20 Norwegian Getaway Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

Friends told us a Baltic cruise would be good for us. It was. We really enjoyed this cruise. We were told that our cabin was ocean view or better. We were told that meant if there were better cabins available we would be upgraded. There ... Read More
Friends told us a Baltic cruise would be good for us. It was. We really enjoyed this cruise. We were told that our cabin was ocean view or better. We were told that meant if there were better cabins available we would be upgraded. There was better available, but no upgrade. We were on a low deck that was extremely noisy. Not a very romantic send off for our first ever cruise and our honeymoon. The service in many areas left a lot to be desired, however we encountered some staff that was over and above any expectations and really blew us away. Food in main dining areas was bland and very small portions. We had the drink package and the fine dining package. The restaurants in the fine dining were simply amazing. We loved NCL’s freestyle cruising and would love to cruise NCL again but to know that balcony cabins went unused and activities staff seemed unprepared or even uninterested in some of the games and such makes you wonder if NCL even cares that you are there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I had a voucher PLUS I like the solo cabin option. However, the solo lounge director staff was unable to get us to know once another.. Still nice to have our own place for coffee, etc. I never had to wait too long at the ... Read More
I had a voucher PLUS I like the solo cabin option. However, the solo lounge director staff was unable to get us to know once another.. Still nice to have our own place for coffee, etc. I never had to wait too long at the complimentary restaurants. However, at Taste and Savour the service was very slow and many of the staff appeared to have a language issue. NCL need to make sure each waitstaff has a good understanding of English. Also, when I asked someone for something and it was NOT in there service area, instead of getting it, they passed the request along to someone else which caused taking additional time. Several time I had to ask the manager to provide menus as no one claimed responsibility as our waitstaff!!!! Speciality restaurant service was excellent. I had three excellent massages. But please cut the hard sell. So off-putting.The LGBT meet and greet in the Sunset Bar was well attended and bar staff friendly. Even the cruise director stopped by to introduce himself. I avoided NCL shore excursions. Very expensive and more intimate to find your own tour guides,especially in St. Petersburg. I only took SPB tour as many of the ports could be seen on your own with a local map. Disembarkation was a disaster. Took much too long. Just get off the ship early and do not wait until you tag color is called. I would book NCL again but only on a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
The service was good. The room was kept clean and orderly on our schedule. The food staff and the bust boys were always courteous. The busy bartenders had kept their smiles up the entire duration. "Neli" rocks. The entire ... Read More
The service was good. The room was kept clean and orderly on our schedule. The food staff and the bust boys were always courteous. The busy bartenders had kept their smiles up the entire duration. "Neli" rocks. The entire range of drinks they had made were terrific. Get the drinking package, it is a great investment. Made every port on-time, except one slight delay. With cooperating weather, we were able to do all of our excursion pre-purchased on the NCL website. The excursion staff on shore were friendly, knowledgeable, entertaining, and accommodating. The food at Ocean Blue was amazing and still quite memorable. The Teppanyaki had us laughing the entire duration with good food to follow. "Burn the Floor," has some amazing dancers, period. After a great day on shore with an excursion, the adequate time alloted for shopping, and then a great dinner at the various restaurants on the Getaway, we were able to dance and drink the night away with themed music at "H2O" every night, followed by more clubbing at "Bliss." To us, that felt like such a great bonus, a gift from the ship we had not anticipated. Compared to the previous cruise we were just on a month prior with Holland America Line, it was night and day. Wish I had a chance to review the Veendam on here with you. Overall, Norwegian Cruise Line Getaway has a much happier staff. We had felt that ship vibe from the get-go. A happier staff equals a happier trip for all of the customers on board (and returning customers). It is also a great reflection of a successful business. In the end, we had met great people who are now friends. Great photos were taken. Great memories were created. I'll forever miss the "washi-washi" hand-sanitizing girls on deck. Thanks to them we didn't get sick this time. Thank you NCL! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We booked a girls cruise and looked forward to a relaxing trip. The ports looked good on paper but when we stopped, it was usually a remote port built by NCL so you didn't get a good feel for the country. Even in Cozumel, we docked ... Read More
We booked a girls cruise and looked forward to a relaxing trip. The ports looked good on paper but when we stopped, it was usually a remote port built by NCL so you didn't get a good feel for the country. Even in Cozumel, we docked further away from the main port and had to walk a long way to get to the main shopping area. You prepay your tips for staff and as a result, the staff doesn't hustle or provide exceptional service. Main restaurant staff are slow, disinterested and don't always get orders correct. You feel like a bother asking for coffee and water. The exception was a great server we found in the Tropicana dining room. They offer music or dancers so book this room if you aren't doing specialty dining. Bar/ pool service is slow so if you have the unlimited drink package, order them in 2s to save time on long waits. There are a couple of exceptional bartenders but that is the exception. Room steward was efficient but our sheets were never changed. If you use any of the soap/lotion, don't expect any more put out. We had 2 bath towels for 2 people so you have to time your showers to ensure you have a dry towel to use later. They are very strict on the pool towels so don't misplace your towel (and hope your room steward doesn't pick it up) since they won't give you a replacement and threaten to charge you for it! Skip the spa. Everyone I talked to had the same experience where they waited 20-45 minutes past the scheduled time for a service. Staff couldn't remember where they "parked" a guest to wait. You aren't pampered while you wait with anything (nice music, cool cup of water or a fuzzy robe would be nice touches while you wait). Staff is trained to sell, sell, sell rather than provide a relaxing experience. Some would say to let guest services know when you are disappointed in something but they were so short staffed (lines waited up to an hour) and unfriendly so that wasn't worth it. Cirque show and Burn the Floor dancers were terrific! Overall I was very disappointed in NCL. The ship was pretty and it is nice that they refurbish them every 5 years but NCL doesn't deliver on service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I read several reviews on this site before deciding to book. I normally stick with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and have 30 cruises under my belt. I've done Princess, Holland America, NCL, RCCL, and Celebrity. During and after my ... Read More
I read several reviews on this site before deciding to book. I normally stick with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and have 30 cruises under my belt. I've done Princess, Holland America, NCL, RCCL, and Celebrity. During and after my cruise, I was wondering if I had been on the same ship as the people who were so critical of the NCL Getaway. Granted it's not a top of the line cruiseship, but it definitely delivered great food, lots of fun things to do, a very diverse clientele, great pools and water parks, and pretty good food. So here are the things that I really liked and didn't like about my cruise as compared to what I'm used to on RCCL and Celebrity. Liked: - Self-serve soft ice cream that ALWAYS worked - The NCL mobile app is awesome on board! - The use of lights instead of cards for do not disturb, make up my room, and I'm in my room - Margaritaville - Lots of diverse bars - Quality and selection of food - The spa is definitely worth the extra money--amazingly relaxing and great place to watch - Coffee (which another reviewer said sucked) - Very few wheelchairs and motorized carts (because it's a younger group of people) - Lots of restaurants have alfresco dining on the deck (excellent idea!) - Lots of separate places for adults, children, and teens (even an adults only pool) - Breakfast pizza - 3D movies in the auditorium with free popcorn - Not having to "check out" pool towels against your room card - Harvest Caye in Belize is amazing--so huge and new! - Having the pool to myself while in port - Made to order dessert crepes in the buffet area Disliked: - Poor selection on TV (but why watch TV when you're on a cruise) - Toiletries in the room (bring your own soap and shampoo, which I always do anyway) - Having to get or buy tickets for some of the entertainment shows - Women cleaning the men's restrooms (awkward) - WiFi sucks (but it does on most ships anyway) - Fish and chips in Cagneys (I don't recommend it) I never saw stained towels like some of the reviews mentioned. My cabin was spotless and the cabin attendant was extremely responsive. Onboarding and deboarding were completely painless, smooth, and very, very quick. All in all, it was a great cruise. I booked a week before it sailed as a last-minute getaway from work and traveled alone since my partner couldn't make it. I was offered the opportunity to upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony for a small fee, which I took and glad I did. Traveling alone worked fine. I don't like the regular restaurants that much anyway, so the buffet worked well for almost every meal. BTW, if you're into snorkeling, definitely go to the Chankanaab Beach Park in Cozumel either on your own (with a taxi) or through a shore excursion. You won't regret it. Harvest Caye in Belize was spectacular. Very modern, clean, beautifully landscaped, great beach, and amazing pool with a swim-up bar. Definitely beats Coco Cay and Labadee from RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
NORWEGIAN GETAWAY Western Caribbean: HONDURAS (Roatan); BELIZE (NCL’s Private Island: Harvest Caye); MEXICO (Costa Maya and Cozumel) January 14 – 21, 2018 Mid-Ship Balcony Cabin Passengers Me (Mark): male, 60 (but I feel ... Read More
NORWEGIAN GETAWAY Western Caribbean: HONDURAS (Roatan); BELIZE (NCL’s Private Island: Harvest Caye); MEXICO (Costa Maya and Cozumel) January 14 – 21, 2018 Mid-Ship Balcony Cabin Passengers Me (Mark): male, 60 (but I feel like I’m 42!). Wearing shorts and an obvious compression stocking [right leg, due to a scar from a motor vehicle incident last year], but completely ambulatory. My Long-Term Partner (Bill): male, a little older than me. Background Info: We’d done three Carnival cruises every couple of years, 16 - 20 years ago. We booked this NCL cruise through a casino players’ reward system. Caesars paid for the basic cruise costs; we paid for our flights, excursions and incidentals. We live in Michigan, USA. We flew from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale and bought NCL’s transfers to/from Miami. I don’t think I can write a day-by-day trip report. Instead, I’ll try to break this review down into sensible sub-topics. Please forgive me if that makes it seem disjointed or if this gets long! TRANSFERS / EMBARKATION Upon landing at FLL, we found it easy to follow the signs through the long walk to baggage claim, where – as promised – an easily-identifiable NCL rep was waiting for us. We didn’t have to claim or tote our luggage. But we did have to wait around a frustrating amount of time for a bus to take us to Miami. Oh, well. We’d saved a bunch of money by flying to FLL instead of MIA (partly because Mr. Bill procrastinated on booking the flights) and NCL’s transfers were very reasonably priced. We were eager to get to the ship, but, all in all, it worked out just fine. The ride was – what? – about 35 minutes. Comfortable bus, very friendly driver. Boring expressway scenery. Upon arrival at the Port of Miami, things went completely smoothly. The line to have our documents checked was short, it only took a minute to fill out the health history questionnaire, the line to present a credit card and get our room keys was short (and they also had “Casino Player” cards printed out and waiting for us), the line to actually board the ship was short. And ALL the port and NCL staff were very, very friendly. A great welcome! TIP: US passengers didn’t NEED a passport to board this cruise. But having one makes things faster and easier. I presented my state-issued ID and my tattered 60-year-old faded birth certificate. I had a couple minutes of anxiety as they examined that. Before next time, I’ll order a new copy of my BC from the State of Ohio. And I’ll get a passport. (A passport WOULD be necessary if you needed to leave the cruise and re-enter the US before the trip is over. And I think it’s going to be necessary in general starting next year.) Once onboard, we resisted gawking and exploring and went directly to our cabin to drop off our carry-ons. One of our four bags was already there. The rest appeared throughout the afternoon. Our copy of the “Freestyle Daily” (Day One) was in the room, as was the floral arrangement that I had ordered. It was beautiful, and – I think – not a bad deal: orchids and other tropical flowers for $50. (It stayed fresh all week.) CABIN I don’t think there’s much I can tell you about our cabin that you haven’t seen in NCL’s diagrams or photos, except that it was exactly as described and pictured. Plenty of room, plenty of electrical outlets, plenty of storage space for people who brought a sensible amount of stuff (not me!). Everything worked well. The bathroom was outfitted with standard hotel toiletries as well as in-shower soap and shampoo dispensers. The shower controls were a little hard to figure out at first. (It always took several seconds for the cold water to kick in.) Bonus: there was a clothesline running across the top of the shower. TIP: Bring along a few hanging plastic clips that you can use for wet bathing clothes. Available at Target and dollar stores, I think. Almost as soon as we entered, Samuel, our room steward, stopped in to ask if we wanted the twin beds converted to a double. We did. Next time we went into the room – and for the rest of the week -- we had a very comfortable queen-size bed. It never mattered how long we slept or how late we switched the electronic sign from “Do Not Disturb” to “Make Up This Room.” Very shortly after we changed it, the room became immaculate. The balcony was very private -- except when we were docked directly across from another ship (Costa Maya and Cozumel). I could hear other people speaking on their balconies, but nobody would’ve been able to see me unless they were our immediate neighbors and made a big effort to lean around the barrier. Except when in port in Mexico, I could’ve been completely and comfortably naked on our balcony. I loved having a balcony room. I’m slow to wake up in the morning, so rolling out of bed, making coffee, and vegging on the balcony for awhile was the perfect way to start my day. Can’t do that in Michigan. Other than that, though, neither of us took advantage of the balcony much. Bill says he’ll never be able to go back to an inside cabin. I think I could. We didn’t spend that much time in the room. In the room there was a coffee-maker with single-serve coffee pods, an ice bucket, a safe, a hair dryer, a mini-bar ($$$), and a few wooden hangers on the rod of the ample closet. TIP: You’re supposed to put your room key in a slot just inside the door to activate the electricity in your room (lights, etc.). But any card with a magnetic strip will work. I kept an old hotel key card in that slot so that we could always turn on the lights and I would never leave the room without my NCL passenger card. Laundry: For whatever reason, Bill wanted to get our Day One clothes cleaned. (?!) So he put them out and the next morning, there they were: perfectly cleaned and pressed. Amazing service. Premium price. THE SHIP The Getaway is huge and gorgeous and clean! Even though I had studied NCL’s website and had read cruise reviews in advance, I was still amazed when I actually got on the ship! So much to discover, so many bars and restaurants and other venues! At the end of the cruise, I still hadn’t explored all of the ship. (For example, if there was a Gift Shop [which there WAS, apparently], I never saw it!) The ship was really nicely decorated and appointed. Getaway was fun and inviting and visually appealing. The Atrium is a little bit glitzy, but in a tasteful kind of way. Nothing like Carnival’s frequently-cheesy décor. Out of seven days sailing, there were about 20 minutes when I could feel the ship moving slightly. NO big deal. [On smaller ships in the past, I had been jerked from side to side for a few minutes -- and I had also enjoyed being in bed and having the ships rock me to sleep every night.] Unlike all my prior cruises, I had zero “sea legs” after this one. I thought NCL did a great job of balancing peoples’ ability to smoke and other peoples’ ability to stay away from smoke. There was a smoking “shelter” on the pool deck; the Sunset Bar allowed smoking; there was a cigar bar; there were probably other smoking-permitted venues. I never saw any conflict over it. Getaway’s pools are VERY small, but there are tons of chaise lounges around them. Throughout our cruise, I never saw many people in the pools and also never saw that it would be hard to get a lounger. (But that’s probably because it was overcast and relatively cool for most of our trip.) The pool-area hot tubs always seemed to be full, though. The elevators were quick. On the stairs’ landing of each floor was a listing of which important destinations were on which floors. And staff were always available and happy to help direct you. (I wish, though, that NCL would have put little pocket-sized maps of the ship in each room. I saw another passenger with one, but I didn’t find out where he got it.) I cannot say enough good things about the amenities, condition, and service of this ship. FOOD I’m sorry that I won’t be the best reviewer for this aspect of the cruise. I don’t eat much. I LIKE food, and I LOVE a good dinner, but I generally don’t eat during the day. Still… Room Service The menu was extensive – and all free. Between the two of us, we used RS three times – always to get some kind of breakfast. It took about 20 minutes for it to arrive. Even though the advertised delivery charge was $7.95, they only billed us $4.38 each time. (Huh? Cool.) The fruit and mini-croissants were fresh and tasty. Buffet The buffet food array was amazing! WHAT a nice variety! Such fresh-looking options, all on a clean and frequently-refreshed football-field-long counter. The line for food never seemed long. And so much indoor, deck-side, and outside seating! Bill said it was one of the best buffets he’s ever eaten at. (This from someone who’s done a million up-scale Vegas buffets.) Taste and Savor These are two of the three “public” restaurants on the ship. There’s not much to distinguish one from the other, IMHO, but both were wonderful. We walked up to each, no reservations, and were seated immediately at a table for two. Service was fast, menu options were plentiful, and the food was delicious. Tropicana I loved the “dinner club” feel of this third complimentary restaurant! Unfortunately, there was no band or dancing during our meal there. I wish NCL would have made it more clear when the place was going to be like having dinner with Ricky Ricardo. But still my favorite of the open rooms. We had the Dining Package, which allowed us to eat at three of Getaway’s premium restaurants without additional charge. We ended up eating at four add-on dining places, and NCL, I think, charged us for the least expensive as our extra. Teppanyaki You’ve seen or done this before, right? Eight or ten or so people sit around a large hot frying surface; the chef chops and cooks and serves off that grill. I’d done this a couple of times. I’d always thought of it as mostly entertainment with the food as kind of an afterthought. Well, our chef was VERY entertaining! So much fun! But… BONUS! The food was REALLY good! I thoroughly enjoyed the salad. The rice side was great. I ordered seafood as a main course, and my squid, scallops, and shrimp were delicious! Bill was very pleased with his beef. BONUS #2: The chef asked straight-off if anyone had a food allergy. One of the other peeps did. Not a deal for him. He cooked around the rest of the food effortlessly, never interrupting his patter, never making that person feel “special,” nor contaminating that meal. So gracious. BONUS #3: We were seated with a cute young family of four. They could not have been better dining companions. We chatted and joked with the parents and the young-teen daughter and eventually drew her little brother out of his shyness. Such a great experience! La Cucina We walked in without a reservation and were offered the choice of indoor or outdoor seating. We chose to sit on the veranda. [What does NCL call it? Oh, yeah: “The Waterfront” – a row of restaurants’ and bars’ outdoor dining and drinking areas on the deck.] Hey, this is fun – we’re on a cruise and we can’t eat outdoors very often in Michigan. But once seated, we felt it was a little cool and breezy out there, and they very graciously moved us into a nice table indoors. I’m glad we switched. I love ambiance, and this Italian restaurant is very attractively done. The service was outstanding, the food was wonderful. I had seafood pasta, and whatever Bill had, he loved. Even though our beverage package didn’t cover the bottle of wine we ordered, it was well worth it. Dessert and espresso were the perfect finishing touches. Highly recommended! Ocean Blue We live in a restaurant town, and I’ve been lucky enough to eat at several of the nicer ones. I’ve also eaten at a few Las Vegas “gourmet” rooms. Ocean Blue compares favorably to those experiences. Service: perfect. Ambiance: beautiful. Food: amazing. My lobster was delicious. [Are you picking up a food preference here?] Bill’s fish was to die for. It’s not totally “fine dining” as you can find on land, but it’s pretty darned close. Cirque Dreams And Steam [See Shows / Entertainment] CASINO Wow. Smallish (by on-land casino standards, anyhow) and oddly-configured (kind of an L-shape), but one of the nicest casinos I’ve ever been in! It was exciting but without the typical obnoxious slot machine noises at every turn. Decently appointed without being in-your-face. (No wall art or posters that I can remember. What?! Why the blank walls?) Airy, open to the Atrium, room to move, comfortable. And clean: brand-new-looking machines, brand-new-looking table felt, no half-full ashtrays sitting around. The staff, from dealers to pit bosses to cocktail servers to porters, were all welcoming, smiling, and helpful. Slots: There was a good array of even the newest machines, of all denominations. Video Poker: Lots of machines (including at a nice VP sit-down bar). Double Double paid 7/5. Blackjack: The tables were spacious (6 player spots). BJ pays only 6/5. Double after Split is allowed. Dealer hits Soft 17. Multiple decks; continuous shuffle. The available side bet is “Lucky Ladies.” (For whatever reason, that pay-out schedule [for getting 20 on your initial hand] is not printed on the felt, but the dealers always paid off according to the usual schedule.) The lowest table minimum was $6, and it was usually not hard to find a seat at one of those tables. Tournament Blackjack: At times throughout the week, you could enter the Tournament for $20. For that, you’d sit with about five other players, with fake money, and try to come out the winner after – what? – eight or so hands. But if you won at your table, you’d also need to be a week-long high-scorer to go onto the finals. Whatevs. It was so much fun. If a player was first dealt an ace and then landed a 10-count card, we’d all yell and clap for him. That kind of sums up the whole spirit of the cruise. The guy drew a blackjack, and us – his competitors -- were happy for him. You can charge casino chips to your room account while at a table. There is a pit and a large slot area that is non-smoking. SHOWS / ENTERTAINMENT Burn The Floor Oh, man! If you enjoy Latin and/or ballroom dance, SEE THIS SHOW! The routines were incredibly intricate and the performers were incredibly precise. SO tight! SO much energy! I booked this ahead of time. I thought it was going to be a dinner show in the Tropicana. Instead, it was held in a standard-type theater. Whatevs. It was free and wonderful. Million Dollar Quartet I’m glad we went to see this, but I wasn’t blown away. I don’t know how accurately this show tells the story of that one night when Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley were in a Sun Studios room at the same time. The music was fun (even the unfamiliar songs) and the vocals were good. For me, the piano playing by the JLL character made the show worth watching. But… eh. Cirque Dreams And Steam GO. Just GO! Arrive. Sit down. And then relax. Surender your linear nature and your need to be in control. Don’t think. (Except when the waiter asks for your drink order). Just let the whole thing wash over you. It’ll be okay. Trust me, trust them. The experience is so totally fluid and effortless. Somebody brings you salad. Performers in elaborate costumes come out onto the stage and into the audience for photo ops. There’s a quick overhead announcement that the show will include lighting effects. Somebody brings you filet mignon (medium) and three shrimp and a side – even though you never ordered. Your drink is refilled. Your plate is cleared. A dessert appears. People finish eating. More dishes are cleared. Performers walk around. The room goes completely dark. A spotlight appears, and the action is on. The show makes ZERO sense. It just IS, and it’s amazing. NO language is spoken, and it’s impossible to characterize what genre of music plays. It’s a cabaret, a circus, a succession of acts that just flow into each other non-stop. Extraneous and wonderful nonsense happens during. I could tell you about how one of the acts made me question my own sexual orientation or about how another act made me cover my eyes. But I don’t want to give “spoilers” here. TIP: Seats aren’t reserved. Arrive maybe 30 minutes or so early to get a seat close to the stage. (Actually, there are no bad seats. And “center” is probably as good as “close.”) TIP: When performers come out in costume pre-show, snag the opportunity to photograph them and/or get a selfie. Get up, move if you need to, ask for a pose. They’re accommodating. You can’t take pics during the show, and there’s no post-show meet-and-greet. ACTIVITIES / FEATURES (This will be limited to my own experiences. There are LOTS more features that I can’t personally report on.) Upper Outside Decks Pools The number and size of pools on The Getaway are surprisingly small! I’m not a pool person, so I didn’t care, but I was amazed at how very little water this ship offered compared to the much smaller Carnival ships I’d been on. There were ample pool-side jacuzzis, but… if I WERE a “pool person,” I would have been majorly disappointed Water Slides On the other hand, there are five amazing tubular water slides on the ship. Three of them are enclosed, spiral, and long. Two of them (blue and green) are “sudden drop” slides in which you start off standing on a trap door that instantly disappears below you. Cool, cool, cool! Unfortunately, it was SO uncharacteristically cool in the Caribbean all week that after I went down the very fun first slide, I felt just wet and cold and wanted to immediately go downstairs to my cabin and change into dry clothing. Waaaah! I didn’t do any of the rest of the slides. Ropes Course This is amazing! Two stories above the pool deck is an extensive network of wooden planks, rope bridges, tightropes, and other paths to navigate. You get in line, get outfitted into a harness, get tethered to the overhead cable, climb the steps, and you’re on your own. Seriously: on your own. There’s no explanation, and once you get up there, there’s no obvious path. You just do your best to go toward the exit, I guess. For me, it was great to scamper across the course from platform to platform until – early on – I had to do the tightrope thing. I got to the end of it and had a mini-anxiety-experience. I froze. [“What?!”] I needed to get off the course. NEEDED to. [Me: “Mark, this is not you!” Me: “Shut up. I need OFF of this thing!”] Unfortunately, there is NO built-in “escape” feature on this Course. I couldn’t go forward, and I couldn’t go back. I just hugged the pole I’d reached and tried to catch the attention of one of the NCL guides on the deck. I did, and I mimed a “Please – I need off!” to him. In the meantime, I’d apparently caught the attention of other adventurers. Mr. Man harnessed himself and climbed up to where I was and adjusted the stops on the course so that I could go backward – which meant going across the tightrope again. I steeled myself as best as I could, started across, and all the other passengers on the Ropes Course stopped where they were and yelled encouragement to me: “You got it!” “You’re doing great!” “You’re okay!” I was simultaneously embarrassed, numb, grateful, and petrified [if that makes any sense]. When I got back down to the entrance, the NCL staff were incredibly gracious to me. TIP: You have to wear a shirt that has sleeves to enter the Ropes Course. I’d gone up to the pool deck in a bathing suit and sleeveless t-shirt, thinking I would do the Course and then the waterslides. As I was in line for Ropes, a friendly NCL staffer notified me that I had to wear a shirt with sleeves. He was completely nice about it. He said I wouldn’t lose my place in line if I went down to my cabin to change and then came back up. Sure enough, as soon as I re-appeared, he happily ushered me back to my place in line. GLOW Party I had read ahead and was expecting a night-time “White Party” on the pool-deck floor. So I’d packed an all-white outfit, because I love to dance and I wanted to check it out. Turns out it was an “H2GLOW” party instead, in which it didn’t matter what you wore. Okay. It was held in the dark, there were disco lights and lasers all over us, and staff handed out glow sticks. Very Ibiza! It didn’t quite work for me. Even at my age, I love Electronic Dance Music. But the tunes they played totally sucked, and our Cruise Director, Andre, was the worst, most-stereotypical, most incredibly vapid emcee of all time: “Are you having a good time, Getaway?!” “Put your hands in the air!!!” “Put your hands in the air!!!” Over and over again. Over and over again. Over and over again. C’mon, Andre. Shut up and just play some music that we recognize. But… The music at least had a beat. I danced by myself, un-self-consciously. It was cool. There were couples on the dance floor, other singles, clusters of friends, families. And a group of young guys – presumably straight – who were dancing together “took me in,” danced with me, and invited me to join them downstairs at BLISS (the ship’s interior Dance Club) when the GLOW Party ended. Cool, cool, cool. Taking a break, I walked from the deck/dance floor to the bar. NCL had left a heavy, metal-and-glass, invisible-in-the-dark cocktail table in the path. I walked into its sharp edges, banged up both shins, and bled from both legs. Okie-dokey. I don’t freak out at the sight of blood, even my own. At the bar, I grabbed some napkins and swabbed my legs. And went back to dance. And noticed that since I’d been injured, someone had placed a large centerpiece on the cocktail table, making it visible. SPA TIP: Do NOT have more than two glasses of chardonnay before entering the Spa! Long back-story… I am one of the gayest men that I know. I don’t care if I’m photographed at a Pride event. I’m out to everyone. Totally gay. Yet… not a “flamer.” In many ways, I’m very much just an American guy. I like to dress nicely – mostly casually – but I’m no fashionista. Grew up on a farm. I was the star pitcher on my work group’s all-city championship softball team. Pragmatic, practical. I have exactly two settings for my nails: long or cut back to the quick. I don’t have the time or inclination to do anything else with them. If they get long, so be it. I’m not embarrassed. But as soon as one of them cracks or chips, they’re all totally gone. Whatevs. Going into the cruise, my nails were longish. I mentioned to Mr. Bill that I was tempted to book a manicure on the ship, but that I was afraid of what it might cost. He told me that he would pay for my Salon treatment. Cool! (Especially since I had a job dealing cards the next week, and it’s easier to work with casino chips when you have some nails.) I walked into the Spa on Tuesday and told the receptionist that I was there to get a manicure. She said, “Great! We can get you in on Thursday.” [Huh?] Uh, okay. So I had a day and a half to remind myself: “Mark, they’re going to try to up-sell you. Just get your nails trimmed and polished. Don’t buy anything!” And then… I arrived as scheduled on Thursday. Marilyn greeted me, took me back to a normal-looking nails station, put hot stones on my hands (“Fire And Ice” treatment). She oiled me and did my cuticles. She filed me. She put an amazing clear polish on me. [How can one coat spread so evenly, dry so quickly, and BE so shiny?] Then, “I see bags under your eyes. I can help with that.” Me: “Okay.” Her: “And…” Me: “Okay.” Her: “And…” Me: “Okay.” I ended up buying $250 worth of products. And then a physician (a REAL physician, apparently) came in: “You’re stressed. Let me recommend an acupuncture treatment.” [Me, to myself: “What the hell?!” But… Whatevs. Never done it, and it was on my bucket list.] So Mr. Second Doctor greeted me and we went down an elevator and walked a couple of halls to a room. [I started to feel as though I was in “Get Out.”] I got mostly naked and laid down on the table and he stuck needles all over my back. It didn’t hurt AT ALL. And – as far as I could tell – it didn’t help AT ALL. I laid there for about – what? – fifteen minutes with the needles in me, and then he plucked them out. “Ugh, thank you.” It was $200 to cross that experience off my Bucket List. Absolutely NOT recommended. If I’d presented with a specific pain, maybe I would have felt differently about the treatment. Maybe there would have been results. But in this case… I just felt it was a total waste of money. Kid’s Programs I occasionally saw groups of kids – along with two or so staffers – parading around the decks. They all looked like they were having a great time. For parents: it looked to me like the kids’ camps were WAY cool. Others: if you want to avoid kids on your vacation… I don’t think you’d get yanked on this cruise by the presence of children. PORTS OF CALL I had a plan going into the cruise. Roatan (Honduras): zip-line over the jungle. Harvest Caye (NCL’s private island): whatevs; not much interest. Might not even get off the ship. Costa Maya: take a cab beyond the initial array of t-shirt shops and interact with actual locals in Mexico. [Si, hablo espanol!] Cozumel: be a total tourista. I’d been there before. Hard Rock was my only goal. It didn’t quite work out that way, but it worked out fine. Roatan, Honduras This was the only shore excursion I purchased through NCL. I still don’t know if that was the best choice or not. Through Norwegian, it was $99. If I would have purchased it on-line directly from South Shore, it would have been $50 for exactly the same experience (ship-side pick-up and all). But buying it from NCL meant that if anything went wrong and I got back late to the ship, Getaway would be waiting for me. I bought that insurance (though I needn’t have). I got up relatively early that day – plenty of time to wake up with coffee on the balcony before the 12:30 meet for the expedition. Headed out of the ship with time to spare; looked at the souvenir shops all lined up in a row at the port. Very cool stuff – from little souvenir magnets to hand-made goods -- but I wasn’t in “buying” mode. Easily found my group assembling for pick-up at the dock: a lovely extended family, two young couples, and me. About 12 of us. We all chatted. The van arrived; we piled in. There was a hostess/narrator who was great. As we travelled, she told us about the history of the Honduras, pointed out the banana, breadfruit and pecan trees we passed on the increasingly muddy and nasty roads we were traveling on, and kept us engaged. Wonderful ride! Then we got dropped off. TIP: Unlike the only other zip-line I’d ever done [Fremont Street, Las Vegas], they did not make us surrender our glasses, phones, etc. I just put my stuff in my cargo shorts’ pockets. Take your phone/camera! WHAT FOLLOWED WAS THE MOST ENJOYABLE TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE! First, you arrive and you wait for a minute, sitting around picnic tables on a beautiful patio. Then a guide appears in front of where you’re waiting and gives safety instructions. And then a crew appears and fits you with a harness. And then you all walk together a little way to the first line, and… There are about 8 zip lines in this course. I didn’t know how it would work. The way it worked: the super-friendly, super-fun guides were with us the whole time. When we were about to go on another line, one or two of them went ahead of the group so that then they were there to “catch” us. I don’t know what it was. I honestly don’t know. Maybe because I’m outgoing and friendly. Maybe because under my shorts I was obviously wearing a colorful compression stocking. Maybe because I sometimes slipped into Spanish while speaking with them. Maybe because I started singing “Despacito” and they all joined in and we had fun singing together… Whatevs. They completely adopted me. So it’s me and all these young black/latino guides, and they’re treating me like I’m their favorite papi ever. When the first or second of them was ready to go to the next platform: “Mark! C’mon! Sit on my lap, like you’re going to kiss me! Okay, now lean back and let me hold your ankles. There you go! Now lean ALL the way back. Have fun!” Even if I hadn’t been taken under the wings of the guides, this would be one of the best experiences I have EVER had in my life. When we got back to the staging area to wait for the bus, there was a souvenir shop (consisting entirely of tank-tops and t-shirts) and a small outdoor bar. There was a guy (employee) in front of the bar with a monkey on a leash. The monkey got loose while I was there and it scampered around a bit, but then got caught. Ugh, okay. I don’t think it showed that I peed my pants a little bit about that. I went up to the bar and said I wanted something to drink. Mr. Nice Guy: “You want to try our local beer?” Me, not a beer drinker, and not really caring that they would grossly over-charge me: “Sure.” Him: “$3, please.” [Oh, man. I love this place even more! They’re not gauging me!] (And the beer was tasty!) TIP: There are three opportunities to give gratuities. (1) Your guides. Tip all of them with one donation to any of them at the end of the zip-lines. Be generous. They share. Or prepare yourself with tens, fives, or singles for each of them. (2) The “tree people.” There are additional staff you’ll see on the platforms. There’s a tip jar for them in the Gift Shop. (3) The bus host(ess) and driver. Tip one of them directly when exiting to the ship. Harvest Caye, Belize The island was gorgeous. SUPER-clean. Very accommodating: large side-walks; lots of beach loungers. Tons of walk-way bars and braid-shops and souvenir places and snack shacks. Jimmy Buffet’s place was really nicely done. The whole island was totally nicely planned, manicured, and visually appealing. I explored and ended up playing volleyball in the sand with a very nice family for a little while. But… I’m not a beach person. The island was gorgeous -- really, REALLY well-designed and maintained. But there’s zero native culture there. It’s shops and bars and beach. It had little appeal for me. Your results may vary. Costa Maya, Mexico This was where I’d hoped to take a cab ride behind all the t-shirt shops and actually interact with locals. Well, they don’t tell you about THIS in the cruise brochures, do they?!... When we arrived, it was raining heavily. And that kept up ALL day. Okie-dokey, then. I amused myself on the ship until we sailed off. No speaking Spanish with the locals, no getting cool authentic souvenirs from the natives. Ninguna Costa Maya pormigo! Lo siento, mis amigos! The casino wasn’t open while we were in port, but everything else was. I’d never stayed on-board while we were docked before, but the ship was hopping and offering tons of options. Cozumel, Mexico [Mr. Bill took the $550 Chitzanitza tour. He came back RAVING about how wonderful his experience was. NO regrets about buying this tour! He said NCL and the flight operator were great. And he said that the Mayan guide who led his small group was WONDERFUL – EXTREMELY knowledgeable and personable.] Even though Costa Maya had been a bust, I continued with my plan: be a total American tourist in Cozumel. The port/shopping center was lovely. REALLY nicely done. I pretty much ignored it and caught a cab ($8) inland, to the Hard Rock. Oh, man. Oh, man. I got a glass of wine and sat outdoors on Hard Rock’s street-side patio and listened to THE BEST band ever! These three guys kept playing songs I loved, the overhead tree kept raining down with pods, the waiter kept coming by. Perfect! I can be a little “high-strung” sometimes. There, I found myself uncharacteristically relaxed and blissed out. Finally, with time to spare, I got up and started walking down the street, just to check the place out. There was a latino guy leaning against the wall of a gas station, and he gave me the international “Come here” signal. Duh. I am SUCH the midwestern nice guy. I went over. “I will sell you some weed.” “No, thanks.” “Oh. Then some nose candy.” “No, thank you.” “I will get you a girl.” “No. I’m okay.” “Then what do you want?” “Uhhh, Viagra.” [Because I knew you can get it cheaply in Mexico without a prescription. It seemed like the thing to say at the time. And I wanted to be nice.] “JOSE!” Jose came over and asked me how many tablets I wanted. Errr... “I don’t know.” “How much money do you have?” I pulled out a twenty, and he looked at me as if I had just spit on his mother’s grave. But he went to his truck and then came back with two blue pills in the centerfold of a magazine. Okay. I’m supporting the local economy. Then – duh! – I noticed that I was 30 yards from a Walgreens. For $20 there, I probably could have bought a whole blister-pack full of blue pills. Oh, well! The cab ride back to the port was $8. I tipped $7. Money is weird when you’re on vacation. ATMOSPHERE / PASSENGERS / “FREESTYLE” I cannot say enough about how comfortable this cruise was! I brought dress pants. I never put them on. Jeans worked whenever I needed long pants (premium restaurants). I was worried that there might be pressure for a “Dress Up” night. Nope, nope, nope. NCL’s assurances about “Freestyle” cruising were totally honest and on-target! I was never, never uncomfortable wearing my comfortable clothing. I’d worried a bit about being gay and going on this cruise. Well, DUH! First off, Samuel immediately offered to make our twin beds into one bed. NOT a deal, a complete NOTHING to him. Secondly, every day, NCL hosted an LGBTQ get-together in one of the lounges. (It was never very well-attended, probably because you could run into gay folks all over the ship. Very much appreciated, though!) Three, on the Sunset Bar, where I hung out, there were lots of gay men and women. And straight folks. And it just DID NOT matter. We were all simply friends. Period. BOTTOM LINE: “Free Style” is real. You can be yourself. You can dress how you want (except pants for dinner). “Free” means “free.” Show up for meals whenever you want. Be gay. Be black. Be Muslim. Be not a model. Be comfortable. Dance all by yourself. Sleep in, and then expect your room to be cleaned when you’re ready. Order room service or stumble out to the buffet. NCL wants you to have the vacation of your life, and your fellow passengers aren’t being critical. On one day, I wore “harem” pants down to the bar. Okay, I’m obviously not MC Hammer, but I never got a second look or any judgmental comments. SERVICE From our outstanding room steward to the bartender who slipped me a drink when it looked like my account was janky [it wasn’t] to the staff at the restaurants to everyone who caught me looking lost and gave me direction… I cannot say enough good things about NCL’s staff! I had done a little shopping ahead of the trip… I asked Berwyn (bartender) how to get to another bar on the ship. He gave me directions and saw the confused look on my face [I’m really spatially challenged], and he noticed that I was wearing an NCL-logo polo. “C’mon, Man – I’ll take you there!” And he did. But he didn’t plop me down at the bar. He pushed me BEHIND the bar. “Ramon! This is Mark! He’s working with you this shift!” Ramon: “But where’s his name-tag?” That became Berwyn’s and my running gag throughout the cruise. He’d drag me to other bars, introduce me, and – inevitably – the other bartender would question my lack of a name-tag. So much fun! MORE TIPS… Okie-dokey, then. Tips that didn’t fit in elsewhere… …Consider flying to Fort Lauderdale. It can be cheaper, and NCL’s transfers work. …Overpack? Underpack? I don’t know. I seriously over-packed. This was my first time with NCL, and I didn’t trust its “free style” assurance. Delta and NCL let me bring as much as I wanted, without charge. So I brought a load of clothing. I’m not sure I’m sorry I took at least one suitcase too many. It didn’t cost me anything, and I only had to lug everything twice (no big deal). But my second bag didn’t need to be sitting there on our sofa, unopened, the whole trip long. …Print up “business cards” before you go. Well, no, not “business” cards, but something with your name, e-mail address, and maybe your face. And maybe include your cell number. (Cards are easily and cheaply available on-line.) And keep a pen in your pocket. You’ll meet people. And… …There is NO cell-phone service on this cruise. And not just not being able to upload travel pics to FaceBook. Bill and I – two decks apart – could not check in with each other. For one whole week. You cannot just whip out phones to exchange numbers with a new bud. …People who paid to go to the Ice Bar told me it was a “Must NOT Do.” …If you have questions before your cruise, use NCL.com. The reps are knowledgeable and friendly. DISEMBARKATION We were in the last group off. That morning, Bill had breakfast and I slept in. Out in the hangar, we claimed our luggage and got in line for the bus to Fort Lauderdale. This was messy. Many people wanting to board the Getaway for its next cruise got in line with us. [“Nope! This is not where you want to be. There! Have fun!”] And – oops! – there had been some kind of miscommunication. NCL needed two buses, but there was only one at Miami. So half the passengers got on the first bus and took off; the other half waited about 20 minutes for another bus to be dispatched to us. No biggie. The host apologized and kept us informed, and it wasn’t unpleasant to stand there with our luggage and carry-ons and talk with the other people in line. Once we got to the airport at FLL, we checked our luggage with Delta and had 5 hours to spend. Ugh… Fort Lauderdale / Kennedy Airport has a place where you can leave bags. $8 each, and they need to be claimed by – I think – 5:30 pm. So we left our carry-ons there. And then we caught a cab to go to the nearest entertainment/restaurant/shopping center. Man, oh, man! Our driver didn’t recognize the name of the complex. I had to turn on MY phone’s GPS to get him to it. And despite what the Delta agent had told us, the fare wasn’t “like $8.” It was $30. So we arrived and had lunch at TGIFriday. Lovely! And then we walked to the next-door movie theater and bought tickets for whatever was coming up next (Phantom Thread). The movie was good and the theater was luxe, but during the film all of a sudden Bill looked at his phone and said, “We have to get OUT of here!” [Someday I’ll see the ending of that pic!] We went out to the curb and called a cab. (WHY does Bill NOT know how to use Uber?!) It finally arrived. We made it back to the airport in time. ($25) At FLL, we re-claimed our carry-on bags. Then, once we were in the TSA “Pre-Screened” line, I was “randomly” selected for a special security check. I frequently am. I’m used to it, but I still don’t get it. I’m the blandest-looking guy in the world. But fine. I WANT the skies to be safe. Make me turn my pockets inside-out. I’ll take off my shoes. Pat me down. Feel my armpits. Whatever. Delta was wonderful. We had a beautiful flight back to Michigan. Our friend showed up at Metro to pick us up, and we were suddenly at home. We’d been somewhat sorry that the temperature was only in the low seventies in the Caribbean. But now in Michigan it was in the 30’s. All’s good. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Another hit by NCL this time on the Getaway during the westbound crossing - Copenhagen to Miami - 14 nights with stops in Ponta Delgada (Azores) and Bermuda (2 day overnight). Bermuda was an added port after the originally scheduled ports ... Read More
Another hit by NCL this time on the Getaway during the westbound crossing - Copenhagen to Miami - 14 nights with stops in Ponta Delgada (Azores) and Bermuda (2 day overnight). Bermuda was an added port after the originally scheduled ports of St. Thomas and St Marteen were cancelled due to post hurricane damage. I was traveling solo meeting global friends onboard, I arrived at the terminal around 10am, At the port drop off, the bags are collected by deck number allowing for quicker delivery. The check-in was easy and the port team was knowledgeable of the process and could answer all questions. I boarded the Getaway by 11am, Meeting my friends at the Savor dining room for lunch where we were quickly seated. Luggage arrived by 2pm. The ship was in good shape - clean, comfortable, My balcony cabin - 13170, was convenient to the stairs, health club and sun decks. I traveled solo and found the cabin configuration to meet my expectations. My cabin steward was pleasant and greeted me each time we say each other, I am not a fussy traveler and found the attention to the cabin to meet my needs. The temperature control was working to increase/decrease air conditioning as needed. My neighbors were quiet as were the passageways, Dining: I had several upsale diners and purchased additional, My fare included the unlimited beverage package. My friends and I enjoyed dinner in all of the venues - Tropicana 1 time, Taste 1 time, Cagneys 3 times, Bistro 2 times, Tapenyaki 1 time, Moderno 1 time, La Cucina 1 time, Ocean Blue 1 time. We enjoyed all. The dining staff was friendly and greeted our table, The Tropicana Main Dining room can be crazy buzzy and appear chaotic at times the team delivered a great meal. Lunch at the RAW bar was phenomenal. Fitness: The Getaway offers an unlimited fitness class fee which I did purchase, The package allows for taking unlimited fitness classes as per the set schedule. The instructors were friendly and knowledgeable, If you are not able to keep to the schedule the fee is not for you. I attended classes twice per day, Classes are not offered on port days, Spa package: I did purchase the spa package. Not a good idea on this trip as the spa was crowded (very over crowded) as the weather was cool, cloudy and foggy. Most spa members took loungers and headed beds and stayed for all day, Some even took two loungers (for their hand bags) being totally rude to others who need, All entertainment is good and enjoyable, I have seen most of the shows before either on ship or on land. I highly recommend attending the shows which fit your schedule, On shore I did my own planning with friends and local outfitters choosing not to purchase ship excursions. Being a gay traveler I find the support of NCL with the offering of the daily meetings (Friends of Dorothy) to be a wonderful bonus., The attendance at the daily meetings were well attended allowing a place to gather before dinner and evenings entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I typically cruise on Celebrity but wanted to give NCL a try since the sailing date for this particular itinerary worked best for the group. The ship was newer so I figured I could not go wrong. First the PROS. I stayed on a Spa Mini ... Read More
I typically cruise on Celebrity but wanted to give NCL a try since the sailing date for this particular itinerary worked best for the group. The ship was newer so I figured I could not go wrong. First the PROS. I stayed on a Spa Mini Suite cabin on deck 14 middle, which was excellent. It was just the right size but the bathroom really impressed me, particularly the size and amenities of the shower. The cabin attendant was excellent and worked around our schedule. Storage in the cabin was nice and the room was always immaculate even after we left it a mess. The food (both quality and offerings) in some of the restaurants was great, particularly Cagney's (specialty), Taste and Tropicana (general dining). And service at Cagney's was incomparable, especially in light of the horrible service at another specialty restaurant Le Bistro. The professional nightly shows were amazing, whether Burn the Floor or the Cirque or the Magician. The staff throughout the entire ship was very friendly and knowledgeable with the exception of some folks down on the deck 6 customer service. There were plenty of bars throughout the ship, which when combined with the ultimate drink package made it for a very enjoyable experience. The tours were pretty good and the tour guides pretty knowledgeable with the exception of Finland. Overall, the ship was very clean across all public areas. Now the CONS, and there were plenty of those. For a 4000 passenger ship that often sails the Caribbean, the pool deck was tiny. Not sure how they would accommodate those many passengers in sunny/pool weather days. Thank God it was chilly during this voyage so I was able to pretty much stayed out of the pool deck. There were too many kids on this cruise, which when coupled with the lack of rules enforcement by both crew members and parents made it the whole experience excruciating. Kids were in the adult pool, jacuzzis, bars etc. For a 4000 passenger ship, the fitness center was a fraction of the size found in similarly sized Celebrity cruise with far fewer passengers. Compounding the problem was the # of KIDs under 16 years old that were allowed to come into the gym and get in the way of people actually trying to work out in an already overcrowded facility. Food (quality and service) at some restaurants was pretty bad, including Savor, Le Bristro, O'Sheehan's, Garden Cafe and a couple of others. And speaking of the Garden Cafe, or as we often referred to it THE ZOO, it was the worst set up of any cruises I have been on. First of all, the Garden Cafe was too small, again for a 4000 passenger ship, particularly when compared to Celebrity. The setup of the cafe was linear/aisle so people had to walk and bump into each other to get to a station even if they had no interest in the to the other 3 stations in between. In some other ships, the main breakfast cafe is set up via stations in a circular format so that folks that are vegetarian, for example, do not have to bump into people waiting at the meat section. The food at the Garden Cafe, both quality and offerings, wasn't great particularly for folks living a healthier lifestyle, or folks that do not consume meats. Also, some of the cafe attendants (again given the setup of the room and # of folks trying to squeeze into the stations) could not act fast enough to address issues with spoons falling into the food and passengers putting their hands all over the food to grab the spoon. I also observed a couple of cooks in the Garden Cafe sneezing all over the food being cooked. The dinner theater at the Cirque was pretty awful; food was bad and service was worse. Thank Goodness for the actual show. The embarkation process on day 1 and disembarkation process on the last day went pretty smoothly but the embarkation during the tours was painful in some instances. Not enough scanners available to quickly move thousands of passengers through the line. Getting back to kids, my group was unlucky enough to end up with the same family and kids on a couple of tours. The infant kid was screaming the entire bus ride and during most of the actual tour. The cruise line should able to coordinate kids free tours for those passengers interested in a more relaxed experience. Entertainment during the day, particularly the days at sea was pretty mediocre and so was the White-themed party on the next to last night. Heavy smoking fumes where all around most of the middle section of decks 7 & 8. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We booked our cruise specifically to go to Belize. The weather was great. Things were going well. A half hour before we were supposed to dock at Harvest Cay the announcer said stray storm the night before ruined the dock. So we ... Read More
We booked our cruise specifically to go to Belize. The weather was great. Things were going well. A half hour before we were supposed to dock at Harvest Cay the announcer said stray storm the night before ruined the dock. So we spent the day anchored at Sea (with spa and casino in full blast with people spending money). I did some research and learned NCL cancels Harvest Cay and their own island in the Bahamas a lot. Is there something we can do? They could have at least taken us to Belize CIty instead of just holding us hostage on the boat. If a "stray" storm ruins a cement pier how can the pier hold the ship???? The ship gets tied to it. NCL saved and made so much money of cancelling the stop. We enjoyed the beverage package. Costa Maya was a very dirty place. The $20 beach massages people rave about were not what you expect. We would not eat there or drink anything but bottled beer. I can't believe they woudl stop there. Cozumel was a good port. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We had a great time on this cruise , we had a vibe beach club week pass and that vibe was really great . I wonder if i would still like it without the vibe club . To bad you can't order it in advance ... A big bravo to the waiter ... Read More
We had a great time on this cruise , we had a vibe beach club week pass and that vibe was really great . I wonder if i would still like it without the vibe club . To bad you can't order it in advance ... A big bravo to the waiter Desiril from Vibe , she was great ! We had choosen the drinking package and what was included in the package was more then enough for us and the wifi package of 250 minutes , witch we upgraded to a unlimited wifi pachage for something like ( i think it was) 55 dollar We bought the specialty dinning package for 5 specialty dinnings and because of this we could eat every evening somewhere else and the food was amazing One thing i didn't like was that on boarding days it was only possble to have lunch in the self service restaurant . One more thing that I didn't like as well was that we booked it together with friends from the states ( we're from europe) and they could bid for an upgrade and we didn't get the chance to do this ???? The explenation was that they randomly pick out emailadresses to do this , so our friends had a upgrade to haven and we did not had the chance to bid :-( . Dous anybody knows if there are simillar clubss like vibe on other cruise line's and if you can book them in advance and what they costs ? Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
2nd time cruising with NCL. Ship sponsored excursions were excellent, specialty restaurants great, cabin was amazing. We were upgraded to a mini-suite with a large balcony at the last minute. It was amazing. Some of the layout of the ship ... Read More
2nd time cruising with NCL. Ship sponsored excursions were excellent, specialty restaurants great, cabin was amazing. We were upgraded to a mini-suite with a large balcony at the last minute. It was amazing. Some of the layout of the ship was obnoxious such as the casino and atriums, but still an enjoyable cruise, I highly recommend the UBP, UDP, and free gratuities as the offers if able. It takes a ton of stress out of vacation. I would definitely book with Norwegian again, but not so sure if I would do the Getaway ever again. The ropes course is a must!!! The water slides are fun. If anything, I highly recommend the thermal spa. It went beyond our expectations. We got the special for the last three days and made every use of it. Great place to unwind and read. The vibe beach club looks like another quiet place, but other than that, good luck. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The cruise was great and ship was impressive. The dining room food was great and buffet was good with plenty of selection. The public areas were very active and the ship events keep people very busy. I liked the Mojito Bar but drinks well ... Read More
The cruise was great and ship was impressive. The dining room food was great and buffet was good with plenty of selection. The public areas were very active and the ship events keep people very busy. I liked the Mojito Bar but drinks well high priced with little kick. Some of the shoes were the same as on other NCL ships so kinda dejavu. The casino was big and actually won a few dollars on a penny machine. This was a great ship and I would recommend to others. We traveled to Nassau. Once in port, I traveled on the #10 bus to cable Beach for a little getaway. The beach was great and secluded. Beware of the locals at the entrance to the beach trying to rent chairs, umbrellas and Jet Skis, one of the guys stole $20 dollars from me during a cash transaction. I wouldn't rent nothing here at all from these guys! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Being this my first cruise, I couldn't ask for a better 7 day vacation where everything is done for you. I think that from the moment I boarded the ship it felt like 100,000 pounds was taken off of me. From the food to the ... Read More
Being this my first cruise, I couldn't ask for a better 7 day vacation where everything is done for you. I think that from the moment I boarded the ship it felt like 100,000 pounds was taken off of me. From the food to the entertainment I would have to rate it at 120%, The only negative thing I have to add is the poor service at all the bars. It actually felt like they were doing you a favor like if they hated serving you for some reason. I'm not sure if its a culture thing, but a smile wouldn't hurt one bit. Other than that I highly recommend the NCL Getaway, and I can't wait for the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
our cruise of the Getaway was scheduled to leave Miami on 8.22.15 to the BVI's Tortolla, St Thomas, Nassau. But Danny changed our course to Nassau, Jamacia and Cozumel. We we grateful NCL found an alternative route and did not cancel. ... Read More
our cruise of the Getaway was scheduled to leave Miami on 8.22.15 to the BVI's Tortolla, St Thomas, Nassau. But Danny changed our course to Nassau, Jamacia and Cozumel. We we grateful NCL found an alternative route and did not cancel. This was a working cruise. I taught one morning and attended 2 classes. Leaving me plenty of time to book excursions and enjoy the amemeties. My biggest disappointment with NCL is their smoking policy. Perhaps smoking is allowed on all ships this being my first big cruise I was very surprised to discover smoking is permitted at all of the outside bars and in the casino. Walking thru the smoking areas was a route we had to avoid. The rooms are suppose to be smoke free however we had to report on our neighboring stateroom for smoking on their balcony which preventing us from enjoying our balcony. The NCL staff did visit the neighbor in 2 occasions. Eventually they stopped. We elected to purchase the dinner upgrade. I suggest this upgrade since the complimentary restaurants serve pretty much the same food. One meal the salmon burger had to be sent back. The fish was clearly frozen and moist. Our best meal and it was great was with the French restaurant, El Bistro. The main buffet The Garden we approached during lunch with caution. Children had the run if this deck. Several times we observe children handling the food on the buffets, honestly where were their parents? Our refuge was the Spa. We purchased the Unlimited Access pkg. it is a large spa with comfortable chairs, nice amenities and for most of the time not extremely crowed. However one evening an overhead water pipe burst flooding the entry and forcing the few inside to leave.it was repaired by the next morning. Forget the Internet service especially the days at sea. Extremely slow and very expensive. Our room steward Ryan was top notch. Our state room was cleaned twice a day. We were treated to a zoo of very well done towel sculptures. Really a nice touch. Now that I have my first cruise behind me I definaley know what to look for when I book my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
When I boarded the ship on Sat., 8/8, I immediately noticed the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the employees. In the past, even if they had to "fake it to make it," there was a level of excitement about being boarding the ... Read More
When I boarded the ship on Sat., 8/8, I immediately noticed the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the employees. In the past, even if they had to "fake it to make it," there was a level of excitement about being boarding the vessel on which you were about to live for a week. Very rarely during the week did employees greet guests with their "Good moring!" or "My pleasure." and a smile. (I can't speak about the Haven as I was not in that section of the ship.) Bartenders were unpleasant and less than interactive. Waiters, except for Leon D'Cuhna in the complimentary restaurant Savour, were just as bleh as all other employees. Entertainment was a big disappointment. I saw Mark Viera, the only true professional in this category. He is a comedian, and laugh you did!!! The main stage production, Legally Blonde, has been done some many times, you able to see Elsie's roots by now. The ship itself is big but lacks glitz and glamour. The adult area, Spice H2O, deck 16, was a retreat from the entitled kids that screamed and raced down hallways as though they were running for their lives. If you are sensitive at all the poor air, avoid the middle of the ship. The smoke and fumes from the casino overpower any breather. In fact, you can actually see the cancerous haze that monopolizes the atrium. While there are NO SMOKING slots and tables, what's the point, really? All in all, the most excitement this past week was when the capital came on the loud speaker and announced that a passenger had died on board. Sad! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Let me begin by saying this was my first cruise so I have no point of reference. These are merely my observations as a first-time cruiser of what worked and didn’t work for me on this ship. Take it for what it is. We have no children. I ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was my first cruise so I have no point of reference. These are merely my observations as a first-time cruiser of what worked and didn’t work for me on this ship. Take it for what it is. We have no children. I am a retired professional and my spouse works for a large bank. My spouse and I were originally booked to go to Hawaii for this week for a one-week beach vacation. We decided after having booked our Hawaii vacation that perhaps it wasn’t the right time, and decided we wanted to try something different. We had always talked about going on a cruise, but had never made the commitment, primarily because I suffer from sea sickness and was afraid to spend a significant amount of money to be ill. We live near a port (Vancouver, BC), so an Alaskan cruise would have been a no-brainer. However, because we live in this part of the world, we wanted to see something different. I had been to the Caribbean once previously, to Aruba for a beach holiday many years ago. After some research on cruise lines and ships, I settled on the Norwegian Getaway after reading reviews on Cruise Critic and watching some great videos on YouTube. Embarkation We arrived into Miami airport at 830 am after a red-eye flight from Seattle. By the time we picked up our bags and got to the port, it was 930 am and there were already people there waiting to board, even though the eDocs we received from the cruise line said not to get there until 11 am. We wanted to get there early enough so as to be able to secure one of the coveted Vibe Beach Club passes which are sold in limited numbers, but I’ll talk about that in a bit. When we got out of the cab, the porter attached the baggage tags the cruise line had supplied to us in our eDocs and we went to Terminal C, where as I said, a line had already formed by 930 am for embarkation. We waited until about 1015 or so before the boarding process began. There were about 40 agents helping people. As we were near the front of the line, the process took less than 10 minutes and we were upstairs in a lounge where we changed out of travel clothes and into some shorts and tee shirts and sandals. Embarkation itself began about 1130 and we boarded the ship towards the aft on Deck 7. We were in Group 2. Once on board, we descended to Deck 6 in search of Guest Services in search of our Vibe Beach Club pass. There were people running to Guest Services as these passes are in limited supply. We did manage to snag two for $79 each for the week. Vibe Beach Club I had read much about this pay-for service prior to going and after reading some of the other reviews about noise around the main pool, I decided this might be a better option for us. As I said, we did manage to get two passes and were in Group 2 for boarding. There are definite pros and cons to this pass. Pros – the Vibe Beach Club is on the forward part of the deck above the main pool deck. It is definitely away from all the hustle and bustle of the main pool area, which always seemed to be quite loud and noisy with contests and loudspeakers and music blaring. The Vibe Beach Club was a quiet oasis with like-minded travelers who just wanted to relax, sun themselves and have some drinks. There are also cabanas you can rent by the day or the week in addition to the fee to access the VBC. I am neither going to recommend nor not recommend this service. This would clearly be a personal choice. What I will say is this - in the 7 days we were on board, we used the space for probably 90 minutes in total, so for us as first-time cruisers, it was not good value for money. There were so many things going on onboard the ship that it was hard to fit in time to relax and sun ourselves. However, I can see the value if you just want some quiet time to sun and be away from the crowds and do nothing, as it was very QUIET there, unlike the main pool area which always seemed to be quite noisy. People chatted in the hot tubs and there was a bar. In the times we did use it, it was a much needed and welcome retreat from the main activities and throngs of people. There were also towels provided there. There was one sea day where it was too windy to even sit there so that was a bit of a bust. They had to strap down the mattresses and chaise lounge cushions as they were being blown about. Let me also say this – there were other parts of the ship away from the main pool deck area where you could sun yourself and it was also quiet, but it seemed to be quite crowded in those spots and the chaise lounges were fairly close together. We never spent any time at Spice H2O at the back of the ship (adult only space) so I can’t comment on noise levels there. Passengers I was quite surprised by the eclectic mix of people on board, which made for many interesting conversations with fellow passengers. Although I don’t like to pigeon-hole anything, I observed five fairly distinct groups of passengers. Probably for me the most surprising was the number of young families on board with babies in strollers. There were many enjoying the ship. There was also a large number of families on board with children and youth. There was a great kids area on the pool deck including a kids pool and water park, and of course, those crazy waterslides which we used. There was a 9-hole golf course and the ropes course. I tried the ropes course on a port day after we returned to the ship early, but had a panic attack once I got up there was it was so high for me. However, there were lots of people, adults older and younger, children and youth that seemed to be having a blast on it. Another definable group on board was the large contingent of lesbian and gay travelers (LGBTQ) which kind of surprised me (I am in a same-sex relationship and was a little shy about attending the Friends of Dorothy meeting but wound up meeting some great people). There were those I would dub ‘experienced cruisers’ as evidenced by their stories and ship comparisons. There was also a sizeable group of single cruisers that had their own social activities. All in all, it was a great mix of people. Dining Again, having no point of reference and having never cruised before, I thought the food was great. We ate in many of the specialty restaurants as well as some of those that were included in the cruise fare. Of the specialty restaurants, we ate in Cagney’s (amazing), Le Bistro (more than amazing), Teppanyaki (Vegas-style show at your table that was worth the price of admission alone including the Chinese basketball the chef made us play while he tried to shoot pieces of cooked egg into our mouths!), La Cucina (probably our most memorable dinner as we were able to sit outside and it was beautiful and warm and quiet and there were very few people outside eating and there was a warm breeze and the food was amazing). My least favorite of the specialty restaurants we ate in was Moderno Churrascaria. We have eaten at Brazilian barbecue houses in the past. It’s pretty meat-centric. There is a large salad bar and delicious bread, but I found it was just too much protein to handle for me, personally. Of the restaurants that were included in the cruise fare, we ate at both Savor and Taste and of course the Garden Cafe buffet which was always busy and the food seemed to change out regularly. Our least favourite of these restaurants was the Tropicana, mostly because of the noise level due to the entertainment. However, if you like to dine and dance, this is definitely the place for you. O’Sheehan’s was great for prime rib and fish and chips, and hot spicy barbecue chicken wings. Ultimate Beverage Package When we booked our cruise, we were given the option of the Ultimate Dining Package, the Ultimate Beverage Package or an onboard credit. Initially, we chose the dining package, but after reading some reviews and doing some quick math, we changed it to the beverage package. I’m so glad we did. It was nice to be able to drink whatever you wanted whenever you wanted without having to worry about a massive bar tab at the end of the cruise. The UBP covers any drink up to $11 which for us was about 98% of everything we drank including most specialty brands. If you order a drink that costs more than $11, you only pay the difference (so if you ordered a brandy for $20 a glass for example, you only paid the $9 difference). I can see how it might get tricky if one of you wanted the drink package and one of you didn’t as both people in the same cabin have to order the same package. The Getaway The ship itself is amazing and I found it to be well laid out with lots to do. Others have mentioned the cigarette smoke from the casino on deck 7 floating down into the specialty restaurants on deck 6 at 678 Ocean Place. I didn’t notice that. You couldn’t help but notice the cigarette smoke when you were in the casino but I didn’t find it any more noticeable than any casino in Las Vegas. It is what it is and there is definitely cigarette smoke in the casino. There were many places to get away from people such as the library or card room and at times, surprisingly, found the ship to be almost empty, even on sea days. It was hard to believe the ship was at capacity. The atrium on Deck 6 was always a hub of activity for trivia and games and balloon making and family programs. The staff is very aware of how quickly something like norovirus can spread in a closed environment like a cruise ship, and there are hand washing stations everywhere, and if you didn’t wash your hands, there were attendants with hand sanitizers in bottles waiting to spray your hands. Get used to hearing ‘washy washy’ everywhere. Romance Package and International Cheese tray for 4 As this was our first cruise, I wanted to ensure it was special so I ordered one of the Romance Packages from the NCL website (just the basic package which was $135 I think). I found this to be excellent value for money. On embarkation day, we received chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne in our room with a dozen red roses. The package also included dinner for two at La Cucina including a bottle of house wine, one 8X10 photo from one of the ship’s photographers, tea for two served in your cabin one afternoon (this was tea, banana bread, lemon bread, cookies, scones with jam and cream, and milk and/or honey or lemon for the tea), and canapés served one evening before dinner, also in your cabin. I also ordered the international cheese tray for 4 (even though there were only two of us). This was a HUGE amount of cheese and it came with crackers, baguette, dried apricots, walnuts, olive tapenade, grapes (red and green both seedless). It was so much cheese we had to empty out some of the beverages from our fridge and we managed to cover it in cling wrap and it lasted us all week. Also good value for money at just over $30. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
A little about us: I cruised with my partner (we are a lesbian couple) in our 20-30's. This was each of our first cruise ever. Room: We had a balcony room 12th deck midboat. I was a bit hesitatnt to book the 12th deck because the ... Read More
A little about us: I cruised with my partner (we are a lesbian couple) in our 20-30's. This was each of our first cruise ever. Room: We had a balcony room 12th deck midboat. I was a bit hesitatnt to book the 12th deck because the kids club was on the floor and we didn't want to be around kids. We were mid-back of the boat and it worked out great. We really didnt see the kids (they were more towards the front of the boat. the 12th deck was a great location most of the resutrants are decks 6-8 and the clubs/pools are decks 15-16 so we were right inbetween. The room was a bit on the small side but nice. We enjoyed the balcony very much and would definitely recommend this size room or bigger. Food: This was my main CON. We orginally had the ultimate drink package and were planning on eating in the included places. On the first day we tried garden buffet which was disgusting. Cafeteria food, basically. We left hungry then tried flamingo grill. That was acutally one of the 2 tolerable places but the food was strictly spanish (rice and beans, empanadas etc..). For dinner we tried Taste (FYI Taste, Savior and Tropicana resutrants have all identical menus that never change) the food was HORRIBLE! By the end of the first day we were hungry and caved for the specialty dinning plan. This was SO WORTH IT! we ate at different places each night and enjoyed them all. In order of our favorite (most to least) of the specialties: Tempanyaki->La Cucina-> Moderno-> Cagneys-> Le Bistro. We really didnt like Le Bistro, but many did. Guess we are just not french fans. We also paid for Ocean Blue (the cover charge is not included in the specialty dinning package BUT you do get 20% off if you have the package) for our anniversary. They were super sweet and had heart rose petals on the table. The food was very good and a great resutrant for a special occasion. Entertainment: overalll 8.5/10. The only cons were that after midnight entertainment was limited and during the day not a ton of offerings. Show wise we saw burn the floor and LOVED it. A must see. We also saw headliners comedy club, it was ok. I personally loved the game shows, many of which I was in tears laughing from. If you go to any, Celebrity Dance OFF is a MUST!!!! Watching this game, was one of my favorite highlights (get ready to pee your pants!). We also attended the 70s, 80s party. Both were a good time (hosted in Spice H20). The glow/white party we stopped by but left because it was crowded and not our scene (great for those who love to party) Ports: On St.Marteen we did the beach tour, although we had so/so weather, it was definitely a fun day. Would recommend. The island itself wasn/t our favorite, a bit run down. Save your money for St.Thomas (if you snorkel def do it on St.Thomas vs St.Marteen). On St.Thomas we did the Coral Word tour and for those who like to Snorkel THIS IS A HIDDEN GEM the tour is about 35 a person, but right next to coral world is a little beach, which they have snorkel equipment for 5$ bucks! The snorkeling was awesome!! The beach is almost an inlet so the waves are very calm and plentiful marine life. (they even give you stuff to feed the fish!). We did not get off at nassau, as we had been there before. Boat: The boat itself had great ammenities. We read previous reviews that said to splurge for the Vibe beach club for the week due to lack of available lounge chairs, but we did not find this the case. Anytime we went to layout we always found a few chairs empty. The waterslides were a blast! A must do, adults and children alike. The ropes course was closed for a few days do to wind, but when it opened I ran up to do it. IT WAS MY FAVORITE PART! I had an abolsute blast doing it. At first I was really nervous but they have crew members up there ready and willing to help and actually go with you to make you feel more comfortable. When you get to the "walk the plank part", when you walk out to the end there is a rope to pull and it takes your picture! Don't forget to pull the rope! We also did the mini-gold (9 holes) and overall had a great time doing the ships activities. The crew onboard was possibly the best part. I did not encounter 1 crew member that was anything but amazing. So friendly and eager to help. Our experience as a gay couple: Norweign was pretty liberal. Everyday on the daily they did offer a lgbt meeting. We went the first night, there were a handful of gay men so really didnt make many friends. We noticed about 2-3 other lesbian couples onboard. Overall other passengers were respectful and the grew for the most part were very accepting. My only uncomfortable moments were taking the portriats, the photographers clearly were not trained in posing same sex couples (AKWARD!!). Also some of the game shows were very hetero, (newlyweds, the perfect couple etc...) and clearly not open to same sex couples. Though we did enjoy watching them....it was a little bit of a bummer that questions and activites in the game were clearly geared towards straight couples. Overall though, I would recommend the cruise line/ship to other gays. It's a decent mainstream cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We recently took the June 14th sailing on Norwegian Getaway. We really cannot say enough great things about this ship, its staff, and its amenities. The ship (albeit new) was in pristine condition. Moreover, I feel as though it was one of ... Read More
We recently took the June 14th sailing on Norwegian Getaway. We really cannot say enough great things about this ship, its staff, and its amenities. The ship (albeit new) was in pristine condition. Moreover, I feel as though it was one of the most stablized ship I've been on with very little motion felt on board. We definitely did our best to take advantage of all of that the ship had to offer. Having three full days at sea certainly makes for a great itinerary if you feel the ship is a destination in and of itself. Highlights onboard for us were the IceBar (nice touch!) the ropes/adventure course, and the water slides. The food was pretty great all around in both the complimentary dining rooms and the speciality restaurants. Our favorite complimentary dining room was the Tropicana with its 1950's Miami feel, it was a great time. We also dined in Teppanyaki, Moderno, and Ocean Blue. Ocean Blue was WELL WORTH the upcharge. Don't shy away from its' pricetag, you won't be disappointed. We spent most of our time on the Spice H20 deck during the day. It would be nice if this deck had a small pool and not just the waterfall feature, but the views off the back of the ship and the staff in this area are toprate. We have to give a shout out to Mithun from India - best drink server on the ship. He spends alot of his time on Spice H20. You won't be disappointed. The only negative we can really come up with from our experience is how everyone rushes to the decks early in the morning to save chairs and loungers. On some other cruise lines, this practice is discouraged and staff will remove towels and belongings that are seemingly unattached to a guest on the deck. On this ship, it was out of hand and people would save chairs/loungers for hours that would go unused in prime locations. It was a real bummer. The staff should consider helping with this dilemma especially since you have 3 full days at sea. Overall, we highly recommend everything on board. The Illusionarium show was amazing... You hear a lot of criticism about the food, but we found it to be perfectly fine especially if you have the right expectation. Burn the Floor was a lot of fun, we opted to not see the Broadway Show but mostly because of the show itself, not necesarily because we thought it would be a bad performance. We give Getaway an "A" rating all the way around. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Flight to Miami: We flew American Airline (sold through WestJet) from Toronto (YTZ) to Miami (YYZ). Our flight was to Miami was delayed but AA called us the night before to tell us so we wouldn't arrive at the airport too early. The ... Read More
Flight to Miami: We flew American Airline (sold through WestJet) from Toronto (YTZ) to Miami (YYZ). Our flight was to Miami was delayed but AA called us the night before to tell us so we wouldn't arrive at the airport too early. The flight was uneventful and as expected. Ground Transportation to Ship: We used SuperShuttle to get to the port and had prebooked our tickets before departure. Finding the SuperShuttle pickup spot was easy and well identified, and the check-in employee was very friendly. We waited no more than 3 minutes for our shuttle to arrive. The ride was comfortable (and thankfully air conditioned) and the driver was professional. Embarkation: Embarkation was as expected. The process of going through security is never fun, but it was rather quick in this instance. We waiting in line for only 5 quick minutes before getting checked-in. Interestingly, the Latitudes Member line for faster check-in was not being used, but I didn't mind because the line up was very short. The room: I can't recall the exact cabin number, though we had an inside room towards the aft of the ship. I believe it was on deck 10. Fairly standard inside room. The bed was formatted as two twins when we arrived, but after a quick call to out steward, it was put together as one bed the same day. Room steward was great, room was always clean, bed was always made. The food: As expected, the food was delicious. Garden Cafe is the largest buffet with the best selection, but it's absolutely packed at peak times. It's large enough that we never had to wait, even at peak times, but the experience is more enjoyable if you avoid those times. Savor and Taste are two of the same restaurant, just located across the corridor from each other with a bar in between. Same menu, similar decor, opposite colours. The food here was great and we never waited longer than 3 minutes for a table. The Flamingo Grill is Cuban/Mexican/Caribbean themed buffet. We ate here once and I wasn't particularly impressed with the selection, not because it was small but just because it's not my favourite type of food. The Tropicana Room is the main dining room on board. The food here was delicious, the service excellent, and the atmosphere was fantastic. The middle of the room is a dance floor and they often have live music during meals. It's not uncommon to see couples slow dancing while you're eating, creating a nice mood in the whole room. My only complaint about Tropicana were the closed curtains on the large windows at the back of the room. The restaurant is at the aft of the ship and those windows would have provided a breathtaking view. O'Sheehan's is a pub style restaurant offering typical pub style food, like wings, chicken strips, mozza sticks, etc. We loved this place as a quick place to snack on some delicious comfort food. The service is not as stellar as it is in other restaurants, but it's pleasant enough. The room service menu is quite limited, as it is on all ships, though we didn't mind because we weren't on a cruise to spend time in our room anyway. Entertainment: The main shows we saw in the theatre including Burn the Floor, a very entertaining dance show and Legally Blonde: The Musical. Both shows were very entertaining, and Legally Blonde actually surpassed my expectations, which were pretty low I suppose. The entertainment in other areas of the ship were great, particularly Howl at the Moon, a more intimate and interactive show where pianists play and sing songs as requested by the audience. The comedy shows are great, though once you've seen each comedian once there is no sense in seeing them again - the material doesn't change. We also paid extra ($30 each) to experience the dinner and show in the Illusionarium. I would definitely recommend this extra - the show was really good, way beyond my expectations, and became a highlight of the whole trip. The food was excellent in quality, but there are limited options - just a meat option (steak) and a vegetarian option (eggplant parmigiana). One final note on entertainment - don't miss the fireworks display in Spice H20. Amenities: There are two pools on board, one designated as adults only. As is standard on a cruise ship, they're a little small for the number of people trying to use this. Tip: go after 7pm and they're deserted - perfect time for a swim. The water slides are a lot of fun, and because they don't empty into the crowded pools, they make an excellent alternative if you need to cool down during the day. The ropes course is a lot of fun, though probably only the first time. I would recommend you do it during the day at least once because later during the cruise they give you an option to do it at night - a terrifying experience but well worth it for thrill seekers. The harness and tether do very little to make you feel secure when you're standing 8 feet over the edge of the ship, in pitch black, staring down at the dark churning waters below you. It's a great thrill and I highly recommend it. The mini golf is fairly standard for a ship and a little difficult to play with the rocking of the ship, the high winds on the deck, and the too-light foam golf balls. We never had an issue finding available loungers, though don't expect to be near the pool during the days if you don't get there in early morning. We didn't mind as we preferred quieter areas anyway. Shore Excursions: We didn't book an organized shore excursion in St Maarten. Instead we took a water taxi from the port to the downtown and beach area. We had a great time at the beech, finding that if you turn left when you get off the water taxi and walk for about 5 minutes, you could get away from locals trying to sell you stuff as well as most of the tourists. Very sandy beach, clear waters. Great shopping to be had on account of the tax free status. In St. Thomas, we visited Coral World (marine zoo). It was a really great day! The exhibits were great and it was clear that the animals were well cared for. The iguanas that don't leave you alone while you're eating are a little annoying, but it's all part of the experience. We had a great time and would do it again. Only downside is that we could have used another hour. In Nassau, we did the Adastra Gardens (zoo) excursion. Unfortunately our day got rained out by quite a storm and we only got to experience Adastra for about 45 minutes by the time the rain stopped. From what we did see, it was a great zoo with lots of exhibits. The flamingo show was very entertaining, and the staff dried the benches off with towels for us so we could watch comfortably. We would do it again, if only because we didn't get to experience it in full the first time. Debarkation: Fairly standard. No issues and nothing of note to mention. Ground transportation to airport: This is where our trip took a turn for the worst. When we got off the ship and through customs, we saw several SuperShuttle vans. I asked each one if they were going to Miami International, and none of them were, but they said that it was on its way. We waited for 15 minutes, and while several more SuperShuttle vans came, none were going to the airport. Finally, one of the drivers said she would call dispatch and make sure that our van was on its way. Long story short, it never came. After waiting an hour, I gave in and called SuperShuttle from my cellphone (I didn't have change for a payphone, only bills), racking up terrifying roaming fees. Even worse, when I called them, they put me on hold for 7 minutes. 7 minutes of roaming charges while on hold. Eventually the van came and got us to the airport. Return flight: We flew American Airlines from Miami (MIA) to Toronto (YTZ). Because we had come from the ship, we hadn't checked in online or printed our boarding passes, so we did this at the airport with the check in staff. We had a few hours to kill, so we grabbed lunch and then sat at our gate. Not known to us, they changed our gate while we were sitting there. While this change was reflected on the screens, it was never announced. Finally, 20 minutes to departure, I checked a screen and saw that our new gate was on the other side of the airport. We ran to the sky train and then ran to the gate, making it just as they were closing the doors. They let us on and we endured the dirty looks from the crew for the duration of the flight. Summary: The cruise was absolutely amazing, and I would recommend it whole heatedly! Our next cruise is in February aboard the Norwegian Epic and I can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Overall, the ship is very nice...The good points: new, clean , beautiful restaurants, the Waterfront, great bar staff, O'Sheehans Neighborhood a Bar and Grill. The not-so-good stuff: although I had a Studio room which was ... Read More
Overall, the ship is very nice...The good points: new, clean , beautiful restaurants, the Waterfront, great bar staff, O'Sheehans Neighborhood a Bar and Grill. The not-so-good stuff: although I had a Studio room which was surprisingly fine despite its small size, I heard lots of toilets flushing and water draining. I think I had a bad room as others did not have the same problem - but still, there should be better insulation. The room service was awful. Called and was told the wait would be 45 minutes...after 1hr and 45 minutes, still no food and no one could explain the problem. The pool area is the worst I've ever seen on a ship (I've been on at least 15 other ships)....way too cramped. They dedicate room for The Marketplace by the pool...just ridiculous ...and just another aspect of the feeling that they are trying to squeeze another dime out of you. It's too bad that they could have had a great ship but prefer to sacrifice that goal just to try and get people to spend more money   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Norwegian Getaway Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 5.0 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 N/A

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