My client, Clare Cunningham, just returned from sailing onboard the NCL Breakaway. Her family travelled to New York City to sail on the new ship. Clare kindly wrote me this note upon her return, and graciously agreed that I could share it here on my blog.
Clare and her family had also sailed with my family onboard the new Disney Fantasy ship last year – so her thoughts and experiences are especially helpful to those interested in comparing the two ships.
Thank you, Clare!
The cruise was exceptionally ah-mazing.
The moment we got to the port and seeing the ship through a glass door literally 50 feet away from us definitely took our breath away. The bright coloured art by Peter Max on the front of the ship was beautiful. Since being on Disney Fantasy last year, we didn’t set our expectation high on the Norwegian Breakaway. We thought to ourselves “how can any ship beat Disney Cruise line?”
And boy were we wrong.
Of course there were some pros and cons to tbe experience.
The embarkation was very smooth.
We got to the port at 11am and boarded the ship by 11:45am and to our room by noon. Though we were allowed into our room, it was not thoroughly cleaned yet. So we left our room so our cabin steward can get it ready for us while we went to O’sheehan Irish pub for lunch.
Lunch service was quick and not busy at all. By the time our lunch was finished, our stateroom was ready. We settled down and made ourselves comfortable.
Our room and the balcony were definitely smaller than the one on Disney Fantasy but it didn’t bother us at all. All four of us were able to move around the room without being in everyone’s way.
The bathroom was rather spacious which was a great feature. Oh and we did get our free bottle of red wine and $50 on board credit. Thank you!
After done relaxing in our room, we took a walk and explored the ship a little before sail away.
This is a big ship and had lots of activities for all ages. The only negative we have to say about the activities were the schedule. The Trampoline bounce is one of the more popular activities for kids but they were only opened 2.5 hours per day. We never saw anyone doing the Rock Climbing wall because it never seemed to be open. The mini-golf was fun but there was never enough golf balls. At one point, there were 10 people ahead of us and only 5 golf balls available. 4 of us had to play the game with 1 golf ball and took turn. That was another turn off.
The water slides were a hit and the lineups were not busy. The rope course is a lot of fun but the wait time to get on is between 45-60 mins. Disney Fantasy has Disney, and Norwegian has Nickelodeon. The only difference is I felt Norwegian doesn’t put on enough shows for the kids. We took Dylan and Emily to a Nickelodeon “Name that game” show which they both enjoyed very much. Other than that, we don’t hear much about any other shows for kids. Well, both Dylan and Emily never went to the kids’ clubs so we don’t know if most of the kids activities and fun are in there. isney Cruise Line is great for kids of all ages. I personally think Norwegian Breakaway is better for family with kids 6 or older.
For dinner, we had been to two of the main dining – Manhattan room and Savor. They both have very similar menu with a slight difference in main course and dessert. The atmosphere was very nice. However Manhattan room is busy every night. It is a very big dining room but it seemed like people are squeezed into this dining room and it was loud. I felt like I was in a Chinese restaurant. lol! There was live band but I didn’t think the singer was good at all. Savor is a much quieter restaurant and the decor is much nicer. I didn’t feel like I was in a Chinese restaurant. With similar menu, I choose going to Savor or Taste over Manhattan room.
For specialty dinner, we had been to La Cucina Italian, Ocean Blue, Moderno, Shanghai Noodle bar and Cirque Dream show & dinner. For a little extra, they were all very good. As an Asian myself, I am a little skeptical, and perhaps slightly critical, about Asian food on a cruise ship; and I particularly didn’t enjoy Shanghai Noodle bar. Peter, on the other hand, enjoyed his very much.
Peter enjoyed La Cucina a lot. As pizza lover himself, he thought the pizza he had there was one of the best he ever had. For a picky eater, Peter’s favourite restaurant was Moderno. I am not a huge salad bar person but Moderno definitely has one fierce salad bar. It has variety of selection for everyone.
I went to Ocean Blue with my in-laws. The service there was exceptional. At one point, there were 5 servers surrounding our dining table bringing out our main courses. It felt awkward. It was like we had our own personal butlers. Ocean Blue is the most expensive specialty restaurant with a cover charge of $49/person. I suppose that explains the exceptional service. Not to mention, what a great idea to have Carlos bakery shop on the ship. Lobster Tail and cannoli are 2 must-haves.
Cirque Dream dinner & show is a must see. We reserved premium seating, got there 45 mins prior to the show, it was already 70% filled but we still managed to get good seats. I guess if we wanted the best seating right in front of the stage, we will need to be standing in line 60-75 mins prior to the show. We could see the show very well from where we sat. All the performers were amazing just like Cirque Du Soleil performances. Both Dylan & Emily enjoyed the show from start to finish. It’s definitely a great entertainment for kids of all ages.
Peter and I saw “Rock of Ages”. It’s another great show and very very funny. I have never seen a Broadway version but as far as I know, some rated the one on the ship to be better than the one on Broadway. Emily and I saw part of “Burn the floor”. We didn’t enjoy it very much and thought it was boring and same dance moves throughout. We left the show half way.
It sure is paradise. We thought St Thomas had a nice beach, but Bermuda is surrounded by all beautiful beaches with crystal clear blue water and soft pink sand. When I first stepped onto Horseshoe Bay, it literally took my breath away. I have never seen anything so beautiful. It’s our first time in Bermuda and it’s definitely not our last.
Another difference between Disney Fantasy and Breakaway are the guests on board. We get families from all over North America board the Disney Fantasy. On the Breakaway, 90% on board are New Yorkers. By the end of the cruise, don’t be surprised if you do leave the ship with a little New Yorker accent. lol!
Overall, the ship, the cruise, the experience and all were spectacular. Will we sail with Breakaway again? Most likely in the near future.
Thanks for arranging this trip for us. You made everything easy. You have made all our vacations right from the start during Dylan and Emily’s first Disney trip in 2010 nothing but wonderful and memorable. :-)
Clare & Peter