All good things must end and unfortunately my time on Norwegian Breakaway is over, I am writing this on a transfer bus to Amsterdam Airport (you have to love the wonders of modern technology, I have written this blog on an iPhone, which may explain the odd spelling mistake). I have only been able to give a snapshot of a 2 day visit on Norwegian Breakaway and it would be impossible to show every feature but I genuinely hope you have been able to get a feel of this beautiful ship. If you have any questions please contact me. Lindsay and Jill from Cruise365 will be experiencing Norwegian Breakaway on Monday so if there are my additional queries I am sure they can find the answer for you.
I will put up a full summary when I get back to the office with additional pictures. Anth
You know something special is about to happen when the Cruise Director and her team appear on an outside dance floor in front of a large video screen playing the full original video to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. The entertainment team were all dressed as characters from the video and danced in unison to the music in true Thriller Style before making the statement ‘this is not a show, this is biggest 80s party at sea’. The dance floor then filled up with guests while music from the 80s projected on the big screen including Dire Straights ‘Money for Nothing’, Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ and Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer. The evening was a little fresh and a lot of guests went to their stateroom to get a fleece or a jacket (I enjoyed an Irish Coffee to warm me up) but this certainly did not stop the party. After the dancing it was time to enjoy the new signature on Norwegian Breakaway, the weekly scheduled Fireworks at Sea. A tip for guests when waiting for the Fireworks, make sure you are on the dance floor. I was expecting the fireworks to be fired from above the big screen but they actually came from the deck above so the dance floor would give you the best view of the fireworks and the ship. The fireworks were spectacular and choreographed to music including Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’. This is certainly a party you do not want to miss.
I’m now sat in the theatre awaiting for the hit broadway show ‘Rock of Ages’ to start. I was born in early 70s so did my growing up in the 80s and 90s and being a Northern Lad Rock music was the anthem of my youth. I love the trend of full cast productions on ships especially when they are complimentary. Anybody who has been to see a show lately knows that a good ticket will set you back at least £60 so to be sat 4 rows back with an excellent view and a really pleasant waiter on his way to get me a Carona can’t be bad. I am sure it will be fabulous, actually talking of my youth I have just watched a remake of the Film ‘Red Dawn’ in my stateroom another way I like to relax while I am away (we usually watch the new releases as a family and to pay $9.95 for a film that is still in the cinema in the UK certainly makes sense and if you would like a pizza delivered to your stateroom then the largest New York style pizzas can be delivered to your stateroom for $5). I’m going to sit back, enjoy a beer and the show.
All I can say about Rock of Ages on board Norwegian Breakaway is ‘Phew’ what an amazing show and a fabulous cast in a theatre that really did rock. I do not think that my wife would appreciate it if I bought her the outfits the performers wore for her birthday but I had been advised the show was a little bit risqué but hey you have to Rock Like a Norwegian. When Norwegian Cruise Lines turned 40 they introduced the Rebellious Fish, a visual statement that I love (one fish swimming the opposite way to the crowd). The rebellious fish concept allows ships like Norwegian Breakaway to offer shows like Rock of ages and I haven’t even mentioned the 80s party in Spice h2o yet !
My apologies for the delay in this section of my blog, I tried to post it after midnight on the last day of my cruise but the wifi was disabled due to the checking out and billing.
The Haven used to be called the Courtyard and is ship within a ship concept that provides guests in any grade between S9 and S2 an exclusive experience like no other. The Haven experience starts the moment a guest arrives with a concierge and butler ready to great you and take you straight to your suite. The Haven Courtyard offers two levels of a private beach club style ambience as well as a private pool. Guests of the Haven also enjoy private dining at the Haven Restaurant and a private bar lounge area with exclusive cocktail parties and gourmet treats. I was delighted to bump into a friend Ruth who is the concierge on Norwegian Breakaway (Ruth has looked after my family on previous cruises). Below I have taken pictures and the first one shows a Panoramic Picture of the courtyard.
S6 The Haven Penthouse
S3 The Haven Owners Suite
S2 The Haven Deluxe Owners Suite
I have just completed a two hour session of trying to see as many different staterooms as possible which isn’t easy on a ship as big as Norwegian Breakaway. Norwegian Cruise Lines have gone back to a traditional style of stateroom (straight walls in the Balcony and Mini Suites and a return to a single bathroom unit rather than separate WC and shower) . The pictures I have taken are really just snapshots as other guests are also trying to see the staterooms but I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect. Starting with interior stateroom which are really well appointed with bathroom, flat screen tv and more interconnecting staterooms (perfect for family groups).
Ocean view (family)
Family Mini Suite
Spa Mini Suite
As a proud father of three a major factor when arranging our family cruise each year is facilities for my siblings. My eldest son is 15 and he is typical of an energetic teen and likes to dip in and out of the teen club, use as many sport facilities as possible and generally make me wait up to 1am when the children’s curfew starts. Norwegian Breakaway is in my opinion a dream for teenagers, the Teen Club ‘Entourage’ has been evolved on Norwegian Breakaway to include a dance floor with video screens (on previous ships the Entourage Club has been more like a meet up / chill out lounge). I was enjoying the music while looking round and wasnt expecting the Arctic Monkeys (the naughty words were bleeped out which makes you think how much planning goes into every aspect of the ship). Norwegian Breakaway has partnered with Nintendo to have the new Wii U consol in both Entourage and the children’s club (An advantage of Wii U is up to 5 players can use the consol at any one time, they have a large stock of games that are age specific). Entourage is positioned below the Sports Complex which includes the Rope Course (including the thrilling ‘Walk the Plank’), the Basketball Court, the Mini Golf, the Bungee Trampoline, the Climbing Wall and the Water Slides. The Uptown Bar and Grill is also next door allowing freedom when dining as well. Below are pictures of a lot of the facilities described and I know when I bring my children on Norwegian Breakaway I won’t be hearing the words ‘I’m bored’.
The travel industry is very much a ‘people’ industry and one of the pleasures of experiencing a ship launch is meeting up with friends from the cruise lines. I’ve just had a chat with Andy Stuart who is EVP Global Sales and Passenger Services for Norwegian Cruise Lines based in Miami. Andy is originally from the UK and it was an ideal opportunity to discuss one of the most important decisions in the Cruise Industry ‘deployment’. These informal talks are a perfect way for Cruise Specialists like myself and the decision makers at cruise lines to discuss what our guests are looking for and current trends. Andy and his team have invested heavily in the European market with 4 ships in Europe in summer 2013 and 2 ships in Europe winter 2013 / 2014 as well as having cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama Canal, Transatlantic, Hawaii and the Mexican Riviera. With additional ships coming to the fleet including Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway (which launches early 2014) and the new ‘Breakaway plus’ ship arriving in 2015 the question of where ships sail is vitally important. I have given Andy my wish list including a ship catering to International Guests in Asia, a ship in Australia and a Breakaway Class ship sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these ideas will be looked at as well as the other 100 ideas Andy will hear over the next few days (he actually attended 17 meet and greet presentations yesterday so I’m sure he has received some interesting ideas). One thing that does stand out is decision makers like Andy do listen and let’s hope in the 2015 deployment we will see one of Norwegian Cruise Lines fleet sailing on World Sectors allowing Lattitude Members to explore more of the world on a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship. Picture below Francis Riley VP & General Manager International & Andy Stewart.
It is the morning after the night before and I am feeling fresh and enjoying coffee and juice in O’Sheehan’s waiting for my Country Platter breakfast to arrive (this will certainly set me up for the day). Yesterday evening started with a quick drink at Waves Pool Bar (and it was quick, unfortunately the weather was not kind and even a Durham lad like myself felt the cold). A quick walk to Mixx and I enjoyed a moment of piano music and a cold drink before joining new friends for dinner in the Manhattan Room Restaurant. The Manhattan Room is a complimentary dining option on Norwegian Breakaway and is visually stunning, it’s feel is that of a Supper Club with entertainment provided with the Burn the Floor show (Ball Room dancing reinvented is promised by Norwegian Cruise Lines and to my untrained eye this was delivered). The show was nearly as fabulous as the meal provided, it was my lucky night as a surf and turf of Sirloin Steak and Lobster was on the menu and I do not think I will ever enjoy a Key Lime Pie as delicate as that experienced in the Manhattan Room. I do applaud Norwegian Cruise Lines for providing the Manhattan Room as a complimentary restaurant as I would gladly have paid a $25 cover charge for the experience (but please do not tell Norwegian Cruise Lines that). After dinner and a post dinner cocktail in Shakers Bar I could not resist popping into Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club to see Slam Allen and his band, Slam has a cult following and I have enjoyed his music on Epic, Slam has an easy going style that captivates the audience, once you are in you do not want to leave and a lot of guests enjoyed dancing and sang along to songs such as My Girl, Baby Can I Hold You Tonight and Hey Joe. When Slam decided we had enjoyed his music enough I had a brief glimps of Bliss Ultra Lounge but tiredness got the better of me and I retired to my comfortable bed and a great nights sleep. I have so much to see tonight including the complimentary broadway show ‘Rock of Ages’ and I will be doing my best to pop by and Howl at the Moon in the duelling piano bar in Headliners.
A guest has requested pictures of the Haven area, I will be doing a full write up tomorrow on this but thought I would share some pictures of the private pool area, private restaurant and bar. Shaun I have also put some pictures of an S7 grade which isn’t in the Haven Complex but allows access as requested.
After a good walk around Norwegian Breakaway I am glad to say that this ship is Evolution rather than Revolution. I have always enjoyed Norwegian Epic and when you walk through the main areas Breakaway has the same feel especially when in the main dining areas, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Moderna Churrascaria are virtually identical and inside the ship is very familiar. When I say Evolution I really mean that Norwegian Cruise Lines have taken the best of Epic and tweaked and added, the Waterfront area allows guests to dine outside in a selection of speciality restaurants including the new Ocean Blue Seafood restaurant by Iron Chef celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian. The Waterfront allows guests to dine outside overlooking the sea (this I imagine is weather dependent but perfect for a balmy Bermudan or Bahamian night). The water slides and rope park look amazing for younger guests as well as a crazy golf course, bungee trampoline and a rock climbing wall for the more energetic. As Norwegian Breakaway’s home port is New York a lot of the deck space is enclosed and sun beds may be difficult to get at times. If my youngest son Mark was onboard he would make me take him to the Dolce Gelato daily for his fix of fine Italian Ice Cream. A lot of thought has gone into the main bar areas such as O’Sheehan’s where the restaurant is separate to the bar with less noise, the bar area is a fun pub lovers dream with darts, pool, air hockey and of course Ten Pin Bowling (a Norwegian Cruise Lines signature). The dining choices are fabulous and I can’t wait to have some fresh Sushi tomorrow. A lot of thought has gone into the space used but the proof is in the pudding and I’m looking forward to tonight to see the restaurants and entertainment in action. I have put a few pictures of interesting areas below, more to follow