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1,863 Norwegian (NCL) New Orleans Cruise Reviews

I had been watching cruise pricing for a Spring Break cruise out of Galveston or NOLA for sometime. When NCL added the 3rd and 4th free perk the price dropped a ton and I pulled the trigger on the Getaway cruise for my family of four. We ... Read More
I had been watching cruise pricing for a Spring Break cruise out of Galveston or NOLA for sometime. When NCL added the 3rd and 4th free perk the price dropped a ton and I pulled the trigger on the Getaway cruise for my family of four. We had done this itinerary before out of NOLA on the Dawn and loved it. We convinced another family to join us so it was a group of 8 on this trip. We all ended up having an amazing trip on the Getaway. Cabin: We had a Family Balcony on the 12th Floor. This room had a queen bed by the door and a couch and pullman for the kids. We normally sail inside but getting all the perks with the balcony made this cheap than an inside and still able to get the dining and drink package. Room was fine and it was nice having the balcony although the balcony is small on this ship. The only issue was that the sink water always started scolding hot and needed to run for a while to cool down. Our Steward was great and we received towel animals even though NCL does not do them anymore(our friends with a different steward also received them so it seems they still do it for rooms with kids). Complementary Dining: For dinner we ate at Savor once, Tropicana Room three times, and O'Sheenans once. Tropicana just feels more like a cruise ship dining room. Large and open with live music as opposed to more of a land based restaurant feel of Savor/Taste. Food ranged from good to excellent with no complaints from anyone in our group. Service was great with meals taking around 1:30 to 1:45 which is fine when you are eating a 4 course meal(we always ordered multiple apps). At O'Sheenans we ordered several apps. Wings were very good and Artichoke dip was ok. Burgers were very good also. We did the buffet for breakfast and lunch/post port meals everyday. We thought the buffet was good for a buffet. Most of the stations stay the same day to day with one or two having rotating items. The ship went to enhanced sanitary procedures on day three so their was no self service. That meant it was pretty much all hands on deck for the crew. We had engine room crew and spa crew serving our drinks and I even had the General Manager squirting ketchup on my plate. I felt bad for the crew but it was needed with the current climate/fear. Specialty Dining: We ate at Cagney's and Moderno's with our credits. Both were excellent. Our waiter at Cagney's pointed out that we could get multiple app and sides and one entree. I have read complaints that the crew was pushing only one of each but that was not our experience. On the last day we still had one credit so decided to try American Diner and it was a big mistake. There was only two other tables and everything took a long time to come out. We could see some of our items sitting under the heat lamp for a while. The nachos were one that was and although the taste was good, most of the chips were soggy. I had the Lobster Sliders and the pieces were small and probably cooked days ago. We came away very unimpressed. Entertainment: Almost all of the entertainment was excellent. Million Dollar Quartet was amazing and high energy. The dancers at Burn the Floor were really good and we couldn't believe that were going to have another show an hour later. At Syd's we saw the house band twice and Back in the Day another night. The house band was really fun. They announced at the 80s Prom on the last night that their contract was over and this was their last night. A lot of tears shed between the singers and their handler. Back in the Day is a 80s hair band tribute. They play all the great hair bands from the 80s. They also have a show in the main theater the last night but it conflicted with our Moderno reservation or else we would have been their. Howl at the Moon was fun. The setup is a little awkward since they are using the comedy club. I am use to tables and bar setups on land based HatMs but this was more of chairs setup facing the stage. Still was a lot of fun. The players were changing words around in songs to joke about the current situation, ie changing Sweet Caroline to say not touching you, don't touch me. We also saw a few of the bands playing in the atrium and thought they were good. We also went to the 70s/80s deck party and the Latin deck party. Our cruise director, Vincent, was fun. He is all about getting dressed up in different suits and outfits. He wore a gold disco outfit with a huge 70s fro and platform shoes for the deck party. Activities: This was the biggest ship were have been on with it coming in a little bigger than the Vista. We are bigger boat people. I like that there are so many more bells and whistles than the smaller boats. My wife can sit on a lounger all day but that is not me or the kids. We did the ropes course several times. The walk the plank that goes eight feet over the side of the ship is a little unnerving but we all did it. There are 5 different levels of waterslides including two slides that the floor drops out from under you. I paid for the Arcade Package and it was well worth it. There are plenty of green swipe games although some need to be re-calibrated. We did a few of the trivia games and karaoke and they were fun. All in all we had an amazing time. This was the last cruise before the shutdown. They ship was pretty full but I know there were cancellations. What ever the number of cruisers were they should make that the capacity. Nothing seems really overcrowded and we did not have to wait for anything. We were even able to find seats in the atrium/Syd's and HatM after the shows already started. There were people standing in the venues but that is the normal at land based venues. This is our third NCL cruise and while we are never tied down to one cruise line, we would cruise NCL again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
The Getaway is a fantastic ship for 2300 people. The problem is they put 4000 on it... In no particular order: The HVAC system onboard seemed overwhelmed in the common areas and in the cabins it seemed they worked better or worse ... Read More
The Getaway is a fantastic ship for 2300 people. The problem is they put 4000 on it... In no particular order: The HVAC system onboard seemed overwhelmed in the common areas and in the cabins it seemed they worked better or worse from day to day. The "atrium" (really just a large hole in the deck between 6 and 7) was the worst, but then again, it was always packed full of people. It was always about 80 degrees or better in there. The elevators are insufficient in numbers (8 each at 2 banks), small, with narrow doors. They are always full, and getting on and off usually requires emptying out the whole car if someone in the back wants off. The 'forward' elevator bank is actually more midships. If your cabin is in the front of the boat, you better have walking shoes on. There are 4 call buttons for each bank, but they are not fully linked. Pushing one only activated one half of the elevators. Curiously, in the front bank, pushing one activated both buttons on one side. in the aft bank, pushing one activated it and the one across from it. Weird. Cabins were Standard Mark I, Class I cabins. Average in every way. Not uncomfortable, just not remarkable. A budget Toyota Camry of cabins. Electrical outlets were only two, side by side over the desk, making it hard for CPAP user. An extension cord was provided. The balcony stretches the term balcony severely. About the size of 2 phone booths side by side, unusable for anything other than standing on. The might as well take the chairs off them, they just get in the way. I assume we had a cabin attendant. I mean, the bed was made and the towels changed. but like BIgfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, actual proof of his/her? existence is very tenuous. This ship had the liveliest ride of any ship I have ever been on. Even in low seas and not enough wind to generate whitecaps, she shaked, shimmied and swayed far more than I have ever experienced. In conversation with other seasoned cruisers, I found that most people had that opinion. Perhaps the stabilizers were INOP or not deployed. The buffet was just awful. I have somewhat limited NCL experience, but I find that the buffets are not their strong points. Just a horrible layout, and food quality that would put most land-based restaurants out of business in a month. In contrast, all other dining quality was excellent. Nice selection, well prepared and presented. We did 3 specialty restaurants (Teppanyaki, Italian, and that Brazilian Meat-Sword thing), and all were bordering on the Divine. Wait staff was superb in all restaurants, but our teppanyaki chef made the night. Very funny, and personable. He made us feel like we were the only people he was on the ship to cook for. One thing... the capacity of the restaurants were not up to the number of people on the ship. You would need a reservation even in the complimentary dining rooms, and if you didn't book all nights on the first day out, you were eating at 9:15 at night. NCL really needs to rethink this "freestyle" thing because it ain't working. Bars were plentiful and chronically understaffed. Getting a drink took so long that we usually ordered 2 each at a time so as to minimize trips to the bar. The bar-tending staff heroically tried their best, but their ability to give great service collapsed under the strain Entertainment was hit and miss. They have a nice nightclub (The Pour House) with a great band made up of younger kids and a horrible band made up of old geezers pretending to be young kids. As most things on the boat, it was not designed for the sheer numbers of people on the boat, and it was SRO and out the door every night. The comedy club had a very good comedian with a not-so-good warmup act, and a simply dreadful "dueling pianos" act. The main stage offered us a so-so comic/magician, a cuban dance show that my wife enjoyed tremendously (not really my cup of tea), But the shimmering highlight was the Million Dollar Quartet show. Just astonishing from the first note to the last bow. also, I'm not sure it was a NCL provided show, but a goofy rock band played at the pool and the sound was terrible. I think it was a band that had a large group of fans on board and they threw on a show. I can't blame them for the sound, they had to use ships equipment, but I could only take so much of it. The outside activity areas were nice. Pool and hot-tubs were always crowded (naturally). Being a big kid at heart, I wanted to do the waterslides. I am a bigger guy and I know some things have weight limits. I am ok with that. But I have never had it be a problem on waterslides before. I read every warning and instruction sign listed, but at no time did it mention a weight limit. Not till I climbed all the way to the top did they inform me that I could not go down the slides. It would have been nice to known that at the bottom. Taken overall, this is probably the worst cruise I have ever been on, simply because it was not spectacular. Sad thing is, we finally talked some friends in to taking their very first cruise with us, and I doubt they will ever cruise again. Maybe we built cruising up too much, but they were horribly disappointed. End the end, I cant ever see taking another NCL cruise again. Especially after our last cruise on a competing line. The difference is overwhelming. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Embarkation in NOLA was fast. I estimate that we were onboard within 15 minutes from the time we got in line. They said our room would be ready around 1:30 pm and it was. The Free Dining rooms food was not as good as it was 3 years ago ... Read More
Embarkation in NOLA was fast. I estimate that we were onboard within 15 minutes from the time we got in line. They said our room would be ready around 1:30 pm and it was. The Free Dining rooms food was not as good as it was 3 years ago on NCL Jewel or last year on the Dawn. Twice we looked at the MDR menu and decided to just eat at the buffet. Great shows in the Getaway Theater, especially Million Dollar Quartet. I did not see the comedians since it was always in one of there smaller venues and we would arrive too late for a seat and did not want to stand for 45 minutes. Some game shows were in the Atrium which you could be heard while talking to a Guest Service person and on the next deck above. Ports were ok. Staff was ok. I heard some people were left behind at Costa Maya because they did not make the 1:30 pm onboard return time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
My wife and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary so we decided we'd try NCL booking the Haven. Well worth it at the price point we got. Service was great...priority embarkation/debarkation was terrific! Made the whole thing worth ... Read More
My wife and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary so we decided we'd try NCL booking the Haven. Well worth it at the price point we got. Service was great...priority embarkation/debarkation was terrific! Made the whole thing worth it right there! The entertainment was great. We really enjoyed The Million Dollar Quartet, the actors were excellent. Burn the Floor was quite a show, too. We did pay to see Cirque Steam, I'd recommend it. Dining was also enjoyable. We had dinner at two of the specialty restaurants...Cagneys and Le Bistro. Out of the two, Le Bistro was the better. We had reservations at Ocean Blue for a 9:30 reservation on the last night of the cruise, but we pooped out. Entertainment at the Atrium lodge was fun. Lots of trivia, game shows, musical entertainment and informational presentations. All the drinks we had were quite tasty. We did have the premium drink package, so anything up to $15 was free. My wife made full use of it! For the most part, everything was great. We really enjoyed the Haven experience and will probably try to book it again. A standard balcony cabin would be good, too... Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Booked this cruse at the last minute because the price, $306.00 for an interior room. Ended up getting upgraded to a midship balcony through the Upgrade Andvantage program. Had read a lot of horror stories about embarking from NOLA but ... Read More
Booked this cruse at the last minute because the price, $306.00 for an interior room. Ended up getting upgraded to a midship balcony through the Upgrade Andvantage program. Had read a lot of horror stories about embarking from NOLA but overall it wasn't too bad, the line was long but it moved at a steady rate. Disembarking went very smooth, found our luggage immediately. We spent a day and a half in NOLA once we disembarked went to one of our favorite restuarants, Muriel's for the jazz brunch. Also we found a new restaurant Oceana which was increadable. The NOLA Trio is a must. We explored Jackson Square and spent the evening on Bourbon Street listening to everything from rock to zydeco to jazz music. Our second day was spent listening to Street musicians and shopping. We thought the entertainment on Getaway was outstanding. We saw Burning The Floor, Million Dollar Quartet and Back to the 80's in the theater. My wife and I have seen Million Dollar Quartet in Chicago and Vegas, we felt this performance was the best of the three. Syd Norman's Pour House is a must, you'll have to get in line early to get a seat but it well worth the wait. The house band and vocalist put on a hell of show and get the audience engaged. We liked the bars, restaurants and common areas on Getaway but pool area is small with very few lounges around the pool, we choose to spend our sea days on deck 16 where there were more chairs available. One of my favorite spots was the Humidor Lounge where I meant many great folks and shared many stories while solving the problems of the world. This area is a very social are for cigar smoking and a drink of your choice. For dinners we went to Taste, Savor and The Tropicana Room the menu selections were find and the meals were decent. We did one shore excursion on our own by booking a taxi to West Beach for the day, it $10.00 per person each way and $20.00 to access the beach and get a chair. If you don't book an excursion I recommend it, its a beautiful beach. All in all we would book another cruise on Getaway. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I was a first time cruiser and was delegated by my group to research cruise lines, destinations, and deals. After countless weeks of research we voted on the Norwegian Cruise Line porting out of NOLA. We were very pleased with our rates, ... Read More
I was a first time cruiser and was delegated by my group to research cruise lines, destinations, and deals. After countless weeks of research we voted on the Norwegian Cruise Line porting out of NOLA. We were very pleased with our rates, cabins and service we received from NCL before and during our cruise. We contacted NCL to book a group cruise, we received 10 balcony cabins and 1 solo cabin. I diligently watched for price drops and we received a great discount per cabin. Our rate also included free airfare, with the exception of our solo cabin. NCL flights were booked without a hitch giving us ample time before and after our cruise. Our NCL group coordinator was absolutely awesome. Our experiences were superb. There were a few glitches yes, but overall we were very pleased. I believe with anything you go into it with a positive attitude and your results will be positive as well. The Getaway was very clean, washy washy everywhere, cabins were attended to twice daily and no one had an issue what so ever. There was minor complaints about dining mostly the specialty dining, but overall consensus was wonderful experiences. The service was great, did seem a bit under staffed but you could tell everyone was working very hard with the exception of a bar tender who's head was way too big at the waves bar and a bar tender on the outdoor Mojito bar who's personality was that of a card board box. These significantly little things were not going to dampen our experience. Honduras port was very boring, suggest doing an excursion for sure. Those of the group who did an NCL shore excursion loved this port. We had no children in our group and booked this cruise specifically to avoid children. There were not many on board that we saw. We have purchased Next Cruise Certificates and can't wait to go again. And NO the Coronavirus did not scare us, wash your hands and rest assured that NCL takes every measure to keep things clean all throughout the ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Norweigan Getaway FEB 2020 Review The booking experience was a nightmare (I booked directly thru Norweigan). I ended up talking with several different NCL consultants and hands down they were rude and several mis informed me. I should ... Read More
Norweigan Getaway FEB 2020 Review The booking experience was a nightmare (I booked directly thru Norweigan). I ended up talking with several different NCL consultants and hands down they were rude and several mis informed me. I should have stopped there. I thought we were getting a good deal and liked the options so i proceeded with booking two cabins (two people in each cabin). First of all, NCL booked us on flights departing the wrong day. I spent at least three hours on several phone calls to get our flights switched to the correct departing day. The return flight had us leaving 10 hours after the ship pulled in resulting in us arriving home after 1am. On the day of the return flight we were able to pay direct to Delta to change the flight. Second problem with booking: we specifically requested (and paid extra) to have rooms with adjoining balconies and doors together. Our rooms were next to each other, but not with doors next to each other; this is not a deal breaker but disappointing and demonstrates a lack of knowledge by the NCL “professional”. After getting on the ship, we learned the particular ship we booked does not even allow the partition between adjoining balconies to be opened. Again - this demonstrates a lack of knowledge from the NCL consultant or she was flat out lying to me. The other major problem I had with the ship has to do with the smoke. The casino was mid ship Deck 7 and was open to the bars and restaurants on Decks 6 and 8. The smoke smell was strong enough that it made our throats hurt and eyes burn. Then when we left the ship, they had the line going thru the casino; this was absolutely terrible. By the time we got off the ship we had sore throats, red eyes, and headaches. I know they have to line up people to get off in a civilized manner but there has to be a better way than to make people do a slow death march thru the stale smokey area. Now a few positive comments - the ship is beautiful and very clean. The service was excellent in most cases except in the adults only bar all the way aft where the servers were rude. We loved the hand washing stations (yes - actual sinks with soap!) by the restaurants and there was always someone there spraying everyone’s hands with sanitizer. After booking i was assigned a cruise consultant who was very helpful, but limited in what she could do. The food was excellent (even the buffet). The specialty dining places were excellent (a few had pushy wine stewards that would trick you into buying wine that was not included in the package so we quickly learned to ask the price of things before we ordered). I have cruised on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines and the overall experience on all of those lines was monumentally better than Norweigan. I contacted NCL before the cruise to voice my dissatisfaction and they did absolutely nothing to try to remedy the booking errors (even after they pulled up the recording and confirmed that the booking consultant provided us false information. I will never book NCL again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I booked this cruise for my husband’s 40th birthday. I chose this ship mainly for the family suite option in The Haven for our family of 5. After having traveled with other cruise lines, here’s my takeaway from our time on the ... Read More
I booked this cruise for my husband’s 40th birthday. I chose this ship mainly for the family suite option in The Haven for our family of 5. After having traveled with other cruise lines, here’s my takeaway from our time on the Norwegian: Cons: Food and drinks well below average. The Haven dining room was the exception and we are most of our meals there given that everywhere else we ate was hardly edible. The downside to The Haven dining: not one item on the menu for children. What 5 year old wants to eat lobster or filet? Service was horrendous. We paid a lot more to have butler, concierge service. While our butler was good, nothing else was. Concierge was incompetent, housekeeping even worse, and you could ask 5 different staff members the exact same question and get 5 different answers. It’s became clear quite early on our trip that Norwegian does a terrible job at training their employees. Norwegian is not a family friendly line. Yes they have water slides and kids club, but overall it was very apparent that they do not cater to families or children, and that most cruisers are over 50 and want nothing to do with the children on the boat. No gift shop on the boat. There is a hallway with some open cabinets where you can grab a few items, but there is not one actual shop on the boat containing basic essentials you may need along your trip. Pros: although the Norwegian is not a family-friendly cruise line, my 3 children did enjoy the kids club. This was a welcomed surprise given how negatively everything else was on our trip. Haven: you get priority debarkation for your excursions. The activities aboard the ship were underwhelming. Other than eating mediocre food there isn’t a lot to do. The ship spends more time trying to convince you to buy a rare emerald or stock up on “duty free” liquor than actually putting that energy into entertainment that isn’t super cheesy or geared for 60+ years old age group. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I chose this cruise due to NCL's private island and the stop at Costa Maya. Usually, we prefer Eastern or Southern Caribbean, but change it up sometimes. Our last NCL cruise was the same itinerary but on the Dawn, which was going ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to NCL's private island and the stop at Costa Maya. Usually, we prefer Eastern or Southern Caribbean, but change it up sometimes. Our last NCL cruise was the same itinerary but on the Dawn, which was going INTO dry dock, and the Getaway was coming OUT of a recent dry dock, so we expected more. We were disappointed. First off, the balcony was the TINIEST I've ever experienced in all of my 21 prior cruises. It was so shallow you could literally not sit facing the sea, as you had no room for your feet or legs. NCL is also apparently not spending any of its money on staff. I saw our room steward ONE TIME the entire cruise, and my husband never saw him. We upgraded our drink package to the premium, but as others have said, it was torture getting a bar tender to wait on you. They were nice enough, but there simply were not enough of them to handle the crowd at every bar. And, EVERY SINGLE TIME we tried to order a bottle of water, or Starbucks, or fresh squeezed juice, or premium wine/drinks we were told "it's not in your package." We had to correct them EVERY TIME. Then, the patent answer became, "we don't have that at this bar. You have to go to the Atrium Bar." Then, at the Atrium Bar, were told, "you have to go to the bar outside Cagney's," but that bar does not open until 5pm. We had specialty dining 6 nights (all but embarkation day). Cagney's was very good, however the tomahawk steak and the steak and lobster are both additional charges in addition to being a paid restaurant. Le Bistro and Teppanyaki were both acceptable, both in service and food quality. La Cucina was not good at all. Obviously, their wait staff were not the preferred waiters, and the food was cold both times I ate there. We chose La Cucina because on the Dawn, it had THE BEST LASAGNA, but on the Getaway, there is no lasagna option - no lasagna at an Italian restaurant??? Who does that? The room, a spa balcony, was tiny with little storage. The couch was so close to the closet you could not get to the hanging side without stepping on the couch. The spa - hydrotherapy pool with heated loungers is nice in concept, but the jets/motors on the pool/hottub was so loud that people were literally yelling to speak to each other, which made quiet time on the heated loungers nearly impossible. I much prefer other ships which put these in separate rooms. Also, like on deck, people would leave towels to save their loungers for literally hours on end. Once, someone complained and a spa worker removed the towels. Other items: 1. it seemed like there was absolutely NO place on the ship that was quiet. All spaces are public spaces, open to the walkways, etc. All trivia, games, etc are played in the atrium where three decks have people overlooking and yelling, including the casino noises and smoke. 2. everything had an upcharge. Games, areas, dinner shows, etc. 3. you must have a reservation for the shows or stand in a line for a change at a seat - they'll open that line 10 minutes before the show starts. 4. it seemed that every bar/club/room (i.e. Pour House, Ice Bar, etc.) was not open for business, except for a very limited window on certain days, but no explanation of when that would be... We gave NCL one more try after the Dawn, but this sealed the deal. No more NCL for us. There are simply too many other lines with better service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We went mainly because we got a good deal. Free drink package etc. I read all the reviews before we went and a lot of them were not good. However I thought we should give it a try. We will never cruise Norwegian again. The food is subpar, ... Read More
We went mainly because we got a good deal. Free drink package etc. I read all the reviews before we went and a lot of them were not good. However I thought we should give it a try. We will never cruise Norwegian again. The food is subpar, They are terribly understaffed at every bar on the ship and the pool area is not big enough for 150 let alone the 3900 on ship. One of the main dining areas was not even open, the ropes section I never saw anyone use it at all. All it does is take up a ton of room on the ship that could be used for other things. The layout of the ship it’s self it’s confusing and half the time you don’t know which direction to go. The adults only section there is no water at all to get in and there is no music whatsoever it is completely quiet in the most boring place on the ship. The room was great and the room attendant was excellent I thought the entertainment was decent . We have been on carnival Princess Royal Caribbean and now Norwegian and I would take any of them over Norwegian. Once you have been on Royal Caribbean there is absolutely no comparison between the two Royal Caribbean is so much better in every aspect. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We booked this cruise only a couple of months in advance to get out of town at Mardi Gras. We usually do go somewhere Mardi Gras week because school is out for the week. Although we had just cruised on the Getaway at Thanksgiving 2019, we ... Read More
We booked this cruise only a couple of months in advance to get out of town at Mardi Gras. We usually do go somewhere Mardi Gras week because school is out for the week. Although we had just cruised on the Getaway at Thanksgiving 2019, we figured why not? Because we are local to the New Orleans area, it is not necessary to fly to cruise for us, and that’s convenient. We love cruising. We already knew the ship, so we knew what to expect. Lots of locals, and it was a sold out cruise. But we knew how to avoid a crowded feel. We had a chance for the experiences we missed the first time on the Getaway, and we could relax a little more. The only downfall was that our specialty dining and entertainment reservations which we had so carefully planned and so carefully made on line were lost in an abyss when we boarded the ship. We showed up at our specialty dining restaurant on day two only to be told there were no reservations in the system. We found out we were not the only ones. One lady said she would not cruise Norwegian again. For some unknown reason, Norwegian cruise line does not communicate the reservations with the ship. That’s what we were told. Luckily we had printed our reservations confirmation. When guest services told us there was nothing they could do, we found an officer, who efficiently restored our reservations. They found room for us, though we had to alter one time slightly. When we asked how to keep that from happening again, we were told to call to make reservations and to confirm once we boarded (a two step process). Why should we be forced to do that when we already diligently made our reservations, especially with long lines on embarkation day? They also told us that they are currently working on the issue. Norwegian encourages guests to make reservations online ahead of time, and we knew from experience, during our Thanksgiving Cruise, that we should definitely do that, especially on a large crowded ship. It was very disappointing and a surprise to be told by guest services there was nothing to be done. My advice would be to call and confirm, once onboard. Norwegian really needs to remedy the reservations problem. On a lighter note, we were instantly recognized by the bartenders in the atrium, Oliver and Jay, and they remembered what we drank. That was a pleasant surprise. Around the ship, due to the crowds, it was sometimes difficult to get a drink, especially by the pool. We went to Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, and Cagney’s. We have been to La Cucina before. Our favorite specialty restaurant is Cagney’s. We will do that twice next time. We do Teppanyaki because our granddaughter loves it. We found the dining service on this cruise improved compared to our previous experience. The entertainment is good. Million Dollar Quartet is amazing! The band in Syd Norman’s Pour House is amazing. Get there early! It fills up quickly to standing room only. It is not a large venue. We loved the comedy talent onboard this time! Dueling pianos at Headliners is always fun. We do find it necessary to line up in advance at (least 30 minutes) to obtain good seats for the comedy shows and dueling pianos. Our granddaughter enjoyed the teen club, Entourage. It was her first time being able to go there because she just turned 13. There are lots of activities for them. During Mardi Gras week, there was a Mardi Gras party, too. The ports are typical Caribbean ports. The dock at Harvest Caye was broken, and the rendering process was tedious. The tenders were big (that helps), but lines were long, especially returning to the ship. It cut down on our time on the island, and we like this island very much. We always enjoy Costa Maya. We just wish it were a longer day there. I think that the itinerary on our upcoming Thanksgiving Cruise this year allows for that. In Cozumel, we enjoyed the Playa Mia excursion. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and the ship for the second time. It will be our second Breakaway Cruise this Thanksgiving week. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I wanted to take a cruise and get away to just destress and recharge so I booked a Western Caribbean cruise on the Getaway that would let me check off two boxes on my to do list. Be in NOLA during Mardi Gras and this would complete my ... Read More
I wanted to take a cruise and get away to just destress and recharge so I booked a Western Caribbean cruise on the Getaway that would let me check off two boxes on my to do list. Be in NOLA during Mardi Gras and this would complete my cruising of the Caribbean so I have done all the islands. Would definitely love to go see some again. I am not going to review the things that NCL did not have any control over such as crowds, weather, parking, etc.. What I will review is what the ship could control such as embarkation/disembarkation, restaurants, bars, shows, activities, cabins, etc.. Embarkation: Once I got to the port I walked in and the first person that I asked showed me directly where to go for the lines and since I was in a Haven suite they escorted me to the priority line where I went through the process in about 5 minutes and was then escorted to the waiting room until it was time to board the ship. Once it was time they escorted us up to the haven lounge and welcomed us with a beverage and let us know that our lunch would be ready at noon. We could go to the Have Restaurant, Savor, or Margaritaville for lunch, I opted to go the Haven Restaurant. Glad I did, the shrimp cocktail was wonderful as was the salmon. After lunch I went to my room to put my carry on away and then go explore. This is where I found the biggest drawback to the layout of the ship. My room was on Deck 9 Forward. Meaning that when I got off the elevator on Deck 9, I still had a long walk ahead of me to the room (almost 40 cabins to walk past) The room was fantastic with a sitting room with balcony, a separate bedroom with a window, and bathroom with both a soaking tub and a shower. The balcony was a little small but since I was cruising solo it was fine. Restaurants and Bars: I had the dining package so I figured I would try as many different restaurants as I could, and on the Getaway there are lots. They were all great with highlights in each. Only disappointment I had was the Ocean Café (aka the Buffet). The food was overcooked, mostly tasteless, and rubbery. I have done the buffet on other NCL ships and other Lines and have always enjoyed it just this time it didn't really give me anything to be excited about. Ocean Blue was good seafood and probably the best clam chowder I have ever had, Le Bistro had good escargot and shrimp and amazing onion soup. Sushi bar had great rolls and sashimi, noodle bar had amazing potstickers, Cagneys had an amazing bone in ribeye, and Moderno's had excellent meats and if you went back to your room hungry it was your fault. O'Sheehans was good pub fare, and Tropicana, Savor, and Taste (the 3 mdr's) were all good. Service at times was a little slower but that could have been during the times I went which was during the meal time rush. I highly recommend that if you want to eat at any of the specialty restaurants you make reservation either before sailing or as soon as you get on board. The bars were basically the same, The Mojito bar made great mojitos, but there weren't set up for a lot of other drinks, Atrium bar had the best selection of fresh made drinks, Waves (the pool bar) was good but a little slower due to amount of people although they had a lot of drinks already premade. I didn't do any of the "enrichment activities" but I did go to some of the activities put on by the Entertainment/Cruise staff such as the "Not as Newlywed Game", "Battle of the Sexes", Bingo, and a couple of others. Other than not having a lot of seating available unless you showed up early they were fun and entertaining. I went to "Burn the Floor" and "Million Dollar Quartet" and both were very entertaining. Burn the Floor was very good and a great way to watch Latin dancing, Million Dollar Quartet was about the night Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis got together for a jam session, I would HIGHLY recommend this, but make sure you stay until the end it is worth it. Disembarkation was nice and easy. After making sure I had everything packed and outside my door prior to the time the night before, I grabbed my carryon, went to the Haven for breakfast and then was escorted down to the gangway where I scanned my key card and then went to get my bags. As a hint, spend a count extra dollars and get a porter to help with the bags, they also help you bypass the long lines to get through customs and will take you right to the taxi's or other transportation. I have done multiple cruises in all room categories and multiple different cruise lines and always come back to NCL. I think the service, attitudes, and atmosphere are hands down among the best in the industry and they honestly try to improve every time, plus it is impressive when the staff remembers your name the 2nd time they see you. (remember there are over 4,000 people on board) Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We took this cruise from New Orleans, But we flew in the night before and stayed at the Whitney hotel near Bourbon Street and also a short drive to Julia street cruise ship terminal. The hotel was very expensive because of Mardi Gras at ... Read More
We took this cruise from New Orleans, But we flew in the night before and stayed at the Whitney hotel near Bourbon Street and also a short drive to Julia street cruise ship terminal. The hotel was very expensive because of Mardi Gras at $259 US a night. We took it anyway because it was only for one night, it is essential to sleep in the night before in order not to miss your ship. We had bought the priority access prior to the cruise and I can tell you that it was 100% worth it. When we got to the pier by taxi people everywhere luggage everywhere, we left them with the people who tend to your luggage and then we walked inside. At 10:30 AM there was already a couple of thousand people waiting to go on. Even though our embarking time was set for 12:30 we still showed up at 10:30. It is a bit chaotic but we quickly went to the front of the line and sat down for about an hour. When they start the embarkation, They start with people needing assistance then The guests who are frequent cruisers I seem to remember that they were platinum then the Haven and then people with priority access. If not we would have had to go on by numbers and wait our turn. The guests who are frequent cruisers I seem to remember that they were platinum then the haven and then people with priority access. If not we would have had to go on by numbers and wait our turn. When you have priority access you go in a different line to register you bypass a lot of people then they do not give you a number to embark because you go in at the same time then the Haven. We also wanted to get the vibe beach club passes and in order to get those you have to be on the ship really fast. If we had waited for our turn at 12:30 they would have run out of passes. We then would have missed the second best thing about this cruise which is the vibe beach club. It is a private top deck area with I would say around 100 chairs, these chairs are beautiful comfortable covered you have all the towels you can use you have a private bar they serve fruits in the morning and cookies in the afternoon. They give you also fruit flavoured water if you are like we were where we do not drink soda or alcohol so we did have these drinks made up for us free of charge all inclusive the price was 209 per person US but it varies from Cruise the cruise because I have heard that at one point they were $99 a person. We spent most of our time at the vibe beach because the ship is packed the bars are packed the pools are packed the sauna are packed. At the white you have the two whirlpools and I have not seen more than four people at the time and those whirlpools. In the public area the pools were saturated by people in the adult pool at the H2O there are still kids even though they are not supposed to be in the adult pool but also all the smokers are there and all you smell is smoke if you go to that pool. I actually have to run as soon as we embark the ship to make it to guest services to buy at those passes because this is what they had told us on the phone but they were really being sold at headliner club on deck six. Our bedroom was a midship inside state room and it was fine for two people for three people even if it’s a child would’ve been pretty tiny. The beds are comfortable the shower is big we only went there to sleep so we really didn’t care. As for the rest of the ship , We ran on the jogging deck which is pretty small and we played minute but we played basketball we never got to do the ropes because it was always too windy when it was open. , We ran on the jogging deck which is pretty small and we played mini putt we played basketball we never got to do the ropes because it was always too windy when it was open. The food in our taste was excellent, We mainly ate at the buffet and it was fine a lot of choices a lot of different food we had a chef doing omelets in the morning and the one doing pasta to your liking for lunch and dinner for us it was free and we love that we didn’t need the Al la carte restaurants. We ate at O sheans 4 times so I don’t understand a review of the people that say that they cannot get inside just go on a little earlier. We also ate at the noodle restaurant which was free and very delicious service was slow a little bit but nothing to complain about. I only did One tour and it was in Honduras where we visited with the monkeys, we enjoyed it very much and it was worth the money. At night I did wear a little sundress I saw people fully dressed with a long evening gowns in the high heels I chose to put on flip-flops with bling and my husband wore cleaner slacks with a polo shirt And we were fine. 99% of the staff was fine and we never have any complaints about them. We got off at Cozumel and walked about town had lunch came back. We had to tender in H C and because we have priority access, we got off the ship at anytime we wanted instead of having to book a tender time and wait for your turn.We went to Belize And it Harvest Caye was so cold that we only stayed an hour and we came back on the tender. Costa Maya is like a giant resort when you have to drink or eat to have a lounge chair. I would never eat anything there where they serve meat or wash the salad in their water. Some guests missed the boat in Roatan and we left without them! Also they have dogs that will sniff your luggage and detect if you are bringing any food or drinks after ship so don’t even try it. Also if you bring water off the ship and you try to bring it back they will not except it so you have to toss it. When you go to sure you cannot leave without your sea pass and the proof of ID. Make a photocopy of your passport and keep it on your phone as a picture. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head if you have any questions I will be more than happy to answer them! As for entertainment burn the floor was excellent but a bit long, Cirque steam Was incredible food was good. The best show of all was million Dollar Quartet which was unbelievable. You do have to pay for the show cirque because you get a shot and a meal so get the tables that are in front of the stage there are a bit more expensive but you are so close it’s really good. Make sure you reserve Prior to sailing because if you don’t have a reservation for the shows you will go in to the standby line and you don’t know if and when you were going to go in so it reserved before and you’ll be fine. As for the comedian show at headliners they are good but they often repeat themselves you don’t have to reserve but you have to lineup for 45 minutes to an hour in order to get a seat. Even if you have a reservation for the three other shows make sure you get there 45 Before in order to pick the seats that you want it guarantees you a seat but not to necessarily sit together if you’re late Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruises with Royal Caribbean, but it was 10+ years ago and more recently cruised with Princess. We wanted to try another company because the crowd on the Princess was quite a bit older and even in our mid 30’s felt very young. ... Read More
We have cruises with Royal Caribbean, but it was 10+ years ago and more recently cruised with Princess. We wanted to try another company because the crowd on the Princess was quite a bit older and even in our mid 30’s felt very young. [Embarkation] We got an Uber and what was supposed to be a 7 min trip turned into an hour. It’s a really complicated port and doesn’t run very smooth or fast. Wish I could tell you the best way to get on the boat. Maybe take an Uber to the river walk and walk up to the pier/ boat from there. As we left the ship several people getting on the ship came up that way and we’re having their luggage portered right there. [Food] Not impressed after being on the princess. First bite of food was in one of the dining rooms, savor. Tomato soup was so salty. Hummus was cold and bland, pita bread was just cut into triangles, not toasted or even warmed, lemon meringue tart was super sweet and meringue was crunchy with sugar. Next meal was at noodle bar, Shanghai (got there just before 5:00 when they open and got the first seat. The potstickers were delicious but the noodle soups weren’t good. Wishing we would’ve got the noodles or fried rice. Tropicana room was the main dining we were told closer to the kitchen so supposedly food comes out faster and warmer (not the case). A lot of the time our hot dishes came out luke warm. Favorite foods all cruise were carrot cake with orange glaze, honey cream brûlée, lava cake (last two served the last day). My husband loved the flank steak and had it twice, potato gnocchi with pesto sauce was yummy! The buffet breakfast was the same every day as was lunch. Our favs were the waffles with syrup, bacon, omelets (the onion looked cooked but was raw), sticky buns, and fruit. Most of the potato things on ship (French fries, potato hash, potato skins) were undercooked. Near the back at the vegetarian section were a flat round fried bread that was awesome. Some of the Asian and Indian food were good. We never attended for dinner and after dinner was super limited and boring. We did hear the pasta station was good. [Speciality Dining] We had a package deal with the price of the cruise that gave us 3 free specialty dining. **Book as soon as you board the ship. Several of the speciality restaurants require at least two people to make a reservation. We enjoyed ocean blue and I don’t enjoy seafood, but they had a lot of great options. Fried rice ball, beat salad, yummy bread and mascarpone butter, chocolate cake with caramel corn were all so yummy Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were slightly apprehensive going on our first NCL cruise on a large ship like the Getaway given some of the negative reviews. However, we had a great time and can’t believe why some people are so critical. There are, to be fair a few ... Read More
We were slightly apprehensive going on our first NCL cruise on a large ship like the Getaway given some of the negative reviews. However, we had a great time and can’t believe why some people are so critical. There are, to be fair a few areas that could be improved but overall a lovely ship with pleasant, helpful staff. We had a balcony cabin which was very spacious with a lovely shower (glass door – no clingy curtain) with plenty of hot water. There was plenty of storage space and tea/coffee making facilities. The only negative was the extremely small balcony, we thought the balcony on the P&O Britannia was small but it was huge compared to this one! Our biggest worry before going on the ship was the, to us ‘Britishers’ the extremely unpleasant smoking policy on NCL. Smoking is permitted in the Casino! This is supposedly just if you are playing but I saw people just watching, smoking as well and staff just ignored this. In Scotland we have had a no smoking policy in any indoor public place for many years and I can’t quite believe that NCL are so backward in this respect. The casino opens onto the atrium and many reviewers said the smell of smoke permeated throughout. To be fair, we did not find this. I only had to leave my ‘spot’ in the casino twice due to someone smoking next to me. I feel that NCL are allowing a few smokers to spoil the non-smoking majority of passengers’ experience. We thought the food in the ‘included’ restaurants was, on the whole very good. We ate in the 3 included A La Carte restaurants and were happy with the choice and quality. We ate in the buffet for breakfast and lunch and one dinner and, again were very happy with the choices. We never had a problem finding a seat and tables were cleared quickly. We had a ‘3 speciality dining’ package. We ate at the Teppanyaki restaurant, which was good fun with lovely food. Cagney’s steakhouse was also excellent with a varied choice of steaks and other options. We both had fillet steaks which were cooked beautifully as directed. Our third choice was the French restaurant ‘The Bistro,’ again, a varied menu. The food was nicely presented and tasty. The only strange item on the menu was ‘The Escargot’ which to Europeans is snails, usually served in a garlic sauce. Not here – under the title ‘Escargot’ it tells you in English – mushrooms! I had the mushrooms which were lovely, funnily enough served in a dish that snails would be served in. Maybe snails are not to the American palate’s liking? On another issue much bemoaned by reviewers- drinks service. We had the alcohol package which was very good and even included Grey Goose vodka, felt no need to upgrade – plenty of choice. We also had no problems getting served, on a few occasions there was only one barman in the Headliners venue, he was run off his feet but was extremely efficient. We thought the entertainment was fabulous, especially ‘Burn the Floor,’ not our usual entertainment genre of choice but it was brilliant. ‘The Million Dollar Quartet’ was also very good. Although I have always said cruise ship entertainment is often like a west end show these shows were a step above the usual cruise fare. The venue that had quiz shows, bands and shows such as Mr & Mrs were actually in the Atrium, very strange and not nearly large enough or conducive to this type of entertainment. Strangely enough the ‘Guest Services’ were located here as well – not very handy when trying to speak to anyone. ‘Syd’s Pour House’ was very good as was the Headliners, where ‘The Duelling Pianos were on most nights, we particularly enjoyed this. Our only issue with this was the fact people ‘paid’ for requests – that’s not to say that they didn’t play your request if you didn’t give them money but they most definitely prioritised requests saying we’ve got $5 for this one in a gleeful tone. Not at all what I would expect on a cruise ship! Maybe UK citizens are less into the tipping culture than Americans. The only other issue with these two venues were their size, the first two nights we couldn’t gain access as they were full. They really were a bit small for the number of guests on board. However, this settled down a bit as the week went on. We decided before boarding that we would splurge on ‘Vibe’ passes for the week. They were quite expensive, around $200 each. We had been a bit worried about getting sunbeds in the shade on such a big ship. Anyway the ‘Vibe’ area was lovely with very comfy sunbeds and parasols (might not have been enough parasols if more people had bought passes). Staff were very attentive, bringing iced water, cookies and fruit kebabs around periodically. However, as the weather around the New Orleans area was not particularly warm we weren’t really able to use the Vibe area on the 2 sea days as it was a bit cool and windy so overall the passes on this specific cruise weren’t really worth it although we did enjoy the peace and quiet after a busy time in port. Other than the day when inconsiderate fellow ‘Vibe’ users decided to play their own music loudly. Unfortunately, the music was heard all over the deck so if you didn’t like it – tough!! One other issue was the embarkation. Our taxi took us to the port and dropped us off. We found porters loading suitcases and after checking it was for the NCL ship, dropped them off. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain and the suitcases must have been sitting in the rain for a considerable length of time as when we got our cases the top two layers of clothes were wet! We called our room steward and someone came along to have a look. They took the wet clothes away and dried them for us – they did offer to launder them but we were happy just to get them dried. We had to wait a few days for them to be returned although this was not really a problem for us. Our first port was Cozumel in Mexico. None of the excursions from NCL appealed to us. I found an excursion on Viator to Kun Che Park, a Mayan experience. It turned out to be one of the best excursions we have been on. We were taken to the park by coach after meeting at a designated point. Thereafter there was a multitude of activities, the main one being the Mayan Ball Game which was marvellous to watch. A tasty, healthy lunch was included. The effort put in by all the staff at the park was amazing. This is an excursion that NCL need to include it although they would probably charge much more! We were on a coach with Carnival cruisers so they obviously have included it on their excursion list. Roatan in Honduras was a lovely island. We did the ‘semi sub and village’ excursion with NCL It was a nice trip. Harvest Key, the NCL island was pleasant if you like pools and beaches. We had a wander around, had a swim, went to the small nature park then went back to the ship. Not my idea of an interesting port. We did a trip to the Mayan ruins in Costa Maya with NCL which was very interesting. It was a half day trip which was ideal. Overall, we had a lovely holiday and would definitely cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were on the Getaway from the 16th to the 23rd sailing out of NOLA to the Western Caribbean. I am ranking this a 5 cause everything NCL controlled was amazing and we had a fantastic time but I will never sail out of New Orleans ever ... Read More
We were on the Getaway from the 16th to the 23rd sailing out of NOLA to the Western Caribbean. I am ranking this a 5 cause everything NCL controlled was amazing and we had a fantastic time but I will never sail out of New Orleans ever again. The story is on the bottom of the review as I didn't want to start off negative as our cruise was excellent. We flew into Memphis, spent a night on Beale street and then drove into NOLA the next morning, we had booked the later boarding times for 2:00 and arrived around 1:30. Loading times were definitely slow but they were hand checking everyone's passport to make sure they hadn't traveled to the any of the banned countries. Won't hold that against them, and the boat still left on time. The Getaway was just in Dry-Dock and you can tell as everything is new and shiny. This was our first time with a dining package and we will definitely be getting one again. We knew to book ahead and had no problem getting reservations at good times, we tried the Teppanyaki, Le Bistro and Cucina. Teppanyaki was our favorite, Ryan was fantastic. Syd Norman's was such a great addition, both bands that played in there were phenomenal. GET THERE EARLY, this place fills up super fast but is 100% worth it. The dueling pianos in headliners are also good for late night, never ended up seeing the comedy shows as doesn't appeal to me. We saw all 3 show's that were offered; Burn the Floor, Million Dollar Quartet and Cirque. The Cirque show is very well done for the tight space they give them. Million Dollar Quartet is an absolute must see though. Service: I was with a group of 4 and we all felt the boat was understaffed which we can only assume was due to the Coronavirus. Our service was still exceptional and the staff that were there did a fantastic job under the circumstances. Ports: Cozumel - We did the Three Reefer Snorkel and had a fantastic experience with Erwin and his team. Very organized and well run. Would highly recommend, tons of fish to be seen and Erwin would dive down and point out different marine life. I have never been to Cozumel before and I will never go back to the town. I've been to many different spots in the Caribbean and have never experienced the amount of yelling and badgering that I experienced here. I couldn't walk 2 steps without someone yelling at me. I always expect some level but this was unbearable. Roatan - We did the Gumbalimba Preserve and would highly recommend, our guide Enrick was super knowledgeable and the preserve was very well run. The thing I really respected about this place was that 90% of the animals are roaming free. I figured we would go into an enclosure with the monkey's or bird's but that is not the case. They are allowed to roam free and you will see them throughout the park. The amount of monkey's you interact with will be random but we had about 5-6 jumping on people while we were there. We had the added bonus of interacting with the sloth as he had made his way down to gather food when we were in the area. Highly recommend this place. The port town itself is the exact opposite of Cozumel, it was very controlled and the people exceptionally nice. On the smaller side but if you are looking for standard souvenirs, it's a good place to snag some. Harvest Caye - We had to tender in because the dock was undergoing 3 weeks maintenance but the process wasn't all bad, just wasted time that could have been enjoyed on the beach. The beach is massive and there is a amble seating chairs, very relaxing day. Everything is extra on the island, which we expected but is still disappointing. Bring lots of cash as nothing is cheap but we still enjoyed ourselves. Costa Maya - We had very minimal time at this port, had to be back on the boat by 1:30 so we just walked around the town for a bit. Not much to say here, it is clearly made for the boats with a giant pool in the middle and has all the standard tourist shops. To the negative: Mardi Gras was just starting but I feel it the problem is valid regardless. NCL doesn't own a parking lot down there and neither does the Port Authority. They "rent" spots from the Hilton but have absolutely zero control over the lot itself. When we arrived we were told the lot is full and that they wanted to take us to an unsecured lot, god knows where and shuttle us back to the port. The problem was, the lot wasn't full but the Hilton had decided it was full enough and wanted to keep the rest of the spots either for their guests or for day use parking, which I assume they get more $ from. The Port Authority was on site when we arrived and used his keys to by-pass the Hilton and about 25 other cars into the lot. we paid our $140 and thought we were good... boy were we wrong. Upon disembarking using self assist at 7 am. NONE of the parking attendants were there at the lot, they don't start until 8:30am. There is now a ton of cars trying to get out of the lot but they can't because they weren't given the right cards when they pre-paid the $140 to park or worse, were told to pay when they got back. When the parking attendants show up, they start fixing the card issue but anyone who hadn't paid when they arrived... was now being charged $340 because that is the Hilton's normal weekly rate... Were off the boat at 7:30 and waited almost 2 hrs in the lot before we finally escaped. I've embarked at Miami, New York, and Cape Canaveral and at the latter 2 both parked cars at the port and never experienced anything remotely close to this, Which I can only assume is because the ports own the actual lots and not renting from a private facility. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We didn't choose the cruise,it came as part of a visit to Tenessee.It was a very large ship and very busy as it was half term in some parts of America. There was only one small pool, far too small for the amount of passengers on ... Read More
We didn't choose the cruise,it came as part of a visit to Tenessee.It was a very large ship and very busy as it was half term in some parts of America. There was only one small pool, far too small for the amount of passengers on board,also there's a children's play pool and water slides. This area of the ship was always packed with people, many of whom spent the day drinking alcohol. On floor 16 there was a lovely quiet adult only area with hot tubs, small sit in pool,and bar.Unfortunately, on port days,this area closed in the afternoon for private functions. Entertainment was poor.You have to book shows in advance,so only managed to book Burn the Floor show which we enjoyed. Our balcony cabin was fine and the bathroom was the biggest we have had on a cruise ship. We thought that the food was good, plenty of choice,especially in the buffet, which we found not as busy as on other ships.We didn't like the scramble to book speciality restaurants, but enjoyed Teppanyaki,and Le Bistro. Staff were polite and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 3rd NCL cruise, but the 1st on a boat with nearly 4,000 passengers. This is a lengthy and hopefully an informative review. Executive Summary - It’s in the title of the review, NCL Stayaway or as some other passengers ... Read More
This was our 3rd NCL cruise, but the 1st on a boat with nearly 4,000 passengers. This is a lengthy and hopefully an informative review. Executive Summary - It’s in the title of the review, NCL Stayaway or as some other passengers referred to it, Get-in-line vice Getaway. Your money and time can be better spent. Although, some passengers rationalized the inadequacies in service, line ups, etc. as any vacation is a good vacation, my counter is NOT if you are spending it waiting in lines. Departure port - New Orleans Cruise dates 7-16 February 2020 Ports - Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Harvest Caye, Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico Pre-cruise - stayed at the Hyatt Centric, perfectly located, excellent service, facilities and steps away from the French Quarter. Pre-cruise tours - followed the advice of another Cruise Critic reviewer and booked Foodie and Cocktail walking tours through New Orleans Secrets before we left home and both were awesome and informative. Getting to the cruise terminal was difficult. Normally a 15 minute ride from the French Quarter took 1 1/2 hours due to construction, road blockages and traffic. Even the NCL new crew bus took over an hour to get to the cruise terminal. We received a text message from NCL at approximately 11 a.m. day of departure that we were requested to NOT arrive before 1 p.m. due to late arrival of Getaway because of weather. I can’t remember how we found out, but 4 p.m. departure was pushed to 6 p.m., but I think we departed closer to 6:30 p.m. or later. Upon arrival at the New Orleans cruise terminal it was clear that something was not right. There were multiple lines streaming out of the cruise terminal and unsecured luggage all over the place, even on the roadway. We spent over an hour in line outside the cruise terminal, so it was fortunate that it was not raining. There were actually two lines on either side of the main roadway leading to door #1 and I estimated that there were approximately 800-1,000 passengers lined up outside. Upon entering the cruise terminal the line up of passengers stretched the entire length of the cruise terminal (door #1 to door #4 and beyond) and back again to go through security. In total we spent approximately 3 1/2 hours in line awaiting security and getting our ship pass before getting on the boat. A few low-lights. There wasn’t anyone from NCL providing information as to the lengthy delays. Someone in authority could have at least come through the cruise terminal, provided some information and their regrets as to the delay. There were lots of people in wheel chairs and we saw people pleading with cruise terminal staff to help the people in the wheel chairs, as they did not have adequate access to restroom facilities. Unfortunately, we saw at least one person in a wheel chair that was crying and another that had soiled themselves due to the long time in the line up. Despite the pleas of their significant others or other people, absolutely nothing was done to alleviate their predicaments. In addition, due to the long line ups, many older people were having a hard time standing for the 3 1/2 hours and were requesting wheels chairs. Again cruise terminal staff did nothing except to wave their arms that wheel chairs were “over there”, when in fact there were none. There were some chairs for people to sit near door one, so typically, if a couple, one person would sit, while the other person trudged along in the line up. Again, not one person in authority or in charge were to be seen. This was truly a lack of leadership on both the cruise terminal and NCL Getaway and is shameful. I had the opportunity to meet with NCL Getaway’s Assistant General Manager and the lead for excursions after I submitted a complaint to guest services. The A/GM’s response was basically, we are only concerned with the passenger’s welfare or we are not to blame until the passenger is on the boat. I think that is flawed thinking and that NCL Corporate would likely see the situation differently, but in reality they probably don’t care, as very few passengers complain directly to NCL. That is not to say they don’t complain, as I heard plenty of complaints by passengers while waiting in the various line ups and venues. Hearing people saying that they are never going to cruise with Norwegian ever again or that they will never take another cruise based on their experience on NCL Getaway should be of concern to NCL Corporate. There was the opportunity for NCL Getaway leadership to rectify the situation, as they could have either taken a phased approach to the embarkation process, just like the debarkation process and/or installed the aft gangway for embarkation. Instead they did nothing and this showed lack of initiative and leadership on the part of NCL Getaway senior officers. Security - given the emphasis on “security” it was unbelievable that there was unsecured luggage piled inside, outside and on the roadway. It is not hard to imagine a variety of scenarios that could impact the security of passengers, the cruise terminal and the boat. Accident waiting to happen. On a positive note, plenty of people were able to “smuggle” various types of bottles onboard the boat, whether it was alcohol or soda/pop. Health screening - there was lots of speculation as to the delay being related to Corona Virus screening and pro-active health screening, all of which was totally false. Health screening consisted of filling out forms, self identifying whether you had recently visited China, felt poorly, had a fever, etc. This certainly wasn’t due diligence on the part of the New Orleans cruise terminal authority, nor NCL. Given the length of time that passengers spent waiting in line, a more pro-active health screening would have at least given the passengers a sense of security that both agencies were taking health screening serious, again a clear lack of leadership of the cruise terminal and NCL. Passenger welfare - basically none on the part of the cruise terminal, nor NCL. Although some lemonade and water was offered to those in the line up, after about 2+ hours of waiting in the line up. I know at this point, that had we been able to pack the whole cruise in and not lose what we have paid, we would have jumped at the opportunity and returned home. We have cruised many times, on several different cruise lines and we have never seen a Gong Show as we did on the embarkation process of NCL Getaway (aka NCL Stayaway). Once we had our SeaPass and were onboard the chaos did not get any better. Given that all boarding was via the Forward set of elevators it created a huge backlog of people waiting to get an elevator. People in wheel chairs had no chance of securing an elevator unless they parked themselves in front of an elevator. Recurring theme here is lack of initiative and leadership to have NCL Getaway staff positioned to direct and take charge of the elevators. To add to the confusion, were those passengers that had already boarded and were “exploring” the boat and riding the elevators. Simple solution, would have been to ask those inconsiderate people, with plates of food and drinks to use the aft set of elevators, to allow those passengers that had finally made it onto ship to at least get to their state room. Our stateroom was what we expected. Although the lack of forethought by NCL corporate to have plug-in near the bed for such things as CPAPs and USB plug-ins for electronic showed their lack of knowing what passengers want. If you are a CPAP user, the first thing on your list for housekeeping is to ask for an extension cord. Complimentary Dining - Garden Cafe (buffet), Savor, Taste and Tropicana Room. Standard dishes, nothing special. We enjoyed the Tropicana Room, as they had music, people could dance or just eat and listen to the music and watch people dancing. If you want to have a conversation with your dining partner(s) or don’t like loud music, make sure you don’t get seated anywhere near the dance floor or turn off your hearing aids. Never had to wait long to be seated. O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill - not a bad option, decent wings, fish & chip fix, burgers not so great. Serving staff poorly trained, unmotivated or a combination of both. We jokingly referred to it as “the penalty box”, as we imagined that was where they sent the problem servers. Menu Choices - the menus were lack lustre, in the whole cruise there were only a couple of really difference and flavourful offerings. Although they do try to trick you into thinking that the menu is different, but changing the order of starters, entrees on the menu (e.g. Onion Soup, amongst others), so it was sort of like “Where’s Waldo” looking for where they had moved the previous nights menu items. Maybe they think that all the passengers memories are going, but it’s just smoke & mirrors on NCL’s part. Gratuities & Service Charges - be forewarned, they are everywhere, even with the “free” perks. You can even rack up a gratuity when serving yourself from the mini-fridge in your stateroom. Of course, it is always “for your convenience” that they nickel and dime you to death. The days of pre-paid gratuities are over, although it is advertised as “for your convenience”. Let the cruise lines pay their staff adequately, who work very hard, particularly housekeeping, instead of having passengers subsidize their wages. We will alway give our stateroom attendant gratuities directly because they go above and beyond. I have no confidence that all of the gratuities make it to the people that most deserve it. So the key here is to not pre-pay gratuities and/or make sure your go to guest services and have them stop the daily gratuity charge. Give what you can afford to your stateroom attendant and anybody else you think deserves it. We usually give them some pre-paid calling cards and a little sweet or something that we buy in one of the ports (e.g. Roatan Rum Factory Cakes) in addition to the money. Ocho Rios - why do they even stop here any longer? We booked a tour here, were told to meet in the theatre, sat there over an hour before they announced that the tour operator would be another 15-20 minutes, but offered refunds, which plenty of passengers took them up on their offer. The rational was because the boat was parked in an “industrial area” there was limited room for folks to wait for the buses, and the buses had to be “organized”. We had been here before, and didn’t recall other cruise lines having the same problems. So we walked off the boat into town. The aspect that we hate about Ocho Rios and Jamaica as a whole is the aggressive vendors and tour operators shouting and actually placing bracelets on your wrists and badgering you. Do they think this actually works and a good approach. Perhaps the local business improvement group can get this toned down a lot, as it reflects poorly on Ocho Rios. Oh, and after saying NO, it’s probably in poor taste to them offer to sell drugs, “smoke”, etc. to cruise passengers. Shopping - barter. A Jamaican coffee cup (made in China) was advertised as $24.99, but they said it was 50% off today, so $12, I offered $5 and we settled on $7. I imagine it is the same for pretty much everything Grand Cayman - tendered. This was a gong show, over an hour to get off the boat and into Georgetown. Whoever is responsible for organizing tendering, either failed that part of the job description or thinks that passengers want to wait in lines. Grand Cayman - very nice, tours offered politely and you don’t feel the same aggressiveness as Ocho Rios. Plenty of alternatives to NCL provide tours and less pricey. Don’t buy the excuse that NCL excursions guarantee to get you back to the boat on time. All tours are local tour operators, priced better than NCL and Cruise Critic is an excellent source for potential tours, based on other cruiser’s experiences. Roatan - best port of the cruise. Searching through Cruise Critic, we followed the recommendations of previous cruisers and booked online, before we left home a personal/private tour with Victor Bodden Tours. Our tour guide Worthy was excellent and made sure we say what we wanted. Namely, holding a sloth, monkeys, parrots/macaws on our heads, plus a variety of other stops, Roatan is a unique place and we would like to visit it again. Outside of the main complex in Roatan there are booths with tour operators that are as aggressive as those in Jamaica, but they are confined to their allotted booth space, but they are all shouting at you and it feels like you are walking a gauntlet or a prison corridor and everybody is shouting at you. The local tourist authority might want to see if they can do something about the situation, because it reflects poorly on them. Harvest Caye - NCL’s “private” island, was a waste of time. Lots of reviews related to Harvest Caye on Cruise Critic, and it’s accurate. Note to NCL Corporate, if you are going to build ships or have a “private” island, you might want to be able to dock the boat vice tender. Poorly planned and poorly executed concept. We already paid for the cruise, we shouldn’t have to pay to get fed. Costa Maya - we were pleasantly surprised by this port, thought it was going to be another Cozumel. Swim with dolphins, some decent shops, etc. Long walk along the pier, but nice to stretch the legs. They do have a people mover for those that need it, but it seemed to be primarily the lazy riding it. It was very funny that the “engine” had run low on gas or something, have disconnected from the “wagon” and had gone to refuel. When we walked by the “wagon” we heard people complaining that they had been on the “wagon” for over 30 minutes, yet they were only about 50 feet from the shopping village. Might want to consider walking the last few steps if able and leave the people mover for those that truly need it. Mississippi River - it’s a shame that transiting the Mississippi is done in the dark both ways. It’s a long way from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, but if you turn your TV to the bridge channel and wait for some lights to show up, then go to your balcony. It’s amazing to see tankers and other cruise ships passing so close to one another. Debarkation - Airport transfer well worth it, otherwise lots of cabs available right at door #1, plus Uber & Lyft. If you can carry your own bags off the boat, do it. Time slot for doing so is 7:15 - 9 a.m. Although we had to endure one last Get-in-line on the Getaway. This line-up stretched from the forward elevators, through the Casino and back again to the forward exit. We were on one of the first buses to the airport. Once at the airport, if you have a couple of hours before your flight and don’t have access to the Sky Lounge or similar clubs, there is a lounge called “The Club” near gate A1. The cost was ~$78 for two people and you have Internet access, food, bar, comfortable seating and even a shower. Well worth it and NO service charge “for your convenience” So that’s it, that’s all. Won’t sail on a large capacity boat again, regardless of the cruise line, and most certainly not NCL. Overall Stayaway from NCL Getaway. NCL certainly won’t go out of business from the loss of our business, but we will feel a whole lot better spending our money on a cruise line that provides better service, has more interesting ports, unique menus (without charging you extra), even if it costs us more per cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Our grandson enjoyed the high ropes and climbing wall Our room only had about 16 inches between our couch and our dresser. Compared to other cruise lines we have been on this was very small and hard to walk around but the room steward ... Read More
Our grandson enjoyed the high ropes and climbing wall Our room only had about 16 inches between our couch and our dresser. Compared to other cruise lines we have been on this was very small and hard to walk around but the room steward did keep our room clean and tidy. We purchased our excursions through Norwegian CL. We did the Bobsled in Jamaica which was enjoyable especially the ride up to the top but it was very expensive for 1 trip down the mountain. The trip up Dunn's falls was very nice. But be aware that in Jamaica you will be badgered by everyone wanting a tip. At Dunn's falls the guy who followed us taking pictures of us climbing the falls chased us across an open area and demanded a tip even though we didn't want the pictures. Don't walk through the souvenir area go around !!! When we went Reef and Wreck snorkeling at Grand Cayman, the boat was 1 hour late for a 2 1/2 hour trip but we returned to the ship at the scheduled time even though it wasn't leaving anytime soon. We sat on the dock in our bus for 45 minutes at Roat'an Bay before our excursion to Gumbalimba Preserve. This was a very enjoyable trip but we were rushed back to the bus and people who wanted to purchase pictures of their family with with the birds were told there wasn't enough time to look at the photos. The dinner that comes with this excursion was very good and my family enjoyed the beach afterwords. Harvest Caye is Norwegians own island and the only one we were on time for. It was mainly a beach and swim area with several local shops. At Costa Maya Mexico the ship was at the end of a pier that was literally 1/2 mile long ( keep in mind if you have trouble walking). The Guide for the Chacchoben ruins was very good and kept us entertained both at the ruins and the 1 hour bus ride to and from the ruins. The buffet dining was good however the sit down evening dining meals were mediocre at best with very little selection. The waiters did take care of us fairly quickly. The Million Dollar Quartet show was well worth the time but we found the other shows run of the mill. Note : If you fly in winter you may be sent north with less than an hour layover and if the plane is delayed you will be responsible to catch the boat at your own expense if you don't have insurance Would I travel on Norwegian Getaway again? never Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We choose this cruise because we had not been to most of the stops nor traveled with Norwegian and wanted to give it a try. Aside from the embarkation which was a NIGHTMARE because we waited in lines for over 3 hours with absolutely no ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we had not been to most of the stops nor traveled with Norwegian and wanted to give it a try. Aside from the embarkation which was a NIGHTMARE because we waited in lines for over 3 hours with absolutely no communication from anyone regarding what was going on! People were lined up on the street for what seemed like miles. We heard rumor the ship was 3 hours late getting into port from the previous cruise but no idea if that was true. We finally set sail at 7PM rather than 4PM. Entertainment was amazing...an 80’s throwback band; Back In The Day was awesome...we saw them 6 times! The house band at Syd Norman’s was also great! Steven, Alli, and Emma are wonderful singers. The dueling pianos and comedy shows where also great. Really enjoy the Cirque du soleil show and meal but think it should have been included rather than pay an additional fee. The Million Dollar Quartet show was great as well which was included. Overall it was a wonderful trip, just need better communication regarding delays. We ate in the Taste and Savor restaurants most nights and had a delightful server named Muyuk (not spelt right) from India...hands down best ever on any vacation and deserves to be recognized as some other servers were not good at all! We had the drink package which was worth it even if you are not big drinkers but know bottled water is not included in this package which is insane to me! Drinks were good and lots of variety and decent amount of alcohol in them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Overall we enjoyed our cruise, although we found the ship to be too big. We prefer smaller ships. Food, complimentary or other was very good and fresh. Service is always great. Service for drinks was great at several venues. Our favs ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed our cruise, although we found the ship to be too big. We prefer smaller ships. Food, complimentary or other was very good and fresh. Service is always great. Service for drinks was great at several venues. Our favs were th eSunset Bar with Neli and Ray, And O Shenans Bar. Getting on the ship was a long process but not NCL 's fault. They were late coming in due to bad weather, but there were 2 other ships already in port in New Orleans. The fault lies with the New Orleans Port of Authority who are not properly organized for all the marine and pedestrian traffic at all!! They need to more properly organize space for taxis and pedestrians Disembarking was quick and easy. Again, outside trying to get a taxi is disorganized thanks to Port of Authority! But have to say that options for smokers are truly AWFUL and disgusting.!!! Certainly better conditions can be made available???? Space is too small and not well ventillated. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We initially chose this cruise because a rum cake went terribly wrong! I made a rum cake using my husband’s prized rum from Grand Cayman. Learning that this was no ordinary rum and it was impossible to replace here in New Mexico, I knew ... Read More
We initially chose this cruise because a rum cake went terribly wrong! I made a rum cake using my husband’s prized rum from Grand Cayman. Learning that this was no ordinary rum and it was impossible to replace here in New Mexico, I knew a cruise to the Cayman Islands was in our future. Fortunately, we were able to find this 9 day cruise headed to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Roatán, Belize and Costa Maya. My husband and I joined the Cruise Critic roll call and volunteered to start a Meet and Greet group. It was a great experience with 226 attendees, had volunteers to host a pub crawl, slot pull, LCR dice games and gift exchange. It was a great way to meet fellow cruisers on a one to one basis. We conducted the gift exchange by matching couples with others from different parts of the country and had them meet and exchange their gifts face to face. We also made the name tags and added birthday and anniversary stickers so that they would be recognized celebrating a special occasion. Door prizes were given for signing up and helping at the meet and greet, thus showing it pays to attend! The event staff was fantastic...easy to work with and very accommodating..true cruise Heroes. Embarkation in New Orleans was a mess but totally unavoidable as the weather and a medical emergency delayed us by 3-5 hours. We snaked around in line for hours, hot, exhausted and confused but totally happy to be on vacation. Once on board, we were greeted by name by our room steward, Grace, who was exceptional! Our stateroom, 14714, spa balcony, was always clean, well stocked and comfortable. The whole ship was clean and well kept. The staff in every dining room was excellent! We did Teppanyaki twice, Cagney’s twice, Moderno, Noodle Bar, Wasabi, Savor and Taste. Friendly and they always went above and beyond to make our dining experience a delight...even fulfilling special requests for my family for tortillas, hot silli peppers and corn beef hash! Only bad experience was Ocean Blue, My son who was wearing long pants but was not wearing a collared shirt was not allowed in. Staff member was very rude about it, so we, as a family walked away. The best ports for us were Harvest Caye and Grand Cayman. Beautiful facilities and great tours. We did the taste of Cayman tour and had a great time. Harvest Caye, we did the Black swan electric boat...fascinating and educational. Our guides were very good. We also enjoyed Roatán, Jolly Rogers snorkeling...gorgeous! Jamaica and Costa Maya were ok, but been there, done that. Entertainment was great...really enjoyed million dollar quartet! Burn the Floor was fine but too loud. Enjoyed many of the activities in the Atrium too! We opted to walk off with our luggage, which saved some time. It was fast and we were off in 20 minutes even with a line. We booked a private tour with Tours by Locals because we had 3 hours before we had to be at the airport. He was on time, met us in a private car and did a great tour. He was knowledgeable about everything from architectural homes, levees, music venues and food..even did a quick stop at Cafe Dumond for Beignets and coffee! This cruise was everything we hoped for and would do it again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Just like so many of you, I came to cruise critic to read reviews before I booked my 9 Day Caribbean Cruise on NCL's Breakaway. After reading so many negative comments I still booked on NCL, because I've sailed on NCL several ... Read More
Just like so many of you, I came to cruise critic to read reviews before I booked my 9 Day Caribbean Cruise on NCL's Breakaway. After reading so many negative comments I still booked on NCL, because I've sailed on NCL several times before without any issues. I believe that some people return home after a cruise and then use Cruise Critic to complain about everything. Some people will complain about anything and you just can't satisfy them. I read about unfriendly workers on the ship (couldn't be farther from the truth). I read about how the employees seemed overworked (again, although they work long hours), they didn't seem lifeless or tired to me. I read that the food is not good, perhaps other reviewers were eating on-shore or expected 5 Star Dining...hey this is cruise ship serving over 4,000 people, 3+ meals a day....is it 5 Star dining, not likely, but I found the food very good and nothing really to complain about. In fact, my wife is Gluten Free and the ship had many options for her and took big steps to make sure she was happy...and she was. So please beware of "complainers: on this site. So here's my review: We departed out of New Orleans and unfortunately the ship was late in it's arrival, due to rough seas and a medical emergency that required a helicopter to pick up a sick passenger on the way to port. Because people will leaving the ship as thousands of new passengers were arriving to board, it created quite a large group of people coming and going...thus it took longer than expected to check in and board...all we heard around us is how upset people were to have to wait so long to board...i keep telling everyone to relax, you're now on vacation. It took us 1:45 mins and I heard from others that it took them 3 hours. Things happen, chill out. When we finally boarded we went to our cabin, dropped off our carry-ons and went to lunch at Taste. We had a nice relaxing meal. Cabin is what we expected, but the balcony was a bit smaller than normal. But enough space to sit and read and enjoy the passing seas. There is a great deal of storage space, but you have to look for it. There are even drawers under the sofa/bed. Keep looking there is more storage space then you think. Only two AC outlets, but we always bring a small 5 plug power bar. Hair dryer is included. Shower a bit larger than on some ships, but still small. I don't know how the large people on board (and there are a lot of them) fit in there??? Let's talk about food. Buffet, pretty standard fare, we dined at Taste, Savour, The Tropicana (main dining room) and for our comp dining package (4 meals), Cagney's (steak was perfect), Teppanyaki (fun and very filling), La Cucina (nothing to write home about) and Moderno (skip the salad bar, you don't want to fill up there) where they come to your table 11 times with different choices of meat, they slice it off for you, and there is an extraordinary array of flavors to enjoy. This was my favorite! Here's a secret, in a hurry and want to skip the crowds at the buffet...Margaritaville (deck 16) serves breakfast and no one was ever there. We also liked O'Sheenan's for breakfast. No matter where we went, we were seated within minutes for breakfast, lunch or dinner.. A must - book your entertainment & restaurants on line right after you book your trip. things can sell out fast. Especially Cirque Dreams and Steam. And, arrive early for a better seat for this dinner and the incredible show. Now, let's talk entertainment - The comedians were okay, but I laughed till I cried at the comedy magic show performance of Levent. Arrive early, sit in the 3 or 4th row and get ready to have a great time with lots of laughs. "Burn the Floor" is the most amazing dance show I've ever seen...how can these performers do this twice in one night. This show has world class competitive dancers, who have been competing since they were young kids. OMG! "Million Dollar Quartet", also not to be missed, for this one there's not a bad seat in the house. There is so much to do, you won't bored for a second. Casino - Slot are as tight as I've ever seen on a cruise ship. Fortunately I play poker, it's a 2/5 game with an outrageous 10% rake on every hand (max $25.00). Game started every night around 9 pm, Only one table so if you're on the wait list be prepared to wait a while. Same basic players every night. Skip the Poker Tournament, it's a joke with re-buys and add-ons Cruise ports: My wife and i have been to everyone of these ports before and I have one word of advice, if you're booking an excursion you'll save a ton by simply going ashore and signing up for a excursion from one of the many booths in every port. Cruise ships charge a huge premium to book through them. Use NCL's website to choose what you'd like to do and then just go ashore and you'll find many companies offering the same excursion at a lower rate. Harvest Cay - NCL's private island. Wonderful, tons of lounge chairs, great big beautiful swimming pool with swim up bar. No complaints about any of the ports, my wife loves to shop and I love to people watch and take photos...felt safe every where we went. This was our 13th cruise, 5th on NCL. We love cruising and honestly, you won't be disappointing with the Breakaway. If you have any specific questions, I'm happy to answer. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise for the itinary and free offerings. The embarkation was not very good but no fault of Norwegian, weather conditions delayed entry into the Mississippi river. The actual check in process was slow due to Norwegian check ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinary and free offerings. The embarkation was not very good but no fault of Norwegian, weather conditions delayed entry into the Mississippi river. The actual check in process was slow due to Norwegian check in people thoroughly examining all passports for travel to and from China. Our stateroom 11832 mini suite and balcony was smaller than we were used to but the bathroom size made up for that. The stateroom attendant was not to good, the closet doors still had hand marks from the previous occupants, the mirrors were not cleaned all cruise and no vacuuming was done. The Tropicana dining room is too large for the staff to handle and if you are seated by the stage, conversation is difficult. We used the Taste and Savor dining rooms and they were very good nice and intimate and service was good even though the menus were the same. We found the pool too small and having two bars right there, people were sitting around the edges of it. The barstaff were good but even better when we dropped them a dollar each time we got a drink. The Skyye Ice bar was a novelty but disappointing because it was just a freezer with a block of ice in it as a throne. One port call was a farce getting off as there was no direction from staff to which elevators were being used, consequently people were standing in the wrong lineup. All shore excursions were ok except the Stingray city sandbar one which was a rip off. There were to many people in such a small area, The guides were pushing people to have photos done with a Ray. This was very cruel for the Rays due to the guides picking them out of the water and posing them with people. There was no way you could film Rays actually swimming freely. Apart from the negatives all in all it was a good cruise Disembarking in New Orleans was a breeze and the airport transfer was fine. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Departure city Our cruise departed out of New Orleans. We chose to arrive on Wednesday, two days early, and utilized the free/reduced airfare offered by NCL paying only the $25 fee for our flights. Our flight was out of Ohare Airport in ... Read More
Departure city Our cruise departed out of New Orleans. We chose to arrive on Wednesday, two days early, and utilized the free/reduced airfare offered by NCL paying only the $25 fee for our flights. Our flight was out of Ohare Airport in Chicago through Delta connecting to a Delta flight out of Atlanta. We arrived in New Orleans around 6pm and had an easy time getting an Uber out of the airport. The drive was about 30min to our hotel right next to the French Quarter. We were able to walk to the restaurant Napoleons and Café Beignet that night. Thursday we took the streetcar to the WWII museum and toured the Garden district. We went to Deanie's Seafood restaurant for dinner and walked around Jackson Square as well. All in all, the small taste of New Orleans we had was perfect before our cruise and made me want to go back to have a full experience soon! _______________________________________ Embarkation and Debarkation The ship was late into port due to conditions entering the Mississippi the night before. Because of this embarkation was a little messy. We had plans to arrive at the port around 11am since our boarding time was noon. On our way to the port that morning we received a text saying no to arrive before 1pm since they were running off schedule. Seeing as we were already on our way we just kept going and hoped for the best. This was our first cruise, and to be honest we personally did not think that the embarkation process was that bad. We dropped off our luggage and got into line for security. The line for security and checking in was a little backed up, but nothing that I wasn't expecting with 4,000+ people all trying to go through one area. They checked our passports to ensure we had not been to China in the past 30 days due to the coronavirus outbreak and we were on our way to the seating area. Refreshments were provided and we sat down for only around 15 min before our group number was called. We arrived at the port around 11am, had group 7 assigned upon check in, and were walking onto the ship by 12:30pm. Debarkation was relatively easy. We received our information for debarkation 2 nights before. They gave us the luggage tags for our bags to be taken off the ship and we placed our bags out in the hall the last night around 9pm. They were very good at going down the halls and grabbing bags as they were placed out so that your items were not left out in the hall for long. In the morning they had the buffet and main dining rooms open for breakfast until 8:30a, and you had to be out of your room by 9am. We ate in the main dining room and then sat in the atrium where they had a video playing with clips from the cruise. Our luggage tag color was called around 9:15am and then we waited in line to leave the ship. Our luggage was easy to find and the line for customs was not long at all. We then got in line for the airport transfer, which we waited for about 20 min for. The shuttle was comfortable enough for the 30 min drive. _______________________________________ Ship ​This was our first cruise. The ship itself was huge! There were many places to go and get away from other people if needed. The waterfront was my personal favorite place to go. You can walk all the way around the ship and even eat and drink outside as well. The seating outside on the waterfront was great as well and we never had trouble finding somewhere to relax. The pool area was usually crowded as expected but when we wanted to get into the pool we never felt like it was to full. Finding a seat around the pool deck never took more than 5 min of looking. We usually were able to find a spot in the shade and near the stage to watch any of the performances. _______________________________________ Cabin ​Our room was just as expected. We had the mini suite room. The room part of it was the same as a regular cabin, but the bathroom we had was much larger. The larger shower area and the double sinks came in handy a lot throughout our trip. We were both able to get ready in the morning and evening without feeling like we were getting in each others way. The closet space was perfect for us, and we utilized the vanity area to house our electronics and documents. The pillows and blankets were comfortable enough, but the bed left something to be desired. It was hard and had a seam in the middle where the two twin beds were pushed together. _______________________________________ Dining ​We ate in multiple places on the ship. All were amazing. The buffet was great for quick turn around in our schedule and always had something for my pescatarian diet. The main dining rooms had great service and plenty of options. We never had to wait for a seat no matter the time that we dined. They had the dinner menu on display next to the elevators near the main dining rooms every day as well. We ate in Osheehans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner multiple times. It was a nice middle ground from the buffet and the main dining room. Quick service and amazing food. We ate at 4 of the specialty restaurants; Cagneys, modern, Le Bistro, and Ocean Blue. All of them were great, but I would say my favorite was Ocean Blue. Every course of the meal was absolutely phenomenal and the area was nice and cozy feeling. I would like to mention that if you are dining inside at any of the specialty restaurants men must be wearing full length pants (jeans or slacks), or else you will be seated in the outside areas. ​We ordered room service for early port days and that was sufficient. We just got the items that were included such as; cereals, muffins, fruit, yogurt. It was always delivered right on time and we had no complaints. _______________________________________ Entertainment and activities ​There were plenty of things to do on the ship day to day. We went to Burn the Floor, Million Dollar Quartet, Comedy shows, Howl and the moon dueling pianos, trivia, bingo, and many more. All were amazing and very entertaining. There are things happening every day and your freestyle daily as well as your ncl app has the full schedule every day. Our favorite of all the shows was the Million Dollar Quartet. The entire show was very entertaining and the performers were great. _______________________________________ Ports and excursions ​Ocho Rios - In Jamaica we did the bobsledding and dunn's river falls. We took a shuttle to Mystic Mountain for the bobsledding. You take a ski lift up the mountain that had great views of the ocean and our ship as well. At the top they had restrooms, a shop, a small place for food, and lockers to rent for $6. You have to put your items into a locker, and the locker easily fit both of our small backpacks. The line for the bobsledding was not long at all. We waited maybe 15 min in line before it was our turn. The ride was fun, and when we were done we went back down the ski lift to catch our shuttle to Dunn's river falls. The shuttle leaves every 30 min from mystic mountain and you can do it all at your own pace which was nice if you wanted to spend more time at the top of the mountain. We were told that we would be getting wet head to toe and they were correct. They have lockers for rent for $5 (+$3 deposit that you get back when you return the key). You will need water shoes for the falls, and I recommend bringing a towel to put in the locker as well so that you can dry off at the end. You hike up the waterfall with a guide and are told exactly where to step. Our group was kind of large and it sort of felt a bit rushed. Hiking up the waterfall was difficult for older guests and children, therefore I would not recommend this for people that are not physically fit. It is a 45 min hike up slippery rocks. We brought a phone with a waterproof case for pictures and videos, but they do take pictures and videos as you go, and they try to sell it to you at the end. We did not purchase. Our ship did have to dock in a construction port area since the main port was taken by another ship, therefore our immediate port area was cramped and confusing to find our excursion area. As much as we enjoyed the actual things that we did during our time in Ocho Rios, I personally will never go back. Everyone we encountered was practically begging for tips and constantly mentioning tipping them and even blatantly demanding for tips. As you leave the falls area there are a bunch of shop people trying to sell you things and they are very very pushy. It was slightly worrying navigating around that area as they all called out to your trying to sell small nik naks. The total for our excursions was $125 each. We got one ride on the bobsled and the escorted hike up the falls. The bobsledding price separately at mystic mountain was $22 for 2 rides and around $50 for 5 rides. The falls were great, but we saw people there without guides and they were doing just fine. We felt like we might have had a better time doing both of these items on our own without going through NCL, but you pay for the security of getting back to the ship on time and the shuttles I guess. ******************* George town, Grand cayman - This was by far our favorite port. We started the day meeting in the theater area with they early morning people for our tender to the shore. We had gotten tender group C, but they called for anyone ready to go for the first tender around 7am. Someone in our group found a private excursion with the company Sail with Friends. They helped us set up a ride from the port area for $14 a person to the dock and we took a catamaran boat with just our group of 12 including 2 young children. They took us to see stingrays, star fish, snorkeling, a private beach area, and just cruising around on the boat. They had drinks, fruit, and even served us pizza in the water. The price was around $100 per person. We made it back to tender back to the ship with plenty of time. ******************* Rotan Bay Islands - This day we did the NCL discover scuba excursion at Anthony's key resort. This was an amazing experience. The ride to the resort was about 20 min in a small shuttle, but it wasn't terrible. They put you through a 1 hour class to learn about the gear you will be using and safety information. Then you get on the boat and they get you all set up with your gear, including goggles and fins. We did not use body suits since the water was warm. We then went to a shallow area (next to the dolphins, so we got a peek at them for free) to test out our gear. You were able to stand in this area if needed. We were placed in groups of 4 with 1 instructor. You are then instructed to go under water onto your knees. This is where you really get a feel for it and if diving will be for you. Breathing with the regulator is definitely not easy. It took me a few minutes under water in the shallow area to get a feel for it and get comfortable with this way of breathing. Knowing that I could stand up and breath if needed was definitely helpful, as I did get scared for a few moments with the breathing. A woman in our group actually could not handle it and panicked. She was not able to continue with the dive. I do not believe she received a refund for this trip. Once we tested out our breathing, we went through some instruction on how to clean out our masks under water and how to retrieve a dropped regulator under water we were good to go into the deep water. They took us to a reef area where we went down to 40 feet. It was absolutely amazing. We saw a puffer fish, turtle, and loads of other sea life. It was beautiful. After the excursion they took us back to the dock at Anthony's key resort and let us rinse off in a fresh water shower. While scuba diving they were taking pictures and video of us. They have the video and pictures playing for you to watch for free. We ended up getting 2 photos for $30. You then take a shuttle back with your group to the port. ******************* Harvest Caye - We did not have anything planned for this day excursion wise. We just went to the pool on the island and relaxed. The pool is very big and was very nice since it was so hot out that day. We never felt like the pool area was crowded or anything. ******************* Costa Maya - This day we chose to do the Mayan Ruins tour. We met our excursion group inside the port area and got onto a big air conditioned shuttle. We had a tour guide during the 1 hour ride to the ruins telling us about the Mexican culture and about the Mayan history and calendar. There is not much to see during the drive as you are mostly on country roads with just fields on both sides. Upon arriving at the site there was a gift shop, snacks for purchase, and restrooms. During the tour our guide told us what the different sites were and gave plenty of time to look around for yourself and take photos. On the ride back to the port the tour guide was quiet which allowed some of us to take a nap since the tour ended around 11am. We then walked around the port area which had restaurants, a lot of shops, bars, and even a shallow pool. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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