Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by ColoRxGirl: Not terrible. . . but we won't be back
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Not terrible. . . but we won't be back
Our recent trip on the NCL Getaway just wasn't what we'd hoped. Throughout the cruise, all we could see was missed opportunities. I think NCL has tried to appeal to such a broad audience, that they've managed to fall short on numerous fronts. I traveled with my husband, our two small kids (ages 3 1/2 & 2), and a close friend. Our family had ocean view interconnecting cabins (5212 & 5214) and my friend had an aft balcony (9318). The middle of the road service started before we left. Making reservations for the specialty restaurants prior to departure involved a discussion with a pushy NCL phone rep who urged me to relax, repeating "it's freestyle cruising," and not worry about making set dining plans. Ummm, I have two little kids and I want to eat at the specialty joints each night (we had bought Ultimate Dining Plans), so "winging it" wasn't comfortable for me. Luckily, we did get booked into all the places we wanted, because reservations seemed to disappear fast approaching More
our sail date and early seating times were virtually gone once on board. Embarkation was smooth; we arrived early and were allowed into the terminal where drinks and plenty of seating awaited after check-in. Check-in was quick and easy. We were able to access our cabins fairly early, but I think that resulted in our steward not having time to finish some last room touches (Kleenex in the BR and a full complement of towels). He was very receptive to our requests, and I had everything we needed before bedtime that night. Our steward was one of the better parts of the trip, and we happily left him extra gratuity, in addition to the standard service charge. The rooms were spacious and I was happy I booked two rooms instead of the much smaller total sq. footage of a family suite. The interconnecting doors were easy to use and we left them open for the duration of the trip. The extra space and bathroom were just awesome to have. One gripe about the cabin design? The horrid carpet. This boat is brand new, but the carpet is felt-like. Meaning every crumb, hair, etc., hangs on for dear life despite vigorous vacuuming. Ick. Beds were comfy and the boys slept great at night and nap time alike. The only major issue we had throughout the first four nights of the trip was a terrible banging/clanging against the hull at all hours of the night and early morning. We reported it to the crew and were told everything from, "It's windy and ships make noise," to "We have no idea what's causing that." This is not my first rodeo, y'all; I have cruised numerous times on Celebrity (probably the main reason for my disappointment with NCL) and have NEVER heard banging noises against the hull. This went on for several nights. We were offered ear plugs, but only I wore them so one of us would hear the kids if they needed us. While in port, we noticed that a large winch assembly for the lifeboats was right above our cabin; when I mentioned to the crew on day 4 that perhaps it was the source of the noise, the sound magically disappeared later that day. Hmmmmmm. By day 3 we were offered two inside rooms, just for sleeping, but I really didn't need 4 rooms total to manage. Guest services was unable to provide us a different, comparable cabin until day 5 (I got the sense they thought they were being very generous with the offer to move to a family suite), but, by day 5, it was too little, too late. I had no interest in moving all of us and our stuff to a new room for two nights, and certainly not to less space than I had booked and paid for, so we politely declined the offer. On day 6, we were offered credits of $100 per cabin ($200 total) for the trouble. We took it, knowing that was the best they were going to do. I'd already decided I was never sailing with NCL again, so why fight? I just wanted to enjoy my time with the kids and the multiple calls and messages daily from G.S. was wearing on us. Now, that I'm back, I'm finding other reviews with the same reports of loud, banging noises in nearby cabins on this ship. Other not-so-great highlights? A wet patch on the floor in the Garden Cafe resulted in a nasty fall with my son in my arms. We were just bruised, and guest services checked on us multiple times and sent some chocolate-covered strawberries with get well wishes. Service at the specialty restaurants was spotty; Riyaz and Mercedes at Cagney's and Ocean Blue, respectively, were wonderful. Servers at Moderno and Le Bistro were overworked, under-trained, and just fair at best. Think clanging dishes as you're served, never being offered a wine list (seriously, we had to ask for a wine list at every.single.restaurant), long delays in taking food and drink orders. The food was good, but I've had better on other cruises. The buffet at Garden cafe was pretty good, with many options. Again, not the best I've had, but certainly solid. A major failure from a Guest Services standpoint? Lousy information on the ports. Unless your question was about the preferred shopping sites, they had no info. Our party likes to go more local, hiring a driver for the day, using a map to get around, etc. The NCL staff could provide no insight whatsoever - not even a general map of the island or port towns. Just the snapshot of the one main shopping area in each port. Total failure from a traveler's standpoint. The ship itself feels much smaller than it is. The Atrium area, where games and entertainment occurs, is right across from Guest Services, so it is very noisy and crowded - a terrible design setup when guests are trying to get assistance. The buffet line feels cramped when busy, the 678 atrium is not only decorated hideously, but seems very small for a ship this size. There's so much "stuff" that it just feels crammed together. Oh, and the cigarette smoke! Awful. All of 678 Ocean Place is polluted from the casino. Since smoking isn't well policed on the ship, folks would smoke basically wherever they wanted. One fellow passenger tried to get on an elevator with a lit cigarette! Just gross. The kids splash & pool area was fantastic. My little guys loved it - we were there every day. Splash Academy, other than crowded, disorganized check-in, seemed good. Our eldest went two evenings and reported that he'd had fun. The Spa was terrible. Prices were ludicrous for the quality of service (it's run by Steiner) and the staff was disinterested at best, downright surly at worst. The Thermarium was nice, but I only visited once. The fitness center is, again, undersized for this size of ship. The staff was nice, but paying $20-30 for classes like TRX and Cycling was a bit much. No Zumba classes were offered on Getaway. If you want to do the special fitness classes, plan to sign up as soon as you board, as they fill very quickly. The cruise director, Joel, was affable and seen all over the ship, but some of his staff just came off as. . . smarmy. I'm sure this review sounds terribly negative, and I freely admit that I've been spoiled by only cruising Celebrity in the past. Perhaps my expectations at this price point were too high. But, I just saw so many areas for improvement, so many missed opportunities, and a support staff that was just worked way too hard. If you've only traveled with Costa or Carnival or Holland, this might have been a dream vacation. For us? We looked longingly at the Disney Dream in port with us in Nassau and regretted that we hadn't ponied up the money for that trip instead. Less
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