ABOARD THE NCL GETAWAY — NCL Getaway, the big beautiful and brassy new ship that debuted at PortMiami in February, sailed from that massive port yesterday afternoon. We are en route to St. Maarten on the ship’s weekly Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Armed with a couple of writing assignments, I invited a long-time friend who endured a hideous Northeastern winter to join me.
I first met Lois about 20 years ago after a SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) convention in Bangkok. My late husband and I joined half a dozen other members on a post convention week-long trip on a sailing ship from Thailand to Singapore.
It was a wonderful trip and the three of us traveled many times in connection with SATW meetings.
So now we are on this exciting new vessel with multiple dining venues, myriad entertainment offerings and a pretty remarkable feeling of “getting away from it all.” Really, is there anyone out there who doesn’t relish/require/reward one’s self with an occasional getaway? It cleanses the soul, rewires the senses and brings a sense of “everything’s right in the world” to one’s being.
And NCL Getaway is the perfect place for that kind of serendipity. It’s brand new and oh-so-beautiful. She is well-designed and easy to navigate. Although she can accommodate 4,000 passengers, the ship never seems crowded. Oh, there’s the rush for the elevators after boat drill, a crowd when shows break, but that’s it.
DEMOCRACY AT SEA
Lois and I opted for an egalitarian arrangement. She selects a dining venue one night, I the next Our first dinner at sea was in one of the complimentary dining rooms, Tropicana, where the food and service were great, the view out the aft windows dramatic and the wine list affordable and fairly complete.
We then chose to attend the show. On the first night most ships offer a “tasting menu” of sorts showcasing the offerings. I enjoyed the couple of terrific numbers from the Broadway hit “Legally Blonde,” a couple of jokes from one of the featured comics and a red-hot sampling of “Burn the Floor,” a pulse-racing dance crew with Latin beats and amazing talent. Note to self: See the whole show and catch one of the comics. We are, of course, on board all week.
NCL has one of the best game plans at sea. Electronic boards let guests know where tables are available — either at complimentary venues or those which charge a cover fee. In other words guests are not locked into a 6:45 table whether you are hungry or not. No waiting for the doors to open and hoping to avoid a stampede, no similar multi-course menu night after night. Choose from Japanese or Chinese cuisine, steak house or French or Italian eateries — Anytime dining works for me. I like variety, I like having a choice to have a snack or a full meal and response from my fellow guests seem to echo those sentiments.
NCL has run with this concept for years, expanding it with each new ship. On Getaway – at least in the first 20 hours I have been aboard – it works like a dream.
And, in case you are wondering, tonight’s game plan includes Shanghai’s, a noodle bar which charges a la carte prices.