The Breakaway is one of the larger ships in the NCL fleet. She is capable of holding 4,800 passengers and about 1,700 staff. On our cruise, she had about 4,000 passengers. The ship has 16 main decks, and two above that are partial decks used for specific activities such as sunbathing and the sports deck.
This ship has excellent handicap access. There are public bathrooms throughout the public areas that have power activated doors. Additionally, the staff was always accommodating with my wife. In the restaurants, they would always find a place to put her chair that was close but out of the way. One night, in the Manhattan room, we ate later and at the very aft end. Leaving the area was a challenge as there were chairs in the way. The waiter pushed my wife while I moved chairs.
The ship has two areas with elevators, a total of 16 elevators, in aft elevator section, 4 out of the eight go-to deck 16, and the same in the forward area. The elevators are labeled with the decks you can access with them. Some areas can become bottlenecks around the elevators at peak times. The elevators are forward and aft, but they are closer to the center of the ship than the ends.
One thing to keep in mind is that the easier ways to move from forward to aft on the ship are on decks 6, 7, 8, 15, and 16. These decks have natural traffic flows, and 15 and 16 are the least restricted. On the other decks, you have to walk down the narrow hallways to move from stern (aft, back) to the bow (forward) areas of the ships. Deck 6 and 7 seem to stay the busiest. Deck 6 has all of the guest services, shore excursion, and administrative desks, so there are usually quite a few people there, and the atrium is there as well with a two-story TV screen and quite a few scheduled activities.
Deck 6 has two of the MDRs, Taste and Savor at the aft end. The dining rooms are a mirror of each other, and they offer great ocean views. The dining rooms are broken up into numerous smaller areas, so they seem intimate, and the noise levels are held down. Moving forward on deck six, you will encounter the comedy club Headliners, and on the opposite side of the ship, you will see Le Bistro, one of the specialty dining venues serving French food. Moving just forward of Headliners, you will find Teppanyaki, which is a traditional Japanese steakhouse and is another of the specialty restaurants.
Entrance to Le Bistro
Continuing forward, you will run into the Atrium and all the service desks. Past that, you enter the art gallery area, and they have some interesting pieces on display, and these will be available for purchase at auctions on board. The library and card room are off to one side and the internet café on the other side of the ship. At the very forward end, there is lower-level access into the theater and the Spiegel House, where they hold different activities, including an escape room, live entertainment, and the Latitudes party.
Starting at the aft end again, on deck 7, you have the Manhattan room, one of the MDR choices. This dining room has a dance floor and live music every evening. Moving forward, you run into the casino. The casino area is the area where you will most often smell cigarette smoke. They have a smoking area, but the airflow is not well controlled, and thus, the smoke is very noticeable. You next reach the atrium area, around which is O’Sheehan’s, an Irish Pub styled venue. At the bar, they have a limited food service menu, and in the main restaurant, it has a more extensive menu featuring fajitas, nachos, burgers, sandwiches, and fish and chips. At the forward end of the ship, you have the upper theater entrance.
On deck eight starting at the aft end again, you have Cagney’s and Moderno’s restaurants, these are specialty dining venues with an associated charge. Cagney’s is a steak house, and the menu prices are ala carte. Moderno’s is a Brazilian Steakhouse at sea, and they have a delicious salad bar as well as all the meat you can eat. On sea days, Moderno’s has a free themed buffet that is not usually crowded, and eating outside on Waterfront is superb in beautiful weather. Both of these restaurants have excellent reviews, and we did not try either of them. Continuing forward, you have several bars and smaller venues, including Syd Norman’s Pour House which was a favorite of ours, the rock band there was excellent and put on a great show. You will also find Ocean Blue, Shanghai’s Noodle House, and La Cucina in that area. Shanghai is a free venue serving noodles and noodle soups; you do need to make a reservation to eat at Shanghai’s. La Cucina is one of the specialty dining options and features Italian food. Still farther forward is Ocean Blue, which is a seafood restaurant.
Deck 15 is the pool deck and starting at the aft end again; there is the Garden Buffet, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are theme menus every day, and you can see those listed in our daily reviews. In the afternoon between 3 and 5, they serve a traditional tea service, and during this time, they have cold fruit soups available, which I highly recommend. There is a climbing wall, and also access to the water slides are on this deck. The pool areas are mid-ship with one pool dedicated to the children, and then a pool for adults. There are also four hot tubs in the pool area and a bandstand where the ship’s band usually plays for sail away. This deck also has an abundance of deck chairs.
Deck 16 is the home of Spice H2O, which is an adults-only venue with a large screen TV, plentiful lounges, and two hot tubs. Forward of this is the arcade, and Margaretville, which is a dual-use venue. At lunch, there is a $14.95 surcharge to eat there, which includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. In the mornings, it is a free venue for breakfast. The jogging track is on deck 16, as well. At the very forward end of deck 16, there is access to an area where you can relax and watch the view over the bow of the ship. This area can be breezy and is partially protected by Plexiglas. Deck 16 is also home to the Vibe beach club. This area requires an extra fee pass, and those passes are limited in number. There are cabanas, a separate bar, and snack bar and hot tubs for those willing to pay extra for the privacy this area provides.
Deck 17 aft is home to the sports deck, the miniature golf course, and access to the ropes course and basketball court. Deck 17 mid-ship also has an area filled with deck chairs and loungers for those that want to sunbathe.