This 3,969-passenger ship has a distinctive New York accent. It's the largest ship to homeport in Manhattan year-round, and Big Apple references abound, including in the colorful hull design — by pop artist Peter Max — which features the Statue of Liberty and other city landmarks.
This mainstream ship offers lots of choices: Norwegian Breakaway has 18 bars and lounges and more than two dozen eateries, including complimentary New York hot dogs from carts, and cannoli and cheesecakes (for a fee) from TV's "Cake Boss." Now if only we could get a proper bagel ... then again, New Yorkers complain that can be hard to do in Manhattan, too.
What We Love
The Svedka and Inniskillin Ice Bar: You put on a loaner parka and gloves and enter for your window of time in the well-chilled room. While there, you can drink ice-cold vodka and cocktails made with ice wine, and admire ice sculptures of such landmarks as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chrysler Building.
Diverse Entertainment: This ship has a lot of great ways to spend an evening: Rock out at the raunchy Broadway show "Rock of Ages," catch a jungle-themed "Cirque Dreams" dinner theater show, watch sexy ballroom dancing performed on stage and in The Manhattan Room dining room, and watch first-rate blues and comedy acts in the clubs.
Best Known For
Outdoor Thrills: Five water slides let you twist and plunge down toward the ship, at speeds of up to 33 mph. At the huge ropes course, you can harness up to do more than 40 activities, including walking The Plank, which takes you 8 feet off the side of the ship, and many feet above the sea.
The Waterfront: The ship's distinctive design feature is this extra-wide, quarter-mile promenade lined with restaurants, where you can hang out in the sea air and watch the ocean. Our favorite space: a seafood shack that serves up lobster rolls.
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Who It's Best For
Active Types: This is a good fit for everyone from 20-somethings to seniors. It's best for those who like their cruise vacation casual and action-packed and don't mind being part of a crowd.
Families: Kids are well entertained in the big Splash Academy play area, and teens get their own lounge.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There Are Lots of Extras: With pay-as-you-go temptations, including gelato, Brooklyn Lager, and specialty restaurants such as the seafood-focused Ocean Blue, you'll want to keep close track of your onboard tab.
The Weather Might Not Be Ideal: When cruising from New York to the Caribbean in winter, you may have to wait until the ship gets considerably south to use the outdoor attractions.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
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Norwegian Breakaway at a Glance
- Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
- Class: Breakaway
- Number of Passengers: 3969
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2013