Norwegian Breakaway Delights Cruising Families
By Nancy Schretter, Editor
Norwegian Cruise Line shows off an array of exciting features on its new ship, the 4,028-passenger Norwegian Breakaway. The ship’s hallmarks include an ocean front boardwalk lined with restaurants and lounges, a huge waterpark and ropes course, top Broadway-style shows, and the largest youth and teen facilities in Norwegian’s entire fleet. Sailing from its home port in New York Harbor, this ship is a great fit for families and type-A cruisers seeking non-stop thrills and entertainment.
The Norwegian Breakaway is already a hit with our readers. We’ve received rave reviews from families who have sailed and others are booked and ready to go. Here are seven things families will love about the Norwegian Breakaway:
1. An Adrenaline-Charged Waterpark. The Norwegian Breakaway’s multi-story Aqua Park features five waterslides, two pools and four hot tubs. This centrally located waterpark atop the ship will appeal to families, thrill seekers, fun-loving kids and kids at heart. Several of the waterslides are mind-bending. Don’t miss plummeting almost straight down on The Whip and taking The Free Fall – pulling almost 4Gs and said to be the fastest slide at sea. Kids must be 48” tall to take The Free Fall plunge and 40” tall for The Whip. There’s also a Nickelodeon-themed mini-waterpark area featuring characters from Bikini Bottom that’s just the right size for little ones.
2. Ropes Course Thrills. Do you have what it takes to walk The Plank? Find out when you step onto the largest ropes course at sea aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. This sprawling multi-level ropes course, part of Breakaway’s huge Sports Complex, consists of over forty different elements. Daredevils can walk The Plank out to its end to find themselves standing eight feet out over the side of the ship. Not to be left out, there’s a pint-sized ropes course for younger kids who aren’t yet 48-inches tall to do the ropes course on their own. The Breakaway’s Sports Complex area also features a 9-hole miniature golf course, a rock climbing wall (ages 6 and up), bungee trampoline, Spider Web climbing cage, a basketball court, and more.
3. A Veritable Buffet of Dining Options. Food lovers won’t be bored on the Norwegian Breakaway. The ship is a foodie paradise with 28 different dining venues – the largest of any ship at sea and far too many to mention here. Celebrity Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has three restaurants on Norwegian Breakaway: Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian; Ocean Blue on The Waterfront; and The Raw Bar. In addition, passengers can enjoy meals with a theatrical flair while dining under the ship's Spiegel Tent. For variety, Breakaway guests can sample cuisines from around the world, including French, Italian, Brazilian, and Far East delights in spots such as Teppanyaki, Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, and Wasabi. Those craving well-marbled steak should look no further than Cagney’s Steakhouse. There’s even Carlo’s Bake Shop by TLC star Buddy Valastro onboard. Some of Norwegian Breakaway’s restaurants carry an additional fee, but kids 12 and under can dine at these specialty restaurants for half price. Other dining venues, such as the 24-hour O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill and the private club-like Manhattan Room, are completely complimentary. Make sure to see the Burn The Floor dance show in The Manhattan Room and sample the fish & chips at O’Sheehan’s – they’re both excellent. There are also 22 bars and lounges for parents to enjoy onboard the Breakaway, including Norwegian’s famous Ice Bar.
4. The Oceanfront Promenade. Stroll the boardwalk like a Norwegian? You bet. The Norwegian Breakaway features The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place – two unique places for guests to relax and enjoy their experience at sea. The Waterfront is a large quarter-mile boardwalk-type promenade lined with a variety of seaside venues offering stunning ocean views. 678 Ocean Place fits in seamlessly, interconnecting three decks of entertainment and dining areas. Families will be happy to know there’s a Dolce Gelato shop here, too.
5. Great Entertainment and Nickelodeon Themed Events. There’s lots of family-style programming available onboard the Norwegian Breakaway. Thankfully, the cruise line understands that families want to enjoy activities together as well as apart. Kids will be thrilled with all of the Nickelodeon characters and shows onboard, including opportunities to meet Dora the Explorer, Diego and Sponge Bob. There are even chances to get slimed as well. In addition, the ship features three live Broadway performances and tons of nightly shows, including the fabulous Slam Allen at Fat Cats Jazz and Blues Club. Rock of Ages, one of the ship’s signature shows, is a five-time Tony Award nominated musical with a superb cast. Breakaway guests can also enjoy live comedy by The Second City, Cirque Dreams & Dinner Jungle Fantasy, Burn The Floor dance performances, dueling pianos at Howl At The Moon, and much more.
6. Wide Choice of Family Accommodations. Norwegian Breakaway has staterooms to fit every vacation budget. This is particularly important if you’re planning a family reunion or multigenerational event where multiple budget levels may be required. Those seeking a more private, upscale experience can opt for posh suites and family villas in The Haven. These come with their own butler and private dining options at The Haven Restaurant. The Norwegian Breakaway also offers a number of Family Staterooms located near the youth club areas, connecting staterooms, and a variety of staterooms accommodating children in the same cabin.
7. Huge Youth and Teen Spaces. For the first time on any Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the new Splash Academy youth area spans across two decks located close to the ship’s family staterooms, upping the convenience factor for parents. The youth area features sections designed specifically for three age groups: Turtles for ages 3-5; Seals for ages 6-9; and Dolphins for ages 10-12. Splash Academy also offers activities for Guppies – tiny cruisers from 6 months to 3 years of age. Parents with kids of this age can enjoy fun events with their child, including sensory play classes and even a parent and tot mini workout session.
Splash Academy is located on Norwegian Breakaway’s Decks 12 and 13. On Deck 12, parents and kids enter the reception area and register their children using Norwegian’s e-Youth tablet-based electronic registration system. Once inside, 3-5 year olds will find their own colorful space filled with wall-mounted activities and child-sized furniture. In a separate area nearby, 6-9 year olds have a spot filled with building block activity centers, a dedicated space with popular video game stations, an interactive dance area, and more. Upstairs on Deck 13, 10-12 year olds have their own place to hang out complete with dedicated gaming stations, a great lounge area, multi-purpose visual dance space with a touch screen jukebox, and an activity zone with tons of supplies for arts and crafts. Comfortable seating and vibrant colors will make this the cool space for tweens to chill on their cruise.
Located separately on Deck 16, Entourage is a high energy zone exclusively for teens ages 13-17. This hot spot includes air hockey, foosball, and an arcade center with five separate areas equipped with large screens for playing the latest video games. At night, Entourage turns into a teens-only nightclub with a dance floor, video jukebox, and large screen television. Entourage is conveniently located near the video arcade and an outdoor eatery and refreshment area, perfect for teens who just want to stay and play.
If You Go:
Norwegian Breakaway is based in New York City year-round. The ship sails to Bermuda during the summer months and to The Bahamas & Florida and the Caribbean during the rest of the year. For more information, visit http://www.breakaway.ncl.com, contact your favorite travel agent, or call Norwegian Cruise Line at 1-800-327-7030.
If you plan to dine at some of the specialty restaurants, make your reservations in advance or as soon as you board the ship. Dining times at popular spots, particularly Teppanyaki, can sell out quite quickly.
The entertainment aboard Norwegian Breakaway is exceptional, particularly Slam Allen at Fat Cats and the Broadway shows. Parents should note that Rock of Ages contains some mature subject matter and may be best suited for teens on up.
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