Although it sounds like a book about Norway’s declaration of independence (which was actually a dissolution of its union with Sweden in 1905), the Norwegian Breakaway is in fact a cruise ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet with regular departures from New York, all year long. From May to September, it sails to Bermuda, and from October to April it sails to Florida and the Bahamas. It is the newest ship in the NCL fleet, having been built in 2013, although the Norwegian Getaway, which is in the same class as the Norwegian Breakaway (the Breakaway Class), will be put into service soon. Below you will find some basic information about this ship, which as a new ship has garnered lots of attention. Huge new cruise ships like the Norwegian Breakaway aren’t built every day, after all, and the introduction of a new vessel to a fleet can fundamentally alter a cruise line.
To begin, we have a couple of linguistic points to make about the name “Norwegian Breakaway.” The “Norwegian” part is certainly fine (every ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line, save one – Pride of America – starts with “Norwegian”), but the word “breakaway” is a little questionable. The term could potentially conjure up thoughts of ship disasters (if a part of a ship breaks away, or the ship breaks apart, something terrible has happened), which is presumably one of the last things NCL wants on a potential customer’s mind. Obviously, this isn’t what the cruise line is aiming for – they presumably want you to think of breaking away from it all to go on a cruise, or something like that – and unfortunate mental connections are not inevitable, but still. (For what it’s worth, the name of the ship was actually the result of a public contest, but the company still ultimately chose to take it, obviously.)
The other linguistic issue we have with the ship’s name is that it is (and will become even more) confusing. The reason for this is that NCL is building another ship that is simply called “Breakaway.” In addition to breaking away from NCL tradition by forgoing the “Norwegian” part of its name (a la Pride of America), the Breakaway will obviously be extremely easy to confuse with the Norwegian Breakaway. Indeed, many people simply call a ship by its second name, so essentially two ships will have the same name. The Breakaway will be in its own class, although this might even further complicate matters because this class is called the “Breakaway Plus,” and the only other ship that will be in this class is the yet-to-be-built Breakaway Plus. So, there are (or will be) ships called “Norwegian Breakaway,” “Breakaway,” and “Breakaway Plus,” and they will be in the classes “Breakaway” and “Breakaway Plus.” A little more diversification of names might be helpful.
The name aside, what can be said of the Norwegian Breakaway itself? First, it’s quite big, being nearly the size of the NCL fleet’s largest ship, Norwegian Epic, a ship with many notable features. Its Gross Register Tonnage is only about 10,000 less than the Epic’s, and it holds nearly as many people (4,028 vs. the Epic’s 4,100). It is also slightly shorter and can accommodate fewer crew members, but these are the types of things that you don’t really notice on a huge cruise ship. It has all the features you would expect of a large new cruise ship (a casino, sports complex, lots of live entertainment options, more restaurants and bars than you’ll have time to visit, etc.), and as with all Norwegian cruises, your schedule on board will be almost entirely self-determined, thanks to the cruise line’s “Freestyle Cruising” philosophy. (There are no set dining times, no set table numbers, or anything else of that nature.)
That is, as promised, some basic information about the Norwegian Breakaway. Despite its somewhat unfortunate name, there is of course nothing wrong with the ship itself. If you’re into NCL cruises and you want to take a nice vacation out of New York, don’t overlook a trip on the Norwegian Breakaway.