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Getaway April 18-25 Review with Photos

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We along with my parents booked this cruise at the last minute. We were originally slated to sail April 12th on the NCL Star through the Panama Canal but the trip was cancelled on April 6th due to mechanical issues. We were heartbroken since it was on our bucket list but we decided to make the best of it.

 

This was the first large NCL ship we have sailed and we have to say that we loved it. As most people who have only taken the smaller and older NCL ships we were very concerned about the number of guests on board and the quality of service. However, the fear was unfounded. Now….it could be because the ship only had 4000 passengers and the majority of them were adults but I also think it is because the ship is so large and there is so much to do that guests are scattered everywhere.

 

One of the biggest changes for us was the booking of shows and restaurants before we left on the cruise. On the smaller NCL ships that is something that you do not need to do since there is always open availability. We ended up making most of our specialty dinner reservations for 5:30 pm and they usually ran anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours in length. Make sure to plan accordingly if you are trying to make your show reservation.

 

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday the 15th and stayed at the Hilton Cabana on Miami Beach. The beach was amazing but the hotel is far from the action and there are very few restaurants in the area—I would recommend finding a hotel further south. My parents flew into MIA on Friday and stayed at the Courtyard Marriott near the airport. Since we were at different locations, I booked a car service through Moveo that worked perfectly for the four of us. The car dropped us off at the Port of Miami at 11:15 am.

 

The Getaway is so large that there are two terminals. On your cruise documents, you will find either a Terminal B or Terminal C under the At the Pier Heading. My parents were Terminal B and we were Terminal C. We had some concern about not checking in together but it worked out just fine.

 

On entering Terminal C, I was shocked that there was no line. In addition, they had over 30 agents working checking guests in—yes…30. This was the first time, that I have ever seen that in all our cruising years. Once we checked in (5 minutes), we were off to the holding room. Although the room was full, there was ample seating for all guests. We waited about 10 minutes and we were called to board. I sent a quick text to my parents letting them know that we would meet them in Taste for lunch.

 

Now, about embarking and lunch options: they do push you to the buffet but just head to deck 6 and have a leisurely lunch at Taste (not listed in the daily). We ordered a cocktail and by the time it arrived, my parents were at the table. Overall, we were checked-in and having cocktails and lunch by 11:45 am. Not bad at all!! My guess is that the buffet was a zoo since there were only five other tables in the restaurant.

 

While we were at lunch we started playing with the iconcierge app which we all loved (photo). We did pay the $7.95 for the texting and calling option for each phone but in the future I would only do one per couple since it seemed that my mother and I were the only ones texting. The best part of the app is that I could see our bill whenever I wanted throughout the cruise.

 

After lunch, we stopped at our cabin (12712) a family balcony to drop off our hand luggage. This floor is close to the Splash Academy so is more suited to guests with children but since there were very few cabins left when we booked, we took what was open. My parents ended up with a family mini suite (deck 13) since they had a guaranteed balcony. The only difference between the two cabins is that the mini suite has a double sink and a large shower. Other than that, there is absolutely no difference.

 

In terms of the room, I found the Getaway balcony cabin much roomier than any other NCL balcony staterooms we have had. I think it is because the bed is recessed into the wall so it gives you more walking space. In addition, it is important that you get a cabin with the bed near the balcony so that it is not close to the closet. You can tell where the bed is going to be by looking at the Getaway deck plans. If this helps any I told my husband that I would feel completely comfortable in that room for an extended cruise.

 

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The closet comes with 15 hangers and you can ask for more if you need them. In addition, the balconies do come with robes so if you do not have them in your closet just ask your steward. The best place to store your suitcases is under the bed.

 

The balcony is small but large enough for two people to sit down and read a book. However, the balconies are bit different from other NCL ships. For instance, there is a small white divider between your balcony and the next balcony, which gives you some privacy, but if you wanted to chat with the neighbors, you could do that too. Also, we looked straight down into the large balconies below so those guests have absolutely no privacy. Keep that in mind if you are looking to book a forward large balcony on deck 8.

 

I always hate how small the showers are but this one seemed roomier and it may be because of its shape. It does have a small foot rest for women to shave their legs and storage for your soap. The only challenge with the shower was how to work the handles for the water. The left handle turns the water on while the right handle does both hot and cold. The water gets very hot so make sure to test it before you get in.

 

The last comment on the room is the location. We were forward so it was a bit of a walk to the elevators/stairs. If you are one that would prefer not to walk as far then make sure to book a room closer to the access points. I also had reservations about the limited number of elevators but here again, I was wrong. We never waited for an elevator and many times, we would be the only ones on it.

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Once we left the room, we met up with my parents and walked around the ship. There is no question that the ship is beautiful. It is understated but has an air of elegance. I loved the dark woods and muted colors. Make sure to get a map when you board. You will need it the first day to help guide you but after that you should be just fine. The majority of the cruise will be spent on decks 6-8 and 15-16.

 

 

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At 3:30 pm it was time for the life boat drill. On your room key, you will have a muster station letter and number. Ours was B7, which meant we went to O’Sheehans. This was the first time that no one was allowed to speak while we were waiting for everyone to get there. Once that concluded, we took the stairs up to Spice H2O for the sail away party.

 

On the smaller NCL ships, the sail away party is a huge deal--on the Getaway not so much. I was shocked on the low turnout. If you have children definitely, take them up there since the Nickelodeon characters show up and dance with the guests. We ended up staking out seats at the bar and watched as we said goodbye Miami!!

 

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Although we had the ultimate dining package as our perk for the trip we ended up eating at Taste the first night. Dinner and service was wonderful! After dinner, we played cards until lights out.

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We decided to try the Garden café buffet for breakfast and I planned on massive amounts of people long lines and no seating. What I found was four buffets set in a square (all have same items) and massive amounts of seating. This was the first time that I enjoyed eating at the buffet on a ship. I also loved that they had a section with fresh fruit, dried fruits, and nuts.

 

After a late breakfast, we met our Roll Call friends at Cagneys for our meet and greet. If you have not been part of a roll call in the past, make sure to join the one for your sailing. Not only will you get to know other cruisers but you will also have the opportunity to meet all of the senior staff on the ship. The Getaway did the event right: not only did they have a breakfast spread but also were tray passing fruit smoothies and had at least 20 officers attend. Joel the Cruise Director introduced everyone and then provided each person with the phone numbers to the senior staff in case of any issues. After the crew left we did our gift exchange which was really fun! I ended up getting a Florida flamingo coffee container.

 

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Quite a few of the roll call attendees headed over to the casino to do the slot pull but we decided to do the wine tasting instead. Funny enough, only four people showed up for the wine tasting. The sommelier ended up canceling it and provided us a bottle of champagne with his apologies. Both my husband and I were surprised that on a boat of 4000 people that only four people were interested in the tasting. We discussed later that it might be because they offer a wine musical that includes lunch/wine for $30 a person.

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So since the wine tasting was a bust we decided to go to Spice (adults only-deck 16) to lay out. I am glad that we did not buy a Vibe pass—I knew with the weather being in the high 80s that only having access to a hot tub would not work for us. If you want more of a pool experience then Vibe is not for you.

 

Spice has a giant screen that shows beaches from around the world during the day and then family oriented movies later in the evening. It also has a wrap around waterfall with a wading pool. The water is cool but not ice cold and it was never full of people. You can sit inside the waterfalls since there is seating on both the inner and outer areas. We heard grumbling from other people laying out that cocktail service was slow but since we tipped over the auto grat we never found that to be true. My favorite this trip was the Mango Meltdown.

 

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Staff walks around with cold wet washcloths throughout the day so that you can refresh yourself. I thought that was a really nice touch and something that I have never seen on the smaller NCL ships. If you want shade, make sure to head out to Spice before 10 am since there are only seven umbrellas.

 

The Flamingo Buffet (Cuban influence) is right on the other side of Spice. If you want a quick snack you can go grab it and then bring it back to your lounger or stay and eat at the tables. They have amazing pastries in the morning and are rarely busy. Definitely take advantage of this dining option!

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Dinner that evening was at Moderno the Brazilian Steakhouse. The salad bar was wonderful and the amount of meat that comes around is unbelievable. I tried the traditional strawberry caipirinha which I would recommend avoiding. The drink was so strong that I had a hard time finishing it.

 

A quick note on the dining package as a perk. You will receive a check at the end of dinner showing upcharge; so in this case $40.00 and then it shows the discount of $40.00. They do this for the gratuity since it is not included in the perk as it would be if you were purchasing the dining package. In addition, if you order cocktails with the meal it will come on a separate check so make sure that you double-check what they have presented to you.

 

We finished the evening with the Newlywed game show in the Atrium. Since this is a popular show, make sure to go early and head directly to O’Sheehans and sit around the railing. You will have a perfect view and avoid the mayhem in the atrium below.

 

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We spent the entire day at Spice chatting with a couple that was originally on our Panama Canal trip. After soaking up the rays and taking a nap, we got ready to meet the parents at Cagney’s for dinner. Make sure to have the Cagney’s fries with the white truffle oil and parmesan cheese. All I can say is yum!!!

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After getting up and heading to the buffet for a quick bite we headed out on our excursion “Orient Beach Rendezvous.” I thought the excursion was worth what we paid ($60 pp). We took air-conditioned buses to Orient Beach where we were greeted with a rum punch (they pour the rum in while you watch). From there, you picked out two beach lounges for the duration of the day. We opted to pay $3 for an umbrella, which was well worth it since there was not a cloud in the sky. The bar located behind the beach chairs had reasonably price frozen drinks at about $6 each.

 

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After 2 hours of laying out it was time for the lunch buffet, which included salads, fruit, fish, steak, chicken, pizza, and desserts. You also received a complimentary beer with the meal. The lunch and beer was part of the ticket price. After lunch, we had another hour to get some sun before heading back to the ship.

 

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The only downside of this excursion is the number of peddlers that want you to buy items. I could also see that if there is more than one ship in port how busy the beach would be. We had a very relaxing day since the Getaway was the only ship in port.

 

On our stroll back to the ship we stopped at the guavaberry rum stall where I bought gifts for some colleagues. I also ended up getting a guavaberry rum colada, which was fabulous. I definitely recommend this one to try.

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The day ended with dinner at Teppanyaki. Come hungry since there is a lot of food included. This was our first time trying this restaurant and my husband said it was his favorite by far.

 

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There was a father/son at our table who said that there were only 150 teenagers on our cruise versus the 700 the week before. Staff said that you might want to avoid the month of March through the third week of April if you do not want to deal with all the Spring Breakers.

 

After dinner, my parents went to see Legally Blonde, which they thoroughly enjoyed while we went to the casino. The husband played craps while I played video poker. Unfortunately, we both lost but we had a fun time trying to win some money.

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St. Thomas was our favorite port—it definitely looks like a tropical island where St. Maarten looks dry and desolate. I also loved the quaintness of the shopping areas, which is a $10 taxi ride from the ship. After finding a few souvenirs, we headed back but not before stopping at Senor Frogs where we had margaritas and chips/guacamole.

 

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That evening we dined at La Cucina, which was my least favorite dinner. The service was great but the food was lacking flavor. It seems to be a common complaint about this restaurant.

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We spent the day hanging out at Spice and also played two rounds of mini golf. I thoroughly enjoyed the mini golf since it is something not offered on the smaller NCL ships. The balls and putters are in a large barrel at the back of the course. You just help yourself and put them back when you are done.

 

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We watched all ages do the ropes course and they seemed to enjoy it.

 

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On our way back to the cabin, I ran into our steward so I was able to provide him an extra gratuity. He was one of the best stewards that we have ever had in and out of suites. Hopefully, we run into him sometime in the future!

 

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Although he made us all sorts of towel animals the monkey was my favorite. I ended up keeping him for several days!!

 

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Later that evening we went to Le Bistro for my late birthday dinner. This was our first time eating at this restaurant and although we enjoyed it, I do not know if we would go back again unless we had the dining package. The highlight was the chocolate fondue dessert. I had read that the fondue was cold but they must have fixed this issue since the chocolate was melted and hot. It is definitely enough for 2 to share.

 

After dinner, we had a nightcap and then headed to the Grammy Experience to see Sugar Blue. He is extremely talented and if you enjoy the blues and the harmonica then make sure to add this to your list of shows.

 

This was the only show that we attended since being from Las Vegas we are a little spoiled with our shows/productions. However, that being said, we heard nothing but great things about Levity Entertainment and now wish that we would have gone (next time:)).

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The Grammy Experience is open during the day to walk through and see the costumes that award winners have worn in shows. At night it is the venue for Sugar Blue.

 

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My parents and I have been to Nassau several times and already took an excursion to Atlantis so we decided to stay on the ship.

 

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My father joined my DH and I at Spice and hung out under the umbrella all day. Since we had someone to watch our belongings we hit the water slides, which were a blast. I loved the one where you stood and the bottom dropped out. Just an FYI you are not allowed to wear any jewelry on the slides. In addition, you will need to leave your shoes and sunglasses at your chair before heading up the slides. They will not watch any items for you.

 

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My mother went to Behind the Curtain Q&A and the Getaway Technical Presentation and said both were fascinating. To build on those discussions NCL airs the building of the Getaway on one of the TV channels in the room. It is very interesting to watch if you catch it.

 

I was bummed because I missed the lobster roll that is served from the Ocean Blue window only on port days. Senior staff at the meet/greet told me not to miss this one. They said it is one of their favorites.

 

We ended the evening with dinner in Cagney’s where I had the bison steak. It was so good and if you want to try something different then go for it….you will not be disappointed.

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We took the 9:15 am tags and then played games until called to disembark. The disembarking was definitely crazier than I have seen on the smaller NCL ships. There are several holding rooms for luggage and it is not clearly marked.

 

Also, there is so much luggage that it is hard to find yours unless it is a unique color or has something that sets it apart. Once you find your luggage then you wait in a long line to get to customs. There were only two custom agents working but it went quicker than I anticipated. We were completely out of the terminal by 10:00 am.

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Overall, this was a relaxing vacation on a beautiful new ship. I would definitely recommend the getaway and would not hesitate to book it again if the ports were something that we were interested in seeing.

 

I think the only thing we would do different would be waiting until we are onboard to decide when to eat dinner just so that we have more flexibility.

 

 

FREESTYLE DAILIES

If anyone is in need of the current freestyle dailies send me your email address. I plan on putting them all in a pdf tomorrow so they will be ready to be sent.

 

QUESTIONS

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Love this review and all of your pictures! Can't wait to hear more. Did you try the fried Plantains at Flamingo Grill? I loved them last year.

Thanks for posting:D

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Love this review and all of your pictures! Can't wait to hear more. Did you try the fried Plantains at Flamingo Grill? I loved them last year.

Thanks for posting:D

 

 

 

Thank You!!

 

Yes, I did :). They were so addictive.

 

I also became obsessed with the key lime cinnamon roll. It was so big (bigger than my DH's hand) that we would share one each morning.

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Such a great review!! I enjoyed looking at all of your pictures! Looks like such fun times. :) We sail in 62 days now on the Getaway. Your review made me even more anxious for it to hurry up and get here. Thanks for taking the time to write your review and post pictures!!

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Thanks for the review and thanks for the memories.

I agree with you about La Cucina. We had good/great food everywhere but La Cucina was the only bad meal the entire cruise. Its MDR quality. No need for an additional cover charge. We had the gnocchi at La Cucina and Taste and the gnocchi was definitely better at Taste.

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Awesome review and great pics. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

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Thank You!!

 

Yes, I did :). They were so addictive.

 

I also became obsessed with the key lime cinnamon roll. It was so big (bigger than my DH's hand) that we would share one each morning.

 

I'm going to have to try that cinnamon roll. Love fresh baked and cinnamon so it might get me out of bed earlier on those sea days ;)

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