ABOARD THE NORWEGIAN GETAWAY — The frigid January weather in New York has kept most industry guests and media away from the Norwegian Getaway's distinctive outdoor attractions during the ship's inaugural sailing.
Few took advantage of the open-air dining on Waterfront, let alone the ropes course, water park with slides or other top-decks attractions.
The ship is a structural clone of its older sister, the Breakaway, which debuted last year, and having the passengers stay largely indoors kept them focused on the shifting of emphasis from themes of New York, where Breakaway homeports, to Miami, where the Getaway will be based.
“I like the subtle touches of Miami,” said Karen Giantomasi, client services supervisor for the online travel agency Cruise Direct International Voyager. “The mojitos in place of Champagne, Cuban food at the buffet.”
But many travel counselors said the shift in geographic emphasis inside really just supports the biggest change of all — that this ship will soon have a southern point of departure.
Although Wendi Randal of Liberty Travel in Pittsburgh doesn’t have clients in either homeport, the cold weather emphasized to her the importance of having a warm gateway. “You want [clients] to be able to try everything that’s outside, and you don’t want the weather to hinder that.”
One discerning couple didn’t mind at all that, other than the tweaking of restaurant and bar themes, the interiors were virtually identical. Sitting quietly and unnoticed at a side table at Sugarcane Mojito Bar off the atrium was Craig Cannonier, premier of Bermuda, and his wife Antoinette.
He had been aboard during the inauguration of the Breakaway (which sails to Bermuda), and on this sailing was again in a suite in the Haven, the private area atop the ship which caters to upscale travelers.
“We’ve broken away, we’ve gotten away, next we’ll stay away — stay away from land,” he said. (He said he wasn’t worried about competition for Bermuda from cruising, and believes that port visits ultimately lead to subsequent longer land stays.)
As for the lack of differences — he did notice that “here, you have a mermaid painted on the outside” — he was sanguine. “They took a model that worked and built another. Why do something else? It’s not the same itinerary, so why not build a replica that works and take it to another destination?”
“We’ll bring our family aboard [the Breakaway] on our next vacation, down to our 3-year-old grandchild,” added Antoinette. “They do a good job.”Follow Arnie Weissmann on Twitter @awtravelweekly.
Below is a 360-degree spherical image taken by Arnie Weissmann from the bridge of the Norwegian Getaway. Second officer Nidia Bastista and first officer Liviu Dobrescu are at the controls; Captain Rune Myer and Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan are standing behind them. (Use your mouse to move the image side to side and up or down; on a touchscreen, use your finger.)