We arrived at the terminal at approximately 10:20 PM. Somewhat surprisingly (or not), there were quite a few people already there before us. Going through security and then checking in took only about 15 minutes. In the waiting room, there were refreshments such as coffee, tea and orange juice. Unlike many other cruise lines, Norwegian does not give priority boarding to loyalty members. We were given the group boarding number of 3, and boarded the ship at approximately 11:40 PM. There was staff offering welcome as guests stepped onto the boat, which was a nice gesture.
Balcony Cabin Impressions
Our balcony stateroom was located at deck 11 forward. The decor was stylish, with dark wood grain for the main mirror and a 27" Sole flat-screen TV. Under the TV was a magazine holder area where we found it convenient to stash tablets and the remote control.
You can find the TV channel listing here. If you are a sports fan, you'll be relieved to find that there is ESPN and a Euro-sports channel called Sports 24. Even though ESPN could be badly pixelated, it is better than nothing.
There is no Do Not Disturb/Clean the Cabin rotating signs on the outside of the cabin that we were so used to on other NCL ships. Instead, inside the cabin, to the right of the door, are light switch-like controls that let you indicate via LED lighting (above the door on the outside) whether you do not want to be disturbed or you need your cabin cleaned. This is pretty innovative minimalistic approach, but also improves upon the security of such indicators by having the controls inside the stateroom. For instance, the old way would allow pranksters to switch your cabin indicator to "welcome" even you had it to "clean the cabin". The new system could mean that you may forget to switch off "Do Not Disturb", however, and find your cabin not cleaned upon returning.
The bathroom had a nice relatively "large" shower with glass door, while the toilet was less noisy than your typical cruise super-suction ones. The button to flush, however, was finicky and often times would not work. The sink offered plenty of storage underneath with a swing-out cabinet with a trash bin attached.
The noise level heard from within the cabin was average to below average. Non-critical announcements from the hallways were not exactly quiet, and were heard fairly loudly inside the room, so if are an night owl, you could be disturbed from bed in the morning. The black-out curtain, however, did do a great job blocking out light to the level where you think you are in an inside cabin.
Food on the Getaway
The food in the main dining rooms were so-so. On embarkation day, for lunch, we ate sit-down style at the Taste restaurant. Calamari Fritti was good, as long as you were not chewing the fried lime slices (which looked like zuchini). THe only thing good about the Atlantic Crab Salad was the beets that it came with. And the "Vietnamese" Chicken Pho certainly deserved the quotes as it did not taste anything like Pho, though it was a good soup with nice ginger flavor.
We had the Ultimate Dining Package, which allowed for eating dinner at any specialty restaurant except Ocean Blue & a la carte ones such as sushi. So we chose to dine nightly at the various ones- here were our impressions:
Teppanaki: This was an entertaining experience with the chef putting on some nice tricks with the spatulas, flipping eggs, and drawing/writing with egg whites. The seaweed salad was yummy, and the miso soup was tasty as well.
We ordered Lobster, Scallops & Calimari. It was good, though the fried rice was a tad too salty. If you are a fan of noodles, you can ask to substitute udon for the rice instead.
Service was very good, and we gave extra tips of $5 to the waiter and $5 to the chef for a party of 2. Our toddler son ordered from the kid's menu, but they were nice enough to bring him the same soup & salad we ate for free.
Ocean Blue: There was a 20% off discount to Ocean Blue for buyers of the Ultimate Dining Package, and we gave it a try on Mother's Day. Read the review.
Moderno Churrascaria: The salad bar had a nice selection of greens. There were asparagus, hearts of palm, and some delicious portabellow mushroom slices. The cerviche had one large shrimp, and many small scallops underneath all marinated in lime juice. Our experience was positive and did not differ much from the Dawn (read our Moderno review from there). Our favorite meats were the lamb chops and both beef and pork ribs.
Cagney's Steakhouse: The Wagyu Beef Sliders were a tad bitter due to some burnt parts of the patty & buns, and could have used some extra sauce/mayo. The BBQ sauce on the chicken drumsticks was too sour. On the other hand, the shrimp cocktail consisted of 3 very large tiger shrimps, and was the best starter we tried.
For our main entrees, we had the 10 oz grilled Bison strip and Grilled Sea Bass in Lobster Saffron Broth and Champagne Foam. The bison steak was prepared medium rare as we asked, while the sea bass dish was cooked with nice finesse- light but enjoyable.
By the way, if you wanted to order an extra main entree, it will cost an extra $10 on top the $30 per person charge. You could, however, order multiple starters for free.
Unfortunately we did not get a chance to dine at Le Bistro on this cruise because of fully booked reservations across the board with only 9:30 or 9:45 PM reservations available. The reason we were given was that the ship's particular Le Bistro was smaller. So that was certainly a bit disappointing. Next time we will be sure to book it early or even before the cruise if we have the Ultimate Dining Package again.
The Garden Cafe aboard the Norwegian Getaway was one of the impressive buffet we have experienced on a cruise ship- for dinner. You name it, they have it- freshly made crepes, thin-crust pizza, ribs, large salad bar, Asian stir-fry, plentiful of fruits, Indian curry, real ice cream, etc. For breakfast and lunch, however, it is pretty standard fare. The lunch selection is especially mediocre. Hygiene-wise, it was refreshing to see hand washing sinks at the entrances to the Garden Cafe. That is an innovative and welcome addition, and a first amongst the cruise ships we have been on.
We only tried O'Sheehan a couple of times, and each time with burgers to-go. They were okay, certainly not to the level of Guy's Burger Joint on the Carnival Breeze. They did offer Prime Rib on the first and last night of the sailing.
Impressions of Public Areas
The hull of the Getaway is adorned with colorful and whimsical ocean-theme art done by David Le Batard, aka LEBO. It is not as character-defining as the art on the Breakaway, but is still one of the cooler ones we have seen. The public areas have a modern decor, though not as nightclub-esque as the Epic. There is certainly also a Miami/Southern Florida theme in other paintings on the walls throughout the ship.
Interestingly, the cabin hallways are quite narrow, but at least outside of every door there is a concave area to move out of the way of oncoming rush of people the other way. With the exception of embarkation day, elevators arrived fairly quickly, so kudos to Norwegian for that.
The ship make good uses of colorful LED lights, especially on a pair of amazing chandeliers on mid ship, decks 7 and 8. The Bliss Ultra Lounge club is vastly different than the ones we have seen on other NCL Ships, even the relatively new Epic. The Getaway Bliss lounge had walls lined with colored lights, numerous bar stools, and gone were much of the funky furniture and decor. At night, even the pool deck glows with stay alive with mood lighting.
The Getaway Theater is very large which obviates seating problems in conjunction with Norwegian's box office booking system. Two large flat screens sit high above and on either side of the stage. Unfortunately entrance/exit is only via a single level, so it could take a while to leave after the show.
The pool deck and the decks above offer a terrific selection of outdoor fun. In a departure from the norm, there is only one main pool supplemented with a kid's pool. But the Getaway makes up for that with an expansive array of five water slides, with two of them being the exhilarating "drop-down" variety.
There is also an outdoor ropes course called Skytrail Explorer/Ocean's Edge which may not apply to people afraid of heights. It ends with a 70 feet or so of zip line across the climbing wall (yes and there is that too). A cool pirate-ship theme miniature golf course sit directly under the ropes course for slower pace fun. The Spongebob theme kid's water feature play area is certainly welcomed and a fun place for kids 10 and under to enjoy. The sports court complex has two basketball hoops, and there are many ping pong tables scattered around as well.
There is an abundance of bars on the ship with various themes, including a SVEDKA Ice Bar just like on the Epic. The main dining rooms were well appointed, and the Tropicana one was especially interesting with a stage where Burn the Floor dancers would come out and perform during one night.
The Norwegian Getaway adopts a "box office" show ticketing reservation concept that first debuted on the Epic. We had reservations about the system back then, but in the end it really didn't make much of a difference for us. As on the Epic, we were able to get into all the shows without a previous reservation, simply by showing up 10 minutes beforehand. I can imagine certain show & time combinations can be so popular such that you cannot attend via this method, but it did not happen to us, even for the "sold out" performances.
Burn the Floor was a juiced up dance show that was a step up from the traditional song and dance performances on other cruises. The dancers' moves were faster, crisper, more in unison, and the vocals were excellent. It was very entertaining. Even more enjoyable was Legally Blonde, the Musical. The vocals were good, the story funny, the dancing crisp, and the props were impressive. It was definitely our favorite show of the cruise.
The comedians Rodney Laney, James & Dean Edwards had pretty funny performances at the Headliner's Club. If I had to pick one, I'd say Dean Edwards was the best of the bunch. There was no adult comedy show, however, and we thought the comedians from the Carnival Breeze were quite a bit funnier.
The cruise director of the Getaway was Joel, an energetic guy with a shaved head. He did a fine job MC'ing and even came out in tights dancing to "Single Lady" on the farewell show, which we thought was above and beyond duty. Perhaps a bit too much so, lol. Several audience-participation programs were a hit. We found the men's sexy legs competition and the Dancing with the Getaway Stars especially funny. So kudos to the entertainment staff for setting up those events.
Another plus was that there were quite a few free dance lessons offered aboard the Getaway at the atrium. They were taught by the Burn the Floor professional dancers, and included Samba, Salsa, Country Line, Tango, and Cha -Cha.
For the family, there was a free pizza making event at La Cucina which our son enjoyed. Adults were welcome to make their own pizza as well, though the dough used was not exactly the best quality, so you probably don't want to get your stomach full on that.
On the first port night (St Martin), Norwegian held fireworks on the left side of the ship at 10:45 PM. It lasted for about 10 minutes and while I wouldn't put it as spectacular, it was certainly festive, especially with the 80's party dance music blaring in the background from Spice H2O. Certainly the idea of fireworks on a cruise ship is not new as Disney pioneered the idea, but I'm not complaining.
One more nice touch, and one perhaps borrowed from Disney Cruise Line as well, was the showing of a 3D movie for free at the theater. Ironically, the movie we saw was Frozen, also by Disney. NCL does require guests to show their room keys to checkout the 3D glasses, and then again when returning them. But it wasn't much hassle, and of course the movie was entertaining.
The replacement for the NCL White Hot Party is the Glow Party. It certainly had an impressive introduction, with a countdown and cruise director Joel "swiping" icons off the the big screen. The staff was passing out glow sticks, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Too bad the Burn the Floor dancers didn't show up, however.
In regards to service, it was generally quite good in the specialty restaurants. Since this time we had the Ultimate Dining Package, we only ate once in the main dining room, and that was the lunch right after boarding at Taste. We did have a few issues with our room steward. Specifically we discovered stinky pillows and unchanged sheets when we first got into our stateroom on embarkation day. Our used beach towels were also not replaced until we asked, and we had to replace toilet paper rolls onto the dispenser ourselves. We still consider our room steward provided solid service overall, however.
We did encounter a few other issues service-wise. An Indian gentleman named Anba on the front-desk gave us an attitude when we were booking airport transfers. Our 3 year-old son prefers to sit on our lap, and we had confirmed beforehand that it was fine to buy jut two transfer vouchers. But when we went to the front desk, the guy was sarcastic, recalcitrant and unbelieving of this and kept smirking until he was corrected by a co-worker. So that certainly was not a pleasant experience to say the least.
Also at the Garden Cafe, and this is actually an issue across the NCL ships we have been on, if you happen to ask one of the staff there for help such as getting drinks, they do not seem happy to do so. They would pause, give you a look like it's not their job, and then
Another problem arose at O'Sheehan's when we asked for a burger to go with no fries. The waiter, a tall man with glasses, came over with our order with fries still on the plate, but no lettuce/tomatoes. So we said oh we didn't want any fries, and he loudly exclaimed "But I thought you wanted no sides!" It was a misunderstanding, but the poor attitude exhibited by the particular waiter was discomforting.
The Getaway offered programs for kids (aka baby-sitting) at the Splash Academy. Our 3 year-old, however, only went there once as he was not comfortable there. He preferred Camp Carnival aboard the Carnival Breeze because they had more free play opportunities for him. The NCL youth staff was friendly, however, so it certainly wasn't any fault on their part. It was a little disappointing, however, to see that child care services not available from 12 to 2 PM and 5 to 7 PM (basically lunch and prime dinner times). This was a departure from other NCL cruises we have been on in the past, and with other cruise lines as well.
Overall, it was yet another enjoyable cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line for us. The Getaway was a lot of fun, the food was good, and the entertainment was satisfying. We definitely wished that it visited different ports instead of the same itinerary which we had experienced a couple times already. It doesn't have certain favorites from other NCL ships such as Chocoholics buffet, show variety, but adds its own extras in fast water slides, fireworks, 3D movie, and top notch The overall rating I give for the Norwegian Getaway 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise is 4 out 5.
There is ESPN in-room, and a European-style Sports channel as well
Good selection of food at the Garden Cafe for dinner
Fireworks at sea
Complimentary 3D Movie for at Getaway Theater
Excellent live performances in Burn the Floor and Legally Blonde the Musical
Fast, exhilarating drop-down water slides
Fun ropes course with a zip-line finish
Abundance of free dance lessons
No improvement in Internet access speed vs other NCL cruise ships we have been on, which is unusual considering this is one of the newest cruise ships in the world
Food quality at main dining rooms was only okay
Ocean Blue restaurant is unworthy of its $49 per person cost
No babysitting from 12 to 2 PM and 5 to 7 PM
More variety in main theater shows would be nice
Open Casino area spreads the smell of smoke all over midship decks 6 and 7, though not as bad as the Epic
Would be nice if there were an alternate itinerary for repeat cruises of the ship, or cruisers interested in a back-to-back
We got off the Carnival Breeze cruise ship at 9:30ish am and walked to the Norwegian Getaway ship which was a 10 minutes walk. It was still very quiet at the port since it was early in here morning. Everything went first with the security, check-in and waiting to go on board. We got on the ship at 11:40pm and we went to our cabin to drop some of our stuff - they told us that the room wasn't ready yet but it was pretty much ready.
We left our cabin shortly after we drop our stuff and since we weren't hungry yet so we went to their sit-down lunch at the Taste dining room. We ordered pizza for our son and the dude didn't like it because it tasted like frozen pizza. Hubby and I had the crab salad and even though they'd used real crab but it was loaded with mayo. We also had calamari which was ok but fried lime was among the calamari and it was an unpleasant surprise. I had another appetizer as my main course and it was chicken 'Pho' but it was not, they used glass noodles and had no pho taste to it but it was nice noodle soup dish so I ordered two more, one for me and one for hubby -they served the soup in a small soup cup.
We left the restaurant and went back to our cabin to chill out a bit and watched some tennis, and we left the cabin for safety drill at. 3:30pm. We then went to the pool deck to join the sail away party. They didn't have any BBQ or anything, other than loud music and open the bars for people to purchase the drinks. We were up there for half an hour and went back to our cabin to. Get ready for dinner at Teppanyaki restaurant at 5, and we were late by ten minutes and sat at a table by ourselves. The Teppanyaki chef didn't come out until half an hour later but meanwhile we were served with miso soups which was good but their seaweed salad wasn't good. Our little one had macaroni and cheese, and both of us had seafood dish with lobster, large scallops and squirts. We had it with fried rice and it was good. We the had green tea ice cream and green teacake which was ok, the green tea ice cream they had on another ship that we had at the same restaurant better.
After dinner we went up to the Garden Cafe to have some fruits - I can't have enough of the pineapple! We then went to the 7:30 aboard show with cruise director hosting the show but they gave us a 'taste' of the Burn The Floor show and we really liked it. They also showed us a little bit of the Legally Blonde shows and it was ok. We then went back to our cabin to chill out and went to bed early since we all didn't get much sleep the night before.
06/09/2014 - 11:36 AM CST
2nd day -Norwegian Getaway. Dress up night - Mother's Day 5/11/14.
We woke up at 9ish and went for breakfast. I had a light quick breakfast and then left Samba class at Atrium at 10:15. The boys went to meet up with me at Atrium at 11:20am, and we went back to our cabin. My son and I got ready to go swimming/kids water park area. He played at the kids pool with two small slides for an hours and half, and when we were about to ago swimming in the kids' bigger pool, they closed down because a child had threw up in the pool. I then asked them if I could take my son into the adult pool only and they said yes. We were in there for 15ish minutes and then they started the Mr. Sexy Legs competition at the pool area and it was very entertaining.
We then we for lunch at 2pm and got back to cabin at 2:50 and then left to join their Parents and kids pizza making at La Cucina. They had a large table with all stuff to make the pizza and the kids lined up to topping their pizza. After the pizza was done baking, the little guy went to get his pizza and ate half of it. We then went back to the cabin to chill out then we got ready for dinner at Ocean Blue at 6pm.
We didn't like the dishes at the Ocean Blue restaurant. We went to the Garden Cafe to get some fruits and salad and tonight they served lobster at a buffet place which I had never seen before - some people had 4-7 half lobster on their plates. They also served many other seafood dishes like, payaya, seafood soup etc. We went back to the cabin and had our son ready for bed and since both of us are still a bit sick so we tried to get more sleep.
06/10/2014 - 05:41 PM CST
3rd day - Norwegian Getaway
I woke up at 7am and the little guy woke up at 8. We watched TV together for half an hour and I got tired and went on the bed to rest, next time I knew I slept for 1.5 hours. We all left the cabin for lunch (too late for breakfast) at 11:40am. We finished out lunch an hour later and went back to our cabin and watched TV.
We then took our son to the Splash Academy at 3ish pm and we got a phone call from them shortly after we dropped him off. They told me that he didn't want to participate in any activities and was just sitting there doing nothing, and then he told them that he wanted to go 'home' and wanted them to call us to pick him up. I picked him up and all other kids in his group were face painted and wore elegant hats, and were ready to go on parade on three decks. We followed them on the first (deck 6) and it seemed like he wanted to join them but at the same wanted me to be there as well. I asked him why he didn't want his face to be painted and he said: 'I want it as it is!'
We then went back to the cabin and he played there a little bit then we left to check out the Flamingo restaurant but they already closed just when we got there at 5pm. We then walked around to take some pictures of different places and we then went to the Moderno restaurant with Brazilian style meat on the sticks that they go around and offering you. We were the first ones in line to get in to the restaurant and we started out with their salad bar which had a large selection of all kinds of veges, fruits, cheese, bread etc. The food and the experience was great - it was getting pretty busy toward the end where we were about to leave.
We then took the little one to the Splash Academy and he was whining all the way to the place. We were able to drop him off and went to watch the Burn The Floor and it was amazing! We went to pick him up after the show and went back to the cabin to get the dude ready for bed. I left shortly after to go to the comedy show at 9 at the Headliner's Comedy Club.
06/16/2014 - 02:40 PM CST
4thday - Norwegian Getaway - St. Martin.
We went for breakfast at 9:30ish at the Garden Cafe and were there for about 40 minutes and brought back an omelet and others goodies for hubby for breakfast. We left the ship at around 11:30AM and took a taxi to go to the Maho Beach in St. Martin. The beach was about 20 minutes drive from the port and what was special about was that there is an airport right behind it and the planes got very low for their landing into the airport. It was a lifetime experience where we got to see many airplanes (large to smaller private ones) going low & close to the ground during their landing.
We even saw a huge airplane that had such some powerful jet-blast that facing the beach which blew up a lot of sand onto people who were on the beach watching the it taking off in the opposite direction. The beach itself was ok, not special and nothing to explore and see under the water. I tried to snorkel but only saw a few of the medium sized white fish. It was really crowded and they had beach chairs with umbrellas for you to rent for $10 each chair. We were at the beach for about 2 1/2 hours and took a taxi back.
After we returned to the ship, we went to the Flamingo Grill and ate a Latin burger with fried small purple onion and spicy ketchup with French bread buns which was not round of course. We also tried their beef ribs which was really good. The grill chicken was good too. They also had grilled plantains, fried yucca but their desert was just ok- the flan had too much condensed milk and the rice pudding was too thick. Other then that, they offered up some good and interesting dishes!