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26 Bermuda Spa Cruise Reviews

537 days ago I booked the Norwegian Breakaway, the ship wasn't even in the harbor yet. I have sailed The Gem and The Dawn and both were very nice ships. This time was going to be a little different.. this trip was for my husbands 50th ... Read More
537 days ago I booked the Norwegian Breakaway, the ship wasn't even in the harbor yet. I have sailed The Gem and The Dawn and both were very nice ships. This time was going to be a little different.. this trip was for my husbands 50th and I booked the Haven...well it was everything I had imagined, read about looked up and more. The thing about NCL is the staff they are all amazing ..always ...whether you are in the Haven or not. The food no matter where I ate Speciality, Haven private or the Manhattan room (no fee) The service, the food, the staff excellent. The thing that blows my mind is the negative reviews?? One okay day on an NCL ship is by far better than a good day at home. I will sail again and again with NCL...everything was perfect. I'd like to send a special thanks to the following people who made our vacation so SPECIAL...Alina, Rochell, Anoop, Denzel,DeLaura, Christina, Cecilio,Alvin, Julie, Satees,Lorna ,Michele,Alex Godi, Phy, Elvina and a extra special thanks to Paula in the spa WOW...get the Thermal Spa it is EVERYTHING relaxing.....to all the people who are waiting at the port with cool cloths and ice water.....no stone left unturned. Thank you NCL you made a beautiful memory for my family and friends...can't wait till we meet again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
DH and I went out of Cape Liberty on 7/6/14 on the Summit. Embarkation was the easiest ever. We drove down on Sunday morning, parked the car and were on the boat by 11am. Once on the ship we were escorted to BLU for a nice brunch. As ... Read More
DH and I went out of Cape Liberty on 7/6/14 on the Summit. Embarkation was the easiest ever. We drove down on Sunday morning, parked the car and were on the boat by 11am. Once on the ship we were escorted to BLU for a nice brunch. As always the food did not disappoint. This was the case during the entire cruise. We were in an Aqua Class cabin on Deck 9. Our Cabin Steward, Michael was the best. He was available and helped when asked. Our cabin was kept very clean throughout the cruise. We did not use room service at all during this cruise. The ship is small compared to some of the other ships we have been on but it was a very intimate setting and easy to get around. No lines at the elevators. All the staff that we met during the week went above and beyond to say "hello", "how are you today" , and "have a nice day". My mantra is everyone you come across appreciates a "hello" said with a smile. Ken Mills was the Cruise Director on this sailing. We did not see him much around the ship but we spent our days by the pool in the Solarium. He seemed to enjoy his job and the shows were very well done. The weather the entire week was fabulous. The Captain remarked at one point that if it was any better it " would be illegal". He had a great sense of humor. Bermuda is a beautiful place and the beaches were amazing. The first day we took the ferry to St. George's and got on " The Fun Bus" with Reggie, the tour operator who took us out to Clearwater Beach. It was 10.00 dollars round trip and so worth it. There were only four people on the beach. There was also a place there to get food and drinks run by Marlin who was great to talk to. I would highly recommend this over Horseshoe Bay where their were about 3000 people. The next day we took the bus out to Daniel's Head Beach to do a paddle board tour that I booked with Larry, from SurfSup. This was so much fun. The beach was small but the area was beautiful. We saw sea turtles and rays. There was also a great place to get drinks and lunch there as well called SUDS. Dayle runs this and he is a chef. Food was amazing as was the Swizzle drink. We also did the obligatory trip to Front Street in Hamilton and walked around and did some shopping at the Harbor Nights Festival. They had many local arts and crafts which were reasonably priced. We had great weather the entire three days. We ate at BLU every night and the food and service was over the top. Such a relaxing atmosphere. All of the waitstaff, Andres, Rambo, Alex, Jon, Collins, Edguardo, Juan, Albert, Luis and others who I have missed were amazing. The Maître D whose name I have forgotten was always available as well and assisted his waitstaff which I liked. In the afternoons we would sit and read in Cafe Bacio with a cup of tea and a pastry. I think I tried most of them during the week. We did use the gym which was packed on sea days but if you went in the afternoon it was not crowded. Disembarkation was also the easiest ever. We walked off the ship at 8:00 am went through customs and where in the car by 8:30 am. This was a great cruise and one we would do again in a heartbeat. Celebrity you WOWED us again.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This is my third cruise on Celebrity and always felt that I could recommend this line. Now I am not that sure.  It was a pleasant cruise but we did have problems, some minor some not. The Good. The Captain and other officers. Very funny ... Read More
This is my third cruise on Celebrity and always felt that I could recommend this line. Now I am not that sure.  It was a pleasant cruise but we did have problems, some minor some not. The Good. The Captain and other officers. Very funny and friendly. The Stewards and other staff. Very good, took care of issues quickly and polite. The not so good The food really varied. We had room service breakfast everyday. Always earlier than requested and always missing something on the tray. Except for the next to the last day- early but perfect. Buffet for lunch. I liked the little dishes. The food was the right temperature though they did mess up the descriptions from time to time. They need to bus the tables more frequently. Main dinning room food was okay. Some things great some poor.The last time I was on Celebrity I though almost everything was great. Normandie was very good. The bad Toilet in room needed to be fixed twice. I also found two public toilets broken. Sheets on bed were dirty and worn. We called house keeping when we found a yellow stain on the bedding. When they came to put new bedding down they found another stain. Eventually we got clean bedding. Overall I have to say that when there were problems they were resolved. they just should have not happened in the first place. There were some other minor issues that I would normally overlook but they just added up to a less than special cruise we expected and had before. I was trying to talk my girlfriend into going on her first cruise next year. I don't think I would recommend Celebrity based on this experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My fiancé and I sailed on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda on May 11. This was our 7th cruise on NCL and the 6th NCL ship we have sailed on, so we have experienced many different classes and sizes of NCL ships. We were excited to try ... Read More
My fiancé and I sailed on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda on May 11. This was our 7th cruise on NCL and the 6th NCL ship we have sailed on, so we have experienced many different classes and sizes of NCL ships. We were excited to try out this new ship for many of the new features advertised. Overall I would say the experience was mediocre, but with a few changes Breakaway could be an amazing ship and experience. Much discussion has been made of Breakaway compared to the NCL Gem, the other NCL ship that is home ported in NYC year round. Having sailed the Gem twice, most recently this past Thanksgiving, I found myself making the same comparisons. For the benefit of those trying to decide which ship is better for them, I will compare the two here. Room: we were booked in a Haven Spa Suite for the Breakaway cruise. The decor and layout of the room is modern and clean. The way they designed the room afforded a lot of storage space, much of it embedded in the walls as to not take up valuable space in the room. This made the room feel much bigger. Bathroom was also a decent size, with two double sinks and a deluxe shower with multiple jets. However as so many others have noted, the balcony is tiny. It was long but not wide at all. Gem's balconies are larger however, as she is not as new a ship, the decor is showing her age in some spots. However, Gem wins this category for one big reason. Directly amongst the spa suites the Breakaway has a staff store, which is used by the cleaning crew to get supplies, store dirty laundry, etc. Every morning right around 8am this very heavy door was opened and slammed shut every minute for two hours straight. This means if you are sleeping at that time you will get jarred awake by the slamming and shaking of the walls. Why they would put this next to spa suites (which, coincidentally, are built for relaxation) is beyond me. I even put a note in the Dear Jovo box (hotel director) expressing that they should just prop open the door when in use rather than constantly banging it and disturbing all the passengers. This note went unanswered (more on the staff issues later). Therefore, because the Gem provided me the opportunity to sleep on my vacation, I will say one point for the Gem here. Food: in what may be the most important topic for many cruisers, Breakaway does add some new venues for eating. In addition to the usual main dining halls, Teppanyaki, steakhouse,etc found on most NCL ships, Breakaway adds O'Sheehans pub, Ocean Blue Seafood, Carlos bakery and a gelato shop. The quality remains the same, better in the specialty restaurants that have a surcharge. Even though there are 4,000 people on this ship, the number of venues provided is sufficient and we never had trouble getting a reservation. Purely for the extra selection, score one for the Breakaway over the Gem. Entertainment: one of my main complaints as a repeat NCL cruiser us that most of the shows are repetitive and I gave seen them many times. Breakaway solved that problem by providing much more variety here. The Cirque jungle show was a pleasant surprise and worth the extra fee. Burn the Floor was decent and it was nice to see them perform in the Manhattan Room dining room in addition to the theater. Rock of Ages we had seen in NYC on Broadway and I would say the performance onboard was strong. And yes the show is raunchy, just as it was on Broadway. NCL warns people multiple times that this is suited for adults. If you are easily offended, heed the warning and don't go. There are also new musical acts on board, the best being Howl at the Moon dueling pianos and the jazz band in Fat Cats. The only negatives for entertainment were that the theater is much too small for the boat and having to get reservations was at some times a hassle, particularly when they were not clear on if you needed them (example: it was not noted in the Freestyle Daily that reservations were needed for the comedic magician but when you got there they expected you to have them). However, entertainment overall was fresh, new and top notch so this category goes to the Breakaway. Spa: as noted we were in a Spa Suite which gave us access to the thermal suite area for the entire week. We usually purchase this pass on other boats and enjoy the relaxing, adults only area. The Breakaway spa thermal suite area is much larger than other ships and includes some new things, such as a salt bath. Because it is so much larger, there was never any problem finding a lounger. The staff kept on top of keeping it clean, towels picked up and water mopped. The only complaint was a few passengers who don't seem to get that this is a relaxation area, not the indoor pool. These people scream and yelp like they are at a water park. I wish the staff would enforce the quiet rules a bit more. The Gem also has a fairly large spa, however since it is smaller than Breakaway's it has less loungers. Both ships spas as great investments for the week if you're looking to relax, however due to the extra size and features, I will give this one to Breakaway. Staff/Service: here is the black eye for Breakaway. For the most part the staff was painfully mediocre on Breakaway. It was very surprising to us to encounter so few staff that seemed to care at all about any of the passenger's experience. The staff on the ship do their jobs - the food gets to you, the ship stays clean and gets where it needs to go, but so few go above and beyond, which is rare for cruise ship staff. For example, we ate most of our breakfasts and lunches at the Haven restaurant. After an entire week I do not believe one person in that restaurant knew our names or anything we liked. There was really only one waitress in there that made any effort to speak or get to know the passengers. Hence, she was the only one who left you feeling like she cared if you were enjoying yourself. Compare this to the Gem where we also took most of our breakfasts and lunches in the suite restaurant. By day 2 of that cruise the staff there knew our names and what kind of tea I liked and had it waiting for me each day. It's little touches like that which make a real difference to the passengers. Unfortunately those little touches were hard to come by on Breakaway. The bad service continued all around. The concierge? Pretty much useless. Again, made no offers to help us out, barely knew our names. His assistant did more than him. The one time we called him to get us directions to a beach in port he basically blew us off, saying he had never heard of the place. Sorry sir, the correct answer would have been "I have never heard of it but I will look it up and get back to you shortly with some info." But no, there was no offer to take that step for us and that is inexcusable. Also as mentioned above, I wrote into the Dear Jovo box to the hotel director (which was encouraged in the Freestyle Daily with the promise of response) and received no response. No apology, no follow up call and no action on my problem. That would no have happened under Jenny Lim, who was our hotel director on the Gem. If you have a hotel issue and bring it to her, she gives you, the passenger, and your issue the attention it deserves. The bottom line is, on the Gem the staff is superb, they make you feel like family as soon as you board. On the Breakaway you just do not get that feeling. The staff does the bare minimum to make the ship run. For me, that was very unfortunate, particular compared to my other cruises. The Gem wins this category by a mile. So in the end we come to three points for Breakaway and two for Gem. One might think after seeing this that I would choose the Breakaway over the Gem in the future. However, at this time I would actually go back to the Gem. Although Breakaway does gave some great new features in the entertainment and food departments, I cannot get past the service level on Breakaway. The service on the boat makes a huge difference in my overall experience. Until Breakaway improves this, the Gem is my pick in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We were excited about going to ports of call that the big cruise lines couldn't. Who wants to compete with 2000+ people at each stop. The lines to get off/on the big cruisers are much longer than on this @200 person clipper. The ports ... Read More
We were excited about going to ports of call that the big cruise lines couldn't. Who wants to compete with 2000+ people at each stop. The lines to get off/on the big cruisers are much longer than on this @200 person clipper. The ports visited were usually quaint villages favored by the sailing crowd. We got some awesome pictures from the tender which circled the Royal Clipper in the early evening with the sails slowly opening. We were blessed with a double rainbow behind the boat! Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style and we made an effort to sit with different people each meal. Dinner was slow and awesome with other new friends. Overall the food was very good served with a European flair. Husband was pleased to see a cheese plate as a desert option. The grazing-between-meals was limited to various different items each day at 5 at the open air Tropical Bar. Dinner was at 7pm. Entertainment was either local or the crew and considering it all happened at the bar it was great. The crew were great and their skits and crab races a hoot. NOTE that this boat does not have an elevator and there are plenty of steps to go anywhere. The infirm and unsteady probably shouldn't consider this cruise as some of the nights at the bar were really rocking and rolling in several ways. So glad I got motion sickness patches and started them a few days in advance. First night the rolling interrupted my sleep; subsequent nights sleeping pills helped tremendously. One disappointment was not being able to use all the scuba gear on board because they couldn't find a local guide. Check availability for air fare before you choose. Coming from Seattle and unwilling to do a red eye, we had to spend a night in Miami both ways. All the flights we wanted were booked FIVE months out. Perhaps the cruise lines booked all the good flights and hadn't released them yet. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Hello! My wife and I just returned from our weeklong cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda from September 1-8. A bit about ourselves before jumping into the review so those reading can equate my comments to our age group. I am 36 ... Read More
Hello! My wife and I just returned from our weeklong cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda from September 1-8. A bit about ourselves before jumping into the review so those reading can equate my comments to our age group. I am 36 years old and my wife is 30 years old. We are both in the healthcare profession. This was my first ever cruise, and only the second for my wife (the last one was a bargain basement spring break cruise 10 years ago). We are very social people and were looking to enjoy great entertainment, great food, and a vibrant social scene. We also wanted an upscale experience, so we chose to stay in the Haven. EMBARKATION: This has been covered in nearly every review. It was seamless. Probably the easiest check in I have ever experienced. We walked up to Pier 88 and simply gave our bags to a porter and they were gone. Since we were Haven guests, we were immediately directed into a separate Haven check in area after we went through general security. We walked right up to the clerk with zero wait, exchanged our documents, and got our cruise cards printed. We then waited maybe 5-10 minutes in the waiting area with maybe 10 other people. There were light refreshments such as cookies and desserts, as well as water, coffee, and juice. A Norwegian representative was escorting small groups up into the ship and directly into the Haven every ten minutes or so. I must say, Norwegian already had us feeling special even after just something as simple as check in. We were escorted to the Haven and our concierge gave us an informal 5 minute presentation. At that time we were able to fill out dinner reservation requests as well as show requests. Then we were cut loose to go explore. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS: I won't break this thing down into a day-by-day review like some others have done, instead I would like to share my thoughts in a loose time progression. Right after our concierge talked with us, we headed to the Haven bar for a drink. At this time we decided to bite the bullet and go for the Unlimited Beverage Package (UBP). It was $50 per person per cabin per day (so $100 a day for my wife and I). It ended up being around $788 because I guess they either threw in tax or gratuity. The package included all soft drinks as well as beers $5.50 or less, glasses of wine $9.50 or less, and mixed drinks $8.50 or less (don't quote me directly on those wine and drink numbers, but they are very close). They will explain to you in detail if you are interested, but really, it is great because they have set those price limits so that essentially EVERY POSSIBLE DRINK is included. There are a few pricier beers (such as a huge 23 ounce Grolsch) or mixed drinks that are above the price point, but that was never an issue. There were probably 10-12 beers to choose from. As far as liquor goes, things such as Grey Goose, Ketel One, Jack Daniels, Barcardi(s), Johnnie Walker Black, etc. are ALL included. So you can catch my drift here: there won't be a single thing you could want that isn't realistically on the list. Regarding the drink menus, they were mostly standardized throughout the ship, but some bars did have a few signature drinks. And again, essentially every drink on their menus was included with the UBP. Bottles of wine or liquor were available for purchase, but of course those are an additional charge. One last thing about the UBP: it works in all of the restaurants as well, so your drinks with your meals are covered (that is what pushed us to go ahead and get it -- if drinks in the restaurants were NOT included we would have passed on the package). Sailaway was great, we hung out in the outside part of the Haven on the starboard forward top of the ship. I am not sure if there was a formal party in the main portion of the ship. Our luggage was in the room by 2-3 PM. Our rooms were ready to go into around 12:30 PM. We really didn't need to change prior to our luggage being delivered, so we dropped off our backpacks and explored the ship. The Waterfront is totally awesome. Just a super idea, and it really makes this a unique ship. It was so cool to stroll around the whole thing, stopping off at the bars for a drink and to mingle with other cruisers. The gelato shop was open, Carlo's was open, and the Sabrett hot dog stand was open in two separate locations. We actually never tried the gelato or Carlo's (kinda kicking myself for not trying the cannoli or lobster tail). A word about the hot dog stand. I don't understand why so many former Breakaway cruisers cry and whine about it never being around. I literally saw it every day. EVERY DAY. There was always one in Spice H2O and usually one around the main pool. So stop it everyone, they are available. We tried one once and were done. It was good, but it's a hot dog. Come on. The Atrium is very nice with that huge video board. We watched some Thursday night football on it as well as bits of some movies as well. Great picture. Don't forget that you can get all of the Carlo's baked goods at the Atrium coffee shop at all times. Because we booked in the Haven we received 3 meals in the up-charge restaurants. We were a bit nervous about getting all of the free upgrades they said we would get when we got on board, but Norwegian nailed them all. The chocolate covered strawberries were in our room right when we walked in, there was a bottle of champagne chilled on ice as well, and the free bottle of wine was waiting for us with two beautiful long stem red wine glasses. We went to the concierge in the Haven and immediately booked 3 dinners with no problems right when we boarded, and they were fully aware of our 3 free meals. The first night we ate in Le Bistro. The food was excellent, and we received a free bottle of chardonnay for dining in the restaurant the first night of the cruise. (Yes, one of their new catch phrases should be "Norwegians Like to Drink".) One thing to note: the additional-fee restaurants I think want to make your experience "grander" so the service is I do believe intentionally a bit slower. Some people have condemned the restaurants on these reviews for being too slow. Again, I think they want you to relax and enjoy your meal as if you were truly in a French Bistro, etc. It did not bother my wife and I. Our dinners took on average 2 hours. But if you want to move things along you simply have to flag your waiter and let him or her know you are in a bit of a hurry and you will be fine. We actually missed Burn the Floor the first night because we were having such a nice dinner at Le Bistro. Since we are on the topic of food, let's finish the dining portion. The other meals included in our package were Cagney's and La Cucina. We ate on the Waterfront at Cagney's as the sun set and it was genuinely wonderful. I'm from Chicago and now live in Texas, so I know a great steak, and Cagney's was pretty good, but not anything noteworthy as far as my filet. I am Italian and La Cucina was very good. My meal had gnocchi, and my only complaint was that they were a bit too doughy/chewy. Don't be fooled into thinking that you can't eat more than one thing at these restaurants. I'm not sure the official Norwegian policy, but pretty much every one of these places had the waiters/waitresses asking us if we wanted 2,3,4 appetizers or 2 entrees each (clearly they were not going to charge us)! Ridiculous amount of food! Of course we never took them up on it, but just know that you will NOT leave the specialty restaurants hungry, I promise. We paid for Moderno Churrascuria and Ocean Blue. I've eaten at every mainstream high end Brazilian steakhouse (Fogo, Texas de Brazil, etc) and I can say that Norwegian did very well with this one. Their salad bar portion was actually what made the meal, and even had this unreal scallop and fish ceviche that was out of this world. The salad bar was as good as any land-based store, and the gauchos with the grilled meats did a great job. Overall the meats were very good, and they were essentially identical in variety to what you would find on land. Ahh, and finally Ocean Blue. A true masterpiece! Mister Zakarian has done a wonderful job with this one. You can simply tell the entire staff in this place was hand-picked for their attention to detail, friendliness, politeness, and knowledge of the restaurant. The food was fresh and expertly prepared. No complaints. Was it worth $50 per person? Well, that would be a deal on land, so you do the math. One other night we ate the Frog and Onion pub in Bermuda -- pretty good, just pub grub. And we just ate at the Garden Cafe one night because we were swamped. It was cool though, we sat next to the cast of the Second City show (more on them later). SEA DAYS: Very laid back and relaxed, or nuts if you wanted it to be! We split time between the Haven private sun deck and atrium and Spice H20. We occasionally spent a couple of hours at the main pool. The main pool is unfortunately just like others have described it in previous reviews. Especially on sea days, there is literally like 2000 people trying to use the loungers, get poolside, and pack the bars. Don't even ask about the hot tubs. They'll pack in about 10-12 people sometimes. The whole "get up at 5 am and put my towels down on 5 chairs to reserve it all day" is very true out there. But, give Norwegian credit -- they made it very clear on their daily updates that leaving your belongings on a lounger or chair unattended for more than one hour will forfeit your spot and the staff would remove your things and bring them to lost and found. So, if you really need to, you can pick a spot, make sure it has been unattended for an hour, and then go get someone from the Norwegian staff. We did not need to do this. The kids pool is tandem to the main pool. Chock full of kids, as you would assume. It was odd that you ended up having to navigate around the little ones running and splashing you as you walked past this area to get into the Garden Cafe, mostly at lunch. Poor planning on that one. The waterslides were up some stairs in this area as well. The main pool had either a DJ or live music every day from what I could gather. Top 40 stuff and the typical Bob Marley covers, etc. We did not go into Vibe Beach Club because we didn't need to (we didn't pay for it), but I think it would have been cool. I think it is a bit silly that we didn't get instant free access to this being Haven guests. Norwegian should include this. Maybe they don't want us crowding the Vibe area. HAVEN REVIEW: Overall quite nice. The actual Haven area included a private concierge station, two private key card entrances, an indoor lounge area, a private bar, private restaurant, and an indoor private two level enclosed pool area with outside dining area. The roof here is retractable, and they did indeed open it almost daily as long as there was sun. There are two rectangular lounge pools only a couple inches deep and then a small square pool that is maybe 4 feet deep. This pool made no sense to me. They need to remove one of the separate water lounge areas and connect it to the pool. I am a pool junkie on vacation, and because of this layout, I really didn't want to go into the pool there, and therefore felt a bit cheated on my pool time. The second indoor floor had cabanas and loungers and more dining tables. This area opened up to a huge outdoor sun deck with VERY faint "easy listening" type music. So it got kind of boring out there. So, the indoor area. I was not a huge fan. It was very nice and very pretty, but for one it is too small. There are only about 10 loungers in the enclosed area, and yep, you guessed it, they would be "taken" first thing in the morning. On our cruise it was the same obnoxious 15 person family who would take every chair and "cover it" with their towels, and then sit there and eat for about 10 hours straight. They had screaming kids that they did not attempt to control, and I had to deal with them doing cannonballs into the tiny square pool. It actually made us avoid this entire area. The Haven should have been more proactive with telling them to keep it down as well as enforcing the "no squatter rule" for hogging lounge chairs. So for those wondering if kids are allowed in the Haven and all of its areas, the answer is YES. I didn't understand why these parents didn't take the kids to the Sponge Bob play area. We actually never ate at the Haven restaurant. We discovered that it had the same food as the Taste and Savor restaurants (we didn't eat there either), which each had the SAME FOOD AS THE GARDEN CAFE BUFFET! So, we ended up just eating at the buffet for each breakfast and lunch and it was just FINE. The food in there was delicious and pretty creative. You could get anything you wanted, all the way up to formal carving stations. My wife waited a max of 5 minutes one morning for a made to order omelette. So people complaining about the Garden Cafe are being boorish and unrealistic. Did it get crowded in there? Yes. Did we occasionally have to look around for a table? Yes. But who cares? You're on vacation. Chill out man. The Haven is actually quite divided up. Most rooms are part of the true Haven complex on decks 15 and 16. Much to our chagrin we found out that our Spa Suite was completely outside of the Haven on a completely separate deck (14). This actually bothered us and made us feel separated from an amenity for which we paid a substantial amount of extra money. Norwegian should make this clear when people book this type of Haven room. Our room itself was very nice, but size wise was pretty much just a standard junior suite. There was a moderate-sized hot tub in the corner of the room. The balcony was fine: two chairs and a nice drink table, with room to spare. The bathroom was fine, with a big two faucet sink. The shower had all these extra spray nozzles on it which didn't do much for me. Water pressure and temperature were perfect at all times. Closet space was very very nice, we each had one side of a large wall closet. There were drawers galore. There was a huge impressive Lavazza espresso machine that was quite nice for the morning coffee. We had a mini bar stocked with stuff that we would have to pay for, so we stayed away. Daily fresh fruit, fresh flowers were provided. We had silverware at all times as well as wine glasses, champagne flutes, glasses, and 3 sizes of coffee cups. Very large TV for a ship, at least 32 inches. My wife liked getting ready in front of the large room mirror. We had a butler, named Chris, who was just super pleasant. He knew our names the second we walked on (but never addressed me as "doctor" -- nothing to make me mad but something I always see if people realize -- it gets them extra points with me). We used his services a few times when we needed some ice in the afternoon. We tended not to bother him too much. Our huge suitcases fit with room to spare under the awesome king sized bed. The decor of the room was hues of purples and blues and was very pleasant. Would I Haven again? Yes. But probably not on Breakaway. This is my first cruise but I think the Haven on Epic is much bigger and better. SPA: We had unlimited access to the treatment deck above the bridge all week in the Mandara Spa. It was a nice perk. We went a couple times. The huge pool is wonderful with multiple high pressure bubble areas, there is ample space to lounge, and there are 4 different treatment rooms including sauna and salt room. SHOWS/ENTERTAINMENT: Rock of Ages was awesome. So well done, felt like you were on Broadway. Contrary to what people are writing, NCL does indeed warn people in their bulletin AND on a sign as you walk into the theater that the show is very much adult-themed and includes a sex scene and some dirty language. But of course, during my show, I had to watch families get up and storm out with their 6 year olds. PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE! I applaud NCL for providing entertainment for adults and further applaud them for sticking to their guns and not trying to already change the show or water it down. But beware, yes, there is some dirty language, up to and including the "F" word. No, I am not kidding. If you're cool with that stuff and want to sing your lungs out to awesome 80s tunes from Journey et al, this one is for you! Burn the Floor put me to sleep. My wife loved it. 'Nuff said. Michael Finney is talented and is doing his show for the Wounded Warrior Project. He is pretty darn funny and his magic is good, but I am not so sure he is happy to be there doing the show on the Breakaway. Very dry humor that bordered on him sounding annoyed. We didn't do the Cirque show. And no, it is NOT a Cirque du Soleil show. But other passengers said it was awesome. Svedka Ice Bar was awesome. Just go and do it. You get a couple drinks for your 20 bucks and can take some cool pictures. CASINO: OK, time to put some stuff to rest. It's pretty ridiculous (and just plain incorrect) the amount of screaming about the tobacco smoke. Are there some people smoking in the casino? Yep. Is it flagrant? Nope. Can you smell some smoke? Yep. Who cares. It's a casino. If you don't like it, don't go there. If you want to gamble, IT'S A CASINO, so deal with it. They had your standard table games and slots. We burned 20 bucks one night on a slot machine and never returned. What I want to specifically address is what I believe is actually the main source of the smoke. Maltings Bar has an enclosed indoor smoking room for cigars. Maltings is literally right next to the casino. It was ALWAYS full of guys smoking stogies. Whenenver the door would open smoke would escape. And that was what you were smelling -- that very distinct cigar smoke. Not really cigarette smoke. Once again, not that big of a deal. So please don't buy into the reviews which claim it "ruined my vacation" blah blah blah. Get over it. BERMUDA: This thing is getting out of control, so I will wrap it up soon. Bermuda is universally beautiful, safe, well-kept, and proud. Bermudans love their country and it is literally the cleanest island we have ever visited. The beaches are perfect. Look real close, you'll see why they are pink sand. We toured and shopped, but didn't really do much else. It's a location that is now crossed off my list. DISEMBARKATION: Just as easy as everyone says. We chose the freestyle disembark, and actually got off the ship even before those people because they let the Haven guests get off absolutely first. We were off the boat at 7:25 AM. We were blessed with smooth seas the entire trip, and it only rained once for a couple hours in Bermuda. OEVERALL: Hats off to you Norwegian! You made my first ever cruise awesome, and something I will never forget. I am now a true cruiser, and I was already planning our next one in the airport on the way home! We will not likely sail out of New York ever again. We are midwesterners and now Texans and we simply did not mesh well with the New Yorkers and New Jerseyans who made up 90% of this cruise. I am not disrespecting anyone, so don't write me a Nastygram. It is what it is. The crew simultaneously made you laugh and smile, and then broke your heart in the same breath. I say this because they are all far from home, away from their families, working for what is most likely a very small paycheck. Respect your crew. Thank your crew. Talk to them, listen to their stories. Some of them are fathers and mothers whose children don't recognize them when they come home after being on duty for 11 months. They live in tiny inside quarters and have to watch all of us indulge ourselves with food and drink and never take a little something for themselves or they will be fired. And all the while they just smile and say "yes sir" and "yes ma'am" and serve you, no matter what room you are in or how much money you spend. They MAKE this cruise what it is, and they MAKE this ship special. Whatever you can spare, give your housekeeper (and concierge and butler if so) a little something extra. Twenty bucks, anything. To see them smile when you give them a tip and thank them back for a wonderful week and job well done will melt your heart. I do believe that last paragraph is important. Thank you Norwegian for a great week, thank you for a beautiful boat, and thank you giving my wife and I such wonderful memories! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Embarkation was fast & easy. We were on the boat by 11:30 AM. We waited until after 6:30 PM for our bags. A VERY nice man from housekeeping saw my panic and went looking for our luggage and found everything. This was the first of ... Read More
Embarkation was fast & easy. We were on the boat by 11:30 AM. We waited until after 6:30 PM for our bags. A VERY nice man from housekeeping saw my panic and went looking for our luggage and found everything. This was the first of several examples where the staff were really great. The bad thing was I had to rush to get ready, luckily we had the late diner We have been on several cruises and this was very nice. The food was okay. Nothing special. I didn't have anything that was bad, but the choices were not extensive, especially if someone is picky. My husband and sister ate at both Normandy & Qsine. They really liked Normandy and said Qsine was just okay. Dessert at both was great. But at $45, I passed. My sis and I both had a spa treatment. It was very nice. I did not get a hard sell on the products, but she did. I recommend waiting for the port days to get a special. The ship was nice as were all the common areas. Some people complain about chipped paint. I do not look at the paint on the walls when I am traveling. There was nothing I noted that was in need of repair. I really like the set up of the theater with the seats and lighted tables. Great if you order a drink. We had an inside cabin on deck 3. It was a great location. Small as you would expect, but managable for two people. The shows were nice. I enjoyed the Celebrity singers and dancers, but didn't go to all the shows. The other performers were good. The comedian was awesome. The band, Flava, was great pool side but the music at the various bars, etc. was a little old for my taste. We often enjoyed the late night music at the club. The later it got, the better the music was. The club did shut down around 2:30, which we thought was early. We were 4 people so it was cheaper to take a taxi to the beach than go via the ship's excursion. Horeshoe bay is everything they say and more. This was my second time there and it was even more beautiful than I recalled. They facilities are fine and you can rent a chair & umbrella. We got some misinformation about Harbor Nights. It was supposed to be one more week and we got the ferry to hamilton only to find out it had ended the prior week. Disapointing bc most stores were closed. We did get a light snack and drinks at Flanningans which was nice. We sat outside and the weather was perfect. We also walked around the Clocktower Mall. Small but fine if you need a few gifts. We took the trolley and walked backed. My friend even got her hair braided there. Disembarkating was fine. I don't know how, but my luggage tag came off and I had to search for my bags. Even with that we were off and waiting for our taxi (past customs) in about 35 minutes. For what we paid it was a good deal. We had a great time. The food and music can use some improvement.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our first time on the Summit and that may have had a lot to do with our expectations, but while the trip was enjoyable there were a LOT of areas that Celebrity just fell short. Our previous sailings were on the Equinox and ... Read More
This was our first time on the Summit and that may have had a lot to do with our expectations, but while the trip was enjoyable there were a LOT of areas that Celebrity just fell short. Our previous sailings were on the Equinox and Solstice so we have been spoiled. :-) They have done a lot of updates to this ship, however it is definitely showing it's age with mold, pieces falling apart, and a general need of more maintenance. The crew was a bit lack-luster compared to our other cruises as well with a lot of miscommunication I didn't expect. Had to wait over an hour to get seated in select dining the first night and they just didn't seem to have a well trained staff. This was the last sailing of the season so I would have expected them to have at least somewhat figured it out! This may have leant itself to the service as well though as they may have just been bored with the trip after running all summer. The port at Bermuda and the entire island were beautiful and the snorkeling excursion to Devil's isle was great. This was booked through the cruise line and was actually quite nice. We went with the cruise for this as it was done on the last day and we didn't want left behind :-) The other tour we did was through a 3rd party and it was truly amazing - highly recommend it to anyone visiting Bermuda. Bermuda Footsteps is run by a local that really loves the island and you can see it in how she runs the tour. Her co-pilot Buddy is her dog and she travels along on the tour which I really liked as we were missing our dogs while away. http://bermudafootsteps.com/ Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Overall the Breakaway is an excellent ship and I will likely cruise her again in the future. The Haven was Heaven and I think the Haven on Breakaway is more refined than any other ship (including Epic). We sail NCL and The Haven because we ... Read More
Overall the Breakaway is an excellent ship and I will likely cruise her again in the future. The Haven was Heaven and I think the Haven on Breakaway is more refined than any other ship (including Epic). We sail NCL and The Haven because we like the blend of relaxation that The Haven provides and the city-like atmosphere that the rest of the ship offers. Embarkation and Disembarkation were easy and efficient. We were in the Haven so we got priority boarding. Design Breakaway is a beautiful and well designed ship. There are several separate spaces to accommodate the crowds, even on sea days. That said, there are certain spaces and times were crowds are evident, but that is no different from any other mass market line. For example, the atrium also houses movies during sea days, so naturally, there are lots of people sitting watching the movie. Move slightly over to the Guest Services desk and it is empty by comparison. The elevator banks (forward-center and aft-center) were perfected placed making getting from one end of the ship to the other very easy. TIP: The atrium wasn't designed for serenity, use the Waterfront instead. There were many quiet places to sit and read a book. Pool Deck The pool deck is either poorly designed or it's intended use is not properly communicated. It appears to me that NCL sees the main pool experience as an activity/party space and not a serene/tranquil environment. There were several activities taking place everyday at the pool. I think they perceive Spice H2O as the adult relaxation area, but it is little more than an uninspired open deck. TIP: The pool deck is crowded on sea days in the middle of the afternoon, but in my experience real crowding only occurred on the first two sea days. After that, people found other things to do which eased the crowding. If you choose to go to the pool during the middle of the afternoon on a sunny sea day, you should be prepared that others have the same thing in mind. If you don't like the crowds, zig when everyone else zags and you'll have no problem. There is PLENTY to do onboard. Value: It is very clear that NCL is pushing the limits of what people are willing to pay a premium for and Breakaway is proof of concept for their strategy. That said, things that are free on other mass market lines are also free on Breakaway. There are more for-fee premium experiences on Breakaway than any other NCL ship, which could lead to the PERCEPTION that you are being nickeled and dimed. If you truly think about it, you are getting a lot more for free on Breakaway than most other ships including, rock climbing, ropes course, dinner in 6 free restaurants (excluding room service, hot dog stand, and the Haven restaurant), Broadway shows, game shows, etc. Smoke: I am not very sensitive to smoke and I spend a lot of time in the casino, but this casino was noticeably more smokey than any other ship I've sailed. I think they could do a better job of ventilating the casino. Smoking is allowed in almost every land-based casino in the US, but modern casinos are able to better control the smell. There was a non-smoking section next to Shanghai, but it too was very smokey. Smoke did travel through the atrium, but if you stepped back from the staircase it was barely noticeable. It is not true that the entire ship smells of stale smoke. Entertainment Bliss is good for dancing late night and the LED walls are very cool. It's not as much of a lounge as it is on the other ships. Wish they would bring back some of the lounge feel. Rock of Ages was great, one of the best shows I've seen on a cruise ship. It keeps you engaged for the full 1:45. Magician was more comedy than magic, but good none the less. Cirque Dreams was better than the Cirque show on Epic (they eliminated the verbal storyline), but not my favorite type of entertainment. My opinion only, others in my group liked it. The Casino! The Casino was the worst and not just because I lost. The first day, it was very clear that they were out to push the house edge further. The payout on Blackjack was terrible. The only Blackjack tables without continuous shuffle machines were $50 minimums for 8 decks and $100 for 6 decks. One day they opened a $15, but it was 8 decks and the dealer hit on all 17s. They never opened it again. I did see a woman hit a $4,500 jackpot on a $1 slot machine. Most of the dealers were friendly faces I'd seen on other ships. A couple were jerks as usual. If you're going to take my money, the least you can do is be friendly and not deal 10 cards a second. Recreation The ropes course, including The Plank were outstanding and one of the highlights of my trip. The slides, especially the Free Fall were a lot of fun. The Fitness Center is way too small and broken up between cardio and strength training. Both are small, but it was especially difficult to get access to machines because of the crowds. We typically went to the gym between 10 AM and 1 PM. On port days the crowds dissipate. Food/Bars The Waterfront is an amazing concept and you should make it a point to use it as much as possible. It was great for reading or relaxing during the day, very quiet, and to have a drink at night. It was underused for most of our trip. Teppanyaki was good as usual. Haven restaurant was excellent. Main dining rooms were average. O'Sheehans is worst than Applebees. The buffet is good for what it is - a buffet. Generally, the lines were not long, but there were a lot of people. They've managed to accommodate the flow and amount of people very well by having two long hallways of repeating action stations. There are PLENTY of seats throughout and if you walk towards the back most of the tables are open. Service Nearly the entire staff was very friendly and helpful. EVERY SINGLE STAFF MEMBER that we came in contact with greeted us and even attempted to personalize their greeting. The consistency and seemingly genuineness blew me away. That said, there are always bad apples. Specifically the bar staff at 21 Bar were not very friendly or helpful. We did encounter a few at O'Sheehans who wouldn't go out of their way to get you something if they had to. Suite 10312 Aft Penthouse The Aft Penthouse was amazing! Very large and the balcony was to die for. Others could not see into your balcony from above unless you were standing at the very edge. Ample storage space. 1 large closet and 3 smaller (2 with shelving) in the bedroom. An additional closet in the living room. 2 full bathrooms. We considered staying in The Haven (or closer), but glad we chose the Aft. The walk to The Haven was a breeze.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We just returned from another perfect week with Norwegian! This is our third cruise with the company and we can only say good things. As usual, the staff was great. We did not encounter anyone without a smile. We snorkeled with FantaSea ... Read More
We just returned from another perfect week with Norwegian! This is our third cruise with the company and we can only say good things. As usual, the staff was great. We did not encounter anyone without a smile. We snorkeled with FantaSea and they were incredible! We toured the caves in St. George's and I can say one is enough - I'd suggest Crystal over the Fantasy cave. We would have done more around the islands, but you can only stuff so much into three days. Granted, this was our fourth visit to the country and we were happy to just relax. On previous cruises with NCL, we've done upscale dining for most dinners. This time, we were so busy that we ate at the Garden Cafe for just about every meal. We're foodies, but we didn't mind! A tip: The delicious mushroom soup from Le Bistro was spotted on the buffet twice! I'll admit that I had a huge bowl. I also took chicken from food stations and cut it up over a salad. We did pay extra for the spa. We're private people and it is nice to just relax. Norwegian blended the male and female relaxation areas here and we liked and disliked that. Still, the spa area was wonderful. The black-tiled steam room (a.k.a. "Steam Room of Death" or the "Steam Coffin") was uncomfortable. It would have also been nice to sit in the hot tub and see the ocean. One tip: This trip was to be on the cheap for us and we got an inside room. It was fine (as long as you pack lightly) but the worst thing is that we could loudly hear every time anyone along the line flushed the toilet. We hadn't previously experienced that annoyance in balcony rooms or penthouse rooms. I also think the ship could have used one more bank of elevators. At times, the walk to our room seemed lengthy. On the Jewel and Gem, there were fore, mid and aft banks -- Breakaway has just fore and aft. I enjoyed the room coffee more than what was available on the buffet. This has to be the first time this has ever happened! My review of the "Ultimate Beverage" beverage package is mixed. At first, it seemed like a great deal. We calculated that $49 dollars p/p a day is just a few drinks, right? In Manhattan, yes. Well, the drinks were affordable onboard at $7 to $8 a pop. Do the math: You have to drink a lot of drinks to break even. I decided to skip hangovers and lose money. It was fun to try new drinks, however. Trying the daily drink-of-the-day was a blast. I think the Blue Lagoon was the best. Here's my annoyance: The separate soda package is $6.50 a day and you don't pay the 15% gratuity each time you get a refill. You do pay the gratuity on the "ultimate beverage package." We were annoyed to watch people with the soda package walk away with a travel-mug of soda as we were signing the gratuity line for a flimsy plastic cup, which cost about 32 cents for each soda. The package also doesn't include water, gourmet coffee or alcoholic coffee. Not sure why putting Baileys (which would be included in the package, all by itself) in coffee isn't included, but it is if you throw in a banana, other liquors and blend it up -- you've got a drink that is covered under the plan. Water also wasn't included. How is this ultimate? Still, we love Norwegian Cruise Line and decided to that we won't get the beverage package on our next trip in the spring because it will be cheaper for us to pay by the drink. Rock of Ages was splendid. As we walked out, I overheard people calling it mediocre. Are you serious?!?! It was great and I don't even dig 80s music. The Second City crew was fabulous. My husband went to six shows this weed and I went to three. (I've never been to a comedy show before!) They made me laugh. Not giggle, but gut-hurting laugh. The Cirque show was magnificent. While the food was good, it wasn't spectacular. Still, I'd pay the money for the show! The talent exhibited there was incredible and I was riveted the entire time. The ropes course and slides were fun. I chickened out on the largest and fastest slides, but I could because I was on vacation! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Let me start with Cape Liberty. We live in Baltimore, so we decided to drive up the night before and stay in Jersey City at The Hyatt. So, on the day of our cruise, we planned to meet friends at a shopping center adjacent to the port. The ... Read More
Let me start with Cape Liberty. We live in Baltimore, so we decided to drive up the night before and stay in Jersey City at The Hyatt. So, on the day of our cruise, we planned to meet friends at a shopping center adjacent to the port. The drive from our Jersey City hotel took 15 minutes or less. I had no idea what to expect from the port, so perhaps my expectations were low. In any case, this was probably the smoothest embarkation day I ever had. Arrival at Cape Liberty involves a few steps. First is luggage drop off. At the drop-off center, if you arrive before 11:30AM, you drive all the way to the end, as passengers from the previous cruise will still (unbelievably) be collecting their belongings. There's plenty of room to park and drop your luggage, and plenty of very helpful porters to get your bags handled. The second step is to park your car. The lot is mere steps from the check in facility. It's around $150 for the week, which we noted was about the same as our home port of Baltimore. The third step is to head back to the place where we dropped our luggage after having parked the car. There, plenty of helpful staff directed us to check in lanes. The check-in process was easy, and we were divided into priority groups for boarding. That was something new to us, having not sailed since January, out of Miami. We did find that, while we were given a very convenient "group 4" for boarding, our Captain's Club Elite status would have put us in group 1. We could have swapped, but it wasn't a big deal. I just note that for others who may not have been to this port. They started calling for boarding at 11:05AM, which I thought was impressive. Here, we took the final step - a shuttle bus ride from the check in facility to the ship. You board on level 1 on this ship, where many ports are decks 4 or higher. It was easy getting an elevator and getting on our way. Cape Liberty made the embarkation process more pleasant because they had an abundance of very helpful and efficient staff. I'd sail out of that port any time! Our cabins were made available at 1PM. That's where our fun began. We were in Aqua Class, cabin 9082, with friends just up the hall. Our location was fantastic - just down from the mid-ship elevators and stairs. Though we were directly below the pool deck and Oceanview Cafe, and could hear some movement above, it was NOT a noisy experience. The deck was comfortable and was quiet at night. On arrival at our cabin, we found the previous occupants' pillows, without covers, still on our bed. It was at that point when we began to notice some missing amenities. Of the list of Aqua Class amenities provided, nearly none was in the cabin. In fact, we spent the next two days trying to get Summit to provide us with the things that we bought with an Aqua Class room. If you're familiar with the "Solsticizing" of the Millennium Class ships, you know about Aqua Class, the addition of other specialty restaurants, etc. Celebrity takes a lot of pride in marketing Concierge and Aqua Class. On this ship, however, it's as though Aqua Class doesn't exist. There are no placards on the cabin doors, or anywhere in the hallways, noting "Aqua Class". Many of the doors still have a "Concierge Class" sign on them, while many doors have no placard at all, other than a cabin number. I found this to be odd. On deck 11, where they installed new Aqua Class cabins, it was a bit of a different look. But in the largest section of Aqua Class rooms, it's as though the specific class didn't exist. By Monday, we found out that they hadn't ordered the Aqua Class slippers, and that there were no Aqua Class robes on board. They did a mix of Celebrity and Concierge Class robes, which are different. The "pillow menu" never made an appearance either, though we were able to get whatever we wanted in pillows by asking our cabin attendant. The young lady caring for our cabin was highly experienced, but was clearly "in the weeds" when we arrived. It took until late Sunday evening for our cabin to be completed (with things like towels). Our sliding door was so difficult to open, we thought it was locked. It took two of us to open and close it. We reported this, along with a "not totally clean" look to the cabin. Our Captain's Club materials weren't delivered until Monday. It took a trip to Customer Relations to find the location of the lounges, etc. When we did get them, they were the offers for Select members, which are a bit different from Elite. It took another day to get the correct ones. We mentioned our disappointment with Aqua Class to customer relations. While the desk staff was helpful, things weren't being fixed. Finally on Tuesday, we were contacted by Cristian, the Customer Relations Manager, who took it upon himself to listen and address our concerns. When he got involved, things were fixed within two hours. The cruise itself: The weather was pure heaven. PERFECT, with the exception of the last day at sea. Service, with the exception of The Martini Bar, was outstanding. The bartenders in the Martini Bar were friendly with each other, but were a bit standoffish with guests, and were slow. Aqua Class comes with the restaurant "Blu". We hated it on Solstice, but loved it here on Summit. The Maitre D's, waiters, assistants, bar personnel - everything - was OUTSTANDING. The atmosphere was fantastic. Entertainment was pretty good. Shows were along the line of what you'd expect with Celebrity. Good comedians; a great aerialist team. Singers and Dancers were cheesy, but very good. For shipboard entertainment, I thought they did a really nice job. The guest entertainer was Broadway's Telly Leung who was very good. Bermuda: I wish I'd gotten to cruise to Bermuda when you docked in Hamilton. Going anywhere on the island from Royal Naval Dockyard is a giant pain - especially to the beach. It's not difficult at all - and the ferries and buses are affordable and frequent. It just takes so LONG to get everywhere. It's certainly not Celebrity's problem - just something worth noting. Captain's Club: The hostess was nice but mostly invisible. If you've ever been on a cruse with the Captains Club hostess Ti Ann, she sets the bar very, very high for activities, visibility, and communication. The young lady on this cruise was pleasant, but I'm coming to believe that Ti Ann might be the exception rather than the rule. The elite lounges were both above expectations. A lot of that might have been the staff working them...friendly and hard-working. Summit looks good. Cabins are generally in good shape. Public areas were spotless. Most guests seemed happy, but again - the weather was picture-postcard-perfect 6 out of 7 days, and that helps. Food was good and consistent in all the public places, and exceptional in Blu, Qsine, and Normandie. I would recommend NOT booking Aqua Class on this ship. For those who really want BLU, it's available with Suites, and a Concierge Class stateroom will get you an easy table with a minimum surcharge. Everything else offered by Aqua Class on this ship is plainly not worth it. They shouldn't be marketing it and selling it here anyway, as the ship hasn't yet been outfitted for it. Disembarkation at Cape Liberty: Let me put it this way. At 8:40AM, I was sitting in Normandie waiting to be called. At 8:45, we were called. By 9AM, I'd taken a shuttle bus, claimed our luggage, gone through customs, made it to our car, and were driving to the Turnpike. SO EASY!! Ignoring our Aqua Class snafus, we had a great time and would easily book this itinerary again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
My wife and I just returned from the August 18 sailing to Bermuda on the Celebrity Summit. This was our third cruise and our third time on Celebrity. Each of the previous cruises was wonderful and this one did not disappoint. We could not ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the August 18 sailing to Bermuda on the Celebrity Summit. This was our third cruise and our third time on Celebrity. Each of the previous cruises was wonderful and this one did not disappoint. We could not have asked for a better experience. EMBARKATION: We selected this cruise because we wanted a relaxing vacation. Our last few trips have included a lot of driving and sightseeing, usually followed by a long drive or flight back home --- after which we always feel like we need another vacation. We live in Staten Island which is only a few minutes from the port at Cape Liberty. On Sunday, the 18th, we took a car service to Bayonne and arrived at about 10:45 AM. The embarkation process was very easy. We dropped our bags off and took the short shuttle ride to the terminal building where, after passing through security, we found the line marked "Aqua Class" and followed it directly to a representative. Within a few minutes, we had our sea passes and were headed to the ship. We stopped briefly to look at the menus for Qsine and Normandie and were on board at 11:30, ready to begin our vacation. It couldn't have been easier. THE SHIP: We sailed on the Infinity a couple of year ago before the refurbishment, so we were interested in seeing what had been done to its sister ship, the Summit. We found that the Summit retained all of the charm that we remembered, but certainly looked a little spiffier. The ship is smaller than the S class ships and other ships like the Breakaway and some of the RCI ships. And that was fine with us. We like the more intimate feel of the ship (if you can call a 2000 passenger ship intimate). I never felt like I was very far from any part of the ship I wanted to get to. And it never felt crowded. There were a lot of children on the trip (someone said there were 400), but the younger ones spent most of their day in the Fun Factory or in the pool. I didn't find the kids annoying and all the ones I saw were pretty well behaved. If there was one minor drawback for me, it was the pool area. There really aren't enough deck chairs for everyone and many people came down before 7 AM to "reserve" chairs. The Pool Butlers did, at times, remove belongings of people who were gone for too long, but this was not done consistently. Still, since we prefer not to sit in the sun, we were eventually able to find places to sit. As I said, this was only a minor annoyance. THE CABIN: On our first cruise (on the Equinox), we had a Concierge cabin. For our cruise on the Infinity, we upgraded to a Celebrity Suite. This time, we decided to try Aqua Class (cabin #9070) --- and we were very pleased with the decision. The cabin was a comfortable size for the two of us. We packed a little more than we probably needed, but there was plenty of room in the closets to hang our clothes. In addition, there were six drawers next to the main closet and two large shelves. The two night tables each had two deep drawers and the vanity had two large storage spaces. Our suitcases fit comfortably under the bed. The bathroom was small but sufficient and I really loved the shower. The balcony was large enough for the two of us to sit and eat breakfast comfortably or read. There is a large overhang so that there was only sun early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Since we prefer shade, it was perfect. The only minor negative was mentioned on some message boards: the water from the shower tends to pour out from under the shower doors and "flood" the floor. This in no way negatively impacted the experience. We simply had to put down a few extra towels to mop up the water. On the third day, my wife figured out that by closing the doors in a certain way, we could minimize the "flooding." Overall, we really enjoyed the cabin and were very comfortable. DINING: As Aqua Class guests, we were assigned to eat in Blu. Initially, we thought we might want to occasionally eat in the MDR or in one of the specialty restaurants. However, the experience in Blu was so good that we dined there every night (and a few mornings). The first three mornings, we ordered room service, but soon we were having breakfast in Blu as well. We thought that the food was very good and loved the fact that the portions were a little smaller --- so we never felt stuffed after dinner. Dinner always began with an interesting appetizer, followed by either soup or salad. I really enjoyed the soups. The main dishes were tasty and, for the most part, light. I really enjoyed one of the roasted chicken dishes, the filet mignon and a rack of lamb (I know, how could that be light? Somehow, it was). The menu was different each night. However, the best thing about the restaurant is that it felt like a real restaurant, not like a huge dining room at a Catskill Mountains resort. Blu was quiet and intimate and quite relaxing. Everyone we spoke to felt the same way about the ambiance of the restaurant. And the staff! Well . . . THE STAFF: We absolutely love the staff on Celebrity ships and this sailing was no different. Every single staff member we passed in the halls stopped to ask how we were, how we were enjoying the cruise, if we had a nice day, etc. Of course, it probably helps that we are friendly, as well, but they went out of their way to make our cruise enjoyable. I have a hard time believing reviews that say that the staff is surly or indifferent. They are warm and friendly and professional. Now some specifics: We couldn't have been happier with our treatment in Blu. It started with Mazy, our Maitre d'. He always greeted us with a smile and welcomed us back. During the meal, he stopped by to make recommendations, to ask if we were enjoying the meal or simply to chat for a few moments. The wait staff was friendly and professional as well --- in particular Rambo, Alvin and Ashvin. They provided us with information about the food that allowed us to make informed choices. They took the time to chat with us and we found out a lot about their backgrounds and the countries they came from. They made us feel like guests in their homes, not customers. At one meal, the woman sitting next to us (from Montreal) was having trouble conveying to Alvin exactly what she wanted to eat (she spoke English well, but didn't quite have the words to convey her exact meaning). Alvin brought got Ashvin, who spoke French, and together they were able to figure out what she wanted to order. Pleasing their guests was important. I also have to mention Jom, the sommelier, and Agus, who brought us other drinks. They were so delightful and helpful and really helped make the experience in Blu a wonderful one. And, after the first night, everyone on staff knew our names and, by the third night, knew our dining and drinking preferences. In addition, I want to mention Steve Gayda, the Cruise Director, and his staff who went out of their way to make sure that everyone had a great time. By the time the cruise ended he knew the names of many of the passengers. ENTERTAINMENT: My wife and I are regular theater-goers in NY and I like to go to the shows on the ship. The entertainers were all excellent. Guitarist/vocalists Brandi Paige and Jefferson Eng are quite good. Jordan Peterson, the pianist, is very talented and I wished I could have seen him and the others more often. When the aerialists, Lulu and Dima, had to drop out of the final performance because of rough seas, Jordan took their place and did a wonderful set. The major performances by the Celebrity singers and dancers were enjoyable. The shows themselves were not very strong. "Sirens" suffered from a weak script and awful dialogue and the revues, "iHollywood" and "Stars in Their Eyes," had, in my opinion, some odd song choices. However, the singers and dancers were so good that we didn't care. The singers, particularly Glenn, Diana, Drew and Hannah had strong, beautiful voices and the dancers, especially Ben, Sacha, Jason, Jason and Ashley, were superb. Some of the dance numbers were absolutely exhilarating. As my wife remarked to one of the performers at the end of the first show, "Whatever they're paying you guys . . . it's not enough!" Jason Bishop, the illusionist, was absolutely amazing. We've all seen these "tricks" before, but his unique take on these illusions was phenomenal. While I didn't see comedian Kevin Flynn in his adults only late show (past my bedtime), I enjoyed him when he appeared in the final night's show. He was hilarious. The highlight of the week (entertainment-wise) was the appearance of Telly Leung in the 54 Below show. Telly is a Broadway veteran (I've seen him in several shows) and his set, along with accompanist, Gary Adler, was fabulous. The theme of the show was about the songs that were important to him growing up. They included Broadway songs, pop music and traditional songs. He has a beautiful voice, passion and lots of personality. He even stuck around and appeared with the Celebrity singers in their final performance. OTHER STUFF: - We don't usually book our excursions through Celebrity, but my wife decided that she wanted to do a glass bottom boat tour. It was pleasant and informative, but nothing special. Still, we enjoyed being on the water and met some nice people on board. - I like to take part in Trivia competitions and there were several each day. I met another couple and we formed a team that lasted the entire trip. The whole point of the games is to have fun and we had a blast. And won a few times, too. - While on the ship, we ate lunch in the Aqua Spa Cafe. Lunch was mostly salads and this was fine with us. - The only time we ate at the buffet was the day we first boarded. Nothing else was open. It was OK. We did occasionally stop in for ice cream or coffee and tea. - There was a minor error on our bill. When I checked my charges on Saturday morning, I noticed a charge for two glasses of Chardonnay from the previous evening. My wife had a Rose wine and I had a gin and tonic --- no Chardonnay. I went to the guest services desk and Angelina, the rep, reviewed our charges and said she would check on them. By that evening, the charges had been removed and I even received a call from Angelina informing me that my bill was now correct. My wife and I are not drinkers. She likes a glass of wine with dinner and I will sometimes have a soda or a gin and tonic. As a result, we didn't but any beverage packages. On past cruises, we didn't drink enough to warrant a package. However, people who like to drink more on a cruise benefit greatly from a drink package. - The weather in Bermuda was great and we had nice weather for three of the four days at sea. The last sea day was a little rocky, but not too bad. OVERALL: Overall, we had a great cruise. We arrived on board determined to relax and have a wonderful time and we did.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Embarkation: The New York passenger terminals can be overwhelming due to tight curbside spaces and passengers attempting to board such a large ship as the Breakaway. We are Platinum Latitudes members and we found the expedited line easily ... Read More
Embarkation: The New York passenger terminals can be overwhelming due to tight curbside spaces and passengers attempting to board such a large ship as the Breakaway. We are Platinum Latitudes members and we found the expedited line easily and quickly, we were on the ship curb to deck 15 poolside in under 30 minutes. Fellow Cruisers: In Florida the kids went back to school the second week of August; obviously not the case in NY and NJ. I was told that there were approximately 1900 children and young adults under the age of 18 onboard and this bore out throughout the trip. The Crew did a good job of enforcing 'Adult Only' areas and 'Curfews' but there were a lot of kinds and I think the ship's facilities and crew were overwhelmed by the sheer number. My companion and I will forever refer to this cruise as our 'Jersey Shore at Sea experience'. While most people were quite nice the passenger load was LOUD ( bellowing across public rooms, dining rooms), Colorful in language and wardrobe, Boisterous, and did I mention LOUD!!! Beware if you find New Yorkers or New Jerseyites hard to handle en masse this may not be the ship for you. This cruise saw very large families and groups mostly from NJ and NY. Ship Overall: A really beautiful ship, the d'cor is very rich and warm. We were surprised for a mass market ship and having been on 65 ships, the Breakaway had some of the loveliest public areas we have seen. In many ways the ship looked like it should have been part of the Celebrity Fleet. Of special notice is the Manhattan Dining Room, really gorgeous. The outdoor areas of the ship are crowded and the pools are woefully undersized for the passenger load, the outside 'Uptown Grill' was a great place to escape to the shade and a good place to have breakfast and avoid the maddening crowd one deck down at the Garden Caf'. Oceanside areas on Deck 8 were ok, the space was compact and if you ate outside you were subject to passerbys and those who smoked. Better execution of this concept was on the Carnival Breeze. The SPA is gorgeous (but the EPIC's is better) with forward facing windows over the bridge and a wonderful series of steam and salt rooms as well as a large therapy pool. The men's changing room was very nice and actually had a place to sit and cool down! The treatment rooms were nice and located one floor below the SPA. No kids allowed and it was enforced. I was amazed at what an incredible job the crew did with keeping the ship spotless! Even packed as it was and with all the kids! I have a real thing about dirty dishes in hallways or public areas ' never saw it. Witnessed crew members constantly cleaning, the ship was maintained to a spotless standard. Casino reeks of cigarette smoke, they try to move the air and to deodorize but the smell is omnipresent and the non-smoking areas are invaded either by smokers directly or indirectly through wafting clouds of smoke. Favorite outdoor area was deck 7 forward where the shuffleboard courts are located ' big expansive deck at the rail and very much under utilized. Food: Ate Breakfast and lunch in Taste and Savor restaurants and it was generally very good. The rooms are smaller than the Manhattan and have a more intimate feel. Zakarian Seafood was ok but not worth the $50.00 cover charge ' although one of the best servings of Dover Sole I have ever had ' but still not worth the high tariff. Brazilian Charuscaria and the Steakhouse were very good and worth the up-charge as the food was excellent and service good. Italian was just good and service was spotty because the night we ate there it was very busy. We ate at the Bistro twice and the service was excellent and the food was very good and definitely worth the cover charge. We enjoyed the food in the Manhattan Dining room but the service was stretched too thin and the ambiance was loud and chaotic (remember lots of kids). The ambiance was more a function of our loud fellow passengers and their extended family/group members extended throughout the dining room. The entire time we were in the dining room people were milling about and shouting from table to table ' not the fault of the cruise line except that the maitre'd could have done a better job seating these groups. Garden Court is a beautiful room and the options are plentiful and good; however, the crowd makes the experience less than pleasurable we gave up after two failed attempts to have lunch here. Uptown Grill ' loved it and grab a cinnamon roll at breakfast they are yummy. The Pub is great but the menu limited and this was the only place that we ran into poor service. We don't drink so cannot comment on the bars. Overall the food quality was very good ' believe it or not the chilled melon plate became or morning favorite along with the muesli and sweet roll. The Watermelon served onboard was amazing ' I am going through watermelon withdrawal. Suggestion , buy the restaurant package before you go. Cabin: Occupied a Spa mini Suite on Deck 14 Cabin 14770. Lovely and nice cabin with large bathroom ' tiny balcony but the overhang of deck 15 provided shade and shelter from rain. Lots of storage but the room still felt tight. The Bathroom was big and the shower was pleasant with the different spray heads; however would have preferred a tub/Shower combo at this price point. Utilized the spa pass everyday and enjoyed it. Nothing else very special ' really liked the NCL EPIC's Spa mini-suite much better. Shows: Book in advance!!!! If you don't, you will miss out. Loved the entertainment. Rock of Ages was good fun and well presented but don't take your kids under 16 as it is too suggestive and the language. We were shocked to see 5 ' 10 year olds in the audience, the cruise line provides ample 'warnings' about the show's content. Burn the Floor was amazing what a talented group of dancers and singers. The Comedian Magician was just ok. The lounge act Fire and Ice was incredible, this duet was wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed their shows in various venues ' we became something of groupies. Service: For the most part very good. Few service failures and some rough spots but this was due to the overwhelming number of passengers on a completely booked ship with 1900 kids. Room steward was good though he seemed to have too many rooms and we were always last. Dining staff was universally very good, Cruise staff were excellent ' visible, friendly, and high spirited. Officers were approachable and interactive and exhibited a good sense of humor especially when a South Jersey boy stood up during the Q&A to ask the captain , 'who onboard cuts the cheese'. My only complaint is with the guest services staff ' the folks behind the counter could do very little without a supervisor's approval ' these people are not enabled and it must be frustrating which leads to a generally bad attitude. An item was posted incorrectly to my bill and was not applied until the night before disembarkation. I discovered this error when the final bill was delivered and I went down to the Guest Services desk where I was greeted by a greeter, told him of the issue and he asked why I waited until the final morning to check my bill, I was not amused. I was then assigned to a line of 5 people to wait my turn (the Lattitudes Concierge was nowhere to be seen). When I finally was called to the counter I started to explain my issue when a maitre'd and waiter barged to the counter, demanding the agent helping me help them. When he got back to my issue he indicated that a credit was due but he could not do so without a supervisors approval and there were no supervisors available. He asked if I would stand aside while he waited on others, I borrowed the persona of my fellow passengers from NJ and refused. 45 minutes later he was surprised to see that the credit had been 'magically' adjusted elsewhere and my bill was correct. Not really a good final service impression. Dis-embarkation: Did walk off and it was very easy. Again the Cruise Passenger terminal in NY leaves a lot to be desired. One needs to cross the very busy west side highway to hail a cab. Destination: Bermuda is beautiful, quiet and low key. Golf and beaches. Eat onboard food is better and you'll save a bundle. Nothing special about the shopping. But all in all relaxing. Overall: Would I go on the ship again, yes. Is it my favorite mega ship? No, I prefer the Allure of the Seas and the EPIC. The concentration of passengers from the 5 boroughs and New Jersey can be overwhelming and a culture shock to the uninitiated. Did I have a good time, Yes. However, I was glad to end my 'Jersey Shore at Sea' experience and get home.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
In April of 2013, I talked my girlfriend into going on a cruise with her daughters. I wanted them to experience the almost 16 hours of daily fun and excitement that I had cruising before on Carnival's cruise line. We also brought my ... Read More
In April of 2013, I talked my girlfriend into going on a cruise with her daughters. I wanted them to experience the almost 16 hours of daily fun and excitement that I had cruising before on Carnival's cruise line. We also brought my daughter and her husband. Since my girlfriend didn't like being 'stuck' on a ship, I looked for a cruise that had a single port of call, so that she would have a few days of getting off the boat in a row. I found two ships I liked with activities for the 12 year old that sailed the week of 8/25/13. One Carnival Ship whose name I do not recall, and the NCL Breakaway. We ultimately chose to go NCL, since we could simply drive to NY and avoid the hassle of flying. During the booking process, I reviewed the cabin categories, and finally chose to purchase the spa-deck mini-suites with balcony, which included unlimited access to the spa facilities. Total cost so far, about $13,000 for 6 adults, 1 child in 2 spa suites, and 1 inside cabin. As part of the fun plan we had, we hired a limo to take us from NJ to NY. On 8/25/13, at 8AM, the Limo driver showed up with a super-size bus, and our excitement began. We enjoyed the trip to NY, and arrived at the port on schedule at 9:45AM. This cost us about $275 each way, not bad considering parking in NY alone was $210 per vehicle. We were checked in by 10:30AM, and waited to board the breakaway at 11:30am. We boarded the ship, enjoy the view from the top deck, and had lunch. We went to our Mini Suite with Balcony, and laughed at how small these rooms are, and how super-small the balconies were. The chairs barely fit. That evening we a elected to see the first performance of Cirque Dreams Jungle Fever dinner show on the ship, at a "today only discounted rate of 25% off list price." ($209). This show was amazing. We truly enjoyed everything about the show. That evening we explored the ship, and found the "Howl at the moon" dueling pianos performance and enjoyed this performance until about midnight, at which time I stumbled to bed almost drunk. Yeah!!! Since I already had about 10 drinks on day one, I decided to get the "Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP) for $49.95 per person per day". Total price about $800 after 15% included gratuity. I could now drink anything, without having to worry about how much my bar tab would be at the end of the week.....and this is where the real fun begins.... Here are the rules for the UBP, some of which you'll find out after you pay for it... 1. If you have the UBP, you can't order two drinks without both cards being present. Only 1 drink at a time. Even 2. Only drinks under $8.25 (I believe this is the amount) are included. If the drink was 25 cents more, it was not included at all, and the full price would be charged to your room. 3. All your drinks are charged to your room. At the end of the day, they remove up to 15 drinks per person. So instead of worrying about not spending over $800 in alcohol in the week, I now have to worry about if each drink I order is included, and if I'll drink enough to cover the expense of the UBP. The only pro to this was that if I didn't like a drink, I simply ordered another, but even with that, we still didn't order enough to cover the $800. Guess we don't drink the way we used to. We're now on Day 2, and we're on the ocean. So we're off the find things to do. Since we had the spa package, we went to find the spa. We checked in, and received our stickers to give us access for the week. The spa itself was simply fantastic. Super-size tubs sauna, solarium, salt room, steam room, etc.... and a few loungers. The spa was only for those 18 and over, so our 12 year old that was booked in the spa category, couldn't get in, but we couldn't 'transfer' this to our daughter who didn't stay in the spa suite. Another waste of money. At dinner time, we chose to eat at the buffet, which was OK. Although the seating areas were filled, we eventually found areas to sit. Day 3, tried to get some time on the pool deck. This is where we found out that there are a total of six loungers pool side, and more than half of the other loungers are in the shade. Try to find pictures of the pool deck on the breakaway, and you won't find many, except for NCL's CGI images. We picked a few out on the top deck in the sun, but once they started to play the music, it was so loud we just left and went back to the room and our 'private balcony'. You could hear and feel the bass from the music in our cabin, so we found other things to do...back to the SPA we went. I spent some time at the Casino tables as well, earning the 1500 points necessary to get the 'free drinks on us while at the casino'... but since I already had the UBP this didn't mean anything to me except a sign that I spent too much time in the casino. Please note, that the ship's casinos are UNREGULATED, and you may win some the first few days, but that quickly changes on return voyage, when I'm certain they change the odds. The automated card shufflers can be programmed to give out winning or losing hands as they desire. Day 4, we arrived in Bermuda, and set out to enjoy the island, which we did. Since this review isn't about Bermuda, I won't go into details on this. Day 5, St Georges. Day 6, Rained out. Our Bermuda Triangle snorkel tour which was a 5 mile out catamaran excursion was changed to a short boat ride to a near-by area, or we could cancel... we elected to cancel this excursion. Day 7, Cruising back home, and eager to get there....the ship was packed, every area of the ship were there was anything to do, was simply packed beyond capacity. The ship itself was clean (it's new after all), and the cruise staff was very polite, as I've come to expect, but when I paid $13,000+/- for the trip, I didn't expect to get nickeled and dimed on everything on the ship. Only 2 shows are included as "complementary", and those shows aren't that price of free. In the end, this cruise cost us about $20,000+/-, and ended with us never wanting to cruise again, with any cruise line. I know not all cruises are like this, but the fact that once you set sail, you're there until the end, makes us all uncomfortable cruising again. Carnival, I'm sorry I didn't come back to you instead. I never felt cramped there, and enjoyed the evening entertainment on the ships, and all at no extra charge.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We had a wonderful time on the NCL Breakaway. It is a beautiful ship. We had a Spa Balcony and it is worth every penny to be able to use the spa resources when the ship is crowded and you want to get away from the crowds and kids. I can ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the NCL Breakaway. It is a beautiful ship. We had a Spa Balcony and it is worth every penny to be able to use the spa resources when the ship is crowded and you want to get away from the crowds and kids. I can not say enough about the Steward that took care of us on our cruise. By the end of the first day he had our names down and by the end I wanted to take him home. The shows are great Rock of Ages Rocked! Burn the floor was good but I had the original NYC to compare it to so it did come in 2nd but still worth seeing and great dancing. Always plenty to do during the day. Buffet were very good. If you do not get a soda plan or alcohol plan still plenty to choose from for beverages, ice tea, juice etc. Restaurants were great. Definitely spend the money on at least one meal and if you do make it Cagney's Steak house! Worth every penny! The Spa Balcony is very reasonable for 2 people and worth the money to be able to use the Spa resources. The room would be to tight for more than 2. The balcony is smaller than ships I have been on before. The room layout that we had was the couch near the sliding door and the bed next to the closet and bath. I am traveling again next month on the Breakaway and know to get the room 14724, or 14722 because it was hard getting in and out of the closet with the bed so close. 14724, and 14722 are reversed they have the bed near the slider and the couch near the closet which makes it much easier to get shoes from the bottom. Bring a night light for the bathroom. Once the lights are off it is DARK! I picked up a battery operated tea light that I left on the bathroom counter with the door cracked it was perfect. Bathroom was fine. Not hugh but enough. The counter layout and the shelves were a great asset to the small bathroom. AHHHHH Bermuda! Why did I wait so long to get there!!!??? The island is beautiful and the people are very friendly. The bus system is great, but can be a little crazy for the faint of heart. Wish they had better markings at the bus stops so you knew were to get off and on or announced it on the bus. Water ferry's were great as well get a 3 day pass for bus and ferries is worth it. Beaches are amazing. We did so much and it was great to be in port 3 days and use the ship as your hotel. I would go back in a heart beat. Top 3 likes: Great staff, Spa, Rock of Ages. Top 3 Dislikes: Hard time finding Deck chairs during sea days, Small balcony, Smoke in Casino Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
I just got off the Norwegian Breakaway (NYC-Bermuda / 07/7-14/2013) and wanted to provide some feedback for those thinking about sailing on her. I had read many reviews here on CC prior to boarding and while I was excited to finally get to ... Read More
I just got off the Norwegian Breakaway (NYC-Bermuda / 07/7-14/2013) and wanted to provide some feedback for those thinking about sailing on her. I had read many reviews here on CC prior to boarding and while I was excited to finally get to see her, I had fairly low expectations based upon what I read. I was pleasantly surprised. I will say that this cruise was a very different experience than any I have ever had. I'm not sure if I can explain it, but it was just not a typical cruise experience (maybe due to a very different ship design, layout, etc.). It felt much like a boutique hotel on water (boutique hotel meaning small). I am giving the Breakaway 4 ribbons for one reason and one reason only (I really wanted to give her 5 but just couldn't). Overall, it was a great experience once I let go of the one and only thing wrong with her - it was the first time in all of my cruises I ever felt crowded on a ship. I will talk more about that in a bit. * My Cruising History * This was my 9th cruise (2nd on NCL). I have done 5 on RCL, 1 on Celebrity and 1 on Carnival (my first cruise, 8 years ago). I have done everything from 7 days to 18 days and have sailed most of the Caribbean Islands, sailed through the Panama & Suez Canals as well as the Mediterranean. I would count myself as a "Frequent Floater" with a varied set of experiences on varying sizes of ships. I have my next one already booked on NCL (Jade) for this November sailing the Eastern Mediterranean. 1.) Embarkation (NYC): [5 ribbons] Because I am a Latitudes member, I got through the lines very quickly. I arrived at 1:00pm and was on the ship by 1:30pm. I was able to go right to my cabin and then went to the Garden Cafe (buffet) for lunch. 2.) My Cabin (Studio Lounge - #11573): [5 ribbons] I was excited to finally get to sail alone and to try out these cabins for solo travelers. In a word, it was AMAZING! You can see my video review of my cabin here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjVb7gCjHEY&feature=c4-overview&list=UUthA0SxLm_-thzllH-ykyZw . I loved the Studio Lounge that you get access to and I liked that NCL posts a crew member there every day at 5pm for a Solo Travelers Reception to help you get acquainted with those solo travelers cruising with you. The arranged several outings for us together. It's of course, optional, but it was a nice touch. One cool thing to note is, in the lounge there is a high-end coffee machine that allows you to make good latte's, cappuccino's, etc. which was very nice (and free). Overall, I would do this cabin type again many times. The only thing I missed was the balcony (my 1st cruise without one). I didn't take long to get used to not having it - I mean, how much time did I really spend in the room anyway? :) 3.) Dining: [4 ribbons] I do love NCL's Freestyle Dining format. I had dinner in Taste 2 nights, Shanghai Noodle Bar 1 night, La Cucina 1 night, Garden Cafe (buffet) 2 nights and Cirque Dreams 1 night. I found the food across the ship to be good (not great - but certainly good enough). RCL's Italian specialty restaurant is better than La Cucina. I liked the Garden Cafe for breakfast and lunch. I wanted to try Moderno but didn't get around to it. The service was good to great in most venues, but I still felt a little like a herd of cattle in most places (not usual for me). Overall, the quality of food was good and the experience was good (not great). 4.) Pool: [2 ribbons] In all my cruising, I have never seen something so ridiculously small. for 4,000 passengers, NCL simply did a very bad job of thinking this through. The water slides are very cool (I did all of them and they were great fun), but they take up so much space on the pool deck that the main adult pool simply didn't have the amount of space it needed. The comments I heard around the ship from other passengers was the same. It is just too small and the space allotted for chairs to sun is just terrible. I saw people become very aggressive in the saving of lounge chairs. I saw the crew place small stickers on chairs with a time on it. Supposedly - there is a time limit of 1 hour to save chairs - but I saw people ripping those stickers off just as soon as they were put on - haha. I am not much of a sun bunny (even though I do like to lay out by the pool under the coverings), but for those who are - you will want to walk into this with real expectations so you are not disappointed. 5.) Spa/Fitness: [not rated] I took a break from exercising on this cruise and didn't hit the fitness facility or the spa at all this time. I normally do a massage but chose not to this time. I did tour the facility on day one and it is very nice and well outfitted. The only thing I didn't like is that I love to sit in the steam room to relax and normally, they are in the individual men's/women's locker rooms, but on this ship, the only steam room is in the Thermal Spa that comes along with a charge. But from what I understood, you can't buy day passes (don't quote me on that) - you buy access to it for the whole cruise or nothing. And I didn't want to spend the $199 to get access to it. It looked very nice, but was doing this cruise on the cheap I guess. 6.) Beverage Packages: [3 ribbons] I don't drink alcohol so I always buy the soda package and I did on this cruise as well. It was priced well and I was happy with it. The reason I gave this only 3 ribbons was because I had a friend on the ship who wanted the Premium Beverage Package that includes alcohol and when we went to inquire about it on day 2, they said you have to pay for all 7 days for it, even if you buy it days into the cruise. They wouldn't consider pro-rating the package because some days had already passed. Now, I think if I were a drinker, $49 per day for unlimited wine, beer & liquor is a GREAT deal, but to not be flexible with it depending on when you buy it is not very good customer service. She opted not to buy the package. In the end, she probably spent more on her alcohol than the price of the package (which is probably the ships strategy), but still…. So, if you are interested in purchasing that alcohol package, make sure you do it on day 1. 7.) Entertainment: [5 ribbons] As I mentioned, I have been on 8 cruises prior to this one and I can tell you - the quality of entertainment on this ship is by far, the very best I have ever seen. Being a musician/performer myself, I am a bit jaded by cruise ship entertainment for the most part, but was happily surprised at the level of talent on this ship. Every single venue I experienced that had entertainment (e.g., Fire & Ice, Howl at the Moon, Fat Cats Blues, Burn the Floor, Cirque Dreams & Rock of Ages, etc.) was spectacular. I was a little forgiving with ROA because the show is silly, but the quality of vocal performances was outstanding. My favorite by far was "Burn the Floor." This show was on Broadway and I can tell you it is that same quality on the ship. These dancers are AMAZING!!!!!! It is a must see! Overall, I was incredibly happy with the entrainment. Oh, and Julie, the Cruise Director - best CD I have ever had on ANY ship! 8.) Service: [4 ribbons] At every turn, the service was good, verging on great. From my cabin attendant, Winston, to the various crew I interacted with all over the ship, it was a good experience. I did have to take into account there were 4K people on the ship and sometimes the crew seemed a little rushed to "get it all done", but over all, I was happy with the service. There were many crew who seemed genuinely happy to have me on board and to meet my needs. My mantra for this cruise was "Feed Me & Flip Me" and I will be happy. :) 9.) Bermuda: [3 ribbons] I guess I am a little jaded in that an island is an island (and I have been to so many on cruises), but I was not all that impressed by Bermuda. Remember, I am not a sun bunny so I didn't go to the beaches (which I heard were beautiful). I did, however, make one very strategic move that paid off big dividends. We were docked in port 3 days and I chose to stay on the ship on day 1 & 2 and get off on day 3. Smart move! The ship that felt crowded most of the time, was perfect on those days. And because everyone went off ship on day 1 & 2, day 3 was quiet in St. Georges. I didn't go to Hamilton, but enjoyed the laid back, "old town" atmosphere of St. George's. If you want picturesque, go to St. George's. If you want shopping, go to Hamilton. In the end, I was glad I took this cruise, glad I got to experience this new ship and glad I got to see what NCL has on the horizon for it passengers. I will say, however, I don't need to sail on her again. This also means, I am not jumping to sail on their sister ship, the Getaway anytime soon. I enjoyed it, but don't need to repeat the experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We booked an Aqua Class cabin (9110). It was spacious and had a great balcony. We found it to be very clean and nicely appointed. This cruise exceeded our expectations. We weren't sure what to expect, but what we found was a very ... Read More
We booked an Aqua Class cabin (9110). It was spacious and had a great balcony. We found it to be very clean and nicely appointed. This cruise exceeded our expectations. We weren't sure what to expect, but what we found was a very relaxing and wonderful experience. My partner and I (two gay males 37 & 43), found the crew to be friendly and very helpful. The Blu restaurant is worth the upgrade to Aqua Class within itself. The wait staff was friendly, and attentive. The food was amazing! So much selection and creativity! The portions were not enormous, so we never felt like we were eating too much. It was great to be able to try so many new things. Celebrity is known for it's food, and it definitely did not disappoint. We only dined in the main dining room once on a formal night. We found it to be nice, but so much more crowded than Blu. We dined at the Normandie restaurant twice. We really loved it (partly because we are Art Deco fanatics, and it is all done in Deco). The food was definitely the best in this restaurant. Their attention to detail was outstanding. We really enjoyed the spa treatments that we booked (only wish they wouldn't try to up sell so much on products). Access to the Persian Garden was wonderful (included for Aqua Class Guests). The Turkish Bath was my personal favourite. Great way to relax. Overall I found the boat to be in good shape. I didn't notice any glaring problems. It impressed me. We are already looking forward to our next cruise with Celebrity in Aqua Class on the Reflection in December. Maybe the newer boat will surpass our experience on the Summit!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Waiting For The Cruise:  I was waiting for the cruise for less than a year. The day was finally there and I could not believe it. Nervousness and excitement took me over as I was finally ready to step foot on the Breakaway itself. My ... Read More
Waiting For The Cruise:  I was waiting for the cruise for less than a year. The day was finally there and I could not believe it. Nervousness and excitement took me over as I was finally ready to step foot on the Breakaway itself. My Cabin: I had a balcony room that I was sharing with two other guests. The room was very small and compacted, but it served its purpose. The dresser drawers opened and closed as the waves became choppy. I would advise you to bring along duct tape to close the drawers temporarily. Be careful when stepping into the bathroom, there is a slight step that is easy to trip over. In addition, the balcony was very small. You would be lucky to fit three people on the balcony at once. My favorite part about the cabin? The towel animals! Haha The Dining: The buffets offered lots of food choices and the food was delectable. The buffets were easy to access if you just wanted to grab a quick snack before hopping off the ship. La Cucina was the only specialty restauraunt that I went to over the course of my cruise.The food was not very good and I would never go there again. If I were you, I would just stick to the free and delicious buffets. The specialty resauraunts are not worth there money. The Aqua Park: The water slides were well worth the wait. Although the lines got long during the day, they were so fun! The pool was enjoyable, but it was just your typical pool, nothing special about it. The hot tubs were relaxable, but very squished when too many people came in at once. The Sports Complex: The ropes course was one of the most fun parts of the ship. The plank was just a tourist trap. You stand in a harness and get your picture taken. It is yet another way for the Breakaway to make money off of us suckers. The mini golf was fun, but fast and the zip line was very fun. The Casinos: Of course, a way to waste your money. There were lots of slot machines and that was pretty much it. Just your typical Atlantic City money waster. Entertainment: Jungle Fantasy was the best. There were swinging, flying, rolling, and jumping acrobats. What could be better than that? I had paid for the VIP seating, but it was not worth it. If anything, regular seating was better. Burn The Floor was exciting and fun. The show was enjoyable , but continuous dancing did get boring after awhile. Rock of Ages was definitely rated PG-13. There was some foul language and racy clothing that children should not be watching. The show is better for adults or older teenagers. Overall, the show pretty good. But make sure you come early! Bermuda: Beautiful and tropical! This was my first time visiting an island. It was just as good as I wanted it to be, but better. There were a few good daytime excursions. Hartley's Helmet Dive, Caves and Aquariums, Bermuda Triangle Evening Cruise, and Day at The Beach (at Snorkel Park beach). Make sure to visit the shops and local meuseums. On Wednesdays Bermuda always has a festival in the small town of Hamilton, definitely worth going to. I was so sad to leave the beautiful island of Bermuda. Tips: Reserve a lounge chair early in the morning. Place a towel on the chair. Bring duct tape to seal dresser drawers. Bring conditioner if needed. There is not any conditioner in the bathrooms. Book shore excursions before cruising. It is much easier! Stay out of your cabin and have fun! Go swimming or join the kids program. Participate in the onboard activities and meet new friends. Enjoy the Breakaway. It really is a wonderful ship. Bon Voyage!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We took the inaugural cruise of the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda the weekend of May 12th! Overall, our experience on the Breakaway was fantastic with some minor misses along the way. We sailed in one of the Spa Mini-suites. Here's ... Read More
We took the inaugural cruise of the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda the weekend of May 12th! Overall, our experience on the Breakaway was fantastic with some minor misses along the way. We sailed in one of the Spa Mini-suites. Here's our breakdown: Spa: The mini-suite included two passes to the Thermal Spa for the week. We took advantage of the spa facilities three days during the week, as well as each had a bamboo massage. The spa area was fantastic: a well-designed heated hydrotherapy pool, multiple different rooms (sauna, salt room, etc), and a lounge area with heated tiled recliners. We had a great time here and would highly recommend. Room: The room was smaller than we were used to for this grade of a cabin, and the balcony was much smaller than any we've had previously. It was a comfortable room, with some nice features and designs. Entertainment: This ship had a great selection of entertainment. "Rock of Ages" was very fun (warning: I would say this show is the equivalent of a soft-R rating, so parents and the easily offended be warned); the Cirque de Soleil Dinner Show was awesome (tip: forget about the premium seating, as the regular seats - while not on the floor - still provide you with a great view of the action); Second City's Dysfunktional Family Reunion was pretty funny; and, Burn the Floor was exciting to watch. All in all, fabulous! Food: The food overall was great with several disappointments. We skipped the Chef's Table when we discovered that it was exactly the same menu that we had on the Norwegian Star last summer which took away the idea that the Chef actually selected the menu options. The most talked about new restaurant - Ocean Blue - was pretty overrated and overpriced. We attempted to be seated two hours earlier from our reservation time (since we wanted to see the finale show) and were told that we could only eat outside (meanwhile, the majority of the dining room was empty). This wouldn't have been a major problem if it wasn't windy and starting to rain :) While I understand we were deviating from our original reservation, they had more than enough room to accommodate our request. We also ate at Cagneys, Le Bistro, and Moderno as our up-charge options and each were disappointing. My suggestion would be to pick only one up-charge meal option and skip the rest. The food in the main dining rooms and buffet is more than enough as far as quality and variety. There was nothing in these other dining rooms that justified the extra cost, in my opinion. The gelato window was great as was the selection of baked goods from Carlo's Bakery. Service: The service, as usual, was fantastic. Fireworks: The fireworks were good, but I don't think that it was smart to have them linked to the Awesome 80s Dance Party. Everyone wanted to see the fireworks, but not everyone enjoyed the initial 45 minutes of 80s videos/music being played. All the people there for the fireworks jammed the dance floor sitting on chairs, and looking generally cross until the fireworks came on. As soon as they were finished, at least 1/3 - 1/2 of the people there immediately left. Inaugural Cruise Experience: What inaugural cruise experience?! With all the emails that we received over the course of the past year, one would've thought that they would have pulled out all of the stops in making this particular cruise very special (especially when we paid higher prices to be on this cruise). To be honest, there was minimal recognition of this being a special cruise, and I think it left many of us feeling disappointed. Overall: If you forget about the hype and build-up to this ship and an expectation of special events to recognize the inaugural cruise to Bermuda, this truly was a fantastic cruise, and I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking about it. I didn't even touch on every single offering this ship has - there's so much to do and discover! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Where to start? Being the maiden voyage to Bermuda obviously the ship was in perfect condition! The decor was gorgeous and perfect! We boarded the ship around 11:30 and were able to go to our state room (spa balcony) right away. We were ... Read More
Where to start? Being the maiden voyage to Bermuda obviously the ship was in perfect condition! The decor was gorgeous and perfect! We boarded the ship around 11:30 and were able to go to our state room (spa balcony) right away. We were greeted with chocolates, a gift bag and the bottle of wine we pre-ordered so it was great to be able to sit and have a glass of wine on our balcony.Our room was beautiful. Nice and spacious, bathroom was large. The balcony was a little smaller than usual, but the size of the room made up for that. Our room steward was phenominal too! *suggestion - you need to use your room key to turn on the power and lights so if you plan on charging anything, we went to the front desk and they gave us a fake key to leave in while we were out of our room We next explored the ship. Fortunatley we had 7 days of perfect weather. The layout of the ship was awesome! For such a large ship it was simple to get from one end to the other. Luckily being in the spa rooms we were one flight of stairs from the spa and pool deck. The spa was beautiful - and while we are not typically used to co-ed steam and sauna, it was fine. The thermal pool was great and the stone chairs were relaxing. A nice touch was the lemon and orange enfused water. We spent a portion of every day in the spa (sometimes twice a day)- There were times when we were the only 2 people in the spa which was GREAT! And the staff was FANTASTIC! The main atrium was stunning... the lighted staircase and the warm feel of the Bistro was just fun and yet elegant. It was great to be able to move around to different parts of the casino without feeling trapped. The Aqua Park was a favorite. The slides were top notch and the free fall was INSANE! We did the ropes course and at first we were scared to death, but after we got comfortable actually walked the plank 3 times (while in port) - Don't think I could do that at sea. Vibe Beach Club is a must if you want privacy. We paid $79 for the week and it was perfect. 2 huge hot tubs that everytime we were there were the only ones in them. HUGE cabannas that I thought I read you had to pay extra for, but we did not and used them when open. Now that was privacy! Frozen fruit scewers are served there as well. The restaurants were awesome! We ate at both Taste and Savor for breakfast, Manhattan for a few dinners, Cagney's(AWESOME), O'Sheehan's, Ocean Grill (Fantastic) and believe it or not the Garden Buffet which we typicall NEVER do. But we found the food there to be GREAT! Such a variety and really, really good. The only shows we got to see was Rock of Ages and Second City. Rock of Ages we heard had some technical problems early in the week, but our show was fine. At first I wasn't sure how to take the show, but by the end we were on our feet! The FIREWORKS! Wow - hard to believe that could be done off the back of the ship. My only suggestion is don't feel you have to cram into H20 to see them because it was pretty tight - Go to deck 17 or the side of the ship and you will see them. But DON'T MISS! The Crew! Wow - they definately got the best of the best on this ship. Everyone knew our names and we just loved them. But we have never gone wrong with Norwegian. I guess I could keep going, but this will definately give you an idea of our vacation. For being the first sailing - there were a couple of very minor things that I am sure will be worked out, but we had NO complaints! LOVED every minute of the being on the Breakaway and looking forward to sailing on the Getaway next year! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our 3rd NCL cruise and we traveled with friends who'd never cruised with NCL before. They are seasoned cruisers with Oceania and Crystal and other "luxury" lines and proclaimed this the finest boat and the finest ... Read More
This was our 3rd NCL cruise and we traveled with friends who'd never cruised with NCL before. They are seasoned cruisers with Oceania and Crystal and other "luxury" lines and proclaimed this the finest boat and the finest cruise experience they'd ever had. In fact, they were apprehensive about NCL given their prior experience (as were we given that we'd never been on a ship with more than 2,000 or so passengers, give or take). But from the moment we entered the boarding area to the time we stepped into our cab for the airport upon disembarkation, I don't think we had to wait in line more than 15 minutes for the entire cruise (including the ferry lines at the Dockyards in Bermuda). And our cruise was considered fully booked at 4,200 passengers. NCL has a 1:3 (or so) ratio of crew to passengers so the level of service is exquisite. Our steward, Jovi, is easily head and shoulders above any steward we've had on a ship, a plane, a train, a resort or a hotel. An amazingly accommodating and gracious human being and a real credit to his ship and his company. Exceptional: The ship; our spa balcony room (brilliant design - can't understand why so many other people found the storage wanting...they must be cruising on the Queen Mary or something because we had room to stow the contents of 3 suitcases, two brief cases and a dive bad AND the suitcases themselves (easily accommodated under the bed)); the service; the spa (most amazing hot tub experience I've ever encountered with waterfalls and multiple "stations"); the buffet (quality, quantity and service...even table side coffee service) and the appointment of the buffet area itself. The entire area is ingeniously partitioned out so you don't feel like you're eating in a big room. It was as close to a restaurant experience as I've ever had on a cruise ship...again, brilliantly designed. The ability of this ship to accommodate so many people so effortlessly is a miracle. She is a beauty and we will sail Breakaway again. Just plain good: The Waterfront Experience...they should just eliminate the concept and make the associated restaurants bigger...which I'll bet they do on future ships. It was an interesting and worthy experiment, but over hyped and under utilized (especially given that they ate up jogging track and quiet deck space that could be better used for...well...quiet deck space). On cold, windy sea days, it's useless. Nice try though. The specialty restaurants (with the exception of Ocean Blue)....good food and good service. The main restaurants (Taste, Savor and Manhattan Room)...decent food, good service...but nothing truly exceptional. Not so good: Ocean Blue is grossly over-priced...I wound up not liking any of the entrees (and you have to pay extra if you want to try something different) so effectively wound up with a $50 chick pea salad. Also, there was a cherry pit in my Manhattan cocktail that nearly cost me a crown and two successive glasses had chips in the rims, one of which cut my lip. But our server Cherry was very accommodating and helpful and made the experience liveable for me. Everyone else in our party loved their food, so the menu issue may just be me. Also not so good the Casino. Small and irritating. But aren't they all? Also, not enough table games. Again, the Waterfront experience, while a nice experiment, really takes away from quiet deck space (see "Bad"). Bad: The constant assault of horrible rock music, cover bands and terrible reggae music anywhere near the pool. None of us got within 200 feet of the pool the entire trip...it was just a horrible assault on the senses with too much noise, not enough chairs and a too-small pool that could all go away and not be missed. But since this is true of pretty much every cruise ship out there, can't hold it against Breakaway. Bottom line - a world-class experience. The friends with whom we traveled are semi-retired and world-travelers (and like I said, experienced cruisers). That they deemed this the best cruise experience of their life (take that Oceania and Crystal) and have already put a deposit on their next NCL cruise (as have we) is true testament to the passion and joy and professionalism that NCL infuses in every moment. If you don't like this ship, you're one of those people who simply don't like...anything.As for Bermuda, it was Bermuda! The lack of shore excursions was surprising but not unwelcome. We spent a half day in Hamilton, a day in St. Georges, a day on scooters cruising the south beaches and visiting the Gibbons Light House and a half-day snorkeling. And what better place to come "home" to each night than the big, beautiful Breakaway and her amazing crew. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We booked a "spa interior" cabin for a very last minute deal - a huge bargain! (You could also go across the hallway for a spa/balcony if you prefer). I would *highly* recommend it!! We were spoiled and pampered! To say it ... Read More
We booked a "spa interior" cabin for a very last minute deal - a huge bargain! (You could also go across the hallway for a spa/balcony if you prefer). I would *highly* recommend it!! We were spoiled and pampered! To say it was an "upgrade" from any other cabin we've stayed in is a major understatement!! The decor was swanky and sophisticated, inside the cabin and out in the hallway. Our room steward was seasoned and highly competent! We had a private entrance to the spa, which was good, because when we went to and from, we were only in our (provided) bathrobes and slippers! In addition to the bathrobe and slippers, we also had special beach towels that were a different color than most on the ship, and we didn't have to check them out, our room steward just replaced them for us when they were wet. We also had all the spa products free in our room - the soaps, the shampoo, the conditioner, the lotion, and even a fabreeze-like spray for "aroma-therapy"! We also received a 'couples' spa treatment 2 for the price of 1, which we gladly did on our first day at sea, and 3 free exercise classes (which we never did because they were early in the morning!). The entire spa area is 'adults only' and only a handful of guests have access to the entire area in comparison to the 3,000 people on the ship, so it was always a great way to get away from the crowds and find peace and quiet. But the best part of the spa cabin was the free access to the special 'members only' spa area that had many different rooms to relax in. My favorite was the the thelasso-therapy pool, a giant mineral bath with specialty nozzles to massage every part of your body. It was very quiet and never crowded and just hot enough to relax! You could lay back on the chairs inside the pool and feel the bubbles all over your backside, or you could move to the shoulder nozzles where you could get a great pressure massage on your shoulders, neck, and head. From there, we moved into the aroma-steam room, extremely hot and steamy, I could only stay in there for a minute or so before moving on to the next room. The beautiful oriental 'tepidarium' room with heated chairs that were designed to align your body as you laid in them. There was yet another steam room that wasn't quite as hot as the first, and then the final room, the 'lanconium', where there were heated chairs to relax in. All the rooms had PERFECT views of the ocean from the very tip-top of the ship where the spa was located. I never showered in our room because the spa had a beautiful locker room available with gigantic showers with benches and chairs that locked individually, towels and spa products provided. You could also spend time in the general waiting area, there were many chairs and even beds to relax on while enjoying the view and something cold to drink. Specialty water and fruit was provided in the waiting area. Obviously, the spa was the highlight of being on the Splendor. The major drawbacks of this ship include: 1. Terrible service in the Gold Pearl Dining room - we generally love the dinners in the formal dining room because we get to know our servers well and have fun interacting with them. We had three servers, none of which even tried to interact with us because they were so busy and didn't really speak English. My order was incomplete or wrong most of the nights. A huge disappointment. 2. The 'choppy' layout of the ship. The buffet area was divided into several parts, and many people didn't realize there was a "back" part to the buffet with the same foods which made the main entrance area packed and difficult to navigate at times. Pizza was 24 hours but very slow. At times there were lines 20+ people deep. In addition, there was no central open area to cross the ship. You always had to walk through the casino (smoky) to get to the other side. I had to hunt for the shops and photo shop, it is just all chopped up with only a small atrium in the center. 3. The library and web cafe were lousy. The library was tiny and had very limited hours, and absolutely no view. I didn't even bother to go into the web cafe because it was hidden inside one of the bars and not easy to find. 4. The adults only area was also very tiny and had limited chairs around the pool. It was right by the "Indian" food buffet so they entire area smelled like curry. In addition, the adult lounging area "Serenity" on the upper decks only offered seating - no pool or hot tubs. And the miniature golf course OVERLOOKED the adult-only area, so you constantly had kids walking above you, shouting and playing - didn't feel much like an adult area. I have no idea what they were thinking when they designed that! In spite of the drawbacks listed, I would choose Splendor over and over again for the Cloud 9 Spa Cabin! If you don't enjoy the spa, there would be no advantage to choosing this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was the first time we drove instead of flying to a port of embarkation, and want to say it was the easiest way to go. We drove to the Toms River bus terminal Sunday morning and parked our car for $2/day, versus $35 day in NYC. The ... Read More
This was the first time we drove instead of flying to a port of embarkation, and want to say it was the easiest way to go. We drove to the Toms River bus terminal Sunday morning and parked our car for $2/day, versus $35 day in NYC. The senior bus fare to NY Port Authority was only $8 and two hrs later we arrived in the city. Grabbed a cab $10 to take us the short ride to the pier and when we got there, we were greeted immediately and given "S" tags which allowed us immediate entry to our cabins, because of our cabin category. We booked the deluxe verandah suite, and it was so worth every cent. The cabin was spacious, plenty of storage, closets, dressing rm, king sz bed, sitting area, and large verandah with two padded lounges and table with 4 chairs. The dressing rm had a separate sink and vanity with makeup mirror. Complimentary Champagne and fresh fruit bowl on the bar. Two robes with nice slippers were supplied. The rm also had a safe, flat screen tv, vcr, dvd for free movies. Personalized stationary and postcards. Rm was bright, roomy and tastefully decorated. King sz bed had nice white comfortor and many soft pillows. Cozy and comfy. Our two rm stewards were Indonesian. Polite and efficient, but hard to understand at times. Rooms were spotless. This category also had the benefit of a Concierge located a few doors away at The Neptune Lounge, which we frequented for cold and hot drinks, hor d'oeuvres, and meeting other guests. We met the captain and officers there for complimentary cocktails. We signed up for the wk at the spa's thermal suite which had hot tile lounges, a private whirlpool, and 2 steam rooms. I also had a massage and used the gym several times. The food in the dining rm was average. The best meals were the lamb chops and the surf and turf on formal nights. My husband's fish entree contained bones and was returned to the kitchen as it was inedible. Disappointed there was no music to accompany dining on formal nights. The shows were good and we enjoyed the comedian and the musicals. We docked right on Front St. in Hamilton and it was a great convenient location. Since it was a two day Bermudian holiday when we arrived, they closed off the st to traffic for the parade and local vendors put up tables. We took a cab to Horseshoe Bay beach and it was very crowded as 2 other cruise ships were in. Rented 2 beach chairs, $11 each and an umbrella for $11. Everything was cash, so bring money as they also require a deposit. You can buy a cold drink and a snack here, but try to stay away from the bathrooms, they are toxic. One last word of advice. Bring your own Kaopectate. The last day of the cruise my husband went down to sick bay to buy some and he was quarantined and unable to leave the cabin. Fortunately it was the last evening and we were escorted off the ship first thing Sunday morning for fear of contamination. He wasn't really sick, just ate too much fruit, but they were being very careful. Good for Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Overall the cruise was nice. We were a little disappointed with the ship. It was difficult to navigate from point A to point B. To go forward or aft, you had to go to a certain deck, then go outside, then back inside and then to another ... Read More
Overall the cruise was nice. We were a little disappointed with the ship. It was difficult to navigate from point A to point B. To go forward or aft, you had to go to a certain deck, then go outside, then back inside and then to another deck to get to where you wanted to go. The restaurants were phenomenal!! More food than you could imagine and some of the best food I've ever had. The staff was very attentive to our wants, needs and desires. We met a couple of great staff members in a couple of the pubs. Cassie from the Gatsby and Laly from Pearly Kings Pub were great. Two of the nicest and friendliest staff members. We will miss them. The spa was incredible. I had, and recommend, the Full Body Hot Stone massage, the Men's facial, and the Men's haircut. It was kind of expensive, but well worth it. Bermuda was nice too...too much to see and do in too little time though. We ate at two great restaurants ashore. The Bone Fish and the Frog and Onion. Great food and great drinks. I highly recommend this cruise to anyone. With the only suggestion of being patient when traveling around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: My husband and I and our 14 and 10 year old children have cruised four times on Royal Caribbean. We chose the Norwegian Gem this time because it had the best Embarkation port and itinerary for us: it was the ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: My husband and I and our 14 and 10 year old children have cruised four times on Royal Caribbean. We chose the Norwegian Gem this time because it had the best Embarkation port and itinerary for us: it was the closest and easiest ship for our extended family of 15 to get to from up and down the East Coast and our group, (age 5 to 83) felt it would be easiest for our family to go to one port and stay there for a few days. The Gem leaves from midtown Manhattan and spends 3 days in Bermuda, as opposed to 2 days for Royal Caribbean.HOTEL INFO: My family and my parents stayed at the Ink48 Kimpton Hotel. We primarily chose the Ink48 because it is one short block from the Manhattan Cruise Pier. On Embarkation day, we left the hotel and walked for 5 minutes to the Pier. This is the best hotel to stay in Pre cruise if you are leaving from New York City/Manhattan Cruise Pier. We love Kimpton hotels; they are hip, have large, comfortable rooms and there is a free wine hour and a free coffee hour every day. The rooftop bar is not to be missed; we spent the evening before our cruise having a fabulous time up there; good drinks, nice staff, beautiful view and comfy seating. Ink48 is in Hell's Kitchen, but it is a 15-20 minute walk to Times Square. It was the perfect hotel for our family's needs. EMBARKATION: Having read Norwegian's info and other reviews on Cruise Critic, we decided to get to the Pier at 12:00 noon. We did not realize that the Gem was allowing people on board at 11:00 am, so we arrived to find a very long line to get through security and another long line to get to the front desk. In all, we were in line for about an hour. Norwegian staff were moving people along, but I would suggest arriving at 11:00 am to beat the line. Before the cruise, I emailed Norwegian and had 2 wheelchairs reserved for my elderly parents for Embarkation and Disembarkation. When they got to the Pier, they were seated in line in a waiting area for their wheelchairs. The process worked well for them and I suggest that anyone with mobility issues reserve a wheelchair in advance by emailing Norwegian.Norwegian is better than Royal Caribbean at having rooms ready when you board. We were on board by 1:00 pm and our room was already open for us! What a nice way to start the cruise. We dropped our bags in the room and were free to eat or explore without worrying about our bags.SHIP INFO: Our first impression of the Gem is that it looks like what you would imagine a cruise ship to look like. Very colorful and tropical design. We liked it. While we also like Royal Caribbean, the decor on its ships is more muted and somewhat bland in comparison.Other than the decor, we all felt that Royal Caribbean has better ship design. The Gem is hard to walk around because many of the decks dead end and you have to go up or down a flight of stairs to continue walking from one end of the ship to the other. Two of our group have mobility issues, so this was a problem.For instance, the Gem has two main dining rooms, The Grand Pacific and Magentas. It was frustrating trying to find them because the deck layout is counter intuitive. The dining rooms are not near one another, they are hard to find and hard to get to because you can not walk the length of the deck to access them. In addition, you have to walk down a flight of stairs from deck 7 to get to the Grand Pacific and then walk down another flight of stairs to get to the tables. Again, two of our group have mobility issues, so this was a real problem. We did not know, until after we had eaten at the Grand Pacific, that there is one elevator that goes to the 6th floor behind the Grand Pacific. No one told us, about this elevator, we found it by accident.Another Gem design flaw is the small pool area and shortage of seating at the pool. The Gem has two pools side by side on the 12th floor, one for families and the other for adults. They are about ten feet apart. Except for a small sign, there is no way to tell that one of the pools is the adult pool. There is nothing similar to Royal Caribbean's separate Solarium pool for adults. In addition, there is some lounge seating around the pool, but most of the seating in the shade is comprised of tables and chairs for breakfast and lunch, not loungers. The space is too tight for the number of passengers. There is more lounging space one deck above the pool, but it is shared with the jogging track. The Quiet Lounging Space on deck 13 is nice and bar staff circulate frequently up there, but there is no shade.The Gem does have a very nice Cigar Lounge on Deck 6. It is small, but comfortable. Right outside the Cigar Lounge is Magnums Champagne Bar and the bar staff regularly come in to the Cigar Lounge to take drink orders. If you want to buy Cuban Cigars in Bermuda, go to Chatham House on Front Street in Hamilton. The prices are not bad and the Cigars are authentic.STATEROOM: Our family had connecting balcony staterooms. The rooms were more than adequate, with plenty of storage and very comfortable beds. However, the balconies were smaller than other ships and you can not open the balcony door between rooms when you are sailing, only in port. The bathrooms on the Norwegian Gem are much better than those on Royal Caribbean. The showers were bigger and the water flow is fantastic, best shower on a cruise ever! There are also privacy partitions that make the bathroom more functional. SERVICE: Our Room Steward, Ricky, was the best room steward we have ever had! He introduced himself to us right away, made our requested changes to the room layout and had the nicest personality. Throughout the week, we never had to ask for anything, he always had ice and fresh towels available, and our room was constantly being freshened up or turned down. We saw him all the time and he always had something nice to say to us and our kids. The towel animals he made for them were enchanting! The rest of our group felt similarly about their room stewards. In the past we have had indifferent, invisible and even surly room stewards. Based on Ricky and the other room stewards we met on the Gem, I would say Norwegian has the best staff in this area.DINING: After 5 cruises, we have found the food is fine as long as it is hot and fresh. So we were very surprised to find ourselves complaining about the dining on the Gem. Across the board, this is the ship's weakest link. First, the Soda package only covers Pepsi products. If you order root beer, or a soda not produced by Pepsi, you will pay extra. I have no problem with this as long as you accurately call it a Pepsi Package. It made us feel taken advantage of.Next, Freestyle Dining is a nightmare. Unless you know how Norwegian operates, you will never be able to eat dinner without a long wait. Here is the best advice: Make any specialty restaurant reservations AND main dining room reservations for the whole week BEFORE your cruise or AS SOON AS YOU BOARD or you will have trouble getting them. If you do not want to do this, then you have to eat dinner between 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Norwegian keeps tables open in their restaurants between those hours for people without reservations. You can walk in and sit down easily in that hour. After 6:00 pm there is always at least a 45 minute to one hour wait for a table at most restaurants. Third, the Buffet line in the Garden Cafe is not laid out well. Until you get familiar with the layout, you will experience very long lines. The thing you need to know is that the Garden Buffet is part of a 3 part system. At breakfast and lunch, The pool bar, the Garden Buffet and the Great Outdoors all serve the same basic food. You can go to any of the three. The pool bar and Great Outdoors are never as crowded as the Buffet. In addition, the pool bar serves a nice barbecue for lunch every day, so you might never go all the way into the Garden Buffet for lunch.Seating for the Garden Buffet is also limited, so take your meal to the tables at the pool, eat inside La Cucina specialty restaurant (the ship has a very small sign pointing the way) or go to the back of the Garden Buffet, through the doors and eat outside at the Great Outdoors. Our family preferred the Great Outdoors. It's a wonderful, shady spot with a nice breeze and ocean views, it was the best part of the cruise!The food on Norwegian is ok, but not as good as we thought it should be. The one area where Norwegian shines is the fresh fruit, it is consistently good and should not be missed. However, the deserts are bad; tasteless, not appetizing to look at and not worth the calories. Most of us never finished the deserts. The Chocolate Buffet was particularly disappointing. If you go, be aware that each station is the same as the others, except for the cake, which changes at each station. The food on the buffets is fine, but is the same every day. The food in the main dining rooms is fine, not amazing, but fine. We ate at Cagneys and enjoyed the food and service very much, but found the food in La Cucina and the Asian restaurants to be not bad, but bland.Across the board, we had problems with service in the dining areas. The waiters are friendly enough, but they did not seem to understand how to wait tables. I ordered a virgin strawberry daiquiri for my tween and the waiter brought a Shirley Temple. I thought it was an honest mistake until she told me that my tween had a soda sticker and that it would not pay for a daiquiri. I told her that I was paying for the daiquiri and she said "Oh. Well, I thought she would rather have a Shirley Temple." I told her again that I wanted to get the Daiquiri and she told me that we already had the Shirley Temple, just drink that. Later in the week, some of our party ordered Chocolate Sundaes for desert and the waiter brought Baked Alaska because he thought it was better. He never asked them; the Baked Alaska just showed up. Another time, when we asked for another serving a chicken skewers the waiter looked at us and said "You want More? Are you sure?" My husband ordered a Latte in the main dining room and they brought him an Espresso. When he told them it was the wrong drink, they insisted that they were right. My husband told them it was the wrong drink and it took a manager to look at the cup and agree that it was the wrong drink. Finally, my husband ordered a Latte at the Java Bar and after 10 minutes of waiting, he still did not have his drink, so he complained and left without the drink. A few hours later we got a call from the Food Service Manager for the entire ship who was very apologetic and bought us some drinks to make it up to us. The Food Service Manager could not have been nicer, but there seems to be a disconnect between his level of customer service and some of his staff. To be fair, we had outstanding service in Cagney's Steakhouse from Jeff as well as very good service in the Blue Lagoon Lounge. In addition, except for the Java Bar, the Bar Staff across the ship were also outstanding: friendly, fast and personable. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS: We arrived a day early in New York City so that we could take our kids to the Empire State Building. Luckily, my sister told us to buy an express pass online and print it out before we left for New York. While the express pass is very expensive, It saved us a 3 hour wait in line. With the express pass, it took us 10 minutes to get to the top of the Empire State Building and 10 minutes to get back downstairs. Without the Express pass, there was a 3 hour wait in line to get to the top and a one hour wait to get in line to get back to the bottom. You have to print out the express pass before you arrive at the Empire State Building. They do not sell Express passes at the building.Bermuda is lovely and easy to get around. On our first day, we took a tour with Colin Jennings, who is highly recommended on Cruise Critic. We had a fantastic, in depth tour and really enjoyed getting to know Bermuda through Mr. Jennings. When we saw him on day 2 and 3, he always waved and gave us a big smile, he is a great tour guide and a very nice person. Wednesdays in Hamilton are Harbor Nights from 7 to 10:00 pm. It's a fun cultural experience, but if you miss it, Thursdays are Heritage Nights in Dockyard, right outside the ship. It's a similar event, with fun things to do, see and eat!We spent day two at Horseshoe Bay. It was a lovely, relaxing time. There is a changing room here. We rented Beach Chairs and Umbrellas and had lunch at the snack bar. Everything on Bermuda is expensive, so be prepared to pay $15.00 per person for a burger fries and a soda. You can take a taxi to Horseshoe for about $24.00 or you can take the #7 bus or the beach bus for $4.00. Either way, it's an easy each to get to. There is a steep hill to get to the beach. When you are ready to leave, there is a $2.00 per person shuttle that will drive you to the top of the hill.We spent day three walking around Hamilton and enjoyed the leisurely pace of the city. Then we went back to the ship and walked around the Dockyard area. We saw a cool glassblowing demonstration and had a relaxing time.Three days in Bermuda is perfect; you can see and do everything at a leisurely pace and enjoy yourself a great deal.CHILDRENS'S CLUBS: Unfortunately, we were very disappointed in the Kid's Clubs. We had four kids under age 10 and none of them liked it. The room is too small, so the over 10 kids are put in a small, dark conference room on a different floor. I can't comment on the programming, because after one visit, we never sent them back.ACTIVITIES: We did not do many shipboard activities. The kids played at the pool and the adults read a lot of books. There is a nice library and a lovely spa. All the ladies had spa treatments and found Verona and Bhanta in the spa to be excellent. One of our ladies bought the spa pass and said it was the best money she ever spent.ENTERTAINMENT: Our group enjoyed the entertainment on the Gem. Sinan is a great Cruise Director. He's very friendly and he's everywhere! His assistant cruise director is very funny too. A number of us participated in Karaoke in the Bliss Ultra Lounge and had a lot of fun. We thought the Man on the Moon Show was very good. The Second City Show was worthwhile. Our teen loved the Dancing With the Gem Stars show and my Tween loved Deal or No Deal. The White Hot Party was popular, we went to the family version and my teen had a good time. The Piano Player in Magnums Champagne Bar is very good with a broad range. DISEMBARKATION: Norwegian did a great job getting us off the ship. We chose the Easy Walk Off program. We did not have to put our suitcases out the night before or wait to be called. All we did was get up, eat breakfast and walk off the ship. Easy Walk off is from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. It only took us 15 minutes to get off the ship and into a taxi. SUMMARY: We always enjoy cruising, and this cruise was fun for our whole group. Norwegian is not as good across the board as Royal Caribbean, but it does some things better and all in all, we had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011

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