We travelled up to Southampton the 14th & went to the docks for a quick look at this enormous & brightly decorated ship. She stood resplendent in the sunshine & we then stood on Town Quay to watch her sail away nicely illuminated down the Solent blasting her horn as she passed the dwarfed Red Funnel ferry!!
Wednesday dawned dull & showery but, it didn’t dampen our excitement as we drove through Gate 8 at 10.30am & into the car park We walked the short distance into the terminal & went straight to a check in desk, quickly receiving our cruise cards & lanyards, through security & into the lounge. After a 20 minute wait our “colour” was called & we boarded.
We headed straight to our port side mid-ship balcony cabin on deck 14 & dropped our luggage. After a quick greeting from the room steward we headed off to start exploring the ship.
CABIN. The cabin was not as big as some we’d stayed in but, was adequate for 2 people. However, if the third bed & the ceiling bunk were utilised it would be somewhat cramped. The balcony was also bijou but had 2 chairs & a table.
The cabin had a generous amount of storage, a large wardrobe with half shelves & half hanging. It also contained the safe with the usual code system (it was illuminated inside which is handy in the dark.). The vanity unit had the mini bar/fridge underneath plus the hairdryer (powerful!!) & 2 cupboards with shelves. There was also a cube storage stool with removable table tray top. On top the unit was a coffee/tea machine with filter coffee; tea bags etc. plus glasses, an ice bucket & the telephone. There were 4 sockets 2US & 2 Eurpoean.
The television was mounted alongside the unit & was on a swivel to view from the sofa or bed.
The bed was large & very comfortable with small bedside units either side. The side nearest to the balcony doors was very narrow making access to the bed difficult if you are not very mobile.
The life jackets were found in a basket under the bed as mentioned on the Emergency Instructions notice on the door of the cabin.
To the side of the entry door was the card slot to turn on the lights. Also two switches for “Make up the Room” or “Do not Disturb”, each lighting up a tiny light outside the cabin to give instructions to the room steward.
The bathroom was spacious with the ever popular shower with doors!! Shampoo & shower gel was supplied & the water flow was excellent. The wash basin unit had plenty of storage & shelves to put all your “essentials” on & hand wash was supplied. The loo roll was also easily reached!!
On returning to the cabin in the late evening we found a cute mouse peeping out from under the pillows made by the steward from a face cloth! A lovely touch & would prove popular with children.
GARDEN CAFÉ. (BUFFET) This is situated at the Aft & there are serving stations in the middle with plentiful tables all around, including tables for two. There are 12 stations on each section: at lunch time these are Pizza, Asian, Soups, Grill, Carving, Sandwiches, Asst Breads, Salads, Specialities, Beverages, Sweets & Fruits & Ice Cream. Something for everyone in our opinion. The food we chose was delicious & we thoroughly recommend the gateaux! It does get busy at peak times but in good weather with the additional outside seating it shouldn’t be a problem finding a table.
BISTRO . We chose to eat our evening meal in one of the Speciality dining venues & booked a table at the Bistro shortly after boarding. We had a table for two & the waiters were efficient & polite. The Maître D was subjected to a barrage of abuse by a very rude gentleman & dealt with him calmly & politely which is more than he deserved!!
The meal was absolutely delicious, my husband’s steak was tender & cooked to perfection. It was hot & service throughout first class. The desserts were “to die for” & I’d recommend the Bistro to anyone fortunate enough to cruise on Getaway.
MDR’s We didn’t dine in any of the 3 MDR’s but, they were nicely laid out with plenty of “proper” tables for two, (2 chairs, not a long bench seat!). They seemed to have a lovely ambience & the sample menu had a good choice of dishes.
SVDKA/Inniskillin Ice Bar. We booked a visit to the Ice Bar on boarding the ship. It’s open from 5.30pm in one hour slots. We were provided with a hooded poncho, gloves & tickets for 2 drinks either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It was -6C & the bar had ice sculptures & ice walls. If you have visited a Scandinavian Ice Bar you may be disappointed, if not it’s worth a visit for the “experience”.
GETAWAY THEATRE: We booked for the 10pm performance of “Legally Blonde” online. The doors opened 30 minutes before curtain up & your cruise card gets “swiped” on the way in (be sure to have one card per person!). Seats are on a first come basis & are rather hard, hopefully they will soften up with wear! It’s a small theatre for the size of the ship. The show however, was excellent. The cast were energetic & mention has to be made to “Elle” who was on stage for most of the 90mins. The show is of the “High School Musical” style which seemed to be a shock to some passengers but, a quick check online would have provided an insight into the type of show.
SHIP & OBSERVATIONS; Obviously the Getaway was clean & sparkling as any new ship would be. The external artwork is either loved or hated but, doesn’t add or distract from the enjoyment of the cruise. It’s a huge ship & the carpets in the cabin corridors have fish “swimming” towards the front to help in navigating your way around. There are lifts at the front & aft, 8 in each location, they were fast & we didn’t have to wait when using them.
The Atrium is on decks 6, 7 & 8 with a beautiful centre piece of a crystal chandelier which along with the glass staircases, changes colour. Guest Services is situated on Deck 6 & they were very helpful & polite.
There are 22 bars & lounges catering for all tastes from pub style to piano bars. There were many quiet seating areas dotted around the ship. A two lane bowling alley, arcade games, climbing wall, rope walkways, mini golf are among activities for teens & active adults! There are flumes, fun pools & much more to keep everyone occupied. The casino is large but, we didn’t spend time (or money) there.
For the Fitness conscious there is an extensive gym area & a fabulous spa thermal suite with pool.
The Photo Gallery was organised differently: on the cruise card is a location where you will find a file with corresponding number & your photos inside or you can use the cruise card to swipe to view. On a longer cruise 10 photos can be put on a USB stick for $19.95, but have to be completed in ONE transaction.
DISEMBARKATION On this cruise as we were all carrying our own luggage it was not representative of a longer cruise. It did seem to go smoothly though.
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed this taster cruise, NCL may not be to everyone’s taste but, for us we loved every minute, we just wished we could have stayed on longer.