Large Ship with Tiny rooms and crowded shows.
Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review to Bermuda
Sail Date: April 26, 2015
Ship: Norwegian Breakaway
Cabin Type: Inside
Cabin Number: 11609
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 3 years ago
This is my 8th cruise so now I can really compare the plus and minuses of this cruise. The Breakaway is a large ship and I was very excited when booking this cruise. We did the New York to Bermuda cruise from April 27th to May 3rd. I had high expectations about this ship since it was supposed to be very large and have some great amenities. When getting into our inside room I was shocked at the size. I know all inside rooms are small to begin with as I have always had them in the past as well but this was the smallest room by far of all the ships we have been on. I thought with being a larger ship that the rooms would be the same size that we have seen at least but they were tiny. It didn't have any dresser drawers in the whole room. Every cruise I have gone on has had at least 2 or 3 drawers to put socks and underwear. They vanity in the room had a mirror and desk top with only a little chair under it and the tiny refrigerator, but no drawers, so we had to hang every item we brought of have to pull out our suitcases from under the bed every day when getting ready. I like to get unpacked for the week and feel like we are comfortable and not living out of a suitcase all week. They only thing they had for shelves was by the safe. They had about 3 shelves but they were only about 18 inches wide and 4 to 5 inches deep which is where I ended up putting socks and things but it was tucked away in the closet and not easy to get to. Most of the past rooms we have had usually had a small (tiny) couch and this one did not. If you opened the closet door it would also block the TV so my husband was always saying "babe I can't see the TV, can you shut the closet door". I understand that these rooms are all tight quarters but this room was so small. I laid in the bed and stretched one morning when I woke up and hit the wall with my finger tips. I put my arm out and measured on my arm where the bed ended to where the wall was and it was maybe 10 to 12 inches. So every time we went to get into bed we would have to go sideways and shimmy down to the head of the bed. The side end tables by the bed were only about 5 inches wide to fit on the sides. They also did not have any drawers just one self at the top and then you could put something on the bottom but again you had to shimmy in just to get to the end table. I have always been able to walk straight in but still usually cramped but never having to go side ways and lean down on the bed and scoot in. The bathrooms were similar to other cruises.
Another thing that we always look forward to on the ships is the entertainment. I don't like to sit around much so cruising is what we love because they always have something going on pretty much all day. The Burn the Floor dancing show was excellent. Usually cruises have one or two really good dancers and the rest are just okay but every single dancer was excellent. That is not something you normally see. The Rock of Ages musical was also excellent. I really enjoyed these shows. The downfall was that the theater chairs were very uncomfortable. They were slightly slanted downwards and they had about a 2 inch hard piece of what felt like hard wood all the way to the back of the part of the seat that folds down that you sit on that went straight across your bum so you had to sit forward about 2 or 3 inches and slouch in order to not kill your tail bone. The dancing and singing shows were only about 45 to 50 minutes and after about only 30 minutes I was ready to leave as my butt was going numb and it was very uncomfortable. I love watching dancing but being uncomfortable like that I kept wishing it would hurry up and end. I am also a little on the heavier side so I have extra cushion in my butt anyway and it bothered me. My poor husband has a flat butt and I can only imagine what he was feeling.
So the shows were good and in the past we would always go to the shows and do dinner and then they always had another big even in the evenings like "the newlywed game" or the "perfect couple". On other ships they always had another big dance floor area with lots of seating and a bar usually at the back of ships where you could sit and enjoy the shows. The Breakaway does not have a room like this so they host those in the Atrium. Their Atrium is not that big but they have large chairs in there so they can't seat many people. Every night, even if you go to the atrium and hour before the show, you could never get a seat at all. People had to stand in a circle around the atrium and some nights they would be standing 5 people deep and no one could see. I am only 30 but we went with my mom and dad who are in their 60s and we had to leave the "not so newlywed game" half way through because they couldn't stand on their feet for the second 1/2 hour of it. This was really disappointing to me as it is always my favorite to watch but I even was sick of standing and shifting back and forth and being so close to other people as everyone was squeezing in close to be able to see. They should have used small folding chairs and fit a lot more people in that area if they didn't put a second entertaining area on the boat. They pride themselves on having the most restaurants at sea but when doing that, they put them all near the back of the ship which is where the big entertaining room would be. I think NCl usually calls that room the Spinnaker lounge which this ship did not have. I felt this really had a negative twist on the boat for me. I can deal with the small room as we aren't in the room very much but not having a comfortable area to watch shows was definitely a HUGE let down for this cruise.
I think that when making this ship, they wanted to say that it fit a huge amount of people on it but in doing this they cut down room sizes and got rid of one entertainment area in order to fit more cabins and restaurants in. They really should rethink this as entertainment is the biggest attraction to most people when going on a cruise. Even things like dance lessons in the middle of the day would be hosted in the atrium and they had one cha cha dancing day where they had to have 3 groups and teach 3 different times because the floor was so tiny that you couldn't fit all the people who wanted to join in. If you make a ship for 4000 people then if you only have activities in 2 areas you can't expect to only use a room that only seats about 100 people. This was a huge mess up in the design of this ship in my opinion.
I know I probably sound like a negative reviewer but I am being honest and I have never had this many complaints on any other ship.
As for the positive things, like I said the shows in the Theater were excellent (excluding the chair experience). The staff is always great. Everyone is so nice and pleasant all the time. They staff all are extremely hard workers and always so happy. The food was pretty good in the buffet. We loved the crepe station for a late night snack. :) We always go to the specialty steakhouse on all of the trips we go on and Cagney's was excellent as usual. Their steaks are really something and I loved the au gratin potatoes as well. That is always my favorite combo. My husband and I love the teppanyaki as well. We go and really enjoy the show that you experience with it. They chefs are talented and also very funny. The food was great too. My parents have never done a hibachi experience and they were hesitant but ended up loving it and have already pre-booked it on a cruise they have coming up.
As for the pool decks, they looked awesome. They had a bunch of waterslides that would have been great but we had pretty chilly weather this time of year. It was only about 64 degrees so we never even put on our bathing suits as it was too cold especially with the breeze off the water. The pool was the same size as on smaller boats so I bet if it was hot out the pool would be full in no time. I never understand why the pools are so small on all the ships because it is a main focus point that most go to relax during the day when they are at sea but they never make that area very large.
We had a good time in the casino. It was very similar to any other at sea casino. The smoke always bothers me so even though they say one side or area is "non smoking" but they don't have a divider so of course the whole place smells. They have the casino on deck 7 which goes around a staircase and huge pretty chandelier that is in a 3 deck high open area. So from deck 6 to 8 there is this open area but because the casino is on deck 7, even walking down on deck 6 where the comedy shows were, you were hit with they cigarette smell which is not pleasant and also up on deck 8 you could also smell it. Again a bad set up especially since it was in the center of the ship and if you wanted to go around it you would have to go up to deck 9 or down to 5 to bypass that section of the boat.
The comedy shows with second city were hilarious. They did an awesome job. All the shows were reservations only until about 10 minutes before the show then they had a standby lane for people to wait in if you didn't have reservations. The downfall about larger ships is the reservation part but I understand why they need to do it because there are so many people on the boat. Comedy show (headliners) was on deck 6 right under the casino so waiting in the standby for 30 minutes, you just inhaled the smoke the whole time. It was worth the wait though for their comedy shows!
We did have a good time anyway even with all the things I stated above. It is a vacation and we always have fun no matter where we go but now since we have been on a lot I am starting to really see the differences and now I know what I want to look for on these ships before booking next time. I think I prefer the smaller ships because the room are bigger and it is just a more relaxing trip because you don't have to schedule out your whole week just to make sure you see every show. I like to relax and just be able to get ready for dinner and look on the freestyle planner and say "so what's going on tonight" and be able to walk into a show 15 minutes early and have no problem finding a seat. These big ships need reservations and planning and it just isn't as relaxing of a vacation as it could be.
I know this is very long but I wanted to give an accurate review so people know what they will get with this boat. Oh and Bermuda is absolutely gorgeous. We enjoy going to horseshoe bay, (I have heard tobacco bay is good too but have never been), we have done crystal caves which is something to see, they have an aquarium and zoo that I like a lot and you must hit the "swizzle inn" for lunch. They have 2 on the island now and the food is pub food but it is excellent. The burgers are great and they have a swizzle rum punch that really will get you a buzz fast! We also love the Frog and Onion pub right by the pier off the boat. Again excellent food (fish and chips was awesome). They also have dolphins right off the pier in the museum. I love dolphins so I pay $10 per adult to go into the museum and the dolphins and a turtle are in the pools right inside the museum so you can see the dolphin quest shows and watch from poolside. They have people who work there that come out and answer questions and you get to see the dolphins up close. They had a one month old baby dolphin there which was really something to see. If you like sea animals this is a must see!
I hope this helps.
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My tip would be to get the 2 or 3 day bus/ferry passes. They get you all over the island for WAY cheaper than taxis or the NCL excursions that just take you to a beach and make you go back after a short time. With being at the pier for 3 days it allows you to see multiple things / enjoy the island!