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
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We went on this ship for a family wedding. When the ship was diverted because of the weather the Customer Service Rep refused to help in any way. No wedding for the Bride and Groom or the 21 people they brought on the boat with them! ... Read More
We went on this ship for a family wedding. When the ship was diverted because of the weather the Customer Service Rep refused to help in any way. No wedding for the Bride and Groom or the 21 people they brought on the boat with them! Exteamly poor customer relations. The ship is also very poor handicap accessible. They charge a lot for a handicap room and the bathrooms throughout the ship designated for handicapped were always locked. The regular rooms doorways were too small to fit a small walker through and the narrow hallways to the rooms constantly had the housekeeping staffs carts blocking access. We were very disappointed in the way the ship handled the reroute, there were many possibilities to give their passengers a worthwhile trip instead of just floating on the water with no possibility of any port visits. The one stop the ship did make I was unable to get off the ship die to my handicap so I was stuck on the ship for 7 days. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Have been on 11 NCL cruises and this was the worst. NCL keeps deteriorating, and the overcrowding of this ship just made things worse. Public areas have been replaced by too many restaurants (29 of which 5 are free!), so there is no ... Read More
Have been on 11 NCL cruises and this was the worst. NCL keeps deteriorating, and the overcrowding of this ship just made things worse. Public areas have been replaced by too many restaurants (29 of which 5 are free!), so there is no where to sit and enjoy reading a book or staring at the ocean except your own room. My big complaint: the Atrium is used for noisy shows and games like Deal or No Deal and even karaoke (so that we could all hear the bad singers, whether we wanted to or not). Atrium is packed when these activities occur, so not only is every chair taken, a whole bunch of people stand around watching, and if you are not seated you cannot see what is going on. The loud sound system and yelling carries throughout the area, which is also where the information deck, computer area, and shore excursion desk are located, so at times you can hardly hear if you need to go to one of these areas. Activities like the Not so Newleywed game, Thriller Dance Class, Big Pyramid Game show, line dancing, etc., might be fun in smaller rooms with plenty of seating, but here they are loud and impossible to see unless you are one of the lucky ones who arrive early. The whole idea of a warm and welcoming Atrium area is destroyed. Further, the sounds carry upward into the casino (already a noisy area) and O’Sheehan’s Bar and Grill. O’Sheehan’s (free) was one of our favorite places to eat on other ships like the NCL Pearl, where we could enjoy quiet breakfasts, snacks, or off-normal-time lunches with a sea view. Here it is constantly crowded and noisy, often with a long wait line for seats. The whole ambience and greatness of the place is ruined by the noise (no sea view either). Not enough lounge areas meant that even trivia ended up in the Atrium. And because of the crowds, if you sat there, bar service was very very slow. Crowding because of over 5000 guests extended to the pool areas, where lounge chairs were put into every available space and walkway, even lying side by side without space between chairs, so if you lay down it seemed like you were in one giant lounge bed for 6 people (your new best friends). Only the waterfront deck outside had good places to sit and watch the view and maybe play cards or talk with friends, but in inclement weather it was useless (and when a ship is moving during Dec. the cold air and wind make this area unusable for a lot of time). Reservations were usually needed for all the shows and specialty restaurants, and sometimes even main (free) dining rooms. (Freestyle my eye!!) Upon boarding we booked the shows for the week and found many were already marked Sold Out. Fortunately you often could arrive at showtime and get in to Headlines and Main Escape Theater shows, but for the Supper Club the non-reserve wait line started an HOUR early, and not everyone got in. The 6 pm Supper Club made little sense to me, since different acts showed there, but the (free) set meal was always the same, so would you want to eat there twice? Some shows without food were at 9 pm. Generally the shows were free there and good (Ben Zemzer Comedy Magic was so intriguing my friends went twice; and The Flyboys 4 piece singing group was great, though a short show at 45minues). But why was Jalynn Steele’s Supper Club cabaret show an extra $29.95 plus gratuity? (Sorry, I had never heard of her so didn’t pay for that one!) There were two big production shows — AFTER MIDNIGHT based on the Cotton Club was FANTASTIC, a great show, Broadway quality, excellent tap dancers, singers, dancers (highlight of the trip for me, and the best show I have seen at sea), and THE BRAT CLUB, energetic singers and dancers and a horrible plot that made no sense —some people liked it, I didn’t, and do not sit in the first few rows or people will be dancing behind you. Levity Entertainment group provided comedians....they got better in “adult” sessions. Some of the smaller acts had poor singers — the dueling pianists in Howl at the Moon could play really well but were not great singers, for example, and the singalong pianist wasn’t very funny and was not a good singer (at least to me). Food in the specialty restaurants was excellent and service there better than normal for NCL. Moderno great, Teppanyaki lots of food and entertaining, La Bistro best of cruise (dover sole to die for). Breakfast in the free Savor and Taste very good, with a large menu and excellent service. Service there better than the free Manhattan room (which sometimes has a singer or pianist). The buffet food good, but very similar night to night, and like on many NCL ships, too crowded so you normally had to hunt for seats. In the search for more profit, NCL has added more Ala Carte restaurants and even some of the normal specialty ones like Cagney’s is ala carte pricing unless you book a specialty package. If you have specialty package you generally were limited to one appetizer, main course, and desert (entree worth under $20), but that did not bother us, If all you want to do on a cruise is eat, this is the ship for you— unfortunately we like to do other stuff too! Bar goers may like the Cellars wine bar and beer-loving Distict Brew House, but be prepared to pay the high prices and automatic gratuities. There are the usual constant calls to buy stuff, and almost all daily activities are really promotions to buy things, from the Fly Boys CD to spa treatments to art [check Ebay prices before buying] to watches and bingo. The casino is the biggest on an NCL ship, but do not expect loose machines. The good news is there was a nonsmoking area. There are all kinds of ad-on charges for stuff that used to be free, like room service. You have to pay for a special spa package or there is no access to the snow room they tout, even if you buy a regular spa treatment. One good deck area had a fee, and some ship areas were relegated to those people in First Class (that is, Haven Rooms). Yoga has a charge, slow internet gets more and more expensive, duty free liquor not much of a bargain, etc. Constant announcements tell you what is happening (even if you can read like I can and get the daily newsletters!) Good news is that handicapped folks have cabins with wider doors and can open them with a button. The theater had a couple of rows roped off for handicapped folks, but strangely they put chairs in the handicapped area that should be for wheelchairs. Overall getting around in my scooter was easier than in the badly designed Epic, but the elevators seemed small and fast. Best thing onboard, comfortable beds. The rooms had a very large amount of storage. The ship was extremely stable, even in rough weather — better than most ships. Kids had their own area on Deck 5, and seemed happy with all the activities. The library is tiny, as is the card room. NCL constantly tries to sell you certificates to be used on another cruise (and I do mean constantly). The captain will wake you up daily at 10 am to tell you the latitude and longitude (available on the TV...), so much for relaxing and sleeping late... Muzak is constantly going in every bar and hallway. There is a jogging track, but with all the people, don’t expect to run very fast if at all.... Kids will enjoy a bunch of slides, aqua area, and rope area (if weather is good...it wasn’t on much of our December trip). The Tv basically has about 5 real channels [thank goodness for MSNBC, Fox News, and CNBC- I was sick part of the time], including a movie channel (ask front desk for a schedule), plus ship’s channels which run the same stuff over and over including the Not so Newleywed Game (why do’t they run more of their games?), plus newer movies you can pay for on another channel. The overall design of the ship should have been good, but because there were fewer lounges or lounge areas, the crowding in the Atrium area often made the activities there unbearable. Be prepared to be nickel, dimed, and now dollared to death on this big NCL ship. Bring your earplugs for the Atrium, spend quiet time in your room or on your own balcony, and pray for good weather so some of the people go outside (and so you do not miss ports as we did for more sea days). Finally, do NOT buy port to airport transfers from NCL as we did, or you could find yourself waiting for two hours in the Miami sun (or rain) without cover or chairs for nonexistent buses! (and do not exit the dock without a bathroom break because once outside they will not let you back in and the only “facility” is a filthy portable type shed with rickety stairs and rails and no wheelchair access) - shame on Port of Miami! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
fist of all, the reservation was a scam, the guy call us to sell us a cruise, we reserved 4 cabins, all of 4 where in diferent floor, on in the 9 floor at front the other rooms were on floors 13 and 14 , in the back of the ship, the ... Read More
fist of all, the reservation was a scam, the guy call us to sell us a cruise, we reserved 4 cabins, all of 4 where in diferent floor, on in the 9 floor at front the other rooms were on floors 13 and 14 , in the back of the ship, the fourth one was in a floor 18, was Haven suite. we explained the guy that we were traveling with one handicap person and two kids, one 3 years old and the other 5, but any way we were bucked all over the ship. The ship was so unconfortable, so packed, so crowded, the pools were full all the time, the pools were so small, even the one in the Haven courtyard was so small that looked so funny. The halls were so narrow that was unconfortable to walk, we had to walk all off the ship to go one cabin to other. No a nice cruise to repeat. NCL customer service is terrible, rude , in general , was a bad experience, before, during and after the cruise. This was my 15th cruise , 4th with NCL and the last one with NCL. 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
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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