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blueslily

What is the Best Breakaway Class NCL Ship?

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Hello all,

 

This might be a broad question, but what is your favorite Breakaway class ship and why? I used to  cruise more around 7 or 8 years ago. I moved and my family was focusing on taking care of my ill grandfather. Then in recent years, I started traveling again but it was mainly land trips. My family will be on the Epic this fall for a Western Med sailing. I would love to sail on a Breakaway cruise next year, 2020. I will be traveling solo. Ususally I choose a cruise based on destination and cost.  and I prefer port intensive itineraries. This time, I want to consider the ship more since so much has changed since I was crusing years ago. I have read a lot of CC threads about the Epic the past few weeks as I prepare for our cruise out of Barcelona. So I feel like I know a lot about the Epic. That ship is a bit different, like the fun bathrooms, hahaha. So, I want to know more about the Breakaway ships? I read about some of changes like the sundecks that are not favorable, like reducing the open sundeck. Please share from your experiences some of the differences and some of your preferneces. I definitely want a Waterfront, nice thermal spa, and access to front of the ship sundeck or observation lounge that is open to everyone since I wont be in the Haven.

😁

 

Thanks! 

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Breakaway Class = Breakaway & Getaway

Breakaway Plus Class = Escape, Joy, Bliss, & Encore

 

All 6 have a Waterfront. All except Joy have a Spa that is either at the front (BA/GA/Escape) or all the way aft (Bliss/Encore). For front "open to all" sundeck, you have to pay attention. It used to be BA, GA, and Escape but Getaway recently lost the free forward-facing sundeck for all. If/when others lose theirs is unknown. Forward observation lounge for all would be Joy, Bliss, & Encore.

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Escape. Just seems the cleanest, best food, good entertainment, has Food Republic. I think its main problem is the disembarkation death march that seems to follow it from port to port. 

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We like the Escape. The Supper Club (vs. Q) is another dining and entertainment venue. Bayamo is smaller, but you get Pincho Tapas which we really like. 

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I preferred Breakaway to the Escape but I suppose that could be rather subjective as there was a 2 year gap between when I sailed. I found the Escape much more crowded which while the Escape does have a larger capacity could be due more to how full each individual sailing was when I took them, I have no idea. Most of the downsides of Escape had to do with the amount of people on board so I suppose given I don't know how full one sailing was V the other isn't a fair comparison. Many of the smaller changes or cut backs most likely would be fleet wide so would have been noticed all the same on a second sailing of Breakaway years later. That said if all else were the same and I could chose Breakaway or Escape I would chose Breakaway. 

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Everyone - thanks for your responsez.

 

Does anyobe know if a drydock has been scheduled for the Escape?  If the dreaded changes to the open sundeck are planned for Escape like they did on thr Getaway, I would want to cruise on the Escape before the drydock. Thanks

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7 hours ago, Two Wheels Only said:

Breakaway Class = Breakaway & Getaway

Breakaway Plus Class = Escape, Joy, Bliss, & Encore

 

All 6 have a Waterfront. All except Joy have a Spa that is either at the front (BA/GA/Escape) or all the way aft (Bliss/Encore). For front "open to all" sundeck, you have to pay attention. It used to be BA, GA, and Escape but Getaway recently lost the free forward-facing sundeck for all. If/when others lose theirs is unknown. Forward observation lounge for all would be Joy, Bliss, & Encore.

 

What is the difference bertween the Breakaway versuz the Breakaway Plus?  Is it just that the later shipz are bigger or something else also?

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3 hours ago, perditax said:

Escape. Just seems the cleanest, best food, good entertainment, has Food Republic. I think its main problem is the disembarkation death march that seems to follow it from port to port. 

 

 

What is the death march?

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22 minutes ago, blueslily said:

Everyone - thanks for your responsez.

 

Does anyobe know if a drydock has been scheduled for the Escape?  If the dreaded changes to the open sundeck are planned for Escape like they did on thr Getaway, I would want to cruise on the Escape before the drydock. Thanks

Dry Dock after Her Transatlantic Spring 2020.

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2 hours ago, blueslily said:

 

What is the difference bertween the Breakaway versuz the Breakaway Plus?  Is it just that the later shipz are bigger or something else also?

 

The BA Plus ships are longer, wider, taller, etc. The standard side balconies are tiny on BA/GA but the Plus class has standard side balconies that are useful. The BA Plus aft-facing balconies are generally less deep than BA/GA (depth varies by deck).

 

3/4 of BA Plus ships have go karts while BA/GA/Escape do not. The Observation Lounges created other differences such as the elimination of the 4 Owner's Suites that Escape has and the loss of 2 of the 4 Deluxe Owner's Suites that Escape has.

 

All 6 ships are very similar as far as elevator banks and the location of things. The Garden Cafe and Spa (not Joy) locations vary based on if there is an Observation Lounge. Spice H2O is on the aft sundeck except for Encore. There are also some different restaurants, shows, waterslides, etc. so each ship is familiar yet different enough to want to try more than one. That's one of the reasons that NCL shuffles the ships around, IMO.

Edited by Two Wheels Only

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3 hours ago, blueslily said:

 

What is the difference bertween the Breakaway versuz the Breakaway Plus?  Is it just that the later shipz are bigger or something else also?

Ba and ga have no district brew house and no food republic. But they have Shanghai’s as an other included dining option. 

 

I liked escape most. District brew house Is a great place not only because of the beer. But it is a great place to sit inside and enjoy the ocean view. Also ba/ ga/ escape has howl at the moon what I like. 

 

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4 hours ago, blueslily said:

 

 

What is the death march?

 

During disembark, you will frequently end up standing in a queue that winds around the entire ship (on deck 7, I believe). Sometimes it can take an hour or two to disembark. All elevators will be jam packed at this time, so if you’re doing self walkoff you’d better be able to carry your suitcases up and down stairs. I usually see this blamed on the number of customs/immigration officials available, but I’ve never seen it happen so badly as on Escape in Miami, and apparently it’s the same now that Escape is in NY. 

 

I’ve more or less walked off every other ship I’ve been on (including GA, on my first cruise ever, and RC’s monster Oasis). 

Edited by perditax

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41 minutes ago, perditax said:

During disembark, you will frequently end up standing in a queue that winds around the entire ship (on deck 7, I believe). Sometimes it can take an hour or two to disembark. All elevators will be jam packed at this time, so if you’re doing self walkoff you’d better be able to carry your suitcases up and down stairs. I usually see this blamed on the number of customs/immigration officials available, but I’ve never seen it happen so badly as on Escape in Miami, and apparently it’s the same now that Escape is in NY. 

That's funny, hour and a half-2 hour line from heck I experienced on the Breakaway when I opted for their standard-bags removed for you option. I did not want to repeat that on Escape so we did walk off with bags even though we were on the 12th floor, luckily we were able to get an elevator, though were surprised they were not running any dedicated elevators to disembark level like they did while in Bermuda. Time from in the room to in the car was under 30 minutes. As Escape seemed much more crowded I imagined that march was somehow going to be even worse.

 

After talking to friends and reading more about it here seemed we just lucked out and it's a crap shoot no matter the ship, no matter the time, no matter the method. 

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14 hours ago, blueslily said:

Hello all,

 

This might be a broad question, but what is your favorite Breakaway class ship and why? I used to  cruise more around 7 or 8 years ago. I moved and my family was focusing on taking care of my ill grandfather. Then in recent years, I started traveling again but it was mainly land trips. My family will be on the Epic this fall for a Western Med sailing. I would love to sail on a Breakaway cruise next year, 2020. I will be traveling solo. Ususally I choose a cruise based on destination and cost.  and I prefer port intensive itineraries. This time, I want to consider the ship more since so much has changed since I was crusing years ago. I have read a lot of CC threads about the Epic the past few weeks as I prepare for our cruise out of Barcelona. So I feel like I know a lot about the Epic. That ship is a bit different, like the fun bathrooms, hahaha. So, I want to know more about the Breakaway ships? I read about some of changes like the sundecks that are not favorable, like reducing the open sundeck. Please share from your experiences some of the differences and some of your preferneces. I definitely want a Waterfront, nice thermal spa, and access to front of the ship sundeck or observation lounge that is open to everyone since I wont be in the Haven.

😁

 

Thanks! 

Best is pretty subjective. We have been on the Breakaway and Getaway: almost identical but he Getaway is just a tad better. I don't know why and again, this is my opinion. 

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34 minutes ago, newmexicoNita said:

Best is pretty subjective. We have been on the Breakaway and Getaway: almost identical but he Getaway is just a tad better. I don't know why and again, this is my opinion. 

 

Yes, Im totally aware that its subjective. Im happy to read everyone's opinions.

 

Thanks 😁

 

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2 hours ago, perditax said:

 

During disembark, you will frequently end up standing in a queue that winds around the entire ship (on deck 7, I believe). Sometimes it can take an hour or two to disembark. All elevators will be jam packed at this time, so if you’re doing self walkoff you’d better be able to carry your suitcases up and down stairs. I usually see this blamed on the number of customs/immigration officials available, but I’ve never seen it happen so badly as on Escape in Miami, and apparently it’s the same now that Escape is in NY. 

 

I’ve more or less walked off every other ship I’ve been on (including GA, on my first cruise ever, and RC’s monster Oasis). 

 

Very interesting, especially if the elevator design us the same on multiple ships. This must be a process issue on the ship I guess. Because its not like the number of custom and immigration staff will be flawed just for this specific ship. Very interesting. Im usually not in a rush to run off the ship, so I guess I would just wait before joining that crazy line.

 

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4 hours ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

The BA Plus ships are longer, wider, taller, etc. The standard side balconies are tiny on BA/GA but the Plus class has standard side balconies that are useful. The BA Plus aft-facing balconies are generally less deep than BA/GA (depth varies by deck).

 

3/4 of BA Plus ships have go karts while BA/GA/Escape do not. The Observation Lounges created other differences such as the elimination of the 4 Owner's Suites that Escape has and the loss of 2 of the 4 Deluxe Owner's Suites that Escape has.

 

All 6 ships are very similar as far as elevator banks and the location of things. The Garden Cafe and Spa (not Joy) locations vary based on if there is an Observation Lounge. Spice H2O is on the aft sundeck except for Encore. There are also some different restaurants, shows, waterslides, etc. so each ship is familiar yet different enough to want to try more than one. That's one of the reasons that NCL shuffles the ships around, IMO.

 

Very helpful! Thank you so much!!

 

 

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14 hours ago, Two Wheels Only said:

Breakaway Class = Breakaway & Getaway

Breakaway Plus Class = Escape, Joy, Bliss, & Encore

 

All 6 have a Waterfront. All except Joy have a Spa that is either at the front (BA/GA/Escape) or all the way aft (Bliss/Encore). For front "open to all" sundeck, you have to pay attention. It used to be BA, GA, and Escape but Getaway recently lost the free forward-facing sundeck for all. If/when others lose theirs is unknown. Forward observation lounge for all would be Joy, Bliss, & Encore.

 

Ok, to make sure I am clear on what you are saying, the Escape has a  forward sundeck that everyone can use, but there is not an observation lounge for all on the Escape?

 

And this might change in Spring 2020 when the ship goes into drydock. 

 

 

Edited by blueslily

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Based on what I read on the NCL website, Joy is only 2 years old but had a drydock in 2019? Thats really early. Why such an early drydock? Sorry if I missed an obvious story about Joy.

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10 minutes ago, blueslily said:

 

And this might change in Spring 2020 when the ship goes into drydock. 

 

 

i think dry dock will be in fall? there is no free gap in spring but 15 days in fall 2020.

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7 minutes ago, blueslily said:

Based on what I read on the NCL website, Joy is only 2 years old but had a drydock in 2019? Thats really early. Why such an early drydock? Sorry if I missed an obvious story about Joy.

ncl wanted to make big money at the china market and the Joy was designed for cruises in asia for china guests only.

the money thay made was not so big and they invest many dollars to changed the Joy like the other ships and sent her to Alaska and US.

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4 hours ago, blueslily said:

Ok, to make sure I am clear on what you are saying, the Escape has a  forward sundeck that everyone can use, but there is not an observation lounge for all on the Escape?

 

And this might change in Spring 2020 when the ship goes into drydock. 

 

Escape currently has about 2/3 of the forward-facing sundeck that is open to all guests. 

Escape doesn't have a  forward-facing lounge. 

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20 hours ago, blueslily said:

Hello all,

 

This might be a broad question, but what is your favorite Breakaway class ship and why?

Hi Blueslily,

A good question actually.

I've been on the Bliss recently - yes, to find out how it compares with the Breakaway class. The changes (both good and bad) were so massive that I needed to be on the ship to rate it. 

In my cruise ships ranking, there is a special title "Blue Riband Cruise Ship" - a ship that is better than the best of the "older" ones in a cruise line fleet.

It does not mean "the best cruise ship" in the world. It only says that a cruise line's product is making progress.

Is it a question if cruise lines' products make progress?

Unfortunately yes.

The "average" cruise industry product is declining. With (almost) every new ship, every dry dock "upgrade", every "revolution", the product is going down.

A ship that is better than the previous one is a rare exception.

Thus the "title".

As you see, this is related to your question.

The Breakaway class got the title in 2013 after a tremendous improvement over the odious Epic.

A cruise line is learning lessons?

A cruise line is listening to their clients?

Am I dreaming? 

Anyway, something impossible happened, and the product jumped  from 3*- to near 4*!

When I stepped on board... omg, what a refreshing, inspiring experience after the Mistake of the Seas.

The new class inherited the best features of the Epic (spa, specialty dining including Moderno).

Cruise line returned to "a kind of" regular balcony cabins concept (instead of studio balcony concept).

The ships featured two open promenades (one of them is known as "Waterfront").

A free forward sun deck (larger than the Vibe and Haven decks taken together (!) was a pleasant alternative to sodom and homorah of the pool deck & the aft sun deck (a crowded hot pan with a bar instead of a pool).

The ships featured class division ("Haven" class and "the rest of the ship").

It was cleverly done, so that the presence of Haven did not reduce the product quality overall (no reduction in quality for non-haven guests).

Excellent!

Then the things changed.

The Escape (Breakaway Plus class).

Literally its a Breakaway + 300 passengers without a meaningful improvement in public space, but enlarged Haven.

The newest is the Joy/Bliss/Encore class. these ships are very different from the Escape, so I never mix them up with Escape. 

 

The Bliss

Many details have been mentioned in other posts.

 

Pluses vs Breakaway class

The added observation lounge is a huge plus. This is the best observation lounge at sea, comparable with Viking only.

Minimally important (5% concerned) : the Haven has reached the level of MSC Seaside Yacht Club.

 

Minuses

No access to views forward on the forward sun deck (Haven has taken the forward part completely).

No sports court

Racing cars and Laser tag - single most ridiculous waste of space I ever seen on cruise ships

Poorly designed  water slide (people are getting stuck)

The iconic Moderno restaurant is gone

The aft sun deck is smaller (still no pool).

 

Overall: the losses have counterbalanced the improvement.

The Encore is another (disastrous) step down. 

 

Latest changes

Getaway post dry dock changes: the forward free sun deck is closed off. It's now added to the Vibe Club ( $$$ for a pass on condition that you win a rat race once boarding is started. Even if you are in the Group 1, your chances are slim. Adding the formerly free deck will not solve the problem).

 

So...

After the losses suffered by the Getaway, the Breakaway remains the best cruise ship ever built for Norwegian Cruise Line.

It remains the fourth best mass market mega ship at sea (after RCI  Freedom & Oasis classes, and possibly the Genting Dream).

 

Breakaway as of today:

The product surpasses everything available from Celebrity, MSC and the rest of RCI fleet.

What will happen if Prokrustes  takes care of the Breakaway?

In this case the product will slide down from a visible top position to the "average" mass market group of ships that always have "some pros and cons".

 

Haven lounge on the Bliss

4.jpg

 

41-1.jpg

 

Happy cruising!

Edited by ronbe65

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