Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by ejtelesis
- Sail Date: October 2019
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Family Balcony Stateroom
very large ship with 4K+ passengers. Many balcony cabins up to deck 14.
the not so good...
It’s a big ship but it’s hard to find comfortable chairs indoors where you can relax and get some peace and quiet for any length of time. On a Baltic cruise the weather wasn’t suitable for sitting outside. Games room was tiny and there’s a huge screen in what’s called the Atrium on deck 6 where lots of events take place, which is always crowded and noisy with its adjacent bar. The most relaxing place was on the outside of deck 8 but for us it was mostly too cold during our cruise. The outdoor facilities looked wonderful (water slides, climbing wall and bars / restaurant) but weren’t practical for our cruise. Staff generally friendly and helpful but staff at Customer Service desk not very effective and don’t go the extra mile. It’s like they are frightened to go “off script” so you get the same old platitudes about why something can’t be done!They are quite happy to tell you they can’t help rather than trying that little bit harder. Example - when we booked our cruise (3 weeks before) transfers to from airport were not available but we found Norwegian reps at the airport on our way in and gladly paid the $25 transfer to the boat. When we tried to book return transfers 3 days before disembarkation we were told that they had been sold before the ship sailed, so they couldn’t help. Since they were also advising that taxis might be scarce on the dock in Copenhagen it was disappointing that more was not done to help especially as we asked in good time. We eventually telephoned a taxi company when we were in an earlier port one day.
You are not offered much, if any, port info if you’re planning to do your own thing. We asked for train timetables to Stockholm (c. hr away) and they we very resistant to downloading the info. We didn’t have any free shuttles port to town. Norwegian seem to rely on the local port authorities to send either hop on / hop off buses or shuttles, for which you have to pay.
Disembarkation is OK in Copenhagen if you have pre-arranged transfers. It was total chaos for anyone hoping to get a taxi from the rank, all on a wet day with little cover. Thank goodness we'd booked a taxi otherwise I fear we may have missed our flight.
we had a balc cabin which was not luxurious but most adequate. Nice shower with glass door (no horrible curtain) and no lack of hot water. Liquid hand /shower wash and shampoo in dispensers but no frills. We had a large couch which could probably be converted to 3rd bed. Beds comfy. Balcony very small - only just big enough for two chairs and a tiny table. You wouldn’t want to spend much time out there.
we were pleasantly surprised. Food was generally much better than on recent Celebrity Constellation in the buffet and Main dining rooms of which there were 3. Of the 3 we opted most nights for the Tropicana which had a central dance floor and band playing which created a nice atmosphere. We could only book these complementary restaurants at 2 specific times online before the cruise but once you’re on board you can either book or take a chance and queue for all / any times. We found that if we accepted a booking later than we really wanted, then turned up at our chosen time we were nearly always accommodated (1 night we were asked to share the table which we were quite happy to do) The food came quickly, was nicely presented, hot and tasty. All 3 restaurants offered the same menu each night.
In addition there are speciality restaurants for which you have to pay a supplement. We ate in Le Bistro twice because it was so good. The best fillet mignon we’ve had for many a year either at sea or on land. Other options equally good. The seafood restaurant, Ocean Blue is also excellent. You can choose large simple portions of well cooked fish of various types (with the sauce of your choice) or more exotic fish and seafood dishes ( my husband had seafood with pasta) which didn’t disappoint. I had excellent halibut with a garlic side sauce which was just delicious and an excellent dover sole which came boned and ready to eat. Service was excellent in both. The third speciality restaurant we tried was Moderno which is a brazilian steak house. You select your own starter from a selection on a buffet, then for main course, you’re given a plate and 5 “sides” appear, which are your veg dishes. Waiters then constantly travel round the tables carving off strips of steak, chicken, pork, chorizo from very large skewers and you can have as much as you like. If you like a bit of theatre with your meal you will enjoy it; personally I prefer to choose my meal and have it delivered all in one go!!! The meats were all good, some of the steaks tender & delicious. Then a choice of desserts. We didn’t sample other speciality restaurants. The one restaurant which disappointed was the Chinese for which there is no supplement. It was always full and difficult to get a table. When we finally did get a table, on our last day, we found the food indifferent, not very hot and it arrived sometimes after a wait, then all orders would come together. You eat at bench type tables which don’t have much space so we found ourselves running out of space to put everything. On the whole the Chinese dishes which we found in the main self service buffet restaurant were much fresher and hotter and you can choose your ingredients for the noodle soups, made in front of you by the chef. The buffet has a good range of offers with plenty of fresh fruit and veg. My husband was particularly complementary about the curries which changed every day.
The entertainment varied. Burn the Floor and the Quartet shows (no supplement) were excellent and you can book seats in advance. We didn’t try the shows which had supplements such as the Cirque show as we’d heard the the meal they serve at the same time was not especially good. There are the usual cruise ship offerings of bingo, game shows and trivia plus other musical offerings such a instrumentalists, a magician, and a very good show with 3 girls singing Motown. In addition to the theatre there is live entertainment in smaller venues such as a comedy club ( we saw 2 shows, both good esp for us Brits but some other nationalities failed to get all the references/jokes) and other headliners. Something for all ages. We did find lots of the entertainment to be very loud especially in the smaller venues. Everything seems to be ‘over miked’ , even in the theatre, so go with that in mind.
Would we travel on Norwegian Getaway again? Probably but only on warm weather itinerary out of school holidays. When we booked we had the option to add 2 supplementary options out of 4 for $99 pp. We chose the drinks package and the 4 trips to speciality restaurants and this was very cost effective considering some cocktails and spirits cost $10-15. 2 drinks per day (which included our dinner wine) and we saved!
The shore excursions offered by Norwegian were eye wateringly expensive. We booked independent tour operators and often crossed paths with our shipmates on Norwegian tours. St Petersburg was the stand out trip. We booked a 2 day package with TJ tours. It’s was excellent and overall good value considering we went straight to the front of every long queue - & I do mean long - and we were dropped and picked up at the entrances to every place. The guide was friendly and very knowledgable - not a script in sight - and the pick up and drop off arrangements at the port were very efficient. If you disembark in Russia you must have a pre booked tour to avoid the hassle of getting a separate visa before your cruise. We would go back to St P again because there is so much to see that you can’t do it all in 2 days. The other stops, Tallin, Helsinki, Stockholm were pleasant but we wouldn’t consider revisiting specially. The ship docked at Warnmunde which was billed as stop for Berlin but be aware that it’s 150 miles away and 3.5 hrs in a coach.
On the whole the cruise exceeded our expectations esp our 2 days in St Petersburg. The ship also exceeded our expectations re food and entertainment but there were niggles, above, which disappointed. Norwegian have gone up our rankings whereas Celebrity has gone down!
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