This last week, my family and I took a trip to the Caribbean on the Norwegian Getaway, the second largest ship on Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet. Leaving port from Miami, FL, the ship made stops in St. Thomas, USVI (U.S Virgin Islands), Tortola, BVI (British Virgin Island), and Nassau, Bahamas. These seven days at sea threw me into the great combination of luxury, culture, and friendship. From 5 star dining to naps on the beach, here is my experience aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Getaway.
It was love at first sight as we pulled in to see the vibrant, monstrous, 17-deck vessel that we would live on for the coming week. It only got better as we climbed aboard to see a large staircase coving 3 decks with a gorgeous chandelier hanging above the opening. A large variety of restaurants were presented, 22 in fact, including the three main dining rooms, the Garden Café Buffet, and O’sheehan’s Sports Pub. Those five were the only free restaurants, which was somewhat disappointing since I’d never heard of paying for food on a cruise. Regardless of price, the food on board was exceptional with 5 star dining experiences in the main dining rooms and delicious a la carte options in the buffets. Bars were also very plentiful, loaded with anything you could imagine, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic.
Our stateroom on deck 13 was a 239 square foot mini-suite with a small balcony complete with two twin beds, a convertible couch, a very spacious bathroom with a multi-jet shower, and a surprising amount of cabinet space. As luxurious as the rooms were, I do feel that they could have been bigger (considering they are suites), especially the balconies. Two small chairs and a very small table for coffee took up most space of the balcony, with no space for a third person. Room service was a pleasant experience with coffee and danishes being delivered to our room each morning to enjoy. Other orders for room service were very timely and very well done. Our personal room steward was very attentive and bright, always stopping by to ask how we were and what we needed.
Up on the ledo deck, we were greeted by two pools, five water slides, a kid’s splash park, four hot tubs, and many other recreation activities, including mini golf course, rock wall, 0.2 km jogging track and a death defying ropes course that walks you over the side of the ship, 164 feet over the water. I thought the pools were somewhat small compared to the overall size of the ship, with no unique design or flair about them. As I climbed up the stairs to the water slide, I was greeted by three options: an open faced, very mellow slide, two enclosed slides that zipped down in circles at high speeds, and two gut wrenching free fall slides. Thrill seekers, pay attention! As you climb into the capsule of the free fall slide, you stand with water at your back, crossing your arms, and on the count of three the floor falls out and you plunge down vertically, and make a small climb back up before dropping once more to the end. In the mood for a round of golf? The getaway has a built in 9-hole, pirate themed mini golf course, fun for all ages.
St. Thomas, USVI:
We were welcomed to our first port with beautiful, green scenery and crystal waters. Then we were off the ship and on the bus to Coral World, a family friendly marine park located on the other side of the island. A fantastic place for children and adults alike, including a touch pond full of starfish and sea cucumbers, a nurse shark exhibit, the lorikeet sanctuary, and an underwater observatory.
I found it interesting how identifiable the poverty line was. On the coast are grand estates with private pools and all the luxuries of first class life, but once the coast is no longer visible, there are shacks and low quality houses and markets with very poor upkeep of properties. What surprised me most was that this happened in a United States territory and yet it appeared very little like the states at all.
Once we got back to the port, there were abundant shopping resources with a very large and expansive mall containing everything from fine jewelry, generic gifts, pottery, and even pharmaceuticals and basic groceries.
Just a stone’s throw from St. Thomas was the beautiful British island of Tortola. He were greeted by the friendliest locals, and more scenic views.
We took a beach day, traveling up the 1200 foot hill in the center of the island to a peaceful, secluded bay. Beach chairs were made very available, or we could simply lay out on the warm white sand that led down to the cool and clear Caribbean Sea. Many people were paddle boarding and snorkeling out past the buoys. Shopping was very sparse on the seldom known island, but we did find a few beach side shacks with very interesting gifts. The main item I found at the shops was hematite jewelry.
As we arrived in Nassau, I looked out to see the bluest water I had ever seen. It was crashing onto sandy beaches around the small jetty across from the port. Just to the right and up the road was the famous Atlantis Resort.
As we ventured downtown, the crowds of people were a bit much. Streets were crowded with taxis and masses of other people walking down sidewalks shoulder-to-shoulder. The shopping was by far the best of all the islands. There was an abundance of interesting shops with things like carved wood, blankets, and even sculptures. Nassau, I discovered, is not a very wealthy nation. While they do not live in shacks necessarily, they also do not live the much lavished lives the tourists, which their economy depends on, do. Most of the work in Nassau consists of shop keeping, tourist transportation, and street performances of many kinds.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation and the places it took place. The floating palace that was our ship, the wonderful people of St. Thomas, the scenery of Tortola, and the shopping in Nassau were unforgettable and overall fantastic. I recommend anyone go to the Caribbean and especially on a cruise ship like Norwegian Getaway. It is an experience you won’t soon forget, and will not soon want to leave.