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Our cruise on the Norwegian Getaway

In June 2014, my boyfriend and I took a weeklong cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway – their newest ship at the time. We sailed out of Miami, with ports of call in St. Maarten, St. Thomas USVI, and Nassau, Bahamas.

Our review is also available on Cruise Critic.

Overall: 5/5

Flight to Miami: We flew American Airlines (sold through WestJet) from Toronto (YYZ) to Miami (MIA). Our flight to Miami was delayed but the airlineĀ called us the night before to tell us so we wouldn’t arrive at the airport too early. The flight was uneventful and as expected.

Ground Transportation to Ship: We used SuperShuttle to get to the port and had prebooked our tickets before departure. Finding the SuperShuttle pickup spot was easy and well identified, and the check-in employee was very friendly. We waited no more than 3 minutes for our shuttle to arrive. The ride was comfortable (and thankfully air conditioned) and the driver was professional.

Embarkation 5/5: Embarkation was as expected. The process of going through security is never fun, but it was rather quick in this instance. We waiting in line for only 5 quick minutes before getting checked-in. Interestingly, the Latitudes Member line for faster check-in was not being used, but I didn’t mind because the line up was very short.

The room 4/5: I can’t recall the exact cabin number, though we had an inside room towards the aft of the ship. I believe it was on deck 10. Fairly standard inside room. The bed was formatted as two twins when we arrived, but after a quick call to out steward, it was put together as one bed the same day. Room steward was great, room was always clean, bed was always made.

The food – 5/5: As expected, the food was delicious. Garden Cafe is the largest buffet with the best selection, but it’s absolutely packed at peak times. It’s large enough that we never had to wait, even at peak times, but the experience is more enjoyable if you avoid those times. Savor and Taste are two of the same restaurant, just located across the corridor from each other with a bar in between. Same menu, similar decor, opposite colours. The food here was great and we never waited longer than 3 minutes for a table. The Flamingo Grill is Cuban/Mexican/Caribbean themed buffet. We ate here once and I wasn’t particularly impressed with the selection, not because it was small but just because it’s not my favourite type of food. The Tropicana Room is the main dining room on board. The food here was delicious, the service excellent, and the atmosphere was fantastic. The middle of the room is a dance floor and they often have live music during meals. It’s not uncommon to see couples slow dancing while you’re eating, creating a nice mood in the whole room. My only complaint about Tropicana were the closed curtains on the large windows at the back of the room. The restaurant is at the aft of the ship and those windows would have provided a breathtaking view. O’Sheehan’s is a pub style restaurant offering typical pub style food, like wings, chicken strips, mozza sticks, etc. We loved this place as a quick place to snack on some delicious comfort food. The service is not as stellar as it is in other restaurants, but it’s pleasant enough. The room service menu is quite limited, as it is on all ships, though we didn’t mind because we weren’t on a cruise to spend time in our room anyway.

Entertainment – 4/5: The main shows we saw in the theatre including Burn the Floor, a very entertaining dance show and Legally Blonde: The Musical. Both shows were very entertaining, and Legally Blonde actually surpassed my expectations, which were pretty low I suppose. The entertainment in other areas of the ship were great, particularly Howl at the Moon, a more intimate and interactive show where pianists play and sing songs as requested by the audience. The comedy shows are great, though once you’ve seen each comedian once there is no sense in seeing them again – the material doesn’t change. We also paid extra ($30 each) to experience the dinner and show in the Illusionarium. I would definitely recommend this extra – the show was really good, way beyond my expectations, and became a highlight of the whole trip. The food was excellent in quality, but there are limited options – just a meat option (steak) and a vegetarian option (eggplant parmigiana). One final note on entertainment – don’t miss the fireworks display in Spice H20.

Amenities – 5/5: There are two pools on board, one designated as adults only. As is standard on a cruise ship, they’re a little small for the number of people trying to use this. Tip: go after 7pm and they’re deserted – perfect time for a swim. The water slides are a lot of fun, and because they don’t empty into the crowded pools, they make an excellent alternative if you need to cool down during the day. The ropes course is a lot of fun, though probably only the first time. I would recommend you do it during the day at least once because later during the cruise they give you an option to do it at night – a terrifying experience but well worth it for thrill seekers. The harness and tether do very little to make you feel secure when you’re standing 8 feet over the edge of the ship, in pitch black, staring down at the dark churning waters below you. It’s a great thrill and I highly recommend it. The mini golf is fairly standard for a ship and a little difficult to play with the rocking of the ship, the high winds on the deck, and the too-light foam golf balls. We never had an issue finding available loungers, though don’t expect to be near the pool during the days if you don’t get there in early morning. We didn’t mind as we preferred quieter areas anyway.

Shore Excursions – 4/5: We didn’t book an organized shore excursion in St Maarten. Instead we took a water taxi from the port to the downtown and beach area. We had a great time at the beech, finding that if you turn left when you get off the water taxi and walk for about 5 minutes, you could get away from locals trying to sell you stuff as well as most of the tourists. Very sandy beach, clear waters. Great shopping to be had on account of the tax free status. In St. Thomas, we visited Coral World (marine zoo). It was a really great day! The exhibits were great and it was clear that the animals were well cared for. The iguanas that don’t leave you alone while you’re eating are a little annoying, but it’s all part of the experience. We had a great time and would do it again. Only downside is that we could have used another hour. In Nassau, we did the Adastra Gardens (zoo) excursion. Unfortunately our day got rained out by quite a storm and we only got to experience Adastra for about 45 minutes by the time the rain stopped. From what we did see, it was a great zoo with lots of exhibits. The flamingo show was very entertaining, and the staff dried the benches off with towels for us so we could watch comfortably. We would do it again, if only because we didn’t get to experience it in full the first time.

Debarkation: Fairly standard. No issues and nothing of note to mention.

Ground transportation to airport: This is where our trip took a turn for the worst. When we got off the ship and through customs, we saw several SuperShuttle vans. I asked each one if they were going to Miami International, and none of them were, but they said that it was on its way. We waited for 15 minutes, and while several more SuperShuttle vans came, none were going to the airport. Finally, one of the drivers said she would call dispatch and make sure that our van was on its way. Long story short, it never came. After waiting an hour, I gave in and called SuperShuttle from my cellphone (I didn’t have change for a payphone, only bills), racking up terrifying roaming fees. Even worse, when I called them, they put me on hold for 7 minutes. 7 minutes of roaming charges while on hold. Eventually the van came and got us to the airport.

Return flight: We flew American Airlines from Miami (MIA) to Toronto (YTZ). Because we had come from the ship, we hadn’t checked in online or printed our boarding passes, so we did this at the airport with the check in staff. We had a few hours to kill, so we grabbed lunch and then sat at our gate. Not known to us, they changed our gate while we were sitting there. While this change was reflected on the screens, it was never announced. Finally, 20 minutes to departure, I checked a screen and saw that our new gate was on the other side of the airport. We ran to the sky train and then ran to the gate, making it just as they were closing the doors. They let us on and we endured the dirty looks from the crew for the duration of the flight.

Summary: The cruise was absolutely amazing, and I would recommend it whole heatedly! Our next cruise is in February aboard the Norwegian Epic and I can’t wait!

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