Inaugural Crossing

I must have been on a different ship than the people complaining about the Norwegian Breakaway Transatlantic crossing. I suppose part of the issue is the level of expectations.

Technically, she wasn’t even the Norwegian Breakaway until yesterday when she was christened (I know, it’s a real technicality, but nonetheless.)

The inaugural crossing was not even the “first cruise” (which I found hilarious when I discovered this.) The “first cruise” is the first trip from New York City to Bermuda with paying passengers, even though there have been two cruises with paying passengers previously.

I did not realize when I convinced my wife to switch from a Panama crossing to the Transatlantic crossing, but the inaugural cruise is a 3400-mile test drive. They knew she floats and she survived the overnight from Rotterdam to Southampton, but the Atlantic crossing was the first “real” test.

I think she passed. The staff was wonderful, after a couple of days, the weather almost cooperated and everything (for the most part) seemed functional.

It’s difficult to enjoy all the outdoor activities and amenities when it’s cold. This would have required a bit of pre-planning. It’s the North Atlantic. In April. It’s not going to be Caribbean weather. So, there were a lot of people indoors. (I went on the deck, just because I don’t mind the weather much.)

I didn’t visit the Garden Cafe because I’m too lazy to get my own food (especially when it’s probably food some other passenger picked up, sniffed and put back.) So, can’t review the buffet, but the restaurants were good.

We ate at almost all of the speciality restaurants, so many will consider us elitist. I just happen to like Le Bistro, my wife loves Italian and who could pass up Ocean Blue? It’s from an Iron Chef, who answers his Tweets.

The food service was slow, but this was the first time the staff was trying to produce the quantity of food required for a 3/4 full ship. Expectations, people.

I do think a lot of people take inaugural cruises just so they can bitch about everything that isn’t working yet (see the Norwegian Epic on her crossing or the Carnival <whatever> that had her first sailing this week.)

My wife and I were on this cruise because we wanted to cross the Atlantic like our ancestors did (well, my Grandfather didn’t have a balcony, but still.) When we saw the ship was arriving at 8am, we assumed we would be in port much earlier – based on earlier cruises. We were correct. We sailed under the Verrazano at about 3am. We were on the deck, taking photos. It was cold, the photos are a bit blurry, but it was an experience.

When we saw the level of hoopla scheduled for NYC after arrival, we assumed we wouldn’t be considered “the first” even though we were the first ones on the ship. Expectations, people.

She’s a beautiful ship. The staff was amazing. You can actually go outside on any number of decks – unlike the Norwegian Epic, which we sailed last Christmas.

Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s CEO,  is a very nice person (we kept running into him), and one of the better speakers I’ve heard.

We made more friends on this journey than on any of our other cruises (this was number five.) All the people we met seemed to understand the concept of “inaugural.” Maybe we were just lucky.

I was concerned about the number of staff it was going to take to pull my wife off the ship, but she was sleepy, so it wasn’t as difficult as feared.

I would take another Transatlantic crossing any time. I don’t think I can make the Getaway since we’re going on the Jewel just before Christmas, otherwise, I would have booked by now.

We will be going to Bermuda at some point, just to get back on the Breakaway.