Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by SealR: First time family cruisersâ€¦overall GREAT experience!
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First time family cruisersâ€¦overall GREAT experience!
We were first time cruisers so we don't have much to compare it to in the cruise department. We do travel a lot and have pretty high expectations so we were hoping for a great/clean/fun/higher-end cruise experience. We were traveling with our children ages 9 and 11. I have a gluten allergy which was a bit tricky to navigate. The cruise ship was very clean, well maintained, and beautifully decorated.
Transportation to and from ship:
We took a car service--from Ft. Lauderdale airport to ship in Miami. We had our driver stop so we could purchase a case or two of bottled water/seltzer--worth the extra $10 fee. We paid about $100 inclusive to transport the 4 of us. We took the Norwegian bus back to Ft. Lauderdale--this was also $100 and it was a MESS. The line was long and there was miscommunication and we were all frustrated…not a great way to end vacation. I would recommend taking a cab/car service it works out to be the same for better service.
The family mini-suite mid ship floor 12 was great for the 4 of us. We had a pull down bed and couch that turned into bed…the bathroom was spacious and there were little storage spaces for most of our items, and luggage storage under the bed. There were times when all 4 of us were trying to get ready it seemed small, but it worked for a week on the ship. The room was quiet, clean and comfortable.
We were NEVER bored. The activities with the rock wall, rope course, bungee, seminars, demos, movies at H20 Spice etc…there was always something to do for adults and kids. Bingo was fun, but insanely expensive! Legally Blonde was a good show with a great cast!
The food overall was good. I have a gluten allergy that I alerted the cruise line to prior to sailing. It was VERY confusing every time we checked into a restaurant. Some hosts/servers would be responsive and others asked if I preordered??? I never got the same answer. The speciality restaurants were way more customer service oriented with my allergy and all the way around. We did two speciality restaurants La Cucina and Moderno. Moderno was really good--and they had amazing gluten free rolls! that I learned I could ask for at any other restaurant during my trip. The Garden Cafe was a staple for us with the kids because we could eat and go…the breakfast was really good…I struggled though to figure out what was gluten free and what was not so I ate very simply with fruits and salads and some of the carving station items. I think the ship needs to address food allergies differently and have icons/symbols on their food labels/menus so it can make for easier ordering…this seems like a staple on most food buffets/bars these days to label items with allergens so I was surprised this massive ship was not better at catering to this aspect of eating.
The kids liked getting appetizers from OSheehans, but overall it was a bar with bar food….nothing great. The Mojito bar was really good and reasonably priced.
Outside, Pools, Gym, Kids Club:
Everything people say about the pools is true--very crowded and loud…we did not use the pools during the peak day hours as much and found other things to do. We got to use all the slides, but don't think we ever swam. We weren't too bothered by this aspect, and got plenty of outdoor time with other activities and pool use later in the day, but the pools are comparable to bathtubs for the amount of people. The outside areas were nice and you could find quiet spaces too. The gym was really small as well for the number of people. Kids Club was nice and kids had fun--we only used the service about 4-5 hours the whole trip.
The cruise staff were really nice. Our room steward Sharon was awesome. She made sure that we had enough towels and she left treats and decorative towel designs for the kids nightly. We received a bulletin with the next day tips/event schedules--we looked forward to reading it nightly. Download the Norwegian IConceirge service. The Excursion staff helpful, but not exactly spot on with some recommendations…see below. Overall service everyone was very helpful and kind. There can be a language barrier in some cases so you need to be patient with staff. The staff did their best to make sure everyone was hand washing prior to dining. Less
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Cabin review: 12226
The room was perfect for our family of 4. We had the family mini suite and the size was good. There were lots of little spaces to store things and the bathroom was nicely laid out…The balcony was on the small end, but it was fine. Again, not having much to compare it to cruise wise, but the room seemed to be well thought-out. The room was quiet and being mid-ship was nice.
Port and Shore Excursions
We read reviews beforehand about this excision being crowded…believe it! We had never been to Atlantis and wanted to take advantage of being in port to visit this renowned resort. Our kids are the perfect age to enjoy this place, BUT it was overly crowded. There were three other boats in port and resort goers…I would have been REALLY angry if I were staying at the resort…It is a huge resort with big prices and a lot to conquer in a short amount of time. There were also all kinds of rules/restrictions on what you could and could not do…The towel line was ridiculous and inefficient wasting a good 20-30 minutes of our time. I would not say we regret our decision to go, but it was a lot of money for not a lot of time/fun. We would not do this excursion again or recommend it for sheer cost and time alone. Also beware….there is a public beach looped into the Atlantis so go to COVE Beach in the resort where you won't be pressed to purchase/buy all the local loot…we ended up at the beach for a good chunk of time because the water rides etc…were too long.
St. Martin (Dutch side--boat port) After talking to the Cruise Excursion staff…we decided to spend the day at the beach near port in Phillipsburg where the boat docs--worst advice ever. DO NOT plan to spend the day here…It is a run down, unattractive, actually scary place. We paid to take a water taxi across the way (you can walk in 10 minutes) to Phillipsburg---and within 10 minutes of arriving we left and went back to port to get a new plan. They wanted to charge my husband money to use the bathroom?!? We were approached by no less than 20 people right when we got to Phillipsburg for services, boat trips, money etc…we kept walking and thinking it would get better--it did not. We went back to Port to regroup.
We ended up taking a cab ($5 per person) to Little Bay (Dutch side and 10 minute drive from port) with other cruisers--which was a pretty resort area--quiet beach and a nice place for our kids to swim, have a drink/beach lunch. We had a rough start to the day, but getting out Phillipsburg was the right choice for us. I would say look into this port more and find a beach/excursion maybe the French side?
We took the Power Cat and Snorkeling trip…really great trip! We snorkeled at Buck Island with turtles and then went to Honeymoon beach for beach time. The trip was approximately 4 hours. The boat staff were great- informative, helpful, made amazing drinks after snorkeling and wanted everyone to have fun. Our kids really loved this excursion. We wished the snorkeling portion was longer than what was offered. St. Thomas was beautiful this was a highlight of the trip--and US territory made it that much easier to navigate. The value for the money was good--just wish there was a little more time.