Mitsugirly BREAKAWAYs for a summer cruise: Review/Pictorial
Day 2: Getting on the ship
We woke up (well I did automatically around 9:45am before the alarm went off) and I thought "man it's hot in here". I went over and turned the air lower again and then headed down stairs to check out the menu...just in case the fam didn't feel like walking anywhere and wanted to eat there.
They had a breakfast buffet that also included made to order items as well.
I went back up and woke the family up and asked them what they wanted to do. Everyone wanted to just go down to the restaurant in the hotel since it had a buffet. As a family, we really enjoy buffets and I like having the option to pick things out myself and go back for more if I liked it.
My plate from the buffet consisted of some very dried out eggs that really was not edible because it tasted and had the consistency of sitting there all day. Also potatoes, bacon, sausage links, and corned beef hash. Everything else was ok. Just ok, not great, but edible at least.
Sakari and the hubby took one look at the eggs and said "no way" and did the made to order (which at that point, I hadn't discovered). I went back and had them make me an omelette with bacon. Ahhh, much better. They also had french toast.
Our bellies were full and at least satisfied for the time being. We knew we'd be on the ship soon and be enjoying a lot more food.
We headed back up to our room to get ready, pack, and head out to grab Uber or Lyft to the port.
I went down to check out and told the lady at the front desk about the air. I really wasn't expecting anything and just wanted to inform her so that maintenance could fix it for the next person, but she offered to give us some type of refund. She checked with her manager, who said they could only offer the highest points available to me for future stays. I don't remember what they said maybe "5,000" points?
So I checked my app for both Uber and Lyft to see the price difference. For some reason, Uber was cheaper this time around. (My previous experience has been that Lyft is always cheaper). Hmmm....so we summoned our chariot and stood in the humidity starring at each others hair as we waited. Wait, stop, back up. Flash back....Sakari and I decided to have my hairdresser do a Brazilian Blowout on our hair the day before we left. I had never had one professionally done before and thought I'd give it a shot. Usually I spend all this time on my hair before we leave the hotel only to get outside and I end up with an instant frizz and flyaway hair. Sakari is even worse. Her hair gets the frizz, the flyaway hair AND it starts to get wavy AND she has this crazy curl, on the left side of her head, right at her face, that curls toward the face and just drives us both nuts! My stylist told me I would absolutely love the Brazilian Blowout because I wouldn't have any frizz, my hair would stay straight, it would be soft, and you would be able to run your fingers through your hair. She talked about how amazing it is at the beach and I knew I had to try it. So far so good!
So a ride with Uber was $26.88 from FLL to Miami cruise port. I used to take transportation services (such as SAS or others) but they charge $15 each person, so that would be $45 for all 3 of us...AND you have to share the ride with others, plus wait on others, plus they will make trips to other hotels and places to pick people up to take them....who needs all that? I just don't understand why people continue to pay that kind of money to ride with others and be on others schedules. But, that's just me.
It's about a 30-45 minute drive to Miami according to our map
I'm pretty sure we all fell asleep during the ride there and woke up to the driver asking us "which port"?
We caught our first glimpse of the ships in port...over to the right side of us.
Then into the underground tunnel we went.
If anyone doesn't know, this underWATER tunnel actually goes under the cruise ships and pops back up on the other side of the terminal. Ships on the right, tunnel, ships now on the left. Pretty cool and it always amazes the kids.
Then pulling up to the terminal....I spotted the Carnival Horizon. We sailed her last Christmas and loved it!
Then we spotted the Breakaway. She's a massive ship! I guess I didn't realize just how big it is until seeing it beside other ships while we were in port. Geesh!
We were also docked with a RC ship and I couldn't tell which one it was at the time. I would later find out it was the Liberty OTS (which looks like a ship I want to sail on!).
There wasn't a line to get into the building and inside there was somewhat of a line. It didn't take too long before we were through the security line, grabbing our things and on our way to the lines to check in.
I thought it was very strange that they were just directing everyone into the very long winding lines to check in. I finally stopped and said "is there no longer a platinum check in???" So they said "oh yes, right here" which no one was in that line. In the past, they would always look at your documents to see your status and tell you which line. Or...they would have 2 lines with them clearly marked for Platinum and above versus other cruisers. This was weird. It seemed like the only people they were catering to were the Haven cruisers. Lines everywhere for them with services and people leading and rushing them along.
Check in was fairly simple and quick but I have to say that the person helping us did not acknowledge us with a simple hello or how are you today or even a smile for that matter. It was a quick "papers and ID", look here for a picture (click), sign here, give me your card you are using for onboard expenses, I'll be back with your cards, here's your cards. Um....ok, where do we go now?
We started following the crowd and the people "directing traffic" kept saying....go around, don't stand in line, you can walk that way, this way to the ship and so on. I looked to see what was going on and they were taking pictures. I'm not missing that. I get our pictures done every time for my scrap book. Stop telling me to go around! Geesh! If you feel that people are in the way standing in line, maybe you should put the photographers in a different location?
Then off we went to the escalators to the long hallway upstairs leading to the ramps to get on the ship.
The building is nice but I hear that NCL is building another new building.
Up the gangway we went...(look at the height of this child!)
Getting ready to step on the ship....
Now these "newer" ships....they just aren't what they used to be with NCL. I love the "wow" factor when stepping on a ship and into the atrium to see the winding glass steps and soaring ceiling and just...well, you know, the WOW! But that doesn't seem to happen on these bigger NCL ships. Normally you are walking into a hallway with elevators and trying to figure out which way to go to see the wow.
NOT THIS TIME....they had all the doors closed off and employees standing by them saying "this way" and pointing down the outside promenade deck....keep going, keep going, yep not there yet, keep going....THE.ENTIRE.LENGTH.OF.THE.SHIP! Seriously! I guess "wow" did come out of my mouth several times along the way. It was hot, humid, sun beating down on us, no breeze, but hey....our hair looked FABULOUS DARLING!
Since we had been on this ship before (and the Getaway sister ship) we already knew our way around and immediately headed for a bar...any bar...just give me a quencher for my throat!
We really wasn't hungry at this point and decided to just walk around and head up to the pool deck.
We hung out on the pool deck for awhile...as much as I'd like to use the phrase "soaking up the sun" we were more like running from the sun and "soaking up the booze"
Sooner or later, we did decide we'd better eat something before they shut everything down and it was time for the safety drill.
Then it was time for the safety drill. All I can say is thank goodness they have these inside on the BA. It was very hot and muggy outside.
Then it was time for sailaway....
We gathered up on deck 16 to watch as we pulled away from Miami.
It was starting to look gloomy out and I thought we might get some rain. But out in the direction we were headed looked pretty sunny and clear.
Then as I was looking down watching the water, I had hoped to see something like dolphins or whatever....I did spot something....
t was quite apparent was it was....here's a close up....
Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Yea I know...now that song is going to be stuck in your head for awhile. It was mine too!
The hubs said "well, Miami beach is right over there and it's probably going out for a little lunch". 😲
Let's go hunt, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Let's go hunt, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Let's go hunt, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Let's go hunt!
Now I seen this posted on one of the social media sites I'm on and thought it was pretty neat. It's a 75 foot long floating house that cost $5.9million and is 4300 square feet. Here's some info:
"The foundation of this floating home is actually a barge with a jack-up system," Arkup managing director Nicolas Derouin said. "It is a hydraulic system with four legs that provide stability and enables the vessel to be lifted out of the water."
That's right. It is a waterfront mansion on the move.
"The home is portable," Waterstudio CEO and architect Koen Olthuis said. "You can bring it wherever you want. You can choose your neighbors."
While Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen was visiting the portable home, the home inspector -- aka the Coast Guard -- showed up.
The floating home has high ceilings and open views with floor-to-ceiling windows.
The master bath boasts two rain showers, two vanities and lots of natural light.
The floating fortress is, for the most part, self-sustaining. It collects and filters rainwater and it uses renewable energy.
"The full roof is completely solar cells," Olthuis said. "So if you fly over them with your drone, you would see completely, only solar cells."
A remote control device can lower a hydraulic swimming platform right into the water, but the biggest selling point of the $5.9 million livable yacht is the view in your backyard.
Finally, when you are ready to pull up anchor, a deck retracts back into the home and then you are good to go.
It was pretty cool to see it in person
There were some people out on the jet skis watching us go by and jumping off the skis and waving.
We were officially headed out to sea and it was time to get this party started...
What better way to start our cruise than a little bit of dare deviling rope course and zip line? (My head is spinning at the moment talking about climbing on a ropes course while I sit in my chair with a bum leg ugh) Sakari has always been a daredevil since 3 years old. She went zip lining in the Belize jungles and jumping off 2 story platforms into the ocean all at 3 years old. However, over the last 2 years, she started becoming more aware of her surroundings and potential things that can cause injury or danger (unlike her mother obviously). And she has started to be afraid of doing any such activities. She has refused to go zip lining when we are in Aruba at the dePalm Island (which is a very small zip line) or anything that has to do with heights.
So...fast forward to about a month ago. "Mommy, I don't think I'm afraid of heights anymore". Um, alrighty then. She went to the Kings Island theme park with Courtney (my youngest sons ex who has cruised with us and in some of my reviews) and had a blast! She went on every ride she could...over and over...fastest, tallest, upside down...you name it. She's not scared anymore and loves them. So, we would start with the small ropes course on the Breakaway and she promised to do the zipline as well (last time she backed out). (The day after we returned from our cruise she headed back to Kings Island with her sister)
There's my little daredevil...
She said she was taking all the hard paths...and that she did.
Walking out on the plank....no worries at all.
Daddy was trying to get the picture to take...but it was one of the MANY things that wasn't working on the ship this time around.
She finally did the zip line!
This was closed a lot...but I'm sure they have certain times they are open and it just wasn't open at the times I was up there. Sakari said she tried once and didn't have any socks so they wouldn't let her in.
Time for some more drinks....M for monkey lala drink and B for bushwhacker.
Now the last cruise, Sakari didn't have ANY interest in going to the kids club. She's at that stage where she feels like she's too big for it and can't wait to get into the teen club. Not to mention, we had a teen with us last time and Brayden (who never likes to go to the kids club to begin with). The time before, she did not like going and didn't go often either (she only likes to go when they have the outside activities at the basketball court).
So, I really didn't know what to expect this time around. She didn't have anyone with her to hang out with and she decided we should sign her up...just in case.
The kids club (in her area) has 2 floors that they utilize.
It seems like they are already gauging this age group toward a lot of watching movies and playing video games. There's a lot of places to do this at.
So normally I usually don't pack bathing suits for the first day (prior to getting our luggage). Sakari always begs to swim when we first get on the ship and I always have the excuse "you have to wait for them to deliver our luggage". Well she wised up this time...she packed her own bathing suit in her backpack. LOL She did a little swimming and we just hung out with a few more of these...
For those wondering...our rooms were ready pretty early on...maybe 1:30-2pm and at least we were able to put our bag down and not have to carry that stuff around (I carry a large purse type bag and Sakari had her book bag).
I felt our luggage arrived pretty early as well but can't remember the time. Our room was located right beside the elevators and storage space they were using to put the luggage so it felt like ours was there before everyone else in the hallway.
Then we decided to go to O'Sheehans for dinner. I love this place and the food! It's such a great place for food 24/7!!! It's one of the things I really miss when sailing with other cruise lines that just offer a place in the buffet for either pizza or cold sandwiches. O'Sheehans you can get just about anything and hot food! It's a place to go to for an entire meal from starters, to main course, to desert! Not to mention it's an actual restaurant.
I ordered the fajita's and chips with spinach and artichoke dip. Sakari had wings...but she's on this wing kick lately. And I can't recall what the hubs ordered.
All the food was yummy and served in a timely manner.
After dinner we decided to go "bowling". Now this isn't your regular sized bowling...it's mini bowling. The alley is short and the balls are small but it's a lot of fun. It's like a pin bowling setter and the pins are attached to ropes that pull them up and down.
Now here's the problem with this system....the pins get tangled and wrapped around each other. But I tell ya what, it makes for some good laughs.
Scores: Sakari, mommy and daddy. We all know who took advantage of those wrapped pins. You hit those and they all fall. LOL
After dinner we asked Sakari if she wanted to go to the kids club or back to the room. We had planned on heading to the casino for a little bit. She decided she'd go to the kids club for awhile. I gave her permission to check herself in and out. Now on NCL, when you check in, you have to be there 2 hours before they'll allow the child to check themselves out. This worked out good for us because she went at 8:30pm and the kids club ended at 10:30 (unless you wanted to pay for nightly sitting). So I told her we'd head to the casino for awhile and check back on her to see if she wanted to leave earlier than her 2 hours and we'd pick her up.
Now since it was her first night, I went with her so that she'd have a smooth transaction of getting used to signing herself in/out. Then the kids club worker ask me "And where will you be tonight?" Um...say what? Why does this matter? I know in the past, when they are younger they always ask where you'll be in case anything happens and they can get in touch with you. Well, if she's signing herself in and out....I'm not usually going to be there to tell you where I'm going to be...so once again, why does this matter? We weren't planning on staying in any one particular place but would be at the casino for the most part.
I spent $40 at the casino and by the time I had spent my entire $40, I walked out with a ticket worth $38 and some change. Ok, so I lost less than $2 but had about an hour of fun. Not bad.
We took a walk around the ship. The famous chandelier in the atrium everyone likes.
I always love how it looks up on the pool deck at night all lit up. I couldn't wait to hit the slides the following day at sea.
Not many people left at the adult pool
But the kid pool was drained already
Now NCL used to have a contract with Nickelodeon but that cancelled and they removed all the sponge bob things out of the kiddie water park area. It was replaced with fish, dolphins and sea horses
We went back to the kids club to see if Sakari wanted to leave, but I asked to check on her and they decided to call her name and check her out. They were playing a game and she said she was enjoying it, but it was ok and she'd go ahead and leave.
We went back to the room to unpack our things and stay in for the night.
Up next...our room.
So, here's our room. We picked an interior this time around and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the room! It wasn't your typical interior you usually find on other ships (where you walk in and you are in a small hall that leads to the room). With this room, you walk in and it is completely open and it seemed like it had much more room than you normally get with an interior. I loved walking in and having that space right as soon as you go in. I wish all the interior rooms were like that.
There was more than enough storage for everything we had and a lot of little areas of hidden storage.
The bathroom seemed roomy enough too. I'm not sure if it was any bigger than they usually are, but the layout made it feel that way.
The hallways leading into the rooms....don't forget the fishies on the carpet on the floor....they swim toward the front so you always know which way you are headed. Now the newer ships don't seem to have the "odd ball" fish swimming in the wrong direction. I'm not sure why NCL decided against that. That seemed to be their "thing" in the past (not only on the carpet on the floors, but on their tee shirts and everything else).
So since we are platinum, we get chocolate covered strawberries sent to our room, usually the first night.
We didn't meet our room steward today and we came back to the room with NO TOWEL ANIMAL! Hmmm, Sakari was very disappointed.
We tried to find a way to keep the electric on and didn't want the possibility of having to deactivate one of our cards in our wallets, so guess what I came up with?????
This was still in my bag I take with me, with all the important items, on the plane. So this would be my new card for the lights. LOL
Now normally I go into a review about each deck and pictures of everything you'll find on the ship. However, we've already been on this ship and I have already taken pictures of each area, so I decided this time around to forego taking pictures of each area and just refer everyone to my previous Breakaway cruise. As far as I could tell, nothing has changed WITH THE EXCEPTION of the UPTOWN BAR & GRILL. It has changed to Margaritaville instead and you now have to pay to eat there (I think it was $14.95). I absolutely loved eating at the uptown grill. When there was a hectic rush at the buffet, you could always go up to the Uptown and eat breakfast and it was pretty amazing. There wouldn't be a lot of people up there and they had breakfast sandwiches that were amazing!
From the previous cruise:
You can find the complete tour located HERE ------->
Or you can find it on my Smugmug pictures located HERE----->
Another reason I didn't bother to take a picture tour of the ship is this ship was the MOST CROWDED ship I have EVER experienced in my entire cruise history....EVER!! I was the worst! Like I've never seen anything like this before. It was very uncomfortable and it was nothing but a sea of people everywhere you went. You couldn't move half the time. You stood in line, back to back people just to get from one end of the ship to the other. It was terrible! It made me not want to be on the ship. I don't know if it was just because it was during the summer and that's the only ship they have cruising the Caribbean or what it was. But, I have cruised during the summer months and never experienced this. I have cruise when all the rooms were booked before and never experienced this. They did say that we were cruising at capacity.
Now, I'm going to go into this right now and hopefully I'll be able to remember most of it. If not, I might remember during the review...
This was not a very good cruise (other than the ports). I would go as far as saying it was the worse cruise experience I have had to date...for many reasons.
Everyone knows I was a loyal NCL cruiser for many years. Then I branched out and started cruising with Carnival and Royal. For the most part, I felt like there are more similarities in all 3 lines than not. Some things better with each cruise line and some things not as good. But after taking a few years off from NCL and then coming back...I have definitely noticed a lot of changes...and not for the better IMO. I don't know, maybe it was just this particular cruise but things have changed.
The service was terrible this cruise...absolutely terrible! I don't think we even met our room steward until maybe day 3 or 4 and even then I wasn't sure if I was talking to the right person. He wasn't very friendly and didn't make himself known or really talk to us like every single cruise we've ever been on in the past.
I had to ask for an ice bucket to be delivered and filled every day (which I believe happened the last time we were on NCL) but didn't get it filled every time like it should have.
The service trying to get drinks was just ridiculous. We had several instances where we were highly pissed about not being served and the bar tenders aren't pressed about giving you a drink unless you are standing there with a $5 bill in your hand flashing it at them. It was just crazy! Even trying to get a pop/soda was a task!
They no longer give you pool towels in your room. They have adopted the system that you have to go to the pool deck to check them out. They write your room number down on a paper and how many towels you have and then write it down again when you return them. It was ridiculous honestly. Anyone could walk up there and say any room number and check out towels. They didn't ask for a key card or anything. If you didn't catch them before they closed in the evening, you didn't have clean and dry towels for port the next day. Ugh! I hate this system. Also, when we returned from port and had our wet towels in the room, the room steward would take them. How do I know they are being "crossed off the list of checked out towels?"
Not being able to bring your own soda/pop on the ship now is one of the biggest turn offs for me. I'm a popaholic. I wake up to pop and go to bed with pop. But I ALWAYS purchase the pop package so it's not like I'm cheating NCL of any money. But I'd like to have a case in my room for the cruise so that when I'm in for the night I can have one if I'd like. During the evening hours there's not many places you can go to get soda. This change personally sucks for me.
The Uptown Grill being changed to a pay venue....blah. I enjoyed that place.
They no longer give you TOWEL ANIMALS!!! I know a lot of people could care less about this but my daughter enjoys this and it was real disappointing to see the look on her face when there wasn't one every night.
The food...I'm sorry but I feel that the food has went downhill. It wasn't as good this time around and I didn't really care for the selections. I would say this was the first time that I didn't eat much on this cruise at all. This has never happened to me before. Cruising=food all the time. I was barely eating and when I got a plate (or several plates to try different things) and wouldn't even be able to finish it.
There were changes in the menu at O'Sheehans....I noticed you couldn't get cheesecake anymore and I can remember I used to stop by there on the way back from picking Sakari up at the kids club, just to get a cheesecake to go for her, and they'd put it on a plate with a cover and off I'd go. Now they won't let you do any "to-go" orders and tell you to order room service, which you can't get O'Sheehans from room service.
They will not allow you to keep the key card in the room to keep electricity on when you are not in the room. In the past, the room steward would actually give you a card to keep in it, now they remove anything in the key slot when you are not there. It really ticked me off because I have no way to charge my camera batteries when they do that.
In the past, the staff was always so friendly and would say hello to you every time you'd pass by them. I seen a lot of, what looked like, unhappy staff. A lot didn't speak or would look down as you walked by. So unusual for them.
Service at O'Sheehans after the first day was just ridiculous...more like non-existent. We had to hunt people down to be served or ask for menus and such. Just plain crazy!
The baby/child water park was closed a lot. There was 2 days that it was completely roped off and closed. I'm not sure why. I know kids have accidents and they usually close things down for cleaning, but this was 2 days straight! Which meant that all those toddlers ended up in the kids pool...ugh
The adult pool was so crowded that you couldn't even sit in the shallow area that goes around the pool. We never once made it in there. Then adults started seeing that the kids pool wasn't as crowded and they started overflowing into that pool, then wanted to complain that kids were in the pool or splashing. It's their pool!
The drop water slide (my favorite) was closed the entire cruise. Both of them! How disappointing!
The cameras weren't working on the ropes course for the plank or for the zip line. Again, disappointing.
The adult area in the back has a place with water/fountains and such and it would shut down early. Last cruise it was open at night and had pretty lights in it. Now it closes way before dark and a lot of the fountains weren't even working that streamed water.
The variety of shows...wasn't much of a variety. It seemed like they had the same show playing over and over every night.
Trying to use our platinum free dinner coupons was absolutely ridiculous. Everything booked up all week long and we didn't get one of our meals (and they wouldn't make any exceptions like they did in the past) and we didn't get our free bottle of wine.
No more ship pins? If so, I sure didn't get one.
Service in the casino was pretty slow as well. I had a problem with the machine and it took almost half an hour to get help with it.
We never got to play ping pong because after a certain hour, they'd put the equipment up. Before we could play any time day or night.
Now don't get me wrong, there were good things too. I'm just saying I could see the cutbacks they have done since the last time we were on an NCL cruise and the staff just wasn't as friendly and food not as good. Just so many changes and things not working.
I have to say I left there saying I would rather be cruising on Royal or Carnival at this point if I had to experience this type of cruise again. I'm also not the only one that was experiencing this. I heard a lot of people on the ship complaining about the service and staff this time around. I didn't even buy a future cruise certificate like I normally do. I had planned on buying enough to give out as Christmas gifts this year for my kids, but decided against it after the experience we had on this cruise.
So I just wanted to put this out there before I forgot. There's probably other things too that I'll remember during the review. I was just disappointed this time around. 😞
**edit*** Oh, just forgot something else I noticed...even the latitudes chocolate covered strawberries used to be 6 on the plate and are now only 4 😕