January 2014 - Norwegian Breakaway to Caribbean - Southern
Norwegian Breakaway is a beautiful ship, my overall experience would be excellent and I would give 5 stars if not for the embarking and disembarking experience at NY. My wife is wheelchair bound and I was expecting to get a preferential treatment getting on and off the ship like it is customary on any other Cruises – as I learned this from my friends afterwards whom had more experience with cruises.
This was my first cruise, I liked the cabin, and the staff was very friendly, the ship was almost brand new and the food was good with a lot of variety, entertainment was also good.
We got to the ship a little late, 45 min before leaving. We were instructed to participate in a safety drill. There was such a crowd by the elevators that we were happy to be able to get to our cabin by the appointed time and was to the drill.
Getting off was the most horrible experience I ever had. They broke us up into groups to handle the crowd better. There was no preferential treatment for wheelchair bound people, so I thought let me take a group that was just a little after the middle. The Ship arrived at 7:30AM and it took us till 2:30PM till we finally got home - the trip itself home was an hour. My wife has problem with incontinence which made this experience even worse.
We were sitting and waiting inside of the ship for a couple hours to get to our turn and finally stepped in line to get out. Once out of the ship we had to go in lines marked by colors to pick up our baggage. That was in a huge unheated room and the layout was very confusing.
Finally I found the luggage just to find out that there was another line to wait in line to get a porter and another line to get to the custom agents. We pre paid for a car service before leaving and wrongly estimated our time of getting outside of customs. He ended up waiting over 2 hours for us and when we told him that we are outside, he was not allowed to get to us saying that only taxis were allowed.
This experience is mainly due to the large number of passengers on the ship, no preferential treatment for the disabled and bad organization of handling baggage.