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MrsKC08

"Royal" Couple Takes a Getaway on The Getaway (3/1/20-3/8/20)

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In an effort to go back in time to when the people around me were not in a panic mode, I thought I'd go ahead and share my trip report from our first NCL cruise experience aboard the Getaway. Normally I take much more time in preparing my reviews (unless it is a live one of course), but I just need to take my mind back to a better place...and I'm thinking there are others who need a mental escape as well. I hope that I'm able to provide that for someone out there!

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Background:   We are Lynn (me) and Ken (sweet hubby) and we live in Music City, USA…Nashville for those of you who might have been living under a rock and have never heard that term before. Trust me, there is at least one in a crowd that never heard Nashville called that before and although it used to shock me, now I just shake my head.

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Anyway…we are frequent cruisers, but since we both work full time and have our two fur babies and a chipmunk to care for, we don’t get to cruise as much as some but we are fortunate to get to cruise about twice a year. Our favorite line, at least at the time of booking this cruise, is Royal Caribbean. We have sailed many other mass lines like the Big Red Fin, Celebrity, Princess, Holland (one and done on that line, thank you), and now Norwegian. This will be my first cruise on NCL, and although Hubs has sailed this line in the past, two times in fact, those cruises were in 1992 and 2000, and way before his life with me…well, they simply don’t count for much other than it brought his loyalty status to Bronze…whoopie! Ha!

 

We started looking at our Spring 2020 cruise options while we were sailing on our last cruise, the Harmony in November 2019. At the time, the price of this cruise was almost too good to be true. I remember us sitting in our clam shell in the Harmony Solarium and discussed booking this because the price was definitely do-able, especially right after Christmas and the holiday spending we all tend to do. We also knew that we had to factor in that we would have to be paying the cruise fare in full at the time of booking or very soon after since it was roughly 90 days or so until sailing. About a week after returning from our Harmony cruise, and being in that total cruise withdrawal mode, I reached out to our Travel Agent and booked this cruise. We figured that with it leaving out of NOLA, we could just do the drive down instead of having to pay for flights and we would ask my dad if he would come watch the fur babies for us so we could save not having to pay our pet sitter. He graciously offered to watch our girls, even though I knew deep down he was hoping to be able to figure a way to go on this cruise. He was with us on the Harmony (his 2nd cruise ever) and he definitely has been bitten by the bug. But, as a man on a fixed income…cruising is not something he can do at the drop of the hat. But, coming to Nashville and spending time in our beautiful city is something that he likes to do just as much as cruising, I think!

 

 

Cabin selection: For this cruise, and many of our cruises actually, we booked an inside cabin. We are perfectly happy with staying in an inside cabin because quite frankly, we don’t spend a lot of time in there. Not to mention, hubby likes that it gets very very dark when the lights are off and he can get some of the best sleep. Don’t get me wrong, we sail in balconies too if we can find a good deal. We particularly like the Boardwalk balconies on the Oasis class ships with Royal and that’s usually what we book when sailing those ships. We also really enjoy the Promenade view rooms as well, when offered. But, for this cruise we booked a guarantee inside cabin, which is something we stopped doing years ago when the whole “bid up” process was implemented on a few of the lines. Quite frankly, we used to get a lot of good free upgrades when booking guarantees, and never disappointed with our cabin and location. However, now that they know people will pay more to get an upgrade, they don’t give many “free” upgrades…at least from our experience.

 

When our cabin got assigned, we were given a cabin on deck 9, forward. Cabin 9411 to be exact. Now, if I was choosing our room, I would have been perfectly  happy with this deck (cabins above and cabins below), but I would have rather had a mid or aft location cabin, and not one toward the front of the ship. The cabin for us was quite small. There was very minimal storage, and we often had a noise every morning around 4am or so that sounded like an internal elevator for crew (possibly from the interior corridor). We also heard the chain from the anchor as well. But movement was minimal in this location...just not my preferred location on any ship.

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FREE AT SEA: This booking came with one Free at Sea perk, and we chose Specialty Dining. Of all the options, this is what I decided on so that I could get the full experience and ability to compare one line to the other when it comes to specialty dining. We thoroughly enjoy our specialty dining options on Royal and I wanted to have similar experiences on NCL. We all know that food is subjective, and we can usually always find something on the menu that we would like to try, but having the ability to try other venues on the ship, on a line I haven’t sailed on, was something that was important to me. For this cruise, we chose Cagney’s, Teppanyaki, and Moderno for our three options.

 

CAMERA: A little over 3 weeks prior to sailing this cruise, I decided to purchase a new camera. I have a nice Sony DSLR that I love, and of course my cell phone (which I hate to admit but it actually takes crappy photos) but I didn’t want to lug the larger camera around on this trip and since we weren’t purchasing WiFi on this cruise and I don’t like the photos my cell phone takes anyway, I knew I wouldn’t be carrying it around throughout our cruise. It’s been a long time since I have purchased a camera, but I knew I wanted something that was just point and shoot, lightweight but that had good low light capabilities and perfect zoom. I read many reviews on several different cameras and ended up choosing the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS 4K! I found many varying prices when I settled on this camera, but ultimately purchased through Walmart (a third party vendor: Ted’s Electronics). I got a good deal with a bundle that included a spider grip tripod, memory card, camera bag and a few other things for under $370.

 

Coming up: Pre-cruise hotel stay and Cruise Parking

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I will be enjoying your trip review from the comfort of home now that we have been told to work from home.

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Pre-cruise hotel stay and Cruise Parking---

 

PRE-CRUISE HOTEL SELECTION: Being that neither of us have been to NOLA before (I know, shocking), we weren't quite sure about location or where we wanted to stay for our night prior to cruising. One thing we did know, was that we would be driving instead of flying, so we needed either a cruise/park package or somewhere that was close to a parking garage/lot where we could leave our vehicle for the week. Somewhere that we could easily find and not get lost in a city we are not familiar with...if you know what I mean. I checked these boards quite a bit here on CC to get tips and suggestions, as I usually do and thanks to people like @Saint Greg and his infinite knowledge of New Orleans we got just the information we needed. We booked through Hotwire and were lucky enough to end up with Hilton Riverside. I've got to say, this hotel is definitely THE PLACE to stay in our opinion when it comes to New Orleans. We were right there near the port, we were connected to the Riverwalk Mall, and there was a great bar and restaurant right on site.  It was a great spot to watch the paddle boats come in and go out, as well as the Carnival Valor that went out Saturday evening. Parking at the hotel over night was $46 for us, and I will mention that it is definitely a tight parking garage. Tighter than many we have here in Nashville. There were some big trucks that somehow got in, but I am almost positive that they scraped going through the levels, and most had to take up two parking spaces.

 

CRUISE PARKING: In reading through the port boards here on CC, I knew that my options for the cruise parking would be at the terminal ($20/day), Fulton Garage ($10 - $15/day depending on covered or roof top parking), Cummins Parking Lot ($12.50/day), and Machu Picchu Tours ($120/week). The decision was pretty easy for us, and we went with Fulton Garage. I chose Roof Top parking, and although I would definitely park here again, I would pay a little more and do covered parking. As you can see from the photo below, it is close and convenient to the cruise terminal!

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Stay tuned....more to come!

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Thanks for starting an enjoyable thread.  I had hoped the "Alternate Vacation Plans" thread would be a cheerful read but it quickly degenerated into a finger wagging statistics lecture!

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As I mentioned, we drove to New Orleans instead of flying. It was an easy 8 hour drive from our house to the Hilton Riverside. On the way down, we stopped for lunch at a neat little place called PDI/Phillips Drive-In in Laurel, Mississippi. It is right off I-59 and across the street from Hellfighters Motorcycle Shop, which by the way is an interesting place to walk around in! I probably wouldn't have normally gone into a motorcycle store (we don't have a bike), but I had to go to the restroom, and that was my only option because I didn't see one at Phillips.

 

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Ladies restroom in Hellfighters Motorcycle Shop

 

From there we drove on to New Orleans and checked into our hotel about 2pm. 

There were two things I wanted to definitely do while in NOLA...

  • Go inside St. Louis Cathedral
  • Have coffee and an beignet at Cafe DuMonde

I had checked online for the hours of the Cathedral and knew that it closed at 4pm on Saturday. So I was kind of being a little pushy and rushed my hubby from the hotel. We quickly found a rickshaw and got a ride to the cathedral. This was a first for both of us. We have never ridden one of these before! It was a beautiful day, a nice ride, and great information from our "escort". It cost us $20 including our tip and she dropped us as close as she could to the Cathedral, as the streets are filled with different types of street performers.

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Unfortunately, the Cathedral was closed for a wedding. To say I was bummed is an understatement. But, the building is simply beautiful...if you like that kind of thing, which we do!

 

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Once I got over the fact that I was not going to get inside, we walked the streets and looked at all the street performers. I did a Facebook live of it, and boy do I wish I had the video to share here!

 

As we made our way toward Cafe Du Monde, we noticed a considerable line forming, and we weren't quite sure what was going on. Upon closer inspection, it was the line for Cafe Du Monde. Go figure! I surveyed a little and it appeared the line I was looking at was actually for those waiting for a table, so I found another line that was much shorter, and I got in it...only to find out after a few minutes that it was actually the line for the restroom! Gah~ I just looked at my hubs and said, never mind. But boy...those beignet's looked divine, although far too much sugar for this gal!

 

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From there we wandered the French Market and several of the local shops around.

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6 minutes ago, Travelling2Some said:

Thanks for starting an enjoyable thread.  I had hoped the "Alternate Vacation Plans" thread would be a cheerful read but it quickly degenerated into a finger wagging statistics lecture!

 

Yeah, I was afraid of that too. 😞 

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Thank you for posting this.  We were on the ship right after you.  I want to post a review but don't know how the reaction would be with all the negativity toward recent cruisers going on CC right now.  

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About that time we looked and noticed that the Carnival Valor was turning around to head down the river. We went to the river bank to watch it sail by. However, this looked as though it was a  Ghost ship because there appeared to be no one up on deck. I don't think we've ever seen that before. 

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Once the ship passed by, we made our way to Bourbon Street. Only so we could say we had been there. We both said we would take our Nashville Broadway over Bourbon Street any day.

 

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It was starting to get close to dinner time, or at least my tummy was telling me it was. So, we made our way back to the hotel since we had plans to eat at Drago's which is actually located in the Hilton Riverside.

 

Side note...does anyone else kick themselves for not buying something that they see? I seem to do that a lot, and this trip was no different. I saw these cute miniature masquerade mask ornaments, and told myself I'd go back to get one after I "looked around the other shops some more". I never made it back, and all I have is this photo.

 

Image may contain: one or more people and plant

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2 minutes ago, Liljo22 said:

Thank you for posting this.  We were on the ship right after you.  I want to post a review but don't know how the reaction would be with all the negativity toward recent cruisers going on CC right now.  

Thanks for coming by to check out my review. I hope you enjoyed your cruise vacation half as much as we did.

It's definitely uncharted waters we are in currently (no pun intended), but I feel that there is just too much negative stuff not just here, but all social outlets, not to mention...I'm just tired of hearing about this virus. I do hope you decide to do a review. I would love to hear about your trip.

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3 minutes ago, MrsKC08 said:

Thanks for coming by to check out my review. I hope you enjoyed your cruise vacation half as much as we did.

It's definitely uncharted waters we are in currently (no pun intended), but I feel that there is just too much negative stuff not just here, but all social outlets, not to mention...I'm just tired of hearing about this virus. I do hope you decide to do a review. I would love to hear about your trip.

Thank you.  We had an amazing time.  The world went crazy while we were gone.  I did a long review in the CC review section that hasn't been approved yet but want to get more detailed in here.  Can't wait to hear more from you.  

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I've enjoyed reading so far and am looking forward to more.

 

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Posted (edited)

As mentioned above, we decided to have dinner at Drago's. It came highly recommended not only on the CC boards, but also from friends of ours who have visited NOLA and a coworker who used to live there. It was super convenient for us, since it was located right in the lobby of our hotel. There was quite a wait (about 45 minutes), but thankfully they have a bar that we saddled up to and had a pre-dinner cocktail. The first of many for the week, that's for sure.

 

As an appetizer, we got the fried gator. As a girl who grew up on Central Florida, I've seen my share of alligators and to be honest, I have quite the phobia of them as well. I've personally experienced or seen some tragic events with these animals and I just have issues.... Funny thing is, I'm a Florida Gator fan. 😉 Anyway, these were delicious and the sauce that comes with them is perfect!

 

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Hubby decided on the Fried Shrimp 

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While I chose the Seafood Pasta. Both were good but I think mine was better. NOW, let me preface this by saying that I am a strict Keto girl. I've been keto now for almost 2 years and on every cruise I've been on while living this lifestyle...I've remained keto and in ketosis. This particular trip I did decide to deviate from my normal eating routine so this pasta was definitely a treat for me. I haven't had pasta since April 2018!!

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In talking to our waitress, I mentioned that I didn't get a chance to have Cafe du Monde and how disappointed I was about that. I did however, get myself a canister to bring home from a local retailer earlier in the day...but I really wanted to have it there! She mentioned there was one in the Riverwalk Mall and that I could just go there and get my fix. Needless to say, we decided against dessert and made a dash to the location in the mall before they would close! SO....I did end up getting my Cafe du Monde fix. We each had a Cafe aulait and although we didn't order them because we were so full from dinner, they gave us 3 beignets for free. I'm guessing because it was close to closing time and they didn't want them left over. So, we figured we would each have one in the morning with our Starbucks coffee. (There are two locations inside the hotel).

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Now, it's off to sleep and rest. When we wake up...it's CRUISE DAY!

Edited by MrsKC08

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I don't know what it is about Cruise Day, but I just cannot sleep past 3 am! This time was no exception. I posted on the roll call group page on that other site about being up at 2:30am!

 

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I actually wanted to get up about 5 to try and get out on the lanai to watch the ship sail in, but I think I might have been afraid I'd oversleep? But, I checked cruise mapper from my phone to see her position, and watched until it looked as though she was coming around her final turn and then we made our way out to the lanai to catch her.

 

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Did I mention this was the perfect hotel for us? The was such a perfect spot to come out this early and catch our first glimpse of her. 

 

We went back in to search for some coffee and planned on having our beignets from the night before. Unfortunately, we each took one bite and said..."nope, too sweet!" and sadly threw them away. Two years ago you would have never heard those words come out of my mouth, but since I don't have sugar anymore, things like that are just too much. Not to mention, they would probably put my body into a shock!

 

After we got our showers and dressed, we decided to take a walk through the mall and see how close we could get to the terminal/ship. I was surprised actually, that we could get so close!

 

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The above photo was actually off a balcony from the food court area of the Riverwalk Mall. While in the mall, we ran into a couple who had just got off the ship and had nothing but glowing things to say about their week. Which got us even more excited, especially after all the negative stuff I had read prior to our sailing. It appears that many people do choose to walk off with their luggage and go through the Riverwalk Mall to pick up some sort of transportation (lyft or uber) or possibly to another parking site that I am not aware of. We noticed many people walking back toward our hotel with their luggage who had just disembarked the Getaway.

 

After our stroll, we made our way back to our room to gather our overnight bag and check out.

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my wife and i were also on this cruise. our cabin number was 9403. just 2 doors forward of you. it was very noisy when they let the anchor out at harvest caye. 

we also had a great trip. lost a couple of pounds walking from the elevator to our cabin. seemed like a mile walk. lol. great review.

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My wife and I were on this cruise as well. Had a great time, met a bunch of great people. Thanks for the memories


Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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3 hours ago, MrsKC08 said:

 

 thanks to people like @Saint Greg and his infinite knowledge of New Orleans we got just the information we needed.

 

 

I'm glad you found it helpful! But no charbroiled oysters at Drago's? A tip: If you like them they're actually on the menu at the bar you had your pre-dinner drinks at. So you don't have to wait for a table if you want oysters.

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1 minute ago, Saint Greg said:

 

I'm glad you found it helpful! But no charbroiled oysters at Drago's? A tip: If you like them they're actually on the menu at the bar you had your pre-dinner drinks at. So you don't have to wait for a table if you want oysters.

No Oysters. We are not oyster eaters. I did remember you mentioning them to me before though. 🙂 

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1 minute ago, MrsKC08 said:

No Oysters. We are not oyster eaters. I did remember you mentioning them to me before though. 🙂 

 

 Even non-oyster eaters like these. They're cooked in a garlic butter sauce and topped with cheese. 

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2 minutes ago, Saint Greg said:

 

 Even non-oyster eaters like these. They're cooked in a garlic butter sauce and topped with cheese. 

Ok...you had me at garlic butter! Dang...I missed out. Guess another cruise out of Nola is in order.

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Thank you for starting this review!  It's been a tough time here on the boards.   Loving your review and all the great pics☺️

 

We love sailing out of NOLA and we are one of those couples you see rolling their luggage to and from the ship.  We always stay at the Harrah's that isn't that far from your Hilton Riverside.   

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Really enjoying your review.  We were in NOLA a few years back and got so used to Café du Monde's chicory coffee every morning that we mail ordered it for at least a year afterwards.  Also loved the muffulettas.  I've been putting olive tapenade on my NY Italian cold cut heroes ever since.

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Thank you for posting your review. I'm really looking forward to reading more. It's great to be able to read about something good. 

 

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8 hours ago, Saint Greg said:

 

I'm glad you found it helpful! But no charbroiled oysters at Drago's? A tip: If you like them they're actually on the menu at the bar you had your pre-dinner drinks at. So you don't have to wait for a table if you want oysters.

Had them at the Acme Oyster House. They were so good I started to cry. They changed my life. 

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