Learn the secrets to navigating the cities and cruise terminals your cruise will leave from. Quiet settings, uncrowded ships, no kids, all-inclusive cruises where all dinners are taken at pre-set times in the dining room with the same table and waiters every night.
The highly anticipated Norwegian Breakaway arrived in Southampton, England for its first cruise with regular passengers on the night of April 29th, 2013. Since it takes at least two years to design and build and new cruise ship, from 2008 through early 2011 the industry was still bringing out new ships that had been ordered before the economic downturn. Notably, Breakaway is the first of a whole new generation of cruise ships designed, built and delivered after the world economic collapse of 2008. Norwegian Breakaway has a very similar floor plan to the line’s previous ship, Norwegian Epic, except that the new ship is smaller. So, while it may sound like Breakaway is more crowded, the way the space is purposed makes the ship feel bigger and more open than Epic. The Norwegian Breakaway differences: to sum up, the biggest differences between Breakaway and Norwegian Epic begin with the staterooms. The entertainment lineup is different; but I should mention Breakaway also has the Fat Cats Jazz Club, Second City and Howl at the Moon, just like Epic has, but Breakaway does not have Legends at Sea or Blue Man Group. The addition of the two new restaurants by Geoffrey Zakarian are new, otherwise Breakaway has the very same dining venues as Norwegian Epic.
Perhaps more will be revealed, but so far this is all we know about Norwegian Breakaway until she hits the shores of America. The new ships also feature a new concept in cruise ships first done on Carnival; opening up public rooms to fresh air by placing tables and chairs on lower outdoor decks. Ocean Blue Seafood was a new venue for sister ship Norwegian Breakaway and getaway, but is not offered on Epic.
La Cucina Italian Restaurant on Epic feels almost like an afterthought - if you can even find the entryway buried below the most forward section of the buffet and only accessible by a staircase. There are also several bars and lounges that will have access to the fresh air including Maltings Beer and Whiskey Bar and Shakers Cocktail bar for martinis. The first GRAMMY Experience artist was just announced; Nestor Torres, an exceptionally talented Jazz flautist who is equally fluent in Classical and Latin genres. A secondary entertainment venue on Breakaway will be called The Spiegel Tent, the same as on Epic, but on the deck plans it appears to be much larger than the one on Epic, taking up the full width of the ship. There is already a Cirque Dreams show on Epic, but the one set to debut on Breakaway is an adaptation of the same title the Cirque Dreams people debuted on Broadway in New York in 2008. Burn the Floor premiered in London in 1999 and toured the US for the first time in 2000 including performances at Radio City Music Hall.
The Second City comedy is back, as they are on every ship in the Norwegian fleet, presenting their special brand of improvisational comedy that inspired shows like Saturday Night Live and has been entertaining audiences on Norwegian ships since 2006. NCL recently signed an agreement with Nickelodeon to feature the characters onboard the ships for special events for kids as well as just having the caharacters onboard often to brighten the day of your young one. In addition to selections from their own menu, young passengers can eat hot dogs and chicken nuggets in the Kid's Corner buffet, with mini stools and low tables. Norwegian Getaway is featuring the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides.
The older kids' ropes course will be a multi-level structure that offers 40 different challenges, including a zip line portion. Norwegian Getaway will be the fifth Norwegian ship to offer Nickelodeon experiences, including the Character Breakfast, (recently re-styled as the Pajama Jam), Dora's Dance Party, Story Time with Dora, Nickelodeon Arts and Crafts and character meet and greets.
Nickelodeon's Splash Mobs lend an element of surprise with spontaneous, impromptu pie attacks, slimings and other surprises. A fun mega-ship with lots of nightlife, great entertainment, romantic staterooms and a large variety of alternative restaurants. The nightclubs all feature comfortable but flashy colors and fabrics, except the Ice Bar which only features ice.
The beautiful Breakaway Club Lounge is for the exclusive use of the Courtyard Villa guests and showcases premium liquors, LED screens make framed video displays showing montages of the world's best artwork, music videos, films, celebrities, fashion and more.
Breakaway is actually the first ship to offer this extensive outdoor access to sea-side al fresco dining on a lower deck. Prime Meridian Bar is a round bar that lends a piazza effect to the open inside deck 8. So, the staterooms on the new ships bring a return to much more traditional style; no curved walls, colored lights, or dramatic decorative accents like glass panels instead of real walls.
The Courtyard Suites occupy the front of the ships definitely have the most beautiful public areas of the entire ship.
There are 960 balcony staterooms and 449 inside staterooms, with these two categories accounting for 70% of all rooms. The 204-square-foot balcony staterooms have a clean, contemporary design with queen beds that can be converted into two twins.
The biggest difference between a Mini-Suite and a balcony stateroom is bigger and more elaborate bathrooms with an extra-wide sink with two faucets. Norwegian Getaway also has 449 inside cabins (no windows) that measure 151 square feet and come with two twin beds that can be converted into a queen.
The Family Oceanview stateroom measures 161 square feet and has two twin beds that can convert into a queen.
The Health Spa and Salon has two dozen treatment rooms for such exotic treatments as algae detox, lime and ginger salt glows, coconut rubs, and milk ritual wraps, including three for couples.
Cruise ship cameras are typically updated between every 30 seconds to every 15 minutes.The camera image above will automatically refresh every 30 seconds so you will not miss any updates. Best for People who Want: a flexible cruise experience, including flexibility in dining times, and a variety of selection for dining venues. Should be Avoided By People Who Prefer: traditional assigned dinner seating and dining times, suggested dress codes with formal nights, and public address announcements regarding shipboard activities.
While today's modern cruise ships are often referred to as floating resorts, no other cruise lines offer a product as close to that reality as that offered on the Jewel. On the Jewel, the cruise truly begins at sail-a-way with an enormous pool side barbeque (using large Weber style grills), while the band kicks off the cruise, and the drinks flow. These barbeques are repeated several times during the cruise -when the ship is sailing early from ports of call. On the deck by the Sapphire Pools one might think they are at a theme park, with covers over the Jacuzzi's and band stand, designed to look like carousels at the faire. Along the overhang poolside NCL also has misters, which occasionally expel a light cool spray of water, similar to what you'll find poolside at luxury land based resorts. Mama's Kitchen, one of the cost included alternate restaurants, features an Italian menu, with an antipasto card carrying choices to begin your dining experience, pastas, pizzas, entrees, and deserts is a wonderful alternative choice, that is a must try during your cruise. We found the quality of the food in all of the restaurants we managed to sample to be of very good quality, and taste. One deck above, on Deck 7 is the FYZZ Cabaret Lounge and Bar, where karaoke is the held each evening, and there's several private karaoke rooms which can be booked for small private group parties.

Also on Deck 12 is the Star Bar, a more intimate lounge, with a duo entertaining each evening. The Java Café, is located in the expansive lobby area on Deck 5, across from the Guest Relations desk. The ship also features wireless hot spots in public areas for guests bringing along their own laptops.
The wood burl shelves of The Library groan happily beneath the weight of a good selection of self-help, sports, travel, science, history, fiction and children's books in multiple languages.
In an impressive leap forward in the art of free-style dining, NCL's all original and innovative reservations system lets guests book tables 24 hrs.
Those who prefer to play it by ear will rejoice in the presence of more than a dozen television monitors indicating which restaurants have tables available at any given moment.
Concierge service is available to those in Mini-suites and above, to assist in arranging your dinner reservations, or priority tender tickets where necessary. The main entertainment venue, the Stardust Theatre, customarily packed, presents nightly Broadway and Vegas-style productions, comedy and magic acts, and a Cirque du Soleil-style aerial thriller, Cirque Bijou, including gymnasts, acrobats and bungee jumpers. The ship has 1,188 cherry wood-finished rooms broken down into 32 categories, a positively dizzying range best considered group by group.
In standard cabins there's certainly enough closet space for two people on a seven-night cruise, though drawer space is minimal.
The only weak areas is the bathrooms in the standard cabin categories, and lack of a real desk. And though there's a table, and a small vanity desk and mirror, we missed a desk area with drawers, where we could store odds and ends, and electronic gear passengers normally carry with them. If you were referred to this site by an existing member of CruiseMates, enter their username here. The highly anticipated Norwegian Breakaway arrived in Southampton, England for its first cruise with regular passengers on the night of April 29th, 2013.
Spiegel Tent: Forward of this atrium on deck six is the Spiegel Tent, home to the Cirque Dreams theater company.
Tradewinds and Tides Boutique: the gift shop area fills out deck 8 along with the photo gallery. Another popular spot is Cagney's Steakhouse, which on Epic was placed on deck seven aft - above the Manhattan Dining Room and adjacent to Moderno. The main stage show - Rock of Ages is one of the longest running shows in Broadway history. As a show, Rock of Ages is pretty age specific to people in their 40s and their kids who grew up listening to their parent's music. Norwegian Breakaway will also have a Fat Cats Jazz Club, featuring New York's Slam Allen Blues Band. Norwegian Breakaway also has 449 inside cabins (no windows) that measure 151 square feet and come with two twin beds that can be converted into a queen.
Norwegian Breakaway is featuring the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides. Norwegian Breakaway will be the fourth Norwegian ship to offer Nickelodeon experiences, including the Character Breakfast, (recently re-styled as the Pajama Jam), Dora's Dance Party, Story Time with Dora, Nickelodeon Arts and Crafts and character meet and greets. Norwegian Epic is 156,000-tons (a measure of indoor space) for 4100 berths and 5183 passengers total, while the new Breakaway is a smaller 147,000 tons for 4028 passenger berths and also about 5000 passengers total. For example, Breakaway has 27 dining options, 22 bars & clubs, Three Broadway shows and the largest water park at sea with five water slides, two of which are the fastest at sea. Most importantly, the staterooms have been retro-designed to industry standard, so there are no bad surprises, only good ones like coffee makers and a plethora of American 110-volt AC-electric outlets. The deck below will also open up to an outside deck outdoors for access to lifeboats - not sharing the same deck for both functions as Carnival does. Norwegian boasts, "Take a seat by the sea at Ocean Blue on The Waterfront, the newest addition to our Freestyle dining lineup.
Our new seating option, Atrium Al Fresco, is reminiscent of sidewalk-style dining - overlooking the social hub of 678 Ocean Place.
The two new ships will have the same Manhattan Dining Room at the aft section, but Epic only has one other main dining room, Taste, located mid-ships. After touring a variety of countries, including Japan, Singapore and Australia, Burn the Floor premiered on Broadway in 2009. Where most at-sea children's programs turn their backs on the under-threes, NCL welcomes even those in their terrible twos.
Sporting events are shown on multiple flat screen televisions and you'll find three lanes of bowling, dart boards, pool tables, foosball and air hockey. Maltings Whiskey Bar offers whiskies from around the world; Canadian, Irish, American, Welsh or Scotch. This is the open air deck on deck 8 which offers al-fresco seating and relaxing for a number of public rooms. Previous ships, notably Carnival Dream-class, opened up the Promenade deck to some chairs and a few hot tubs, but Breakaway takes the outdoor promenade deck concept to an entirely new level. This is essentially a bakery where guests can order custom cakes and take classes on cupcake design.
The private pool, hot tubs, indoor and al fresco dining rooms and the private bar are all exquisite. Balcony and deluxe staterooms have bathrobes, a customized fruit menu, a fresh-baked cookie at turn down on the last night of cruise, an escort to the stateroom on embarkation day, priority restaurant reservation and reception hotlines and special color keycard for ship-wide recognition. Most importantly, the staterooms have been retro-designed to Norwegian Cruise Line standards, unlike the staterooms with some bad surprises found on Norwegian Epic. The streamlined, built-in desk and storage area features a 26-inch flat panel television, mini-bar and coffee maker. Once there you will also have the option to select from hundreds of other cruise ships and cruise ports to view and track. From outdoor pool decks, to bar and lounge areas, to public use corridors, the ship is designed to maximize useable space from the limited space available. Adding the barbeque to the traditional sail-a-way party serves to draw many more people to attend, and truly jump starts the liveliness of the cruise.
Combined with lighting designed to look like large palm trees, it creates a very festive atmosphere. The cooling spray is welcome on hot sunny days when the temperatures are rising, and the first I've seen on a cruise ship. Traditional cruise dining fare, with menus changing daily is offered in two dining rooms (both with the same menus), and we found the quality to be quite good the evenings we dined there.
The atmosphere is relaxing and elegant, and it makes an excellent spot for pre-dinner drinks prior to dining at Cagney's SteakHouse next store. Specialty coffees, and pastries are offered here, and each evening a quartet entertains with easy listening music. In cabin service is available, but you'll need to bring along your own Ethernet cable for hook up.

It is an expansive space, decorated in enough bright colors to keep even sleepy passengers wide eyed as they try their luck with games of chance. The very attractive Russian themed Tsar's, all royal burgundy, green, and gold, with chandeliers, marbled pillars and faux Faberge egg balustrades, is two stories tall, with fabulous huge windows aft.
Upon making a selection, the party is given a beeper, allowing them to wander the ship until their table is ready. We found everyone we encountered, from food service areas, guest relations, and officers (seemingly always visible on deck) attempted to make the extra effort to offer a smile, and a chat while offering top grade service. Or you might prefer the justly celebrated Second City Troupe, which has produced many of North America's best-loved comedians the past few decades, including Martin Short and Rick Moranis.
For the casino regulars, NCL offers a Casino At Sea program where players earn rewards or cash back based on their play. The bathroom, though well designed, broken into three areas, with the toilet separated by a sliding door to the central wash basin, and the shower on the other side; is small to the point of feeling cramped. The Bora Bora Health Spa and Salon, operated by Mandara, has 20 treatment rooms for such exotic treatments as algae detox, lime and ginger salt glows, coconut rubs, and milk ritual wraps, including three for couples. Particularly with the airlines current weight limits on passenger luggage, if flying to the cruise, it makes packing and travel so much easier leaving the formal clothing at home. But still with no soaring atriums (the tallest open verticle area on the entire ship is a mere three decks) the ship tends to feel small and crowded. The biggest difference is the fully enclosed singular bathroom instead of having separate rooms for the toilet, shower and sink facilities. Other ships have come close, but this is the first to offer food, drink and a view, all in one spot on a lower deck.
But a few newer cruise ships; Carnival Dream, Magic and Breeze, and Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway among them, are offering outside strolling and seating areas for bars and restaurants on the these lower promenade decks. Apparently Norwegian decided Italian dining deserves more flair on the new ships, so this restaurant will also offer true al fresco dining on The Waterfront. On the new ships there are two additional main dining rooms, but located on deck six below the Manhattan, not mid-ships, so they also have views off the aft end of the ship.
NCL suggests that concierges and butlers be tipped separately in accordance with the services they provide. Originally intended to be a limited run, the show opened to rave reviews in New York and extended its original run into January 2010, performing 193 shows. The live electric band of guitar, bass, piano and drums sets the stage for authentic Mississippi Delta-style blues with a large dance floor, plenty of seats and of course plenty to drink. The Atlantis hotel in Nassau is famous for having two of these slides, one in total darkness.
Norwegian says that when it debuts this will be the largest ropes course at sea - and Kids will have a special rope course just for them. The three main public decks, 6, 7 and 8, include most of those venues, which makes strolling through the deck feel much like a Las Vegas casino, especially with the low ceilings and garish brown carpet with beige swirls. On deck seven the décor and finishes are more modern, but not with the sublime decorative dignity of Celebrity or Holland America ships. There is beer on tap by the pint and plenty of tables and chairs interspersed with table games and even a few lanes of bowling. Stairs have been added so one can go to each level (Epic only had an escalator located some distance away and only going between decks seven and eight). Aft on deck 8 are Cagney’s Steakhouse and Moderno Churrascaria (Brazilian restaurant) which both have entrances on the inside of the ship, with open seating juxtaposed to the Prime Meridian Bar, and both have outdoor seating on the Waterfront for true sea-side dining under the stars. It has display cases of some complimentary treats like brownies, macaroon cookies and tortes. There are only good surprises; like coffee makers and an abundance of American 110-volt AC-electric outlets. One day as we passed by, we even saw people bowling, using the popular WI gaming system on the big screen. There are seldom lines, except for peak dining times (which can vary by cruise and itinerary) for either Tsar's or the smaller, sleeker, pop-art-decorated Azura.
Multiple serving stations are surprisingly efficient to preclude crowding, even on days at sea. We were almost surprised to see perhaps as many as 20% of the passengers dressing formally on those designated nights. Adding to the three-story sports complex will be a nine hole miniature golf course, a basketball court, a rock climbing wall, a bungee trampoline and the spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage complete with a spiral slide. The Humidor Cigar Lounge is a fully stocked humidor of premium-brand and hand-rolled cigars with comfortable seating, signature cocktails, and an extensive drink menu.
Dominating the room is a large movie screen, spanning from the floor of deck six to the ceiling of deck seven. Each level has open-view entrances to various restaurants, making it feel more like a piazza. This dining room fills up first, so get there early and keep your seats for the best views of the shows.
Shorter plans the last day of the cruise include 15 minutes for $8.25 and 30 minutes for $12.
Reservations are not allowed at either of these two dining rooms, so it's first come, first served. Serving stations for breakfast include custom-made waffles and omelettes, while lunch and dinner feature pastas and sauces in the combination of your choice.
New generation ships are slightly smaller but have far more efficiency in utilizing all available public space on board. There is very little nautical sense onboard at all, very little to remind that you are on a ship. On deck six is the iconic Le Bistro French restaurant with open seating on the atrium, the Teppanyaki Restaurant is next door and the Headliners comedy club is opposite. The layout works so effectively that even when crowds were long, queuing for line ups was never necessary.
The hair on these guy got so high that if you put them next to the real housewives of New Jersey you couldn't tell them apart.
All have safes, hairdryers, TVs and refrigerators, beds that convert from queen to twins, and the beds are wonderfully comfortable, and high enough to allows guests to easily slide luggage under the bed for storage during the cruise. There is very little nautical sense onboard at all, nothing to remind that you are on a ship.

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