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I'm 51, and went with my girlfriend, who is 47. This cruise began the last week of February and ended in early March. The weather couldn't have been better for the entire cruise. A few passing clouds at times, but even then it was nice for a cool down. I think I paid a reasonable price for a balcony cabin, and we got the free drink package, $50 towards each shore excursion, 250 internet minutes, and 3 free specialty dining nights. I primarily sail on Princess because I'm Platinum and get amazing casino deals on cabins. (I may refer to Princess for comparison in this review several times if you are considering which line to sail on.) However, I found the last one (Nov 2018 on the Royal Princess) to be boring, especially at night (thank God it had piano man Kory Simon), and the crowd seems to be getting older and older, even as I get older and older, so I thought I would give NCL another try. This was my second cruise on NCL (first one was in 2014), and it won't be my last. There were a lot of positives about this ship, and cruise line, but some things really need fixing in my opinion. I'm going to complain about the same things I've read in other reviews, but I hope the more we do maybe they will eventually address them. Embarkation- We arrived fairly early (I think around 11) and zoomed through the line (no line actually). However, we did wait about 75-90 minutes to board once we got into the waiting area. I thought it was smart that they took our picture when getting the cruise card vs taking the extra time to do it right as you get on the ship like other lines do so it was pretty quick to board once our group was called. The Ship- My first impressions were positive. It was very easy to navigate, and it felt much smaller than I expected with a 4000+ capacity. I don't ever recall thinking I had walked a long way to get to something. Having a mid-ship balcony on Deck 9 may have had something to do with that, but I think they did a great job with the design. The whole ship was clean, and kept up well (with the exception of women's bathrooms according to my gf). I liked the large elevators, and they had displays everywhere that would tell you where to find something. The dining/entertainment/shopping was all centrally located so it was very easy to get to anything on 6/7/8. Besides leaving a show, or after the muster drill, I never really felt it to be crowded or too busy to me. I was expecting it to be more hectic with that many people. The entertainment on this ship was amazing! It was honestly the best of any cruise I've been on by far. The Burn the Floor show was incredible, and I wish I would have been able to see the Million Dollar Quartet more than once. We didn't go to the Cirque style show/dinner, but will next time for sure. There were always bands playing somewhere, and they were all pretty good. I especially liked that you could have dinner in the Tropicana Room while a band was playing. Besides the shows, there was always something fun to do in the evening. We saw a comedian once (I didn't like how you need to reserve a seat in advance for most things) and he was ok. We went to the dueling pianos show several times and that was a lot of fun. The Bliss night club always had a lot of people even until the wee hours, which was a nice change from Princess where it would be a ghost town after 11 in most areas. Everyone seemed to be having fun on this ship. I really enjoyed the party atmosphere. I wish they would go back to the White Hot Party instead of whatever the new one was called, but it was still fun to watch (even though it was too loud). The food overall was really good I thought. The buffet was decent (when have you ever had buffet food that you'd describe as excellent?) and I liked almost everything I ordered at dinner whether it be in the specialty dining rooms or Tropicana. We only went to O'Sheehans once surprisingly, and the wings were good. If you like seafood (I don't) you'll be very happy with the choices every night in the main dining rooms. Two of the nights we were seated right away in the dining rooms, and two others we got a pager that would work on several levels, so we would leave to get a drink before dinner. Great idea. I'd never seen that on a cruise ship. Here's what I didn't like about the ship.. The pool. Terrible. I never once went in it. In fact, I never even found two chairs available to sit in near it. It looks really cheesy. Everything is painted white, and had no charm or class, unlike Princess pools. The music was too loud (you could even hear it way in the back "pool" area which I'll describe next) and you could not escape cigarette smoke no matter where you were (oh you just wait til I get to the smoking on this ship). We would occasionally find spots above the kid pool area and back by the water slides. Depending on what side of the ship you chose, or the way the wind was blowing, you could end up smelling smoke and/or diesel exhaust though. This was the same at the adults only Spice H2O area in the very back. We always found chairs here, but there was no pool! They had a waterfall area that you could enter to cool off, but every time I did I'd have someone give me the stink eye for splashing water on them as they sat around it after I would put my head under. Isn't that the point of the whole thing? And the only bar in this area was in the smoking area, which was always packed and disgusting, and made the entire sitting area stink. SMOKING! I was shocked at where they allowed this. Honestly I wouldn't have booked this cruise to begin with had I known it would be this bad. It's 2019 for crying out loud, and you can't smoke anywhere anymore in the US and Canada, so why should a cruise ship be different? I can't believe there are actually reviews from smokers complaining about a lack of spaces to do so on this ship! In 2014 on the Pearl they had one side of the pool area designated as smoking which was gross but actually didn't seem to be as bad as this ship for some reason, but I figured 5 years later they would have changed their policies. If you are really bothered by smoke, don't go on NCL. I have heard other lines, that cater more towards Europeans, are this bad but did not expect it on NCL. My experience on other cruise lines (never been on Royal, Celebrity, Disney) is limited, so keep that in mind. And yes, I'm going to go again someday regardless of the smoking, but only because the amount of fun I had diminishes how much this annoyed me (and hoping they will correct this in the future.) I'm wondering if NCL actually caters to smokers for their business. This can be the only explanation. Princess only allows smoking in the casino, and on one side of a small area in the back of the ship. The Getaway has this big hot box thing that's mostly enclosed in glass on one side of the pool where you'd always see 15-30 smokers gathered. The coolest bar on the ship, an outside bar on deck 8, allowed smoking too at the bar and half of the high top tables, which ruined it for me. The casino is centrally located near everything on 6/7/8 and the smoke goes up and down throughout the atrium, so there's no avoiding it. They clearly tell you (and everyone should know anyway, duh) that smoking is not allowed on balconies several times during the muster drill (that was awful and way too long by the way) yet we had an old lady 2 cabins forward from us fire up constantly, so if you had your balcony door open to hear the ocean you'd also have your entire cabin filled with smoke. There were a lot of people doing it, and eventually I leaned over the rail, at great risk of life and limb in an un-creepy peeping tom kind of way, and caught her in the act. She gave me the excuse that she was told it was ok (ya right lady), but l corrected her politely yet firmly. Did that stop her? Of course not. Eventually I had enough, and kudos to our room steward for scolding her after going into their room when they didn't answer the door. We should have complained earlier in the cruise, but figured it was futile. Bar Service- Yes I get it. Probably 95 percent of the adults on the ship have the free drink package, and 20-30 percent of them drink too much anyway so it's not in their best financial interest to really fix this. That being said, they definitely need more bartenders, and more staff walking around taking orders for those of us who don't appreciate having to stand at a bar (was always terrible near any pool or outdoor location) for up to 15-20 minutes next to all the smokers just to get a lukewarm beer. I felt bad for the bar staff at the pools. They looked like they hated their job. There were constant little arguments between patrons over who was first, or you'd get people cutting and getting served first (not always the bartenders fault) while you'd be standing there holding up your cruise card until your arm ached. Several times I just said screw it and left. Usually I only do excursions on my own, and don't pay the ship prices, but with that $50 they gave us it made sense to, and after some research I discovered their rates were the same or close to it anyway which surprised me. Roatan- We did the Tabyanna Beach excursion. It was fun, but I would not do it again. They have construction on the island, and there was an accident so it took over an hour to get to the beach. Once there you're at a nice little jungle village area where the bar and free (included in your fee) food is. The beach is really nice, as is the water. The beach chairs are AWFUL! I would still go back there though if it weren't for the local vendors peddling souvenirs. They apparently can't do anything about them, or I bet they would. They all seemed harmless, but there were so many that they would all stand in front of you to block your view of the beach. It seemed intentional because you weren't buying from them. I was ready to go back because of this even though we could have stayed longer. I can still hear the lady chanting, "Mahogany!", in my head. Belize- I would stay on the ship next time rather than go to Harvest Caye. It is actually really nice on this private island, has clean big bathrooms, nice bars, etc, but it's fake. Even being fake, I'd still go back if it actually had a nice beach like Princess Cays does (and maybe the NCL island in the Bahamas.) It had terrible sand, and the water was not pretty at all. It was rough and full of seaweed. We stuck our feet in the water just to say we did, and left. We didn't do an excursion. Costa Maya- We picked the water park here. (Well I picked it, and my girlfriend agreed just to be nice I think lol). It seemed like a good value for the day. I had been to Costa Maya once before and didn't recall anything else to do (we'd both see plenty of Mayan ruins in the past) if you don't want to stay in town (another new fake one that does have a cool bar/pool area and a lot of shops). We mostly did the lazy river, and a few of the water slides. I enjoyed this. Kids would absolutely love it. Cozumel- We picked the Passion Island Beach day. This was my favorite excursion ever, but with one complaint which I'll tell you about later. It was a bumpy, wet 40 minute ride on a ferry to the island. After an annoying meet up with your tour guide to have your picture taken by a sign once you get there, you're allowed to run (yes some people were running, but I just kinda jogged) for chairs and umbrellas on a beautiful beach. This one had comfy chairs, unlike Roatan. We were the first boat to get there, so we got first choice. Not many umbrellas, hence the running. The water was beautiful and calm. The beach was amazing. The food was good, and you got free drinks. They were small and there was always a line, so it was easier just to pay $15 for a bucket of 6 beers which was a good deal. What was my complaint?? It didn't last long enough!! We only got 3 hours on the beach! I would have spent 6 if I could. I wanted to cry (I didn't though). There was a constant stream of boats coming in with people from different cruise lines, (8 ships in Cozumel that day) so they have to stagger how many people are coming and going. So all of that being said, this was one of my best cruises ever! I can't give it 5 stars though because of the things I mentioned, but let's call it 4.5.

Very good time overall, but could have been even better

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by seapig

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom
I'm 51, and went with my girlfriend, who is 47. This cruise began the last week of February and ended in early March. The weather couldn't have been better for the entire cruise. A few passing clouds at times, but even then it was nice for a cool down. I think I paid a reasonable price for a balcony cabin, and we got the free drink package, $50 towards each shore excursion, 250 internet minutes, and 3 free specialty dining nights. I primarily sail on Princess because I'm Platinum and get amazing casino deals on cabins. (I may refer to Princess for comparison in this review several times if you are considering which line to sail on.) However, I found the last one (Nov 2018 on the Royal Princess) to be boring, especially at night (thank God it had piano man Kory Simon), and the crowd seems to be getting older and older, even as I get older and older, so I thought I would give NCL another try. This was my second cruise on NCL (first one was in 2014), and it won't be my last. There were a lot of positives about this ship, and cruise line, but some things really need fixing in my opinion. I'm going to complain about the same things I've read in other reviews, but I hope the more we do maybe they will eventually address them.

Embarkation-

We arrived fairly early (I think around 11) and zoomed through the line (no line actually). However, we did wait about 75-90 minutes to board once we got into the waiting area. I thought it was smart that they took our picture when getting the cruise card vs taking the extra time to do it right as you get on the ship like other lines do so it was pretty quick to board once our group was called.

The Ship-

My first impressions were positive. It was very easy to navigate, and it felt much smaller than I expected with a 4000+ capacity. I don't ever recall thinking I had walked a long way to get to something. Having a mid-ship balcony on Deck 9 may have had something to do with that, but I think they did a great job with the design. The whole ship was clean, and kept up well (with the exception of women's bathrooms according to my gf). I liked the large elevators, and they had displays everywhere that would tell you where to find something. The dining/entertainment/shopping was all centrally located so it was very easy to get to anything on 6/7/8. Besides leaving a show, or after the muster drill, I never really felt it to be crowded or too busy to me. I was expecting it to be more hectic with that many people.

The entertainment on this ship was amazing! It was honestly the best of any cruise I've been on by far. The Burn the Floor show was incredible, and I wish I would have been able to see the Million Dollar Quartet more than once. We didn't go to the Cirque style show/dinner, but will next time for sure. There were always bands playing somewhere, and they were all pretty good. I especially liked that you could have dinner in the Tropicana Room while a band was playing. Besides the shows, there was always something fun to do in the evening. We saw a comedian once (I didn't like how you need to reserve a seat in advance for most things) and he was ok. We went to the dueling pianos show several times and that was a lot of fun. The Bliss night club always had a lot of people even until the wee hours, which was a nice change from Princess where it would be a ghost town after 11 in most areas. Everyone seemed to be having fun on this ship. I really enjoyed the party atmosphere. I wish they would go back to the White Hot Party instead of whatever the new one was called, but it was still fun to watch (even though it was too loud).

The food overall was really good I thought. The buffet was decent (when have you ever had buffet food that you'd describe as excellent?) and I liked almost everything I ordered at dinner whether it be in the specialty dining rooms or Tropicana. We only went to O'Sheehans once surprisingly, and the wings were good. If you like seafood (I don't) you'll be very happy with the choices every night in the main dining rooms. Two of the nights we were seated right away in the dining rooms, and two others we got a pager that would work on several levels, so we would leave to get a drink before dinner. Great idea. I'd never seen that on a cruise ship.

Here's what I didn't like about the ship.. The pool. Terrible. I never once went in it. In fact, I never even found two chairs available to sit in near it. It looks really cheesy. Everything is painted white, and had no charm or class, unlike Princess pools. The music was too loud (you could even hear it way in the back "pool" area which I'll describe next) and you could not escape cigarette smoke no matter where you were (oh you just wait til I get to the smoking on this ship). We would occasionally find spots above the kid pool area and back by the water slides. Depending on what side of the ship you chose, or the way the wind was blowing, you could end up smelling smoke and/or diesel exhaust though. This was the same at the adults only Spice H2O area in the very back. We always found chairs here, but there was no pool! They had a waterfall area that you could enter to cool off, but every time I did I'd have someone give me the stink eye for splashing water on them as they sat around it after I would put my head under. Isn't that the point of the whole thing? And the only bar in this area was in the smoking area, which was always packed and disgusting, and made the entire sitting area stink.

SMOKING! I was shocked at where they allowed this. Honestly I wouldn't have booked this cruise to begin with had I known it would be this bad. It's 2019 for crying out loud, and you can't smoke anywhere anymore in the US and Canada, so why should a cruise ship be different? I can't believe there are actually reviews from smokers complaining about a lack of spaces to do so on this ship! In 2014 on the Pearl they had one side of the pool area designated as smoking which was gross but actually didn't seem to be as bad as this ship for some reason, but I figured 5 years later they would have changed their policies. If you are really bothered by smoke, don't go on NCL. I have heard other lines, that cater more towards Europeans, are this bad but did not expect it on NCL. My experience on other cruise lines (never been on Royal, Celebrity, Disney) is limited, so keep that in mind. And yes, I'm going to go again someday regardless of the smoking, but only because the amount of fun I had diminishes how much this annoyed me (and hoping they will correct this in the future.) I'm wondering if NCL actually caters to smokers for their business. This can be the only explanation. Princess only allows smoking in the casino, and on one side of a small area in the back of the ship. The Getaway has this big hot box thing that's mostly enclosed in glass on one side of the pool where you'd always see 15-30 smokers gathered. The coolest bar on the ship, an outside bar on deck 8, allowed smoking too at the bar and half of the high top tables, which ruined it for me. The casino is centrally located near everything on 6/7/8 and the smoke goes up and down throughout the atrium, so there's no avoiding it. They clearly tell you (and everyone should know anyway, duh) that smoking is not allowed on balconies several times during the muster drill (that was awful and way too long by the way) yet we had an old lady 2 cabins forward from us fire up constantly, so if you had your balcony door open to hear the ocean you'd also have your entire cabin filled with smoke. There were a lot of people doing it, and eventually I leaned over the rail, at great risk of life and limb in an un-creepy peeping tom kind of way, and caught her in the act. She gave me the excuse that she was told it was ok (ya right lady), but l corrected her politely yet firmly. Did that stop her? Of course not. Eventually I had enough, and kudos to our room steward for scolding her after going into their room when they didn't answer the door. We should have complained earlier in the cruise, but figured it was futile.

Bar Service- Yes I get it. Probably 95 percent of the adults on the ship have the free drink package, and 20-30 percent of them drink too much anyway so it's not in their best financial interest to really fix this. That being said, they definitely need more bartenders, and more staff walking around taking orders for those of us who don't appreciate having to stand at a bar (was always terrible near any pool or outdoor location) for up to 15-20 minutes next to all the smokers just to get a lukewarm beer. I felt bad for the bar staff at the pools. They looked like they hated their job. There were constant little arguments between patrons over who was first, or you'd get people cutting and getting served first (not always the bartenders fault) while you'd be standing there holding up your cruise card until your arm ached. Several times I just said screw it and left.

Usually I only do excursions on my own, and don't pay the ship prices, but with that $50 they gave us it made sense to, and after some research I discovered their rates were the same or close to it anyway which surprised me.

Roatan-

We did the Tabyanna Beach excursion. It was fun, but I would not do it again. They have construction on the island, and there was an accident so it took over an hour to get to the beach. Once there you're at a nice little jungle village area where the bar and free (included in your fee) food is. The beach is really nice, as is the water. The beach chairs are AWFUL! I would still go back there though if it weren't for the local vendors peddling souvenirs. They apparently can't do anything about them, or I bet they would. They all seemed harmless, but there were so many that they would all stand in front of you to block your view of the beach. It seemed intentional because you weren't buying from them. I was ready to go back because of this even though we could have stayed longer. I can still hear the lady chanting, "Mahogany!", in my head.

Belize-

I would stay on the ship next time rather than go to Harvest Caye. It is actually really nice on this private island, has clean big bathrooms, nice bars, etc, but it's fake. Even being fake, I'd still go back if it actually had a nice beach like Princess Cays does (and maybe the NCL island in the Bahamas.) It had terrible sand, and the water was not pretty at all. It was rough and full of seaweed. We stuck our feet in the water just to say we did, and left. We didn't do an excursion.

Costa Maya-

We picked the water park here. (Well I picked it, and my girlfriend agreed just to be nice I think lol). It seemed like a good value for the day. I had been to Costa Maya once before and didn't recall anything else to do (we'd both see plenty of Mayan ruins in the past) if you don't want to stay in town (another new fake one that does have a cool bar/pool area and a lot of shops). We mostly did the lazy river, and a few of the water slides. I enjoyed this. Kids would absolutely love it.

Cozumel-

We picked the Passion Island Beach day. This was my favorite excursion ever, but with one complaint which I'll tell you about later. It was a bumpy, wet 40 minute ride on a ferry to the island. After an annoying meet up with your tour guide to have your picture taken by a sign once you get there, you're allowed to run (yes some people were running, but I just kinda jogged) for chairs and umbrellas on a beautiful beach. This one had comfy chairs, unlike Roatan. We were the first boat to get there, so we got first choice. Not many umbrellas, hence the running. The water was beautiful and calm. The beach was amazing. The food was good, and you got free drinks. They were small and there was always a line, so it was easier just to pay $15 for a bucket of 6 beers which was a good deal. What was my complaint?? It didn't last long enough!! We only got 3 hours on the beach! I would have spent 6 if I could. I wanted to cry (I didn't though). There was a constant stream of boats coming in with people from different cruise lines, (8 ships in Cozumel that day) so they have to stagger how many people are coming and going.

So all of that being said, this was one of my best cruises ever! I can't give it 5 stars though because of the things I mentioned, but let's call it 4.5.
seapig’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom
Cabin BB 9168
I thought this cabin was nice. The closet design next to the bed is dumb, but the bathroom is bigger than expected. There's just enough storage spots for 2 people if you like to completely empty your suitcases. It was close, but not too close to the elevators, and was far enough forward that you didn't have to look at that large white plastic roof that covers part of deck 8. It was a perfect location to access everything but the buffet. It wasn't very quiet however as I heard a lot of toilet flushing, neighbors talking, and chair scraping on balconies.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins