class, no frills cruise line. Based off our last 14 day cruise, we are not coming back with NCL to cruise and will be looking for more classy company to cruise with. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The cruise is great, should be perfect if we spend 2 days at Nassau instead one! The Great Stirrup Cay Island is gorgeous, we love it... BUT the swimming with the pigs tour was ridiculous! You pay $109 per person to feed the pigs, they are ... Read More
The cruise is great, should be perfect if we spend 2 days at Nassau instead one! The Great Stirrup Cay Island is gorgeous, we love it... BUT the swimming with the pigs tour was ridiculous! You pay $109 per person to feed the pigs, they are NOT at the beach at all! They made a gate and space for them but it’s very commercial, they are not free... You don’t swim with them at all, this is fake add! You see them, you feed them, pad them and that’s it! Very expensive for what they offer! Beside that we like it everything else! Just wish to spend more time in Bahamas... for me FL stop wasn’t worth at all... We are there for Bahamas, and Florida was just a waste of time! ;/ It’s a great Cruise, they just have to improve somethings... How about a partnership with Atlantis as well? Could be great.... Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We choose the QM2 because we wanted to experience a Cunard cruise as well as the QM2 itself, being such a well-known ship, with so much history and sense of luxury. That it had from the start to the last day. While not avid cruisers, we ... Read More
We choose the QM2 because we wanted to experience a Cunard cruise as well as the QM2 itself, being such a well-known ship, with so much history and sense of luxury. That it had from the start to the last day. While not avid cruisers, we would consider this ship for another adventure. We started with the option of arrival the day before staying in NYC at the Knickerbocker Hotel on Times Square, which was the perfect kick-off to this week-long trip, giving us a great spot to work from, to see a show, tour a museum, and enjoy a great meal in New York City. The Knickerbocker is well appointed, modern, and quite elegant, as well as well located at the base of Times Square, but not in the middle of all the tourists. Three of us were traveling together, and two black limos picked us up from the hotel to go to the Red Hook cruise terminal in Brooklyn. (They could have just done one, but that is OK.) While we did pay for this upgrade it was well worth it, and I encourage it. It takes the craziness out of terminal arrival, and being escorted like a VIP is very, very nice. Check in at the Red Hook Cruise Terminal went smoothly, the building was bright, clean, and fresh. Perfectly set up for a large group departure. (it appeared that the different cruise lines use this space, just change equipment for other lines. The facility was much nicer than I expected, and what we experienced out of Boston's Falcon Terminal.) One of our travelers has a disability, and while not in a wheelchair, we were offered access to the handicapped line providing extra help. Again because we had an upgrade, thanks to our travel agent, we moved quickly through and into the VIP lounge and up the elevator and onto the ship. Boarding the ship was easy, maybe it was because you boarded into their big center lobby, there were no crowds on the elevators, and we quickly found our rooms, (two rooms at opposite ends and sides of the ship.) The lack of crowds may have been because of this was a stop on an extended cruise, and the whole ship was not changing over with guests, only those getting on for this leg of the cruise. We had two similar staterooms on deck ten (we had the upgraded Princess Grill level) both were spacious clean, modern, with large bathrooms, plenty of closet space and private balconies. Baggage arrived quickly and without any hassle, while we took a quick tour of the ship before unpacking. Our travel agent had sent us some nibbles, and the captain had a bottle of champagne chilling in our room for us (I believe a part of our upgrade package.) After the Muster Drill where we found our lifeboat station and heard about how to put on the life jackets, (plus got a fun one-on-one people watching, and listening experience with some of our fellow cruisers.) Afterward, we toured the ship and found the Queen and Princess Grill restaurants, both are located at the back of the ship with a nice view. (Upgrade dining as part of a package in a tad fancier space is the Queens and Princess Grill. The Queens looked a little stuffy, making our choice of the Princess was perfect for us.) At 5 pm we stopped in at the Commadors Club at the bow of the ship, for an afternoon drink (which is also where the LGBTQ travelers meet for Happy Hour each day. Thus we made this a daily event.) Note: We had the drink package (drinks under $12 are covered in that package, we found that you had to order only one (shot) at a time if you did 2, it went over the maximum cost, and you would get charged. We took to one of the cabins for the cruise out and enjoyed glasses of the champagne and cheered our upcoming week together on the QM2. Cruise out went smoothly gliding by the Statue of Liberty and out along Long Island as sunset began to take hold. Always fun to watch for the Pilot Boat and to say goodbye to the Harbor pilot when they leave the ship, giving her back to the Captain. We took our time to head to the dining room, where we had a table for six. and got to meet the two other cruisers who would be our meal partners. While they were finishing up their meal, it gave us a chance to introduce ourselves to them, and see if indeed we would want to eat with them for every meal. While we could have chosen a private table, we always enjoy meeting new people for meals. QM2 dining options are many, from cafeteria style to private dining. We could have eaten in other spaces, one public space becomes an upscale $12 extra meal upcharge space, as we had already had the Princess Grill Dining room, we went there for, breakfast lunch and dinner. Though some mornings taking advantage of room service for breakfast. Internet service is expensive onboard any ship, and we used this time to force ourselves off our screens, and as we got further out into the water our cell phones went silent, so we just used them as cameras. While we did log on to the free wi-fi when in port, and access to our mobile carriers when we could. We put the phones and tablets into airplane mode most of the time, so as not to incur any extra unwanted charges. The first full day on the water was foggy with the quaint sound of the ship's fog horn. During that first day, one of the passengers became ill and had to be airlifted off of the ship, at which time all passengers were not allowed on the outside decks. While this took us a bit off our course, it did not delay us. Though we all thought, how sad that one would get sick and have to leave such a wonderful time aboard the QM2. And it made us think how much has the US Coast Guard with a boat, helicopter, and seaplane cost, and if insurance covers that. We took the opportunity to attend a lecture and several presentations in the QM2's onboard planetarium/auditorium. While the lecturer was not very good, the planetarium experience was enjoyable. The shows on the onboard television are limited, and not very wide-ranging in the way of news or other shows. Experience them to find out for yourself, if they fit what you want to watch. Our first port of call was St. Johns New Brunswick Canada. Cruise in was early in the morning, it was foggy so there was little to see until it burned off mid-day. We took the opportunity to get off the ship, just visiting the dockside tourist market and logging on to the free wi-fi. As we had already made up our minds that this trip was more about experiencing the QM2 and not the ports, we reboarded the ship. That afternoon we went through American customs on board the ship, as US Citizens the line was short, but as the QM2 had plenty of travelers from other countries, they had a long line. That evening we sailed away, again celebrating with glasses of champagne from the Captian on our balcony as we left port, and enjoying our delightful staterooms. Sail into Boston for the Fourth of July, was at 5:30 am. Getting up to watch as we came in enjoying the islands and the boats as we passed by was enjoyable. (Also cell service returned, so I could get off some social media posts.) Last summer we had sailed out of Boston's Falcon Port, it is dark, dingy and warehouse-like, not as well appointed as the Red Hook facility. Taking a Lyft to meet friends for lunch when we returned to the ship to spend the afternoon at the Canyon Ranch Spa for pedicures and manicures (easy to get an appointment on port days.) To celebrate the 4th of July we spent time in both cabins, as we were on opposite sides of the ship, both of them got the benefit of different views of local community fireworks. While not the big Boston Harbor display, you got to see fireworks lighting up the horizon all around the ship. The ship set sail in the very early morning hours of July 5th, spending the day at sea. Which meant the shops and casino on board were open. Cunard offered a 15% discount for shopping that day, and we took advantage of that in the bookstore (which is not in the shopping area, but beside the large library.) And of course picked up a few items in the shops, making use of our shipboard credits. Note: as a Carnival shareholder of at least 100 shares you get additional shipboard credits, depending on the length of your cruise. Make sure you submit a clear statement showing your holdings (I made sure information of any other holdings, balances were not visible before sending,) at least a ten-day prior to boarding the ship. That night we put out our bags for collection and delivery back to us at the port the next morning upon arrival in NYC. Keeping a small bag with necessary items and clothes to wear with us in the cabin, that we would then carry with us in the morning. Sail into NYC was early on Friday morning we were awoken by the lights of the Verazono Narrows Bridge. Quite a sight! Again seeing Lady Liberty and the skyscrapers of Manhattan is a wonderful way to start any day. Arrival on the last day of the cruise meant breakfast and room service was discouraged, so having a few things to nibble on, and coffee to make in the room was something we should have thought of. The cabin steward did not refresh our coffee for the arrival morning, so while the trip was quite wonderful, those last few hours on the ship, felt as if they were rushing you off, which in essence they are. Again disembarking from the ship was somewhat civilized, though with large amounts of travelers leaving the ship about the same time, means crowds. Getting into the terminal was fine, and finding our luggage (which was not with others from our deck) took some time. Walking out to catch car service (we did not have a limo this time) was somewhat involved, but not terrible. We took a lyft to NY's Penn Station and returned home on Amtrak. Tips: Use an experienced Travel Agent who has a relationship and an understanding of the cruise industry to get your best perks and deals. If traveling on any one of Carnival's many brands of ships, have 100 shares of stock for extra onboard credits. If you want to experience the ship, do so when you are in port and everyone is off on excursions. Take the opportunity to upgrade, it is well worth the cost. Be it a day before arrival, car service to and from the ship (This is a BIG YES) or for a better cabin and meal experience. It is more expensive, but the benefits are worth it in the long run. Meet new people, while you will probably never see, or speak to them again, it is always interesting to talk to different people and understand where they come from. And YES sometimes you have to zip your lip if they do not have similar beliefs that you do. You can always smile and move on, or ask to be seated at a different table. Or talk about them as a part of your adventure. Bring a small foldable carry-on bag in your luggage for that last day, when you have to put all of your luggage out, This way you will have what you need with you, and you can always repack it once off the ship, or more likely just use the space to carry the things you purchased. Have Fun, we are only in this life once. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Taste - main dining area day 2: My scrambled eggs and cheese were cold and they forgot my toast. Oddly they brought a gravy boat of shredded cheese rather than cooking it in my scrambled eggs. Manager, Moises, sent some wine and sweet ... Read More
Taste - main dining area day 2: My scrambled eggs and cheese were cold and they forgot my toast. Oddly they brought a gravy boat of shredded cheese rather than cooking it in my scrambled eggs. Manager, Moises, sent some wine and sweet treats to our room to apologize. Very classy and we appreciated it. Spa Zero spa shoes Zero lockers Zero access to thermal spa during appt Coed relaxation rooms There was some sort of detox seminar/tours to sell a service which is fine except that they hold it in the the relaxation room which isnt very relaxing for those of us trying to relax. Services were nice but overpriced for lack of additional amenities (like Thermal Spa usage with appt) Lots of upselling after appt with prices excessive for products. Amazon is much better for products over ship pricing. Sky bar has most of the late night activities but it's in n the middle of the casino so the smoke made me leave immediately. Most of the staff seemed very confused when asking where something was on the ship. So much so that after asking 3 people for directions where the sky lounge was, we never located it and missed the singles meet and greet. Not enough chairs on the ship so you have to wake up at the crack of dawn to claim your chairs. Vibe only allows for 100 people and though it has nice chairs, it only has a hot tub and no pool. All in all I'd rank the trip 4/5. Btw, our steward was Harvey and he was amazing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My only prior cruise was in Europe on a ship that held 350 passengers so I was curious to see what a cruise on a large American ship would be like. Also, I got a very good deal via a vacation web site for this particular cruise. ... Read More
My only prior cruise was in Europe on a ship that held 350 passengers so I was curious to see what a cruise on a large American ship would be like. Also, I got a very good deal via a vacation web site for this particular cruise. Embarkation was probably the worst part of the experience. A one hour line in a cavernous space. The ship was clean and in good repair and although my cabin was dated it was also clean and in good repair. The esthetics of the ship vary widely. Some rooms (e.g. the main lobby) are straight out of a 80s fever dream of Living La Vida Loca in Las Vegas. The pool area appears to have been designed by the folks who brought you Pee Wee Herman's Playhouse. Other spaces - like the gym and most of the restaurants are decorated in a more up to date and conventional manner. The drink packages I was offered were ludicrously expensive. The full daily package would have been about 100.00 per day including gratuity and the wine and beer package about 80.00 (it was not hard to spot the people who had paid for the packages - as they rarely were without a drink in their hands). I decided to limit myself to two glasses of wine a day that came to about 25. As I spoke to other passengers I quickly discovered that the prices people paid for their cabin and drink packages and shore tours varied wildly. Factors like when you bought, if you negotiated, prior trips, the phases of the moon, your astrological sign and the price of tulips in Amsterdam all seemed to factor into the final price. My main message to a new cruiser is make sure you get a clear picture of the full cost before you go by asking lots of questions, talking to someone who has been on a few cruises and feeling free to negotiate. The ship provides you with many opportunities to spend money - the most egregious is the horrendous, crappy "art" that they sell to the uninformed and gullible at shocking prices. To be fair, I never felt pressured to spend - just offered many opportunities. Also, for those dedicated to throwing money away - there is a casino. There is a nonstop series of events throughout the day but most are either a way to encourage you to buy - "lectures" about art - available in the gallery or seem geared to a senior citizen's center - bingo! My cruise was in early December so we had few kids. The great majority of the folks on my cruise seem to be elderly or working folks with an emphasis on careers such as cop and electrician. The lobby, pool area and the main buffet restaurant are very busy and buzzy. The only public spaces where I could gather my thoughts were the library, top side front sun deck area and the outside rear deck restaurant area. Due to Hurricane Maria damage on other islands, we stopped at ports that were surprisingly poor and in poor repair (e.g. Martinique). Many folks seemed indifferent to the ports and really on the cruise to be on the ship. The tours offered by the boat for the ports were again shockingly expensive (about 75 per person). With some preplanning several of the ports provide relatively easy access to a nice beach by cab. The amount of time at each port was quite limited - much less time than suggested by the itinerary that you get when you sign up. Again, the focus seems to be about being on the ship. The meals were OK to good. Try to avoid the main buffet restaurant when you can and go to the smaller "complimentary" restaurants that serve noticeably better food and have a calmer atmosphere. My one try of a non-complimentary restaurant seemed no better or worse - and of course more expensive. Overall, my message is that this is a very easy way to have a vacation. The experience is not travel in any sense that I have every understood the term. Your opportunity to experience different places, people, food or culture is essentially zero. Rather, the experience is of being in a very large hotel with shifting scenery. If you are elderly, have mobility problems, have kids or just want to hang out and have a few drinks, this is an easy and enjoyable vacation option. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I'm sure that there are many cruise lines that are willing to offer more at a little higher rate. For a first timer this was an opportunity to get my "feet wet". The value was good for the services received. The breakaway ... Read More
I'm sure that there are many cruise lines that are willing to offer more at a little higher rate. For a first timer this was an opportunity to get my "feet wet". The value was good for the services received. The breakaway was clean. The cabin was clean and all surrounding public area such a bathrooms, stairs, hallways etc. The vocal entertainment was spot on. The bar tendering staff on decks 15, 16 & 17 where the best. The dining staff that i dealt with where also pleasant. Shore excursions i personally give 2thumbs down or 2 stars. #1. I wasn't sure if it was choppy waters or a poison sea snake in the beach water to norwegian's private islands. (Funds where refunded) #2.coco beach not quit a day at the beach. Too windy and dirty. #3.bahamas the weather was warm but only 1 day at dock. Even though ship docked the night b4. Food was decent and pretty much the same in most compliment dining rooms and buffet, unless you go asian or specialty dining. These spots served quality food and service. I'm a person who can find enjoyment in the worst possible case. I did just that. What others found unpleasant i made pleasant. Even a few racist. I met amazing and interesting people. I would advise all first timers and vets cruiser to never gave up the credit cards to load your ship payment card. I received $150 on board spending and added cash as needed. Carry only 1 card and use it for emergencies only. And cash out your card the final night and get back or clear up your account in cash. Who want to wait for a surprise bill in the mail.? Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The ship, crew and food were first rate. Million Dollar Quartet was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. Definitely will see again. The comedians were awful. Attended the 18+ show and expected to be in tears laughing ... Read More
The ship, crew and food were first rate. Million Dollar Quartet was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. Definitely will see again. The comedians were awful. Attended the 18+ show and expected to be in tears laughing so hard from the wealth of material available. Barely broke a smile.. Very unfortunate, Shore excursions overpriced and not very good value. Harvest Key, Norwegian's own island was a waste of time. You can get a tan on the boat just as easy and use your drink package as well. Every stop you would see the same watches, cheap jewelry, bamboo sheets for sale. Annoying the third and fourth port of call as you have to walk right thru the stores every time you get on and off the ship. What upset me the most was the amount of money the casino was taking from the passengers. I do understand that the boat is a business that is supposed to make money. However there is a limit between making money and gouging your customers. Eg 1. Blackjack tournament with a $500 prize. The boat took over $1800 in entries. $1300 profit is really greedy. Eg 2. Texas Hold-em Tournament. Over $2800 in entries, 3 prizes totaling just over $2100 were given out. $700 profit for a 3 hour tourney. Eg 3. The hold-em poker table took a 10% rake of every hand. That amounted to $250-400/hour depending on the size of the hands. The boat was the only winner. As I said the boat is a business to make money, but greed and gouging of your passengers is not the way to do business. I hope they change their ways. Finally, paying for water. $6.75 for a 2 litre bottle. 1/2 gallon in the US. More greed. If you didn't buy their water package and you went to a drink station to fill up a water container you were made to feel guilty like you were stealing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We decided on this cruise because it was going to the ports we wanted to see. We were delayed leaving NYC but they said it was because of delayed shipments arriving due to the hurricane down south. It actually ended up being pretty cool as ... Read More
We decided on this cruise because it was going to the ports we wanted to see. We were delayed leaving NYC but they said it was because of delayed shipments arriving due to the hurricane down south. It actually ended up being pretty cool as you got to see the Statue of Liberty at night. Disembarkation was REALLY easy. We opted to carry our own bags off and was off and through customs in minutes. Love the unlimited drink package. Sometimes it took a few minutes to get a drink - NCL could possibly put another bartender or 2 at the busier bars. The bartenders and staff were all quite friendly. Shows were good - talented casts. The people running the trivia/interactive shows were funny and easy going. We would travel again with NCL but probably not on this ship as we have been on the Escape and prefer the amenities/food offered on the larger ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise because we are frequent NCL cruisers and we like the convenience of leaving from NYC. We live in CT so it is an easy train ride into Grand Central and a mile long taxi ride to the pier. This was our first time on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we are frequent NCL cruisers and we like the convenience of leaving from NYC. We live in CT so it is an easy train ride into Grand Central and a mile long taxi ride to the pier. This was our first time on Breakaway and we wanted to try it because it is the largest ship we have sailed on. We took the NCL Gem for the last 3 years to Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Kay (NCL's Private Island) and Nassau. The last time we went to Bermuda it was on the NCL Star, which is the same size as Gem (now both considered "mid-sized" ships). Breakaway carries almost double the passengers as Gem or Star and is enormous in comparison. The Breakaway was very clean and generally well maintained, although several main public men's rooms were consistently out of soap throughout the entire trip, which is a really big issue for me, considering one of the main concerns on cruise ships is bacteria and food contamination, caused by improper hand washing etc. We were concerned about boarding issues on such a large ship but we arrived at the pier at about 9:45a and were through the security check and the the check-in process by 10:30a. They began boarding at about 11:15a and we were on board at 11:30a and had time to explore the ship before lunch. Disembarking was even quicker. We always carry off our own luggage, so we got an 8a departure. We got in the long line to disembark at 7:50a and we were off the ship and through customs by 8:15a. We went up to the 2nd floor to catch a cab to Grand Central and there was no line at all, so this was a truly painless disembarkation. Really great job by NCL in coordination of the whole process! Overall, Breakaway is a nice ship, but but the crowds compared to what you find on mid-sized ships was just overwhelming at times, and for such a large ship, it didn't have any really large bars or night club areas like the Spinnaker and Bliss lounges found on Gem and Star. Surprisingly, even the main theater on Breakaway seemed smaller than the main theaters on Gem and Star, which didn't make a lot of sense. Breakaway has several more restaurants and bars than their mid-sized ships, but they are smaller in most cases, so they don't accommodate the sheer volumes of people. There were several good things about Breakaway, and some bad things as well: The Good Things: Food - The food in the 3 Main Dining Rooms and at Le Bistro, Cagney's, Moderno was truly very good. We got the 3 night specialty dining package and it was really a nice experience in all 3 specialty restaurants we ate in. The service in each restaurant was superb and the wait staff all went out of their way to see that we got anything we wanted. They were all prompt and courteous. Hot food was served hot and cold food was served cold. The service most nights was slow, but we had no issue with that as we were on vacation and weren't in any rush. If we had to make a show at 7p or whatever time, we simply told our waiter and they accommodated us. We always like to eat dinner at around 5:30p, so with the specialty restaurants, we made reservations and with the main dining rooms we just showed up when we were ready to eat. We never waited more than 5 minutes for a table during the entire cruise. The buffet on Breakaway was adequate. They had a nice selection for breakfast and lunch (we didn't do the buffet for dinner at all), and again, hot foods were hot and cold foods were cold. We never had a problem finding a table or waiting in long lines either. Entertainment - We saw 3 shows on Breakaway; Burn the Floor, Rock of Ages and the Magician/Comedian. Burn the Floor and Rock of Ages were both great, high quality shows and require reservations. (Make your reservation online before you sail, or on the many ship kiosks as soon as you get on the ship). The Magician/Comedian was okay, but nothing special- no reservation needed. The Bad Things- The Main Pool Area (15th Floor) - On nice days (there weren't a lot of them on our cruise- Rain 5 our of 7 days for at least part of the day), the pool area was completely packed and impossible to find a lounge chair any time after 7am. People would put their towels and towel clips on chairs to reserve them before 7am and not show up until after noon. There was no attempt whatsoever by NCL staff to prevent people reserving lounges even though they say it isn't allowed. The pool is completely inadequate for the size of the ship and the number of people- very poor design plan. Spice H2O - This was supposed to be an adults only area until 7p on deck 16, with 2 hot tubs and a nice large waterfall sitting and wading pool. In general it was a very quiet and peaceful, but on a couple of occasion parents would bring their small unruly children (6-8yrs old) during the day and let them run around the waterfall wading pool and hot tubs. NCL staff neither said or did anything to the parents nor did they get rid of the kids who shouldn't have been there. Atrium area - This was a main gathering place for large events, entertainment and games, but it was completely inadequate for the sheer volumes of people on the ship. It was just a very poorly designed space for a ship this size and the flow was just not good at all. Main Theater and Lounges - The Main theater on Breakaway is actually smaller than the theaters on mid-sized ships like Gem and Star, and the decoration is reminiscent of a mall movie theater. As a result, the popular shows require reservations and it is very difficult to get a reservation unless you make it prior to sailing or as soon as you board the ship. The theaters on Gem and Star are both bigger than Breakaway, very elegantly decorated, and never require reservations. The Lounges on Breakaway are all smaller than the ones on their mid-sized ships (although there are more of them on Breakaway). As a result, they fill up fast and are just not of adequate size for the number of people on the ship. Overall, it was a nice cruise and our issues were minimal. We got the free internet package as part of our cruise package, but the Breakaway internet satellite was down for the entire first 2 days of the cruise and when is was repaired in Bermuda on day 3, several passengers (including us) still could not get into the NCL site for internet access. Several passengers complained, but so far we have not received any credit from NCL for this service issue. We have decided that we definitely prefer the smaller ships, both for design and flow. Next year we are going back to a mid-sized ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
all and all everything was great. They should do more parties like The glow party, the music that night was great...more appealing to people twenties to 60. Our Cabin boy Albert was excellent, cabin was always cleaned. The small ... Read More
all and all everything was great. They should do more parties like The glow party, the music that night was great...more appealing to people twenties to 60. Our Cabin boy Albert was excellent, cabin was always cleaned. The small rain pool on H2O seemed that it was always dirty, debris always on the bottom of the water...maybe needed to be vacuum more often. Thermal room was a delight, locker rooms very cleaned and full of clean towels and robes. The food at the buffet was always good and they always had something different everyday. The other restaurants is a hit or miss, our favorite was Le Bistro, great ambiance and delicious food. All the Staff was super friendly and efficient. We were glad we got the large balcony, we enjoyed the views of New York city and Bermuda, it was also nice having the door opened at night and listen to the waves, getting some fresh air in the room. Totally would recommend this Cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I have been cruising with NCL since 1995 ( 16 Cruises to date ). I really like the laid back atmosphere of the cruises. I like the ability to eat when you want and freedom to do whatever. The NY port is convenient for parking at the ... Read More
I have been cruising with NCL since 1995 ( 16 Cruises to date ). I really like the laid back atmosphere of the cruises. I like the ability to eat when you want and freedom to do whatever. The NY port is convenient for parking at the pier. So here is the breakdown of the cruise. We took the NCL Breakaway out of NYC Embarkation : Hectic as there were 2 NCL ships at the port. Took 2 hours to drive 1/4 mile to parking because of the backup. The terminal was congested and poorly staffed. Restaurants : Note : We had the Ultimate dining package O'Sheehans' : Ate here 3 times. The service was horrible all three times. First Time : Was served our desserts before we even got our entree's Second Time : Took 1/2 hour to get food after order and it was not even what we ordered Third Time : Our drinks ( Cola ) didn't get to the table until after we finished eating because the server has to go to the bar to get them which was packed. Le Bistro ( French ) : The menu selection has been reduced. Not impressed with the new selection. with ala Carte pricing ( Not Cheap ) in place of the old Cover Charge of $15. Without the dining package it would cost appx. $ pp for app, entree & dessert. Food was ok. but not worth the wait or price. La Cuchina ( Italian ) : Decent menu selection. Also, ala Carte and pricey. Again, at least $30 pp. Service was good here. Food was decent. Missed the old oil and bread to start dinner. Last cruise you received a 4 sampler of different flavored olive oils with bread - now they just pour some olive oil on you bread dish, very cheap and tacky. Cagney's ( Steak House ) : Great menu selection. Very pricey now with the ala Carte way of doing it. One side dish is $2. Was informed what we could and could not order with the dining plan. Would cost around $50 pp to eat here without a plan. Food was excellent. Service was excellent Main Dining Room : The main dining room is included in your cruise fare. The food here was surprisingly very good. Improved since our last cruise. The service however was poor and inattentive. The servers were in the corner chatting away while guests were sitting waiting to be waited on. Buffet : The Buffet is included in your cruise fare. What can I say, It's the buffet. Selection was not great. Burgers, Hot Dogs, Pizza & Fries. A carving station and some international cuisine. But very limited selection compared to other cruises we've taken. NCL seems to be trying to cut back on the food options. The Buffet was clean and adequately staffed. Even though we had the Ultimate Beverage Package you will be charged if you get a soda in the Buffet. Cirque de Solie - Jungle Dreams dinner : Great Dinner show. Meal is preset but very good in both visual presentation and quality. The show was very entertaining with very talented performers. Note : You will be seated with others in this venue. Shows, Entertainment & Onboard Activities Rock of Ages : Great show. Well produced and well acted. Seating was good but you need to make a reservation. Trivia ( both progressive & regular types ) : NCL really misses the mark here. Trivia was usually held in the Atrium which is extremely noisy and hard to find seats. Guests not playing would yell out the answers. The host seemed to just want to get it over with. there are many places on the ship to hold Trivia and other activities that are better suited. Deal or No Deal : Really lame attempt at the game show. Host just rushes through it. Really just a way to sell game cards. Also done in the Atrium. Excursions : We went to SeaWorld at the Florida Port. The tour was very well organized. Disembarking and transportation was well organized. We enjoyed SeaWorld and had enough time though excursions really are up to the taste of whoever is doing it. NCL Private Island : We had a small Cabana. The Cabana is spacious and comfortable. It comes pre-stocked with bottled water and has concierge service. Service was attentive though the do push the non-free items (but it is to be expected as it is a cruise). the Water and Beach were well cared for and clean. Bathrooms were gross. Buffet was very lacking in selection and quality. Our Room : The room ( a Balcony on Deck 8 ) was clean and well kept. The bathroom was large with a double sink and nice shower. The balcony was deep because of the location allowing it to have 2 lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs a large table and a small table. One lounge chair was broken which we asked for a new one but never received. Ship in general : The ship was clean and fairly well kept. Noticed a lot of peeling or stained paint. Bathrooms onboard were clean. The old emphasis on sanitary "washy, washy" is gone. Crew : Very inattentive and unmotivated. Seems to be severely understaffed. There is no attempt to connect with the guests anymore - probably a byproduct of the larger ship. Everything seemed dis-organized. NCL Rewards Program ( Latitudes ) : Some background - we are "Platinum Plus & Platinum" cruisers. NCL really missed the mark here. The "perks" that you are supposed to receive are now not communicated to you on board unless you apply the first day of the cruise. Past cruises you would receive an envelope the first day with time, dates & locations of the perks. Such as the cocktail party, Free Laundry and ship tour. We had to call to get our chocolate strawberries. When we called to inquire we were made to feel like we were bothering them by asking. I could go on but suffice to say that NCL is not treating their repeat cruisers well anymore. Disembarkation : We do the Express Disembarkation. If you can carry your bags this is a convenient easy way to leave. Overall : NCL is taking a turn for the worse. The crew is inattentive and disconnected. The Rewards program is being modified and applied in a way to make it more difficult to take advantage of earned perks. The new ala Carte dining is horrible and poorly executed. Of course the cruise is fun and enjoyable though as we love being on the water and the downfalls of the staff can't take away from the enjoyment of being on the water. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We first got on ship and had dinner first night in Magenta dinning room. The food was not good. We got up and left they came over and wanted to know what was wrong. All food in buffet and dinning room were just blan no taste. May I say all ... Read More
We first got on ship and had dinner first night in Magenta dinning room. The food was not good. We got up and left they came over and wanted to know what was wrong. All food in buffet and dinning room were just blan no taste. May I say all food in speciality dinning service and food were great. But I have to say I have on 12 cruises in my life. I have never had as much fun in my life. The cruise staff are the best on the sea. So many things to do every night we closed the disco. The entertainment is the best the singers and dancers were great. The comedian was the very very best. I have never laughed as hard in my whole life. His name was Tim Kiminski we would see everyone on boat to the house bands and singers in the bar lounges were just super. Both me and my husband met some really nice people. I have to say when the cruise started we were unsure of how of everything was going to go. But we would go on this cruise line again. If I had to pick between food and fun we will take fun any day. We did find a lot of things we did like. There is no other cruise line who wants to make sure you have a good time.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our 2nd time in the Breakaway. We immediately hit the Shakers Bar and made some great friends with the Bartenders (Armand, Irma, Olga, Michele, and Klaus). Luz was our assistant cruise director. We had traveled with Luz before and ... Read More
This was our 2nd time in the Breakaway. We immediately hit the Shakers Bar and made some great friends with the Bartenders (Armand, Irma, Olga, Michele, and Klaus). Luz was our assistant cruise director. We had traveled with Luz before and really enjoyed her positive attitude. We loved all the ports, however Martinique was quiet since it was Sunday and most stores were closed. St. Kitts was our favorite. It was the only island we did a tour through the ship - we did the ATV Adventure and Beach stop. The best was beautiful. We did many beach getaways in the islands if we were not just walking around. We really enjoy Sapphire beach in St. Thomas. Entertainment on the ship was great. Since it was a 14 day cruise we did not feel rushed to see and do everything. The NCL Breakaway cruise was the best and as I stated before, the bartenders at Shakers made our cruise so special. They are now true friends. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
About the Reviewer: I’m a 34 year old male who traveled on this cruise with my mom. Since this review is coming from my perspective mostly then it is prudent you know my cruising history. This was my 25th cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a 34 year old male who traveled on this cruise with my mom. Since this review is coming from my perspective mostly then it is prudent you know my cruising history. This was my 25th cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line (charters and regular cruises combined) and my 38th cruise overall. I’ve sailed on other cruise lines including Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival. My last cruise ended one week before this one began and was on the Norwegian Sun. This was my third cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway with my two prior being the ship’s pre-inaugural Trans-Atlantic crossing and the other being the NYC to Bermuda run 2.5 years ago. My reviews are written in the way I experienced the cruise and in chronological order. Hope you enjoy the review… DAY 1 – NEW YORK CITY – EMBARKATION We arrived to the cruise terminal around Noon to discover a long line waiting for porters to take the luggage. It seemed more disorganized than usual and I wasn’t sure why. Once our luggage was taken we headed inside to security and right through to the Platinum Latitudes line. There wasn’t a line and we were helped immediately by the representative for checking in. We had our keycard and were given a boarding letter. She told us to just get on the ship. Boarding had already commenced so we did. She was quick and friendly and embark was relatively painless. Once we boarded the ship they told us we could proceed to our cabin to drop off our carry-on luggage and then head to lunch. We proceeded to our cabin and upon arrival were going to throw the carry-on luggage in the closet. We discovered there was already someone’s jackets and carry-ons in there!! Turns out our French Canadian neighbors had mistaken our room for theirs. They came back down to the room and realized the mistake and moved to their cabin next door. Balcony Cabin 9144: Appearance-wise this cabin was in great shape. Once you dug a little deeper you found more issues. The easiest one to fix was the closet door which was off the track. Harder issues to fix were the electrical problems. The cabin’s electrical system shorted my electric shaver and sparked when I plugged in my re-chargeable camera battery. Both of these issues were brought to the attention of the Hotel Director who sent an assistant housekeeping supervisor along a day later who then sent an electrician. The shaver outlet in the bathroom was replaced. Beds were in a twin config. The stateroom steward Rosario was more social than attentive. Our cabin was constantly missing items in a normal day or night turn down. I was also reuniting with a cruiser I met on the Breakaway on the Bermuda run and we all dined in Taste restaurant which was opened as overflow since Savor was swamped. The ship’s public areas were already adorned with Christmas decorations. I can’t remember what meal I ordered but the meat was so dry I had to drink a ton of water just to eat it. Otherwise, the rest of lunch was good. We sat and talked until they announced the rooms were finished. When we dropped the bags off, the cabin was not ready yet. When they announced they were ready, our cabin actually was still not finished. It was missing hand towels, bath mats, bath towels and beach towels. While trying to sort out what our cabin still needed, two of the bags appeared outside the cabin and were left right outside the door which opens out. Momentarily we were trapped in the cabin and then pushed them out of the way to get out. A stroll down the hallway located the other two bags and we unpacked while waiting the few minutes for the muster drill. When we arrived to the theater, the drill announcement had just started and the sign for our station was already gone. We stood in the back and listened to the announcement and then headed to Spice H2O for the sailaway party. This was my introduction to one of two DJs on the Norwegian Breakaway – DJ Ned. Playing the obligatory line dance songs, one couldn’t help but participate because you were going to freeze to death if you stood still. The cruise staff did a great job getting us ready for sail away which was delayed a bit and getting us past the Statue of Liberty. They were frozen and so were we waiting for the Verrazano bridge to come up so we headed back to the cabin. At 6PM I headed to Maltings with my reunion friend for the solos gathering. She was staying in a solo studio cabin. The meeting point of Maltings was just so the cruise staff Lester who was our social host for the week could bring us all together to the studio lounge where our nightly gathering would be held. Lester introduced himself but was rather rushed and got us setup with the dining room. We dined in the Manhattan Room which had a small wait. Once we were seated the meal was slow as there was a gap between the appetizers and the main entrée. I had to leave before dessert was served because I had to get to the Friends of Dorothy gathering at 8. From there it was off to the show at 9PM. BREAKAWAY SHOWTIME: Welcome Aboard Show The three of us went to the Breakaway Theater for the sample of entertainment we would see throughout the cruise. When we sat down in the theater seats, we immediately realized they were uncomfortable unless you were slouching. The bar goes right along your tail bone in the seat. The padding is gone from them and the ship is only 3.5 years old! NCL really needs to get these chairs fixed. They were in bad shape no matter where in the theater one might sit (except the bar stools up the back). Getting back to the show, it was a sample of Rock of Ages, Burn the Floor, a sales pitch for Wine Lovers: The Musical, and lastly the wonderful talents of Arvin and Emily. The show ran about 45 minutes. After which I went back to the cabin and finally the towels appeared in the bathroom. We had to take a hand towel off the steward’s cart in the hallway to use up to that point. We still did not have a bath mat to use outside the shower. I left mom to check out the Bliss nightclub where they were doing a raffle. It was my second encounter with DJ Ned and I wasn’t impressed. I wondered what they did with DJ Keith because I knew he was on the ship but I’d yet to find him. DJ Keith was sorely missed on the first night and every other night DJ Ned graced the turn tables in Bliss. I went back to the cabin and went to bed. DAY 2 – SEA DAY It was a leisurely morning with complimentary continental breakfast room service delivered promptly. We sat and watched the sea go by from inside as it was cold and waited for the room steward to come. We floated around the ship and ended up at the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet at 11AM. All the senior officers came by and introduced themselves, including the captain. I asked the Hotel Director what the average age on the ship was and he said 56. Last cruise on the Sun it was 64 so I knew there should be a more lively crowd in the nightclub this cruise compared to last. The officers took off fairly quickly and we decided to head to lunch at Savor. It was still too cold outside to do anything so we had a nice leisurely lunch and talked about future cruises. The service was not attentive, water ran dry and the gaps between the apps and the entrée was again noticeable. When we finished our lunch, we made our way back to the cabin. I wanted to go for a workout and mom wanted to go for a walk. It was convenient because our cabin still hadn’t been made up and now it was going towards 2PM. At some point he finally arrived and greeted us. His name was Rosario. We chatted for a brief bit and then we hoped he would get to the cabin. I spent about 1.5 hours at the gym that afternoon and when I returned to the cabin he was still in there. I was beside myself as I stunk of gym sweat and you can’t use the showers in the spa unless you have a pass. I went for a walk around the interior ship to waste time until he was done. When I returned and he was done, beach towels were not present and hand towels were missing. Bath towels and face clothes were stocked. I just went to the cart nearest the cabin and took the hand towel needed for the cabin. Tonight mom and I went to meet my friend at the solos gathering. Before we went and I freshened up, I noticed the TV in the cabin was not working and none of the outlets were. We called guest services and they asked if we used a curling iron. I said we didn’t and he said he would send someone up to look at it. At the solos gathering, we met more people and tonight Lester had us dine in Taste Restaurant. There was a small wait as we were going at peak dinner hour of 6:30PM. Tonight’s dinner service was the worst as we had to wait forever between apps and entrée. I ordered a dessert and instantly regret it as it put me over the 8PM time frame for the Friends of Dorothy gathering. When all was said and done it took two hours for the dinner service. At that point we had to get up and make sure we were heading towards the Breakaway Theater. BREAKAWAY SHOWTIME: Burn the Floor At the 9:30PM show we sat on the right. This being my third time on the ship, I recalled the production numbers and they were as high energy as one can expect. I enjoyed the performance immensely sans the theater chairs and that bar across the coccyx. The dancers were incredibly talented and friendly with the guests throughout the cruise when they were out and about in the nightclub. After the show ended I stopped by the atrium briefly to take in the Sock Hop with New Generations playing. Mom wanted to check it out and sometimes you have to balance 50s and 60s music with today’s EDM style to make everyone happy. It was a good time and the cruise staff were getting people actively involved which is always good. Afterward I checked out the late night party with the DJ. When I entered Bliss I was SO happy to see DJ Keith behind the turn tables. It was an amazing night. A DJ who knows how to mix songs, play good nightclub music and read a crowd is impossible to find on cruise ships. DJ Keith is the one person who is still active with NCL who knows how to do this. He’s been with the company forever and I’ve sailed with him many times over the years. I always love it when he’s on the ship I’m going on. He makes the nightclub happen! What a wonderful night out and sorely needed after 17 days on the Norwegian Sun and a horrid DJ who lacked the ability to mix, read a crowd or play anything except the same 10 songs over again. DAY 3 – SEA DAY A leisurely start to this sea day with room service led to a morning where we tried to figure out what to do while waiting for the stateroom steward to come and make up the room. We sat for a bit and then I went to the gym and mom went for a walk of the promenade deck. When we both returned the cabin was still not made up. At this point Rosario kept greeting us in the hallway so he knew were gone but completely missed the queues that we were out of the cabin to service it. Finally we just turned around and left and went to the buffet for a quick bite before the Latitudes gathering at 12:30PM. It was getting warm up on deck finally so after that I went back and changed and headed topside for some sun. I spent the afternoon up on deck grabbing some sun. When I returned to the cabin it was finally made up and the room service tray gone. When I began to freshen up in the bathroom, the electric shaver I was using suddenly got very hot and then stopped working. I checked the cabin TV to see if it was still working and it was. It dawned on me this likely was the cause of the circuit breaker popping the previous night. I plugged the shaver into another outlet and it wouldn’t work. Thankfully I had a back up shave cream and razor from my trip to Peru the previous month and used that to finish shaving. I was absolutely besides myself that the ship’s electrical system shorted out my razor when the bathroom outlet said it was ok for shavers! We dined tonight in the Manhattan Dining room not with the solos and had the excellent service of Mary Grace, Head Waitress and Paolo, Assistant Waiter. This is the first dining room service between lunch and dinner where service was attentive and fast. There was a delay in the appetizers and entrée but not nearly as long as it had been before and they explained the kitchen was overwhelmed and apologized for it. At least they told us what the problem was and acknowledged the gap. Truly professional service and I would remember their names when not dining specialty to try and have them for the rest of the cruise. They had their act together and together as a team they worked great unlike the previous dinner service teams encountered in Taste and Savor. Afterward, while waiting for the evening turn down in the cabin I went to Friends of Dorothy at Shaker’s Martini Bar. Irma was a familiar face from the Norwegian Breakaway cruise my reunion friend and I did in May 2014. I’d also sailed with Irma before on the Norwegian Spirit where I met DJ Keith. It was nice to be in familiar territory. Irma has her own signature drink concoctions and proved quite popular with the guests at the bar. No wonder she had a loyal following this cruise. Actually the entire Shakers staff was amazing from Olga to the bar waitress Michelle and the guy from China whose name I can’t remember but who was training on the Breakaway for Norwegian Joy’s roll out. I would especially seek out the Shaker’s team for my nightly drinks when out at Bliss. It was nice to get out and visit them until they closed. I would switch to water thereafter. Since I did not have the beverage package I wanted my tips to be swiped by the staff member who deserved them the most! BREAKAWAY SHOWTIME: CARLA STICKLER Carla came highly recommended from some of the folks who saw her 7PM show at the Shaker’s bar. I went and she belted out Broadway show tunes, especially from WICKED since she was a part of the cast. Her show was energetic and amazing. Her vocals were on point. FEATURED NIGHT PARTY: NORWEGIAN’S NIGHT OUT Finally it was warm enough up on deck to have a party DJ Ned had the party topside. It was sparsely attended by the guests but the cruise staff was on hand trying to get people to get on the dance floor. After about an hour upstairs we checked out Bliss and DJ Keith was spinning. Spent the rest of the night out here until the wee hours of the morning! DAY 4 – SEA DAY and SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO Since the ship was slated to get in at 3PM, I woke up late from the previous night and went to the gym. On the Breakaway the gym is quite small for the passenger count but at the times I went it never seemed overly crowded. I did a mini-workout and hung out waiting for the cabin steward to complete the day turn down. Headed to the buffet for lunch and went back to discover the cabin was finally cleaned. I took a nap missing our approach to San Juan, Puerto Rico but awoke when we were in the channel spinning around and waiting. Our arrival was delayed by 1 hour because there was simply no room for us to pull in. All the berths were filled. Our time in port was lengthened by one hour. I got off the ship and hightailed it over to Fort San Cristobal which was not far from the pier. It’s the only thing I hadn’t seen in my previous visits to Old San Juan. It was confusing on the website whether the fort closed at 5PM or 6PM. Since there were so many cruise ships in the fort closed at 6PM. We were able to see the whole fort in just under 1.5 hours, moving quickly and headed back to the ship for dinner reservations. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: La Cuccina After getting some attitude from the guy working the reservations counter about booking into LeBistro since it was full most of the cruise (too many Platinum latitudes members on the ship), we decided to do La Cuccina for our first port night. We had requested to dine al fresco. When we arrived to the restaurant we presented the coupon and said we’d like to sit outside. At this time we were informed the outside was closed. I asked why? She said it was too humid to be outside. I explained to her that we come from cold weather but she wasn’t budging. We had to sit inside. Service was attentive but the food was lackluster. With all the restrictions NCL has put on what you can order now with this Platinum perk, all the dishes I would’ve ordered (steak) were excluded. It was an ok experience but not one I would recommend paying an upcharge for (unless you could get the steak). I had to run back off the ship to buy shavers at the Walgreens which was just wall-to-wall with people since all the cruise ships were in. I needed something to shave with since the ship neither offered any help with their electrical outlet blowing the motor on my shaver or giving me anything to shave with. I got back on the ship and sat on the balcony while mom checked out the comedian Bud Andersen. She said he was ok but not great. Can’t provide more details as I skipped the show! Went up to Spice H2O for a bit to hang out with DJ Keith and the nightclub crew before heading to bed for the night. DAY 5 – ST. THOMAS, USVI This was the first of two beach stops planned for this cruise. After breakfast, my cruise bud and some nightclub crew met up by the gangway and hopped a local taxi for $8 per person and headed for Magen’s Bay. Now there were two other cruise ships in town with us and they did have their sections of the beach for the organized excursions but we headed down the beach to the left and just kept going close to where they hold the weddings. It was far away from the hustle and bustle. Entry to Magen’s Bay is $5. It was a nice relaxing day at the beach and very low cost to do it independently. We headed back to the ship at 3PM which was plenty of time as it sailed at 5PM and before the crazy afternoon traffic in Charlotte Amalie began. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Moderno Churrascaria We scoped out the other restaurants and saw that others had their al fresco dining options open yet the tables at Moderno were not set. Since we were running a bit early, I asked to be sat outside while waiting on my cruise friend to arrive. They setup a table for us right at the door. We had great service. The maitre’d made sure we had attentive service and the table-side service of meats was endless. When we had all the meats, sometimes, they came and asked what we liked more of. Important to know the garlic beef which I had on the Norwegian Sun two weeks prior was no longer being served on the Breakaway. They also changed out one of the sides from fried plantains to yucca. It was a great dinner and it was so nice to have it outside! BREAKAWAY SHOWTIME: OH WHAT A NIGHT! The Jersey Boys come to the Breakaway Theater singing the hits of Fankie Valli and the Four Seasons. We attended the second showing in the theater. I’ve seen them before and these guys are REALLY good. Yes it might not be from my era but I grew up listening to them because of my mom. She also attended and LOVED the show! I highly recommend checking this act out on any NCL ship you might find them on. They’re constantly switching ships so you never know when they’ll pop up. After the show it was time to check out the 90s party at Spice H2O. DJ Ned was spinning up there and we stayed for a bit before heading to Bliss to close out the night with DJ Keith. I have to give kudos to the cruise staff for trying to make the 90s party more interesting. Guests just stood there and watched, the few who showed up that were not part of the regular nightclub crew. When we were all dancing out on the dance floor there were about maybe 3 dozen of us! At least the cruise staff kept trying to get the party going. When they gave up we headed to Bliss with DJ Keith at the turn tables. DAY 6 – TORTOLA, BVI We arrived into Tortola as scheduled. After a leisurely breakfast and watching the ship pull into the berth across from us, we headed out for a walking tour of Road Town. A book we purchased about walking tours in the cruise port gave us some highlights to hit but so didn’t the information kiosk at the end of the cruise pier. We went to the Island Heritage museum to discover it was closed. We looped around to the old prison to find it was under construction and then headed further back to the botanical gardens and the sugar mill museum. These two latter features were both open and charged a nominal fee for the guests to enter. It was a leisurely stroll around the main town on the island before circling back to the port and doing a little shopping at the local shops just off the main road. We returned to the ship for a late lunch and headed back to the cabin to relax for a bit. Tonight we dined with the solos in Savor and again experienced exceptionally slow service. I couldn’t figure out if it was because we were a large group or if it was just something with the Taste and Savor restaurants but two hours for dinner was exceptionally long. No one ever informed us as to why the delay was happening between the apps and the main entrée. Asking for dessert we thought would be fast as most are pre-made but it still took forever. Thankfully we saw the main show the previous night which was repeated (Oh what a night!) but there was still some time to burn before the party got going at Spice and the Caribbean party pool side. I went to both and had another good night with DJ Keith at Spice before bed. DAY 7 – ST. MAARTEN Another beach day to be had. A group of us left the ship and hopped a taxi to Orient Beach. The driver dropped people off at different resorts along the way. We said we just wanted to go to the beach. We didn’t realize that the final stop was the NUDE beach. I guess we should’ve done some research on the resorts on the clothing side of the beach first to understand that there’s no just beach place. You have to be in someone’s section along the beach and feel obligated to get a chair or umbrella. We sat at O’Lasts which was the LAST spot before the rocks and the nude section. What a fun day at the beach that was. Plenty to see and not want to be seen! LOL! Live and learn for sure. It was a low cost day as the two chairs cost US 15 dollars with the umbrella and wifi access. Ship tours were constantly coming through the bar that was up on the rocks separating the nude beach and our side. We headed back to the ship around 1:30PM although we could’ve stayed longer as the ship didn’t leave until 5PM. Back on the ship I went to the gym before heading back to the cabin for a nap. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: CAGNEY’S STEAKHOUSE I had requested that we dine al fresco but again was told it was closed because it was too windy outside and the table cloths were blowing around. I told the hostess I didn’t need a table cloth and to just use the place mats from Moderno and it’d be good. She refused saying it was closed and sat us inside. Now I was really pissed because the only reason I bought the dining package was to dine outside. This was the second time I was told no for sitting outside. The ship has so much wasted space if they’re not going to utilize the outside dining areas. The wind was not substantial enough (such as gale force) to be an issue. It was a gentle warm breeze as the ship was not moving that fast between islands. Anyway, tonight I had the jumbo shrimp cocktail and the Tomahawk steak. Probably won’t be able to look a cow in the face for months after this cruise but whatever!! YOLO!! The dessert I had the apple crisp. No visit to Cagney’s Steakhouse is complete unless you have the Cagney’s fries!! Make sure you get those during your visit. BREAKAWAY THEATER: El Gaucho Comedy and Music You know you’ve cruised too much when you can say that NCL cycles through their talent on the ships in the Caribbean but this guy was NEW to me. If I recall correctly he was from Uruguay and performing some Spanish music with a bit of comedy thrown in. His act was entertaining albeit outside the box for what you’d usually see for cruise ship entertainers. I would say to check it out and judge for yourself. After the El Gaucho performance it was time to check out the 70s themed night at Spice H2O. I know the music is a little harder to mix together in the 70s but the transitions between songs were amateur hour for the large music speakers it was coming out of. It was a bit painful and we missed the cruise director’s staff performing their signature routines as we had stopped by to visit Irma at Shaker’s for her Irma’s special drinks. Kudos Shaker’s team for taking care of us this night! We stopped by Shaker’s again before heading to Bliss for the night with MUCH better music from DJ Keith!! DJ Keith to the rescue!! It was a late night and well worth it! DAY 8 – MARTINIQUE We were in town on a Sunday and that meant nearly everything to see and do was closed. Maybe the cruise lines (Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas from Bayonne was also in town with us) thought it was best to call on Martinique on a day where you wouldn’t spend much money as the vendors except the duty free at the port would NOT take US dollars. They only wanted Euros. We walked around the town doing a walking tour from the cruise book we got at Barnes and Noble. The church was having mass and was under renovation. The museum about the longest running Mayor of Fort-de-France was open solely because there were cruise ships in town. We happened upon a tour coming through and tagged along to get a history of the mayor which was quite fascinating (and free)!! We headed over to the island museum which was open but refused to take USD so we didn’t enter. We walked around a bit more before making the trek back to the ship. People did complain about the walk to the terminal because we didn’t have the downtown berth but were rather over by the container port. When we arrived back to the ship apparently the shore excursions had all returned at the same time and there was a queue to get back on the ship. All I heard was people complaining about the distance to town, the fact that nothing was open in town and that NCL should refund for the port visit as this was a wasted port call. I felt bad for the security on the ship who had to clear them as they got yelled at by most of the disgruntled people as they reboarded. I took it in stride and wasn’t overly impressed to return to Martinique based on what I saw. It was my first time to this island. Back on the ship after a leisurely lunch it was time to get some sun up on deck. My cruise friend had gone to the beach on the ferry as did most of the passengers. I just went up the front of the ship and leisurely laid out and napped. I headed back to Spice H2O to see if anyone was back there and make plans for the evening after dinner. BREAKAWAY THEATER: Rock of Ages This was my third time on the Norwegian Breakaway and my third time seeing the production of Rock of Ages on this ship. It’s not for the faint hearted or the ultra conservative and definitely NOT for children. With that in mind it tells the story of a girl who moves from the prairies to Los Angeles to get her big break in the end of the rock era. The club she ends up working in is slated to be closed to make way for a shopping mall and it’s the struggle to keep it open where the story continues along. Will it stay open or will it die? I won’t spoil it but I can say the show’s length is much longer than the standard 45 minute show. We actually had to leave to go to our dinner reservations. It was a mixed blessing as the cast really didn’t seem to have the energy the prior two casts did. My cruise friend said she was happy to leave as rock wasn’t her music and she didn’t like the production. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Le Bistro After talking with the Group Service Coordinator outside the show the night prior, she was able to get us a reservation at LeBistro which was booked solid for the entire cruise whether you were using your specialty dining package or the complimentary Platinum Latitudes benefit. The maitre’d got us in and even though we were told we would be seated outside under the chandelier, we actually sat inside! It was a pleasant surprise. The only other time I have eaten at LeBistro on the Breakaway was on the Trans-Atlantic crossing and it was worth it as there was a paint odor stuck in the inside of the restaurant. By now that paint smell was long gone. The dinner service was good and leisurely but not overly elongated as had been experienced at other restaurants like Taste and Savor this cruise. After the dinner I headed up to Spice H2O where there was a toga party in full swing. I picked up my toga and danced the night away to DJ Keith. It was a perfect night to be dancing topside under the stars and with friends and good beats! We wanted Keith to keep playing but he’d finished up for the night. The after party was down in Bliss but the energy from DJ Ned was just not the same and I called it a night. DAY 9 – BARBADOS A small group of us took a taxi to head to Harrison’s Cave just outside the port. For a nominal fee the taxi driver took us there and waited for us to complete the tour and took us back to the port. Today we were in port with three other ships, two of them quite large. Mein Schieff was on turnaround but the Oceania ship that pulled in along with Princess were there on port calls. We had a tour with a spattering of guests who were independent from each of those ships. It was a good time and saved over $30 from what the ship was offering for the same tour! The taxis are right outside the port building. They’ll try and group you together to fill a van. If you can try and get a group together before hand it will save you the time of waiting but the wait really wasn’t that long. The caves were stunning! We asked the taxi to drop us off in town on the way back to the port. In Bridgetown we had lunch at Waterfront Café which served a unique Barbadian dish my friend wanted to try out and it was along the water way. After that we checked out the scenic sights on the walking tour in the book we picked up as we made our way back to the ship. We ducked into a local market when the Caribbean rain storms came and went. It was about a mile from the outskirts of the downtown to the port. A lot of people were walking it but the taxi fare wasn’t that bad either with tons of taxis in town to get you back. Back on the ship we freshened up and Mom and I headed to the Manhattan Dining Room where we had the impeccable service of Mary Grace and Paolo. These two were the best servers we had the whole cruise. Fast, attentive, friendly and welcoming. This combination was never seen in Taste and Savor. I was beyond happy we could get sat in their section. They weren’t on duty in Manhattan when we were sat in their section as they were making their way down from the Garden Café but it was worth the wait. They got us in and out before the show began and that was with apps, dinner and dessert with coffee and tea! All done in a timely fashion! Bravo to this team! SPIEGEL TENT ENTERTAINMENT: Divas Live Arvin and Emily had quite the cruise following on the Breakaway so nights when Cirque was off they would perform in the Spiegel Tent. Tonight they were joined by the Assistant Cruise Director Luz to sing songs by divas like Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole, Barbara Streisand and more. It was a good performance by all the singers. Luz really loves her job and to sing as it really shined this night. After the show I went up to meet the disco crew to check out the 80s party with DJ Ned at Spice H2O. It was lightly attended and went down to Spice H2O with DJ Keith. It was an early night in comparison as the next port of call was also new to me. DAY 10 – ST. LUCIA I had room service breakfast on the balcony as the ship was approaching the port. It was overcast and a little chilly the Caribbean with the ship moving. When we docked we were on the far side of downtown but at least not at the less than glamorous container port that the P and O Ventura was docked at. Today we decided to do another independent tour and head to the volcano and botanical gardens in Soufriere. The ship only offered tours to one or the other but not both. Independent tour vendors right at the port were giving you the option to do both if you wanted to. We jumped on a tour bus with a bunch of other folks who unfortunately didn’t speak English so that was our bad but at least we got to see the two many sites on the West side of the island which were recommended by a crew friend I knew from the island. We did save money over the ship and did get to see both places so all in all it was a good day! I would recommend seeing both places but the volcano is not for the faint of smell because the sulfur is putrid! Just a warning. It didn’t phase me in the least but some people were grossed out by it. Back on the ship it was a quick turn around to get ready for dinner since we didn’t have lunch ashore so we headed to the Manhattan Room early and were seated in what we thought was Mary Grace and Paolo’s section. Tonight they had the window seats and unless you’re literally breaking down the doors to the dining room or queue up a half hour before it opens, you’ll never get one of those seats. After a bit it became apparent we didn’t have anyone waiting on us and they were insanely busy so we didn’t want to bother them as their whole section was sat at once. They were overwhelmed so we didn’t make a fuss of it. What happened next was short of comical. We ended up with four wait staff waiting on our table! We had the right appetizers but when the main course came around, I ordered two and my mom ordered one. Well I ended up with three main courses and she with two. When dessert rolled around Mary Grace and Paolo realized we were close by and stopped over. Paolo ran and got mom the fruit plate that was missed and I ended up with three desserts. LOL! We went from no food to food overload! I was starving so I didn’t mind it much. Tonight Jovan, the assistant maître’d for that section stopped by the table and we complimented him on having attentive servers Mary Grace and Paolo. Jovan and I took a stroll down memory lane as he has been with NCL and I’ve been around cruising with NCL as long as he’s been with the company. Very nice fellow. BREAKAWAY THEATER SHOWTIME: Comedy and Magic of Chip Romero I have to say cruise ship comedians rarely get me to laugh. Ok so he didn’t but his act was ok. It’s something to do to pass the night along. Mom liked him and my cruise friend thought he was just ok. Take out of it what you will. He’s a street performer, illusionist and comedian all in one. FEATURED THEME PARTY: GLOW PARTY The best night of any cruise is the White Hot Party only on the newer NCL ships, the name has changed to the GLOW PARTY. Wearing white will still make you glow under the black lights. The cruise staff were feverishly putting body paint on any of those who wanted it before the party began at 10:30PM in Spice H2O. The night started off with a stop at Shaker’s Martini bar for Irma’s special drinks and to take photos with the staff in my dazzling White Hot aka Glow Party outfit! DJ Keith was at the turntables and he blew the night away. Keeping the Glow Party (aka White Party) true to form he played vocal house music and mixed them to keep you dancing and drinking the night away. This party was the best attended of the voyage at Spice H2O. The cruise staff were out and about in the crowd to keep the energy going. We stayed until last call at Spice H2O and didn’t want Keith to end it! The nightclub group did check out the after party with DJ Ned in Bliss. It was an ok time and since we were all having a ton of fun, I stayed until the end and went to O’Sheehans for some fajitas before heading to bed at the early hours of the morning. Wished DJ Keith could’ve played both venues until the wee hours. He knows his music! DAY 11 – ST. KITTS After a long night and some crazy beats from DJ Keith, it was a rough start in St. Kitts. After a leisurely morning it was off to the taxi stand to get a half day tour going. For US 60 dollars mom and I did a half island tour taking us to the Brimstone Hill Fortress and the Caribelle Batik. We had a private taxi to ourselves and went at our own pace. The tour guide pointed out things as we went along and suggested the best way to avoid the tour crowds at both places. It was a great tour and well worth the price paid. It was a big value over what the ship was offering and more personable. For two ships in port together you’d have never known it with how the taxi driver got us to places. After a quick lunch on the ship at the Garden Café, we headed back ashore and went on a walking tour of Castries checking out the sites in the book. We started at the circus (traffic circle) and headed around to the church and then looped around the back towards the national museum again by the port. St. Kitts is more about natural beauty than history but what’s available in town can still entertain you a bit. There’s tons of shops at the port to grab some last minute souvenirs. It seems like they all sell the same things and you do get shopper’s fatigue after a while. Upstairs from the shops are restaurants and good places to grab a quick beer and get some wifi. When we returned to the ship, the crew and staff were throwing the welcome back party as St. Kitts was our last port of call. The cruise staff were out in full force and so were other people from the kitchen to the senior management of the ship. It turns out the guy from Teppanyaki was our cook that night too! SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Teppanyaki A dinner and a show all in one. Tonight’s dinner service was timed to a set schedule so it flowed nicely. I had the Asuka – Beef and Shrimp combo. Along with fried rice made before your eyes, Teppanyaki has a fresh cooked atmosphere. I did notice the seaweed salad had more filler in it than before. Not sure if this was another cutback by Norwegian or not but it wasn’t like what I had two weeks prior on the Norwegian Sun. The chef did a great job of entertaining us although one of the guests seemed to think they would be having a private dining experience and wasn’t happy sitting with the rest of us. The chef did his best to make the most of it. BREAKAWAY ENTERTAINMENT: Second City All Ages Improv This show was lightly attended but still fun. They took suggestions from the audience and put them into skits where they would have to act them out or sing them out. Some of the suggestions were really good. It was a good 45 minute show. After the show ended then it was time to wait around the ship for DJ Keith to get playing more current music as Bliss was 50s and 60s themed early on. The format flipped heading towards to 11:30PM but I was so exhausted from the night before I crashed early (if you call 12:45A early). DAY 12 – SEA DAY After a good night’s sleep it was time for the Platinum Latitudes ship tour. Since there were so many Platinum Latitudes members they had to bring down a Youth Counselor to take the second group around that I was in. He was actually far more informative than most guided tours I’ve had. He explained a lot of what we were seeing as we passed it. Took a tour of the environmental area as the food stores were off limits since they had provisioned the previous day. Smell of rubbish first thing in the morning is always high on my to-do list! From there it was off to the main galley and then the laundry room. The head chef had some treats for us to sample while he gave his speech near the bakery area. Very nice touch with having the chocolate covered strawberries. Today we tried the Moderno Mexican buffet lunch. A little tip is on sea days Moderno does have a featured buffet lunch and it gets you away from the crowd of the Garden Café. It was a nice spread of rice and beans along with some tortilla chips and salsa along with burritos and some other items I can’t remember. After lunch I headed up to the sun deck for what would be the last day of catching sun this cruise. The sea was incredibly calm and the sunset tonight was simply beautiful from the balcony. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Cagney’s Steakhouse This was our second time to this restaurant this cruise and our final night to use the specialty dining package dinners. We asked to be sat outside which was surprisingly set up tonight. We were seated after a bit of a wait. It turned out they sat most of the restaurant at once with reservations. Another couple came out and sat behind us and then nothing happened for 18 minutes. Finally the guy from the table behind us went inside and talked to the maître d of the restaurant about the lack of acknowledgement by the waitstaff. Out popped a waiter who went to their table first and then came to us as an after thought. I was not happy at this point. I knew it would just lengthen the dinner service but not as bad as it turned out being. When we finally did order there was a substantial gap between the ordering and the appetizer delivery. It was unclear why as none of the apps needed to be cooked! The couple behind us got their main course and dessert while we were still waiting for our main course to come out. The maître d came to our table and asked how everything was and I think he thought I was going to say it was great well enough was enough with the crappy service. I told him this was hideous that we’d been in the restaurant for 1.5 hours and still didn’t have our main entrée. If sitting al fresco meant horrible dinner service then NCL seriously needs to evaluate why they dedicate so much outdoor space to the restaurants! When all was said and done it took us 2.5 hours to go from being sat to finishing our dinner course. I was livid!! Get it together NCL. This was the WORST dinner service of the cruise and I paid EXTRA for it!!!! Tonight DJ Keith was at Spice H2O for request night. Problem was it began to rain off and on so they moved him up to the booth where no passengers can get to. That didn’t last very long and the party was relocated down to Bliss Nightclub with DJ Amateur Hour aka Ned. For a ship out of NYC you’d think they would have a better secondary DJ who could mix between songs, even if they were different beats (slower versus faster). It was the only option and I was with friends but the song mixes were seriously annoying. I left about 1AM but the party was still going. DAY 13 – Sea Day Today was a leisurely day at sea. A room service breakfast was delivered about 7:30AM and then it was lounging until we thought the cabin steward was getting close by. I took off for the gym and mom went for a walk on the promenade deck. Since it was cool there would be no lounging today. I returned back to the cabin first to discover the steward, Rosario, was still inside the cabin. Finally when my mom returned we decided to head to the Taste of India in Moderno for the lunchtime buffet. I love these sea day lunch buffets! After lunch I went back and relaxed for a bit, leisurely reading and taking a nap. Tonight we had dinner in the Manhattan Room and were blessed to sit in the section of Mary Grace and Paolo. Since we’d sat in their section a few times they were familiar with any small special request and the service was impeccable. Not only were they fast, and efficient but friendly. I complimented Jovan, the assistant Maitre’d on a well run section with them spearheading it. I can’t say enough positive things about this duo. They both got us out on time to catch the 7PM improv show. BREAKAWAY ENTERTAINMENT: Second City All Ages Improv Tonight’s entertainment featured the comedy troupe and a sparse audience. For some reason the cruise staff member working the door made a child and mother who had been in there for quite a while move from the front row. Later in the show that same child was selected to go on stage! The show was entertaining and some of the suggestions by the little audience were quite amusing to have them act out or sing out. BREAKAWAY ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor Yes, you’re not seeing things. I went to this show again as I was burning time until the nightclub opened so I knew the crew would be doing their farewell during the show. The second time watching the show I was at the bar stools up the back. It was still a good show, even in the nosebleed section of the theater. The high bar stools were actually more comfortable to sit on than the chairs with the plush on them. They need to get rid of those regular theater chairs or add way more padding. The seat cushions are all flat and you have a board on your coccyx which is incredibly painful given the show’s lengths in that venue. Bring a spare pillow. People might think you’re crazy but they’ll understand why once they’ve been seated for awhile. Finally, it was time for Bliss to open after hanging at Shaker’s Bar for a bit with the wonderful Shaker’s team of Irma and friends! Every time I went through there it was impossible to stop. They were always such smiling and bubbly people! The regulars who hung out at the bar loved them and that’s why they returned there night after night. Any serious night in Bliss or at Spice required stopping here first! Next stop was Bliss Nightclub for what I knew would be DJ Keith’s last night at the turn tables. Since Bliss was on an every other night rotation with DJ Ned, it was Keith’s turn tonight! I stayed until the wee hours of the morning with people I had made friends with throughout the cruise. We stayed until it closed and then moved over to O’Sheehans. Couldn’t have had a better night in Bliss if I wanted to and really wished this night was the last night of the cruise. It would’ve helped me end it on a higher note than it had been going! DJ KEITH IS THE BEST!! DAY 14 – SEA DAY We rushed back up from the warm Caribbean waters to go slow off the coast of Delaware and New Jersey heading back into New York. It was freezing outside and the wind was howling. Our slower speed was likely to deploy the stabilizers although we didn’t feel the ship moving all that much. Once again it was a leisurely morning with room service and a small workout just to get out of the cabin. Today’s Moderno buffet was Bavarian and it was the least favorite out of all the ones I had. It was a good lunch to sit with friends and pass the time waiting for the cabin steward to finally do his thing. Since I was out way late and woke up early I was exhausted and just napped all afternoon. Mom checked out the crew talent show and went to support some talented staff. She said it was shorter than other cruises but really good! She floated around the ship for a bit and got her daily step count in. Tonight was to be the farewell dinner with Mary Grace and Paolo in the Manhattan Room but we were thrown a curve ball as they were given the window seat section again. As per usual those were gone by the time we got there about 5:30PM. The door breakers got there super early and sat in the whole section at once. Jovan knew we wanted them so he hooked us up with another nice duo from the Philippines. I’m sad to say I didn’t get their names but they offered us fast and attentive service too. Manhattan Room in Jovan’s section had the best dining team on the whole ship – period! After our dinner service we did sneak over to Mary Grace and Paolo’s section and got a photo with them and thanking them for being the best wait staff on the ship! We went to head back to the cabin to change and get the bags ready only to discover the stateroom steward hadn’t done the evening turn down despite our making it a point to say goodbye to him going down the hallway. Maybe subtly was not his strong suit? I don’t know but honest to goodness I was thankful to be leaving the next day with his service methods. I floated around the ship a bit trying to burn time but nothing really grabbed my attention. I just ended up sitting in the atrium and going through the photos on my camera. It saved me some time after the cruise sorting them all and looking for bad ones. When we finally could get back in the cabin it was about changing and getting the bags out. This was pushing 10PM. The ship seemed surprisingly dead at this point and I hung out with my disco friends. We all went into Bliss but the music was garbage. It was sad to end the cruise with DJ Ned at the turntables. He literally hid behind his laptop the whole cruise, wasn’t happy with requests and just looked miserable. I don’t know if he thought he was the gift to the DJ world but he was sorely mistaken. His mixing skills were incredibly horrible this night. He didn’t flow with the music styles and it was just choppy. I headed to bed around 1AM more annoyed with the DJ then wanting to stay and hang out for one last night with everyone. After getting their info I took off. NCL can do better than this guy and DJ Keith is proof positive of that. Really wish Keith had closed out the cruise instead. DAY 15 – NEW YORK CITY, NY The ship arrived in the early hours of the morning. By the time I woke up, the ship was alongside at Pier 88 in NYC. Even though we were back early the disembarkation. It wouldn’t start until 8AM with the easy walk-offs which no one did. No one wanted to get up or get off the ship right away. This led to a huge log jam as time went on and the easy walk-off people who didn’t get off started getting off during the luggage tags being called. Several times they had to stop the disembarkation to allow the customs hall to empty out. When we finally got off the ship after 11AM and into the customs hall, we were pretty much the last ones out. It did make our luggage easy to find. Since it was so late we did have to go one block to get a taxi as the queue was insane just across from the terminal building. One block up we had no issues at all getting back to the bus terminal. This review took me awhile to write and usually I’m much faster (click my user name to read all my other reviews). I found it hard because of all the negative things I had to write about. This isn’t the NCL I’m accustomed to. I don’t know what is going on with the Norwegian Breakaway. The lack of attention to detail by the staff, especially the stateroom steward and most of the dining staff in regular and specialty restaurants was astounding! If I hadn’t had Mary Grace and Paolo I would probably have given the ratings much less than I did. I am still stunned at how the ship handled the electrical issues in my cabin. The ship damaged my electric shaver and when I reported it and they found a problem, they still did nothing to resolve the damage to my property. After coming home and sending a message to corporate, still nothing. I’m not a fan of where NCL is going. After completing 25 cruises on them, for positive feedback I’ve received more. It’s like the ship just pretended nothing happened. Truly a sad day for me with NCL. I always close with the people who stood out and usually it’s a long list but if you see these people on the Breakaway, be sure to say hello and expect good service from them. Irma Tuazon, bartender at Shaker’s Bar. Actually, the whole bar staff team at Shaker’s Bar was amazing. DJ Keith is on point! Definitely check him out, especially at the glow party if you love EDM music! Mary Grace was actually signing off with us in New York heading home for a much deserved vacation but Paolo is staying on the ship so I don’t know where he’ll end up. He’s a good kid so seek him out for awesome service. If you’re in the Manhattan Room, try and sit in Jovan’s section. He runs a tight section in there! Cruise Director Alvin, Assistant Cruise Director Luz and Ari were all amazing and kept the fun times going. I usually say I’m looking forward to my next NCL cruise. I’m not so sure after this one where I’m going. I had been looking at a very long voyage with NCL but have recently found myself considering other cruise lines. Maybe it’s time to expand my horizons. Time will tell NCL. I know you’re reading this so wake up and fix the Breakaway Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We bought this cruise as a package deal having seen it advertised in a newspaper and seemingly a good buy. We had never been on a cruise before and were going to celebrate a significant birthday with close friends. So a little bit ... Read More
We bought this cruise as a package deal having seen it advertised in a newspaper and seemingly a good buy. We had never been on a cruise before and were going to celebrate a significant birthday with close friends. So a little bit apprehensive about the cruise being a huge crowd old aged pensioners, being bored whilst at sea, trapped in bad room with no option to change etc. However, we couldn't have been more pleased with our 1st cruise: The Gem holds about 1200 couples and its condition is absolutely pristine. The staterooms are similar to that a hotel so you don't feel cramped or boxed in. The bars and restaurants were great and we did try our best to utterly deplete the alcohol stores; everyday! The food was excellent at every meal and always served quickly - some areas being silver service others being buffets and a good variety of restaurant styles. The gym was very well equipped and I was surprised at the number of other users early in the morning (insomniac :-( ) but not once was there a cross-trainer, treadmill, anything, not available. It was appointed to look forward so early morning users got the additional benefit of seeing the approach as the boat sailed into the docks and wharf's of stunning places. Amazed to find a full sized theatre on board and the shows we saw were very professional and classy and would put some of the shows on Broadway and the West End to shame. Most of the bars had various entertainments through the day ranging from musicians to bingo (not for me), quizzes, talent shows, game shows etc. The sights we visited were a good selection: NYC, of course, Halifax - Nova Scotia, St Johns - Bay of Funday, Portland - Maine Newport - Rhode Island and plenty to see and do nearby the ship and plenty of excursions available for those who like that sort of thing. It has to be said the staff are incredible - everyone, without exception, were wonderfully polite and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble. There are things for sale, auctions, next cruise and the like. But none of it was intrusive or even given the hard sell -you could just ignore if you weren't bothered. If other cruises are up to the standard of the Norwegian Gem I could easily become a fan. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016

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