Breakfast in the buffet restaurant, Garden Cafe, was mediocre; a sit-down version at Savor, one of the complimentary dining rooms, was only slightly better. Also free, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar serves standard pub fare and the elegant Manhattan Room did nothing to raise the culinary bar.
Of the 28 dining options, 11 are complimentary; the others, including French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian fare, are priced a la carte or range from $15 to $49.
Also new on Breakaway are Dolce Gelato, which opens up onto the Waterfront, and the neighboring Carlo’s Bake Shop from Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro. The closet-sized bakery, offering cupcakes, made-to-order cakes, cannoli and other goodies, drew long lines even during a preview cruise. Both dessert spaces charge an extra fee; the cruise line has not announced whether they will return on the Getaway.
Like other ships from Norwegian Cruise Line, which pioneered the concept of “Freestyle Cruising,” Breakaway has multiple specialty bars and venues, including an ice bar, whiskey bar, cigar lounge and cocktail bar.
While the food itself earned few raves, service on the inaugural cruise was for the most part fantastic: attentive, efficient and cheerful.
And some service didn’t even require a human. Norwegian Cruise Line rolled out new touchscreen systems throughout the ship that show availability for restaurants, entertainment and shore excursions — and allow passengers to make reservations right there.
Befitting a New York ship, the biggest entertainment draws all have ties to the Great White Way. Ballroom dance show Burn the Floor and Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy both had Broadway runs. On the ship, Burn the Floor appears for six performances over three nights in the main theater, with dancers giving previews on three other nights in the Manhattan Room. Cirque Dreams & Dinner Jungle Fantasty, with acrobats, aerialists and other performers, takes the form of a dinner show in a Spiegel Tent for 12 performances, priced at $29-$39 per person until late July. As of July 21, all seats will cost $39.99. (Getaway will feature a different venue with a magician.)
And the ’80s homage Rock of Ages, which is still on Broadway, is performed six times over three nights during a cruise. While the adult language and sexual innuendo might be too edgy for some passengers, the show’s quality rivals touring productions and earned huge applause (and some singing along) during a preview cruise. The intimacy of a 750-seat venue works well for the musical.
Burn the Floor, with a Latin dance flair, will also be on Getaway, and Legally Blonde: The Musical will replace Rock of Ages on the Miami-based ship.
On Breakaway, other some familiar entertainment options remain, including The Headliners Comedy Club with Second City performers (the venue also hosts the dueling piano show Howl at the Moon); Bliss Ultra Lounge and the popular Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club.
A modest fireworks display (with pyrotechnics shot straight off the boat) will take place once during every cruise in the Spice H20 area. As on some other Norwegian ships, there is a bowling alley, but the two lanes are small and cost $5 a person.
Young kids will find Nickelodeon-themed shows and activities and a pool area just for them. A two-story youth center is broken into sections for children ages 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12, while the Entourage Teen Lounge has its own club-like space. (For teens who tire of video games and the photo booth, there’s also a telescope for gazing.)