On tour: Discovering Bahamas

And cruise day arrived.

We opened our curtains and looked out our window to see the water slides of the NCL Breakaway from our 14th floor room of the ROW NYC hotel. An exciting moment as we got ready for a cruise, this time from New York to the Bahamas.

This seven night cruise included three stops, Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau on a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship, the Breakaway.

Checking in is the usual rows of check in points and a queue of about 30 minutes as they worked their way through almost 4000 passengers. Then you head on board and in typical NCL style, you are greeted by party music. Ok, let’s go with this then, it could be a party cruise atmosphere!

First things first, for the first time we had booked a picture window cabin, and as we didn’t have a balcony, we needed somewhere to chill out. In steps the Vibe area. For £50 each for the week, we bought our way into this private area with our own bar, hot tubs, luxury sun loungers and day beds.

Drinks package? Well the cruise already had a party vibe, so we thought we might need it.

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We sailed down the west side of Manhattan, passing the World Trade Centre on our left and the Statue of Liberty on our right. Stunning!

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And then it was time to discover the ship before our day at sea and our arrival at Port Canaveral.

With 28 dining options and 20 bars and lounges you could spend your week at sea doing pub crawls and eating, and I think that’s just what we did! The ship also has the largest aqua park at sea with five water slides including the fantastic vertical drop slides……great fun for us older kids!

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They have an extensive play area with a huge rope experience at the top of the ship. If you are brave enough, you can pretend you’re having a pirates adventure and walk the plank which extends out over the edge of the ship. It’s literally just you on a plank attached by a rope. It seems only kids were brave enough, as we never saw an adult walk the plank, and that included us! Even the rope course was a big challenge for us!

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The whole cruise is very family focussed, except for the raunchy Rock of Ages musical in the theatre, which seemed too much for some adults who walked out, but which we loved.

Our first port was supposed to be our day trip to Universal Studios, but at the $179 dollar price for transfer and entrance we decided to stay on board and enjoy a relatively empty ship rather than go to Universal for what was only really to see the Harry Potter part of the park anyway. I think we’ll save that for a future Orlando trip.

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The next day was the NCL private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas for our desert island experience. Recently refurbished, the island has plenty to keep everyone occupied. But first we had to get there by tender, which involves getting onto a smaller boat and transferring to the island on what turned out to be a roller coaster ride in itself! Who needs Universal Studios when you can ride the waves like that. Then continuing to make use of the waves, we walked to a quieter beach away from the crowds and spent the afternoon jumping about in the waves! Eventually we went back to the ship, thoroughly knackered.

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Our final port was Nassau and a trip to the Atlantis Aquaventure water park. Again, another day in water, this time floating on the mile long lazy river, although with rapids, waterfalls and waves to dodge, there was nothing lazy about it, I have the battle scars as evidence. Add in the Leap of Faith water slide through the shark tank, the amazing Abyss slide and a walk along a beautiful white sand beach and swimming in the warm Atlantic Ocean, our Atlantis day was fun fun fun. Again…knackered!

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And so came the end of our ports and we headed back to New York with two days at sea before a final day shopping in the City.

NCL Breakaway is a big ship, three times the size of the Titanic apparently. There is a lot to do and experience on board. We particularly loved the water slides, Rock of Ages, Uptown burgers, Vibe, and I found a new drink, white Godiva. A white chocolate liqueur….bliss!

Some cruise tips on the Breakaway:

Have breakfast in Moderno restaurant rather then the busy Garden Cafe buffet.

The balconies are tiny so just get yourself a picture window cabin and pay for Vibe. The interior rooms looked tiny as well.

Only get the drinks package if you are going to have approximately eight alcoholic drinks a day…we struggled!

If you are going to eat in a speciality restaurant, book early, they fill up fast.

If you want a party atmosphere stay on the main deck, for a bit quieter, go up to the sun decks at the entrance to Vibe.

Happy cruising!

Jeff

Thanks to Oasis Travel in Bangor for organising everything. All we had to do was pay and they sorted everything else out.

Post Author: Belfast Times

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