Christmas Holiday cruise

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 17

Overall rating:

3.9 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Getaway

5 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 22, 2021

Ship: Norwegian Getaway

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 9238

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 4 months ago

Review summary

I gave myself the gift of a Christmas cruise on the Caribbean and I'm very happy with it. Being on the sea with the warm breezes was beautiful and onboard there was always something to do if you wanted an activity. Although, in the future, I think I'd prefer a luxury cruise line. There are lots of upsells and extra fees for things not included - I think (I hope) the luxury cruise lines are truly all-inclusive so even though you pay more up front, the cruise experience is seamless and there's no feeling like you're depriving yourself (of a cappuccino, or access to an exclusive spa section, for instance, or a premium glass of wine) or that you're being sold something else everywhere you go.

Embarkation

1 out of 5
2 1/2 hour line for COVID testing before going to check in - otherwise NCL check-in was fine.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Variable. Specialty restaurant was excellent (Brazilian restaurant). Buffet/cafeteria was meh food service cafeteria quality - omelet station for breakfast was a plus; soft serve ice cream had no toppings available so I give it a thumbs down. Regular complementary dining rooms; I ate at SAVOR for 3 dinners, and the manager there went above and beyond to make sure I could get anything off the menu prepared Gluten-Free per my special dietary requirements. Food at SAVOR varied in quality, some just okay, some excellent, and I appreciate the efforts to make gluten-free versions of some non-gluten-free menu items. Staff at all dining venues was wonderful - personable/friendly and attentive. Wine list at SAVOR was not exceptional and the chardonnay I ordered was $19/glass but also wasn't exceptional. Drinks on the premium package (includes unlimited cocktails/wine up to $15/each) were good and there was a nice variety.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
I got a hair cut in the spa, more than I usually pay for a hair cut but they did a great job, and it was a lovely setting to look out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the ocean!

Entertainment

4 out of 5
Christmas variety music show, and magic show in the theater were good. On the H2O deck, I appreciated the Christmas Holiday Spectacular broadcast from Vienna, especially because I worked for an opera company before retirement and I enjoy classical music - even though this was not so well attended. I think this cruise is more a pop music or rock culture audience. Also, the outdoor H2O adults-only area is a lovely outdoor deck, BUT the problem is its AFT location so you are breathing the ship's exhaust fumes... Comedian in the comedy club, also good. Art history talk and art auction, informative and fun. The most fun, though, were the audience participation games/shows in the main Atrium - I laughed so hard that I cried!

Children's Programs

I am not a child and I didn't travel with any children.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Probably the best thing about this cruise was the staff! They were helpful, friendly, courteous - always said hello or Merry Christmas when passing in the hallways and generally kept the atmosphere cheerful and positive. My room service waiter and cabin steward were both excellent, although the bed turn-down didn't include chocolate mints on the pillow. The wait staff in food and drink venues was excellent. Even the executive chef came to help me when I requested the gluten-free bread they had available in the breakfast cafeteria line. The manager, Diana Ivanovic at SAVOR, deserves bonus recognition as she made especial efforts to make sure that I could have anything and everything to satisfy my heart's desire off the menu made gluten-free and called the chef to confirm, had me pre-order from the next day's menu to make sure that what I wanted was available in a gluten-free version. I have to say, though, that you might contact me to consult with the chefs about preparing gluten free menu items - I'm sure they tried their best, but the results were varied; sometimes great and sometimes less than excellent. (I worked as a private chef and personal chef for several years and I've been eating/cooking gluten-free for almost 15 years)...

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Ship's layout and design seemed fine, except that my stateroom must have been located above a bar because loud music vibrated the room, but was quiet after midnight so it was okay. My observation above about the adults only outdoor deck = it's located AFT so the exhaust from the ship comes down and people end up breathing exhaust instead of fresh air. Also the swimming pool on deck 15 seemed smaller than I would expect for a ship that holds almost 4,000 guests! Common areas were very clean and well maintained - even on our last day at sea, I noticed "wet lacquer" signs so the crew was painting/maintaining even with guests on board which I thought was kind of cheesy.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Maybe have a note or sign to let people know that the electricity in the cabin doesn't come on until you place your key-card in the slot by the bathroom door. I had to call guest services when I first arrived to ask why the lights/electricity wasn't working! Size of the cabin was just right for me as a solo traveler (reservation map states this room can hold 4 people but I don't see how, and I wouldn't want to be crammed in there with three others!). I wouldn't have wanted any smaller cabin, nor one without a balcony because it would have felt claustrophobic. The bed was very comfy. The vanity countertop made a good place for room service meals - but if there were more than one person, I don't know where people would have room to enjoy a room service meal except on their laps. I also enjoyed having coffee on my balcony. From the balcony, watching sunrise, sunset, moon coming up and stars coming out over the sea was a highlight of my cruise! The bathroom with rain shower (nice!) was good size. And, I appreciated that there was a comfy bathrobe for me to use! There was a whistlling sound in the bathroom which must have been water going through the plumbing to other rooms, but it wasn't bothersome enough to report. The bathroom floor (plastic) was a little worn, but not enough to complain about either. Everything was very clean.

Ship tip

Right now, because of COVID, testing is required right before boarding, so be prepared to stand in a long line. On board, there was hand sanitizer everywhere and even a crew member with a spray bottle to clean your hands before entering the Garden Cafe (cafeteria). Masks are worn indoors, also. I felt the crew did a good job with Covid precautions. Although Norwegian is rated as a great choice for solo travelers, and I very much enjoyed this as a Christmas vacation, there were times when I can see it would have been more fun with a group of friends or family.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

4 out of 5
Miami is a big city. If you've never been to Miami before and you want to explore before or after your cruise, South Beach has interesting Art Deco architecture, great restaurants and bars and beautiful beaches; also the Everglades for nature lovers, is unique in all the world. Arrival at Port Miami seemed efficiently managed (except for the 2 1/2 hour line for covid testing). If you drive, DON'T use Premier Cruise Parking! Onsite parking was $22/day so I went with this off-site parking service (and there are other off-site parking lots), but even though NCL rep had recommended Premier Cruise Parking, my experience with them was pretty awful. They use a downtown parking garage but it's confusing to find (on 3rd Ave SE which is different from 3rd STREET SE where you end up coming off of I-95); there's no signage on the parking garage for Premier, and there's nothing at the entrance gate to say Premier Cruise Parking. I had to call the company and the man on the phone yelled at ME because I couldn't find where I was supposed to go. It turns out that Premier is on Level 7 at the top of the garage, but there's no way to know that when you arrive. Shuttle to the cruise port is included in the parking fee, but even though I didn't have any trouble, as I was leaving, there were people who had to take a taxi back to the parking garage because they stated they'd waited for over an hour and still no shuttle, so they called a taxi.

Harvest Caye, Belize

4 out of 5
I did go off the ship to the little shopping village at Harvest Cay. There's also a beach and a beach bar there. The jewelry shops had some lovely things, but they were either too expensive or too crappy, so I didn't end up buying anything. If they'd had some jewelry in the $35-$45 range, I would have bought something, but it was either $145 or $10. I did enjoy some soursop ice cream. I didn't go on a shore excursion because the one I would have liked to do cost extra above the shore excursion credit that came with my package AND it was listed as 5 hours (tour of a spice farm), and I didn't want to commit to anything for 5 hours! It was 1 1/2 hours ferry and bus to get to the spice farm each way and that didn't seem appealing either.

Cozumel, Mexico

2 out of 5
I didn't find a shore excursion that I wanted to do. I did go off the ship but all there was right there, was a jewelry shop, t-shirt shop and liquor store. I bought a $60 pair of earrings that I could probably have bought at a flea market at home for $12, but I wanted a souvenir. I had visited Cozumel in 1988 when Cancun and surrounding areas were just beginning to open up as a tourist destination and back then, Cozumel was undeveloped, a sleepy little island with a tiki hut that served sandwiches on the beach and a place to go snorkeling but not much else. Now, it's all built up and I wasn't sure it would be safe for me to go exploring on my own. There was a metal fence at the cruise port and behind that, a Hooters restaurant, and I decided against exploring any further! Again, if I'd been with a group, it might have been a different story, but as a solo female traveler, I decided to go back on the ship!

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Very efficient. I got up early and since I had only one rolling suitcase and a knapsack, I carried my own luggage off the ship.
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