Disclaimer: I sailed on the Norwegian Getaway on a media rate. During the sailing I was provided a free dinner at one specialty restaurant and complimentary admission to the Illusionarium. Outside of that, the entire cost of the trip was paid for by me. All opinions shared in this review are my own.
In early 2014 Norwegian Cruise Line launched the Getaway as the flagship of their fleet. This ship was designed from the ground up to provide an experience based on NCL’s manta of “Freestyle Cruising”. During the course of this review, I will cover every aspect of the ship and discuss my recent experience sailing on the Getaway through the Caribbean.
Norwegian Getaway Introduction & Itinerary
I sailed on a pretty typical itinerary departing Miami on a Saturday and visiting St. Martin, St. Thomas & Nassau. Since I had previously visited St. Martin & St. Thomas, we didn’t participate in many off ship activities.
As you can see, this itinerary had three full sea days and three ports. While the ship is big and the activities are numerous, I would have preferred to stop in a fourth port. I know that some people love sea days, however Nassau isn’t a very strong port in my opinion.
Norwegian Getaway Review – The Ship
The Norwegian Getaway weighs in at 146,600 gross tons and stretches to 1,000 feet long. If you are looking for an intimate ship, then Getaway isn’t it. With more than 20 eateries, a very large casino & numerous entertainment and recreational venues, there is a lot of public space, but also a lot of people.
During my recent sailing, I was told the Getaway was carrying 3,600 guests, which is slightly less than the 4,000 person limit. The only areas of the ship that I ever felt were crowded were the buffet and pool deck. Those were the most popular areas, especially during sea days when space seemed to be at a premium. In other words, at times it was hard to move around.
Norwegian Getaway Review – Embarkation
The Getaway docks at the far end of the Port of Miami in terminals B & C. We arrived at check-in around 11:30am following a very short wait to go through security. We were able to check-in at the small area reserved for Haven guests, however there was not a wait at the regular check-in area either. Considering I have often had to wait upwards of 30 minutes to check-in on other ships, I was impressed.
Haven Check-In Area & Experience
If you are staying in the Haven, the special check-in area is off to the left almost immediately after you go through security. The area has a few comfortable couches along with some light refreshments. Unless they are still offloading passengers from the previous sailing, you should be escorted aboard the ship fairly quickly by a member of the Haven staff.
On our sailing, they began escorting Haven guests onto the ship around Noon. Shortly thereafter they also started calling general boarding groups of non-Haven passengers. If you are a fan of having the ship to yourself for awhile, getting early Haven access is definitely a perk. It took awhile for the ship to fill, meaning the buffet wasn’t crowded for lunch and I was able to explore the ship without having to deal with huge crowds of people.
Norwegian Getaway Review – Staterooms
The Norwegian Getaway has a full selection of cabins ranging from basic inside rooms to large luxury suites in the Haven area. For this sailing we stayed in a normal balcony cabin which was located on Deck 11 midship. I found our cabin’s decor to be a step above what I have seen on older ships. Norwegian used a combination of dark woods and earth tones which made the space feel modern and comfortable. Our balcony cabin felt large enough and as a couple, we didn’t run into any space issues.
My single biggest complaint about our cabin was the size of the balcony. It was the shallowest balcony I have ever seen on a cruise ship and was barely deep enough for a chair to face outward. If you sit in the chair and face out towards the ocean, you can’t even turn or scoot the chair. It is clear they decided to sacrifice balcony space to increase the size of the cabins.
Cabin Types & Desciptions
While we stayed in a middle of the road balcony cabin, the Norwegian Getaway has a number of different options available. Let’s look at the major cabin types.
Inside cabins are the most economical on the ship. They range from 129-150 square feet and can hold up to four people. On my sailings these cabins were being sold from $299 per person for the lowest category. A very economical way to enjoy one of the newest and largest cruise ships in the world.
Oceanview staterooms are a step up from the inside. Not only are they larger at 161 square feet, but they also give you some natural light. On my sailing these rooms were being sold for as little as $349 per person. The ship also has larger family oceanview staterooms which are anywhere from 218-340 square feet.
Balcony staterooms are by far the most popular category on just about any mass market cruise ship. The Norwegian Getaway’s balcony rooms are about average size in the market at 207 square feet. As I mentioned above, this is the type of cabin my wife and I stayed in and we felt very comfortable other than the size of the very shallow balcony.
On our recent sailing the lowest category balcony stateroom was going for $449, which I think is a steal. The Getaway also has large balcony staterooms and mini-suites which are essentially larger versions of this room. They are available for an additional charge. It is important to note that the larger balcony staterooms don’t suffer from the shallow balcony issue I described, so if you plan to spend a lot of time outside, you might want to consider one of those.
Norwegian introduced inside Studio cabins on the Epic and brought them back on the Getaway. Studio Cabins are single occupancy and range in size from 99-131 square feet. Yes, Studio cabins are on the small side, but they are just for one person and I found the layout to be decent. All of the Studio cabins also have access to a common area where single travelers can meet and mingle.
Norwegian told me that Studio cabins are often the first category to sell out on any sailing. I wasn’t able to find out the prices of these cabins for our sailing, however they generally run about 75% of the cost for two people to travel in an inside cabin. So you can save about 25% off the fare for two people, but you do sacrifice some space.
The Getaway is also home to the Haven which is a private area for those staying in suites or Haven staterooms. The Getaway’s Haven area is located on Decks 16 & 17 and contains a private lounge, private restaurant and separate pool and deck area. The Haven area is very attractive and guarantees guests the privacy that other lines may not be able to give.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to tour any of the Haven suites on my sailing, but they range from 328-932 square feet. Some suites are located on the Haven level and some on the normal decks. No matter where your suite is located, you will have access to the private areas. The Getaway’s Haven area is a huge step up over the offerings on older Jewel class ships. The Getaway truly provides a “ship within a ship” experience for those who want it.
Itinerary, Embarkation & Staterooms – Bottom Line
I really don’t have anything bad to say about the itinerary other than I wished it had another port. Despite that issue, we had a wonderful time. At embarkation, the crew at the pier worked fast and it seemed that everyone was able to check-in and board fairly quickly. I was actually impressed that there weren’t longer lines for check-in, since I have run into that on almost every other cruise, including other sailings on Norwegian ships.
During the course of this sailing, I had the opportunity to view most of the staterooms on board the Norwegian Getaway. Despite the narrow balcony, I think I would choose the same cabin type if I sailed on her again. The room was big enough for us and we never felt short on space. If you spend a lot of time on the balcony, then a large balcony stateroom or a mini-suite might be the best option.
During part 2 of the review, I’ll cover all of the dining options on board the Norwegian Getaway. Look for that next week.