It’s our second cruise on the Norwegian Getaway, the second ship in Norwegian’s Breakaway class of ships. Built in 2014, the Getaway houses about 4,000 passengers and boasts 28 dining venues, 15 bars, a spa, fitness center, waterslides, a ropes course, shopping, and wide-ranging entertainment which I’ll cover on another post – it’s one of our favorite things about Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Now, 4000 is a big number. There are also about 1600 crew members on board. So it is, like you would expect, a small-16 story floating city. This was our 3rd cruise in Norwegian’s “Haven”, a ship-within-a-ship concept that provides a quieter, less crowded option with a small pool, hot tubs, and a private restaurant – but still allows access to all the fun available on the entire ship. The Getaway has about 80 Haven cabins out of roughly 1800 total, so it’s available only to a small percentage of passengers. The Haven costs more, but for me, there is value in the relaxed experience.
As Haven passengers, you get some perks. This includes being one of the first to board the ship. So, we arrived at the Port of Miami pier via Uber around 11 am, dropped our bags with a porter, were whisked to a priority check-in (with no lines) , then to a small waiting lounge with other Haven passengers. We barely sat down when a crew member arrived told us it was time to board! The entire time spent from Uber dropoff to gangway was less than 20 minutes. An amazingly efficient process.
Once onboard, we were escorted to the 16th floor Haven lounge, where the ship’s Haven Concierge, Hanno Meyer, gave us a quick talk about what to expect during the week. The Concierge desk, located in the Haven, can help with restaurant and entertainment reservations, shore excursions and advice, shipboard account questions, etc. One of Hanno’s best tips was to avoid using the included free, limited internet package for the first day (we were in Miami until 5pm anyway, with regular cell access), because the next day we could access an unlimited package for a very small upgrade price. Since the internet connection onboard can be sketchy, having a limited package is very stressful – how long will it take for that email to load!?
Shortly after Hanno’s introductory talk, we were able to access our room, cabin 14140, a Haven Spa Suite.
Haven Courtyard photos:
Next up: get that first drink! We had the “Ultimate Beverage Package” included with our cabin. There are some limits to the package: Any drink with a sticker price of more than $15 results in a upcharge of the difference greater than $15. In addition, while the “UBP” as it’s called was included in our cruise fare, we did have to pay gratuities upfront on the package, about $136 per person for the week. Still, what’s fun about the package (in addition to, um, free unlimited drinks) is that you can try new things without worrying that you just wasted $12 or $15. Christian, bartender extraordinaire in the Haven, prepares us an “Abraham Lincoln” below. It’s got similar ingredients to a Manhattan, but the
bong smoker he’s using gave the drink a cinnamon-toast taste. This one was a winner:
Norwegian’s cruises tend to attract a relatively younger crowd and a lot of families and multi-generational groups, due to the wide variety of activities available. Our cruise was no exception, although travellng in late November probably reduced the number of school-aged children on board. The Haven bar was populated regularly by a fun-loving, young-adult-to-late-middle-aged crowd. We enjoyed a predinner drink there most evenings!
We visited the spa and I signed up for a 3-treatment Ionithermie package. I’ve seen this advertised on several cruises; it’s billed as a cellulite reduction treatment that will help you “LOSE 9 INCHES OR MORE!” It involved algae and electrical stimulation of my chub. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t really work. But we had onboard credit to spend, and I thought it might be worth a try. Husband was approached by the spa’s cosmetic Doctor, who offered a free consultation to “help him look years younger!” Spoiler alert: we don’t know if it worked, because it would have cost over $4,000. More than the cruise! LOL. Cruise ship spas are lovely, the people who work there are lovely, and they smell lovely. There are lovely photos of (probably airbrushed) body parts all around. But the spas are expensive, much more so than on land, and they WILL try to sell you something. Buyer beware and all that.
However, our Spa Cabin did allow us access to a very cool feature of the Getaway: the Mandara Thermal Spa room. This room is only accessible by those who book spa cabins, or who purchase a weekly pass for $199pp (if purchased online before the cruise; $259 if purchased onboard). Spa Passes are limited in number. It contains a large thermal pool with jets, steam room, sauna, salt room, and a couple of dozen chairs including heated tile loungers that look out over the ship’s bow. The spa is stocked with oranges and fruit-infused water, towels, and a locker room nearby. A nice place to Getaway, for sure. I didn’t feel it appropriate to take a lot of photos in the thermal spa, but I did get this shot from a tile lounger looking out the front windows:
Haven Concierge Desk:
The first day of a cruise is pleasantly busy and hectic, with checking in, boarding, unpacking, and generally exploring the ship. But it sets the stage for a great week! An important first day activity is revieiwng any reservations made previously, and, if you have concierge access, getting their recommendations to set up the week. They hear everyone’s feedback: they know where it’s worth spending your precious vacation time! We had met Hanno on our prior Getaway cruise, but his whole concierge staff was fabulous and we definitely benefited from their advice.
(not-so-secret note to Hanno:) We know, you like the Baltic itinerary better! Try to enjoy the warm weather.