Norwegian Getaway Family
Norwegian looks after kids onboard with a huge variety of options-- so there is no reason for anyone between the ages of 6 months and 17 years to be bored.
Splash Academy is the main kids club -- a two-deck supervised space, located on decks 12 and 13 forward. It's a good-sized area connected by an internal staircase, with lots of spaces for each different age group. What we found odd, however, is that it is entirely enclosed with neither outside space nor even a window. Considering Getaway will be based in Miami, and Norwegian has made such a huge fuss about the outdoor Waterfront area on Deck 8, this made no sense to us.
Kids in Splash Academy are divided by age group: Turtles (3 to 5), Seals (6 to 9) and Dolphins (10 to 12). Guppies (6 months to 2 years) can use the Splash Academy facilities only if accompanied by a parent. A completely separate teen program -- Entourage (for 13- to 17-year-olds) -- is located on Deck 16, aft.
Turtles and Seals have Deck 12 to themselves; Dolphins have Deck 13. The two floors are decorated with lots of vibrant colors and designs on the walls (we loved the Spy Wall) and also include a TV room with plenty of chairs, tables and beanbags. The program for all age groups is action-packed, with everything from fashion shows and pirate-themed nights for the older kids to a jungle-themed "safari" and arts and crafts for the younger kids.
Guppies (6 months to 2 years) are welcome at Splash Academy, but parents are required to stay with them at all times, as the ship does not provide a childcare service. However, the Guppies program does offer some fun for parents with babies, including the Wee Can Too program that lets infants be artists with special edible paints (made with vegetables). Guppies also have a completely separate -- but quite small -- soft playroom on Deck 16, with a large picture window overlooking the Sun Deck. Age-specific activities are provided.
Parents can check their kids into Splash Academy using tablets at the main desk on Deck 12. Kids are issued wristbands, which they wear for the duration of the cruise. Splash Academy is open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day. On sea days, it closes between noon and 2 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m.; on port days, there is a $6 charge per child for supervision during meal times. After 10:30 p.m., Splash Academy turns into the Late Night Fun Zone, which includes gaming with Nintendo's Wii U, building forts and crazy tag. If all this sounds pretty stimulating for that time of night, kids can also find a quiet place where they can nod off, but there are no dedicated beds or cots. Late Night Fun Zone costs $6 for the first child, $4 for each additional child within the same family.
A kids' splash pool is located on the main pool deck, which has fountains and slides and various models of the Nickelodeon favorites. Norwegian's link-up with Nickelodeon also means frequent appearances from the likes of SpongeBob, Patrick and Dora the Explorer. For an additional $20 per person, kids can enjoy a special Pajama Jam breakfast event. Dressed in PJs, kids watch Nick performances and have fun with characters, followed by a character-filled buffet breakfast.
Families can also order a special Nickelodeon Bedtime Kit ($45) that includes a character blanket and pillowcase, toothbrush, night light and bedtime activities. Room stewards will even turn down kids' beds with the kit each night.
For teens, Entourage is a separate space way up on Deck 16, aft, near the video arcade and beside the entrance to Spice H2O. In contrast to Splash Academy, this space is flooded with light, with huge picture windows affording great views from the top of the ship. It operates completely differently from Splash Academy, with teens allowed to come and go as they please; parents sign a waiver, and staff do not have the authority to make kids stay. The lounge's open hours are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on sea days and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on port days.
Entourage features a video jukebox and dance floor, four gaming stations with Wii U, air hockey, Foosball and a two-sided DJ emulator -- one of five in the world (another is on sister ship, Breakaway) -- where kids can learn to DJ. DJs also are on hand during special events to teach kids, with pros from big nightclubs and festivals like Coachella providing instruction. Activities include pool parties, quizzes and karaoke. Teens, apparently, love it, and it's a great place for them to meet other teens. (It's also unlikely you'll see much of yours for the duration of the cruise.)
The video arcade has the usual array of violent shoot-'em-up and rock star games, which are $1 to $2 per play, so be careful when sending kids with their cards to freely swipe.
All in all, the great features and awesome staff make the facilities onboard Getaway -- for children and teens -- undoubtedly some of the best at sea.