Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Ship Review | First-hand Expert Review (2024)

Norwegian Cruise Line long has been a pioneer in creating a contemporary cruising experience, most notably with its Freestyle philosophy, which deconstructs the traditional style of cruising (set dining times, fewer dining options, set schedules and relatively limited entertainment options).

Instead, Norwegian Breakaway offers resort-like, rather than ship-like, entertainment and dining. It's a style that other cruise lines have adopted, but Norwegian Breakaway did it first by outpacing its competitors with sheer number of restaurants, shows and entertainment venues. Our experience onboard a seven-night cruise felt so much like a jam-packed stay at a really good Las Vegas resort that we only remembered we were on a ship when looking out to sea.

This is a good thing. Our time on the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship was a fantastic experience with so much to do that the only downside was we simply didn't have time to try everything.

Norwegian Breakaway Deck Plans Spread Out Venues, Leave Cabin Areas Quiet

Norwegian Breakaway deck plans are well designed, with separate decks for public spaces and cabins, allowing for quiet nights for a high percentage of guests. That is a major plus, as you’ll be sharing the ship with almost 4,000 other passengers.

Cabins on decks 10, 11 and 12 are great for light sleepers, as they’re not shared with any loud public venues and are located above and beneath other rooms. The Norwegian Breakaway Haven suite complex, located on decks 15 through 17 and featuring its own private pool area and lounge, is also generally quiet despite sharing space with common areas.

Norwegian Breakaway restaurants are spread over multiple decks, allowing for easy access to food from all corners of the ship. And for those who wish to enjoy their meals in the privacy of their cabin, room service is available around the clock for a flat rate.

Norwegian Breakaway Amenities Cater to Families and Adults Alike

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of fun offerings. The Norwegian Breakaway casino, the spa, Entourage teens’ club, Splash Academy kids’ club, the pools, the sports complex, and the adult-only areas will keep passengers of all ages busy and happy throughout the day. The highlight of evening entertainment on Norwegian Breakaway is “Six”, an acclaimed Broadway show with excellent performers. “Burn the Floor” and “Velvet” don’t disappoint either.

That said, Breakaway is not for everyone, especially those on either extreme of the traditional cruising spectrum. Norwegian claims Freestyle means "what you want when you want it," an appealing concept for those who wish to be spontaneous and in control of their vacation experience. However, to make the most of your time onboard, you really must plan ahead and make reservations before your trip (or early in the cruise), especially when it comes to dining in specialty restaurants or booking spa treatments. While you can take your chances and walk in, you need to give up some flexibility so as not to miss out.

On the flip side, Breakaway is also not a ship for those who prefer cruise traditions. The only old-school elements are singles gatherings, the small Norwegian Breakaway library (best to bring your own books) and mainstream ports. There's little true enrichment, and it can be hard to mingle with other passengers unless you’re staying in the Studio section, which features a private lounge for solo travelers.

Some of the Best Norwegian Breakaway Activities Are Not Free

Anyone who cruises Breakaway should know the cruise fare is a starter price. While many restaurants and activities are included in the cruise fare, it's really the extras that create a special experience. You have the choice to spend extra on exclusive spaces such as the spa's thermal suite, the Norwegian Breakaway adult-only Vibe Beach Club, on a handful of entertainment offerings or on specialty restaurants. For a more traditional cruise traveler, that approach can seem like nickel and diming, but for those accustomed to resort stays, it's quite similar.

The beauty of Norwegian Breakaway is you can opt not to pay extra and still enjoy great outdoor spaces like Spice H2O, The Waterfront, all of the ship's marquee entertainment, and dining at O'Sheehans pub, not to mention delicious menus at Taste and Savour, two sit-down restaurants. No matter your cruising style, Breakaway offers a terrific experience.

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Ship Review | First-hand Expert Review (2024)

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