A cruise on the 4,028-passenger, 18-deck Norwegian Breakaway definitely requires advance research. There's simply too much to do and see; you could easily spend a week on the vessel and never get to half of the restaurants and activities. You could also spend much more than your initial cruise fare. Norwegian's "freestyle" cruising means that you can tailor your vacation to meet your interests, but you'll probably have to pay extra to do so. Read on for some of our favorite Norwegian Breakaway cruise tips.
Tip 1: Follow the Fish
On a ship this size, it's easy to get lost. If you find yourself wondering which way you're going, look down: The fish in the carpet swim toward the front of the ship. Note: This only works in corridors with cabins.
Tip 2: Prebook Everything
If you have your heart set on dinner during prime hours or need to make the first seating of "Rock of Ages," make sure you make your reservations online ahead of time. Large family groups especially will want to book in advance to guarantee seats together.
Tip 3: Sans Kids? Buy a Pass
Breakaway attracts a lot of families, and the pools and sun decks can get packed. If you're seeking some peace and quiet, buy a pass to either of Breakaway's capacity-controlled areas -- Vibe Beach Club, an adults-only pool and sun deck area ($20/day, $79/week) or the Thermal Suite ($199/week). If you cringe at paying extra and aren't interested in additional amenities, you can always see if Spice H20, the fee-free adults-only sun deck, has room.
Tip 4: Step Up From Soft Serve
Soft-serve ice cream is a cruise ship tradition. But Breakaway goes one better, offering free hand-scooped ice cream in the buffet after dinner. The flavors change during the cruise, and you can choose from warm caramel and chocolate sauce for drizzling. (If you love soft serve, don't worry -- complimentary machines are in the buffet, too.)
Tip 5: Have Your Fun Off Hours
Sure, a ship the size of Breakaway has plenty to do. But with so many passengers, it might seem like you're never able to do the most popular activities because of the lines. Since families tend to eat early, plan to hit the ropes course, rock-climbing wall or the main pool in the early evening when the crowds clear out.