Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review to Bermuda

Contributor Level: Purser

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

nice experience

Sail Date: September 06, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Inside

This was a solid experience -- our 4th on NCL.  Travelled with two of our adult children in their 20s.  We still like the smaller Jade and Pearl best, but the Breakaway was a clear step up from the Epic in design, food quality, and service.  If you enjoy a big-ship experience, then this is an excellent choice.  Never a lack of things to do.  for those who usually cruise (relatively) smaller ships, as we do, the breakaway was nicely designed to carve out more intimate spaces.  the Waterfront was a terrific idea, and a great way to use outside space.

Cabin / Stateroom
Overall, nicely organized for a small inside cabin. Bathroom is larger than many inside cabins. Unfortunately, we had trouble flushing the toilet all week. Have a hunch it was systemic issue with vacuum system with our cabin being far forward in the ship. Storage space adequate but could have arranged shelves a bit letter.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Again, I read quite a few negative comments. don't get it. You are boarding a ship with 4500 passengers, not a yacht ship with 300 passengers. Lines moved steadily, wait once we got our number were minimal. Our assigned check-in time was 11:30 to noon. We were on the ship at 11:40. We chose the carry-your-own luggage disembarkation. Couple of lines, but from the time we got in the first line to when we cleared customs was less than 30 minutes.
Ship Quality
The Breakaway was a step up from the Epic. Always crowded as you would expect with 4500 passengers aboard, but never felt as crowded as on the Epic. Lots of smaller spaces that made the ship feel more intimate. And the Waterfront was a great idea. Great to sit outside with a drink and watch the sea go by and the sun set.
Destinations and Excursions
Onboard Activities
Cirque show was a lot of fun. A little more limited than in a larger venue on land but still a successful version. Rock of Ages was fun. Cheesy and silly ... which it is supposed to be. Even more adult than i expected. Not that it bothered me, but don't take children expecting a standard musical. Variety acts were all OK. Fire and Ice was our least favorite, but musical tastes are very subjective. Justin grew on us, and Paolo on the guitar was our favorite. Wide range of guitar music.
Service and Staff
Overall good, but a couple of bad experiences marred the week. Dionne, our cabin attendant, was excellent. Room was always clean. Weakest link was the bar service. Not incompetent, just spread too thinly. And one very bad experience. Waited 10 minutes for service in Maltings. I could see the bar server in the cigar lounge chatting with one patron the whole time. Finally, my daughter (who is a restaurant GM) went to the bar to order our drinks. The bartender was very condescending, refused to serve her, made no effort to call the server, and told her she would need to call the server. I finally went into the lounge to get the server. But bar service was was quite good in Shakers and along the Waterfront. Staff was especially good at the Spice H2O bar. I have read comments on the friendliness (or lack of it) on the Breakaway. 95% of the staff were very friendly and helpful. There was a handful that radiated unhappiness so I understand some of the comments, but it was such a small minority and much smaller a minority than I get in stateside establishments.
Food and Dining
Overall, good.... not great, but good. I am a foodie and can be demanding, but this is a big-ship cruise. Cruises have built-in limitations. The buffet was solid, and the food temp was usually good. that's hard on a ship this big. Dining room meals were a full notch above the Epic. Service was surprisingly good in Taste, Savor, an the Manhattan Room. Ocean Blue was the highlight of the trip. Excellent food. Service was a bit cold and stuffy but very competent. Cagneys was OK. We have eaten on the Cagneys on 4 NCL ships now, and this was the weakest of the 4. Not bad, just lacked spark in the atmosphere, service, and food. Still had my favorite NCL cocktail though. Kudos for the Speakeasy Martini in Cagneys. And speaking of cocktails, I have never seen an Aviation on a cruise ship before. Made traditionally with maraschino liquer, fresh lemon juice, and creme de violette. Very good version.


For a break from the crowds, look for the wicker chairs aft on the Starboard side of Deck 8 (The Waterfront) just outside the boutique. Away from the crowds but just a stroll to the outdoors Shakers bar.

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