Wow. It’s our first real day on the Breakaway. First off, if you stay at the Holiday Inn Southampton, it is literally a 5 minute easy walk between the hotel and dropping your bags at the port. Stupid easy.
After handing off our luggage, I walked into the terminal where you queue before security and there is barely a line. I recall the mayhem of the check in for the Epic’s first TA and I check my watch. Hmmm, we’re about 30 minutes ahead of last time. I think that maybe the crowds haven’t descended yet? But no, within moments we’re cleared to line up for security. Check in was a breeze. We were escorted to the priority lounge (which had no beverages or snacks for the first time that I can recall), and waited about 20 minutes to be escorted onto the ship.
Our escort whisked us up to deck 16 and Ruth, the concierge, greeted us as if we were family. She gave us all of the information you need to know regarding reservations and shows and what she and her assistant do. I asked where we could get the Ultimate Beverage Package and was told right at the Haven Bar (unlike the Epic with the lounge and the outside bar the Breakaway just has the one Haven Bar). Of course this couldn’t go smoothly. The bartender didn’t have the right paperwork, then he didn’t have enough stickers for the room cards, so it took me over an hour to get this set up.
Our family villa is a lovely room if not small compared to the Epic and Jewel class ships. For example the spare bedroom now has the bathroom positioned at the end of the room (instead of by the front door). The result is that not only do you have to walk through the whole room to get to the bathroom, when the bed is opened the door won’t open all of the way!!! However, it is lovely with muted, classic colors and continues the theme started in our balcony cabin of innovative storage (I’m beginning to wonder if the ship was designed by Ikea??).
Our party of nine was set up to eat lunch in the courtyard area. My first thought was that this was going to be our only shot to eat out there since the weather was so nice…completely forgetting the covered roof. DUH! This was a horribly long lunch service. Over 2 hours…they forgot bread plates but gave us bread, brought the courses out at all different times…twice I was given the wrong lunch. Cagney’s fries were dropped on a tray and never served (we handled that ourselves). Just a disorganized mess. When I noticed waiters bringing desserts to people in the Haven restaurant after 4:00 (the restaurant closed at 2:30) I had to wonder if the delay was due to the large group of Platinum UK passengers on board for a special lunch and tour? The bright side was that everything took so long that Andy Stuart dropped by and said hello before he left the ship.
After lunch we found our luggage had arrived and we unpacked. It was so nice to finally stop living out of our suitcases! Our butler, Lanie, may be the best butler we’ve ever had. Not only did she ask us exactly what we would like (down to how we would like to be addressed!) she showed us around the suite and how to use it. A phenomenal and above average beginning.
As we had taken part of sailaway celebrations at Spice H20 on the previous cruise, we opted for the much more quiet atmosphere of Vibe. In fact, except for a few folks wandering through, it was taken over by our group. Now I have heard a rumor that I hope is not true. One of my fellow travelers was told by Ruth that it is only for this sailing that Vibe will be open to suite guests. Going forward Haven residents will have to buy a Vibe pass like everyone else. Given the prices they are charging for the suites on the Breakaway, I hope this rumor will prove false!
Finally, it was time to go to Cagney’s to try out that new menu. I am happy to report that while I don’t think the quality is at the levels they are claiming, Cagney’s is back to the quality level it had five years ago. Everyone loved their appetizers. I had the new crab salad that was absolutely delicious! We had mocked chicken drumsticks kicking oysters Rockefeller off the menu, but they were in a spicy, aromatic barbecue sauce and just to die for. We’re already plotting on how to get a big platter of those for an afternoon snack! We all agreed that our steaks were the best we’ve had in years. All-in-all very promising!!
By the time we were done with dinner it was nearly 11:00 and the many days of travel finally caught up with us. It was time to go sleep and dream about the days to come.