Norwegian Getaway ‘cruise to nowhere’

When the opportunity recently arose for my wife and I to try something new in the way of a cruise line that we had previously never been tempted by it was a no brainer.

Norwegian Cruise Line advertised a one night trip on their brand new Norwegian Getaway so  we thought we would check it out and see if our initial instincts had been correct.  We rounded up a couple of friends to accompany us and booked a ‘cruise to nowhere’ sailing from Southampton.

Norwegian Getaway, a 3,969 passenger vessel,  called into Southampton as part of her post delivery maiden voyage across to Miami and a number of days had been allocated to overnight taster cruises for UK travel agents and others interested in seeing this second in the class of ship….

Check in was slower than we had expected but once onboard at least we found our accommodation was ready.

We had booked a ‘mini-suite’ on 10 Deck, 10830…

*****

Our bathroom  had a large, all singing all dancing shower with jets shooting everywhere, and an enormous basin which resembled a horse trough.  In its favour, the shower did have very practical sliding doors rather than clingy curtains.  Soap and shampoo dispensers were provided, but no other toiletries at all, not even a shower cap.

Our friends were allocated a family balcony on 12 Deck.  The cabins were identical – compact but comfortable – with only the bathrooms being different – a smaller but perfectly efficient standard shower and basin

There was no guest information book, no ships map, no daily programme. All the information we needed could be found on the TV. There was a one cup coffee machine, tea and coffee bags and wooden stirrers.

The balcony…

…was small and narrow with two upright chairs and a tiny table – certainly no room for a lounger.

With limited time on board, and little to unpack,we headed out to explore the open decks whilst the sun was still shining. First impressions were that this ship would certainly keep the whole family amused – hot tubs, pools with water slides…

*****

…climbing wall, crazy golf, trampoline, jogging track.  Tim and I immediately adopted macho mode and could not resist the temptation to play Tarzan on the aerial rope course…

*****

…culminating in the ‘zipwire’ track’….

Yes, that’s me up there.

Continuing on the upper deck we next discovered that, like the trend on many cruise lines, NCL have an eye for offering  passengers willing to pay a little more a world of privacy and luxury – The Haven.

Billed as a  ship within a ship,  the Haven is an exclusive area only available to guests booking into the luxury Haven suites. It boasts a private pool with its own valet service, its own exclusive restaurant and white tablecloth in-suite dining amongst privileges. And of course, considerable well appointed deck space…

*****

Compare the space available in the above photographs with what is on offer elsewhere…

An exclusive area for Suite Guests there is an immediate aura of better quality and pretty well unlimited space

Getaway’s Freestyle Cruising ethos offers a wide range of dining  options and the freedom continues with a broad variety of activities and entertainment. NCL boast of 27 dining options on Getaway along with 22 bars and lounges. As it so happened we were in the vicinity of the Garden Café and decided to see what was on offer for lunch. There was the usual buffet bun fight, a reasonable choice of dishes, complimentary ice cream machines and pretty bland desserts. But on this occasion it was convenient.

Suitably recharged we continued our exploration. Dotted around the ship were large, interactive screens where guests could make reservations for entertainment and  restaurants, plus find all the information they needed.  This facility was also available on the cabin TV, and it certainly alleviated the need to rush dinner to get a seat at the show.

 

I was surprised to see that one entertainment venue,  The Illusionarium,  was actually subject to a charge – $29.99 per person

*****

We booked to see “Legally Blonde The Musical” a full  90 minute production that was very good if a little “shouty” for our taste.  This was free, but the other main entertainment, called “The Illusionarium”, also illustrated above, was on offer for just under $30 per person.  Funnily enough the price was reduced late in the afternoon to £24.00 – I wonder why?!!

Other entertainment included the fun of the Duelling Pianos under the banner ‘Howl at the Moon’ in the Headliners venue…

The Duelling Pianos are a  great Las Vegas favourite of ours.

Nearby  a Grammy winning flautist in the aptly named ‘Grammy Experience’

A museum by day and a jazz and R&B Club after dark where past Grammy winners and nominees will perform…

…and of course the Getaway Theater

…where we saw the full 90 minute production show, Legally Blonde

The dining options on this ship seemed endless.  In addition to the Garden Café standard buffet there were  five other complimentary restaurants and nine speciality ones, with charges ranging from $15 to $49 per person.  They offered seafood, Italian, French, Japanese, steaks, pub food  etc – something for everyone.  We chose the Tropicana Room, a vast 680 cover restaurant with a dance floor for our evening dinner. A particularly good Latin Band played throughout the evening  for our dancing pleasure.

****

******

We were delighted with the quality of our meal and three of us chose this excellent rack of lamb. Our waiter, Alladin, was charming and efficient.  The wine list offered a wide range from around the world that was, for a cruise ship,  very  reasonably priced…

( A bottle of Pinot Grigio and a bottle of Chianti Ruffino came to $87.75 including gratuity and Port Tax.)

A selection of other dining venues included the Teppanyaki Hibachi Japanese Restaurant at $25.00 a head…

Moderno Churrascaria at $20.00 per person…

The $15.00 per person  La Cucina Italian Restaurant

and the À la carte  venues such as Shanghai Noodle Bar

The Raw Bar

and Wasabi…

Subject to warmer climes of course The Waterfront, an outdoor boardwalk style venue with interconnected doors to both bars and a selection of cover charged restaurants…

*****

Before our departure the next morning we took breakfast in the Savor Restaurant. It was a very relaxed affair with waiter service.  The menu was Americanised with lots of pancakes and strange combinations of syrups but we enjoyed what we had, particularly the excellent coffee.

This is of course a very large ship and it has many good features. The Atrium is particularly well placed centrally at the hub of dining and entertainment…

or viewed the other way

Another particularly good innovation is the electronic notice boards dotted around the ship that during the course of the evening

indicate the availability in the restaurants…

While easy navigation in the accommodation areas is innovatively designed into the carpets: follow the fish for your nearest exit/stairway/lift well…

In summary, we had a marvellous time on the Getaway, but  it confirmed that our first instincts were correct. We are unlikely to book a full cruise on her for a number of reasons.  The cabin was too cosy and the wardrobe  barely large enough to house my shoe collection let alone my clothes!  The  safe was not large enough to take my Apple Ipad and a suite without a bathtub, toiletries and bath robes hardly warrants the description.

It is a laid back ship with a relaxed dress code so no sense of   occasion. Freestyle is the order of the day for each and every activity whether it be drinking, eating or pursuing outdoor activities.

We found it  hard to find a bar with a comfortable seat – they are there but in very limited numbers – high stools for perching are everywhere, even in a some of the speciality restaurants – certainly if I am paying extra for a special  dinner I want to relax and enjoy it. The target market for this style of ship is ideally  younger families who just want to chill out and have fun. I have noted that between now and April 2015 the ships itinerary consists solely of one week cruises out of Miami calling at Philipsburg, St. Thomas and Nassau.

I thought the accommodation would barely pass muster for a 7 day cruise and to label our cabin a s a mini-suite was a complete travesty.

Having said that it is the American short cruise market that this ship is aimed at and I would expect it to be successful in just that. After all, I have said often enough that these cruise companies certainly know their market.

13 responses to “Norwegian Getaway ‘cruise to nowhere’

  1. Another excellent review & photo’s SR, you were blessed with the weather it proved rather wet for us the following day.

    Agree fully with your summary, especially the wardrobe which left my long dress trailing the bottom shelf, mind you with the more relaxed “dress code” on a 7 night cruise perhaps no need for the long dresses!

    Some interesting an innovative features but overall we missed somewhere comfortable to chill for a quiet and relaxing drink, sadly we’ll pass up on the “Not Cunard Line”.

  2. Excellent review and it confirms my decision t stay where I know. Glitzy, some innovative ideas but too busy and it appeared cramped in some areas

  3. Excellent review, which has made up my mind to stick with P & O for me and my husband. Thank you very much.

      • Good morning Malcolm. I note your remark on a comparison with Ventura was in answer to Dawn’s comment. While I have not sailed on Ventura I have sailed twice on her sister ship Azura. There is little or no scope for comparison as they serve entirely different markets and P&O have ‘club’ dining in addition to ‘freestyle’. Dawn is right to stick with P&O in my opinion.

  4. Nice review Richard. The identical mini-suites on Breakaway (same as yours) were originally called ‘Deluxe Balcony’. I guess mini-suite makes them sell better. Yes wardrobes are small, but passenger don’t dress-up or wear much in the Caribbean. The cabins are small but this is a mass-market ship.

    Though for the day: QM2 is a similar size to Getaway but often carries 1,500 less passengers!

    • But not such a mass market ship as to have the ‘exclusive’ Haven with its multiple reserved areas and privileges. I challenged a cruise.dot forum member (Trevor, Sussex) on this fact. He has always claimed never to want to sail with Cunard because of the ‘class’ segregation. Typically he had no answer from which I deduced his remarks were really down to pure envy.

      • Good point Richard! I do not see it as ‘class segregation’, I just see it as choice – the more you pay, the bigger the cabin and the extra facilities that you get. Royal Caribbean and MSC also have top-end suits with private areas.

      • Neither do I see it as a class divide Malcolm. It’s just that there are one or two plonkers like Trevor Sussex out there who make those pathetic remarks out of pure jealousy that they are not in Cunard’s league. Thanks for your response.

  5. Interesting review as you certainly know what a good suite should be. I was wondering if the lack of desk documentation was due to a one day trip while might be so on seven day cruises. So if you fell on the rope planks do they let you drop to the deck 🙂 Good on you for trying it out.
    Patricia D. has travelled a lot on NCL and Cunard , wonder if she will comment. I agree, so many choices are meant to take monies off you period and the number just overwhelm the senses. I always find shower doors that are fully glass make me cautious in not slipping , love your trough comment.
    As always you provide photos of substance
    Cheers / Rob

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