Enjoyable cruise on a fabulous ship with excellent crew members

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 26

Overall rating:

4.9 out of 5
Norwegian Getaway

9 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip)

Sail date: January 17, 2020

Ship: Norwegian Getaway

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 11892

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Our cruise was relaxing, even with high winds, and churning waters (at times). The staff was always polite, and even happy to work with us. Our food in any given eatery was to our taste. This itinerary made us realize we can do different things to improve our experience (such as plan an excursion, or sail a different time of year). The Waterfront on deck 8 was a treasure!

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Given that we only travelled with 40-50L sized backpacks (and an additional tote for me), we easily got in line for the security check. We arrived at the cruise port terminal at 11am, and the lines kept moving at a steady pace. We reached the huge waiting room by 11:30am (we were group 26). I HAD wanted us to be at the port by 10am, but since we had no priority boarding (first time cruising with NCL, and no cabin in The Haven), it ended up not mattering. If I remember correctly, as we finally reached our seats in the waiting area, group 1 was being called to board. I think we finally boarded the ship by 12:15. Not bad at all, in our opinion. The port terminal staff were all business, polite, informative, and efficient. No grins/smiles from them, but we didn't mind. They're just trying to get 4000 passengers processed and loaded onto the ship. Shout out to the receiving crew on initial embarkation, with their spray bottles of hand sanitizer and their "washy-washy" comments as they spray passengers, all done with a genuine smile on their faces.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
The main dining rooms and restaurants were all well-appointed and inviting. The portions of food were reasonable. I'll say that we enjoyed all our meals, but qualifying food as "good" or "bad" is so subjective. Nothing was bland, or overly salty, burned, and all the food was the correct temperature for what it was supposed to be. My steaks were cooked to my preference. We never did make it to any breakfast, because we tend to wake up after 9am, lounge in the room/balcony with our coffee, and finally come out around 11am. I do admit that the buffet seemed to have the same offerings for lunch and dinner everyday (with the cultural variations: mexican food night, Italian food night etc)- some people have complained about that in past reviews. We were not bothered by the selection. We looked at it as the buffet being consistent. The cocktail drinks never felt watered down, and the pours of wine in our glass were generous. Hubby and I loved Sugarcane Mojito bar for the variety of mojitos! I feel like the cocktails at Sunset Bar (I loved the blackberry bourbon smash, by the way!), and at Prime Meridian tasted a bit more strong than the mass-produced mai-tais, long island iced teas and margaritas that the pool bars served (those felt a bit more sugary than alcoholic, but that's ok on a hot day on the pool deck lol). I will say that the only dissenting remark my husband made about his opinion on the food in general is that while the food was great on NCL Getaway, he has fonder memories of the food on the Grand Princess that we sailed on January 2018. Given the Freestyle aspect of dining, hubby and I were a little concerned about big lines into the MDR- what a relief that we only ever waited a maximum of 2 minutes to be taken to a table! We usually arrived to any given MDR between 5-6pm. With regard to specialty dining (we had 4 free meals due to the promotion at the time we booked our cruise), we were promptly seated for our reservation at Le Bistro. Our meals at Teppenyaki and Wasabi were not reserved, and easily got taken to a table. On our last sea day/cruising day, we realized we still had one specialty meal left, so we took a chance and luckily were able to reserve an 8:15pm seating at Moderno (everything else aside from Teppenyaki was booked for the entire evening, so I'd say not to take that chance in trying to book a specialty meal). Hubby was quite hungry, so we checked in at Moderno at 7:50 to see if we could get seated earlier than the reservation. The staff was super gracious about our arrival, recommended we grab a drink at Prime Meridian bar while we waited on them, and were surprisingly seated by 8pm. Very accommodating on their part.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
My rating is only based the one onboard activity that only I participated on. (Hubby was perfectly content to sitting on a pool deck lounger with his e-books) I spent about an hour going on the water slides during the remainder of our being in port at Ocho Rios, Jamaica. They were so fun! The water was tepid, which was fine for me. Maybe I got lucky, but I was never in a line to wait to ride the water slides. The only two I didn't go on were the blue and green drop slides- I couldn't muster the courage :) The staff was friendly, and encouraging. I had wanted to go on the slides after our day on Harvest Caye the day before I actually went on, but about an hour before sailing away, it started raining, so the slides were closed down. So keep in mind if the weather is less than partly cloudy/calm winds, the crew may decide to close the slides for the safety of the passengers. I enjoyed this activity, but I may more of a traditional cruiser (upon reflection), because I wouldn't rule out sailing on a ship if it didn't have water slides and other similar bells and whistles. We did get into the hot tub one evening, and felt the water was comfortably hot enough (yes, this is subjective), but we've been in hotter hot tubs before.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
The biggest reason for this rating is the show "Burn the Floor"- fantastic performance! I waited until under 60 days before cruising to book it, so at that time the only show time was 10pm, which was a gamble because my hubby likes to go to bed by 9pm. But he said he truly enjoyed the show. We timed our dinner at the Tropicana Room (the biggest MDR) so that we'd be having dinner during a 15 minute performance by a smaller set of the cast of Burn the Floor- it was so worth it! We were pretty far back from the dance floor, but we loved seeing them dance to various swing-style songs. Check your daily planner- it will say when they will do that additional, abbreviated performance. Completely different from their full performance. We did hear the pool deck DJ play music during the day while on the deck- quite lively! I'm tempted to take half a star away from my rating due to a couple of things. One: during a performance by the musician group Havana at the Sugarcane Mojito bar, they were supposed to play Latin music. Well they kinda did. They played the music to bachata/salsa/merengue, but the lyrics consisted of English Motown & contemporary english language songs. Not very authentic Latin music, but I suppose they must cater to the largely English-speaking passengers. The other thing that kinda bugged me is that at Syd Norman's Pour house, they have coverbands playing classic rock. However, I don't think I ever saw any kind of posting for what specific cover band was going to play any given night, except for trivia. And it's not like I could go in earlier in the day and ask the staff who was playing that night. With the exception of daily/early afternoon trivia, the place opened at 8:15, and any given band was to start playing at 8:45. Didn't want to chance it if it was a band I didn't care for (we really wanted to see the Eagles and Journey cover band). I will take some of the responsibility and admit I probably should have asked the staff at the Waterfront portion of Syd Norman's Pour House, since that portion of the bar opens much earlier in the afternoon. Overall, we enjoyed the entertainment!

Children's Programs

We don't have kids

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Our room steward, Roly, was so courteous! And thoughtful! Without us asking at all, he quickly realized we prefer regular coffee to decaf, and so he'd refill our pods with regular coffee only. I don't really recall the name of any other specific member of the crew, but they all were polite/courteous, gracious, efficient, warm, and sometimes even funny with their quips and jokes. Also, we got prompt service by the pool bar runners even though we sat in the covered areas of the pool deck, and not by the pool! Awesome!

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The layout was easy to navigate. We sailed on the Carnival Freedom January 2010, and Grand Princess 2018, so the NCL Getaway is easily the most modern ship we've been on. On deck 8, The Waterfront (or promenade on other ships) was quite wide, but just know that if you sit out on the deck mid-ship, you will partially see the arms that hold the lifeboats, so it won't be a clear view of the ocean. It didn't bother us, because we sat to read our e-books and when we occasionally looked up, we could still see the ocean go by. The ship was very clean, and I regularly observed crew members doing cleaning touch-ups (cleaning the public restrooms, dusting, etc).

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
It was just the two of us, so our standard balcony cabin was quite comfortable. The layout of our cabin was such that the couch was right next to the closet, which I had forgotten I'd purposely picked, because other standard balcony cabins have the bed next to the closet (which offer perhaps 10" between the closet and the bed). Our queen bed was a bit firmer than I like, but my husband loved the firmness of the bed. We could feel the middle ridge where the two single beds got pushed together to form a queen bed, but we easily ignored this by the second night. I've heard you can ask for some kind of mattress topper from your cabin steward, but we didn't feel we needed to. Our balcony was a standard one (approx 32 sq ft). Compared to the aft balcony cabin we had on the Grand Princess in 2010 (and I absolutely mean aft- facing the wake of the ship), it was small, but both of us comfortably sat reading our e-books with our coffee on first waking up. The bathroom was clean, and the storage was plenty. We loved having a shower door in this bathroom versus having the curtain we had on the Grand Princess (but that's just a personal preference. The one thing I objected to was the foot rest. It was in a weird spot- near the floor under the shower head, so that when I propped my foot up to shave my legs, water from the shower head would be washing away my shave gel. What I quickly realized is I had to detach the shower head (it's detachable with a flexible hose), hold it my non-working hand away from the leg I was working on and balance myself. The water was always as hot as I wanted, and the pressure never failed. Our cabin was always clean, thanks to our awesome steward Roly.

Ship tip

I thought January was supposed to still be warm and sunny, but not always on our cruise. But the ship handled the rough waters quite well when they happened.

Ports of call

New Orleans, Louisiana

5 out of 5
We did not do any excursions. We stayed at the Wyndham French Quarter, which is right outside of what's considered French Quarter. New Orleans was lively, and offered great opportunities to just sit at a bar and people watch. So many historical sites to visit. We loved the open alcohol policy! Yes, there are homeless people around (especially at Jackson Square, on the benches in front of the cathedral), but we never felt bothered by them. We want to go back, because we didn't get to a couple of spots in French Quarter (we only arrived into New Orleans 48 hours prior to embarkation), and we still feel there were things outside of New Orleans we missed. Plus the food- yum. Still so many things to try! Guess we'll book another cruise out of New Orleans in the near future! ;)

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico

5 out of 5
The port itself is tailored to those that don't want to take any mode of transportation that would take them away from the ship. That is- there is shopping, food/drinks, pools and activities galore. We only ate tacos there, which were quite good. Did not visit any shops or do any activities. We easily found the exit to the port by paying attention to our surroundings. Walking out of the port and the port's parking lot (where tour buses are allowed to park), we found a line of taxis. It cost us $4/person to be taken to Mahahual Beach, but I did overhear a group of 6-8 people trying to negotiate a rate for getting a taxi to tour them around Costa Maya. Don't recall the price, but as the group (who was there at the taxi spot before us) could not agree on a rate, hubby and I flagged down a driver and he promptly took us to Mahahual Beach. We ended up at Krazy Lobster, but not before walking up and down this strip of beach. We had a lot of offers for massages and for eating at any given beach club, but we easily declined offers until we got to Krazy Lobster. We were promptly seated at a table, and since we'd eaten earlier, only had guacamole, chips and beer. A bucket of "coronitas" (small Corona beer bottles) was 10 bottles for $10. At the tables we were approached by people selling their wares, but less so once seated on the beach chairs. Had a chill day there. Easily and quickly got a taxi back to port.

Harvest Caye, Belize

5 out of 5
We chose not to do an excursion. Disembarked the ship around 11am. Not sure why we didn't eat on the ship, but we ended up having a burger and a beer at Landsharks restaurant. Service was friendly and prompt. Food prices were what you'd pay on mainland US. See the vlogs by EECC Travels to check out their prices, but I believe entrees were $15-18/plate. We walked around the port, and ended up on beach chairs somewhat close to the tower where the zipliners would come out from. We were approached once by one the staff to see if we wanted a beverage or food. Pre-paid drink packages do not work here, folks! Be ready to pay prices from mainland USA! The weather was overcast but warm, calm winds. The water was cold, like Northern California waters. The sand was very coarse, so I'm glad I followed the advice of previous cruisers who recommended you wear water shoes on the beach (I wore Keen Whisper Sandals, which I got a great deal from Amazon). We spent two hours laying on the beach, reading our e-books. As we headed back, the wind picked up, and the clouds amassed. Well, 15 minutes after boarding the ship, it started raining hard. Would still love to come back here, as we did not browse the shops at all, or the animal enclosure.

Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

5 out of 5
I will give this a 5 out of 5 rating, despite the terrible weather (which of course is not the port's fault). We woke to being in port, and the day having a dark gray color, and HEAVY rain. We had the only excursion we booked for the entire cruise to figure out, though. It was the beach day at Tabyana Beach Club. I called at 6:30am to guest services to check if the excursion was still on (as the excursion desk was not open). Let me recommend not calling guest services for an excursion-related question. As polite as the person who answered the phone was, she could not tell me more than "If you cancel the excursion, you will not get your fee back". Hubby and I made our way to disembark the ship (all the while, it is still raining heavily). The ship was even handing out ponchos (maybe even renting them, I'm not sure, we didn't grab any as the line was a couple people long). We walked through the port as quickly as possible, while being heavily rained on. Fortunately the spot where excursion vehicle drivers were picking up passengers was under a large sheltered spot. Got checked in and into the van quickly. Oddly, it stopped raining as soon as we boarded the van. Were safely driven to Tabyana Beach club, got the welcome orientation from the beach club staff and were escorted to our chairs. While it was not rainy at the time, it was windy, cloudy, and gray. The sand was fine, but the water was quite churny. Oh but it was warm! Service (and security from peddlers) was excellent! But about 20 minutes into our beach chair time, the wind picked up even more, the water was even more churny, and it started raining- hard. The rain was almost horizontal. All of us cruisers took cover under the lunch area of the beach club, and watched it rain hard for the next hour. We ate from the included lunch (which was plentiful and delicious). But by 11:30, the beach club staff decided it was best to close things down and send any remaining cruisers back to the port (we got there at 8:30am, by the way, but with the on and off rain, fellow NCL cruisers started requesting transportation back to the port at 10). The last van transport should have been at 1:30pm, I believe. We got some kind of credit for the excursion from NCL, about half what we paid, and without us asking for it. I'd like to come back here. The YouTube videos of this beach club made this place seem so paradise-like!

George Town, Grand Cayman Did not visit port

Due to the high winds and churning waters, the ship could not anchor at George Town. However, the captain came on the speaker to say that the ship could anchor off the coast of Spott's Bay (Spott's Beach), and still plan on tendering passengers into the port. We were sharing the port with Carnival Horizon (who was there before our ship), and Marella Discovery 2 (who got there after us). We did not schedule a tender, as we've never had to do that with our 2010 Carnival cruise or our 2018 Princess cruise. We figured it wouldn't take long before the captain would announce that it was possible for anyone to board a tender boat. But no. Groups A through I were called about every 45-50 minutes. By the time the captain announced that anyone could tender into the port, it was 2 hours before our ship was scheduled to leave the port. I timed the tender boats from our balcony, and it took 5-10 minutes to dock. Also, the captain announced that only one tender boat at a time could dock at this particular dock. so combining our ship's tenders with Carnival's tenders, it seemed like we couldn't have tried tendering into port, taking a taxi to Georgetown to explore and make it back to the ship on time. Hubby and I decided to skip this port, though I will say the country looked beautiful from our balcony. I really don't think the Marella Disovery 2 ever released its tender boats, because they were there for a moment, and about a couple hours later they were gone.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

4 out of 5
We did not do an excursion here. But we did disembark in order to try walking around the town. You should watch the Youtube videos on this port. You will experience having several people approach you to be your taxi to take you to various areas of interest. In the hour that we walked up and down the main street, my husband got four offers to buy weed, though no one actually asked me if I wanted weed. Too bad for them. My husband soon ignored people talking to him, looking straight ahead, and I was the "nice" one saying "no thank you". But we didn't ever feel unsafe, for the record. We ended up eating at a local restaurant near the beach, which was great. No one trying to sell us anything there. It was quite windy the whole time, mostly sunny, and our server said that we had just missed a huge rain storm that happened the previous day. I do want to tour Jamaica on another cruise, but next time I will make sure we have an excursion planned to the Blue Hole or river tubing.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
On the ship, it wasn't super clear where we needed to go. Yes, we had crew members saying to go to the forward area of the ship, but at one point, it looked like we could disembark through a crew-only looking area that was open to the public, only to find it really was only for crew only. We kept going forward (I think on deck 7), til we disembarked the ship. I hope that going forward, the ship will have clearly posted arrows/signs to send passengers to the correct disembarkation point.We only had carry-on backpacks with us, and our navigation of the port and customs was speedy. I really don't think we spent more than 10 minutes in the port terminal. And as we didn't have a flight til 3pm local time, we easily walked out of the port terminal and to a nearby starbucks to hang out til we needed to Uber to the airport.
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