The last person you would expect to love sea days is an adventure loving, busy body such as myself. My idea of a perfect vacation combines climbing the Colorado Rockies, kite surfing off the coast of Ecuador and river cruising to small historic ports of call on the Columbia River.
But there I was, in Port Miami, ready to board my 7-day Caribbean cruise when it suddenly hit me:
I’ll be spending the next 48 hours on board a cruise ship.
I reached for my itinerary before panic could set in and saw so many exciting (and adventerous) options that I almost didn’t want to leave the ship. Here, the top 11 things that kept me going nonstop on sea days aboard Norwegian Getaway.
Have you ever wished for a spa treatment that lasted longer than the typical 60 to 90 minutes? Well, allow me to introduce you to Norwegian Getaway’s Thermal Suite, giving passengers weeklong access to a spa oasis for the ultimate in relaxation.
Soak in the hydrotherapy pool, relax in the hot tubs and get a neck message while standing beneath a waterfall. Soothe your muscles and joints in the steam room or dry sauna. Experience the respiratory and skin benefits of the Salt Room: a Norwegian Cruise Line exclusive that mimics the therapeutic salt caves of Eastern Europe. And after you’re done soaking and soothing, grab your complimentary robe and enjoy the panoramic ocean views from one of the full-body heated tile loungers. Spend an hour, a sea day or a week here. And remember, spa days keep the stress away.
Cost: approximately $199 for a 7-day pass.
While we were all “that young” once, some of us forgot how to have “that” kind of free-spirited, adventurous and thrilling kind of fun. Well, here’s your chance to remember. Norwegian Getaway’s deck game is on a completely other level. From a five-slide aqua park for both adults and kids — including free fall, side-by-side racing waterslides where the floor drops out beneath you that will have you stretching out those vocal cords — to a ropes course outfitted with a little zip line action and a plank that stretches out over the ocean (you’ll be wearing a harness). Be sure to pull the rope at the end of the plank for a memorable walk the plank photo op.
Cost: No extra charge to ride the waterslides or to walk the ropes course
We’ve all been there. It’s “Girl’s Night Out” and after watching an hour’s worth of YouTube videos on ways to create the perfect smokey eyes you’ve managed to apply enough eye shadow to get you into clown school. Save yourself from the humiliation and do what I did: check out the smokey eye makeup demo at the Mandara Spa & Salon. It’s free and you’ll learn simple tips and makeup tricks for adding a subtle touch of drama to your look.
Cost: Makeup tips are free.
You’re having a dinner party and need ideas for unique centerpieces but you’ve exhausted your options on Pinterest. Sound familiar? This will never again be a problem if you head to the fruit and vegetable carving seminar on board many cruise ships. You’ll learn how to make simple pieces with the basic knives that you already have in your kitchen and everyday fruits and vegetables. How about a water lily out of a Vidalia onion or a rose out of an apple peel? Voilà, now you have your centerpiece— and it’s edible.
Cost: No extra charge to watch these top chefs work their skills.
Oenophiles know that it’s all about the five S’s when it comes to wine tasting: swirl, sniff, sip, swish and spit. If you’re not a seasoned sipper, like myself, you’ll learn all about it during this hysterical musical comedy on board Norwegian Getaway about wine and love that blends humor and drinking in an unexpected way.
Learn the proper way to taste wines, how to tell the difference between dry and full-bodied and what the “legs” running down your wine glass really mean. You’ll taste six varieties from pinot grigio to pinot noir to prosecco to an exclusive blend you’ll only find on board Norwegian Cruise Line, all while watching a “show” and enjoying a three-course lunch. It’s an intimate venue, so expect performers to make you part of their show. And it’s OK if you don’t spit, the captain is behind the wheel.
Cost: Approximately $25 for Wine Lover’s The Musical
The next time you forget to order cupcakes for your daughter’s birthday, you’ll be glad you signed up for Carlo’s Bakery cupcake decorating class only available on board Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway. Learn how to decorate cupcakes “like a boss,” as in the Cake Boss.
The class I took had eight students and we were each given four cupcakes (chocolate, red velvet and two vanilla) to decorate. The chefs taught us how to make roses and leaves out of frosting and how to swirl the chocolate buttercream to resemble a perfect soft-serve ice cream cone, among many other things. Not only do you get to keep and eat the tasty cupcakes you decorated but you also get your very own apron and an official cupcake-decorating certificate. If you’re cruising on any of the other Norwegian ships you can still enjoy tasty treats from Carlo’s Bakery.
Cost: Approximately $39 for Carlo’s cupcake decorating class and $69 for Carlo’s cake decorating class.
As a New Englander living in Miami I couldn’t pass up the chance to feel the nice, brisk air again — even if it was just for fifteen or so minutes. Inspired by the original ice bars and hotels in Scandinavia, the Inniskillin Ice Bar comprises ice that’s been sculpted to look like the art deco buildings on Ocean Drive in South Beach and an ice throne flanked by alligators (pictured above).Take a seat on the latter if you dare.
Inside, you’ll be given a hooded coat and gloves and two tasty signature cocktails served in ice cups. I will admit, it was odd to see a sign that read, “Welcome to Miami” while hearing my teeth chatter on board a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean, but it was definitely worth the experience. This cool bar is also on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic.
Cost: $20 per person will get you two of their signature drinks and a chilly experience.
If you can’t beat em’, join em’. From Mr. Sexy Legs to Bizarre Belly Flops and everything in between, competitions and games on board cruise ships are epic to witness and even more amazing to take part in. There are also cruise spin-offs of popular game shows like The Newlywed Game.
The “Newlywed Not-So-Newlywed Game Show” is where couples are chosen from the audience and asked to answer questions about their significant others, only to wind up sharing funny, if not inappropriate anecdotes. Be warned, if you’re in the audience, there’s a chance you and your honey will get picked. “Deal or No Deal Game Show” gets the entire audience to play for a chance to win cash and prizes. Bonus, kids can play too!
Cost: No charge for most of the game shows except Deal or No Deal where guests can participate as randomly selected contestants or play along as an audience member for $19.95 per person.
You’ve always wondered how it all works and here’s your chance to find out. You’ll meet the captain of the ship, tour the bridge from where everything on the ship is controlled and check out the galley where thousands of fresh meals are prepared every day. You may even get some inside scoop, like the best time to hit the waterslides, the best spot on the ship to watch the fireworks or the perfect place to catch an afternoon nap. It’s a great way to get to know your cruise ship, your temporary home away from home.
Cost: Approximately $75 per person.
How often do you find yourself skipping a workout class because you just don’t have the time? On your cruise, you’ll have all the time in the world to work up a sweat. Check your itinerary to see what classes are being offered.
Norwegian Getaway starts each morning with complimentary classes such as Fab Abs and Stretch and Relax. For something more upbeat there’s a sunrise Zumba class on the sports court. Besides the complimentary classes, paid offerings include indoor cycling, yoga, body boot camp and Pilates — for a fee much lower than what you’ll find on land.
Tip: If you’re a runner and can’t seem to bring yourself to run on the “dreadmill,” wake up early and run along one of the outside decks. I found that deck 6 and The Waterfront on deck 8 on Norwegian Getaway were great options.
Cost: Norwegian Cruise Line offers complimentary workout classes like Fab Abs and Zumba but you can pay a little extra – anywhere between $12 for yoga and Pilates to $20 for TRX and Fight Club.
Head straight to the back (aft) of Norwegian Getaway on deck 16 and you’ll find Spice H2O. This adults-only escape is filled with sun loungers, two hot tubs and soothing dual waterfalls features perfect for cooling off. There’s also the exclusive Vibe Beach Club. You’ll need to buy a pass to enjoy the ocean views from these chaise loungers but it’s worth it. Vibe has everything you need to unwind, from a full-service bar to chilled towels to fruit skewers. Grab a drink at the bar, catch up on your reading and relish in the silence of the “adults only” area. You’re officially on vacation.
Cost: Spice H2O is free as long as you’re 18 or older. If you want to relax at Vibe Beach Club you can buy a day pass for $20 or a week pass for $79 a person.
Check out the video below to see what other things you can do when sailing on Norwegian Getaway