Fodor’s Expert Review
With a Miami theme, Norwegian Getaway first set sail in 2014. Almost identical in layout to Norwegian Breakaway, it’s a 4,000-plus passenger ship that offers one of cruising’s widest range of restaurants, entertainment, and family recreation options.Read More
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 waterslides 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 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 the line as a winner for active adults and families. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for decades, and its fleet is as much at home worldwide as in the Caribbean. Several of the line’s ships cruise Alaska’s Inside Passage, including one of its newest, Norwegian Bliss.
Noted for top-quality entertainment, Norwegian combines action and high-energy activities as well as a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Norwegian’s 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. The ships’ accommodations include some of the largest suites at sea, studio cabins for solo travelers, and a private ship-within-a-ship complex called The Haven, a more luxurious area with personalized service.
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.
- 18 passenger decks
- specialty restaurants, 3 dining rooms, buffet, ice cream parlor
- Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator
- 3 pools, children’s pool
- fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, sauna, spa, steam room
- 22 bars, casino, dance club, library, showroom, video game room
- children’s programs
- dry-cleaning, laundry service
- Internet terminal, Wi-Fi
- no-smoking cabins
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
What to expect on board
Staterooms & Cabins
Cabin decor is more understated and modern, but balconies are small. Storage is merely adequate, with drawer space seriously lacking. Bathrooms are good-size, with small showers, or expansive multijet showers in minisuite categories and above, but few cabins have a tub. Sinks are quite large, and minisuites and above have extra-wide double sinks. All cabins have a safe, hair dryer, minibar, flat-screen TV, and improved lighting. Shower gel and shampoo dispensers (but no conditioner) are attached to shower walls.
Haven suites include access to an exclusive concierge lounge, restaurant, and shared private courtyard with pool, hot tub, sundeck, and small gym. Spa suites include access to the spa and its thermal suite throughout the cruise.
These small cabins are strictly for solo cruisers. Although each is tiny, it has a private bath, and occupants have access to the shared Studio Lounge.
Forty-two cabins are wheelchair accessible.
Food & Drink
Three main dining rooms serve open-seating breakfast, lunch, and dinner (the Manhattan Room has entertainment on some nights). There are myriad specialty restaurants, including Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian, which serves seafood (reservations, cover charge for all). Casual choices are the Lido buffet for all meals; O’Sheehan’s Pub for sandwiches and snacks; and the poolside grill for lunch. The Atrium Bar serves specialty coffees and cakes for an additional charge; Carlo’s Bakery serves specialty cakes as well as gelato for an extra charge (only on Breakaway). While the 24-hour room-service menu is limited, made-to-order pizza will be delivered to you anywhere on the ship for a fee.
Almost two-dozen bars are throughout the ship. These include an ice bar, Bliss Ultralounge (disappointing here), the outdoor Spice H2O, and the adults-only Vibe Beach Club. Entertainment is a strong suit, with a jazz and blues, dueling piano bar, Burn the Floor (a Latin Ballroom production show), Second City on Breakaway (to be replaced by a comedy club on Getaway), and Rock of Ages (on Breakaway). There’s a fireworks display one night per cruise. Cirque Dreams has a dedicated theater on Breakaway; on Getaway the space will be occupied by the Illusionarium magic experience. Most shows require free reservations.
Spa & Fitness
The Mandara Spa is huge, with more than 50 treatment rooms offering both beauty and Medi-Spa treatments; a full-service salon; an expansive thermal suite with multiple pools and hot tubs, a heated salt room, sauna, steam room, and more than a dozen heated loungers; and an extensive health club with a wide range of machines and free weights, spinning classes in a dedicated room, and special exercise classes by the Rockettes (on Norwegian Breakaway).