Not a fan of the gi-normous ships, would prefer a medium sized ship. We are old, we don't need a floating amusement park! Would rather have more room on the lido decks and maybe a bigger pool. I think they are stretching themselves too thin; too many bars, too many restaurants, quality is slipping a bit. But if you like that kind of thing, it would be great! Like I said at the beginning, not really a review, more a matter of my opinion. We are keeping an open mind about NCL, going on a smaller ship next year, so we will see how it compares to this one.
5 out of 5
We expected a long line, since there are so many people getting on, but there really wasn't! Process was smooth and fast!
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
MDR, hate that it always takes 2+ hours to have a meal in it! Our starters, appetizers, soup & salad arrived bam, bam, bam, but then it would be 30-45 minutes to get the entree, and another 20-30 min after that to get the dessert menu! Was disappointed the bread was never warm. The creme brulee, which is supposed to have a HARD carmelized sugar crust on the top, didn't, was actually a bit soupy. Still tasted good, but not how it's supposed to be served! Cagney's: I don't see why everyone is so crazy about it! I ordered a steak medium well and it arrived just past medium well, on the verge of being tough. It wasn't bad enough to send it back (plus we didn't want to wait another 40 minutes to get a new one!), but I could've done better cooking it myself. And, worst of all, there is no HP Sauce anywhere to be found! They have it, but you have to ask for it specifically, which is stupid, since they have all the condiments sitting out in the buffet and other restaurants, except for that one! And instead of bringing me the bottle, they brought it in one of those little metal cups. Buffet: it was ok, desserts were great, pizza was great. Liked it for breakfast the best. But: there was never any sliced cheddar cheese, it was all Swiss, and one time Muenster. If there was any cheddar at all, it was cubed. They had a dish that looked to me like beef stew, and they had it almost every day, and I swear it was the same dish, they just kept changing the name tag. First they called it "beef goulash", except it wasn't, I don't think there was even any paprika in it, then it was "beef barley stew" then it was "Asian spiced beef", and after that I just ignored it. We liked that the silverware was already rolled into a napkin and placed on the tables, but unlike RCCL, the wait staff never got you your drinks. Le Bistro: we ate in there the first night, and was really looking forward to it because all the reviews said it was the best food on the ship. Not so. It was very good, but not great. We had a reservation to eat in there the next night as well, and we thought it might be better, but when we went along to check the menu that afternoon, it was the same one from the night before! You would think they would change it daily! We cancelled our reservation. Never got in to Ocean Blue, it was booked up already. Never got a chance to eat on the Waterfront. Last night ate in the MDR, ordered a steak, and it was much better than Cagney's! Again, had to special request HP Sauce, but that time they brought the bottle, not a little cup. Margaritaville: was disappointed that they were always closed! Only open for lunch and breakfast, sign says they close at 4, but every time we tried to get there for lunch before 4, they were already closed! We loved the small breakfast buffet though, and went there most days. Never crowded, easy to get a table, good food! We wasted our 3rd specialty dining option because we couldn't get a reservation in anywhere else we wanted to go. Glad it was free and we didn't pay for it! Moderno: didn't eat there for dinner, but they had a lunch buffet a couple of times during sea days and we went there. Only thing I didn't like, they had 2 buffet lines set up, in 2 different locations far apart. We went to the first one thinking it was the only one, and I wondered why it was only salad/cold stuff, took us a bit to notice the hot buffet on the other side of the room! The salad bar was in Moderno, the hot buffet was in Cagney's. We also went there for breakfast one day, nice buffet for that, again 2 different lines in different locations, but once you know, it's ok. Liked the breakfast better than the lunch. The Coffee Cafe in the Atrium: good Starbucks coffee, no they don't let you use your Starbucks app to pay for it. Very good chocolates as well, but the staff couldn't always remember what flavors they were. They said they change them every day, even though they looked the same every day (same designs on them) Overall, the food on RCCL is better. The bar drinks were mostly good, but apparently if you find a drink you like in a particular bar, and try to order it in another bar, they can't do it, you have to go back to the bar that has it, which wasn't always convenient, usually being on another floor. There was a certain bartender in the Atrium Bar it was hard to get service from; for some reason he kept ignoring us as long as possible. Never got a chance to eat at O'Sheehan's, it was always very crowded, seemed to me it was more drinkers than eaters. I did go in once and sat at a table and did not get waited on. After awhile, I noticed people were being seated by a hostess, so I guess walk ins don't rate. I got up and left, and looked for a sign that said anything about "wait to be seated" but there was nothing. Annoyed about that.
4 out of 5
I bought a week long pass to the Thermal Spa Suite, only managed to use it a couple of times. It was very nice and relaxing, but on the sea days it was really crowded! Just like on the pool decks, people were saving the lounge chairs for other people, or themselves, and other people couldn't find a place to sit. Not cool! Loved the steam room and the herbal scented rain shower. Best time to go was late evening, an hour or so before they close. The muster drill as usual went on too long and wasn't very organized. Took them too long to put up signs for your category to tell you where to go. We were in one area, then they decided to put up the sign posts and we had to move to another area which was already elbow to elbow people! Too long having to stand, no seats. Too noisy, couldn't hear what they were saying.
4 out of 5
Didn't manage to see any of the shows, but saw quite a few of the things going on in the Atrium on the big screen and in front of it. Liked some of them, but it was just WAY too loud when they had them, too much for an enclosed indoor venue! The tiny, tiny internet cafe is tucked into a corner of the Atrium to one side of the big screen, which made it impossible to concentrate on fighting with their generic computers that don't seem to be able to find an internet connection. As usual on ships, the internet manager had all kinds of excuses as to why you couldn't get online. Even though I paid for the package upgrade. The computer on HIS desk worked just fine, of course! I think they only connect that one computer, so they can show you that the wifi works and make you feel like it's just you that can't figure it out. Don't bother getting the upgraded wifi packages, it won't work anyway! We did all download the NCL app and pay the $10 so we could text each other, which worked most of the time. Also, people kept stealing the chairs from the wifi tables to move them to watch whatever show was going on, which was really annoying! I saw people on their knees trying to use the computers because there were no chairs; the crew members should keep an eye on that and prevent it! If you wanted the library/game room, you really had to hunt for it; it's stuck off in a hidden hallway off the Atrium. This was the noisiest ship I've ever been on! Hard to find a quiet place to relax!
Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club
1 out of 5
I don't know, there was no Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club on the Breakaway, even though it was listed on some of the signage on the ship and in the deck plans online. We looked but couldn't find anything. My theory is they expanded La Cucina into the space formerly occupied by Fat Cats. Disappointing, I was hoping for some good blues!
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
Again, this is just my opinion, and we've only ever been on one other cruise line, RCCL, so comparing it to that, RCCL is better. Seemed like there were always housekeeping carts cluttering up the hallway to our room. I slipped our cabin steward $20 the first day to make the towel animals, he only did it 4 times. They tended to forget to leave the daily newsletter for the next day in our room when he did the last cleaning/turn down, and would come back at some point in the night to put it in the holder outside our door. But he was nice and friendly, and did a good job cleaning overall. The rest of the ship was clean, no problems there. Sometimes the staff in the buffets would take my coffee cup before I was quite done with it, but no biggie. I had occasion to ask questions of Guest Relations a few times about ports/shore excursions but they never seemed to know the answers to any of them. Other than the ignoring us bartender and the internet manager who kept telling me the wifi wasn't working for me because I didn't buy the Premium package, the staff were all very nice, helpful and pleasant!
3 out of 5
Did not like the ship's layout! The lido deck is too small, do they really need that many water slides taking up the room? I only ever saw a few kids on them. The Atrium looks nice, but they really shouldn't have all the shows there that they have; they have a theater, why don't they use that? Or some of the other bars? Why did they put the internet cafe there, where it gets so noisy you can't hear yourself think and people take the computer chairs to go watch the shows in? There could be a better location for the coffee shop as well, if there's a show or something going on, you have to push your way past everyone standing around the bar to get to the coffee shop. Everything was clean enough. Not a fan of the chairs; they look comfy enough, but you sink down into them and it's really hard to get up out of them. People with bad knees/backs, beware!
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Very nice! There were 4 of us sharing it, and we never had a problem! Lovely large balcony! Loved the shower! Storage was fine, glad I brought a portable clothesline that sticks to the wall with magnets. Bed was ok. One big problem: I use a CPAP machine, I told NCL after I booked the cruise and they were supposed to have a bottle of distilled water in the room, instead there was a sharps container. I didn't push the issue since there is NO OUTLET near the bed to plug the thing into anyway! What do people do who can't do without using theirs? I couldn't see how it could work out safely, I had an extension cord, but it wouldn't reach, and I don't know how they would rig it up without stretching a cord across the floor and up the desk to the outlet. Someone would be sure to trip on it. Maybe next time when it's just 2 of us I will try to see what they can arrange. One other question we had: it was supposed to be a midship cabin, but it was way up towards the front of the ship. Much walking to get to. But we had a good view of the bridge from our balcony.
Liked the port terminal, very easy to get to, very easy to embark. We came down the day before and stayed at a hotel in Cocoa Beach, very touristy area but we expected that. No excursion, but when we disembarked at the end of the cruise, we went to Epcot.
Jamaica has really gone to seed, not a good place to visit, you have to be very careful of the people trying to lead you away from the main drag areas, and trying to sell you drugs or whatever. Even in the main shopping area, the store clerks are very aggressive, and more or less demand that you buy stuff and if you don't they get mad! We finally found a coffee shop and a table outside of it and just sat there and waited for our bus to pick us up again. We did the excursion to the bamboo raft ride on the White River, which was very nice and relaxing, but too short.
Did not have an excursion booked here, went into town and looked at some shops, decided to get a taxi and go to a beach. We wanted to visit the Wreck Bar on Rum Point Beach, but couldn't get a taxi to take us! Apparently their goal is to cram as many people onto their bus as possible and dump them at the nearest beach so they can go back and get more! No one wanted to take the time to drive us to Rum Point. We finally gave up and got on a bus driven by an older guy named George, who like all the others, had a sign listing 5 different beaches, the closest being Royal Palms Resort and the farthest Cemetery Beach. We told him we wanted to go to Cemetery Beach, but he said there are no facilities there, and he also had something wrong with all the other beaches listed on his sign and insisted on taking us to Royal Palms Beach Club. His bus was none too clean, and there were stains on the back of the seat in front of me that looked like blood, or possibly BBQ sauce. He dropped us there, where we found we had to pay to get in, then we got to the water and it was people elbow to elbow! My husband found a guy who said he would go get us chairs and be right back. In the meantime, my daughter and I walked down the beach to see if there was a less crowded area. There wasn't. We went back after about 30 min to find my husband sitting on the ground where we left him, said the guy never came back with chairs. My daughter went looking and found a couple, but by the time we got back to them, one had been taken but we still had 2. Soon as we sat down, some waitress lady comes and demands money for the chairs, $12 each! Ok, we paid, and I requested an umbrella as well, $15! She sent a guy over to set it up, he asked if we wanted anything else, I asked if there was bar service there or if we had to get it ourselves, he said there is service, went over to the waitress lady and told her we wanted to order drinks, she said she'd be right over, never came. My husband finally went to the bar, got a bottle of Dasani water and a hurricane drink, $26!!! We stayed for about 1.5-2 hours and had enough! We got a bus back to the port. If we had known we were going to go there, we could've gotten a resort day pass, but it was just miserable!
We booked an excursion to Kun Che Park for the Mayan immersive experience! I really don't know why NCL doesn't offer this as one of their excursions, I found it online and booked it myself directly on the park's website. We had to take a taxi to the Hard Rock Cafe meeting place, and our guide was waiting right there to take us to our bus. What a great day! I highly recommend this one, it was entertaining, fun and informative! Not many people, there were 2 bus loads but they divided us into small groups that went in different directions, which was nice! The other people were off of Carnival and Princess. Got back to the port in plenty of time for shopping. Would definitely do this one again!
5 out of 5
First time we've ever disembarked ourselves, I can highly recommend it! So much easier! They always say you will need to be able to carry your luggage up or down stairs, but there were none, there was a ramp that was very easy to roll our suitcases on. Didn't have to go through customs or anything, just walked right off the ship! Went to the shuttle pick up which wasn't long in coming, and were on our way! Will do this from now on!
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