Because the Gem is no longer sailing out of NYC in the winter we had to catch the Getaway for our annual winter vacay. The NCL Getaway is part of the Breakaway class & is a larger ship at 145,655 tons & a guest capacity of 3,963 passengers & 1,646 crew. Because the ship is larger it has more decks devoted to balcony cabins & more dining options than the Gem. It also features a different layout than the Gem with decks: 6, 7 & 8 devoted to restaurant & shopping areas. Because it is a newer ship the decor was certainly nicer than the Gem.
We had been warned that while a bigger ship, the Getaway only had two banks of elevators unlike the three banks of elevators on the Gem. This meant that sometimes it was a really long walk from one end of the ship to the other, especially when cabins were located either at the front or back of the ship (our cabin was located right at the front of the ship).
During sea days when it was too cold to be outside the ship did feel crowded, especially when we discovered that there were 4,000 passengers on board. However, when the weather was warmer the overcrowded feeling began to dissipate when passengers discovered other areas on the ship. However, we were disappointed to find that there were no real quiet areas on the ship, with most areas featuring either loud music, entertainment or loud passengers. For us this was a definite con.
We were located right at the front of the ship. This mean a long walk from the one of the two banks of elevators which are located in the centre of the ship.Because of its location it has an odd trapezoid shape with a window that slants out. Under the window is a bench for seating that allows a really lovely view of where the ship is going. However because of its location to the bridge we weren't allowed to have the drapes open in the evening as light from the cabin could distort vision on the bridge. The room while bigger in square footage to most other rooms also oddly had less storage. However we found we actually really liked the room & loved the forward view.
While most people made their ways to the beach using ship excursions we opted instead to walk around the town. Walking along the main road as it followed the harbour we then walked back via another street discovering a couple of churches & Independence Square in the centre of town. Because St.Kitts is one of the poorer islands there wasn't a lot to see so we headed back to the ship.
One of our favourite stops. We also head straight off the ship for the Passeo de Princessa that winds along the bottom of the Castelo. It is a beautiful walk that looks out to the sea & after a couple of days at sea is really relaxing.
The next morning we docked in Castries, St.Lucia another poor island, however the island has a beautiful protected harbour that has two places for ships to dock. In the past we have always docked at the newer Pointe Seraphine Cruise port which featured a nicer selection of port shops even though it was a father walk from town. This time however we docked across the harbour at a working dock surrounded by containers from container ships.
While we were hoping to go the Botanical Gardens on the south side of the island the cab drivers wanted $ 200.00 for the two of us, so we decided instead just to go for a walk through the town. Of all the islands St.Lucia has never been one of our favourites. The hustle culture that permeates the island because of the poverty has always been a turn off for us. However I'm always amazed that an island that is so poor has such incredible produce. Walking through the open air markets the selection of Caribbean foods is always amazing in quality & quantity.
The next morning we docked in one of our favourite islands, Barbados. It was also the first day we docked early, so Mr.T & I were able to walk right off the ship after our early breakfast. While the port is about a 20 minute walk from Bridgetown, there is a really nice boardwalk which faces the ocean.
Once in Bridgetown, we walked into town across the Chamberlain Bridge to the beach, which is located on the other side of the marina. Carlisle Bay stretches for about a mile ending at the Barbados Yacht Club & the Radisson Hotel. Making our way to the public section of the beach, we were able to finally play in the water & swim for a good hour along with lots of families who were spending Saturday at the beach.
After swimming we cleaned the sand off our feet using one of the foot showers located all along the beach then walked south along Bay Street to Hastings, then to Christ Church. Just south of the Soco Hotel the Richard Haynes Boardwalk begins as it wraps around the south part of the island. We walked to the western end of the trail & followed it to the other end where it ended at Drayrells Road. The views along the boardwalk are always beautiful & dramatic with crashing waves & lots of flowers & plants. It also features a good selection of restaurants & places to eat or enjoy a drink. We then began walking back stopping at a local drugstore for some snacks (always chocolate) before catching a mini-bus back into Bridgetown. From there we walked back to the ship making for a really nice day in Barbados.