FEATURED STORIES: NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY
Written by: TravellingMan · Cruise Date: January 2016
The 14 day New York to The Caribbean cruise was amazing! This was our first time on the Breakaway, our first time on a two-week cruise, and our first time to many of the islands on the itinerary. We had a blast! The Breakaway is now our favorite NCL ship. We love The Waterfront, and dined there almost half the nights on board. It also is a great place to hang out during the day, reading, watching the waves go by, and just relaxing. We preferred it to the noise and crowds of the pool area on Deck 15.
Since it takes several days to sail from New York to the Caribbean, a two-week cruise makes a lot of sense. You get to visit seven or eight warm and inviting islands before returning to the cold reality of a New York winter. The three days at sea going and three more returning to port were relaxing. We opted for a room upgrade which gave us access to the spa and The Haven, and it was a wonderfully luxurious experience. We were fortunate enough to be booked on a cruise for which there were still some Haven suites available just a few days before sailing, and we were able to upgrade at the last minute for a very reasonable price. We may never splurge on such an upgrade again, but on this long voyage it was well worth it. Our personal butler and concierge took care of everything for us. All we had to do was relax and enjoy ourselves. My birthday fell on the last day at sea. Although we hadn't mentioned it to anyone on board, we got back to our stateroom that night to find a birthday cake waiting for us. Many thanks to our butler, Hipolito.
We ate at just about all of the 20 or so restaurants on board. Our favorite, as on other NCL ships, was Le Bistro, the French restaurant, with Ocean Blue coming in a very close second. We also really enjoyed sushi and the noodle bar, and the showmanship in the Teppanyaki restaurant is worth the price of admission. Moderno and Cagney's were highly touted. They each were quite good, but neither really lived up to the our level of expectations based on the hype. The only specialty restaurant we skipped was La Cucina - there just weren't enough nights to visit every spot on board.
There was plenty of variety in the stage shows and lounge acts to keep us entertained. We really enjoyed the guitar player in the lounge and the dueling pianos at Howl at the Moon. It was a special treat when the Four Seasons tribute act was added at the last minute. They came on board just before our return to New York, and we loved their show. About the only thing missing from the entertainment line-up was some classical music. We have enjoyed the classical guitarist, string quartet, and classical piano music on other NCL ships, and would have liked some variety on the Breakaway.
The thing we liked most about the Breakaway, though, is its design, the way everything on board seems to mesh well together. There is a wonderful flow on this ship. Venues all seem to be just the right size, on the right deck, right where you would expect them. It is easy getting around, and for a ship with more than 4000 passengers on board, it rarely felt crowded. About the only time we experienced crowds was on the first day when all 4000 had to be on Deck 7 for the life boat drill. The aisle ways, and especially the elevators, were overwhelmed for a while, but then things got back to normal. We rarely had to wait more than a minute for an elevator the rest of the voyage.
The only negative comment we have is the design of the theater seats in the auditorium. They have a slat or bar across the back of the seat which makes it feel like you are sitting on a fence rail. The only way to get comfortable is to slouch in your chair. NCL really should consider replacing all 800 of the seats in the theater with more comfortable ones. Now that we have seen the Breakaway, we are looking forward to sailing on her sister ships, the Getaway and Escape. NCL really hit one out of the park with this design, and we look forward to seeing what the next generation of ships can do to raise the bar even more. Kudos, NCL!