Archive for April 2013

Breakaway One-nighter from Rotterdam to Southampton   2 comments

So the first revenue cruise of the Norwegian Breakaway passed in a blur. I will apologize right off the bat that this post won’t have additional pictures. I was a bit lazy with my photo documenting as I knew I would have all week to roam the ship and snap away.

We arrived at the Port of Rotterdam (literally a two minute walk from the Hotel New York, even dragging luggage) at about 10:30. They started check-in about 10-minutes later. Arriving when we did put us in the third group to board. It was painful watching so many others board ahead of us! (When we board again on Tuesday, we’ll be in the Haven and will get to board first…YAY!) The gangway was on deck 5 forward. We avoided the cluster at the elevators and dragged our bags to the aft elevators which had no one waiting at them. Quickly we were in our aft facing balcony cabin.

Some observations about the room. I think it may be smaller than other balconies (despite having space for a full-sized sofa) but it’s put together with an uber efficient use of space. There are shelves everywhere for storage, extra linens reside in drawers under the sofa. The life jackets are in a basket under the bed to free up space in the closet (which is very small).

A couple of things we didn’t like was that the room safe is very small. You had to tilt your iPad to get it in there and it took some puzzling things together to keep stuff from sliding out and being able to shut the door. Also there isn’t a single drawer in the cabin. Seems minor, but it’s nice to put items in a drawer, having them out of sight, and knowing that they won’t end up on the floor. Anyway, the room is nice overall and I would stay in a balcony cabin again with no problem.

After literally dumping our luggage (no reason to unpack) we dashed up to Spice H20 for a beverage. A nice area without the stadium seating of the Epic. It felt like a smaller space than the Epic’s though…especially when they held the sailaway party there!

At around 2:00 we decided lunch was in order and made our way to Savor, the main dining room that was open. Lunch was the same menu that Norwegian has had for awhile. Calamari, corn chowder, burger, steak, etc were all on the menu. The food was good (although the service slow). After this was the muster drill. Technically, Norwegian wasn’t required to have one as the cruise was less than 24 hours, but with the ship being new and the problems Carnival has had as of late, I think having the drill was a good idea.

DH and I positioned ourselves close to the exit so that we could race to Spice for sailaway. I’m glad we got there quickly and staked our claim as the area quickly filled and the five bartenders had their hands full keeping up with orders.

The City of Rotterdam put on a nice show for us. They released hundreds of balloons into the sky…unfortunately, the wind was whipping and the balloons were quickly whipped away…forward. I’m sure most at Spice didn’t even know that they’d been released (we knew only because we were watching for them). They then had a fire boat following us, spraying in full force. It was really very nice.

After the sailaway party, we wondered around the top of the ship and found our way into the Haven. The area had been left open for travel agents to view and they hadn’t gotten around to locking it up again. Oops! We very unobtrusively walked around the courtyard area. It is smaller than the Epic’s but with an upper level with more loungers that will take some of the pressure off of the main level. I noticed the first real evidence that we were on a brand new ship. There was a worker finishing up a large piece of artwork on the top level of the Haven. We chatted briefly with the concierge, Ruth, letting her know that we’d be joining her on Tuesday and continued on our way.

We found Ocean Blue and the raw bar. Deciding on a snack, DH was talked into trying some oysters after assurances that they were fresh and from Holland and I tried the crab toast. Both were very good. Talking with the waiter, I asked how many people Ocean Blue could hold as it’s very small. Including the al fresco seating we were told 99 people…so expect it to be full!! Also told that there are chefs on board from Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant in New York, The Lamb’s Club, overseeing the menu. In fact we watched one demonstrating to the guys working the raw bar on cutting up and presenting the 1/2 a Maine Lobster that was on the menu.

After snacking, we wandered around some more. Found the mini-bowling at O’Sheehans (only two lanes and really tucked into the corner), discovered that even though it was quite chilly out, they did have a couple of the bars on the Waterfront open (poor bartenders!). Eventually we made our way to the Garden Cafe for a quick bite.

Our evening ended at Fat Cats listening to the incomparable Slam Allen. He is a treasure and just as good as I recalled from the Epic!! I just hope NCL can find more performers to play in the blues club that match his talent level when’s he’s on vacation (and for the Epic as well!). Truly my favorite evenings ever on NCL have been listening to Slam play.

This morning we got up, a little depressed to disembark (mostly because of the inconvenience!) but not too much so as we would be back in 24 hours.

Actually we had a great “port day” with friends, driving to Lyndhurst and seeing the ponies of New Forest and having a lovely lunch. Given that we will have had a total of 8 sea days when this journey is done, I was very happy to leave the ship (of course my absolute love of England could have something to do with that!). I am looking forward to a fun night tonight, but as I wrap this up, my gaze turns to my magnificent view of the Breakaway, content in the knowledge that we’ll be together again tomorrow!

Breakaway from our Hotel in Southampton   Leave a comment

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Spice H20   5 comments

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Almost time to board!   2 comments

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Making Our Way to the Breakaway   Leave a comment

The journey to the Norwegian Breakaway begins on a Friday night after a long, if distracted, day at work. The car service picks us up a little early. Just as well as there are two sporting events in Boston and the traffic is horrendous! An hour and a half after departing our home, we are dropped off at Logan International airport.

We are flying Iceland Air as they were by far the cheapest one-way transport to Amsterdam. I see a huge line for security snaking around the corner and do an internal happy dance that Iceland Air’s economy comfort and Saga classes give you expedited security. Yay!!

Before we know it, we’re in the Virgin Atlantic Club enjoying complimentary food and drink while waiting for our flight. Cold white wine pairs nicely with creamy clam chowder and a selection of cheeses.

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Finally we board and before we know it we land in Reykjavik. It is a short 4 hour and 15 minute flight from Boston to Reykjavik, something most Bostonians don’t realize. I manage a little sleep then a little more on the leg from Reykjavik to Amsterdam. Something that usually doesn’t happen for me, so I am grateful! Our flight to Amsterdam was delayed 40 minutes while they waited for a flight from Toronto to arrive. We suffered another delay (and momentary panic) when it took forever for our luggage to come out.

At last we met up with our tour guide, Ray for a private tour of Holland on our way to Rotterdam. Our tour was to have included a tour of Amsterdam, so it was to my surprise that we immediately headed south, away from the city. Perhaps it was because we were late? Or because Amsterdam was teeming with people as the city prepared for the Queen’s abdication scheduled for Monday? At any rate, we drove south, heading toward The Hague then on to Delft. We really enjoyed our visit in Delft. We parked the car and walked around the very pretty city. Ray asked if we were thirsty, “Yes!” so we stopped for our first beer. We also stopped for a cheese shop where we tried several varieties of gouda. We bought a lovely wedge of aged sheep’s milk gouda for the ship. I also got a couple of cute Delft china Christmas ornaments and a fridge magnet, so we were good to go.

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Once in Rotterdam, we met up with friends who are sailing on the Breakaway as well. We were all staying at the Hotel New York, which is the former headquarters for Holland America. It is a quirky but very comfortable hotel, with a restaurant with a reputation for excellent seafood and many good reviews from locals. The hotel is also a five minute walk (if that!) from the cruise terminal. Good food, drink and conversation kept us up until 11:00 that night, believe it or not! We retired to our comfy bed ready to greet the Breakaway the next morning!

We’re finally in the same place   Leave a comment

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We’re on our way!   Leave a comment

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Cubebear is enjoying the trip so far. Currently at the Keflavik Airport waiting to board our plane to Amsterdam. He’s looking pretty fresh considering it’s 3 in the morning our time!

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