Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: October 2015
NCL Escape 3 day from Hamburg to Southampton. GETTING TO KNOW US We in our late 60’s and we are active seniors who have done 29 cruises over the last 30 years. This was the end of 15 days in Europe to celebrate our 50th ... Read More
NCL Escape 3 day from Hamburg to Southampton. GETTING TO KNOW US We in our late 60’s and we are active seniors who have done 29 cruises over the last 30 years. This was the end of 15 days in Europe to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. We like the Freestyle NCL offers but have done other lines as well. We had never done a “new” ship right off the dock and we were excited to be part of all the newness seeing it before others. Hubby and I anticipated that there were to be glitches in many areas and knew we would be the ships Guinea Pigs as staff had not had passengers yet. SO, knowing all that, here is our review: ARRIVAL TO PORT We arrived at 10:30 AM and we were on board about 12:15. The going was slow and there was a "Disney" line to get on the ship. As expected, crew had some confusion but handled each request from passengers as quickly as possible in our area. We were in Group 12 to board. Embarkation was not as cruisers expect because there was no baggage assistance. For us, it was no issue as we were doing the 3 day, however, those getting on for the Transatlantic definitely struggled. Also, those with mobility issues or in wheelchairs were without assistance where we were. OUR CABIN We have not booked an inside cabin for some time but because this was a 3 day cruise and we anticipated we would be exploring the ship most of the time, we chose an inside cabin, 13463. The best surprise was the bathroom, very large, lots of space to store things and the shower was wonderful. I am not a fan of climbing over the tub to shower so this was perfect. We are not over packers so we found plenty of storage in the cabin. In the closet, we had 12 hangers, a safe, and several shelves along with space under the hanging side to store shoes. The bed had 2 small night tables with shelves in each one. I did not check under the bed for storage, too much to see and too little time. There was a built in table/desk with small bench and a refrigerator built in also. Our cabin was set up to hold 3 people but the third bunk would have been too claustrophobic for me. The cabin hallways seemed bigger than on the smaller ships The cabin needed a room card to keep power on so we threw in a grocery store card and everything worked and we still had our keys. SHIP This was our first cruise on a ship of this size and huge it was. Our cabin was forward and we walked a lot to get to everywhere. In my younger days, this was not an issue but I think the mega ships are not for me, just a personal choice. We explored everything we could and other than being huge, the ship was beautiful and the Waterfront truly brought back the Promenade Deck of the older ships. My DH did the ropes course while still in port and it looked intense to me. Throughout the 3 days, the kids and adults who climbed the course were having a lot of fun. There was also a mini version of the course built in so the younger kids had a course to do. The water park was immense and rivaled some water parks in the US and kids were using it. I thought the tots water area was well done and had many things for the toddlers to do. We did not see Teen or Kids area as we had no need. DRINKING ESTABLISMENTS (We had the Caps and Corks package) We went to Tobacco Road, The Cellars, The District Brew House, 5 O’clock Somewhere and Spice H2O. We never waited for a drink, service was quick. There were some vintages of wine and several brews that were not available but this was a shakedown cruise and we always found something we liked. Drinks did come with a port tax that we were not expecting but nothing outrageous. The only thing on our NCL account at the end was some minor gift shop purchases and the $20 odd taxes. Spice H2O was a great late night place but rain and weather kept the crowds away. DINING VENUES (We had no paid meal plans) We ate at both dining rooms, Garden Cafe buffet and O’Sheehans. First night, the service v e r y slow but we expected something would happen as this was the first time the dining room was full for the staff to practice on. Same dining room next time was great. We had breakfast in O’Sheehan’s and the selections for us seemed very limited. Lunch menu had more options. We found the food in the dining room delicious and well presented. Always a good mix of selections with vegetarian options, also. One thing NOT to our liking in the main dining room, items for a price. Prime Rib and 2 other items were on the menu but for an additional $14.95. These main dining rooms are our only place left without a la carte and we were very disappointed to them there. Come on NCL, at least leave the Main Dining alone. There were a few hiccups like dessert and coffee taking forever, waiters not sure what table they were serving and trying to order drinks in the dining room. The Buffet was well laid out and both sides had the same items so easy to find a small line. There was a bar within the Buffet that made getting a beer or drink very easy. I fell in love with the Pasta Bar, made to order with sauce and ingredient choices. There were no Hot Dogs or Hamburgers but maybe the Margaritaville at Sea was for hamburgers. The one time we went it was raining and this is an outside venue. ENTERTAINMENT We only saw Million Dollar Quartet and needed no reservation to get a seat at the 7 PM show. The young musicians were amazing and portrayed the characters excellently. Not to be missed. We went to the Howl at the Moon first night and I howled long and loud, LOL Music was good and piano players were energetic and had incredible talent. I am told I howled until 1 am but don’t remember. We went back on night 2 but crowd was not into it and we left. Night 3 was back to night one caliber. The Casino seemed to be bigger than any at sea we had seen. It was nice because there was no smell of smoke yet. I put $5 in a slot on day 1 and came away with $37.50. Wish I could be more exciting about the Casino but we just did not have time to see everything and stay there. All in all our experience was positive, we knew the ship would have issues but for us, they were few. The staff and crew were always on hand to take care of passenger issues with one exception but that was eventually dealt with. Having an inside cabin was okay for the 3 day but we agree we need to see out. Because of the weather, we can’t comment on chair huggers, kids in the adult pool, or any people smoking where they should not be. We attended the Meet & Greet and the Cabin Crawl and met some wonderful new friends we will keep forever. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We booked as a 3 night break from Hamburg to Southampton and then got the chance as Platinum latitudes members to stay on an extra night at a reduced price So overall thoughts on the ship? Firstly is it disabled friendly? On the ... Read More
We booked as a 3 night break from Hamburg to Southampton and then got the chance as Platinum latitudes members to stay on an extra night at a reduced price So overall thoughts on the ship? Firstly is it disabled friendly? On the whole yes, it’s a big ship but easy to get around and not too many bottle necks EXCEPT Embarkation Disembarkation Muster Drill And queuing for restaurants at peak times like just after shows finish It will be interesting to read reviews when the ship is full and in warm weather as to how crowded it gets on sun decks There were a lot of people with walking sticks and some in wheelchairs It can be a long walk from one end of ship to the other and would recommend getting a cabin near the elevators. If you can use stairs it’s a bit easier than having to wait for the elevators which at peak times were full when the doors opened onto your floor. The congestion on elevators was exaggerated on this short cruise by no portering facilities so you had to carry your own luggage on and off ship. The 2 sets of elevators with 8 in each are called forward and aft but are actually about a third of the way along from front and back of ship. With 20 decks the public area decks are 6/7/8 and 16 upwards for the sun decks Cabins We saw a good selection on our cabin crawl and there is bound to be a style to suit your style and budget. We liked our balcony cabin and the angled balcony available in a few such as 10276 will make a lot more room to relax in your own private space on a warm weather itinery. I’ve heard a few people complain that having the bed configuration near the wardrobe limits space . It certainly isn’t pushed up against it-there is a bedside table between the bed and wardrobe which is at least a foot wide. We didn’t find it an issue getting clothes out of the wardrobe in fact my husband found it easier sitting on the bed and leaning forward to grab his clothes from the shelves. The lighting system you activate by placing your room card in the slot inside your room works well and indicates to your cabin steward you are in residence. There are 2 switches to indicate do not disturb or make up room and they show as lights outside in the hall. Entertainment Million Dollar Quartet was very good but don’t drag your husband along if he isn’t a theatre fan! Howl at the Moon duelling pianos was great entertainment each night [they wont be playing every night on a regular cruise though or they will be exhausted Starlight band in 5 o clock sometime bar we really enjoyed but they are hampered by the design of the room. 5 o clock sometime bar implies a lively all day atmosphere but it doesn’t seem to work In May we were on the older NCL Star with the old bar refurbished to become 5 o clock sometime .That suffered by being a throughfare with bad acoustics and uncomfortable seats. This newly designed bar had its own problems attracting people to sit and listen to the on stage band. It had limited opening hours-supposed to open 12 noon but bar often closed mid afternoon Uncomfortable beach type chairs Rotating lights around stage dazzle audience for a few seconds There is an automatic door leading from waterfront which is the outside smoking area into the bar. Therefore there is a draft when people walk through it. The exit from the bar into the main inner r area consists of 2 glass doors. One of these open with a handle from the outside but have to push a lever from the other side and as there is no indication which door to open first the 2 doors never shut properly and bang together. SPA I used the thermal spa-very nice and had 1 treatment-a discounted head to toe with full body/scalp/foot massage and a facial Dining We ate in Manhattan restaurant one night where service was slow. Because platinum latitudes perks not extended to this short cruise we didn’t have a meal voucher so didn’t eat in speciality restaurant For ease and convenience ate mainly in O Sheehans and buffet and were perfectly satisfied Communication There was misinformation about back to back passengers having to attend multiple muster drills which caused frustration and resulted in people turning up late to their muster station. The only pre information given that there would be no portering facilities available at the port was for the invited guests cruise on 28th. There was no pre warning for the other mini cruises departing from Hamburg and Southampton Added taxes/gratuities We had pre paid our daily service charge and were aware of the 18% automatic bar charge .As we had pre paid a corks and caps beer and wine package that 18% was also pre paid However the final 2 days in and around Southampton there was extra port tax and VAT payable which was not pre warned but I knew to expect by reading info on cruise critic However I have read reports of irate people blaming NCL claim this extra money for themselves-nope blame our UK government. TEETHING PROBLEMS The non functioning safe and tv should have been on a checklist before guests arrived Toilets on deck 7 outside the theatre-there is a female toilet on 1 side and male on the other and both doors labelled correctly .However the high level indicators show a male figure on both sides! A silly mistake by someone hanging the signs but it’s going to irritate if not fixed Toilets on deck 8 outside District Brew house. The ladies has 3 cubicles 2 of which the handles are loose with too much play on the shank-someone risks getting stuck in there The curtain across the balcony window in our cabin had the final hook missing so a loose flap hanging down –looks unsightly on a brand new ship All above issues were reported to guest services/maintenance Would I do such a few days cruise again-oh yes!!! I am however disappointed that our group missed out on the souvenir lanyards tote bags etc that were given to other cruisers even day guests .Being the first paying guests on an inaugural cruise would have expected some kind of recognition. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
I just arrived from the airport, and sat down to write this review, hoping to be the first. I'll start by saying that it's hard to write a review based on a 2 nights cruise. There are so many features of the ship we ... Read More
I just arrived from the airport, and sat down to write this review, hoping to be the first. I'll start by saying that it's hard to write a review based on a 2 nights cruise. There are so many features of the ship we didn't try, and so many venues we didn't have time to visit. However, I'm partial to the Breakaway class, so even after two nights I can say that the ship is a success. This was a 2 nights cruise from Hamburg to Southampton. I was not impressed with the boarding process. You had to carry your bags (all of them) through the whole boarding process and to your room. Instead of the 20 minutes it took us to board the Breakaway in New York, embarkation in Hamburg took more than an hour. Though this is something that will be different in future cruises from Miami. Although the weather was cold, we went straight to the water slides. The new slide is a huge success. By far, in my opinion, the best slide I saw on ships, and that's including Disney's Aquaduck. Same thing to be said about the improved rope course. It's huge, with various zip lines. You can spend hours on it. We had a family room oceanview on deck 5. I had the same room on the Breakaway. I was impressed than. I'm impressed now. It's the largest room I ever had on a cruise ship. It has a bathtub (!). Lots of closet space. Two TVs. Perfect layout. You can't get a better room. I won't switch it with a balcony or even a suite. I didn't have time to try the new Bayamo restaurant. Cagney's was amazing, as always. Teppanyaki was entertaining. The new Food Republic is really good - I like the iPad ordering system, as well as the dishes. A really nice addition. Breakfast in the Garden Cafe was a mess. But that's another thing that goes with this being the ship's first cruise. They'll improve. A note about the Internet service: Norwegian offer an unlimited plan (good for one device), for 30 usd per day. With Royal offering a new ultra fast internet service at a fraction of the price, I think Norwegian should reconsider their pricing plan. Especially when they offer slow internet speed. I saw the After Midnight show. It was nice. Nothing less, nothing more. Oh, the gym is bigger and better placed (as well as the spa and thermal suite with its snow room). Overall, you have to try this ship. Especially when it'll sail from Miami, and after a few weeks of working out the initial problems. Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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