Great Experience - Under Rated and over-criticized - It was sold out

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 14

Overall rating:

4.7 out of 5
Norwegian Breakaway

7 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 23, 2018

Ship: Norwegian Breakaway

Cabin type: Suite

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

We went to relax and be spoiled. Overall, we got that. We were initially concerned by the number of people on board, but there were sufficient amenities and we never felt over-crowded. We made it a priority to learn our way around the ship (first few hours), and discovered plenty of places to escape. The only time we had to wait was at a peak time for lunch at O'Sheehan's, and that was less than 5 minutes. The service on board as a whole was a standout for us, and we embraced the freestyle dining concept. We found the cruise director exceptional and highly recommend that you view the daily on board activities on the dedicated TV channel as well as hi-light the activities you are interested in on the daily newsletter. The NCL app is a big help too with it's maps and schedules. We would recommend at least the three meal specialty dining package. We also had the drink package, which the math works out to 4-5 drinks/day to get your money's worth. In terms of the internet package, we were fine with just one of us having the plan. I would recommend not spending the extra money to have every one sign up for texting passengers. We found it unnecessary, there are other things to spend money on. The escape room experience in the Spiegel tent is something you can only sign up for once on board and was a great interactive family activity and a great way to meet other families. We would recommend getting the unlimited arcade play for at least one day - it's a great distraction and a way to meet other kids. Some of the games are as much as $4 for a single play, so it adds up quickly. We also opted to pay the gratuities etc. in advance and are glad we did. It some how urged us to maximize on what was offered and not over asses every experience. If you don't obtain any of the extra packages prior to boarding, be sure to do that before the end of Day 2, after that they will no longer be available.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Went smoothly, It's a line up - How could it be excellent. Plenty of staff available to assist. Having a band and infused water was a nice touch.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Great variety, Ocean Blue was a standout as a foodie experience. The Buffet was solid, but not outstanding. That being said, our teens lived there.

Moderno Churrascaria

4 out of 5

Nice experience, carnivore's dream, could use more balance.

Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian

5 out of 5

Outstanding on every level.

Open-Air Garden Café

4 out of 5

Food was solid, Views are great, always a place to sit. Very clean

O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar and Grille

4 out of 5

Good energy, good food.

Shaker's Cocktail Bar

4 out of 5

great service

The Manhattan Room Restaurant

5 out of 5

Service, ambiance and the entertainment were the standouts

Taste Restaurant

5 out of 5

Service was the standout, nice views

Waves Pool Bar

5 out of 5

Great energy and service.

Savor Restaurant

4 out of 5

Service was the standout

Bar 21

5 out of 5

great service

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
A bit crowded, well used, clean. Thermal Spa was excellent.

Photo Gallery

4 out of 5

Very efficient. Don't leave it till the last minute.We recommend getting a photo package in advance - it is cheaper.

Spa Thermal Suite

5 out of 5

Tranquil, clean

Entertainment

5 out of 5
We enjoyed all of the free shows, we did not get to the Cirque show. There was a Queen Revue in the piano lounge which was unexpected and surprisingly good.

The Library

4 out of 5

Quiet hang out

Headliners Comedy Club

4 out of 5

Good variety, limited capacity - line ups.

Children's Programs

4 out of 5
Teen Lounge - There was a maximum head count that they found annoying. They would prefer more variety of activities and arcade choices.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Very well trained and tuned in. Those with vacation hero tags are standouts.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Very clean. Rest rooms are easy to find and well maintained. I had the sense that a lot of thought went into layout and design. I would have enjoyed another deck to be able to walk around like the one around the restaurants. That was a standout for me.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
We found this to be an ideal size for us. We were able to unpack all of our items - 3 large suitcases, 4 carry-ons and 4 personal items, with room to spare. (2 adults, 2 teens). The sofa becomes a bed and another bed drops from the ceiling acting as a bunk bed. If you are wanting to dine in, this is an impediment as you will need your room steward to stow the bed. It was rare that all four of us ate in at the same time, and when we did, it was mostly snacking and we just ate on the bed. We were good with the Balcony. Even though there was only room for two, it was all we needed. It was great to have the view, the fresh air and the sound of the waves. We were very happy with where we were located - minimum foot traffic, nothing noisy near us, above or below us and equidistant to both the forward and aft elevators. A plus for accessing the busy common areas.

Ship tip

Do your homework and pre-plan. We booked all of our dining times and shows well in advance. It is hard to know what 'sells out', so to speak and we encountered several people that missed out or had to settle for stand-by seating.

Ports of call

New Orleans, Louisiana

5 out of 5
We stayed in NOLA a few days before and after our sail dates. We highly recommend it. So much history. Unending dining and entertainment choices.

Cozumel, Mexico

4 out of 5
We did, (Xcaret) - it was excellent. The ferry was ~ 40 minutes. We would recommend going upstairs, there was a fair amount of sea sickness. Some shopping to be discovered while walking to your tour bus and in the port area for the ferry.

Harvest Caye, Belize

5 out of 5
It was nice to stretch our legs and walk around. We had originally booked an excursion -The monkey experience, however we were cautioned that the ferry ride over was harsher than the one experienced in Cozumel, given our teens did not fair to well, we decided to lay low. We are glad we did. We did most of our souvenir shopping here. There was also some local drummers that added to the atmosphere.

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico

4 out of 5
The vendors were fairly aggressive in the front area and were limited in choice. The dolphin experience was first rate. The restaurants near by the dolphin area were good.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
If you get up reasonably early, you virtually can disembark at your convenience. We were cleared in under 15 minutes If you wait too long, we were told that the process was significantly longer.
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