My First Cruise (and 25 things I learned)
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I can’t believe we’re already home from the amazing cruise on Norwegian! (we were on the getaway ship FYI.) First things first, this was my FIRST cruise, yes, and I was so nervous. I forgot we were going until the night before because I just didn’t want to stress about it. I also waited to pack until the night before. woof. Best believe I bought these Sea Bands (in case I got sea sick) and if you’re wondering what I was worried about, it was the possible storms, the ship splitting in half, and sinking… lolol. So logical. BUT I truly never felt scared on the ship at all. Only the flight home where we hit a ton of wind and the pilot didn’t say a word to make us feel better. We had a layover in DC so I thought we got hijacked and were going towards the White House. You see why I take anti depressants now? Lolol we’re all fine now though and I can’t wait to tell you about the cruise.
Things I learned: (there’s a lot)
I had no idea it was like a resort just on water.
Check in was interesting, it was just like getting on an airplane with security, metal detectors, bag screening, no liquids brought on board. It took maybe 30 minutes and they took our bags and put them in our room for us. (you can choose to take your own luggage but the rooms aren't ready yet so it sucks to walk around the boat with them) Rooms were ready around 4PM and we were able to get on as early as 12PM.
Norwegian Getaway is a great ship, it had a decent sized pool although it could have been bigger. I did miss having those huge pools at resorts but it was nice and intimate and easy to talk to people.
The NCL app was nice to have so you can see the activities for the day and the spa packages, etc.
The safety drill was something I did not expect. It’s mandatory, they tell you where to go, and you listen to a speech about safety and life vest demonstrations. I felt like I was in school haha.
You can use your key card to buy anything. We did get the drink package but they still ask you for the card each time you order.
I didn’t get sick but the ship didn’t move a ton at all. It just vibrated when the engines would start and you just felt that a bit. It felt nice to go to sleep because sometimes it rocked and it was like rocking you to sleep haha. I was most nervous of this because of sea sickness but I didn't get sick at all.
There is a Starbucks on the ship! You pay extra for that.
Colin pre ordered 25 bottles of water so it was in our room when we arrived. You do have to pay extra for those. Everything is just billed to your room and you check out later. He did it on the NCL website. You can upgrade your wifi there too.
He also made our dinner reservations before we got on the boat. (he found an email online that he contacted but he won't let me give it out haha but you may be able to do it on the NCL website too) We had 3 specialty restaurants included so we got Cagneys (the steak house, amazing salmon dish), Teppanyka (the hibachi restuarant), and La Cucina (the italian restaurant)- My favorite was definitely Wasabi though which was their sushi restaurant. It was an extra cost but some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. It is ‘freestyle dining’ so you can go anytime you want and the ship had a day long buffet! Idk when it closed but it was open late.
We paid extra for unlimited wifi but it went out for like 2-3 days, unfortunately. I meant to get a refund at the end of the trip but forgot -_-
There’s so many activities! I feel like way more than a resort. There’s so much to do and see. They had little bowling alleys, a club, water slides, ice bar, etc.
The spa was the best massage I’ve ever had. I did the Swedish massage and they had a free add on for a collagan eye mask.
They also had a gym on the ship and rock climbing.
I was surprised how much stuff is ‘extra’ on the boat. Like the arcade games, ziplining, ice bar, a few restaurants, etc. That you had to pay extra for.
Colin and his friends (we went with like 12 of them) bring their own straws because Norwegian among others have now stopped serving plastic straws. You can be good and bring a metal straw for yourself for pool drinks and bar drinks. The ship does give you a paper straw for smoothie consistency drinks though.
There were SO many people playing cards and games they brought on the shaded pool deck area.
We went out of New Orleans but since it was January, it was chilly on our first and last day. We will definitely do Miami next time.
They do charge you $15 a day and a person for gratuities so make sure you realize that when you book. We also brought a lot of tipping money and gave to everyone. We love to give back to workers in service because they were so nice and work so hard.
Most times the ‘deals’ or the $700 cruises you see are for inside rooms with no window. After this balcony experience I could never do otherwise. It was so nice to wake up to an ocean view each day.
In your price when you book, flights are included. Our flight home was not the best, we had a layover and got home at midnight so keep that in mind. They choose them for you and we called them to switch but we couldn't.
I don’t feel like this is the cheapest vacation you can take. I find cruises actually pretty pricy because if you do a balcony the price goes up a significant amount and then you also have options to do excursions at each port so there’s money flying out too. Plus you have to get yourself to the port whether it's Miami or New Orleans and best to arrive the night before so you also have to get a hotel.
My favorite thing to do at resorts in the Carribean is to sit on the beach and watch the sunset so the fact that we got this every single day was so great. It’s probably a big reason why I loved it so much- I just love the water and looking out at the ocean.
You can have add ons when you book. We did the open bar package, 3 speciality dining options, shore excursion credit, and internet package of 250 minutes per stateroom (although we then upgraded to unlimited minutes)
DAY 1: we arrived at the boat around 2PM, ship pushed off at around 5 PM, I ended up napping from 5-7 because I was tired but also nervous of sea sickness. I wore my sea bands before we even got on the ship and I took them off the next morning because I was fine. Col and I just went alone to Wasabi for dinner and it was sooo good. We got the surf and turf roll and rock n roll. SO good. We then walked around the ship and hung out at the club for a while. It’s called Bliss.
DAY 2: At Sea; Woke up, got breakfast at the Garden Cafe, the buffet on the 15th floor, and then went to the pool. I finally went to the infamous area Colin always takes a video and boomerang when he goes on cruises overlooking the ship. It was actually warm this day which is funny because on the way back to New Orleans it was freezing. We spent all day at the pool and also sunset- I think the moment I fell in love with cruising!! Haha and for dinner we went to Teppanyaki for hibachi with all 12 of us. So good!
DAY 3: Cozumel, Mexico; We got off the ship around 10AM and went to Playa Mia. We had purchased the excursion with the ship and it was a beach club with food and they had a bus for us to go there and back. The food was not the best but it did include unlimited drinks. I wish I had dranken more because Colin kept joking saying the ship is making money off of me since I wasn't drinking a lot but I would get so bloated from salty food that I was too ‘full’ to drink and put more into me. But if its sushi don’t think twice, I will put more of that into me. :) They did have this really cool pink building though and a little waterpark in the ocean. We went back on the bus and went to Margaritaville on the boat. Amazing nachos ugh! Then watched another sunset from bed this time relaxing and got ready for the night. We went to Cagneys steakhouse for dinner and it was so good! The salmon dish was great, the tomato soup was great, and the cheesecake was yummy! We then went to the top deck (spice H20) for the 80’s party and then ended the night at Bliss club like usual.
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DAY 4: Grand Cayman Island; There was actually an earthquake the day we were in Cozumel that hit just south of Cuba so we weren’t sure if we were going to be stopping in Cayman since they had some sinkholes etc. We did in fact stop there and it was my favorite port! I’ve been before but we went to Royal Palms Beach Club and it was such a fun upbeat music type place with a pool, restaurant and beach right there! We got our own taxi there and didn’t do any excursions through the ship. The poke bowl was also amazing that I had there. We rented the cabanas by the pool prior to leaving for the cruise. It was like $20 a person and then we opened a tab for drinks and food. This island doesnt have a port for the cruise ships so we had to tender to the ship which was cool. Once we got on the boat, I showered, napped, and we went to Spice H20 again and then bliss.
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DAY 5: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; We woke up in Jamaica and it was so pretty with all the mountains! We didn’t know what we were going to do until the morning, we decided to do blue hole, but on our own again, not with the ship. First we had breakfast at Garden Cafe. The taxi was $15 roundtrip to Blue Hole and then Blue Hole was $15 entrance fee. It was awesome! The guys were so helpful taking us through. We did have to buy water shoes when we arrived (they have people selling them there) and then I also bought a waterproof phone case. If you don’t want to buy it there, feel free to bring those items with you. They had lockers there to leave our stuff and then we started walking to the blue hole. It was definitely a workout to go through the whole thing because you have to swim to different parts of it and climb rocks to get to the top and then you can jump down to get back or you can walk down. Not lying my legs were so sore the next day! I’m so out of shape haha. They do have a photographer there and they show you all your pictures. We had around 60 pictures of our group and they told us it’d be $80 to purchase them all. We got them down to $50 and they wetransferred us the images that night. Our taxi then arrived (she said she’d come back in 1.5 hours) and then we went back to the port. Don’t forget to tip your tour guides for the blue hole! They were so grateful to us because we all tipped. There was a starbucks by the port so we went there, put our feet in the ocean, and then went back on the ship. We watched the sunset, got ready, went to Shanghai's Noodle Bar for dinner (it was so good- get so many orders of the pot stickers) and then went to Spice H20 for Latin night, and then Bliss. Ended the night at O’Sheehans since they’re open late and their wings are amazing.
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DAY 6: At Sea; We were at sea this day and I figured the next day would be colder because we were going north which was so true. Knew I had to get all my tanning out today! It ended up being a wild pool day, lots of dancing, and such a fun time. This night we went to La Cucina for dinner and the ravioli was so good. We then went to Spice H20 for the glow party and of course the best music night, it was drizzling! Haha. We then went to Bliss and called it a night kinda early.
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DAY 7: At Sea; I got a massage at the spa and it was one of the best ever- seriously. I’m saying so many good things but I truly loved this cruise. We hung out by the hot tubs a bit but it was cold (like 63) so I didn't get in because I couldn't fathom getting out. I went to take a nap and then we went to Savor and Taste for dinner. In my pajamas :) You got to have balance on vacation! haha and it was so good again! Haha- all the food was great. The won tons were amazing, I got the salmon and then creme brulee was so good. We went to Bliss that night and then O’Sheehans.
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Savor and Taste below
Day 8: We had to get off the ship by 9:30 AM. Went through customs to get off too, they just checked passport and bags.
Bye Bye Norwegian!!
And our next cruise is already booked for January 2021! This group does not mess around. We’re going with all the same people and I’m pissed Colin never invited me before until we got married!!!! :) We’ll be leaving from Miami and going to Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), St. Thomas, Tortola (British Virgian Islands), & Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas) - can’t wait!
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