We recently returned from the December 26th New Years Eve cruise on Getaway.
I am a diamond cruiser on RCL and have also sailed on NCL Gem and Carnival Pride so I've had a fair amount of cruise experiences.
Embarkation out of Miami was smooth and easy. The line was long and tad slow but the staff worked diligently and there were no real issues. Do I think RCL moves faster - yes I do, but this wasn't a big deal. The terminal in Miami was fine... nothing special but who really cares about that.
Boarding the ship you are immediately impressed but he decor and cleanliness. Getaway is only a year old and she still looks brand new. The crew obviously takes pride in maintaining her.
This was a full cruise with lots of kids and I expected the ship to be crowded and it was. Typically the first evening on a cruise a ship is a bit congested as people are finding their way about, making reservations and booking spa treatments, etc. By the next day things open up as people settle into a routine. This was never the case on Getaway and it always seemed crowded and congested. This is in distinct comparison to my sailings on RCL Allure of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. These two ships, bigger by the way, never seem crowded. After much consideration I came to the conclusion that the layout of the ship - and the Gem in the past - creates many pinch points and narrow passage ways. This is largely because they are trying to cram in all those restaurants for Freestyle Dining. RCL on the other hand has restaurants but not as many and this frees up space for larger public areas.
While I am on meals.... food was quite good, better than RCL in my opinion. The problem for us was service. With Freestyle Dining you do not get the same waiter and that intimate relationship you get in a more traditional setting. As a result I found that service was impersonal. To be honest I really felt that dining room service was rather incompetent at times. Oh, and they really need to upgrade their wine list and get wine stewards!!
The ship did a real great job on New Year's eve. High energy, and we all had a blast!!!!
Ok... hits and misses....
Cruise Director and Staff
Ship leadership team visible and engaged. Kudos especially to the Asst. Hotel Director Errol. The guy is a star!!
Beautiful ship over all
Lots of food choices
Cheap wine price (but see below....)
Lots of activities and slides, etc for kids
Disembarkation the best ever!!!
Good food quality
Many food venues to choose from.
Cabin stewards did an awesome job!
Great energy at every port when coming back on board
Well appointed cabin. Great bathroom and lots of storage
Poor wine list - nothing decent or midrange - low quality with a couple of wines that are too expensive.
Poor ship flow - very narrow choke points and gets a crowded feeling.
Dining staff service as discussed above impersonal and not particularly competent.
You can feel a lot more movement on this ship compared to RCL ships. Made me dizzy for the first time ever.
Poor water pressure
Ice bar???? really???? why did I do that???
That's about it... feel free to email me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great storage space and bathroom. Poor water pressure. Use those drawers under the bed they are HUGE!!!!