Norwegian Breakaway Review - One Year On

Posted May 22nd, 2014

With Norwegian Breakaway celebrating one year of sailing from New York this month, we thought it would be worthwhile offering up our thoughts on cruising on this Norwegian Cruise Line vessel.

Last year, Monique Van Gelder, the Marketing Manager of Cruiseabout Australia, had the privilege of cruising on board Norwegian Breakaway for its inaugural sailing, and this is her review from her experience:

"I didn't think it existed - a "flop & drop" holiday from New York, however I discovered for those that want to experience the hustle & bustle that New York has to offer and relax for 7 days sailing into Bermuda that you can now do both.  After spending 4 days sight seeing (working) in New York, I had the privilege of boarding Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, Breakaway.

Norwegian Breakaway, cruising from New York. © Norwegian Cruise Line

On boarding I was pleasantly surprised by the modern décor of the ship, which has not been built to exhibit grandeur like some other ships.  Breakaway showcased bright colours and modern images and paintings, similar to that of the hull design created by renowned artist Peter Max.

Features that this ship offered, which were a first for me, included "Freestyle dining". This means that there is no set time for dining, and you can dine in a host of restaurants at no additional charge and eat at any time you want.  This is a feature on board all of Norwegian Cruise Line's ships.

The ease of booking into these restaurant, or any show or activity, was remarkable. All you have to do is go to the end of your hall next to the elevator where a large LCD screen is located, and just insert your room key to book yourself into any time slot you would like for dining or other onboard activities.  This is a lot better than the lines I have waited in previously to book into activities or make changes to bookings.

I had only 48 hours onboard so I literally tried to see and do as much as possible, so there was no time to relax by the multiple pool and spa areas.  My first stop was the largest water park at sea, with 4 giant water slides.

The Aqua Park on board. © Norwegian Cruise Line

I had to try all of the options, and although the day was a warm 13 degrees there was no stopping me once I heard the water on the slides were heated.  The first slide was definitely a thrill with loops and turns that created speed, speed and more speed.  The second slide I tried, I stood in an enclosure which counted me down - 3,2,1 - and then all of a sudden the floor dropped from under me! This was an adrenalin thrill at its best, but with my towel waiting for me at the end of the slide and the cool breeze of 13 degrees, that was enough sliding for me. I was onto the next activity - a preview of the exclusive ship-within-a-ship Haven area.

Wow, Haven was amazing! I can see now how people who I had spoken to who had experienced Haven have said they never left this area.  It was amazing and definitely, if I had a choice I would book into this area.  There are multiple cabin types in the Haven area, and all are large with significant balconies and large bathrooms - most larger than a hotel bathroom.  There was a private pool and sun lounge area, as well as private dining room and bar area for those that were staying in the Haven area. This was deluxe at its best and definitely recommended.

The Haven Spa Suite. © Norwegian Cruise Line

After my inspection of The Haven and my interruption of Buddy Valestro (The Cake Boss) lunch time dining in Haven, I then planned to head around the ship to check out his bakery on board. Norwegian Breakaway has called in some big names to assist with making it a destination for everyone, and The Hoboken Bakery (The Cake Boss signature bakery) is a must for anyone not on a diet. I tried the chocolate Canolli, Buddy's signature pastry, and it was delicious. 

The other big name that was onboard for this inaugural sailing from New York was Iron Chef Geoffry Zakarin, whose restaurant  Ocean Blue, is a speciality restaurant so you do have to pay to dine at this restaurant. However, it also has a bar option that is very inexpensive to order lobster tails (approx $3-$4) & it also features an opportunity to sit inside or outside the restaurant, which is the first time I have seen this option on a ship. It offers a really unique experience for sunny days.

Speciality Restaurant, Ocean Blue. © Norwegian Cruise Line

The ship featured some great entertainment some of which I did experience first hand, including the Rock of Ages show. This is a fantastic production of the musical, and having seen this show previously and loved it, I was hoping for the same quality and sing-along fun, and that is exactly what I received! Even the costumes were the same as the one I had seen previously, so if you love 80's Rock n Roll this show is a must. Just be cautious as it is not designed for children and some of the scenes could be offensive.

Rock of Ages bringing a bit of rock 'n roll to the ship. © Norwegian Cruise Line

On the second night of my 48hr cruise to nowhere I experienced the Cirque dining show onboard. There were 2 sittings per night, so I do recommend if you love Cirque that you get in early and book your space as this one went very quickly. There was some amazing & very talented acrobatics during this show - I hardly noticed I had eaten a 3 course dinner because I was so enthralled in the show.  One thing to note is get there early as it is not set seating so the early bird gets the worm in this case and the front table seating is the best, so don't be late.

Other entertainers onboard included The Rockettes (a New York dance troupe, famous for their Christmas Show).  When speaking with New Yorkers they highly recommended seeing the Rockettes perform, so I can only pass this secondhand recommendation on as I didn't personally get to see them.  I did however see the tribute act to Whitney and she was amazing.  I also caught snippets of the Jazz performer Slim Albert who also was a first class act. He performed nightly in the Jazz Club onboard, right next to the alfresco Whiskey Bar.

All in all, it was an amazing experience and one I will never forget, so if you are heading to New York and you want a few days to relax at the end of your holiday jump onboard Norwegian Breakaway for a cruise of a lifetime.

For more details on cruising on board Norwegian Breakaway, call one of our Cruise Specialists on 1300 954 661.

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