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Aboard the new Norwegian Getaway! What it’s like? And Tips You Need!

This month Vacationista Travel had the opportunity to sail the newest and greatest ship by Norwegian Cruise Line.  But enough about what we did and more about how can our experience help you have a great cruise! Below is our review but also we provide tips below which can apply to any cruise you choose….

NCL Getaway:

Overall we had a fantastic cruise! Before the cruise, I have to say I am love  with the customer online portal they offer.  I think it is the best in the industry.  Very simple to add restaurant, show, shore excursions etc. reservations to your itinerary prior to the cruise– a great to build your itinerary!  The highlight of our cruise was dining in the evening.  The food was exceptional and the ambiance of most speciality restaurants was 5 star.  Our favorite restaurants onboard were Cagney’s Steakhouse and Moderno (the Brazilian steakhouse).  Back home you could easily spend over $200 for two for meals and drinks at a similar 5 star steakhouse.  AND the big plus! NO crowds in these restaurants! Worth every penny of the specialty dining package (which purchased is only just over $100 for the week).

The ship’s decor was also a differentiator among other cruise ships.  A decor snob (yes, I admit!), I was very impressed!  No more cheesy cruise ship colors, carpets, fabric patterns, NOT on this ship! Kudos to their designers! And the Entertainment – a blast, we especially loved Howling at the Moon aboard the Getaway!

Where I think they miss the mark, however, not greatly but slightly, is the service.  It was not terrible, it was good, but not great.  I don’t think I ever met our cabin attendant.  Not a big deal but I do like to know who they are and they are available to me.  The bartenders in the outside adult sun area, Spice H2O, were not friendly.  The attitude overall was sell, sell, sell, more services not provide great service. We also felt the activities, shows, events they hosted in the atrium (which is small) should have been hosted in the Theatre.  It was very difficult to see the shows when everyone is on the same small level with very limited seating.  Lastly, I was most disappointed in the Spa.  It was beautiful but #1 the services were not good, especially for the price #2 very disappointed in the pricing for the Spa Thermal Suite.  The Spa Thermal Suite offered an area of relaxing lounge chairs, sauna, steam room, salt room, indoor pool, heated tiled beds, A GREAT ESCAPE towards the end of the cruise to get out of the sun or a great place to unwind after working out.  However, a week long pass per person was $200!  So be prepared for this expense if this is important to you.

Tips:

Water– I would very much recommend bring a case of bottled water on board. NCL allows you to do this. You can store a bottle or two in the mini-fridge. Of course, the mini-fridge has items in it for purchase. You can keep them in the fridge or ask your room attendant to remove. We forgot to pick up a case of water which I knew to do so we had to buy the water package on board which of course is pricey. Other recommendations regarding water is to bring your own re-usable water bottles, then you can fill up at the cafeteria anytime.
Wine– NCL does let you bring on wine (not liquor). There is no limit. However, they do charge a $15 corkage fee per bottle as soon as you board, so regardless if you will drink in your room, you still pay the corkage fee. We are red wine drinkers so just fyi, the best priced wine for Cabernet was a Beringer Estates for $28 a bottle or $7.75 a glass.
Room card holders– These are the lanyards that go around your neck. I had some and wasn’t sure if we would use but definitely did and it makes is keeping up with your room card so much easier – most cruisers used them as well. They sell on the ship for $6.95 for a basic one or I heard Walmart sells a pack of them for a few dollars.
Spa– Typically I try to make spa appointments as soon as I get onboard and I still recommend if you this is still true if you are set on a certain date & time BUT, we found on NCL everyday after the first day, the spa ran much better specials – MUCH BETTER! Everyday after the first day they ran specials which would include a massage and multiple other services for $99-129, whereas on the first day of the cruise the best deal was just a massage for no less than $149. We had no problems getting appointments either on any day whether at sea or not– & even last minute.
Gratuities– we did not pre-pay our gratuities, which usually I do BUT we ate at the specialty restaurants every night and we provided a gratuity then. Each day on your bill, they will add a per person service charge, which is the gratuity of $12 per person per day. The next to last day, I just went to the service desk and adjusted since we were paying gratuities to everyone separately – bartenders, specialty restaurants, spa, etc. Therefore, basically I reduced our gratuities to cover our room attendant.
Backpack-– Recommend in place of a bag, Just makes it much easier in port and on the ship.
Specialty restaurants– again, this was our highlight, they were amazing every night!! With NCL you can purchase the specialty dining package and now that I have experienced their ship with over 29 dining options, I highly recommend!

Shore Excursion– Recommend everyone of the excursions we took– St. Maarten: ATV Island Tour with Beach Break, new ATVs, beautiful views throughout the entire island with stops for pics along the ways (we even got stopped by the goats in the streets), St. Thomas: Castaway Girl – wonderful crew, beautiful catamaran, guides were wonderful in the water when we snorkeled by educating us on the different fish, coral, etc..  Bahamas:  two excursions – Blue Lagoon Beach Break – such a better excursion than going with the masses to Atlantis, trust me! And Scuba, enjoy diving up to 90 feet to ship wrecks featured in James Bond movies.

 

Until the next Getaway!

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. ~St. Augustine

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun In Cabo!

One of the best benefits of being a travel specialist is getting to know so many interesting people, and becoming close friends with many of them.  Throughout the year, I look back and smile, relishing those new clients-turned-friends.  Many years ago, I met my then client, Natalie, and knew we would get along great! She’s a happy, positive person – with a passion for travel.  Today, I call her my friend first and client second.  Below she shares her most recent girlfriend getaway – Enjoy and maybe you will get some ideas for your circle of old and NEW friends!

Cabo San Lucas

Natalie in Cabo San Lucas

Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas

1.Where did you vacation? Resort? With whom? When?

I spent a wonderful vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with three of my girlfriends at Casa Dorada at Medano Beach. July 14-20, 2012.

2. What did you most enjoy about your vacation experience?

I loved the location of the resort and the company of my girlfriends. The resort is located right on Medano Beach (one of the only swimmable beaches in Cabo San Lucas) and is within walking distance of downtown and a lot of the wonderful restaurants. There is an abundance of great seafood in Cabo San Lucas.

3. Can you share any recommendations or travel tips? (activities, best room types, etc.)

We reserved two, one-bedroom condo units. We had plenty of room. One thing I can recommend when traveling in Mexico is to be sure and take plenty of small dollar bills and be sure to change your cell phone plan to accommodate texting and data plans.

Lover's Arch, Cabo San Lucas

Lover’s Arch, Cabo San Lucas

Casa Dorado Cabo San Lucas

4. What trip experiences are on your travel bucket list?

I would love to stay in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora. I would also like to visit Ireland and tour Italy.  Those are just a few on my list.

5. What is the one thing you would not be without when traveling?

Obviously the one thing I would not be without while traveling abroad is my passport, LOL! However, I would never travel without my digital camera. Memories are only made once. You don’t get to redo them. I want to do everything I can to make sure I never forget the good times I have had.

6. Tell us about you. What city do you live in?

I currently reside in Bossier City, LA, where I currently work as an ultrasound technologist at a local hospital.

7. How do you unwind? Hobbies?

I love to travel, obviously, but when I can’t, I love to read, shop or garden to take my mind of things. Visiting with my favorite travel agent, Sherri Miller, to plan my next trip helps as well.

Thanks Natalie for choosing Vacationista Travel and sharing your story!

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Ocean Stories: An LSU Tiger Fan On Vacation

Many times I have pondered and asked what is a college football fan to do during off season? For us diehard fans it can be a bit depressing when the season is over. SO – in the spirit of college football kicking off this weekend (woo hoo!), Vacationista is highlighting our friend Brenda’s recent beach vacation.  What does that have to do with college football? Well, did we mention Brenda is also the biggest LSU Fan we know!

LSU Tigers

Where did you vacation? Resort? With whom?

Golden Parnassus Resort in Cancun – adults only – all inclusive, with my husband, Jerry (40th wedding anniversary)

Golden Paranassus Cancun

Golden Paranassus Cancun

What did you most enjoy about your vacation experience?

Being totally pampered the entire time. Wonderful customer service – everyone always smiling – from housekeeping to busboys, restaurant waiters, bartenders, front desk, etc.  Also, loved the fact that it was adults only – don’t get me wrong, I love children, but wanted this vacation to be totally about relaxation ! Loved that it was all inclusive- so no prices on menu! Resort was immaculate – including beach areas

The club level rooms also included a romantic dinner in your room – it was awesome ! Ordered from the French restaurant menu

Can you share any recommendations or travel tips?

There are more luxurious resorts in the area, I’m sure, but I cannot imagine any better service.

I would recommend paying a little extra and getting a “club level” room.  I booked a lagoon view room rather than an ocean view, however, on return trips; think I will do the ocean view. It was hot on our balcony, so we didn’t utilize it much – I’m sure the ocean side rooms had a breeze on the balcony.

Golden Paranassus Club Level Room

Golden Paranassus Club Level Room

What trip experiences are on your travel bucket list?

I would love to go to Hong Kong – mainly for the shopping!

What is the one thing you would not be without when traveling?

OTC medications – such as Advil, Benadryl, cold & sinus meds, anti-diarrheal meds, etc and band aids. Must be the nurse in me!

Tell us about you. What city do you live in?

Live in Benton, La – love to travel. Husband is retired airline pilot, so he is not too keen on traveling – he did it for a living for 30 + years, so doesn’t look at it as fun .

How do you unwind? Hobbies?

Unwind by shopping, reading, watching HGTV and attending LSU football games!

Click Below For LSU Opening Weekend Trailer

LSU vs. North Texas Opening Weekend Trailer Video

Thank you Brenda for sharing!

Our thoughts and prayers are with are Louisiana Friends & Family.