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Sail Date: March 2015
This was my 7th cruise and we only had a couple of problems that need to be addressed. #1 the manager of the Internet was not Customer Service friendly, he was very short when my sister asked questions about the internet being so slow. He ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise and we only had a couple of problems that need to be addressed. #1 the manager of the Internet was not Customer Service friendly, he was very short when my sister asked questions about the internet being so slow. He never smiled and seemed not happy with his position. We have never had someone from the staff be so unfriendly. #2 we had two water leaks in our room which NCL did take care of, but we had to stay in the room for two days while the leak was repaired and the air blowers dried the carpet out. We did get strawberries and a bottle of wine, but we talked to other cruise members and said that we should have either been moved to another room or $compensated for this inconvenience. Otherwise we had an enjoyable time on the Sun and 99% of the staff were friendly and could not do enough for us. We did opt in on the ultimate dining plan which was good. Cagney's got our top review for food and wait staff with Le Bistro coming in second the others we could do without. At Roatan the excursion we took to Maya Keys was awesome. They served Sea Bass which was the best we have ever had and that is a compliment coming from 2 New England ladies that know what Sea Bass should taste like. The island was the best and I would recommend this excursion. Can't wait for our next cruise with NCL! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Fantastic spa , the cleanest ship, would highly recommend. My husband and I (late 40's) loved this ship. Food was great I. Both complimentary and specialty restaurants. Definitely try o'sheehans, that was our go to. They have ... Read More
Fantastic spa , the cleanest ship, would highly recommend. My husband and I (late 40's) loved this ship. Food was great I. Both complimentary and specialty restaurants. Definitely try o'sheehans, that was our go to. They have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Shows were great, Howel at the Moon was super fun, my favorite. The Spa was fantastic. We are from East coast, 8 feet of snow and below 0 temps, the thermal pool and salt room was were I spent my time. Room was awesome, great bathroom . If I had to have a negative it would be jogging track very small, but never had an issue with getting a treadmill in gym. We didn't experience any of the issues I read in other reviews. We have taken many cruises, I did a lot of research and this cruise exceeded my expectations. I would definately recommend. My advise, make reservations if you really want a particular time for a show, same for dinner. The spa is worth the money, Vibe beach pass, we did , not sure I would do again. loved our mini Suite spa balcony, worth the money. Bathroom was great. We didn't experience any issues , it was a great vacation and can't wait to book the next one! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Overall had a nice trip....but instead of a couple things making the experience extraordinary- there were a couple situations that were cause for disappointment. I have travelled extensively - from back packing/hostel type trips to 5++ ... Read More
Overall had a nice trip....but instead of a couple things making the experience extraordinary- there were a couple situations that were cause for disappointment. I have travelled extensively - from back packing/hostel type trips to 5++ star resort style. From Costa Rica to Tanzania, Mexico, Dominican, Thailand and so on. I always go with ZERO expectation - which ensures any vacation is enjoyable- and Enjoyed for what it is. So we DID have an amazing time...because we made it an amazing time. The ship is beautiful. And clean, really clean in all areas. There are plenty options for food. Good variety both on buffets and menus We were not happy with the "value" of the a la Cartes $30 each extra pp for Steak house???? Steak in free restaurants the same (actually better) Restaurant staff rush you in and out- no personal service. In some cases if you didn't ask for a drink it wasn't offered ( at dinner). Ambiance in all of the free restaurants beautiful and very different from one to the next. Value for Sushi Bar very good- good friendly staff that recognized you on subsequent visits. Irish Bar awesome bar food :) We found the entertainment staff very good We didn't attend all or many events- we loved the 50/60/70's night. The 80's night was too busy to dance because the fire works were just done and it felt like the whole ship was on the dance floor. Movie night was cool And we enjoyed (too much) time at the casino :) Overall - felt 90% of the staff was just there in body and not in spirit. 10% smiley and friendly and wanted to serve you Not sure if the lack of cash tipping relates directly to this?? Some bar staff didn't make eye contact- even if you were sitting there for a bit... And the bar wasn't too busy - again, I feel like this is directly related to lack of Cash tips (You pay $12/day each that goes towards "tips" in general) The Three things that frustrated me and motivated me to write this review was (1) feeling that we had been taken advantage of at the Spa with their "up sells" and (2) feeling incorrect Info was provided to us regarding port excursions just to sell the on board trips (3) Finding out that most everyone we talked to had the ultimate beverage package Thrown in - when we paid top dollar, no discounts on any portion of our reservation (1) Day one is hectic booking dinners, shows, spa etc to make sure you get a spot I had planned all along to get at least one massage - so we headed to the spa to book this right away. The rep started upselling us on every service they had. We had a discussion and chose on: 1 massage (each) 1 acupuncture treatment (each) & 1 couple teeth whitening. Services =well over $1000 When reviewing the charges in our room - we had been charged for 9 services and over $1900 We spent at least an hour going through our receipts vs the in room account to see where the error was. When bringing this to the Spa's attention they fixed it-however I sort of expected an apology or a small discount or something for our troubles After my massage the massage therapist (who claimed she was previously an RN) highly recommended I purchase the detox bath soak as my back is very bad. She stated this Detox would help loosen my muscles. She came across as very concerned and felt that this was absolutely necessary. So I told her I would buy ($500!!!) When I met my husband in the waiting room he had also been pushed to buy the detox pills!! That is when I knew I was likely taken advantage of. After researching the product online at home it is NOT a detox. It is a $500.00 bath soak.... We visited the spa 2 more times for acupuncture. Our bill was up to approx $1500 in spa charges and the front desk staff not so much as recognized us day after day The acupuncture Dr was excellent ....but she also tried to convince us into daily acupuncture (yes DAILY at $150 a pop) The front desk staff.....seem ready for a vacation. The constant up sells were a HUGE disappointment. I would have preferred a "Thank you so much for visiting our Spa- we really appreciate your business. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you"...... (2) Booking excursions: We are well rounded travellers- but we were being lazy and thought we might try a couple beach and snorkel trips, since the time at port is limited to make sure we made the best of the time at port We asked the excursion desk staff opinion. I asked directly if there was a nice beach in ST Maarten and was told NO I suppose this could be personal opinion....BUT THERE IS a gorgeous beach - perfect for spending the day We paid $59 for a beach excursion that left at noon from the ship We spent 4 hrs in town and then excited to see where they could possibly be taking us more beautiful than this...headed back to the ship to meet tour at noon Well- we got to "the beach" on the windy Atlantic side. The waves were nuts. There was "reserved seating" which a huge joke.... Long story short we took a cab back for $7 each , we rented chairs on the beach & enjoyed the rest of our day. We visited the excursion desk later to advise how unhappy we were with this tour; BUT most importantly the fact that we were straight out told there was not a nice Beach walking distance off the boat (which is a lie) and we paid $59 each to be Taken to a "nice beach"..... They reimbursed us 50% which I feel is .... unsatisfactory We cancelled the next days excursion as we didn't trust their judgement and advice (3) We paid full price for our entire trip and most importantly the for the ultimate beverage package - (over $900 CND) I never once Imagined this was negotiable for anyone on the ship However we soon found out from every couple we met on the boat - that they had theirs "thrown" in!!! Either they booked last minute- or they booked months ago and saw Subsequent deals later, that they called Norwegian on. Value....for 1 week????? We paid $1300 pp for airfare from Canada to Miami We paid $1000 pp for the cruise (for inside cabin which I would NEVER do again) We paid approx $900 for the Bev package =approx $5500 PLUS $2000 in room charges for spa (as listed above), 2 visits to the sushi bar, and 1 Dinner and the steak house TOTAL $7500... For 7 days I simply don't feel the service was what it should have been given the money we spent. I won't be recommending cruising to my friends and family, as I feel that at this price point there are much more interesting things to do and see in this world Overall TRIP was amazing because of the company I had - but Norwegian did not WOW me -Tammy   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
This is a fairly in-depth review of the Norwegian Getaway that sailed on Jan 10-17, 2015 for a party of 2 - Me (41) and Wife (45). This was an Anniversary, Thanksgiving, college graduation, Christmas, and New Year cruise rolled into one. ... Read More
This is a fairly in-depth review of the Norwegian Getaway that sailed on Jan 10-17, 2015 for a party of 2 - Me (41) and Wife (45). This was an Anniversary, Thanksgiving, college graduation, Christmas, and New Year cruise rolled into one. We were excited, but leary to do our 5th cruise, 3rd on NCL, on the Getaway. Excited because hey, we're cruising again... we will have fun no matter what... right?!?! Leary because we weren't sure what to expect with a 4,000+ passenger ship. How will the embarkation be handled? Will it feel like there are too many people on board? With 4 days full days at sea, will we just want to be locked in our room? ~~Embarkation~~ By accident, we were the first in line at the port. The person driving us had a prior engagement at 10am, so she dropped us off about 9:40. We waited for about 10 minutes outside and the doors were opened. The few of us that were there at that time were seated in the chairs around the outside of the queue line. As more showed up, the put them standing in the queue line. About 10:30-10:45, the security waved us up to start scanning us and our bags. We then went to ticketing and received our cards and "Group 1" boarding card. We went upstairs and sat for about an hour before they started boarding. Up to this point, we were excited. I was even able to setup and test the iConcierge app by connecting to the ship's WiFi (more about iConcierge later). We walked along the gangway and stepped foot on the ship as 4 or 5 crew members welcomed us on board and through the doors. I don't remember which deck we entered - I think 6 or 7. With no map and no directions, we walked into an elevator on the left and stairs on the right. We were surprised! The Dawn and Pearl seemed so inviting into the Atrium, everything was laid out in sections with music playing, and they about pushed the Sail Away drink in our hand (then had us sign the bill for them 2 steps later). Yet the enormous Getaway shuffled us into nowhere to pick your unknown direction. Even with days of memorizing the ship's layout and main area locations, I was lost. Disappointment #1... so we just went up the stairs one level and started exploring. ~~Muster Station - Decks 6 & 7 Mid~~ The required drill at the muster stations are on decks 6 or 7 depending on the code on your key. We were B9 which was in the O'Sheehans area on deck 7, but we did not have specifics as to where the meeting point was at first. I tried to ask several people in O'Sheehans where B9 would be and they all of a sudden, they don't speak English. About 15 minutes before time through waiting crowds, the crew come out with numbered signs which you can barely see and are at random areas. We got to the "B" area early and took a seat, but then had to move when we finally saw the B9 sign and chased the lady to the other side of the deck, now having to stand. Every card has to be scanned by the crew holding the sign. Then they go through the safety lecture and life vest usage. ~~Balconies~~ We were in a balcony room, deck 13 forward. The standard balcony on the Getaway is 32 sq ft, smaller than the standard on other NCL ships (our Pearl balcony was at least 2x the size). The small balcony was a complaint by many. There is also a medium (~60 sq ft), large (~102 sq ft), and aft facing balcony, but the price per sq ft to go larger is expensive. And while the aft balconies are spacious, all we noticed was everything is wet and salty from the sea spray at the aft of the ship. This will be our last balcony for awhile since we want to take at least 2 cruises a year. We just don't use it enough to justify the price. We will make an exception in the future for our Alaskan and Panama Canal cruises. We did the Cruise Critic Cabin Crawl and saw almost all the different staterooms from the Studio to the Haven Suite (thanks to everyone who volunteered to show their rooms)! ~~Garden Buffet - Deck 15 Aft~~ We were not impressed at any meal with the buffet, unlike the Dawn which was great, and the Pearl which was good as well (but seating was atrocious). There was enough seating inside and on deck which was good. But that's about where the good ended. We tried just about everything they had in small portions. Everything was bland, over/under cooked, or not the right temperature. The salad bar had the worst selection we've seen on any of the 5 cruises we've taken. The kiddie corner with the mac and cheese, pizza, and nuggets probably tasted the best! Best dessert was a bowl of ice cream. ~~MDR (Taste & Savor) - Deck 6 Mid~~ If you're tired of the Buffet, try the main dining rooms. Both offer the same menus, but different items are on the menus each night. It's a sit down meal with waiters, but the food isn't much better than the buffet. My wife liked the Steak Diane, I like the rolls that are served at the table. ~~O'Sheehans Irish Pub - Deck 7 Mid~~ This is the 24-hour restaurant, the place to get wings, a pot pie, or dessert at 2am. The wings are delicious - I had 50 of the hot ones throughout the week. They weren't really hot, but they were good and probably the second best thing I ate on the ship! We also had the prime rib on the 2 nights it was here. Check the back of the Freestyle for special lunch and dinner meals and the times they are offered. Prime Rib is from 5:30pm - 9:30pm. After that it's not served anymore even though O'Sheehans is open 24 hours. The cheese sticks were hit or miss - sometimes hot, sometimes cold. NOTE: This is also the place to get decent (but not the premium) coffee. It's better than what comes out of the coffee makers in your stateroom (unless you're in the Haven with the k-cup makers). If you're a big coffee drinker, bring a refillable cup with you in your luggage and fill that thing up at O'Sheehans. ~~Wasabi (Sushi) - Deck 8 Mid~~ We were looking forward to Sushi on the ship. It was wonderful on the Dawn and Pearl. But yet again, it seems like even this a la carte venue had a pre-made taste. To start, the rice was not fresh. It was probably made in the morning, but then pre-made into flats and put in the fridge until ready to be used - kind of like Subway does with their pre-measured meats. ~~Food [In General]~~ The food was marginal at best. We stuck to O'sheehans and the buffet mostly. We spent $1,700+ on our trip, we weren't going to pay for specialty restaurants as well which is what it felt like they were trying to make everyone do to get decent food. It seems like the food is rushed and/or low quality in the buffet and MDR to service the increased number of guests. I couldn't find a decent chocolate dessert anywhere on the ship. NCL has stopped the Chocoholic Midnight Buffet!! Everything varied from day to day as far as taste, preparedness, or temperature. Somehow we still gained about 3-4 pounds each on the trip, but it's probably because we tried to try everything. ~~Latitudes Special Party - Deck 16 @ Spice H20~~ All I can say is windy, loud, and rushed! Such a disappointment after the nice party we experienced on the Pearl in the Spinnaker Lounge on our last cruise. First of all, since when did music have to blow your ear drums out? We all wanted to enjoy drinks and talk to other cruisers, not yell to talk and barely hear the other people! Drinks were Bahama Mama's and Chard or Cab wine. We saw the waiter in our area once. I had to get up and chase one down to get a second drink. The captain spoke and introduced the head members of each department. Then the music blared again for about 15-20 minutes. The party lasted all of 30 minutes because of the wind and loud music. I went to get a second glass of wine for my wife toward the end and they said "Sorry, no more". I turn and see someone had NINE full drinks still sitting on their table! Talk about abuse, but I guess they knew what the price of drinks were, yet seemed like the type that already had the drink package! ~~Event Seating~~ While the ship is bigger for more people, the venues are smaller and crowded or have to book everything in advance (most by the end of the first day)... then if we saw something else we wanted to do later in the week in the Freestyle, we would have to decide what to do. We can't book another show/venue as the rest are already sold out. Smaller ships, such as the Dawn and Pearl, if you show up early you get good seats, show up late, you still get seats but on the side or in the back. The BA/GA may sport the biggest stage on a cruise ship, it is offset by the [fewer] number of seats. "Burn the Floor" was outstanding, despite the dancers sweaty clothes after 10 minutes... but they danced non-stop for an hour! "Legally Blonde" was good, but if you've seen the movie then you've seen this already! The Illusionarium, for what it's all hyped up about, was not "Amazing". The usual illusions/magic mixed with corny jokes, too much smoke effects, and over dramatic grandmaster scene changes made it an overall "OK" at best. This is a dinner show with a 3-course meal (so don't eat before hand). Italian salad - tomato & mozzarella slices to start, main course is a steak and mashed potatoes and 3 large breaded shrimp, and dessert is a mini-medley of 4 desserts on a plate. If you want to watch the magic, don't eat as you'll miss stuff left an right. It's $25/pp for Banquet seats which are the booths along the back of the venue, and $30/pp for Floor seats which curve around the stage in 4 rows. Watch in the Freestyle for the night they give you 20% off (so it will be $20/pp Banquet or $24/pp Floor) - it's usually the first night. The discount has to be done manually so you won't see it until the 2nd or 3rd day. Howl at the Moon was a great show of dueling pianos at Headliners, but if you weren't in line 45 minutes early, it was standing room only every night it was on! The Levity comedy shows, also at Headliners, only seat about 80 people so reserve (and arrive) early. We saw Rodney at the 18+ late show and he was funny. We didn't get to see Mark. We did not see the GRAMMY Experience so we can't comment on it other than the seating in that venue is even smaller than Howl at the Moon! ~~Norwegian iConcierge~~ I was excited to try the iConcierge app on our iPhone 4s (both of us) to text and talk to each other for $7.95/pp for the whole trip ($1/day). We don't spend too much time apart, but this would make it easier to find each other. There are 2 parts to the iConcierge app - the informational part, and the text/call part. Informational: This FREE part of the app I would give a 4 out of 5. It gives you the Freestyle for the entire week in your hand, ability to reserve venue times (paid or free), see dining options (no times or specialties like Prime Rib night, but all restaurants and daily menus), buy Future Cruise Credits, and a host of other features. I recommend loading the app before boarding, then put your phone in Airplane mode but turn on the Wifi and connect to the ship's wifi. You can only use the features while on board the ship and connected to the wifi. There are no internet charges to just connect to the ship's wifi and use this app. Text/Calling: This is the part you pay for. It costs $7.95/pp (for the entire trip) to use to text or call others with the app on the ship including calling directly to staterooms. Also, you can call outside numbers (and others can call you) for $0.79/minute (whereas using your stateroom phone will cost you $4.99/minute). HOWEVER, texting and calling is VERY temperamental and may or may not work for you. It worked find for us on the first day, but after that, texts would only be received intermittently and calls sounded horrible. We stopped trying to use it after the 4th day and spoke to guest services to get a refund. I had iOS 8.1.1 and my wife had iOS 7.1.2 (both model 4s). It may work better on other models but it's definitely YMMV! ~~Thermal Spa - Deck 15 Fwd~~ I was upset to hear a few days before leaving that the Thermal Spa on the Getaway would cost $199/pp for 7 days instead of $129/pp as it was on the Dawn and Pearl. I guess their thinking is "more people, more money"! We loved the Mandara Spa on the other ships, and we wanted to make sure we got it this time again. 7 day use of the Thermal Spa from 8am to 10pm whenever we wanted/had time. We paid the extra $70/pp to experience it on the Getaway as well, so we went straight to the spa and looked around, signed up, got our stickers on our cards. I would go to the Spa every morning after working out in the Fitness Center. I have a gym bag with all my stuff in the morning. I could change in the locker room and secure my bag and personal items, grab a robe and towel, and head into the spa area. After, I could do a full shower (nicer than in the room) and get dressed for the day and bring the bag back to the room. We would also go in the afternoon/evening. We booked late shows (10:15-10:45) so as not to take time away from the spa in the evening. Trying to do the many parties, shows, eating, and other "freestyle activities" AND fit in the spa is challenging. You want to get the most out of the $30/pp/pd and use the spa! For the most part, it was relaxing. There is 1 jacuzzi, a heated pool with massage jets and seats, 2 sauna's, 1 steam room, 1 salt room, 10-12 heated stone chairs, and about 20 cushioned loungers. At busy times, you couldn't find a chair to put your stuff on, but people were scattered through all the areas so no one area seemed over crowded. We went in the salt room once - I guess it's supposed to be salty beach air. I wasn't impressed or felt any "special healing" properties of the salt air, but then again we're from Florida and lived near/on the beach. The steam room was nice, but it was a constant steam and you could barely see the person next to you. The stone chairs and loungers had a nice forward view of the ship - windows from one side to the other. Overall, it's a nice place to getaway from it all. If you don't care for kids in your jacuzzi, don't want to be in the sun/rain on deck, or want to just truly relax then get the Thermal Spa package! ~~Water Slides/Rope Course~~ Sadly, we did not get to experience these attractions. I would have liked to do the ropes course, but the water slides are just 4 seconds of fast water in your face. ~~Movies, Movies, Movies~~ There are 3 full-size LED movie screens on board, and throughout the cruise they show many movies. The first is in the Atrium on deck 6 mid. A lot of events happen here including movies in 3-D. The second is the outside screen in Spice H20 on deck 16 aft. Aside from all the late night parties (70's Groove, GLOW Party, 80's Remix), there are several movies shown on this huge screen as well. The third is in the Getaway Theater. Most of the movies are for the kids, but adults love them too. A few I can think of off the top of my head are Despicable Me 2, Amazing Spiderman 2, and Iron Man 3. There were about 6-8 others. Also on your stateroom TV, channel 31 shows free movies (old and new) nonstop throughout the cruise. Channel 30 is called "Favorite Shows" and plays episodes of popular TV shows. ~~[Get] What You Pay For~~ As others have stated, they have made this ship to nickle and dime you to death. It wasn't enough that I spent over $1,700 on the cruise itself, but it felt like if you wanted anything more while on the ship, you pumped out more money to NCL. From booking the Illusionarium at $25/pp, to Wine Lovers: The Musical (also $25/pp), to a $5 anytime pizza, to expensive drinks with/without alcohol, to photos, to specialty dining, to gelato and cupcakes, to auto gratuities (and port gratuities on top of them), to tips, to many desserts, to... well, I think I'd spend less walking into Disney World! ~~Overall Rating~~ Overall we give the Getaway a [barely] Good Rating (3 out of 5). There are a lot of little things that we noticed that should have been though of. There are no plugs next to the beds which means you can't plug in your phone/alarm next to you. There are 2 plugs across the room from the bed. Also, only 1 person gets control of the light switches next to the bed. Technically, the ship tries to be state-of-the-art with things like touchscreen tv's on every deck to find places throughout the ship, reserve shows, and view excursions. We made the best of the issues and enjoyed our vacation. Nothing bad happened, no one got sick, we weren't delayed, we enjoyed the ports, and we made some new friends. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
I just got back from a cruise on the Norwegian Epic and I must say I enjoyed just about every second if it. This was my second cruise on the Epic. The first was in June in the Western Med. It is interesting how you can be on the same ship, ... Read More
I just got back from a cruise on the Norwegian Epic and I must say I enjoyed just about every second if it. This was my second cruise on the Epic. The first was in June in the Western Med. It is interesting how you can be on the same ship, but have different ship experiences. There was only one sea day on the Med cruise and there ended up being 5 sea days on this cruise after the port was closed in Grand Caymen the day we were scheduled to arrive ( Thanksgiving Day). This time I went with my 75 & 80 yr old parents and we all shared one stateroom. My dad walks with a cane and was worried that he wouldn't be able to get around and would have to stay on the ship during port days, so I convinced my parents to get spa passes. They loved the thermal spa and said that was one of the best choices they made for this vacation. They aren't much for laying in the sun, although they did go up to the Quiet Zone on deck 18 a couple of times. But they did go to the spa for a few hours every day. They loved how quiet and peaceful it was after seeing how chaotic the main pool area is with the smokers, kids, and constantly moving groups of people. We had an aft balcony and loved sitting on the balcony listening to the waterfall (waves created by ship engines). The steward brought us a third chair that first day and we spent many hours out there. My dad has to get up and go to the bathroom often at night and I chose a room where the bed was closer to the bathroom so my dad would have a short distance to go. Plus, since I was sleeping on the sofa bed, I didn't want him to stumble over me. I was worried about the three adults in one cabin, but it worked out well for us. The sofa bed was actually comfortable. It pulled out from the back until it was a full twin. We usually worked out a couple of hours of quiet time for each person and didn't have many issues. Although, I must say, we tended to use the showers in the locker rooms instead of the stateroom since we had the spa passes. We ate in the main dining rooms for dinner every night (twice in Manhattan) and the remainder in Taste as my dad like wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt to dinner instead of long pants. I made reservations for most nights in Manhattan or Taste before the cruise, but we only needed to use the reservations twice - First night craziness and Thanksgiving Dinner. All other nights we walked in and were seated within five minutes regardless of the reservation time. But it was nice, on those two nights, to avoid the long lines and get seated immediately. We went to O Sheehans, Taste, and Garden cafe for lunches and enjoyed all. My dad found the buffet a little hard to manage with his cane, so we ended up at Taste more mornings than the buffet. Entertainment: We did more shows than I had on the previous cruse including Mystery lunch, second city, legends, Blue Man Group, Manhattan band, the Blues group in Fat Cats. The entertainment was so good, but I am just not a Blue Man Group fan. I don't get them at all. I agree it is the same as the show in Vegas, but I didn't get it when I saw them here either. However the kids in front of me ate it up and were glued to the stage. Ports: Jamaica - my mom and I did the river tubing. It was fun. We went in flip flops and they tried to sell us water shoes before the ride, but we wore our flip flops and had no issues. It was very scenic with a few mini rapids. Two guides per group to help if you get stuck in still water and to monitor you as yo go thru the rapids. No one flipped over in my tour. Just saw some red marks on the arms from rubbing against the raft/rope as you go thru the tour. Grand Caymen - ship didn't stop and had rough waters that whole day. Excursion tickets were automatically refunded the same day Cozumel - ship docked at 7ish instead of 10 am. I had booked a snorkeling excursion, but it was cancelled because the sea was still too rough and it was windy. We did a little shopping, then went back to the ship and hung out in the spa, which we had to ourselves. I took a deck of cards with me - my family loves pinochle and we played many of games on those long sea days at the library/Maltings bar. It is amazing how something so simple can help you enjoy your cruise. My dad is already talking about booking the next cruise. He enjoyed it way more than he ever thought he would.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
The staff was very courteous and accommodating. We purchased the ultimate dinning package so we ate dinner every night at one of the premium restaurants and the food was the best that I've had on any cruise. The ship needs attention ... Read More
The staff was very courteous and accommodating. We purchased the ultimate dinning package so we ate dinner every night at one of the premium restaurants and the food was the best that I've had on any cruise. The ship needs attention badly. I'm sure all the issues are just cosmetic but walls were dented and everywhere you look the decorative facades were cracked or chipped or in need of painting. I found out after booking this trip that the ship was scheduled to be redone shortly after our trip. I wish I had known that before booking. It wasn't the elegant experience I expected from Norwegian, it was however very clean. The itinerary for the most part was quite nice. I do recommend if you go to St. Johns, New Brunswick, just stay on the ship and do a spa day. It's a very industrial town whose claim to fame is the reversing falls rapids. They will tell you it is just like Niagara Falls but they neglect to tell you the fall and the cliff are all under water all that you see is water flowing in one direction in the morning and the reverse direction later in the day. In addition the spot they take you to looks out on a paper factory. Not very scenic. I think the cruise line should replace St. Johns with a better port of call. The entertainment was good. They even held a Martini tasting and seminar to teach how to impress your friends with your mixology skills. There were art auctions, comedy routines, and live game shows that were replayed on the ships tv channels. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Check In/Embarkation:  We embarked on October 19 with myself (first time cruiser!), my husband and our 3 and a half year old daughter. One of the reasons we chose this ship was because it embarked/disembarked in NYC (we only live 3 hours ... Read More
Check In/Embarkation:  We embarked on October 19 with myself (first time cruiser!), my husband and our 3 and a half year old daughter. One of the reasons we chose this ship was because it embarked/disembarked in NYC (we only live 3 hours away) so it was very convenient. We drove in and the pier was very easy to get to and the parking ample and conveniently on the same level. We arrived around 10:30am and despite the massive amount of people there (I didn't realize at the time that they were disembarking people from the ship at the same time as we were checking in), there were plenty of signs and pier workers there to direct us where to go. The initial check in was like airport security- you gave them your itinerary and passports and went through the metal detector. Then it was the final check in before embarkation to get your room keycards. They should have had more people working the counters to check people in to expedite the process but it went very smoothly. You also got a number that determined when you got to embark as well. It made for a easy process- when they began embarking, you waited until your number was called and everyone with that number could get on the ship. Ship: The Breakaway is, overall, an excellent ship. The size made for very smooth sailing. There were only a couple of times that we felt any movement or swaying from large waves as we were sailing back to NY. Otherwise you didn't even know you were on the water except for the wind or from watching the ocean. Noise-wise, there wasn't much noise from the actual ship~ just a buzz or clank every so often that we normally would hear from hotel plumbing anyways. We heard a lot of running/pounding feet from above (we were on deck 14 so we had the Garden Cafe/pool above us) but it was seldom and passed quickly. You could definitely hear music/voices/shouting/etc. if you were sitting on the balcony or had the balcony doors open. It didn't bother us but for those who want absolute silence on their balcony will be disappointed. For the most part, there was plenty of space on board. Obviously, indoor seating at the Garden Cafe is hard to find during meal times while at sea when it's windy out, but there are plenty of tables outside or at the Uptown Grill (and not too chilly with a sweater or jacket). On sea days, loungers by the pool filled up quickly (especially around the kiddie pools) but we would come back or sit at the tables by the Garden Cafe instead. The only places that it was annoyingly hard to find seating was at the Atrium (and the railing right above it outside O'Sheenan's where you could look down into the Atrium) for the game shows and concerts. The programming there was so great and well-run that it's no wonder people camp out to watch it, but it would be nice to either repeat the games so more people can attend or to move them to a larger venue. Activities: Having a preschooler with us, we split up onboard activities based on things we did all together, things she did and things we did while she was at Splash Academy (with more about that later). Family activities were offered though we didn't do much of those except for the family party at Spice H2O where they had music, balloon hats and face painting. Otherwise we spent a lot of time in the pool- there as a family pool that kids could swim in with parents as well as a Spongebob-themed kiddie pool with a little island and slide that was a bit hit. We also did the mini rope course, mini golf and played a few games in the arcade with her. By ourselves, we went on the water slides. The free fall ones are definitely a heart stopper. We also did the ropes course with a zip line at the end which was also absolutely terrifying but we would definitely do those again next time. Things we didn't get a chance to do/didn't want to try was a bouncing bungee/trampoline (where they strap you into harness and you can jump and flip and twist as you bounce on a trampoline) and a spider tower where you squeeze and climb up and slide down a twisty tube slide to get back down. Basketball, shuffle board, ping pong, mini golf and a giant chess set were available as well. And those are just physical activities. There were also a library, card room and informational panels about ports, shopping, health, etc. as well as the fitness center and spa. There's definitely something for everyone. Service: We cannot say enough about the superb service that we received. Everyone, from the moment we got on the ship, made us feel so special, welcomed and comfortable. Their professionalism, enthusiasm and all round A+++ service truly made this vacation for us. What really stood out to me was the way everyone made it a point to talk to and engage with our daughter as well. The truly wanted to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and took the time to chat and answer our questions which, now that I think about it, are probably ones they've answered hundreds of thousands of times. But they never gave any indication of any annoyance or feelings that we were bothering them. There was always a smile and "hello" that, while simple things, really added up. In particular, the following staff members went above and beyond: Renson (our steward), JC & Alvin (the cruise/assistant cruise director), Zappy, Ivy, BBQ, Mily, Lady Bug (Splash Academy staff) Cabin: We had a mini-suite with a balcony so for us there was plenty of room. The room, furniture, sheets/bedding and towels were very clean. There was plenty of closet space and little shelves/cubbies to store things. There was also plenty of space underneath the bed to put our suitcases so that was really handy as well. We loved the double sink in the bathroom. Plenty of space there for toiletries though we did bring a hanging organizer with pockets to store them since weren't sure about the space. The shower is surprisingly spacious with 6 spray jets in you choose to use them. The water gets incredibly hot which is nice, but just as a warning to set the handle to the colder side and turning it up slowly. The balcony was really nice~ the walls give a semblance of privacy but you can easily look around them to your neighbors on either side. Since we were directly below the pool & Garden Cafe, we could definitely hear everything that was happening if we were outside or had the balcony door open. Dining: Taste: Not on purpose, but we only went to Taste instead of Savor or the Manhattan dining rooms though the menus were the same at all 3 restaurants whenever I checked. We're not picky eaters so we found the menu to have plenty of options and everything was super tasty. Portions were very nice- not too much so that you could eat all three courses without feeling like you'll explode. La Cucina: We had the osso buco and shrimp risotto which were outstanding. The portions here were huge so unfortunately, I couldn't finish my risotto. I asked if the leftovers could be sent up to the room and our server said they'll send a new one up. We protested that there was nothing wrong with the one I had, which still had plenty left so he agreed. When we got it, they had replaced the shrimp we had eaten so it was complete again. Garden Cafe: Knowing that this is a buffet, we didn't go in with high expectations so we were pleasantly surprised by the selection and taste. It's a huge buffet so if there's something you want and there's a big crowd, go around the corner and chances are it will be there with less people. Le Cirque: The dinner show was awesome. It was hard to tell what was better- the entertainment or the meal. Both were wonderful and worth the price. It is a pretty long show so it might now be a good fit for those with little, little ones. Splash Academy: Splash Academy is the name of the children's club Norwegian offers. It's essentially a day care where the staff will arrange activities for the kids based on their age group. We highly, highly recommend it if you have children cruising with you. A. It's free, B. They have great hours and C. The staff members are great with the kids. They'll be taken care of and given lots of fun things to do and participate in. They started off the week with a parade through the Atrium, after painting the kids' faces, heading through the Art Gallery to the aft elevators and then up to the Garden Cafe where they walked around buffet, outside past the pools and then back down to Splash Academy. The kids felt so special and they got such applause from the crowd. There was also a special party at Spice H2O for the kids with balloon hats, face painting and dancing midweek. At the end of the week, they had a big circus-themed show where the kids from each age group would perform a routine for the parents. It was super adorable and impressive that they managed to throw such a show together in a few hours. Entertainment: Second City was hilarious, and we only saw 2 family improv shows. We definitely want to see them again and catch the later night shows. Dueling Pianos was a lot of fun too. The live bands and performers who performed at the Atrium and various lounges were amazing as well. There was a lot of talent on board and the music they played (ranging from easy listening, classic rock, 70s, 80s) was very nice. JC Sanchez & Alvin Oliva (the cruise director and assistant) had amazing energy at all the events they ran or reported at. They really kept a great vibe going the whole week. Disembarkation: The actual disembarkation from the ship was easy. You choose different colored tags that correspond to the time that you can disembark (Starting from 7:30am if you can carry off all your luggage to 10am). When your colored is called, everyone with that color leaves and goes to the section of the warehouse/port that has your luggage. Since we didn't have too far to go, we chose the 10am time slot. There was a long line to get into the port since there was backlog starting around 9am. The luggage was also just all lumped together but it was pretty easy to navigate and find your luggage. The most painful part was getting through customs, which has nothing to do with Norwegian but with the government employees. After getting your luggage, you were directed to get into one of two lines. There was no explanation on why there were two lines and no one asked about whether you were citizens or coming from abroad until you were at the front and THEN they split up the people based on that. There were also only 5 stations opened with 4,000+ people trying to exit until right around 10:30 when they finally opened up another 2 stations. I guess the 20 other employees they had there had to watch the line. So aside from a few things here and there, this trip was overwhelmingly great. We cannot wait to cruise again and look forward to seeing some familiar faces in a few months! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
My wife and I just returned from our week on the Getaway. We were traveling with another couple we are in our late 40s and have been on several other cruise lines such as Celebrity and Princess. So the basis of our experience is from our ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from our week on the Getaway. We were traveling with another couple we are in our late 40s and have been on several other cruise lines such as Celebrity and Princess. So the basis of our experience is from our expectations from other lines. We live in Florida so we are looking at trying different lines and the Getaway being a new ship at the time we booked did not have any real history. We thought the features were interesting and gave it a try. We read about the Vibe area and decided it would be a good idea based on the reviews stating how crowded the main pool area is. This is beyond a doubt the most ridiculously small area for such a large ship. The pools on other lines carrying only 2800 were bigger. The people were packed in every area possible deck chairs were so close together impossible to have any space. Every walk area had chairs lining them tripped over the legs more than one. I am very thankful I got to the terminal at 9:30 to get boarding group one. I had to race to the customer service as soon as I got aboard. I was maybe 6th in line and before I finished there were more than enough people to sell all passes. For us well worth the 79.00 for quiet location with better chairs, full bar two hot tubs and personal bartender. It is ridiculous that I had to board so early to get them but if you don't like be crammed together with blaring music it will be worth it. In the event you can not get passes the H2o area is also a good choice at no charge located at the rear of the ship. Only thing I noted is on windy sea days smell of exhaust will come down on the deck. We purchased a spa cabin located on deck 14 excellent location to get to may things such as spa, gym, pool and buffet. The fitness is rather small for a large ship not enough equipment on sea days. The spa with a large relaxation room, heated loungers, large therapy pool with multiple jets, sauna, salt room and steam all excellent. One thing all one large area so if passengers do not follow spa rules for quiet it gets loud. There were several regular attendees who had hour long loud conversations disturbing people at rest. I saw no effort from staff to correct this. Pricing for services are as much as could be charged before passenger would pass. This is typical for cruise lines, but the high pressure pitch for products and additional services can be uncomfortable. We dined on the Ultimate dining package, we found service in most restaurants to average not exceptional. We only encountered two exceptional servers our entire cruise and we tipped them for there excellent efforts. Food I was just ok. We have had the included food on Celebrity be better. The food included for the illusionarium show is low grade crap I would recommend eating first. The show was narrated as if it was scripted for Disney. The smell of smoke was present on the 3 decks associated with the casino area. Because the way the ship is laid out all spaces seemed to run together not any real intimate lounges to sit and enjoy conversation or music. The waterfront was unique but failed to draw any real use from passengers that I could see. No comfortable seating areas to enjoy space. This ship is about loud music in every venue, moving large amount of people and no real quality service. I you are a young person or just enjoy noise, this may work for you. But we vacation to relax and we could only find that at the Vibe bar we paid for. We found most of negative reviews to be fair and honest, we will return to Celebrity or Princess again NCL probably not anytime soon and not with 4000 passenger ships. Good luck to you I hope your experience to be what your expecting. One thing I just remembered because the balconies are only 3 feet by 8 if you can get a room where the bulge of the ship transitions you will have much more space and better views we had cabin 14150 for example.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We arrived at the port from Rome into the train station. Train was fantastic and I highly recommend it. At the train station there was a porter to take your luggage and deliver it to your cabin. This was great as we were going to walk to ... Read More
We arrived at the port from Rome into the train station. Train was fantastic and I highly recommend it. At the train station there was a porter to take your luggage and deliver it to your cabin. This was great as we were going to walk to the people mover. Embarkation was rough....It took about 2 hours to get on the ship from curbside and I think they need a more efficient way to get people on board. You wait till they call your letter to check in and then you wait again until they call your number to get on board. Why can't you board right after you check in...terminal was hot and uncomfortable however they trip did go uphill from here. Due to the long wait to get onboard our cabin was ready when we got on board which was nice...didn't have to carry bags with us. Since we had been in Italy for a week already we just got into our bathing suits and go enjoy the pool. We ate at the Garden Café for lunch and just grabbed at table outside to eat at. Food was fine, we just wanted salad anyway. Free Ice Tea and Lemonade included. We ate most breakfast and lunch at the Garden Café. Food was fine always could find something to eat. We enjoyed the Oompah Band at the German lunch and food was really good although not truly authentic German. We also had brunch at the Bistro for the Jazz Brunch. It was good fresh food and you could order off menu and enjoy the buffet so its nice to be served as well. We only tried one specialty restaurant for dinner, Cagney's. It was delicious and service was excellent. There was a lot of choice in the starters and appetizers but don't fill up, steaks are perfectly cooked and the truffle fries were very good. I would definitely do it again. We ate at the Grand Pacific once, hubby did not like having to wear pants and food was same as Alizar so we didn't go more than once. We were on vacation and just wanted to relax. I didn't find the service as good as the Alizar although the Grand Pacific Dining Room was supposed to be better, I found service in Alizar to exceed it by far. Alizar Dining Room - first night was rough, put us (couple with no kids) beside a family with two screaming toddlers. Parents seemed too tired to care and kids were screaming so much we had to get up and leave before our Main Course came. We spoke to Front Desk on our way out and asked not to be seated near small children again which they assured us they would do. The next night we were seated in an area with all adults around and we had a fantastic waitress, Marilou. She has been on board Norwegian ships from 11 years and it shows. We asked to be seated with her for our whole two weeks and we were. She knew our names and our drink preferences and always took time to chat about our day. She always had our carbonated water and drink of the day brought to us right away. We had no problem eating off the menu each night, we were at the MDR for 12 nights and never had to repeat a choice. The maître d and asst maître d also came by and we got to know them. They were also excellent especially in telling us the drink of the day. On night onboard was my birthday and we got complimentary champagne and a cake courtesy of the maître d. We only attended three shows out of the 14 nights and I found them to be amateurish and boring, since I was on Oasis of the Seas in April , Jade just couldn't compare. I highly recommend they get rid of the magician. Very boring and transparent. At night we enjoyed the casino or music at one of the many venues. There were two pools, one being an adult only, we enjoyed the adult only. We tried to avoid the pool when it was really crowded ( leaving ports) and tried to use it in port or earlier in the day. We bought the thermal spa package at the Mandara Spa. Highly enjoyed it, thalsotherapy pool, Jacuzzi tub, Sauna, Showers with therapy, steam room and plunge pool. Went every day. I also used it for showering in the evening. Our room was fine, everything was comfortable and clean. Our attendant was fine nothing spectacular but room always clean and made up when we wanted it. Once issue with attendant, we asked for distilled water for my hubby's CPAP machine (requested beforehand) and he had no idea what we were talking about. Had to go to guest services next day and they got us some. We had a balcony room which was great however if you want to see the Grand Canal on the sail out you need a port side room, ours was starboard. We went up on deck, no big deal. We did not buy a drink package nor did we do any excursions with Norwegian. We are not big drinkers, only one a day so we paid as we went. As far as the excursions, too expensive with Norwegian, I arranged all port excursions myself and we paid at least half price to ship. Always got back on time. Getting off the ship was much easier, I picked up luggage tags on Friday for a later time off ship. Our luggage was in terminal when we arrived , got into a cab and off to airport. I would go on Jade again however I would like to try some other ships such as Epic. I really like the free style dining and not dressing for dinner, really suits our vacation style.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
537 days ago I booked the Norwegian Breakaway, the ship wasn't even in the harbor yet. I have sailed The Gem and The Dawn and both were very nice ships. This time was going to be a little different.. this trip was for my husbands 50th ... Read More
537 days ago I booked the Norwegian Breakaway, the ship wasn't even in the harbor yet. I have sailed The Gem and The Dawn and both were very nice ships. This time was going to be a little different.. this trip was for my husbands 50th and I booked the Haven...well it was everything I had imagined, read about looked up and more. The thing about NCL is the staff they are all amazing ..always ...whether you are in the Haven or not. The food no matter where I ate Speciality, Haven private or the Manhattan room (no fee) The service, the food, the staff excellent. The thing that blows my mind is the negative reviews?? One okay day on an NCL ship is by far better than a good day at home. I will sail again and again with NCL...everything was perfect. I'd like to send a special thanks to the following people who made our vacation so SPECIAL...Alina, Rochell, Anoop, Denzel,DeLaura, Christina, Cecilio,Alvin, Julie, Satees,Lorna ,Michele,Alex Godi, Phy, Elvina and a extra special thanks to Paula in the spa WOW...get the Thermal Spa it is EVERYTHING relaxing.....to all the people who are waiting at the port with cool cloths and ice water.....no stone left unturned. Thank you NCL you made a beautiful memory for my family and friends...can't wait till we meet again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
My cruise on the Norwegian Getaway was the first cruise where I never even left the ship in any of the ports. I treated the ship as a floating oceanfront resort, and it was a fabulous resort! This last-minute cruise for me was all about ... Read More
My cruise on the Norwegian Getaway was the first cruise where I never even left the ship in any of the ports. I treated the ship as a floating oceanfront resort, and it was a fabulous resort! This last-minute cruise for me was all about relaxation as a birthday present to myself. I booked it about 2 weeks out, because Norwegian had NO solo supplements, and I had PTO time to burn! It was too good a deal to pass up. I live in Florida near Ft. Myers so I was able to drive over to Miami the morning of the cruise. I arrived at about 11 and parked in the port garage--it's pricy but oh-so-convenient, and I keep hearing too many bad things about the offsite options in Miami. This was my first chance to use the new tunnel to the port and there was very little traffic in the port area--nice. Keep in mind as you read this review that my cruise was August 23-30, during the offseason for Miami, and after most kids have started school. They clearly had lots of open cabins close to sailing since they were offering such fantastic prices, especially for solo travelers. So my cruise was likely less crowded, and with fewer kids, than at other times of the year. Embarkation, as others have reported for the Getaway, was very fast and easy. They hadn't started embarkation yet when I checked in (I think I was in boarding group 7) but I waited only about 20 minutes before I was on board. Painless. As soon as I got onboard I went up to the spa to buy a weekly spa pass. It was $199, which is a lot, but since I wasn't doing any shore excursions and since it was my birthday I indulged. I took a tour through the spa at that point, but since I was lugging my computer bag and I didn't think it would fit in the lockers at the spa, even though I had my bathing suit I decided I'd come back later. And I did--I spent many hours over the week in the spa. The heated tile loungers (which sound uncomfortable but are fabulous and have little pillowed areas for your head to lay on) overlooked a wall of windows on the front of the ship and were so nice for just laying back and watching where you were going. I spent most sailaways there, including our sail out of Miami. I also read a lot while relaxing on them. The spa also contains a hot tub, a thalassotherapy pool (a large pool of heated water with various types of jets around it that you could turn on as you liked, and a section where you could lay out in the water on a row of metal pipes and the bubbles came through the spaces between the pipes...aahhh!) and a salt therapy room (room temp with very salty air and mid-high humidity level, supposed to be good for your sinuses but it didn't do much for me) and a steam room and a sauna, and regular padded loungers, and men's and women's locker rooms with showers, lockers, etc. Also some flavored waters and a selection of teas, robes, and lots and lots of clean fluffy towels. You hand in your room key at the main desk of the spa and get a locker key--though I never really used the lockers. I think the spa pass is a great option for folks like me who really want to relax, and have little interest in the ports. It was never crowded in there, and was generally very quiet, and I avoided sunburn as well as the crowds and noise and heat by the outdoor pools. I chose to go to the dining room for lunch that first day (it was either Savor or Taste that was open) and service was rather slow with my nachos coming out way before my soup but it was uncrowded and comfortable so I didn't mind. The food was quite good--not fancy, but tasty. I found that to be the case throughout the week--the food wasn't imaginative or unusual in any way, just good solid decent meals. I gained enough weight that it was obvious I enjoyed it! Before I had finished my lunch, cabins were ready. I had a minisuite on deck 11 (11784) that was very close to the front elevators. The minisuites are just a bit bigger than balcony cabins, with most of the extra space in the bathroom. The bathroom has a large sink with 2 bowls, lots of shelf storage space and a large shower with a rain head as well as body jets. I tried the jets a couple of times but they didn't really appeal to me. The balcony was VERY narrow front-to-back. You couldn't even really sit in the chair facing straight out to the ocean because it was so narrow. But for one person, it was perfectly fine. I sat on one (straight-back) chair and put my feet up on the other, or on the small table. There was plenty of hanging storage space, and shelf space, and the couch was comfy. I think it would be uncomfortable to sit at the desk on the little stool they provided...but I never tried it. I thought the decor was very attractive, though subdued--not all bright and crazy like earlier NCL ships-and it still had that "shine" from being new. It was very clean throughout the week, and my steward ("Captain Morgan" he said to call him though his name was spelled more like Morughan) was fantastic--friendly, efficient, made great towel animals, etc. I liked the cabin, but next time I'll just get a regular balcony cabin unless the price differential is VERY small. For two people the extra space in the bathroom would be nice, but for one it isn't needed. I was a little worried about noise in that location, but there really was none. There was no noise at all from the elevator lobby. It isn't a connecting cabin, but there was a group of 3 older women in the cabin on one side who made enough noise for me to notice from time to time--I don't think the walls are very well soundproofed! I think there must have been kids in the cabin above mine because a few times I heard stomping around and a lot of play-yelling but otherwise things were pretty quiet. I also experienced very little cigarette smoke smell on my balcony which really surprised me--probably the least I've experienced even on my Celebrity and Azamara cruises where balcony smoking is supposed to be against the rules. Maybe I was just lucky this time! During the week I ate in the Garden Cafe for all 3 meals, the Savor and Taste dining rooms for lunch and dinner (never made it to Tropicana though the musical entertainment there during dinner is a fantastic idea,) the Flamingo Grill for both breakfast and lunch, O'Sheehan's for breakfast on the last day, and a dinner in Cagney's on my birthday. I was happy with all of the options I tried. I especially liked the Flamingo Grill--different foods than you see on most cruise ship buffets! Other than that first lunch, service was fine in all the venues. I think at least half the weight I gained was from the soft ice cream machines in the buffet. So many of them that there was almost never a line, which made overeating it WAY too easy! As I mentioned before, the food was tasty, at the proper temperature, but just not especially imaginative. Maybe I'm just jaded after so many cruises! And of course there were many for-fee options that I didn't try--there was lots of variety available, for sure. In summary, I'd say that this isn't a cruise for true foodies, but most people will be very happy with the food and the options available. I didn't go to a lot of the entertainment. I really enjoyed Legally Blonde--yes, it's over-the-top kitschy but I thought it was very well done and lots of fun. I loved Burn the Floor as well--didn't expect to. I think I was expecting a Riverdance kind of show but it incorporated lots of different dance styles as well as vocal music. The evening shows in general are a nice change from the typical Broadway-style hokey song-and-dance spectacles that cruise lines have traditionally offered. I wanted to go to the comedy show but couldn't get a reservation after I missed mine the second night--my own fault for wimping out because I was too full from my Cagney's meal! I need to come on another Getaway cruise to go to all the shows I missed! I didn' t do any of the organized "passenger participation" activities, or use the casino, or bowl in O'Sheehan's, so I can't comment on them, but the activity options seemed quite plentiful based on the daily schedule. I also didn't hang out in any of the bars--I had a bottle of wine in my room from my travel agent and I'm not much of a drinker--would rather spend my calories on food! Internet was the typical glacial speed of most cruise ships, and the pricing was similar as well. I was surprised that with a brand new ship, in this day and age, they couldn't do better. Why did I not take advantage of more of the entertainment? I think partly it's just that I don't like crowds very much, and so by the time evening came a lot of times I was just at the point where I couldn't take more crowds that day. Make no mistake, even though I think the ship was not close to full capacity the week I was on, it was still quite crowded in the public areas. The pool areas in particular were a madhouse. (I never saw huge crowds around the climbing wall or ropes course though, although I didn't check them out that often so there may have been some big lines there at other times.) The entertainment zone on 6-7-8 was also extremely crowded on sea day afternoons and every evening. It's a tradeoff though--smaller, less-crowded ships are more comfortable but have nowhere near the food and entertainment options of the Getaway. And in spite of the crowds the staff were always friendly, passengers as well, and the ship was always clean and tidy, dirty dishes/glasses were picked up and tables cleaned right away, and so on. BUT...I don't think I'd enjoy throwing a whole lot of active kids into the mix on top of what I experienced, so I'll probably avoid school vacations on any future Getaway cruises. That's just me though--for most people--who aren't verging on crowd-phobia like I am--the crowds are probably not such a big deal. Disembarkation the last morning was as painless as embarkation. Except, of course, for the pain of having the cruise end! I chose a later time and had a leisurely "express breakfast" in O'Sheehans, then left the ship at my convenience. I loved the staff lineup just before the gangplank to see you off with a smile! Waited about 10 minutes to go through Customs and then I was out the door and on my way across the street to the parking garage. I love new ships and hope to be back on Getaway while she's still young. The most comparable cruise I've been on previously was my Oasis of the Seas cruise last year at about the same time--and when I think back to both cruises I'd say I prefer the Getaway, although the fact that it is a brand new ship is probably what tips the balance in its favor. The entertainment variety is similar, and I think the Getaway has more varied food options and feels more like a ship--in a lot of the Oasis you really don't feel like you're at sea but the Getaway is designed so you are always close to ocean views. The Oasis food seems slightly higher quality to me--except in the buffet which is way too small for the ship's size and serves some unpleasant cafeteria-quality food, and where Getaway is the clear winner. The balconies on Oasis cabins are bigger (which is a plus) but the cost of cruises is higher on Oasis. In summary, it was a great cruise and an excellent way to relax for the week with a lovely room, fantastic spa, good (and very plentiful) food, fun entertainment and no worries...for an all-in price (including the $140 parking fee and the gas to drive to Miami and back) as a solo traveler in a mini-suite cabin of about $1200. Not bad at all! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our 3rd cruise on this line. We travel with 7 people and have 3 cabins. We always do 2 balcony cabins and one inside. This boat is old and the décor is cheesy. I think it goes to Hawaii a lot - but we were in ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on this line. We travel with 7 people and have 3 cabins. We always do 2 balcony cabins and one inside. This boat is old and the décor is cheesy. I think it goes to Hawaii a lot - but we were in Italy/Greece/Croatia/Turkey. LOVED the ports - but we are done with this cruise line. We always want to sit on our balcony at night together, and they would not allow us to open the adjoining door to be together. They also would not let our 17 year old girls be in the spa with their mothers for a day pass. They DID let them purchase services - like they have a teen facial...but they would not let them use the facilities. The facials were totally lame, and when we told them that - they did not care. The restaurants that they do an "upcharge" for at pretty good - a couple of them very good. The regular restaurants and buffets were mediocre at best and the entertainment was ridiculous. It was seriously like a karaoke contest made to be like "the Voice" kind of deal, and then they had some other really lame stuff. Not like other ships we have been on with Blue Man and such. We were VERY disappointed and they did not care. They also TOOK our passports for 4 DAYS and totally freaked us out. They would not let us on the ship unless we gave them these - and we were already in Italy - and obviously paid thousands of dollars for the cruise. If they would have given us a heads up that this was going to happen - or EXPLAINED in advance at all, it would not have been such a big deal - but who gives up their passport to some young cruiseline rep that can't even explain the reason. It was very stressful and handled extremely rudely and poorly. Then even more disturbing - when we were supposed to go stand in line to pick them up on day 4 - they just GAVE me the passports of all of my party without even making me provide the receipts for them all. This was weird and not OK at all. We did our own excursions as we learned on previous cruises that this is not a strong suit for them . (We did all private or small groups with NCL before and they were a MESS. We spent over $7 grand for the 7 of us JUST on excursions and when they messed up, they did not care - gave us each a $200 on board credit toward the NEXT cruise - which was not done in their time limit - so we didn't get to use it anyway!! They refused to grant us an extension even when we were ready to book...missed their deadline by 4 months. They are not customer service oriented at all!!) We also upgraded the dining experience as the buffets and regular dining was not good. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Top 5 BEST things about cruising Alaska on the NCL Pearl: 1. Alaska -- WOW! Amazing views of Glacier Bay, snow-capped mountains, temperate rain forests, and a little bit of tundra along the White Pass railway. Glimpsed a few whales, ... Read More
Top 5 BEST things about cruising Alaska on the NCL Pearl: 1. Alaska -- WOW! Amazing views of Glacier Bay, snow-capped mountains, temperate rain forests, and a little bit of tundra along the White Pass railway. Glimpsed a few whales, porpoises and seals from the ship. Then during port excursions we saw orcas and humpbacks up close, sea lions and dozens of eagles. 2. Bayardo the room steward was awesome! He greeted us by name every day, kept our cabin clean and well stocked, surprised us with a variety of adorable animal towel sculptures, and was consistently the most friendly and polite crew member on board. He truly made us feel special and well taken care of. 3. The thermal suite was our haven 6 out of 7 days. For about the cost of one spa treatment we each purchased a pass for access to hot tubs, steam bath, sauna, and heated tile loungers. No more than 84 passes were sold during the cruise and people came and went so the spa was thankfully never crowded. The views from the spa were incredible, perhaps the best on the ship. No kids allowed. Pure bliss. 4. The variety of activities listed in the daily newsletter offered something for every type of traveler… art auctions, bowling, dance parties, comedy shows, dining and beverage specials, fitness classes, internet access, karaoke, kids clubs, library loans, live musical entertainment, magic shows, port shopping tips, spa services, trivia games, and more. The four string trio and Second City comedy shows were among my favorites. Anyone who says they get bored during an ocean cruise has probably never cruised like a Norwegian aboard a Freestyle NCL ship. I managed to sample about half the activities of interest to me. Would have done others but opted for a more relaxed, less scheduled vacation experience. 5. The quality of the food was consistently above average in terms of flavor, freshness, presentation and taste. Service was excellent most of the time, though not always. Summer Palace and Indigo complimentary restaurants were equally enjoyable in different ways. Preferred Le Bistro over Cagney’s; didn’t try any of the other cover charge specialty restaurants. Garden Café buffet was yummy though crowds of grabby passengers led us to choose table service restaurants for most of our meals. The few times we went to the buffet, we enjoyed dining in the Great Outdoors and La Cucina seating areas. The Blue Lagoon 24 hour café came in handy for an early breakfast one morning, as did room service. However, the scrambled eggs smelled odd and didn’t taste quite right, perhaps powdered instead of fresh, so we ate them only once. Genuinely appreciated the smiling crew with bottles of hand sanitizer greeting passengers as we boarded the ship and/or entered dining areas. Would definitely have purchased a “happy happy, washy washy” T-shirt or tote bag in the gift shop if those items had been available. Top 5 WORST things about cruising Alaska on the NCL Pearl: 1. Too many people; Most of the fellow travelers we met were pleasant, truly. But more than a few were unbelievably rude and self-entitled. Some pushed their way through crowded areas of the ship, talked loudly in otherwise quiet spaces, and allowed their offspring to run wild. With NCL Freestyle cruising, there’s no dress code. Even in the specialty restaurants where smart casual is suggested, some folks wore T-shirts, sweat pants and ball caps. Can’t imagine cruising on a larger ship with even more passengers. 2. Tiny stateroom was a challenge for 2 people to share. The balcony and mirrors helped open up the space visually yet 200 square feet still felt confining. Except for occasional hallway noise the room was quiet. Bedding was crisp, clean and comfortable. Artwork was ideal for a Caribbean cruise but didn’t fit the Alaska itinerary. The design of the bathroom supposedly allowed for concurrent uses though we took turns because it would have been difficult for two people to get in and out of the lavatory at the same time. Though I applaud the efficient cabin design with a place for everything and everything in its place, I would have appreciated a little more square footage as well as an updated neutral décor. 3. NCL boasts the newest fleet of ships sailing to Alaska. The Pearl, which launched in 2006, appeared a bit dated and worn in some areas which made me wonder how other ships compare. Overall the vessel seemed well maintained; no major concerns. Noticed minor repairs were taken care of quickly with minimal down time. Still, NCL should consider scheduling a renovation, or at least strategic aesthetic updates. 4. I would have preferred a more tranquil environment instead of the cruise director’s failed attempt to cultivate a party atmosphere. Based on noticeably lackluster passenger participation in certain activities, apparently other travelers felt the same way. Perhaps part of the reason was interest in the World Cup which was projected on the big screen in the crystal atrium. Another factor could have been the sheer number of programs offered because it was impossible to do everything since multiple activities overlapped. Timing was rarely sensible. Karaoke was scheduled sporadically but only for an hour at a time so not everyone who signed up to sing had the opportunity. Library hours were frustratingly limited. And productions usually had only one showing so acts were easily missed. 5. The little things, lots of little things. No robes in the cabin; only in the spa. No afternoon tea. Shopping guides and a few videotaped activities looped endlessly on the tv but none of the entertainment acts were broadcast so there was no opportunity to watch a show in your cabin if you didn’t go into the Stardust Theatre. Art auctioneer Eugene was likeable but beware of his staff’s upsell pitches which are relentless. Although gratuities were pre-paid, we happily tipped extra when service was impressive. While 80% of the crew was fantastic, 20% were condescending and contemptuous toward passengers, including cruise director Archie and his assistant Richard (Rick). Jefferson (Jeff) and others were much nicer. The Trade Winds gift shop staff lacked customer service skills, especially the blonde woman who spoke with a European accent. When we saw the weather forecast for Glacier Bay listed as 80 degrees, it was clear the newsletter editor mistakenly Googled Glacier National Park in Montana, not Alaska. Bless his/her heart. Overall it was an enjoyable vacation. No regrets. One lesson learned is that 7 days is a long time to spend on a floating resort with other travelers and their children. Next time we’ll likely cruise for a shorter duration on a smaller ship with fewer passengers and hopefully fewer young families. Willing to cruise NCL again. Also want to try other cruise lines to see how they compare.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Was it spectacular? No, but cruising just isn't what it used to be 25 years ago. OK, so what do you expect from people who are worked many hours a day for very little pay. A very pleasant, polite crew (for the most part) who try to ... Read More
Was it spectacular? No, but cruising just isn't what it used to be 25 years ago. OK, so what do you expect from people who are worked many hours a day for very little pay. A very pleasant, polite crew (for the most part) who try to make 2,500 people happy on a daily basis. I'm not complaining as my family of 4 had a wonderful time. My sisters and I decided to take a last minute cruise and selected the GEM as it is a cab ride away. I had been on her a few years back on a European sail, so I knew the ship well. Must say she continues to be in good condition with very few flaws. Embarkation was good but, full disclosure, mother is in a wheelchair, so we had access to the front of the line! Our handicap cabin was very well appointed with all of our necessities. A big "thumbs up" for our cabin steward Gilbert Gendibe who provided us with all of our needs with a smile. Analisa Alvares, proved to be an excellent server in both the Grand Restaurant and Le Bistro, if you have the opportunity, sort her out, you won't be disappointed. Finally, Aithel Soriano, Guest Relations was absolutely wonderful. We initially had a couple of kinks which she quickly resolved. Read the menu carefully and you won't be disappointed with your food selection. My sisters and I made very wise choices and picked savory dishes that enhanced our food experience. Luckily for us we have family in Orlando and had a great family reunion, can't say much about the excursions. NCL's private island is just that.....an island for some fun in the sun! Families and younger couples looked like they were having a grand time. Lots of things to do and of course, lots and lots of food! An overnight in Nassau put a different spin on the cruise. A four-hour ride from the private island arriving in Nassau at 10:00 p.m. was a little weird but we made the best of it by cabbing it to Atlantis and seeing the entire place at night including the Aquarium and also got a little gambling in! Next day, spent the day at the Hilton, a hop, skip and a jump from the pier. All in all, we would do it again. We weren't looking for high adventure and got what we planned for, an easy going 7 days with good food and beach time. Oh, almost forgot to mention the entertainment. Mediocre, at best, if you have children in high school I'm sure you've seen better singers and dancers. Skip the shows and take a moonlit walk, a dunk in the hot tub, a drink at a bar or if you're up to it the clubs seemed to be doing very well. Hope this was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Just got off the Norwegian Getaway! Sailed with hubby, just the two of us, and left our kids home for the first time in a long time! Embarkation - smooth sailing - we arrived at 11am and had to wait in a holding area for probably 30 mins ... Read More
Just got off the Norwegian Getaway! Sailed with hubby, just the two of us, and left our kids home for the first time in a long time! Embarkation - smooth sailing - we arrived at 11am and had to wait in a holding area for probably 30 mins but there was enough seats and coffee so it was fine. Our rooms were ready at 1pm. Cabin We had a spa balcony - 14104 - it smells great in this area and is 1 deck below the spa itself. The locations was great for us since we spent so much time at the spa. Movement wasn't an issue. Noise - not a problem in general - it was only a little annoying that there was always a lot of crew going in and out of our hallway slamming doors because they have cabins on this end of the ship. Once you are in room, it's pretty quiet. Space - the cabin itself was the smallest balcony cabin we ever had and the smallest balcony we have ever had - it's funny what a difference just a few square feet can make - if w had the kiddos with us it would have been WAY too small and I would have been upset, but with just the two of us, we were fine. Our cabin steward - shashank - was great! Beds and pillows are very comfy - TV was good size, some good free movies was nice. Storage space was fine for 2, but more than that would have been tough. Spa - We booked this cruise mainly because of the spa and entertainment - our spa room included a weeks spa pass which was great! We also did 2 spa treatments while on board. Tips, tricks, positives and negatives: Tip to ncl - Spa itself is kind of hidden from general public - other ships have a nice big opening so others are enticed to enjoy it more! The gym had a good amount of equipment - and looks onto ocean which is nice. The machines have a tv built in - so bring your headphones - and also a ledge for your phone or iPad and a water holding area - perfect. Spa locker rooms are nice - robes and towels are complementary and if you have a spa room you get nice spa flip flops too. The spa features a hot tub, a thalassotherapy pool with many jets and seating areas and bubbles - it is not salt water - the first day it was cold but after much complaining from passengers it was a perfect body temp - nice strong jets and very pretty. There are also several chairs - probably 15 tiled warming chairs and 30 cushy relaxing chairs. A fresh fruit water and tea station are complementary. There is a sanarium - a sauna with some humidity, a dry sauna, a salt room and a steam room, plus showers outside to cool off in. These special rooms were never too busy and very relaxing. The salt room turns on a almost unnoticeable mist of salt every 20 mins and is room temp. The steam room was supposed to have eucalyptus smell but don't think that was working. There are only 2 negatives - there needs to be probably 10 more tiled chairs - they were almost always full and people like to chair hog - but the staff is pretty serious about removing people's towels to clear the chairs if they are not sitting there, so I could usually get one if I wanted to. The other problem is bigger - the pool and hot tub need to be in a separate room - not only are they loud but the people in them talking over all the jets are loud too so if you want to relax in the chairs you can't with all the noise. The design of other spa ships is Better with separate rooms for each area. Spa treatments - tell them you don't want to be sold products and they won't- otherwise they push hard. Our couples massage was excellent and my Thai poultice massage was nice - each day there is a deal - wait to book until each morning to find out what it is -they get a better deal the later in the cruise u get. The spa raffle drawing the first day - don't enter unless u are willing to be present to win at 5pm. Be prepared to sit through sales talks about Spa services and art for 45 mins during drawing. Food We had reserved our restaurants and shows ahead of time, so that was no problem. We ate at pay restaurants every night. Breakfast at the buffet or taste/savor/flamingo - it was the same quality whether u were at the sit down restaurants or the buffet. The buffet beverage selection was good - better than some cruises. The food - not so good, but not much different than any other cruise. I will say that if this ship did not have pay restaurants or we didn't do them, the main dining rooms would have been disappointing, but I think they design it that way so people do the pay restaurants. Moderno - very good salad bar - an antipasto style - all the meats saved were very good but they will rush you if you don't tell them to slow down - if you don't want a meat when they bring it - tell them to come back with it and only have small bites or you will explode! Le bistro - this is right below the casino in an open area so if you aren't far from the door. It smells like smoke. The escargot - super oily - the scallops - lackluster - the duck was good. Cagneys - very good overall Teppenyaki - entertaining and tasty - great Italian la cucina - surprisingly my favorite - great pizza and Osso bucco - best bread on the ship Sushi - they did a great job - the menu lacks choice but if you ask the chef to surprise you with something not on the menu it's always good! Raw bar - delicious ceviche O sheehans - good wings - ice cream not very flavorful Carlos bakery - desserts at restaurants were just as good Coffee - no different than any other cruise ship, but the free coffee was just awful - the pay coffee was good, but only available in one place, so you had to plan ahead. The one problem there was that there was always a Lot of staff waiting in line to get coffee as well - I have never seen that before - they must not have access to good coffee anywhere else either. Noodle bar - very good Service at the pay restaurants was great but at taste and savor not so much There was the lack of a simple salad and sandwich cafe - the salad bar options at the buffet were pathetic. We did not do room service but someone who did all the time said it consistently took 45 mins Entertainment Illusionarium - very good show - cool room it's in - their seating is an issue - they should just assign it based on when you boom because you have to stand in line 45 mins before to get front seats. Also make sure you ask for a forward facing seat - they have tables line up the long way where you have to crane your neck to see - therre are also poles in the way - but again show itself is really good - food is fine - filet mignonette and veggies and shrimp - vegetarian option is eggplant Parmesan Wine lovers musical - entertaining but quite flamboyant - fun show - same food and room as magic show Burn the floor - missed it unfortunately Legally blonde - totally disappointing - I love the movie and the story line was quite different - over the top flamboyant - they were good singers and dancers but the sound in that room was not right - the balance was off - a good view from any seat, though. I was surprised to see this show was carnival quality as opposed to ncl epic quality. Comedy - we saw both comedians - they had the same opening guy - they were all good but the show was too short - seemed only 45 mins with the main comedian ! Howl at the moon - by far the best entertainment on the ship - 3 pianists / singers switched off - one could also play harmonica and one could also play violin and guitar - they were funny and really good musicians and it's amazing how many songs they know! Bring cash to get your songs played! There was always trivia or a game or a movie being played in the atrium, which was good but not quite big enough of a venue. A lot of times the main theatre would have been a better spot for those activities Karaoke - good when they had it but didn't seem to have it much There is arcades and bowling and pool and darts - nice $ time fillers. The ship itself is pretty and lots of nice art - very tasTeful. Deck 8 is nice to sit (away from smoking area) and have a walk or a drink - strangely the running lane was located in deck 16 and was very short and also wet from the pool often. We didn't play shuffleboard or chess or use the game room but they were all there. The shops on board were lackluster unless you wanted to spend a lot of money on jewelry watches or perfume - a strange lack of souvenir shop offerings. The pool - there was not many kids on our cruise but you didn't see those that we're at the adult pool so that was good. Plenty of hot tubs. Adult pool is small on sea days and finding a chair that isn't in the blazing sun is impossible. Use the pool on port days and it's great. The water slides are all fun and not too long a wait The ropes course - which includes zip line and walk the plank was really fun and wasn't as tough as I thought it would be One big problem was on the last day - we wanted to check into our flight 24 hrs before and they we're only going to let us if we paid for Internet! Every other cruise line we have been on has allowed flight check ins fee of charge! Wet put up a stink and they let us go into a back room to check in but how ridiculous is that?! I will have to fight for that each time? Ridiculous! So overall a very relaxing and enjoyable cruise - lots of fun, sun, spa, drink and good food! Problems were minor. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
A little background information about us for frame of reference: My wife and I are Disney Vacation Club Members, frequently stay at the top tier resorts (Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, etc.) and DVC offerings at the Walt ... Read More
A little background information about us for frame of reference: My wife and I are Disney Vacation Club Members, frequently stay at the top tier resorts (Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, etc.) and DVC offerings at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort (Grand Californian). Additionally we frequent various Las Vegas Resorts including the Signature at MGM, Vdara Las Vegas, The Bellagio, the Cosmopolitan and Elara Las Vegas. We are in our mid 30s and do not have children. We are former Disney Cast Members (employees). We both work an average of 100 hours per week, 7 days a week. We live in Orlando, FL and are surrounded by world class dining, resorts and entertainment. It’s quite difficult to impress us and very easy to disappoint us. We like to travel whenever possible as our work schedules are intense. We like to relax and have fun when we travel. We have been on other cruises before including Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas (2x), Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas (1x) and Holland America Oosterdam (1x). Ship info and Travel Dates: We sailed on The Norwegian Getaway from May 17th, 2014 to May 24th, 2014. Embarkation Port: Aside from a little traffic, getting to and from the port in Miami is very straight forward. It’s much larger than Port Canaveral, but we had no issue getting to the parking garage and to the terminal. We arrived at the port around 10:30am and was on the ship by 11:15am. Parking was a bit steep in price, it cost us $90 for 7 days. Other ports cost us about $60 in the past. Getting in and out of the parking garage was easy, they have pre-pay machines on each level so you can avoid waiting for an attendant at the bottom of the garage. Getting in and out of the terminal was quick, it only took us about 15 minutes to go through security and get our ship cards. It only took us another 10 minutes to get on the ship from there. Cabin: We opted for the guaranteed balcony and ended up on the 13th floor. We were in cabin 13112 on the Forward portion of the ship. This is a balcony room and was quite enjoyable. Lots of storage space under the couch and bed as well as all around the television and of course a nice sized closet. The bathroom is a nice size and the shower was tall enough for me, I'm 6'2" and most showers do not accommodate me well. The room is large and very clean. The balcony was nice, not big enough to dine on really, but certainly large enough to spend time watching the ocean and the ports, etc. This was a great room and I highly recommend it. Our Cabin Steward Christian was super friendly and always very kind. The room was always clean and well maintained. Staff: I've never been to a resort, hotel or cruise ship that has had this many exceptional staff members. The kindness and attentiveness of the Norwegian Getaway rivals ANY Disney resort, and I would never say that if I didn't feel that way. I hold Disney in the highest of regards when it comes to service and amenities. The Norwegian Getaway staff exceeded my expectations daily. Restaurants and Dining: My wife and I purchased the Ultimate Dining Package and the Ultimate Beverage Package and I can honestly say I won’t sail again without purchasing both. The dining package included the majority of the specialty dining offerings on the ship. Both packages are worth every penny and then some. We dined at Cagney’s Steakhouse (2x), La Cucina (2x), Moderno (1x) and Teppanyaki (2x). Dinner was always a pleasant experience. The staff were always happy, friendly and provided for a remarkable dining experience. We also dined at several of the complimentary dining locations including the Garden Cafe, O’Sheehan’s, Savor and Taste. We even tried the 24/7 Pizza delivery service. The specialty dining offerings were so fantastic, I could never sail this ship again unless I had the Dining Package. These restaurants are not to be missed. Garden Cafe: (Overall rating A) I’m not a huge fan of buffets, especially on cruise ships. However NCL got it right with this one. The buffet is very spread out and seems to go on for ages. This allows for more variety and less crowding. The seating is very clean and modern and because it’s so big there are tons of seats by the windows. We had a meal here when we first arrived on the ship and one time for breakfast as we stayed up super late the night before and missed out on other breakfast opportunities. We had a snack or two here as well throughout our stay. The food was all very good and well prepared. O’Sheehan’s: (Overall rating A+) If you like bar food or family bar atmosphere this is a fantastic place. We tried the burgers, the chicken tenders, the wings and several of the beverages. The food is fantastic and rivals most bar type restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings, Beef O Bradys, Wing Shack etc. The bartenders here are super friendly and great to talk to. This place is HUGE and wraps around both sides of the ship. We also enjoyed the bar here as well as darts, skeeball, basketball and bowling. We spend time here every day, this is also a great place to watch events one floor down in the atrium. O’Sheehan’s offers amazing ocean views as well as a fantastic view of the movie screen in the Atrium. Savor: (Overall rating A) We had purchased the Dining Package so we never had lunch or dinner here but breakfast was AMAZING. This and Taste became our morning routine. The staff was always happy and attentive and the food was oh so good. Taste: (Overall rating A) For the most part Taste is identical to Savor, this was our other breakfast place. Always sat by a window, always had an amazing breakfast and fantastic service. Cagney’s: (Overall rating A+) I don’t know much, but I know a great steak. I’m always weary of steak on a cruiseship, especially when I hear the “seasoned” cruisers gripe and whine about how it’s most likely the same steak that you get in the complementary dining room. I can assure you that it’s not. We dined here twice and never left unsatisfied. The food was phenomenal and the staff were so kind and a joy to be around. The restaurant is perched above the Tropicana room and we had windows that allowed us to watch the band and dancing below. The restaurant is quiet and dark, which is like having your own personal space on the ship. It was never crowded. It’s important to note that the food, food quality and service were consistent both times. To answer a consistent gripe that we’ve read: It took about 60-90 minutes for the complete dining experience, I loved every minute of it. What’s the rush? This isn’t fast food. That’s what O’Sheehan’s is for. If I was told that I had to eat at Cagney’s every night of the cruise, you wouldn’t hear me complaining. The food is spectacular and not to be missed. La Cucina: (Overall rating A+) Goodness gracious this restaurant was so good it should be a crime. Some of the best Italian food that I’ve ever had. From the bread to the soups to the entrees it was a total delight. We ate here twice and the food, food quality and the service were all consistent. This food is so good you’ll forget that you’re on a cruise ship. Moderno: (Overall rating B) Ok, so I’m glad I experienced this restaurant but I won’t try it again. I’ve been to many Brazilian Steakhouses including Ohana at the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World and Texas de Brazil in Orlando, Fl. The food was cooked properly and again the staff was awesome. I simply didn’t care for how they prepared their chicken, pork or sausage. The beef was good, but hardly compared to that of Cagney’s or Teppanyaki. For me, if I could go back in time, I’d prefer to go back to La Cucina instead. Teppanyaki: (Overall rating A+) Another one of those places on the ship that make you forget you’re on a ship. The theming is top notch, as is the service, the staff, the food and of course the chefs. We loved the food and the experience so much that we did this twice during our stay. This too was consistent both times. 24/7 Pizza: (Overall rating D- for the Pizza, A+ for the service) Ok so this was really the only bad experience that we had on the ship. We didn’t quite know how the system worked but the advertisement on the TVs across the ship say “Anytime, Anywhere” So we called from our room but wanted the pizza delivered to O’Sheehan’s as we didn’t have much space to dine or drinks in the room. They told us you have to order from the location that you want to dine in, that makes sense. That didn’t bother us one bit, we were just trying to make use of the 45 minute delivery time and order from our room, then walk to the bar, etc. So we headed over to O’Sheehan’s and ordered a pizza via a waiter. About an hour or so later the pizza arrived and it was undercooked and resembled cafeteria pizza. It simply was no good. (NOTE: There is a $5 upcharge for Pizza delivery on the ship.) I’m not going to go into detail about how I didn’t like the pizza, it just didn’t work for us. So I found a house phone and called the Pizza delivery number and told them we weren’t happy with the Pizza. A few moments later the Maitre D’ of the ship appeared and told us she was unhappy with the Pizza and that this is not typical of the ship. She offered to get us another Pizza but we didn’t have time. She insisted that she do something for us to make up for our inconvenience, we weren’t looking for anything. She refunded the price of the Pizza, again we didn’t ask for that, and gave us her card in case we needed her for anything in the future. We said we appreciate her kindness and thanked her for time. A few hours had passed and when we went back into our cabin we found a plate with chocolate covered strawberries along with a card that said compliments of the Maitre D’. We thought that was a very kind gesture and more than generous considering that we were just talking about Pizza. So all in all, NCL more than made up for a bad experience and went way over and above considering it’s just Pizza. Bars: As I previously mentioned, my wife and I purchased the Ultimate Beverage Package. This meant I didn’t have to monitor our spending when it came to ordering sodas, beer or liquor. Which is nice. I hate having to keep a running tab in my head when I’m on vacation. If you have more than five or six drinks of soda, wine, beer or liquor per day I highly recommend the Ultimate Beverage Package. We tried to visit every bar on the ship in our seven day journey and I think we did a pretty good job. We visited Bar 21, Bliss Ultra Lounge, The Atrium Bar, Headliners, Mixx, O’Sheehan’s, Prime Meridian, Spice H20, the Mojito Bar, Sunset Bar, the Ice Bar and the Vibe Beach Club bar. We loved all the bars and the bartenders. Jane, Garret, Wade and Sean were standout bartenders and extremely friendly. By the end of the trip, they knew us by name and always were gracious and really made our stay enjoyable. The Atrium bar is the best place to grab a drink, watch a movie or watch the entertainment. There’s always a trivia show, game show, movie, band or some other kind of event going on. It was a great place to chill in the afternoon and unwind before the nightly events. Headliners is also the home of Howl at the Moon dueling pianos, which was a lot of fun. Ice Bar: We’ve been to the Minus5 Ice Bar in Las Vegas and Orlando many times. This one is slightly smaller than those, but don’t let it’s size fool you. This ice bar is worth the visit. We had a blast hanging out in the bar and the bartender was extremely friendly. This ice bar is much colder than those we’ve been to in the past, which was great seeing as it was 90+ degrees on the island a few hours prior. Waterfront: A unique concept and a lot of fun, especially during sunsets. It’s a great way to experience the ship, the only negative being that there are a lot of smoking sections that you have to navigate past. Other than that, a real cool amenity that you won’t find on other ships. It is windy in the Caribbean, so there are times when you cannot access the Waterfront. Not a big deal though, there’s no shortage of things to do on the ship. Aqua Park: Surprisingly fun. We’re from Orlando and there are no shortage of water slides there. These slides are top notch and a lot of fun. We ended up riding each slide multiple times over several days. It was a great way to cool off and have some fun. I highly recommend these slides for kids and adults of all ages. Mini Golf: I didn’t expect much and was pleasantly surprised. The last ship I went on had minigolf (the Liberty of the Seas) but it was just a set of basic greens and holes. The mini golf on the Getaway was well themed and maintained. Not to mention quite a bit of fun. Ropes Course: Another surprising bit of fun. This course was a great way addition to our afternoons at sea. It’s totally worth trying, even if you’re not into heights. Spa: We opted for a week pass to the spa and it was worth every dime. We spent the majority of our spa time in the Thermal Suite. We spent quite a bit of time in the vitality pool as well as in the various saunas and salt rooms. The spa is on the front of the ship, so you can enjoy beautiful ocean vistas or hang out in the pool and watch the ship pull into port. The spa also has these thermal loungers that will instantly put you into relax and nap mode. I fell into blissful sleep every time I tried these loungers. The next time that I sail on this ship, I will absolutely get a spa pass. Entertainment: The Groove International band was nothing short of stellar. You can find them on the pool deck during the day and in the Atrium at night. There's also a fantastic piano player in the Atrium as well as outside of the Mojito bar. There was never a time where I thought the entertainment was bad. The dueling pianos at Howl at the Moon was amazing, the Fireworks show was fantastic. There's so much to do, you can't possible do or see it all, and we tried. The Grammy Experience was incredible. Pools: It’s hot and the main pool is crowded every day, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. However the pool by the slides was almost always empty. Another hidden gem is the waterfall seating at Spice H20, which we always had to ourselves. Nobody ever went into it, the seating on the sun deck around it was always full but the waterfall was empty. Vibe Beach Club: We got a chance to hang out here and if you're into sun bathing, this is the place for you. There are several private cabanas that overlook the ocean. There's also a hot tub and a bar. It's an upcharge for the the day or the week so it's very private. I prefer to be in water, but this is a great secluded getaway. Casino: The nicest casino I've ever seen on a cruise ship. This is open and bright, very similar to the feel that you'd get in the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. Smoking Rumor: My wife and I do not smoke, and we really don’t like to be around smoke. We read that the casino on the ship was so smoke heavy that it directly affected other areas of the ship. This is, at least in our experience, a major over exaggeration. While there was a distinct smoke smell in the casino, it really didn’t smell bad around the casino. Additional Fun Side Note: We noticed that Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan was onboard our cruise. We saw him several times in multiple locations. For me it was great to see the CEO interact with so many of the crew on board. I like to see that NCL has a vested interest in it’s employees, you don’t see that often. I would have introduced myself and told him that I was forever a huge fan of NCL, but every time I saw him I was in a bathing suit and felt strange approaching a CEO in that manner. Nonetheless it was awesome to see him interact with the staff and walk around the ship. Ports: Oh yeah, we went places. The ship is so awesome that I forgot that we stopped and visited ports. In all honesty if this ship was seven days at sea and never went to port, I don't think I'd mind one bit. Our ship stopped at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau. St. Maarten is a beautiful island. Maho beach is a must see for first time visitors. It's an entirely surreal experience to hang out on the beach or in the water and have massive commercial jets pass over you and land feet away from you. Be prepared to be inundated with requests for cabs. There isn't much to do or see at the initial port. You can do a 15-20 minute walk to see more, but I highly recommend taking a cab to your destination. All of the best parts of the island are 20-40 minutes away via cab rides, so take that into consideration when traveling around. St. Thomas has the most beautiful water and landscape, however is the most tourist heavy island I've been too. I don't mean lots of tourists, I mean lots of sketchy tourist attractions. The butterfly exhibit is run down and depressing. Of course there's a Senior Frogs, as there is everywhere. The ocean is gorgeous as are the beaches. We opted to walk around the beaches and explore things ourselves, the only negative was that I got tired of the locals attempting to sell me various illicit materials. The skyride is sketchy. Beautiful views, but in dire need of some maintenance. If you've ever been to Nassau, you realize very quickly that it's equivalent to a highway rest stop. Getting through the port is a nightmare and the island is just not anything to write home about. You have Atlantis, but you have to work hard to get there, Atlantis is in no way near the port. Give yourself at least 25-30 minutes to get there, if you're lucky. It took us an hour to get there due to the congestion at the port, it did only take 45 minutes to get back. To be honest, the ship was so amazing that the ports didn't compare. There's plenty of amazing scuba, snorkeling, swimming, zip lines, ATVs, beaches, etc. at the ports. Be prepared to leave St. Thomas at 3pm and not get into Nassau until around noon. The only real full day at port, in my opinion, was St. Maarten. Summary: I’m typically unenthused when it comes to cruising, sure I have fun and always enjoy time off, but the ships I’ve been on in the past are either old or tacky in design, small in size or lacking in amenities. In my experience, the ships usually do not compare to the resorts or hotels that I’m used to. I'm not into hokey activities and I don't need to have every second of my day planned out for me. I enjoy exploring and relaxing. I’ve never had an overwhelmingly pleasant experience with the staff of any Royal Caribbean ship. The staff are usually mildly friendly, but nothing like I’m used to when compared to Disney. As a former Disney Cast Member I have high expectations of what great customer service should be. I had no prior experience with Norwegian Cruiselines and was unsure of what to expect due to the diverse reviews of this ship. I’m not a fan of older ships and ship design. I don’t like seeing wear and tear or being reminded of what cruising must have been like a decade or two ago. I like open spaces, modern design and genuine thought in layout and offerings. I can say in all honestly that across the board, the Norwegian Getaway floored me and excelled beyond all expectations. The ship is phenomenal. The layout, the design and the offerings are unparalleled compared to the other ships that I have sailed on. If you’re a fan of modern resorts, The Norwegian Getaway will not disappoint. The food, entertainment, cabins, layout and the staff were all exceptional. This is the first time that I've ever been on a cruise and immediately wanted to get back on and go again. The Norwegian Getaway ruined other ships for me. I simply will not be able to enjoy a lesser ship as this one has everything that you could possibly want on a ship and more. As of this trip, I'm forever a NCL fan.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
My fiancé and I sailed on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda on May 11. This was our 7th cruise on NCL and the 6th NCL ship we have sailed on, so we have experienced many different classes and sizes of NCL ships. We were excited to try ... Read More
My fiancé and I sailed on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda on May 11. This was our 7th cruise on NCL and the 6th NCL ship we have sailed on, so we have experienced many different classes and sizes of NCL ships. We were excited to try out this new ship for many of the new features advertised. Overall I would say the experience was mediocre, but with a few changes Breakaway could be an amazing ship and experience. Much discussion has been made of Breakaway compared to the NCL Gem, the other NCL ship that is home ported in NYC year round. Having sailed the Gem twice, most recently this past Thanksgiving, I found myself making the same comparisons. For the benefit of those trying to decide which ship is better for them, I will compare the two here. Room: we were booked in a Haven Spa Suite for the Breakaway cruise. The decor and layout of the room is modern and clean. The way they designed the room afforded a lot of storage space, much of it embedded in the walls as to not take up valuable space in the room. This made the room feel much bigger. Bathroom was also a decent size, with two double sinks and a deluxe shower with multiple jets. However as so many others have noted, the balcony is tiny. It was long but not wide at all. Gem's balconies are larger however, as she is not as new a ship, the decor is showing her age in some spots. However, Gem wins this category for one big reason. Directly amongst the spa suites the Breakaway has a staff store, which is used by the cleaning crew to get supplies, store dirty laundry, etc. Every morning right around 8am this very heavy door was opened and slammed shut every minute for two hours straight. This means if you are sleeping at that time you will get jarred awake by the slamming and shaking of the walls. Why they would put this next to spa suites (which, coincidentally, are built for relaxation) is beyond me. I even put a note in the Dear Jovo box (hotel director) expressing that they should just prop open the door when in use rather than constantly banging it and disturbing all the passengers. This note went unanswered (more on the staff issues later). Therefore, because the Gem provided me the opportunity to sleep on my vacation, I will say one point for the Gem here. Food: in what may be the most important topic for many cruisers, Breakaway does add some new venues for eating. In addition to the usual main dining halls, Teppanyaki, steakhouse,etc found on most NCL ships, Breakaway adds O'Sheehans pub, Ocean Blue Seafood, Carlos bakery and a gelato shop. The quality remains the same, better in the specialty restaurants that have a surcharge. Even though there are 4,000 people on this ship, the number of venues provided is sufficient and we never had trouble getting a reservation. Purely for the extra selection, score one for the Breakaway over the Gem. Entertainment: one of my main complaints as a repeat NCL cruiser us that most of the shows are repetitive and I gave seen them many times. Breakaway solved that problem by providing much more variety here. The Cirque jungle show was a pleasant surprise and worth the extra fee. Burn the Floor was decent and it was nice to see them perform in the Manhattan Room dining room in addition to the theater. Rock of Ages we had seen in NYC on Broadway and I would say the performance onboard was strong. And yes the show is raunchy, just as it was on Broadway. NCL warns people multiple times that this is suited for adults. If you are easily offended, heed the warning and don't go. There are also new musical acts on board, the best being Howl at the Moon dueling pianos and the jazz band in Fat Cats. The only negatives for entertainment were that the theater is much too small for the boat and having to get reservations was at some times a hassle, particularly when they were not clear on if you needed them (example: it was not noted in the Freestyle Daily that reservations were needed for the comedic magician but when you got there they expected you to have them). However, entertainment overall was fresh, new and top notch so this category goes to the Breakaway. Spa: as noted we were in a Spa Suite which gave us access to the thermal suite area for the entire week. We usually purchase this pass on other boats and enjoy the relaxing, adults only area. The Breakaway spa thermal suite area is much larger than other ships and includes some new things, such as a salt bath. Because it is so much larger, there was never any problem finding a lounger. The staff kept on top of keeping it clean, towels picked up and water mopped. The only complaint was a few passengers who don't seem to get that this is a relaxation area, not the indoor pool. These people scream and yelp like they are at a water park. I wish the staff would enforce the quiet rules a bit more. The Gem also has a fairly large spa, however since it is smaller than Breakaway's it has less loungers. Both ships spas as great investments for the week if you're looking to relax, however due to the extra size and features, I will give this one to Breakaway. Staff/Service: here is the black eye for Breakaway. For the most part the staff was painfully mediocre on Breakaway. It was very surprising to us to encounter so few staff that seemed to care at all about any of the passenger's experience. The staff on the ship do their jobs - the food gets to you, the ship stays clean and gets where it needs to go, but so few go above and beyond, which is rare for cruise ship staff. For example, we ate most of our breakfasts and lunches at the Haven restaurant. After an entire week I do not believe one person in that restaurant knew our names or anything we liked. There was really only one waitress in there that made any effort to speak or get to know the passengers. Hence, she was the only one who left you feeling like she cared if you were enjoying yourself. Compare this to the Gem where we also took most of our breakfasts and lunches in the suite restaurant. By day 2 of that cruise the staff there knew our names and what kind of tea I liked and had it waiting for me each day. It's little touches like that which make a real difference to the passengers. Unfortunately those little touches were hard to come by on Breakaway. The bad service continued all around. The concierge? Pretty much useless. Again, made no offers to help us out, barely knew our names. His assistant did more than him. The one time we called him to get us directions to a beach in port he basically blew us off, saying he had never heard of the place. Sorry sir, the correct answer would have been "I have never heard of it but I will look it up and get back to you shortly with some info." But no, there was no offer to take that step for us and that is inexcusable. Also as mentioned above, I wrote into the Dear Jovo box to the hotel director (which was encouraged in the Freestyle Daily with the promise of response) and received no response. No apology, no follow up call and no action on my problem. That would no have happened under Jenny Lim, who was our hotel director on the Gem. If you have a hotel issue and bring it to her, she gives you, the passenger, and your issue the attention it deserves. The bottom line is, on the Gem the staff is superb, they make you feel like family as soon as you board. On the Breakaway you just do not get that feeling. The staff does the bare minimum to make the ship run. For me, that was very unfortunate, particular compared to my other cruises. The Gem wins this category by a mile. So in the end we come to three points for Breakaway and two for Gem. One might think after seeing this that I would choose the Breakaway over the Gem in the future. However, at this time I would actually go back to the Gem. Although Breakaway does gave some great new features in the entertainment and food departments, I cannot get past the service level on Breakaway. The service on the boat makes a huge difference in my overall experience. Until Breakaway improves this, the Gem is my pick in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
I need to qualify my review so that similar type of cruisers benefit and those that could be put off without need will not be. Hope that makes sense. In the last year I've ridden twice on the QM2 in the grills, enjoying both an ... Read More
I need to qualify my review so that similar type of cruisers benefit and those that could be put off without need will not be. Hope that makes sense. In the last year I've ridden twice on the QM2 in the grills, enjoying both an eastbound and westbound journey. At 150k tons the QM2 holds 2,620 passengers. The NCL Breakaway, at similar tonnage held 4,509 for my week aboard. I chose the Breakaway exactly based on its name. A lousy winter and I just wanted a casual environment where I could relax and renew cold and weary bones. I was not looking for a formal ship and have a 3 cruise (Med (Dream, 11/01), Western Caribbean (Sun, 04/02), and New England (Dawn, 07/05) history with NCL so calibrated my expectations accordingly. OK, with that proviso, here I go. a) 4500+ (we had 4,509 with 700+ kids) people in a 150k ton ship is just too many, especially when we are talking only two banks of passenger elevators that ride on a very slow door close and movement rate. Constant tussles between passengers and frustrations were voiced, many often opting for stairs, even if it meant 5 or more flights, out of pure frustration. Having said that this ship is great for families. Though the cabins are very small, the Splash Academy and outdoor slides, rope course and putt putt course, along with the pools, an arcade, etc etc are tremendous for kids and family fun. Kids have a blast on this ship and are kept well entertained. (some of their parents can learn a thing or two but that's another topic) b) Inconsistent customer service: customer service felt like you were one among 4,500 most of the time, which isn't to say awful but don't expect a high touch service, especially if you hit a snag, except for The Haven, a segregated "First Class" area (I was in there the last 2 days). Friends of mine (two women sharing a cabin) had a very bad time of it. Their cabin had a kind of intense swooshing sound that would startle and waken them throughout the night (inside 13th deck). It took 3 complaints before they were heard (4 days into trip) and moved. Once moved their new room keys didn't work which took another round of complaints before it was understood they couldn't get in their rooms (they kept giving them (3x) new keys instead of having maintenance check the door). They were eventually moved to a third cabin (in 7 nights, 2 moves isn't great) and were finally able to catch up on sleep the last 2 nights (just saying that phase says everything about their experience). Not really how you want to spend 7 nights but they were good soldiers. c) Food overall was what I expected. A bit better then a catering hall and a bit above that in the specialty dining areas, though I never found a dessert I liked, including sorbet or ice cream, though the ship's coffee was very good. I thought it was just me but polled a bunch of folks and they agreed. I was great with starters and entrees (nice variety) but desserts, yuch. Breads were good too. I did the ultimate dining package allowing me to sample 5+ specialty restaurants. I ended up with Le Bistro 3x and Cagney's 2x with the main dining room (Manhattan and Savor) the other two. The Garden Cafe was well done with nice variety, spacious and well staffed, though I avoided it at peak day periods for fear of my life. d) Entertainment: if you can't find something you like on this ship you're not trying. From the rides (for the kids but I did too @ 58! - slides scared the heck out of me and were a blast) to Second City comedy, to Rock of Ages (didn't like this cast much but it was OK), ito jazz, to bank-e-okee, etc, there's a huge variety (of course casino) of things to do and see. e) Ambiance: Based in NYC it's clear the designers went for more of a subtle NYC sophisticated style over in your face stuff. Lots of use of wood style (I don't think it was wood) paneling, muted colors, etc. Deck space is often criticized for being tight with chair/chair/chair/chair setting. True - with the space taken for rides on the main sun decks this is not the typical pools with surrounding deck chairs and one above. Though there's a wonderful sunning space on the front of the very top, port side. Beautiful views and wonderful sunning place. Where there are tons of people, you feel it and in my case, wanted. to get away as much as possible, which leads me to, f) The Spa: where I spent most of my days. Great hydrotherapy pools ($198 a week for daily entrance), steam room, sauna, sauna-light and Salt room. Great location at forward on 15, a true get away (no kids allowed), not very populated (calm, relaxing) and well done. There's also heated stoned recliners good for warming. I also indulged in 2 massages with Boigoy, the only male masseur and they were excellent. I especially liked the stone massage. The spa made the ship for me. I'd work out in the morning and spend a lot of time in the spa hydrotherapy pool, jacuzzi, steam or sauna and just relaxing reading. This was well worth the price of admission and I'd have to consider better than the QM2 Canyon Ranch spa even. Embarking/Disembarking: NCL has this down well and there weren't issues beyond a long line for immigration. Getting a taxi across the street was a bit weird but ultimately easy. Never easy to cross the West Side Highway whatever the hour or day. Freestyle dining: I like it for the freedom it brings, along with the variety. Having said that you do miss a sense of home base for dining and getting to know your waiters, etc. Still, I prefer free style, especially when looking for an informal warm weather cruise. On the high seas with 'Cunard' I like one table and one main dining room. Overall it did the trick but I know I prefer something around 100k tons with a great spa. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
My wife and I just got back from a 7-day cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. We sailed during Spring Break because my wife works in the school district. It was our seventh cruise and our third on Norwegian. Due to Spring Break, there were ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from a 7-day cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. We sailed during Spring Break because my wife works in the school district. It was our seventh cruise and our third on Norwegian. Due to Spring Break, there were over 4800 passengers on board (1/3 of them kids) along with over 1300 crew. I thought that the cruise went well, despite the overcrowding. I have read many reviews about the ship and I will try not to repeat what other people have said, but truthfully, I had a hard time finding any negatives about this trip. We were looking forward to this trip for quite a while and we weren’t disappointed. We were interested more in the ship than where it was going. We had been to all three stops previously, more than once, so we didn’t bother getting off at the ports and stayed on the ship the whole week. You might think that’s strange, but it worked out great for us. We booked the Breakaway about a year ago and were able to choose a cabin with a balcony in the middle of the ship. We didn’t know at the time that you have a long walk to the elevators from the middle of the ship, but it wasn’t a big deal. The elevators and staircases are located about ¼ of the way from the front and rear of the ship with no access in between. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier early…about 10:15 for a 3:00 sailing. I’ll explain why we did that a little later. We got boarding #5. I’d say each number has about 200 people boarding with that number so I was a little surprised that so many people had gotten there that early. We waited about an hour before they started boarding, which is what I had figured. The overall boarding process was a breeze, from luggage to key cards to actually boarding. STATEROOM: Our cabin was clean and ready. I was surprised that there was more storage space than on the other ships we’ve been on. Both pieces of luggage fit easily under the bed and there was room for one more. There was a large closet with shelves and there were drawers for other items in different parts of the room, with some storage next to each side of the bed. The ship is only a year old so everything in the room should be clean and working and they were. The bathroom was a normal size for a ship, but somehow the shower seemed bigger than others. I read many reviews about the balconies being small but even though that was true, there was still room for two chairs and a small table. You just had to turn the chair a little sideways instead of facing the railing of the balcony. If you’re gonna complain about something like that, you might as well stay home. All the doors open outward into the hall which gives you a little more room inside. An interesting side note about the room is that the electricity doesn’t work unless there is a ‘key card’ inserted in a slot behind the door. Many ships and office buildings have started doing this to save electricity and costs. Sometimes you forget to put your key in the slot when you come in at night, but you get used to it. DINING: The Breakaway has many more places to eat than most other ships. Complimentary Dining; They have a ‘main dining room’ (long pants only for guys) called the Manhattan Room and they have two ‘satellite dining rooms’ called Taste and Savor. All three have the same menu. All have some of the same items all week long but they change some of the entrees and appetizers each night. We did not eat in the Main dining room at all but we had dinner in one of the others twice and breakfast in the others six times. The food and the service were fine with no complaints. The buffet is called the Garden Café and it has the usual buffet items that you would find on any ship and at any buffet. One night they had a fish concentration and served lobster tails, mussels and calamari with fra diavolo sauce and some other fish items. We had dinner there that night and one other night when they had an asain concentration. We had lunch there several times eating burgers with fries or chicken salad sandwiches or ham and cheese or whatever. They had somebody serving ice cream in bowls or cones (a little better quality) where as on other ships they had an ice cream machine. We never had a problem getting a seat or waiting on a long line for food. The ship has an Irish pub style restaurant called O’Sheehan’s which I think is named after the president or CEO or the owner of Norwegian or something like that. (not sure). They have pub food here (burgers, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, and so on.) The food is OK, nothing spectacular. We had dinner here once and I had breakfast there once. This place is the only one on the ship that is open 24 hours and there were plenty of people in there at 2:30 in the morning a couple of times. There is also another restaurant on Deck 16 called the Uptown Grill. This place is open for all meals and serves burgers and beef patties and has somebody cooking eggs for breakfast. Paid Dining; My wife and I decided not to eat in any of the specialty restaurants except for one because the food in the free restaurants are good enough so why bother. . We had dinner in Tepanyaki (specialty restaurant 25..00pp) on the last night and it was probably the best meal that we had. They cook on the table and the cook puts on a good show for you. The restaurant has eight tables which fit about eight people each and they have 5, 7 and 9:00 seatings. We did eat one dinner in the Shanghai noodle bar which was excellent. We had fried dumplings (potstickers), lo mein (which had many add ins) and fried rice. You have to pay a la carte in this place but it was inexpensive. We had dinner one night at the Cirque Du Soleil show. This was dinner and a show for 29.00pp/ Again, although I’d heard people complain about the food, I had no problem with the service or the taste. They served mozzarella and tomato appetizer and steak and shrimp for dinner. Meanwhile, the Cirque show is going on with the usual acrobatics that they create. The other specialty restaurants are Moderno (a Texas De Brasil type restaurant that serves meat off a stick right at your table), Cagney’s (steakhouse), La Cucina (Italian), Le Bistro (French), and Ocean Blue. All are 20 – 25 pp with Ocean Blue at a hefty 49.00 pp. They also have a la carte restaurants such as the Shanghai Noodle Bar (see above), The Raw Bar (oysters, clams, shellfish) and Wasabi (sushi). One of my favorites was Carlo’s Bake Shop, copied after the main bake shop in Hoboken, NJ from the “Cake Boss” TV show. This place had Cannoli’s (regular and chocolate), lobster tails (the pastry, not the fish), and other assorted cupcakes and desserts. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and believe me, this place is great. It’s located in the Atrium which is in the center of the ship on Deck 6. There is also a 24 hour pizza delivery service which is 5.00. And Carlo’s has a Gelato ice cream place outside on the deck. Most of the specialty restaurants have indoor and outdoor seating which is a feature only on the Breakaway. It is called the ‘Waterfront’. The outdoor seating is situated on a promenade type walkway on each side of the ship and is as if you’re walking down a street past the different restaurants. PORT AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: As I said previously, we didn’t get off at any of the ports. They were Port Canaveral in Florida (The only thing I would have been interested in would have been the Kennedy Space Center but we decided not to go. The excursions for Orlando-Disney were at least an hour away and were outrageously priced), Norwegian’s private island (been there before and the tendering process in seas that are not calm is usually a pain in the rear), and Nassau, Bahamas (I’ve been there about 8 times and most recently in October). ENTERTAINMENT: The Breakaway has more entertainment to choose from than other ships I have been on. Even though most of the shows are free, you do need reservations so the ship’s crew knows how many people will be at each show. It helps with overcrowding and space. Rock of Ages, a replica of the Broadway show, was in the theatre a few times during the week, with 7:00 shows and 10:00 shows. I wasn’t impressed but my wife enjoyed it. I heard from some other people that the Broadway version was much better. A dance show called ‘Burn the Floor’ was the other main show in the theatre, also at multiple times. This show was energetic and kept moving with excellent dancing and singing. A must-see if you like dancing. My wife and I also had reservations for a dinner show from Cirque Du Soleil called Jungle Fantasy which took place in the Spiegel Tent, which is just another venue on the ship. As I said above, it was the usual acrobatics that you would expect from Cirque and the food was good. We saw a comedian/magician in the theatre and he was entertaining, nothing spectacular. I had read in reviews to try out the Jazz place but the ship changed entertainers in there the week that we sailed so since we didn’t know anything about the new act, we didn’t go. They had the usual ‘Newlywed Game’ in the Spiegel Tent which was OK. The people that were picked for the game weren’t particularly funny and the Cruise Director had a hard time making them funny. Most of the other games/participation events (Deal or No Deal, Karaoke, Dancing with the Stars) took place in the Atrium. The Atrium is in the center of the ship and is open on the 6th and 7th floor. Unfortunately, the area was always crowded for these shows and didn’t have enough seats. The Bake Shop and a bar are also in this area, and all of the seats for them were taken by the people watching the show. Guest Services, Dinner reservations, Excursion reservations, Cruise Credit and the Internet stations are also in this area.. They really should have these events in an enclosed area with seating for everyone. I realize that they wanted to take advantage of the two floors of people watching an event (O’Sheehan’s was directly upstairs along with a bar and stools overlooking the Atrium) but it didn’t work for me and I’m sure other people felt the same. It was just too crowded. The Atrium did have a large movie screen which showed pretty good recent movies from about 8 – 11 on some nights. There were usually seats available for that. Far and away, the best entertainment on the ship came from the Dueling Pianos show called ‘Howl at the Moon’ which took place four times during the week in the Headliners club. Three amazing piano players (only two play at one time) entertain for three hours each time with requests that they take from the audience. It seemed that whatever was requested, they were able to play it in a sing-along fashion. They constantly kept the audience clapping and singing in a way that was energetic and contagious and amusing. I couldn’t get enough of it. Great idea and a great show. The place was packed every night and with the doors open, you could hear the music down the hall. We did not take advantage of the Second city comedy sketches. We saw them on another ship and didn’t think it was funny, so we skipped it. They had some themed dances such as 70’s Disco and 50’s & 60’s Night outside at night in an area called Spice H2O. They usually started at about 10:30 and like I said, it was way too windy to enjoy it. Also I wasn’t impressed with the DJ’s for these shows. For instance, during the 70’s Disco show, he played four songs in a row from the 80’s and none of them were disco. Not a big deal but…….we left after that. This Spice H2O area is an adults only area during the day, with hot tubs and spray showers and nice lounge chairs. It’s open at night though to the kids and, on this particular cruise, due to Spring Break, there were 1650 of them under the age of 18. They also had a fireworks show on the left side of the ship (they shot them off from the ship) on the fourth evening. It only lasted about 7 minutes but it was a nice touch. The ship had a special Nickolodeon program going on all week. I didn’t have any kids with me so I didn’t take advantage of it and didn’t hear anything, good or bad, about it from others. WEATHER: We lost the first two days outside due to cold weather and wind, but we figured that might happen leaving New York in the middle of April. Even though it was a nice 65 degrees when we left, it quickly turned windy and cold when you get out in the ocean. We ended up with four really nice sunny days in a row. Then it was cold on the last day as expected. LAYOUT OF THE SHIP: I complained briefly in the previous section about the problem with the Atrium and the shows that were taking place there. Another problem with the layout is that the casino is in the center of ship on the 7th floor with an open staircase going down to the 6th floor, and its situated where everyone, everyone, everyone has to walk through it to get from the front to the back of the ship on that 7th floor. O’Sheehan’s pub is right next to the casino and is often crowded so everyone has to walk through to get there. The Shanghai Noodle Bar is on the other side of the casino and both of these places are open areas and not separated by doors, nor is the casino. Now it didn’t bother me, but I can definitely see how it would bother people with children who are walking through to get where they’re going and don’t want their children associated with that environment. Children normally are not even allowed to walk through a casino. Also the smell of smoke from the casino is not contained in that area so you can definitely smell it when you’re in the area or passing through. The Waterfront is a nice area to walk through and maybe to eat at, but it was a little too cold and windy for most people to take advantage of that. I imagine that it would be great in the summer months but that’s only three or four months out of the year. Even though we were in Florida and the Bahamas, it was still April and it was still pretty windy and cold out there when the sun went down. We arrived early at the pier early because we wanted to get on the ship first so we could sign up for this special ‘Vibe Beach’ area, which is up on Deck 17. This area is for adults only and has space for only 50 people. They have nice lounge chairs, lounge beds, cabanas, 2 hot tubs, a bar, and a glass enclosed shower area to cool off. There is no pool up here. It costs 79.00 pp and it was worth it to us to not have somebody else’s kids running around our feet and to have hot tubs where there aren’t 10 kids sitting in it at all times. We got four good days of sun, so it worked out well. We were able to relax and met a nice group of people that we hung out with all week. The Breakaway also has a private area called the Haven. The suites in this area are extremely expensive and they have their own restaurant, their own pool and, believe it or not, butler service. There is a concierge there to make your arrangement for dinners and shows. There are full families allowed here with children. They also have special reserved seating at the shows and special pre-boarding. The ship, overall, is very pretty (it’s only a year old) and everything works right in the cabins and in the public areas (it’s only a year old). ACTIVITIES: There were counselors doing things with the enormous amount of kids all the time and the kids seemed to be enjoying it. They had the usual bingo games a few times during the week although I didn’t take part in them. The casino had Texas Hold-Em Tournaments, Blackjack Tournaments and Slot Tournaments. The Slot Tournament was a little disorganized and we had to sit around and wait for a long time. There were some games being played at the pool but we didn’t take part in nor watch them. The pool area was small due to the large water slides and ropes course and rock climbing wall and zip line and basketball court that they have in that area. There is a small bowling alley along with air hockey and pool for the kids. There is also an arcade which is on Deck 16. You can really have a good time with all of the extras they have on board, especially kids. SERVICE: There were 4850 passengers on board (1650 kids due to Spring Break) and the crew had their hands full but from what I saw, they did a great job keeping everybody happy and satisfied. I always got a ‘hello’ and a smile from each and every crew member I came across. Our steward Sherry, was very friendly and always called us by our first names, which means something. Everything in the cabin was kept clean and organized and I had no complaints about her. The Cruise Director (Dan “The Man” Ollson) was very good at his job. He made himself visible and always seemed to be working hard and yet he did stop and talk once with my wife and I for 15 minutes. Very nice gentleman and I wish the best for him. His crew of 123 members all seemed to be doing their jobs. None of them were particularly funny or entertaining although they did try but I didn’t hear about any complaints when it came to the staff. The waiters, waitresses. busboys, bartenders (a big hello to Courtney in the Vibe), buffet servers, and everyone who kept the ship clean at all times, did a great job. DISEMBARKATION: We carried our luggage off the ship so we didn’t have to go through the annoyance of putting our luggage out the night before, then waiting around to here your color called, then looking for your luggage in a sea of luggage. If you carry (wheel) your luggage yourself, you can leave whenever you want, whether it be 8:00 in the morning or 10:30 in the morning. The ship was docked by 4:30 AM. Overall, no problems at all getting off the ship. SUMMARY: Overall, we had a great time enjoying the ship and all that it has to offer. Even though we only had four days of sunshine, it was still worth it to cruise out of New York. It’s very exciting and I live here. If you can’t have a good time on this ship, than you’re doing something wrong. If you have any questions that I haven’t covered, you can e-mail me at tffd01@earthlink.net. I’ll be happy to answer your questions   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We arrived at the Port of Miami early, around 11:00 am, and decided to park at the Port, $140 for the week, ouch, but worth it to my wife and me. Embarkation was simple and fast, as has been our experience with NCL. We were on board the ... Read More
We arrived at the Port of Miami early, around 11:00 am, and decided to park at the Port, $140 for the week, ouch, but worth it to my wife and me. Embarkation was simple and fast, as has been our experience with NCL. We were on board the Getaway before noon and in our Mini Suite by 1:00 PM. Mini is a good name for it because it is not much bigger than a standard balcony but the extra room it does have seems to be in the right places. You get a little more room both in front of the couch and surrounding the bed, its not much but noticeable. The obvious extra space is in the bathroom which was nice with dual faucets on a single large sink and a nice sized shower with unfortunately low water pressure. Overall, I loved the decor on the Getaway, the colors, furniture, and flow were nice. The small spaces to sit both inside and out were enjoyable. We spent a lot of our time in the Spa with the Spa Pass ($199 per person) that gives you access to the Spa Hydro Pool, Saunas, Salt Room, and Steam Room. We love this area, as relaxation is a big reason we cruise. We also enjoyed the Ultimate Dining Plan ($119 per person) that gave us access to all the specialty restaurants. We ate 3 nights at Cagneys, 2 nights at Le Bistro, 1 night at Teppanyaki, and 1 night at Moderno's. Cagneys is a good steak house but their service was a little slow and inattentive, hopefully, over time this will be worked out. Their food however was good. They have these new Wagyu sliders, as a starter/appetizer, and they were fantastic. The steaks we had were good but I would not say great. Not sure I would pay the now $30 per person, but as a part of the dinning plan it was worth it. Le Bistro was very nice, loved the smaller room, fantastic service, and good food. This was my wife's favorite. We also enjoyed Teppanyaki, it is what it is and was fun for one night. Finally, being a meat guy how can you not love Moderno's? The service was very good, love the salad bar, and of course the meats. The only other places we ate were in the Buffet, it was nice, and in the Flamingo Bar and Grill above the Buffet. We loved this area (Flamingo) as it was rarely crowded and had a good breakfast with the basics and cook to order omelets as well as Latin Style foods. It is also one of those nice places to sit and watch the Ocean and scenery while you eat. Overall, I loved the getaway, have been to the ports of call (St. Martin, St. Thomas, Nassau) 3 separate times and enjoyed them as well. There is a lot said about them on CC so I will not talk about our experience. This is a great new ship. Everyone, for the most part (except for one or two not so happy staff) was fantastic and we can't wait to sail NCL again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
After seeing all the bad reviews of this ship, I have to write my review as we had a marvelous time. We had The Haven Spa Suite 14151 on the Epic embarking March 9. Embarkation Process: There was quite a line at the pier. Since we were in ... Read More
After seeing all the bad reviews of this ship, I have to write my review as we had a marvelous time. We had The Haven Spa Suite 14151 on the Epic embarking March 9. Embarkation Process: There was quite a line at the pier. Since we were in a suite I had thought there would be a line for suite guests, but all go through the same security line. It was long, but as the weather was nice, standing in line was OK - although I miss the much easier embarkation that we experienced for the Jade in Barcelona on two occasions. Unfortunately, right after security, no one checks to find out if you are in a suite to direct you to the VIP area, so, not realizing there was a VIP area, we went to the regular lines to check in. There was hardly any line in this area and the check in lady took us to the VIP suite area where we were escorted onboard - much better. The Spa Suites are lovely. 14151 has a gigantic balcony. There were already 2 chaise lounges and 2 chairs along with 2 tables on the balcony. PERFECT! We went to The Epic Club for lunch which was great. After lunch, we explored the ship and my husband signed up for the Texas Hold-em Poker tournament the next day. We had dinner at Shanghai's - really great spicy Chinese food - don't know why anyone would complain about these dishes. Shanghai's acts as overflow for the Manhattan Room - don't know why NCL allows that as it negatively impacts the experience for paying guests in Shanghai's. Fortunately we were almost done with dinner. This did create an interesting discussion between me and my husband about the issue of capacity planning for this ship. It is much larger than other NCL ships, so based on previous ships, NCL would really just be guessing as to how many would go to the specialty restaurants as opposed to the free MDR and buffet. Once the ship is built, they are stuck. If demand for the MDR outweighed demand for the other restaurants, what do they do? That night, I noticed that the tub in our room was leaking. As it was near midnight I didn't want to bother our cabin steward, so we mopped up the water, put the towels in the tub and went to bed. The next day, I explained to our cabin steward that it appeared to me that one of the pipes must be loose (based on where the water was coming from.) She had only begun working in this area on this cruise as the regular steward was on vacation. She filled the tub and after about 30 minutes, there was water everywhere and she wiped up the floor and contacted a plumber who came and took our tub apart and found a disconnected pipe, just as I had said. I told our cabin steward that between the two of us, we'd have cabin 14151 in the best shape it had ever been in! I subsequently found a few other problems, which she was quick to have fixed. All I can think is that the previous occupants of the suite never told their steward that light bulbs were out or that the tub was leaking. One of the surprises of the room is that the headboard actually has 2 pullout extensions with drop down tables that turn into nightstands! I had not noticed these until the 3rd night - at which time, I found out one of the extensions was stuck - another minor repair. None of these issues detracted from our stay in the cabin as the needed repairs were all immediately organized by our cabin steward. Our cabin steward did such an outstanding job on organizing the repairs, I gave her an extra $40 on top of her regular tip at the end of the week. She was so thrilled she hugged me and thanked my husband profusely. But, in fact, she deserved the extra money. She was always cheerful, always positive and always did the utmost to help and I repaid her by finding every issue that needed to be resolved in our suite and also monetarily for her excellent work in getting the issues solved. The first morning we discovered how absolutely great the shower was! This was possibly the best shower we have experienced in an NCL suite! We also enjoyed the use of the DVD player. I had brought along several movies and TV series for us to watch. My husband attended Blue Man group. He said it was a good show, although, he thought he had seen this particular show before. We both went to Cirque and really enjoyed that show. The dinner was so-so with only one choice (steak and overly salty shrimp) but the show was amazing. I"m not sure why they serve food in this show because, honestly, it was so good, it was hard to eat because I wanted to just focus on the show. We went to the ice bar. It is 10F in there. Of course we had to go to the first ice bar at sea. It was fun, but oh so cold - as expected. Apparently some Canadian spent more than 3 hours in there without a coat! in Jamaica, we went zip lining and the tubing on the river. I have been zip lining before, but not where you had to self brake. I've got no talent for the braking at all. We went on to the river tubing which was excellent. The water is crystal clear and cool and the tubes are very safe. There are areas where the tubes go through some small rapids which makes the ride a lot of fun. I would do the tubing again in a heartbeat! We had sushi that evening, which was OK but the offerings are rather routine and boring. I think that if NCL would do some more exciting roles such as those without rice - rolled in cucumber and rice paper, they would have a much busier sushi restaurant. I would hope NCL might look at the menu at edokusushi.com - especially the Maki rolls to get some better ideas about what people who really like sushi and sashimi expect from a sushi restaurant. Again, the sushi they did have was fresh, but rather average sushi rolls are the biggest thing holding back the sushi bar from being one of the busiest specialty restaurants on the ship. We ate at Teppanyaki one night and noticed the family sitting with us had come in with someone with a soy allergy. I'm not sure why they would have chosen Teppanyaki with the edamame and Miso soup with tofu and the soy sauce in the stir fry. But they did. Teppanyaki was your typical Teppanyaki experience. The chefs have a script they work from and do a good job of entertaining the diners. The food was typical Teppanyaki food. This was the first time I'd gone to Teppanyaki on NCL. That's probably enough for us. I wanted to try it and my husband reluctantly agreed to go along. We tried it and that's enough. Kind of like Benihana - you go once and that's enough. We did have fun talking with the other people at the table. On one side of us was a young couple on their first cruise. Then the family on the other side with the person with the soy allergy - they were very nice and it was nice to hear that they were all enjoying their cruise. I had meant to go see the action on Lobster night in the buffet. I didn't want lobster - I just wanted to see how the buffet handled that. I had visions of masses of people grabbing 6 or more lobsters at a time. This is the largest buffet I've ever seen on a ship and most of the time, when I went to observe the operation, it was under control and seemed well managed. However, the previous reviews indicate that lobster night was out of control. Unfortunately, I never made it to the buffet to see what was going on that night. It probably would have been very interesting to observe. One day we did a cabin crawl. We saw everything from a Studio to the Owner's Suite. ALL of the cabins were extremely nice. If I were alone, I would definitely cruise in a Studio because they set up group events - such as group dinners, where you eat with others from the studios. In some cases, some of the studio residents were married couples who like to sleep in their own room at home - so each had their own studio! The rest of the studio residents ranged from 20-somethings to retirement age traveling alone. I really think the Studios are a great idea! As to the controversial bathroom setup, well, it is what it is. Some people like it, some hate it but for me, the way I look at it, I don't own this ship, so it's not like I have to live with this forever. I find it different but it doesn't really affect me personally as it is not my property. It just is what it is. The Spa area - the thalisotherapy pool, saunas and so on were fantastic. My husband has only experienced this type of thing once at Hotel 1898 in Barcelona. He was reluctant to try it, but I managed to talk him into going based on his experience at Hotel 1898 and lo and behold, he loved the thalisotherapy pool! So much so, he wanted to go everyday for at least an hour. It was NEVER crowded in there, and we looked forward to it greatly each day. We also ate dinner at the Epic Club - really great. There were various shops on the ship, but nothing I needed. Still, they were a step up from the shop on the Jade! I think one issue was that the duty free liquor store only offered lower end products - no Louis XIII cognac, nothing to tempt a higher end buyer. Our last dinner was in Le Bistro and was outstanding. At any rate, the entire cruise was very relaxing. The food was good to excellent. We lounged on our balcony and our butler, Juan, brought us anything we wanted. We enjoyed peace and quiet and the lovely Epic Club for breakfast and lunch. Overall, it was an absolutely wonderful cruise. For suite guests, debarkation is arranged by the concierge so that you don't have to wait in line. Unfortunately, when we were sent down in the elevator, the concierge had disappeared and none of the employees knew where Haven guests were supposed to go. Next thing we knew, we were pushed into a general debarkation line with a few other Haven guests, including a 91 year old man. When we reached the main dining room, I noticed one employee had a cellphone and asked her to please call the concierge for us and asked for a chair for the 91 year old man, which she immediately provided. The concierge came to us and took us through service passageways and elevators to get us off the ship without a line - much better. Along the way, a ship employee spontaneously grabbed my luggage and pulled it for me all the way to the exit of the ship, where he had to stop. Debarkation after that point was swift and easy with literally no wait for a taxi. All in all, the only two glitches in our cruise really were the embarkation process (not being sent to the VIP line immediately after security) and the debarkation process where we got separated from the concierge and no other employees knew what we were supposed to do. In both cases, employees did their best to resolve the problem. It was overall a really great and relaxing cruise and I'd definitely sail on the Epic again. I loved the spa suite, even though I'm not a fan of the bathroom design - it was fine - after all, I don't own it - and having the access to the spa overrides the value of actually being in a suite in The Haven. I would choose a spa suite over any suite in The Haven just because of the included spa access. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We decided to try Norwegian for for 7th cruise, particularly since the Getaway was a brand new ship. We have previously sailed on Carnival, Disney, and Royal Caribbean. The embarkation disembarkation process was the easiest and smoothest ... Read More
We decided to try Norwegian for for 7th cruise, particularly since the Getaway was a brand new ship. We have previously sailed on Carnival, Disney, and Royal Caribbean. The embarkation disembarkation process was the easiest and smoothest of any of the other cruises we we were on. I am not certain if this was due to the Port of Miami or Norwegian, since this is the first time we sailed out of Miami. The Getaway is a beautiful ship and the staff is quite accommodating and friendly, but not to the level of Disney and Royal Caribbean. The cabin steward was very good and gave us great service even bringing us lounge chairs for our large balcony. The wait staff in the restaurants were good, but you did not get the extraordinary service that you see on Disney and Royal Caribbean. I think that the reason for this is that on Disney and Royal Caribbean you have the same wait staff every night. They get to know you, what you like and don't like, and their tip (which you give them on the last night of the cruiser) is dew pendant on their service. This is not the case on Norwegian as you may never see the same wait staff two nights in a row. Since you prepay the service charges and they will generally not get any extra from you. Overall they were quite pleasant and friendly, but that "extra" was definitely not there. While the food was good, it was not even close too being at the same level and quality as Disney and Royal Caribbean or even Carnival, for that matter. The menus in the main dining rooms www repetitive and not very creative. For example, in every main dining room, there was Salmon Tartare as an appetizer choice in every dining room, every night. By the 4th night you began to question its freshness. Also there was not much variation between the menus at Savor, Taste, and the Tropicana Room. While all ships have a few restaurants that have upcharges, that choices on the Getaway were numerous. However, I don't feel that the additional charges were, worth it. We ate at La Cucina, which was good and no better than there main dining room. As a matter of fact, I had chicken parmagina, which was on the menu the next night at the Tropicana room and was on the buffet at lunch the next day. Having been in the food industry, I can tell you that it appered that all food for all restaurants (speciality and main) were probably made in the same kitchens. The buffet was a big disappointment. The taste was good, but there was very little difference from day to day on what was available. While it appears to be a large buffer, it really repeats itself 4 times. On Royal Caribbean and Disney, when you enter the buffet, you are seated by the host and you have wait staff assigned to you table, that will get you anything you need. Not so on the Getaway, where you seat yourself, and the wait staff is almost nonexistent. If you can flag someone down to get a soda, it can take about 15 minutes for them to bring it to you. It is quicker to get up, go out to the bar and get your own soda. One day we went into the buffet a bit later than normal and while I was getting food off the buffer, they pilled the buffet pans off the line, with the serving spoon still in my hand. The coffee was very inconsistent, and on some days, I could not even drink it, and the scrambled eggs at breakfast were made from powdered eggs, which is totally unacceptable. The presentation at the buffet was certainly not at the same level as Disney, Royal Caribbean, or even Carnival. On these other ships, the buffet line id decorated beautifully which carved melon, flowers, carved ice, etc. On the Getaway, the food was just put out there. I feel that Norwegian "nickels and dimes" you to death. There seems to be a charge for everything. Upon arriving on the ship, on the other cruise lines, we were offered a complimentary drink of the day. Imaging my surprise, when we boarded the Getaway and the drink of the day was offered to me for $7.50. O Disney and Royal Caribbean you can use the steam room, sauna and thermal loungers without any charge. On the Getaway, you had to pay $199.00 per person to use these features in their thermal spa. We opted to purchase a cabana rental in the Vibe, which was quite nice and private, but found was a waste, after we saw our stateroom with its large balcony. They say that the most important deck on a ship is the pool deck, If this is the case, then the Getaway has failed in this department. On any other ship that we have been on, t=there is a distinct separation between the kids pool area and the adults only pool area. Not so on the Getaway. They are right next to each other and the adult pool is quite small and honestly would be small for a private home pool. Maybe that is why there was always plenty of lounge chairs available around the pool, whereas on the other ships, the pool was always packed. By the way, our Getaway cruise was a wild out, which would indicate that the pool should be crowded. The entertainment was FABULOUS and the best of any cruise. eE saw "Burn The Floor", "Legally Blonde The Musical", the magic show at Illusionarium, and several comedy shows. We arrived easily enough to get good seats and each show was fantastic and we hated for hem to end,. There was a $30 up charge to tyne Illusionarium which included dinner. While the show wads unbelievably great, the food was HORRIBLE. It looked bad and smelled even worse. They would be better off, just making this a show and take away the dinner. The amount of food that was wasted was a crime. Overall, we are happy that we took this cruise, to experience another cruise line along with a brand new ship. That being said, we will go back to Disney and Royal Caribbean for future cruises. The overall costs are the same, and the overall quality on Disney and Royal Caribbean are far superior. Of the cruise lines that we have sailed on, here is how I rank them: 1). Disney (the only negative is there is no casino) 2). Royal Caribbean 3). Norwegian 4). Carnival Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We have been on over 35 cruises, including the NCL Seaward in 1988, and on almost every cruise brand, and the Inaugural February 8, 2014 Caribbean cruise on the Getaway was ONE OF THE BEST CRUISE WE HAVE BEEN ON, with a few exceptions to ... Read More
We have been on over 35 cruises, including the NCL Seaward in 1988, and on almost every cruise brand, and the Inaugural February 8, 2014 Caribbean cruise on the Getaway was ONE OF THE BEST CRUISE WE HAVE BEEN ON, with a few exceptions to be discussed later. (There will also be comparisons to Royal Caribbean Oasis, the other mega ship we have cruised on.) SHIP DESIGN The ship never felt crowded. The ship is designed beautifully and flows excellently. Most of the action takes place around 678 Ocean Place, which is the 6th, 7th and 8th floor of the ship. The floor plan is great as everything is easily accessible on the 3 floors and has all the night life, restaurants, bars, shows, and shops. There are so many things to do, you will never be bored. The Waterfront is a great idea as it allows you to sit on the outside deck of the ship and have dinner or a drink and see the beautiful ocean, one of the reasons for cruising. (This is the opposite of Royal Caribbean Oasis, which tries to keep you contained within the ship and you can't even see the ocean unless you have a balcony cabin.) GUEST SERVICES Guest services is located in the Main Atrium on the 6th floor and is a very happening place as they have a large 2 story screen and many activities. Guest services was very friendly and efficient. We never had to wait in line more than a few minutes as they always had more than enough staff and also had someone talking to guest in line to try and resolve any issue so they did not have to wait in line. (On the Oasis, they never had enough staff and the wait was almost always an hour to talk to someone. They also did not have someone trying to resolve issues in the line.) CUSTOMER SERVICE AND STAFF The staff on the ship was very nice and friendly, one of the nicest staff we have ever seen. Everyone from the buffet, dining rooms, shows, shops and guest services was very nice and friendly. (The staff on the Oasis was very unfriendly and only seemed concerned with themselves.) FOOD BUFFET What we have learned from our many cruises is that the food in the buffet the first day will tell you how the food is going to be during the cruise. Once we tried the food in the Garden Café buffet on the first day we were delighted. The FOOD WAS DELICIOUS and we never had an issue finding a table easily. This continued throughout the cruise to the Main Dining Room and most restaurants. The Garden Café has the BEST buffet food of any ship we have tried. The food is even better than most other ships Main Dining Rooms. (The exception was Le Bistro, which was terrible, and O'Sheehan's which was OK). (The food on the Oasis was terrible in the buffet and all Main Dining rooms. The only good food was the Specialty restaurants that you have to pay for. Also, in the buffet they kept playing an announcement that saying if you have finished eating, you must leave to make room for others). MAIN DINING ROOMS There are 3 Main Dining Rooms. Savor, Taste and the Tropicana Room. We always ate in the Tropicana Room, because of its great atmosphere and dance floor. We also ate on a late night in Taste. The food in the Main Dining Rooms are DELICIOUS and is the BEST food we have had in any Main Dining Room on any ship. Also the variety is incredible. On the Menu are 8 starters and 8 main course. The menu in Savor and Taste are the same while the Menu in the Tropicana Room varies slightly from the other 2 dining rooms. The menus change daily. (This is very different than on the Oasis, which had a very limited Main Dining Room menu which was padded with items you have to pay for from the Specialty restaurants. Also the food in the Main Dining Rooms on the Oasis were terrible.) The Tropicana Room reminds us of a very expensive dinner club with a live band singing nice and relaxing music. The atmosphere is EXCELLENT and so is the music. The dance floor is huge and the service is excellent. Also, the dancers from the Burn the Floor show perform in the Tropicana Room the last 3 nights. We were able to get a table beside the stage and enjoyed a great dancing show and dinner, all included in the price of the cruise. After the show, we danced to very romantic music, especially on Valentines Day. This was one of the highlights on the cruise. For breakfast we ate in the Savor restaurant. The food and service was EXCELLENT everyday and the menu was the same as the buffet. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS LE BISTRO $20.00 We were looking forward very much to dinner in Le Bistro, the French restaurant, as we have tried it on other NCL ships and it was our best meal. Unfortunately, this was the WORST MEAL OF THE CRUISE. The French Onion Soup had no onions and no flavor. It tasted like chicken soup without the chicken. The French Onion soup in the free Tropicana Room was much better. The Escargot had a lot of butter, but no garlic or flavor. The Scallops were over cooked and hard. The only dish that was eatable was the Lamb Chops and they were only OK. The Lamb Chops in Moderno was much more delicious. We sat outside and the atmosphere was very nice, just like been in Paris sitting outside a café, including the unbearable smoke coming from the 7th floor casino above. After a few minutes all of our eyes were having reactions to the smoke from the casino. Because of the terrible food in Le Bistro, we cancelled our reservations for Cagneys, the steak house as we did not want to pay $30.00 and get another very disappointing meal. MODERNO $20.00 The food in Moderno was excellent and so was the service. The best item from the all you can eat meats was the Lamb Chops. I highly recommend you try this restaurant. 24 HOUR FOOD The Getaway has the full service O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill which is open 24 hours. But the menu is very limited after midnight, when they have only 5 items available, but at least they are hot dishes. The food is OK, the hot chicken wings had too much vinegar and the spinach and artichoke dip was just a bunch of unfinished spinach. The restaurant is located on the deck 7 and surrounds the 2 story screen from the 6th floor Atrium. O'Sheehan's has table seating, bar seating, a pool table and many arcade games. (On the Oasis, the only 24 food option was a was a cold sandwich restaurant, with cucumber sandwiches. For a drinks they only have 2 self serve pitchers of Ice Tea and Lemonade, which was always empty. The Oasis also never had a clean table to sit at.) ENTERTAINMENT The Getaway has some of the BEST entertainment we have ever seen anywhere. BURN THE FLOOR Definitely the BEST show you will ever see on a cruise ship or anywhere. The dancers are beautiful and talented. The singers sound great. We saw two shows in the Getaway Theater and 3 shows in the Tropicana Dining room while enjoying the delicious dinner. You could spend hundreds of dollars on a show and it wont be as good as this show. LEGALLY BLONDE We did not like this show nearly as much as BURN THE FLOOR. The Legally Blonde singers were not very good and the acting was terrible. We left halfway through the show. Other guests that really liked the movie and Broadway show, said it was only OK. ILLUSIONAIUM On this cruise they lowered the price from 40.00 to 30.00 for the Premium seats and 25.00 for the Standard seats, so you should really see the show. The magic itself ran from the average everyday things you always see to some spectacular feats. The dinner was really not worth it, a piece of steak and 2 shrimps. We went to the 5 30 PM show so we could eat after in one of the Main Dining Room. The dinner service was terrible. NCL should lower the price of the show, don’t serve dinner as there are much better free dining options on the ship, take out the dinner tables and put in more seats for the show. COMEDY SHOWS The comedy shows were either in the Getaway Theater or Headliners. The shows were very funny and worth the time. They had three comedians on the ship. GETAWAY THEATER The Getaway Theater is not a huge as other mega ships that is trying to seat everyone at one time. The Getaway Theater was cozy, nicely decorated and every seat was a good seat. FIREWORKS The same night as the 80s Deck Party, they had the fireworks show on the ship. Can you believe, fireworks on the ship. We originally started at the 80s Deck Party on the 16th floor, but it was a too loud. So we watched the fireworks on the Deck 8 Waterfront. It was incredible. ELEVATORS The elevators were fast and efficient. The trick is you have to press the button on both sides as the elevator on both sides are operated by each button. SPA We tried the Thermal Suite at the Spa which is 199.00 per person per week and is limited to 120 persons. It was awesome. The hot tub is huge with special sprayers everywhere. One of the best things in the spa is the Salt Bath, it was very relaxing. EXCEPTIONS This was a wonderful cruise and we had a blast. However, these items we did not enjoy. SMALL BALCONY The cabin was very nice and spacious, however the balcony was only 2 feet wide. Really, 2 people can barely fit on the balcony. The cabin was more like an ocean view cabin as the balcony was unusable. The only good thing was that since the balcony was so small, you could easily see the ocean from the bed, just like an ocean view cabin. CASINO SMOKING There were only a few smokers on the ship and as usual they only thought of themselves. The smoke filled 678 Ocean Place atrium and casino and made it very uncomfortable for non smokers. This is a policy NCL should change as almost everyone complains about it. CABIN STEWARD This was the worst cabin steward we have ever had. There were fingerprints on the TV, mirror and cabinets when we started the cruise and the same fingerprints were there when we completed the cruise and the fingerprints are probably still there nowo. We ran out of hand soap and bath soap on different days and had to call for refills, as the cabin steward never filled them. Also, some of our clothes went missing the first day the cabin steward cleaned the room, and they were never found, even though we spent the week checking the cabin for them. I am happy for my clothes, as they are still cruising the Caribbean, while I am back home. These things have never happened to us on any cruises we took. SUMMARY We had a blast on this cruise. We had such a awesome time, we did not want to leave the beautiful ship. The food was BEST of any ship we have cruised. The BURN THE FLOOR show was the BEST show we have ever seen anywhere. The Tropicana Room was INCREDIBLE. The food was DELCICOUS and the entertainment was AWESOME. We definitely plan to cruise on the NCL Getwawy again or on the new ship, NCL Escape.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
I boarded the ncl Gem in New York City was fairly easy despite long lines to get on board about 230. Took around 35 minutes. Upon entering my cabin they were some issues with things not working correctly but all in all the cabin was very ... Read More
I boarded the ncl Gem in New York City was fairly easy despite long lines to get on board about 230. Took around 35 minutes. Upon entering my cabin they were some issues with things not working correctly but all in all the cabin was very nice comfortable bed a bathroom with a shower with shower doors and a very small probably a 12-14 inch television screen. I've been on several hundred Cruises as a matter fact I used to work on a cruise ship back in the 1980s More recent days I sell predominately Princess cruises ,Holland American Cruises ,celebrity cruises and RCCL Caribbean cruises. Generally I go for the food and the service and not necessarily the games and parties I like to stay quiet in my cabin and enjoy the peace read some books watch some in the movies and whatever service and roam around the ports hanging with some locals if possible. However, the Bliss Ultra lounge with its beautiful velvet fabrics and lounge beds and bowling lanes drew me out several nights. The 50's night and the 70's night was fun. So many little Snookie and Pauly Ds on the dance floor! Took a few Yoga classes $12 each. Easy stuff. Nice class. The ship itself is beautiful it's based on gemstones it's done in jewel tones everything is purple , green emerald colors and Mardi gras type art work on the walls. The ceilings are very low and the ship makes use of every square inch of space because of it. There's many bars on board there is a number of MDR dining room restaurants where the dining is complementary and the food is not bad at the restaurants including the buffet. My only issue is the food is salted enough to give you a coronary This trip I am a solo traveler a woman traveling alone on a ship and I love it. Do what I want when I want to go or I want the eat and sleep its great! I'm not the only solo traveler on the ship there are others you have to pay double the price if you are a solo traveler unless you're traveling on one of Norwegian Cruise lines ships that have a studio like the Norwegian epic. I spend most of my time in the thermal Suite for 189$ for the 9 days has numerous heated tile beds and hot tubs that are not hot and steam room for men and women very beautiful and nicely laid out better than other ships such as Princess and Holland America. My only complaint would be that the water has to many chemicals in it and it burns your skin and your eyes Internet is a big rip off at $.75 per minute you can buy a plan for hundred minutes for $55 still huge rip off We are day 4 we are in Puerto Rico today- i'm trying to write this little by little each day at the ship cruise so because my memory is not that great these days So far I must admit the service that I've received as a solo woman traveler in her 50s has been very good my cabin steward is excellent as attentive and the food servers have been excellent been served very very quickly I have had numerous issues with my cabin neighbors making a racquet always laughing screaming slamming doors slamming doors two and 3 o'clock in the morning each night I had to call security on several occasions. Guessing that the walls are thinner than they should be. Eventually they moved cabins and I'm thankful for that. Anyway you get a lot of first-time cruisers on board and they think that they're the only people on the ship people trying to sleep and they're walking down the hallway having loud conversations, or kids running up and down the corridors. Have an inside cabin midship on deck four. Would love to get a better look at the haven cabins if i return with my family i'd consider it for the right price. I called ahead of time to confirm why there was so many crew areas on deck 4 and no one at NCL could answer me Well now I know what those areas are they are for disembarkation of passengers and also for the tenders, and baggage storage areas. Lots of noise can't say I recommend you staying on that deck if you want quiet. If you are prone to seasickness make sure you get a mid ship cabin on a lower level , people in the front and rear of the ship couldn't move around easily on rough seas. I will admit to you that I do like to sleep most mornings when I'm on a cruise So don't count on that too much here on the Norwegian gem Fellow passengers are either 50s 60s or 70s most without children this time of year mostly retirees. Lots of big bloated Americans. There are a few teenagers and a good handful of younger children under the age of five years old that are not yet school-age onboard I've sailed many times with RCCL Caribbean cruises and Princess and Holland , celebrity but apart from working for Norwegian Cruise lines in the 1980s this is the first time that I've been back. Food used to be bland without very much Vriety and their coffee used to be a liquid they didn't even have cream it was terrible was inedible food which is why I have not been back to NCL all these years However things have changed and they must have hired a good chef because the food that iVe had has been very good even in the buffet very good. One thing though, all the food is loaded with salt. Desserts are a little flavorless but for the tiramisu in the MDR and the crepes in the dinner buffet. The drinks are also very good and not overly priced at about between seven and nine dollars each drink There's not very much on television I think there's four or five channels and they don't play current movies unless you want to pay $10 for each pay-per-view movie They do nickel and Dime you to death even being conservative I will leave a $500 tab and that's just for one person But when you want to get out of New York City quickly and not me from Florida this is a good way out for nine days I booked my passage the day before and left following day I couldn't take anymore of New York and the snow the weather this winter is ridiculously horrific - Today we are in st Maarten if you come into Port Sunday French side is basically closed the Dutch side however is open and ready for business. St. Maarten is a very friendly island people are very very lovely and the beaches are beautiful what more needs to be said enjoy! If you stop in to a drugstore here on the island you can pick up very lovely French toiletries inexpensive cannot get in the states. One thing to remember if you do take the Norwegian gem out of New York City for nine days you're going to be at sea all but 30 hours so sure you choose your ship wisely and enjoy cruising or you may not be happy. There is a huge casino on board the ship it's very well equipped they even have pai GAO poker they have a live action poker game Texas holdem they have a craps game they also have a mini baccarat and a full baccarat along open on request as well as many blackjack tables and slots. I don't gamble but if you'd like to gamble will love this casino it's open late. Reaks of cigarette smoke though which makes it hard to breath in there. One thing I have to admit about the crowd on board they are predominately either New York or from New Jersey or from Canada . NYers can be a brash and there are more than a few wiseguys on board you may or may not be comfortable around their colorful language. The TVs are tiny. The stations are limited to about 8 and most of them like the kids nickelodeon channel repeats all day every day. Also there is bbc news and fox propaganda news, once and a while the cooking channel pops up and a station that plays movies from the last 5 years. Chicago , Lincoln, Sherlock Holmes , ironman, Thor . Bedding in the cabin was extremely comfortable. I have a bad back and i had no issues with the beds and the comforter was nice too. However, one day i stripped the sheets as i wanted the cabin steward to put clean ones on for me and the mattress cover was filthy. Looked like stains from passengers who had been sick. That wasnt a very nice surprise to see. Was in samana today. It's truly a ghetto. People looking to rip you off any way they can. People begging for your shoes. It's just sad. I don't recommend you go into town unless you want to go to the pharmacy. There are 5 or so. You can buy cheap meds without a script. I bought asthma inhalers that cost me 100$ in the USA for 7$ here. Also some Zithromax and a few other meds. Other then that stick to the Cayo beach or go to the waterfalls, just be careful who you go with. A ships tour in this case would be best for most, although a woman here went on a tour horseback riding booked it thru the ship, and when she went to the stables they asked her for another 50$. She gave it to them and hopefully NCL will take care of this for her . I met up with a few ship mates at a little restaurant and we ordered 3 piña coladas given a bill for 16$ when the menu clearly stated they were 12$ for the 3 of them. People are desperate here. Mind yourself. Children approach you begging for anything you have. It's hard to say no to kids when they clearly have so little. Haiti is on the other side of the Island in case you didn't know that. There are more then a few loud foul mouth New Yorkers on the ship. Pushy and demanding and rude to the staff and crew. It's hard to watch. I'm from NYC and find that behavior despicable. Also makes it difficult to find a peaceful spot on the ship. It's the in your face crowd here. Even in the thermal suite area where there are signs for silence , people ignore it. I pointed out the silence sign to one woman after she jumped in the pool shouting. Guess she has never been to a spa. She said ok ok. Then on her way out screamed at the top of her lungs, just for spite. Classless slob. I enjoy cruising but enjoy spending time in the cabin and reading in secluded nooks. There is a nice library on the ship and you can take out books on the honor system. There are no clocks anywhere . Freestyle yes but you still need to know the time for dinner and shows. Bring a watch . Ship is extremely clean I'd give it an A for sure in the cleanliness category . The shows I've seen were all decent and Entertaining enough. Dancers and singers good but not phenomenal 2nd nights jersey boys numbers were very good, and one night there was 1970's show that was kewl. The international show was excellent. Bring something white to wear for the white hot party and don't miss the chocolate buffet. Just be careful not to get trampled on. On port days you may be too tired to go to the shows . Tonight I'm so beat I'm ordering room service. Dinner in bed! Maybe spring for a pay for view. Last sea day here , heading back to NYC. It's so rough I was jarred out of bed. Everything outdoors is closed. 14 foot seas. Blustery. Actually looking forward to getting off the ship because of the fellow passengers just loud and obnoxious and won't shut up for a second anywhere you go. Guess that's par for the course, people are just on all the time and are overloaded. Don't know how to turn off. If your looking for peace I'd keep looking because there is none here. Ships full to the brim every trip I've been told. If your here with your family and your an American or Canadian you'll be happy enough with all you receive on the NCL gem. After all , they are leaving from NYC and we are the toughest crowd to please. We demand the best food the best shows the best service. Why leave the city for less? So they will cater to you. Just ask. Chances are they will accommodate you for whatever it is you are requesting. Bag out before midnight, ready to disembark in the morning. 9 days is enough here when the seas get rough. In spring you will have better weather and more time outside going out and coming back.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our second cruise on the Pearl....identical cruise...one year later...because we liked the first one so much. We prefer the smaller ship although it's easy to get lost on this one too. The entertainment was fantastic as ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Pearl....identical cruise...one year later...because we liked the first one so much. We prefer the smaller ship although it's easy to get lost on this one too. The entertainment was fantastic as usual... Our Steward Arlan (Cabin 5036) was amazing...the food was terrific. My husband and I usually eat in the Palace Garden because it is beautiful, relaxed and served beautifully. I particularly like having my tea served in the lovely ceramic teapots that hold about 3 cups of tea v/s the little metal ones that drip (Carnival) or a small mug as at the self serve NCL stations. We both love to lounge and read on the Spinnaker loungers as well as exploring to find other little spots to sun, or read without facing hoards of people. The theatre is welcoming and comfortable,except the front row seats which probably should be replaced. We enjoy the casino when it is quiet because I am allergic to smoke and cannot be there when it is busy. WHY ON EARTH IS IT STILL ALLOWED IN A CLOSED ENVIRONMENT?!!! The best part of this cruise for me was finding out about the spa pass to the thermal suite! It has spoiled me now...I will not be able to enjoy a cruise ever as much without it. The pass allows access to the spa for the full week to enjoy the thermal jacuzzi pools, hot tubs, aromatherapy room. sauna and warm tile loungers. Towels and robes and water, tea and fruit juice is always available in the lounging area. LUXURY, LUXURY!!! The passes are limited to about 84 passengers and thus it is seldom "busy" and almost always zen like. I didn't know about it our first time on the Pearl, so I dropped the ball on that one. Read Less
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