Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

Posts posted by Tggrtoes

  1. Just off Getaway yesterday (boo hoo) - DH wore shorts/t-shirt during day. Pants and polo for dinners. We "dressed up" two nights and he wore a long sleeve dress shirt (no tie) but that is in NO WAY required. I think DH was more in the minority with that dress, although there were certainly some in full suits.


    Seriously, wear whatever you are comfortable wearing. If you want to wear shorts - do! Just stick to restaurants which allow them (most do).

  2. Can't believe our cruise is over... waaaaa! We had a fabulous time - would do it again in a heartbeat! Our group was me (39), Peter (DH 39), Jacob (DS 7), and in laws Russ & Kay. We stayed in Haven 2 bedroom suite 15104. This was me and DS’ first NCL cruise with Peter and in laws having sailed twice before on NCL, but that was over 20 years ago. This was my 6th cruise overall (11th for DH and in laws have gone on so many they have lost count!).

    This cruise was very family oriented for us, and we agreed that it was very different than how we’ve cruised before, so this review may or may not be helpful for many of you as we didn’t participate in as many activities as we’ve done in the past. We did not do any specialty dining since we had the Haven restaurant. I know others on our cruise are posting reviews and hopefully they will have participated in stuff we did not do. J I will scan and post dailies unless someone else beats me to it. I’m not planning to post many (if any) pictures, but if there’s something you want, let me know. Although, I might have to post some food porn. So, now that the background stuff is out of the way – let’s get this (very long) review started!

    Pre-Cruise Day: Being from AZ, we had to fly in the day before. We chose Fort Lauderdale given direct flights on USAir and pricing. We used www.ridesas.com for $13/pp for transport from airport to the Hyatt Downtown Miami hotel. SAS worked out well, although the air conditioning didn’t beat the humidity that much in our big van so we were all a bit warm. I’d still recommend them, though. We stayed at the Hyatt and given the heavy rain, we ate dinner there at the hotel. Friday night is an Italian buffet which was quite good and pretty reasonable price wise. We felt the service at this Hyatt was above the average (although Medtech stayed there as well and had a weird housekeeping interaction).

    Saturday – Embarkation Day: So excited to start our cruise… time seemed to crawl in the morning while we waited to catch our cab to the port! We left the hotel via cab around 10:15 to head to the port. $10 cab ride. We caught a few peaks at our beautiful ship on the way – and oh, my, she is huge! Gorgeous! We arrived at Terminal B (my understanding is that NCL uses both B and C) and walked a short distance from where the cab dropped us off to the terminal entrance. We breezed through security (no line at all) and saw the Haven boarding area immediately to our left. They had 2 workers (again no line, although there were a few people waiting in the area that I think had already been checked in). DS immediately raced to the juice and cookies (i think there was fruit too?) while we adults checked in. Got our pictures taken for keycards and then waited a few minutes and then were walked upstairs to meet our butler, Gary, who brought us onboard to the Haven Lounge. We did get a group embarkation picture (I remember some folks saying they didn’t get that as part of the Haven, but they offered it to us). That first view of the Haven courtyard was pure bliss – even with it lightly raining. Ruth the concierge was at the desk at the front of the Lounge and gave a few instructions and then we were free to mingle. They had sliders and fries (we didn’t try them). The lounge did get a bit crowded since nobody was going outside due to the rain. Haven restaurant opened at 12:30 – everything very good… service was exceptional, especially considering it was first day! We headed to our room – had seen a video of a similar room, so knew what to expect, but was still amazed at everything. Storage galore…seriously, there’s no way we could use that much storage! (great problem to have on a cruise). Space was more limited in the 2nd bedroom, but still fine. I was pleasantly surprised at the balcony. Yes, it’s small, but not the postage stamp size that I was expecting after reading the reviews. 2 chairs and small table – we fit all 5 of us out there at once (tightly). No luggage yet, so decided to go explore a bit… DS and I went to the aqua park (I suggest wearing your swim suit to the cruise terminal… that way you can get in pools/slides before the crowds – especially for kids). Rain had stopped so went up to the slides. The orange and red slides are super fast (orange seemed a bit faster). I did the purple (smaller) slide once and wasn’t a fan (shorter/curvier, so I kept banging into the side), but DS enjoyed it. DH had no issues either, so probably just me! No real wait for any of the slides on this first day. Slides are fresh water, while the pools were salt water. There is a nice shower area near the kids pool and splash pads to rinse off the salt water. There is also a lot of shady areas near the kids pool (the wall separating the splash pad and kids pool was my favorite place to sit while DS was swimming/playing if I didn’t want to be in the water.) Kids pool area never felt too crowded, although definitely not the size for real swimming if there are a lot of people in there. The Nick Splash area is really fun… nice place to hang out and get a little wet. I did notice it was pretty packed on sea days though. We headed back to the room to see if our luggage arrived, unpack and get ready for muster drill and then dinner. While we were back, our room steward, Roberto, came by to introduce himself and showed us how to use the Lavazza coffee machine (way cool).

    Muster drill was painless – nice to be seated in Osheehan’s and not outside. We headed up to Splash Academy to register Jacob after Muster. It was busy, but the wait wasn’t too long. We then headed to O’Sheehan’s for prime rib special. We ordered mozz sticks (yum and super cute baskets, although were a bit lukewarm). I had chicken pot pie (great although a bit different than I expected) and DS had chicken tenders, with everyone else having prime rib. All was good, but service was extremely slow. (If I had to do again, I’d wait for the prime rib special another night and do specialty dining or Haven that first night.) We did a couple of games of bowling (fun touch! $5/game – we just did one player as previous folks have suggested) and played some air hockey ($1.50/game). DS headed off to his first encounter at Splash Academy at 8 – we have used kids clubs on all our previous cruises, always leaving it up to DS about whether he wants to hang with us or go to club. He loved Splash and we were impressed with staff. Their check in/out process needs some work. We noticed that Carnival and RCI had a much quicker/smoother process than NCL. It was never an issue, but it did mean we tried to avoid those times when they opened or were getting ready to close before late night/hourly rates started. DH and I went to Grammy Experience (Sugar Blue – jazz) for 30 minutes or so. No reservations needed – tables were full 10 minutes or so before show time, although I think some opened up after a while. Very talented, although not our normal choice of music. We then headed to Howl at the Moon. No resos needed here either, although first night was very busy. We got the last table (whoohoo). We enjoyed this immensely our first night. Crowd was super into it and requesting songs that most folks knew or could get in to. We went 2 other times and noticed that it wasn’t as enjoyable (still fun) given song requests and crowd enthusiasm. I only mention this in case you try and don’t enjoy it – give it a try another night and see if it’s different. The two main guys Nate and Pete are extremely talented. Pete’s not as great of a singer, but their banter was good and he’s really great on the piano. There’s a 3rd person that joins –she was very talented too… funny cowardly lion impression, although it got a bit stale after a couple of times. Reminder if you go – bring some cash if you want to request a song (hard to remember given cashless system in rest of ship). You can still request without tip of course.

    That’s the end of Day 1… sheesh, this review is long already. I hope you are staying awake reading it! I typically write reviews while on vacation, but didn’t this time, so let me know if there’s something you want to know or if you want more/less detail on anything – I’ll answer anything that I can! I'll provide some general stuff / overall impressions at the end.


  3. There was pellegrino available for purchase (not cheap) on our Getaway cruise last week. One thing I meant to try and never did was club soda... I'm sure they have that at the bars - on land, it's free to order at restaurants, but not sure if it would be included in soda package on ship.


    They let you carry on glass bottles of wine, so not sure why you couldn't carry on glass bottles of water, but it could be very heavy/cumbersome to lug around while waiting for your room to be available so you would want to think through logistics of that. Hopefully someone can confirm the glass bottle thing, but I can't see how it would be an issue.


    I have found perrier cans in our local grocery store - those might be a little easier. They are 6 ounces I think.

  4. Had a great time! Waiting on bus for Everglades tour now. Will post a review later today or tomorrow. Feel free to ask any questions. I feel like we did so much but could have definitely used another week to get to everything!





    Sent from my iPhone using Forums

  5. We are on Getaway the week after you and are doing the Everglades tour through NCL. An important piece of the puzzle for us was that they keep your luggage for you. When we priced out various other transportation options, it seemed we'd spend more money and not get as much value.


    There are some interesting boat tours that leave from Bayside Marketplace, which is a short cab ride away. The luggage store at Bayside will keep your bags for $10/piece. (Again, this started to add up pricier for us).

  6. Some good answers already, but to chime in:


    I haven't yet travelled on Getaway, but will in 2 more weeks! However, this cruise will be DS (7 yrs old) 6th cruise, so we cruised often with him as an infant/toddler. It is certainly different than cruising no children, but can be a blast if you are prepared.


    1. Tap Water totally fine on ship (in ports might be a different story)

    2. You'll find plenty of baby friendly foods at buffet. MDR waiters will help you as well if you are there.

    3. haven't tried the entertainment piece - hopefully someone else can comment. I wonder about if there is even room for a stroller (certainly could be on your lap though.)

    4. I would go to the ports boards and find a beach close to port that you can walk to - most have them close by. Pick up some sand toys and let him play. Could certainly do a beach day excursion through ship if you prefer that route. There are tons of posts on teh port boards about what to do with kids. Coral world, etc. but really - a 20 month old isn't going to care. Do what YOU want to do. :)

    5. We never had issues with seasickness, but no idea if it's a possibility.

    6. No diapered kids in splash area. Bring a blow up pool (if you don't have a tub in room, this can work great for bath). You want the small ones - target sells a duck shaped one that fits in shower and is small enough not to bother others. I'll be honest (sure I'll get flamed)... we did let DD walk through a splash area on Princess when he was a baby... did not let him "sit" in the water and only let him be in there for short duration. This allowed for a little splash time, but minimized any contamination since his butt wasn't in the water. I am one for being adamanet about this rule - way too much danger in the contamination issue. Dont' want to ruin the cruise for others.

    7. No idea yet, although I hear waterfront area is great. We've always had good luck with hanging out at various clubs during the day - not in use for adults and provides good running around time.

    8. Bring your own fitted sheet. They'll just likely have a large folded sheet. You can certainly keep up and move around, although realize that there won't be that much "move around" space unless you are in a larger room. (even then, minimal space).

  7. We just did this on the Breakaway, and my advice is to avoid it like the plague. 45 minutes of character time, half of which was spent with them in front of screens posing for pictures with the kids lined up (You can get better pictures at the meet and greets which use greenscreens for some cool backgrounds). Kids got to dance with the characters for about 10 minutes. Food was awful, went straight to the buffet after. (ham and cheese with mayo was one of two choices with protein, the other was hot dogs in a blanket (at 9AM), everything else was oversugared and underflavored.) The way it was structured, there were 5 photo ops as they split Dora and Diego and 2 other characters. $60 for a family of three, and then they try to sell you the pictures (not even a "free" pic). NCL should be embarrassed by this blatant cash grab.



    Appreciate the thoughtful feedback. We convinced grandparents to buy Illusionarium instead. :p The nice thing about that is that we ALL will go to that, rather than just the parents and kid. Sounds like the pajama jam is a good option for those kids obsessed with dora/diego, but definitely would be overkill for my son who is a bit "over it all" at the age of 7. :rolleyes:


    Thanks again all!

  8. We are doing something similar with my in laws on our upcoming. I know it will be way tight but very workable. The cagneys breakfast and lunches and butler are prob your best perks. Easy ability to eat en suite if needed. Concierge to help with shows or excursions. Priority check in is a great perk. Having a bath tub for kids.


    Check out cruisinmama's reviews on the family board. I am almost positive that she stayed in 2 bed fam suite on gem.



    Sent from my iPhone using Forums

  9. Considering whether to hang out here for a few hours after cruise before heading to FLL for flight. I know there is a carousel - someone on yelp mentioned a train and pony rides? I can't find any sign elsewhere that these things exist. Obviously, we can spend some time walking around looking at boats, but we're not going to be that interested in shopping itself so just seeing if there are other things of interest for adults and children.


    Also - transportation - is the best way to get here via taxi? Or is there a water taxi or easy bus from the port to the marketplace? We may rent a car since we'll want someplace to store bags but just thinking through all options.


    I still want to do the everglades tour, but DH is pushing against it given $$.

  10. This hands on science museum is a lot of fun in San Francisco: http://www.exploratorium.edu but might be primarily for older children. This museum might be better for toddlers, but isn't near public transportation http://www.baykidsmuseum.org


    Funny - that was going to be one of my suggestions too! :p


    I haven't done those ports cruising, but have been to those cities with DS. The above science museum is great. You can also just spend a few hours riding the carousel, seeing the sea lions and eating a bite at pier 39. Just riding the cable cars is fun for young children. sit up front and operator will ring bell if you ask.


    For Catalina - maybe a glass bottom boat tour?


    For Santa Barbara - maybe the zoo? Or Ty Warner Sea Center - lots of hands on kid friendly activities there.


    For LA - not sure how far from port, but Knottsberry Farm is/was one of DS' favorites.

  11. As previous posters have said, staff will more than earn service charge with kids. We have taken our DS now 7 on many cruises (1st with NCL next month - yahoo)?and we have always left greater than standard tips for those front facing folks that had direct impact to DS including kids club, room stressed, etc. they had more work to do because we had him than if we had just adults. Part of cost of cruising for us. Lots of behind the scenes stuff that supports the great cruise you all have.


    That being said, this topic is an extremely touchy one. Just want to make sure you have right facts when you make decisions.



    Sent from my iPhone using Forums

  12. We did this for the princess rewards once with discover, but yes - it's only good using their travel agent and on new bookings only and yes you can only use one certificate. In general, our take is that using those rewards elsewhere is a better deal since we don't like being tied to that travel agent. We did not use for our upcoming getaway cruise.



    Sent from my iPhone using Forums

  • Create New...