Southampton greeted the debut of the stunning new Norwegian Getaway with a typically British concoction of weak sunshine and some intense, blustery showers. But that did nothing to dampen the sensational impact of this latest giant cruise ship, with it’s twenty eight different restaurants, five different twisting water slides, and three full levels of indoor and outdoor watering holes. The ship is intended to stun and boy, does she ever.
Those who saw sister ship, Norwegian Breakaway, last year will find a huge amount that is instantly familiar. The differences are largely decorative; Getaway flaunts a sunny, Miami style of decor that was rendered mute by a relentless Sotonian downpour; Breakaway is pure, razzle and sizzle New York ambiance.
What I liked about Norwegian Getaway is her beautifully styled, almost classic ocean liner interiors, Wide, open spaces flanked by causal groupings of tables and wide, high back chairs give her her a real feeling of deep, rich glamour. And the vast, central spiral chandelier, which changes colour at different times of the day, is just wondrous.
The ships’ vast beam allows for much of this spatial largesse. Although always busy with people at all hours of the day and night, the flow is largely good, and creates a very upbeat buzz that permeates those spaces from bow to stern.
The Illusionarium combines a theatre in the round show with the allure of a supper club. The menu is a set, three course affair and, inevitably, some people were not happy with it. But the real feast here is the show itself.
This is a dizzying, high energy joyride through a series of magical tricks and illusions, performed almost table side by a cast of quirky, sometimes spectral characters, with amazing lightning and special effects. It’s a high intensity, audio visual roller coaster that hits you straight between the eyes with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer. It is, quite simply, the most stunning show that I have seen on any ship, and I would say that seeing it is a must if you are on board.
There’s a nice gallery outside the library and card room that displays the history of the company, going right back to the pioneering Sunward. A couple of colour posters of the Norway were particularly evocative. There is also a nice collection of black and white photographs here. As it ploughs full speed ahead with new ships and strategies, this nod by Norwegian to its past is as timely as it is engaging.
And the Tropicana Room is a knockout. Swathed in dark, sultry wood veneers, framed by gorgeous, Art Deco light fixtures, and with an enormous, floor to ceiling glass window at the stern right behind the stage, it will be stunning in the Caribbean, when this dance venue cum supper club comes alive to a soundtrack of blistering salsa. In many ways, this is the most gorgeous and evocative room on the ship.
The whole vibe of the Norwegian Getaway is swaggering, sensational, and swathed in floor to ceiling luxury. Like many of the old Italian liners of the thirties, most of her public rooms are relatively small, intimate spaces that flank the edges of the vast thoroughfares, linked in the central atrium by a deceptively delicate looking set of glass staircases. It gives her a richness and depth that will only be truly apparent when she is in regular service, but the ship as a whole is a causal, spectacular triumph, a feel good joyride, brimming with good things from bow to stern.