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Overall, I'd say this was a pretty average experience. I am used to cruising on RC and I found Norwegian a little subpar on just about everything...except the price of course. You get what you pay for I guess. Pros: Great Entertainment Cons: Cramped ship Excursions were a nightmare Dining Continual nickel and diming Port - New Orleans - Getting on the boat was pretty easy. We parked at the hotel (Holiday Inn and Superdome) and taxied over. I don't recommend this however. Holiday Inn used to have a shuttle, which made their stay and sail deal worth it. They no longer have the shuttle. So the money you save parking at the hotel vs port will be eaten up in taxi or uber fees. Might as well just park at port. We were with Platinum Norwegian members so we got to board first. Not sure how long others waited but boarding was simple and easy. ***One caveat. Like a rookie, I forgot to preprint our luggage tags. Big mistake. The porter had tags of course, which he supposedly attached to our luggage. No biggie, until our luggage didn't show up to our cabin. A few moments of panic on the first day. But went to customer service desk and they had our luggage set aside as unclaimed. There were no tags on all 3 of our suitcases. Not sure if they porter didn't attach them or they came off. Regardless it was scary for a bit. But no real harm done. Entertainment - This was the one place where the Getaway really shined. The million dollar quarter was the very best show I've seen on a cruise ship, hands down. It was fabulous. My wife and I see a ton of musicals and this compared to anything we've seen. So, so, good. The steam show was also amazing and the food was good. Hated that it cost extra but...nickel and diming...such is the Norwegian way. The Burn the Floor show was good, but it went on a little long. The Howl at the Moon dueling pianos were fabulous. We closed them down every night. Just as good as your local piano bar I promise you, and probably actually much much better. Those guys were great. The comedians were good as well. Ship Layout - The ship itself is big, but it felt cramped. I know this cruise was super packed and it felt that way. The getaway doesn't have great common areas in my opinion. It seems more space is devoted to cabins than common areas. The area around O'Sheehans was always packed. The atrium was always packed. I'm sued to the RC Allure and Oasis with gigantic outdoor theatres, the boardwalk, and central park. Some great common areas. The getaway did not have good common areas. The pool was tiny. The bar next to the pool as you can imagine, always super packed. **Two things of note. If you have a problem with cigarette smoke, you will have a real problem with this ship. The smoker's box is right next to the pool! This I could not believe. You could smell it from the pool itself. Gross. This by itself is reason enough for me not to pick this ship again. Also, you must travel through the casino to get from one end of the ship to the other on deck 7, which is the main deck (6, 7, and 8). I personally love drawing in a few lungfuls of cigarette smoke on the way to dinner. Give me a break. Again, this by itself is enough to make me not choose this ship again. *On the flip side, this ship has 4 great water slides. There were very few kids on this ship so the slides were always open. As a 40 year old man, I took advantage. I wished I had had my boys with me. They would have loved the water slides and the ropes course. Dining - The food was average. Nothing spectacular, nothing terrible. The only specialty restaurant we took advantage of was Steam and the food there was good. The show was amazing as mentioned above. Buffet - food was decent. Not as many choices as I was used to at the Windjammer on RC Allure and Oasis. But I think the buffet food might have been a tad tastier than the Windjammer. O'Sheehans food was good. But hard to get a table. Main dining food again, good, nothing special. **A word about the dining in general. This was the first time we ever did freestyle dining and I hated it. We had a party of 10 and there was always a wait, and never any reservations available anywhere. Further, our stateroom came with 2 specialty dining comps. We were unable to use them because we didn't book in advance. There were literally no reservations available except at 9:30 at any specialty restaurant. Again, this was a bit of a rookie mistake as I should have booked far out, but I didn't think reservations would be that hard to get and having never been on this ship before I wasn't sure what was 'must eat'. Also, I couldn't believe how hard it was to get a seat in the main dining room. Again, I'm used to having a set dining time with RC, early or late. That system works out so much better. While early people are eating, the late eaters see their shows and then they switch. Very easy and efficient. Not sure why Norwegian doesn't do this. Excursions - Let me move on to the very worst part of the trip. Excursions. We had 3 excursions booked: Cozumel - Playa de Mia Beach Break Grand Cayman - Dolphin swim and Stingray island Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Aqua River Tublng and Bamboo Beach VIP Cozumel - Playa de Mia Beach Break - we decided not to do this excursion because we were tired and wanted to stay on the boat. Looking back, probably should have went ahead and done it. But we'd been to Cozumel before and we were having a good time on the boat. Oh, well. No biggie. Do you think Norwegian gave me a refund when I tried to cancel the day before? Ha. Yeah right. This is Norwegian we're talking about. Grand Cayman - Dolphin swim and Stingray island - This was not terrible. We had to tender in, which was a hassle but that was expected. When we got on land, it wasn't bad, they took us straight to the bus. Ride to the dolphins wasn't overally long. The dolphin experience itself was amazing. I enjoyed it, even though I wasn't necessarily super hyped about swinning with dolphin. It's very controlled. You take turns letting them push you by your foot, kissing them, and holding on to their flippers. But just seeing how incredibly trained and intelligent the dolphins were was amazing. The stingray section was okay. For some reason, we only had a few stingrays. Everyone said the place is actually covered up with stingrays everywhere. I didn't get that. Not sure if it was the time of day or season or what, but we just had a few stingrays here and there. In a way, this part felt like a giant photo op. They pull the stingray up, and you take turns taking pictures with it kissing it or letting it flap on you. I swam around a bunch while everyone else was taking pics, which was fun but the excursion itself didn't blow me away. The boat ride from dolphins to stingrays was pleasant. Not overly long, the boat was big and comfortable, and the crew was good. Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Aqua River Tublng and Bamboo Beach VIP - Definitely the low point of the trip. DO NOT DO THIS EXCURSION UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER. In fact, do not even get off the boat in Jamaica if you know what's good for you. This excursion was absolute cluster from the word go. They gathered everyone going to Bamboo Beach in the theatre at 9:15. Here we waited pointlessly. There was absolutely no reason for this. Why? Because after we were all gathered and had waited, they simply sent us out onto the pier with everyone else. We got in the herd and headed down the pier with all the other sheep. So, so pointless. Here is where the excursion goes from bad to nightmarish. If you are used to lining up on the pier at a certain number and having your guide escort you to the bus, you can forget that right now. Every excursion met in a tiny building meant to hold 100 people, not 3000. EVERY excursion booked through the ship met in this building. It was absolutely impossible to get in there. This meant that there was a giant line extending out of the building and down the pier. We waited in this line for 1 solid HOUR!!!! In the hot Jamaican sun. With 3,000 of our closest friends. Had the excursion itself actually been good, it would not have been worth this hellish experience. Never again. After we finally, finally, found our guide and got on a bus, we proceeded up to the river for the tubing. Many of the reviews said this drive was completely insane and it was. We were on a huge charter bus, traveling on tiny roads built for bicycles on the side of a cliff. At one point, we had to back down the mountain to let another bus coming down the mountain pass us because there wasn't room for both. Good times. It didn't actually bother me, I kind of enjoyed the adventure, but it made some of the other passengers nervous. The scenery on the trip will make you be thankful for what you have, as you pass some of the poorest people living in shacks you've likely ever seen. Several times the driver had to turn the A/C off in the bus to make it up the mountain. It was hot. The river itself was kind of nice. It was beautiful no doubt and the tubing was fun. You do have to stay attached to your group the entire time which wasn't ideal, but it is what it is. ***You can leave your stuff on the bus.*** The official excursion description from Norwegian says you cannot leave your stuff on the bus. That is not accurate. You can. That being said, I still took my valuables with me in a dry bag on the tube. It is Jamaica after all. But I was one of the few who did this. Most ppl left their stuff on the bus. The river itself was mostly calm. Yes, there were a couple of nice rapids, but nothing overly exciting. Some reviews I read said it was too much rapids and they flipped over and hit their heads on a rock. I didn't get that at all. I wanted more rapids personally. After the river was done, we tipped our river guides and got back on the bus from hell. Ah, the river was such a nice respite. Oh well.... The next thing we do is go back down the mountain to the port to shop. BOOOO!!!!!! This was pointless. We stopped outside a tiny little store and the guide told us we would be there for 20 minutes and to go in and shop. Our entire bus almost rioted and chants of 'Beach! Beach! Beach!' broke out. Only one couple got off the bus. They were ceremoniously booed as they got off and cheered when they got back on. They were inside for like 5 minutes and they got back on and we took off. Pointless. Now, the real fun begins. How does a hot 45 minute bus ride across Jamaica sound to you? Great! By the time we reached the beach, we were starving. No problem. They serve lunch, right? WRONG! We waited almost 3 HOURS to get our food. This was the most inefficient operation I'd ever seen. It almost rivaled the cattle call at the port. When we got there, the morning group hadn't yet cleared out. So there was nowhere to sit. Once we finally fought someone off their beach chair, we waited and waited and waited. Your tour guide is also your waitress. They move at an absolute snail's pace. They have to walk way across the beach to get your food and then walk way back to where you are sitting. The ones that were not your tour guide will not wait on you. The food, when we got it at 3:00 (five minutes before we left) was delicious. But we were close to starving at that point so anything would have been good. The 'VIP' section of the beach is a joke. There is no VIP. There was a tiny little sign to specify the VIP section vs the rest of the beach. The only difference I could tell was the VIP section was further away from the food so your waitress guide had to walk farther. It was also farther from the bar. Btw, the bar service was okay but drinks were expensive. The rum punch was free but also lukewarm. The beach itself was okay. Kind of rocky. Water was pretty. A bit of sand but not much. We were supposed to have been there 1.5 hours. We ended up staying 3. That might sound great, but when you are tired and starving, it's not great. When it was time go, we filed back onto the bus. Here is where it gets really fun. B/c you had so many rednecks drinking free rum punch with nothing to eat, half the bus was sloshed. And there were loud. And they were very obnoxious. Very. There's nothing worse than a hot 45 minute bus ride after you are exhausted with a load of loud drunks. Love it. Service - was a bit surprised with how lackluster the service was. No one was rude. But no crew member went out of their way to be friendly either. I'm used to RC servers and stewards going out of their way to talk to me. Oh well, no biggie, room was clean that's all that matters. One last thing on the experience overall. As a whole, this being our first experience with NCL, it seemed the nickel and diming was too much. For example, they sell you wifi then upsell you to unlimited. Then they charge you $10 bucks for the communication piece of the app. Really? All of this is free on RC. Also, there was cup you could refill for drinks like they have on RC. That is convenient. Otherwise, there is no place to get a drink on this ship. Unless you buy the premium PREMIUM drink package. LOL. We ran into this kind of stuff over and over again. All in all, can't say I'm dying to go on a NCL cruise again. If my friends go, I would but wouldn't be my first choice.

Cramped quarters, amazing entertainment

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by borz

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom
Overall, I'd say this was a pretty average experience. I am used to cruising on RC and I found Norwegian a little subpar on just about everything...except the price of course. You get what you pay for I guess.

Pros:

Great Entertainment

Cons:

Cramped ship

Excursions were a nightmare

Dining

Continual nickel and diming

Port - New Orleans - Getting on the boat was pretty easy. We parked at the hotel (Holiday Inn and Superdome) and taxied over. I don't recommend this however. Holiday Inn used to have a shuttle, which made their stay and sail deal worth it. They no longer have the shuttle. So the money you save parking at the hotel vs port will be eaten up in taxi or uber fees. Might as well just park at port. We were with Platinum Norwegian members so we got to board first. Not sure how long others waited but boarding was simple and easy. ***One caveat. Like a rookie, I forgot to preprint our luggage tags. Big mistake. The porter had tags of course, which he supposedly attached to our luggage. No biggie, until our luggage didn't show up to our cabin. A few moments of panic on the first day. But went to customer service desk and they had our luggage set aside as unclaimed. There were no tags on all 3 of our suitcases. Not sure if they porter didn't attach them or they came off. Regardless it was scary for a bit. But no real harm done.

Entertainment - This was the one place where the Getaway really shined. The million dollar quarter was the very best show I've seen on a cruise ship, hands down. It was fabulous. My wife and I see a ton of musicals and this compared to anything we've seen. So, so, good.

The steam show was also amazing and the food was good. Hated that it cost extra but...nickel and diming...such is the Norwegian way.

The Burn the Floor show was good, but it went on a little long.

The Howl at the Moon dueling pianos were fabulous. We closed them down every night. Just as good as your local piano bar I promise you, and probably actually much much better. Those guys were great.

The comedians were good as well.

Ship Layout -

The ship itself is big, but it felt cramped. I know this cruise was super packed and it felt that way. The getaway doesn't have great common areas in my opinion. It seems more space is devoted to cabins than common areas. The area around O'Sheehans was always packed. The atrium was always packed. I'm sued to the RC Allure and Oasis with gigantic outdoor theatres, the boardwalk, and central park. Some great common areas. The getaway did not have good common areas.

The pool was tiny. The bar next to the pool as you can imagine, always super packed.

**Two things of note. If you have a problem with cigarette smoke, you will have a real problem with this ship. The smoker's box is right next to the pool! This I could not believe. You could smell it from the pool itself. Gross. This by itself is reason enough for me not to pick this ship again.

Also, you must travel through the casino to get from one end of the ship to the other on deck 7, which is the main deck (6, 7, and 8). I personally love drawing in a few lungfuls of cigarette smoke on the way to dinner. Give me a break. Again, this by itself is enough to make me not choose this ship again.

*On the flip side, this ship has 4 great water slides. There were very few kids on this ship so the slides were always open. As a 40 year old man, I took advantage. I wished I had had my boys with me. They would have loved the water slides and the ropes course.

Dining - The food was average. Nothing spectacular, nothing terrible. The only specialty restaurant we took advantage of was Steam and the food there was good. The show was amazing as mentioned above.

Buffet - food was decent. Not as many choices as I was used to at the Windjammer on RC Allure and Oasis. But I think the buffet food might have been a tad tastier than the Windjammer.

O'Sheehans food was good. But hard to get a table.

Main dining food again, good, nothing special.

**A word about the dining in general. This was the first time we ever did freestyle dining and I hated it. We had a party of 10 and there was always a wait, and never any reservations available anywhere. Further, our stateroom came with 2 specialty dining comps. We were unable to use them because we didn't book in advance. There were literally no reservations available except at 9:30 at any specialty restaurant. Again, this was a bit of a rookie mistake as I should have booked far out, but I didn't think reservations would be that hard to get and having never been on this ship before I wasn't sure what was 'must eat'. Also, I couldn't believe how hard it was to get a seat in the main dining room. Again, I'm used to having a set dining time with RC, early or late. That system works out so much better. While early people are eating, the late eaters see their shows and then they switch. Very easy and efficient. Not sure why Norwegian doesn't do this.

Excursions - Let me move on to the very worst part of the trip. Excursions. We had 3 excursions booked:

Cozumel - Playa de Mia Beach Break

Grand Cayman - Dolphin swim and Stingray island

Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Aqua River Tublng and Bamboo Beach VIP

Cozumel - Playa de Mia Beach Break - we decided not to do this excursion because we were tired and wanted to stay on the boat. Looking back, probably should have went ahead and done it. But we'd been to Cozumel before and we were having a good time on the boat. Oh, well. No biggie. Do you think Norwegian gave me a refund when I tried to cancel the day before? Ha. Yeah right. This is Norwegian we're talking about.

Grand Cayman - Dolphin swim and Stingray island - This was not terrible. We had to tender in, which was a hassle but that was expected. When we got on land, it wasn't bad, they took us straight to the bus. Ride to the dolphins wasn't overally long. The dolphin experience itself was amazing. I enjoyed it, even though I wasn't necessarily super hyped about swinning with dolphin. It's very controlled. You take turns letting them push you by your foot, kissing them, and holding on to their flippers. But just seeing how incredibly trained and intelligent the dolphins were was amazing.

The stingray section was okay. For some reason, we only had a few stingrays. Everyone said the place is actually covered up with stingrays everywhere. I didn't get that. Not sure if it was the time of day or season or what, but we just had a few stingrays here and there. In a way, this part felt like a giant photo op. They pull the stingray up, and you take turns taking pictures with it kissing it or letting it flap on you. I swam around a bunch while everyone else was taking pics, which was fun but the excursion itself didn't blow me away.

The boat ride from dolphins to stingrays was pleasant. Not overly long, the boat was big and comfortable, and the crew was good.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Aqua River Tublng and Bamboo Beach VIP - Definitely the low point of the trip. DO NOT DO THIS EXCURSION UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER.

In fact, do not even get off the boat in Jamaica if you know what's good for you. This excursion was absolute cluster from the word go. They gathered everyone going to Bamboo Beach in the theatre at 9:15. Here we waited pointlessly. There was absolutely no reason for this. Why? Because after we were all gathered and had waited, they simply sent us out onto the pier with everyone else. We got in the herd and headed down the pier with all the other sheep. So, so pointless. Here is where the excursion goes from bad to nightmarish. If you are used to lining up on the pier at a certain number and having your guide escort you to the bus, you can forget that right now. Every excursion met in a tiny building meant to hold 100 people, not 3000. EVERY excursion booked through the ship met in this building. It was absolutely impossible to get in there. This meant that there was a giant line extending out of the building and down the pier. We waited in this line for 1 solid HOUR!!!! In the hot Jamaican sun. With 3,000 of our closest friends. Had the excursion itself actually been good, it would not have been worth this hellish experience. Never again.

After we finally, finally, found our guide and got on a bus, we proceeded up to the river for the tubing. Many of the reviews said this drive was completely insane and it was. We were on a huge charter bus, traveling on tiny roads built for bicycles on the side of a cliff. At one point, we had to back down the mountain to let another bus coming down the mountain pass us because there wasn't room for both. Good times. It didn't actually bother me, I kind of enjoyed the adventure, but it made some of the other passengers nervous. The scenery on the trip will make you be thankful for what you have, as you pass some of the poorest people living in shacks you've likely ever seen. Several times the driver had to turn the A/C off in the bus to make it up the mountain. It was hot.

The river itself was kind of nice. It was beautiful no doubt and the tubing was fun. You do have to stay attached to your group the entire time which wasn't ideal, but it is what it is. ***You can leave your stuff on the bus.*** The official excursion description from Norwegian says you cannot leave your stuff on the bus. That is not accurate. You can. That being said, I still took my valuables with me in a dry bag on the tube. It is Jamaica after all. But I was one of the few who did this. Most ppl left their stuff on the bus.

The river itself was mostly calm. Yes, there were a couple of nice rapids, but nothing overly exciting. Some reviews I read said it was too much rapids and they flipped over and hit their heads on a rock. I didn't get that at all. I wanted more rapids personally.

After the river was done, we tipped our river guides and got back on the bus from hell. Ah, the river was such a nice respite. Oh well.... The next thing we do is go back down the mountain to the port to shop. BOOOO!!!!!! This was pointless. We stopped outside a tiny little store and the guide told us we would be there for 20 minutes and to go in and shop. Our entire bus almost rioted and chants of 'Beach! Beach! Beach!' broke out. Only one couple got off the bus. They were ceremoniously booed as they got off and cheered when they got back on. They were inside for like 5 minutes and they got back on and we took off. Pointless.

Now, the real fun begins. How does a hot 45 minute bus ride across Jamaica sound to you? Great! By the time we reached the beach, we were starving. No problem. They serve lunch, right? WRONG! We waited almost 3 HOURS to get our food. This was the most inefficient operation I'd ever seen. It almost rivaled the cattle call at the port. When we got there, the morning group hadn't yet cleared out. So there was nowhere to sit. Once we finally fought someone off their beach chair, we waited and waited and waited. Your tour guide is also your waitress. They move at an absolute snail's pace. They have to walk way across the beach to get your food and then walk way back to where you are sitting. The ones that were not your tour guide will not wait on you. The food, when we got it at 3:00 (five minutes before we left) was delicious. But we were close to starving at that point so anything would have been good. The 'VIP' section of the beach is a joke. There is no VIP. There was a tiny little sign to specify the VIP section vs the rest of the beach. The only difference I could tell was the VIP section was further away from the food so your waitress guide had to walk farther. It was also farther from the bar. Btw, the bar service was okay but drinks were expensive. The rum punch was free but also lukewarm.

The beach itself was okay. Kind of rocky. Water was pretty. A bit of sand but not much.

We were supposed to have been there 1.5 hours. We ended up staying 3. That might sound great, but when you are tired and starving, it's not great. When it was time go, we filed back onto the bus. Here is where it gets really fun. B/c you had so many rednecks drinking free rum punch with nothing to eat, half the bus was sloshed. And there were loud. And they were very obnoxious. Very. There's nothing worse than a hot 45 minute bus ride after you are exhausted with a load of loud drunks. Love it.

Service - was a bit surprised with how lackluster the service was. No one was rude. But no crew member went out of their way to be friendly either. I'm used to RC servers and stewards going out of their way to talk to me. Oh well, no biggie, room was clean that's all that matters.

One last thing on the experience overall. As a whole, this being our first experience with NCL, it seemed the nickel and diming was too much. For example, they sell you wifi then upsell you to unlimited. Then they charge you $10 bucks for the communication piece of the app. Really? All of this is free on RC. Also, there was cup you could refill for drinks like they have on RC. That is convenient. Otherwise, there is no place to get a drink on this ship. Unless you buy the premium PREMIUM drink package. LOL. We ran into this kind of stuff over and over again.

All in all, can't say I'm dying to go on a NCL cruise again. If my friends go, I would but wouldn't be my first choice.
borz’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom
Cabin BC
Inside the cabin was pretty spacious. The balcony was tiny. Barely room for the standard 2 chairs and tiny table.We generally spend a lot of time on the balcony, not so with this cruise. Just felt too cramped. No room to stretch out. Yet the couch inside the cabin was very comfortable.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews