iCruise Review Part III: Norwegian Breakaway Entertainment and Onboard ActivitiesBy
This year’s most buzz-worthy ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, successfully made her groundbreaking debut with an overall positive reaction. This state-of-the-art 4,028 passenger ship is the largest ship to home port year-round in New York and embodies a uniquely Big Apple vibe. The Breakaway will sail seven-day Bermuda, Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries from the Port of New York year-round.
Team members of iCruise.com were fortunate enough to be introduced to the ship on a recent inaugural sailing. Our consensus was that the Norwegian Breakaway is surprisingly elegant and, well, pretty much a hit.
READ MORE: Norwegian Breakaway Dining Review
There is no shortage of things to do and see onboard, and while each venue is primarily small in size there are plenty spread throughout the ship to discover.
On Deck 15, there are two main pools and four hot tubs. One of the main pools is located next to the Waves Pool Bar; the other is next to the fun Nickelodeon themed Kids’ Aqua Park. Both were unexpectedly and noticeably small to us. But, there are plenty of deck chairs and loungers next to the pool and up above on Deck 16.
The Norwegian Breakaway’s Aqua Park includes five full-size water slides. This is Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest water park and features the first-ever twin Free Fall slides at sea (the fastest at sea, too!). The floor actually drops out from underneath you before you fly through the enclosed slide. Two other slides twist over two stories in a tight spiral – they are side-by-side so you can race friends and family.
If not looking for quite such an adrenaline rush, the fifth water slide is an open flume slide – a little bit slower paced and perfect for families.
On our sailing, the weather was not the best so we were unable to fully enjoy Norwegian Breakaway’s Sports Complex. But even just walking through the three story complex, we could tell this was going to be a hit and popular with all ages. The space was overall very open and provided a lot of fun opportunities like mini golf, rock climbing, basketball, bungee trampoline, a spider web climbing cage for little ones and the largest ropes course at sea – Sky Trail.
The Sky Trail ropes course includes a nail-biting narrow platform called The Plank that extends eight feet out over the side of the ship! Even with the poor weather, there was still a line. So it might get crowded during the day, but there is so much to do that even if you find a line at one activity there are plenty to try in between!
There are two outdoor adult only areas on the Norwegian Breakaway. The most popular will probably be Spice H20 location aft on Deck 16. It is nice and quiet offering loungers, two hot tubs and an interesting water feature that you can actually dip your feet into to cool off. There is also a large video screen and full-service bar. At night, it turns into an outdoor dance club and place to grab a drink with an ocean view. You don’t want to miss the 1980s-themed deck party and fireworks show set to a specially-selected playlist of classic 1980s hits by artists like Madonna, Devo and Prince.
You can find the private adults only Vibe Beach Club on Deck 17. Guests ages 18 and over are able to enjoy the area by purchasing an access pass once onboard the ship. There are a limited number, so we suggest you purchase on embarkation day if interested. Vibe Beach Club offers ocean views, an oversized hot tub, comfortable cabanas, chaise loungers and a beautiful water feature. Access also includes water spritzers, chilled towels and fruit skewers.
Norwegian Breakaway Vibe Beach Club Access Cost and Passes:
- $20 per person/per day
- $79 per person/week-long sailing
- $79 One Port Day Pass: includes access for 2 guests, private cabana rental for the day and $30 food/beverage credit
- $99 One Sea Day Pass: includes access for 2 guests, private cabana rental for the day and $30 food/beverage credit
- $299 Week-Long Pass: includes access for 2 guests all week, week-long private cabana rental and $100 food/beverage credit
Spa and Fitness
The Norwegian Breakaway boasts a very modern, beautiful Day Spa, Medi Spa, Salon and Fitness Center operated by Mandara Spa – spanning 23,000 square feet and encompassing two decks.
Choose from over 50 spa treatments including Elemis facials, Bamboo or hot-stone massages, and even an oxygen treatment from bliss®. Norwegian Breakaway also offers acupuncture, teeth whitening and cosmetic medical treatments, performed by a licensed medi-spa doctor, such as Botox® Cosmetic, Dysport(TM), Restylane® and Perlane®.
In the Breakaway’s Thermal Suite, melt away your stress in heated loungers, hot tubs, the vitality pool, steam rooms and a dry sauna. Within the Thermal Suite is one of the most anticipated additions to Norwegian’s spa lineup – the Salt Room. Very trendy, salt therapy has been proven to alleviate respiratory and skin ailments, strengthen the immune system, promote better sleep and have a long-term positive impact on overall lung function. The cost to enjoy Norwegian Breakaway’s Thermal Suite all week is $149 per person.
The full service salon and Barber Shop offers hair, nail, waxing and special kid-friendly services.
Norwegian Breakaway’s Fitness Center is quite extensive. A wide range of cardio equipment is available, all complete with stunning oceanviews, HD screens to watch television or follow a training program and all of the equipment can synch to iPods so you can listen to your best workout playlists.
The weight room is located across the hall, as well as a separate room for a wide range of fitness classes – some with an additional fee ranging from $12-$30 per person.
Group Fitness Classes available to guests for purchase include popular fitness trends like spinning, Pilates, yoga, body sculpting boot camps, kettle bell training, Freestyle Fight Klub (Nexersys® training with a cardio boxing class) and TRX suspension training.
A number of fitness classes are complimentary, including a special program developed by the ship’s godmothers, The Rockettes.
Norwegian Breakaway does a nice job of offering something for everyone. While the production shows on the Norwegian Epic (debuted 2010) were Vegas-inspired, the Norwegian Breakaway is more New York Broadway.
The Rock of Ages, a 5-time Tony Award nominated famed musical, is performed in the Breakaway theater – a love story set in the ’80s with the outfits, hair and music to match.
The show was produced well – the acting and singing talent excellent. The songs got better and better as the show went on, but in our opinion, it went on a little too long. By the time the show ended, even with some of the most iconic rock songs of the ’80s, the enthusiasm in the theater had dwindled a bit. Be prepared for the show to last close to two hours. The content is pretty racy – adult situations and language. So we do not suggest Rock of Ages for families or young children.
Burn the Floor is another show performed in the Breakaway Theater. It is refreshing entertainment with no dialogue or storyline, but features energetic dancers performing a variety of popular dance styles from the Rumba and Salsa to the Charleston and Foxtrot. A scaled down show is also performed in the Manhattan Room on Deck 7.
In the beautiful Spiegel Tent on the Breakaway, you can find the return of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Cirque Dreams and Dinner Show – this time with a Jungle Fantasy theme. The show is set as a mystical jungle brought to life with the international and amazingly talented cast of aerialists, contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians. Dinner is served during the show – general seating is $29.99 per person and premium ground-floor seating is $39.99 per person.
A few other entertainment venues that debuted on the Norwegian Epic made their way to the Norwegian Breakaway:
- Howl at the Moon dueling piano show in Headliner’s Comedy Club on Deck 6
- The Second City improv comedy group in Headliner’s Comedy Club on Deck 6
- Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club on Deck 8 offers both indoor and outdoor seating for perfomances by New York blues star, Slam Allen
The Casino on the Norwegian Breakaway is very large and spread across Deck 7, with its center encompassing the second story of the 3-deck atrium 678 Ocean Place. As on the Norwegian Epic the casino is not hidden, rather it is displayed in all its glory in the middle of the ship. Although somewhat disjointed, it was designed well. Table games are located near the atrium, to lower the noise of slot machines. Do not worry, walking further into the casino you will find more table games but even more lively slot machines to test your luck.
There is a non-smoking section of the casino with table games and slots, but a majority of the casino does allow smoking. This was a hot topic on the Norwegian Epic, as the smell of smoke was overwhelming at times (even to smokers themselves) and permeated other decks. If you are sensitive to smoke you may want to avoid Deck 7, however, on our sailing we did not find it bothersome or invasive.
Bliss Ultra Lounge is the Breakaway’s nightclub and disco. It was considerably smaller than most of Norwegian’s fleet. The bowling alley has also been removed and placed in O’Sheehan’s Bar and Grill on Deck 7. The first night of our cruise, even early on, the club was filled to capacity so our party had to wait by the ‘guard’ at the door until a corresponding number of passengers left. However, it is an exciting hotspot to dance with a fun crowd until later in the evening.
The New York-inspired Ice Bar on Deck 8 near Shaker’s Cocktail Bar is a true ice bar kept at 17 degrees Fahrenheit complete with ice sculptures of the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler Building. The cost of Norwegian Breakaway’s Ice Bar is $20 per person including your hooded parka rental, 2 specialty drinks (in an ice glass!) and 45 minutes in the bar (whew, if you can make it that long – even the bartenders change shifts every 30 min). You are able to make reservations which will minimize any wait time.
Disappointingly, the Ice Bar on the Breakaway was very small even for its 25 guest maximum. It is surely something to try once and offers a wonderful photo opportunity, but if you visited the Ice Bar on the Norwegian Epic you won’t be missing much.
In Shaker’s Cocktail Bar on Deck 8 of 678 Ocean place there was always a lively crowd, a perfect spot for before and after dinner drinks. Enjoy a specialty martini as you take in views of the atrium and chandelier. You can also take your drinks out for seating on the Waterfront.
Other popular bars and lounges include Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar and The Humidor Cigar Lounge on Deck 8, Mixx and Prime Meridian.
On Deck 6 near the Atrium Café you will find an Internet Café with 12 workstations (internet packages are available to purchase). Also on Deck 6 is the Library and Card Room, you can rent books and board games. Tradewinds duty-free shopping and Tides boutique are located on Deck 8 as well as the Photo Gallery.
The Norwegian Breakaway sails year-round from the Port of New York to Bermuda, Bahamas and the Caribbean. For more information, or to book your Norwegian Breakaway vacation, please give one of our friendly cruise specialists here a call at iCruise.com a call 800-i-CRUISE [800-427-8473] or email us here!