Sail Date: July 2019
1st and last time we will be sailing on Norwegian. The Escape carries at least 1000 more passengers than it really should. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. It took a day to figure out the layout after always sailing on ... Read More
1st and last time we will be sailing on Norwegian. The Escape carries at least 1000 more passengers than it really should. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. It took a day to figure out the layout after always sailing on Royal. We liked the entertaining, food and bar layout on decks 6, 7 and 8. The ship was packed!!! I hace sailed on similar sized Royal ships and never felt crowded. Not on the Escape...way too many people. Dinner at Taste and The Manhattan Room were nice but we felt rushed. The main course came while eating our appetizers each time. Food Republic, Moderno and Teppanyaki wer all really good. Definitly make reservations on-line or at any resturant as soon as you get on. The pool area was always very crowded. The pool itself is very poorly designed. It is 20x10 anf 6'8" deep, so unless you want to tread water, you better hope for a spot around the edge. The deck furniture is literaly on top of each other so much so that you can smell the breath of the person sitting next to you. The bar staff is WAY understaffed for a ship this large. 2 or 3 bartenders at the pool bar is not nearly enough. They are so overworked that it effects their attitude. Most are not friendly at all, agin, because their workload is too much. On Royal, if the bar is crowded, the bar officer jumps in to help. Not on the Escape. The smoking area is on the top bar area above the pool. Twice I saw cigarettes blow into the pool and you can often smell the smoke. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
For a new boat, the Escape had many flaws and was just average. It was ENORMOUS, but not in a good way, in my opinion. Although I have heard good things about Norwegian, my family and I did not love the Escape. First of all, the main adult ... Read More
For a new boat, the Escape had many flaws and was just average. It was ENORMOUS, but not in a good way, in my opinion. Although I have heard good things about Norwegian, my family and I did not love the Escape. First of all, the main adult pool was WAY TOO SMALL for such a big ship. Not sure why they designed such a big boat with such a small pool. And the worst part of it was, it was either 8 feet deep where you had to tread water, or you had to sit on the side, but because the pool was so small, there was never anywhere to sit. Second, because there are 4000 people on this ship, the decks were lined up with endless rows of lounge chairs so tight that it was extremely hard to pass through and we felt like sardines while we layed out. There were no tables whatsoever to put food or drinks down either. Would’ve been nice to see some comfortable lounge seating with tables on the upper deck by the glass. Although lounge seating is available on the eighth floor deck but it is very cool and shaded and is in a designated “quiet area”. The restaurants had good food, but not great like you would expect on a cruise. It was just OK. Water slides and zip lines always had long lines and my kids went on only once. (Personally, I thought they were an eyesore on the boat.) Service overall was friendly. Their show “After Midnight” was the only entertainment I really enjoyed. However, the ship did have a lot of very nice tucked away bars and the drinks were delicious, using top shelf liquor. Overall ship was very clean. Embarkation and disembarkation was extremely smooth considering the amount of people. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Chose NCL for Activities to entertain a 13 year old boy, amenities for two 80 year olds. Destination to beautiful Bermuda. The ship was at capacity; much too crowded for our party of 5. LONG lines on all kid friendly activities. Most ... Read More
Chose NCL for Activities to entertain a 13 year old boy, amenities for two 80 year olds. Destination to beautiful Bermuda. The ship was at capacity; much too crowded for our party of 5. LONG lines on all kid friendly activities. Most shows sold out. Specialty dining reservations extremely difficult to make. Childrens pool too small and too crowded. Would suggest including a tween/teen pool, or allowing tween/teen time in adult pool. The ship lack the ability to accommodate so many travelers. Guest services staff not empowered to solve issues; simply offer smiles, apologize and re-iterate that the experience was fully booked. Long lines at guest services. Long waits at elevators. Bars not adequately staffed. Staff told us several times the ship was crowded and sailing at capacity. 13 year old spent more time in cabin reading than opting to wait to participate in activites. He did not consider his time on board as fun/vacation. We LOVED our dining experience at Manhattan Room, Moderno and Cagneys; Cagneys and Moderno not our first choice. First choice Tapenyaki, sold out. Beyamo sold out. Beverly at Tapenyaki most helpful representative. LaCucina, noisy, average food, hair found in sons pizza. Eddie our steward, Excellent. Excellent experience with K & S watersports...parasailing excursion on land not available thru NCL. Also beach day at Elbow beach, booked through resortforaday. Snorkeling Catamaran excursion booked thru NCL, thoroughy enjoyed by all. Information before cruise not forthcoming unless we called. Couldn't book dining for 5. yet on board, couldn't reserve dining for less than 8. Many opportunities and emails received to spend more money for upgrade. Onboard WIFI minutes not explained. We thought we'd be able to talk among our five travellers. This requires a $10/day/person fee. On board bowling, $6 per game. Gaming pass for the week....$170. All onboard charges applied to credit card....if paid with a travellers check would result in waiting on a line to "cash out" at the end of our trip. Disembarking goes quickly....a problem if you have a car service reserved to get you. Needed to leave cabin at 8:30am; yet our disembarking time 9:45am. We were told to plan luggage would be available 10:30. It was available at 9:15. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We went on this cruise because we were traveling as a family group of 24, with ages ranging from 2-96. It is not a cruise I would select traveling as a couple of empty nest adults. Frankly, the children's activities were also ... Read More
We went on this cruise because we were traveling as a family group of 24, with ages ranging from 2-96. It is not a cruise I would select traveling as a couple of empty nest adults. Frankly, the children's activities were also lacking, as described below. A few tips: 1. The ship was vastly overcrowded. There is ONE adult swimming pool (and the adult-ness is not enforced) for 5200 passengers. The pool at our 200-unit condo is at least twice the size. The one children's pool reeked of urine. The hot tubs are small and not particularly hot. I never went into one pool or hot tub on our week long cruise, they were that unappealing. Naturally, it is impossible to get a lounge chair for the same reason. 2. The beverage package includes wine- yet only up to $15. The only included wines were underwhelming and there are no $15. glasses; it's $9 or you pay full price for anything over $15, which is the wines you might care to drink. 3. Child Care- there are no included children's activities for under 3 year olds. Our grandson went once to the afternoon children's center and was so upset about the experience that he never went back again. Also, the ship needs to have an option for in-room babysitting at night. We were willing to pay for babysitting, but unwilling to have him fall asleep in one place and then need to move back to his own room. 4. Don't bother with internet. It is very expensive and hard to log out of. Consequently, our minutes constantly disappeared with every use. 5. The staff is trying and most were kind and helpful. Security staff are unnecessarily harsh. 6. Food is decent, though certainly not memorable. We enjoyed meals at Cagney's and Le Bistro, for which there were a la carte upcharges. All in all, we have done 2 other multigenerational cruises on Royal Caribbean, and we enjoyed those more. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We have sailed on NCL before- last year on the Gem to the Bahamas. That trip was lovely- the boat was smaller and not as modern, but the overall experience was better. Getting on and off the ship was easy- unfortunately, the called ... Read More
We have sailed on NCL before- last year on the Gem to the Bahamas. That trip was lovely- the boat was smaller and not as modern, but the overall experience was better. Getting on and off the ship was easy- unfortunately, the called “last call” for our check out at 7:40- when our check out was 8:30-9:00- so we rushed- and that was the issue. You had to get to everything before it ran out it sold out- the shows- the buffet- the lounge chairs( good lord- let’s not go there- people save them forever and tons at a time- then go and sleep til noon. You go to deck at 7 am- and it’s empty, but all the chairs are taken- NCL has a policy on this, but doesn’t follow through). 18 and over deck- lol- no one is going to say much to dad putting his kids in the hot tub- so much for that. Want to watch something in the Atrium- better get there 1 1/2 hours early to be able to see anything! It was exhausting and created a negative vibe. And staff was fine- just so obviously overwhelmed and overworked- very different than our last experience with NCL. We made the best of it and had a great time- but it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you are surrounded by workers so obviously exhausted and stressed. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We only chose to go on this because we had $250 nextcruise credit with NCL that was about to expire. Last time we sailed with them was in 2015 on the Breakaway and we were not too crazy about the service so we thought this would be our ... Read More
We only chose to go on this because we had $250 nextcruise credit with NCL that was about to expire. Last time we sailed with them was in 2015 on the Breakaway and we were not too crazy about the service so we thought this would be our last cruise with NCL. I have to say that NCL redeemed themselves nicely on the Escape. Check in was a bit confusing. There was no longer a separate desk for Platinum members. Instead, they divided people according to their deck number. It was pretty smooth. It took us less than half hour to get on the ship. We got the drink package as well as 3 night dining packages. It was worth every penny. We had drinks as soon as we were on board. If you're looking for a bartender that knows what they are doing, I recommend Iketut at the MIxx bar. Everything he made was superb. We used our dining packages at Cagney's, La Cucina and Teppanyaki. Of the 3, I'd have to say La Cucina wins in terms of service and food quality. We dined at Manhattan once and service and food was night and day compared to the specialty restaurants. Service very slow. Nobody cared if we wanted to order drinks. Food was really salty for my taste so I only took one bite and sent it back. However, they do have great live music which somewhat made up for it. On other days, we dined at O'Sheehan's both for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Good food and good service there. Can't really go wrong with them. We had a 5 year old with us. He absolutely LOVED splashed academy. He loved it so much he didn't want to leave. In fact, he asked to go back to that ship again if we cruise. Entertainment was really really good. From comedy to shows (e.g. after midnight), to dinner shows (Chelsey, Company of Men), to parties at H20. We thoroughly enjoyed all of it. I used fitness center 3 times. Loved the equipment provided. Only problem was, it could be quite busy and you might have to wait to use the machines. I also manage a hot stone massage. Loved the service and the massage but hated that they tried to push products on me at the end. Then again, this is a normal for ALL cruise lines. Now for things that could be improved: not too crazy about the pool deck. It was always packed and constantly smelled like food that sometime made me feel ill. My wife went to art auctions and she said they did not show the art works that people requested to see. Dinner at main dining rooms could have been better. Food at Garden Cafe serve its purpose. What I don't get is the ship is full of Asian workers, yet, none of the Asian dishes they served was good. Disembarkation was chaotic. Not the cruise line's fault. But as soon as we get off the ship, we were screamed at by the customs and boarder patrols like we a herd of cattle. From the time they announced our tag color to the time we got our luggage and exited, it took almost a whole hour. Overall, I highly recommend this cruise if you get dining and drink packages. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Bermuda cruise so only 1 long (3 day) stop. Plenty of time to explore and/or just enjoy the ship. Plenty of venues for eating and entertainment on this beautiful ship. Plenty of food options at the buffet as well with various stations. ... Read More
Bermuda cruise so only 1 long (3 day) stop. Plenty of time to explore and/or just enjoy the ship. Plenty of venues for eating and entertainment on this beautiful ship. Plenty of food options at the buffet as well with various stations. Although embarkation and disembarkation was a nightmare. We disembarked with our luggage but still had to get in line behind the people picking up their luggage rather than proceeding straight to customs as other cruise lines do. We traveled with the family so ages ranged from 20 to 85 and this cruise was perfect for all of us. Plenty of entertainment options for the 20 year old and plenty of accommodations made for the 85 year old (designated tables at buffet and theatre, plenty of staff to help seat and carry drinks/food). The pool area can get quite crowded and loud. Not a place for quiet reading or relaxing. The “quiet” option is H2O Spice area that has lots of chairs but only a few umbrellas so if you want shade you have to get there early (before 7am on sea days). But there is a walk thru grotto with water feature for cooling off. Would definitely cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
The staff was amazing starting from the time we got on board until we got off. They made our stay a memorable one. We adored Gerald Casillo! He was the best! The food was incredible and this included the Garden Cafe as well as the ... Read More
The staff was amazing starting from the time we got on board until we got off. They made our stay a memorable one. We adored Gerald Casillo! He was the best! The food was incredible and this included the Garden Cafe as well as the specialty restaurants. We found the bartenders to be not so friendly and seemed annoyed at times when ordering drinks. Although we were only able to see The Manhatran Club because we were too late in trying to see other shows the entertainment was top notch! The Karaoke at the 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar was the best. Both my husband and I along with our kids spent alot of time there and Rafiqic was by far the BEST!! Alex the cruise director rocked it! He was lots of fun and found him to be the perfect person for this job! What can I say about Bermuda? It was absolutely spectacular and we can't wait to go back on the Escape to Bermuda again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
My Husband and I have been on many cruises including the Norwegian Escape. June 23rd 2019 we took our son/wife/kids. Maybe it was because of the adorable girls ( ages 3&6) and celebrating my granddaughters 3rd birthday but I have ... Read More
My Husband and I have been on many cruises including the Norwegian Escape. June 23rd 2019 we took our son/wife/kids. Maybe it was because of the adorable girls ( ages 3&6) and celebrating my granddaughters 3rd birthday but I have never ever been on a cruise where the staff was so incredibly nice and accommodating. Our room steward Paul actually understood our needs and wants (many just shake their head and smile and do not help) Not Paul he even made a cake out of towels for the birthday girl. IONELA OPRISAN was amazing with the attention he gave us...KIVANC UCAR was beyond nice. I wish I had all the other names...yes one or two were rude (towel guy) but for the most part EVERYONE was so nice. Maybe the other ships should learn a lesson from the Escape (GEM ??) No matter how good the food is ( it was on the Escape) or the shows ( great again) the spa, gym, shopping (disappointed stores on the Escape) etc it could all become a bad experience if the service is not goo (GEM again) already booked on the Bliss....can't wait thank you Escape for making our family trip a great one :) Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
The ship is huge! We ate most of our meals from the buffet because it was quicker. All the food was awesome with lots of choices. There are 3 main dining rooms serving same food just different atmospheres. We didn’t go to any of the ... Read More
The ship is huge! We ate most of our meals from the buffet because it was quicker. All the food was awesome with lots of choices. There are 3 main dining rooms serving same food just different atmospheres. We didn’t go to any of the specialty restaurants because of the extra charges. The Starbucks on board was priced correctly and tasted just like my Starbucks at home. Our balcony room was roomy for 2 adults and a teenager. The room was clean and kept clean all week long. The bed was comfortable. The sun decks and pools were over crowded. People leave towels on chairs so we walked around a lot looking for a place for 3 people to sit. The hot tubs are not hot tubs. They are lukewarm so I don’t understand why they advertise they have hot tubs. Something that wasn’t well planned is they have a smoking area right by the running track and kids play area. The port of New York was easy to. We traveled Sunday to Sunday I’m sure it’s a different story during the week. Bermuda was beautiful! I loved that we docked for 2 and 1/2 days in Bermuda. We definitely will go back after we adventure to other islands first. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted to take our grandchildren, ages 5 and 9, to Bermuda as we can take the train to New York City. We had a family suite booked, but were offered the chance to bid on a Haven suite and I bid on the Aft Penthouse Suite and got it. ... Read More
We wanted to take our grandchildren, ages 5 and 9, to Bermuda as we can take the train to New York City. We had a family suite booked, but were offered the chance to bid on a Haven suite and I bid on the Aft Penthouse Suite and got it. From the moment we stepped into the terminal, everything went so smoothly. The check-in process was a breeze, very fast and efficient. Our suite was ready when we got on board so after a light snack in the Haven lounge, we settled in. We were in Suite 11912--living room, dining area, two baths, bedroom, and huge balcony. It was great for the four of us. The largest bathroom was particularly luxurious. We had a butler who brought snacks every day and served us dinner in the stateroom one evening and breakfast another day. Musa was excellent. We don't normally take in the shows and entertainment, but we enjoyed the lounge in The Haven and the kids loved the pool there. They also used the Splash Zone area, but enjoyed the more private pool more. We enjoy Bermuda and we have been there four times now. We had a glass-bottom boat tour scheduled, but it was canceled due to the weather. We took a cab to Horseshoe Bay Beach on our own ($32) and took a mini bus back ($7/person). It's a lovely beach and was not overly crowded the day we were there as the weather was a little iffy with rain off and on. We were very happy with The Haven. The wait staff in the dining room quickly got to know the kids and their preferences. The food was excellent and the service was also excellent.We ate most of our meals in The Haven dining room. The kids were always able to get into the pool. Our suite was not directly in The Haven, so we walked the length of the ship whenever we wanted to use their facilities, which we did often, but for us that was fine. Our grandkids were thrilled with the ship, particularly The Haven. My granddaughter has been on a cruise to Bermuda once before with us in a regular cabin, so she really understood the differences being in The Haven. We have probably spoiled our grandson forever with The Haven! Embarkation was very easy, but we really appreciated the private escort off the ship for disembarkation. We had a terrible experience leaving the ship on our last Bermuda cruise, so this was wonderful. We absolutely loved being in The Haven and will be looking at other destinations in this category suite. And that;s saying a lot for us as we don;t like ships this big (we usually cruise on Viking). Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my 4th cruise to Bermuda and 3rd with NCL. By tradition, we take a family picture while the ship passes under the Verrazano Bridge. Apparently, The Haven sundeck is now age restricted and taking a single is out of the question ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise to Bermuda and 3rd with NCL. By tradition, we take a family picture while the ship passes under the Verrazano Bridge. Apparently, The Haven sundeck is now age restricted and taking a single is out of the question if one of the family members is under 16. I can see the reason for the restriction if kids are raising hell on the sundeck when people are trying to relax, but their Procrustean enforcement of this is absurd. On previous NCL cruises, we had trouble getting our son to leave the children's' program. On this cruise, he asked to leave after 90 minutes and refused to return the remainder of the cruise. He did not provide any reason other than describing it as "boring". NCL's "signature cheesecake" is off the menu. I mentioned this in The Haven Restaurant and was informed that it was still available, but I had to submit a request 24 hours in advance. Speaking of The Haven Restaurant, the menu is exactly the same, every day. The meat was frequently served under cooked. Our butler didn't do very much, but we got a lot of personal attention from our steward. The other restaurants on the ship had very slow service. Overall, service seemed not to be very good, but not lack of trying on the part of the crew. It seemed as though they were working exceptionally hard to deliver service with limited resources. In effect, not the crew's fault, but the people running the operation. NCL's "White Hot Party" is now called the "Glow Party" and seems to be more of a marketing gimmick for their overpriced booze. It's not NCL's fault that it rained during the party, but you would think since they regard this as one of their "signature events", they would hold it indoors. Handicapped access in The Haven is lacking. My sister is in a wheelchair and it was an ordeal to get her in and out of the cabin through a narrow door. They did have a complimentary ferry to St. George which I thought was nice. Overall, it seemed like everything was just a little bit worse. I enjoy Bermuda, I've been there 6 times, but next time it will be on a different cruise line. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I will start by saying i must have read 200 reviews of this cruise before booking so i want to give a thorough review for anyone contemplating this cruise and also choosing to upgrade to the Haven. We are a family of 4, my husband and i ... Read More
I will start by saying i must have read 200 reviews of this cruise before booking so i want to give a thorough review for anyone contemplating this cruise and also choosing to upgrade to the Haven. We are a family of 4, my husband and i both in our early 40's and our kids are 11 and 14. We have a boy and girl. We were traveling with my sister n law, her husband and thier 3 kids ages 15, 12, and 10. I tried to read every review i could get my hands on regarding the Haven because it was considerabley more and i wanted to make sure it was worth it. I will tell you it is worth EVERY single penny!!! We chose the 2 bedroom haven family villa and wow the room was amazing! Large living area, seperate king size bedroom with a huge bathroom and giant windows over the tub and in the shower to look out to sea and a seperate bedroom and bathroom for our kids. Flat screen TV's in every room. From the moment we walked through the glass doors of the Manhatten Cruise Terminal till the moment we departed and got into a taxi back to the airport it was VIP service at its finest. I read a few reviews that mentioned people never wanting to leave the Haven and be in other parts of the ship and i totally get it now. We were in room 18112. To clarify not all Haven rooms are actually inside the Haven. Some have access to the Haven but their room is not inside. Our room was inside the Haven and that definitley added to the wow factor of our experience. The customer service we experienced was top notch. Our concierge Adrian is just amazing. Seriously he should be running the whole ship. Our Butler Samir was the same and cabin attendant Joceyln was just as awesome. So let me go back to the beginning. We walked into the cruise terminal and there is a very long line to check in but then i look to the right and there is a seperate line for Haven guest with about 4 people in it. We walk over and are immediatley escorted through and into a private lounge with chairs food, and refreshments and our own team to check us in and give us our key cards. It took about 15 min and then we were privatley escorted on the boat and into the Haven lounge. There were waiters ready with drinks, hambuger sliders and fries. We were told our room was ready right away and went to check it out. As i mentioned it was beyond impressive and my husband who truly does not like to cruise was very impressed. We chose to eat at Margaritaville because it was free for Haven guestst the first day. We are from South Florida so we have eaten there quite a few times before. Unfortunatley the service there was terrible and food not that great but the manager immediatly recognized what was happening and swooped in and gave us a card to come back for free another day. We never did because there were so many other options but it was a nice gesture and we werent paying for it anyways so we really didnt mind much. The Haven itself is truly amazing. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the food is great. I am having withdrawls from the amazing avocado toast i had for breakfast every morning. We never made reservations and there was always a table when we needed one. The pool deck on 17, loungng deck on 19 and sun deck on 19 are worth the money for the upgrade alone. Cushioned loungers, waiters bringing you whatever you needed to drink, eat (there is a menu for the pool and lounging decks so you dont have to get up and go to the restaurant they just bring the food right to your chair) Never had to fight for a chair. The sun deck on 19 was my favorite and i spent a good portion of my time up there sunning, reading in a shady spot or loungng in the jacuzzi up there overlooking the ocean. The servers also come around sporatically with fresh fruit skewers and cheese. It really is first class service. Going back to our private conceirge and butler meant NEVER having to visit the internet cafe, general concierge, and all those long lines on deck 6. My internet was set up immediatley in the haven lounge by our concierge.( FYI the ncl app is cool because for $10 per phone you can also talk and text all you want with your loved ones through the app. We also chose the unlimited internet package for my husband and i to share and the unlimited social media package for my kids to share.) Our private concierge Adrian booked all of our dining reservations, shows, really anything we wanted was done immediatley and never a problem. It was truly crazy how attentive and awesome he was. And there is a private seating section for Haven guests at all shows. Our butler Samir was equally impressive getting us anything we needed whenever we needed it. Chocolate chip cookies at 1am for my kids, pizzas for us at odd hours etc.. whatever we wanted it was done. There are also little platters of snacks, sandwhiches and chocolates they leave in your room everyday. We ate at the following restaurants - Moderno, Tepanyaki, La Cucina, Manhattan room, Haven, Osheehans, Margaritaville Moderno was amazing - tons of food and great quality meats Tepanyaki was also amazing - a ton of food and just tasted great La Cucina - not very good. The pizza was good and that was about it. And this was our second time eating there because we went on the inaugrual sailing of the Bliss last year to Alaska (wich i will get to later) and the food was not good then either so they really need to consider what they are making in there Manhattan Room - amazing food, and dinner entertainment. Wish we ate there more than once. We ate there on our last night Haven - amazing all around Osheehans, - great pub food for lunch and dinner. They have a light night menu that i cant say the same about. Not sure if the food goes downhill that time of night or what but they should be embarrased to serve the nachos they do Margaritaville - i already discussed Garden buffet - i had a snack there once. our family traveling with us at there a lot and said it was not as good as the Bliss and i am sure they are right because the buffett food on the Bliss was suprisingly amazing Pool Snack Menu in the Haven - great they had everything from swordfish burgers, chicken ceasar wraps, burgers etc... they also have pound cake and banana bread by the pool everyday also with tea and infused water The casino- I read a hundred reviews complaining about the smoke. I will start off by saying i have asthma and not lightly either my lung actually collapsed when i was 18 so i dont like smoke. It WAS NOT as bad as some of the reviews i read. yes you can smell it terribly if you walk through a certain part of the slots section but i love black jack and there is a non smoking section (the smoke does wreak through into the non smoking because there is not a barrier to seperate) but it was managable. i played black jack every night and didnt feel like i was dying. They def could have designed it better as there was not a problem at all on the bliss games - the kids took advantage of karaoke every night and it was a blast to watch some people. they did the ropes course and said it was a lot of fun. Hardly any of them went to the kids clubs. they did their own things and we let them. they all stayed in a group and had phones so i was comfortable lettting them roam free. we played bingo and took part in some of the family fun games. they also spent a ton of money in the arcade and bowling so watch your kids spending on their cards if they have charging privleges escape the big top - absolutley terrible - dont waste your time. I'm the one that booked it and i dont think I will every hear the end of wasting an hour of everyones time. It was truly aweful. Excursion - we didnt book any through the ship. I booked a private catamaran through Sail Bermuda called the Wyauna and it was the highlight of the trip. We went paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and cliff jumping. The boat was well equipped immaculant and everyone had the best time FYI Bermuda is absolutley beautiful. We travel a ton and its the prettiest well maintianed Island i have ever been to. For the second day we rented electric cars from Oleander Bermuda Rentals and toured the entire Island and hit some beaches. Just make sure they give you a fully charged car. My brother n law had an issue with his. So last year we went on the Bliss all 9 of us also. It was amazing the ship was brand new and we did not have the haven. I didnt feel like i missed out because everything was so gorgeous on that ship and the staff was so friendly. We also did not have a lot of sea days. I will say i dont think we would have enjoyed this cruise as much if we werent in the haven. My sister n law and her family were not in the haven and although they had a nice time they have come complaints and there experience was not the same as ours. The staff outside of the Haven did not seem to be as nice as they were on the Bliss. The cleanliness of the ship was not as nice as the Bliss either. So i guess the bottom line is if you want a hassle free, VIP, total escape from problems crusie book the Haven. If you dont mind waiting in long lines and being incovenienced a bit then your fine without the Haven. But the pool deck and chair situation outside of the haven looked like a madhouse just FYI. Oh and getting off the ship there was about an hour and a half wait and i was freaking because i thought we would miss our flight but nope there was a special exit and special line to clear customs - took us 15 minutes! I hope this review was helpful:) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had an excellent time on this cruise. I cruised with my husband and three daughters and my parents. The best part about this itinerary is that they spend 3 days in Bermuda, which allows you to do more on the island. Cruise ... Read More
We had an excellent time on this cruise. I cruised with my husband and three daughters and my parents. The best part about this itinerary is that they spend 3 days in Bermuda, which allows you to do more on the island. Cruise Terminal: This ship left out of the Manhatten Cruise Terminal and I would suggest that if you are planning on cruising out of this terminal that you research where you are going to park ahead of time. there is parking at the terminal but it is expensive. $40 a day. We researched ahead of time and found a parking garage within only a few blocks from the terminal for half that price. Embarkation: Boarding the ship was relatively smooth. There was a long line but it moved quickly and the staff checking people in was efficient. Ship: The ship is huge. This was our fifth cruise with Norwegian and the layout was identical to their other large ships in the fleet such as the Breakaway, Bliss and Getaway. The ship was very nice and clean. Certain areas tended to get congested such as the Garden Café, and the theaters during show time. The Escape has waterslides, a ropes coarse, plank and mini golf, in front of Spice H2O there is the grotto with a waterfall area you can walk through. The pool area fills up quickly, two of the days we were not able to find a lounge chair that was empty. Get there early if you want a chair especially on sea days. For the shows we watched Choir of Man, which was outstanding, if you do nothing else, you must see this show, and we watched After Midnight which was also very well done. The only specialty restaurant we did was Teppanaki which was amazing. As soon as you set foot on the ship book your shows and restaurants right away, if you wait then everything will be booked out on the first day. Cabin: We had 2 adjoining rooms that were interior rooms on the 13th deck. It's nice and quiet up there. My kids were in one room and my husband and I were in the other one. Before this cruise we had always done a balcony but I was impressed with the interior room. Still enough space and it was cozy. The only thing I was unhappy with was the cabin steward. He took our pool towels and never replaced them and he lost our laundry, it ended up being found later that day. Aside from that, the rest of the service was off the chart. Bermuda: Bermuda is a great destination. It's such a beautiful island with the most stunning beaches I have ever seen. The one thing I will say is that it is extremely expensive. I forgot to pack sunscreen and when I bought it there it was $18.You will save a ton of money if you go back to the ship to eat all your meals. the first day we did an island tour that lasted 3 hours. This was a great way to get oriented with where everything was on the island. We also did snorkel park beach which is s short walk from the ship. No waves so it is great for children and you can rent kayak's and snorkel gear, and they have a beach bar. On day 2 we did a catamaran swim and snorkel. This was the highlight of the trip. They take you out to a reef a few miles away and you have 3 hours to snorkel in no more than 15ft of water. Snorkel gear is provided, along with kayak's and paddleboards. There is a bar on the boat and you get a free rum swizzle. It was great. For beaches we went to Horseshoe Bay which is a must see, it is beautiful and Tobacco Bay in the town of St. George, another beautiful beach with no waves and good snorkeling. Dining: We only ate at one speciality restaurant and it was Teppanyaki. All the food in the complimentary dining rooms was excellent. Overall we had a great time and would go again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Though it was a good buy to beautiful Bermuda - but was mistaken -the actual cost was nearly three times the ad price.. .Low quality, not fun and they actually yelled at us customers! Buyer beware - use a travel agent. At departure off ... Read More
Though it was a good buy to beautiful Bermuda - but was mistaken -the actual cost was nearly three times the ad price.. .Low quality, not fun and they actually yelled at us customers! Buyer beware - use a travel agent. At departure off the ship at 7:45 am, they had us jammed in the elevator area with our luggage and squished further as more people came out the elevators for more than 20 minutes! They yelled at us as we tried to get out of one another's way in the congestion! Very stress full, uncomfortable and unnecessary for our last impression. My other three cruise you just walk off the ship. The water slides were frequently down for repair and when the were running the water flow was so low you hardly slid at all more like crawling down the slide. The Atrium area was often very congested because of poor design and the lack of space on the ship. The entertainment was often poor . Things were canceled often. Some were just sales tricks to get your money. Choir of Man and After Midnight were very good shows ! The food was fair to poor. Twice I got fishy salmon. Food was often over cooked and dry. They give out very small piece of watermelon infrequently. The deserts are mostly just puddings. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I'm a glass if half full kinda guy so read my review with this in mind. I decided to take my 20yo daughter on a decompression vacation the day after she took her MCAT test after 6 months of study. We booked at the very last minute. ... Read More
I'm a glass if half full kinda guy so read my review with this in mind. I decided to take my 20yo daughter on a decompression vacation the day after she took her MCAT test after 6 months of study. We booked at the very last minute. Cruise Outlet messed up our reservation so we ended up in an ocean view room with no perks instead of balcony with all the "Free at Sea" stuff. The ride to NYC from NH was uneventful and we ended up at the port by 11:00. The embarkation lines were pretty long and it took a couple hours to get on board which was fairly annoying. We had booked last minute so we had to visit customer services to give them a credit card and to sing the forms so my daughter could drink on board. The lines were short and we had no issues. We decided to have lunch, but after rejecting the mess at the buffet, we got to O'Sheehan's just as it closed for the mandatory drill. Oh well, a little fasting before 7 days of overeating probably isn't a bad thing. The Escape Man this is a big ship. I went on a few cruises 20 years ago and things are a lot bigger now. As others have mentioned, the elevators are a major issue during busy times. We just took the stairs. It's good exercise, but going from 5 to 17 is a haul. The top decks are huge. There were usually chairs available, but there was virtually no place to get out of the sun. I know it's impossible to ever have enough pools and hot tubs for 5000 people. I think the same group of Jersey bros pretty much monopolized one of the hot tubs every day with enough bud lite to keep them pretty happy for the next month. Other than the top deck, outdoor space is really limited on the Escape. We spent a lot of time reading in the comfy seats on deck 8. The only problem was if you ever left (like for lunch), you'd never find a spot again. The inside of the Escape on decks 6/7/8 smells like an old ash tray. I'm not sure who thought allowing smoking in the casino that is open to 3 decks was a great idea. It was kind of a flashback to my grandmother's living room in the 50's. Cabin We ended up in an ocean view cabin (5728). It was nice enough and clean. I wish there was a place to sit and read rather than lying in bed. The window is big enough to sit in, tho you'll get a little dizzy with the ocean whizzing by just 25 feet below you. The beds were comfortable and bathroom was fine. There was plenty of storage, but having just 3 outlets was a hassle trying to keep phones, ipads, headphones etc all charged up (especially if you fall asleep with your ipad as I usually do). Meals We ended up eating in specialty dining 5 nights. Reservations were easy to come by the 1st few days, but got really hard the last couple. Moderno Churrascria - Excellent salad bar. I could have been happy just eating there. Too bad it was the only salad bar on the ship. The meat was good but not great. I think NCL tries to pass pot roast off as fancy steak by wrapping bacon around it. The pork and lamb was ok. The roasted pineapple was excellent. Teppanyaki - The Japanese jokes get old after about 10 minutes (I never saw any of the large numbers of Japanese guests eating there, but I would have been a little offended if I were them). The food was excellent. I ordered steak and chicken, but there was left over shrimp and scallops so I sampled them too. All except maybe the chicken were very good. The green tea cake for dessert was horrible. La Cucina - We sat outside which was nice. The pasta appetizers were good but the sauce was a little thick. Maybe they sat under a heat lamp for a bit. The main courses were good as was dessert. Cagney's - We went there twice. The 1st night was excellent. The filet was perfect, as were the side dishes. The Creme Brulee and 7 layer cake were both great. The 2nd time, we ended up with a 9PM reservation and I think the crew had checked out for the night. I had surf and turf this time. The filet was extremely rare (I ordered it medium). The shrimp were small and tasted like the frozen ones from the grocery store. 4 of our 5 side dishes showed up 5 minutes after the main course was server (the 5th is still AWOL). Dessert kind of saved the day. MDR - Really not that bad other then a lot more kids than in the specialty dining rooms. We ended up next to the band in the Manhattan Room and has to ask to move since it was very loud. The french onion soup was very good. I had a pork entree that was as good as what I'd eaten in the specialty dining rooms. O'Sheehan's - We ate breakfast and lunch here most days. The made to order omelettes are good. The corned beef hash is nice. They don't have a clue how to make toast though. I finally figured out they had english muffins the last day and it was toasted perfectly (too bad it came out 10 minutes before my eggs). We had fajitas for lunch a few times and they are good. My daughter liked the burgers and the wings. Drinks/Bars - As I mentioned earlier, Cruise Outlet screwed up our reservations, so we were in the small minority of people on the ship without the drinks package. We had a $30-ish bottle of wine with most dinners and for the most part they were pretty good for the price (at least before the automatic 20% got added on). We liked the District Brew House until they ran out of Dogfish Head IPA on day 5. We had a Margarita at it's 5 O'clock Somewhere but it had almost no alcohol in it for north of $30 for 2 of them. I assume thats a side effect of most everyone having "free" drinks and not wanting to knock everyone out before 5 O'Clock. We would never drink enough to justify paying $120/day/person for the drinks package, but it sure would have been nice to have it for free. Entertainment Loved Choir of Man Slept through After Midnight The WIne Lovers lunch show was entertaining Liked Howling at the Moon. The audience is pretty entertaining and the performers are fun There was nice music at the Tobacco Bar a couple nights, but people were talking too loudly to enjoy it. Bermuda What can I say... It's beautiful. Everyone is very friendly and I never felt the least bit threatened. I'm not crazy about King's Wharf since it's off in the middle of no where. The last time I went, the ship docked at St Georges, but I guess modern cruise ships are too big to get in there these days. We did take the free NCL ferry to St Georges one day. It's a great little town and an easy walk to Tobacco Bay. We rented pedal bikes one day and logged 25 or so miles biking down to Horseshoe Bay and back. The rail trail is very nice for biking once you find it (it starts a couple miles from the port). Horseshoe Bay is a total mess. Wall to wall people and the day we stopped by the beach was covered in seaweed. We did fine several unoccupied beaches along the way as well as Fort Scaur which is very interesting. We went on the local shipwreck snorkel trip. The boat was nearly empty and it was a good time. In the End... I'd do it again. Hopefully with a Balcony room so we had some private outside space. The NCL Escape is nice enough. I'm not sure specialty dining is necessary, but it does get you some variety. I'd love more time to explore Bermuda off the beaten track Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because it is within driving distance. Also, we did the same exact one last year, and we had a GREAT time. Embarkation went VERY well. I think that we were in Savor eating by 11:30. We parked at the port, which was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it is within driving distance. Also, we did the same exact one last year, and we had a GREAT time. Embarkation went VERY well. I think that we were in Savor eating by 11:30. We parked at the port, which was expensive ($280). The ship is beautiful and very clean! Every staff member who I interacted with was AWESOME! They always did their best to make us happy! I LOVED Spice H2O! (Adults only area.) This is where I spent my afternoons. I also enjoyed the ropes course on this ship! So much fun! We ate 6 of our dinners in the Manhattan Room, and the staff was excellent! One night we ate at Moderno's! Wow! My first specialty dining experience and it was amazing! I will have to try that again! Breakfast in Taste/Savor is super good! I highly recommend it! Lunch in the Garden Cafe was great because they have so many choices! I love that they have actual hard ice cream along with the soft serve! I also loved their "salad action" stations each day for lunch, where they would mix up a different salad of the day for you. We were in angled balcony cabin 9900(aft, starboard). The view of the water isn't that great because the Waterfront roof is right outside of the balcony connected to it, so a cabin on a higher deck would def be a better view. Our room attendant, Gilbert, was EXCELLENT! He was the BEST EVER from all of my cruises! Wow! We loved Choir of Man! I wish that I had seen it earlier in the week, instead of on the last night. Carol's Kings (Male Vocal Group in the Supper Club) was very good! It was nice to get food during the Supper Club show. I didn't get to see After Midnight on this cruise. I love being at one port for 3 days because it seems very relaxing. No rushing on and off of the ship each day. We went to Horseshoe Bay Beach, St. George's, and we spent the 3rd day exploring the Dockyard. We LOVED the complimentary ferry to St. George's; it was a lovely and very comfortable boat. We loved this cruise so much that we will be doing it again next year! The brand new Encore will be replacing the Escape on this itinerary next year. I look forward to see the new ship! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We were a group of ten and we all had a wonderful experience! Will we do it again? Most definitely, we are actually planning the next cruise lol! Our 3young one had a great time. Also all the adults had a fabulous vacation... In our ... Read More
We were a group of ten and we all had a wonderful experience! Will we do it again? Most definitely, we are actually planning the next cruise lol! Our 3young one had a great time. Also all the adults had a fabulous vacation... In our opinion the service and entertainment in this cruise was fantastic. The crew was great and my favorite the CAS host and casino crew was my definite Cruise Heroes! Can’t wait for our next NCL cruise. Before I forget we also had a Meet and Greet with the ship officer and they’re amazing and very very friendly... I have known most people f the ship officers from our previous NCL cruises and I’m happy when I get a chance to see and say hello to them again. Our service at the main restaurants were great. Our cabin a large balcony had 2lounger chairs and 2 small chairs. Kids club for the kids was excellent. Overall I recommend this ship and itenerary Escape to Bermuda Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I always choose to sail out of NYC because it's easy for me to get there and NO FLYING!! I love cruising with NCL because of the "do what you want to do" atmosphere. There's always fun night parties and passengers ... Read More
I always choose to sail out of NYC because it's easy for me to get there and NO FLYING!! I love cruising with NCL because of the "do what you want to do" atmosphere. There's always fun night parties and passengers of all ages attend and seem to really have a great time. The dining options are very wide, and although I did not do specialty dining this time, I have in the past and they are worth the experience. The main dining room menus offer a good variety of food AND you can always order 2 entrees so we can try different foods. The servers were a bit slow on some nights. Our balcony room was perfect and spotless. The Island of Bermuda is the most beautiful island. I have been there 4 times and it does not get old. Horseshoe Bay Beach is outstanding. There are taxis right at the port that can take you for a flat fee of $7.00 per person one way, plus the cab driver gives you information about the island, all you have to do is start the conversation. Enjoy!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We found cruising NCL to be super relaxing and a lot of fun! The Escape is a beautiful ship with a fun and helpful crew. We definitely plan to sail on The Escape again! Embarkation was a smooth process, very organized. Our overall ... Read More
We found cruising NCL to be super relaxing and a lot of fun! The Escape is a beautiful ship with a fun and helpful crew. We definitely plan to sail on The Escape again! Embarkation was a smooth process, very organized. Our overall food and beverage experience was excellent. We chose to eat at Cagney's Steakhouse, LeBistro French Restaurant, Moderno Churrascaria, the buffet, O'Sheehan's, Savor, Taste, and The Manhattan Dining Room. Cagney's, LeBistro, and Moderno (all premium restaurants) were all wonderful - delicious food, great service, and excellent options. We were also pleasantly surprised by the buffet - delicious food, lots of options for all meals. Savor, Taste, and the Manhattan room were very good as well. Our experience at O'Sheehan's was hit or miss, but overall not bad. I wasn't thrilled with the cupcake I purchased at the bake shop (white chocolate strawberry); in my opinion the icing was way too stiff and the cake part was sticky. But the complimentary desserts were all hits with our family. Everyone on the NCL staff was professional and helpful. Our room steward checked with us every day and kept our room spotless. He even left me an extra box of tissues and an extra pillow when I came down with a cold during the cruise. The food staff was perfectly attentive without being overbearing and were VERY helpful with food allergies again without being overbearing. They were knowledgeable about how the food was prepared and double checked anything we ordered. We had plenty of allergy-safe options from which to choose. (For reference, our allergy concerns were Tree-nut, Peanut, and Shellfish.) There are plenty of onboard activities for all ages. Our family enjoyed the rope course, water slides, dance parties, pool, H2O, and the Grotto. The Grotto in H2O is a beautiful, peaceful retreat! There's plenty of entertainment on board. Here's our overall rating of the shows we attended: 18+ Comedy Show: Just meh. Not all that funny. After Midnight: High energy show, great dancing, beautiful costumes. Very enjoyable. Dueling Pianos: Very talented musicians, funnier than the comedian, but same kinds of jokes at each performance - once is enough. Don't ask them to play any Billy Joel or Elton John - they obviously hate it and will either not play your request while insulting you for asking or totally destroy the song with their own lyrics. Choir of Man: Fantastic show! We even purchased the CD afterward. This is the show to see! 5 stars. As for excursions, we did the Sunset Bermuda Triangle Glass Bottom Boat excursion through NCL and the Restless Native Catamaran Snorkel excursion through our excellent travel agents (Rick & Marian at Dream Vacations). Both were excellent! -The Sunset cruise was funny and very interesting. -The Restless Native crew were a lot of fun and the the snorkeling took place in water that we could stand in, making it accessible for everyone, and the more adventurous passengers could swim out into deeper water to see the reef. -On our own, we took a cab ($45 for six adult passengers) to Warwick Long Bay. The cab driver was friendly and helpful, the beach was beautiful and uncrowded, and we even found a little cove with lots of fish! Everyone in Bermuda was friendly and helpful. -I also recommend trying the Afternoon Tea at The Princess Hotel in Hamilton - delicious! A reservation is helpful, but not needed. If you do not have a reservation, just allow about 30 minutes for them to prepare your food - everything is made fresh! Disembarkation was a smooth process. Lines were long, but that's to be expected on a cruise carrying 5000 passengers. My disembarkation tip: Get a NYC porter for your luggage! No charge - just a tip (which they definitely deserve!), and they will get you through to your car or taxi super fast! Overall, a great trip I would love to do again! I'm hoping the Escape will get some improvements to it's professional entertainment, but at the very least Choir of Man is now included and is amazing! Yes, there are a variety of offerings onboard for an upcharge, but there's plenty to enjoy for no additional cost. Great cruise on a beautiful ship! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
As a heads-up, we were a group of 6 aged 30-45 with 2 seniors over 65 but still physically capable, all sailing May 19-26, 2019. We’ve also sailed on other cruiselines to compare (RCI, Princess, Holland America). The 2 seniors were ... Read More
As a heads-up, we were a group of 6 aged 30-45 with 2 seniors over 65 but still physically capable, all sailing May 19-26, 2019. We’ve also sailed on other cruiselines to compare (RCI, Princess, Holland America). The 2 seniors were celebrating their 50th anniversary. We're pretty casual and sensible people, but we sure know quality when we see it. I hope this lengthy review helps you out, because it sure could've helped us out before booking! While the NCL Escape wasn’t a horrible cruise, it was disappointing in too many areas that it really has left us just vexed and irked. It’s almost a completely different cruiseline compared to a few years ago, and not in a good way. They don’t offer a good enough product for the NYC area, with nothing premium that is not in The Haven (the ship’s suite facilities). The ship’s biggest flaw was not being able to fit the passenger capacity in the facilities onboard due to them being too small or an afterthought. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION: Embarkation was congested yet semi-organized, which took about ~1hr from the entering the marina to getting on the ship. Many hurdles to jump through, and towing luggage while doing it isn’t too fun and I can’t imagine doing this regularly/monthly. Disembarkation was initially a disaster since the ship docked many hours earlier than expected, and some rocket scientist in charge thought it was a good idea to call our tag color 1hr before it should have. You should have seen the madness that was the buffet and elevators by then (8AM). Absolutely NUTS. And the staff was no longer as pleasant, but go figure special thanks to rocket scientist. Then once we managed to squeeze into an elevator, it was ~20min total time off the ship and passing customs. The $40/day pier parking was totally worth the convenience, and we could have gotten a marginally cheaper shuttle arrangement if we researched in advance. DEMOGRAPHIC: Basically the Carnival cruise kind of crowd, in mid-May. Passengers were mainly 30-60 yrs of the blue-collar-with-tattoos kind of crowd who looove to drink and consider the burgers and pizza to be gourmet, and there were some kids running around or making scenes and spreading germs via poor hygiene. But most passengers were respectful and we all treated each other as such. SHIP: Bigger isn’t necessarily better, and this ship’s a clear example. Aside from being a big & beautiful ship and all that, it’s packed to the gills with passengers like a sardine can (~4300 total). There simply aren’t enough pools & hot tubs for everyone. It’s hard to find a seat in the buffet most of the time. You have to hunt down lounge chairs often to get the location you prefer. I could go on. The ship also seemed to be cheaply assembled since it constantly creaked and rocked from the slightest choppiness at sea. I’ve felt less rocking in smaller ships, on WORSE waters. The walls aren’t well insulated or secured as evident by the constant creaking in the stateroom and several facilities. The strangest thing was that the engine’s vibrating was felt all the way up to the 10th+ floor, with sometimes jolts of vibrations that would dissipate randomly. Why? How? Imagine having to sleep with that….NOT fun! CABIN: Our cabin was a mid-ship balcony, 9280, smack-dab next to the elevators. The elevators weren’t a noise issue because they were partitioned from them, but the cabin walls were thin enough to hear a cough from the neighbors or flip flops in the hallway. Especially door slams and toilet flushes, what a drag. The bathroom was OK in size, but the toilet paper roller is installed in a hidden place which doesn’t make sense. Also, 9280 had the bed closest to the balcony rather than the sofa (as some balconies do), which while it’s nice for couples, it didn’t work out at all when having guests over. The dark wood and the sofa material were terrible design choices, because it cheapened & visually confined the cabin. SERVICE: The crew overall helped to create a positive cruise experience, and for the most part the staff is pleasant. Our housekeeper Edwin was the rudest, laziest housekeeper we’ve ever met. Not to go into much detail, he was in a bad mood no matter what, constantly neglected to refill or clean certain things, hung up on our call requests to fix them, ignored us when we ran into him and said hello, and rushed us out of our cabin whenever he felt like making up our room. Sure, he had 16 rooms to clean, but frankly that wasn’t our problem since we were on vacation. We had to beg him to arrange an anniversary surprise for the senior couple traveling with us. He didn’t even provide the “anniversary cake” card they were promised, so we had to get it at guest services. Other than folks like Edwin, the crew was overall friendly and hardworking however lacked refinement or training when it came to good service (eg MDR). Most are no longer willing to go above and beyond. Most are no longer eager to please. Those small details that make a vacation special were missing. The absence made sense when we saw staff being rotated around the ship instead of focusing on one area (eg one day Richard’s in the MDR, the next he’s in the buffet). The MDR was understaffed, lacking hands to manage several tables. The whole experience were even less special as a result of lacking food, service and timeliness. Other passengers complained of similar service issues in the specialty dining restaurants. Why pay more for the same experience? The anniversary surprise resulted in a quarrel between the staff of who were or weren’t in the mood to sing for the couple. On their 50th? A crying shame. DINING: The food aboard was overall acceptable, however was cut back a good amount since we sailed with NCL in 2015. It’s obvious that the cruiseline decided to go with a cheaper & lower-end selection of meals, even in specialty dining. Even Carnival has more gourmet dining options now (and that’s saying something). The Garden Café (buffet), while ideal for quick & no-frills meals, was limited or unimaginative when it came to selection and quality of food options. Where was the salmon, gourmet cheeses, array of cured meats, unique ingredients/foods/proteins or fine pastries? Because 80%+ of the time we couldn’t find them. Buffet breakfast was disappointing, with the same boring assortment every single day: continental/American usual choices, an embarrassing European selection, and congee. The buffet offered cuisine themes, but 1) themed ethnic dishes were NOT authentically prepared (not even the Mexican dishes! Really??), and 2) just the dinner themes were advertised while nobody knew what was going on for lunch. The pizza would upset ANY native NYC’er since it was essentially tomato sauce & cheese on a bland and greasy insult to pizza crust. Buffet desserts were mostly boring and repetitive, including the crepe station. There were always 1-2 no-sugar-added options (eg vanilla ice cream; strawberry mousse), but again, VERY boring and repetitive. The executive chef (an Indian man whose name I forgot) did nail down not seasoning the dishes too much/little, much like on RCI. He especially excels at Indian buffet dishes, but as much as I enjoyed the fish curry or chicken korma, I had to skip it often due to being too heavy/spicy, and most of the passengers apparently did the same. O’Sheehan’s was a pub-style free dining option, with decent wings and other bar snacks of varying quality. The whole place kind of felt like an afterthought, like “yeah, welcome, what do you want, are you done yet?”. The atrium right next to it was deafening loud a lot of the times where you just couldn’t hear each other at the table. Most things we tried on the menu were overall good, not great. The service, just meh. The desserts were disappointing, including me not finishing the brownie cheesecake -- something I NEVER did on a NCL cruise in 2015. It didn’t even TASTE like cheesecake or brownie. What happened? Oh that’s right, quality cuts the company hoped their passengers wouldn’t notice. The MDR menu selections were reduced a good amount, and lacked gourmet touches when it came to the ingredient quality and cooking technique. No special sauces, no complex flavors, barely/no textural components, no unique proteins/fish/etc, no Lobster night, and no prime rib or salmon every night like before. The MDR for breakfast and lunch was a COMPLETE afterthought in both food and service, glacial in pace (avg meal there was 1-1.5 hrs), and had a noisy ambiance forcing you to yell across a table of four just to hear each other (see sardine can notes above). Besides at the specialty dining, 75% of everything we saw was just repeating classic fare available every day and night. MDR dinner was barely considered a memorable event due to scaling back the quality & presentation so much (not to mention the service lacking), so they never felt that special like before. We’re not picky eaters at the end of the day. But most food options were seriously lacking that gourmet touch we expect when cruising (especially compared to the past); instead they just came off as upper-casual at best, or ideal for hangover recovery. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment is all over the place from poor (eg After Midnight) to pretty good (eg Choir of Man). All the outdoor parties were underwhelming (deafening?), with the oldest of the age range doing most of the interacting/dancing while most of the youngest were just standing around and drinking. The comedy-magician guy was alright. Howl at the Moon was actually pretty good. The dance-off competition was funnier than the comedian. Again, all over the place. SHIP AREAS, ACTIVITIES, ETC: There were 2 shuffle board courts, a ropes course, water slides, 2 tiny pools, a kid-zone, a mini-golf course, and probably some other small things I cannot think of right now. The pools were empty most of the time, with people all around the perimeter dipping their feet. Why? Because a) the pools are too deep to touch the bottom, and b) they’re too cold to enjoy most of the time. At least they were salt water. The ropes course & mini golf were nice but forgettable, and could have been removed to make (desperately needed) space for more pools & hot tubs. The running track on deck 17 is obviously an afterthought. It didn’t have a dedicated pathway and is actually a hazard for both the runners and non-runners. Who wants to run while dodging puddles, loungers and second-hand smoke? The Waterfront on deck 8 was the ship’s saving grace for adults wanting R&R outside their stateroom. You can only walk on it due to dividers. It has plenty of chaises and lounge chairs to enjoy actual peace and quiet (something very rare on this ship). The muster drill is a congested joke to get up the elevators, so we just waited it out in the Waterfront (deck 8) until the crowds cleared. Deck 18 is a nice place to get some sun and relax, and there’s usually plenty of loungers available. There’s 2 hot tubs up there, outside of the Vibe Beach Club entrance. But the problem is that a) it sometimes is too windy to enjoy, and b) not enough hot tubs for the deck’s capacity, so they were always crowded. Spice H2O area is nice and adults only, but all the loungers are taken unless you snag one before 10am. Again, not enough space. The (scarce) umbrellas are almost always closed unless there’s barely any breeze, so hope you like tanning. Not enough hot tubs, and the waterfall just takes up wasted space. I mean, I could see the need to go black-Friday-doorbusters for the 1st-come-1st-serve Vibe passes at guest services upon embarkation (~$100 each IIRC), to get guaranteed access to umbrellas and hot tub. But because it’s deck 18, it’s oftentimes too windy to enjoy whenever. Enrichment activities were available, but many weren’t for pure knowledge and just ended up with upselling something you didn’t need. All other adult activities besides the gym, buffet, Waterfront & pools/tubs were basically fee applied. The gym was decent size for after 1st sea day when it cleared out, with plenty of treadmills, ellipticals, weight machines, etc as well as a yoga/dance room. The gift shop had some good items, clothing and jewelry for sale, and at decent prices during their flash sale events. Honestly, not all of it looked like chintzy Made in China stuff like I assumed. BERMUDA: Our 1st time visiting and we look forward to going back! We thoroughly enjoyed having a port of call for more than a day so we could explore it at our leisure. We did the mini-bus shore excursion which was a great way to see the island, but the experience is mostly all about the driver’s knowledge & proficiency (and we got a bad one). The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse area was probably my favorite part of the island. A view up there so nice that the Queen approved of it. The free ferry going from the dockyard to St. George (complete opposite side of the island) is nice if you go early to explore the area. We passed by Horseshoe Bay, and it’s $14 pp round-trip, but it appeared underwhelming with not-so-pink sand like we kept hearing. CONCLUSION: NCL Escape has so much room for improvement that there are some key areas that cannot be improved or fixed. Don’t get me wrong, the crew is overall pleasant and there’s activities here and there, but NCL needs to bring back the quality in dining, comfort and service. There’s not enough space in several ship areas, and NCL clearly knew this when designing the ship. They cram the passengers like a can of sardines in order to maximize profits. It’s kind of like the airlines: if nobody complains, they keep cutting. They act like a premium cruiseline by offering The Haven and specialty whatevers, but what about everyone else? NCL’s missing the big picture when it comes to what makes a cruise special, because they’re so transfixed on dumbing down everything to become plain or casual. Dining and entertainment experience has dropped to a new low which is unacceptable. Based on how the cruiseline trends are going, we’re basically left with no choice but to resort to the more premium lines (Princess, Holland America, Celebrity, etc) to ensure we get the quality and service we pay for. No more NCL for us, which is too bad! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This trip was for our grandson so chose a ship with lots of amenities for kids. Cruise description said included pool table, bowling alley and arcade but there is a charge and can add up fast over a 7 day cruise. Ping pong 4 tables so ... Read More
This trip was for our grandson so chose a ship with lots of amenities for kids. Cruise description said included pool table, bowling alley and arcade but there is a charge and can add up fast over a 7 day cruise. Ping pong 4 tables so you usually have to wait - no charge Basketball court great but held tournaments for over 18. A number of younger kids my grandson's age 10 but did not offer tournaments for them Strict children's pool with lifeguard blowing his whistle a lot and banning kids from pool after 3 warnings. Too bad they weren't as strict with their "No smoking in cabin and on balcony" rule Enjoyed food and lots of entertainment in Atrium Dress code - you only have to dress up for speciality restaurants. Shorts allowed in Savour, Taste and Osheehans for all meals. Bermuda and weather great, will go back again Enjoyed the ship and did not feel crowded except by pools on sea days which is normal. Would cruise again on this ship or one of the other Norwegians new ships. We all had a great time. Grandson said best vacation ever. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
My family of four was looking for a last minute cruise leaving from New York for a bit of a getaway, and Norwegian Escape 7-night to Bermuda delivered. I was impressed with the family friendly activities and amenities for kids from the ... Read More
My family of four was looking for a last minute cruise leaving from New York for a bit of a getaway, and Norwegian Escape 7-night to Bermuda delivered. I was impressed with the family friendly activities and amenities for kids from the adorable splash park and water slides to the kids club, all the way to mini golf and the ropes course. More specifically, watching my two young daughters explore the various elements of the splash park and pool was a highlight of our time on the ship -- it had kids of all ages from babies to teens enjoying themselves, and never felt overcrowded. Regarding our dining experience, the buffet always seemed to have kids pleasers and a wide assortment of options for all ages, and the Manhattan room felt classy with great views and talented entertainers during dinner. I must say that the staff at all the dining facilities were very friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. Things that would have been nice to know - the shore excursion credit promotion: the dollar value is really spread amongst all the days evenly. Meaning, if you have a $150 credit, you need to book 3 excursions for 3 days, applying only $50 for each day’s excursions. Kids clubs: if you do not take a tour during the first afternoon, you will not be able to look at the facilities at all – they are adult free zones for all and parents will not be allowed in, even a few feet into the shared space. NCL Ferry to St. George – it gets full much before the scheduled departure time, and we saw dozens turned away trying to make it (like us), so either get there much earlier than the times called for and wait in line, or simply take the ferry ($5 each way for an adult with young kids free). Regarding the kids clubs, they have a nursery (ages 1-3), and a kids club (ages 3-9), which was an impressively a large space featuring different fun themes each day. However, even as a parent of a 3 year old that has been fully potty trained for months, it would have been nice to know that they simply offer bathrooms for kids, but nobody is offering to help them – for example, they told me they walked her over twice one evening, but couldn’t tell me if she had actually used the bathroom. Additionally, both kids program areas do not allow parents inside when operating, which I would think is for security reasons, however, as a mom to two very friendly and outgoing kids that went willingly the first night for an hour or two, and the second – they were vehemently opposed to heading back again for the remainder of the 7 night cruise. It would have been nice to figure out a way to make them feel comfortable, however, none of the staff really seemed to go out of their way to try and help or form a connection with the kids, which seemed odd. As for the cabins, we had a balcony cabin (9218), and the size was as expected, with a great view out of the balcony both in Bermuda and sailing back into New York City. However, on most nights, there was a heavy banging noise coming from the floor below our room – enough that we could feel and hear it repeatedly for hours, several times a day (6:30pm, 6:30am and at points throughout the night). It both made it hard to fall asleep and woke us up several times. It certainly was a topic of conversation for those on the same side of the ship in the mornings by the elevators, and those on the other side seemed unaffected. I eventually said something at customer service a few nights in, although it was not resolved for the duration of the cruise. Otherwise, the cabins were nice, and as expected – meaning, I would just book a cabin on the other side or different floor! A random comment about the ship was regarding the smoke smell that emanated from the casino and into all the open area and middle of the ship as a result. My family made it a point to try and avoid walking through the whole middle section of the ship, and opted for going up/down/outside or in hallways as a result. I understand that they are allowing smoking for those in the casino, but it really affected our decisions such as not to eat at the specialty restaurants I had potentially wanted to try, but were in the vicinity of the smoke smell. Also, the hallway heading to the kids clubs also had a pungent (toilet) smell, which was a joke amongst parents dropping their kids off in the kids clubs. I would hope there is a solution for those, as it taints the experience on such a great family friendly ship. Bermuda had spectacular beaches – the light, clear and beautiful blue water which was stunning. The two beaches we went to were clean and fun for the family. We initially took a bus, which was extremely inexpensive and relatively easy, although the most expensive taxi/minibus for a family of four was only $32, which we took on the way back, especially since if you arrive or depart by bus you will need to climb up many stairs (which we did with 2 strollers!). Horseshoe Bay had a pink hue to the beach, which was beautiful, as well a special lagoon that kids, and adults, can enjoy on the right as you enter, but we did not notice until our way out! Notably, the beach in walking distance from the ship, Snorkel Beach Park, was really fun and offered an easy getaway packed with fun activities – we utilized the kayak and paddle board, and simply hung out on the beach the day of departure which was a true highlight of the trip! In short, this is definitely a cruise line and ship I can see me and my family coming back to – my husband thoroughly enjoyed the ropes course and waterslides, and I enjoyed the entertainment I could make it to – with 2 young kids, it was limited. However, we would most likely look to return to this line/ship when they are a bit older. The destination, Bermuda, was beautiful and breathtaking, and we thoroughly enjoyed the balcony view both in port and on the way back as we had front row seats and felt as though we could reach out and touch both the Verrazano Bridge and Statue of Liberty as we returned to New York City. All in all, an extremely memorable first vacation with a family of four! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I’m careful with my reviews because I read them carefully prior to booking and my hope is always the same, people that write point out the good as well as the bad. We have been in 17 cruises, with 5 different cruise lines. Nine of these ... Read More
I’m careful with my reviews because I read them carefully prior to booking and my hope is always the same, people that write point out the good as well as the bad. We have been in 17 cruises, with 5 different cruise lines. Nine of these cruises have been in a Norwegian ship. The various cruises were on Norwegian, carnival, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean ships. The truth be told although most would think the same quality from ship to ship, and my guess possibly what the cruise line strives for, it’s just not the case. This review is regarding Norwegian cruises, specifically the Escape. As you will see I rated it excellent and do so with sincerity. We have taken cruises on the following Norwegian cruise ships, Escape, Breakaway, Dawn, Gem, Epic, and Pearl. There are and will always be a few hiccups so to speak on any vacation regardless of how taken. It’s not so much that a problem develops, what’s of more importance is how any issues are handled. The staff, Chiefs and management aboard the Escape far exceed that of all the other Norwegian ships we have been on. My wife as well as I have a variety of medical issues, all of which have the potential of ruined vacation if care is not taken by staff to assure cleanliness in the room of dust, sanitation throughout the ship to assure colds and illness isn’t spread but my wife having a major Gluten allergy Chiefs and waiter staff assuring foods are prepared and handled avoiding any chance of cross contamination. Entering the Escape a food service manager is assigned to any and all vacationers to assure food is handed in strick compliance. Regardless of so many areas of a ship to eat, anytime a key card is swiped in a food area, that supervisor somehow responds to the area to assure no mistakes are made. Although I’m sure many that cruise are aware this is done on other ships as well as other Norwegian lines... None are as careful as those on the Escape. In fairness, any ship can be just lucky or have a bad day. But with 5 cruises now on the Escape, each cruise on this ship has actually improved and a few supervisors as well as managers have kinda got to recognize us. Chiefs and food service staff routinely add to our experience by sending gluten free items/treats to the room for my wife to enjoy. Only drawback we have found on Norwegian is entertainment. Because we cruise so often on this cruise line, there is a bit of redundancy on shows. For example, although a great show, the magician dinner show has been running for over s year on this same ship. This being said for those similar to us that cruise often and enjoy a particular ship, we lose out on entertainment because after seeing several times it gets old. So my suggestion to Norwegian staff is IF they are going to keep a show or act for any extended period of time, that show should be updated with new material. For a magician I would think this would be easy to do, why it’s not done beats me. I would think after a year doing exactly the same thing would get old on the magician as well. Same goes with the Newly or not so newly wed show. How hard would it be to change up the questions asking guests called up to participate? I realize this is being a little critical of a ship I’m rating 5 stars, but Hope is someone in management looks over this review as well and possibly consider what I’m saying as a easy way to make trips even more enjoyable for others like us that cruise 3-5 times a year and are regulars on their ships. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
The trip was great. Everyone was very friendly. The staff at the kids club was exceptional. My daughter was not looking forward to the kids club (splash academy) because of her experience on a carnival cruise, but after her first visit ... Read More
The trip was great. Everyone was very friendly. The staff at the kids club was exceptional. My daughter was not looking forward to the kids club (splash academy) because of her experience on a carnival cruise, but after her first visit she was sold. We met some really great people and the entertainers were very good. The comedy show was good not great. Getting on and off the ship was very smooth and easy. We were a little disappointed about the rope course, one of the zip lines was closed but we understand it was for safety. The ship was clean. This was my second trip on the escape and I would consider this ship again in the future. I found everyone at guest services to be attentive and helpful. The show choir of man was funny and entertaining. We are so glad we chose that show. Thank you NCL. Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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