In August 2016, I sailed on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway. As my first cruise on NCL, I was extremely nervous about the entertainment, food options, and general atmosphere. Norwegian is all about feeling free… to do whatever you want, whenever you want. The Breakaway is one of the cruise line’s newest and largest ships, offering many high-tech and innovative options.
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In a previous post, I discussed how the Breakaway is New York’s Cruise ship, departing from the city. My voyage on the ship was a 7-day cruise with multiple sea days and 2 and 1/2 days in port in Bermuda. While Bermuda was amazing, the sea days on the ship were incredible. I will write a post soon on Bermuda, but for now, let’s get into the ship.
The entertainment and activities on board the Breakaway are amazing. The entertainment staff really works hard to create a fun environment for the passengers. Unlike other ships, even the reggae performer by the pool had a great personality and knew how to interact with the passengers lounging in and around the pool. While the pool and surrounding areas are great daytime entertainment, the ship offers so many other activities. My favorite, the ropes course, allows adventurous passengers to walk on a plank 8 feet off the side of the ship. On top of this, the ropes course includes a zip line where cruisers can fly across the width of the ship. The course is definitely not for the faint of heart. If that’s too much for you, the ship also provides guests with a rock climbing wall. If climbing and obstacles just are not your thing, a waterpark full of crazy slides is great for the adventure seeker. One slide requires riders to stand vertically in a tube as the floor disappears below them; even the largest men scream as they shoot down rapidly. If you’re more into a calm activity, the ship still provides the normal cruise facilities of a casino, gym, shops, mini golf course, and an arcade with bowling (not usually found on ships). There is always something going on at every hour of the day, in any type of weather.
When I did my initial research, I was very concerned about the nightly entertainment. In my cruise experience, every night there is usually a show, which can be followed by some dancing at the nightclub or listening to a comedian. In my experience, shows usually had free seating and tickets were not required; you had to get there early if you wanted to sit with your group of travelers. Being one of the largest ships, you’d think that the Breakaway would have a huge auditorium. On the contrary, the ship has just one auditorium that is medium-sized. Different from Carnival and other cruise lines, NCL allows guests to reserve general admission tickets for most shows. Usually free, these reservations are easy to make before the trip and can be changed throughout the voyage as the daily activities newsletters come out and plans are changed. On top of this, NCL offers most of their shows multiple times throughout the cruise; so if one night doesn’t work, another probably will. I was shocked at how easy it was to get and change tickets!
A few nights there were not a nightly show for my family and me to see because we had already seen the show offered that night. While others may be better at planning around this, let me tell you that there are PLENTY of other options. From the Ice Bar (for a fee) to Howl at the Moon, there was never a dull night. The Breakaway hosted games, karaoke nights and other musicians in their jazz club, but by far my favorite night time activities were the daily deck parties. Major shout out to the glow party, a night that I will never forget! Check back soon for more information on that party and other deck parties.
Freestyle Dining? What the heck is that? Immediately, I was worried that I wouldn’t get to meet fun waiters and waitresses and form connections with them. I was upset that I didn’t have to get all made up for dinner and that I wouldn’t be eating in the main dining room with an assigned table for the same time every night. While originally this seemed like it wouldn’t end well, I learned to love Freestyle Dining. Similar to the shows, I was able to book dining reservations for almost every night of the voyage. At first, I tried to eat in the main dining room (MDR), The Manhattan Room, as it seemed to match closely with what I was used to. Since this was fully booked some nights, I also went to Savor and Taste, 2 smaller, slightly more casual dining rooms. These establishments offered the same quality of food, if not identical, to the MDR. When all 3 restaurants were booked, we often went to the dining rooms and asked for a table, which was granted within a half hour- really not too bad.
The more casual dress code in the dining rooms allowed for more time to be spent doing other activities aboard the ship and in port. Passengers were allowed to dress as fancy or casual as they wanted, allowing them to really #FeelFree. Continuing with this free feeling, the ship offers many other restaurants, usually for a fee, that serve specific kinds of cuisine. The Breakaway includes Le Bistro French Restaurant, Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, Cagney’s Steakhouse, La Cucina, Moderno Churasscaria, Ocean Blue, The Raw Bar, Wasabi, and more. O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill is a great free option if you are looking for something more casual that isn’t buffet style like the Garden Cafe. Shockingly, these restaurants offer different options than the Garden Cafe.
Overall, everyone on the ship wanted to have fun. The decor of the ship was tasteful, yet exciting and bright lights added to the happy environment. My favorite part of this cruise was the entertainment. The nightly deck parties were absolutely incredible! I am now a huge fan of Norwegian Cruise Line and the NCL Breakaway is one of my favorite ships!
Check back soon to learn more about the deck parties on the NCL Breakaway as well as information on Bermuda!