Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 1 - Norwegian Getaway Cruise

There will be a string of posts about our trip on Norwegian's Getaway. We went on the 7-night cruise which stopped in St. Thomas, Tortola, and Nassau. Our stateroom was 13234 which was considered a family cabin with balcony. To follow along or get caught up click these links: {What to Pack}, {Preparing for the Getaway}; below is the review of day 1.

Day 1

The Norwegian Getaway ship opens its doors at noon and the “all aboard” is at 3:30. Our paperwork stated we were to be on the ship by 2. Since we were driving 5 hours from Jacksonville to Miami and returning a rental car, we didn't board the ship until 1:20.

Luggage drop off, security, and check-in were all easy. (Make sure you have your travel documents printed before you arrive.) We were given our key cards (act as room keys too) which indicated we had the Ultimate Dining Plan and the Unlimited Beverage Package. The act of boarding the boat was a bit disappointing. There were some balloons, a singer, and a keyboard player as we got on; not the fanfare we have experienced on other ships. We were directed to Guest Services where we inquired about upgrading our cabin. We were told the ship was currently sold out, but we could check back after departure. (We decided not to investigate this further.) Next, we went to the excursion desk and booked our excursion to Atlantis for Friday. Then, we went to the Box Office to book the magic show, Illusionarium. If you book for the first day, you receive a discount. If you book for the first day and have the Ultimate Dining Plan, you receive the show for free. (The show for the first day is one thing you have to book once on the ship.) However, all the seats for the first day were already sold out. The lady in the box office informed us that if we booked for one of the days at a port, she could honor our Dining Plan and give us the show at no cost. We booked for Tuesday night (the day at St Thomas).

Balcony had two chairs and a small table - photo 1
The bathroom - photo 1
The bathroom - photo 2
The bathroom - photo 3
Stateroom - photo 1
There's not a lot of storage in the bathroom for all our things -- we used the glasses that were mounted on the wall to hold a few things.
Bringing an over the door shoe organizer is helpful to store medicines, sunscreens, lotions, etc
A downside was that our cabin was dirty. I had packed Clorox wipes in my carry-on so I began scrubbing the bathroom. When I cleaned the bathroom floors, the wipes were turning black. The room was dusty too. I was able to clean the cabin before our luggage arrived.

We headed to get something to eat at the buffet. There was a variety to select from and the food was better than we expected. The mandatory life boat drill was next. After everyone had been cleared from the drill, we headed back to our cabin. Our luggage was waiting for us. We took time to unload our belongs. After all, the cabin would be our home base for 7 nights. We needed to get organized and have plenty of room...which meant stashing our suitcases under the bed. Norwegian was offering 50% off items that needed to be pressed if you left them for your stateroom stewart this night only. I suggest unpacking early for this reason as well. I had one pair of pants that didn't fair well in the suitcase, so they were sent out at 50% off. I did find out later that you can call for an ironing board and iron to come to your room when needed. I have no idea where that would have been set up in our room – LOL! There wasn't a lot of extra room when the four of us were trying to get ready.

When we were all in the stateroom getting ready, I was quickly reminded that basic items I'm used to a hotel having in their bathrooms were not in our stateroom. The stateroom did provide shampoo and body wash. However, there was no conditioner, cotton balls, Q-tips, bar soap, etc. If you have thick hair like my older son, B, or me, then you cannot go seven days in the salt water without conditioner. I have read that the water system of the boats don't do well with conditioner, which is why the ships don't provide it. If you are like me and need some, then consider packing a leave-in conditioner spray. After getting cleaned up, we headed to Cagney's (one of the specialty restaurants including in the Ultimate Dining Plan) for dinner. Cagney's is a steakhouse. TravelMan and I both thought the food was average there. For a steakhouse, the steak was actually disappointing. The kids ordered off of the kids' menu.

Following dinner, we registered the boys for Splash Academy. This is the child watch area. The boys told us they weren't going to Splash Academy during the week. We asked them to try it out. The next thing we knew, they were disappointed when we picked them up and they wanted to go to Splash anytime it was open. Needless to say, they really enjoyed it! Splash Academy is one place where Norwegian really shined. If you have read my cruise reviews in the past, then you know we've been on the Disney cruise several times. My kids never seemed to love the child care on Disney. They would go, but after a while, they were ready to be picked up. This never bothered us as it was their vacation as well. However, Norwegian really makes going to child care an event. There is a different theme every day. The workers are involved with the kids. There are planned activities. It was much different than the Disney ship where the kids just sort of milled about and did what they wanted. In fact, I would almost go so far to say that Norwegian's child care was perfect. The only reason I'm not giving it a “perfect” rating is because they didn't have the ocean phones (also known as wave phones) where the child care could text you if there were a problem or send a text when your child is ready to be picked up. The staff said they followed your key card and would call the place where you last swiped it. I really think if they added ocean phones, the entire Splash Academy would be perfect.

While the boys were in Splash Academy, TravelMan and I explored the ship a little. We ran into the Headliners bar where Howl At The Moon was going on. This was a dueling piano routine. It was a lot of fun!

We picked up the kids from Splash and headed to our room to call it a night. Our room smelled like urine, and I noticed we had no towel animal left on our bed. I didn't think much of it since it was the first night, but the towel animals are something the boys have liked having on other cruises. Plus, I had already scrubbed the cabin with my Clorox wipes earlier in the day; now it already smelled like urine. Hmmm, I fell asleep wondering: Was our cabin stewart up to par?


TRAVEL TIP: If you want the electricity on in your room, you have to have your key card in the slot to turn it on.  I like having these mock cards with magnets on the back.  I hang the card on the magnetic bathroom door and then can slide the card in the slot when I need it.  This way all of our key cards stay together in our pool bag.
We have two cards - you only need one.  This photo shows one card hanging on the bathroom door while one card is in the slot.  These cards were originally made for our Disney cruise.  I'm multi-purposing them. :)

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