Great Cruise for Everyone. Kids and Adults both can have a good time! NCL Getaway (Feb 15 – 22)
Background to review:
With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. However, on this cruise, we booked a Spa Balcony on deck 14 forward, Room 14108.
Not that everything on the Getaway was great, but the combination of the ship, the crew, the entertainment, the excursions, the food, friends we met, and of course the SPA, made for a perfect week.
I am not going to provide a lot of detail in this review but just hit the highlights and give you some suggestions to make your trip more enjoyable.
Embarkation: Don’t believe what you may read in another review about the “thugs” at the Port of Miami. We have sailed several times from this port and I have never had a problem. I always tip the porter at the sidewalk $5 for two bags and walk away to the NCL registration desk. Total time to get thru security, NCL registration, pictures taken and on board was less than 30 minutes. Of course, have your correct paperwork, passports, and credit card.
Disembarkation at Miami and Ports: Absolutely great. Easy on and off at the ports. Returning to Miami we got off at 8:30, retrieved our bags, went through customs and found a shuttle to the airport for $12 each. We were in the Miami terminal by 10:00 having a snack.
Balcony Room: Slightly larger than expected but balcony was a little smaller. Sufficient storage and nice bathroom. ALL the electrical in the room depends on a “room key card” being inserted in the slot of the on/off switch by the door to work. I used my “Costco” membership card and left it in the slot so my phone and IPAD chargers would work while we were out of the room.
Only COMPLAINT about the living area is not related to the ship but with NCL’s smoking policy. They allow smoking on the balcony and our neighbor in 14106 smoked constantly which affected our use of our balcony. NCL needs to address this issue.
SPA: Great place to relax every day. Nice locker room to shower and change. Heated tile chairs are the best. The Salt Room was not that great……not sure what it is suppose to do but it did not seem to be working for everyone I talked to. If you are not in a SPA room, the cost is $199 per person for the week. Well worth it to me but that is your decision.
Entertainment: Don’t miss the “Illusionarium”. Magical show was terrific and the food good. Perfect way to start the evening. The extra cost was well worth the money.
We enjoyed both Legally Blond and the Burn the Floor dance routine. I thought Burn the Floor was a little too long and repetitious. I also enjoyed the Crew Talent show on Thursday at 2:00 pm.
Levity Comedy in the Headliners was hit or miss depending on the comedian.
DINING: We tried all three complimentary dining areas, Savor, Taste and Tropicana Room. Nothing special about any of the areas except there is music in the Tropicana Room. Food was good but not outstanding and the service was average.
We ate in the Garden Café several times and really enjoyed the selection and the quality of food. It was not too crowded when we dined. On Monday night they had Lobster Night in the Café. I almost missed it because we ate early in Savor but went to the Café at 8:30 for coffee. I saw the waiter with the lobster tails and I realized it was lobster night. Wendy and I proceeded to eat 11 lobster tails for “dessert”.
I REALLY ENJOY eating in the Speciality Restaurants when I travel on NCL. Le Bistro and Cagney’s are our favorites. However, it was very difficult to get reservations once on board without a concierge making them for you. We did manage to get a reservation on Friday in Cagney’s and the food was OUTSTANDING. With the ULTIMATE DINING package giveaway currently running on NCL, I am not sure how they are going to accommodate all the extra people heading to the Speciality Dining areas….seems the Tropicana, Savor and Taste will be empty.
My favorite stop was O’Sheehan’s Bar and Grill. Besides the hamburgers, sandwiches and such I had the best Prime Rib dinner there and my favorite was the Banana Splits and Ice Cream Sundaes.
WATER PARK: Even at 65, I really enjoyed the water slides and the Rope Course….especially Walking the Plank. The RED slide really shook me up but it was great. The pool is small and my wife usually went to deck 16, the sun deck to find a quiet spot to sit in the sun. H2O is in the back of the ship behind the arcade. Small “watering pond” but it is adults only.
St. Maartens: I had arranged a tour through the internet with Jo Junie Tours, http://www.jojunietours.com/ . He came highly recommended and I was not disappointed. The tour went around the entire island with a 2 hour stop at Orient Beach, lunch at Marigot(on your own), and a final stop at Simpson’s Beach to watch the planes come in. Had a great driver and great view of the island.
St. Thomas: We booked the land excursion tour of St. Johns thru NCL. 45 minute ferry ride to St. Johns which was quite rough the day we went. We toured the entire island and it was BEAUTIFUL. Pristine white sand beaches, not congested and quite. Definitely a place we will visit for a week or so in the future. Only lacks a GOLF COURSE, otherwise it is perfect.
Nassau: Been there, done that and we did not get OFF the SHIP. Don’t like to be hassled the entire time we are touring. Besides you get in at 12 and leave at 6. If you are not on an excursion, the ship was probably a better alternative than walking and shopping.
CRUISE CRITIC MEET AND GREET: NCL really did a fine job of hosting our Meet and Greet in Cagney’s.