Norwegian Getaway (2-Day Escape)
The brand new Norwegian Getaway had been due to sail from Rotterdam on the 15th January 2014, picking up passengers in Southampton on the 16th then a ten night crossing to Miami.  In September 2013, that was changed to no Rotterdam and Southampton to New York, where NCL were chartering the ship for the Super Bowl.  In October, they listed two inaugural cruises - Rotterdam to Southampton from the 13th-14th and Southampton roundtrip on the 14th to 15th.  You could also book both together.  That's what me and my friend, Fay Jordan, did on the 11th October, getting OC grade cabin 5236, which was opposite the 5828 I had on Breakaway so at least I knew where I was going.  On the 15th, we booked with Kerry Hewitt of the Southampton Cruise Centre for the travel agent jolly on the 15th so would get three nights aboard.  We were given cabin 5210, so not too far away.  I was really thrilled they'd added these inaugurals.  I'd loved Breakaway soooooooooooo much, I was gutted I couldn't check the differences on this one.  One thing NCL need to sort out though is the online check-in.  After all these years it STILL won't allow two different addresses in the system.

I got the ferry and met Fay at Town Quay then train to Southampton airport.  We were early but at least there.  Check-in was via kiosk and you also had to do your own bag drop even though there was a human being there.  Our 1410 flight left five minutes early and we had a smooth journey to Amsterdam.  Another train to Rotterdam Centraal and all the building work going on when we were last there in April 2013 had finished.  The place looked good!  There was a now a proper taxi rank outside so we got one to the Maritime Hotel.  There was a cafe or restaurant there so we tried the cafe for some food and which we hadn't.  The cheeseburger was microwaved and the tortilla chips had a weird taste.  We went to the restaurant in the end and had decent grub before taking a stroll to work out the best place to see the ship arrive in the morning.  It was here I discovered the sole of one of my shoes was hanging off, probably finally finished off by the rain two nights earlier and realised I'd packed the bag I keep shoes in for cruising but it was empty.  Crap!  I tried chewing gum, as Kev Webber suggested, and hoped!

Getaway was scheduled to dock at 6am so it was really annoying to find her halfway between the Hook of Holland and cruise terminal by 4am!  The gum on my shoe held it together a bit but the sole won in the end, flapping about like a hungry mouth.  It was bitterly cold and windy as we waited on the Erasmus Bridge.  As she was docking, we returned to the hotel to sleep more.  Then it was time to head over to the terminal.  At least it was dry although still cold.  There weren't many at the terminal surprisingly and we were given the colour pink for check-in.  They began at 11am for Pink, which I assume was Latitudes and Suites and boarded half an hour later.  Then they announced they were ready for check-in.  The steward was coming out of the cabin as we reached it and said it was ready.  After dumping our stuff it was time for the Garden Cafe and much-needed food since we missed breakfast.  A stroll around the deck before muster and the Haven deck was open so we had a look in.
Muster was at 4.30pm with our departure half an hour later.  Imagine everyone's surprise to discover we were moving twenty minutes early!  The was the drill ignored after that and a mad dash to get outside after it so thank goodness you didn't need your life jackets.  Disappointingly, the Rotterdam didn't blast off at us.  Food, shopping.  One of the blokes in the shop remembered selling me the Breakaway T-shirt I was wearing.  Our steward had delivered a letter saying we had to go to Guest Services on the 15th to get a new key card and the steward would move the luggage to the new cabin.  We bumped into Kev in the bar.  I went to the Tropicana Room with him while Fay went to bed.  Service was really slow, drinks ordered not coming and the music was too loud for the waiters to hear properly anyway but he was a lovely old man.  O'Sheehan's for a couple of drinks then finished the night off at the Atrium Bar listening to the band and talking to a lady whose daughter bought the trip for her birthday  We went our separate ways about 1am after looking at the card room, library and posters (interesting Cunard ship on one of them!).  Walking towards the aft stairs, I bumped into Jonathan Gardner, my facebook friend who's now First Officer onboard then I finally got back to the cabin about 1.50am.

Our scheduled Southampton arrival was 10am but we were an hour early so it was a 7am wake up followed by breakfast in O'Sheehan's.  It was so cold the top deck had ice thanks to the crew washing it, resulting in several falling on their bums.  My dad was down the marina watching us come up Southampton Water and we were docked by 9.20am.


© Patricia Dempsey 13th-16th January 2014
Not to be reproduced without permission