Last week the cruise industry in this country was abuzz with excitement, and not just because the weather is starting to pick up. No, the reason was because there was a new ship in town, as the Norwegian Breakaway sailed into Southampton for an overnight event before travelling across the Atlantic to New York for her official launch. And my word she is something really, really special.
All you need to do is google ‘Norwegian Breakaway’ and you’ll see hundreds of articles from travel professionals like me along with people in the press and other esteemed guests, basically raving about how good this ship is. It looks to me like the first ship in a long while to have such a majorly positive reaction, and with good reason to.
Ever since we started hearing details on the Breakaway things were getting a bit exciting. When the plans were unveiled it was clear that NCL had looked to the best elements of their ships, including the Epic which was the newest ship in the fleet at that time, and put them together to create something a bit amazing.
So in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, let’s take a look at some of the great features on-board, including some brand new and some that have been copied from other ships in the NCL fleet.
Personally I love the Waterfront. This just screams “Why has no one thought of doing this before?” It’s essentially a typical boardwalk promenade, with various alfresco bars, restaurants and snack stands. When the weather is suitable, and around the Caribbean and Bahamas that’s going to be the case a lot of the time, you can unwind outdoors while enjoying the stunning food or refreshing drinks that are on offer. Absolute bliss, if you ask me.
Or if you like your fun, and I do, get onto the sports deck which has the largest ropes course on any ship. There’s also the Aqua Park, which has five different waterslides to try, as well as two pools, a Spongebob Squarepants-themed play area and, when you need to unwind, four hot tubs.
Now if you’re like me you love food. I’m suspicious of anyone who just treats food as fuel. Anyway before I digress, there are some phenomenal restaurants on-board the Breakaway, each continuing with the Freestyle Dining concept that NCL introduced to great success. My own favourite is Churrascaria but Ocean Blue is the new addition with amazing seafood dishes from celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Expect this one to be busy, so make sure you book your place as soon as possible.
Finally in this brief look (because trust me, there’s tons more and I’d be here for hours explaining it all), NCL has made sure to offer the best Broadway-calibre shows in recent years and the entertainment on the Breakaway is no exception. See the famous musical Rock of Ages, a breath-taking Cirque Dreams show, and a thrilling journey of dance in Burn the Floor.
Really, I could keep going. I’ve not mentioned the spa (beautiful), the ice bar (awesome), the kids clubs…
It’s always exciting when you see a new ship, but even moreso when someone like NCL just goes for it and really tries to build a ship that stands out and moves the industry on, and that’s exactly what’s happened here.
By Ian Lewis