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Norwegian launches newest Megaliner

Norwegian Breakaway, courtesy NCL

In May, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) introduced the newest megaliner to the world of ocean cruising with the launch of its ship Breakaway in New York. At the company’s invitation, I joined thousands of travel agents, tour operators, journalists and industry VIPs on one of two two-day inaugural sailings to explore the new vessel.

My wife joined me for the weekend excursion, and we were immediately impressed with the Breakaway’s many innovations. Perhaps most significant is the Waterfront, an outdoor thoroughfare that surrounds the exterior of deck eight. Many of the ship’s restaurants and bars are located on that deck, and they feature outdoor sections that open up to the Waterfront. Guests can take a stroll to enjoy the open breeze and stop for an al fresco dinner or drink at any of eight restaurants and lounges that open onto that space. The Waterfront also features an a la carte gelato stand and bakery.

The Breakaway represents NCL’s next step in its “freestyle cruising” concept. The ship has 27 onboard dining options for passengers. Several — such as the primary buffet and three main dining rooms — are included in the price of the cruise; many others are specialty restaurants with a separate cover charge. The most notable of those establishments is Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian. A popular New York restaurateur and Food Network personality, Zakarian oversaw the development of the high-end seafood restaurant himself, going so far as to create the menus and choose the seafood purveyors from among the most trusted in New York.