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Itchy&Scratchy

Review: Getaway, December 16-23, 2018.

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This was a make up cruise for our failed Jade sailing on 2018 Thanksgiving. I booked it 2 weeks prior to sailing, and had to do lightening fast research of the destinations.... This review is a bit of a comparison between our previous cruises on Princess and RCI, and a bit of a comparison with our very short sailing on Jade. Even though my view is going to be very subjective, it will NOT be all negative. Not at all! We had a very good time on the Getaway, and most of the gripes will be rather small. I will not review the food in detail, like I did for our Jade cruise. Cause it was kind of boring to read. :)

 

Sailing on Jade was our very first time on Norwegian, and the first time sailing out of Miami, so it was essentially a trial run for our Getaway cruise, and it was quite a bit more stressful. At that time we didn't know what we were doing and how long it would take to get from FLL to the port of Miami. The Getaway cruise was exactly 1 month after our Jade, and this time it was stress free, because we already knew where  and how to pick up an uber (without ordering it first) by picking a suitable car out of a line up at FLL, and that it doesn't take that long to get to POM. We had to get a larger car without overlapping belts, because there were 4 of us, including a child in a booster. I am into car safety, so I knew what vehicles were not suitable for us (subcompact cars like Kia Rio or cars with overlapping belts like Toyota Rav4). So, we picked a Nissan Altima and were at POM about 30 minutes later. :) We arrived right around noon.

 

It took about 10-15 minutes to get into the building, go through scanners, fill out the health questionnaire, and get to the agent for check-in. The agent was friendly and speedy. The check-in was supposed to be in 2 different terminals, since mom was on deck 9 and we were on deck 12, but they didn't seem to have a problem with us checking in together. About 5 minutes later we proceeded up the stairs and waited for another 10 minutes for our group to be called.

 

We first went to the Guest Services because we wanted to swap the rooms with mom.  However, everyone was getting hungry, and the line was very long, so we headed to the buffet instead. It was very crowded, so we shared a large round table with 2 people. Headed back to the Guest Services, and it took a good 45-60 minutes to finally get to a CS rep.  Some people must have been having some huge problems immediately upon arrival, because they were actively engaged with a rep the entire time we were standing in line. It took another 20  minutes for us to get situated, because the rep kept misunderstanding us and messing up the room numbers... But it was over, and we were finally in Cabin 9712 (a large balcony cabin, forward), and mom was in a regular balcony room 12884, aft. It worked out great for all of us, because she had a very short walk to the stairs/elevators that led directly to the buffet and MDR. Mom is geographically challenged and gets lost on ships. It's not that she is physically unfit and had to be next to the elevator - she is actually more fit than me and took the stairs on the ship all the time.

 

Here are the pics of our cabin, 9712.

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Our 7 yo son was thrilled to have a pullman bed - he LOVES those! We loved that it was not above our bed, and one could actually sit on the sofa without hitting their head on the pullman bed. That was another reason for us switching cabins with mom, because 12884 only had a sofa bed for person #3.

 

The cabin itself was spacious, and the bathroom layout and size were wonderful. Same with the shower size - great (I am x-large,  and DH is tall) and it had a door instead of a yucky curtain, like on Princess. Water pressure and temperature were perfect on Getaway. On Jade the temperature kept fluctuating from hot to room-temp all the time while you showered.

 

The safe size was very small. Very insufficient for what we had to store (2 wallets, 4 passports, 1 letter sized but folded birth certificate,  2 phones, 1 small camera and 1 12" tablet). The 12" tablet had a very hard time fitting in.... On Princess I was able to stuff my whole purse into a safe, in addition to all of this stuff.

 

Also, there was nowhere to put our suitcases. We don't store them under the bed and don't really unpack, except for some tops which we hang in the closet. On Princess we always had ample space to put 2 suitcases side by side in the closet - then we'd just open them, fish out what we need and we are done. We had to improvise on Norwegian, because we couldn't stuff even 1 suitcase into the closet on its side. So, one suitcase went under the desk, and the other one stayed on the sofa - that worked great for us.

 

Our balcony was very nice and had 2 chairs, 1 round table and 2 chaises. Here are the pics - view from the room, view of the balcony below us, view to the right, view to the left, view upwards:

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Staff was always friendly and smiling.  Mom had a superb steward who anticipated my mom's every need (even though she couldn't even express her needs since her English is very limited), and we had an average one. While our cabin attendant kept our cabin very clean and spotless, we didn't always get the Freestyle paper for the next day, and we didn't get the disembarkation info. At all. Since this was our very first proper disembarkation on Norwegian, I had no idea what to do. We had to ask a different cabin attendant, because ours was never in sight. This other cabin attendant was almost always present in the hallway, cleaning the other cabins. He was always super smiley, friendly and helpful, so he explained to me that I had to go to the Guest Services and pick out a tag of my own. This is different from Princess, where you fill out a questionnaire on what time you want to depart and your steward brings you the tags. The tags on the Getaway were available to the left of the Guest Services desk.

 

We didn't try the Splash Academy at all, because DS refused to go at all. Didn't even want to register. So, no opinion on the quality of the kid's club.

 

However, this refusal was very nicely offset by all the great activities that Getaways had to offer families for FREE: we all loved the rock climbing wall and the ropes course. The Getaway Bounce (aka trampoline) was limited to a max of 80#, so most teens and adults were out of luck. Our kiddo LOVED it and did back flips galore. The Spider Net was limited to 120#, so more kids could enjoy that, and they did!

Oh, if you don't want to stand in line for an hour for the ropes course on the first sea day, then don't. For the rest of the days the line was less than 10 minutes, and sometimes there was no line at all. :)

 

DS was also in love with the water slides! And all these great activities are a huge plus and difference compared to Princess. Inasmuch as we love Princess food, there is nothing to do onboard for families. If it's a rainy day - forget about pools and hot tubs as well. The only thing we ever could do on Princess as a family is soaking in hot tubs. Pools are always too cold for us on all of the cruise ships anyway.

 

Now, onto a bit of negative. Smoke smell was almost everywhere on deck 7.... Even though the smokers in another thread are crying about how limited they are on the Getaway, you could walk through the middle of deck 7 without inhaling a whole bunch of smoke. We either avoided that area as much as we could, or held our breath if we had to walk through.  Like the disembarkation line on Deck 7 was partly in a smoky casino... Thankfully, the Theater and the Tropicana MDR and the areas right in front of them weren't smoky.

 

The smoke was also highly present on deck 15 by the pool - there was some kind of a smoker room there. Instead of opening on the ocean side to let all the smoke out, it opened right onto the pool side. When you passed by it, you got a lung full or two of smoke as well. I held my breath as much as I could. Same with the Ocean Blue side of the Waterfront - had to hold my breath while walking on that side, so we took the opposite side when we remembered.

 

to be continued.

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before I forget, here is a photo of cabin 12884. It was a mirror image of ours, and had the sofa by the balcony. Only sleeps 3, though.

I found the beds to be comfortable. I found them uncomfortable (hard as a rock) on Regal Princess and comfortable enough on Caribbean Princess.

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Edited by Itchy&Scratchy

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Getaway was our first NCL cruise and got us hooked. I enjoy hearing other’s perspectives. Great review so far!

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Can't wait to read more … we're sailing in March on the Getaway!  We've sailed with Carnival before, but never Norwegian.  Looking forward to it!!

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We have just booked the Getaway for April 2020 so enjoying reading this.

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continued:

 

The ropes course had a 48" minimum, but on our last day we discovered that Getaway had a tiny little ropes course for young kids right at the entrance to the ropes course. It's not high off the ground like the actual ropes course, and some kiddo that looked about 3 was doing it at the time. It was adorable. Sneakers or other fully closed shoes must be worn. They do check, and fisherman or athletic sandals with a strap in the back are NOT allowed. Dry clothing is a must as well.

 

There was a 30# and 42" minimum for the trampoline (Getaway bounce) and the Spider net. Kids must wear socks and dry clothing.

 

The blue and green water slides had a 100# minimum, and looked too dangerous for a 7 yo anyway. So, DS started with a nice and easy purple slide that all kids could do, and then ventured on his own to the red and orange slides which were quite a bit more adventurous and challenging. But great for a 7 yo!

A bunch of kids were also enjoying the kid's aqua park area which was adorable and fun. I was also surprised by the presence of the life guard on both Jade and Getaway. I've never seen life guards on Princess or RCI.

 

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Posted (edited)

Now, on to the food. When I did my research on Norwegian, I already knew that the food would be inferior to Regal Princess's food. Yes, it really was. It wasn't completely horrible and inedible per se, but it was mostly either very underwhelming in general, or oversalted, dry, cold... We liked very few dinner dishes in MDR. And for the first time in our cruising history, we actually ate dinner in the buffet a couple of times instead of MDR. That sure was a first. We looked at the MDR menus on the TV on the Getaway and felt that a couple of those days didn't warrant our attention at all.

 

We love good food, and have found that Regal Princess does offer what we love and want.

 

Now, the Getaway buffet was more plentiful and diverse than the buffet on Jade, but nowhere near Regal Princess's quality and quantity. Princess always has smoked salmon for breakfast in the buffet, whereas the only salmon I found on Jade was in a salmon mousse (kind of like salmon flavored cream cheese with tiny bits of salmon in it) and on Getaway - every other day there were English Muffins with scrambled eggs and chunks of smoked salmon. They were delicious, but what I really wanted was smoked salmon on a croissant. :)  

 

The buffet wasn't bad in general, but the buffet layout was horrible. People were bumping into each other all the time, the hallway wasn't wide enough for people to go in different direction and still have a line at the buffet. If you wanted scrambled eggs, a bagel, hash browns and a cup of coffee, you had to run all over the buffet to collect all of the items.

We found breakfast buffet to be nice in general. :) It was consistent with the same items every day. The only items I saw rotated on an every other day schedule were the scrambled egg english muffins. One day - salmon, next day - ham. The poached eggs were also served in a couple of different ways - sometimes with an avocado toast, sometimes plain.

 

Dinner buffet's theme nights were nice. I personally liked the Italian night - it was better than the others. The Mexican night was a huge disappointment, because the buffet ran out of guacamole before 8 pm.... Getaway didn't offer guacamole on any other days. Regal Princess had guacamole EVERY DAY and never ran out.

 

My husband's opinion was that the food was always cold - whether in MDR or the buffet. I tend to agree with him - it mostly was cold or lukewarm instead of hot. With a notable exception of fries and curly fries. I have to give a huge bonus point to Getaway - the buffet fries were really-really good. And believe me, when I cruise on Princess - I don't even LOOK at french fries, because the rest of their food is heavenly. Norwegian's food was boring and uninspiring, so I can't believe I am saying it, but yes - we as a family ate a ton of french and curly fries on this cruise. And they were good! Especially, when straight out of the fryer.

 

What we enjoyed most on Jade was the crepe station. Jade's crepes were heavenly. Princess doesn't have a crepe station... Sigh. So, when we tried out the crepe station on the Getaway, we were very disappointed. The lady, who prepared them, killed them. Killed them dead. They were dry and very crispy and we kept choking on them. They were crap. So, after a couple of nights of this, we started asking her to cook them for half the time. They were much better that way, but still not as heavenly as Jade's crepes which were delicate and buttery and were melting in our mouths.

 

 

 

Desserts in the buffet were quite good, although I didn't indulge in them as much as I usually do. Regular ice cream was available in a lovely variety of flavors and was pretty good. 

 

My husband and kiddo LOVED the soft serve ice cream on Jade, but my husband found it to be not as good and always too melty on the Getaway. The kid was ok with Getaway's soft serve, but didn't enjoy it as much as Jade's.

 

Here are Getaway's scrambled eggs on an English muffin and a hash brown (which was delicious!). A poached egg on an avocado english muffin (the sauce was spicy like Tabasco). Also, some sort of an egg souffle with potatoes and spinach, which was very good. And the last one is a  heavenly crepe on JADE. :)

 

 

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Edited by Itchy&Scratchy

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Italian night at the buffet: my mom took these. :)

 

Oh, so very quickly - the dishes we liked at MDR were: salmon tartare, beef medallions and  the shrimp and crabcake the first day (see pic below), gnocchi with pesto sauce and pine nuts,  cauliflower soup, white cheddar and potato soup, DH loved the seafood gumbo (I didn't), shrimp scampi, and the shrimp and mushroom alfredo from the every day menu.

 

Mushroom gnocchi a the buffet was dry and bad.

 

I must say that I loved all the shrimp dishes at the buffet and MDR. I am very partial to shrimp and get anything shrimp related while on a cruise. I enjoyed them all!

 

Feel free to ask questions, I am sure I am forgetting something. I don't remember whether I mentioned that on the 2 extremely windy nights the balcony separator door was banging loudly all night long, but it was very quiet otherwise.

I'll come back soon to tell you about the beaches we went to at the destinations. :)

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Will you sail more on NCL or ?  RCCL has the kids slides etc - how it their food - better?  I sail solo so for price NCL has my business.

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On 1/2/2019 at 1:06 AM, CanadaGuyEh said:

Will you sail more on NCL or ?  RCCL has the kids slides etc - how it their food - better?  I sail solo so for price NCL has my business.

the last time we were on RCI was in 2014. The food was good, but nowhere near Princess level, of course. We'll be on the Allure in exactly 3 months - so, we'll find out if it got worse. Cruisecritic people seem to think it became pretty bad. :)

I don't think we'll specifically look to book NCL again, unless we accidentally stumble across a fantastic deal. And I mean - FANTASTIC (price and itinerary wise and on a newer ship). The food was not all that good, and the cigarette smoke drove us crazy. Everything else was very good, so it's not like we hate NCL or even dislike it. We liked the Getaway just fine.

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On 1/1/2019 at 7:04 PM, Itchy&Scratchy said:

Dinner buffet's theme nights were nice. I personally liked the Italian night - it was better than the others. The Mexican night was a huge disappointment, because the buffet ran out of guacamole before 8 pm.... Getaway didn't offer guacamole on any other days. Regal Princess had guacamole EVERY DAY and never ran out.

 

That is such a shame. One of my most vivid (buffet) memories was on NCL Jade a few years ago. They had the biggest bowl of guacamole you've ever seen, it was absolutely amazing. So fresh and full of flavour and there DAILY.

 

I was expecting the same on Breakaway in July and was sorely disappointed there was not a permanent guacamole trough.

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a very quick review of our destinations

 

Cozumel, Mexico: We'd been to Cozumel before - 3 times to be exact, and with every time we found it to be less and less pleasant, culminating in a rather unpleasant and expensive visit in Nov 2017 ($17 pp for just the lounger at the Blue Ocean club - very overcrowded, not worth the money, too loud, not enough loungers for us, hated it).

This time was much better - we went to the Money Bar Beach, where they don't charge you for the loungers or wifi. Now, it was a very cold and windy day, so we were not able to swim/snorkel like we planned, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway. This was the first time we actually purchased drinks on Cozumel - a frozen mango margarita for me (didn't taste like mango, but was pleasant enough), a mojito for DH and a coke for DS.  The bill was $15 and change, we left a $20 bill. I would have also gotten the guacamole, but the onion chunks could be seen from outer space, and I don't eat onions, if I can help it. Looked delicious otherwise.

 

We did use the free wifi, and it was very strong - good enough to make a Skype call (audio only), very good connection. The bathroom was very nice and clean. We knew in advance it wasn't a beachy beach (no sand).

The taxi was $12 each way for all 4 of us. No freaking seat belts... Sigh.

 

Roatan, Honduras:  we went to the Infinity beach. Upon arrival at the port we went to Kiosk #7 as instructed on the Roatan, Honduras board, and for $15 pp roundtrip we were safely delivered to Infinity Beach by Simon. The $20 pp entrance fee included the use of a lounger and 1 rum punch, but we talked them out of charging us $20 for our 7 yo DS.

I don't think the beach, a lounger and even 1 rum punch was really worth $20. Honestly. But the beach and water were relatively seaweed free, unlike the Tabyana beach that was right next to us  - full of nasty prickly plants in the water and on the beach. 

But DH liked it, so we'll be going back there in April.

By the way, a ton of vendors bugging you every minute or so, but we did use one of them - took a bunch of pics of DS with a monkey for $10. And then another bunch of DH with the monkey for $5.

 

Harvest Cay, Belize: Not really a great location. Murky water, sand that's not soft. But it was free. :) We found loungers, swam a bit, relaxed on the beach. They also had a lovely kid's sprayground, but the water was freezing, so DS didn't even want to try it. The water in a gorgeous pool was also very cold. 

WE had an unexpected treat at the end, when we walked back to the ship. Mom went exploring on her own and found a small garden with an aviary and a butterfly house. FREE. They were lovely.

 

In order of appearance: Roatan Coxen Hole port.

Harvest Cay.

Harvest Cay - the garden and the butterfly house.

Costa Maya port - a free dolphin show.

 

 

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Entertainment:

 

We enjoyed all of the shows we got to see.

 

We didn't get to see the Welcome Aboard show, because we were exhausted after getting up at 4:30 am that morning and flying to FLL. I am sure it was great.

 

Burn The Floor was great! Even my 7 yo DS loved it.

 

Million Dollar Quartet - Mom, DS and I loved it (DH had a headache and didn't join us), however, it had people smoking on the stage, which my 7 yo was appalled by and commented on. It also had some very adult innuendos which, I hope, went over my 7 yo's head. I was cringing, though. If I didn't have my 7 yo with me, I wouldn't have been cringing.  But Norwegian didn't warn us that it was adult oriented. We have enjoyed the songs and the performances very much!

 

DS is not very musical, so to say, and all of the songs they played were brand new to him, but a couple of weeks later I played Johnny Cash's "I walk the line" for DS, and, to my joy and shock, he recognized it!

 

Howl at the Moon (Dueling Pianos) - I enjoyed this one alone, because the boys didn't want to go, and mom actually got lost on the ship and didn't find the venue.... I stayed for about an hour. While the ladies were quite enjoyable (good singers and personalities), the songs people requested were not my cup of tea.

They let you know at the beginning of the show that notes without money were just suggestions, but the notes with the money attached were definitely requests.

 

The Grand Finale show (I can't for the life of me remember what it was actually called) was great as well - it has a little bit of everything. We all enjoyed it, and were pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of the staff and officers at the end. 

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