Sunday, May 19, 2013

Norwegian Breakaway had me cruising like a Norwegian!

I had the great pleasure and opportunity to experience Norwegian Cruise Line's highly anticipated and newest mega-baby, Norwegian Breakaway, on a two-night inaugural sailing out of its New York home, May 10-12, 2013.  Two years ago I blogged about Norwegian Epic and the incredible innovations it brought to the cruise industry.  Well it looks like Norwegian Cruise Line upped the ante, as if that even seemed possible, as Breakaway is the best of the Epic and best of their Jewel class ships, rolled into one.   

Bon Voyage Norwegian Breakaway!

Formerly nicknamed by its moniker NCL, the line is taking the broad leap of branding itself by its official name, Norwegian Cruise Line, touting the message to “Cruise like a Norwegian” and “Norwegians do it Better”.  Well one thing for certain, they know how to create a thoroughly fantastic experience for guests.  The operative words when thinking of cruising on Norwegian Breakaway are choice (there are a multitude), flexibility (no schedule one has to abide by) and fun (there is something onboard to make every age happy).  There’s just so much going on … and countless options to choose from.   

Photo slideshow of the fabulous Norwegian Getaway
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Leading the way in shipboard entertainment for decades, Breakaway boasts three full-scale shows that have each appeared on Broadway and in international engagements … “Rock Of Ages”, “Burn The Floor” and “Cirque Dreams & Dinner: Jungle Fantasy”.  These are terrific, high-tech shows with all the first-class production values you would find on Broadway and in Vegas.  I was particularly enamored with this cast of Burn The Floor, having seen and loved the show in New York a few years ago.   What a thrill to meet the cast and their producers backstage, where we exchanged anecdotes of performing.  There’s also a Headliners Comedy Club featuring the Second City troupe, the famed Howl at the Moon club, Fat Cats Jazz & Blues, Bliss Ultra Lounge nightclub, Spice H2O, an awesome 80’s Dance Party I won’t soon forget, and two fabulous acts worthy of a nod for their wonderful talent throughout – Fire and Ice and Gravity Trio.   

Burn The Floor in the Manhattan Room

Gary & Alan backstage with the cast of Burn The Floor  "Burn The Floor"
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I enjoyed chatting with Simon Jukes, Assistant Cruise Director of Norwegian Breakaway, who provided insight and tidbits into the world of coordinating and managing entertainment and activities onboard a ship of this magnitude.

Gary Stevens and Simon Jukes
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 When you have 27 dining venues, how will you choose?  New at sea is Waterfront – a quarter mile oceanfront boardwalk with al fresco dining.  Sit outside and enjoy the oceanview at a selection of bars and restaurants.  678 Ocean Place intertwines and connects three entire decks of daytime and nighttime entertainment, bars and dining venues.  Dazzling design!  Ocean Blue by New York Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is a top notch seafood must as is Moderno Churrascaria for Brazilian-Argentinean cuisine; Cagney’s Steakhouse, La Cucina for Italian favorites and The Manhattan Room – a stunning supper club with a superb menu.  The list goes on.  Breakaway even boasts Hoboken’s own Carlos’ Bake Shop, by Buddy Valastro, star of the TLC series “Cake Boss,” who was onboard our sailing for Q&A and greeting the guests.


For those familiar with A Chorus Line, you’ll remember the “T&A” character Valerie Clark came to New York because she wanted to be a Rockette.
  Well many others have that dream too and the Rockettes can help make the fantasy come true.  Witness the dozens who showed up for onboard Dance Lessons with the Rockettes!  As Godmothers who christened Norwegian Breakaway, the Rockettes appeared on our sailing  and will appear on scheduled future sailings as well.  For my partner Alan and I, having our picture taken with them was quite endearing!    


Gary & Alan in Rockette Heaven

Dance Class with the Rockettes!
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The iconic Haven maintains its exclusivity as the luxurious and private “hotel” within the ship, complete with its own private key access, butler service, concierge, pool, cabanas, lounge and dining facility.  These beautifully appointed staterooms and suites provide the ultimate in top of the line accommodations and special services, while enabling these guests to experience all the fun that the ship has to offer.  
Haven's private pool - yup, that's a retractible roof!

Haven Owner's Suite with Large Balcony

The piece de resistance of Breakaway is the extraordinary Aqua Park.  Surely the head-turner from any vantage point facing the ship from outside, soaring 17-decks high, with 5 multi-story waterslides, the fastest at sea, 2 swimming pools, a 3-story sports complex with ropes and obstacle course, rock-climbing wall, basketball court, miniature golf, bungee trampoline, climbing cage, and a dare-if-you-can, heart-thumping honest to goodness Plank, extending 8 feet over the side of the ship for those who live to thrill.  Yes, cameras will capture your moment for all your Facebook friends to see.  Supervised activity programs abound for babies, tweens, teens and kids of all ages.  A vacation onboard Breakaway is nothing short of a smorgasbord of sports and aquatic opportunities.

Aqua Park WOW!

What’s next for Norwegian Cruise Line?  Why it’s sister ship Norwegian Getaway, making her debut sailing from Miami in February 2014.   I hope to be there and Cruise Like a Norwegian once again!

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