Ok, where to begin. First off, if sailing out of NYC- get there early if you want to park at the port- there are plenty of parking garages in the area, but the convenience of parking at the port is worth the extra $$. We saw people ... Read More
Ok, where to begin. First off, if sailing out of NYC- get there early if you want to park at the port- there are plenty of parking garages in the area, but the convenience of parking at the port is worth the extra $$. We saw people struggling with their bags, trying to keep an eye on little kids, pushing wheelchairs, etc., having to schlep a few city blocks thru crazy NYC traffic. It's not worth it, just to save a few $$.
We have sailed NCL on 4 other cruises- all having been in The Haven. With that being said, we tend to not be your typical cruisers we do not have high demands or expectations. I do however expect a tad bit more attention when sailing in a Villa in the Haven. In the past, we have only sailed in the Owners Suites. One of the "perks" of this suite is that you are provided your choice of 3 bottles of liquor/Wine for your room, and of course, sodas and water. When we made the initial reservation we were going to book an owners suite and another room for our 18 year old son. But, the NCL cruise consultant we spoke to- Javier, suggested that we consider the Family Villa Suite, as it has 2 bedrooms, it was smaller square footage wise, but it would be nice to have our son in the same cabin. So we opted for the Family Villa- NOT realizing that by doing so, we were going from an H2 category suite to an H4, category, thus changing the "amenities" that were offered. We didn't know this, and I feel it should have been explained to us prior to our final decision. It didn't occur to me that the amenities would be so different for the different rooms within the Haven, lesson learned. The big difference was not having the liquor available in our room. This might not sound like a big deal to most cruisers. But, it is a HUGE convenience for us. My husband enjoys spending time in our cabin, thus the reason we always travel in the larger suites, so having the bar set up in our cabin is a nice touch. Another thing taken away was unlimited sodas and water. Really NCL??? Someone pays $30,000 on a cruise and you are going to deny them a can of Pepsi in their cabin? Honestly, how petty can you be?
We were not overly impressed by any of the staff as we have been on our previous cruises. The staff in the haven this go around seemed to be on "auto pilot." The bartender in the bar area- blond, female- was the absolute worst bartender we have ever encountered. And this was not just our opinion, but the opinion of many other passengers, who disliked dealing with her so much, that they were leaving the haven area to go to another bar just to get drinks from the much friendlier more energetic pool bar staff. She got to be so uncomfortable to be around that I alerted the Food and Beverage manager to complain. He was great, by the way, and quite prompt to listen to our concerns. I am sure that something was said to this bartender, because the next day after expressing our complaint, she couldn't have been nicer- almost to the point of being ridiculous for the rest of the cruise. The staff in the Haven dining room were great and so was the food. My husband could eat there every night, but I like a bit more variety, I do wish they would alter their menu somewhat over the course of the cruise.
Now, to move on to our Butler- our day time butler was great- but our nighttime butler, was just the worst. He was very rude, and made no attempt to be cordial or welcoming. I was not feeling well one night, and couldn't decide on what to eat, so I ordered 3 different "entrees"- a bowl of chicken soup, a grilled cheese sandwich (please make sure the cheese is melted) and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I told him that the sandwiches could be put onto one plate to make things easier. He arrived and of course everything was on a separate plate, so I asked him to wait while I transferred everything to one plate. He refused, stating that he had other passengers to "deal" with. Well, OK then.
With regard to the state room., The balcony was tiny- we usually spend a lot of time on the balcony, but it's size "forced" us to utilize the Haven sundeck- which was fine, but to be able to comfortably sit out on a balcony to watch the sun go down is a nice touch and in the process of making an even larger ship, NCL has made the cabins/balcony's smaller, thus another learned lesson, all ships are NOT created equal and not all Haven's are the same.
The Cirque show was very good, loved the intimacy of the show. There was plenty of things to keep you busy if you wanted to be. The obstacle course was great fun. And the "Escape" game was quite the challenge. Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville is hardly open- 12 pm to 4 pm daily? Why bother? That space could be used for something way more exciting, like bumper cars like you just put on NCL Sun! The burger we got there however, was "da Bomb!"
Embarkation and disembarkation were an absolute breeze- When disembarking, as a haven guest you have your own designated line with which to proceed thru customs, (not something all haven guests knew about, as we saw fellow "Havenites" on the other side of the rope who saw us and asked how we got to where we were) this is worth the extra $$ just for the convenience, picture 5,000 plus people lined up to get thru maybe a dozen customs agents, and you can see how much time it can take. We literally expressed our way off the ship had a 5 minute wait for customs and were driving away in less than 20 minutes from the time we left our cabin to driving off. Just fabulous!!
With regard to Bermuda- I wouldn't waste a day going to St. Georges- I appreciate NCL's attempt to placate to the business owners on that side of the island, by providing a free ferry, but 3 hours is a very long time for St. Georges. You can walk the entire town, LEISURELY in about 1 hour- AND have time to shop. I think they should run the ferries every hour. Kings Wharf/Dockyard isn't the best place I've ever docked., but having the ferries close by that can whisk you to Hamilton in 20 minutes is great. Ferries are definitely the way to go- keep in mind there is only 1 road, so it takes 45 minutes or more to get to the other side of the island.
All in all it was a good cruise- it's unfortunate that the haven staff on this particular ship just didn't win us over or give us that WOW experience as we've had on other ships- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE NCL Escape and look forward to sailing her again soon. I don't see another sailing on the Breakaway in our future. Read Less