3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Let me start by saying I love to travel, especially to Caribbean islands. I particularly love vacations filled with nature, adventure and exploring new places. I've traveled quite a bit over the years, so I know that a big part of ... Read More
Let me start by saying I love to travel, especially to Caribbean islands. I particularly love vacations filled with nature, adventure and exploring new places. I've traveled quite a bit over the years, so I know that a big part of traveling is keeping things in stride and going with the flow. With this cruise vacation, however, my patience was tested even before getting on the ship. First the long line to drop off luggage, then the REALLY long line to go through security, then the line to check in, and finish that off with a line to get your picture taken and pretend you're having fun while still bundled in winter coats. Once on the boat my main complaints how smokey it is. The design of the ship is just terrible. They put the casino (where they allow smoking) in an open area around a 3-level atrium. And on these 3 levels are most things you'd want to enjoy on the ship--restaurants, comedy club, lounges, shopping, theatre, etc. The smoke is not contained at all, but wafts throughout these 3 floors. Complaint #2: The Garden Cafe. The very first morning of our cruise we went down to breakfast at 10:15 am (an unusually busy time, maybe?) and I just wanted to cry. The place was packed. The three of us waited a long time to get our food, but then walked around and around the place and could not find a place to sit. I was prepared to eat standing up, but then couldn't find any utensils to eat with (I later learned they're kept on the tables). People without any food were saving tables all over--a problem we also experienced with pool chairs, seating in the lounges, the theatre, you name it. This was one crowded ship. Another thing...I was thinking such a big cruise ship would have plenty of variety and I would be able to find enough things to eat. I normally eat a diet of mainly vegetables with a little meat. At breakfast there was not a vegetable to be found, unless you count the tablespoon of spinach in my omelet. It was pretty much a buffet of meat and sugar. On the positive side, the entertainment was really nice. "After Midnight" was absolutely awesome! Wow, what talent. I left wanting to see what else those performers might be able to do. "The Brat Pack" was OK. The staff talent show at the end was cute. The comedians were on board were great--Spencer James and Flip Shultz, as was Ben Nemzer, the magician/comedian. The Adele tribute artist (Chelsea something) was great. One suggestion for Norwegian: quit shining those strobe lights into the eyes of audience members! It happened at every show we saw in the theater. The overall vibe of the ship just wasn't for me. Maybe it was because this cruise spanned over New Year's, but there were so many drunk people everywhere. Surprising, since it seems it would be awfully expensive to get drunk on that ship! Also, I felt nickel-and-dimed. Extra $ for internet service, extra to use a Norwegian app that lets you text others on the ship while out at sea, extra for some of the entertainment and restaurants, $6 for a bottle of water from the bar, and so on. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our 4th Norwegian cruise. I love Norwegian, but hated the Escape. Too Big, Too Loud, Too many people. Do not like the atrium. Everything happens in the atrium. Why? Always crowed, people milling around even if they were not ... Read More
This was our 4th Norwegian cruise. I love Norwegian, but hated the Escape. Too Big, Too Loud, Too many people. Do not like the atrium. Everything happens in the atrium. Why? Always crowed, people milling around even if they were not there for what ever was going on. Cooking demo, could not hear because they was a loud and noisy crowd upstairs at O'shannahans. HAD TO WALK THROUGH THE CASINO, WITH MY GRANDKIDS TO GET TO THE MIDDLE OF THE BOAT!!! You could smell cigarette smoke every where, it was disgusting. As usual had wonderful meals at the specialty restaurants, however was a little disappointed in Morderno, table of six, service was very slow. Had problems with the elevators. My husband uses a scooter, waited 10 to 35 minutes to get elevators that had room so he could drive on. I no not understand why Norwegian does not have dedicated card access handicap elevators. We will probably cruise Norwegian again, but not on the Escape or any of the sister ships. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Just completed a 7-day cruise on board the Escape. Was booked as Eastern Caribbean but rerouted to Western Caribbean due to hurricane damage. We didn't feel this itinerary change was not communicated very well and excursions only ... Read More
Just completed a 7-day cruise on board the Escape. Was booked as Eastern Caribbean but rerouted to Western Caribbean due to hurricane damage. We didn't feel this itinerary change was not communicated very well and excursions only became available a week before cruise. Overall the food and staff were excellent and would not advise booking the specialty restaurants as the step-up in dishes does not warrant the additional cost (especially as we were also charged a $20 reservation fee). The biggest advisory to offer is that this is is essentially a SMOKING ALLOWED ship. Smoking is permitted in the casino but there is no separation of it from the rest of the ship. Smoke can be smelled throughout all the main common areas. If you have small children or medical complications please take this into consideration, we would have if we had known this ahead of time. We have filed a complaint with Norwegian that this fact should be made to passengers prior to booking. The kids program was very good as well for our 7 and 9 year olds. Overall the pools felt small and crowded with typically long lines for the water slides. Unfortunately outside of our control was the weather (1 excursion we cancelled due to heavy rain and a second cancelled by the tour operator due to rough water). Both refunds were processed quickly. The other major irritant was the lack of common courtesy by other cruisers. My mother-in-law requires a walker and quite often several elevators full of able body adults (many of whom could use the exercise) were needed to pass before one with space arrived. Saw on many occasions people taking the elevators for 1 floor with a 15 second staircase right beside. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We went on this cruise because we were with a group. We have been on several other cruises - different cruise lines. Some of the things we didn't like: - casino smelled bad due to smoking - even though we had the drink pkg. we ... Read More
We went on this cruise because we were with a group. We have been on several other cruises - different cruise lines. Some of the things we didn't like: - casino smelled bad due to smoking - even though we had the drink pkg. we were charged for bottles of water - Medical office was closed most of the day & when we had a need for some gauze bandaids we were told to go to 13th floor where we could get some. Turned out to be a coin operated dispense cabinet which did not have what we needed. We were told if a doctor was needed it would cost at least $140. - The Irish Pub was supposed to be open 24/7 but between breakfast & lunch they closed down. The staff ignored the people waiting - no explanations. Service was also slow. - It was very loud in the Atrium, making it hard to interact with Customer Service. - Because there were so many people who used scooters, walkers & canes, there should have been a dedicated elevator - took an extremely long time to get from floor to floor. - The entertainment, mainly The Brat Pack, was pretty bad. When we got to see The Mercy Boys in the Atrium one night, we were very pleased - they were very good. - The service in our room was inconsistent. No trash removed & room service dishes left. The things we did like: - The food was very good. Ate at two specialty restaurants - Cagney's & the Japanese one. We enjoyed them both very much. - Getting on & off the ship went smoothly. - Our mini-suite was small but generally ok. - We were glad that Norwegian handled the change of ports well due to the hurricanes. - It was nice to have free-style dining with no need to dress up. - We weren't bothered with a lot of photographers - got one nice photo at the Japanese Restaurant. - We didn't do any excursions, but got off the ship a couple of times. Glad not to have tenders. Plus it was nice to have shuttle/bike-riding cabs since there were long walks to the shops. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
So....where to begin. We were so looking forward to this cruise, having been on just two cruises previously, we we excited about the prospects of a big, state of the art ship and beautiful tropical beaches. Our only reference point was ... Read More
So....where to begin. We were so looking forward to this cruise, having been on just two cruises previously, we we excited about the prospects of a big, state of the art ship and beautiful tropical beaches. Our only reference point was Princess Cruise Lines in Alaska and a Western Carribean cruise on NCL close to 20 years ago. After several weeks of pondering this review, I still cannot determine the target demographic for the theme of this boat. The ship is just entirely too big with a curious design. There were many features we looked forward too looking at the deck plans....the water slides, ropes course, pools. in reality, if there is anything more than a breeze, they shut down the ropes course. The water slides are packed, but the pool is the main tragedy. No one swims. The main pool is right up next to a big stage where "cruise director Tyler" emcees hypersexualized show after show to a hot, intoxicated audience. It is all so loud and unnecessary. The other areas of the ship were confusing. There is one small gift shop, surrounded by a high end camera store and jewelry/ watch store. Is a cruise ship really where you want to purchase a $3000 watch? The casino was nice, but a bit smoky, played a few hand of blackjack. The chandelier was pretty. They have the art auction rip off thing like other cruise ships. Did that once before. A small painting gets very expensive after framing and shipping. Next comes dining and entertainment. So a word to the wise.....book everything you can before you get onboard, or at minimum by day one. Apparently, there is no penalty for not showing up; but we were a bit miffed, learning that literally every show was booked by day 2 or beyond. Since you ships card isn't scanned until showtime, people just reserved everything. We saw one neat show the first night....then we were out of luck. We ate at the freestyle restaurants, but it doesn't matter which one you choose, because they all share the same menu. We didn't eat at any specialty restaurants because we couldn't get a table. We also miss a "formal" night, or a captain's dinner. Maybe something else NCL did away with. This morning buffet is a bit of a mess at prime time trying to compete for a place to sit. Cabin was fine. Unless you go all out for the captains suite, the rooms looked about the same. Storage is cramped and we were sleeping four. Can't expect much from 350 square feet. Nice "device" friendly room, but no drawers for clothes, just shelves. NCL really went downhill with service, primarily because you pay a flat fee - thus no incentive for staff to go the extra mile to assist. I don't know if other ships are doing this, but we adored the staff on Princess and NCL from years ago. I didn't even meet our steward. The ports / beaches were beautiful and the highlight of the cruise. Pay a cabbie to take you to a pretty beach and save hundreds avoiding the excursions. Word to the wise, bring your snorkeling gear - availability is variable from beach to beach. Also, if you chose an excursion....try doing it on your own. Booking it through the ship costs an extra $25 to $50 per person. Beware of some of the stoned locals on the USVI. One guy came up to me accusing me (an American) of stealing his land. Keep an eye on your belongings. Embarking and disembarking went smoothly. Despite the comments above, we had a great time as a family. As we we traveled with our teenage son and daughter and parents in their mid seventies. Perhaps this an overly harsh criticism, but between airfare and expenses...the experience should have been a bit nicer. Glad we went. Wouldn't choose NCL again. Not classy or elegant. Will save up next go round and choose something a bit higher end. 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
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 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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