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Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Getaway is pure fun. Launched in January, less than a year after sister Norwegian Breakaway, the 4,028-passenger Getaway has a very different flavor.
In addition to a few design changes (fewer solo traveler studio staterooms, for instance), Getaway is Miami-themed, just as Breakaway was themed for New York. The ship’s hull art has a distinct Miami feel, featuring mermaids and pelicans painted by Miami artist David “LEBO” Le Batard. Dazzling explosions of color mark the elevator areas, and the whole ship has a definite tropical feel.
Twenty-seven dining choices and 22 bars ensure that Norwegian’s freestyle choices are well represented while also representing Miami trademarks. The complimentary Tropical Room harkens back to Miami Beach in the 1940s and ’50s, and the Sunset Bar, inspired by Hemingway’s Key West home, and the laid-back Sugarcane Bar are tributes to Miami’s relaxed lifestyle.
Key stars of the epicurean scene on Breakaway are Geoffrey Zakarian’s three venues — Ocean Blue, The Waterfront and The Raw Bar. Make sure clients pay visits to Carlo’s Bake Shop by “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro and O’Sheehan’s Pub as well. The quarter-mile-long Waterfront, a group of on-the-boardwalk indoor/outdoor dining and relaxation spots, is also on Getaway, as is the Aqua Park with five slides and two pools, an adults-only area and a three-story ropes course. Guests can gingerly walk The Plank, which extends high above the water, and try out the rock-climbing wall, the bungee trampoline and the spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage with a spiral slide.
When it comes to innovation, Norwegian has made a significant move by partnering with name-brand entertainment. In addition to teaming with comedy group Second City, the Blue Man Group and Howl at the Moon, Norwegian has invested heavily in its own proprietary magic and illusion experience, the Illusionarium, which will most likely be a high point for the entire cruise experience.
Getaway has no Fat Cats Blues Club, but it has artifacts curated by the Grammy Museum and features past Grammy winners and nominees performing live onboard, with the cost included in the cruise fare. Latin Grammy award-winning Nestor Torres, who topped Billboard’s contemporary jazz listings and brings together a mix of Latin and international influences, was the first performer scheduled in early February. He won a Latin Grammy and has been nominated four times for the Latin Grammy and once for the Grammy Award. In the fall, Getaway will host a Grammy-themed cruise.
The Getaway Theater onboard is showing a full production of “Legally Blonde, the Musical,” and “Burn the Floor,” a 45-minute dance tour de force. On the comedy side, Second City’s improvisations are replaced on Getaway by stand-up comedians from the Levity Entertainment Group in Los Angeles, which has represented stars from Bill Cosby to Daniel Tosh.
Getaway’s staterooms are similar to Breakaway’s. The 42-suite Haven continues the ship-within-a-ship tradition, and there are single-occupancy studio staterooms with their own lounge area, along with spa staterooms and suites.
Norwegian’s signature fish design on the hall carpets continues to “swim” from back to front (a real help for guests trying to figure out which way is aft), and staterooms have a variety of storage shelves tucked into several areas, with a stool that turns into a coffee table. The bathrooms are simply spectacular, with multi-jet showers and plenty of space.
Getaway sails weeklong Eastern Caribbean cruises out of Miami, calling in Saint Maarten, Saint Thomas and Nassau, from $549.
“Where do you want to go in the world that you have never been before?” the mentalist asked a cruise guest at our table.
“Hawaii,” the man answered.
“And I want you to write down the age you will be when you expect to go there,” the mentalist added.
Then, scribbling frantically, the man filled a large card with numbers.
When the guest explained that he expected to go to Hawaii at age 65, he was shown the card, where the four corners added up to 65, the diagonals added up to 65, the vertical and horizontal columns added up to 65 and a wad of paper given to the guest at the beginning of the conversation proved to have “Hawaii” written on it in big letters.
Magic, illusion and mentalist performances are all the stuff of dreams in the new dinner and show debuting on Norwegian Getaway. The Illusionarium show is magnetic, magical and enormously fun. With mysterious trunks and books stacked high, and even artifacts at the tables, the atmosphere is very Jules Verne. The audience nearly surrounds the stage, and a 30-foot dome overhead opens to visual effects from the cosmos to figures swimming through the stars.
The magicians were wonderful, and the audience had to be shooed out in the end, as they stood talking in groups about the illusions and transformations that had been accomplished only a few feet away from them as they enjoyed a three-course surf and turf dinner.
With two shows a night, the Illusionarium experience is a collaboration between its star, magician and comedian Jeff Hobson, Norwegian’s entertainment staff, Tony Award-winning designer David Gallo and choreographer Patricia Wilcox.
Getaway’s Illusionarium offers two shows per night; the price for dinner and the show at $39 is exceptional value — these are very skilled magicians.