My wife and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on the Getaway from December 8th - 13th. After reading many of the reviews on here and complaints on the message boards I was skeptical at best. However, the cruise blew us both away and was one of the best vacations we've ever had. It seems to me that people can always find something to complain about but if you have a good attitude and realize you are on vacation and relax you will have a great time.
We used the free air through NCL and paid the $25 deviation to come in to New Orleans a day early. Flights were great, a little close on the connection time, but we got to New Orleans by 1:00 and had the day to relax and explore. Next morning we woke up and walked over to the Port around 9:00. We had read reviews about the construction around the Port and the chaos and they were correct but we got right into the security line around 9:30 just before they opened it up, probably around 75th in line. Security was smooth (no you can't bring water through so just be prepared), and we checked in after a couple of minute wait. The lady checking us in informed us that we were Priority Check-in and pointed us over to a separate check in area. We did not sign up for this but NCL gave us the perk as an anniversary gift. Check in was smooth and we were pointed to the holding area around 9:45. The holding area is a bit chaotic but there is water and chairs for everyone. Boarding started just before 11:00 and we were called with Priority Check-in and were on the boat by 11:10. I understand people want to complain about the process and the waiting but NCL is moving 4,000 passengers off the boat and another 4,000 on. In my opinion they did everything as smoothly as possible. We explored the boat a bit, had lunch in Taste and were allowed into the rooms right about 2:00.
We had an Aft Balcony and it was AMAZING. The balcony was the highlight of the trip and we spent every morning out there watching amazing sun rises drinking room service coffee delivered for free. Our room attendant Noel introduced himself right away and was attentive to everything we could have needed. The room was decorated with balloons and a Happy Anniversary which was a nice surprise. We saw Noel every day and he greeted us with a smile and asked us how we were doing and if we needed anything. The room itself is small, but, hey you're on a cruise ship, what do you expect? The bathroom was fine and water pressure and temperature were great.
For the most part we were very happy with the food offered. We had two specialty restaurants as part of our package and ate at Moderno's and Cagney's. I left Moderno's feeling like there was no way I could eat another bite and at Cagney's had a very nice steak. Are they 5 start restaurants, no, but they were great and the service was perfect.
We ate in all three main dining rooms, Taste and Savor are the same just on opposite sides of the ship and in Tropicana which was definitely our favorite. The menu's are the same in all three but the atmosphere in Tropicana was much better with live music and dancing. The lunch menu's do not change and that would be one of my few minor complaints, it would be nice for some variety there. The dinner menu's also are pretty consistent with some entree's changing but most of the menu does not. The food was always excellent though. Appetizers were a bit small but we'd order three or four to share and the entree's were a good size. The deserts were always very tasty as well. We booked all of our dinner times well in advance and never had to wait for a table at all.
There have been a lot of complaints about the buffet but we loved it. Breakfast was always great and there were a lot of choices and we also ate lunch there a couple of times, along with some mid-afternoon snacking. Yes, it's a buffet so a lot of the food there is standard buffet food but it was all very good.
The Waterfront is a great place to hang out with a book or at one of the bars and relax. If we hadn't had a balcony I could see doing it even more often. We also rarely had to wait for a drink at any of the bars. Occasionally one would be crowded but we'd just move to another. That being said we did not spend a lot of time by the main pool so that may have been more crowded. We would get to Spice H20 early in the morning and hang out there for the sun. No pool but a nice little water feature to cool off in and a bar of it's own. They did have servers coming around but I always found it easier to walk to the bar and get what I wanted. Minor complaint number 2 however is the smoking area. One whole side of the area allows smoking. I understand NCL needs to cater to smokers but it's not great to have to walk through them all to get to the Men's room or the bar. Again, it didn't ruin anything at all for us, and I understand NCL needed the space to allow it, but I don't get the allure of chain smoking all day long.
We tried the water slides which were a lot of fun and the ropes course which was fun for about 10-15 minutes. Entertainment was great for what we got to, Howl at the Moon was really funny and they are so talented. Vincent the cruise director did a great job with the Newlywed/Not-so-Newlywed game and the Deal or No Deal game we caught the end of. As many people have said the Atrium gets very crowded for games along with Sheehan's but plan ahead and you'll be fine.
To celebrate our anniversary NCL gave us an invitation to meet the Captain at a reception in the Haven. We got a chance to peak around and it was gorgeous up there. Definitely seemed like a ship within a ship.
We booked the all-inclusive Del Mar Latino Beach Club in Cozumel for $29 a person and it was perfect. Short 5 minute walk from the pier and very small and intimate. They cap at 80 people a day but only three couples were there when we were. A nice little pool and access to the ocean that you can snorkel in. If you are looking for a quiet place to relax this is it.
We didn't get off the ship in Progresso. The pier was 4 miles long and not much that we wanted to do there. Spent the day in Spice H20 and on our balcony and it was perfect.
We chose to self disembark, ate breakfast at 6:00, got into line and were off the boat by 7:15 and through customs. Walked a couple of blocks and grabbed an Uber to the airport. Again, there is a lot of construction and traffic at the port so a short walk away does wonders. On our NCL flights and home in Albany NY by 5:00.
Just a great all around trip that I wouldn't hesitate to book again. As I said before, anyone can find things to complain about but if you're willing to relax and realize the world doesn't spin around you, then I think NCL, and the Getaway specifically is a great choice.