June 2014 - Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda
My wife and I are celebrating our 40th anniversary. We had no special plans. However, two weeks before the cruise, my wife asked me if I wanted to do a cruise out of NYC (about 90 minutes away) and that started our adventure! Usually, we plan and plan. This was as spontaneous as we get and it worked out perfectly. We had such a great time! Life overwhelms and it is important to get away. So very positive all the way around.
Food and service were generally good! All of the crew was helpful. The conversations with the senior staff, entertainment, hotel services, etc. were informative and enjoyable. Entertainment was limited, but with the piano bar you get a new show every time, and Second City offer 3 different shows! Our cruise director, Julie was great and our cabin steward, Martin, was wonderful and took quite good care of us!
So here are a few down moments:
1. They allow smoking on the ship. The decks are often smoke filled despite being outside. The "Waterfront" is impossible to walk on during the evening hours unless you want to be covered in smoke. The pool area was similar. So as a non-smoker, I was blocked from enjoying these areas...very disappointing.
Smoke also permeated through Deck 7 (the casino deck) because it was not blocked off. Smoke then made its way through open areas to decks 6 and 8 as well.
2. We learned an important lesson. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) wants you to prepay tips, beverages, book shows, and restaurants in advance. This fits well with our planning style. So we did. NCL also gave us $100 on board credit and gave us $30 meal money. Here's the disappointing part, we could not use our on board credit to pay for any of these things because we pre-booked them and they were charged to my credit card. So we wound up "wasting" the $130 on things that we did not want. Lesson learned for future trips. I'm not sure where the confusion came from. I called both NCL and and both said I should just book my activities and it would be adjusted at the end. Guest services said "no" and they could not help!
3. The pool area is quite crowded. Many other people race to save chairs first thing in the morning and never use them throughout the day. There are not enough deck chairs and there is no room between them!
4. Also paying for some entertainment just seemed like "nickel and diming" us for no apparent reason.
All in all, it was a great trip! We were (are) very happy! Now that we know how on board credit works, that issue will be resolved. But I hope NCL truly considers limiting smoking to an enclosed portion of the casino as well as only a limited area of the "Waterfront"!