Norwegian Getaway Food Review – All About the Food & Dining

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Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Prime Rib
Prime Rib dinner served in the main dining room on the last night of the sailing.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review

Part 1 – Itinerary, Embarkation & Staterooms 

Part 2 – All About the Food & Dining

Part 3 – Entertainment, Activities & More

Disclaimer: Norwegian Cruise Line provided me with a discounted media rate to sail on the Getaway along with one complimentary dinner in a specialty restaurant and complimentary seating at the Illusionarium Magic Show. I paid my own way on the ship and the thoughts and words in this and future posts about the Getaway are my own.

For those who are unaware, Norwegian preaches a concept called “Freestyle Cruising”. This simply means that you can wear what you want (within reason), dine where you want and at whatever time you prefer. In my opinion it is a lot nicer than set time dining, although I have spoken with many people who don’t feel the same way.

As a brand new ship, the Getaway has just about every dining outlet Norwegian has ever conceived. Many of the restaurants on board are complimentary and included in the cruise fare, while others cost additional money. In this part of the review, I will cover everything you need to know about the food and dining aboard the ship.

Complimentary Dining

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Taste Dining Room.
Taste Dining Room – Norwegian Getaway.

The Getaway has several complimentary dining venues on board. Among them is the Garden Cafe buffet, Flamingo Grill Cuban buffet, three main dining rooms, O’Sheehans 24 hour pub, and room service.

Main Dining Rooms

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Sushi.
Sushi appetizer in the main dining room.

The Getaway has three main dining rooms all serving the same menu at dinner. Taste & Savor are located across from each other on Deck 6 Aft while the Tropicana Room is on Deck 7 Aft. The configuration of these dining rooms allows them to all share a galley without having to block off public areas of the decks. This means that both decks 6 & 7 connect from front to back which is very convenient.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Empanada.
Empanada in the main dining room. Delicious!

While the decor in each of the dining rooms feels very elegant, the Tropicana Room is the standout to me. The Tropicana Room has been designed to be a throwback to the supper clubs of yesteryear. It has both live music on select nights and a full dance floor which really helps to add to the ambiance.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Tropicana Room
A couple dances during a live show in the Tropicana Room.

Unfortunately while I loved the look and feel of all of the dining rooms, I wasn’t a huge fan of the food. The menu seems to have been dumbed down in order to encourage guests to eat in the premium upcharge restaurants. For example their everyday menu has items such as spaghetti with meat sauce and fried chicken. I have come to expect something a little more advanced in the dining rooms.

I did still find many items that I enjoyed in the main dining room. Their Caesar salad has always been a standout and I really loved the lasagna. Additionally many of the healthier fish options were pretty good as well. As for appetizers, we both really enjoyed the sushi, crab cakes & the empanada.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Lasagna.
Lasagna is on the everyday menu in the main dining rooms.

Keep in mind this is my fourth Norwegian Cruise in a little more than a year and I am simply comparing the food to what I received on their other ships. I am not sure if this dumbing down has been done across the fleet to save money or is a feature of the newer ships. Either way, be prepared to pay up to eat the far superior food in some of the specialty restaurants.

Buffets

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Garden Cafe
The Garden Cafe.

Buffet food on cruise ships is never supposed to be great, however it should be somewhat tasty. In that way the Getaway succeeds. The Garden Cafe is the main buffet on the ship and it spans the entire back part of Deck 15. Depending on the time of day, you can find a variety of foods including Asian, barbecue and a number of salad bars. They also had prime rib on several evenings during the cruise.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Salad & Pretzel bread.
A crazy salad with pretzel bread in the Garden Cafe.

Most of the time the same items would be duplicated in four separate sections of the buffet. This is fine in theory I suppose, however each of the salad bars had slightly different items meaning it often took a full lap and visits to four different stations to get everything I wanted on a salad. I would rather they have two salad bars and use the other areas for something unique. The overall variety of food was rather limited.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Garden Cafe.
A selection of food at the Garden Cafe.

Thankfully my favorite food item is still around in the buffet though. The Getaway does have the amazing pretzel bread that I have grown to love on other ships!

I do also want to briefly mention their lobster policy. On the Breakaway & Getaway, lobster is now served in the buffet on one night of the sailing and not the dining room. The tails served are very small and we saw people waiting 20-30 minutes in line to get lobster. In one way this allows people to get as many as they want, but I was not a fan of waiting in the long lines. (One guest told me he ate 24 lobster tails!)

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Lobster
The sad looking lobster tails.

The second buffet on board is the Flamingo Grill on Deck 16. It has a number of Cuban inspired dishes including black beans & rice, cheese croquettes and a variety of empanadas. The food there was very good and a nice change of pace from the Garden Cafe.

I have one final note on the Garden Cafe. On port days they would only open up one side of the buffet. While this may make sense in theory, when everyone began returning to the ship, the buffet was way too crowded. There were no seats available and it became nearly impossible to walk around. At the very least they should at least open up the seating areas on the other side.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Flamingo Grill.
Selection of Cuban specialties at the Flamingo Grill buffet.

Room Service

When I am cruising I don’t typically order room service often since I prefer to be out and about on the ship. The Norwegian Getaway room service menu is pretty typical with a selection of continental items for breakfast and sandwiches and salad for lunch/dinner.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Room service.
Room Service Caesar salad.

One day I did order a caesar salad and tuna sandwich from room service to try. The Caesar salad is one of my favorite food items from the main dining room and the room service version was just as good. The tuna sandwich was also fresh and tasty. Everything arrived to my cabin in about thirty minutes, which is faster than I have experienced on other ships.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Room service.
Tuna sandwich on rye served with chips from room service.

Norwegian does also have a $5 pizza delivery service available. While I didn’t try it, others have told me that the stone cooked pizza is very good. While it isn’t free like traditional room service, they will deliver it to anywhere on the ship for you. That sounds good in theory, however I have rarely seen people eating a pizza out in public on Norwegian’s ships.

O’Sheehans

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - O'Sheehans
O’Sheehans dining area.

O’Sheehans serves as the Norwegian Getaways 24 hour dining venue. The menu consists of comfort foods like buffalo wings & fish & chips. It is located above the front desk area and looks down at the main indoor screen where a variety of presentations and game shows are held throughout the week.

The food in O’Sheehans is pretty good for a quick stop or a late night snack, however not much more than that. I would much prefer having a larger choice in the buffet or eating in the main dining rooms at breakfast and lunch.

Speciality Restaurants ($$$)

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Le Bistro.
Le Bistro’s decor is my favorite on the ship.

The Norwegian Getaway has a number of specialty restaurants which are available for an additional fee. Lets start by looking at a list of the venus including their per-person price.

  • Ocean Blue (Seafood)- $39 per person
  • Cagney’s Steakhouse – $30 per person
  • Teppanyaki (Japanese) – $25 per person
  • Le Bistro (French) – $20 per person
  • Moderno (Brazilian) – $20 per person
  • La Cucina (Italian) – $15 per person
  • Shanghai’s (Noodle Bar) – A la carte
  • Wasabi (Sushi) – A la carte
  • Wine Lover’s The Musical – $25 per person
  • Illusionarium – $25-$30 per person

Out of these venues, I had the pleasure of dining in Cagney’s, visiting the Illusionarium and dining in Shanghai’s for lunch one day. Since the Illusionarium is a banquet style meal served during a magic show, I will save my thoughts on that until the entertainment portion of the review.

Cagney’s Steakhouse

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Cagney's.
Cagney’s Steakhouse.

Cagney’s aims to provide a high end steakhouse experience and succeeds in every way. The food is of a very high quality and the experience is equal to what you would expect to receive at an expensive steakhouse on land. Despite it being the second most expensive venue on the ship, I highly recommend dining at Cagney’s.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Cagney's Food.
Jasmine’s Surf ‘n Turf.

While we tried to save room for the main courses, my wife and I both started our meal with an Iceberg Wedge and I also tried the crab salad while she had a shrimp cocktail. The appetizers were large enough to enjoy, however not too big as to ruin the main course.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Cagney's cheesecake.
Oreo Cheesecake at Cagney’s.

For the main course I ordered the massive 18 oz. Bone-in Ribeye while my wife ordered a Filet Mignon. She inquired if they had it available as a surf ‘n turf with lobster and while that wasn’t on the menu, they were able to get it for her. We finished off our meals with the incredible Oreo cheesecake. We loved everything. You can find a sample menu from Cagney’s here.

Shanghai’s

Shanghai’s is a noodle bar that replaces the Jasmine Chinese restaurant on other ships. My wife and I ate there for lunch one day and shared fried rice and a noodle soup. I would call the food passable. I eat at our local Chinatown often and found the food inferior to what I could find for $5 here.

Ocean Blue

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Ocean Blue.
The small but delicious Lobster Roll served from Ocean Blue’s walk up window on sea days.

Ocean Blue is the most expensive restaurant on the ship, serving gourmet seafood dinners for $39 per person. The restaurant utilizes a menu developed by Jeffrey Zakarian, which perhaps explains the price. While we didn’t dine in Ocean Blue for dinner, we did order a lobster roll for lunch one day from their window on the promenade. The lobster roll was delicious, however it did cost $10 which I felt was a little on the high side for the amount of lobster we were given.

Other Specialty Restaurants

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - La Cucina.
La Cucina has a rustic decor, but some people didn’t like the food.

As for the other specialty restaurants, I have eaten at most of them on other Norwegian ships. I made a point to go around the ship asking people about their experiences and I received a number of recommendations for Le Bistro and Moderno. A lot of people really loved Moderno.

The only slightly negative experiences which were conveyed to me came in regards to La Cucina. A few other guests mentioned they didn’t really love the food in the ship’s Italian restaurant. That is pretty much how I felt when dining in the Jade’s similar venue last year. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t feel that it was something that I needed to pay extra for.

Haven Restaurant & Carlo’s

Norwegian Getaway Food Review 0 Carlo's
Carlo’s Bake shop is a good place to get a sweet treat. Cannolis are about $4.

As I mentioned in the first part of this review, the Norwegian Getaway has an exclusive area for guests staying in suites called the Haven. The Haven has its own restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch & dinner. The menu in the Haven Restaurant for breakfast and lunch is the same as you find in Cagney’s on Jewel class ships. (Cagney’s is used as the Exclusive Haven restaurant on those ships during the day.)

The Getaway is also home to an outlet of Carlo’s Bakery. Carlo’s is located on Deck 8 aft and has very limited hours during the sailing. Make sure to check the Freestyle Daily to see exactly when it is open. Some of the items from Carlo’s are also sold in the Atrium Cafe on Deck 6 as well. We tried one of their cannolis and it was very good.

Ultimate Dining Package

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - The Haven Restaurant.
The Haven Restaurant.

Norwegian has debuted something called the Ultimate Dining Package on their ships. People who purchase this package gain free admission to the Illusionarium on the first night of the sailing along with dinner in a specialty restaurant every other night. For a price of $119 for a seven day cruise, I think it is a great deal and something everyone should consider. The quality of the food is so much higher in the specialty restaurants.

There are a few exclusions to the Ultimate Dining Package. Ocean Blue is excluded from the package as is lunch in the specialty restaurants. People who want to enjoy either do receive a 20% discount. Also, package holders who want to enjoy the Illusionarium outside of the first night must pay as well.

Norwegian Getaway Food Review – Conclusion

Norwegian Getaway Food Review - Le Bistro.
Sidewalk dining at Le Bistro.

Overall I was impressed with the food on the Norwegian Getaway. While I certainly felt the quality of the food in the main dining rooms has declined, it still didn’t taste bad. Never once during our sailing did I have to send something back because it was disgusting.

In the end though Freestyle Dining is about choice and dining at the specialty restaurants. Savvy cruisers will figure the cost of these restaurants into what they pay for the cruise. Too many people complain on Norwegian sailings because they don’t want to pay extra to eat when other lines include everything for free. (Even though they actually don’t in most cases.) If you are interested, here is a great resource for looking at the ship’s menus.

Most cruise lines are now shifting towards this Freestyle Dining concept since it is more in line with today’s culture and provides the guest with more choice. Based on my experiences, I believe Norwegian’s food is as good as Royal Caribbean and much better than any other mass market cruise line.

Part 1 – Itinerary, Embarkation & Staterooms 

Part 2 – All About the Food & Dining

Part 3 – Entertainment, Activities & More

8 COMMENTS

  1. Great food review and I agree with your assessment. I’ll add that I thought the sushi at the sushi bar (Wasabi) was reasonably priced and good for a snack or pre-dinner nosh. (You get a discount with the Ultimate Dining package but it’s a pay-extra spot.)

    I had two meals in the Haven Restaurant (one lunch and one dinner) and they were among my favorites on the ship although it was hard to beat Cagney’s… soooo good!

    • I have eaten the sushi on other NCL ships and agree it is good and reasonably priced. The Dining Package gives you a 20% discount when dining at Wasabi.

      On previous cruises I have eaten at Cagney’s for breakfast and lunch, which has the same menu as the Haven Restaurant. (Cagney’s is open only to Haven guests during breakfast and lunch on Jewel class ships.) I agree that the food there is good. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let me dine in the Haven restaurant on this cruise. 🙁

  2. Great review of the ship, thanks. We’ll be on her next month and looking forward to it! I’ve been on NCL before on a short 3 day on the Sky and was impressed with the main dining room food (because we had been told several times it would be a let down compared to Royal Caribbean). This was back in 2012. Do you feel the food has taken a turn for the worse on NCL with this whole ’20 restaurants’ on a ship concept they’ve adopted? My opinion is to never go to specialty restaurants because I’ve already seen what the lines have done, and I don’t want to support their ideas to ‘encourage’ the upsells at the expense of the main dining room.

    • On a ship like this you should expect to go to specialty restaurants. I look at the overall price I pay including any restaurants I go to. The food in the main dining room is alright, but it isn’t going to blow you away. (A few things are really great.) On the other hand, some of the specialty restaurants are amazing.

      I used to feel like you do about paying for specialty restaurants, but like I said, I budget for a couple and calculate it into my cruise fare. Norwegian’s prices are really competitive and even with paying for restaurants, I find you are probably still going to pay less than Royal Caribbean and some others. (Who now also have upcharge restaurants as well.)

  3. 9 of us going on the Getaway x-mas 2016…debating whether to
    Get the ultimate dining package. 4 teens included in our group.
    What is your opinion…we enjoy a good meal

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