NEW YORK — When cruise aficionados discuss the various providers, Norwegian Cruise Lines typically earns plaudits for its freestyle (set-your-own-schedule) cruising and its solo cabins (most major lines have no dedicated single cabins, and they charge solo travelers an additional fee).
Starting this spring, New England cruise fans will have another reason to “sail like a Norwegian,” as the slogan goes: The line’s 12th ship, the Breakaway, is scheduled to make its debut voyage on May 12 from New York to Bermuda. It will become the largest ship ever based in the Big Apple year round.
New Englanders already have cruise options in Boston and in and around New York, including the Manhattan Cruise Terminal (Breakaway’s home port), Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., and the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, with at least six lines operating in the area.
With its 4,000-passenger capacity and its noteworthy options, the Breakaway is bringing more attention to the idea of embarking from New York.
Breakaway boasts plenty of Gotham reliables, from the complimentary Sabrett hot dogs served from a cart, a New York street staple, to Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes, who will serve as ship “godmothers.”
The dancers will perform during the ship’s May 8 christening party, and a pair of Rockettes will be aboard the ship’s first six sailings. Norwegian also plans a fitness class designed by the Rockettes, along with Rockettes-themed beverages.
Other flourishes include: hull art by pop artist Peter Max, who has created a mix of New York- and cosmic-themed images that will cover 40,000 square feet of the ship; a seafood restaurant and raw bar by New York chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian; Carlo’s Bake Shop, an outpost of the family bakery of Buddy Valastro, star of the TLC television series “Cake Boss”; and three Broadway shows: “Rock of Ages,” “Burn the Floor,” and “Cirque Dreams.”
The top design innovations on Breakaway are the Waterfront, a quarter-mile-long, ocean-facing boardwalk on both sides of the ship, lined with restaurants, bars, and shops; and a cruise-ship-record five water slides, one of many features implemented for youngsters. The Waterfront will connect with a three-deck-high indoor complex of restaurants, bars, and entertainment. In all, the two areas will have 17 dining venues and a dozen bars and lounges. A fireworks show is planned for the second-to-last night at sea on every cruise this summer.
Breakaway will initially sail to Bermuda, then from October through April 2014, it will stop at ports in the Bahamas, Florida, and the southern Caribbean. 888-625-2784, www.breakaway.ncl.com