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Mitsugirly BREAKAWAYs for a summer cruise: Review/Pictorial

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Posted (edited)

Time for a new review: Summer Break 2019!!!

 

We cruise the Breakaway out of Miami this time (despite my rule of not cruising the same ship more than once LOL). I try to do a different ship each time but it had been awhile since we cruised with NCL (2016) I still had 2 cruise certificates that needed to be used up before the first of the year. We've been trying to do land vacations in Aruba during the summer months and reluctantly decided we would need to forego that this year in order to use up certificates. I have to say that one of the main reasons we started trying other lines is that for some reason NCL seems to think that cruisers don't want to cruise the Caribbean during the summer months and don't have many options during that time frame. Yet, here are all the other cruise lines...cruising the Caribbean during the summer! Hmmm.... The other issue is that they just seem to cruise to the same ports over and over with no variety like the other cruise lines we've been cruising with lately. Come on NCL, spice it up a little.

 

Well...my only option this time around would be on the Breakaway (which we cruised to Bermuda in October 2015 and had a blast) going to the "normal" routes: Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Costa Maya. However, I did notice that it would be going to Harvest Caye in Belize instead of Belize City. At least I would get to experience a new port. WOO HOO! The other great thing about NCL is....I'M PLATINUM and enjoy the platinum benefits PLUS those free drink packages is always an added plus! So, why not? We booked and looked forward to this cruise and the planning began.

 

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OUR ITINERARY:

 

August 4 Sunday: Board the ship

August 5 Monday: Sea day

August 6 Tuesday: ROATAN 10-6pm

August 7 Wednesday: HARVEST CAYE BELIZE 8-5pm

August 8 Thursday: COSTA MAYA 8-5pm

August 9 Friday: COZUMEL 8-5PM

August 10 Saturday: Sea day

August 11 Sunday: Back to port

 

This time around would just be myself, the hubs and our daughter Sakari. The rest of the family decided to sit this one out, especially Kendra and family since they had just joined us on RC Freedom a few months ago for Spring Break.

 

This time around, we picked an interior room. The prices were a little high and I figured it would just be best to get an interior. Honestly, balconies are nice to let the sunlight in and watch us pull in or out of port, but other than that, we really don't hang out on the balcony or enjoy it the way a lot of others do. We are hardly EVER in our room and it just seems like such a waste for us to upgrade to one (unless there's just a deal we can't refuse). To each their own I guess. The last time we sailed the Breakaway we had a balcony (I think it was a mini suite) and loved the shower area (it had the shower spouts up and down the wall that were amazing!) and the shower was pretty big as well. But other than that, it was your normal balcony room. So, I just expected the regular interior room when I booked. The other nice thing is that when I booked, I was allowed to use 2 cruise certificates for the booking and was able to use up those last 2 I still had in one shot.

 

But before the review begins...just a few non-legal formalities heh heh heh.....

 

***********************************************************NOTICE********************************************

 

ALSO...notice my new signature line...I have my website up and running. In my signature line you will find all the hotels in various areas we have stayed in, all the ports we have been to, and all the ships we have sailed along with my land Aruba vacations and all the things there is to do there. Hopefully this will help others when planning and hopefully you'll find it useful and easy to navigate. If you find any broken links or anything wrong, please let me know.

Edited by mitsugirly

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Posted (edited)

We'll start with the "formalities" and get that out of the way. (Mostly copied from all of my other reviews, because things don't seem to change too much) with any updates we might have added/adjusted.

 

PLEASE NOTE>>> My reviews are LONG...as in VERY LONG, with a lot of details, A LOT of pictures and this is the experience of my family on the cruise, sorta like a blog.

 

*So, if you are not into long reviews and want something short, sweet and to the point...this review is not for you.

 

*If you expect this review to be done quickly and you don't like to wait...this review is not for you.

 

*If you don't like personal details of our daily activities, this review is not for you.

 

*If you expect me to sugar coat everything, this review is not for you.

 

*If you think I tell you about something that wasn't appealing or I didn't really care for or seen happen and you consider me "complaining" or unhappy...this review is not for you.

 

I'm open, I'm honest, we have a good time no matter what, but I report everything I see. It doesn't make or break my cruise or experience and I always manage to have a great time no matter what.

 

It's sad I feel the need to say these things with my reviews now due to certain people who like to come on a be rude in the past.

 

However, if you like to laugh, get a chuckle every once in a while, think of our family and some of the things we do that could be pictured on "the people of Walmart" and want details and pictures of places...you have come to the right place.

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My Cruising Experience:

 

As you can tell from my signature line, we used to mainly cruise with NCL and I have been trying to cruise the entire fleet but have been adventuring out over the last few years with Carnival and also Royal Caribbean. We love them all.

 

In the
80's and 90's I also sailed with NCL and Royal Caribbean.

 

This will make my 24th cruise, my husband's 22nd cruise I think? After a while, things are starting to run together.
and Sakari's 21st cruise...??? I've lost track to tell you the truth.

 

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ORGANIZATION FOR THE REVIEWS:

 

People always ask how I organize for my reviews and it takes A LOT to put together a review like this. Once I decided to post how I personally organize for my reviews and if you are interested, it can be found HERE-1ST HALF and the 2ND HALF HERE.

 

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CAMERAS:

 

I am constantly questioned about what type of camera's I use for my reviews.

 

Several years ago I decided to purchase my first Olympus point-and-shoot camera (not by choice, but because I had one of my many "bloopers" with my Canon cameras). I have loved the Olympus since that purchase that we actually have quite a few of them.

 

This entire review was shot with my Olympus Tough TG2 & a few with the 620. I take my model 620 & 830 along with me for back up because you never know what might happen and I would be devastated if I was without a camera. A few years ago, we also purchased Sakari her own camera (the 620 model) and she uses hers as well (which she managed to crack the screen on it during school camp last year so it's strictly a "land" camera now).

 

I'm a photography FREAK! Always have been. I do have a DSLR with tons of equipment, lens, and so on, but I find that I just don't want to lug it around with me on a cruise...and of course, it's not waterproof.

 

When I process my photo's, I do take it into PS (I have to get my watermark on there somehow) and I have an "action" that resizes the picture for a more appropriate posting size, and sharpens for web and I put my stamp on it. Every once in a while I'll get a really crappy picture that just needs something (like white balance) done to it and I really want to share it and I might white balance it. For the most part, I don't do much of anything...no one has time for all that with the thousands of pictures I take!

 

I take thousands of pictures on vacation and I do a lot of walking and snapping. Yes, I may get some outstanding photos and quality, but for every good picture I get, there may be 3 bad ones. You win some, you lose some. I've been known to stand in a spot and take 3-5 pictures of the same thing, using different settings on the camera, just to get what I'm looking for to share. That's just me.

 

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ABOUT MY REVIEWS:

 

I am a very open and honest person. Everyone has a different expectation and experience, but I report how I feel during mine. You may or may not agree with my thoughts or views, but that's the beauty of it...everyone is different and all thoughts and comments are welcome.

 

We are a fun loving and outgoing family that, for the most part, don't get upset about much and roll with the punches. We've had a lot of "bloopers" (especially when the kids come along=Kendra lol), but it is what it is and I have learned over the years that getting mad or upset doesn't solve the problem and only takes away from the fun, so I try not to dwell on bad things (although I will always report them...not to be a Debbie-Downer, but to show this is the experience I had and how it contributed to what was going on at the time) and I move on.

 

We are BEACH people. So, if you are the touristy type of person that likes historical stuff, seeing the sites, or likes to do the land tours, this review might not benefit you too much as far as the ports. If there's a beach, we will be there! I have to drag Sakari the Mermaid out of the water every place we go. So, to the beach it is for us.

 

Sakari decided in 2016 that she wanted to "be a scuba diver" and took classes and became a certified PADI Seal that year. In December 2 years ago, she finished all the PADI classes and became a MASTER PADI SEAL!! I think she was one of the first at her scuba shop to complete the program. They made quite a big deal over it. She went to class monthly and started repeating the classes for the fun of it. However, she has not been for almost a year now. The other kids in her class went on to get their Junior Certification and she was unable to because we were on a cruise during that time. So now, she just dives with us, doing the Discover Scuba, in one port each cruise.

 

So, you will find us doing some scuba diving in reviews as well.

 

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LAST BUT NOT LEAST: WHY I DO THE REVIEWS

 

My reviews are meant to be helpful to others looking for information. I'm a "picture" kinda girl and if I'm looking for information, give me a picture to help me understand and it will go 10x further in helping me with a decision. So many of you wonderful cruisers have helped me decide places to try out, shared your experiences with me, and even cruised with me....and this is my way of thanking you and continuing to help others the way they have helped me.

 

I'm keeping this "opening" a little shorter than normal. Most people around here know me and I hate to constantly repeat things...so if you want a more detailed "opening" statement, you are welcome to click on one of my other reviews (in my signature line) and it will give you more info on us.  HOWEVER, cc has changed things up and not allowing more to be added to signature lines, so I ended up creating a website (below) and also a link that goes to a google document with a list of everything by ports, ships and so on (also in my signature line). Enjoy!

 

With that said...I hope you enjoy the review

Edited by mitsugirly

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How nice to see you back, Kim! I'm always interested in reading about your cruises and seeing your pictures. 😃

Heather

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So on with the review....

 

When I first started doing reviews, I would carry a note pad and take notes during the cruise. Then that went to just taking a few notes about the day each night before bed. Then the world of technology convinced me to type notes into my phone during the day each day. This cruise....I DID NOTHING! Nothing at all. Oops. I enjoyed myself and hoped that I had taken enough pictures during the day to remind me of what we did. So forgive me if I have a few mess ups or forget things along the way. I'll do my best. I tried this on my last cruise and it worked out ok.

 

August 3, Saturday: We booked a fairly late flight out (mid day) of Columbus because I really hate rushing around in the mornings and it's just easier for our family to not be too rushed with last minute packing and getting ready.

 

Our flight departed at 3:35pm and we were due to arrive in FLL at 8pm. That would still give us enough time to find a place to eat dinner once we arrived at the hotel.

 

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We were packed and ready to go...the animals had already been dropped off at my youngest sons home the night before and we were good to go. One suitcase per person...we packed fairly light (unlike my oldest daughter Kendra lol). Then off we went. 

 

 

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We used to have someone drop us off at the airport but it became more of an inconvenience and just started parking at the lot and shuttling over several cruises ago.

 

 

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Our plane was on time and Sakari always has to touch the plane before getting on for good luck. Man she is getting big.

 

 

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After take off, Sakari immediately started drawing on her phone. She has this huge infatuation with the "furry fandom". If you've been a follower of my reviews, you will remember we ended up on a cruise with the furries once on NCL Sun back in 2014. Sakari fell in love with them and had a blast on that cruise. She knows a lot of them by name (on youtube) and she has become infatuated with making her own "fur suit" these days. 

 

So what is a furry? The furry fandom is a subculture interested in anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Sakari has always had a love for animals and creatures and a WILD imagination. She's always been creative and she is an artist. This imagination combined with her creative talents has landed her a space in the Art school starting next week in middle school. She was tested last year and labeled as "gifted" and had to create a portfolio and had several interviews to be accepted into the school. I'm so proud of her and her talents as an artist. So recently she has started creating, what she calls her "OC" drawings of furries she wants to make. OC, she says, stands for "original character". She has a character named "Remi" that she has created and I just can not believe the things she comes up with when she creates them. I will have to get some pictures to show you all later when I'm home. 

 

She does drawings of different characters on her phone and this is a drawing she did of Remi on the first half of our flight.

 

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We landed in FLL right on time, gathered our luggage and headed outside the terminal to catch our shuttle to the hotel.

 

 

 

 

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Holy cow, she is HUGE!  So grown up!  She used to be 3 years old, what happened??  🙂

 

Looking forward to the rest!

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Looking forward to this review! I enjoy your format and I am going on Breakaway for the 2nd time in November.  First time was my honeymoon, this time we've got two kids!  Time flies...

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WHERE WE STAYED:

 

We booked a room at the Hilton Garden Inn, located in Dania Florida. We have stayed in this area before and I managed to snag a decent price.

 

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I usually try to pick a place that at least offers free breakfast in the morning to save some money, but at least this place was close to places to walk to for dinner that night and breakfast in the morning.

 

We called for transportation to get us and they said he was on his way. We waited, and waited, and waited....and it was an hour and they never showed. I decided to give them a call again. The receptionist said that he had been there and picked up 2 people already and didn't see us and came back to the hotel. She said she would send him out again.

 

 

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He finally arrived and by the time we made it to the hotel, it was already around 9:45pm. That was a little late to be trying to find a place to eat dinner, not to mention the walk involved in finding a place. So, we decided to just eat there at the restaurant they had on site in the hotel. They informed us that they were closing at 10pm and as long as you had your order in, they would allow you to sit down. The front desk said we could store our luggage there and rush over to eat and that we did!

 

Upon check in, we received a bag of goodies and some water.

 

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We put our order in and they served us our drinks....CHEERS! (Something Sakari always likes to do).

 

 

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I opted for the steak burger (it was SO GOOD) and their fries were delicious. The hubby was craving a pizza and Sakari has been on a wing kick for months now so she got the wings.

 

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Since it was closing time, they came around and served us another huge plate of fries they had left over. There was no way I could eat any more and I was probably going to have to be hoisted out of my chair to begin with. The hubby enjoyed a few of them.

 

 

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They had a sign in the lobby and Sakari wanted her picture taken with it. It took about 5 minutes and 10 pictures of trying to get her to actually SMILE for me instead of sticking her tongue out at the camera...which is her new thing to do this year. UGH! So now, she'll give me the absolute worst fake smile instead...kids...

 

 

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Here's a few pictures of the hotel. I found it to be really nice!

 

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Dining area and bar:

 

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Lobby areas:

 

 

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Notice the sign? Rides....

 

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Outside you would find the bikes they rent for you to ride with the first 30 minutes free.

 

 

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And a few pictures during the day:

 

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The lobby/front desk does have a small room off to the side with snacks and drinks you could purchase.

 

 

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The hallways on the floors had vending machines as well.

 

 

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Now on to our room...

 

The hallways

 

 

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I GOT A TOWEL FLOWER!!!

 

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They had a lot of added little touches that made it nice.

 

 

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The room and hotel was nice and clean. I didn't find anything wrong or not working at this point.

 

We settled in and watched a little t.v. and decided to go to bed somewhat early (for us) because I know that every night before a cruise, I have a hard time sleeping. Be it from the excitement of the next day to come or the fact that I have to sleep on a full size bed instead of a King and it's just not enough room for me to toss and turn and roll and tumble IMO. LOL

 

I turned the air cooler and we headed for bed.

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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We headed back up to our room to get ready, pack, and head out to grab Uber or Lyft to the port.

 

 

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So excited! A mitsugirly review!  I will be on the same ship & most of the same ports but for a 10 day in Jan.  So far every cruise that I have been on - 4 - I have researched the most with your reviews / opinions.  Thank you for taking the time to do this

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subscribing  I have to agree with you about ncl  we haven't sailed with them in 2years  {we r platinum also} Have been enjoying Carnival cruises (will be platinum on oct cruise the Magic} good deals on carnival and different ports  Thanks so much for your reviews I enjoy them and learn so much    

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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.

 

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It's about a 30-45 minute drive to Miami according to our map

 

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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.

 

 

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Then into the underground tunnel we went.

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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!).

 

 

 

 

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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?

 

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Then off we went to the escalators to the long hallway upstairs leading to the ramps to get on the ship.

 

 

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The building is nice but I hear that NCL is building another new building.

 

 

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Up the gangway we went...(look at the height of this child!)

 

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Getting ready to step on the ship....

 

 

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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! :classic_biggrin:

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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!

 

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We really wasn't hungry at this point and decided to just walk around and head up to the pool deck.

 

 

I don't have any more pictures ready at this point so I'll have to add more to the review later since I'm not home yet to get any more pics.

 

I hope you are enjoying it so far.

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2 hours ago, SenatorsFan said:

How nice to see you back, Kim! I'm always interested in reading about your cruises and seeing your pictures. 😃

Heather

 

 

Thanks Heather! Glad you are here.

 

1 hour ago, Beachiekeen said:

Holy cow, she is HUGE!  So grown up!  She used to be 3 years old, what happened??  🙂

 

Looking forward to the rest!

 

I know. She's getting so big and almost as tall as me. She hit a growth spurt and I had to go out and buy new clothes for her last cruise. She only had 1 pair of shorts she could still fit in!

 

 

1 hour ago, ggooglyboogly said:

Looking forward to this review! I enjoy your format and I am going on Breakaway for the 2nd time in November.  First time was my honeymoon, this time we've got two kids!  Time flies...

 

Time sure does fly! Glad to have you here for my review and hope you have a wonderful second cruise on the Breakaway this year.

 

1 hour ago, palmettostatecruiser said:

WHOA, You've already got your review going!  So looking forward to this!

 

Yea, I actually took the day off after we returned just to download pictures. LOL   Dedication I tell ya!

 

1 hour ago, GA Dave said:

Following.  Love your pictures!

 

Thanks so much!

 

53 minutes ago, JoeTec said:

So excited! A mitsugirly review!  I will be on the same ship & most of the same ports but for a 10 day in Jan.  So far every cruise that I have been on - 4 - I have researched the most with your reviews / opinions.  Thank you for taking the time to do this

 

Wow a 10 day cruise huh? What other ports are you going to? That's awesome!

 

Glad my reviews have been somewhat helpful and thank you for the comments.

 

46 minutes ago, starfish the second said:

subscribing  I have to agree with you about ncl  we haven't sailed with them in 2years  {we r platinum also} Have been enjoying Carnival cruises (will be platinum on oct cruise the Magic} good deals on carnival and different ports  Thanks so much for your reviews I enjoy them and learn so much    

 

Glad to have you here.  Nice about becoming platinum on Carnival. We loved the Magic and all her sisters. Great ship!

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Thanks for doing this review - we will be on  the Breakaway in 2021 (long time from now ... but am enjoying reading all about others adventures).  Jan

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HI all!

 

mitsugirly ~ glad to find your review early on!! Looking forward to hearing about the Breakaway as I'm sailing on it from New Orleans in Feb. 2021. I was on the inaugural Bermuda cruise on it.

 

How was that connection on the flight down? Looked pretty tight/worrisome to me!!

 Wow, Sakari is almost as tall as you now!!

Thanks for doing another of your awesome reports.

 

~ Jo ~ 😊

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2 hours ago, mitsugirly said:

Wow a 10 day cruise huh? What other ports are you going to?

We are going out of Port Canaveral & going to GSC, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya & Cozumel.  I was watching this cruise for while & when NCL started the 20% off latitude sale I couldn't resist.  Saved $900 & it was cheaper then my 7 day Escape to Bermuda last week

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