I think she's a beauty.
Norwegian's new Breakaway was christened in New York on May 8, and she'll settle in to make the Big Apple her year-round permanent home.
The last time Norwegian launched a ship it was the Epic, with its boxy-hat-on-top look. Not a beauty. The Epic had some interior design flaws that took the line about 15 months to fix. It should be noted the current management had nothing to do with the design of the ship that remains the largest in the fleet.
This time, it appears Norwegian got it right.
The 4,000-passenger Breakaway is the first of two ships in the Breakaway Class, with the second ship Getaway scheduled for 2014 and the possibility that by July a third ship in the class will be announced.
There are always signature areas on a new ship. With Princess, after visiting the Royal Princess in the shipyard in Italy, I'm convinced the new enlarged Piazza will be the ship's centrepiece. With Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, it was the enlarged promenade.
On the Breakaway, the quarter-mile-long Boardwalk that connects 678 Ocean Place, a three-deck atrium running the length of the ship will be the focus. That is, unless you're a kid or want to have kid fun, in which case the five -- yes, five -- waterslides will probably be your centrepiece.
You should be able to satisfy your hunger and thirst at 678 Ocean Place, featuring 17 dining options (some with fees), 12 bars or lounges, plus familiar haunts such as O'Sheehan's, Moderno, Cagney's and La Cucina.
This is a family ship and 42 of the oceanview staterooms will accommodate five people. Single cabins of 100 square feet, despite being a hit on the Epic, are reduced on the Breakaway -- from 128 to 59.
Entertainment was part of the sell on Epic, and on the Breakaway it has been greatly enhanced. The Broadway musical Rock of Ages is performed in the theatre six nights a week, along with Broadway's Burn the Floor.
If you're running a family ship, it's mandatory to have some adult-only space. Like Epic, Breakaway has Spice H20 with a movie screen, bar, hot tub and loungers.
At night, it's a place to dance. If you need even more privacy, just reach into your wallet and buy access to the Vibe Beach Club. It has the same elements as Spice but with more features to justify the fee.
Along with the waterslides, children will have their own Aqua Park, featuring Nickelodeon characters, a kids' pool and mini slide, and a host of child-friendly features.
Unlike the Epic, the Breakaway has beautiful smooth lines. After a dozen or so sailings in the weeks to come, we'll have a good idea of passengers' reviews of this welcome new ship to ocean cruising.
Breakaway will spend this summer sailing to Bermuda and back. And its home port of New York offers a great opportunity to visit Manhattan before and after your cruise.
-- Postmedia News
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