Getaway lights up the Caribbean

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Stars were shining down from a clear, dark sky; in the seas around, the lights of four other cruise ships surrounded Norwegian Getaway, somewhere between the Caribbean islands of St Maarten and St Thomas.
Suddenly the night erupted in colour and noise, as fireworks shot into the inky blackness, accompanied by a soundtrack that included Slade’s Cum on Feel The Noiz and Prince singing Purple Rain.
What a way to mark the halfway point of what is becoming a great week on the newest cruise ship in the world! The advertising slogans proclaimed that Getaway Lights Up Miami, and here we are lighting up the Caribbean!
Here are a few thoughts on the week so far …
My son and I flew to Miami with Virgin Atlantic last Friday and spent a night at the Courtyard Cadillac Hotel in Miami Beach. Almost ON the beach, in fact, and we took a sedate stroll along the boardwalk on Saturday morning as scores of slimmer and fitter Americans jogged past.
Embarkation at Miami’s busy cruise port was painless; the operators are used to handling large numbers of ships – ours was one of five. They also know how to keep people moving – we were among about 17,500 coming and going within a 10-hour window.
There was little in the way of traffic queues and we sped through security screening and check-in. All-in-all, it can’t have taken us more than 20 minutes from entering the port gates to opening our cabin door and never once did we have to stand (or sit) in line. Southampton should take note.
Two full days at sea provided plenty of time for everyone on board Getaway to explore their new surroundings and to get used to the motion of the ship as it headed direct to Philipsburg.
Despite the vessel’s size – it’s 1,062 feet long, 130 feet wide and measures 146,000 gross tons – we felt the effects of a not-very-rough sea, and movement was particularly noticeable high up at the stern in the Deck 15 Garden Café.
On the first night we visited O’Sheehan’s for a Prime Rib dinner, but conversation was difficult thanks to Grooves International playing a loud set in the Atrium.
There was a quieter atmosphere, and even more red meat, in the Moderno churrascaria the following evening. It got much livelier when we moved on to the theatre for a packed-out performance of Burn the Floor. What a hot Latin dance show this is – like Strictly on a cocktail of steroids and Viagra. It’s on in the theatre twice a night at the beginning of the week-long cruise and the dancers also perform during dinner in the Tropicana Room restaurant.
There was another hot performance the following evening, this time in the Teppanyaki restaurant where the chefs put on a fast-moving show that surpasses the flavour of the food prepared in front of us. Whether I’m eating filet mignon (admittedly as tender as any I’ve had), prawns, chicken or lobster tail, I prefer to taste the flesh rather than be overwhelmed by soy sauce and salt.
Great fun, though, and much appreciated by the children brought along to the restaurant for the $25 treat.
There’s always plenty of action around Getaway by day or night. Deal or No Deal and the perennial Newlyweds Show have both packed out the Atrium; The open-air night club H2O Spice pulls in the crowds, and Sammy Figueroa and his band are keeping them happy in the Grammy Experience bar.
Looking for laughs? There’s stand-up comedy in Headliners, which is also the venue for the ever-popular Howl At The Moon duelling pianos show.
Prefer something quieter? The Hemingway-themes Sunset Bar has remained a surprising haven of tranquility so far this week and has become my preferred venue for a Margarita or a Mojito, rather than the Sugarcane bar a little further along Deck 8 – and all just a short walk from my cabin on the same level.
So we’ve now seen St Maarten – and the French side of the island as well, thanks to the flashy Mustang convertible that I hired for the day. We’ve just left the interminable shops of St Thomas behind, and after another day at sea we’ll be arriving at Nassau in the Bahamas.
There’s dinner in Cagney’s steakhouse to come, and another in the Italian La Cucina. We have a performance of the musical Legally Blonde to look forward to.
Read all about it in the next episode of my Getaway Gazette.

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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