Fantastic for Kids, Parents, and Grandparents
Sail Date: December 14, 2013
Reviewed: 2 years ago
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Room Type: Balcony
The Breakaway is beautiful! It didn't feel that big or that crowded except in the Atrium and it was at capacity during our week. Gorgeous ship with fireworks, parties, shows that were broadway level, and just pure fun. Not your typical sophisticated old timer cruise, but much better for so many reasons. I don't know how they pull it off with that many passengers. The entertainment was fantastic, as were the dining choices.
We decided to give our two female grandchildren and daughter a little treat. We had sailed to the Bahamas on the ship GEM with the younger one two years ago. We had one of the most memorable experiences on a vacation. It is completely different cruising with kids. We cruise often without them, but it is so much more fun with them! This time we sailed on the Breakaway because of all the activities and fantastic waterpark and sports. Our grandchildren's ages are 13 and 9. Sailing out of NYC is a blast in itself and might be worth the cost of the entire cruise as you sail past the Statue of Liberty and under the bridge at sunset.
The teen program at the Entourage was an international experience for our granddaughter. Every night after dinner she couldn't wait to go to the show with us and then the teen center till midnight. I know it seems as if we gave her a long leash, and we did. She was amazed that we trusted her, but it was very well staffed. I cannot emphasize enough how much she loved the entire experience. It is two months later and she still communicates with the group and may have made some friendships for life. The younger one did not care about the Splash Academy. On the previous GEM sailing, she was seven years old at the time and participated in every single activity every day she could. At nine, it was all too young for her and she just wanted to be with her mom at the pool. But she loved the shows and the dining.
The excursions we took were the Florida Manatee Kayaking one. Loved it. Hard for the grandparents, but the others managed. Didn't see manatees, but did see dolphins and other sea life, and then stopped at a little island. It was excellent and another memorable experience. The kids loved it, as did our 40 year old fitness-oriented daughter. We were not able to go to the Private Island, which was the highlight of the GEM cruise. Very disappointed, and I'm told it is rare to tender the 4000 Breakaway guests to the island due to "weather," yet we think it is dangerous tendering in any conditions. The use a huge tendering ship with room for over 100. We have been there 2x before. The smaller ships seem to stop there. Might be something to consider if you want to be sure to go there. But we did get two nights in the Bahamas. It would be great if the town would offer something to do at the port when this happens. Port area was just too quiet and seemed dangerous at night. Nice to see the beautiful ship at night with all the lights. So we went back to the ship. The next day, we went on Atlantis waterpark excursion and it was well worth the money spent, but I believe you can take a taxi there for $25.00 and pay only $40.00/day, which is great. They tell you that the large ships have so many passengers that the resort caps the attendance and only the cruise excursions can go. It is a huge facility, no waiting, lots of places to go and I don't believe they cap it all. Lunch at the restaurant outside was expensive. There were four or five ships in port that day, two of which were megaships. They were still selling day passes in the Atlantis Resort. I would take my chances. The beaches were too windy to use, so the pool areas were the place to be. Warning: the river float was fast and not relaxing. We all loved it, but keep your head, legs and arms protected! You are propelled by wave machines into narrow walls. It was challenging and fun for the us, the grandparents, as we felt like we were shooting real rapids!
As I mentioned, the dining was just fine. Not really 5 star, but 4 star in most cases. Ocean Blue menu looked like true 5 star, but we did not go there. Hats off to the Manhattan Room Staff as they were amazing. We loved it and went there most nights. I had read some reviews about the quality being mediocre. It was really nice and fresh. The fish dishes were the best. The beef dishes are best enjoyed in Cagney's. We tried Savor/Taste once on the final night and did not care for it in comparison. We felt rushed. Kids were pleased with the Manhattan Room offerings and the Garden Cafe for lunch. They even got to dance with their grandfather between courses at the Manhattan Room. Most people at the venue did not dance, but they really missed out on a great opportunity, as it was one of the most memorable moments of the cruise. The band was great. There was a line for entry at the end of the week for those without reservations. The people in line looked annoyed, but with reservations made in advance of the cruise, we never waited more than five minutes. I highly recommend this due to the freestyle cruising concept, when the staff can't plan when everybody will show up. We love freestyle dining for so many reasons. The biggest one is not having to sit next to boring strangers all week at the same table. On our last RC cruise to Bermuda, it was very hard as we had many forced conversations with those at the table who could actually speak English. The other two couples were in their 90's and they rarely showed. My husband is really a fan of the Norwegian way. It makes so much sense, but does work best when a reservation is made. We have sailed on Holland America and RC. There are variations here and there on the concept at other lines, but Norwegian has it right. Dine early at 6:OO or make a reservation. Note: The cleanliness and attention to prevention of illness in the restaurants on all Norwegian ships we've sailed on are stellar. Not the same on other lines.
We parked at the dock lot for $240.00 or so. It is very convenient. If we had taken the metro north train from CT and then a taxi to the midtown westside, it would have cost more for the five of us RT. Taking the train is easy and reasonable for two people, though.
Without hesitation, we would go again in a New York minute. Congratulations to Norwegian for offering a relaxing and fun family cruise experience from NYC. And a big "Thank You" to Sinan the cruise director and his assistant. He knows how to put on a party! He was very personable, respectful of guests, and takes his job seriously. I did not notice many unnecessary overhead announcements that occur too often as with other cruise directors.
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|Food and Dining|
|Cabin / Stateroom||Perfect|
|Service and Staff||Excellent|
|Children's Programs||Teen Program Excellent|
|Destinations and Excursions||Did not get on Private Island.|
Moderna for breakfast! SHHH ! Don't tell. Elegant Breakfast Buffet.