Welcome aboard! Thank you for joining LoveShack Vacations as we sail on Norwegian Getaway for the next week. My name is Melissa and I’ll be sharing details about my cruise experience, including impressions of the ship’s activities, dining options, and ports of call. I’ll also be passing along ideas and tips that you can use on your own future cruises.
On Saturday, September 12, we boarded the ship at the Port of Miami. The rental car shuttle dropped us off at the pier at 11:15. At that time it seemed very busy, but not chaotic, and every employee we met along the way was very friendly and helpful. After going through a security checkpoint, we were given a health questionnaire to fill out while we waited in line to check in. This is standard on any ship, and is a way for the crew to monitor any possible communicable diseases that could spread to other passengers.
By 11:45 we were checked in, and as we arrived in a waiting area we were given a card that indicated our boarding group number. Instead of everyone rushing on to the gangway when boarding started, we were called by groups. There was water, juice, and coffee available while we waited. The first general boarding group (#3) was called just before 12:00, and our group (#11) was called around 12:45.
The cabins were not quite ready yet, so we started to walk around and get our bearings. My favorite way to do this is to start at the top deck, and then walk across each level as I work my way down through all of the public areas. During our walk, I discovered two things:
ONE – We are not going to struggle to find something to eat on this ship. It seems like everywhere I turn there is a restaurant offering a different cuisine, décor, and dining style. Several restaurants are included in the cruise price, and others are require a cover charge or have a la carte pricing.
TWO – We are not going to be bored on this ship, except by choice! Outdoor activities include five waterslides, a rock climbing wall, mini-golf, and a ropes course. Indoor options include a huge spa, fitness center with a variety of group classes, and activities and games lead by staff members. There are lots of venues for evening entertainment, with things like musical productions, magicians and illusionists, comedians, and more, at various locations around the ship.
We grabbed a quick lunch in the Garden Café buffet and then went down to find our cabin. After the mandatory safety drill around 3:30, we spent a few hours unpacking and getting settled. Since irons are not allowed to be brought on board due to the potential fire hazard, Norwegian allows you to borrow one from housekeeping for two hours at a time. This is such a great idea! We requested one, it was promptly delivered, and were able to touch up anything that had gotten wrinkled in our suitcases.
We went to dinner at the Tropicana Room, which is one of three main dining rooms on the ship. Tropicana has a 1950’s art deco feel to it, with a dance floor and live band. I had conch fritters with salad, crab cakes, Caribbean roast pork, and molten chocolate cake. Each bite was delicious, everything was served hot, and the wait staff was exceptionally friendly. Our waiter, Orlando, was so fun and engaging. If we come back to Tropicana for another dinner this week, we can request to be seated in his section.
After dinner, we tried the ship’s Svedka Ice Bar. The $20 cover charge includes two vodka cocktails from a small bar menu, the use of gloves and a hooded parka, and up to one hour inside the bar. The temperature inside is a VERY brisk 17° F, the bar and décor are completely made of carved ice, and your drinks are served in frozen glasses. It was a unique experience, but being the first night, there weren’t a lot of people inside. I’m assuming it will get busier as the cruise goes on, and it would definitely be more fun that way! We lasted about 25 minutes, and then made a beeline for some hot coffee to warm up.
We went to the welcome show at the main theater, which featured sneak peeks of several shows that will be performed this week. The sailaway party at Spice H₂O was packed by the time we arrived, so we skipped it and sat on our balcony instead. It was a great way to end our first day on Norwegian Getaway, and I look forward to sharing more with you on the days to come!