May 2016 - Norwegian Getaway to Caribbean - Western
This was our 5th cruise and first on NCL. We had a very nice balcony cabin (9116) and did get it at an excellent price. Having never tried it before we decided we'd try booking a "guaranteed balcony" and ended up being upgraded to a larger cabin with a bigger balcony. The ship is newer (2014); bright, clean and probably a little too "sleek" for our taste. The open spaces are not as grand as those on the RCL mega-ships and the more intimate areas are not as cozy as those on Princess. The ship does have several nice innovations. The Waterfront on deck 8 provides a pleasant alfresco dining option for several of the specialty restaurants and the live music in the Tropicana complimentary dining room makes for a nice dinner/night club vibe. The entertainment was good. "Burn The Floor" is not to be missed but we always managed to have a conflict and didn't catch "The Million Dollar Quartet" which several folks told us was quite good. We did catch one of the 9pm live comic shows and it was clean (for those who care) and we both thought he was really funny. It did bother me that there is a surcharge for the "Illusionarium" show and in addition to paying for your meal in the specialty restaurants they tack on a cover charge. It's only $5 each, but for me it's one of those little annoyances like paying to check luggage on your flights that I find petty. Raise your prices a couple of bucks but stop with this aggravating nickel and dime nonsense. The service was spotty. We had a great cabin steward, Dian. The attendant at the internet café was more disinterested than helpful and the dining room staff was spotty. We had several very nice wait staff balanced by several who were borderline surly. The staff in the specialty restaurants (Le Bistro & Ocean Blue) were uniformly attentive. Having attained an age where we realize the sun is to be respected and working on that perfect tan is not the best long term health plan we lamented the shortage of shady lounge areas aboard. The itinerary was OK, but for us most Caribbean cruises are more about the journey rather than the destination anyway. We tend to book all our excursions ourselves rather than pay the cruise line premium and then be herded around like cattle. We had an excellent snorkeling adventure in Roatan and agreed we would definitely go back for that. In Belize we visited the Lamanai Mayan ruin and while we're glad we did we're still not sure if the 2 hour journey there was worth the day. Costa Maya has nice beaches and of course than we had the obligatory stop in Cozumel. We had great weather and while not our "favorite" cruise experience we're glad we went and felt it was very good value.