My family and I cruised on the Getaway on the March 15th sailing. This was our 10th cruise; we'd sailed once before with Norwegian, on the Pride of America in 2005. We had a great time in Hawaii, but I was disappointed by the quality of Pride of America's food. We've also sailed on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Carnival. When we read that Norwegian's Getaway was coming in 2014, we decided to give Norwegian a try again.
Embarkation was a breeze. From start to finish, couldn't have been more than 15 minutes. We were on-board Getaway by 11:30 am, and although the cabin stewards were still in the process of cleaning our three staterooms, they let us leave our luggage, and we were off to lunch. Food was pretty good at the Garden Cafe buffet, and finding a table was not a problem, After lunch, it was back to the cabin to unpack.
I should say upfront, that the cabin was small; you can see from the website that their square footage is a bit less than what's standard on other ships. But it was very well laid out, and the only time we had a crowding problem, was when the entire family gathered in our stateroom. But it was functional, with sufficient storage space, and the shower was the best on any ship we've sailed on; roomy with a hinged door.
After unpacking, we went exploring, to see the ship and familiarize ourselves with it's features. The Getaway is a beautiful ship; it's design and decor are terrific. Everything is bright and modern, very tastefully laid out. The restaurants, atrium, all of the public areas, even the elevator lobbies were very attractive. We all agreed that the Getaway is one of the most attractive cruise ships we've ever cruised on.
Some of the reviews on the Getaway complained that the ship oftentimes felt very crowded. This was a concern for us, but happily, except after a major production at the main show venue, the Getaway Theatre, the Getaway never felt crowded to any of us. We were always able to get seats at the shows, lawn chairs by the pool, and tables at the buffet, O'Sheenan's , and the main dining rooms. The waits were reasonably short on the rope course and on the water slides. I actually wondered where all the people were, because we never ran into any crowds (except as I said previously, after shows, and at the mandatory pre-sailing safety drill).
Dining aboard the Getaway far exceeded our expectations. I should say, though, that our expectations were modest, at best. When we sailed on Pride of American in 2005, the food had been mediocre, and we'd heard the food with Norwegian as a whole, was still a step or two lower than on RCL and Disney. Well, we were very pleasantly surprised. We had dinner at two specialty restaurants, Cagney's and La Cucina, and had dinner in the three main dining rooms for the other five days. Cagney's had great steaks - my New York was perfect; juicy, tender, and cooked perfectly. La Cucina was very good, though not as good as Cagney's. However, the house bread they served was without a doubt, the BEST FRENCH BREAD we had ever eaten on a cruise ship. It was even better than the French bread at Tartine's in San Francisco, which is acknowledged as one of the best in the city. The main dining rooms, Savor, Taste, and the Tropicana Room, all had similar menus. We all agreed that the dinner menus could have offered a few more choices, but the items that were offered were uniformly high quality, and none of us felt that dining at any additional premium restaurants was necessary. The main dining rooms all offered Striploin steak, every evening; it was a New York steak that was very, very good; almost equal to the one I'd had at Cagney's. Finally, a special dinner treat was that on certain days, at 6pm, the dancers from Burn the Floor, performed for the dinner guests at the Tropicana Room. This was complimentary, and it really livened up dinner. We also saw this twice. Again, dining on the Getaway was a great experience. However, I do want to say that the buffet could have offered a broader selection of foods, but what was offered, was good quality.
I'd read that Norwegian was a leader in providing exciting and innovative entertainment, so I was really looking forward to experiencing all the Getaway had to offer, and I had very high expectations. I was NOT disappointed - the entertainment was excellent, better than on any ship we've cruised on, with the exception of the Allure of the Seas, which was about equal overall to the Getaway. Burn the floor was the most exciting ballroom dance show I have ever seen, period. Don't miss it - we went twice, and loved it both times. Legally Blonde was hilarious; the singing and dancing were very high quality. We saw the Broadway production with Laura Bell Bundy as Elle Woods. We think the girl who played Elle on the Getaway was as talented as Laura Bell Bundy. And while the production values weren't as high as on Broadway, it was still very good, and we also saw it twice (one note to Getaway management - the quality of the audio in Legally Blonde could definitely be improved - at times, it was very hard to understand the lyrics). And finally, The Illusionarium, which is an extra cost, Magic show with dinner, was excellent. How they got the girl into those little tiny boxes still amazes me, and the mentalist, Alain Nu, performed a couple of stunts that amazed us. Definitely worth the extra $30 per person, but be sure to arrive an hour early, to get the tables right next to the stage. One final kudo to the ship's entertainment staff. One of the performers in Break the Floor, was a young lady named Jenna. She had pink hair, and my granddaughter loved her performance so much, that she sent Jenna a note, telling her that she loved her dancing, and was Jenna's biggest fan. Well, to our surprise, Jenna's agent called my daughter and invited her and my granddaughter to meet the cast of Burn the Floor before one of their performances. My granddaughter was thrilled, and really enjoyed meeting Jenna and the rest of the performers, and has several photos that she'll cherish for years to come. We all agreed this was a really sweet thing, above and beyond, from the cast, and it just added to our enjoyment and appreciation for the ship and the entertainers.
Service was the only area where we had any real complaints. It was not that we received poor service; it was more the lack of enthusiasm we sensed in many of the crew. Every member of the crew we had contact with smiled, and was very polite. It was more that we felt most of the crew smiled and said 'good day' because it was required, and they were doing their jobs, but we felt that there was little real enthusiasm for smiling at passengers. The exceptions to this were our cabin steward Ding, and some of the dining room staff. Still, everyone was very polite, and we didn't have a single episode of rudeness from any of the staff.
From a dollars and cents perspective, the Getaway was an incredible value. We cruised for 50% less than our cruise the year before on the Disney Fantasy. About 40% less than the Allure of the Seas, in the year before that. Dollar for dollar, it was probably the best cruise we've ever been on, period. After the cruise was over, we started planning for another trip on the Getaway for later this year. Great ship, great experience.