Norwegian Breakaway is this week’s newest cruise ship – it will be bringing a slice of the Big Apple to Britain on Monday before heading to its home base in New York for a naming ceremony on May 8.
Handed over to Norwegian Cruise Line yesterday by builders Meyer-Werft, the ship arrived in Rotterdam this morning. I’ll be boarding on Sunday for the overnight crossing to Southampton.
The £520 million vessel, which carries 4,000 passengers, has giant images of some of New York’s iconic landmarks painted on the hull in a design created by pop artist Peter Max.
Among its attractions, Breakaway boasts the fastest and steepest waterslide at sea; passengers braving Free Fall will hit speeds of 40 mph before splashdown. The ship’s aqua park also contains a side-by-side twister slide and a kids’ area featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and his pals from Bikini Bottom.
Holidaymakers looking to appease their appetites can choose from a clutch of venues on the 400-metre-long Waterfront promenade, which is home to Cagney’s Steakhouse, La Cucina Italian restaurant, and fine dining from Geoffrey Zakarian, star of American TV’s Iron Chef.
The ship’s entertainment includes three live Broadway shows, headed by the musical Rock of Ages, and also featuring Cirque Dreams and Jungle Dinner Fantasy for those who like their appetisers to be served with accompanying acrobats.
The ship has a 2,000 square metre Mandara Spa containing the first-ever Salt Room at sea – a dramatic grotto surrounded by layers of crystal salt which is claimed to be beneficial for respiratory and skin ailments.
As well as Zumba classes and spin sessions, guests will also get the chance to take part in fitness classes devised for the Rockettes.
And away from all the hectic activity, passengers in the first-class Garden Villas will relax in their own Haven complex, with 24-hour butler service, private sunbathing, bar and restaurants.
While the ship is in Southampton, Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds will inaugurate the Aqua Park and become the first Brit to swim in the pool. She will be joined by former Olympic swimmer Chris Cook, who is representing Breakaway’s charity partner, Just a Drop, which champions clean, safe water in communities throughout the world.
Donations made through the partner website will go towards a special Breakaway Water Project, which will help bring clean water to a village in Africa.
Ellie said: “I am so excited to be involved with the launch of Norwegian Breakaway and support the Breakaway Water Project. As a swimmer, I love being around water and the way that the ship has been designed gives such a great sense of place. I can’t wait to see the ocean facing Waterfront and five slide Aqua Park.”
Francis Riley, vice president and general manager international of Norwegian Cruise Line added: “We are so thrilled to have Ellie on board to launch the ship to the UK market. We are honoured that she will be first in the pool! She is an inspirational role model for people across all ages and we are looking forward to giving her a taste of our famous Norwegian Cruise Line hospitality.”
Norwegian Breakaway will sail year-round from New York, on cruises to Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.
My thanks to fellow cruise blogger Kreuzfahrblog for the videos shown below:

Surprise! Coffee-making facilities in the cabin

Bit of a stretch: Breakaway’s ropes course

Ready for refreshment: The Uptown Bar & Grill