Norwegian Breakaway is the line’s homage to New York, its year-round home port, and was launched in 2013. So what does the cruise version of the city feel like? In addition to the seafood restaurants by Zakarian (of Manhattan’s Lambs Club and Palm Court) and the Carlos bakeshop by Buddy Valastro ,whose original is in Hoboken, and is shown on the TLC channel show called “Bake Shop.”, there’s a Fire Island area with a Sabrett’s hot dog cart. There’s also The Waterfront, an outdoor space that runs along Deck 8. Does it feel like Coney Island? Not really, but it’s a great invitation to spend time outside. When I first visited the waterfront, my initial thought was, why hadn’t this been done before now? Such an incredibly simple solution. Here, you will find many different bars and restaurants. All have their seating both inside (in case of bad weather) and outside. This gives the visitor an ocean side table for eating and drinking. The promenade is still there, so that people can stroll by the various restaurants and bars while deciding which one they want to visit.
In addition to the now standard waterpark and slides found on today’s mega ship’s, there are many other activities for the young and young at heart. They include the ropes course, complete with a walk the plank feature, a rock climbing wall, a miniature golf area, and a sport court. One of the five waterslides is claimed to be the fastest at sea.
A mega ship has mega entertainment and this ship did not disappoint in this area. Norwegian partners with land based entertainment companies and the results are awesome. Besides the usual singers, dancers, and other entertainers, there were shows that were spectacular. They partnered with Second City, and the shows are typical of what you would see at a Second City show on land. “Rock of Ages”, was as good a performance as you will find on a cruise ship anywhere. In fact, I would put this show equal to any performance of this show on land. The 80’s hard rock singing and staging blew me away. A warning, though. This adult show is not suitable for children, and the music is LOUD. “Burn the Floor,” is a virtual feast for the eyes with dancing from waltz to modern. They even had a Cirque du Soliel performance, although this dinner show was extra cost.
If you are not all that keen on cruising with almost 4,000 people, there are a few areas on the ship reserved for specific groups. The first is the singles section. This is an area with inside cabins built for the single traveler in mind. Here, there is no 175-200 percent increase in the cost of a cabin if occupied by one. These cabins are surrounded by a lounge just for the singles. Here you can meet your fellow singles and leave messages about trips to the lounges, dinner, or even port sightseeing. Norwegian also dedicates one staff member to help bring the people together. This area is accessable only by the singles whose cabins are located here.
The “ship within a ship” concept, for a stepped up level of luxury, is executed well on the Breakaway. Housed in a secluded area aft on the top of the ship, this secluded area gives a smaller luxury ship feel. This area houses the largest suites on the Breakaway, as well as smaller rooms to accommodate multigenerational families. Here, you will find your own private sun deck, pool, hot tub, fitness area, dining room, and bar. The level of service is very high. You have a 24 hour “Certified” butler, poolside valet, priority check in, restaurant reservations, and special events. Only the Haven class cabins are eligible to use the Haven facilities.
The Breakaway will sail for 7 days to Bermuda and the Caribbean year around from Manhattan. The cruise passengers come from mostly NY/NJ and the Northeastern US states. For those traveling from Minnesota, we do not recommend that you sail on the ship from November to March. This is because two of your 7 days on the cruise will be in colder weather, and in the deep winter, perhaps more. If you want to escape the cold for the full week, then select a southern port for your cruise (see below). Of course, if you don’t mind the cold, and want to combine with a visit to NYC, then go for it. Even if you take the cruise in the warmer seasons, you might still get cold. That’s because they have a Vodka ice bar on the ship. Imagine sitting on a stool made of ice as you sip your Grey Goose or other fav vodka. Don’t pack a parka, they have one they will loan you.
My recommendation is to come into Manhattan a few days ahead of time and enjoy this wonderful port city. Come at least a day ahead to prevent missing the ship departure in case of air traffic delays. Besides Broadway Theatre, Central Park, the 9/11 Memorial and Times Square, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this city. All of the major hotel chains have properties here, but I recommend that you stay at the Blakely Hotel. It’s in midtown. Times Square, Central Park, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Rockefeller Plaza, Radio City Music Hall, and the Broadway Theaters are all within walking distance. This boutique hotel is a small family owned property with a decided European feel to it. Each room has a microwave and refrigerator and offers robes in all rooms. The Abboccato Italian Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a fitness room and conference room. You will feel like a member of the family at this wonderful hotel on 55th Street West.
If you like this ship, but would prefer a different destination, try the sister ship Norwegian Getaway, launched in 2014. This ship sails to the Caribbean from its home port in Miami. This is an excellent choice for the Minnesotan’s during the winter months when sailing on the Breakaway might be a bit cold out of NY.
Getting there: From MSP, you can take non stops to LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark on Delta, American, Sun Country, and United. Once you are there, if you have not taken transportation arranged by Norwegian, a short taxi ride will take you to the Manhattan cruise terminal. LaGuardia is the closest, followed by Newark and then JFK, but all are a reasonably close taxi ride to the terminal. If you stay at the Blakely or other midtown hotel, the ride to the Manhattan Cruise terminal will take 20-40 minutes depending upon traffic.