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I originally wanted to do a Baltic itinerary because I wanted something I hadn't done before, wanted to make sure work couldn't follow me, and I wanted a non-beach itinerary as I don't do beaches. History and art and culture sounded like a good time to me, and I'd been wanting to sail on an NCL cruise anyhow as a trial balloon for a family that doesn't do formal attire unless someone's being held at gunpoint. Copenhagen is a lovely city with a great public transportation setup -- except to the cruise terminals. Bus #25 runs out to Oceankaj, but that's about it other than a taxi or private shuttle. If you're a heavy packer like me, wrangling that much luggage on a bus is no fun, and that goes double if you're jetlagged. Taxis are expensive but might just be worth it if you're wrangling kids or a lot of luggage. The Norwegian Getaway is a beautiful ship with plenty to do and plenty of places to eat, drink, and party - and a good amount of quiet if you want that. The only thing I note is that this ship was meant for warmer climes. When it's too cold to swim or high winds drive everyone inside, the inside venues get crowded and loud quickly. That happened on our second sea day. I could go anywhere and get good quality and tasty food, although the buffet during busy times was tough for a solo traveler as the crew were so efficient at clearing tables that I'd lose my table and my food because I got up to get another drink! I ended up focusing on the dining rooms for most meals for that reason. There were two things on the ship that annoyed me -- the shops and the spa. I've been on cruises before, but HOLY COW were the spa people pushy. Very aggressive sales tactics that ignored my explicitly stated needs and requirements and dismissed my mention of doctor's orders for what type of massage I needed in favor of a pricier option that my doctor had explicitly warned me not to get. I was so uncomfortable that I left and never came back. The shops claimed that the Russian bazaar was authentic handmade stuff that came from Russia-- don't. Just don't. Get rubles and get the stuff in Russia, because what was on offer was either so pricey it was ridiculous or cheap mass-produced kitsch. I got all my souvenirs in port in St. Petersburg and was really glad I did. The service was ... okay. Certainly they met expectations. They just didn't stand out. When I got into my stateroom and started exploring, I found a plate of cookies hidden by the previous resident - oops on the cleaning staff! I handed them in with a chuckle and my steward was very embarrassed but handled the matter expeditiously. Other than that, cleanliness was more than decent and gracefully handled. The dining room staff were awesome and very fun. Probably the neatest thing about the cruise was the guest demographic. People from literally all over the English-speaking world (South Africa, Australia, Canada, USA, UK, Caribbean) plus Europe and a large contingent of Asians, the biggest I'd ever seen on a cruise ship. I will say that it was an older crowd, and that a Baltic itinerary might not be a good one for kids -- while there was plenty of stuff to see and do for kids on the ship, the ports were not so inclined. The shore excursions were very adult and mature in nature and focused on history, art, and culture -- and booze :) I had a great time overall, and I'm looking forward to many more sailings with NCL.

A very special journey

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by Cruisingformetime

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2017
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Studio Stateroom
I originally wanted to do a Baltic itinerary because I wanted something I hadn't done before, wanted to make sure work couldn't follow me, and I wanted a non-beach itinerary as I don't do beaches. History and art and culture sounded like a good time to me, and I'd been wanting to sail on an NCL cruise anyhow as a trial balloon for a family that doesn't do formal attire unless someone's being held at gunpoint.

Copenhagen is a lovely city with a great public transportation setup -- except to the cruise terminals. Bus #25 runs out to Oceankaj, but that's about it other than a taxi or private shuttle. If you're a heavy packer like me, wrangling that much luggage on a bus is no fun, and that goes double if you're jetlagged. Taxis are expensive but might just be worth it if you're wrangling kids or a lot of luggage.

The Norwegian Getaway is a beautiful ship with plenty to do and plenty of places to eat, drink, and party - and a good amount of quiet if you want that. The only thing I note is that this ship was meant for warmer climes. When it's too cold to swim or high winds drive everyone inside, the inside venues get crowded and loud quickly. That happened on our second sea day. I could go anywhere and get good quality and tasty food, although the buffet during busy times was tough for a solo traveler as the crew were so efficient at clearing tables that I'd lose my table and my food because I got up to get another drink! I ended up focusing on the dining rooms for most meals for that reason.

There were two things on the ship that annoyed me -- the shops and the spa. I've been on cruises before, but HOLY COW were the spa people pushy. Very aggressive sales tactics that ignored my explicitly stated needs and requirements and dismissed my mention of doctor's orders for what type of massage I needed in favor of a pricier option that my doctor had explicitly warned me not to get. I was so uncomfortable that I left and never came back. The shops claimed that the Russian bazaar was authentic handmade stuff that came from Russia-- don't. Just don't. Get rubles and get the stuff in Russia, because what was on offer was either so pricey it was ridiculous or cheap mass-produced kitsch. I got all my souvenirs in port in St. Petersburg and was really glad I did.

The service was ... okay. Certainly they met expectations. They just didn't stand out. When I got into my stateroom and started exploring, I found a plate of cookies hidden by the previous resident - oops on the cleaning staff! I handed them in with a chuckle and my steward was very embarrassed but handled the matter expeditiously. Other than that, cleanliness was more than decent and gracefully handled. The dining room staff were awesome and very fun.

Probably the neatest thing about the cruise was the guest demographic. People from literally all over the English-speaking world (South Africa, Australia, Canada, USA, UK, Caribbean) plus Europe and a large contingent of Asians, the biggest I'd ever seen on a cruise ship. I will say that it was an older crowd, and that a Baltic itinerary might not be a good one for kids -- while there was plenty of stuff to see and do for kids on the ship, the ports were not so inclined. The shore excursions were very adult and mature in nature and focused on history, art, and culture -- and booze :)

I had a great time overall, and I'm looking forward to many more sailings with NCL.
Cruisingformetime’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Studio Stateroom
Cabin T1 10543
I had one of the studio staterooms and really liked it. I'd describe them as cozy -- there's not a lot of space in there, and not enough for more than one, but unless you're trying to tango in a stateroom, it's enough for one because it's so well laid-out. The showers are tiny, but the bed was comfy and the addition of an egg crate and an extra pillow made it a really nice little nest. The studio lounge tended to be busy -- there was usually someone in there to talk to and it was a great place to get a coffee and a cake (not enough cookies) and either diary-write or play a game or have a good conversation. Sometimes it got too busy, though, and sometimes there were people in there who had no business being in there. Beware leaving your stuff in there, that lounge is pretty busy for its size and you don't know who's in there.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Copenhagen
    Copenhagen is so much fun! I didn't see nearly enough thanks to jet lag, but what I did see was very laid back, relaxed, and friendly. Most people speak some English. I recommend getting around by bike or public transit -- walking is kinda slow and driving is very congested. Lots to see and do, and if you happen to be in port on a Wednesday, do check out Sankt Peders Bageri in the Latin Quarter. On Wednesdays they sell something called the Wednesday snail (onsdagssnegle) which were DIVINE. It is something of a pricey port, so be prepared for that.

    Also, if you have items to recycle like a water bottle, you can turn them in at any 7-11 and you'll get a couple of kroner back.
    View All 1,002 Copenhagen Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Gothenburg
    Gothenburg is an industrial city. Keep this in mind. The Western islands tour was beautiful and worth doing but short. There's a shuttle that goes into the city from the port, but the port was not prepared for a ship that size and it showed in disembarkation at this port.
    View All 66 Gothenburg Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Helsinki
    I wasn't thrilled with Helsinki -- not much interested me here. A HOHO bus will suffice. It's a good place to shop, relax, hang out.
    View All 778 Helsinki Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. Petersburg
    I did do excursions in this port, because that's the best way to travel if your passport means you need a visa for Russia. Independent travel companies didn't want to talk to me because I was a solo traveler, so I booked with the ship. There's a lot to see, and you will NOT be able to see it all in just two days' time short of killing yourself with 16-hour days (which some people on the ship did!) However, many things are the same -- if you've seen Catherine's Palace, you've mostly seen Peterhof. Yusupov Palace was a bit different, and the Cathedral on Spilled Blood was fascinating and different from St. Isaac's. The waterway tours are worthwhile.

    Currency: RUB (some places take euros, but not all, and very few are authorized to take USD).

    Summary observations:
    1. Pickpockets are a serious issue. Consider a money belt. Don't rely on pockets or backpacks, and if you use a purse, use a cross-body one with a thick strap and keep it in front of you. I stashed extra rubles outside the money belt in the bank of Ireland as an additional failsafe.
    2. Learning basic traveler's phrases in Russian before you go is a smart idea.
    3. Be prepared for long days and fast-moving tours, and lots and lots of waiting.
    4. Flashing money on the street attracts attention -- it's safer to shop under a roof.
    5. Do NOT rely on the ship to get your souvenirs. The ones on the ship were either hideously expensive or trash. Get 'em in port.
    6. Consider the exclusive tours. They're more expensive, but money talks in Russia. Smaller groups and the ability to jump the lines at some attractions makes the extra expense worth it.
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  • Tallinn
    This tour was so much fun! It takes you out to a tiny town called Rakvere where the ruins of a medieval castle once held by the Landsknechts sits. Our tour guide Kaja (pronounced Kai-a) was very knowledgeable about current events in Estonia and talked about her experience with the Soviet occupation as well as Rakvere itself. The meal on this excursion -- I would have given up all my other souvenirs to take home the recipe for their apple cake, and everything else was also tasty and plentiful. The best part was their booze, though -- Estonian vodka isn't what they talk about when they talk about vodka, but it was better than the stuff I had in Russia. I recommend the Viru Valge.

    The tour of the torture chambers was a bit gruesome and a bit fun and a bit informative and a bit kitschy all rolled into one, culminating in a run through a haunted house that was not appropriate for children or people who don't do well in the dark but amused me. You can also stay outside and take pictures of the walls or Tarvas the bull if you want to.

    We also got to see a bit of Old Town Tallinn, though not as much as a full day in Tallinn would have provided. I want to go back to this port.

    Currency: Euro
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