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Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Breakaway

  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Breakaway Review

Norwegian Breakaway, the New York–themed follow-up to the popular Norwegian Epic, sails year-round from New York City to the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Caribbean. It's a large, 4,000-passenger ship offering a wide variety of restaurants (many specialty restaurants

with cover charges) and entertainment and is particularly family-friendly.

Norwegian's newest class of ships is impressive, slightly smaller than Norwegian Epic but with improved flow in the main dining and entertainment district, 678 Ocean Place. A major innovation is the addition of outdoor dining at almost all specialty restaurants. You can check wait times and make reservations on digital screens throughout the ship. As on other Norwegian ships, entertainment is a strong suit and includes not only a Latin ballroom dance show and a full-fledged Broadway show. Norwegian Breakaway has a branch of Carlo's Bakery.

Outdoors, there an impressive ropes course on the sports deck, as well as five water slides and an aqua park for smaller kids. The kids and teen clubs are impressively large and offer a wide variety of programs and activities. The adults-only Vibe Beach Club has a cover charge. The ships' electronic screens now make reservations for dining and entertainment as well as giving wait times. Automated wine dispensers in the atrium and buffet let you buy a glass (or taste) whenever you want.

Norwegian Cruise Line (originally known as Norwegian Caribbean Line) set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept: regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established Norwegian as a winner for active adults and families. With the introduction of the now-retired SS Norway in 1979, Norwegian ushered in the era of cruises on megasize ships. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for four decades, and is as much at home in Europe as it is in the Caribbean.

Noted for top-quality, high-energy entertainment and emphasis on fitness facilities and programs, Norwegian combines action, activities, and a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. Now co-owned by Genting Hong Kong Limited and Apollo Management, a private equity company, Norwegian continues to be an industry innovator.

From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.

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What You Should Know

Pros

  • You'll now find hand-washing stations outside the buffet
  • You can make make reservations on screens throughout the ship
  • There's a branch of Hoboken's Carlo's Bakery of "Cake Boss" fame

Cons

  • At $49, Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian is expensive
  • Most entertainment requires reservations
  • Balcony size has been shrunk dramatically in most cabin categories
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,640
  • Entered Service 2013
  • Gross Tons 146,600
  • Length 1,062 feet
  • Number of Cabins 2,014
  • Passenger Capacity 4,028
  • Width 130 feet
  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Aug 16, 2016

Bahamas

We were looking forward to this first cruise with our three grandchildren, son and daughter in law, neice and husband and her two teenagers. My husband and I have cruised many times on several lines, but the Breakaway seemed to have everything for kids. I am so disappointed in this ship (not NCL in general.) Too many people and all public spaces crammed together! Our mini suite was much smaller than most balcony staterooms on other ships. Our

grandson was in our room and you could barely squeeze past the bed to get to the balcony. The larger bathroom and shower made the mini-suite worthwhile. Service was excellent and the entire staff friendly and efficient. No complaints there. The weather coming out of NY in March was freezing, so everyone was forced inside for half the cruise. Hard to even find a spot to sit, let alone 11 people. Getting off the ship at Port Canaveral was a nightmare...all 6,00 wanting off at same time! Shore excursion in Nassau disorganized and frustrating. The food was very good, and we were always able to get a table together, or two side by side. Had a wonderful, memorable evening in the Hibachi restaurant. Loved having two smaller no cover restaurants for breakfast and lunch. Room service, which my grandson used to the max, was fast and good. As stated above, our stateroom was just too small...it's how they get all of those people aboard. Our attendant was great and did a wonderful job. Onboard activities OK. Due to weather, I'm sure we missed out on lots of outdoor activities. We didn't get to the private cay at all, something we were all looking forward to, but I understand that safety must take priority and the surf was rough. Played a lot of trivia and the activities staff made it fun. The swim with Dolphins was wonderful, however the process of finding our correct excursion and getting bracelets was a total zoo. Only 4 of our 11 participated and the rest paid to be on the beach observing. One poor girl trying to check us in ( outside on the pier) with constant interruptions from people trying to find their excursion. Really needs to be better organized. All in all, our family had a good time, grateful to be able to do this together. I was just very disappointed in the layout...no quiet out of the way spaces that I always find on other ships. All the bars were like New York City bars...few seats, always taken, and standing room only in the evening. We just gave up and went to bed. As noted in other reviews, you must have a reservation to see the shows, and show up very early to get a good seat. They charge for many things, slowly nickeling and diming you to death. Instead of a cover charge at specialty restaurants, they have changed to a la cart pricing, driving the cost way up. I didn't complain much, because it was my neice and family's first ever cruise, and I wanted them to love cruising like we do. Any future spring break cruises will be from a warm weather port!

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Aug 16, 2016

Bahamas

We were looking forward to this first cruise with our three grandchildren, son and daughter in law, neice and husband and her two teenagers. My husband and I have cruised many times on several lines, but the Breakaway seemed to have everything for kids. I am so disappointed in this ship (not NCL in general.) Too many people and all public spaces crammed together! Our mini suite was much smaller than most balcony staterooms on other ships. Our

grandson was in our room and you could barely squeeze past the bed to get to the balcony. The larger bathroom and shower made the mini-suite worthwhile. Service was excellent and the entire staff friendly and efficient. No complaints there. The weather coming out of NY in March was freezing, so everyone was forced inside for half the cruise. Hard to even find a spot to sit, let alone 11 people. Getting off the ship at Port Canaveral was a nightmare...all 6,00 wanting off at same time! Shore excursion in Nassau disorganized and frustrating. The food was very good, and we were always able to get a table together, or two side by side. Had a wonderful, memorable evening in the Hibachi restaurant. Loved having two smaller no cover restaurants for breakfast and lunch. Room service, which my grandson used to the max, was fast and good. As stated above, our stateroom was just too small...it's how they get all of those people aboard. Our attendant was great and did a wonderful job. Onboard activities OK. Due to weather, I'm sure we missed out on lots of outdoor activities. We didn't get to the private cay at all, something we were all looking forward to, but I understand that safety must take priority and the surf was rough. Played a lot of trivia and the activities staff made it fun. The swim with Dolphins was wonderful, however the process of finding our correct excursion and getting bracelets was a total zoo. Only 4 of our 11 participated and the rest paid to be on the beach observing. One poor girl trying to check us in ( outside on the pier) with constant interruptions from people trying to find their excursion. Really needs to be better organized. All in all, our family had a good time, grateful to be able to do this together. I was just very disappointed in the layout...no quiet out of the way spaces that I always find on other ships. All the bars were like New York City bars...few seats, always taken, and standing room only in the evening. We just gave up and went to bed. As noted in other reviews, you must have a reservation to see the shows, and show up very early to get a good seat. They charge for many things, slowly nickeling and diming you to death. Instead of a cover charge at specialty restaurants, they have changed to a la cart pricing, driving the cost way up. I didn't complain much, because it was my neice and family's first ever cruise, and I wanted them to love cruising like we do. Any future spring break cruises will be from a warm weather port!

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Mar 6, 2016

Bahamas

This was our second NCL cruise ( 7 overall ) and will be our last. We enjoyed the staff and the food, which were both outstanding, but didn't enjoy common areas that were way to small given 4,600 people are onboard together every night. Example: the piano bar has 25 seats, one of the other entertainment venues had a singing duo, but had only 200 seats. Another area where there was entertainment was by the atrium customer center, but only 12 people

could fit on the dance floor. Most of the room onboard went to the 23 bars and large restaurants. If your into drinking and eating, you'll be in heaven. 23 bars and more than enough restaurants to choose from. I do credit the wait staff for fabulous meals and very little, if any, wait time at the main dining halls. The specialty restaurants had great selections, but the main dining rooms did as well. There is actually no need to go to pay extra for meals that you get in the main dining areas. You can purchase Surf & Turf at any main dining room for $19.99. There is the buffet that's always stocked and a free burger bar one level up from the deck 15 buffet. Be aware that there is 8 upcharge restaurants onboard. We had a mini-suite which was the same size as a balcony room, but with a bigger bathroom. If you don't need the extra room for combined $300.00 extra, book the balcony. There is a small fridge mini-bar, but you can put some of your own items in it. The shows were great, but you need to get there at least 30 minutes early, as there may be 700-800 seats, but 4,600 people on board. The dancers were fabulous. We did our own local excursions in Port Canaveral and Bahamas, both had good weather. This was our first and only " Supership " cruise, as we grew tired of the mass of humanity every time we wanted to do something. The staff were outstanding and the food in both main dining and specialty venues was great. The only turnoff was the too small common areas.

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Oct 20, 2015

Bermuda

First of all it was a beautiful ship. I, however, would recommend sailing without children. On the positive side, Ina in excursions and Leo who serviced our floor were excellent. In fact, I cannot fault any of the service staff at all. They were all very friendly and cheerful throughout our stay. I do feel Ina and Leo went above and beyond to make our stay a nice one. We booked two rooms for a family of four. Our two boys were 13 and 15. As

far as swimming on board you can forget it. I understand the concept of not letting kids go into deeper water because of a recent tragedy in which a child died, but instead of training the staff who are poolside to be lifeguards, they just didn't let my kids in at all. They did have one kiddie pool area which was quite small and adorned with Dora and spongebob characters. Show me one tween/teen who is content with swimming with the infants and toddlers in this environment. So pool activities were out for us. I probably would not even be as upset as I was except for the fact that Norwegian also charged us adult prices for everything even though for some purposes they were not allowed since they were children. In addition, we had a few issues with our room being overcharged and if there is a problem with anything on board, you would think you could go to the main guest services desk to have your issue resolved. THIS IS NOT SO! We had to go to each department separately to resolve our issues. And not every department has someone to help you all the time. For example, for an overbooking on a show I was told to come back 3 different times before I finally put my foot down and demanded to speak to someone. Why was I planning my vacation time around them?? I would not consider it all inclusive either, there were many "extras" to consider. I guess they figure that by the end of it all, Whats a couple hundred more and that if it is hard enough to resolve an issue then maybe the passenger will just pay the overcharge? Bermuda was amazing, next time I will skip the ship. The food was average. The specialty restaurants a little better than the rest, but nothing special for the extra price. The best dessert on board was the ice cream machine in the buffet. Clean and adequate cabin. Nothing more than that. Not enough suitable activities for the tween age group. Activites in Bermuda are cheaper and just as adequate when planning on your own.

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By LT0502

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Jul 26, 2015

DISGRUNTLED STAFF, TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE

I just returned from a 7 day sail to Bermuda out of NY. Our group of 21 people all experienced the same incredibly rude and unprofessional staff on this ship. If there are 1,640 crew members, I'd estimate 60 of them did their jobs well or at least had a smile on their faces. These people made our trip miserable and we'll never sail on NCL ever again. It was so bad that we often took trips over to Guest Services (because no one ever picked up the

phone), which was of no help. They were dismissive, rude, and unhelpful as they tried to get through the line of people that were always there complaining about something. They brushed off complaints without so much as an apology. They told one guy, who was trying to get a lost and found item, to watch his tone of voice and get in the back of the line. It was as though customer service was never a part of their training or that we were inconveniencing them by choosing their ship. I don't know if it was the end of their tour or it was the final leg of their season, but everyone was just over it. One of the photographers, KARA, was so inappropriately rude for no reason at all. She just happened to be in a bad mood when we took our family photo and refused to help organize or direct the shoot. She yelled at our 5 year old niece for having a clutch purse (which was about 6 inches long) and told her she couldn't hold it because there was no room (there was plenty of room and a clutch would not have taken up any space). She just stood there with an attitude and kept yelling to move but did not direct her barking orders at anyone in particular. She threatened to call security after my husband got upset with her for being out of line when he walked away from the photo shoot. She yelled at him and kept talking back and told us we 'can take a picture of her name tag if we'd like' after we asked her why she was being so rude and that we'll talk to our friends at Guest Services. She cut off two of our bodies in the photo and absolutely could have put in the effort to make the picture come out nicely. She was so nasty. We had suites on the 9th floor and spent a week long vacation without the ability to sleep as the Fat Cats jazz club was directly below our rooms on floor 8 and had music blaring until 1am 5 nights of the cruise with ZERO soundproofing between their ceiling and our floor. We heard everything... the bass was so high we were able to feel the room thumping. It was so loud we were able to hear the lyrics of the songs and the crowds singing along and clapping in our rooms. It took 5 different family members and 3 nights of complaining for Guest Services to even attempt to recognize our issue. The first time my husband went to Guest Services he explained that we have kids who can't sleep and they said "give it a few nights". Excuse me, but I get off the ship in "a few nights". Real thoughtful. This cannot be the only time people on the 9th floor complained about this. It was just ridiculously loud and the staff had no interest in even attempting to solve the noise issue with the club and counted on the fact that we'd be gone in a few days. The wait staff was completely disorganized and slow, the bar staff was unresponsive and distracted, often leaving guests waiting for 10 minutes to order a drink. During dinner, our large group was always split up to two tables (which was fine) but most nights one table would finish their appetizers before the other was able to even order their food. At Teppenyaki, we were the first table to sit in the restaurant and the last to get any service. We sat there for 15 minutes before anyone greeted us, about another 15 minutes for drinks to arrive, and we were definitely the last to eat. Some restaurants were so unorganized, we had several waiters trying to take our food and drink orders and we never knew who our actual waiter was. Often times we had to remind them someone else took our orders. The food was good in the restaurants we had to pay for, but was nothing special in the buffet or freestyle locations. The pools were small and overcrowded, you literally have to sit thigh to thigh with strangers to get any action in the water. One pool for nearly 5000 people. Witnessed several fist fights as well with almost no reaction from the staff. These happened in front of children both day and night. If you do book this hell-ship for your next vacation, try to avoid interacting with the staff, eating, drinking, and trying to sleep and maybe you'll enjoy yourself.

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