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Feb 17-24 2019 Norwegian Getaway Cruise Trip summary This cruise was out of Miami, Western Caribbean loop on Norwegian Getaway: Miami -> Day at Sea -> Roatan (Honduras) -> Harvest Caye (Bellize) -> Costa Maya (Mexico) ->Cozumel (Mexico) -> Day at Sea -> Miami. Summary: Overall nice cruise, but not entirely a great experience. We had free drink packages, plus $50 per day shore credits, plus $140 ship credit. We stayed in mini suite 13830 (room code was MA I think). Nice room, good sized bathroom, two adults and two teens so we really liked the 3rd bed that dropped down from the ceiling. We loved getting to a few places we would otherwise not plan a trip to, so its a great way to see several places in one week. Food was very good all week, never had to wait for a table at upscale dining options, both the free as well as the additional cost options. Also we could always find seats in the buffet garden dining areas. Pool lounge chairs were in high demand during both at-sea days, get there early if you want prime spots, they mostly filled up by 9:30am. We are not cruise regulars so we were a bit lost as to what to do the first day. Last cruise was Disney about 5 years earlier, and it seemed to be a much smoother and less confusing experience. The muster in particular was very poorly executed, we barely could hear instructions on the ship speakers and ship crew were not helpful (not their fault). Also lines to get off the boat the first day were crazy! The rest of the week no lines. Most people got along, but there were a few issues. Details: Day 1 - boarding We arrived in FLL, had pre-arranged Norwegian transportation from the airport to the ship (and also same deal on returning home). Easily found Norwegian agent and got our bags tagged, waited 45 minutes, then got moving. No prob. Outside was more confusion, there was confusion around what bus to take, we were directed to one, then they changed their mind, then next bus came but door broke, so we waited again for another bus. Finally we were off. So while we got into the airport around 9:45, we actually didn’t get onto the ship until 2:15pm. Tired and hungry. But food was ready for us! Drinks too!! Room was ready too, and luggage arrived shortly after. Muster drill was total confusion, no idea where to go, crew telling us different things, eventually we figured it out, but I guess that’s why we do this, so in case you really needed to, it would be quick. Can’t remember many more details, I think we just self-toured the ship and enjoyed the free food & drinks. Day 2 - At sea Slept in. Breakfast in the garden buffet area. Meet & Greet in Cagney’s. Was great to meet all the other online folks in person, and really appreciate our host SnookieCookie for organizing at the last minute! After that, we hit the Wine & Chocolate tasting. Then Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville for lunch - sort of a letdown here, they need to play more & better music and liven up this place! It was sort of dead all week. Later we hit the water slide & pool, a little sunbathing in the afternoon but on upper deck away from the pool - only chairs we could find, and they were a little windy. One bartender told me no limes for my corona? I was looking right at the dish of limes behind the bar, they were circular slices, not wedges so apparently he could not cut one, so I grabbed one and pulled it in half - everyone at the bar got a kick out of the creative solution! Mixed drinks varied in quality, Mixx downstairs by the atrium was excellent, others were pre-filled jugs they just dispensed. Needed to ask for specific liquors by name, else you get the cheap stuff. But actually was not bad either, no hangovers all week - we are not huge drinkers, just enjoy a few. Evening was Cirque Dreams show in the theater, included dinner. Decent show, great area for the show, but performers were somewhat disconnected from the audience, can’t quite put my finger on it, but they just were not totally enjoying themselves, but still worth going to. Day 3 - Roatan We booked an excursion to Gumbalaya preserve and Tobyana beach (sorry for spelling hacks!). Fantastic trip! Hanging out with the Monkeys was a great experience, plus pics with Macaws. No pressure to tip for things which I don’t care for, and instead, at the preserve, they just have optional tip boxes at the bird and monkey areas that the workers could share in. Low pressure so they got nice tips! The beach part was later that day, and maybe only two hrs total at the beach, food was basic but ok, no free drinks except lemonade and water I think. Chairs were crowded but we got a few in the back corner. They had attentive security folks all over the beach, each with their own section, so it seemed plenty safe. Tipped the guy at the end and he gave me a nice souvenir of some local currency which he joked was worth just a few cents in US $, but nice he did that. Only negative was getting out of the ship and on to the bus. Ship docked a bit before 10am so everyone was lined up to get off at once, not good. Plus no information in advance as to what to do, but we were noobs that day. Yes, the freestyle paper they give to you each day in your room had some info, but not enough, many folks were as confused as we were, but all in good spirits so it was fine. That evening we had booked to see the burn the floor show - this was high energy dancing to some great live music - show was great, dancers were energetic, costumes nice, and they seemed to really engage the audience. Well worth going to. Plus it was free - would have paid to see this. Later hit skyy vodka ice bar - ‘cool’ to see, but maybe overpriced for the couple of drinks, but it was an experience. Day 4 - Harvest Caye We had no plans, so no rush to get off the boat. Got off, and hit the kayaks for the four of us. Fun outing for about 90 minutes or so, just a lot of paperwork to fill out. Got two lockers, for our small backpacks, but the lockers narrow towards the inside (they are located on a tall round sort of unit, so there’s much less space towards the centers). So things didn’t fit well, I cut my hand pretty good on one, the lock didn’t function on two others, so we had to get some help to get things done. And in the end, one ship towel would not fit, so I asked the kayak guys if I could leave it with them, they said no problem and pointed me to a bench right by their counter, so I put the towel there, plus my old shoes on top of it. Later, on returning, the towel was gone, but the shoes still there. I can only assume someone else thought they were entitled to my towel since they sort of went out of their way to replace my shoes on the bench. I raised the issue and eventually one of the guards found a nice clean dry towel for me - they are really nice in Belize! We went back on the ship for lunch (since its not free on the ship island). Then back in the afternoon for some zipline adventures. Just the kids, not us parents! Then some chil time at the beach, then more time by the pool and a couple drinks. They we were close to the last people back on board - not late, we were 4:25 (4:30 deadline), still 15 people ‘missing’ when we got on board. For dinner, we had reservations at Modernos - Brazilian meats carved from stakes at your table, and amazing buffet selections. Excellent. Just too slow on the initial drink service, but the rest of the service was top notch here, as was the food quality. Maybe didn’t mention earlier, but we loved the mojito bar, stopped by a few times in the evening while walking around the ship, and inside, enjoyed Manny playing piano and sounding sort of like Adam Sandler. Really fun actually. Day 5 - Costa Maya We booked with Native Choice for the Chacchoben Ruins tour. It was difficult to get out of the fake cruise ship port area, really confusing, they really don’t want you to leave! But once we were out, easy to find the tour area - they met us while we were walking down the nice paths in the center of the roads, and were well organized at the tour starting point. Free waters there all day too! Tour was top quality, and as a bonus we got an official Mayan guide (there are something like 25 direct Mayan descendants who do tours out of the couple thousand guides. So we learned a good deal of Mayan culture and had some interesting perspectives on things. The ruins tour itself was nice, but maybe too short, I could have hung out in the ruins much longer to explore, there was a lot to see and check out. End of the tour I bought some local food: a chicken with corn flatbread wrapped around it, steamed in some sort of leaf. $2.00!! Such a bargain and really hit the spot, so fresh and with a bit of habanero sauce on it, it was killer! Forget what they try and sell you in the cruise ship port, which was decent, but so so overpriced. Too bad the rest of the town was dead. Maybe because they made it so hard to leave the cruise port area that the rest of the town suffered. We had raw oysters at the raw bar, then all ate in Savor (or Taste) that night, can’t remember which, but they are identical. Oysters were not great - but we are spoiled where we live and get some of the best from a few areas so we are probably more picky than most. Day 6 - Cozumel We booked a tour through the ship for passion island beach day - this was a great trip, but maybe overpriced. But still, the staff at that beach all went out of their way to make sure you had what you needed, knew where things were, knew the departure times, etc. Very well organized. And plenty of space and chairs to use, no need to worry about getting a good seat here. Only thing we didn’t care for was the style of the lounge chairs, they lay mostly flat right on the sand, with small curves built into them, so they are totally rigid chairs. But very hard to get in and out of since they are so low. But don’t worry, there are also normal chairs, tables, hammocks, etc. Drinks were weak. But we paid for a couple drinks that were well worth it, plus probably best fresh coconut I’ve ever had (been to over a dozen tropical islands), so sweet. Boat ride there and back was 45 minutes each way and just adds to the experience, so much fun. We could have stayed there all day - they give you 3 hrs of beach time. Water was warm but a bit cloudy since it was getting churned up from small waves (not surf), just not flat calm. My daughter & I had sushi, wife & son went to O’Sheehan’s. Wasabi sushi was actually really good, very much enjoyed it, plus it was inexpensive. Day 7 - At Sea We all slept in a bit today, eventually all ate at Taste (or Savor!) for late breakfast. They had a few things the buffet didn’t serve (like eggs benedict and yogurt parfait). Did the ropes course today, was fun. Sun bathing, food, free time for everyone, etc. Early dinner in Tropicana - nice time with live music, etc. Some game night fun in the arcade, bowling, etc. Caught the wrap-up show in the theater also, was a fun recap of things. Packed up that night and ready to head home the next morning. Unfortunately for us, around 2am our neighbors (room 13828) came back from what was probably way way too much drinking. There was some sort of domestic dispute, yelling for a good couple hours on and off, f-bomb nearly continuously. Very unfortunate for them, and really killed an otherwise nice time. I was actually concerned for my family at one point and called security. It was that bad! Plus they smoked. A couple days into the cruise I had to ask them to stop smoking in their room and balcony. It’s not permitted, but not that I’m a rule follower, it just got very bad one morning and my daughter had to leave the room to get fresh air! We like having the sliding door to the balcony open normally, and can tolerate a bit, but this was just way too much. So I’m not comfortable with these confrontations so was trying to be as passive as possible. That’s why later when I realized how violent they could be I was fairly concerned for my family. Didn’t sleep the rest of the night. They smoked a bit outside that night (early morning). Oh well. Day 8 - getting off the ship Went smooth enough, no long lines. Easy to get through customs, much easier than JFK for example. Only confusing thing was where to find the luggage. They tag it with colors, so you ask several people, walk through a warehouse maze, and find your luggage, along with 200 of your closest friend’s luggage, all together! Luckily my kids have good eyes and we found things quick enough. But again, lack of communication on Norwegian’s part, no idea where our bus is, so more asking around, eventually we get to it, and they seem confused as to where the bus is actually going. I think the bus company they use in general is low-end, buses were in bad shape, communication lacking, door broken, AC leaking water onto guests, suspension issues on the return trip (bad right rear shock banging around), driver didn’t know where to go in the airport, etc. Luckily we had a Jet Blue agent on our bus so she was helpful to tell us when to get out of the bus. Next time I’ll just grab a cab/Uber/Lift to/from the airport on my schedule, no need for cruise transportation. Rest of the return was uneventful, just a normal travel day. Day 9 - would I do it again? Maybe - maybe a smaller boutique cruise. I’m just not a fan of the rigid schedules. And I cannot figure out why they need to rush so much. Costa Maya to Cozumel should take the ship maybe 8hrs, so why not leave later, why leave at 4:30? Same deal with most every port. The ship leaves early, then just mills around at a few knots killing time. I’d much rather spend more time in port at my option, or have the option to board and hang on the ship. The rushed thing is not for me. Better communication would have helped, but I’m not a frequent cruiser to I guess there’s a learning curve. Getting along with 4000 others - fine with me, but I observed a few small tiffs, people not wanting to wait on elevators, people complaining about lines, lack of drink service, etc. And staff that wanted to be helpful, but seemed untrained a bit. I’m sure I missed many things, and you get this report from my perspective (not wife’s or kids). We all generally enjoyed ourselves, great memories, but we never really relaxed and decompressed. Need another vacation!

Our trip report and a few opinions

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by meldavey

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Feb 17-24 2019 Norwegian Getaway

Cruise Trip summary

This cruise was out of Miami, Western Caribbean loop on Norwegian Getaway: Miami -> Day at Sea -> Roatan (Honduras) -> Harvest Caye (Bellize) -> Costa Maya (Mexico) ->Cozumel (Mexico) -> Day at Sea -> Miami.

Summary:

Overall nice cruise, but not entirely a great experience. We had free drink packages, plus $50 per day shore credits, plus $140 ship credit. We stayed in mini suite 13830 (room code was MA I think). Nice room, good sized bathroom, two adults and two teens so we really liked the 3rd bed that dropped down from the ceiling. We loved getting to a few places we would otherwise not plan a trip to, so its a great way to see several places in one week. Food was very good all week, never had to wait for a table at upscale dining options, both the free as well as the additional cost options. Also we could always find seats in the buffet garden dining areas. Pool lounge chairs were in high demand during both at-sea days, get there early if you want prime spots, they mostly filled up by 9:30am. We are not cruise regulars so we were a bit lost as to what to do the first day. Last cruise was Disney about 5 years earlier, and it seemed to be a much smoother and less confusing experience. The muster in particular was very poorly executed, we barely could hear instructions on the ship speakers and ship crew were not helpful (not their fault). Also lines to get off the boat the first day were crazy! The rest of the week no lines. Most people got along, but there were a few issues.

Details:

Day 1 - boarding

We arrived in FLL, had pre-arranged Norwegian transportation from the airport to the ship (and also same deal on returning home). Easily found Norwegian agent and got our bags tagged, waited 45 minutes, then got moving. No prob. Outside was more confusion, there was confusion around what bus to take, we were directed to one, then they changed their mind, then next bus came but door broke, so we waited again for another bus. Finally we were off. So while we got into the airport around 9:45, we actually didn’t get onto the ship until 2:15pm. Tired and hungry. But food was ready for us! Drinks too!! Room was ready too, and luggage arrived shortly after. Muster drill was total confusion, no idea where to go, crew telling us different things, eventually we figured it out, but I guess that’s why we do this, so in case you really needed to, it would be quick. Can’t remember many more details, I think we just self-toured the ship and enjoyed the free food & drinks.

Day 2 - At sea

Slept in. Breakfast in the garden buffet area. Meet & Greet in Cagney’s. Was great to meet all the other online folks in person, and really appreciate our host SnookieCookie for organizing at the last minute! After that, we hit the Wine & Chocolate tasting. Then Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville for lunch - sort of a letdown here, they need to play more & better music and liven up this place! It was sort of dead all week. Later we hit the water slide & pool, a little sunbathing in the afternoon but on upper deck away from the pool - only chairs we could find, and they were a little windy. One bartender told me no limes for my corona? I was looking right at the dish of limes behind the bar, they were circular slices, not wedges so apparently he could not cut one, so I grabbed one and pulled it in half - everyone at the bar got a kick out of the creative solution! Mixed drinks varied in quality, Mixx downstairs by the atrium was excellent, others were pre-filled jugs they just dispensed. Needed to ask for specific liquors by name, else you get the cheap stuff. But actually was not bad either, no hangovers all week - we are not huge drinkers, just enjoy a few. Evening was Cirque Dreams show in the theater, included dinner. Decent show, great area for the show, but performers were somewhat disconnected from the audience, can’t quite put my finger on it, but they just were not totally enjoying themselves, but still worth going to.

Day 3 - Roatan

We booked an excursion to Gumbalaya preserve and Tobyana beach (sorry for spelling hacks!). Fantastic trip! Hanging out with the Monkeys was a great experience, plus pics with Macaws. No pressure to tip for things which I don’t care for, and instead, at the preserve, they just have optional tip boxes at the bird and monkey areas that the workers could share in. Low pressure so they got nice tips! The beach part was later that day, and maybe only two hrs total at the beach, food was basic but ok, no free drinks except lemonade and water I think. Chairs were crowded but we got a few in the back corner. They had attentive security folks all over the beach, each with their own section, so it seemed plenty safe. Tipped the guy at the end and he gave me a nice souvenir of some local currency which he joked was worth just a few cents in US $, but nice he did that. Only negative was getting out of the ship and on to the bus. Ship docked a bit before 10am so everyone was lined up to get off at once, not good. Plus no information in advance as to what to do, but we were noobs that day. Yes, the freestyle paper they give to you each day in your room had some info, but not enough, many folks were as confused as we were, but all in good spirits so it was fine. That evening we had booked to see the burn the floor show - this was high energy dancing to some great live music - show was great, dancers were energetic, costumes nice, and they seemed to really engage the audience. Well worth going to. Plus it was free - would have paid to see this. Later hit skyy vodka ice bar - ‘cool’ to see, but maybe overpriced for the couple of drinks, but it was an experience.

Day 4 - Harvest Caye

We had no plans, so no rush to get off the boat. Got off, and hit the kayaks for the four of us. Fun outing for about 90 minutes or so, just a lot of paperwork to fill out. Got two lockers, for our small backpacks, but the lockers narrow towards the inside (they are located on a tall round sort of unit, so there’s much less space towards the centers). So things didn’t fit well, I cut my hand pretty good on one, the lock didn’t function on two others, so we had to get some help to get things done. And in the end, one ship towel would not fit, so I asked the kayak guys if I could leave it with them, they said no problem and pointed me to a bench right by their counter, so I put the towel there, plus my old shoes on top of it. Later, on returning, the towel was gone, but the shoes still there. I can only assume someone else thought they were entitled to my towel since they sort of went out of their way to replace my shoes on the bench. I raised the issue and eventually one of the guards found a nice clean dry towel for me - they are really nice in Belize! We went back on the ship for lunch (since its not free on the ship island). Then back in the afternoon for some zipline adventures. Just the kids, not us parents! Then some chil time at the beach, then more time by the pool and a couple drinks. They we were close to the last people back on board - not late, we were 4:25 (4:30 deadline), still 15 people ‘missing’ when we got on board. For dinner, we had reservations at Modernos - Brazilian meats carved from stakes at your table, and amazing buffet selections. Excellent. Just too slow on the initial drink service, but the rest of the service was top notch here, as was the food quality. Maybe didn’t mention earlier, but we loved the mojito bar, stopped by a few times in the evening while walking around the ship, and inside, enjoyed Manny playing piano and sounding sort of like Adam Sandler. Really fun actually.

Day 5 - Costa Maya

We booked with Native Choice for the Chacchoben Ruins tour. It was difficult to get out of the fake cruise ship port area, really confusing, they really don’t want you to leave! But once we were out, easy to find the tour area - they met us while we were walking down the nice paths in the center of the roads, and were well organized at the tour starting point. Free waters there all day too! Tour was top quality, and as a bonus we got an official Mayan guide (there are something like 25 direct Mayan descendants who do tours out of the couple thousand guides. So we learned a good deal of Mayan culture and had some interesting perspectives on things. The ruins tour itself was nice, but maybe too short, I could have hung out in the ruins much longer to explore, there was a lot to see and check out. End of the tour I bought some local food: a chicken with corn flatbread wrapped around it, steamed in some sort of leaf. $2.00!! Such a bargain and really hit the spot, so fresh and with a bit of habanero sauce on it, it was killer! Forget what they try and sell you in the cruise ship port, which was decent, but so so overpriced. Too bad the rest of the town was dead. Maybe because they made it so hard to leave the cruise port area that the rest of the town suffered.

We had raw oysters at the raw bar, then all ate in Savor (or Taste) that night, can’t remember which, but they are identical. Oysters were not great - but we are spoiled where we live and get some of the best from a few areas so we are probably more picky than most.

Day 6 - Cozumel

We booked a tour through the ship for passion island beach day - this was a great trip, but maybe overpriced. But still, the staff at that beach all went out of their way to make sure you had what you needed, knew where things were, knew the departure times, etc. Very well organized. And plenty of space and chairs to use, no need to worry about getting a good seat here. Only thing we didn’t care for was the style of the lounge chairs, they lay mostly flat right on the sand, with small curves built into them, so they are totally rigid chairs. But very hard to get in and out of since they are so low. But don’t worry, there are also normal chairs, tables, hammocks, etc. Drinks were weak. But we paid for a couple drinks that were well worth it, plus probably best fresh coconut I’ve ever had (been to over a dozen tropical islands), so sweet. Boat ride there and back was 45 minutes each way and just adds to the experience, so much fun. We could have stayed there all day - they give you 3 hrs of beach time. Water was warm but a bit cloudy since it was getting churned up from small waves (not surf), just not flat calm. My daughter & I had sushi, wife & son went to O’Sheehan’s. Wasabi sushi was actually really good, very much enjoyed it, plus it was inexpensive.

Day 7 - At Sea

We all slept in a bit today, eventually all ate at Taste (or Savor!) for late breakfast. They had a few things the buffet didn’t serve (like eggs benedict and yogurt parfait). Did the ropes course today, was fun. Sun bathing, food, free time for everyone, etc. Early dinner in Tropicana - nice time with live music, etc. Some game night fun in the arcade, bowling, etc. Caught the wrap-up show in the theater also, was a fun recap of things. Packed up that night and ready to head home the next morning. Unfortunately for us, around 2am our neighbors (room 13828) came back from what was probably way way too much drinking. There was some sort of domestic dispute, yelling for a good couple hours on and off, f-bomb nearly continuously. Very unfortunate for them, and really killed an otherwise nice time. I was actually concerned for my family at one point and called security. It was that bad! Plus they smoked. A couple days into the cruise I had to ask them to stop smoking in their room and balcony. It’s not permitted, but not that I’m a rule follower, it just got very bad one morning and my daughter had to leave the room to get fresh air! We like having the sliding door to the balcony open normally, and can tolerate a bit, but this was just way too much. So I’m not comfortable with these confrontations so was trying to be as passive as possible. That’s why later when I realized how violent they could be I was fairly concerned for my family. Didn’t sleep the rest of the night. They smoked a bit outside that night (early morning). Oh well.

Day 8 - getting off the ship

Went smooth enough, no long lines. Easy to get through customs, much easier than JFK for example. Only confusing thing was where to find the luggage. They tag it with colors, so you ask several people, walk through a warehouse maze, and find your luggage, along with 200 of your closest friend’s luggage, all together! Luckily my kids have good eyes and we found things quick enough. But again, lack of communication on Norwegian’s part, no idea where our bus is, so more asking around, eventually we get to it, and they seem confused as to where the bus is actually going. I think the bus company they use in general is low-end, buses were in bad shape, communication lacking, door broken, AC leaking water onto guests, suspension issues on the return trip (bad right rear shock banging around), driver didn’t know where to go in the airport, etc. Luckily we had a Jet Blue agent on our bus so she was helpful to tell us when to get out of the bus. Next time I’ll just grab a cab/Uber/Lift to/from the airport on my schedule, no need for cruise transportation. Rest of the return was uneventful, just a normal travel day.

Day 9 - would I do it again?

Maybe - maybe a smaller boutique cruise. I’m just not a fan of the rigid schedules. And I cannot figure out why they need to rush so much. Costa Maya to Cozumel should take the ship maybe 8hrs, so why not leave later, why leave at 4:30? Same deal with most every port. The ship leaves early, then just mills around at a few knots killing time. I’d much rather spend more time in port at my option, or have the option to board and hang on the ship. The rushed thing is not for me. Better communication would have helped, but I’m not a frequent cruiser to I guess there’s a learning curve. Getting along with 4000 others - fine with me, but I observed a few small tiffs, people not wanting to wait on elevators, people complaining about lines, lack of drink service, etc. And staff that wanted to be helpful, but seemed untrained a bit. I’m sure I missed many things, and you get this report from my perspective (not wife’s or kids). We all generally enjoyed ourselves, great memories, but we never really relaxed and decompressed. Need another vacation!
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 13830
I probably covered the cabin a bit in the general review - but in summary - nice roomy bathroom, large sliders to small balcony that had two chairs and a small table. Enough room for two adults and two teens - really liked the bed that dropped down from the ceiling. Oh - one funny thing - you need a room key to activate the room lighting. I could not figure it out initially, but finally did, and ended up using a dunkin gift card in the slot to keep things illuminated, else I fear I would walk out of the room without a key card when others were still in the room.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins