MITSUGIRLYS GRADUATION GETAWAY CRUISE review and pictorial

Day 8: Getting off the ship

We woke up at 7am, quick shower, last minute look around the round and a phone call to Kendra's room to make sure they were up.

 

We headed out, saying goodbye to our home for the week, then slowly shut the door and sighed.

 

Off to the buffet for our last breakfast and my last round of waffles with the yummy sugary whipped topping. :D

 

The kids met us up there as we discussed how to become stowaways.

 

Our yellow lug tags said we could get off at 8:10am and they always seem to call the colors way before it's actually time. We just played it by ear and walked off once we were done eating and gathering all of our carry-off luggage.

 

There was a line that circled around the atrium around O'Sheehans. It was moving quickly. We did loose Kendra and the rest of the kids because they stopped for something along the way. So, that put us way ahead of them in the check out and security line. Moments before walking up to security I discovered that I had Kolin's birth certificate. :eek: He would not be able to leave without it. Yikes. So when it was our turn, I told them that my son was back further in line and I had his bc. He told the hubby and Sakari to go ahead out to wait on me and told me to go back in line with him and keep my papers and come back to his line when it was Kolin's turn. Whew. I'm so glad that I discovered that before we walked out and headed out of the terminal.

 

As soon as we headed out our transportation service was calling to see if we had made it out. (Actually, he called several times that morning before we were even ready to leave). He was waiting for us outside and immediately put us in the van and away we went to the airport.

 

Checked in to the airport and NO MISSED FLIGHTS!!!

 

HOWEVER.....

 

When we were on the ship, I tried to check us all in for our flights. For some reason, I was unable to check in myself and Brayden. Everyone else was checked in, but they were at the very end of the line for seats.

 

When we got to the counter and the Southwest staff checked us in, not only was most of the family some of the last to board, but now all of a sudden me and Kolin are not assigned seats and are on "stand-by" :confused:

 

The family went aboard and Kolin and I are left just standing there waiting for everyone to get done for them to tell us it was our turn.

 

LAST IN LINE.... :p

 

 

Don't we look happy? LOL

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Hey, at least we were on the flight and it was a non-stop flight. None of us got to sit together and not even the little ones. I guess there wasn't anyone willing to give us their seats for "family". But, Sakari did get to sit across the isle from daddy and Brayden was across the isle from Kendra. Everyone else was all spread out and I ended up in the 2nd to last seat in the back. Go me! Last one on the plane and I would be the last one off the plane.

 

The flight home was 2 hours and 45 minutes and boy was I glad that it was a straight flight. I was completely worn out and just wanted to get back to my home sweet home that I had just moved too.

 

 

So finally....the end of the review.

 

I do have some final thoughts of the ship, the ports and just in general...and then where I go from here....coming up. I will need to gather my thoughts and get this in order. There's always something that I forget during the review and usually this can be an opportunity to bring them up if needed.

 

 

I want to thank everyone for coming along with me and enjoying my review. I really appreciate it. :)

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE PORTS:

ST MAARTEN

 

MULLET BAY:

 

PROS:

I would go here again in a heartbeat. It was beautiful and the water there was calm the day we were there. I enjoyed exploring around the rocky area on foot. I would probably try to explore a little more up and down the beach instead of sticking to just in front of our lounge chairs and over to the rocks.

 

I thought the chair rental was reasonable and the food and drinks were about what every other place offers. The soda was nice and ice cold. Soda $2.00 Beer $2.50 Fries $4.00

Beautiful sand and no issues with rocks in the water.

There were plenty of sea shells for the kids to collect and they enjoyed it.

Only a few vendors that stopped by to offer goods and then left. They did not hassle you.

A super easy walk over to Maho to watch the planes come in if you want 15 minutes.

You can see the planes coming into Maho from this area. They are low, but they are just not over top of your head.

Some iguanas walking around the rocky area and out past the parking lot.

Close to shopping and various other restaurants in town if you want to walk there.

 

 

CONS:

No restroom facilities. They had a clean decent smelling porta-potty. This can be a big deal to some (not to us). It’s better than camping in the woods. ;)

It’s not really a snorkeling place, but you will see fish (after all, it is the ocean) and you will find plenty of prickly sea urchins here….I mean TONS.

WOULD I GO HERE AGAIN? Definitely would.

WOULD I SUGGEST IT TO OTHERS: Definitely would.

 

 

MAHO BEACH:

PROS:

This is not your normal “airport” and it’s a must-see when in St Maarten.

You haven’t watched planes come in until you’ve been to Maho where it feels like they are only a few feet from your head. It’s an amazing site.

Two places to get drinks and food while you are there.

Sunset-Nice facility with a huge deck to sit at a table, chairs, and umbrella to eat while watching the planes come in. Nice bathroom facility. A garden hose to wash the sand off your feet before leaving. More crowded than Driftwood.

Driftwood-other side of the beach and a small boat where they serve good food and good drinks. No restroom facilities that I know of (unless there’s a porta-potty somewhere that I didn’t notice). Free lounge chairs to use on the beach. Less crowded than Sunset. Cheeseburger & fries meal $11. Beer $2.50. Soada $2.00.

The big planes usually come in after noon.

 

 

CONS:

 

The beach is not a “good” beach. There’s very little room and it’s on a slope. Once you get into the water, it drops rather quickly (watch your little ones and even your drunk spouse). The waves can be very brutal at times.

Definitely no snorkeling here and like always a few fish hanging out in the area. Nothing special.

The beach can definitely get crowded during peak times of the day when the planes come in.

It can be a mad house trying to catch a cab back if you go at the same time everyone else is leaving, but never an issue getting one eventually.

WOULD I GO HERE AGAIN? Nope, I have been twice now. That’s enough for me. I will move on to other places to experience more of the island.

WOULD I SUGGEST IT TO OTHERS? Yep, absolutely. It’s a must-do at least once type of thing.

 

 

ST THOMAS:

 

COKI BEACH:

 

PROS:

Absolutely the best snorkeling ever. The sea life is just that amazing here. Simply walk out into the water and you are there. You will see so many things here. It’s just a must-do.

Sandy bottom ocean in the middle for those that just want to swim.

You can go out pretty far along the edges of the rocks and water and it’s still pretty shallow for snorkeling.

Plenty of water sports if you so desire and scuba.

Friendly non-pushy vendors that won’t hassle you.

You get your own waitress or waiter for the day and can run up a tab and pay at the end or pay as you go.

Restroom and shower facility.

Equipment rental for snorkeling.

Good price for chair rental $5.00 & umbrella $10. Soda $2.00

Several areas to wash the sand off your feet and body prior to leaving.

Water was not rough.

 

 

CONS:

Drinks can be a little pricey. Frozen drinks $9.00

Staff can get a little upset if you don’t stick with “your” person for ordering all day.

Not much natural shade.

WOULD I GO BACK? ABSOLUTELY!!!! WITHOUT A DOUBT!!!!

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS PLACE? ABSOLUTELY!! It has a little bit of something for everyone whether you snorkel or just swim (or relax).

 

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS

 

BLUE LAGOON:

 

PROS:

Beautiful place and very nice island!

Plenty of interactions with animals if you want to do the swims.

Very nice grounds with beautiful landscaping.

The place is laid out very well.

Gift shop, dressing rooms and restrooms.

PLENTY of chairs and table to eat at.

Tons of loungers, chairs and hammocks.

Several different beach areas.

Life guards at both the beach (one side) and the water park.

Definitely a place for kids AND adults with the water park, animals, and the land blow up toys.

LOTS of water activities: trike, canoes and so on.

 

Shallow water and no waves (I mean after all, it’s a lagoon).

 

Several areas to spread out away from the crowd.

 

They give you maps of the place as you enter. It’s a fairly big place.

 

Plenty of shade both right by the beach and on the grounds.

 

A good variety of food with the day pass.

 

(My son said it was his most favorite port of the cruise and wished that every place we went to was like this ;) )

 

CONS:

 

Not enough time there to do everything. I would have loved to spend the entire day there.

 

Some say the ferry ride over to the island is too long and takes 40 minutes. Please understand that this is due to the no wake area by the ships and the houses along the water. They gather speed the further they get away from this area and then speed up a lot ocean out in the open to the island. Honestly, I enjoyed the ride. They gave information and told about the homes in the area. Staff was very friendly and it honestly did not seem like it was a 40 minute ride. I’m almost sure it wasn’t. PRO on the ferry-they had drinks and chips available for purchase (Soda $2.50) in case you needed to quench your thirst on the way over and staff was friendly. Given several options to return was also a nice gesture and made the day longer.

 

WOULD I GO BACK? ABSOLUTELY.

WOULD I RECOMMEND? ABSOLUTELY. Great for all ages of the family. Very nice day on a beautiful island.

 

THE GETAWAY:

 

What a beautiful, new, big and plenty to do type of ship!!!

 

The décor is neutral tones and a very up to date modern look.

 

Tons of restaurants to choose from whether you are looking for free dining or pay. There’s something for everyone. They have stepped up the MDR with now 3 restaurants to choose from.

 

The buffet is HUGE and very long and on both sides.

 

The water park is simply amazing. Something for everyone from wee little ones at the SpongeBob waterpark to teens and adults on the water slides.

 

The rooms are beautiful with plenty of storage and the shower was amazing.

 

The food was good as always (with some things being excellent and others being ok). The deserts-well, they just can’t seem to get it right on NCL for some reason. I’m really upset that they no longer offer just regular cheesecake. It was always my “to-go-to” desert and now it’s gone. The ice cream (both soft serve and hard) is amazing and so are the crapes. There’s plenty of food to choose from and if you can’t find anything…then you have issues.

 

I highly recommend the iConceirge program. We used it a lot and thought it was well worth the money if you are going to be split up at any time from the people you are traveling with…on such a huge ship.

 

The staff was amazing and friendly just like always.

 

The new picture Kiosk to be able to snap a picture and immediately post it to your facebook or send an email to family…excellent idea.

 

The face recognition and photography having the ability to type in your cabin number when they take your picture=the greatest thing ever.

 

Kids club staff=amazing as always. The activities they do with the kids and the themes=amazing as always.

 

Illusionarium=EXCELLENT SHOW. Worth every penny (although we didn’t care for the food).

 

The Flamingo Grill-adding more free options to breakfast and lunch is a winner in my book. Never crowded and different food.

 

THE SUGARY WHIPPED TOPPING!!!! TO DIE FOR!!!

 

Teppanyaki-EXCELLENT from start to finish with both the atmosphere to the cook to the food.

 

Added extras like the pin bowling and arcade games in that area was a nice added touch and fun.

 

Golfing, the plank, zip lining and the ropes course=amazing! How could someone not have fun here? (Even the little one’s on the spider climb and the trampline).

 

80’s party was a blast and the fireworks were simply amazing….tear

 

The kids circus show is always fun for the kids and glad they do it on every ship.

 

The chandelier that changes colors, the “stars” in the ceiling and the lighted staircase that also changed colors were amazing and beautiful.

 

I loved that the sliding doors had the actual kid lock on the very top of them. Definitely made it better for those with kids instead of it being on the handle where they can reach.

 

I actually loved the keycard in the slot idea and pulling when you leave (of course for other reasons that what someone would normally like them for….when it’s time to go, it’s time to go…momma has control and pulls the card and the tv goes off…winning). However, it can be a nuisance if you are trying to charge things back in the room while you’re gone.

 

Now the not so good???

 

Where was washy-washy? Seriously. There wasn’t anyone around telling anyone to wash their hands going into the restaurants or buffet like there is on the other ships. They had the hand sanitizer pole at each entrance, but you all know how many people will just walk by it if not told to wash your hands. No washy-washy- happy-happy songs as you enter the buffet area or anything. The only time you would ever find someone standing around with the squirt bottle was coming back from port.

 

Where is the chocolate buffet? Did they stop doing them on the new ships? (Not that I eat chocolate or anything, but I do always enjoy going and getting pictures of the amazing work they do with chocolate).

Having to book shows-UGH! I just hated it. I missed just being able to walk into the theater every night at one of the 2 showings, getting a seat and seeing something new every night. On this ship, if you don’t book ahead, you don’t see the show unless you are willing to stand around waiting to see if there are seats available from no-shows and then again, you may not sit together. Not my idea of a fun night.

There were just too many venues to be able to go to them all. Even the comedy shows in the smaller rooms made it so we couldn’t go because of too many people. I guess that’s what happens when there’s so many people on such a huge ship.

Giving us 2 luggage tags…really? For 4 people in a room?

I could not believe the gift shops didn’t cater a little more to the young children, especially since this was a Nickelodeon ship and there are tons of kids on it. Just not enough choices to choose from and no stuffed animals.

Nickelodeon themed ship, but not many meet & greets like the other ships.

Salt water pools. Ugh. I swear when we were on the Epic they still used salt water for their pools (obviously), but had some type of filtration system that made it seem like it was regular water. What happened here? The water was very salty and not what I expected.

The constant water on my balcony. There should have been a drain there like there was on all of the other balconies. I’m not sure what was going on. You would also think on a hot day, it would dry up but yet there the water was all the time.

Dolce Gelato=just not worth it to me. The ice-cream was melted and I thought the ice-cream in the buffet tasted a lot better.

No drawers in the cabin…ugh, just weird to put my undies on a shelf.

Glow Party-I seriously think I like the white hot party. Maybe it was just that they didn’t play any of the normal songs that go to dances on this ship. Everything was Latin/Spanish and it was just odd. Also the H20 was just simply WAY TO SMALL to throw parties at. That many people on a ship and this small area in front of the t.v. screen was just very uncomfortable for both watching the fireworks and dancing. It just didn’t feel right for some reason. I think I have enjoyed myself more on the other ships during these themed parties.

The 80’s party for the same reason as above (but of course it wasn’t Latin/Spanish)…no room for dancing or the fireworks. I’m sorry but the “guest appearance” routine was just plain dumb and silly. Not at all entertaining (not only for me, but I could see the expressions on others faces too) although I’m sure there were probably those out there that enjoyed it. Just not my cup of tea and a waste of time.

The pool area….doesn’t have any area to dance at. What the frick? Like sail away parties pool side is what usually gets the party started with the music and dancing. There was music, but no dancing because THERE’S NO ROOM. Yuck.

I have to say that I like the Blue Lagoon better than O’Sheehans. The wings are so hot and wet at O’Sheehans that I always end up taking my towel and rolling them in it to take the sauce off. Now that the cheesecake is gone (and it’s a brownie cheesecake instead), it’s disappointing.

Casino-I really expected with such a big ship that the casino would be similar to the Epic with 2 levels. But it seemed small to me and so spread out between different rooms and sides of the ship, then several different hallways. It’s was just a little weird (although I got used to it). But, the really odd thing was they didn’t have any of the slots that are usually on all the other ships. They are usually the ones that everyone is always playing all the time. Why mess with a good thing? Also I noticed there wasn’t a restroom anywhere near the casino (unless I missed it and I did look several times). You had to walk quite a ways down the hall to find one and it seemed like they were always being cleaned when we needed them. I have always found that there’s a restroom right off to the casino on the other ships right? I mean drinking + gambling = multiple potty runs per session.

Lobster at the buffet now-although I don’t mind it being at the buffet now and helping yourself, it was just not good. They were small and still stuck to the outside and kind of rubbery. It just killed the experience.

Ordering a movie on the t.v. and when it stops playing, no way to get back to where you left off at=bummer.

FORGETTING MY LATITUDES SHIP PIN FOR THE SECOND CRUISE. Am I tagged for no pins? Lol

 

LeBistro area in the Atrium. I just feel like this would be such a neat place to hang out and there just wasn’t any chairs here to do so. It was only for dining there and people walking to the other side of the ship or up the stairs.

The balcony-I have to admit, I like the cove balcony better than a regular balcony. The cove is just amazing. It blocks the air, the sun beating down on you and even has a ledge to put drinks or prop your feet up around the window part. I just really enjoyed it a lot more than the regular balcony.

These balcony rooms are just crappy in my opinion. Not being able to look down and see the water was disappointing. Having to stare at the waterfronts ugly silver roof was just a put off for me. It also made for crappy pictures as well.

Having to wear an arm band all week for Sakari was not fun. She hates them and constantly begged to take it off. If you remove it, you pay $5 for it or can’t go back to the kids club. It doesn’t have any of their information on it…it just has their location to meet in case the ship sinks. ;)

The cabins hard beds. What the heck? I remember the Epic when new and the beds were AMAZING! There was so much talk on these boards about “where can I buy one of those mattresses?” Whoever they are using now should take all the beds and burn them in a bonfire when in port and start over. It was probably the hardest bed on any ship ever.

For it to be a new ship, it sure had a lot of creaking going on in the room.

The issues we had with our room cards over and over for the first 3 or so days was just ridiculous. I’m not sure just what the problem was or how hard it was to just use 1 card for 2 rooms.

La Cucina-not the greatest experience and I won’t go back. Since we didn’t have to pay for this dining, it’s a good thing. They got our (my) order wrong, didn’t come back when I ask the waitress to take a picture of us there, and avoided us most of the night. It’s definitely not a $15 meal for sure. Just some noodles with sauce thrown on it. My homemade alfredo would blow this stuff out of the water.

TOO MANY PEOPLE. It says that the ship holds 3,969 at double occupancy (I believe) and we were sailing with 4,400 people this week. YIKES. That meant there were a lot of families like ours with 4 people booked to a room which made for a very busy ship.

Last but not least….not knowing Kevin Sheehan was on board!!!! Darn ship was too big for me to run into him and get another chat and picture. The last time I seen him was on the Pearl. Such a nice guy. I guess he got on the Getaway in St Maarten and off in Nassau (I’m told). Kicking myself for not knowing and keeping an eye out for him (no I’m not a stalker). hehe

My final thoughts:

 

I absolutely love the new and big ships. They have the most beautiful décor and are so extravagant. They have some of the best options for dining, playing, pool time and so on.

My favorite cruise ship so far has been the Epic. I miss her so. I know she was one of those ships that either you love her or you hate her. I was one of the many that absolutely loved her. After sailing on the Epic we have been on the older and smaller ships. I was so afraid that I would be so disappointed because none of them would compare to the Epic. While I haven’t found a smaller ship that I liked more than the Epic, I have found a few that I really liked with the Spirit being the number 1 smaller ship in my book.

However, now I have been on another big and new ship with even more to do. I just knew that the Getaway was going to become my “new” favorite ship. However, this is not true. I actually think this cruise has made me realize something. I actually do enjoy cruising on the smaller ships indeed. I know weird right?

I missed going to the theater every night and just showing up and watching a different show each time.

I missed how easy it was to get from point A to point B in very little time.

I missed the “calmness” of the smaller ships. It was more like a vacation (even though I’m constantly on the go, go, go, I was always relaxed and never felt pressured).

I missed the ships that have the beautiful stories tall atrium with the glass elevator (Star, Spirit and Dream). For a new ship, it’s all about the added space and what can you do with it to make more things there.

I missed having less people on the ship. ;) When you meet friends or cruising with friends, it’s so much easier to run in to them over and over or find them when you are looking for them on the small ships.

The Getaway just felt different. I don’t know if it was because of the size, the actual events that happened to me leading up to the cruise and during the cruise (missed flight, broken toe, tooth falling out), the entire family being there and trying to coordinate everything, the stressful month leading up to the cruise (finals, graduation and moving the week before the cruise), the way the shows and entertainment was ran, or is it actually that the ship just had SO MUCH to do and not enough time to do it? I’m really not sure. Could it be that our Epic cruise had absolutely the BEST roll call I have ever been on? We all clicked, we all remained friends, we still talk, we still cruise together. Maybe that makes a difference. I’m just not sure.

I am putting a lot of thought into my (fingers crossed) Bermuda cruise next year (in the planning) and really starting to think that I would much rather go on the Dawn than the Breakaway. Since I have been on the Star (and I know how beautiful it is), I pretty much know what to expect from the Dawn. Since I have now been on the Getaway, I know what to expect from the Breakaway as well. However, I have never been to Bermuda, so I really don’t know what to expect while on a ship sitting in port for 3 days straight and being able to come and go when you want. That obviously would give you more time off the ship and less time to do things on the Breakaway. I really think after this cruise, I’m leaning toward the Dawn.

 

So now I'm officially at the END of my review. I hope you all enjoyed it and it didn't bore you too much with too many pictures. I know I can get winded and this review was no exception. :p I truly appreciate the comments, questions, suggestions and so on. You guys at cc are wonderful people. You have helped me so much when planning cruising and ports and I just love to return the help to others with passing on as much information as I can along with as many pictures as I can to get a better feel for the place. But always remember, everything is subjective and merely my personal opinions. It's my experiences and my observations. It may not come close to or match others experiences or opinions. The world is a diverse place with many varying taste. Always form you own opinions and try things out. A day in the Caribbean is always better than a day at work. ;)