For more performance-based entertainment options, start with the Getaway Theater. With an art deco-inspired entrance and box office area, the venue hosts the majority of onboard shows, including the Broadway musical "Million Dollar Quartet" (beginning May 15). The show follows a night in the recording studio with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, and features many of their crowd-pleasing hits. Passengers can also head to the theater to check out dance revue "Burn the Floor," a riveting 55-minute production taking place in Havana, as well as other more traditional entertainment options.
Game shows, such as "Jeopardy" and "Deal or No Deal," are held in the Getaway Theater on select evenings. A popular draw is the current movies shown in 3D in the theater in the evenings.
During the day, Headliners comedy club, near Le Bistro on Deck 6, is used for Bingo and several art auctions. The big screen on Deck 6 in the atrium is used for a larger view of towel animal-folding and fruit-carving demonstrations, as well as a variety of Q & As with entertainment acts, such as performers from the Grammy Experience and the magicians from Illusionarium. Dance classes, casino raffles, arts and crafts, behind-the-scenes tours and other free events rotate throughout the cruise. Cupcake- and cake-decorating classes are for-fee and held during select times. You can also elevate your lunch into a show with "Wine Lovers, the Musical" (see Dining section).
At night, Levity Entertainment Group's comedians perform 12 shows per week at Headliners, a combination of scripted standup and improv sessions by Second City. Warning: These are not necessarily kid-friendly, so make sure you check beforehand about the content if you are thinking of bringing children. Reservations are necessary for the show, but we easily got seats several times by showing up early and waiting to see if empty seats were available.
Headliners also doubles as home to the impressive "Howl at the Moon" dueling piano show, which pits two pianists against each other as they play passengers' requests. The show generally lasts for several hours, allowing you to come and go as you please, but with a bar in the same room, there's really no need to leave. The piano players perform a variety of classic songs across the ages and invite requests and participation in the form of dancing. It can get pretty raucous.
Bliss Ultra Lounge, Getaway's Deck 8 nightclub, gets a nod as the best place to bump and grind until 4 a.m., should that be your activity of choice. In the evenings, Bliss hosts karaoke, but after dinner, it turns into a trendy lounge with funky chairs and tables, purple and blue lighting, and a DJ who plays lots of hip-hop. Nights are themed, ranging from '50s and '60s to hits of the '90s. Be sure to check your Freestyle Daily for the night's music selection.
Each night seemed to end at the sun-deck-by-day Spice H2O, with a variety of themed dance parties. The most popular, by far, was the Glow Party. (Get there early for glow face painting.) We were surprised to find it was appropriate for all ages, and having cruisers ages 2 to 82 getting down makes the event that much more fun for families. An '80s party, complete with flash mob of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," was also a night of nonstop dancing and "This is my song!"
As of November 2015, The Grammy Experience has been replaced by Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club, also on Breakaway. This is your late-night hangout to grab a drink, hear some live music and saunter out to the Waterfront portion of the venue for some fresh air. (Music is piped outside so you can still enjoy the blues.)
The sprawling 18,000-square-foot Getaway Casino on Deck 7 fans out around the main staircase at 678 Ocean Place. But rather than being contained in one room, it stretches from just outside the bar of O'Sheehan's all the way to Shanghai's Noodle Bar, so you'll find slots and tables lining the corridor and spaces as you walk along the ship. Although smoking is only allowed in the center area of the casino (and not in the corridors leading to O'Sheehan's and Shanghai's), the smell still permeates the midsection of the ship. Norwegian says it has installed adequate ventilation and has no plans to change its smoking policy. The casino has more than 300 slot machines and 26 gaming tables, featuring poker, blackjack, roulette and craps.
And, finally, combine dinner and a show at the Illusionarium (see Dining section). We were surprised to find that, six months after the ship's launch, the acts had almost entirely changed, bringing new life to the show and making it more entertaining the second time around.
If you're in search of a beer or a cocktail, you have plenty of choice on Getaway, which has nearly 20 bars. Deck 8 is a hotspot, including a dance club, mojito bar, ice bar and cigar bar. The Waterfront is also a fantastic place to sip a drink among the ocean breezes. Bars and venues on Deck 8 spill outside, providing an entirely new nightlife scene.
The Bar at the Atrium (Deck 6): Ideal for a tipple in the middle of it all. Positioned centrally in the main atrium -- near the guest services and shore excursions desks, the Internet cafe and a giant movie screen -- you can absorb your surroundings, drink in hand, while watching your fellow passengers come and go or participate in activities like "sing it if you know it" karaoke.
Mixx (Deck 6 aft): Located between Getaway's two main dining rooms, Taste and Savor, Mixx is pretty standard as far as bars go, but its proximity to both restaurants makes it a good choice for after-dinner drinks.
O'Sheehan's (Deck 7): This spot is the place to go for beer (it's on tap) and an order of wings, burgers, and fish and chips while watching one of several TVs positioned throughout the restaurant and bar areas, which span a large portion of the atrium. If your team isn't playing, you can also bowl, test your skill at arcade basketball or enjoy video games like PAC-MAN. Note: Food is free at this 24-hour venue, but drinks and game play cost extra.
Bar 21 (Deck 7): This bar gives off an upscale ambience in spite of its location in the Getaway Casino. Easily accessible and done up in light, neutral colors, it's a nice spot to sip a drink, whether you're betting the night away or just passing through. Amid the gorgeous tile work, individual betting machines are embedded within the bar so you're never too far away from the action.
Sugarcane Mojito Bar (Deck 8): Sugarcane offers plenty of Latin flavor. With palm tree decor, live music, aqua-blue lighting, tropical chairs and, of course, mojitos served with raw sugarcane, this cozy bar is reminiscent of what you might find at an upscale Miami resort. We recommend getting a flight -- six sweet and savory varieties, starting at $15 -- to select your favorite for the remainder of the cruise. It's a lot to drink for one person; try sharing among friends. Outdoor seating is available.
Sunset Bar (Deck 8): Sunset Bar channels the spirit of Hemingway with dark woods, plush seating and a literary theme, just across from La Cucina. It's quiet and intimate -- perfect for chatting without having to shout. Note, however, that it also leads to the Humidor Cigar Lounge, so you might get an occasional whiff of smoke. An outdoor bar extends onto the Waterfront.
The Svedka & Inniskillin Ice Bar (Deck 8); $20 per person: The Ice Bar offers a change of pace for anyone who has had it up to here with the standard bar scene. For an added fee, ice bargoers gain admittance for a limited time, as well as two drinks from a predetermined list and the use of oversized silver parkas to keep them toasty while sitting on giant ice cubes.
Prime Meridian (Deck 8 aft): Prime Meridian is a relaxing, dark-wood bar, located smack in the middle of the giant room that houses Cagney's Steakhouse and Moderno Churrascaria, the ship's Brazilian steakhouse. If you'd like pre-dinner drinks while you wait to be seated or after-dinner drinks to chase your filet mignon, it's the perfect spot. It is large, and was never crowded during our sailings.
The Grammy Experience (Deck 8): This venue (Fat Cats on other ships) spills out onto the Waterfront and is decorated with various bits of memorabilia, curated from the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. This spot is a must for any music-lover. By day, you can grab a drink and check out the exhibit. By night, it hosts guest performers (see Entertainment).
Waves Pool Bar (Deck 15): Waves is the ideal choice for sunbathers who need only walk a few steps to snag a pina colada or a bucket of beer.
The Flamingo Bar & Grill (Deck 16): Another underrated spot at Flamingo is its bar, beautifully surrounded by blue tiling in a quiet, shaded area with a television playing international sports. A full bar is available, and seating is plentiful. There was never anyone there, save for the occasional walk-up to bring drinks back to a table or the pool area.
Getaway's main pool area is located on Deck 15; it's a relatively small pool, considering the size of the ship. It's surrounded by four whirlpools, which were packed during our sailing. A secondary kids pool area is also located on Deck 15.
Those who long for action will be at home on Getaway, which features plenty of activities to get your heart pounding. We love the five waterslides that make up the ship's Aqua Park on Deck 17, especially the two fast-and-furious Free Fall slides that send riders on a scream-inducing plunge. The other slides offer tamer but still fun options.
Those who want a dryer thrill can take to the pirate-themed ropes course, also on Deck 17, where passengers are hooked into harnesses before climbing over various obstacles. The brave can try out an 8-foot plank, which extends over the side of the ship. Once at the end, smile for the camera; you can buy the photo at Click Photo Gallery. The course also features a short zip line. A 48-inch minimum height requirement applies for passengers who climb the ropes course. The area also features a 33-foot-high rock climbing wall (height restrictions also apply) and a nine-hole mini-golf course (also pirate themed) below.
Spice H2O (Deck 16) and Vibe Beach Club (Deck 17) are the ship's adults-only spaces. Spice includes hot tubs and a waterfall. Once the sun goes down, passengers can dance the night away; this is where the bulk of the ship's theme night events take place. Vibe is a much quieter space, where passengers can chill on loungers to the sounds of a water feature or take a dip in the oversized hot tub. The venue features cabanas and caps the number of passengers at 60 for crowd control. While Spice is free to use, Vibe requires a fee ($79 per week, $20 per day), and passes can sell out quickly. The two-person cabanas in Vibe require a separate reservation of $299 per week, but this includes access to Vibe, as well as a food and beverage credit. Vibe's claim to ultimate sunbathing fame is complimentary spritzes, water, chilled towels and fruit skewers while you bake.
The Deck 6 atrium offers the usual guest services and shore excursion desks, a coffee shop and a bar. Tucked away in a corner of the ship, off the starboard side of the central atrium, the traditional public areas -- library, meeting rooms, card room and Internet cafe -- are gathered almost as an afterthought.
The Internet cafe consists of 12 computer terminals oddly arranged next to a stage that hosts live performances in the evening. The layout rarely affords passengers a quiet space to check email and surf the Web. Wi-Fi is also available throughout the ship. Prices for getting online include both a pay-as-you-go option (95 cents per minute) and packages (100 minutes for $85 or 250 minutes for $129). Packaged minutes can be used interchangeably on ship computers and personal computers, and a $3.95 activation fee is levied on all users on initial login. Printing is available for 50 cents per document. The manager's hours vary, depending on whether the ship is in port or at sea; you can find hours posted each day in the Freestyle Daily, Norwegian's daily schedule.
The small but attractively decorated library is laid out like a comfy little lounge and offers books and e-books for borrowing. The selection of titles, as on many ships, is relatively limited. The card room is elegantly decorated, with maritime photos and posters lining the walls; it offers a small collection of games, as well as tables and chairs for playing them. The tiny and sparsely decorated Atlantic and Pacific Meeting rooms are across the hall from the library and card rooms. The rooms have a retractable wall, which, when opened, leaves a space that would still struggle to accommodate anything but a small group.
Click Photo Gallery and shopping are on Deck 8. Getaway features all the traditional cruise-ship shopping, including fine jewelry, duty-free alcohol and cigarettes, various sundries, clothing and accessories, and lots of Getaway-branded items. The photo gallery offers a cruise ship standard selection of cameras, binoculars and bric-a-brac (bobble-head dolls), along with photo packages. Passengers can get a 10-photo package for $129.95 or 20 photos for $199.95. Full price lists are available on request.
There are no self-service laundry facilities on Getaway.
At 23,000 square feet, Norwegian Getaway's Mandara Spa, Salon and Fitness Center is located aft on Decks 14 and 15. The opening hours are from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except for the last day, when it closes at 8 p.m. Spa treatments run the gamut from massages and teeth whitening to facials and cellulite removal. Before your treatment, you're ushered into a Relaxation Lounge on the spa's lower floor, which features cushy brown loungers and an array of flavored waters and teas. The treatment rooms themselves are spacious, with doors thick enough to muffle sound from the hallway.
Couples treatments are also available (at significant cost) in the ship's Spa Villa. Men can get shaves and facials, while teens and kids have specific (and fun) treatment options. Various mother/daughter and father/son treatments are available, too.
The spa also offers a Thermal Suite with a steam room, dry sauna, thalassotherapy pool, hot tubs and heated tile loungers. The area also features a salt room, a trendy land-spa experience reputed to provide therapeutic benefits for those who breathe in the salt air. Use of the Thermal Suite costs $45 per day or $199 for a weeklong sailing. Access is not included in the cost of your already pricey treatment.
The fitness center on Deck 15 is pretty sizable and cleverly separates cardio and free weight/weight machine spaces, which eases crowding. Cardio equipment includes treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and a rowing machine. The weight room features a small (and quickly crowded) mat area that's set aside for stretching. Getaway offers a number of exercise classes. TRX suspension training, Fly Wheel cycling and a boxing class require signup ahead of time and carry a fee. Other classes, such as stretching and abs, are offered for free. Zumba was offered on our sailing at the basketball court on Deck 17. It was hosted by one of the Burn the Floor dancers, it proved a fun workout, and it was free. Check your Freestyle Daily for days and times.
Those who want to take their exercise routines outdoors can hit the jogging track, located on Deck 15, but because it's in a high-traffic area (near the rock climbing wall and dining venues), it's only open before 9:30 a.m. and after 6 p.m.). The track is on the small side: Eight laps equal a mile. It's also just one lane, meaning it can get quite crowded during peak times. We found that passengers tended to use the jogging track space more for standing on than for running, so if you want to get in some mileage, try lapping the Waterfront early in the morning.
Norwegian looks after kids onboard with a huge variety of options, so there's no reason for anyone between the ages of 6 months and 17 years to be bored.
Splash Academy is the main kids club -- a two-deck supervised space, located on decks 12 and 13, forward. It's a large area connected by an internal staircase, with lots of spaces for each different age group. What we found odd, however, is that it's entirely enclosed with neither outside space nor even a window. Considering Getaway will be based in Miami, and Norwegian has made such a huge fuss about the outdoor Waterfront area on Deck 8, this made no sense to us.
Kids in Splash Academy are divided by age groups: Turtles (3 to 5), Seals (6 to 9) and Dolphins (10 to 12). Guppies (6 months to 2 years) can use the Splash Academy facilities only if accompanied by a parent. A completely separate teen program -- Entourage, for 13- to 17-year-olds -- is located on Deck 16, aft.
Turtles and Seals have Deck 12 to themselves; Dolphins have Deck 13. The two floors are decorated with lots of vibrant colors and designs on the walls (we loved the Spy Wall) and also include a TV room with plenty of chairs, tables and beanbags. The program for all age groups is action packed, with everything from fashion shows and pirate-themed nights for the older kids to a jungle-themed "safari" and arts and crafts for the younger kids. On sea day three, the kids put on a circus show, entitled "Big Top at Sea," in the Getaway Theater. Even the 3- to 5-year-olds get in on the action with face painting that turns them into lions and tigers.
Guppies (6 months to 2 years) are welcome at Splash Academy, but parents are required to stay with them at all times, as the ship does not provide childcare service. However, the Guppies program (taking place on Deck 13) does offer some fun for parents with babies, including the Wee Can Too program that lets infants be artists with special edible paints (made with vegetables). Guppies also have a completely separate -- but quite small -- soft playroom on Deck 16, with a large picture window overlooking the Sun Deck. Age-specific activities are provided.
Parents can check their kids into Splash Academy using tablets at the main desk on Deck 12. Kids are issued wristbands, which they wear for the duration of the cruise. Splash Academy is open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day. On sea days, it closes between noon and 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; on port days, there is a $6 charge per child for supervision during meal times. After 10:30 p.m., Splash Academy turns into the Late Night Fun Zone, which includes gaming with Nintendo's Wii U, building forts and crazy tag. If all this sounds pretty stimulating for that time of night, kids can also find a quiet place where they can nod off, but there are no dedicated beds or cots. Late Night Fun Zone costs $6 for the first child and $4 for each additional child within the same family.
A kids' splash pool is located on the main pool deck, which has fountains and slides.
For teens, Entourage is a separate space way up on Deck 16, aft, near the video arcade and beside the entrance to Spice H2O. In contrast to Splash Academy, this space is flooded with light, with huge picture windows affording great views from the top of the ship. It operates completely differently from Splash Academy, with teens allowed to come and go as they please; parents sign a waiver, and staff do not have the authority to make kids stay. The lounge's open hours are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on sea days and 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on port days.
Entourage features a video jukebox and dance floor, four gaming stations with Wii U, air hockey, foosball and a two-sided DJ emulator -- one of five in the world (another is on sister ship, Breakaway) -- where kids can learn to DJ. DJs also are on hand during special events to teach kids, with pros from big nightclubs and festivals like Coachella providing instruction. Activities include pool parties, quizzes and karaoke. Teens apparently love it, and it's a great place for them to meet other teens. (It's also unlikely you'll see much of yours for the duration of the cruise.)
The video arcade has an array of games, which are $1 to $2 per play, so be careful when sending kids with their cards to freely swipe.
All in all, the great features and awesome staff make the facilities onboard Getaway undoubtedly some of the best at sea for children and teens.