Great Family Trip Although Norwegian Cruise Experience Was Only Fair

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review to Europe - Northern Europe

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 30

Overall rating:

3.3 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Getaway

9 Night Scandinavia Russia & Baltic (Copenhagen Roundtrip)

Sail date: July 04, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Getaway

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 12242

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

This was our 8th cruise and our first cruise with Norwegian. We wanted to see the Baltic cities and chose this cruise as we though it was good value for the 9 nights and we did not want to go on a 11 or 13 night cruise. We did not like the Freestyle dining. I much prefer a set dining and show time. Even though it is Freestyle, you have to reserve your seating ahead of time and the same with the 3 main shows. The shows were adequate. Norwegian staff did not do much to make sure people obeyed rules (kids in the Adult hot tub, people sitting in stairwells, drunks in the spa). We did not use Norwegian shore excursions because they were unbelievably expensive. We used TJ Travel. Many outdoor activities were closed during our sailing due to weather, but the weather was not stormy -- it was just overcast and cool. The highlights: our balcony cabin was worth the extra money, our cabin steward was good, and the food was not bad. Overall, I much prefer Disney or Carnival for the service, things to do, shows, and amenities, but these were not offered in the Baltic.

Embarkation

2 out of 5
Could have been better experience. The taxi dropped us off at Terminal 1, but our deck number was supposed to board at Terminal 2. This should have been more clear in our Norwegian paperwork. You also have to go through security X Ray and they make you throw out your water which was unexpected.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

2 out of 5
I was really not happy with Norwegian's Freestyle Dining. I much prefer a fixed time and table where we have the same waitstaff for the entire trip. This gives you much more personalization as the servers get to know you, your food allergies, and your beverage preferences. Also, you can tip them directly rather than getting charged automatically $15/day per person for tips. Even though it is called "Freestyle Dining", you still have to reserve your dining time 2 weeks before the cruise to get a guaranteed place. Even then, you would have to wait 10 minutes to be seated as the hostess service seemed to be deliberately slow. The days we went to the buffet it was overcrowded with rarely a spot to sit. My family is gluten free and every time we ate a dining room this came as a big surprise to the waitstaff and added a lot of time to our meal.

Onboard Activities

2 out of 5
I was disappointed that a lot of outdoor activities were open supposed to be open, but were closed due to weather. It seemed if there was a cloud in the sky they would close the ropes course, waterslides, and the rock climbing. The mini golf was closed for several days and the staff could not tell us when it would open again. Overall, the service was really poor. There were hot tubs dedicated to adults only, but nobody managed this. There were kids in all the hot tubs and when you would tell the kids they did not belong in the Adult hot tub they would pretend to not speak English.

Entertainment

2 out of 5
The Howling at the Moon dueling piano's and the regular Band at Sid's bar were great. We went to see both these shows multiple times. However, the Sid's bar band would finish at 10:30 pm, so it seems like they were eager to kick you out. Overall, this makes for a very tame ship and not a lot of partying, but it seemed strange that such a good band with a tame older crowd would have to end so early. The Magician show was terrible. The Dance show Burn the Floor was good, but could have been 15 minutes shorter. We paid extra for the Cirque show, but we were not told show up early to get good seats. Even though we paid extra for good seats, the seats were not good. 3 shows all had to be reserved ahead of time, which I did not have to do on Disney and Carnival cruises because they have fixed dining times so they know who is in the dining room and who will be in the theater. At the shows where you did not have to reserve, people would go very early and save seats. This was very frustrating for people who came in later and could not find a seat, but there were tons of empty seats that were being saved and some were never filled.

Children's Programs

4 out of 5
My teen loved the teen club and went every night. The activities were fun and she came back to the cabin at a reasonable hour.

Service and Staff

2 out of 5
The staff and servers were nice, but I would have preferred fixed dining time so I would have a regular wait staff. The hostesses were slow. It seemed the English was not as good on this ship as Carnival and Disney. The staff did nothing to make sure that people did not sit in the stairwells, save seats at shows, or make sure Adult hot tubs were filled with only adults. My husband paid $250 for the spa package, but he said even their people were not controlled and rowdy. Nobody was managing them.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
Buffet should have more seats. The weather was cool, so nobody was eating on the deck and there was no room inside. However, the ship was clean. Strangely, the public toilets would only flush after you left the stall, so you could only cross your fingers and hope the toilet flushed after you left.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
We liked the size of our cabin, the balcony view, and overall it was a good location on the ship (Dec 12) and good value. Good size for 4 people.

Ship tip

Make sure you reserve your dining and shows ahead of time. Do not use the ship shore excursions. They are way too expensive. For about half price, you can find local vendors like TJ Travel.

Ports of call

Copenhagen, Denmark

4 out of 5
Very good English. Nice city; however, they are not on the Euro, so plan to use just credit cards and tip in Euro or dollars.

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

5 out of 5
Wish we had more than 1.5 days to spend here. Much more European city than we expected and very large. We did an excursion with TJ Travel and our guide was excellent.

Tallinn, Estonia

5 out of 5
Loved the walking tour with TJ Travel. One of our favorite cities.

Helsinki, Finland

2 out of 5
We did the bus tour to Porvoo with TJ Travel which was worth it as Helsinki is rather bland.

Stockholm, Sweden

5 out of 5
We did a nice bus tour with TJ Travel.

Visby, Sweden

5 out of 5
We did our own self guided tour and had the most fun here just wandering at our own pace and finding Medieval parts of the city to visit.

Disembarkation

3 out of 5
We always do the self service exit at 7am. It was well worth it. We also caught some of the first cabs. Norwegian will tell you there are no cabs at the Copenhagen port so you use their bus service, but it is not true if you get off early.
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