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Nola26

Christmas on the Breakaway 2019

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Returned from the cruise on Breakaway December 21st to 28th, 2019 overall a good holiday.

 

Itinerary

Great Stirrup Cay (switched to Nassau due to windy, rough conditions)

Ocho Rios Jamaica

Grand Cayman (Georgetown)

Cozumel

 

Activities

Windy conditions closed or limited some of the outdoor activitis onboard (aqua park, rock climbing and H2O water features) were closed at times due to high winds.

Shows were well done, I didn't see Velvet or participate in Escape the Big Top. Comedians were funny, one more to my liking than the other. 

I am not a fan of the dueling pianos or big on Queen, but reviews seemed good for both of those options (Queen tribute show in Syd Norman's Pour House).

Christmas show may have been the best I've seen onboard, lots of buzz as people left the show and barely an available seat, even for the late show when most kids were

Games were typical, bands and small group/solo performers also enjoyable, some Christmas songs played, but not over done.

NFL and NBA holiday games were readily available onboard, in room or in venues around the ship

 

Meals

All of my meals were in complimentary venues, no dining plan for me as I booked inside and selected the Excurision credit perk.

Manhattan room is my favorite MDR and I had two meals there, my first solo group meal and Christmas dinner with a small group of solos. Fantastic entertainment, food, service and company for the holiday meal, kudos to NCL and my company.

 

If not for the sense of humor of my dining mates we would have had a horrible meal in Taste our server Selvin was awful and really detracted from the experience. I had my final dinner in Taste with another server and had a great experience.

 

 

Less is more for me at breakfast. I usually opt for OSheehan's for this meal as I get what I want prepared and served, I don't need the 1000 choices from the buffet for breakfast. I was delighted to find smaller breakfast buffets in Margaritaville and Moderno. Moderno didn't offer an omelt station, but I was able to grab a freshly prepared veggie omelet there.

 

I had my first NCL crepe, good treat. Also had an ice cream first: Macadamia Nut Brittle, oh may I should have gotten more than one scoop and I only saw it available on one day.

 

Shopping

I bought some jewelry onboard this trip, a promotional pendant necklace and pearl set. I think I got good deals on both but if not I still have the stuff, lol.

Picked up a couple of NCL t-shirts in the 2/$20 sale and couple of pieces of costume jewelry all for gifts, Lattitudes discount didn't apply as shirts were already on sale.

There seemed to be a good sale on some iTouch devices, fitbit type watches. I was unfamiliar with them so I was sure that I wanted one or that they were a good deal.

I bought one photo and happy to have a 25% discount as a Gold Lattitudes member.

I did not win in any of the retail store drawing events I attended.

 

My reviews always get long so I'm going to try to do better by making multiple posts.

 

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Excursions - I had a $50 per port Shore Excursion credit, so all are NCL excusions

 

Nassau - Discover Atlantis ($69) 3+ stars

Small bus transfer to Atlantis and return transfer left at top and bottom of hour from 1-4pm, nice vehicles, easy meeting spots.

Tour of the aquariums and dig areas, very knowledgable and friendly guide that was easy to understand. It really is a pretty resort. I found a hotel lobby while there and able to use the complimentary Wifi. No free Wifi around the property unless you are a registered hotel guest.

 

Ocho Rios - Best of Ocho Rios ($89) 4 stars

Great experience climbing Dunn's River Falls, highly recommend doing this at least once. Also drove through the Fern Gully and toured Konoko Falls and botanical gardens. There are also two shopping stops, one at the end of tour which we were allowed to skip (started to rain a the botanical gardens), I went back to the boat after some were dropped at the shopping venue and picked up later. Rating is probably 5 for DRF and 3 for Konoko Falls/Fern Gully to give the final 4 start rating.

 

Grand Cayman (Georgetown) - Stingray City Sandbar ($75) 4 stars

Keeping with the active seas the water here was deeper and rougher than expected. Videos lead you to belive it will near waist high, but it was more like shoulder or chest high. I decided to wear a life jacket and that allowed me to relax and enjoy the experience more. We were able to touch the stingrays, but the guide/lifeguard generally held the creature for us. They took photos in several positions, but due to price I didn't purchase any. Lowest option was $40 as a best and final offer. I was willing to spend abut $20 for 1-2 photos but photograhper didn't seem authourized to make a deal.

 

Cozumel - Playa Mia ($45) 4 stars

Well kept day beach resort with lots of included activities: beach, beach loungers (people paid extra for umbrellas), kayak, paddle boars, water bikes, volleyball, ping pong all on the beach. Two different pool areas one with a fantasitc kids area and a larger waterslide. See Doos are available for rental, extra fee. There are also shops on the premisis but I didn't make any onsite purchases. This is probably the best value in Cozumel for a beach day. For $15 more a buffet can be purchased onsite (I did not partake). NCL had a Deluxe version that includes the buffet and drinks for $85, not sure if anything else is included. I bring my own snorkel set to these excursions and I didn't see much here, perhaps I would have much further out that would have been the case. If that part of the experience had been better I might have increased my rating.

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Dessert coma artifacts, we all ordered doubles!

20191224_194704.jpg

Edited by Nola26

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40 minutes ago, CruzinfromFL said:

DH and I are doing this cruise in March, its our first time on NCL, so I am looking forward to the rest of your review. 

I am a big fan of NCL, I hope you have a good experience. My advice would be not to sweat the small stuff and go with the flow. Our Nassau change was annouced onboard, no way I would have let that ruin my vacation. A bad server, but good company didn't ruin our meal, just added some funny eyerolls and head nods are the table.

Edited by Nola26

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Wow, I'm glad I did Stingray City thing on Great Stirrup Cay and not Grand Cayman.  At GSC I think we had no more than 20 people.  I'm enjoying your report.

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18 minutes ago, Nola26 said:

I am a big fan of NCL, I hope you have a good experience. My advice would be not to sweat the small stuff and go with the flow. Our Nassau change was annouced onboard, no way I would have let that ruin my vacation. A bad server, but good company didn't ruin our meal, just added some funny eyerolls and head nods are the table.

 

Thanks for the advice. That's how we feel too, we are on vacation, small stuff doesn't matter. And we have joked about missing GSC because of the weather, since this has happened to us twice on Royal Caribbean cruises, we missed Coco Cay due to weather (before the built the pier). But I was glad to see NCL stopped at Nassau instead, and we've said the next time we got to Nassau we would do the Atlantis tour 😊

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1 hour ago, Oakman58 said:

Wow, I'm glad I did Stingray City thing on Great Stirrup Cay and not Grand Cayman.  At GSC I think we had no more than 20 people.  I'm enjoying your report.

There were lots of boats, but our activities were all just behind our boat so rather private and well organized. Our guide grabbed stingray right away and later was able to gather a smaller male and demonstrate the difference in the tails of a male vs. female. We even touched his tail, avoiding the barbs. 

 

By the way I never commented on the water, it was glorious. Warmer yet refreshing with lots of waves which helped make the water higher on the body. 

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How were the temperature in these ports?  I'm on the breakaway in two weeks and we're hitting all these ports you went to.  I hope the weather cooperates for our stop to GSC.  I'm really looking forward to the wave runner excursion I have booked there.

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1 hour ago, dbrown84 said:

How were the temperature in these ports?  I'm on the breakaway in two weeks and we're hitting all these ports you went to.  I hope the weather cooperates for our stop to GSC.  I'm really looking forward to the wave runner excursion I have booked there.

I will share the temps as posted in each Freestyle Daily, generally I would say short sleeves everywhere, no jackets or long sleeves were ever a thought.

 

Sunny 70F/20C in Port Canaveral

Mostly Sunny 75F/24C Nassau

Mostly Sunny 79F/26C Sea

Mostly Sunny 79F/26C Ocho Rios (had brief light showers in the afternoon)

Partly  Cloud 80F/27C Grand Cayman

Partly Cloudy 75F/24C Cozumel

Mostly Sunny 75F/24C Sea

Disembarkation light rain in Port Canaveral, not in Orlando when we arrived at airport via NCL shuttle

 

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27 minutes ago, Nola26 said:

I will share the temps as posted in each Freestyle Daily, generally I would say short sleeves everywhere, no jackets or long sleeves were ever a thought.

 

Sunny 70F/20C in Port Canaveral

Mostly Sunny 75F/24C Nassau

Mostly Sunny 79F/26C Sea

Mostly Sunny 79F/26C Ocho Rios (had brief light showers in the afternoon)

Partly  Cloud 80F/27C Grand Cayman

Partly Cloudy 75F/24C Cozumel

Mostly Sunny 75F/24C Sea

Disembarkation light rain in Port Canaveral, not in Orlando when we arrived at airport via NCL shuttle

 

Thanks.  Nothing like a little sunshine in the wintertime.  Although I can't really complain because we've had a real mild winter so far here in DC

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Shows - all Theater shows were packed houses

 

All Aboard

Well done and gave a nice overview of the entertainment options, but only showcased on of the comedians, not the best one.

 

Burn The Floor

I have seen this show on 3-4 times now, all have been a little different. This cast and show may have been my favorite version. Dancers are really good, nice range of music and last about an hour.

 

Six

Unlike any show I've seen, really quirky idea: showcase the 6 wives of Henry the 8th. Good singers, nice blend of history or herstory. This show last about an hour too, may be less as I saw it to completion and still made it to the 11pm comedy show. One of my favorite features of this show is the all female band: keyboards, percussions, bass and guitar and they jam!

 

Queen Tribute

I didn't attend this show or any in the Syd Norman's Pour House. I heard both sides on this, really good and I'm going to catch the show again and the lead looked and sounded nothing like Freddy Mercury. I say if the music is your style go and make your own call. It's freestle, leave if it's not for you.

 

Comedians

I attended the 18+ shows for each. John McDonnell was my favorite, but both made me laugh. Johnny Cardinale plays guitar within his routine, interesting feature towards the end of his show. I had a reservation for Johnny and walked in a few moments after 11 fore John's show and easily found a seat on the side with a great view of the stage.

 

Magician

Jessica Jane is really good, great crowd interaction and she even sings! This is a do not miss family friendly show.

 

Velvet

Didn't reserve this extra cost dinner show. I found the lead dude kind of creepy, didn't sound good and was kind of disconnected from the female lead during the All Aboard show. Another couple told me they had a similar reaction during the all aboard show and canceled their reservation. Perhaps someone that went can offer a different view.

 

Manahattan Room Band and BTF

Lead singer is Rebecca has a great voice and I even enjoyed her show in Shakers.

BTF high energy show early during dinner on Christmas night.

 

Ed Harvey

Vocals and guitar, caught hime several times, plays a range of music. He's onboard until April and has some clips on YouTube.

 

Natural Mystic Band

Professional, great crowd interaction and dancing, great lead band for NCL.

 

Vox & Keys Duo

Variety of options, definitely a specialty for Latin music.

 

Walisson Melo

Pianist, but no vocals, I wanted a singer so I never stayed long at his shows.

 

Dueling Pianos, Game Shows, Pool Deck contests

None of these appeal to me so I skipped them all and usually do so.

 

Bliss Lounge and Deck Parties

I skipped these though I bounced to the Bliss music while playing in the casino. ☺️

 

Casino

Not a show but I spent time and money here. I won on my last cruise, not so much on this one. I enjoyed my time in the casino and saw jackpot payouts. The ship was abuzz due to a $24K jackpot winner, I assume it was a progressive slot machine. There was a $5K payout for a royal flush in Texas Hold 'em. Really good control of smoking and non smoking areas. I would say most of the casino (aisles, near Asian restaurant) is non smoking. My clothes still needed airing, but not nearly as badly as on past cruises. Kudos to NCL for managing smoking in the casino area.

 

 

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Thank you so much for the comprehensive review.  It made me so excited for our upcoming cruise on her!

 

You mentioned having reservations for one of the comedy shows.  May I ask where you made those?  I understand you should make them pretty quickly once onboard.

 

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Thanks for the review! We will be sailing on the Breakaway in Sept. 2020. I was wondering if the hot dog cart is still on this ship? We sailed it a couple years ago and I loved finding it and enjoying a New York style hot dog!

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47 minutes ago, MBMGWM said:

Thank you so much for the comprehensive review.  It made me so excited for our upcoming cruise on her!

 

You mentioned having reservations for one of the comedy shows.  May I ask where you made those?  I understand you should make them pretty quickly once onboard.

 

You can make them using the touch screens that are around the ship. You can also book them on you in room television. 

 

I have always made it inside from the standby line, so don't be discouraged if your desired time slot is unavailable. 

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13 minutes ago, Mumblez82 said:

Thanks for the review! We will be sailing on the Breakaway in Sept. 2020. I was wondering if the hot dog cart is still on this ship? We sailed it a couple years ago and I loved finding it and enjoying a New York style hot dog!

I don't recall a hit dog cart. However I don't spend much time on the pool deck and I am a vegetarian so it isn't something that would obviously catch my eye.

 

Osheehans has a hot dog menu, hopefully that fills the void I'd the cart isn't available. 

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Thank you for the information regarding the comedy club reservations.  Good to know about the hot dog cart.  I sometimes have a late night craving for a hot dog while cruising, so I'll give the ones at Osheehans a try. 

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Playa Mia and stingray excursions appear to be too crowded for my liking. Will stick with Nachi Cocom in Cozumel.

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1 hour ago, hladygirl said:

Playa Mia and stingray excursions appear to be too crowded for my liking. Will stick with Nachi Cocom in Cozumel.

 

 Glad the photos were useful to you.

 

I easily found a lounger under a tree near the shore line, but yes I was super close to my neighbors though seats were more empty than occupied given the food and activities. There were no loungers near the kids pool, just a built in bench and raised seating area with tables up by the lockers. The area is in the top right of the photo, the waterslide shows above it.

 

My trip to Playa Mia was a bit of a research trip. We have a family cruise in March so I was scouting the plac. My family has given a thumbs up on booking Playa Mia. We'll have an older teen so the included activities, NCL transportation and price point are awesome.

 

I didn't feel crowded at the Stingray Sandbar, the higher water was the big surprise, but really the interaction is completed as a group from your boat so the others in the water are irrelevant. I guess if you intend to swim and frolic it would be a bigger concern. For us our boat was on the end so if you wanted to just enjoy the water/swim there was space to do that. I didn't notice anyone from our group do that.

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