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My husband and I sailed on the Southward 32 years ago for our honeymoon. We usually sail Royal Caribbean, but we were looking for a new experience with different ports. We wanted a western Caribbean itinerary and had never been to Honduras or Roatan before. We live about an hour from the Port of Miami, so we usually take cruises out of Miami or Fort Lauderdale. We also were attracted to the unlimited beverage package that was offered as a perk. We don't usually drink more than one or two drinks a day, but liked the idea that we wouldn't bed charged for any alcohol on the ship. When we booked the Getaway, they had an offer for no port charges or taxes that was also attractive to us. We booked it after the date the final payment was due, so we paid in full upon booking. After perusing Cruise Critic obsessively to learn about NCL, we learned about the Haven and the bidding process to attempt to upgrade from our balcony room. I spent several weeks debating back and forth about whether to go for the Haven. Having never been on an NCL ship that offered a Haven type experience, I really wasn't sure if it was necessary, and what, exactly it offered. I had chosen our balcony room on the hump and was happy with the choice. I watched several YouTube videos and read many reviews on Cruise Critic and decided to go for it via the bid process. Since it was just DH and myself, two early sixty-somethings, we thought maybe the quieter atmosphere might be attractive. Although we originally put in bids on an upgrade from our balcony room to the Haven, we ultimately just decided to pay for the upgrade directly. We were in a Haven Courtyard room, which was lovely. The Haven experience was wonderful. I don't think we would travel on an NCL ship for a 7 day or longer cruise without it. We loved having our own restaurant and lounge. The service was wonderful between the butler and the concierge when we needed anything. The public areas of the ship are more closed in than on the RCL ships we have gone on. The entertainment (Burn the Floor and Million Dollar Quartet) was very good, as was the comedy shows and Howl at the Moon. There didn't seem to be as much activities to do on the sea days as we were used to. We did do Escape the Big Top on one of the sea days, and that was fun. The Waterfront was nice, we liked hanging out outside the mojito bar, but the lifeboats are right there, so you couldn't see the ocean looking down from there. We opted not to pay for Vibe since we were able to use the Haven sundeck, but from what we could see neither the Vibe nor the Haven sundeck offered much respite from the sun. Either under the umbrella or under the overhangs, it was still quite hot. We looked at Spice H2O but didn't go there, that seemed nice, though. We did beach days in the ports. Maya Chan in Costa Maya was wonderful. Nachi Cocum in Cozumel was too as was Infinity Bay in Roatan. We liked Roatan's beach and ocean the best, but we had to be on board at 3:30 which meant leaving the beach at 2 so that was too short a beach day. We were not impressed with Harvest Caye. Too crowded, and the food and drinks were not included as they are on other private islands. We ate at the Haven restaurant twice, once in the MDR, and at Moderno's, Cagney's, Ocean Blue and Le Bistro. We had lunch at Margaritaville on embarkation day which we enjoyed. We ate at O'Sheehan's twice. The hamburger there was not as good as in the Haven, where we ate lunch on the patio once. We were not impressed with Le Bistro. Cagney's and the MDR were underwhelming. Moderno's was amazing. The Haven restaurant was very good. Ocean Blue was awful. Not only was the food not very good (the Florida Stone Crabs were frozen and awful, the lobster not tasty) but when we got there we were told that we had not paid for the upcharge even though we had a print out showing we did pay for it. The maitre'd and the restaurant manager were very condescending telling us that we were mistaken, that somehow the upcharge that it showed we paid for had been applied to the Haven, when it clearly showed that we had paid it directly. The restaurant manager acted like she was doing us a favor by letting us eat there. This was on the last night of the cruise and it really left a bad taste in our mouths (literally). Overall it was a nice cruise. I don't know that I would pay what we paid for the Haven again, it was more than double what the cruise would have cost without it, yet I don't know that I would have been as happy had we not done the Haven. Honestly, having gone on Oasis and Allure which are just as big, those ships never felt as crowded as the Getaway did. The jury is out as to whether we will do another NCL cruise, or return to Royal.

First NCL Cruise in 32 years

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by cruisegal415

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony
My husband and I sailed on the Southward 32 years ago for our honeymoon. We usually sail Royal Caribbean, but we were looking for a new experience with different ports. We wanted a western Caribbean itinerary and had never been to Honduras or Roatan before. We live about an hour from the Port of Miami, so we usually take cruises out of Miami or Fort Lauderdale. We also were attracted to the unlimited beverage package that was offered as a perk. We don't usually drink more than one or two drinks a day, but liked the idea that we wouldn't bed charged for any alcohol on the ship. When we booked the Getaway, they had an offer for no port charges or taxes that was also attractive to us. We booked it after the date the final payment was due, so we paid in full upon booking.

After perusing Cruise Critic obsessively to learn about NCL, we learned about the Haven and the bidding process to attempt to upgrade from our balcony room. I spent several weeks debating back and forth about whether to go for the Haven. Having never been on an NCL ship that offered a Haven type experience, I really wasn't sure if it was necessary, and what, exactly it offered. I had chosen our balcony room on the hump and was happy with the choice. I watched several YouTube videos and read many reviews on Cruise Critic and decided to go for it via the bid process. Since it was just DH and myself, two early sixty-somethings, we thought maybe the quieter atmosphere might be attractive. Although we originally put in bids on an upgrade from our balcony room to the Haven, we ultimately just decided to pay for the upgrade directly.

We were in a Haven Courtyard room, which was lovely. The Haven experience was wonderful. I don't think we would travel on an NCL ship for a 7 day or longer cruise without it. We loved having our own restaurant and lounge. The service was wonderful between the butler and the concierge when we needed anything.

The public areas of the ship are more closed in than on the RCL ships we have gone on. The entertainment (Burn the Floor and Million Dollar Quartet) was very good, as was the comedy shows and Howl at the Moon. There didn't seem to be as much activities to do on the sea days as we were used to. We did do Escape the Big Top on one of the sea days, and that was fun. The Waterfront was nice, we liked hanging out outside the mojito bar, but the lifeboats are right there, so you couldn't see the ocean looking down from there.

We opted not to pay for Vibe since we were able to use the Haven sundeck, but from what we could see neither the Vibe nor the Haven sundeck offered much respite from the sun. Either under the umbrella or under the overhangs, it was still quite hot. We looked at Spice H2O but didn't go there, that seemed nice, though.

We did beach days in the ports. Maya Chan in Costa Maya was wonderful. Nachi Cocum in Cozumel was too as was Infinity Bay in Roatan. We liked Roatan's beach and ocean the best, but we had to be on board at 3:30 which meant leaving the beach at 2 so that was too short a beach day. We were not impressed with Harvest Caye. Too crowded, and the food and drinks were not included as they are on other private islands.

We ate at the Haven restaurant twice, once in the MDR, and at Moderno's, Cagney's, Ocean Blue and Le Bistro. We had lunch at Margaritaville on embarkation day which we enjoyed. We ate at O'Sheehan's twice. The hamburger there was not as good as in the Haven, where we ate lunch on the patio once. We were not impressed with Le Bistro. Cagney's and the MDR were underwhelming. Moderno's was amazing. The Haven restaurant was very good. Ocean Blue was awful. Not only was the food not very good (the Florida Stone Crabs were frozen and awful, the lobster not tasty) but when we got there we were told that we had not paid for the upcharge even though we had a print out showing we did pay for it. The maitre'd and the restaurant manager were very condescending telling us that we were mistaken, that somehow the upcharge that it showed we paid for had been applied to the Haven, when it clearly showed that we had paid it directly. The restaurant manager acted like she was doing us a favor by letting us eat there. This was on the last night of the cruise and it really left a bad taste in our mouths (literally).

Overall it was a nice cruise. I don't know that I would pay what we paid for the Haven again, it was more than double what the cruise would have cost without it, yet I don't know that I would have been as happy had we not done the Haven. Honestly, having gone on Oasis and Allure which are just as big, those ships never felt as crowded as the Getaway did. The jury is out as to whether we will do another NCL cruise, or return to Royal.
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Cabin Review

The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin H5 16126
The cabin was really nice. However, it was under the sundeck, and you could hear lots of banging when they were putting up and taking down the lounges every night. I woke up one night around 5 am and they were banging at that time, too. You could also hear a lot of banging in the Haven restaurant which really took away from the experience.
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