Last month Brian and I went on a Caribbean cruise with the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). We selected a seven-day cruise with stops in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, St. Thomas USVI, and Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas) on the Norwegian Getaway. Keep reading for a review of our experience on the Norwegian Getaway cruise ship.
The ship details
The Getaway is a Breakaway Class cruise ship. The only newer ships in the NCL fleet are in the Breakaway Plus (2015-2019) and Prima classes (2022). The Getaway was originally built in 2014 but was refurbished in 2020. Norwegian does a great job with the repair and upkeep of their ships. The ship can carry up to 3,963 passengers and has a gross tonnage of 145,655. There are approximately 1,646 crew on board as well.
We have previously sailed on the NCL Jewel, Gem, and Pearl (Jewel Class) and most recently on the Breakaway (Breakaway Class). We have found that we like the larger ships such as those in the Breakaway Class because they offer more amenities like waterslides, ropes courses, and even a Cirque du Soleil Show. So we were excited to check out the Getaway. The ship is easy to navigate and has helpful signs near all elevators. There are also interactive touch screens placed throughout the ship that you can use to navigate, make reservations, etc.
The Getaway offers several really great amenities. There are five water slides and a cute splash pad area for young children. They offer teen and children’s clubs, a video arcade, comedy club, an ice bar, a night club, and a really nice sports complex that includes a ropes course. They also have the standard attractions found on most of the other NCL ships including a casino, spa, thermal spa, and fitness center.
While we didn’t utilize the fitness center on this trip, it seemed quite large and well-equipped. The casino was also a good size and featured multiple slot machines in addition to card tables. We did, however, take advantage of the thermal spa. We really enjoy this adults-only retreat with large whirlpools, a sauna, salt room, and steam bath. And the heated lounge chairs are amazing.
Vibe Beach Club
This ship also has the Vibe Beach Club. The Vibe Beach Club is an adults-only area on the top of the ship with a hot tub, upgraded lounge chairs, and umbrellas. There are a limited number of passes sold on each cruise to ensure that this area doesn’t get too crowded and there is a dedicated bar so that you can get your fruity cocktails without any hassle. A week-long access pass to the Vibe Beach Club is $209 per person. While we haven’t taken advantage of the Vibe Beach Club ourselves, it seems like a great option for anyone who enjoys lounging by the ocean in a quiet, stress-free environment.
Our favorite part of the ship, however, was the Haven (I also talk about the Haven in this previous post). After having the opportunity to stay in the Haven on a previous cruise, we became big fans of this concept. The Haven is a section of rooms primarily on the 15th and 16th decks that are larger and more luxurious than the standard accommodations offered on the ship. In addition to upgraded rooms, the Haven offers a private pool and hot tub area, private sunbathing/lounging areas, and a private restaurant and bar. These areas are much less crowded than the other areas of the ship and therefore much less stressful.
The Haven rooms also include a dedicated concierge and 24-hour butler. It is so nice not to have to stand in line at the guest services desk when you have a question or need help making a reservation. And although we don’t typically utilize our butler very much, on this cruise when Brian forgot his hat while going through security, our wonderful butler was able to find it and return it to him within a matter of minutes. The smaller ships (such as the Jewel Class) do not have the Vibe Beach Club or Haven accommodations.
We opted to book a larger Haven suite for this cruise. After our amazing experience in a Haven spa suite on our previous cruise, we knew we wanted to book a Haven room if possible. We decided on this cruise to book a Haven forward-facing penthouse suite. We opted for this room for a few reasons. Firstly, the standard rooms in the Haven Courtyard area of the ship were completely sold out at the time of our booking. Of the remaining options, we selected the forward-facing penthouse room because it is a suite with separate living and bedrooms. The aft-facing penthouse rooms have a similar layout but we decided that it wasn’t worth an extra $900 to us to get the larger balcony that comes with those rooms.
The room was lovely and the nicest we have ever stayed in on a cruise ship. The bathroom was at least three times the size of the bathroom of any other stateroom we have ever stayed in and there was a substantial amount of storage space including two separate closet spaces. I plan to write a follow-up post reviewing our experience in the Haven and the Haven Forward-Facing Penthouse in the near future.
Each night on the ship there were multiple options for shows and other entertainment. We enjoyed the Million Dollar Quartet Musical and Burn the Floor dance show. On other nights we were entertained by a magician or comedy show. There were many musical performances, game shows, bingo, and even dueling pianos. We also enjoyed the JunNk music and comedy show that was an additional charge. It seems like there is always something fun happening on the ship.
In addition to the standard (and giant) Garden Cafe Buffet, the Getaway offered three main dining rooms with varying menus that were typically open for lunch and dinner. The food on the NCL ships is always pretty good (and there seems to be an endless amount of it). There is also an Irish Pub and a Noodle Bar if you want to indulge in those options
Norwegian also offers ‘specialty dining’ on all of their cruise ships. These dining options are an additional charge but offer high quality menu items and service. The Getaway offered seven specialty dining options ranging from seafood to steak to hibachi. We visited each and will share the menus, photos, and our reviews in a future post. In general, we really enjoy the specialty dining options but probably wouldn’t have visited all of them on this trip if I hadn’t intended to write a blog post about them. The only one we recommend skipping is La Cucina (but more about this in a future post).
The shopping onboard primarily consisted of a jewelry store, cosmetics store, a liquor store, a souvenir/accessories store, and the photo studio. I felt that there was actually less shopping available on the Getaway than we had seen on previous cruises. There was only a very tiny section of toiletries. I seem to remember more diverse shopping options on previous cruises (but could certainly be mis-remembering).
The Getaway also has an Art Gallery as has been the case on all of our previous cruises. Because I have heard mixed reviews about the price, quality, and value of the art (and because I prefer vintage estate pieces), we don’t spend much time here, but it is fun to walk through this section of the ship to view the lovely art pieces on display.
This might seem minor, but we felt that the fact that the Getaway did not have a Spinnaker Lounge or equivalent space was a big miss. All four of the other NCL ships we have cruised on have had this specific large lounge space at the front of the ship with stunning views, a large dance floor, and tiered plush seating. Some of our favorite cruise activities typically take place in this space including ballroom dance lessons, bingo, and the Newlywed/Not-so-Newlywed game show.
Because this space was missing on this ship, these activities and many others were held in the atrium of the ship. The atrium, despite having some seating on the second floor, was woefully inadequate as a replacement for the Spinnaker Lounge. The atrium was almost always over crowded and hectic and it was virtually impossible to find seating. This space is also where you find the guest services, restaurant reservation, cruise consultant, shore excursion, and other desks with generally long lines. As a result, we missed out on some of our traditionally favorite NCL activities which was somewhat disappointing.
The Getaway is a large, well-maintained, and generally very nice ship with an impressive number of options for dining, entertainment, and relaxation. We absolutely enjoyed our time on the ship and look forward to our next cruise vacation.
Have you ever cruised on the Getaway? What is your favorite cruise line or cruise ship?
I am so glad you visited us at Jack and Bax. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter (sign up available either on the right sidebar or at the bottom of the page). And please follow me on Instagram and Facebook so that you don’t miss any of my upcoming projects!