For more performance-based entertainment options, start with the Getaway Theater. With an art deco-inspired entrance and box office area, the venue hosts the majority of onboard shows, including the Broadway musical "Legally Blonde." If you've seen the movie, you know the story: A seemingly vapid California valley girl learns to trust herself and her capabilities and overcomes the cold snobbery of the East Coast Ivy League establishment by dent of her brains, irrepressibly bubbly personality and dedication to the color pink. If you like musicals and you liked the movie, this show's probably a safe bet. The performers are excellent (many straight from Broadway), and the quality rivals anything you'd see on land. "Legally Blonde" is performed three nights of each seven-night cruise. Passengers can also head to the theater to check out dance revue "Burn the Floor," a riveting 55-minute production taking place in Havana, as well as other more traditional entertainment options.
Game shows, such as "Jeopardy" and "Deal or No Deal," are held in the Getaway Theater on select evenings. A popular draw is the current movies shown in 3D in the theater in the evenings.
During the day, Headliners comedy club, near Le Bistro on Deck 6, is used for Bingo, Nickelodeon family fun and several art auctions. The big screen on Deck 6 in the atrium is used for a larger view of towel animal-folding and fruit-carving demonstrations, as well as a variety of Q & As with entertainment acts, such as performers from the Grammy Experience and the magicians from Illusionarium. Dance classes, casino raffles, arts and crafts, behind-the-scenes tours and other free events rotate throughout the cruise. Cupcake- and cake-decorating classes are for-fee and held during select times. You can also elevate your lunch into a show with "Wine Lovers, the Musical" (see Dining section).
At night, Levity Entertainment Group's comedians perform 12 shows per week at Headliners, a combination of scripted standup and improv sessions by Second City. Warning: These are not necessarily kid-friendly, so make sure you check beforehand about the content if you are thinking of bringing children. Reservations are necessary for the show, but we easily got seats several times by showing up early and waiting to see if empty seats were available.
Headliners also doubles as home to the impressive "Howl at the Moon" dueling piano show, which pits two pianists against each other as they play passengers' requests. The show generally lasts for several hours, allowing you to come and go as you please, but with a bar in the same room, there's really no need to leave. The piano players perform a variety of classic songs across the ages and invite requests and participation in the form of dancing. It can get pretty raucous.
Bliss Ultra Lounge, Getaway's Deck 8 nightclub, gets a nod as the best place to bump and grind until 4 a.m., should that be your activity of choice. In the evenings, Bliss hosts karaoke, but after dinner, it turns into a trendy lounge with funky chairs and tables, purple and blue lighting, and a DJ who plays lots of hip-hop. Nights are themed, ranging from '50s and '60s to hits of the '90s. Be sure to check your Freestyle Daily for the night's music selection.
Fireworks are held once per cruise, and while they only last a few minutes, it's a fun way to gather with other passengers for a choreographed show of lights and music. A personal favorite was Prince's Purple Rain as purple explosions filled the sky. Climb onto the sun deck on Deck 17 midship for the best views.
Each night seemed to end at the sun-deck-by-day Spice H2O, with a variety of themed dance parties. The most popular, by far, was the Glow Party. (Get there early for glow face painting.) We were surprised to find it was appropriate for all ages, and having cruisers ages 2 to 82 getting down makes the event that much more fun for families. An '80s party, complete with flash mob of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," was also a night of nonstop dancing and "This is my song!"
The Grammy Experience is new for Getaway and features a cruise-ship first: a tie-up with the Grammys and the promise of a variety of award winners and nominees. Rihanna and her ilk probably won't perform; you're more likely to see Grammy-winning instrumentalists (think flautists and percussionists, who each perform onboard for a month), rather than A-list bands and vocalists. Thoughts were mixed before catching a performance by Sugar Blue, billed as a harmonica blower and blues musician, but after seeing him play, we had to change our tune. The band alone was excellent, and they played without a headliner one of the last nights of the cruise.
The sprawling 18,000-square-foot Getaway Casino on Deck 7 fans out around the main staircase at 678 Ocean Place. But rather than being contained in one room, it stretches from just outside the bar of O'Sheehan's all the way to Shanghai's Noodle Bar, so you'll find slots and tables lining the corridor and spaces as you walk along the ship. Although smoking is only allowed in the center area of the casino (and not in the corridors leading to O'Sheehan's and Shanghai's), the smell still permeates the midsection of the ship. Norwegian says it has installed adequate ventilation and has no plans to change its smoking policy. The casino has more than 300 slot machines and 26 gaming tables, featuring poker, blackjack, roulette and craps.
And, finally, combine dinner and a show at the Illusionarium (see Dining section). We were surprised to find that, six months after the ship's launch, the acts had almost entirely changed, bringing new life to the show and making it more entertaining the second time around.
Norwegian Getaway Bars and Lounges
If you're in search of a beer or a cocktail, you have plenty of choice on Getaway, which has nearly 20 bars. Deck 8 is a hotspot, including a dance club, mojito bar, ice bar and cigar bar. The Waterfront is also a fantastic place to sip a drink among the ocean breezes. Bars and venues on Deck 8 spill outside, providing an entirely new nightlife scene.
The Bar at the Atrium (Deck 6): Ideal for a tipple in the middle of it all. Positioned centrally in the main atrium -- near the guest services and shore excursions desks, the Internet cafe and a giant movie screen -- you can absorb your surroundings, drink in hand, while watching your fellow passengers come and go or participate in activities like "sing it if you know it" karaoke.
Mixx (Deck 6 aft): Located between Getaway's two main dining rooms, Taste and Savor, Mixx is pretty standard as far as bars go, but its proximity to both restaurants makes it a good choice for after-dinner drinks.
O'Sheehan's (Deck 7): This spot is the place to go for beer (it's on tap) and an order of wings, burgers, and fish and chips while watching one of several TVs positioned throughout the restaurant and bar areas, which span a large portion of the atrium. If your team isn't playing, you can also bowl, test your skill at arcade basketball or enjoy video games like PAC-MAN. Note: Food is free at this 24-hour venue, but drinks and game play cost extra.
Bar 21 (Deck 7): This bar gives off an upscale ambience in spite of its location in the Getaway Casino. Easily accessible and done up in light, neutral colors, it's a nice spot to sip a drink, whether you're betting the night away or just passing through. Amid the gorgeous tile work, individual betting machines are embedded within the bar so you're never too far away from the action.
Sugarcane Mojito Bar (Deck 8): Sugarcane offers plenty of Latin flavor. With palm tree decor, live music, aqua-blue lighting, tropical chairs and, of course, mojitos served with raw sugarcane, this cozy bar is reminiscent of what you might find at an upscale Miami resort. We recommend getting a flight -- six sweet and savory varieties, starting at $15 -- to select your favorite for the remainder of the cruise. It's a lot to drink for one person; try sharing among friends. Outdoor seating is available.
Sunset Bar (Deck 8): Sunset Bar channels the spirit of Hemingway with dark woods, plush seating and a literary theme, just across from La Cucina. It's quiet and intimate -- perfect for chatting without having to shout. Note, however, that it also leads to the Humidor Cigar Lounge, so you might get an occasional whiff of smoke. An outdoor bar extends onto the Waterfront.
The Svedka & Inniskillin Ice Bar (Deck 8); $20 per person: The Ice Bar offers a change of pace for anyone who has had it up to here with the standard bar scene. For an added fee, ice bargoers gain admittance for a limited time, as well as two drinks from a predetermined list and the use of oversized silver parkas to keep them toasty while sitting on giant ice cubes.
Prime Meridian (Deck 8 aft): Prime Meridian is a relaxing, dark-wood bar, located smack in the middle of the giant room that houses Cagney's Steakhouse and Moderno Churrascaria, the ship's Brazilian steakhouse. If you'd like pre-dinner drinks while you wait to be seated or after-dinner drinks to chase your filet mignon, it's the perfect spot. It is large, and was never crowded during our sailings.
The Grammy Experience (Deck 8): This venue (Fat Cats on other ships) spills out onto the Waterfront and is decorated with various bits of memorabilia, curated from the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. This spot is a must for any music-lover. By day, you can grab a drink and check out the exhibit. By night, it hosts guest performers (see Entertainment).
Waves Pool Bar (Deck 15): Waves is the ideal choice for sunbathers who need only walk a few steps to snag a pina colada or a bucket of beer.
The Flamingo Bar & Grill (Deck 16): Another underrated spot at Flamingo is its bar, beautifully surrounded by blue tiling in a quiet, shaded area with a television playing international sports. A full bar is available, and seating is plentiful. There was never anyone there, save for the occasional walk-up to bring drinks back to a table or the pool area.
Norwegian Getaway Outside Recreation
Getaway's main pool area is located on Deck 15; it's a relatively small pool, considering the size of the ship. It's surrounded by four whirlpools, which were packed during our sailing. A secondary kids pool area, with charming statues of various Nickelodeon characters, is also located on Deck 15.
Those who long for action will be at home on Getaway, which features plenty of activities to get your heart pounding. We love the five waterslides that make up the ship's Aqua Park on Deck 17, especially the two fast-and-furious Free Fall slides that send riders on a scream-inducing plunge. The other slides offer tamer but still fun options.
Those who want a dryer thrill can take to the pirate-themed ropes course, also on Deck 17, where passengers are hooked into harnesses before climbing over various obstacles. The brave can try out an 8-foot plank, which extends over the side of the ship. Once at the end, smile for the camera; you can buy the photo at Click Photo Gallery. The course also features a short zip line. A 48-inch minimum height requirement applies for passengers who climb the ropes course. The area also features a 33-foot-high rock climbing wall (height restrictions also apply) and a nine-hole mini-golf course (also pirate themed) below.
Spice H2O (Deck 16) and Vibe Beach Club (Deck 17) are the ship's adults-only spaces. Spice includes hot tubs and a waterfall. Once the sun goes down, passengers can dance the night away; this is where the bulk of the ship's theme night events take place. Vibe is a much quieter space, where passengers can chill on loungers to the sounds of a water feature or take a dip in the oversized hot tub. The venue features cabanas and caps the number of passengers at 60 for crowd control. While Spice is free to use, Vibe requires a fee ($79 per week, $20 per day), and passes can sell out quickly. The two-person cabanas in Vibe require a separate reservation of $299 per week, but this includes access to Vibe, as well as a food and beverage credit. Vibe's claim to ultimate sunbathing fame is complimentary spritzes, water, chilled towels and fruit skewers while you bake.
Norwegian Getaway Services
The Deck 6 atrium offers the usual guest services and shore excursion desks, a coffee shop and a bar. Tucked away in a corner of the ship, off the starboard side of the central atrium, the traditional public areas -- library, meeting rooms, card room and Internet cafe -- are gathered almost as an afterthought.
The Internet cafe consists of 12 computer terminals oddly arranged next to a stage that hosts live performances in the evening. The layout rarely affords passengers a quiet space to check email and surf the Web. Wi-Fi is also available throughout the ship. Prices for getting online include both a pay-as-you-go option (75 cents per minute) and packages (100 minutes for $55 or 250 minutes for $100). Packaged minutes can be used interchangeably on ship computers and personal computers, and a $3.95 activation fee is levied on all users on initial login. Printing is available for 50 cents per document. The manager's hours vary, depending on whether the ship is in port or at sea; you can find hours posted each day in the Freestyle Daily, Norwegian's daily schedule.
The small but attractively decorated library is laid out like a comfy little lounge and offers books and e-books for borrowing. The selection of titles, as on many ships, is relatively limited. The card room is elegantly decorated, with maritime photos and posters lining the walls; it offers a small collection of games, as well as tables and chairs for playing them. The tiny and sparsely decorated Atlantic and Pacific Meeting rooms are across the hall from the library and card rooms. The rooms have a retractable wall, which, when opened, leaves a space that would still struggle to accommodate anything but a small group.
Click Photo Gallery and shopping are on Deck 8. Getaway features all the traditional cruise-ship shopping, including fine jewelry, duty-free alcohol and cigarettes, various sundries, clothing and accessories, and lots of Getaway-branded items. The photo gallery offers a cruise ship standard selection of cameras, binoculars and bric-a-brac (bobble-head dolls), along with photo packages. Passengers can get a 10-photo package for $129.95 or 20 photos for $199.95. Full price lists are available on request.
There are no self-service laundry facilities on Getaway.