Norwegian Breakaway Entertainment
Breakaway boasts more than a dozen bars and lounges. Among them are Mixx Bar, a great place to get a drink before a meal in adjacent Taste or Savor; Prime Meridian, a hopping pre-dinner spot with amazing views; Maltings Beer and Whiskey Bar, serving premium spirits, wines and beers at an indoor-outdoor area on The Waterfront; and Shaker's Cocktail Bar, an evening hotspot for usual and not-so-usual cocktails. The Atrium Bar offers views of a giant two-story Wii wall/movie screen.
The Humidor Cigar Lounge is small, lightly air-conditioned and lined floor to ceiling with cigar boxes. It's the only option indoors for smokers other than the casino.
The coolest spot, literally, on Breakaway is the Ice Bar. In keeping with the New York theme of the ship, ice sculptures feature the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Chrysler Building. There is a cover charge for the bar, but that includes your toasty warm parka and two drinks.
Spice H2O, on Deck 16, has been given a New York feel or, more accurately, a Long Island feel, with a map of Long Island, a sign reading "Welcome to Rockaway Beach" and a huge mural depicting Fire Island, part of Long Island. The space -- for relaxing by day or partying at night -- has a huge screen at one end, a bar on one side and a Roman-style area of waterfalls and shallow pools on the other. Breakaway hosts a "Glow Party," as opposed to Epic's "White Hot Party." Spice H2O is an adults-only space.
Bliss has been seriously downsized (compared with Epic) to give it a true nightclub feel. Located on Deck 7 midship, it has no bowling alley, no big entranceway, no big beds ... and it's about half the size of the version on Epic.
Breakaway Theater hosts the usual entertainment offerings, as well as the Broadway musical "Rock of Ages," a boy-meets-girl love story set with an 80's soundtrack and backdrop, and enough mullets to remind you why it's good to be in the 2010's. The content is a bit racy, with language to match, so parents of young children might want to consider other options.
The Theater also features "Burn the Floor," a dance revue show that also plays in the Manhattan Room. It's slickly choreographed and extremely energetic (the sweat literally flies off the male dancers), taking in a variety of different genres and styles that range from Latin and Rock to 50's. The 55-minute show has no storyline or dialogue, but the dancers are backed with a hefty live band and a singer. The Theater has seating for 782 passengers and houses a ticket system, all on a single level. The ship is also enforcing a "no latecomers" policy, which is welcome.
The Cirque Dreams and Dinner show introduced on Norwegian Epic returns on Breakaway but with a jungle-themed twist. Lots of animal-print fabrics adorn the interior, where acrobats dressed as various African animals perform gravity-defying feats while patrons dine on shrimp and steak. A handful of the acts are definite stunners. The show is significantly more family-friendly than the show on Epic, though just as dessert is served the performers turn up the risque factor a notch. It costs $29.99 per person for general seating in the banquets and the upper deck, and $39.99 for premium ground-floor seating
Located on Deck 6 midship, right across from Le Bistro, is Norwegian Breakaway's comedy club, Headliners. During the day, the venue is used for Bingo and Nickelodeon family fun. At night, Second City takes to the stage for scripted standup and scriptless improv sessions. Reservations are recommended, though we easily got into the improv show as standbys. Also at Headliners, you can catch Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano show.
During the day, Fat Cats Jazz and Blues Club is the ship's game show venue, but at night it's the best place on the ocean for live jazz. Fat Cats is one of a handful of bars with outdoor seating on The Waterfront.
Gamblers will find all the usual slot machines (303 in total) and table games on Breakaway, though the layout is a bit different than it is on other ships. Rather than just one large square area, the Breakaway casino is centered on the 678 Ocean Place circular staircase and expands out in several directions.
We know the point of going on a cruise is to spend time out and about having fun, but sometimes a quiet evening in is nice, too. The limited TV choices were therefore disappointing. There were at least six ship channels, including one channel dedicated entirely to the Rockettes, four news channels, an international sports channel and just four entertainment channels, including one movie channel and one Nickelodeon channel.
Norwegian Breakaway Public Rooms
The library and card room are tucked away behind the atrium on Deck 6. In the card room you'll find old standards like Yahtzee, Trivial Pursuit and others, while the library offers a selection of books and e-books for borrowing. Both rooms also host the Rockettes mini-museum; in the card room, you'll find photo timelines, and in the library is a display of costumes.
A small Internet cafe with 12 workstations is nestled into a corner of the atrium, also on Deck 6. You'll pay 75 cents a minute for pay-as-you-go, but you can purchase plans that will reduce the cost. (The more minutes you purchase, the less you'll pay.)
Click Photo Gallery and shopping are on Deck 8. Breakaway features all the traditional cruise-ship shopping, including, fine jewelry, duty-free alcohol and cigarettes, various sundries, clothing and accessories and lots of Breakaway-branded items. There are no self-service laundry facilities on Breakaway.
Norwegian Breakaway Spa & Fitness
Breakaway's main pool is on Deck 15, midship, and it's flanked by four hot tubs. The ship packs a lot of outdoor action into Decks 15 through 17. It introduces Sky Trail, a vertigo-inducing ropes course that includes a bungee trampoline, zip-lining and an 8-foot-long "plank" that extends over the side of the ship -- with nothing between you and the lifeboats 10 decks below. Kids must be at least 48 inches tall to climb Sky Trail.
A rock-climbing wall, also with height restrictions, and nine-hole miniature golf course are located next to the Sky Trail. Climb a set of stairs to Deck 18, and the Sports Court provides a spot for basketball and soccer. Tucked away in a corner is the Spider Web, a six-story crawl space that requires a slide ride down. Little ones will love it.
The Deck 15 Aqua Park offers Norwegian's largest variety of waterslides, including two that send you into a 360-degree spin before spitting you into the pool and two side-by-side Free Fall slides in which daredevils are plunged 250 feet (when a trapdoor beneath their feet opens) into a looping tunnel. A splash area for kids -- featuring Nickelodeon favorites such as SpongeBob, Patrick and Dora the Explorer -- is located next door. Kids may wear swim diapers but must be potty-trained to use the pool.
Breakaway's fitness area on Deck 15 is extensive, and the cardio area is smartly separated from the weight-lifting area. Each offers a solid variety of equipment: exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills and a rowing machine in the cardio area, as well as dumbbells up to 100 pounds, barbells, Smith machines, weight racks and resistance machines in the weight area. The layout is a bit odd, though, in that rooms are especially long, so there's a bit of tripping over other exercisers, especially in the weight area.
Breakaway also offers classes (for additional fees that range from $12 to $30), including the wildly popular TRX suspension training, Flywheel indoor cycling, Pilates, bootcamp, Fight Klub and yoga. It also has a number of free options, such as abs and stretching classes. Rockettes exercise classes, taught by Rockettes-trained instructors, are also complimentary.
The jogging track on Deck 16 is one lane, so it will get a little tight when crowded, though it wasn't a problem when we were onboard. You'll have to run eight laps to get a mile. We didn't see walkers on the track; perhaps they preferred to walk The Waterfront on Deck 8.
The spa on Norwegian Breakaway is about 40 percent larger than the spas on the line's other ships (excluding Epic). Offerings include all the traditional treatments, as well as medispa treatments, acupuncture, teeth whitening and a full range of salon services. Also in the spa is the ship's thermal suite, which costs $199 per person for a weeklong sailing. The fee includes access to steam rooms, a dry sauna, a Vitality pool, hot tubs, waterfalls and heated tile lounges. Passengers also can try out two small salt rooms encrusted with layers of salt crystals, said to improve respiratory problems and skin ailments, located in the thermal suite.
Vibe Beach Club serves as Breakaway's true adults-only space. The fee to use Vibe includes water spritzers, chilled towels and fruit skewers. Passengers can purchase a daily pass or weekly pass for Vibe.