It is always a pleasure to welcome the regular followers and supporters of Dream Designs Colchester, but we of course welcome those who are new and may have only just discovered us.
Although we had already been working on plans to visit Norwegian Getaway to tour the ship and officially present my drawing on board, when we became aware of the overnight cruise we simply just had to book to experience the brand new ship!
As with all of our Cruise Reports, I have taken a lot of time and care to divide this blog post into various different sections to make it easier for you to learn more about our overnight cruise experience with Norwegian Cruise Line. Many of the sections include a collection of photographs for you to view in easy to navigate slideshows.
I do hope that many of you will take the time to read through this Special Blog and that you enjoy reading and looking through the many photographs.
Finally I would like to thank you all for taking the time to visit our website and extend my appreciation to our loyal supporters and followers who continued to support us.
President & Managing Director
Dream Designs Colchester
Colchester - Southampton
Leaving Colchester at 09:00 we were due to arrive in Southampton at 14:45, but arrived a little earlier than planned, which was good. Our friends Christian & Anthony, who also act as our Executive Volunteers had kindly offered for Gavin and I to stay at their home overnight prior to the cruise. They too, were both sailing aboard the overnight cruise on Norwegian Getaway. We had a really enjoyable evening chatting about all things ship related and ended up heading to bed quite late!
Norwegian Getaway Southampton Arrival
We decided to book a taxi, as Gavin and I wanted to go to my student residences to leave our luggage. Christian & Anthony continued in the taxi down to Town Quay. At this point I had just decided to withdraw my place at University and following the overnight cruise we would be heading back to my room in the student residences to pack all my things to take home. My Dad was coming to pick us up for our return journey home to Colchester on January 16th 2014.
After leaving our things Gavin and I quickly walked from the student residences to Town Quay, which only took around 15 minutes. It was a particularly cold morning, with a sharp frost and ice in places. Once at Town Quay we met up with Christian & Anthony again, who were joined by Daniel Gosling, to wait for the new ship to arrive! Later we were also joined by Jordan Bailey, who foundered RCI Fans. Jordan was also sailing aboard Norwegian Getaway with his grandmother.
If I remember correctly Norwegian Getaway was due to berth alongside City Cruise Terminal at 10:00. Of course we had all got their sometime before, in case the ship was a little earlier and it did! We all waited with excitement and then finally, off in the distance we spotted the bow of the ship peering around some other ships docked. Before long the whole ship was in sight and slowly headed towards us at Town Quay.
We walked along the park as the ship slowed to manoeuvre alongside the Cruise Terminal, which meant spinning the ship around 180 degrees. We eventually came to the railings at the end of the park closest to City Cruise Terminal and watched the ship turn. A fair amount of other onlookers were there to see the ship arrive. Christian, Anthony, Daniel and Jordan decided to join us too, having watched the ship pass Town Quay.
Norwegian Getaway looked stunning as she manoeuvred right in front of us and we got a close up look of her amazing hull art! The sheer size of the 145,655 GRT ship was really apparent from this prospective.
Gavin and I watched until the ship was nearly alongside and then decided to head back to my room at the student residences to get out of the cold.
Once we got to the front of the queue we were directed where to go next. Round the corner we were met by an equally long queue of passengers waiting to pass through the security checks. Again we waited for what seemed like ages and finally passed through security, to only be met by even more queues, this time to check in. At this stage, passengers were directed to queues which referred to their stateroom number, as we had not been allocated our stateroom yet, we had no idea where to go; neither did the member of staff we asked, who eventually directed us to a queue anyway.
Finally after queuing for almost two hours we checked in and were given our boarding cards and stateroom number; 14623, which I quickly found out was a Mid-Ship Inside Stateroom. We had booked this category of stateroom and we were hoping for an upgrade, but unfortunately did not get one. Some of our friends who had booked the same category stateroom weeks after us got an upgrade, which was quite disappointing.
Now clear to board the ship, Gavin and I briskly made our way along the passenger boarding gangway and boarded Norwegian Getaway on Deck 5. We made our way to the aft stairwell and took the lift up to Deck 14 where we were directed to our stateroom. Although our stateroom was nicely decorated with a stylish and modern design it was somewhat small and cramped. We would certainly consider booking a larger stateroom next time, probably a balcony stateroom too!
Day 1 - Southampton
Coincidentally the Assistant Cruise Director was passing by and he was able to see to my request and called the Cruise Director Julie Valeriote, who had taken part in a previous drawing presentation aboard Norwegian Pearl in July 2011. Julie was unavailable so instead he called the bridge and evidently First Officer, Jonathan answered! The Assistant Cruise Director informed us that Jonathan would arrange a visit to the bridge before departing Southampton and that he would call our stateroom with details.
Having sorted business it was most certainly time for lunch, so we headed up to the main buffet the Garden Café on Deck 15. It was quite busy, but that was to be expected, however it was not too difficult to find a table.
After lunch, we went back to our stateroom to check if we had received a call. Jonathan had left a message, confirming that we would be visiting the bridge at 15:30 and that he would come to our stateroom to meet us.
Next we took a close look at the remarkable water slides. Norwegian Getaway features five slides in total, two of which launch passengers at over 30mph! From the top high above the rest of the ship we had an amazing view and spotted Christian & Anthony about to take a dip in the pool. We headed back down to deck level and chatted to them for a short while. Thankfully the temperature was somewhat warmer than it was when we watched the ship arrive.
We continued our walk around the top decks of the ship and also took a quick look at the Vibe Beach Club. Heading down to Deck 15, we explored the Spa and Fitness Center on board, including the Salt Room which was somewhat different and I believe it is one of only two at sea.
Now approaching 15:30, we made our way back to our stateroom to wait for First Officer, Jonathan to come to meet us. Shortly after we arrive back at our stateroom there was a knock on the door and Jonathan had come to escort us to the bridge. It was great to finally meet him having been friends with him on Facebook for some time.
Day 1 - Bridge Visit & Official Drawing Presentation
A little while later the Master of Norwegian Getaway, Captain Rune Myre entered the bridge and came over to introduce himself to us both. He was very welcoming and invited me to unveil my drawing on one of the chart tables on the bridge. The Captain and other crew members on the bridge were quite surprise at the size of the drawing as it was rolled out across the table. Cruise Director, Julie Valeriote arrived a few minutes later to meet with us and see the drawing.
Julie remembered my previous drawing presentation, which our Volunteers@Sea, John & Marilyn presented aboard Norwegian Pearl in July 2011. It was wonderful to meet her in person myself. Many of the crew members on the bridge spent quite some time studying the drawing. The Captain promised that he would find a place on board to display the drawing.
I rather optimistically asked the Captain if it would be possible to have one of the ship models in return for my drawing. He agreed and Jonathan promised to arrange this and invited us to return to the bridge again the following morning before disembarking to collect it. In addition to this Captain Rune Myre invited Gavin and I to dine in a restaurant of our choice that evening, along with our friends Christian & Anthony. We took some time to decide which restaurant to choose but in the end opted for Cagney’s Stakehouse.
Following the presentation of my drawing, Jonathan invited us to explore the bridge a little more and talked us through some of the various navigational equipment and controls. I took the chance to have a photograph taken with Jonathan on the bridge wing and he took a photograph of me and Gavin together.
Day 1 - Southampton
Gavin and I continued to explore the ship a little more, this time exploring Deck 6 and Deck 8, viewing some of the many dining venues on board as well as the breath-taking chandelier in 678 Ocean Place.
Having toured the ship a little more we went back to our stateroom to get changed out of our suits into something a little more relaxed before the Muster Drill took place. Once we were changed we headed to our muster assembly station, E8 which was on Deck 6 at the aft, outside the Taste & Savour Restaurants. I was very dissatisfied with one crew member who did not seem to be taking the Muster Drill very seriously at all. Once the drill was over it was time to prepare for our departure from Southampton.
Day 1 - Southampton Sailaway
After we sailed passed the other cruise ship Black Watch, which was docked in Southampton, we made our way down from Deck 18 to Deck 15 to join the party below. There was a great atmosphere on board. The party then moved from mid-ships to Spice H2O at the aft and we quickly followed the Cruise Director, entertainment crew and other passengers. It was great fun to watch the show and whilst there we bumped into a few of our friends, including Danielle Fear from Cruise Miss and Patricia Dempsey and Fay Jordan.
Before heading down to Cagney’s Stakehouse we went round to the side of the ship to watch as we passed Fawley oil refinery and the ships docked there. We were going to watch as we past Calshot, but as it was dark, windy and freezing cold we headed for dinner.
Night 1 - English Channel
Following our outstanding dinner, Gavin and I headed to the shops to get some souvenirs. We also went to the Photo Gallery to purchase our embarkation and dinner photos. Next we braved the elements and took a stroll around the Waterfront on Deck 8. It was very cold and raining so before long we made our way back inside and soaked up the atmosphere in 678 Ocean Place.
Unfortunately as both of us were feeling very tired, most likely due to our journey from Colchester to Southampton the day previously and not catching much sleep the night before due to seeing the ship arrive, we decided to retired to our stateroom for the night and before long we were both asleep.
Day 2 - Southampton Arrival
Once we were dressed we made our way up to Deck 16 on deck, by which time we were passing QEII Terminal. We stayed outside for a while until we had passed Town Quay and then went to get breakfast in the Garden Café.
After enjoying our breakfast and now the ship was docked we walked around the ship, exploring some of the other venues we hadn’t yet seen. Norwegian Getaway was such a vast ship that we certainly needed more than the one night to see everything.
Returning to our stateroom to pack our last few things, we then made our way to the Captain office, where the Captain and First Officer, Jonathan gave me the ship model which they had got for me from the shop on board. Although we had to vacate our stateroom at around 08:30 the Captain welcomed us to keep our cases in his office and continue exploring the ship without the hassle of carting our luggage around with us. We quickly made our way back to our stateroom, collected our stuff and then left it in the Captain’s office by the bridge.
We were able to walk round the ship a little more and even tried out the mini golf course, before the final disembarkation announcement was made. Gavin and I then headed back to the Captain’s office to collect our luggage and disembark.