Category Archives: Norwegian Breakaway

Freestyle Dining on Norwegian Breakaway

by Don McCann

In my recent post on the new Norwegian Breakaway I mentioned the dining would be featured in a separate blog.  Perhaps the easiest way to explain the need for this is that the Breakaway is all about the dining!  Yes, the ship has Norwegian’s signature entertainment of excellent quality and, yes, it has a great sports deck with a wonderful water park, but (for someone like me), it’s all about the dining.  Norwegian Cruise Line introduced “Freestyle Cruising” several years ago and one of the primary pillars of this program is the unstructured dining.  They felt that the traditional ‘early sitting & late sitting’ assigned dining times did not fit with the concept of a vacation and that you should be able to decide what time you wish to dine.  So they introduced Freestyle Dining where you not only have the option of choosing what time you will dine, but also where you will dine, as well.  They still have the traditional ‘main dining room’ with a continental menu, but great specialty dining options such as Italian, a Steakhouse, french Bistro, etc.  Several of these are all included in your cruise fare, but some have an additional surcharge and that does not seem to deter their popularity (many book up all their tables on virtually every sailing).

(click on images below to enlarge)

Norwegian Breakaway Manhattan Dining Room

Manhattan Dining Room

Onboard Breakaway I found the food to be of very good quality in both the included options as well as in the specialty additional charge venues.  The main dining room, Manhattan, it has a large dance floor in the center of the two level room so it has a decided supper club feel and is one of the most impressive I’ve seen on any ship.  Our table was just around the corner from the live orchestra, so this was perfect for me – great music, but not close enough to be too loud.  The impressive menu choices are presented in a tall menu with a the Empire State Building on the cover, so the Manhattan theme is carried out effectively and tastefully.  The same menu choices are also offered in both “Taste” and “Savor”, two smaller dining options which have a more intimate feel; a very nice idea in that you can dine in what feels like a “specialty” venue, but there is no additional charge.

Norwegian Breakaway Moderno

Moderno Churrascaria

During our short two night agent preview cruise, we were able to get reservations to sample two of the ship’s most unique specialty dining choices:  Moderno (churrascaria) and Teppanyaki.  Moderno features the same experience as it’s landbased counterparts with a great salad bar and roving gouchos serving you almost any cut of deliciously seasoned meats of which you can think!  The woven placemats set the stage right from the moment you are seated that this will be a unique dining experience and what followed was as great as expected and then some.

Norwegian Breakaway Teppanyaki


If you are not quite sure what Teppanyaki is, then simply think “Benihana”.  Here we were seated with four others around a large grill area where the master Asian chef not only creates a wonderful meal, but provides an impressive culinary show in the process.  Choices are decidedly Asian, but include both steak & lobster, as well as a tofu option which someone at our table ordered and loved.  All of the food is so freshly prepared that is outstanding, but it’s the entire experience of the entertainment mixed with the social aspect that really makes this a dining event.

Norwegian Breakaway Cagneys

Cagney’s Steakhouse

Other dining choices include Cagney’s Steakhouse, LeBistro (for French cuisine with great Paris artwork and even a ‘sidewalk’ dining option), O’Sheehan’s Irish Pub, LaCucina Italian, Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, and Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian.  Some of these even feature the choice of dining al fresco at The Waterfront, an exciting possibility to dine on deck overlooking the ocean!  Whether you elect to dine at a complimentary dining location, or splurge a little and pay for the specialty venues, the choices for dining on Norwegian Breakaway are almost endless during your 7-day cruise.

Waterfront on Norwegian Breakaway


Norwegian Breakaway sails year-round from New York, calling on Bermuda in the summer and Caribbean in the winter.  Her brand new twin sister, Norwegian Getaway, will be introduced early in 2014 and she will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean.

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Filed under Caribbean Cruises, Cruise Ship Dining, New Ship, Norwegian Breakaway, Our Cruise Stories

Norwegian Breakaway

by Don McCann

Norwegian Breakaway in NYC

Norwegian Breakaway with her Peter Max New York themed hull

Ah, that new ship smell which hits you when you first step onboard a brand new ship!  OK, so maybe it’s not the same as a new car, but you get the idea.  As I mentioned previously, it’s always exciting to see a new ship; any new shipNorwegian Breakaway offers it’s company’s brand distinction of ‘Freestyle Cruising’, which means a host of options.  Most notable is with the dining.  This ship offers 27 dining venues and all are ‘Freestyle’, meaning that none are assigned to you.  Also of note are the charges; 11 of the 27 are included in your fare (no extra charge), but the rest have an additional charge (click here for complete dining guide).  The dining is such a major part of this cruise that I’ll do a separate post on that later. The myriad of dining choices is nearly rivaled by the selection of entertainment venues, as well.  In fact, one place even combines the two with the Spiegel Tent which is a sort of dinner show with a Cirque Dreams show taking place overhead during your dinner (yes, this is at an extra charge).  There is, of course the main show lounge, Breakaway Theater, for big productions.  Rock of Ages is currently being featured and Ihave to say I found this a very ‘interesting’ selection for a large, mainstream cruise ship.  It’s billed as edgy, or adult, but will surely catch many off guard with it’s use of risqué dress with sexual overtones and several ‘F bombs’ dropped during the dialogue.  Regardless, I guess with Freestyle you

Norwegian Breakaway Fat Cat's Jazz & Blues Club

Fat Cat’s Jazz & Blues Club

are free to approve, or simply venture elsewhere.  Moving along, there are other great options such as Fat Cat’s for jazz & blues, Headliners for comedy, disco in Bliss, or a great outdoor option at Spice H2O for the cool set (or those who want to at least try to feel ‘cool’).  Of course there is the usual cruise ship inclusions of the casino and a host of great bars, too.

When it comes to accommodations, I have to say that our standard balcony cabin was more spacious than many I’ve seen.  There was a full-size sofa, good storage space, and a very nice sized bathroom.  It was interesting that there was no chair in the cabin.  There was a dual purpose ottoman for sitting at the dresser which also had a fitted hard top cover to use as a side table and it opened up for storage inside.  Clever and practical, but a simple chair with back support would be preferred by most folks, I think.  As for other accommodations, there are many choices, with the most notable

The Haven on Norwegian Breakaway

The Haven private pool deck

being The Haven.  This is an Norwegian trademark and functions as a cruise within a cruise.  The Haven are suites and deluxe cabins in their own private access area, located forward on the top of the ship.  Here you’ll find your own private pool area, private lounge area, private dining room, and private deck all for Haven guests only.  It has great snob appeal and is honestly a great appeal to non-snobs, too!  Their concept is to cater to those who would want a deluxe more intimate experience (think Seabourn, or Silversea), but would appreciate the amenities of a large ship, such as multiple entertainment options and facilities for kids (The Haven is perfect for grandparents bringing on the whole family for an inter generational cruise experience). Another Norwegian exclusive for accommodations is the Studio.  Here they have built a good number of single occupancy cabins for solo travelers who don’t want to pay the usual high single supplement in a standard cabin.  These cabins are cozy, but very well designed and even have their own lounge area where you can mix & mingle if you so desire.  This makes such good sense and I think they’ve done very well so far (this is the second Norwegian ship with Studio cabins).

So enough factoids.  Did I like the ship?  Yes!  Norwegian Breakaway has great facilities and really seems to ‘flow’ well to me.  It’s very large, but does not really ‘feel’ all that large.  Most areas have a very open design and this seems to bring it all together, rather than being chopped up into multiple locations as on some ships.  Most of the décor is quite pleasant and not ‘in your face’ like you may find elsewhere on other ships.  The only ‘over the top’ feature is the huge waterpark and ropes course on the back of the top deck, but then that’s just another example of having something for everyone!  Overall, I found it all much more appealing than my last Norwegian experience a few years ago.  They have different management now and have honestly been trying to upgrade their product and make improvements the last few years and it shows.  This is good for us to see as we’ll have a Norwegian ship sailing from Houston starting next year.  While it won’t be a brand new one like the Breakaway, it will have the Norwegian Freestyle trademarks and facilities so we’ll look forward to this new option for our Texas clients! In the meantime, the Norwegian Breakaway is sailing from New York to Bermuda this summer and will offer itineraries to the Bahamas & Florida from New York in the winter.  In early 2014, she’ll be joined by a twin sister, Norwegian Getaway, which will be based in Miami for year-round sailings to the Eastern Caribbean.

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Filed under New Ship, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Cruise Line, Our Cruise Stories

New Ship Review – Almost Here!

by Don McCann


Norwegian Breakaway with it’s Peter Maxx custom painted hull

It’s always exciting to see a new cruise ship!  Most cruise lines host a travel agent ‘preview cruise’, or cruise to nowhere to showcase their new vessel.  Such is the case this week in New York with Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Breakaway.  I’ll be fortunate enough to participate in tomorrow’s cruise, which will return on Sunday.  With all the tools of technology available today, the cruise line created a cell phone app just for our departure, loaded with all kinds of ship info, deck plans, onboard events, and a host of info to boost our excitement (and I have to admit the excitement angle has worked!).

Look for updates and photos this weekend, as our time permits, but in the meantime USA Today has some nice photos; take a peak…photo tour  

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Filed under New Ship, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Cruise Line, Our Cruise Stories