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1 Norwegian (NCL) Bayonne (Cape Liberty) Cruise Reviews

Sorry for the long review but I value these and got so much from reading them myself that I had to do a thorough one. This was my second cruise in less than 12 months. I previously cruised on the celebrity summit out of Bayonne and ... Read More
Sorry for the long review but I value these and got so much from reading them myself that I had to do a thorough one. This was my second cruise in less than 12 months. I previously cruised on the celebrity summit out of Bayonne and absolutely loved it. My husband myself and my two children were traveling with my brother and sister-in-law and their two children who are close to age to my two children. We cringed at all the terrible reviews that we read on this site, however we got such a good deal for a spring break cruise that we couldn't resist. I went in with somewhat low expectations and I was pleasantly surprised. First of all I hate all the complaints about a crowded terminal or long lines. Of course it's crowded- they're trying to get 4000 people onto a ship or fed for dinner, etc. etc. I thought the terminal check in was well organized. While we did have to wait to board the ship it was not an unreasonable time. We arrived at the port at 10:30 and were on the ship before noon. Since we reserved a cabana on Stirrup Cay there was no need to run to book tenders, which is highly recommended. Instead we headed straight into O'Sheehans pub and had a very nice lunch. However, other cruisers were scrambling around trying to get their specialty dinner reservations made and also buying their weeklong passes for the thermal spa etc. That can be very hectic as everyone is racing around doing the same thing. Our cabins were ready by 1 o'clock so we went to drop off our carry-on pieces and headed straight to Splash Academy which was right next to our rooms on deck 12. Splash Academy was by far our biggest disappointment of this trip. Since it was Easter week and many of the New Jersey schools were off, the ship had 3 times the amount of children it might normally have. This made the lines for splash academy extremely long. We waited over 45 minutes to sign up our children only to find out that my niece had to be separated from the other three because of a small difference in age. We talked to everyone we possibly could to appeal to them on how much this would impact our vacation. Not only would they not budge but Justin, the director of the kids program was quite rude to my sister-in-law. I insisted on going to guest services to complain and when we did our complaint was kindly acknowledged. Eventually, Dan Dan the cruise director set up a meeting for us and apologize profusely, but they could not budge on bumping the ages up or down to accommodate the children to be together. We've been on other vacations before where the accommodation has been made without much fuss, so we were very disappointed that the kids would not be joining in any of the activities because they wanted to be together and because they didn't want to leave my niece by herself. Regardless, it was nice that he took out the time to hear our dissatisfaction and take into consideration our feedback for whatever that's worth. All that being said, the kids didn't miss much since the Splash Academy activities were overcrowded and we're taking far too long to get the kids in and out. There were constantly backed up long lines of parents trying to drop off their kids are trying to pick them up. We were happy to miss out on all that. Let me just say now that being from the New York metro area and a foodie, I am exposed to a lot of really good food. So I don't feel too bad when I say that the food on the ship was OK. Some of it was good but for the most part the food is acceptable for what it is. The daily specials were somewhat ambitious but the execution was always very poor. They trie to do exotic ingredients and pairings but they just didn't work. My biggest complaint about the food is that it was always just warm at best. Nine out of ten times, steaks and burgers were over done. Your best chance of getting a pink steak or burger was to ask for it medium rare and even that was a gamble. The morning buffet got boring after a couple days. I just tried to stick to the basics like scrambled eggs and omelettes but they were always very bland for my taste. Our favorite meal was at the noodle bar however it took us six days to get seats there and that's only because I was lined up 30 minutes before it actually opened. And I was still 4 groups deep!! That was kind of crazy but oh well. Overall the food was OK too good. You will wait a long time for your food to be served but that didn't bother us although I know that some of the biggest complaints on this board. Also your food will never be steaming hot. It will be warm at best but I guess that's the logistics of feeding 4000 people from limited galleys that are very far away. Our other favorite place to eat was O'Sheehans, especially late at night in lieu of a midnight buffet (which they don't offer ). They had great wings and fajitas. But again expect a very long wait. My son and I had a sushi lunch at Wasabi which was again, just OK. We each had two rolls and it came out to $28 which is cheaper than what I would normally pay at a sushi restaurant at home. After that, we did not try any of the other specialty dining so I can't comment on that. I didn't feel like taking the gamble of spending extra money for food that perhaps was not worth it. The Garden Café buffet was probably more exciting for dinner then the main "complimentary" dining rooms. They had a special theme every night, Mexican night or prime rib night. On the last day they also had a Bavarian food fest which was fun and very good. We truly never felt the need to go to any of the specialty dining areas. Also we never not once had reservations and it was never a problem. However I'm sure that's not the case with specialty dining. What makes this truly a great ship and a great cruise is the entertainment and the plethora of activities. I was truly blown away by the talent on this ship. Howl at the Moon and Second City were our absolute favorites. We adults had the best time with Sara, Brandon and Jeremy at dueling pianos. They are so talented and funny and super friendly. We spent three of our nights with them. We also took the kids to the Second City improv shows and they loved every second of it. They kept wanting to go back to every show. It was great to be able to go to a 7 o'clock family show with the kids and then drop them off to their rooms and go back to the later shows for the adults. As families, we also joined in the trivia games, the scavenger hunt, we did the rope course and even the plank. The entertainment and activities were definitely the highlight of our trip. As previously mentioned on many of these posts the bar staff was not as good as it should be. It always took a long time to get drinks at the different bars around the pool and the ship in general. We had the unlimited drink package. I'm sure there's lots of people who plant themselves at one bar all week and probably just tip that crew and as a result get very good service. Having kids that was not an option for us. We were moving around all the time. In general I found most of the waitstaff to be very friendly courteous and helpful. However the auxiliary staff was a different story. I'm talking about your hostesses or attendants, ticketing staff, etc. They seem to have a bit of an attitude and not much patience. Being in customer service myself I did not enjoy that. If I walk up to your desk and you're too busy to help me right away, you can at least acknowledge me and let me know that you'll be with me as soon as you possibly can. Time and time again I was simply ignored until they were ready to deal with me. Not appreciated. The spa was disappointing. I got a full body massage and the technician was very good however she tried to hard sell me very expensive and needless products. She was very imposing and that made me not book another spa appointment again. Also I was rushed in and out for my service. I was never offered a robe or given the opportunity to relax in any of the lounges. That's my favorite part of going to a spa so I was very disappointed. There are two main pools, adults only pool with three hot tub's and a kiddie pool at the bottom of the slides. It seems because of the large number of kids on the ship this week they allowed them to spread out into the adults only area which was great for us. But of course I can see how this is a problem for other people. All the pools are crowded but that's what's to be expected of a large ship with a large number of people. The entire pool deck was very very noisy. There was no lounging or relaxing to be had. If you wanted to read you would have to go to deck 16. Or the H2O deck which was very nice. It's an adult only space with plenty of chairs and two hot tubs. Unfortunately we did not get to enjoy it since we always had the kids with us because they could not be in Splash Academy. All in all it was a very nice cruise and I'm glad we experienced the Breakaway. For the right price I would consider it again. Better port experiences and better food would make it a more appealing cruise for sure. We really only had one good port day and most of the days were either cold or outright stormy. I'll never do another cruise out of NY in early spring. Live and learn... Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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