Norwegian Getaway (2-Day Escape)
Busy day with no chance of the post-breakfast nap I'd hoped for.  First of all, it was to Guest Services.  I had pre-paid for the Illusionarium on the 23rd December but it wasn't showing in my planner.  The girl checked and it wasn't on the system so she booked me.  I just hoped I wouldn't be charged twice.  After lunch there was meeting Danielle Fear all to briefly then I said hello to John Honeywell and Dave Monk before they all went off.  John had been at the Royal Caribbean press conference for Anthem of the Seas two months before while I hadn't seen Dave since Steve Read's funeral almost three years prior.  Scary how fast it has gone.  We saw Kev Webber, who had collected his car all ready to shoot off to Dover in the morning.  After looking at his Studio cabin (which I was surprised to find was identical to the one I'd had on Epic), he did his thing and we did ours.  Some missing passengers were called after 4pm.  Why are important announcements such as these never in the cabin?  These people could be asleep or on the toilet.  Muster was 4.30pm and even though we'd been told we didn't have to go, we waited in the cabin like naughty kids bunking off school until it was over.  Sailaway was 5pm and there were several shipyard workers fixing things on the deck.  There was no pre-departure announcement and we left ten minutes late after two cargo vessels, NYK Virgo and Klaipeda, had passed and we blasted as we passed Pier Head.  Unsurprisingly, the crowd on the Waterfront soon vanished once we were moving.  We popped up to Spice H2O for the sailaway party after passing Dock Head and saw Harry Cotterill and Gavin Pamment and laughed when cruise director Julie (who had been on Breakaway), said it was a seven day cruise.  We wish!  Back at the cabin, there was a message on the TV telling us off for not attending the muster we were told we didn't have to go to.  Arse and elbow, NCL!  Due to the dreadful satellite signal, a text from Adam Coulter of Cruise Critic came through late and he and Danielle were off to dinner when I got it but we had a quick chat.  Francis Riley, NCL Vice President & General Manager, stopped by briefly.  I went to the Illusionarium and a group of four Belgians wouldn't even shove over on the seating so I could sit down.  We were told quite categorically to queue but others who arrived after us just stayed put.  Despite a few going in ahead of us, the girl did stop the rest until we'd gone through.  The menu was uninspiring with the main course being Surf & Turf just like Cirque on Breakaway.  The show itself was just WOW!  It tells a story as well as featuring magicians and is also very funny.  Two magicians were a bit crap.  The one with long hair and one with the doves.  Poor birds looked terrified and his sleeves were ridiculously large so you know they were stuffed up them as they shrunk.  I would thoroughly recommend it though.  After trying to find Danielle thanks to their joke satellite system sending messages much later (I was using text, Danielle the wifi), we gave up after two laps of the bars and went to sleep.
Morning and we were still docking at 7am so weren't getting in for the 6.30am it said on VTS.  As it was such a busy day, there was no time for a lie in.  We got the new card for cabin 5210 then went for breakfast where I had a quick hello to Lynda Robinson from Twitter.  As we waited in the Atrium for Danielle, I noticed our cards had disembarkation for that day so we got another one.  We continued waiting and decided to check if our new cabin was ready.  The steward was in there and said we could leave our stuff, which was really useful.  None had moved our luggage despite having the tags on as instructed so we did it ourselves then returned to the Atrium.  Danielle appeared and we had a natter during the SEVEN final calls, including eighteen passengers named and shamed between six and seven but that made no difference.  Part of the problem was (as well as no announcements to piss off in the cabins), many would come down then get coffee and cake, sitting firmly on their arses as though the calls didn't apply to them.  All in all it took about ninety minutes of final calls before they all disappeared with the first embarkation commencement call at 11.15am.  We went to our cabin only to discover the cards didn't work so off we trotted back to Guest Services for a third one.  The bloke followed us to make sure it was fine.  Lazy rest of the day after lunch until our 3.30pm cocktail party in Headliners with the rest of the Cruise Village people.  As we had stayed on two solid days, we weren't given the information about show cabins the press and travel agents were so had no idea those with balloons weren't for birthdays those until I spoke to Kerry.  We could have already done it instead of rushing around the ship like blue-arsed flies thanks to contradictory information about when they closed.  Photos of this and other public areas are linked at the end.  Sailaway this time was 6pm, although there was a whisper we wouldn't due to bad weather in the English Channel.  These ships are good for a bit of bouncy sea and Breakaway was the most stable I've sailed on.  Since muster was announced for 4.30pm, it looked like we'd be heading off.  This time it was said those already onboard didn't have to attend and we wondered if that was due to the journalists rather than rest of us.  Don't want criticism in their reviews!  They closed the show cabins during muster but we chatted to a lovely cabin steward on deck 14 as we waited for them to open again but some stayed closed, which was a shame.  Several calls for visitors to piss off but at least it wasn't as bad as the disembarkation ones.  We went to one of the Havens for sailaway then carried on finding the rest open.  By now I was struggling, having pulled a muscle in my back, although my usual problem was much improved so this was just typical.  Dinner in O'Sheehan's then just flaked out.
I had the alarm set for 4am to go around the ship while it was quiet.  There were just two places I'd missed on Breakaway, despite being onboard an entire week, so wasn't going to make that mistake again and headed up to deck 16  The deck was soaking, not good for my poor shoe, although the fact it had lasted so long was nothing sort of a miracle.  I could have gone into town to buy new but there was a chance the thing would have fallen apart before I reached a shop.  My big toe was already having trouble staying inside the bloody great hole.  But the end was nigh and soon I would give them an overdue funeral.  The bill was there when I got back to the cabin at 5am and I saw it only went up to the 15th so I popped along to Guest Services who printed another.  Fay was awake my now and as we neared the terminal, we went on the Prom deck to watch us dock.  The aft part was lovely and dry but forward was like a paddling pool.  My poor shoe getting one last fatal drowning!  The Captain was much quicker than two days before, but then he's had practice.  Breakfast in O'Sheehan's and I finally caught up with Ann Brine.  Since my dad was over an hour earlier than I'd asked with my replacement shoes, we decided to sod off as soon as clearance was announced.  For some daft reason, I received a Latitudes welcome letter even though I was leaving and I never did get the pillow chocs promised for Silver.  The gangways had been forward (airbridge) and aft) steps) on our deck all the while the ship was in Southampton and aft gave photo opportunities so we took that one.  One of the crew took my case down for me, which was really nice then I didn't have to worry about that and my shoe.  Two port workers watched the ceremonial dumping of the shoes after I explained we weren't crazy then we headed towards Town Quay via Mayflower Park and thankfully the rain shower was brief.
And that was that.  I just love these ships.  They are excellent continuations of what began on Epic.  But when is Europe going to get one???  Kevin Sheehan ruled out a return to the UK when I asked on Breakaway due to "all the sea days" while ignoring there are some from New York, Miami, Los Angeles, crossing the Atlantic.  He may like port-intensive knackering cruises but many aren't that fussed.  And, considering the number of Americans on repositionings across the Atlantic aren't either when the myth is Americans hate sea days, perhaps he ought to try asking what people booking cruises actually want and work out itineraries accordingly.  After all, being knackered and in port means you spend less onboard.  Sea days the opposite.  His competitors see the logic there.  Anyway, hopefully one day I'll get to sail on one of these again.  Lucky journalists getting freebies while the rest of us have to save! Getaway was the 29th ship I've sailed on and she and her sister are in my top ten.  I absolutely love and miss them.

Photos of Getaway in Rotterdam can be found here, her Southampton arrival is here while photos of her interiors can be found here.


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