9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We booked our room in the Haven a year in advance.....hubby uses a mobility scooter and the thought was he wouldn't have to travel far to a deck chair, bar, or restaurant if he wasn't feeling up to fighting crowds and distance. ... Read More
We booked our room in the Haven a year in advance.....hubby uses a mobility scooter and the thought was he wouldn't have to travel far to a deck chair, bar, or restaurant if he wasn't feeling up to fighting crowds and distance. Two weeks ahead of trip we got a call that we either had to change our date or down grade as someone wanted the Haven rooms. As we couldn't change our date we agreed to down grade. The scooter didn't fit in doorway of our new room without a lot of maneuvering....that was a daily annoying thing. The room was VERY small even though it was called a mini suite. The hallways were nearly always crowded with service/maid carts so it was hard to get the scooter through....very, very narrow halls. Storage in the room was disappointing. The only good thing was we were able to keep our Haven "perks"....free drinks, free specialty dining, free gratuities and onboard credits and got a refund of some of our already paid room. Entertainment wasn't that great. I had read some good reviews....but here again, shows were cancelled....rescheduled and then cancelled again...all before we even boarded. Some folks even had their specialty dining reservations cancelled for private events. Half way through the cruise they brought on more folks to entertain us....but without getting advance reservations you didn't get an opportunity to go to the shows. All in all.....I won't be excited to go on the Escape again. We wanted to see the big ship....with the first Margarittaville at sea...it wasn't that great and certainly didn't live up to its name. The food was pretty good in the speciality spots, even in the buffet and that was surprising given the size of the ship and number of passengers. Bars were plentiful and not too crowded....with the all you can drink package, that was good. There were not as many bands playing in different venues.....we usually like to settle in a spot for a few drinks and listen to the music but the opportunities for that were usually not available. Service and cabin staff were wonderful....always smiling and helpful and officers seemed visible more than I recall on our previous cruises. Seems like folks were bending their ears about problems most of the time.....We had help from friendly staff member who took pity on us with scooter and the long lines...he helped us take a "back door" to get off so it wasn't painful at all. But if we had been in the regular line the wait would not have been too pleasant. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Let me start by saying that I read reviews before the cruise that had me worried. Don't believe them! This was my 9th cruise and it was the best I have ever had. Ill start at the beginning. Getting on only took 10 minutes. They let ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I read reviews before the cruise that had me worried. Don't believe them! This was my 9th cruise and it was the best I have ever had. Ill start at the beginning. Getting on only took 10 minutes. They let people on early. So we were on board by 1130 am. The ship is new and beautiful. Kind of a Vegas kinda feel. Great vibe. I have a disability. This ship is VERY accessible. Every part of the ship is accessible. I had a cabin #I2912. Aft with large balcony. I had 4 chairs on my deck and could have put 6. It was awesome. Spent more time on this deck than any of my previous cruises. I rented a wheelchair from Special Needs at Sea. Great investment. It was waiting in my cabin when I arrived. Being at the back of the ship, we had an unrestricted view. It was so quiet it was unbelievable. It also is a short trip to the elevators which dropped you right in the middle of all the dining options and casino. Check the deck plans. Its the perfect place to be. Speaking of dining options. We could not have been happier with the food. I did the 3 meal package, Ill do a quick rundown of where we ate. Cagneys. 10 out of 10. As soon as you board, go to the headliner cafe and set up all your reservations that you couldn't get online. We went to Cagneys twice. La Cucina. 9 out of 10. The steak there was amazing. Also recommend the shrimp risotto. Food Republic. 10 out of 10. Best sliders I have ever had and the menu is varied and interesting. Sushi fans will love it. Margaritaville. 9 out of 10. Order the nachos and keep in mind it will feed 6 people. Great burgers too and its cheap. Its ala carte pricing. O'Sheehans. Amazing prime rib and just great food on the menu. Open 24/7. Chocolate Cheesecake was something you need to enjoy. Wow. All the dining rooms. Manhatten room, Savor, and Taste all very good. You don't need to eat at the upcharge places. These are all excellent options and beautiful rooms with great service. Didn't eat at La Bistro. Did on a different NCL cruise and didn't like it. We had so many places to eat we didn't get to try Teppanyaki, Moderno, Bayamo. Cant wait to go back to try them as well. Bake shop and Gelato shop was awesome too. Only open though limited hours. The comedy show was really good. We also went to the Million dollar quartet. Not our cup of tea, and we were having so much fun in the casino we missed the other 2 shows. The theater sound was really good and was very nice. The Humidor cigar lounge was nice. You can buy Cubans at Little Denmark in Tortola. The Waterfront dining aspect was really nice. Having your meal outside on a beautiful night is hard to beat. You will pay 18% gratuity every time you make a purchase on board. And several places do charge a la carte prices. But they are reasonable. And you can avoid those places if you are on a budget. Pools. Busy. Always. There are little places to escape all over this ship. If you want loud, you can have it. If you want to have a quiet drink, try outside at the 5 o'clock somewhere bar. I could go on for hours. This ships food, service, cabins (lots of space for things) and things to do were very well designed. The only thing I saw that was dumb was putting a running/jogging track next to the pool. That was not a good idea. And being a foodie I kind of hoped for better lobster on board. Most places had the cold water lobsters. Just ok. But how spoiled are you if you are whining about your lobster tails. Spa was awesome too. Had two massages. Pricey. But well done. And stop by the Mondavi wine shop and ask for Larry. Great guy and great service. Even getting off the ship was no stress. Again. Highly recommend this ship. You won't be disappointed. And thanks to Silas the cruise director and Maneesh our cabin steward who went out of their way to make our trip perfect. It was a great... Escape. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
First of all let me say that we have been on many different cruise lines, from big to small and cheap to luxurious. This was such a surprise. Last year we were on the Oasis of the Seas and it was fabulous. I feel Norwegian squeezed as many ... Read More
First of all let me say that we have been on many different cruise lines, from big to small and cheap to luxurious. This was such a surprise. Last year we were on the Oasis of the Seas and it was fabulous. I feel Norwegian squeezed as many rooms on this ship as possible and sacrificed open public space. I had the feeling of a very small ship and there were always tons of people everywhere, no room for a quiet moment. My biggest complaint is about the charges- I have never seen anything like it. We felt forced to eat in specialty restaurants as the food was terrible in the complimentary dining rooms. Even room service had a charge. Beverage package didn't include water or coffee at a coffee shop. Even a show- the supper club charged. Also the music was the same throughout the ship- loud- drums and bass. Even while we were eating dinner the music was too loud to hear. No soft dinner music at all. We were with a group and there was no place for us to meet. It just was my least favorite cruise experience I have ever had. The entertainment was good, but I do not think it is a pretty ship. Also I think the service is not as good with the freestyle dining as you do not get to know the people. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a ... Read More
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a balance of the good and the “needs improvement.” The best feature by far is the food. OH MY GOD! The food is phenomenal. Our whole party had the ultimate food packages. We ate at just about every specialty restaurant on the boat (There are about 10 of them). Some of the best food I have ever eaten. The Italian restaurant’s tiramisu was the best I have ever had. The Brazilian Steakhouse was amazing. The ribeye at the “regular” steakhouse was perfect. The food at the three “standard” restaurants was excellent too. We only went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch, but the food there was great too. Real whipped cream is rare in the Caribbean, but was plentiful for waffles at breakfast – Mmm. The only slightly subpar meal we had was at the French restaurant. It was not bad, but was not up to the standards of the other restaurants. The biggest problem with the cruise was the “structure” of the ship. It was a very full cruise – about 4500 guests. In the past we have often cruised Carnival. They have a large theater for shows, gatherings, games, etc. That is apparently not the Norwegian style. Everything on Norwegian is small and intimate. There is a theater, but it is arranged like a movie theater not a “gathering” room. The Atrium is where all of the events take place. They have Bingo, Deal or No Deal, Not so Newlywed Game, live music, WiiU dance for kids, and more amusing things. Lots of people, especially families, love these things. The problem…the Atrium seats about 50 people. They brought in folding chairs at times, but it was a madhouse. People were fighting over chairs. They need a much larger gathering space. Although they have a 5 slides, a small water park, a small kids pool, and a medium adults pool, the pool area felt small as well. To cram all the things in one place, they lost seating area. There were maybe 150 seats around the pools – not enough for a day at sea for 4500. There is nowhere for parents to sit around the kids area and watch their kids. The pools were not heated and were a little chilly – probably warmer or at least more refreshing if you don’t cruise in December. The slides themselves were fantastic and fun. Something for every age – even thrill seeking adults. The tube slide was the most popular. But even better than the waterslides was the ropes course. A two story ropes course with 2 zip lines. My teens spent hours on the ropes course. Plus there was a baby-safe mini-ropes course. My 2 year old LOVED that one. We also had the unlimited drinks package. I found the drinks to be excellent and maybe even a little too alcoholic! Many of the bars had their own specialty drinks as well, and they were mostly very tasty. The cabins were a solid good. They are bigger than Carnival cruise cabins, but they are still small – and we had balcony rooms. My stroller is a standard size (a city mini), but could not fit through the door. This made transferring a sleeping 2 year old into bed harder than it should have been. You have to keep your room card in a slot to keep the electricity on in your room. Therefore, you can’t charge your electronics while you are out – which was unfortunate. Then we discovered a piece of paper could be wedged into the slot instead of a card. But this means the cabin steward will think you are in (there is a light outside the cabin that turns on when the card is in the slot) and will not make up your cabin. A no win situation. Did I mention how great the food was? We found all of the people very nice. We prepaid our tips, and most people do, so they are not hustling for tips as much. Yet they still bent over backwards to be nice. There is a teens club that my kids loved. There are separate clubs for 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 year olds. There is even babysitting for a fee (we never used it). The younger kids in our group didn’t love the kids club so much – it’s all indoors in one room per age group and got too crowded. No scavenger hunts like we’ve seen other places. It is VERY secure – kids are essentially on lock down. The teens area is completely separate, much larger, and kids come and go at will. It is a new ship, and my wife says she has never seen public bathrooms so clean. They are obsessive with germs. Multiple staff people stand at every entrance to the buffet with hand sanitizer. Plus there are fixed sanitizer stations EVERYWHERE. Plus the bathrooms have paper towel dispensers JUST TO USE TO OPEN THE DOORS. They have hand driers to wash hands and dry them, but towel dispensers only at the doors with instructions to use them on the door handles. The entertainment options were great. There were two comics with a total of three sets each. There was karaoke at least once a day. Multiple piano bars plus dueling pianos many nights. One hiccup – my fourteen year old is a huge sports fan. The only place to watch sports with sound is the adults only bar. He was not happy about that at all. Overall, we had a great time. Even with 20+ people in our party, we had trouble finding each other – probably a good thing. There was always something to see, do, or eat, and it was usually funny, fun, and delicious. I would certainly cruise Norwegian again. 4 ½ stars. They lose the half on the small Atrium. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I read the reviews prior to sailing last week and frankly I was very concerned that I had made a mistake going so early on the Escape. A combination of the low percentage that folks said they had a good trip and the harsh comments really ... Read More
I read the reviews prior to sailing last week and frankly I was very concerned that I had made a mistake going so early on the Escape. A combination of the low percentage that folks said they had a good trip and the harsh comments really had me going prior to getting on board. So for those having a great deal of concerns let me share the following. I am going to mix the pros and cons here...so bear with me. 1. New Ship - What I mean by this is that these early trips are going to be a fairly full ship. This means longer lines and more of the ship is going to be utilized. Plan ahead if you can. Book your restaurants, entertainment, and excursions in as much advance as you can. The NCL application up to 2 days prior to sailing does a great job of this. The ship itself is beautiful and excellent (Bristol) condition. With the introduction of the unlimited food plans you will find very early in the cruise that many of the premium restaurants say they are booked. This is true the second and third days, but as the week goes people forget their reservation and I found that restaurants that said they had no vacancy did indeed have openings if you just approached them. Ex. My parents and I walked right into La Cucina who said they had no openings, but was probably only 25% full at 6:30 pm. We got right in. I found Food Republic to be a great add and I never saw Margharitaville all that crowded. I think the ala carte of both these restaurants had kept some folks from frequenting these, but both are good options if you are willing to pay a little. All food was as good as I have experienced. Entertainment was also very good. I believe the Excursions where average for the ports visited. 2. Handicapped Travelers - My parents traveled with me on this trip. Both are slowing down and needed scooters to get around. Getting from a Taxi into the port security is frankly a nightmare (not NCL's fault). The Miami terminal port personnel are not helpful to the handicapped. Wheel chair access starts by getting into the terminal. The problem is getting your family from the taxi curb which is pretty far from the entry into the building. Once you are in the building an NCL steward when they become available will wheel chair you through Latitudes registration and up to one of the restaurants. You may have to wait either just before security or just after for a wheel chair assistance. Depending on how many need assistance...patience is needed. Generally the rooms are not ready before early afternoon. So it helps if you have another traveler to go to the room to secure your scooter/wheel chair if that is an option. For special needs cases they will deliver the scooter just past the security check point. During the week the crew was very helpful. We were able to also rent a wheel chair onboard for days like St. Thomas where the open air taxis could transport the wheel chair to downtown so my parents could shop. There was a minor extra charge for the wheel chair rental, but it was a life saver. We would have not been able to get the scooters into downtown St. Thomas. In the other ports the scooters worked fine getting into Tortola and Nassau. Torola was a nice alternative to St. Martin that I also like as a port. Finally...the handicap rooms are fantastic if you can secure one. My parents had a rear facing balcony room on the 15th deck that was really nice. Both of their scooters fit in the room with them. The balcony was wide enough with a big door that they could even use that space. These are well laid out rooms with plenty of space for special accommodations. It made the trip very manageable for them! 3. The Vessel - If you are familiar with Getaway and Breakaway you will find this to be a very familiar and good experience. The layout is Breakaway class familiar and there are some different amenities, but overall nothing too different to cause merit to write a book about. The new ropes course is awesome, but eliminates the climbing wall. The Thermal Spa is really something. A few more hot tubs and common space on top is nice. I have only one criticism of the ship. The trip between Miami and St. Thomas was rough. Maybe the weather and time of year, but this ship is not as smooth as I have experienced on the Getaway. A long time boater I was not over concerned, but when the captain kicked up the speeds at night it could be a rougher ride than some will like. I don't know if they are still "trimming out" the boat or what, but I heard the same comments from friends who sailed a few weeks earlier. After day two things seemed to get smoother. Especially after we made the turn at St. Thomas. 4. The Crew - Heard a lot of criticism about the new crew. We never had an issue. Guests throwing their weight around about being a Platinum member that could not force a restaurant reservation when they were full is not the crews fault. That is the members fault for poor planning. I saw some crew I knew from my Getaway travels and overall everyone did everything they could to make it a great trip for my parents and me. As is always the case on these ships...there was always something to do. The activities directors made sure of it! 5. Solo Travelers - I am a single solo traveler that happened to invite my parents to join this last trip. My point here is that I frequent the Studios. If you are single, widowed, or whatever this is a great program. The Studio room sounds small, but everybody I showed said they could not believe how well laid out the room is and liked what they heard regarding the rates. I found nobody I met that has said they would not stay in such a room because of the size. More often the hang up is that it is interior space. If you are on a budget and can accept being in an interior room this is for you. The Studio Lounge on the Escape is the best one yet all on one level. They did drop the bartender / bar however, but never saw that utilized all that often. The rest is all there. This program for solo travelers is like nothing else I have found in the industry. The rates are up a little compared to my prior years experience, but I still think the rates are reasonable compared to having to pay double occupancy in other rooms or on other lines. Note: This is not the love boat and please don't go into it expecting a "love connection" as the reason you are picking the Studios. You will make many long term friends going solo in the Studios. If you find a love connection...then good for you. Just don't book expecting this to be a "singles" scene. Folks are there for many different reasons and all are looking to make friends and have fun. I think you get what I am saying. Hopefully this is a helpful review. Please don't be swayed by the other reviews saying they will never go NCL again. I have to say...I think they are being a bit dramatic. Either way we all have our own experiences and mine was a good one. Looking forward to my next trip next spring on the NCL Epic in Europe! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
Every hour of every day we had what seemed like endless choices of activities, restaurants, lounges and family fun areas from which to choose. We were traveling with a large group that consisted of Parrot Heads (Jimmy Buffett fans) who ... Read More
Every hour of every day we had what seemed like endless choices of activities, restaurants, lounges and family fun areas from which to choose. We were traveling with a large group that consisted of Parrot Heads (Jimmy Buffett fans) who were looking forward to the first Margaritaville at Sea, a collection of high school friends that were all turning 50, and two families that brought kids of various ages. In short, we had a group of two dozen people, ranging in age from 3 to 65 years old. The bigger kids and adults enjoyed the ropes course equally. The younger kids loved having their your own pool/play area and the parents loved having it near the exit to the water slides and not far from the main pool so that we could all hang out together. We were especially impressed with the wide variety of lounges. On any given day you could find a couple of us in the wine bar, others at the 5 o'clock Somewhere Bar, several at the brew pub and at least two at the whiskey bar. There was no shortage of outstanding places to drink.Dining choices were equally as impressive, but I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say we loved them as well. Wheelchair access was outstanding both on the ship and in all of the ports we visited (with the possible exception of Tortola, which was still being developed as a cruise port.) The only drawbacks were trying to find lounge chairs at the pool without getting up early in the morning and finding a consistent place to meet up with others. For those who like a smaller, more intimate ship, this is definitely not it. But for our group it's the best ship ever! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My BF and I sailed on the NCL Escape the end of November of 2015. This was our 3rd time on NCL: NCL Pride (Hawaii) and NCL Dawn (West Caribbean). I tend to get a little sea sick even with the patch so I thought being on a bigger ship ... Read More
My BF and I sailed on the NCL Escape the end of November of 2015. This was our 3rd time on NCL: NCL Pride (Hawaii) and NCL Dawn (West Caribbean). I tend to get a little sea sick even with the patch so I thought being on a bigger ship would help my sea sickness. We took a taxi from the airport in lieu of the shuttle. It was $24 one-way but if you pay cash, it is discounted to around $22. The port was crazy when we arrived around noon. There were people disembarking as well and there were cars and taxis everywhere. Luckilly, there were police officers directing traffic, as well as they could, but it was madness. Once we checked in, we had to wait in a huge waiting room for approximately an hour. There were a lot of big groups travelling together. This gave us a taste of what was to come. The ship is new and huge. However, the layout of the ship was odd and it felt crowded. We seem to have to wait in line for everything. We were in a balcony stateroom and it was very similar to the other NCL ships we cruised on. The bathroom did feel a bit bigger. However, the closet was located right next to the bed. There was about a foot between the bed and the closet. I found that to bit inconvenient. Also, trying to find the stateroom was a big confusing. Because of the size of the ship, the staterooms seem to go on forever. If you don't know where you are going, it can be a bit exhausting. We received the Ulitimate Dining package as a part of our cruise so we decided to try Margaritaville in lieu of the buffet for lunch. However, we wanted to make sure that it was included in our dining package. When we asked the server, she seemed a bit confused. Another server came and we explained the same question and she had to verify with a manager. When she finally returned, she informed us that it was included but we could only go to one A-La-Carte restaurant per day. We had reserved the Hibachi that night so we told her that. She then went back to the manager and came back and informed us that with the Ultimate Dining, that was not the case. Very confused. The food was good. The key lime pie was delicious. My BF loves key lime pie and he said it was one of the best he has ever had. We tried all of the A-La-Carte restaurants and really enjoyed all of them. We just felt that the same restaurants were nicer in the NCL Dawn. The ship in general did not seem very luxurious as the other ships we traveled on. Unfortunately for us, there was a huge group of 30 people who seem to follow us to every restaurant we dined in on the cruise. They were extremely loud and obnoxious and very hard to ignore. This made our dinner experience a big downer. I would hope that the restaurants would try to manage their reservations better and not seat huge groups next to groups of two people who are trying to have a quiet or romantic dinner. One thing this showed us is bigger ship means bigger groups. The pool area was small and located right next to the water park which was full of kids. In order to get to the buffet for lunch, you had to walk past the water park. We tried to book the adults only pool but was told that it was completely booked for the week. On the NCL Dawn, there was a small adults only pool which we spent most of our time. In addition, there was constant activity at the pool. Some of the activity was a bit risque and being that there were children everywhere, I felt it was inappropriate. However, for those looking for more action, there was a great deal of it on the Escape. The singer Pit Bull the god-father of the Escape so be prepared to hear a LOT of his music. In St. Thomas, we tried the Paradise Point Tramway. We went early around 9 a.m. to beat the crowd. It cost $21/adult. There is a restaurant/bar and few gift shops. The view is beautiful. You can see the entire island. The WIFI is free and the ticket is good for the whole day so we went back to the ship for lunch and then brought our tablets that afternoon. It was much busier when we went back in the afternoon. There is also a K-Mart not too far from the port. We went there to get some ginger ale for me. I tried to buy the beverage package because of my sea sickness but was told that you have to buy it on the first day for the entire cruise and everyone in your party has to buy as well. For one soda I would have paid on the ship, I was able to buy a 12 pack. Tortola was not very memorable. The port area was under construction. We walked the majority of the main town and there was not much to see. There is a straw market which sells the usual souveniers. Other than that, there was not much to do. In Nassau, we did a half day excursion to Atlantis, which was one of the reasons we booked this itinerary. There was so much hype about how great Atlantis was so we decided to go see for ourselves. We did not do the water park. We did go to the Dig which was interesting. The resort is beautiful but knowing how expensive it is to stay there, I would not pay the money. The crew seems very friendly and very willing to go-out-of-their way to please the patrons. I saw several buffet room staff assist the elderly and the disabled with their food and get them drinks and so forth. We did go see one show about Elvis and enjoyed it. The theater is very nice and has comfortable chairs. As for my sea sickness, I still became a little sea sick. So we have decided that being on a big ship did not help. In fact, we both decided that we enjoyed cruising on the NCL Dawn much more. The Escape is more for families with children and large parties travelling together. While waiting for one of the restaurants for dinner, I heard one cruiser say that he was disappointed with the main lobby. He said it was not as grand as some of the other ships. That was the overall feel of the ship. It was new but did not feel or look like a flag ship like the Royal Caribbean's Oasis. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Had a great time on NCL Escape. Was not ready to get off the ship after 7 nights. Will definitely sail on this ship again. Group of 6 for this voyage. Everyone had a great time. Enjoyed the theater shows and comedy shows. Best meal was ... Read More
Had a great time on NCL Escape. Was not ready to get off the ship after 7 nights. Will definitely sail on this ship again. Group of 6 for this voyage. Everyone had a great time. Enjoyed the theater shows and comedy shows. Best meal was at Cagney's Steak House, Steaks and Seafood cooked to perfection. Fisherman's Platter was fabulous. Coffee and dessert ended a great meal. Manhattan Dining Room was slow with serving the food. Seems the Specialty Restaurants and Savor Dining Room have the best dining room staff. Best Margarita at the It's 5 o'clock some bar. Loved the Water Front area. 678 Ocean Place is where a lot of the dining venues and entertainment happens. We only had reservation on one night for Specialty Restaurants. We walked up to the restaurant and never had over a 15 minute wait for a table. I love freestyle dining. Handicap Balcony Room was spacious, and had room to turn around my mobility scooter and electrical outlet to plug in mobility scooter near the door. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Group of 15 with the following demographic: 28-45 Years of Age Multiple Ethnicities Straight & Gay Let's start with the positive, the ship is beautiful with all details accounted for down to the salt and pepper ... Read More
Group of 15 with the following demographic: 28-45 Years of Age Multiple Ethnicities Straight & Gay Let's start with the positive, the ship is beautiful with all details accounted for down to the salt and pepper shakers at the restaurants. Also, the water slides where very nice and lots of fun when they were open. The adventure course was pretty cool too. Night Life: THERE IS NOT ONE INDOOR CLUB! They have an open sun deck in the back of the ship that is only open weather permitting. It's windy and interesting the first night but you get over it pretty quickly. Then there's the Skyline...the second in line "club wise". Fully open smack next to the casino...feels like part of the casino. The bartenders were literally ALL very rude and just not happy to be there. There was only one bartender that is usually in the pool bar and would go to the Skyline to back up that was super nice and full of energy. He was always happy, dancing, and made excellent drinks. His name is Clarense Bennett from Honduras and the only one that would always wear a straw hat. Then the worst part, since the Skyline is so open, the teenagers would constantly crash the party (we did the best we could with the so so music). All of them in mass groups doing the nae nae and cupid shuffle amidst the drunken old men. Super inappropriate and unsupervised. Many times my drinks would disappear and while I thought the bartender was just cleaning the bar too fast, I saw one of the young ones with sheer talent stealing one of my friends drink...pure stealth. Only the last night after a complaint did the security guard go in and kick them out. The Service: For some reason the person in charge of my stateroom was all attitude with mediocre cleaning. I called daily for proper cleaning and one day the guy gave me his schedule and basically insinuated with his tone he would come and make up the room as a favor. The housekeeping manager was very nice and the last couple of days everything was up to par. The couple a few doors down with a different person had a good experience and I haven't asked the rest of the group so maybe it was just mine. The Spa: It was nice...nice but after sailing in the NCL EPIC, I was expecting the same or more. The pool was smaller and the overall set up was not as impressive. The snow room was super cool, that was my best memory from the space. The attendants in the front can use a training on proper "spa" service...again, the ladies at the EPIC were also very nice and professional. The Gym: You have everything you need but very tight..although the ship is bigger, the gym is smaller than the one in the EPIC. The view from the cardio area, very nice as usual. Brace yourself to bump sweaty arms in the weights area. The Restaurants: The only 2 restaurants that I can say were excellent and worth the expense were Food Republic and Le Bistro in second place. The rest were OK, noting to die for. The H2O Sundeck Area: Light and low low music...good place to get sun while taking a nap. The Main Pool Area: I like my pool area with a DJ and drinks. Most of the time there was a live singer with unbrushed hair. I consider the pool to be small for the size of the ship and there are not enough Jacuzzis. Speaking of jacuzzis, full of children all day. Packs of 10 snorkeling under the bubbles....for hours. Children EVERYWHERE except their kiddie area. Thank goodness for the area upstairs that's enclosed. I don't remember the name but you have to pay extra to be allowed in and it's adults only. I recommend the drink Pain Killer! In conclusion, if you're looking for a fun lively ship with a night life and modern music, this is not it. This ship is meant to relax, gain 10 pounds (all you can do is eat) and play bingo. I kissed the floor when I finally got off the ship (so was my entire group). After this experience I don't want to think of a cruise but when I do, my eyes are shifting over to another line...my heart can't bear another ESCAPE experience. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I love cruising but haven't been able to go in the past 5 years because our kids were too little and our oldest daughter, who is now 6 years old, has cerebral palsy and we were too scared to bring her on a ship. We got ... Read More
My husband and I love cruising but haven't been able to go in the past 5 years because our kids were too little and our oldest daughter, who is now 6 years old, has cerebral palsy and we were too scared to bring her on a ship. We got to go on our last cruise with Royal when she was 1, but we left her at home with my parents. We were tired of seeing our friends get to go on cruises without us so we finally bit the bullet and booked the Escape for our family of 5. We also traveled with two other groups of friends. We were excited to say the least! Unfortunately NCL fell flat on just about everything. We were expecting there to be a few growing pains since the ship was brand new, but there was no reason for the awfulness that we encountered. Overall this huge ship just feels small. There isn't anything grand about it. Nothing feels "big". The decor was nice but nothing to write home about. CHILDCARE: The Escape boasts that they have child care for 1 year olds, "the first in their fleet!" What they don't tell you is that it costs an additional $20 per session, and the sessions only last 1hr & 50min. Not even a full 2hrs! There were only a couple sessions per day. This information was never relayed to us at any point until we were signing her up for the child care on the ship. I couldn't find it anywhere on their website either. The only reason we booked this ship at all was because they had child care for that age group so I didn't mind paying a full ticket for a baby who wouldn't even be eating any food. They also limit the number of babies in the 1 year olds room to 10, so you have to book the times you would like the babysitting in advance to insure they have availability. I had no freakin' clue what we were going to be doing that night, let alone two days later. They said they limit the number of babies to keep the ratio of babies to caretakers at 2 to 1. Which is nice in theory, but entirely unnecessary. 3 to 1, or even 4 to 1, would have been perfectly manageable. Paying for the childcare pissed me off to no end and set the tone for the whole cruise. The child care for our 3 year old was okay, he loved it while he was there! the problem is that it only lasts 3 hours and then you need to pick them up for a 2 hour break! So as soon as you are getting settled in somewhere it's time to go pick up the kids again! The real kicker came when we had the baby and our older kids in the child care at the "same" time. We had to pick up our 2 older kids at 12:00pm for their 2 hour break, but the babies child care went till 12:20. So we either had to pick the baby up early and lose out on 20 minutes of child care that we had payed for, or walk around for 20 minutes with our other 2 kids which defeats the whole purpose of having the baby in the child care to begin with. At the very least they should make all the child care hours the same. The staggered times were just stupid, whoever came up with that did not think it through at all. Child care for our 6 year old daughter who has cerebral palsy, is wheelchair bound, and is completely non-verbal was way below the standard that I would expect from such a huge company. We've been spoiled by Disney I guess who will bend over backwards to accommodate for any special need. The childcare at my local Gym is better than what NCL provided for her. They offered her zero accommodations and told us that they did mostly high energy games, and played loud music so she wouldn't be able to participate since they offer absolutely no one on one help, no acceptations. I asked if she could be put in the same class as her younger brother since he at least would play with her and help push her around, but I was denied. When I dropped her off and pushed her through the gate that goes into the kids section they just left her there until I pointed out that they will at the very least need to push her chair into the kids room. The girl who I was talking to was not happy that she would need to assist my daughter even in this minor way, we were an obvious inconvenience to her. I would never recommend NCL to anyone with a child with any disability. FOOD & DINNING: The buffet was average cruise food. The one thing that was absolutely awful was the scrambled eggs for breakfast. They were the consistency of soggy oatmeal and tasted even worse than they looked. We dinned at the Churrascaria restaurant which was pretty good and we were fine with paying the additional $25/head. Just make sure you make reservations! All of the other pay restaurants were booked so we didn't get to try them. We went to TASTE for breakfast one morning and wish we had stuck to the buffet with the soggy eggs! We waited over an hour to get our food. The server brought us only one set of silverware for both my husband and I, I couldn't get anyones attention so I got up and went to the server station myself to get what I needed. No one even noticed. We were never offered any water and our server wasn't anywhere to be found to ask for some, so we had to choke down our breakfast that took an hour to get to us. I guess the food was hiding in a hot box in the back because the mint garnish on my waffles had shriveled up to a crisp and had turned black. On our last night we went to FOOD REPUBLIC. It's a shame we didn't find it earlier! It was amazing! The service was great & the food was fantastic. If you decide to give the Escape a go, this restaurant is a must. We would have gone here for every single meal and gladly paid the extra $$. The whole ship seemed understaffed, but none as much as the bars on the ship. My average wait time for a drink was around 20-30 min. This was the resounding experience from everyone I talked to on the ship as well. They ran out of tequila by day two. SHOWS: We saw the million dollar quartet. It was okay but I fell asleep half way though. The acoustics in the theatre were pretty awful, that or the sound guy needs to find a different job. We had reservations to see after midnight but had heard such horrible things about it from every single person that had seen it that we opted to go to the comedy club instead. The comedy club at Headliners was great. We didn't make reservations but were able to get in by waiting in the standby line. The show was hilarious! I was in tears I was laughing so hard. Landry, the headlining act single handedly saved this cruise for me and is the only reason I'm not giving a one star rating. The ropes corse would have been cooler if 2 out of the three zip lines hadn't been closed. I have much more to say but i think you get the gist, everyone we talked to, young and old, with and without kids, were all saying the same thing. That they will never go on NCL after this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We were really looking forward to this cruise to Miami, 'new ship', great we thought. We new it was a shake down cruise and didn't expect everything to run perfectly smoothly, but we didn't expect some many things to ... Read More
We were really looking forward to this cruise to Miami, 'new ship', great we thought. We new it was a shake down cruise and didn't expect everything to run perfectly smoothly, but we didn't expect some many things to go wrong either. The best thing you could say was that of course the Escape looked beautiful and the staff really tried their hardest under difficult circumstances. The first thing we noticed when we got to our cabin was we had no coffee for the coffee machine, nor would there be any for the entire cruise because it wasn't being loaded until Miami, nor where half the beers both bottled and draft and considering we were paying $15 for two small bottles we at least expected a choice. We went for our first meal, it was cold, not even warm. We left the restaurant thinking it was the first night and things could only get better. Next morning I had to send my breakfast back, cold congealed eggs are not appetising at that time of day, and so it went on. The only place you could get a hot meal was the O'Sheahans pub which fortunately was open and served food 24/7. We only have praise for this area, it was run with military precision, the rest of the ship could learn a lot from the guy in charge there. The entertainment for adults during the day was practically non existent and the entertainment on a night like most things had to be paid for extra. If this is what Norwegian call upgrading their act, I hope the Chinese like cold food and paying for 2 thirds of the restaurants, entertainment etc. available. We talked to a lot of people on board, not one of them intended cruising Norwegian again. People are not prepared to pay first class prices for second class cruising!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We booked as a 3 night break from Hamburg to Southampton and then got the chance as Platinum latitudes members to stay on an extra night at a reduced price So overall thoughts on the ship? Firstly is it disabled friendly? On the ... Read More
We booked as a 3 night break from Hamburg to Southampton and then got the chance as Platinum latitudes members to stay on an extra night at a reduced price So overall thoughts on the ship? Firstly is it disabled friendly? On the whole yes, it’s a big ship but easy to get around and not too many bottle necks EXCEPT Embarkation Disembarkation Muster Drill And queuing for restaurants at peak times like just after shows finish It will be interesting to read reviews when the ship is full and in warm weather as to how crowded it gets on sun decks There were a lot of people with walking sticks and some in wheelchairs It can be a long walk from one end of ship to the other and would recommend getting a cabin near the elevators. If you can use stairs it’s a bit easier than having to wait for the elevators which at peak times were full when the doors opened onto your floor. The congestion on elevators was exaggerated on this short cruise by no portering facilities so you had to carry your own luggage on and off ship. The 2 sets of elevators with 8 in each are called forward and aft but are actually about a third of the way along from front and back of ship. With 20 decks the public area decks are 6/7/8 and 16 upwards for the sun decks Cabins We saw a good selection on our cabin crawl and there is bound to be a style to suit your style and budget. We liked our balcony cabin and the angled balcony available in a few such as 10276 will make a lot more room to relax in your own private space on a warm weather itinery. I’ve heard a few people complain that having the bed configuration near the wardrobe limits space . It certainly isn’t pushed up against it-there is a bedside table between the bed and wardrobe which is at least a foot wide. We didn’t find it an issue getting clothes out of the wardrobe in fact my husband found it easier sitting on the bed and leaning forward to grab his clothes from the shelves. The lighting system you activate by placing your room card in the slot inside your room works well and indicates to your cabin steward you are in residence. There are 2 switches to indicate do not disturb or make up room and they show as lights outside in the hall. Entertainment Million Dollar Quartet was very good but don’t drag your husband along if he isn’t a theatre fan! Howl at the Moon duelling pianos was great entertainment each night [they wont be playing every night on a regular cruise though or they will be exhausted Starlight band in 5 o clock sometime bar we really enjoyed but they are hampered by the design of the room. 5 o clock sometime bar implies a lively all day atmosphere but it doesn’t seem to work In May we were on the older NCL Star with the old bar refurbished to become 5 o clock sometime .That suffered by being a throughfare with bad acoustics and uncomfortable seats. This newly designed bar had its own problems attracting people to sit and listen to the on stage band. It had limited opening hours-supposed to open 12 noon but bar often closed mid afternoon Uncomfortable beach type chairs Rotating lights around stage dazzle audience for a few seconds There is an automatic door leading from waterfront which is the outside smoking area into the bar. Therefore there is a draft when people walk through it. The exit from the bar into the main inner r area consists of 2 glass doors. One of these open with a handle from the outside but have to push a lever from the other side and as there is no indication which door to open first the 2 doors never shut properly and bang together. SPA I used the thermal spa-very nice and had 1 treatment-a discounted head to toe with full body/scalp/foot massage and a facial Dining We ate in Manhattan restaurant one night where service was slow. Because platinum latitudes perks not extended to this short cruise we didn’t have a meal voucher so didn’t eat in speciality restaurant For ease and convenience ate mainly in O Sheehans and buffet and were perfectly satisfied Communication There was misinformation about back to back passengers having to attend multiple muster drills which caused frustration and resulted in people turning up late to their muster station. The only pre information given that there would be no portering facilities available at the port was for the invited guests cruise on 28th. There was no pre warning for the other mini cruises departing from Hamburg and Southampton Added taxes/gratuities We had pre paid our daily service charge and were aware of the 18% automatic bar charge .As we had pre paid a corks and caps beer and wine package that 18% was also pre paid However the final 2 days in and around Southampton there was extra port tax and VAT payable which was not pre warned but I knew to expect by reading info on cruise critic However I have read reports of irate people blaming NCL claim this extra money for themselves-nope blame our UK government. TEETHING PROBLEMS The non functioning safe and tv should have been on a checklist before guests arrived Toilets on deck 7 outside the theatre-there is a female toilet on 1 side and male on the other and both doors labelled correctly .However the high level indicators show a male figure on both sides! A silly mistake by someone hanging the signs but it’s going to irritate if not fixed Toilets on deck 8 outside District Brew house. The ladies has 3 cubicles 2 of which the handles are loose with too much play on the shank-someone risks getting stuck in there The curtain across the balcony window in our cabin had the final hook missing so a loose flap hanging down –looks unsightly on a brand new ship All above issues were reported to guest services/maintenance Would I do such a few days cruise again-oh yes!!! I am however disappointed that our group missed out on the souvenir lanyards tote bags etc that were given to other cruisers even day guests .Being the first paying guests on an inaugural cruise would have expected some kind of recognition. Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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