My Week Aboard the Norwegian Getaway

Jun 4, 2015
The view from my living room window spans the azure waters of both the Florida Intracoastal and Atlantic Ocean, parted only by busy South Beach streets and the Port of Miami – home to the ships I stare at daily. The Norwegian Getaway, in particular, makes eye contact with me, begging me to come aboard. And so I did.

The sun was shining as we pulled up to the Port of Miami. She looked bigger up close than I expected, with whimsical painting on the ship's hull by local artist LEBO. We came prepared with two magnum bottles of wine – 750mL bottles can be brought on board for $15, 1500mL for $30. This corkage fee allows guests to tote their wine to and from any bar, to be served with meals at any restaurant, or to be enjoyed in one’s own stateroom. You simply pay the fee up front or have them charge the fee to your onboard account and can enjoy the wine virtually anywhere.

We then scurried excitedly to mini-suite 8114. The cabin was approximately 269 square feet, and our balcony was sprawling with two lounge chairs, plus a table and two additional upright chairs. Our bathroom featured double sinks and a large standing glass shower -- the biggest I have ever seen on a ship. All of this and more would be our home for the next seven days.

What not to miss onboard the Norwegian Getaway:

Upscale cuisine

Photo from Flickr by Jorge Cortell

Linguini with roasted mushrooms and sautéed gulf shrimp, slow-cooked short rib gnocchi, shrimp burgers on pretzel bread topped with avocado and crispy onions, rich hazelnut chocolate desserts layered with Nutella crème ... nearly every bite of food we ate onboard was masterfully designed and delectable. We enjoyed our breakfasts in the ship’s buffet, Garden Café, which serves an expansive buffet breakfast until 10:30 a.m. on port days and 11 a.m. on sea days; plus an eclectic array of international offerings for lunch and dinner, all for the low price of free, included in your cruise fare. We spent most dinners in one of three complimentary dining rooms, where menus are new each day. Additional complimentary options include O’Sheehan’s pub and Shanghai’s noodle bar. With 28 restaurants onboard, culinary options are truly endless.

Daytime fun

During the day, the headliners comedy club, Getaway Theater, atrium and pool deck transform to host bingo, deal or no deal game shows, art auctions, Q&A with ship performers, movies, live demos such as animal towel-folding and dance classes -- absolutely free. Additional for-fee options include cupcake decorating classes, themed lunches with wine tastings or magic shows, ship tours and more.

After sunset

Long gone are the days of hokey cruise ship performers; these guys are the real deal! "Legally Blonde" the musical was performed by artists with Broadway pipes, the comedians prepared relevant, hilarious sets and the dancers were truly spectacular; twisting and twirling in ways that have to be seen to be believed. We looked forward to the shows each night, which typically played to a packed house. Be sure to make reservations for the entire week when you first board the ship. Live music can be enjoyed more informally throughout the ship, with performers tucked into various lounge areas and pool decks.  Or, guests can dance the night away at Bliss, the ship’s nightclub.

Free goodies

On the first day of every cruise, there is typically a spa raffle -- the cruise line’s love to bring people into the spa and give away anything from manicures to massages. On this particular cruise, they gave away four spa gift certificates from $50-$200. Be sure to stop in and drop your raffle card (plus an extra few for good luck). Thirsty? Art auctions are available on most sea days, and Champagne is both free and free-flowing. You’ll also walk away with a free work of art (typically an 8 x 11 print).

Luxurious service

Never before have I met so many genuinely kind and thoughtful people; the ship's staff deserve much more praise than I could give. At the end of the cruise, you are asked to choose a “Vacation Hero” -- someone who has gone above and beyond during your vacation. I chose four, and it was hard enough narrowing it down to just those few. I could have thanked our incredible waitress Shielo, who saved my dinner by happily having the kitchen make the meal I was drooling over without dairy. And the smiling bartender who remembered my drink order. Or the incredible Hazel who serves at Le Bistro, which we went to on my birthday -- she brought an electric candle (no open flames on board) so I could make a wish. She told me if I didn’t like the show that evening, I could come back and she would sing and dance for us. It is these people that have the power to shape a vacation, and the extra efforts were so abundant and appreciated.

Stunning stops

All three ports in St. Maarten, St. Thomas and the Bahamas offered a myriad of shops, restaurants and activities. But perhaps most memorable was the seemingly endless stretch of blue sea, layered with shimmering turquoise patches. Paradise found.

Overall, the Norwegian Getaway was complex -- there were plenty of things to do, see and eat at all times and we loved the expansive nature of the ship. Perfect for families, singles and couples alike, the Norwegian Getaway has options for everyone.

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