Having seen her arrive in Southampton last week, what better time to take a closer look at the brand new Norwegian Breakaway? The fantastic new ship from NCL made her eagerly anticipated arrival in Southampton where agents and guests were welcomed on board to take a sneak peak of her features before she sets sail to begin her maiden season.
The new ship certainly boasts a special wow factor with the incredible hull design developed by the famous artist Peter Max. No other ship to debut in 2013 will make an arrival like Norwegian Breakaway. This amazing ship is filled with colour and excitement, the hull design simply sets the tone for the atmosphere on board.
Renowned for showcasing vibrant hull designs, you can always tell an NCL ship in port and the Norwegian Breakaway is no exception. In true Norwegian Cruise Line style, the new ship glistens with style and the popular cruise line took the hull design a step further with Breakaway by enlisting the help of a legendary artist to make sure she arrived on the scene with a bang. The staff at Bolsover Cruise Club could not wait to get on board and upon their return, could not speak highly enough of the new vessel.
Since the original announcement that Norwegian Cruise Line was to introduce a new class of ship, the Breakaway’s debut season has been eagerly awaited. Her inspirational design has been matched by exciting news throughout her development including the world famous Rockettes added to the entertainment line-up and of course the announcement that the fabulous Broadway show Rock of Ages would be brought to life at sea on board. We cannot remember being this excited to witness a new ship for a long time and the staff were not left disappointed as she made a stunning impression.
First we’ll talk you through our staff feedback followed by a closer look at some of her magnificent features you can experience when choosing a Breakaway cruise.
One common misconception of Norwegian Cruise Line is that the energetic hull designs the ships have mean that the on board facilities, features and ambience will be that of a jam packed, busy, perhaps overwhelming cruise. This is not the case at all, especially aboard this new ship. The hull designs are there to simply excite and make sure people take notice of this brand and certainly succeed in doing so. Our staff commented heavily on the fact that when you get on board this ship you will be met by a thrilling array of luxurious features that give this ship an atmosphere of exclusivity and intimacy whilst also being able to offer the most fascinating choice of entertainment and playful excitement. It’s almost a perfect development of saying it’s there if you want it, but if you don’t and you want to simply relax and enjoy a peaceful, serene cruising experience then this is still a great ship to choose. The reputation of being a little brash precedes this ship but believe us when we see, it is simply not the case. Our staff reported back that from the moment you step on board you are met with refined and sophisticated décor with dark wood interiors and a real sense of elegance. This interior elegance is also reflected in the ships accommodation with delightfully tasteful staterooms, decorated to provide the perfect welcome and ideal haven to relax. You will not find bold and brash here unlike we have seen on certain older vessels in the fleet. These staterooms exude style and you can clearly see the effort and thought that has gone into taking care of every little detail.
One of the major talking points between the Bolsover Cruise Club staff upon their return was the user friendly design of the ship. Many cruise lines boast speciality dining and innovative entertainment but being able to get a table or a seat in the theatre has been, in the past, a frustrating issue. This is not the case on board Breakaway. The staff were blown away by the inclusion of plasma screens throughout all venues of the ship that you can use to navigate yourself around, book dining tables in any of the restaurants, book excursions or gain information about each individual port you will visit and even pre-book entertainment experiences and spa packages. These things used to require you picking up the phone, visiting the reception desk or visiting each venue in person to make your booking but can now be done at the touch of a button wherever you are on board and even from the comfort of your own stateroom.
Speaking of entertainment, this is something Norwegian Cruise Line specialise in and for the new ship they have 100%, without a doubt got it spot on. The entertainment facilities and features on board this ship are nothing short of spectacular. There’s so much to see and do, it could even be hard to fit it all in during your cruise. The hardest decision you’ll face is to decide what to do first. Our staff were invited to take in several shows during their time on board and could not fault the experience in the slightest. They commented that the evening shows were to a superbly high standard with Las Vegas style professionalism. Staff had the chance to see the Rock of Ages show and also a Tina Turner tribute act, both of which they loved, commenting that they were exceptional. A Tina Turner tribute act could be perceived as being a little cheesy or not befitting of a ship trying to portray a more elegant persona but not the way NCL do it. Our staff could not praise the entertainment shows enough and for knowing our staff and how notoriously we are to please, it is certainly impressive to see such fantastic feedback.
Let’s look at what entertainment features you can expect to find on board. This is where Norwegian Cruise Line excels and on board you will find a truly outstanding array of entertainment to choose from. Burn the Floor is a new introduction for the cruise line and offers guests the immersive opportunity to experience a sizzling show. Based on the renowned Broadway show, Burn the Floor is a 45 minute showcase of outrageous talent. “Audience-dazzling! Swiveling hips, steamy embraces and high-octane tempos. A non-stop display of pop variations on classic styles, performed with precision and polish,” writes Charles Isherwood, The New York Times. You’ll experience the passion of many hugely popular dance styles here and the venue for the show is perfectly befitting of the extravaganza that takes place.
Continuing the Broadway inspiration, another fabulous show to see comes in the form of Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy. Having been performed over 2,000 times in more than 200 cities, this incredible show now comes to Norwegian Breakaway. The concept was originally unveiled aboard Norwegian Epic and has now evolved to a new exotic twist under the colourful big top Spiegel Tent on board Norwegian Breakaway. The venue itself is unbelievable and must have taken a huge amount of time to get right and the cruise line have outdone themselves here. Here you will witness a mystical cast performing soaring aerial acrobatics along with spine bending contortionists, jugglers and musicians. This is the circus NCL style and we cannot praise it enough.
Other brilliant evening entertainment features include The Second City comedy club, a concept exclusive to NCL and considered a comedy empire. We find it hard to disagree when you realise the Second City alumni have been entertaining people for over 50 years and includes such members as Bill Murray, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein and Stephen Colbert. You’ll also love Fat Cats Jazz and Blues Club on board for a smooth, unique blend of soul music in a venue that pays homage to legends of decades past.
Along with fantastic shows, the new ship from NCL also offers passengers a tremendous selection of bars and lounges to choose from. Whether you feel like enjoying a refined pre-dinner glass of champagne or indulging in a freshly made cocktail, this ship has it all. One superb feature our staff could not stop praising was the fantastic Ice Bar on board. This is an exciting attraction Norwegian Cruise Line has rolled out before on board the NCL Epic and have once again successfully developed a great venue on board the Norwegian Breakaway. Our staff visited the attraction and thoroughly enjoyed it and came away with good knowledge to pass onto their clients. Although the venue was excellent, due to its popularity, it was extremely busy and therefore it is definitely reccommended to book a time slot that way avoiding queues. Our staff advised that it was very well organised but certainly worth booking.
We’ve talked about so much already and we haven’t even got to two of the most interesting features of the ship. By far the most popular attraction for our staff was the open deck areas. Norwegian Cruise Line have quite simply outdone themselves, our staff loved the outdoor space commenting that it was incredibly well designed with wide open spaces to enjoy without any feeling whatsoever of being crammed in. The open deck spaces are the ‘fun’ part of the ship with the stunningly impressive waterpark on board. Here you’ll find amazing waterslides and attractions as well as superb water features and visual aesthetics. The Kids Aqua Park is also situated here and if you’re travelling with children they will love it, it’s absolutely enormous and there is so much for them to do. You can relax and enjoy the blissful sunshine whilst children have the time of their lives, NCL have literally thought of everything on board this ship.
The open decks also boast many recreational facilities including the outstanding Sports Complex. Here you’ll find a great range of sporting opportunities including basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf and even a brilliantly designed crazy golf course. There are two brand new additions to this ship that NCL have never been able to brag about before. One is the largest ever rope course at sea. We can hear you now saying “rope course? What’s that?” It’s exactly as it sounds. This fantastic addition challenges guests to see if they can conquer over 40 elements and manoeuvre the multi-level structure. Imagine the popular attraction in the UK Go Ape but even better and this time it’s at sea. The other amazing new feature is the chance to see if you can hold your nerve and confront The Plank. That’s right you have the chance to walk the plank on board this ship and take a stroll right over the side high up above the sea. This feature extends out 8 feet over the side of the ship and cameras will capture your reaction to see if you can hold your nerve. Don’t worry too much though as you’ll be strapped into a harness at all times, safety first!
Last but not least at the open decks, another attraction is the spectacular climbing section with a rock climbing wall and a 24 foot enclosed spider web climbing cage. See if you can do it!
Focusing on younger passengers now, they will really love this ship. Norwegian Cruise Line have always been exceptional at taking care of children but with this ship they have decided to try something different to see if they could take it to the next level. After first impressions, our staff are all in complete agreement that they have definitely succeeded. Many ships offer good children’s facilities but often in the past it has tended to revolve around computer games and their own spaces but this ship takes that concept and blows it out of the water. Yes the ship does offer children a computer gaming haven but the children’s areas are spread out over two levels on this ship, yes it is that big! Aboard Breakaway our staff noticed that there was a great emphasis on creativity for children with a sensational range of planned activities to get the kids involved. They have their own theme nights and even an open air part of the ship just for them. On board they’ll find Entourage, their very own hang out with giant movie screens for film nights and even the Breezeway Grill, their very own eatery.
One thing parents may wish to do and a positive feedback from our staff was the Nickelodeon pack available to pre-book for children. The cruise line have developed a partnership with the popular children’s entertainment channel and when pre-ordering the pack, children will receive their own activity pack, towels, stationery and much more.
Now for the accommodation on board and once again the cruise line have excelled. The Norwegian Epic certainly took accommodation to new heights with its innovative designs and the Norwegian Breakaway has continued this concept. The staterooms on board are absolutely fantastic. Furnished to perfection and designed with a sleek elegance, never before seen aboard an NCL ship, the Breakaway takes Norwegian Cruise Line styling to a brand new level. Wonderfully luxurious, the accommodation on board reflects the new approach to style and grace that the cruise line were looking for. You will find a range of cabin grades to choose from including the usual selections you find on many ships of inside, ocean view, balcony and suites but all with a twist. Throughout all cabin grades an emphasis has been placed on creating warmth and the feeling of a perfect welcome, especially for a first impression. LED lighting throughout each of the staterooms helps to create this ambience and our staff praised the cruise line for the wide range of stateroom selections available. Standard balcony staterooms are available and these can be mid-ship facing towards the sea or you can choose an aft or forward facing balcony, the choice is yours. You’ll also have the choice of the brand new Spa Balconies, ideal for guests looking for a pampering spa experience at sea. Tranquil décor variations are used in these staterooms to promote ultimate relaxation and all spa balconies offer direct access to the spa and fitness facilities on the ship. Guests also enjoy complimentary access to the Thermal Spa Suites during regular business hours.
The next step up in the accommodation from a balcony is to opt for a mini suite. There are once again subtle variations you can choose between such as spa mini suites once more offering direct access to spa and fitness facilities. Other options include family mini suite with more space and a family friendly layout. There is also the option of a larger mini suite selection giving more space in the cabin itself and a larger private veranda.
Every ship at sea has suites but this ship has THE suites! Norwegian Cruise Line have developed a brand new concept for the Breakaway to give suite passengers something they have never had before. A ship within a ship design was developed and named The Haven to provide suite passengers with a fully immersive experience and dedicated area to relax. The Haven accommodation includes Penthouse Suites, Owners Suites, Deluxe Owners Suites and even family Villa accommodation. All Haven accommodation provide direct access to passengers own dedicated open deck spaces including restaurants, pool areas and much more. This really is heaven on a ship.
Saving perhaps the best feature to last, a closer look at the Breakaway would not be the same without focusing on the magnificent dining options available. Cruise ships are renowned for their cuisine but this ship is truly breath taking. Our staff could not believe the sheer amount of dining options on board from formal glamour to relaxing casual, the ship has it all and we aren’t just saying that, we really mean it. Sarah Wilson one of our leading supervisors at Bolsover Cruise Club commented that “dining is without doubt exceptional. Even the Palm Café buffet was not your standard canteen; it was a much higher level of standard. There are so many dining venues, all extremely ‘authentic’ with superior standards of service and cuisine. The Waterfront offers open air dining experience which wraps around the promenade deck.”
The Main Restaurants offer delightful cuisine each and every night of the cruise and are set in truly special surroundings. This is the most focus we have seen Norwegian Cruise Line put into their Main Restaurants and we have to say, the time and effort really does show but as always on board an NCL ship, it is the speciality dining venues that really steal the show. The range of choice is mind blowing, you’ll never struggle to find something your in the mood for on this ship. From the cruise lines signature Cagney’s Steakhouse to Le Bistro French Restaurant, Teppanyaki the Japanese inspired experiences, Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, Moderno Churrascaria,Ocean Blue by master chef Geoffrey Zakarian and much more, the cruise ship is utterly sensational and we cannot speak highly enough of the dining choice.
The Breakaway will run a great range of itineraries from the fantastic city of New York. If you’re looking to try a new ship or perhaps considering your first cruise, the Breakaway is definitely worth considering. You can even read more about the facilities on board at our dedicated NCL Breakaway ship page.