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Norwegian Breakaway vs. Royal Princess

Dan Askin

Last updated
Sep 21, 2017

Norwegian Breakaway and Royal Princess are two first-in-class ships, which both debuted in 2013. How do they compare? We've compiled info on the cabins, dining, bars, sun deck and entertainment options in a handy chart. See what these two very different ships bring to the seas.

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Royal Princess

Norwegian Breakaway

Stats & Bio

Royal Princess, the first of two 141,000-ton, 3,600-passenger ships, debuted in June 2013. The cruise ship, which is 20 percent larger than Princess' next biggest ships, represents more of an evolution for a line with at least a few toes still in the classic cruise camp. Princess Signatures like the Piazza, a gold-and-marble-swathed hub offering restaurants, bars and entertainment, are back -- but are more robust than ever. Ditto for the line's pioneering Movies Under the Stars option, its classic show lounges and its adults-only Sanctuary, which has expanded and added an adjacent kid-free pool. But Royal boasts a handful of novel touches, too, like the SeaWalk & SeaView Bar, cantilevered, glass-enclosed spaces that extend 28 feet over each side of the ship and dangle 128 feet over the water. Other additions: cruising's first "live television studio"; private for-fee poolside cabanas; a poolside nightclub; and a fondue dining option.

Starting with the trippy Peter Max hull, there's nothing subtle about the NYC-themed Norwegian Breakaway. Breakaway represents a blend of Jewel-class and Norwegian Epic elements -- with a twist. That means an (almost) industry-leading array of dining options from Chinese noodles to upscale French, colorful bars (Ice Bar) and entertainment ("Rock of Ages"), and a boisterous sun deck featuring five waterslides. NCL's ship-within-a-ship suite concept, The Haven, and solo cabin enclave are back. (One thing that won't make an encore? The controversial see-through cabin bathrooms.) But the ship's rapidly beating heart can be found in two symbiotic spaces. The Waterfront, a quarter-mile-long outdoor "boardwalk" dotted with restaurants and bars, connects to 678 Ocean Place, a stretched-out (instead of up) atrium running the length of the ship. 678 houses restaurants, bars, the casino and shops.


Added-cost venues include the Ocean Terrace, a seafood bar serving sushi, ceviche and caviar; a gelateria; certain buffet options (a "crab shack" station offering fried seafood, and a fondue dispensary); and two Princess signatures, Crown Grill, serving steaks and chops ($25), and Sabatini's, a family-style Northern Italian venue ($20). A "Chef's Table" option, during which an executive chef cooks dinner and explains technique to a small group of passengers, is also offered ($95, includes wine). Royal Princess' version, called "Chef's Table Lumiere," adds a "curtain of light," which creates a private, softly lit space in the center of the dining room. Additionally, new private dining spaces inspired by wine cellars have been integrated in the main dining room.

Added-cost venues include Ocean Blu, a four-in-one seafood venue designed by celebri-chef Geoffrey Zakarian serving a traditional menu, raw bar, sushi option and takeaway menu. The line also debuted its first gelato shop and first pastry venue, Cakestand. Additionally, a bevvy of for-fee options found on other NCL ships are back. These include Moderno, a Brazilian-style churrascaria ($19.95); Cagney's, NCL's signature steakhouse ($29.95); La Cucina, its Italian restaurant ($14.95); Le Bistro, serving French cuisine ($19.95); Teppanyaki, a Japanese steakhouse a la Benihana ($25); Wasabi, for sushi (a la carte); and a Chef's Table option (multi-course meal presented by a head chef for $99 per person). Twenty-four hour pizza delivery has an added fee, too.



Sun Deck


Royal Princess features the fleet's largest Princess Theater, which showcases classic song-and-dance revues and musicians. The Vista Lounge functions as an alternate evening performance venue (think comedians, dance bands and such). The multi-use Piazza offers impromptu, street fair-style mini-shows (juggling, music). The ship also debuted a new entertainment concept for the line, called Princess Live! With seating for 280 passengers, the space is a television studio that doubles as a more intimate performance venue. Royal's "The Wake Show" broadcasts daily from here with a live studio audience. Game shows, cooking demos, art house films, enrichment programming, murder mystery and trivia games, and acoustic and smaller-scale performances by the ship's musicians also take place here.

As it did with Epic (Blue Man Group), NCL is focusing on big-name acts. Tony Award-nominated musical "Rock of Ages" headlines the entertainment lineup, and two other versions of Broadway shows -- "Burn the Floor" and "Cirque Dreams & Dinner Jungle Fantasy" -- are featured. Cirque Dreams & Dinner Jungle Fantasy has an entrance fee. Additionally, a handful of previously launched offerings are making an encore, including improv comedy troupe The Second City and rock 'n' roll dueling piano act Howl at the Moon, both of which debuted on Epic. Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club, another Epic debut, is also back. Similar to Epic's advance entertainment reservations system, select shows on Breakaway may be reserved starting 45 days prior to sailing.

<a href="">Breakaway vs. Royal Princess: Which of 2013's marquee new-builds would you prefer to sail?</a>

Publish date September 21, 2017
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