January 14, 2014 | By Cruise Critic | 6 Comments
Norwegian’s latest ship, Getaway, has launched – and Cruise Critic is onboard. UK Editor Adam Coulter and Production Editor Jamey Bergman are on a short trip from Southampton, taking notes, photos and video (you can see their posts live on our Getaway chat
). Here are some of their first impressions.
The Miami vibe is not as strong as you’d think (but maybe that’s because we’re in the English Channel)
There’s been a lot of hoo ha about Getaway being a Miami ship (as opposed to sister Breakaway being a New York ship), and how the décor and the venues will reflect that. True, the hull art is by a Miami-based artist, and much of the artwork and pictures hanging on the walls are Florida-themed. However, many of venues have merely had a name change. The Sugarcane Mojito Bar, for example, is the exact same venue and décor as Shakers Cocktail Bar. While it’s described as having ‘an island feel’, it doesn’t, really: just the menu is different. Meanwhile, The Sunset Bar is basically Maltings Bar: even down to the angled seating and color palette. The significant changes are the Grammy Experience (replacing Fat Cats), the Illusionarium; and Tropicana, all of which we will report on tomorrow.
The Waterfront will really come into its own in Miami
It was a brave move on Norwegian’s part to put part of their ship outside, when the ship is based in New York. On a Miami-based ship, it’s a genius move. I predict that Deck 8 or The Waterfront will become THE place to hang out on this ship. Why spend time indoors looking at pictures of Key West when you could be sitting outside downing a daiquiri and watching the sun set over Key West?
The Kids’ Club has no outside space – or windows
The Kids Club is big; split into three separate spaces for the different age groups. Friendly staff, lots of brightly colored activities, games, TVs and space just to hang out and play, but – and this is a big but – there are no windows, nor any outside space to play. Huh? Why create an awesome boardwalk for adults and nothing for kids, not even a window? The kids area on Epic is huge, but it’s also light and airy with massive picture windows. I cannot understand why Norwegian hasn’t done the same on Getaway.
The bathrooms are awesome.
Forget the cabins – I could stay in my bathroom the whole cruise. As well as a double-sized basin, and lots of space, there is also an amazing shower with four different jet settings which shoot from strategically-placed nozzles to different parts of your body. They pack serious power, and the main shower is rain shower size, and a large standing space. Throw in the almost boiling heat (as opposed to most lukewarm ship showers) and decent smelling shampoo and shower gels, and this is hands down best shower I have experienced on a ship.
Where’s that new ship smell?
Maybe I was expecting too much, thinking my senses would be assaulted by shiny-looking everything, everywhere. I’d already imagined that first whiff of new-carpet smell and I couldn’t wait. But Getaway didn’t entirely deliver the knock-out punch of “newness” I’d imagined. There are certainly some glitzy, glamorous features and spaces onboard – The Market Place being one – but my initial trek up to my cabin after check-in and subsequent pass through the center of the ship to the Atrium area was fairly ho-hum.
For one thing, the color scheme (brown, brown, more brown and some purple) in the cabin, although neutral, doesn’t exactly create much wow factor. My other initial gripe was a familiar one – the smell of stale smoke was already noticeable anywhere near the casino. (As my colleague noted, the oddly laid out casino and its attendant smokiness both kind of seep through the middle of the ship). Overall, I’m still very much looking forward to seeing more of the ship. I think Getaway will ultimately win me over with its shows and outdoor spaces.
Tech-geek WOW moment.
I’m not really a tech geek, but I am definitely drawn to gadgets. So, naturally, when I ventured out from behind my laptop, iPad and mobile phone for a few moments to walk around the ship, what do you think was the first thing to catch my eye? The big, interactive, touch-screen wall gadget that allows one to virtually engage, learn and interact with virtually every feature of the ship. As soon as I saw it, I started poking and prodding the two-foot tall tablet like a curious chimp. Fortunately, it’s so simple and user-friendly, I was whizzing through the menu in no time. I started with the entertainment tab, realizing I could book myself in for an evening performance from where I stood. Awesome. No queue. No talking to people.
After checking out the bars, lounges and the dining venues (you can make a restaurant reservation, too), I figured I’d see how usable the stateroom finder was. I’ve often thought something like this would be incredibly useful – particularly on my first sailing onboard Norwegian Epic, where I was continuously lost – and I was not wrong. In addition to written directions, the stateroom finder has not just one, but two maps to help you orient yourself. It may not physically guide you to your room like a human could, but it does have a really cool blinking dot reminiscent of the homing beacon you see in old spy movies to show you both where you are and where you’re headed.
Got questions for Adam and Jamey? Join them tomorrow at 10 a.m. EST, for our live Getaway chat