May 2015 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Getaway
The Norwegian Getaway cruise is a good experience as it has an excellent itinerary with 3 full days at sea and 3 stops at some beautiful islands (Tortola, St. Thomas, Bahamas).
Starting with the Good - The food on the ship at the various restaurants is good...although at one particular French restaurant called Le Bistro, the food there is great (5 star personal rating). Lots of places to sit and hang out, plenty of excellent bars to have a delicious drink at, and even some fun arcade games, including bowling for those gamers out there. If you crave a delicious hot/cold coffee, there is an Italian-style coffee shop on deck 7 by the atrium which makes an excellent brew any time of day. Comedy shows are really good on the ship and the musical, "Burn the Floor" was fantastic along with the "Illusionarium" magic show. If you're tense, the spa has awesome massages available, including other cool services such as facials, a barber shop, nail/hair treatment, teeth whitening, and much more. Entering and leaving the ship was really easy and didn't take long at all, so that was a nice perk. The water slides on the top deck were incredibly fun and comparable to any nice water park's slides.
The Not-So-Good - The day we arrived, it took us a long time to have our luggage delivered to our room. This was a bit worrisome as we called the front desk at one point to check, and they had no idea where our luggage was, and the ship was about to take off. We eventually received our luggage after being on the ship several hours. Our aft room was noisy due to things shaking from the ship moving and being under a dancing/hip-hop music area above us. Some of the entertainment on the ship was boring, such as just showing a "Cake Boss" episode on the huge TV screen and carrying simple "Trivia" games in the morning that could put a screaming child to sleep. Room service was free...except there was an $8 convenience fee so it really wasn't free so we only ordered room service once. The room service that we did receive had stale coffee and grapefruit juice that tasted like it came from a chemistry lab. The ship carries 4,000+ people so everywhere you went, including the bathroom, was often packed. Due to having so many people on the ship, the cruise is understaffed leaving many sad employee faces passing you without any acknowledgement. Even many of the waiters/waitresses at the restaurants looked sad/depressed, which was particularly disappointing (Le Bistro was quite the opposite as the service there was perfect). Some of the live music on the ship was performed by pros, and sometimes the music was performed by what appeared to be amateur musicians who are taking lessons and being off-key on the musical/vocal notes (especially in the Tropicana restaurant).
The Bad - On Day One of our cruise, we had to go our muster stations for the mandatory emergency drill. Once we got to our stations, the crew on the ship was very stern with telling people to be quiet as we wait for the captain's announcements of the drill. This went on and on for several minutes of being told to stay quiet. At one point, some female crew member screamed at the top of her lungs, "Quiet!" Other cruise lines seem more organized and friendly during their emergency drills which makes for a pleasant start to the cruise. Not on the Norwegian Getaway. Our room steward was awful. Twice, he just walked in our room because he needed something (he knocked very softly and then came in right afterwards leaving no time for us to open the door). He didn't pick up cups and other trash left in the room, inconsistently replaced items in the fridge, didn't provide new toilet paper, moved the trash cans to various places in the room, and gave us new sheets on the bed maybe a couple times. We essentially had to ask for things to be done for our steward to actually do them. At many tables at the buffet restaurant on deck 15, there were no silverware likely due to being understaffed, even though they started the food service. Many machines were out of order, including the zip line on the ropes course outside which they advertised heavily for, but not working for many months. Like in the above Not-So-Good section, I'll reiterate in the Bad section here that at many of the good restaurants, the waiters/waitresses looked sad which is odd because there is a survey card on the tables where the 2nd question asks if our waiter/waitress made us feel special. When leaving the ship on the disembarkation day, one of the workers told me, "Sup" which is the shortened version of "what's up" and seemed like an odd way to say thanks for cruising with them. There is a smokey odor all over the casino deck which you eventually get used to, but is not very pleasant nonetheless. Overall, this cruise is expensive as they don't offer many complimentary services like on other cruise lines, such as room service, entertainment, etc. And finally, when looking at our bank account online to review our cruise charges, we see 17 pending charges of repetitive items which does equal what we spent on the ship, but confusing nonetheless. Anytime you have to whip out a calculator to verify the charges are correct, that's just odd.
Norwegian Getaway - Average service, overcrowded, noisy, good food, expensive, relatively fast leaving ship/some wait entering ship, very disorganized
Carnival - Good service, good food, free room service (with exception of gratuity which we understand), super fast entering/leaving ship by purchasing "Faster to the Fun" option.
Celebrity - Great service, room service food is bad, everywhere else is great food, expensive, long time to enter/leave ship.
Overall, we recommend the Norwegian Getaway if you want a decent vacation with fun places to see. Have low expectations coming onto the ship and you won't be disappointed.