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Sail Date: January 2018
We cruised on the Gem January 23 to February 3. We were a family of four and had two ocean view cabins, one forward and one mid, deck 5. The cabins were a good size, had no noise and a good location. You did feel more movement in the ... Read More
We cruised on the Gem January 23 to February 3. We were a family of four and had two ocean view cabins, one forward and one mid, deck 5. The cabins were a good size, had no noise and a good location. You did feel more movement in the forward cabin than the mid cabin, I was in the mid cabin. The ship was kept clean but it is showing signs of wear and tear. This was our first winter cruise out of New York but not our first time on the Gem. The Gem is our favorite ship and we were just on her in June. The first sea day and the last sea day was rocky. I heard many people complain and many got sick. I was prepared with my sea bands, meclizine and on the way back put the sea patch on so I really wasn't affected by the rocking. Being prepared was key since I do get sea sick. Weather was pretty good, some rain showers on the islands and on the last sea day. We left at 6pm on Tuesday and by Thursday morning we were sitting out in the sun even thou it was a little windy. Friday was bathing suit time. We had four nights of specialty dining, we ate in La Cucina, Cagney's, Moderno's and Le Bistro. My best meal of the cruise was in Cagney's but all the specialty dining was very good. The MDR was also good but we are getting tired of the same menus especially the lunch menu that never changes. O'Sheehan's is good for a quick bite but that too is getting old. The food in the buffet is poor and the seating is hard to come by so we avoid the buffet as much as possible. We do enjoy sitting outside in the Great Outdoors especially at sunset. We had the UBP and enjoyed sitting above the pool deck at Bali Hai where all the crew is very friendly. Our favorite bartender and one of the reasons we went back on the Gem is Shobir the bartender at Maltings. He is a very respectful young man that makes us feel welcomed and draws a very nice crowd. On our last few cruises we have met some really nice people at Maltings that we have kept in touch with post cruise. Lorena was our CD but she had an emergency and left the ship. Evan the assistant CD was good but I felt on other cruises we connected more with the CD crew than we did on this cruise. Entertainment is just okay. The shows and activities are the same on every cruise. This cruise I didn't go to many shows since we have seen them before. Once again Tim Kaminsky (heard good things about him but have yet to see him) was not on this sailing but we did have a comedian, magician and a ventriloguist. Our first port was on St. Kitt's and we booked the Dolphin Swim, Push and Pull. We really enjoyed this experience and recommend every one try it at least once. Shopped and stopped for a local beer. In St. Lucia we just shopped at the port area. There is a nice little shopping mall, with restaurants and bars. Very clean and a nice area to take some pictures. In Barbados we walked through town to Pirate's Cove. It is about a 15 to 20 minute walk along a nice path to town. A very beautiful and relaxing beach. Food, bar, tables, shade, rest rooms, showers and a little play area for children. We were not hassled by vendors and would recommend this beach to everyone. If you want to take a taxi instead of walking it is $5 pp each way. In Antigua we took a taxi ($3 pp each way) to Dickenson's Bay. This beach was such a disappointment. Little sand and if you rent a chair or shade they cram you in like sardines. So many locals trying to sell you things and if you say no they are the nastiest. There are bars that sell food if you want. After the beach we went back to port and went to the flea market where again we encountered many more nasty locals. I was so looking forward to visiting Antigua since I have never been there and now I would never go back. On all of these islands if you buy a beverage they will give you free WIFI. St. Croix was our last port and since we were only there for a half of day we just walked around the little town. St. Croix is still recovering from the hurricane in fact Carnival's hurricane relief ship was still in port. There weren't many stores opened but we did manage to find some and purchased some items. It felt good to help the economy and it was touching when the local security thanked us for supporting them. There was also tents set up where locals were selling items and Caribbean bands playing music which was nice. There is a little beach at the end of the dock for those who want to lay out in the sun. Embarkation was the longest we ever had but I heard that immigration was on board so that could have been the delay. Disembarkation as usual was long and crazy, no crew around to give direction. NCL has to come up with a better system. Customs was a breeze. We did have an incident on the ship that I was not happy how it was handled. I feel the Hotel Director dropped the ball but I didn't allow it to ruin my vacation. We had one of the largest Meet & Greets and slot pull, too bad we didn't win. Enjoyed our long Caribbean cruise and can't wait to book another one. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
It's hard to say anything bad being on the water and sailing for 14 days so I will just list some pros and cons. This is my first time on Norwegian and this is about my 25th cruise. Cabin#10842 - balcony cabin on the slant. ... Read More
It's hard to say anything bad being on the water and sailing for 14 days so I will just list some pros and cons. This is my first time on Norwegian and this is about my 25th cruise. Cabin#10842 - balcony cabin on the slant. Traveling with my friend. First: Booked directly through Norwegian. Asked for a Mini-Suite but was told that the beds could not be separated. Called back and asked again and was told by same guy the same after he asked someone. So had to take a smaller balcony room. Was totally MIFFED to find out that wasn't the case and that the beds can be separated. Disappointing to say the least. Second: let me cover some shout outs to staffs and thumbs down to others: Thumbs down: To the hostess for Blue Ocean. She is a snob, rarely smiles and needs to be retrained. Sorry we inconvenienced to seat us in the empty restaurant and explain the menu. THUMBS UP: * Our cabin steward, Garfield was fantastic and always upbeat, helpful and went out of his way to make us happy. * Cagney's Bar: Jay is the bartender and he will take good care of you. Fast, personable and what you want in the perfect bartender. * Ice Bar Hostess: Thanks for smiling and saying hello everytime we walked by. * The Towel Girl (young woman) in the ladies spa locker room. She was a delight to talk with and very sweet. PROS *Itinerary was really great. 14 days in the Caribbean/Mexico. * CABIN: Nice room, comfortable beds. Great pillows. Shower gel (no soap) and Shampoo Dispenser in shower. A good blow dryer. * DINING: A good variety of restaurants! - FYI: the dining packages: it's a limited menu at the specialty (a la cart) restaurants, but still a great selection. The buffet selection was surprisingly really good. Easy to find a table! Super nice staff. We didn't use the general dining rooms but chose a la cart restaurants and buffets. - Bakery: Cupcakes! But they charge you! :( - Scooped ice cream/sherbet and yummy desserts. - Healthy choices at the buffet. * ICE BAR – So cool! Wear something warm to stay awhile. The bartender was a delight and will make you laugh. * EXCURSIONS: Well organized and nicely done. We only did the plantation tour on Jamaica and thought it was fantastic. * ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor was fabulous!! Don't miss it! Broadway level performance. The Cirque show was fantastic. If you have seen the show, Absinthe in Vegas, think of it as a taster/trailer for that show. * ACTIVITIES: Ropes course is awesome! Walk the plank! The jogging path was good (but it's January and no people on the lounge chairs to trip over). So in the daytime you can drink, try the rope course, decorate a cake, play bingo or trivia, buy mass produced art, learn the cha-cha. Lots of mindless fun! The card rooms are nice and quiet. You can also just walk around and explore. It's a HUGE ship. * SPA: Workout room has plenty of equipment and the wait during busy times was normally short. We worked out almost every day. * CASINO: Weird layout but a good amount of machines and super nice staff. * Guest Services: Fast service. Friendly. Helpful. * SHIP: Touchscreen wall units on every floor near the elevator makes it super easy to figure out where you are and what activities are going on throughout the ship. CONS/Info They nickel and dime you to death. $18.00 for a Hendricks and soda. * CABIN: Balconies are small even on the slant. Lack of storage in cabin and bathroom. no mirrors position so that you can see the back of yourself (which is probably good come to think of it). but it's nice to see the back of your hair when you are doing the "do" :) * BATHROOM: Bring your own hair products/conditioner/lotion * SHIP 1. Stairwells: People sit all over them.... I tripped over one guy and about did a face plant. They should consider adding benches against the wall below the clocks for people the sit and wait for whoever they are waiting for. 2. Atrium: Crowded, Cluttered with chairs. Hard to move around the bar and not enough bartenders to deal with the amount of people. a bottle neck trying to get to elevators. 3. 4200 people and it felt like 4200 people. But it’s January and most people were inside rather than spread outside, so I will give them that. * CASINO: Smokers everywhere. * INTERNET: WiFi: TOTAL RIPOFF. I received 1000mb with my package. After about the 3- or 4th day when I ran out of mb (I am a business traveler and need to work - most is done over the internet- I went down to the desk to purchase the unlimited data plan for $24.99/day and was told "no" and "that that package is only good to purchase for the first 2 days" and so it will force you to purchase 1000mb for $125... I wasn't up to spending $600 for internet. Celebrity Cruises and RCI charge $150 or $200 for the entire cruise (long cruises). Norwegian has an opportunity to attract business travelers/virtual workforce passengers. * SPA: 1. we both paid $349 for the spa package. Overpriced. People are living in there (hyperbole). Tile beds that they really push at you during the sales process they should have also said that they are full of snoring people or readers who lay on them throughout the day without budging, and others save the lounge chairs for when they show up later.... I realized for the same price I could have upgraded to the Haven – unless that are all mini-suites ☹ 2. The SPA PEOPLE! OMG! THEY ATTACK YOU AT EVERY STAIRWELL AND AT ALL THE ELEVATORS. CONSTANTLY SELLING YOU MASSAGES! FACIALS! SO Annoying! GO AWAY! It really takes away from your day when you are constantly asked to buy something. Am I leaving the gates of Jamaica or am I on a cruise ship? I was ready for one of them to ask me if I wanted a taxi to the beach. They really need to rope the SPA Marketing in a bit. 3. Bought a pedicure. Paid $80. Stone pedicure She picked up the stone, put it on my leg for about 3-4 seconds. my nail polish had two thin coats. I took picture of my $80 pedicure to remind me to not treat myself to a $14 pedicure sold as an $80 pedicure ever again. They give you a choice of 16 colors, half are summer colors. It's January. and then the entire time she is trying to sell my skin products, feet products....couldn't even relax. I'll save that $80 for a few margarita's next time...that will relax me :) *DINING: The banging!! tambourine woman and the guitar singer from the morning shift at the buffet. It's so loud you hear it everywhere you dine in the buffet area. Bang! Bang! Bang! They are good and I enjoy them! But not at 8AM in the morning. It's worse than an alarm clock, at least your alarm clock you can turn off. Room Service is $10!! And they served us green bananas and the order was 1/2 wrong. thanks. The ART Space: Ugh. Mass produced and many are just old looking art. So many great new artists out there! I’ve seen a lot of this art for years. Need something fresh and new! *ACTIVITIES: No Enrichment Series... no Astronomy speaker ... just bingo and cake decorating.... :( Overall, it was a good cruise and I am rating it average-plus, because the my Norwegian agent doesn’t know the cabins, yet he sells them for Norwegian and instead of asking someone for help, he lied to me and chuckled when I told him about the mini-suites having beds that separate (a day before my cruise) and he said, “well next time….”… well humph. The overselling of the spa treatments everywhere you turn is just cheesy and too much in your face marketing – I work virtually –and the Wifi pricing is archaic compared to other lines. It’s a nice ship with lots to do, but until they correct the internet pricing and tame the out of control spa marketing army, I will choose another line. But we really enjoyed the trip. 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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We normally do not cruise Norwegian although we have in the past. We chose this cruise strictly based on the itinerary of Western Caribbean sailing from New York. Boarding was chaos due to the change of arrival time for the previous ... Read More
We normally do not cruise Norwegian although we have in the past. We chose this cruise strictly based on the itinerary of Western Caribbean sailing from New York. Boarding was chaos due to the change of arrival time for the previous cruise. We asked for special assistance boarding and received confirmation prior to boarding. When we arrived at the special needs area there was no consideration that we were on a list and no list to be seen, justmany, many people waiting and over a two hour wait. We had a mini suite which was very narrow and the word mini was appropriate? The bathroom was great and the only item that would be suite like. The room had an uncomfortable coach so we needed to take a chair from the balcony to sit on, this further encroached on our limited space. Unless you like big bathrooms one would be better off with a regular balcony room, which I believe are larger. The food was good, although the restaurants that charged were overpriced and minute portions. The “free dining” rooms are small therefore encouraging one to use the pay services. The Garden Cafecis the best bet and good food, albeit cafeteria style. The WIFI on ship is expensive and not very good, only good fro checking emails and social media. Unable to play videos which we are able to do on other cruise lines. We had three sea days at the end of the trip. The weather was poor so outdoor activities were non existent. There was little to and we became bored, we were not the only passengers to sxpress boredom. There’s was a definite lack of shipboard activities. The staff at guest services were unresponsive however the majority of the other staff were helpful and very pleasant. A big positive was the cleanliness of the ship. Do not think we would take a Norwegian Cruise In the future. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We picked Norwegian because it we'd never sailed with them and decided to give them a try. We'd been on Princess before and were looking to see if we could do better. This seemed like a great itinerary because we would start in ... Read More
We picked Norwegian because it we'd never sailed with them and decided to give them a try. We'd been on Princess before and were looking to see if we could do better. This seemed like a great itinerary because we would start in Manhattan; it would only get warmer from there - right?! Turns out you waste 3-4 days because it's just too cold to be outside for too long. We got to NY the day before our cruise. We loved NY so much that we decided to come back, but only when it's warmer. Just too much to see and do, could not fit it all in. Getting on the ship was tough because there were delays due to weather inbound to NY. Anxious people were getting impatient with the time frame and what should have been an easy staggered process was upended by the delay. We did finally get on the ship and things got quite a bit smoother from there. We paid a bit extra and got the bigger deck, our room was 8736. That was money well spent, the deck had two loungers and we were able to get good sun right in our room. It was nice to not have to get "ready" to start getting some sun. The bed was comfortable enough, we brought our own fan/noise maker. It really helped drown out all the extraneous activity when sleeping. The bathroom was GREAT! Nice shower and didn't feel cramped in there at all. We did spend some time on the upper decks, good luck trying to get a bartender/waiter to serve you while you are in a lounge chair. We only saw one come to our area and it took so long that our drinks had no ice in them when they arrived. Otherwise it was usually easy to find an open bartender. We brought our own metal cups with lids (with straws) and that made trips to the bar far less frequent and kept our drinks nice and cold. We did two excursions, dune buggy in Cozumel and catamaran in Belize. I highly recommend both. The only really bad meal we had was at the Italian restaurant. All other food was of a high quality and the service was incredible. Eating at the Brazilian restaurant... YUMMY. I could have had dinner there EVERY night. The steakhouse was very good too. The onboard entertainment was pretty good, always seemed like there was something to do besides just eat and drink. TV choices were very limited and if you wanted to see a movie in your cabin, it was another (around) $10 each. Princess handled this much better... all the TV shows and movies were free and included an ESPN channel. I'm glad we downloaded a few seasons of a few shows we wanted to see using Netflix. We had the internet package. It worked pretty well. Where we wanted to download a few more episodes on Netflix, that didn't work. The connection was quite slow... but it worked for most email as long as there were no large attachments. We won't likely start in a cold port, sail to a warm port again. Just too many clothes to take. There is laundry service onboard. We waited for a sale (fill a pretty good sized bag for $20) to get some garments taken care of; that really helped. I want to add that it was hard to escape the cigarette smoke on the ship. All the outside bars had smoking areas close to them. Even on our own personal deck, the smoke would come in from the front of the ship and it really took away from the experience. I really wanted to experience the fresh air of the sea and was robbed of that experience often. We finally found an area above the pool deck on the right side that would shelter us from the smoke, but just going to get a drink was tough to avoid. I'd like to try Royal Caribbean next time... start and stay in warm weather. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We booked this cruise along with friends (now Family) that we met on previous cruises! The only thing that made this cruise enjoyable was that we were not alone. Sub Par food outside of specialty dining. This ship was horribly ... Read More
We booked this cruise along with friends (now Family) that we met on previous cruises! The only thing that made this cruise enjoyable was that we were not alone. Sub Par food outside of specialty dining. This ship was horribly designed. The Gem is a smaller ship that feels so much bigger because of the ships design. My Girlfriend had a spill in the first cabin we were in 2 nights of no sleep due to a crying baby in the cabin next to us. She got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom lost her balance, fell and cut her head open. We went to the medical center on the ship. the doctor stitched her wound and then proceeded to stitch gauze over the wound. when I questioned this he told me it was to secure the gauze. I'm no doctor but i'm sure this could have been accomplished by wrapping the gauze. this required a return visit to cut the gauze out. which cost an additional 250.00 on top of the 850.00 for the initial visit. Margaritaville has a 15 cover charge just to sit down now. i preferred it when you could go in and pay ala carte. still trying to figure out why even with the dining package you have to pay $18 per person to eat there and can't order the best thing on the menu without paying for it. It just seems like you pay more and get less. I think the next time I cruise it will be with a different cruise line. There was a Terrible rock band on the ship. seemed like they were thrown together not an actual band. just not fun. And hard as I try I have a big problem with the cruise directors staff barely having a grasp of the English language. Most announcements are hard to understand. I'm sure there are plenty of people that speak clear English that would love a job like that if the pay was fair. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose the western caribbean because of the sea days in between ports and booked with 3 other couples and 4 children. Since our last Breakaway cruise in Nov.2016, the fee was added for Margaritaville which was disappointing. We used to ... Read More
We chose the western caribbean because of the sea days in between ports and booked with 3 other couples and 4 children. Since our last Breakaway cruise in Nov.2016, the fee was added for Margaritaville which was disappointing. We used to go there a lot but not this time; not paying $10 p/p when there’s 13 of us! The addition of the 2 “private” islands is a joke! Especially since they don’t allow you to use your room card for purchases on what they call Belize! Was not Belize, nor was there any tours available to go there! Don’t get me wrong, the 17 acre property that NCL acquired is gorgeous, but it is NCL....looking to get more money out of us! As for the ship, it had suffered major dr damages from the previous voyage. The stabilizers were not operational and therefore, during evenings ( when ship was moving faster ) the motion was worse than I have experienced on a RC during hurricane. The ship left 3 hours later than expected f from NYC, due to these problems and ported almost 4 1/2 hours late in Port Canaveral and cut our 7hour Florida port to 3 hours! The water slides suffered damages as well and did not open until the 4 th- 5 th day, and even then, only 1 would open at a time. Not until almost our 11day, did all 3 slides operate. The rumor was they needed to be “ inspected”, but according to the crew that was repairing things on the ship, it was the damage from the previous voyage. There was a lot of injuries on the ship due to motion while moving fast, including myself f falling in my cabin while walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night requiring an ER visit and 8 stitches to my head! Another guy fell off the high bar stool in Maltings and had even more stitches to his head. As for the “upgrade. program”, I bid on a minisuite from a balcony and ended up in a room that looked all beat up in the bathroom and the hallway by my cabin door. The tub facia had a huge whole cracked out of it and when my husband took a shower, the whole panel fell out! I was also put next door to a screaming baby who screamed every 1 1/2 hr, so bad that I had to call the front desk at midnight to complain. I asked in person the next morning to have my cabin changed as I would not be enjoying my vacation with the baby next door and was told that they were at full capacity and they could not change my room. Not until the third day after I split my head open, did they accommodate my wishes. I recommend travel insurance regardless of goioing out from your ho home port. I did not purchase it and my ER bill was $845! The dr sewed a piece of gauze on to my scalp ( to help with clotting he claimed) and then charged another $245 to remove it the following day! What a scam! I paid out of pocket and am waiting on reimbursement from my insurance, and all i received from NCL for my injury was 3 chocolate covered strawberries and a $4 bottle of wine! That was from the Guest Supervisor for my re reimbursement for the $$ I didn’t get back for my upgrade!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our first time cruising NCL. We have cruised 5 times on Carnival, but because Carnival no longer has cruises in the winter out of NYC, we figured we would try NCL. This was a 15 day cruise to the western Caribbean. We left ... Read More
This was our first time cruising NCL. We have cruised 5 times on Carnival, but because Carnival no longer has cruises in the winter out of NYC, we figured we would try NCL. This was a 15 day cruise to the western Caribbean. We left NYC on January 19th and returned on February 2nd. We were notified the day before our departure that the ship (Breakaway) was docking several hours late from the previous cruise, due to poor weather. NCL said we would depart NYC between 4pm and 6pm. We departed around 7:30 pm. First port stop was Port Canaveral, Florida. We arrived 5+ hours late past our 1:00 pm scheduled arrival time. All excursions were canceled due to the late arrival. We were told we would leave around 10 pm. We left at 12:50 am. Rumor had it that there was a labor dispute on the dock, but we were never told by NCL why we were so late. Second stop was Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, the NCL private island. We were scheduled to arrive at 10:00 am, but didn’t arrive until around 12:30 pm. All aboard was 5:00 pm. By the time we could tender in to the island, we arrived around 1:30 pm. After grabbing lunch at their buffet, we only had less than 2 hours to spend on the beach because the last tender was at 4:30. The staff on the island were mostly the same staff from the ship. The food was very bland. Very few choices at the buffet. We attempted to rent a clamshell the night before on the ship, but they said they were all rented, but we could check with their rental place on the island. We could never find the rental place. It may have been near the straw market, but there were so many people rushing through and with trying to avoid all of the photo opps, we may have missed it. Overall, the island was pretty clean. The water was surprisingly chilly, but beautiful. There were plenty of lounge chairs to choose from. It just would have been nice to have been able to spend our pre-allotted time there because it wasn’t worth it for only a couple of hours. The third stop was in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We arrived late, but not too late. The area around the port is pretty bad. There is a lot of construction going on including street closures. We were approached 23 times by people wanting to take us places or sell us something and that was just between the security exit/entrance to the main street. We walked a ways down Main Street, but it did not seem very safe and we kept getting approached by people popping out from porches and in between buildings. They were very aggressive. We shopped at a couple of stores at the Tajmahal Plaza. We then ate lunch at the Reggae Alley, which was pretty good. If we were to go back to Ocho Rios, we would need to do an excursion to get away from the port area, but then that is more money. Fourth stop was Georgetown Cayman Islands. We took a taxi (large van crammed with 29 people) to the 7 mile beach at Calico Jack’s Bar and Grill. This beach was phoenominal!!! The water was beautiful. We paid $10 for 2 lounge chairs, under some trees, with a great view, and stayed there the entire time. This was a highlight of our trip. There were changing/bathrooms at Calico Jack’s. Calico Jack’s was very expensive. $12.50 for a plastic cup of frozen Margaretta’s. They were good, but not that good. We would definitely go back to this spot! Stop five was Harvest Caye, Belize. This really isn’t “Belize”. It’s a small island off of the main land, so don’t think you’re getting the true Belize experience. We did the Maya Key Private Island excursion. Another great place!! The short 3-5 minute boat ride to a pristine little island with a full introduction of the facilities from a guide. The animal sanctuary had some great animals. The up close and personal visit with the spider monkeys will be the highlight of your trip. The pool had quite a few people around it who seemed to be having a good time. The beach was great and there were more than enough lounge chairs available. We actually found a spot behind the pool area, along the beach, that was like we were on our own private island. No one around for hours!!! They served lunch that was great! The only thing I could say is that you need to watch out for the red ants!! They seemed to be everywhere and their bite hurt. There were worse near the animal cages, but not too bad on the beach. Sixth stop was Cozumel, Mexico. The water here was some of the most beautiful water we saw on the trip. We did the Salsa Salsa excursion, which was very good. A bit pricey at $119 a person, but we did enjoy it. The stores at the port are not very good. Seems to be a glorified open air mall. The duty free shop is TERRIBLE!!! I would not buy anything there if I were you. I bought $180 worth of cigars, of which, $160 worth were bad. They were filled with mold and these were cigars in a sealed box and sealed tube. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about this duty free store. Would love to travel more into Cozumel next time. Beware, everyone begs for tips. The NCL Breakaway, overall, was a disappointment. The embarkation in NYC went pretty smoothly. The fact that we left so late and pretty much had to cancel our first port, was a huge disappointment. Our stateroom was on deck 11 and was a mini-suite with a balcony. Overall, the room was very good. The steward kept the room very clean. The balcony was a bit small for my taste, but nothing you can do about that. We actually originally booked a regular balcony room on deck 9, but NCL offers an, “auction”, type program where you can bid on higher rooms if they are available. We paid an additional $440 for the upgrade to the mini-suite. The biggest improvement was the bathroom, which was a lot larger and a long sink to accommodate 2 people at the same time. It was nice, but we never were both in the bathroom at the same time. The bed was two singles put together. The mattress was terrible. You could visibly see the sag in them from the doorway. We called customer service to see if they had a topper they could give us. Customer services was very rude and hung-up on us. Our steward did provide a topper, which was just another duvet placed under the sheet, but it did help. HVAC was adequate, except at night the AC really didn’t seem to work well. The empty mini-fridge was great to have. Shower was very good, but also very hot. Either had cold or scalding. The food aboard the Breakaway was a huge disappointment. The Garden Café, which is the main place to eat for everyone at any time, was very disappointing. 80% of the food we had was either room temperature, slightly above room temperature, or cold. The Asian vegetable stir fry was slightly warm, but the shrimp in it were cold. All of the food was very bland. No taste. Scrambled eggs were swimming in water most of the time. Salad fixings were okay, but nothing to write home about. They had a pretty wide selection of foods, but again, they all had no taste and were not warm enough to be served at any restaurant according to health department requirements. The specialty restaurants were slightly better. Much of their food was identical to the Garden Café, but presented better. All portions were very small. Food, for the most part, was served at a warmer temperature than at the Garden Café. We had a 4 dinner dining package that came with our stateroom. It was okay, but I would never pay the extra costs to eat at any of these specialty restaurants. The Ocean Blue restaurant was the best out of all of them. The wait staff here were far better than any other restaurant. The food here was better as well, but again, not worth the extra fees if you have to pay on your own outside of the package. We were very disappointed that certain bars were closed a lot. Especially one out of two pool bars. At 6pm, they roll up the pool deck and really don’t want anyone there. In fact, on several nights, at 6 to 6:30 pm, maintenance workers came out and started working. One night they were varnishing all around the pool bar. The smell was so bad that we had to leave. We did notice that there was a lot of work going on at all hours of the day. Much more than I had ever experienced on any other cruise. In fact, on Carnival, you never saw them working unless it was an emergency. They worked after everyone was gone. The layout of the Breakaway is not our cup of tea. In fact, we heard a lot of people complaining about the same things. The “Atrium”, with is their big highlight and all you hear about, is located on deck 6, right across from the customer service desks, excursion desk, next cruise desk, etc. There is something going on all of the time in the Atrium. It makes it extremely difficult to hear or talk to customer service. I don’t know how they can work like that, day after day. The Atrium is open through decks 7 and 8. Deck 7 has high top tables and bar stools all around the glass half wall so you can look down to deck 6 Atrium. It is so overcrowded and loud from deck 6 through 8, that you can’t stay there very long. They really need to hold events in the large theater instead of the Atrium. We heard a lot of complaints about the Atrium. The O’Sheehan’s bar on deck 7 was terrible. It was so loud from the Atrium that you can’t hear each other talk. The food here was the worst on the ship. I had Shepard’s pie, which was not like anything I’ve ever had in my life, not to mention it was bone dry and very small. This could easily be a number one hangout if not for the Atrium. The staff. I would say that at least half of the staff seemed like they didn’t want to be there. They never smiled. They never acknowledged you. Most all of the staff we encountered had a very poor understanding of the English language, both hearing and speaking. The bar waiters continuously got our drink orders wrong. A Crown Royal with 7-Up is pretty simple, but 6 times they messed it up. When sitting outside on the decks, especially near the Malting’s Bar, you couldn’t buy a drink. The wait staff never came around or if they did, they just picked-up glasses and never asked if you wanted anything else. Outside of the Shaker’s bar was much better. I smoke cigars. I like to have one once in a while. The Humidor Room was horrible. It was always crowded with cigarette smokers. The ventilation was extremely bad. Last thing I want to do is breath in everyone’s smoke, but that’s what happens in there. Before I went on the cruise, someone told me to be careful because, “they nickel and dime you to death’. That is true. Bingo and other activities are extremely expensive. The casino was horrible. I played Black Jack at a couple of tables. None of the dealers spoke a word for the hours I was there. In fact, they had difficulty counting and adding up the cards. Did not make for an enjoyable experience. Debarkation in NYC. One word, “nightmare”. Long delays trying to get off of the ship. They would call your color, then 10 minutes later say they were very backed-up. A lot of standing around waiting. Once off of the ship and in the terminal, the staff was extremely rude not to mention that you couldn’t tell who staff was and who wasn’t. There also were very few staff anywhere. No one was helping disabled passengers. It was as if as soon as you walked off of the ship, NCL was done with you. Luggage was place in sections by the tag color used. We had green tags. It took us 40 minutes to find our bags. One was in one green section and the other was half way down the terminal in another green section. It was so crowded that people were getting tripped and falling down. Again, no one to assist them. Only a couple of workers yelling at people. Not enough customs booths open. The onboard entertainment was below average compared to what we've had on other cruises. Arvin and Emily were the main singers/performers for the ENTIRE cruise. It seemed like they were constantly performing in the Atrium. Don't take this wrong, but I didn't care for their accents, which caused the songs to sound out of key and difficult to understand the words. They did Motown, which was awful. My wife heard them sin show tunes and they were very good. The tamborene and guitar player (2 crew/staff) playing in the Garden Cafe, need to go. Soulful pleasures was a group that was very good and played in the bars mostly. Individual solo piano players, not good. The main theater shows were very good. Rock of Ages was fantastic. Burn the Floor was great. Matt Johnson the magician was good. The NCL app was not great at all and in fact, had incorrect information several times. It's ashame, because the app could be a huge help. Overall, very poor communications overall. The cruise director was French, I believe, and his accent was so bad, and he was so poorly speaking English, that you couldn't understand many things he said. All said and done, we didn’t like the Breakaway’s layout, mainly the Atrium, lack of staff interaction, lack of English speaking/comprehension amongst most staff, and the poor food quality, not to mention the overall cost of the cruise. So, we won’t be cruising the Breakaway again, but may possibly try another ship at some point-in-time. We’ll see. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
This is our third NCL Cruise out of five cruises. We selected this itinerary because we had not visited the Western Caribbean area yet. We had great weather for the cruise although it was a little cooler than our past "winter" ... Read More
This is our third NCL Cruise out of five cruises. We selected this itinerary because we had not visited the Western Caribbean area yet. We had great weather for the cruise although it was a little cooler than our past "winter" cruises. Our embarkation was flawless. Our cabin was clean and fully stocked when we arrived. We ate in the main dining room the first night and the food and service was very good! During the cruise we ate in 4 "specialty" restaurants and were only disappointed when we ate in Cagney's Steakhouse. I found the steak tough and bland. Generally the food at all the other venues was very good. We enjoyed the entertainment on the boat, although the seats in the Breakaway Theater leave much to be desired. I have found high school bleachers more comfortable. With the help of Tyrone at the Shore Excursion desk, we found appropriate excursions for each port we visited. We loved the Island stops and had fun on the boat and bus tours. This was our second cruise on the NCL Breakaway and we like the ship. This cruise was better than the last, possibly because we were already familiar with the layout and offerings. The biggest drawback, and this may pertain to all these mega cruise ships, it the lack of seating available in the common areas. If they close off the outside decks due to high wind or bad weather (like they did on our return trip), there is not enough seating for everyone so you end up walking around with no place to sit or are stuck in your cabin. With a three day cruise home, this gets old real fast. This situation was serious enough, in my opinion, that it prevented me from giving the cruise five stars. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Wanted Western Caribbean itinerary, done Eastern and Southern many times. Embarkation OK; disembarkation, a disaster--2+ hour beyond our scheduled time. Many more wheelchairs/pushers needed. This our 3rd/4th time on Breakaway. ... Read More
Wanted Western Caribbean itinerary, done Eastern and Southern many times. Embarkation OK; disembarkation, a disaster--2+ hour beyond our scheduled time. Many more wheelchairs/pushers needed. This our 3rd/4th time on Breakaway. Food better prepared, plated and served than '17. More menu creativity would be welcome. Too many people. Shouldn't have to arrive an hour early for a seat for an atrium event, or hunt endlessly for a chair in a cocktail lounge, bar or just read. Entertainment mixed, mostly poor over amped, screeching performances. Accompaniment for theatre singers mostly pre-recorded. A new low! Like disappearing towel animals--only 2 in 14 days. Family balcony cabin small, but OK. Little storage, but putting luggage under bed helps. Overworked staff meant cabin often not cleaned until after 2 PM. No enrichment program. Just trivia and health/spa sessions designed to sell services. Port information restricted to shopping (usually for diamonds) in ship chosen shops and excursions in a TV presentation. Ports OK but Canaveral could be dropped. Little nearby. Didn't get off. Service in dining rooms was generally very good to excellent. Maintenance also seems down. Windows/balconies not cleaned; railings not wiped down. Lost of concern about where things are going. Hope it will be unfounded. Will probably do Norwegian again with other ships. Few NYC options in winter. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I was angry the first time I wrote this review, three days into my trip. I still feel that this is not the old Breakaway/Norwegian experience, but in general the trip improved as it went on. The primary problem was lack of communication; ... Read More
I was angry the first time I wrote this review, three days into my trip. I still feel that this is not the old Breakaway/Norwegian experience, but in general the trip improved as it went on. The primary problem was lack of communication; for example, they could have let us know well in advance that our shore excursions in Florida were going to be canceled because of our late arrival, but instead they told us at the absolute last minute.They also could have told us from the first that parts of the deck were going to remain closed off due to damage from the prior storm, but instead they left us to wander around and be annoyed that we couldn't do our exercise walk all the way around the deck. That kind of thing is small, but it means you run into a lot of annoyed people each day and that creates a bad atmosphere. I also think that the crew did a fantastic job of getting the energy up as the cruise went on. We talked to a number of them and to other passengers as well, and though the energy was lower than it was in the past, and the passengers noticed, the crew were really doing their best. I get the sense that staff may have been cut? It was 1600 on this trip and I think it was upwards of 2000 the last time I was on, but I'm not 100% sure. Many people also felt there was a lack of organization, though I didn't experience that, and of course that could be due to lower than needed staff levels. I did end up enjoying myself, mainly due to the very good entertainment and our favorite specialty restaurants. As the cruise went on I was less angry about the initial hitches and I really liked the destinations. So all in all, this cruise ended up well. Read Less
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