You Want a Family Cruise? This is not the cruise you're looking for.
Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas
We've been on several cruises and had wonderful experiences and we really expected this one to be amazing but it was such a huge disappointment.
1. There was almost no family appropriate entertainment. Not a single show in the Breakaway Theater was okay for kids. Rock of Ages--the main show was inappropriate enough that they made multiple special announcements that it was adults-only. During the unfortunate day when we had to tender to the private island they had us all line up in the theater and we got to enjoy an hour of staring at the stage complete with a giant sign (from the production) reading "LIVE NUDES." That made for some interesting discussions with the kids... The other shows in the theater (a ballroom dance show and a Broadway singer) were just boring. Literally the only entertainment that we found bearable was a comedy show. The daily programming was also baffling. There were endless rounds of bingo and art auctions (of the tackiest art ever) and spa demonstrations and Deal or no Deal, but there was NOTHING for families except a "cupcake decorating" event where-in we stood in a line and got a cupcake, a spoonful of frosting, and a spoonful of sprinkles so we could "decorate" with our kids, and an ice carving demonstration on the pool deck, and a fruit carving demonstration in the atrium. That was it. All week. Including FOUR sea days.
2. The New York departure port made for a very cold start and end to the cruise. This was unfortunate because literally the only thing to do on sea days were the activities on the sun deck. The rock climbing wall, water slides and ropes course were actually pretty cool, but they were closed a good deal of the time.
3. The food was bad. Perhaps all the good food was saved for the specialty restaurants? Either way, the food in the main dining rooms (The stuff you get paying for the cruise) was really sub-par--dry meats with sticky gravy and pastas with red sauces. Even the desserts were disappointing. The wait staff was lovely though.
4. The entire main area of the ship (including the atrium, nearly all the specialty restaurants, the comedy club, the art gallery, the casino and more, featured an enormous cloud of second hand smoke. Whoever designed this ship was either a smoker or an idiot. This was actually my biggest gripe with the ship. Smoking causes lung cancer. We know this. It is not 1950. Why in heaven's name would you design a ship so that smoking areas were open to EVERYTHING and everyone gets to breathe in the second hand smoke from the handful of people smoking? This was so gross, and there was literally no way through the 6-8th floors without going through it.
5. The kids clubs were very disappointing. On of the first nights we were there the kids were taken to a dance club (right in the center of the smoking area) and told to dance. One staff member, frustrated that the kids weren't enjoying the activity, shouted, "You need to do the activity! If you don't, we'll tell your parents and they'll be mad at you." Because manipulation is cool. Our kids wouldn't go back after that night and we were okay with that. If people are working with kids they need to have some kind of basic training in how to deal with kids. This was the worst trained staff of any cruise ship we've ever been on.
6. The private island was pretty awful too. There was construction going on everywhere and if felt so crowded. They only had food available for 2 hours and the lines were long. And when they shut down the food stations they also shut down the drinks...which meant no water for hours on a hot humid island.
7. This was supposed to be one of the biggest, best ships in the Norwegian fleet. It was big, but it was also horribly crowded. We've been on big ships where the crowds and traffic flow were managed well and it didn't feel like we were right on top of each other. This was not one of those ships. It felt horribly crowded. We were lucky that we remembered to get reservations to the restaurants before we left and didn't have to wait (sometimes hours!) for a table, many others were not as lucky.
Other disappointments included:
-No watchable movies. They did have an 11:15 PM showing of kids movies several nights in the smoky atrium. It was probably good that all the kids were already asleep...
-5 television channels featuring news and sports only.
-Music that consisted of Gloria Estefan tribute shows on the ship and insanely bad "island music" on the island.
I could kind of go on forever. This was a bad trip. The consensus at the end was that if someone offered us this trip for FREE we would pass. Please, please don't spend money on it unless you like casinos, second hand smoke, and spa demonstrations.
Bigger is not better or even good in this case.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Pick a different cruise ship.