Back To Line

Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Getaway

  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Getaway Review

Insider Take

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Quiet settings, uncrowded ships, no kids, all-inclusive cruises where all dinners are taken at pre-set times in the dining room with the same table and waiters every night.

Onboard Experience

The highly anticipated Norwegian Breakaway arrived in Southampton, England for its first cruise with regular passengers on the night of April 29th, 2013. This was our first chance to see actual pictures of the real ship, not just designer renderings, so we can see how she really looks.

Since it takes at least two years to design and build and new cruise ship, from 2008 through early 2011 the industry was still bringing out new ships that had been ordered before the economic downturn.

Notably, Breakaway is the first of a whole new generation of cruise ships designed, built and delivered after the world economic collapse of 2008. This is hugely significant. There is a fundamental philosophical difference to this new generation of ships. In the past idle and open space denoted luxury, but today efficiency per passenger is the key metric. New generation ships are slightly smaller but have far more efficiency in utilizing all available public space on board. Rooms that were once kept closed for most of the day, like discos, piano bars and even production shows theaters, are being eliminated or re-designed to make them into “transformational” space that can be repurposed for various activities morning, noon and night.

Norwegian Breakaway has a very similar floor plan to the line’s previous ship, Norwegian Epic, except that the new ship is smaller. Norwegian Epic is 156,000-tons (a measure of indoor space) for 4100 berths and 5183 passengers total, while the new Breakaway is a smaller 147,000 tons for 4028 passenger berths and also about 5000 passengers total.

So, while it may sound like Breakaway is more crowded, the way the space is purposed makes the ship feel bigger and more open than Epic. For example, Breakaway has 27 dining options, 22 bars & clubs, Three Broadway shows and the largest water park at sea with five water slides, two of which are the fastest at sea.

Those numbers indicate that Breakaway boasts the “Free-style Cruise” format like all current Norwegian ships. This means a wide variety of smaller but more diverse dining and entertainment options that are each open every night of the cruise. Each guest makes his or her own course throughout the cruise to eventually seeing “everything” on board.

While the previous ship, Epic, was supposed to represent the epitome of “Free-style Cruising,” unfortunately there were some negative features, mostly in the design of the staterooms, which knocked Epic’s reputation down a few pegs with the larger cruise community.

Gladly, Norwegian Breakaway fixed any design mistakes made on Epic, and even added some important innovations, such as the “Waterfront” outdoor promenade to open up many of the middle deck public venues to the outdoors – a feature still surprisingly rare in the cruise industry. Most importantly, the staterooms have been retro-designed to industry standard, so there are no bad surprises, only good ones like coffee makers and a plethora of American 110-volt AC-electric outlets.

The Norwegian Breakaway differences: to sum up, the biggest differences between Breakaway and Norwegian Epic begin with the staterooms. The daring “New Wave” style staterooms on Epic were not carried forward to Breakaway. The biggest difference is the fully enclosed singular bathroom instead of having separate rooms for the toilet, shower and sink facilities.

The Waterfront is the next major difference. This “sea-view” public area with access to the dining rooms and lounges is an entirely new concept in cruise ship design. Other ships have come close, but this is the first to offer food, drink and a view, all in one spot on a lower deck.

The entertainment lineup is different; but I should mention Breakaway also has the Fat Cats Jazz Club, Second City and Howl at the Moon, just like Epic has, but Breakaway does not have Legends at Sea or Blue Man Group.

The addition of the two new restaurants by Geoffrey Zakarian are new, otherwise Breakaway has the very same dining venues as Norwegian Epic.

There are more, and more varied water slides on Breakaway, including two of the fastest at sea called “The Plunge.”

Perhaps more will be revealed, but so far this is all we know about Norwegian Breakaway until she hits the shores of America.


Though Getaway has most of the same dining venues as we see on Breakaway, all of the restaurants have more decorative flair - with the introduction of true outdoor al fresco dining along "the Waterfront." There is also more open feel to the interior with the introduction of "Atrium Al Fresco" dining in some restaurants - meaning seating outside of the restaurant in the more public areas of the ship. We like this idea of opening up the vessel by blending different environments together.

The new ships also feature a new concept in cruise ships first done on Carnival; opening up public rooms to fresh air by placing tables and chairs on lower outdoor decks. While open "promenade decks" are very common on most ships, until recent years that deck was never utilized for much more than taking strolls and access to lifeboats. But a few newer cruise ships; Carnival Dream, Magic and Breeze, and Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway among them, are offering outside strolling and seating areas for bars and restaurants on the these lower promenade decks. This is an idea we like a lot.

While Carnival was arguably the first cruise line to do this with the "Ocean Plaza" concept on the Carnival Dream in 2010, Norwegian is arguably going further with the concept by using the deck above the Promenade deck for its Waterfront walkway. The deck below will also open up to an outside deck outdoors for access to lifeboats - not sharing the same deck for both functions as Carnival does.

Here are the restaurants with outdoor seating along "The Waterfront":

Ocean Blue Seafood was a new venue for sister ship Norwegian Breakaway and getaway, but is not offered on Epic. Norwegian boasts, "Take a seat by the sea at Ocean Blue on The Waterfront, the newest addition to our Freestyle dining lineup. Seafood lovers will rejoice at our fresh approach to menu items as well as the variety."

Norwegian introduced 'Moderno" Churrascaria on Epic and it became such a hit they plan to add it throughout the fleet. They are taking it a step further on the new ships with true al fresco dining on deck. "Norwegian was first to bring this dining concept to sea, and now we've taken it a step further with outdoor seating at our signature Brazilian-style steakhouse. Whether you dine indoors or out, your mouth will water as different grilled and slow-roasted meats are carved tableside."

La Cucina Italian Restaurant on Epic feels almost like an afterthought - if you can even find the entryway buried below the most forward section of the buffet and only accessible by a staircase. Once you are inside, however, you get stunning sea views over the bow of the ship. Apparently Norwegian decided Italian dining deserves more flair on the new ships, so this restaurant will also offer true al fresco dining on The Waterfront.

Finally - the last Waterfront eatery is "Gelato" which offers the namesake. Norwegian boasts, "Slow churned, dense and intense in flavor, gelato is Italy's answer to ice cream and our version is the perfect accompaniment to a leisurely stroll on your exploration of The Waterfront. Choose from a variety of flavors and drift off in sweet thoughts as you walk in the breeze."

There are also several bars and lounges that will have access to the fresh air including Maltings Beer and Whiskey Bar and Shakers Cocktail bar for martinis.

Getaway has the same configuration for "678 Ocean Place" as Breakaway, where you can view three decks simultaneously topped with a distinct chandelier. The new Norwegian ships will have restaurants with seating along this atrium.

Le Bistro French Restaurant is one and Norwegian says, "If you've always dreamed of dining at a sidewalk cafe in France, Le Bistro can satisfy your craving. Our new seating option, Atrium Al Fresco, is reminiscent of sidewalk-style dining - overlooking the social hub of 678 Ocean Place. Be mesmerized by the 3-story cascading LED chandelier and the constant flow of people as you dine on classic French favorites."

Another popular spot is Cagney's Steakhouse, on the new ships Moderno and Cagney's are on deck eight and share a view of 6,7,8 Place with an open atrium on the bottom floor. Both of these restaurants also have true al fresco outdoor dining on the Waterfront.

Here is another departure from Epic. The two new ships will have the same Manhattan Dining Room at the aft section, but Epic only has one other main dining room, Taste, located mid-ships. On the new ships there are two additional main dining rooms, but located on deck six below the Manhattan, not mid-ships, so they also have views off the aft end of the ship. The first one is also called "Taste," but across from it and also sharing the aft view is a new main dining room, "Savor." All three dining rooms are included in the cruise fair, but unlike Epic, where both main dining rooms have the same menu each night, on the new ships Taste and Savor will have different menus each night - along with completely different décor, so the "included in the cruise fare" dining has more options nightly.

And just to be clear - the new ships will also have O'Sheehan's Pub with its small but delicious menu included in the cruise fare, as introduced on Norwegian Epic. The buffet area will also be open at night for people who just want a quick bite at night.


The staff, recruited from all over the globe, is generally attentive and pleasant. Expect a number of Asian room stewards and restaurant staff, Filipino and Chinese.


$10 per adult per day and $5 per child are added to your folio automatically. Fifteen percent is automatically added to bar bills and spa services. NCL suggests that concierges and butlers be tipped separately in accordance with the services they provide.


One of the public rooms onboard is an all new dining experience called “The Illusionarium” where guests will be enveloped in a multi-media performance featuring magic and illusions. This replaces the Cirque experience shown on Norwegian Epic and Breakaway.

Norwegian Getaway will also be the first ship to feature the “GRAMMY Experience at Sea,” which will include artifacts chosen and curated by the GRAMMY Museum along with live performances by past GRAMMY winners and nominees.

The first GRAMMY Experience artist was just announced; Nestor Torres, an exceptionally talented Jazz flautist who is equally fluent in Classical and Latin genres. Throughout his 25-year career he has created 14 albums, been nominated for a GRAMMY and four Latin GRAMMYs, and has received a Latin GRAMMY at the 2nd Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2001 for his album entitled “This Side of Paradise.” Torres has performed and recorded with Ricky Martin, Tito Puente, Herbie Hancock, Gloria Estefan, Kenny Loggins and Dave Mathews.

Keeping the theme going will be the Latin-inspired dance productions by the Broadway-based, “Burn the Floor.” These dance-based stage productions specialize in Tango, Salsa, Rumba and other exotic Latin-culture dances, as well as more traditional styles.

The main showroom will feature the seven-time Tony Award nominated musical “Legally Blonde.” Another show room will feature comedy headliners coming from Los Angeles-based Levity Entertainment Group, replacing the Second City troupe on other Norwegian ships. One act the will remain is the interactive dueling piano sing along called “Howl at the Moon.”

I have to admit I am impressed with Norwegian's resolve to keep the entertainment onboard Getaway at "Epic proportions." The "Slim Allen Blues Band" in the Fat City Blues and Jazz bar and the "Howl at the Moon" dueling piano shows are all good. All of these shows are really great, interactive fun.

The Second City comedy troupe has been replaced by a new company supplying comedic talent to Getaway callled.

A secondary entertainment venue on Breakaway will be called The Spiegel Tent, the same as on Epic, but on the deck plans it appears to be much larger than the one on Epic, taking up the full width of the ship. That room will also show another attraction similar to one on Epic, the "cirque-based" show "Cirque Dreams and Dinner Jungle Fantasy."

There is already a Cirque Dreams show on Epic, but the one set to debut on Breakaway is an adaptation of the same title the Cirque Dreams people debuted on Broadway in New York in 2008. The show is called "Jungle Fantasy" and it has played to over 3.5 million people in more than 200 cities throughout the United States, as well as thousands of U.S. military troops and their families throughout 10 countries.

"Burn the Floor" featuring "dazzling ballroom dancing." This will also show in the main Breakaway Theater as well as the Manhattan Dining Room. According to Norwegian, Burn the Floor "is a groundbreaking show, serving as a melting pot of styles, energy and excitement for today's generation of dancers. It is ballroom "supercharged" and includes all the Ballroom and Latin styles, including The Waltz, Cha Cha, Samba, Salsa, Rumba, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Mambo, Tango, Swing, Jive, Lindy Hop, Viennese Waltz, and Paso Doble. The music is described as "eclectic," from Swing and Waltz classics to J-Lo and Credence Clearwater. Two vocalists perform in many languages including English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Burn the Floor premiered in London in 1999 and toured the US for the first time in 2000 including performances at Radio City Music Hall. After touring a variety of countries, including Japan, Singapore and Australia, Burn the Floor premiered on Broadway in 2009. Originally intended to be a limited run, the show opened to rave reviews in New York and extended its original run into January 2010, performing 193 shows.

Cirque Dreams and Dinner - a dinner show presented in its own proprietary "Spiegel Tent" theater will present a show called "Jungle Fantasy," featuring acrobats, jugglers, contortionists, tightrope walkers all mixed in a fantasy background with comedy and spectacle.

Other features onboard include the fun and interactive "Howl at the Moon" dueling piano sing-along and comedy show. This was first presented on Norwegian Epic and is packed every night as two singing piano players improvise with their music and their wits to "keep the hits coming" for a receptive audience.

The Second City comedy is back, as they are on every ship in the Norwegian fleet, presenting their special brand of improvisational comedy that inspired shows like Saturday Night Live and has been entertaining audiences on Norwegian ships since 2006.

Norwegian Breakaway will also have a Fat Cats Jazz Club, featuring New York's Slam Allen Blues Band. The music tends to lean far more towards the Blues than Jazz, at least on Epic. The live electric band of guitar, bass, piano and drums sets the stage for authentic Mississippi Delta-style blues with a large dance floor, plenty of seats and of course plenty to drink.

Children's Facilities

The usual NCL children;s facilities will be available onboard. Getaway has the Nickelodeon characters.

Norwegian Epic is wild about them, as witness: interconnecting cabins, a kids-only pool and water slide, and the Splashdown Kid's Club, featuring a kid cinema and video arcade. Where most at-sea children's programs turn their backs on the under-threes, NCL welcomes even those in their terrible twos.

NCL recently signed an agreement with Nickelodeon to feature the characters onboard the ships for special events for kids as well as just having the caharacters onboard often to brighten the day of your young one.

In addition to selections from their own menu, young passengers can eat hot dogs and chicken nuggets in the Kid's Corner buffet, with mini stools and low tables. The complimentary Kid's Crew program is organized by age group: Junior Sailors (2 - 5), First Mates (6 - 9), Navigators (10 - 12) and Teens (13 - 17). Families can gather in the Card Room for a game of Monopoly or Clue, sing together during family karaoke night, or compete in a "Family Feud" game show.

Norwegian Getaway is featuring the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides. A "free fall slide" is one where the angle iss so steep it feels as if one os going over a waterfall rather than going down a slide. The Atlantis hotel in Nassau is famous for having two of these slides, one in total darkness.

In addition to the five slides, Norwegian Getaway will also have a "ropes course," an idea that was first implemented on a cruise ship with the Carnival Magic (Carnival Cruise Line). A ropes course is a series of climbing apparatus including platforms extended from ropes interspersed with areas where kids have to swing on gymnastic rings, catch trapeze-like bars or navigate through rope nets along an "obstacle course" from one end to the other.

The entire course is off the ground by several feet in places, although the "floor" below is a soft landing material. To "win" one must make it along the entire course, although falling from the ropes course to a sift landing is always part of the fun. Norwegian says that when it debuts this will be the largest ropes course at sea - and Kids will have a special rope course just for them.

The older kids' ropes course will be a multi-level structure that offers 40 different challenges, including a zip line portion. Another element is "The Plank," a see-through platform that extends eight feet over the side of the ship (although it will be safe for kids). Those who choose to test their courage on The Plank will be have their photo taken. Adding to the three-story sports complex will be a nine hole miniature golf course, a basketball court, a rock climbing wall, a bungee trampoline and the spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage complete with a spiral slide.

Norwegian Getaway will be the fifth Norwegian ship to offer Nickelodeon experiences, including the Character Breakfast, (recently re-styled as the Pajama Jam), Dora's Dance Party, Story Time with Dora, Nickelodeon Arts and Crafts and character meet and greets.

Most of these events are centered around the Nickelodeon themed Splash Academy, the ship's two-story youth area for kids ages three to 12 which includes a childrens' pool and slide where kids can meet Nickelodeon characters from Bikini Bottom, such as star SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends Patrick and Squidward.

Nickelodeon's Splash Mobs lend an element of surprise with spontaneous, impromptu pie attacks, slimings and other surprises.

Fellow Passengers

NCL attracts a lot of families, first-time cruisers and people who enjoy a more "free-form" cruise experience. The nightlife is fun and interactive, especially good for gen-X music buffs.


"Miami's Ship" is modern, with dozens of dining options, a unique outdoor promenade and excellent entertainment. This is the newest ship in the Norwegian fleet.

Best For People Who Want

A fun mega-ship with lots of nightlife, great entertainment, romantic staterooms and a large variety of alternative restaurants. One of the best ships for Solo Cruisers with 96 "Studio Staterooms" available with no singles supplement.


While Norwegian Getaway has some eye candy, décor is not its calling card. The focus is on activities; especially dining and nightlife. The three main public decks, 6, 7 and 8, include most of those venues, which makes strolling through the deck feel much like a Las Vegas casino, especially with the low ceilings and garish brown carpet with beige swirls. Getaway does not have any soaring atriums, the tallest open spaces being just three decks.

This ship, just like Breakaway and Epic, has a bit of an "old Las Vegas" feel with burgundy carpet with creme colored accents. The views from deck seven looks down on penny slot machines one deck below just reinforces the "Reno Casino" look. On deck seven the décor and finishes are more modern, but not with the sublime decorative dignity of Celebrity or Holland America ships. NCL ships are light-hearted and welcoming, modern but not necessarily high-tech. There is very little nautical sense onboard at all, very little to remind that you are on a ship.

Public Rooms

The nightclubs all feature comfortable but flashy colors and fabrics, except the Ice Bar which only features ice. The more high-energy places have colored LED lights that look something like neon. Many of the restaurants are themed in decor to match the style of cuisine.

The nightclubs all feature comfortable but flashy colors and fabrics, except the Ice Bar which only features ice. The more high-energy places have colored LED lights that look something like neon. Many of the restaurants are themed in decor to match the style of cuisine.

The main lobby area is dominated by a large "TV Screen" two decks tall. Surrounding it is O'Sheehan's Pub - a great place to unwind and drink, if only the entertainment was better. This is the only "public" area - the rest is restaurants and entertainment venues.

Nighttime is when the ship's entertainment comes alive with the shows described above. There are outdoor nightclubs such as Spice H2O by the aft pool and Posh "beach club" where during the day you can lounge on white-cushioned day beds and in private cabanas by the pool and at night enjoy exclusive bottle service, gaming tables and a DJ.

The indoor Bliss Nightclub is even more decadent with its king-size bed chaise lounges that evoke the silent question "What time does the orgy start?" Deep blue, orange and gold sateen cover every surface except the cocktail tables, dance floor and the the four bowling lanes on either side of the room.

The Ice Bar costs $20 for 45 minutes and includes two shots of vodka in "glasses" made of ice. You get a parka for the duration as the indoor temperature is 17 degrees (F).

The beautiful Breakaway Club Lounge is for the exclusive use of the Courtyard Villa guests and showcases premium liquors, LED screens make framed video displays showing montages of the world's best artwork, music videos, films, celebrities, fashion and more.

The regular bars onboard include O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill where you can dine on American classics and comfort foods served 24 hours a day. Sporting events are shown on multiple flat screen televisions and you'll find three lanes of bowling, dart boards, pool tables, foosball and air hockey.

Shaker's Martini Bar lives up to its name as a classic martini bar. Maltings Whiskey Bar offers whiskies from around the world; Canadian, Irish, American, Welsh or Scotch.

Cascades Bar is next to the Epic Casino. Cagney's Bar is located inside Cagney's Steakhouse & Churrascaria. Waves Bar is poolside for relaxing in a lounge chair, frozen drink in hand. The Humidor Cigar Lounge is a fully stocked humidor of premium-brand and hand-rolled cigars with comfortable seating, signature cocktails, and an extensive drink menu.

The Sake Bar at Wasabi offers hot sake, saketinis or the infamous "ichi ni san" sake bomb.

O’Sheehan’s Pub: this is the focal point of the ship on Deck seven. This accommodating pub is open 24 hours day with hot food available at no added cost. There is beer on tap by the pint and plenty of tables and chairs interspersed with table games and even a few lanes of bowling. Dominating the room is a large movie screen, spanning from the floor of deck six to the ceiling of deck seven. The lower deck (six) also has plenty of chairs in front of the movie screen, along with a bar, Internet café, and another café.

Spiegel Tent: Forward of this atrium on deck six is the Spiegel Tent, home to the Cirque Dreams theater company.

Breakaway Theater: all the way forward on decks six and seven is the Breakaway Theater which shows the hit Broadway Show “Rock of Ages” on most nights, as well as showings of “Burn the Floor” (see “entertainment” below).

678 Ocean Place: This is the only space on the ship that ascends three full decks. There is a similar open space on Epic, but it has been vastly improved on Breakaway. Stairs have been added so one can go to each level (Epic only had an escalator located some distance away and only going between decks seven and eight). Each level has open-view entrances to various restaurants, making it feel more like a piazza. On deck six is the iconic Le Bistro French restaurant with open seating on the atrium, the Teppanyaki Restaurant is next door and the Headliners comedy club is opposite.

Aft of the atrium floor is the Mixx Bar and the entrances to the two of the three “included in the cruise fare” dining rooms; Taste and Savor Restaurants.

Manhattan Room Restaurant: this is the third and largest “included” dining room, on deck seven and covering as much floor space as taste and Savor Combined. This room features a large bandstand and dance floor. There is pre-dinner dancing followed by “impromptu” showings of “Burn the Floor” on select nights which start as dinner is winding down. This dining room fills up first, so get there early and keep your seats for the best views of the shows.

Breakaway Casino: keep in mind that Norwegian is partly owned by the same company as Harrah’s Casinos, and you understand the size and unavoidability of the Breakaway Casino which spans deck seven amidships and surrounds 678 Ocean Place.

The Waterfront: obviously is not a room, but it is an important public space. This is the open air deck on deck 8 which offers al-fresco seating and relaxing for a number of public rooms. Aft on deck 8 are Cagney’s Steakhouse and Moderno Churrascaria (Brazilian restaurant) which both have entrances on the inside of the ship, with open seating juxtaposed to the Prime Meridian Bar, and both have outdoor seating on the Waterfront for true sea-side dining under the stars.

But The Waterfront extends far beyond these restaurants – it spans both sides of the ship on deck 8 and also provides open air sea-side space to Shaker’s Martini Bar and La Cucina Italian Restaurant on the port side; and to Dolce Gelato, the new Ocean Blue Restaurant (more on this Breakaway exclusive dining venue below), Maltings Bar and Fat Cats Jazz Club on the starboard side.

Breakaway is actually the first ship to offer this extensive outdoor access to sea-side al fresco dining on a lower deck. Previous ships, notably Carnival Dream-class, opened up the Promenade deck to some chairs and a few hot tubs, but Breakaway takes the outdoor promenade deck concept to an entirely new level.

Prime Meridian Bar is a round bar that lends a piazza effect to the open inside deck 8.

Carlos Bake Shop: comes next on deck 8. This is essentially a bakery where guests can order custom cakes and take classes on cupcake design. It has display cases of some complimentary treats like brownies, macaroon cookies and tortes. Special confections come with a slight surcharge.

Tradewinds and Tides Boutique: the gift shop area fills out deck 8 along with the photo gallery.

Shaker’s Cocktail Bar: moving forward to the top deck of 678 Ocean Place we find the large Shaker’s Cocktail Bar, featuring expert bartenders making frozen cocktails. This contemporary decor bar opens up to the three deck plaza on the inside

The Raw Bar: also facing 678 is the “Raw Bar” oyster bar which is an adjunct of the new Ocean Blue (more below).


Though it appears Breakaway have most of the same dining venues as we see on Norwegian Epic, the new ships not only have a few additions but all of the restaurants appear to have have more decorative flair - especially with the introduction of true outdoor al fresco dining along "the Waterfront." There is also more open feel to the interior with the introduction of "Atrium Al Fresco" dining in some restaurants - meaning seating outside of the restaurant in the more public areas of the ship. We like this idea of opening up the vessel by blending different environments together.

The new ships also feature a new concept in cruise ships first done on Carnival; opening up public rooms to fresh air by placing tables and chairs on lower outdoor decks. While open "promenade decks" are very common on most ships, until recent years that deck was never utilized for much more than taking strolls and access to lifeboats. But a few newer cruise ships; Carnival Dream, Magic and Breeze, and Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway among them, are offering outside strolling and seating areas for bars and restaurants on the these lower promenade decks. This is an idea we like a lot.

While Carnival was arguably the first cruise line to do this with the "Ocean Plaza" concept on the Carnival Dream in 2010, Norwegian is arguably going further with the concept by using the deck above the Promenade deck for its Waterfront walkway. The deck below will also open up to an outside deck outdoors for access to lifeboats - not sharing the same deck for both functions as Carnival does.


The staterooms on the previous ship, Norwegian Epic, went too far with a Euro-modernism concept conceived by the former company president, Colin Veitch who called them "Free-style 3 New Wave" cabins.

So, the staterooms on the new ships bring a return to much more traditional style; no curved walls, colored lights, or dramatic decorative accents like glass panels instead of real walls. They have regular cruise ship bathrooms - a topic that current Norwegian president Kevin Sheehan eventually heard so much about than when he introduced the design for the new ship's bathrooms he literally said "and the new staterooms will have normal bathrooms - Yay!"

In addition, there are two categories that come with private common areas only available to the denizens of those staterooms, for a "ship within a ship" effect.

The Courtyard Suites occupy the front of the ships definitely have the most beautiful public areas of the entire ship. The private pool, hot tubs, indoor and al fresco dining rooms and the private bar are all exquisite.

The other ship within a ship area is the set of 96 "Studio Staterooms" a semi-private enclave of small (100 sq. ft.) cabins sold to single cruisers with no single's supplement fee. This is the best arrangements for single cruisers I have ever seen on a cruise ship. All studios share a common corridor which leads to a shared "studio lounge" where denizens can hang out and meet one another. There is free espresso, sandwiches, salads and desserts, and best of all a hostess to keep people talking and a bulletin board to extend messages to everyone like "lets all meet for dinner in 'Tastes' as 7:00."

As with NCL's Freestyle 2.0 enhancements; the staterooms include upgraded bedding, linens and towels, Euro pillows, Elemis bathroom products and MP3 connectivity upon request. Balcony and deluxe staterooms have bathrobes, a customized fruit menu, a fresh-baked cookie at turn down on the last night of cruise, an escort to the stateroom on embarkation day, priority restaurant reservation and reception hotlines and special color keycard for ship-wide recognition.

There are 960 balcony staterooms and 449 inside staterooms, with these two categories accounting for 70% of all rooms. Most importantly, the staterooms have been retro-designed to Norwegian Cruise Line standards, unlike the staterooms with some bad surprises found on Norwegian Epic. There are only good surprises; like coffee makers and an abundance of American 110-volt AC-electric outlets.

The 204-square-foot balcony staterooms have a clean, contemporary design with queen beds that can be converted into two twins. The streamlined, built-in desk and storage area features a 26-inch flat panel television, mini-bar and coffee maker. The desk area has four electrical outlets, two of them U.S. standard and two European standard. All cabin categories come with a mini-bar. The actual balconies have two chairs and a small table.

The biggest difference between a Mini-Suite and a balcony stateroom is bigger and more elaborate bathrooms with an extra-wide sink with two faucets. The showers feature rain-shower heads and multiple spray jets for the entire body.

Norwegian Getaway also has 449 inside cabins (no windows) that measure 151 square feet and come with two twin beds that can be converted into a queen. Many of these inside cabins have additional pull-down beds so they can sleep up to four people all together. They also have a small desk area and television. There are 120 oceanview cabins with windows but no balconies.

The Family Oceanview stateroom measures 161 square feet and has two twin beds that can convert into a queen. Families can also opt for the 20 Haven Family Villas, which each have two bedrooms and two bathrooms; measuring 559 square feet and able to sleep up to six people.

There are also 96 “studio staterooms” decked exactly the same as those found on Norwegian Epic at 100 square feet and made to sleep one person in a double bed. They have a toilet and a separate shower along with a 26-inch television. All of these studio staterooms share a singular corridor that leads to the “Studio Lounge.”


The Health Spa and Salon has two dozen treatment rooms for such exotic treatments as algae detox, lime and ginger salt glows, coconut rubs, and milk ritual wraps, including three for couples. Men's and women's sides are set up with stream and sauna rooms, whirlpool, indoor lap pool, jet-current exercise pool, hydrotherapy pool, and Jacuzzis.

The Fitness Center, open 24/7, has 25 treadmills with their own TVs, more than 25 other pieces of fitness equipment, abundant free weights, and a large workout area with lots of aerobic equipment, such as steps and balls.


Determinedly casual, though T-shirts, shorts, and tank tops are forbidden in the dining rooms after 5 p.m., except for the Garden Café/Great Outdoors. Very few people dress up for the one "formal optional" night.

Ship Overview

With a Miami theme, Norwegian Getaway is expected to set sail in 2014 and will become the largest ship to sail full-time from Miami when it launches. Almost identical in layout to Norwegian Breakaway, it's a 4,000-plus passenger ship that offers one of cruising's widest range of restaurants, entertainment, and family recreation options.

Norwegian's newest class of ships is impressive, slightly smaller than Norwegian Epic but with improved flow in the main dining and entertainment district, 678 Ocean Place. A major innovation is the addition of outdoor dining at almost all specialty restaurants. You can check wait times and make reservations on digital screens throughout the ship. As on other Norwegian ships, entertainment is a strong suit and includes not only a Latin ballroom dance show and a full-fledged Broadway show. Norwegian Breakaway has a branch of Carlo's Bakery.

Outdoors, there an impressive ropes course on the sports deck, as well as five water slides and an aqua park for smaller kids. The kids and teen clubs are impressively large and offer a wide variety of programs and activities. The adults-only Vibe Beach Club has a cover charge. The ships' electronic screens now make reservations for dining and entertainment as well as giving wait times. Automated wine dispensers in the atrium and buffet let you buy a glass (or taste) whenever you want.

Norwegian Cruise Line (originally known as Norwegian Caribbean Line) set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept: regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established Norwegian as a winner for active adults and families. With the introduction of the now-retired SS Norway in 1979, Norwegian ushered in the era of cruises on megasize ships. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for four decades, and is as much at home in Europe as it is in the Caribbean.

Noted for top-quality, high-energy entertainment and emphasis on fitness facilities and programs, Norwegian combines action, activities, and a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. Now co-owned by Genting Hong Kong Limited and Apollo Management, a private equity company, Norwegian continues to be an industry innovator.

From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.

What You Should Know


  • You'll now find hand-washing stations outside the buffet
  • You can make make reservations on screens throughout the ship
  • There's a branch of Hoboken's Carlo's Bakery of "Cake Boss" fame


  • At $49, Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian is expensive
  • Most entertainment requires reservations
  • Balcony size has been shrunk dramatically in most cabin categories
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,640
  • Entered Service 2014
  • Gross Tons 146,600
  • Length 1,062 feet
  • Number of Cabins 2,014
  • Passenger Capacity 4,028
  • Width 130 feet
  • New

Jul 2, 2017

NCL Getaway ship is too big for the Baltic ports

We chose this NCL Getaway Ship cruise, 6/12/17 thru 6/21/17, Copenhagen, Warnemunde (Bering), Tallinn Estonia, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockhom, Copenhagen, as a vacation to celebrate our anniversary and a birthday. We also booked land excursions for touring Bering and St. Petersburg. It turned out to be a bad choice. We had a serious problem in the morning of the second day when the ship got close to Warnemunde. The sea channel leading to the

pier is only 100 meters wide which is not much wider than this big ship. The captain determined that the sea current was too strong in the channel and decided to circled outside of the channel, eventually for a day and a half (no joke), in order to wait for the sea current to slow down. However there were other very large sea ferries sailing through the channel without problem. By the time when the ship was able to dock, it's too late (didn't have enough time) for the Berlin tour. Then it became even worse, because of the extra day wasted by circling out the sea channel, the captain had to skip Tallinn, Estonia, which is storied medieval town that we really wanted to visited. The real problem is that NCL is knowingly picking (still does) this large ship for this itinerary for the economy of scale. But the ship is simply too big for entering Warnemunde during a relatively mild adverse condition. Captain couldn't even skip Warnemunde, which could save the next port of call, Tallinn, because he had to pick up and to discharge passengers in Warnemunde. The decision was made long ago by NCL management. A small and equally comfortable ship will avoid the problem. Thus we missed the visit of Berlin and Tallinn. But this was not the end of the story. The ship was advertised to dock in Stockholm in the city pier, so we could walk off the ship to begin the tour on our own. NCL without providing any communication changed to dock in the coastal town call Nynashamn after we had made the reservation. Nynashamn is more than a hour from Stockhom. The traffic was always heavy. It consumed more than 4 hours by waiting and riding the bus for the round trip, and it added additional cost to us. The reason for the change, it was likely that the ship is too big the city pier. Our vacation was basically ruined. We contacted and complained to NCL. The answer we got is that NCL has the right to make any changes.

Read More

By Chas_CR

  • New

Apr 8, 2016


I have cruised with Crystal, Carnival, Princess and Disney. This was our first Norwegian Cruise. I selected the Getaway during Spring Break for my kids aged 14, 12 and 10. We really enjoyed Disney a few years back but thought that they were now older and would probably enjoy a cruise directed at tweens and teens. We made our reservations through Norwegian directly. We chose 2 connected inside staterooms where 3 would sleep in one

and 2 in the other. When we made the reservations, the prices automatically included free Package to select. We chose the dining package, which allowed 2 individuals in each cabin to dine at 4 of the specialty restaurants. The agent said that would be fine because our youngest (10) could just order from the kids menu which was either free or a few dollars. That sounded fine and we didn't have a choice so she set up the reservations. Once on board, we looked more closely at the paperwork and noticed that my youngest and me were in one room while my wife and the 2 older kids were booked in the other. You have to have one adult per room. We didn't really think about it because we were in connecting rooms. When I noticed that it occurred to me that if only 2 per room could participate in the Dining Package, then my younger might be forced to order from the adult menu while the oldest might have to pay for her adult meal or order from the kids menu. I wanted to clear it up so I went to Guest Services and the agent quickly told me there was nothing she could do to change the names. She confirmed that the arrangement, made by a Norwegian agent, would in fact force the youngest to order from the adult menu and/or the oldest would have to pay full price. I told her that was silly because we didn't care who was in which room because we were one family in 2 adjoining rooms. Didn't matter. She couldn't or wouldn't do anything. Just to test her and Norwegian's philosophy, I told her both kids would order what they were forced to order and then just swap dinners. She said you could do that. I found the fact that an agent was telling me to cheat my way out of this disturbing. Back to boarding. Boarding was reasonable considering it was a Spring Break cruise and there are 4000 or so potential passengers that need to get on board. We boarded at about 12 noon. We carried our important items, change of clothes etc, in 3 carry on suitcases while we checked the 2 large suitcases we had. We were scheduled to eat at Cagney’s Steak House at 5:30 on the 1st day. The only times we were offered were 5:30 and after 8:30. However, our bags never arrived to our room. Unfortunately, our dress clothes were in the checked bags. We called Cagney’s to tell them that we were dressed in very casual shorts and T-shirts and that our bags had not arrived to our room yet and asked them for advice. I purposely asked them for advice, again to test the Norwegian philosophy. Cagney's said, you can just come as you are dressed€. I thought that was odd. A supposed upscale steak house where they charge $30 for entrees and $50 for a bottle of wine and they were encouraging passengers to show up in gym shorts, tennis shoes and a Miami sweaty T-shirt. But we had no choice to we did it. At Cagney’s, we explained the mix up in room names and its effect on the kids ability to order from the main menu. The waiter initially towed the company line and said there was nothing he could do. The eldest child must pay or order from the kid’s menu. I told him that was odd given that we didn't select the room assignments (it was a Norwegian agent) and that we were a family sharing 2 adjoining rooms. He was nice and ended up investigating. During our dinner, a Norwegian official who said she was the head of dining came up to our table to hear the problem. She said she might not be able to do anything and even if she could, it might take days. Low and behold, she returned and told us she took care of it. This is not the customer service I experienced on every other line I have cruised with. Very disappointing way to start a cruise. Bags finally arrived after we returned from dinner. DRESS CODE: The dress code polity is schizophrenic. It is simply not enforced. You can go to any restaurant if you have footwear, a shirt and pants. Same dress code as any beachfront bar in Miami. It is odd to be fine dining with people dressed for a basketball game sitting alongside people dressed in a suit or nice dress. Not sure why they don't separate the Savor, Taste and Tropicana into casual, cruise casual and tie required types of categories so that those who want to dine in a certain atmosphere can do so. TV: Most of the 20 channels are Norwegian advertisements. Only TV is Fox News, CNN and MSNBC and BBC. Aren't those things that people on a cruise are trying to escape? There was one movie channel that played old, second rate movies. Most of the movies cost another $9. Only 4 were free. ESPN showed mostly soccer and European basketball. I found that odd considering March Madness was going on and it was playing in some of the bars. Why not in the rooms I couldn't understand. There was very little on TV for the kids that this ship supposedly is directed towards. LAUNDRY: Every cruise I've been on has had Laundromat facilities where you could wash your clothes. No such facility on the Getaway. They will do your laundry for &20 a back. However, when we called on Wednesday (mid cruise), they said it would take until Friday evening to complete. Why would we want to spend $20 when the clean clothes would take over 2 days and arrive with just one day left in the cruise? FOOD: Thankfully the Dinner Package was forced upon us. I would have hated to pay 2 hundred dollars a night for my family to eat in the specialty restaurants. And as it turns out, I would have hated to eat in the main dining rooms, Savor, Taste and Tropicana every single night of our cruise. The specialty restaurants added variety and their food and service were at least what you would expect. Norwegian definitely fails in the bakery department. Most pastries and breads in all restaurants were hard, cold or stale. The only fresh baked product was the bread served with dinner in La Cusina, the Italian restaurant. I wasted a lot of baked goods trying to find something fresh, soft or warm. One bite and I couldn't finish it. I guess with 4000 guests, fresh baking is not possible. CABINS: Our inside rooms seemed to be as small as could be. I think they start at 129 square feet. Towels were of the thin and rough texture typically found in highway motels. We found a dirty sock and a sea sick wristband in our room left by previous passengers. Our Freestyle Daily News was not delivered (or someone took it) on the first night of the cruise. No body lotion offered. No wash clothes. Shampoo and body wash is provided from dispensers in the shower like in public or gym showers. One small bar soap was provided during the 7 day cruise. KIDS ACTIVITIES: While the kids clubs are open much of the time, scheduled kids activities were rare and they seemed to begin after 10pm. While odd, I am sure that this was a way to get the drinking and gambling parents a place to dump their kids while they drink and gamble. After one long shore day, there was a Late Night Fun Zone scheduled from 10:30 to 1:30am for 3 to 12 year olds. During the day, there were far fewer family events scheduled than I expected. Movies Bears and Disney Nature- Wings of Life were shown at midnight. Saw a fight almost break between teens during the Family Dodge Ball game. Staff dealt with it well and ejected the main culprit. Then one evening a pack of teens filled the elevator I was in. One boy was holding his bleeding fist. When we got to the top deck, security and emergency personnel were rushing toward Entourage, the teen space. Not sure what the excitement was but just felt like the kind of thing that happens in a big city. Also, unlike most other cruise lines, there are no walkie talkie options for keeping in touch with kids and family. Again, you are on your own. Trying to find someone you get separated from on this ship is very difficult. FITNESS: Fitness room was amazingly tiny for a 4000-passenger ship. I tried to use it a couple times but immediately gave up when it became clear I would have to fight for equipment use. The jogging track seems like either an afterthought or a mistake. It is a tiny 1/8th mile loop taking up most of the walkway in one of the busiest parts of the ship. I watched in amazement as joggers avoided human obstacles every few feet of their run. Every other ship I've been on has a running track on a wide path that encircles the entire ship. This one just goes around the smoke stack in the back of the ship not far from the 24hr buffet restaurant, the Garden Cafe. Not surprisingly, I didn't see many joggers. CONCLUSION: There were many other little things that I won't dwell upon. Overall there was a lack of attention to detail that I did not find on the other lines I've cruised with. Very crowded city feel where you never walk a straight line, always having to zig zag around the crowds. I was most disappointed in the fact that this cruise attracts kids with the Rope Course and Water Slides, but then seems to lack a solid kid/family entertainment program during the day. As others have pointed out, there was a lot of PG-13 and R language that snuck into the before 10pm public entertainment. The Getaway is very good at bars and gambling and sales of artwork or jewelry. I would describe it as Las Vegas with a few activities to keep the kids out of the adult's hair while they are enjoy their cruise drinking, gambling and shopping. For a true family cruise for teens and tweens, I will look elsewhere.

Read More
  • New

Jan 25, 2016


What a horrific cruise experience!!! Arrived to a dirty, filthy cabin with no wash cloths - not even vacuumed. Room Steward nasty and mean. Had to beg almost every day of the cruise for more towels, clean sheets, and any wash cloths at all - room 9 times out of 10 never stocked properly. Guest Services always appeared and acted very mad and disgusted - they treated my friend and myself with great disdain!! Never accommodated us one iota and always

left us feeling miserable and abandoned. I have traveled a lot of the world, and I have never been treated as badly as on the Norwegian Getaway. The Getaway made me want to getaway from the boat and NCL!!! I would not recommend Norwegian Cruise Lines to my worst enemy!!! I have to say, the food was good - good variety. Terrible cabin - not stocked - dirty and filthy. Had to constantly beg to receive even a wash cloth. Just okay shows and activities. Shore excursions okay, however, some are way overpriced for what you get - Be Careful! The most miserable cruise I have taken out of 22 cruises. My second bad experience with Norwegian Cruise LInes - I am so done with NCL!

Read More
  • New

Sep 21, 2015


This cruise line nickel and dimes you for everything, no where were we told that there will be a 26.00 a day charge for room steward - didn't know that until we looked at our bill. If you want coffee from the barista bar - that is an upcharge and not included in the drink package. The up charges for the specialty restaurants are pretty pricey so keep an eye on that. The salon will push products on you the second you get done with a service.

Just when you thought you were relaxed from a massage or facial, the salon staff will tell you that you need to buy this or that product. The are very pushy on getting you to sign up for more services. My husband felt pressured so he signed up for a message but cancelled later, they charged us anyway so WATCH YOUR BILL! They did take the charge off but we had to go talk to them about it. We also signed up for the adult pool understanding that on the Norwegian Epic you could be topless. My husband also asked the bar staff if that was acceptable and was told yes. I am French-American and this is normal for my culture. I sat clear off to the side and did not parade around. On the 6th day, Friday, one of the management staff came over to me and my husband and told me to put my top on. I was so humiliated and embarrassed to tears. We also found out that the policy had just been changed a couple months ago and it was not posted anywhere, even the bar staff didn't of know the new policy. Later, we learned that some prude, overweight elderly woman wrote a letter and complained. I will never sail with Norwegian again because of this embarrassment and how it was handled. Also, on the final day of disembarkment if you do the early "walk-off" program -it is completely disorganized and a complete nightmare. The line was all the way down the length of the ship and we heard there were fights that broke out in line because of people getting tired and impatient with zero organization. Food was good but the buffet was a nightmare because of how people act. People lose all sense of composure around food. Room was very good and our steward was awesome

Read More
  • New

Dec 27, 2014

Eastern Caribbean

My family just returned from a weeklong vacation on the Getaway. We are experienced cruisers, with each of us taking over 25 cruises over the past 15 years on Royal Caribbean, Princess and even Carnival, and we all agree that this cruise was by far the WORST cruise vacation we have ever had to endure. The food was POOR and there was no variety. The entertainment was not entertaining, the security on the boat was lacking and the staff

seemed totally unprepared to handle the over 1700 youth on board as well as the large influx of overall passenger count. There were multiple security issues, which when we went to discuss with the appropriate staff, were delayed over an hour to speak with them. All that, on top of the continually DRUNK and OBNOXIOUS NCL sales employee on vacation, who stated that he was there to CHANGE THINGS for the better As cigarette smokers, we are sensitive to the non smoker, but being placed in either a CAGE on the pool deck or an area with only 8 seats on deck 8 were embarrassing and humiliating. There was NO VARIETY of edible or palatable food in any of the FREE dining areas. As much as we enjoy a cut of Prime Rib, having that as a featured meal on 4 occasions is not acceptable. On top of it all was the endless loop of Christmas music without variety for the entire 7 day voyage. Passengers were leaving the ship mid-trip to escape the poor service, poor food and entertainment. As we cruise several times yearly, NCL does a great job attracting the first time cruiser. They will not complain because they do not know any better. AS for the repeat cruiser, we will gladly spend our money elsewhere. Food: No Variety, Very repetitive. No taste Small cabin. It was Clean Entertainment was horrible STAY AWAY. Read above

Read More

Cruise Forums

Have a cruising question? Ask our Fodorite community.

Cruise News

Read our latest news about cruises.


Shop our travel guides on European, Caribbean, and Alaskan cruises.

Back To Top