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Bermuda Baby Aboard The NCL Breakaway

Long time, no post. I've had a few different back surgeries, but in typical Larissa fashion, I still found time to squeeze in vacation before and after procedures. 

This trip is what was salvaged from our Peru / Machu Picchu 2015 disaster trip (side note-I've successfully managed to get myself BANNED from posting on LAN Airline's Facebook and Instagram pages LOLOL). We used the travel insurance refund check that we eventually won to book this 7 day cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway.

Having never done a cruise before (and having heard some disaster stories from friends), I was nervous going in, not knowing what to expect. What we ended up getting was hands down one of the best vacations that I've ever been on, and I've been on many.


It's hard to capture the enormous size of the ship accurately. It's a floating city with everything that you could ever want or need on it. This picture does it no justice.

I booked us into a balcony room because 1. I wanted a balcony to sit out on and read and relax, and more importantly, 2. it came with a TON of perks, such as the unlimited beverage package. If you were to purchase the package separately, everyone in the room is required to purchase it at $652.54 per person + gratuities. Upgrading from an inside room to the balcony was a fraction of the price, so it made perfect sense.

Boarding was a breeze, and we were on board quickly. Note that while in port, and until you hit international waters, you do have to pay sales tax on your booze (a few cents per drink). We used cash to set-up our onboard spending account, which was super easy to do.

NCL lets you book your dining reservations 60 days prior to your departure, which I took advantage of. They have several restaurants that are free of charge (that are exceptional), as well as several "premium" restaurants that are either a la carte or a set price per person. 

The first night (and the last), we did Cagney's Steakhouse since my husband is a huge steak person. Even the a la carte restaurants aren't crazy expensive, since they're compensating for you giving up your free meals. He got a 32oz Porterhouse steak for $25-something that would cost more than double in a regular restaurant. Side are $2 and offered options like truffle mashed potatoes (amazing) and a ton of other options. You can use your unlimited beverage package in the restaurants too, and get anything from the bar or wines by the glass.

Moderno is a Brazilian Churrascaria BBQ restaurant. They will come to your table with more meats than you can keep track of, prepared all different ways, until you tell them no mas. I believe it was $30 per person, but worth every penny.

We also tried the sushi bar, which had some of the best and most unique rolls I've ever had. For several rolls and sake for two people, our bill was only about $20.

The rest of the time, we stuck to the complimentary restaurants, which were amazing. Each person gets an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. They give you so much food that we didn't hit dessert once for the entire trip. Their menu's change out everyday with new daily specials and appetizers, and have a selection of regular menu items that are available everyday. For breakfast, we either hit the buffet upstairs which had a huge selection, or O'Sheenan's for breakfast on the days that we were in port.

We spent a decent amount of time at O'Sheenan's, which is an Irish pub restaurant. They're open 24 hours a day, and you can get everything from hot wings to shepards pie and everything in between. They have a New York style hot dog cart there during the afternoons also. They also have bars, and bar / arcade games (darts anyone)?

Look at Angel actually doing something....
  
The cruise leaves NYC Sunday afternoon, and you reach Bermuda Wednesday morning. There's a ton of stuff to do on the ship-several pools, rock climbing, a ton of different activities that change out daily. Since I'm supposed to be resting, I napped-a lot. And I spent a lot of time out on the balcony with my feet up and a drink in my hand, reading.








We got to Bermuda early Wednesday morning, and we had excursions booked for all three days. I opted to book through NCL since it was my first cruise. You may pay a bit more, but they have vetted excursion companies. The other perk, which may be the most important, is that if for some reason, something goes wrong-say, your car or bus breaks down-they'll hold the ship for you, so you aren't stranded. This would come in handy for your departure day. I learned some tricks while I was there as far as getting around, and I would save my NCL excursion for departure days only in the future to save a bit of money.

Day one had me conquering my scuba diving fears. I've attempted it once before in Hawaii about ten years ago and it was a disaster. I can jump out of an airplane, but the second they dropped me in the ocean, I had the first and only legitimate anxiety attack of my life. I was very nervous going in. We booked this through NCL, and they were SO thorough as far as learning the basics before we went out. We had a written test. Had the chance to ask as many questions as we wanted. And then, we were loaded up with gear and split into groups of four so we had very personal instruction and supervision. Before we even went out into the deeper waters, we had to demonstrate all of the skills and equipment knowledge in the shallow water, such as what to do if you lose your mouthpiece, how to use the emergency respirator, and what to do if your mask fills with water. Our instructor had the patience of a saint with me, and I'm happy to report that I was able to make it through successfully! I have a ton of video from the excursion that I have to edit and cut. I'll add it once I have it done.

Victorious post-scuba obligatory selfie
Day two was my favorite day-Horseshoe Bay! It has to be one of the most beautiful places that I've ever visited. We took the earliest departure there after reading that it gets quite crowded later in the afternoon. Pink sand beach, crystal clear water, and fish that swim up to you in just a few inches of water. It was incredible. I was told that if you ventured further out past the rocks, there are sea turtles, though I didn't see any on my trip out there.

When you get there, you can either go straight (which takes you to the "horseshoe" shaped bay, or to the right, which is known as the Fountain of Youth. We opted for the Fountain of Youth, which was much calmer because of the rocks, and less crowded. I'm thankful that I packed our snorkel gear on a whim, and annoyed that I didn't pack the GoPro because I didn't anticipate using it on a beach.

The "Fountain of Youth" section of Horseshoe Bay




The main "horseshoe" section of Horseshoe Bay




When you disembark from the ship, there are tour companies right on the dock who will take you to and from Horseshoe Bay for half the price ($7 each way) compared to the $30 roundtrip that we paid through the cruise line. We may give that a shot next year!

Day three in Bermuda, we booked a shipwreck snorkel trip. It first took us out to some amazing coral reefs, and then out to an area with two shipwrecks in very shallow water. The first half was my favorite because the sea was calm, and I have a ton of video from there that I have to cut and edit still. Crazy, colorful coral reefs and fish. It was amazing. The second half was choppier, and I got massively sea sick. However, like a champ, I still went out to get some video because I didn't go all that way to not see at least one of the shipwrecks. I went out over the Constellation, which sunk in about 20 feet of water. It's tough to tell in the video below that it's a shipwreck until you spot the wreckage of the mast. It looks like a huge pile of cement pillows, which we were told were some kind of ration packs that hardened over time. If you're willing to dive down, there are also supposedly rum bottles and some kind of medicine (heroin I think they said) that are still regularly retrieved.



Post-snorkel selfie. He wasn't amused as you can see.


Aside from excursions, the island of Bermuda itself is beautiful. I did some exploring out on my own when we had time. 










 
After the end of our time on the island, it was time to start heading back to NYC. Allow me to demonstrate some of the perks of having a balcony:




The ship has a casino, duty-free shopping, shows (we saw the Broadway show Rock Of Ages!), and so much more. I can't recommend it enough. We really lucked out too-since my sister-in-law is planning on taking the same cruise with me again next year, they gave us money so that we could take part in the "Cruise Next" program. If you put down a deposit for another cruise while on board, you get on-board credit which meant $500 in free spending money for us. This equated out to all of our meals at the premium restaurants, souvenirs, and some shopping without spending a dime. And since my husband hit at the casino, for the first time EVER, we came home with more money than we had left with.

We're officially booked on the same cruise (same cabin!) for May 7, 2017 with the family and some friends, and I cannot wait. So good, I'm doing it again-and you know I rarely go to the same place twice.

 That's all for now. Til next time!


 

1 comment

  1. No Dessert???? Brian would have totally eaten both of yours each night in addition to his own! Hah!

    ReplyDelete