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Norwegian Breakaway

Below, Norwegian Breakaway sails away from the quay in her first ever port of call, Rotterdam, at the 28th of april 2013. Just three days earlier she had been delivered to Norwegian Cruise Line.

When Norwegian Cruise Line ordered a pair of gigantic cruiseliners in 2006, code-named the F-3 class (F is standing for Freestyle) they also had the option for a thirth ship in this same class. In fact, due to some problems that arose during building, only one was eventually built, named Norwegian Epic and she started service in 2010. The ships exteriours were to cruiseship fanatics a true disaster, so that only one of these ships was built was a small relief. But Norwegian Cruise Line still wanted to get the two large extra ships built, so at the 17th of august of 2011, the company ordered a class of two ships that were a little bit smaller then the originally planned 155.000 ton F-3 class and awarded the contract to the well-known yard of Jos L. Meyer in Papenburg, northern Germany. The original F-3 Norwegian Epic had been built at the French wharf Aker Yards at Saint Nazaire.

The first steel for the first of the new pair of ships was cut at the 21st of september 2011 and this took four minutes to cut by plasma-torch. Normally, we would say this day 'her keel was laid', but because of all changes within the shipbuilding industry of recent years, keel-laying is not exactly done anymore. The first steelcutting came instead of this, a symbolic event but also the true beginning for a new ship. The name for the ship was chosen out of a public contest named 'Norwegian cruising for names' in conjunction with the USA Today newspaper, where 230.000 names were put forward. On the 14th of september 2011, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced it would be Norwegian Breakaway, a name that was submitted by Kimberly Powell, from Lafayette, Louisiana. The sistership, then of course nowhere near building, would be named Norwegian Getaway, a name that had been submitted by a man named Dennis Hultman of Vienna, Virginia. NCL chose these names, because they felt these names reflected the innovation of the brand and the freedom and flexibility of the Freestyle concept. These ships will provide a 'break' at sea from the stress of everyday life, according to NCL. Breakaway will be a 'departure or break from routine or tradition' and getaway will mean 'a place where one escapes for relaxation, vacation etc.'.

Instead of the traditionally place for the name at the bow, the name of the Norwegian Breakaway is placed well aft of the bridge, so the bow and most forward part of the ship can be completely be used for the hull-art. This hull-art was designed by Peter Max, and his name is placed at the traditional position of the ships name. So no, this ship is not named 'Peter Max'... Below, a close-up bow view.

Norwegian Breakaway is 324 meters long, she is 39,7 meters wide and she has a draft of 8,30 meters. Some 4500 passengers can sail her, taken care of by 1600 crewmembers. The ship has eighteen decks and has a tonnage measurement of 144.017. She was built by Meyer Werft as yardnumber S.678 and her normal speed is 21,5 knots. She is registered at Nassau, the Bahamas. Like all modern cruiseships of the Norwegian Cruise Line, the hull-art applied to each ships give them their own personality. With Norwegian Breakaway, the company decided to incorporate her true homeport New York into her hullart, something a little like their Hawaii-based ship Pride Of Aloha, that is seen with a Hawaiian string of flowers. On Norwegian Breakaway, the New York skyline, the face of Lady Liberty and several stars, comets, planets and a big sun are present. This all was designed by Peter Max, who also has his name printed loud and clear on the ships bow.

Above, a total overview of her hull-art can be seen.

Of course Norwegian Breakaway has some special innovations in store for her passengers, like the largest aquapark and the largest rope course at sea. Also, in the ship's Spa there is the first salt room ever fitted onto a cruiseship. For a ship this size, an amazing 75% of the cabins are outside staterooms with their own balcony, a must-have aboard modern cruiseliners. Also, the ships offers several cabins especially designed and priced for solo travellers, something that has started with the Norwegian Epic. Of course there is also The Haven, NCL's courtyard group of suites, that is placed above the forward part of the superstructure with their own private restaurant, lounge, pool and sundeck. On Norwegian Epic's exteriours, this looks kinda awfull, but at the Norwegian Breakaway it has been blended in the ship's superstructure very well proportioned and never out of place. And when you ask the question or you'll ever be hungry or thirsty aboard, that is anwered by a 'no' as the ship has the largest amount of restaurants ever fitted onto a cruiseship untill then, 29 to be precise. Next to those, there are also 22 bars where you can fill your own interiours. 

The ship was delivered to Norwegian Cruise Line at the 25th of april 2013, after her succesfull trials at the North Sea from Bremerhaven, northern Germany. The ship then set sail from Bremerhaven to Rotterdam in The Netherlands, where she arrived in the early morning of the 28th of april. It was a very beautifull day when she arrived and when she departed in the early afternoon for Southampton, the quays at Rotterdam were lined with hundreds of people and at the cruiseterminal blue and white balloons were released from large balls at the quayside. Of course she recieved a fare-well with a watercurtain provided by the Rotterdam Port Authority.

From Southampton, the ship set sail for her transatlantic voyage to New York, where she was named at the 8th of may by The Rockettes, a group of six female entertainers from New York, still even more strenghtening the ties between the city and the ship. After the naming, The Rockettes performed aboard the ship so this looks like the first time that godmothers are truly present aboard for the passengers enjoyment. Also, they offered meet & greet sessions with the passengers and offer 'speaker series' in which the passengers can learn about the illustrious New York dance company that they are. There is a gallery dedicated to the group so when they are not aboard, passengers can still feel their presence. Norwegian Breakaway's true first cruise departed from the port of New York to Bermuda at the 12th of may, 2013. She is the largest cruiseship ever to be homeported year-round in New York, sailing these seven-night cruises to Bermuda untill october, when she will start sailing seven-night cruises from New York to the Bahamas and Florida between october and april 2014. Presumably, she will keep this scedule of cruises for the next years to come. When visiting New York, passengers of the ship can book an exclusive tour behind-the-scenes of the Radio City Music Hall, the homeground for The Rockettes. For the occation, Norwegian Cruise Line offer a year-round display in the Radio City Music Hall's lounge, where an 11-foot model of the ship will be one of the centerpieces.

The largest ship that was ever built in The Netherlands, the 1958-built Rotterdam to the right, and one of the largest cruiseships that ever visited The Netherlands, Norwegian Breakaway in the distance at the left.

Several incidents already occured aboard the ship during its short carreer. On the 17th of september 2013, a 59-year old woman fell of the balcony from her cabin at deck 10 onto deck 8 while the ship was at Bermuda. She was transported off the ship by pilot boat while the ship made an unsceduled stop at the southern part of the island but luckily, she only broke some ribs. A few months later, in february 2014, two brothers from Brooklyn, New York, aged 4 and 6-years old, fell into the pool of the ship. Sadly, the youngest brother, Dante Curtis, drowned and only his older brother survived and was flown to the nearest hospital by helicopter.

At the 4th of may 2014, due to a malfunctioning thruster, the ship got stuck in the Hudson river before docking at her New York pier 88. Annoyed passengers got a little edgy while waiting untill the tugboats arrived to pull the ship alongside several hours later. It was reported that passengers screamed and pushed each other and small fights broke out. It is sad people nowadays get so easily frustrated and take for granted that everything runs smoothly. We have to remember that a ship is a mechanical object and mechanics can fail so now and then. Of course it is a pity when you have to wait longer then you want, but I can imagine myself heading to one of the many bars aboard and have a drink while waiting, instead of shouting or annoying others. It would be annoying when NCL added to the cruisefare because of the longer time people spent aboard, but to my knowledge, they did not charge that time.

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