Norwegian Breakaway Review
We spent a night onboard the brand new NCL ship Norwegian Breakaway in Southampton, before she set off on her transatlantic crossing to her new home port of New York. I give below my impressions of the ship, together with links to my photos and you can also watch my short video.
Ship Facts & Figures – Breakaway is 146,600 gross tons, with an overall length of 1,062 feet. She will carry 4,028 passengers based on double occupancy, so more when there are a lot of children onboard. These passengers will be looked after by a crew of 1,640. She has been based on Norwegian Epic, but with a number of improvements in design, and her sister ship Norwegian Getaway will follow in 2014.
Dining Options – There are well over 20 locations around the ship where you can eat, and these are a mixture of complimentary and speciality dining. Complimentary dining options include ‘The Manhattan Room’, ‘Taste’ and ‘Savor’, which are the main restaurants, Café at the Atrium, ‘Uptown Bar & Grill’, and the ‘Garden Café’. The speciality dining venues include ‘Le Bistro French Restaurant’, ‘Shanghai’s Noodle Bar’, ‘Cagney’s Steakhouse’, ‘Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian’, ‘Wasabi’ and ‘La Cucina Italian Restaurant’. Cover charges range from $5 to $25 per person.
Please note that NCL are all about Freestyle Cruising, so there are no set dining times, meaning you can eat whenever it suits you, and the dress code is ‘whatever you want it to be’. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dress up in the evenings, as many do so, it is just that you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Onboard Facilities – Young or old, you will find plenty to do around Breakaway. Activities include the Aqua Park with multiple water slides, rock climbing wall, overhead ropes course, swimming, mini golf, as well as the Sun Deck, Hot Tubs, Mandara Spa, and numerous other places to relax or be entertained.
Accommodation – With nearly 40 grades of accommodation to choose from, there is bound to be something to suit every pocket. For those travelling alone, there are the Studios which were introduced on Norwegian Epic. These are spacious cabins for one, but with a full size bed, and there are even connecting cabins for friends who travel together, but like their privacy as well. The Studios are in a central area of the ship, which has a card entry system, and has its own lounge area with drinks facilities.
Larger families are catered for as well, with the introduction of 5 berth O1 grade Family Ocean View cabins. These contain twin beds (convertible to a double), a double sofa bed and I upper Pullman berth.
Other grades include inside, ocean view, balcony and various grades of suites. The Haven is a separate card entry area of the ship, with access to its own courtyard and pool for the guests in the Haven suites.
Entertainment – You will be spoilt for choice, with ‘Rock of Ages’ the hit Broadway Musical, ‘Fat Cats Jazz and Blues Club’, ‘Howl at the Moon’, a duelling pianos show, ‘The Second City’, a comedy club among the options available to you. For something a bit different you can combine speciality dining and entertainment, and book a seat at the Spiegel Tent to watch ‘Cirque Dreams & Dinner Jungle Fantasy, for which there will be a cover charge. There is also a large casino.
What is Included? – The price you pay for your cruise will include dining at any of the complimentary venues, as well as the majority of the entertainment during the day and at night. Additional costs include gratuities for your cabin and dining stewards, which are added to your onboard account, speciality dining venues, and of course anything you spend in the bars, shops, casino and spa, and also on shore excursions.
Summary – A big friendly cruise ship, with lots to do onboard for people of all ages. You can do as much or as little as you want to, and don’t worry if you don’t like paying for speciality dining as there are plenty of options available to you.
If you like small ship cruising without too many people, then she isn’t going to be the ship for you. However, if you like to be in control of what you do, when you do it, and don’t like strict dress codes, then this is probably the ship for you.