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Norwegian's Breakaway Plus-Class Cruise Ships

Norwegian Joy (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)
Norwegian Joy (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

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Cruisers on the go want a ship that's as high-energy as they are. Enter Norwegian's Breakaway Plus-Class ships. Carrying about 4,000 passengers apiece, the four ships in this class mimic small cities that offer tons of outdoor activities, restaurant choices and nighttime entertainment options so a cruiser can tailor their experience exactly how they please.

There are significant differences between the first Breakaway Plus-class ship (launched in 2015) and the latter ships (the last debuted in 2019), so cruisers should do their research before making a decision.

Updated September 5, 2019

Breakaway Plus-Class Ships

  • Norwegian Bliss
  • Norwegian Encore
  • Norwegian Escape
  • Norwegian Joy

Breakaway Plus-Class Amenities

Like their Breakaway-class fleetmates, the Breakaway Plus-class ships are overflowing with active pursuits, entertainment, dining and cabin choices, with the newest ships offering the largest variety.

Each ship within the class has a large water park, pool and hot tubs, mini-golf course and outdoor Waterfront area with space for outdoor dining at several venues. Most also have a large outdoor electric go-kart race track and laser tag arena, and some also have an indoor virtual reality arcade, ropes course and duckpin bowling lanes.

All Breakaway Plus-class ships have Broadway entertainment in the main theater, along with more traditional song-and-dance revues. All have a comedy club that doubles as a theater for alcohol-inclusive cabaret-style shows.

Cagney’s Steakhouse on Norwegian Bliss (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

When it comes to food and beverage options, all Breakaway Plus-class ships have a minimum of 20 venues, including three main dining rooms, two complimentary alternative eateries and some of the line's most popular specialty restaurants and bars. These include Food Republic, Cagney's Steakhouse, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville at Sea, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, District Brew House, Sugarcane Mojito Bar and Cellars Wine Bar.

Additionally, the Breakaway Plus-class ships have the largest The Haven suite enclaves in the fleet. Three of the four ships spread The Haven across two decks, with about 80 suites inside. The area also includes a large lounge -- on three ships, it's a massive observation lounge with gorgeous forward views -- as well as a restaurant, covered pool deck and outdoor sun deck.

Three of the four Breakaway Plus-class ships also have the line's popular Studio cabins sized and priced specifically for solo cruisers, along with the accompanying Studio Lounge. 

Differences Among Ships Within the Breakaway Plus Class

There are more differences among Norwegian's Breakaway Plus-class ships than within any other Norwegian ship class. The first ship, Norwegian Escape, is more similar to the Breakaway-class ships than to its Breakaway Plus classmates.

Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore all follow a similar design pattern and feature a massive -- and gorgeous -- Observation Lounge at the front of the ship. They have go-kart racing tracks, a top-deck laser tag arena and a popular comedy club. Additionally, Joy and Encore have the Galaxy Pavilion, a large virtual reality arcade with dozens of VR experiences that include car racing, crazy Jeep rides, hang-gliding and 4D cinemas in which you shoot up zombies or aliens.

Norwegian Escape, on the other hand, has the same layout as Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. Instead of go-karts, laser tag and VR games, it has a low-tech ropes course and two-lane duckpin bowling.

Los Lobos on Norwegian Bliss (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

The selection of eateries onboard also varies. In addition to the restaurants mentioned above, only Norwegian Escape has Moderno Churrascaria and the Pincho Tapas Bar, and only Norwegian Encore has Onda by Scarpetta. Norwegian Joy, Bliss and Encore all have Q (a barbecue joint) and Los Lobos. Norwegian Bliss, Joy and Escape have the seafood specialty venue Ocean Blue; the equivalent venue on Escape is called Bayamo by Ocean Blue and features a different menu.

Entertainment is fairly standard across the class, though Norwegian Escape is the only one of the four to not have a Cavern Club with a resident Beatles tribute band. All of the Breakaway Plus-class vessels have Broadway shows: Norwegian Escape has "After Midnight"; Norwegian Joy has "Footloose"; Norwegian Bliss has "Jersey Boys"; and Norwegian Encore has "Kinky Boots."

Other differences can be found among the accommodations onboard. Only Norwegian Joy has "Concierge" rooms, which are larger than standard rooms but less expensive than Haven suites. These cabins have bathrooms with tubs and come with dedicated concierge service and access to an exclusive venue for breakfast and lunch.

Finally, The Haven on Norwegian Bliss, Joy and Encore is up to twice the size of The Haven on Norwegian Escape, giving suite passengers not only more cabin choices but also a larger pool deck, lounge and restaurant.

Best For

Norwegian's Breakaway Plus Class is perfect for high-energy cruisers looking to pack as much as possible into a one-week vacation. With loads of fun activities, a wide choice of dining venues and cuisine styles, and enough entertainment to suit everyone's tastes, these four ships are bursting with stuff to do. While someone looking for a laid-back cruise can probably find a quiet spot on the ship (in the Observation Lounge or large thermal suite, for instance), these are not really the right ships for a restful break.

Cruisers who prefer staying in a suite and want a high level of accompanying perks will love The Haven offerings on the three newest Breakaway Plus-class ships, while solo travelers looking to make friends will enjoy the Studios and Studio Lounge on all four ships.

Budget cruisers should avoid the Breakaway Plus ships, as they command the highest prices in the Norwegian fleet. These ships are also chock full of extra-fee attractions, including most dining venues, go-karts and laser tag.

Additionally, cruisers who prefer to be laissez-faire about planning their vacations might not enjoy a cruise on these ships, as they require lots of pre-planning and advance registrations. Cruisers who haven't made a reservation for the Broadway show or go-karts by the second day of their cruise may find themselves locked out for the rest of the sailing.

To learn about other Norwegian Cruise Line ship classes, see Norwegian Cruise Line Ship Classes.

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