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BermudaBound2014

Getaway Review w/ Including Photos (Aug 15-22)

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I did a live thread on-board the Getaway but it doesn't look like I can go back and edit or add photos where applicable so I'll start a new review thread and try to combine.

 

For those that don't like reading reviews, I'll get to the bottom line. We had a terrific cruise on-board the Getaway and would not hesitate to sail her again if the itinerary and price were right.

 

Little bit about me: I started cruising in 1987 (I was a very young cruiser ;-)). I've sailed all the main stream lines including many that are no longer with us (memory lane for the seasoned crowd: Regency, Commodore, Dolphin... those were the days, huh?). This was my 23rd cruise of 7 days or longer. I don't count the 4/5 day cruises. Typically I prefer to cruise 11-14 days, but the Getaway was a last minute idea and 7 days fit the schedule better.

 

I have absolutely zero brand loyalty and choose each vacation based on itinerary and price. I've found that the mainstream lines have far more in common than they have differences. I think there are little things that stand out on each line for me, but not one thing that would make me choose a particular company. Example: I think NCL has the clear edge in entertainment, but Princess blows away NCL with their MUTS! I think that overall HAL has the edge on service, but we're pretty low maintenance travelers and sometimes find the 'formal' service on HAL overkill. I think RCL has the edge on the adult pool concept with the Solarium BY LEAPs and Bounds! So, for me, I choose a ship based on what I'm looking for in that particular vacation and who I'm traveling with.

 

Pre-Cruise: We flew into FLL and used ridesSAS for transportation. $15 a person from FLL to the Miami Hyatt (downtown location). Transportation was super easy and SAS did us right on both ends of the trip. I loved the location of the Hyatt Downtown. We used Credit Card points. The room was clean, and my only gripe was that the balcony doors did not open. I felt a bit trapped because I envisioned sitting outside watching the boat traffic but as it turned out we spent very little time in the room. We did the free Miami Trolley up and down Biscayne and then ended up spending a great deal of time at Bayside enjoying the live entertainment. We walked back to the hotel after midnight and never felt unsafe.

 

Note: For those of you that use snapfish. Apparently snapfish no longer hosts 3rd party so I had to use photobucket to post photos to the forum.

 

A view of the drawbridge from our hotel room:

 

<a href=image_zpsiminp2qz.jpg' alt='image_zpsimi

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We chose to book a Balcony Guarantee (BX) approximately 30 days prior to sailing. We paid $849.00 pp with $300 OBC. We knew that the worst possible cabins we could be assigned were those closest to the waterfront on deck 8 due to lack of privacy. This photo was taken from the waterfront and demonstrates that those in cabin 8180 could have a normal voice conversation while out on their balcony with anyone on the waterfront. In my opinion, if you're booking a BX guarantee, this is probably the worst you could do:

 

p><p>We were assigned cabin 12886 approximately 2 weeks prior to sailing. This is a handicapped balcony. It is exactly twice the size of a regular balcony cabin (it

 

Ironically our balcony was 70 square feet which is the exact same square footage as the B6 we booked last year on the Breakaway. I'm one of those super strange people that like to fall asleep on the balcony. I fell in love with large AFT balconies on the Vista class aboard HAL. Last year was a big birthday celebration (50; gasp) so we splurged on the B6 large balcony cabin so I could have a lounge chair (we booked last minute also, and all afts were taken). This year was a birthday celebration, but not a monumental one, so we elected to save the money and roll the dice on a guarantee. In my opinion we hit the jackpot! Our fabulous room steward filled my request for a lounge chair and the balcony still had plenty of space to keep both chairs and a table.

 

The downside of the Handicapped cabin is that the door insists on opening ENTIRELY each time you enter or leave the cabin exposing anyone laying on the bed. This was solved by keeping the bathroom door open to provide a screen. Also, the shower had no lip to contain water and the entire bathroom floor would get wet while taking a shower. This was also easily solved by rolling up two towels and placing them along the shower drain. All in all, I'd trade these minor inconveniences for my lil slice of heaven.

 

p><p><img src=[/img]

 

 

image_zpsv5wwpkff.jpg

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DSC_0085-Copy.jpg

 

So, let's get what I consider to be the 'bad' out of the way. If you are looking to lay around the pool in peace and quiet, the Away ships probably aren't your best choice. Above is a picture of the adult pool on RCL. Notice the solarium had nice comfy lounge chairs with padding; what you can't tell in the picture is how quiet it is in the solarium. People really do keep voices down and all you hear is the birds chirping (yea, its a sound track, but it really did make it peaceful). While this picture does not show people using the solarium (it does get busy and chair hogs are out in full force), I NEVER experienced the adult pool on either RCL (or PRincess for that matter) to be anywhere near as busy as the adult pool on the Breakaway and Getaway. In my opinion, this pool set up is a significant design flaw on the Away ships. I would never pick the away ships for a girlfriends trip, because as girls, we like to lay around the pool in peace and quiet. There ARE reasons to chose the away ships, but if you plan on spending a great deal of time at the pool and are hoping to relax, this probably isn't the best choice.

 

Here is a photo of the adult pool taken at 9:40 a.m. on the first sea day.

p><p><img src=[/img]

 

 

This is the kids pool:

<a href=image_zpsuxhcmcco.jpg' alt='image_zpsuxh

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YAY, excited to read your full review!

 

yes, the pool on the Away ships are crazy small! And I can't believe they don't have even a small one on Spice - Definitely other lines have better, but the pool isn't a deal breaker for me

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One of the things I absolutely love about the Away ships is the water slides. Yes, I'm 51 and YES I ride them. The free fall is a total Adrenalin rush. However; the other 'issue' with the Away ships is crowding on deck 15. For me, no other venue feels as crowded as the buffet and pool area of deck 15. Below pic was taken on a sea day when the slides have long lines (I waited 45 minutes); however we rode for hours while in Nassau with no lines at all and that was terrific.

 

p><p><img src=[/img]

 

This was taken at 9:30 on the first sea day. Virtually every lounge chair was already claimed with the exception of deck 17 forward (opposite side as vibe).

 

p><p><img src=[/img]

 

 

It's easy enough to avoid crowds on the Away ships, and I personally never felt over crowded because I avoided public areas on deck 15; but those considering the Away ships should know what type of crowds they may encounter.

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Did they show movies anywhere on the ship at night like Princess does with MUTS?

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While I personally believe that the pools are major design flaw on the "Away" ships, the entire waterfront concept more than makes up for the crowds on 15! In fact, the waterfront concept (dining and exterior bars) was one of the reasons we tried Breakaway last year and our number one reason for sailing the Getaway this year (especially with free UDP).

 

Speaking of UDP, as many of you know the Ultimate Dining Package (UDP) is being fazed out and replaced with Specialty Dining Package (SDP). To make matters slightly more confusing, NCL is going to ala-carte' pricing in the specialty restaurants. Where I believe the biggest confusion came is that in addition to the upcharge items that have always been available at LeBistro, they have already added a few upcharge items to Cagneys and LuCuina.

 

It appears NCL is in a period of change. This happens. Totally normal (and expected). I've watched the industry evolve over the last 20 years; so this isn't unique to NCL. Sometimes the changes appear seamless, other times the road is a bit more bumpy. I do feel that with the advent of social media, more often than not, the passengers are far more aware of the changes than the staff as evidenced by several encounters on the Getaway.

 

Example: Fireworks. The fireworks have been removed from the Away ships. However there were still signs advertising fireworks during the 80's party. Ok, fine. I get that. Someone missed catching the auto advertising. What I though was slightly humerus (and made NCL look poorly organized) is that the entertainers in Grammy experience were promoting the fireworks on Tuesday evening. It went something like this: "Thank you, We're the Grammy Experience and we play here every night at 8:30 and 10:15 except tomorrow. Tomorrow our 10:15 show is cancelled because all of you get to see some fabulous fireworks! So be sure not to miss it". (I'm paraphrasing, but it's close).

 

The changes to UDP vs SDP and Upcharge vs. ala'carte have lead to some confusion among the staff in the restaurants also. We were told by our waiter in LuCucina that there would be an additional charge if we ordered items off the new upcharge portion of the menu. We were told by our waiter in CAgneys that there would be no charge for the upcharge items with UDP, but there would be with SDP. We did not order off the upcharge menu in either Cagneys or LuCucnia, but we did order off the upcharge menu in LeBistro (as I did last year) and were not charged. To be honest, I have no idea if we would have been charged or not. We ordered what we wanted, and went from there. However; I do believe that better communication would be a significant asset during this time of transition.

 

Without further ado' here are the menus with upcharge items as of the week of August 15:

 

LuCuina:

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Edited by BermudaBound2014

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The upcharge items in LeBistro looked exactly the same as last year (I could be wrong). We ate here twice. The first time I ordered the upcharge Fruit DeMer and was not charged. It looked the same as last year, but there wasn't as many shrimp or scallops as I remember.

 

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On our second visit to LeBistro I ordered Beef Wellington:

 

image_zpsfyhnofwx.jpg

Edited by BermudaBound2014

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And speaking of LeBistro, in my opinion (food is subjective) but the seared scallops were the absolute best thing I ate on the ship. On our second visit to LeBistro all I wanted was the scallops but didn't want to cause a scene and order just 4 appetizers :).

 

image_zpsuzikasrm.jpg

 

And who can forget the chocolate fondue at LeBistro either:

image_zpsw9mt2tfa.jpg

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Almost Lunch Time and your pictures are awesome and making me need food :) Great review so far! Thanks

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Loving the review with the pics of the various areas. Guess I will be getting to the pool early on the first sea day! :) Will you be posting the Dailies? One of the things I am wondering is if they do the Quest Adult game show on the Getaway.

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First thanks for the excellent review, looking forward to more,

 

but

 

I must say the crowded pool pictures, buffet shot, lines for water slide and rock wall and even some of the food porn... some of the food does not look that great. Is that Beef Wellington? Slathered in all that Gravy?

 

 

 

does not make the ship look enticing...sorry but they don't

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I was on this sailing as well. In fact, I think I see my sister in one of the shots- the slide shot. I think she was headed up to the top to do one of the free fall slides. Unfortunately they would not let her go on it because of her nose ring and various earrings.

 

Anyway - I usually don't go into the pools because of the crowdedness, so that wasn't an issue for me. But the slide lines were not bad at all. They are short slides, so the lines move quickly. But man, the red and orange ones are SUPER fast. Loved the purple one though.

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Did they show movies anywhere on the ship at night like Princess does with MUTS?

 

Kinda Sorta :). They show movies in two places. Indoors at the atrium. This is a not a good venue to watch a movie (imho). Pretty crowded with constant flurry of activity. They also show movies outside at SpiceH20. This has the possibility of being like MUTS, but unfortunately NCL falls a bit short here in my opinion. As you know, Princess does MUTS with the extra cushions for each lounge chair, blankets, pillows, etc... On the Away ships, all they do is line up a few chairs (not loungers). No pillows, blankets, etc... They do provide popcorn like Princess, but I didn't notice any roaming waiters. I don't watch many movies on land (never the time); so I look forward to catching a few at sea. On Princess, Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) was an entire experience. On NCL, it kinda felt like an afterthought without much preparation. Of course, if you're there just for the movie and don't care about the chair (which I found uncomfortable), it will totally work for you!!

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Loving the review with the pics of the various areas. Guess I will be getting to the pool early on the first sea day! :) Will you be posting the Dailies? One of the things I am wondering is if they do the Quest Adult game show on the Getaway.

 

I'll scan the dailies today and post tomorrow morning for you :). I have not seen Quest onboard NCL (although some have reported it). They have the standard games like newlywed/not-so-newlywed and battle of the sexes; but I've never seen QUEST. Not sure there is a venue appropriate for QUEST on the Away ships. Headliners wouldn't work because you can't sit around the stage. Same with Grammy. The Atrium is out for a variety of reasons. I suppose they could hold a Quest in Tropicana, but that would be a bit odd. Not sure, but short answer, Nope :(.

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