Along with my brother and sister-in-law, my wife and I flew out of LGA to Miami, to board the NCL Getaway. (We are Platinum Lattiudes, but my in-laws have only cruised a few times, but are enjoying it immensely.) We had the NCL transfers ($30 each way pp), which worked extremely well both ways to and from the port. We checked in and received our ships cards, taking all of about 10 minutes. However, since we arrived too early to board, we joined about 500 other folks waiting in the terminal. Boarding started soon, and we boarded quickly. We headed up to the Garden Cafe on deck 15 aft to have some light snacks.
We all had gotten together well before the cruise, and decided on getting the ultimate dining package (UDP) for $119 per couple. We also made reservations for 5 specialty restaurants (Teppanyaki, Cagneys, Le Bistro, Moderno, and La Cucina), leaving one open for a best-one repeat (turned out to be Cagneys), with all four of us voting on the one. We ended up eating in the Garden Cafe for one night when they had the lobsters. I had eight. Ocean Blue was not included in the UDP package, and we felt $49 pp was a bit too much, even though it was Jeffrey Zarkarians', so we passed on it. We also booked excursions for Sts. Maartin and Thomas, but planned on staying on the ship for Nassau. We also made reservations for Burn the Floor and Legally Blonde. So, while lots of folks were frantically trying to decide what to do, we were all set before we set foot on the ship.
The ship had 3969 passengers, with 1600 crew, 300 of which were ships operation and 1300 hotel staff. Its 1,068 ft long, and 170 ft wide. It actually is smaller than the Epic. We almost never felt overwhelmed with people, as there was so much to do in many places. The only times it was really crowded was in the Atrium on deck 6, when a good game was held, like "Friendly Feud or "Dancing with the NCL Stars", or "Newly Married or Married for a Long Time". The staff then would bring out extra chairs, to accommodate the extra people.
I liked the layout of the ship. The stern had the movie screen on deck 16, but not the pool like the Epic. Instead, they had small waterfall shallow wading pools on one side. The water slides were awesome. as was the ropes and zip lines course, both of which I did multiple times. The adult pool had a depth of 6 ft 8, about 5 inches over my head so there was always plenty of room, as most people did not go in. You either held onto the sides, or floated and swam. There was an area around the pool proper that held about 4 inches of water, so some folks put chairs in that a were cool that way. There were plenty of chairs all over deck 15, and you always found a chair. Four together was sometimes difficult.
I also did a behind the scenes tour of the ship with about 15 Platinum members, which was very interesting.
Staff on the Getaway were hand-picked for this brand-new ship, and managers who did the picking did a great picking job. Everyone I talked to was very, very nice, and very competent. My brother in-law has an food allergy, and they bent backwards to accommodate him. As an example, the chef at Teppanyaki cooked all his food first on a clean griddle, and then the server in Cagneys brought him a unseasoned baked potato on her own. The hotel Assistant Director told us we should have told them before, and this way they could be even more responsive to his needs.
The smoke situation was better than ever, except they still allow balcony smoking. My in-laws had occasional smokers near them, resulting in them going back inside. We transited thru the casino, and were never overwhelmed there, altho that never seemed anywhere full. They now have a mostly enclosed room/section on the starboard side of deck 15, rather than the entire side.
The entertainment on the ship was overall very good. Burn the Floor was excellent, as was Legally Blonde. The comics were very funny, and I now have a few more jokes in my repertoire. We actually had the most fun during the Cruise Director staff-run events, mostly in the Atrium on deck 6.
This cruise reinforced my view that we use the cruise line that suits us. Arrangements, rooms, staff, service, food and entertainment were outstanding. I see no reason to try another cruise line.