Our first cruise - Largely positive with a few caveats: Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by GaryJames
Overall Member Rating
Our first cruise - Largely positive with a few caveats
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarking was very easy. It's worth arranging the flight through NCL as there are lots of people to meet you at the airport, and they take your luggage directly to your cabin. The boarding process was straightforward with a minimal queue.
Cabin was comfortable and well-attended throughout.
The food in the three main restaurants, Taste, Savor and La Tropicana was very good, particularly the daily specials rather than the standard items, so we didn't go to any of the speciality restaurants. But the menu is identical in all three so apart from the decor you are getting exactly the same whichever one you go to. We found Tropicana a bit cramped and noisy and preferred Savor, as most people seemed to, as there was a longer queue most nights - normally we were told 20-30 mins but usually turned out to be less. The Irish bar was simpler stuff More but fine. Never managed to get in the noodle bar as it is small and usually busy, plus not everyone wants to have dinner perched on a stool.
The breakfast buffet was usually very busy so it was a matter of hunting for a table, then one person staying there whilst the other got food. But there was a good range of hot and cold items, even if you had to hunt around to find them sometimes.
We saw Burn the Floor (twice) - excellent, as was Million Dollar Quartet. Don't miss these. Jersey Boys were good also, as was Wine Drinkers the Musical. Don't go if you don't like wine (as the two people next to us apparently didn't!).
Most of the entertainment in the Atrium was ok but a bit game-showy for our taste (cue "are you having a great time? Loud whoops from all the americans").
The staff in the bars and restaurants were helpful and chatty, and certainly weren't slow in coming forward to offer drinks, etc.
As far as ports were concerned, we only booked tours for St Petersburg to avoid having to get visas, and this was definitely the right decision. The NCL tours in the other ports are overpriced and unnecessary. We stayed in Warnemunde - a 10 minute walk - rather than go to Berlin and it was a pleasant afternoon in an attractive seaside town. Make sure you have access to Google Translate as none of the restaurant menus make any concession to english speakers! Tallin was charming and, again easily accessible on foot from the port. The two tours we did in St Petersburg were both led by knowledgeable and pleasant guides who gave us lots of information, including warnings about the pickpocketing hotspots. We went to Peterhof one day - wonderful gardens with fountains - and Pushkin the next, a fabulous palace with gardens. On both days we had time to see things in St Petersburg too. As you are paying a lot for the tours anyway I would recommend the "exclusive" version which means you are in a small group (in our case 4 in total). At Pushkin this meant we could go to the head of the lengthy queues of large groups so saved us loads of time. At Helsinki it is a short tram ride from the port to the centre of the city so no need to get the NCL bus. Stockholm was the major disappointment because we didn't go into port. We had already been told that our visit would be curtailed by several hours due to restrictions imposed on the Getaway by the Swedish authorities, but in the morning we were told that due to strong winds/tides we would not be going into port at all, and spent another day at sea. Having previously seen a review a few weeks earlier where the ship had not been able to land in Germany for similar reasons, I have to say that I think this ship is too large for this tour and you run the risk of not getting your full itinerary.
Departure was well organised and fine, apart from us being delivered to the airport about 4 hours before our flight.
So, overall, lots of very positive memories and experiences. I would highly recommend Rick Steves book on Northern European Cruise Ports as a guide - good insights, lots of maps and information about every aspect of the cruise. Will I cruise again? Yes, definitely. With NCL? Possibly, but probably not on a ship as big as this one Less
Aft cabin on the Getaway
9 day Baltic getaway
Baltic cruise on the ship Get...