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Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
3,026 Reviews

Great ports, less than great ship

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by LoriLena

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jul 2019
  • Destination: the Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside Stateroom

The Ship:

The Getaway feels like a big ship and it’s a very crowded ship. We were told there were 4,600 (!!) passengers plus 1,600 crew members and it FELT that crowded. What really lent to that was the feeling that you couldn’t find any place quiet to be. There’s no observation lounge where you can go and sit and read or play games. As in, no place to look out the front of the ship as you sail unless you’re a Haven suite user or you pay for the Vibe Beach club. I’ve never been on a ship where you couldn’t see out the front of the ship. There’s the H2O spice deck at the back of the ship that’s child free during the day. The speakers weren’t working properly and when they tried to play music, it was jaunting. They absolutely didn’t need it. Again, no place quiet. When I mentioned to a crew member in dress whites that the music wasn’t necessary and to look at the faces of the people who didn’t want it, he told me if I wanted some place quiet, I could go back to my room. His inflection wasn’t nasty, I think it was a language/cultural barrier, but it was still inappropriate. Couple that with the fact that towards the end of the cruise the outside areas on some of the decks (7,8,15,16) had flying carpenter ants.

Where I feel the Getaway really failed, was the restaurants. For free there was the buffet, which was hit or miss (mostly miss - the food wasn’t always hot and people were touching things with their BARE HANDS), 3 main dining rooms where the food was excellent, O’Sheenans (the food wasn’t as good as the last time I ate at one on an NCL ship), and Shanghai Noodles. The Noodles was the sorest point - we ordered a few things and one of our dishes tasted like DISH SOAP. When we complained to the maitre’d about it, there was a language barrier, I think, because he surely didn’t understand. When we complained to guest services, the gentleman we spoke to looked at us blankly, like he was still waiting for an actual complaint. We ate at one of the pay for dinner restaurants, Moderno, which was good, and skipped the others. We also tried the ‘Taste of India’ buffet for lunch one day at Moderno- it was so awful we abandoned our plates and had lunch at the sit down dining room after. To finish the dish soap incident - the head of Food and Hotel operations sought us out and apologized. For the next 3 days she sent food trays to our room consisting of chocolates, Hors d'oeuvres, a fruit basket, and cheeses. This was a nice and probably expensive gesture, however, after telling us that we were hard to find (since we were out in the ports all day, every day), the items were left mid morning. Remember, they’re perishable, and not refrigerated. The cheeses included a blue cheese that left a stench that stayed for 3 days. I finally had to give the trays to guest service and ask them to please stop leaving things we couldn’t eat.

The ship had a ton of entertainment. The Burn the Floor cast was phenomenal, but the hidden gem was Syd Norman’s Pour House. The performances were captivating, the crew members were bursting with enthusiasm, and the place was always packed. We also checked out the comedian (who sadly wasn’t very funny), the comedic magician (funny, but the tricks weren’t anything to write home about, and the Other Guys (sounded great on paper - total pass in person. They were out of sync, out of tune, and didn’t carry stage presence).

If alcohol is your thing, the tastings are the way to go. We loved the mojito tasting so much we did it twice. The pours were generous and a great bang for your buck.

Norwegian's Freestyle dining concept was great on the Gem, but a nightmare a few times on the Getaway, as 4500 people can only sit in so many places. A vacation on Getaway requires planning ahead to get seats in the venues that you want both in the restaurants and for the entertainment.

As of July 2019, the gym offers a spin class, but you HAVE to have clip in shoes. They provide them, but there weren’t enough sizes to go around. Instead of taking a spin class I tried the boot camp style class, which was a beginners course for $24 (because of gratuity). The instructor/trainer advised it was because he has to cater to everyone. The sign of a good instructor/trainer is being able to make movements harder for advanced gym go-ers and modifications for beginners. He was unable/unwilling to do this. Pass on the expensive classes and just do your own thing in the gym.

Finally, we had a midship inside room. It was comfortable for 2, though it lacked in storage. I would have loved to see drawers or more shelves given we were on a 9 day cruise.

Overall, the ship was a C. The servers and hostesses/hosts in the main dining rooms were outstanding, and really showed that there were crew members that cared.

The ports:

Visby was a HIDDEN GEM. The itinerary we originally chose and paid for had an overnight in Russia AND an overnight in Nynashamn (Stockholm). Without warning or announcement, the second overnight was switched to 8hrs for day 6 and 9hrs in Visby on day 7, instead of 36hrs in Nynashamn. We were furious and beyond disappointed that Norwegian didn’t send out any communication or answers regarding it. Visby turned out to be marvelous. I traveled to another part of the island and went stand up paddle boarding, then walked around the town after. The food was excellent and the people were super friendly.

The only port we paid for an actual excursion was Russia, because traveling there requires a visa that the tour agency will give you. Book it through a site like Viator for the best value.

Other highlights: visiting Sumenolinna Island in Helsinki, the free walking tour into Estonia, and the Vasa museum in Stockholm. We did the hop on, hop off bus in Helsinki which came with free ferry fare to the island, and the bus/boat hop on hop off combo in Stockholm. The boats and bus didn’t run on the schedule they claimed it did, and therefore just paying for their public transportation would have been cheaper and easier.

Despite the disappointment that was the Getaway, the trip was an overall success, and I’d give it an A. I will definitely avoid the Getaway in the future, as well as really look at deck plans and passenger size before booking with NCL again.

LoriLena's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside Stateroom
Cabin IA Deck 5

Good size for an inside room! Wish it had more shelves or drawers.

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