Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Review: Norwegian Getaway

I had recently had the chance to vacation onboard the Norwegian Getaway, one of the largest ships sailing the Caribbean. Built in 2014, this mega cruise ship holds almost 4,000 passengers, plus a crew of more than 1,600.

But don’t let that fool you, the Getaway has intimate spaces just for two, or dance floors where you can let loose with total strangers. The Norwegian Getaway really is a contemporary floating hotel at sea, complete with shopping, dining & entertainment. Dress up or dress down. Allow yourself to be pampered. Will you be bored on a cruise? Only if you want to be. And of course, what happens on a cruise, stays on a cruise, so let’s take a look…


I was lucky enough to grab a 13th-deck ocean-view cabin for the Getaway’s one-off 12-night repositioning cruise out of Miami. Decorated in ocean-inspired colors, the modern stateroom offered a comfortable living area with a sofa (or a 3rd bed), and an unobstructed balcony perfect for two. Having sailed in inside cabins before, I can tell you there’s nothing like seeing the sun rise and set from your own balcony. Highly recommended.



I have Celiac Disease (an auto-immune disorder where my body can’t process gluten), so my gluten-free request was noted on my cruise ship profile. I ate at the 3 main dining rooms - Taste, Savor & the Tropicana - with no issues whatsoever. Plus, I spent a little bit extra to enjoy the specialty dining opportunities ($19.95 - $29.95 per person) offered at Le Bistro, ocean-side dining at the outdoor Ocean Blue, and the Illusionarium, a one-of-a-kind dinner and magic show.

If you’re only able to see one performance onboard the Norwegian Getaway, make sure it’s Burn the Floor, a hot Latin-dance show that really turns up the heat with both gorgeous girls and guys. I wasn’t as impressed with the Legally Blonde production, but to each, their own. I enjoyed listening to Tropical Four play in the atrium and Latin Express in the hip Sugarcane Bar, but I would have loved to have seen both of these acts perform outside on the ship’s aft deck at Spice H2O.

Even though I did ocean-view, I also visited the hip studio cabins for solo travelers. With bright white tufted walls and rich accents of purple and green, the studio cabins are surprisingly spacious with a double bed and a funky one-way porthole window into the hallway. The Getaway’s studio cabins share access to a private lounge with guests staying in The Haven, an exclusive area offering chic suites, a private pool and a sundeck, along with 24-hour butler service.

I also managed to check out the comedy club and all of the bars onboard ;) Plus there were regular tasting classes for margaritas, single malt whiskey, beer and martinis. But, my favorite, by far, was the Sunset Bar, with’s it’s comfortable inside lounge and it’s spectacular ocean-view location on the Getaway’s open-air promenade. This ranked right up there with having my own balcony. 



I danced at Bliss Ultra Lounge nightclub, religiously tried the drink-of-the-day (my fave was the Painkiller, go figure), and partied (more than once) to the DJs at Spice H2O. A friend pulled in $500 bucks on the gaming slots, so we celebrated the winnings by drinking martinis at the SVEDKA Vodka Ice Bar. Very cool, no pun intended.

I played mini-golf, visited Splash Academy (kids’ club for ages 3 to 12) and the Nickelodeon kids pool, and kicked ass on the ropes course (after overcoming a paralyzing fear of heights on my first attempt) and rang the bell on the plank 4 times before that damned camera flashed, all just so I could have photographic proof of my success. But I didn’t try the fastest waterslide at sea, just couldn’t do it. Nor the other 4 waterslides. So little time...

On shore, I went scuba diving, suntanned with SPF60 at a beautiful white sand beach club, took a catamaran/snorkel tour, went sightseeing and duty-free shopped, all while walking more than 15,000 steps per day according to my smartphone. And that didn’t include any dancing ;)

But sadly, I missed out on doing 3 things during my cruise vacation. I didn’t eat any treats from Carlo’s Bake Shop (based on the Cake Boss tv series); I somehow forgot to have gelato at the shop attached to Carlo’s Bakery; and I didn’t make it to the Mandarin Spa, even though I wanted to. It’s amazing how fast 12 nights can sail by…



Very big thanks to all of the crew onboard the Norwegian Getaway for making my vacation a specular one! From my cabin steward, Walter, to the fabulous waiters; the hard working bar and hotel staff including Jovo, Maggie and Tom; and to the incredible and oh-so-attentive maitre d’s - Gusti, Christian, Isaac and Charles. 

You were all fantastic and I already miss being called Miss Connie! And a very sincere and special thank you to Captain Myre for being such a great driver and all-around guy, and to the Executive Sous Chef, Pusparaj for baking me delicious gluten-free bread on his first try ever!

I’ve aways said that cruising is today’s best vacation value, but sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line makes cruising an even better value as they regularly provides special value-added perks including offers for free unlimited beverages, specialty dining, Wi-Fi and shore excursions.


The Norwegian Getaway now sails its permanent 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary out of Miami serving ports of call including Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. Check them out at Norwegian Cruise Line.

And be sure to check out all of my Norwegian Getaway YouTube videos including:


PLEASE NOTE - Since writing this review, the Norwegian Getaway has:
  • discontinued its' affiliation with Nickelodeon
  • discontinued it's affiliation with Carlo's Bake Shop (replaced with The Bake Shop)
  • the main theater performance onboard the Norwegian Getaway, Legally Blonde, has been replaced by Million Dollar Quartet, a 1950s based show about a recording session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
  • replaced the Flamingo Grill (no charge) with Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (PAID)

   

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