This was our 11th cruise on NCL and it was the best ever. Here are the top ten reasons why:
10. Easy embarkation/disembarkation. About as organized and simple as it can get.
9. The ship itself. Everything is new and clean. We loved the abundance of elevators - where they were situated and how quickly they came when we beckoned them. It felt like we were never lost! While we still love the layout of the smaller NCL ships (i.e. game shows in the lounges versus atrium), everything on the Getaway was easy to navigate. We enjoyed walking past the "outside" seating of Le Bistro. We loved eating on the "Waterfront" at Cucina. About 4500 passengers and it never felt crowded (except on the pool deck)! Enjoyed exploring the 16th floor with the "plank" and "mini golf." This was the first ship (Epic included) in which I barely felt the movement of the ocean.
8. The ports. By this point, we know them well to the point of finding our "usual" beach chair guy in St. Maarten. So, while nothing was really "new," we found comfort in the familiarity. Wished the itinerary was laid out a bit differently as being at port on the last day always makes it just that much harder to leave the next day!
7. The new menus. Finally!! NCL now has new menus. And they are good! Lots of choices for both lunch and dinners. The fish was excellent in the MDRs (popcorn shrimp! flounder!), the pasta always cooked al dente, and the desserts were to die for (I dream about the chocolate volcano). The selection of foods have expanded and every night there was something we wanted to try. We're hoping NCL changes us the menus in the speciality restaurants soon! (Shout out to Carlos' Bakery's cannolis and lobster tails...must try!)
6. All-you-can-eat lobster night. I expected chaos but instead was pleasantly surprised at the organized feeding frenzy that actually dissipated quite quickly. This was one of my favorite meals and all I ate was lobsters and watermelon. (Where does NCL get their watermelon?! I was the one eating half a melon a sitting).
5. Instead of clumping the crew all in one point, I have to highlight certain ones to categories all to themseves. In the end, it's the CREW keep us coming back to NCL. First, the MDR waiters/waitresses. Couldn't have been any friendlier and service time was great. They encouraged us to eat more (!) and whenever we wanted an explanation of a dish, they'd just bring it for us. One waitress seemed so pleased, smiling and nodding, as we piled up lobsters on our plates. There was no hesitation whatsoever with what we ordered from the menu and all tried so hard to please us. The last breakfast prior to disembarkation, the waitress and Maitre D' (from Moderno but in Savor that morning) went above and beyond by bringing us two large croissants. This may seem small, but the extraordinary measures to make us happy didn't stop until we stepped off the ship.
4. The Maitre D's at the MDRs. We consider Harry (Savor) like family and the happiness we feel whenever we saw him lasted the whole day. We try to find him every cruise we go on. Isaac ("bright idea") made us laugh whenver we saw him. He visited every table at dinners, making us giggle at his silliness. Dominic (Cucina) checked on us regularly and made sure we were taken care of. The Maitre D' at Moderno remembered my mom's special order without me even reminding her!
3. The Cruise Director, Joel Sanchez. He was everywhere and always ready with a smile and kind word whenever he saw us. By the end of the cruise, we felt like he was family and my mom especially loved the warm "hellos" and hugs. We loved that he was in line to say "goodbye" to us as we left. Made us feel valued. He was HILARIOUS on the "Dancing with the NCL Stars" game show.
2. The Hotel Director, Sean, and Assistant Hotel Director, Errol. Wow. The amazing attention we felt from these two wonderful professionals left us astounded and so very happy. Not only were they everywhere, always accessible and ready to chat it up, but they always made us feel they had time for us. We will never forget the wonderful times we spent with them. We've not stopped speaking of them since we left the ship. NCL should definitely use them as the models of outstanding and exemplary customer service.
1. Again, the entire CREW. Sometimes it's the little things - every crew member we passed by greeted us, napkins in our laps when we sat down to eat, remembering we don't like ice in our water. Sometimes it's the bigger things - spending time with us to chat, the energy the crew had in making us laugh at the silly things, the amazing coordination of team players to make things work seamlessly. All of it...every single thing...is why we are loyal to NCL and recommend it to everyone.