Monday 29th April saw an exciting day in the cruising industry with the arrival of Norwegian Cruise Line’s new mega ship, Breakaway arriving into Southampton.
The long wait was over and finally we got to see what all the excitement was about, as Norwegian's most innovative and feature filled ship had arrived.
Before setting off on its inaugural sailing to New York, a few members from our Iglu team were lucky enough to go and check it out.
Full of beams and experiences to share, the team arrived back into the office on Tuesday with lots to say.
With so much speculation leading up to this ship launch we were all super excited to see her and were not disappointed, she certainly stands out from the crowd. As you see Breakaway from the outside you are automatically drawn to the colourful artwork spread across her hull. Designed by the renowned Pop Artist, Peter Max the quirky images of New York’s famous landmarks on the outside definitely make you want to see the inside.
As we entered the interior of the ship it was bright but stylish and instantly gave you a happy feeling that you were going to have a good holiday (it was just a shame we were not actually going on holiday!!)
We knew there was lots to do and see and did not want to waste any time, so set of to explore everything The Breakaway had to offer.
There is something for everyone and from morning to night you will always find something to do, from adventurous activities to tranquil areas of relaxation.
Some of the features that really stood out for us were:
The Waterfront - Norwegian wanted the sea to be a focal point of the experience on Breakaway, so on both sides of Deck 8 is a quarter mile beach front packed with restaurants, bars and shops that all look over the ocean. Although it was slightly chilly to enjoy this in Southampton, when the ship is in warmer climates this area will be perfect and something that no other cruise ship has.
The Deck-top Complex – This area is so exciting and really has fun for the whole family. The Aqua Park is like no other on a cruise ship, boasting a whole range of rides, including the fastest water slide at sea. Watching people go down it was as awesome as going on it yourself! There is also a three-story sports complex, a zip line, miniature golf course, climbing cage and for the most brave, ‘The Plank’. This is where you are put in a harness and walk out on a narrow beam off the side of the ship. Onur from our Web Development team swallowed his nerves and gave it a go!
The Entourage – This is the area exclusive to teens, a place where 13 – 17 year olds can hang out and be themselves! The atmosphere here is young and chic and provides the perfect environment for teens to enjoy their cruise as much as their parents. Arcade games, jukeboxes, large movie screens and disco booths make this every teens dream hide out! Sean Harrison, our Administration Manager said "It made me miss my earlier years".
We were surprised by the extensive range of entertainment options onboard and the evening really came alive in the various theatres and lounges. We all collectively spoke about ‘Fat Cats’, it was definitely one of our favourite venues! An authentic New York style lounge that had live performances of jazz, blues and classic pop, even those of us who are not into jazz enjoyed it. It was big enough for people to dance around, but small enough that the atmosphere was electric.
One of the main things we all took advantage of was the food! Norwegian are famous for their freestyle dining concept and as we know, this works very well for some cruisers. However there are so many other speciality restaurants on Breakaway.
Some of us opted to eat at the Manhattan, which is one of the three main dining rooms onboard. Laura, our Online Marketing Manager quoted "this venue actually does feel like New York, it offered live music as we enjoyed our meal. The menu was varied and simple enough to suit everyone".
Others went to Moederno Churasscaria, the Brazilian steakhouse. The concept of this restaurant is very unique and we were offered different meats that were carved at our table side. Set in the perfect location on The Waterfront, we had the option to dine inside or out. Our Product and Commercial Director, Dave was particularly impressed with the concept of having your own table card and turning it over to green for more meat, or red for ‘take it easy’!!
We loved our one night visit to Breakaway and it was worth the anticipation. The ship itself is very bright and fun with lots to do. There is a wide range of venues, although many of them are quite small so we would recommend getting to your favourite venue early to avoid disappointment. The entertainment and dining was impressive, however we think doing some pre cruise planning would be necessary so you do not miss out on anything! We feel this would be a perfect ship for families and kids will love it! If you like cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line, you will not be disappointed as the ship is very ‘Norwegian style’ throughout.
We’ve just released an incremental update of our Cruise Search app. It is now available to download from the App Store.
So, what’s new? The big change is that we now support the iPhone 5’s longer screen. So gone are the black borders at the top and bottom and now you can enjoy scrolling through cruises in full screen and with high resolution photos.
We’ve also made a couple of changes to how we display destination and flight information to make cruises much clearer. So when you’re searching fly cruises now, it’s much more obvious where the cruise starts.
Finally, we know a few devices were suffering from occasional crashes. We’ve worked on improving this greatly and you shouldn’t be experiencing those any more. There’s also now a feedback form in the app, so if you do have any further issues or suggestions, you can send those to us directly.
Let us know what you think and if you haven’t tried it, you can download it from the App Store now.
After spending the last five years working onboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships Sally Grimes is welcomed to the Iglu team to bring a wealth of unique knowledge about all things cruise! Here’s what she has to say:
After living and working on cruise ships for the last five years of my life it seems surreal that I am now sitting here writing a blog introducing myself and letting you all in on a small snippet of my crazy adventures at sea!
At the innocent age of 21 after completing my studies and working within a few companies in the travel industry, I had this adventurous dream of working onboard a cruise ship, which was slightly strange bearing in mind I had never been on a boat, let alone a cruise ship! I started to look into different cruise lines, jobs and more importantly how old you had to be to work onboard! From extensive research I became particularly interested in Royal Caribbean due to their large, innovative ships and bright, friendly reputation. ‘Guest Services Officer’….what a perfect role I eagerly thought to myself. I knew I had excellent customer service skills, good communication skills and was sure I would be able to enhance a guest’s experience on a cruise. So with no further ado I sent off my application, had my interviews and was hired…eeek now it was just a waiting game for my placement!
A month later I had my US visa and flights booked and I was off to Miami to join the Majesty of the Seas to work and sail around the Caribbean. Although the Majesty is the smallest of Royal Caribbean’s fleet I will never forget walking up to the ship in complete awe of how large it was. The astonishment did not stop there, the interior was magnificent and I knew I was going to love my new home! It did not take me long to rapidly start gaining a passion for cruise. I learnt so much about the cruising industry and I feel that you gain an extensive understanding of the industry if you have actually worked onboard!
My first six month contract came to an end and I knew I wanted to stay with Royal Caribbean and build up a career within the cruise industry. After being placed on a Freedom class ship for my next contract I was lucky enough to be part of the take out team for the new ship, Oasis of the Seas. I was so excited, I mean the Oasis of the Seas…the largest, most innovative ship in the world, can you imagine my anticipation?
I was one of the first people to step onboard the Oasis in August 2009 in the ship yard at Turku, Finland. It still gives me goose bumps when I remember the taxi pulling up to the ship…it was AMAZING! In -8 temperatures I donned a helmet and thick coat and set off to explore the ship, to be honest when I entered it looked like a building yard and it was incredible to experience first-hand how a ship is built and pulled together. In November we set off on our two week crossing to Fort Lauderdale, of what will always be the most exhilarating two weeks of my life. From going under the Great Belt Bridge to being stuck in 40 foot waves in the Bay of Biscay the whole experience was incredible. The welcome when we arrived into Fort Lauderdale was unbelievable, it felt like the whole world was waiting for us. I even get a tiny bit emotional sitting here thinking about it!
It was on the Oasis that I became interested in starting to move up positions in the company and further my career. The position of Loyalty Ambassador was the role I really wanted! This role involved onboard marketing, booking guests on their future cruise and taking care of the company’s loyalty guests. This role really gives you chance to enhance and share your knowledge of cruising with people and I was delighted to be offered the position. I have worked as a Future Cruise and Loyalty Ambassador representing Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Club cruises onboard many Royal Caribbean ships including Oasis of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas. I have taken lead of various projects and been the face behind many new ideas that have been implemented onboard throughout the fleet.
I have been on every class of Royal Caribbean ship as well as travelled on other cruise lines and also been fortunate enough to travel all over the world so I truly have first-hand knowledge of everything anyone would need to know about cruise! I honestly do not believe there is a better option for a holiday than a cruise. No other choice of holiday allows you to go to multiple destinations, only have to unpack once, get constantly waited on, see the best in entertainment and taste the finest dining options…all in one place. Cruising offers incomparable value for money and I can fully understand why after going on one cruise, you are hooked! With the cruise industry rapidly expanding it is now possible to cruise all over the world on a range of cruise lines depending on your style of traveling.
My time at sea has been one electrifying journey with a wonderful company! It has taught me not only about the travel industry but about myself and life as a whole.
I am now extremely excited to join Iglu’s Digital Marketing team and hopefully bring some unique, informative and new ideas to the team. Marketing is an area I have experience in and will find great pleasure in combining this with my passion for the travel industry, particularly cruise. I already know that Iglu are a fantastic company who have really grown within the travel industry and built an admirable reputation in the world of cruise and ski. You only need to read the constant positive feedback from customers or see the awards they have won to realise this.
Due to personally experiencing almost everything in the world of cruise I am planning to do regular, knowledgeable blogs for all your cruising needs! Stay tuned :-)