Sail Date: October 2015
I was thrilled to be on the Inaugural trans Atlantic sailing of the ESCAPE. I flew to London the day before, took the National Express Bus to Southampton, over nighted at a local hotel and took a cab to the ship. It was the UK so of course ... Read More
I was thrilled to be on the Inaugural trans Atlantic sailing of the ESCAPE. I flew to London the day before, took the National Express Bus to Southampton, over nighted at a local hotel and took a cab to the ship. It was the UK so of course it was cloudy and raining. The dock is very convenient to town. The check in was a nightmare. Lines snaked all over the place. The only Latitude check in was for Gold and Platinum. It was not a good first impression. Once on board the cabins were ready and you could move right in. Taking a walk around the ship brought to mind the Breakaway with a very similar layout. You could easily adjust to this ship. I was in cabin 13188 a minisuite. It was nicely decorated and laid out. It was a bit larger than a balcony cabin, but not much. The bathroom was the largest I have ever seen on a ship. There was a double sink and the shower was huge with lots of nozzles. Fantastic shower. I was traveling alone so the storage was not a problem, but it would have been if I had someone else sharing the cabin. Not enough storage. The AC/Heat worked very well. Lighting was good. No electrical outlets by the bed but there were three plugs by the desk. I really enjoy the open dining on NCL which is why this is my third cruise in one year. I never had to wait for a table at any restaurant. However, that was the end of the good times. I was VERY disappointed in the food. They have changed the menus and the offering were really odd and unappetizing. The portions are smaller, the courses less in number. Even in the complimentary restaurants there were items for purchase. I did not like that at all. I think they are testing out having everyone eventually pay for each meal. It was impossible to get coffee unless you ordered desert. I ate in Cagney’s and it was wonderful. The Garden Café was a terrible disappointment. There was a good variety of offerings, but at lunch and dinner rather then being hot and fresh the food was cold and congealed. Every dinner was a total disaster with temperature and freshness. Overall the food was terrible, the worst I have ever encountered. The crew and staff could not have been better. Even for a new ship they preformed very professionally and friendly. I was very impressed. The Atrium was well used for activities, but it is far too small for all the activities. People would be standing 6 or 7 deep. You could not see anything. They should have held them in the theatre. They also blocked the flow of walking traffic. Entertainment overall was excellent. They had tremendous performers. If I did not like a show it was not due to the performers it just was not my type of entertainment. The TV entertainment was horrible, unless you wanted to pay extra. My big complaint was the Internet. The price is immoral. The quality is pathetic. You use all your minutes just signing in. The last day it did not work for most of the day. When it did it was incredibly slow. To charge the outrageous cost they should provide A+ access. They do not. The ship is too large for me, but that is my preference. It was very nice, but nothing exceptionally special. It was nice being on the maiden voyage, but other than that it was not memorable. My next cruise is on RCCL which gave me a better price. Although I like the open dining, they have to give you food worth going to eat. At this time this ship does not do that. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Firstly emberkation was very good from Southampton ,ship was lovely loved the band in the 5 o,clock somewhere bar and the piano player in the district , loved all the shows on board , tenors of rock, las Vegas tenors, million dollar ... Read More
Firstly emberkation was very good from Southampton ,ship was lovely loved the band in the 5 o,clock somewhere bar and the piano player in the district , loved all the shows on board , tenors of rock, las Vegas tenors, million dollar quartet etc , loved comedy club we had no trouble getting seats as we reserved a time on the tv screen. We weren't keen on the hypnotist as we have seen better and we hated the fuelling pianos as they kept asking for money we stuck it for half an hour they only played 3 songs amongst the begging and wanting us to scream and clap and sing along did not feel they were worthy ,we walked out ,we stuck to the included restaurants food was very good and hot , only ate once in buffet , ship was not too crowded apart from foyer not enough seats great game shows etc there , great entertainment crew . Only disappointment was they ran out of special brews on tap on first day ,not good , we did not go in the pools as weather not hot enough until last 4 days , cabin was good did have trouble with the patio door banging as seal had come loose for 1st 3 nights had a small $60 compensation for lack of sleep , thought we deserved more , good cabin steward never bothered us , disembarkation in Miami was better than we have had previously although the queues were longer after we joined it there should have been more customs officers to deal with us all. We would sail again with Ncl in warmer climes next time though.We paid for two shows in the supper club fabulous venue the brat back for the record was fantastic and the wine lovers show was very entertaining .We had no trouble getting tables for 2 in dining rooms., we paid over £880 for our drinks package and probably had our money's worth . Drinks are expensive ,We had a good package price with 5 days stay in Orlando but would have liked a cheaper drinks package price.All staff were very good , bar staff worked very hard , not enough of them we felt sorry for them . The ones in the District bar were very entertaining . Do not listen to the bad reviews as we don't think it was a bad cruise at all especially compared to the similar transatlantic on the Quantum of the seas same time last year which was riddled with faults. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Firstly emberkation was very good from Southampton ,ship was lovely loved the band in the 5 o,clock somewhere bar and the piano player in the district , loved all the shows on board , tenors of rock, las Vegas tenors, million dollar ... Read More
Firstly emberkation was very good from Southampton ,ship was lovely loved the band in the 5 o,clock somewhere bar and the piano player in the district , loved all the shows on board , tenors of rock, las Vegas tenors, million dollar quartet etc , loved comedy club we had no trouble getting seats as we reserved a time on the tv screen. We weren't keen on the hypnotist as we have seen better and we hated the fuelling pianos as they kept asking for money we stuck it for half an hour they only played 3 songs amongst the begging and wanting us to scream and clap and sing along did not feel they were worthy ,we walked out ,we stuck to the included restaurants food was very good and hot , only ate once in buffet , ship was not too crowded apart from foyer not enough seats great game shows etc there , great entertainment crew . Only disappointment was they ran out of special brews on tap on first day ,not good , we did not go in the pools as weather not hot enough until last 4 days , cabin was good did have trouble with the patio door banging as seal had come loose for 1st 3 nights had a small $60 compensation for lack of sleep , thought we deserved more , good cabin steward never bothered us , disembarkation in Miami was better than we have had previously although the queues were longer after we joined it there should have been more customs officers to deal with us all. We would sail again with Ncl in warmer climes next time though.We paid for two shows in the supper club fabulous venue the brat back for the record was fantastic and the wine lovers show was very entertaining .We had no trouble getting tables for 2 in dining rooms., we paid over £880 for our drinks package and probably had our money's worth . Drinks are expensive ,We had a good package price with 5 days stay in Orlando but would have liked a cheaper drinks package price.All staff were very good , bar staff worked very hard , not enough of them we felt sorry for them . The ones in the District bar were very entertaining . Do not listen to the bad reviews as we don't think it was a bad cruise at all especially compared to the similar transatlantic on the Quantum of the seas same time last year which was riddled with faults. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
New ship so it was quite interesting to see what's what.We were prepared for some initial teething problems .. and got them.Firstly we were in cabin 10244 midships. We couldn't sleep as the hum of the engine room nearby was ... Read More
New ship so it was quite interesting to see what's what.We were prepared for some initial teething problems .. and got them.Firstly we were in cabin 10244 midships. We couldn't sleep as the hum of the engine room nearby was horrible, but they moved us very efficiently to 10272.This is near the aft lifts and is very handy for the restaurants and nice and quiet.At the front of the ship you have a mile walk to have dinner and we spoke to people at the the back who said the propellor vibrations were dreadful. The first week was not very promising with breakfast room service a joke as we got all sorts of wrong orders but,as the cruise went on,things got a bit more organised in many respects. The crew were really nice, but very stretched so service was generally a bit slow. We had a balcony cabin which was kept very clean and adequate, nice bathroom but a bit cramped in the room. Food was really good (especially in Cagneys). It's a cruise ship, not a transatlantic one, and there are no really quiet places as the evening music is everywhere but, for 7 days in the Caribbean will be really good. Biggest problem is the number of passengers. We were only about 70 pct full but that was quite enough. The safety drill was ludicrous with crowds of people milling around and bar and restaurant service was pretty slow and it took us 3 hours to get off the ship although US immigration was probably the cause but God knows how long it will take with a full passenger complement. Prices are high so get a drinks' package. Loudspeaker announcements are almost unintelligible. Altogether they have a great ship but it's all on the margin of being average and great as they try to be luxury but cut corners and try to get as many bucks as they can. On our trip the price was right but we wouldn't pay a premium Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
If this had been our first cruise it would also have been our last, fortunately we have previously cruised with Cunard and P & O. Panic on 1st night as one of our cases was missing, due to rough treatment the label had gone missing, I ... Read More
If this had been our first cruise it would also have been our last, fortunately we have previously cruised with Cunard and P & O. Panic on 1st night as one of our cases was missing, due to rough treatment the label had gone missing, I had even gone to the trouble of covering paper tag with cellotape to ensure it would not rip. another case had the pull up handle broken so that was fun to move at airport. Luckily the missing case was eventually located. No coffee pods in rooms as not ordered for the cruise, but you could have coffee delivered free by room service if you wanted to wait up to 1.5 hours for delivery by which time a brandy would have been more apt. Never had a hot meal in any restaurant. They list Taste, Savour and Manhattan as separate restaurants but the menu was the same in each. 2nd night beers started to run out, around 7th night Baileys ran out. Neither myself or my husband are big drinkers but you are on holiday and you had to have the best of what was left or in my case as a very light drinker nothing at all as the only drink I wanted was a Mudslide, just the one every evening. The accommodation was very nice, nice balcony, spacious shower ec, no complaints about the staff who were extremely pleasant and very helpful. There is a glass staircase which I am sure everybody was initially very careful using due the assumption that it would be very slippery. Due to the curve of the staircase the steps narrow at the inside of the curve, but for some reason the designer thought that narrowing the step so much that only a child's foot would fit comfortably was ok. I injured my heel on this step (my heel rubbed down the previous step ) which was incredibly sore, the next morning I was unable to put my foot flat on the floor and had to go to the medical centre, after telling the "doctor" how I hurt my heel she supplied me with 11 Painkillers, a foot and ankle support at the cost of $189 and no actual diagnosis on the injury, I am assuming just bad bruising, although I could not walk very well for around 4 days. I think she just wanted me out of there before I blamed NCL. On disembarkation day we all had coloured luggage tags and specific times for leaving the ship. We were ready about an hour before our assigned time which as these things go was running around an hour late.He.Ho. So we eventually disembarked and went to collect our luggage which was all set out in areas with a flag to indicate your colour, simple, or so you would think. So 2.5 hours later we were through customs and heading for our transfer bus to Orlando. This whole process should have taken between 25 minutes to 45 minutes or so we were told by customer services when they phoned our stateroom to tell us which colou tags to use and to confirm our transfer, but then two of our cases were put in the wrong place, now bearing in mind that there were probably around 4000+ cases on the dock the two cases took some finding. The whole process too almost 4 hours. So while the majority of the people who were going on to Orlando arrived around 1.30 to 2.30 pm. Our bus of around 8 very angry people arrived at about 6pm when some of our fellow cruisers were coming back from the parks or shopping. Oh yes, Before all the non smokers complain about the smell of smoke near the ONE smoking room I think they should be aware that their was no air conditioning or ventilation of any kind in that room, which for such an expensive ship would not have been hard to incorporate. While NCL are happy to sell cigarettes and cigars by the thousands they do not give the smokers the dignity of having a clean room to smoke them in. So believe me non smokers the smokers were complaining loudly too. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our third transatlantic and third Norwegian cruise. We had always liked the flexibility of Norwegian in the past and decided to bring the grand kids along this time. Weather was cold for 6 days so we could not use the rope ... Read More
This was our third transatlantic and third Norwegian cruise. We had always liked the flexibility of Norwegian in the past and decided to bring the grand kids along this time. Weather was cold for 6 days so we could not use the rope wall, slides etc. When the weather warmed all of the outside things were still not opened. One real disappointment; on other Transatlantic cruises we got these nice certificates with our names saying we crossed the Atlantic. This time we got one generic one that said "Escape Inaugural Cruise". Whee. The most disappointing part of this cruise was the ship itself. This is by far the largest ship we have been on yet it FEELS like the smallest. Nearly every public area (even outside) is chopped into several smaller one. The pool area seems tiny. And there is no grand stair way or lobby on any level. The Atrium holds about 300-400 people max so where are the other 3900 supposed to sit for all the fun ship activities? Main hot tub was out of commission as was another on the upper deck forward (19) and the two on the main pool hold 6 people so the other 4188 people have to go somewhere else. Food; standard cruise fare. Manhattan Dining far superior to Savor and Taste and you don't have quite the experience of eating in the back of the closet the other two offer; food was not disappointing but average. As was service; they kept telling us they put the best crew on the new ship, but there were many who seemed under-prepared or inexperienced. Our cabin steward threw out or souvenir cups and left a bowl of food for two days. Shows were great; Brat Pack especially but the high ticket price was a little hard to swallow and this ship has by far and wide the most "costs extra" of any ship in the universe. We did get the complimentary drink package but were charged tips as if we drank $54 dollars a day. I think we did that maybe once. And the bar in the buffet ran out of champagne before we got to Miami. YIKES! Disembarkation was a nightmare. We had vouchers to get an early airport transfer but the "walk-offs" were still leaving an hour after our call time. When they finally opened another gangplank all the early luggage was at the other end of the terminal which you had to fetch and then come back to the other area. Although we were in the second group scheduled to get off, the ICE officer told us the ship was half empty when we were being checked through customs. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
As this was the Maiden voyage of Norwegian Escape there were a few, if not many, teething problems. The situation was not helped by poor weather confining 3000plus passengers inside the ship. Public spaces were simply not large enough ... Read More
As this was the Maiden voyage of Norwegian Escape there were a few, if not many, teething problems. The situation was not helped by poor weather confining 3000plus passengers inside the ship. Public spaces were simply not large enough to cope. The Atruim was used for much of the entertainment but getting a seat was near impossible - unless you got up early and reserved a seat - as often happens on deck. Supplies for the ship had not arrived. The well advertised coffee machines were in the cabin but the coffee pods had not arrived in Southampton to be loaded. Many cocktails were unable to be made as some ingredients had not arrived. Being on a free wine package it was interesting to see just how many drinks were unavailable. (Although I always found something!). If you wanted a certain white wine you had to track it down in the various bars around the ship. (That is until it ran out completely!). Even printed menus had a suggested wine of the day which was unavailable. Staff were new, although I am told only new to this ship, they have to have several years experience with other ships in the fleet before being working on a new ship. They were learning to work together and become familiar with their working areas. Something that will certainly happen but did not happen immediately. We were left sitting in the restaurant for 40 minutes on two evenings without so much as a jug of water. When we complained we were told our waiter was not scheduled to start yet. Others around us were on dessert by the time our waiter arrived. Le Bistro, was very slow and the food inedible. Even the assistant Maitre D said he would make the chef eat the undercooked, raw meat that was served to me just to show what he was seving. When I complained about my profiteroles he suggested they were so hard they should be used as frisbees - his words not mine! Needless to say a free meal was given but what a waste of an evening! One good thing was that the chief officers were available for at least half an hour every morning in the Atrium. We spoke to Sean who consequently called the various heads of department to deal with our various complaints. He ensured our concerns were dealt with immediately. Compensation was very generous as they realized we were simply telling the truth about our experience. The ship itself - certainly a huge step up for NCL but still lagging behind other ships, RCL, Cekebrity, Princess etc. rather traditional for my taste, dark veneer rather than modern. Opinion on the whole was mixed some loved it, others were disappointed. We had a mini suite and this was well worth the extra money. We had more length to the cabin and a lot more width. Plenty of space between the end of the bed and the wall, an area often quite tight. I can honestly say that the bathroom was the best we have had on any ship. It was as big as many hotels. We had a full width shower with seven body jets as well as Jack and Jill sinks. There was plenty of storage and plenty of space for dressing inside the bathroom. We were lucky enough to go to the inauguration Christening ceremony and joined the party with Pitbull. This was memorable. NCL put on a fantastic show. It made our cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Arrived in London on 10/28/15 and stayed at the Grand Harbor Hotel.very convenient to resturants and shops.Cruise terminal also located right down the street from the hotel. The Escape is NCL's newest cruise ship.It is the latest ... Read More
Arrived in London on 10/28/15 and stayed at the Grand Harbor Hotel.very convenient to resturants and shops.Cruise terminal also located right down the street from the hotel. The Escape is NCL's newest cruise ship.It is the latest in size and offerings within the cruise industry.We were glad that we had plenty of time at sea to explore the ship in its entirety.We started out on the pool deck which offered plenty of chaise seating.We enjoyed the theater,casino and shopping on board.We had rain and rough seas for the first few days so when the sun peeked out,I made my way to the ropes course which was a challenging experience but well worth it!We then went down the water slide and laughed and screamed the whole way down!Loved it so much we went again several times!We decided on the 5 night speciality dining since there was some new options on the Escape.We were happy with all of the dining especially the 5 O'Clock Somewhere bar and resturant!Le Bistro was our favorite. Cabin was a balcony standard size.Ship was only half full and because of this it was pleasant everywhere on the ship.Not too sure I would want to experience Escape At full capacity.It definately is a ship designed to sail out of Miami ! It is a southern Carribbean themed ship right down to activities and dining.Spa was wonderful but did not have steam room working.Would have spent more time in spa but wanted to explore all of the ship.I really think that you would need more than 7 days to be able to experience everything on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Thought I would try Norwegian for the first time, have always used Royal Caribbean and Celebrity before. Couldn't refuse the deal, an 11 day cruise plus return flight from Florida for less than the cost of a return flight! Nice ... Read More
Thought I would try Norwegian for the first time, have always used Royal Caribbean and Celebrity before. Couldn't refuse the deal, an 11 day cruise plus return flight from Florida for less than the cost of a return flight! Nice ship, modest luxury and (being inaugural cruise) in perfect condition. CABIN: We started with an inside cabin, which was very cramped, barely room to squeeze past the side of the bed and virtually no storage (1 wardrobe, no drawers at all). However we found out that the ship was not full and asked for an upgrade. The Guest Relations guy needed to speak to a manager who was not there, but we got a promise of a call back that evening. No call back, assumed the answer was no. Two days later I asked at GR desk, to be told we had been upgraded to a balcony cabin,but nobody had told us, so we could have moved two days earlier! Much better cabin, but still had to squeeze past the bed. DINING: Comprehensive mix of dining options, a few complimentary rooms, and several paid restaurants. Menu and food in the free rooms was reasonable, but much better in the specialty rooms, which all had themes. Some also had side sections on open deck, great in the Caribbean, not much good for the first 8 days trans Atlantic! ENTERTAINMENT: This was spectacular, though possibly all the stops had been pulled out for the maiden cruise. In particular Tenors of Rock were brilliant, Brat Pack was cleverly interactive, Million Dollar Quartet was great (if you were old enough to remember the 50s) and After Midnight and Comedy club were high quality. LAYOUT: Very different style of layout to Royal Caribbean/Celebrity/Princess - small central Atrium and everything arranged over decks 6,7 & 8 apart from the Theater. What they called the Atrium was a 2 level entertainment area which had nowhere near enough seating for the various demos, classes and trivia quizzes. Guest were bringing chairs from the adjacent meeting rooms or had to stand by the bar. The huge Manhattan Restaurant had a large dance floor which would have been far better a venue. DECKS: Hated the layout of the pool decks. Adult flumes, junior flumes, rope walk and a large central bar overshadowed the main pool deck making it feel cramped - you had to pick where to sit to avoid losing the sun after an hour or two. The saving grace was Spice H2O with its fascinating rock caves and waterfalls, great for cooling down. The hot tubs started off cold, were OK by day 8, but unbearably hot by the end. CONCLUSION: Nice enough ship, great entertainment (if sustained) good food options, but disappointing deck layouts. Would not feel safe with small kids. Would not rush to book NCL again, prefer Royal Caribbean. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Norwegian Escape Review. Transatlantic Crossing Southampton to Miami 10 Days 29th October to 8th November 2015 First Impression: As we traveled from Southampton airport and drove to the port we could catch glimpses of this huge ... Read More
Norwegian Escape Review. Transatlantic Crossing Southampton to Miami 10 Days 29th October to 8th November 2015 First Impression: As we traveled from Southampton airport and drove to the port we could catch glimpses of this huge ship waiting. When we entered the port we were stunned at not only the size of Escape, but the size of the magnificent art work on her hull; the art work painted by Guy Harvey is a realistic depiction of the sea live that can be found in the Caribbean and the Bahamas; and is huge and in my personal view the best in Norwegians fleet. Norwegian Escape is tastefully decorated, the main walkways are painted white and the support pillars have been molded to look like the trunks of palm trees. In the center of Escape there is a glass stairway that connects decks 6, 7 and 8, which tastefully has two mood lights lighting up the glass treads, blue lights during the day and red lights at night; very nice. In the same Atrium is a massive two deck LED chandelier which changes colours, daytime a white crystal affect and at night time it comes to life changing from yellow, red, blue and even changes to a U.S flag effect; 3 quarters coloured red, and the top quarter blue. It is a stunning sight but not obtrusive. The ceiling also has small LED lights that change colours but is all most missed due to that fantastic chandelier, but still effective. Around this area you will find; Le Bistro French restaurant, and Headliners Comedy club (howl at the moon also). The second Atrium is just as impressive if not a bit more functional, in this area you will find the Guest relations, i-connect (internet stations), Shore excursions desk, Restaurant reservations desk, a huge 3 deck high LCD screen surrounded with comfy chairs, and the Atrium bar. Connecting the two Atrium's on deck 6 is the Art Gallery, which is a large area showing off different styles of art, including autographed memorabilia. All the art is presented from Park west Galleries and they have a wide range of art and sculptures to fit all pocket sizes. They change the display on a regular basis, its a nice way to pass away a few minutes looking at the display, and you don't get hassled. Over all impression is a well designed areas, which are light and airy. There are nine Specialty Dining Restaurants offering delights from all over the world; French, Italian, Brazilian, Japanese, Chinese, and Argentina including Tapas, sushi, and Steak house restaurants. I can only review three of the above, because of the Specialty Dining package we picked, as we thought it was enough with the complementary dining on offer, but the choice is yours. Cagney's Steak House; is exactly what it say's, it specialises in all types and sizes of steaks cooked to your own taste, I ordered a 8oz fillet mignon cooked to a blue stranded (which means its scared by the pan to sear the edges and that's it) and it came out perfectly cooked, my wife ordered the Sea Food Plater which had King Prawn's, Sea Bass, Calamari, Crab Cake and Scallops; all tasted very nice. The deserts menu is a bit small but is very tasty and are good portions. The service was excellent, from being shown to our table, to the waitress serving us. It was my Birthday the night we went, and was given a sponge cream cake and had Happy Birthday sung to me by the serving staff, thank you. Moderno Churrascaria; is an Gaucho style restaurant, Brazilian-style steakhouse offers succulent meat carved right at your table by experienced pasadores, ready to serve, per your table marker: red for “stop, I’m full,” green for “keep it coming!” and they do its non-stop meat fest. Indulge in a variety of cuts and meats, as well as classic churrascaria fare including imported cheeses, olives, cured meats, ceviche and specialty salads. Teppanyaki; is a authentic Japanese hibachi restaurant, where the chief not only cook's your food in front of you, but does it in a showman way, with twirling knives, spinning and flipping eggs, and catching them on the edge of his Spatula, and drawing butterflies out of the egg yoke. I ordered Fillet Mingnon (Blue) and Lobster, and Dawn ordered Shrimp and Scallops, and the food was wonderful. The starters were Miso Soup and Seaweed Salad with Ginger Dressing, not bad would not order it if there was a chioce. Desert was a choice between fresh fruit and Green Tea Cake, both were very nice. We tried the Complementary Dining and found the food was cooked to a high standard and sometimes the Garden cafe food was hotter and fresher, for example I love eggs Benedict with ham for breakfast, downstairs in Taste they arrived cold and the hollandaise sauce was dry, while in the Garden Cafe they are freshly made in-front of you and as much hollandaise sauce as you want. The Menus in the Manhattan, Taste, and Savoy Restaurants had two menus one side stayed the same each night, and the other side was altered nightly, the food and service in these restaurants were fantastic, I told our waitress that Fruit Trifle was my favorite desert, she turned up with not one but four Trifles, that's excellent service. O'Sheehan's Neighbourhood Bar & Grill delivers a good but limited menu, in what NCL presumes is a genuine Irish bar. O’Sheehan’s is a open restaurant with the O’Sheehan’s bar just across the walkway, so it can be a bit loud and not always good if you want to have a chat over your meal. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Sea; we only went the once and that was on the first day with decent weather during the crossing, talking to our fellow Americans who know this chain of eatery said it was very close to the onshore experience. The only problem was the waiting from ordering to receiving the meals was up to one hour, and for a burger and chips (fries) that was a bit much, in saying that it was a lovely burger with British chips and a great view outside of the ship. The Garden Cafe’ is a large buffet area on deck 16 which is open 23 ½ hours a day with a large selection of ethnic dishes, from Italian, Indian, Tai, and Chinese, there are cold meat, cheese and freshly baked breads. Hot meats are carved in front of you, (you can prompt them to cut it a little bit thicker) with burgers with different toppings and foot long hot dogs. There is a large selection of deserts sponge cakes, ice creams, and a crumble pie of sorts, all very nice. There are three main shows on Escape; Million Dollar Quartet, After midnight, and For the Record: The Brat Pack, Live at the Supper Club. Million Dollar Quartet, and After midnight, are free shows in the Escape Theater. There is a cover charge for the The Brat Pack show which is in its own theater called the Supper Club. These shows require a pre-booking to gain entry and they book up fast, so a top tip is pre-book the shows you want to see as soon as you have confirmed the cruise booking, as they are not on every night. Million Dollar Quartet is the story of 'Sun Records' just after they sold 'Elvis Presley' to RCA. A new piano player called 'Jerry Lee Lewis' is after a record deal with Sun records and is an annoyance for 'Carl Perkins' who is trying to gain another hit. 'Johnny Cash' has signed a new contract with Capital Records but has not told Sun Records, who has a contract ready for Johnny to sign; opps to late. 'Elvis Presley' has dropped into the studio to convince 'Sam Phillips' owner of Sun Records to sell up and join RCA. The show runs for 1 hour 40 minutes and is a nonstop rock fest with some of the stars greatest hits, Jerry Lee adds some light moments with some fantastic piano/singing performances. try and see the show twice, its worth every second. After midnight; Welcome back to that electrifying time when Harlem’s Cotton Club was the place to be. Winner of the 2014 Tony®, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Astaire Awards for Best Choreography, AFTER MIDNIGHT is the smash-hit musical that combines the big-band songs of Duke Ellington, a stageful of megawatt performers, a roof-raising onstage jazz band, and the best dancing from Broadway. Witness The Cotton Club come to life in a never-before-seen phenomenon at sea. Experience Broadway at its finest in the Escape Theater! For the Record: The Brat Pack, Live; Relive the glorious 1980's at For the Record: The Brat Pack where classic soundtracks bring the movies to life in an immersive rock n roll concert and dining experience. Escape into an 80's teenage dream as you "Danke Schoen" like Ferris, "Try A Little Tenderness" with Ducky and heat up your night like a "St. Elmos Fire" at this nostalgic feast for the senses. No leg warmers required. 'Oh What a Place, Oh What a Night', Howl at the Moon – Duelling Pianos is a show that you must not miss, for four hours of non-stop high energy, duelling piano and drum playing, blasting hits out from a wide genre list; such as Rock, Heavy Metal, Country, Pop, and anything in between. Send up your favorite tune you want playing, and they will play it. They do have some way of picking what comes next, if your tune arrives with some dollar note or a shot, it moves up the list, if you don’t want to hear the song then you can put a dollar down to stop it, it all makes up to a great night of music and fun. Tickle your funny bone at Headliner's Comedy Club with performances by Levity Entertainment Group’s roster of top-notch comedians. Employing over 300 artists nationwide, Levity is the largest producer of live comedy, creating tours and TV specials for the biggest names in the industry, including Daniel Tosh, Amy Shumer, Gabriel Iglesias and Jeff Dunham. With several hilarious shows per week, prepare for a sidesplitting good time with Levity Entertainment Group. The other performers in the Bars and spaces such as the Atrium all perform to a high calibre, are worth sipping a cocktail and chilling out to their music. All the Bars offer bar stools, and comfy seating with waitress services, once again the bar staff are fantastic and will keep the drinks coming. In all bars are flat screen TVs showing the latest sports from around the world, we watch the Rugby World Cup, and Formula 1 racing live in the bars. There is live entertainment in all the bars, especially in the '5 o'clock somewhere bar' and the 'Skyline Bar' . Staff and Crew: O'Sheehans Bar and the Best Barman-Thank You The Staff and crew are the best we have ever cruised with. With over 70 different nationality's, they are all ways pleased when you say hello or good morning to them. Restaurant staff and Bar staff always seem to have an extra second to have a chat with you, and somehow remember your name and favourite tipple when you return. Halloweens Ghastly Face's - just joking. They seem willing to do anything for you so you have a great time, we like talking to the crew, to try and gauge how NCL treat/look after them, there were crew members who have been with the company for 18 plus years, some hoping that their children will join NCL. That seems to tell its own story on how well they are looked after, we've seen a few of there poolside parties after the guest's have gone to their cabins, and they have a ball. We did have a few problems manly with Guest Relations, we actually boarded the Escape with the wrong key cards that we were given when we checked in, it took nearly a dozen times over three days to get the right key cards with our names and our packages linked to the cards, and we weren’t the only ones to have problems It seemed that a new computer system was being used and it allowed no room for flexibility, I would expect that when Escape was sitting in Miami Port the glitches would be sorted out. Our Cabin Steward was not the best we have ever had in fact the opposite, we are high up in the Latitudes program and we had no dressing gowns, cups, ice, nightly chocolates, bin’s not emptied, I had to ask for a new bar of soap, he only left one large towel throughout the cruise, our latitudes free box of chocolates and Escape pin badges, since this was the inaugural cruise of their new flagship he was not up to standard. Activities: The Ropes Course, is the Largest and the Highest ropes course at sea, and it’s fantastic and scary all in one go. There are two ‘Walk the Plank’ which are 172 feet over the sea. The course covers three decks in height, the last level is the same height as the top of the funnel. There are 5 ‘Sky Rails’ some of which swing out over the sea, and combine to make the largest ‘Sky Rails’ at sea. At the bottom of the course is the Kids Rope Course, just like the adult/kids course but only a foot off the ground compared to the 4/8 and 12 meters of the main course. It’s a test of balance and nerve even with the knowledge that you can’t fall due to the harness and safety line connecting you to the course, but the nerves still jangle. Escape has areas for everyone, there’s a ‘Kids Aqua Park’ with slides tipping buckets, water cannons and plunge pools. ‘Spice H2O’ is an adult only with two spa tubs and a first at sea a ‘waterfall grotto’, in the evening this area can be transformed into a show area with a large LCD screen or a disco so you can dance the night away. We found that the two spas were too hot, and we could not go in them. There are two large slides that go out over the side of the ship, a large blue slide that you slide down on either single or double inflatable rings, over a see through Perspex section of tube. The next slide is the ‘Aqua Racer’ where you race with your friends in a adjoining slide, this slide was not available on the crossing, as it had not been certified by the US Coast Guard. There are Jacuzzi tubs on the pool deck which always seemed open. Altogether there are 12 pools and hot tubs to choose from. Mandara Spa & Salon is the same as the one on the Norwegian Epic and other Breakaway class of ships, with the exception of a ‘Salt room’ and a ‘Snow room’, this area is a limited area so book early if you intend to use the spa, saunas, hot stone beds, and various water treatment areas. There is a large fitness area with all the up to date equipment, from treadmills, bikes, weight machines and dumbbells. To help you stay entertained and under the ‘Ropes Course’, there is a 9 hole crazy golf course, that looks like it’s in a industrial area; and is quite challenging. Next to that is a greened strip that can be used in a various ways from, a putting green, crown green bowls, and croquet. There are also four table tennis tables in a area away from any wind, and Shuffle board courts to while away any time at sea. There is a large area where you can play Basket ball, Tennis, 5 aside football and even dodge ball. One evening we watched the engineering crew playing Basketball and they were good. In O'Sheehans Bar there are two pool tables, two ten pin bowling lines, and various other games such as Darts and quiz's to be played. Casino; Escape’s Casino is the largest in the Norwegian fleet. Escape casino offers plenty of thrilling casino games for every type of player. Whether you’re a beginner or regular at the poker table, there’s something for everyone. There’s Blackjack, all types of Poker games and roulette and hundreds of slot machines with different themes. It nice that NCL have made it a non-smoking casino, and it didn’t seem to affect the amount of people playing the tables. Staterooms; We stayed in a cat. BA Balcony cabin on deck 14, the room it’s self is nothing special, with a double bed that can become twin beds, flat screen TV and a settee/3rd bed. The bathroom consists of the normal shower, toilet and sink with a large mirror. The room seems to be a bit on the narrow side with a lack of storage space. The balcony is the standard balcony with two chairs and a table, it was great sitting on the balcony looking out on to the Atlantic Ocean and seeing absolutely nothing, and pitch black at night, wonderful. We also visited some of the staterooms at the upper end of the scale in the Haven suite. Haven guests all have Butlers and Concierge to look after them 24 hours a day, they also have their own Guest Relations, Bar and Dining room. They have a private sun area with a pool, spa and sun chairs and a retractable roof for all weather use. The Haven area is only accessible by a key card so only Haven guests can enter. They have large Spa suites for 2/3 guests, a Family suite that fits 6 guests (I think 6 is a bit tight), and then there’s the Owners Suite which has the largest Balcony that wraps around the corner of the aft ship to nearly half way around, it has a large bathroom with a his and her sinks, large shower and bath tub, a changing room and a large living area. There is also another bedroom which has its own shower/bathroom, and a pull out bed. My opinion is if you know and travel with six other people (family/friends) and weigh up the benefits of the extra person discount offered in the stateroom (all staterooms offer the same discounts) times by 4, it will bring down the cost of the suite to around £1500/person, and compare that to a BA cat. Room of £1300/person is worth checking it out. NCL even offers, (sometimes), OBC, Drinks packages, Speciality Dining packages included in the Haven price. Overall impression: In our impression of being on the Escape for 10 days with no chance of getting off, I was concerned that we would get bored and long for land after three days, Not so. This ship has so much to offer as you have already read, but what I have not mentioned yet is all the daily activities put on by Julie or Cruise Director (yes the same as the Love Boat), with Zumba lesions, dance classes, cooking demo’s, bingo, quiz’s, film s shown in the theater, poolside activities, and to many to mention. We have been on five different cruise companies, and rightly or wrongly compare all the ships we’ve been on. Escape comes on top for Entertainment, crew friendliness, and standard of the food in all areas, and we will defiantly sail on her again and soon. Escapes Hull artwork by Guy Harvey is the best in the Norwegian fleet, and can’t be compared to any other company’s ships. Escape is airy and light and most of all smoke free. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
I'll be quick: This is my 15th cruise and 2nd on NCL... The balcony cabin Deck 11 was what you would expect. Be sure to use the 2 large drawers that are at the base of the sofa for storage. Shower was a just bit larger than ... Read More
I'll be quick: This is my 15th cruise and 2nd on NCL... The balcony cabin Deck 11 was what you would expect. Be sure to use the 2 large drawers that are at the base of the sofa for storage. Shower was a just bit larger than other ships. TV signal was poor but that's not what you're here for. Bed was comfortable. Entertainment was first-rate with all kinds of music to enjoy. Food in the main dining rooms and buffet was outstanding. So much so that I did not feel the need to go to the premium places although we did try Cagney's (more on that later). The indoor/outdoor concept on Deck 8 is a nice touch. The bartenders were great making the drink package a super value. Internet was horribly slow. Took 10 mins at .95/min to check 2 emails. I requested half my money back and they agreed. Outdoor spaces were great with plenty to do (or not do). The ropes course is a lot of fun if you dont mind heights. The really bad part was the service. Much of the restaurant staff appeared tired. Room service was awful. Got our coffee order wrong 8 out of 9 times. Service in the restaurants was slow and error prone. Took 20 mins. to get in an order at Cagney's. We ordered drinks and appetizers and then left after an hour or so. The Thermal Suites at the Spa were nice with tubs, hot chairs and various thermal rooms. Unfortunately they forgot to man the door at times and people were sneaking in for free. They corrected this later with a partial credit. Bottom line: If they fix the service issues, this ship is about as good as it gets. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
I have returned from the inaugural sailing of NCL's newest ship, Escape. I was very much surprised at the changes to the layouts and formats from the 2 previous ships - NCL Breakaway and Getaway. Different classes. Different ... Read More
I have returned from the inaugural sailing of NCL's newest ship, Escape. I was very much surprised at the changes to the layouts and formats from the 2 previous ships - NCL Breakaway and Getaway. Different classes. Different experience. I will not dwell on NCL running out of wine or not having some beers available. I was not bothered by this. I did expect some items to be off kilter until after Miami. I traveled solo in a mini-suite. The cabin design and color selection proved relaxing and comfortable. The mini suite bathroom was large with ample room to move around, as was the shower. Storage was ample. My cabin steward was wonderful, responsive and attentive. The ship has a familiar in layout with most restaurants and lounges on decks 6,7,8. The flow works well. I enjoyed the variety in choice of venues and attitudes in each. Note: I was puzzled by the piano player at the beer bar where the football game on the screen worked better. I throughly enjoyed the Food Republic, a for fee food venue, choosing to eat here several times. I enjoyed dinner in Taste 3 times and enjoyed it thoroughly. I purchased a 5-dinner pass and enjoyed Cagney's, Moderno, and La Cuchina with repeated visits. The Garden Cafe was my place for breakfast and lunch. I found the offerings to be fresh and ample throughout the trip. I did eat lunch at Margaritaville. There was a line and I waited approximately 30 minutes (my choice to wait). I did enjoy my entry but found the offerings too large to eat. My friends and I did the ropes course several times, and did the water slides. We had a great time. Shows: I loved Brat Pack, and After Midnight. This crossing also had a male singing group - Tenors of Rock, who tore the house down with their renderings of classic rock songs. I did not see Million Dollar Quartet but heard good reviews. Missing is the space known as Bliss Lounge, a bar\dance\nightclub venue. This space is now Skyline bar which works well. The staff here was incredible, helpful and attentive. Health club - I participated in several pay for classes and had a great time. The instructors were informed and professional. The ship was clean and kept clean by a staff of stewards who were always about. I found the food to be better from recent NCL trips. Smoking: I am not a smoker. I appreciate the effort of NCL to limit smoking to designated areas. But the effort must be enforced. Many people are now smoking (viping) e-cigarettes and doing it anywhere under the pretense that it is not "smoking." NCL must enforce their policy regardless of type of item being smoked. Overall a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We were really looking forward to this cruise to Miami, 'new ship', great we thought. We new it was a shake down cruise and didn't expect everything to run perfectly smoothly, but we didn't expect some many things to ... Read More
We were really looking forward to this cruise to Miami, 'new ship', great we thought. We new it was a shake down cruise and didn't expect everything to run perfectly smoothly, but we didn't expect some many things to go wrong either. The best thing you could say was that of course the Escape looked beautiful and the staff really tried their hardest under difficult circumstances. The first thing we noticed when we got to our cabin was we had no coffee for the coffee machine, nor would there be any for the entire cruise because it wasn't being loaded until Miami, nor where half the beers both bottled and draft and considering we were paying $15 for two small bottles we at least expected a choice. We went for our first meal, it was cold, not even warm. We left the restaurant thinking it was the first night and things could only get better. Next morning I had to send my breakfast back, cold congealed eggs are not appetising at that time of day, and so it went on. The only place you could get a hot meal was the O'Sheahans pub which fortunately was open and served food 24/7. We only have praise for this area, it was run with military precision, the rest of the ship could learn a lot from the guy in charge there. The entertainment for adults during the day was practically non existent and the entertainment on a night like most things had to be paid for extra. If this is what Norwegian call upgrading their act, I hope the Chinese like cold food and paying for 2 thirds of the restaurants, entertainment etc. available. We talked to a lot of people on board, not one of them intended cruising Norwegian again. People are not prepared to pay first class prices for second class cruising!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our second cruise on Norwegian and our first transatlantic cruise. We were looking forward to a relaxing time at sea and were excited about trying the new Norwegian ship, especially as it was crossing the Atlantic and it was the ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Norwegian and our first transatlantic cruise. We were looking forward to a relaxing time at sea and were excited about trying the new Norwegian ship, especially as it was crossing the Atlantic and it was the first cruise for this ship. We thought the embarkation in Southampton was very easy - much easier than we've had in either Miami or Galveston. We got on the ship pretty early, which I was excited about. No need to rush to purchase spa passes or reserve cabanas as one would normally do in the peak of summer months. The ship is similar to the Getaway in its decor - understated elegance leaning towards the Art Deco period. Service: we found all of the employees to be very pleasant and happy to be there. Almost all of our concerns were immediately addressed, with the exception of the internet cafe, which I will discuss later. I cannot say that we had an unhappy or unresponsive employee, outside of the internet cafe. We enjoyed talking to the various employees and finding out where they were from and what other ships they had been on. As expected with a new ship traveling to its port, there were some kinks to work out. The biggest kinks for us on this cruise was the spa and the internet. Norwegian quickly dealt with the issues of the spa, but we did not see any contribution on their part with regards to the internet issues. The Spa: we were excited about using the spa as the ship was not fully booked and we were without kids, so we had nothing but time to use the spa. The spa had some issues, however. The steam room was not working at all. The hot tub was never very warm - as a matter of fact, the Vitality Pool was warmer than the hot tub. One day the Sanarium was not heated first thing in the morning and the spa staff had to be told to heat it, which takes some time. When I mentioned to one spa employee that we had paid a good deal for the week pass so were disappointed when there were several issues, she told me that the price we paid was already discounted. However, later in the cruise I found in print the price of the spa pass so I know that what we paid was not discounted. I was a bit upset that I was told misleading information. I also do not believe they sell only 150 passes, which makes me more skeptical about the spa practices itself. After much rumbling amongst spa-goers about the issues in the spa, each person that had bought a spa pass was credited a good deal due to the issues. The spa was very, very busy, almost to its detriment. However, I enjoyed what was working in the spa, including the new Snow Room. They have cut back on locker room space to make room for more chairs in the spa, however, so amenities and space in the locker room is even scarcer now. However, they have a very large number of treadmills, ellipticals, and weight machines and offer many specialty classes, which the health conscious will be happy about. Food: we were happy with the food on the ship. We found the Garden Cafe Buffet to have extensive selections and most all of the dishes we tried were good. There were selections from many types of cuisine: American, Asian, Mexican, Indian, etc. We did not eat at many of the specialty (aka "pay") restaurants. We were a bit saddened after learning that Norwegian has now made many of the specialty restaurants a la carte, when in the past they had a flat fee to eat there. I read somewhere that this will be done throughout the entire line soon - not sure if this is true or not. Of the two specialty restaurants we did eat at, Food Republic, we really enjoyed. There were a lot of choices and everything we got was very good. We liked the small servings which encouraged sharing. We also ate at Moderno Churrascaria, another specialty restaurant. They were very generous with the meat, almost to a fault. The salad bar had a lot of nice choices. We did enjoy the new outdoor complimentary dining option: Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. While the menu has a lot of fried food, it was nice to be outdoors and the food was good. We especially liked the conch fritters, the Caesar salad with blackened shrimp, and the burgers. Of the complimentary restaurants, we felt the Manhattan Room was the nicest environment since it was attractively designed and had music as well. But it seemed a bit more formal, so we were not always in the mood to go there. We were disappointed that the self-serve wine kiosks in the buffet area did not work as we have never used them before. However, the machines needed to be programmed and could not be programmed until the ship arrived in Miami. Bars: we got the Ultimate Beverage Package this time as we were without children. We did not drink a lot, but when the drinks average $10, it is a savings when it is one of your "free" choices. We very rarely went over the drink cost average, and the package gives you a discount on the wine events as well. The drinks at the inside bars were generally very good. The drinks at the poolside bars varied. We liked the Sugarcane Mojito Bar as we love mojitos and they are well made here. The Sugarcane is a good central, people- watching location and the staff was friendly. There are many bars, surely one to fit every personality. We also liked the District Brew House, both for its environment and for the extensive beer selection. Our favorite area by far was The Cellars, the new area dedicated to wine. We spent many an hour here sipping new wines and taking several wine classes. Again, the staff here is both professional and friendly. We felt it was a much better use of space than the Ice Bar that was in the Norwegian Getaway. For getting away during the day, I found the Skyline Bar and the District Brew House good places to find a place to read a book or relax (remember this is a transatlantic crossing this time) until the evening entertainment sets in. Entertainment: we don't always go to the evening shows as they have been a disappointment in the past. However, as we had so much time on our hands, and no early commitments, we did go to several shows. We saw the Tenors of Rock, which we enjoyed since we grew up on rock music. We also saw After Midnight, which we really enjoyed. The singers and dancers in After Midnight were very talented and we felt as if we were watching a show on Broadway. We really appreciated how challenging it must have been for them to dance so well on a rocky transatlantic cruise. We also went to the Supper Club which had The Brat Pack. While the performers were again, outstanding, we weren't overwhelmed by the venue or the food. The food portions were small and mediocre and I found it uncomfortable to turn to the side and eat while trying to watch the performers. I would have much rather just watched the show without eating. We tried to get into the Million Dollar Quartet, but all showings were sold out, so we were unable to see that show. We also enjoyed the comedians, all three of them. While we enjoyed the early comedy show, we did not go to the late night comedy show as we have been to them before on other cruise lines and found them to be too crude for our taste. Finally, we stopped at the 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar to watch the Starlights, a band from Romania. They were a good live band playing a wide variety of rock music. The other bars and lounges, to my disappointment, were too karaoke for us. We also found a small, two-lane bowling alley (very small handheld balls) and found time to shoot darts, which some of us very rarely do, as reflected in our shooting ability. We also watched several free movies on the room TV, which played free and pay movies continually. Outdoor activities: there seems to be an additional pool, although we have never gone on a cruise to hang out by the pool. Especially with the size of these large ships, it takes too much time and commitment to find a good location by the pool. Living in Texas, we see the sun way too much to spend too much time committed to a chair by the pool in a sea of people. However, if we were to spend time in the sun, we would buy the pass to the Vibe Beach Club, as it is adults only and the exclusive access pretty much ensures that you will get a chair. They also have a bar in the area and they will come by and spritz you with cold water in the summer. Totally worth it in my opinion rather than fighting for a chair when the cruise in fully booked in the summer months. We do like watching the silly Hairy Chest or Men's Sexy Legs contests that they hold during the day at the main pool area. But that is a very brief period of time after which we would go back to our secluded area. The kids' water area seemed larger than on the Getaway, with many youth-oriented water features. The larger aqua park was also great for being on a cruise ship. While the Free Fall slide was closed due to a malfunction, we went on the other two slides and they were quite fun. I also went on the ropes course. The ropes course is very large and it has many challenges. The ship also has a mini-ropes course for small kids, which I thought was very thoughtful. There is also a mini golf course and a nice sports court. Shopping: there are a lot of nice choices for jewelry and watches. However, there are less shopping options overall on this ship than on the Norwegian Getaway. I did not think the general merchandise store, The Tradewinds, had as much to offer for souvenirs. We were tempted by many watches, inexpensive and expensive. We felt the clothing and purses were too expensive and except for being tax-free, there was no benefit to purchasing on the ship. Naturally, they had a lot of cosmetics, alcohol, and cigars/cigarettes available for those that wanted to purchase such items. One of the downsides we found was the size of the public rooms. As we were crossing the Atlantic, the weather was not always good for going outside, so many people stayed inside. We found the public areas, such as the Atrium and the Internet Cafe to be overwhelmed with people that stayed there for long periods of time -several actually sleeping in the chairs. However, during a regular cruise, there are too many other activities available that should prevent such large number of people from congregating in one area for long periods of time. We were also very disappointed in the internet or lack thereof. We could only get on the internet twice in the ten days, and then the connection was brief and spotty. Despite our inquiries and complaints, we were never offered any discounts or refunds. The employees in the Internet Cafe were also not very friendly, most likely due to the large number of unhappy internet customers. We also felt that on this cruise, we were being more "nickel-and-dimed". With the overbooked spa, the trend towards a la carte dining, and the new portrait area, we felt that Norwegian was using more space and opportunity to make more and more money, which at some level, we find unappealing. We did not feel that way on the Getaway, so it is unfortunate that we got that feeling on this new ship. However, if you can overlook all the excessive ways to spend money and concentrate on the complimentary dining and entertainment, it can be a very fun family vacation that won't break the bank. I am not sure the size of the ship is for everyone, but if the specific amenities they offer are important to you, then this ship will be a good choice for you. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We have just returned from the 10 day cruise and really enjoyed it we had the UDP and the Drinks package thank god! As the drinks are very expensive. We were expecting to be able to get any drink to the value of 11 dollars, it was in fact ... Read More
We have just returned from the 10 day cruise and really enjoyed it we had the UDP and the Drinks package thank god! As the drinks are very expensive. We were expecting to be able to get any drink to the value of 11 dollars, it was in fact 15 dollars so there wasn't much we couldn't have, also if you do get a drink that is more you only pay the difference. There were teething problems with some accounts so we couldn't view our booked restaurants on our tv but customer services printed them out for us so no problem. We found our balcony cabin to be more user friendly than on the epic more storage space and the wardrobe is better for longer items as the life jackets etc are not stored in the bottom like they are on the epic. The bathroom was spacious and well laid out. We enjoyed all the restaurants we had booked but I do think Teppanyaki needs to update its routine... It's exactly the same as the epic so a bit repetitive unless of course it's your first cruise. We had booked for 6 nights UDP and just before we sailed decided we would also book Bayamo which we understood we would have to pay for. When we ate there we were charged a fee but. It the full rate BUT when we went to Cagneys on our last night we were told we had used all of our 6 already so would need to pay. I explained how we had booked it and she said as we had eaten at Bayamo it classed as one of our 6 Which I found to be unfair as we had expected to pay at Bayamo. They didn't make a big deal at all about it and let us eat for no charge. I think they do need to clear up the few "grey" areas of the UDP. We enjoyed the water front but feel there is room for more seating as more often than not you couldn't find a seat! We are latitudes members so had no problems with embarkation, disembarkation was fraught with bottlenecks and some people not happy to wait in line! We chose the easy walk off and once they had clearance the queue moved quickly and we were off the ship within 3/4 of an hour. The top deck sun bathing areas seem very well thought out compared to the epic, there seem to be more bars so you never have to go to far for a drink and lots more sun beds. There are also lots of hot tubs. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We joined this ship in Southampton, as we did many times on first sailings. No issues with getting on. We found the ship very plain in décor compared to other NCL ships but the eye got used to it. As Platinum members we were promised ... Read More
We joined this ship in Southampton, as we did many times on first sailings. No issues with getting on. We found the ship very plain in décor compared to other NCL ships but the eye got used to it. As Platinum members we were promised some of the little touches that are supposed to keep you interested in NCL The Chocolate strawberry's and bubby didn't arrive until day3 at night The complimentary room service was not available, but was now only free for basic breakfast The Ships pins we never got The 'Behind the scenes tour' didn't happen therefore we didn't feel that warmly welcomed back. The cabin was adequate but no coffee facilities The Restaurants were similar to other NCL ships but the menus have changed for the worst in the free restaurants and would no longer be child friendly or if you wanted a steak and fires if you were not adventurous, well then you had to pay extra for that. Last year we had a family party of 18 on the Epic and had no issues with food in the free restaurants but that would have created big issues trying to make everyone happy with the meals now. Tea bags were almost impossible to get standard ones overall the staff were friendly but the Free entertainment could have been more frequent and easily available We believe NCl's direction has changed and their objective is to try to get you to pay for every possible thing they can think of. However we hope that someone within the company will see sense before it does them harm. Before we always sold NCL to our friends for their Freestyle approach but no longer think we will Getting off the ship became a nightmare with US immigration Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We have been of 27 cruises including 7 TransAtlantics and 8 NCL (Sky, Jewel, Sun, Epic, Getaway, & Escape) We booked a year in advance believing a maiden voyage woud have many extras as the owners would highlight their newest ... Read More
We have been of 27 cruises including 7 TransAtlantics and 8 NCL (Sky, Jewel, Sun, Epic, Getaway, & Escape) We booked a year in advance believing a maiden voyage woud have many extras as the owners would highlight their newest ship.... Wrong on all accounts... The transfer that NCL arranged from the airport to the ship was late & they had stopped taking boarding photos when we got to the ship (a dissapointment as we thought the background woud show it as a new ship........ Entertainment far from top of the line, A main theater to small for the number of passengers aboard the ship... on the subject of food, A limited & not impressive menue in the main dining room. Savor and Taste both served the same items nightly... Breakfast at these was very slow service & getting your eggs 1st but the toast later was not satisfactory... Jimmy buffets was not planned for cold windy rainy days... almost all seats are designed for the warm caribbean....We had reservations for the Italian restaurant.. a very limiter Italian menue..I had a tough time explaining to the waitress that I just wanted spaghetti with a meat sauce......O'Sheehan's served a good fish dinner also was good breakfast place ....We tried a pepperoni pizza at the Pizza bar once, the crust was thin like a cracker... This ship does not have space nor activities for it's passengers when the weather is bad.... We had several cold rain days in the crossing... this resulted in people sitting around every nook and cranny.... Which is another bad point their is NOT A COMFORTABLE CHAIR or sofa on the whole ship.... We had a balcony room and again the designers shrunk it down ... The bed was 8 inches from the closet... very unhandy to get to the closet.. storrage space under the sofa was full ... not available for guest storrage..The bath was a good design, like the breakaway.. I guess they learned not to make the mistake they did on the Epic... The balcony is smaller than other ships we have been on.. The room attrndant cleaned the room good each day, but he never started befor 9 am and many time it was sfter noon before he was done... This brings up another point that the designers failed to consider... It seems they reduced the hallways width... When the attendants carts are in the halls passage is at time difficult.... When we were two days out from Miami the weather cleared The sports & pool deck areas were full of passengers wanting to get outside.... again the design resulted in cramped quarters.... All in all We were not impressed with the new RCL ships I prefer the older ships that give you room... One last personal item NCL dwells to much on the Haven area When you have over 4000 guest but all the attention is for 200 guest, I feel offended... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Let me start with the positives: great positive attitudes, best bathroom with large shower & love the "trough" style sink, good pillows & bed, great entertainment. Most everything non-smoking including casino. It ends ... Read More
Let me start with the positives: great positive attitudes, best bathroom with large shower & love the "trough" style sink, good pillows & bed, great entertainment. Most everything non-smoking including casino. It ends there. We started in Paris for 3 wonderful days then took the journey from hell to Southampton (10 hours on 2 busses & a train!) to catch the ship. (No - no food/drink) Got to the ship at 4:30 just in time to go to the Munster station ( still no food or drink) Embarkation was anything but pleasantly handled. And let me go forward to say debarkation was a circus! Our "maiden voyage" package included "complimentary 3 specialty restaurants" - what does the word " complimentary " mean to you?? We were Charged for these restaurants because NCL has now set "spending caps" due to changes in the home office. No- we weren't notified of this prior to sailing & yes we fought it but lost that battle ( they eventually gave us an extra $19 toward this) Big Whoop!! Maiden voyage? Never saw anything about this- later learned maiden voyage celebrations (christening the ship, fireworks, etc) would be done After this cruise left Miami. Really?? Entertainment was great! Our favorite was Tenors of Rock that is- if you could get in to see them!!! They have 2 shows ( they need 3!) and sometimes but not always - you needed reservations!! So--spend your valuable vacation time standing in line - twice!! Can't remember EVER having to make reservations to see a show! Sound Volumn in these shows hurtfully loud - & at end of show as all were exiting the "Julie cruise director" always had to make comments while people ( many with canes etc) were attempting to exit in the dark! Main dining room music so loud you could not have a conversation at your table- Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville - great food & atmosphere but at least an hour wait! LaCucina restaurant - terrible! No menu changes for 10 days for breakfast & lunch in the other 2 main restaurants - Taste & Savor. Very very loud open area with very limited seating.internet was a joke!! No deck chairs anywhere except at pool area. And don't think of getting s haircut at the spa - so botched they refunded my money! Not a lot if options during daytime - perfect opportunity for lectures etc. I'm a genuine shopper! A couple high-end specialty shops & very limited gift shop except for tee shirts & $5 Pringles! Didn't spend much time here. Drinks very expensive plus 18% gratuity & always the option for additional tip. All in all - very disappointed in this trip & never intend to sail on this ship again. Decor was ok but nothing exceptional! We are currently booked for another NCL next year but currently looking at other options. NCL really better take care of their people - that's their best asset! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The ship was delayed for delivery, and unfortunately it showed. As with other reports, there were shortages of several things. Provisioning the ship should be a fairly standard practice - and notwithstanding when the ship was delivered, ... Read More
The ship was delayed for delivery, and unfortunately it showed. As with other reports, there were shortages of several things. Provisioning the ship should be a fairly standard practice - and notwithstanding when the ship was delivered, the departure dates were known well in advance. The internet was laughable. Or cry-able, depending on your level of needing it to work. We needed it to be always available, which is why we paid $300 for the week. Unfortunately it was rarely available. I did get a partial credit onboard, but in retrospect it was really not sufficient to compensate for the inconvenience. We ate at Food Republic (twice), Le Bistro (twice), Cagney's (twice), the Haven restaurant (twice for dinner), Moderno and the Supper Club. We had lunch at Pincho's, and once at Margarittaville. Overall the food was very good. The Supper Club was so/so, and Food Republic was excellent. The new Haven dinner menus is a step up from previous. The staff & crew were outstanding, as usual. No complaints in this area. We wrote-out 6 Vacation Hero cards. The casino was not bad. VERY nice that it was non-smoking, it's the first cruise where I've been able to play AND breathe. It was a breath of fresh air, so to speak. The big water slide was fun, even for someone who hates water slides. The ropes course on the other hand was just too intimidating for some scaredy-cats (me). The Steam Room in the spa was out of commission, and the Snow Room was just a novelty, but the rest of the spa is beautiful. The men's change room is too small, and the Thalassotherapy Pool was lukewarm on the 2nd-last day, but both are surmountable issues. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our 3rd cruise on NCL. Our first on NCL was dreadful so we did a second in case the first was just bad luck. The second was equally bad – actually it might have been worse – I forget – so an opportunity to try Escape at a ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on NCL. Our first on NCL was dreadful so we did a second in case the first was just bad luck. The second was equally bad – actually it might have been worse – I forget – so an opportunity to try Escape at a good price £899 for balcony cabin, night in Miami and included drinks package seemed like a chance to see if NCL could redeem themselves. Alas, it was not to be. We got off to a bad start in the departure lounge. We arrived there about 11am. Our two previous cruises on NCL afforded us no advantage so we expected to have to wait. No problem with that. However, it is nothing short of damned annoying when they call you up to join the queue when clearly you are going to be standing queuing for some considerable time. There were plenty of seats to remain seated. We were called up and joined the queue. We waited and waited and waited. At least 40 minutes. Oddly, we were hardly moving and two more sections were called out to join the queue. Why not leave people seated until you know they can go pretty much immediately up to the check-in booths? There was a lady at the entrance demanding to see our ESTAs which we had to find in our hand luggage. I protested but she insisted. All she checked was that the top of the paper said ESTA. No way could she possibly have checked that they were for us. As we snaked around the queue, we arrived near to where she stood. By then the queues were so bad she was just waving passengers through. What was that all about then? Muster practice – to me – was worrying. We didn’t have lifejackets with us – they are not stored in the cabin – and crew members demonstrated how to put them on. If you’ve done a few cruises you’ve probably had a good stab at putting your lifejacket on but the lifejackets are the new standard (which will become law in a few years so expect them across all cruise lines) and my bet is that the vast majority of cruisers, in a panic, in a confined space, maybe in poor light would find it pretty tricky to put them on. We noticed that the crew member had partly prepared his and slipped it on like he was dressing for dinner. It ain’t gonna happen like that, believe me. I think everyone should have had a lifejacket to try. I did raise this later when we had an opportunity to ‘meet the officers’. He listened to my concerns but frankly NCL have made the decision to do it their way and it ain’t going to change anytime soon. Our balcony cabin (I know they call it a stateroom – we were on a ship – it’s a cabin) reminded us immediately of Celebrity. That crafty way they have of alternating cabins with a bed by the window then the next one has a bed nearer the door. Slightly curved or inset walls so they can ‘interleave’ the cabins and thus get more cabins along the deck. The bathroom was large though the shower was on the small side. Nice etched, glass door – so theoretically someone could use the loo whilst the other is showering – both retaining their privacy. Plenty of storage space, cupboards and shelves. As bog standard balcony cabin bathrooms go – pretty good I’d say. No bathrobes but plenty of towels. Two large beach towels doubled up as additional bath towels which could be refreshed out on deck by the pool. Wardrobe space was a joke – we had approximately 3 feet of hanging rail though the last say 8 inches were unusable due to some indentation into the cupboard space. Deep shelves. Not a drawer in sight. We had a sofa bed in our cabin (a 4 berther – a bunk in the ceiling as well) which was right in front of the wardrobe so it wasn’t easy getting at our hanging clothes. God knows how 4 people could share the cabin. We have had 4 berthers years ago with the kids and they were very good (P&O – Aurora/Oriana/Arcadia) so we know a good one when we see one. NCL’s are not good ones for multi occupancy! As the cruise is casual dress code I guess you don’t need a stack of clothes so maybe some passengers found the wardrobes adequate. There are no launderettes on board for DIY washing. I knew this in advance having studied the deck plans. We received two offers during the cruise for a bag full of washing for $19.95. Note, wash not pressing. So put in a few shirts and expect them back crumpled I suppose. I guess we could have filled a bag with a few days’ worth of undies and socks but to be honest it does grate on me. I do like to do my own stuff. So we washed odds and sods through and hung them out on the line in the shower which in the end was quite adequate. During the first night the sea was rough and it was very windy. Throughout the night we were kept awake by an ear splitting whistle coming through the balcony door due to the draft. I couldn’t have faced another night like that so we went to reception and complained. The door clearly needed some adjustment. To be fair, a ‘carpenter’ appeared in no time flat and proceeded to seal up our balcony door with copious lengths of duck tape, promising to return when the wind had dropped to do a ‘proper job’. He never did return so the first 8 days of our cruise we couldn’t use the balcony – though the weather was a bit iffy so that wasn’t too much of a loss. The bed was huge and comfy. Plenty of soft pillows. Our cabin steward was fine, he kept the place lovely though we are a doddle to look after. I tidy up before a steward sets foot in the door! We always take an old card with us to stick by the electric slot so as soon as we come in we can put the lights on and keep both our cards with us – unfortunately ‘our man’ took the card away but fortunately we managed to retrieve it from him later. Later on, we removed the sticky tape so we could use the balcony and stuck it to the frame ready to reapply if it was windy later and the whistling returned. Our cabin steward threw it away saying it made the frame sticky and he needed to clean up. Hm…….I confess I was a bit cross but as husband said at the time – no problem, the carpenter will just have to come back. We had explained the problem to the steward so it wasn’t like we were just sticking tape about the place to be decorative. We ate only twice in a special restaurant – Cagneys Steakhouse was outstanding, Food Republic was OK – just not for us. There are a number of pay-for eateries on board which we find a worrying trend these days. Eventually, I guess the price will just be board only and food will be extra! After about the first 3 days I think the restaurants were pretty booked up. So I imagine many people were disappointed they could not get in. We happened to drift along and got a late booking slot. You can buy packages on board and they did look to be a reasonable price. However, once purchased I guess you’d need to make your bookings so as not to be disappointed. This might be tricky – in my case – I wouldn’t have wanted to book ahead not knowing if the weather was going to be icky. I wouldn’t have wanted to ‘eat out’ on a rough evening. We ate mostly in the main restaurant. We always managed to be seated immediately though we were disappointed that we rarely shared. I guess for some people who like a table for two that is good news, but for us it was a downer. Part of our cruise experience is meeting and chatting with other cruisers. Dress code is casual. Very. As can be expected some passengers take this to an extreme wandering into dinner in t-shirts and knee length shorts looking like they’ve just stood up from a sunbed on deck. It doesn’t bother us but I suspect anyone used to cruising on the more formal cruise lines might find this a bit of a surprise. Some nights the service was just about OK, some nights it was terrible. The staff didn’t seem to know whether they were coming or going. We asked for extra steamed veg and they delivered a plate of a good selection. So top marks for that. Getting a drink was sometimes really painful so the last few nights we got our drinks at a bar and took them in. We frequently couldn’t get our choice of wine being told it had run out. What they really meant was someone hadn’t recognised the stocks were getting low and hadn’t organised replenishment from the stores. Though the last few days our favourite wine really had run out. Generally, the food was pretty good. Not the best we’ve had but certainly not the worst. Fair amount of choice. On the last night we decided to go for lobster and fillet steak as a treat at $24.99 on the a la carte section of the menu. They’d run out of lobster so I queried whether just the steak was available. It was, but for the same price. Do I have mug written across my forehead? I wasn’t paying the same for just the steak so the waitress offered us two pieces of fillet steak for $24.99. To be honest, this was an amazing deal, we think probably better than steak plus lobster. We were able to have a steak each. How peculiar is that? It was absolutely delicious – I regretted not having ordered it earlier in the cruise – though my hips didn’t. Most of the time we ate breakfast in the buffet apart from two mornings when we ventured into the restaurant on deck 6 – mainly because it was so rough I couldn’t face being thrown around on the 16th deck. However, on both occasions the service was unbelievably bad. The second time I confess I totally lost it. I do grow really weary of being told by a cruise line how wonderful they are when clearly they are not. I never used to be one to complain but age has got the better of me. When you’ve had to order a pot of tea twice because it’s stone cold and then the cereal you’ve ordered has run out (for that read, they didn’t recognise it was getting low and hadn’t replenished stocks) and you overhear that the table next door never even got their cereal delivered at all – it was forgotten – and the previous day you waited 40 minutes for a juice – then please forgive me - but I feel justified in complaining. No decaff tea bags on board at all. Thank goodness we had taken our own stocks. We’ve been caught out before on other cruise lines where the decaff tea bags are locked in the safe. Indeed, this was a bit of a joke and we met many other passengers who had bought their own tea bags. Which begs the question – how can you be a 5 star cruise line and passengers feel the need to bring their own tea bags? Thank heavens for the free drinks package. We are not big drinkers but during 10 days at sea we ‘bought’ $505 (£336) worth of drinks. Even on a package you still have to sign for your drinks and out of interest we kept all the receipts and added them up. Wow! The drinks were expensive. One day when our favourite had ‘run out’ they produced a glass of white wine each for us. Kerching…. $36. I nearly fell of my bar stool. That’s £24! That’s more than we pay for a bottle of wine. Well, actually, that’s what we pay for 4 bottles of our favourite wine when it’s on special in the supermarket. Honestly, if you are a serious drinker do not even consider NCL unless the deal includes a free drinks package. Don’t even consider buying a package. It’s just daft, silly money. Only go for included package – for God’s sakes don’t pay for it. We found it really difficult to find somewhere nice to sit and just enjoy a drink. Bars to us seemed either too small and thus always full, or came with some sort of entertainment which we were not interested in listening to. Daytime entertainment was absolutely dire. The first week of weather was bad – pretty rough and windy – so no chance of going outside unless you wanted to wrap up like an eskimo whose igloo roof had been blown off. The best place to mooch about the ship was low and midships – this was the atrium area. It was here that the centre of the daytime entertainment universe existed. There were nowhere near enough seats for everyone who wanted to partake. Every day was the same old activity. A quiz. A demo – towel folding, cake icing etc. A puzzle. You could set your watch by what was happening if you happened to pass by. And astonishingly, occasionally, a film. Who in their wisdom would make the decision to put a film on in an area with hardly any seating? And with overhangs such that even if you got a seat you couldn’t necessarily see the screen. You couldn’t make it up. One day the film was in the theatre – smart move whoever organised that. The entertainment staff in my opinion were poor – I guess I’m getting too picky after too many cruises. One in particular who shall remain nameless nearly drove me potty. He couldn’t read some pretty simple stuff off the screen when announcing answers to the quizzes. I guess some passengers might have thought that rather quaint – my thoughts were – God, is this the best they can employ? The quizzes were totally geared towards the US market. OK, it’s a $ ship but there were a considerable number of Brits on board (also Germans and French). I sat there and thought to myself – if I was an entertainment person on board I’d be generating quizzes suitable for all. Everything was delivered at 150 decibels – why do they have to shout? The PA system was totally unintelligible. Muffled. Thank goodness we didn’t have an emergency. At least, I don’t think we did. If we did, I didn’t hear it. Well, OK, I did hear the code red and the heli-vac but that was probably because at the time we happened to be walking down the corridor from our cabin. Evening entertainment was OK…ish. Our main complaint would be – what’s with this booking to see a show lark? The ship has a ‘Box Office’. Hm….we smelt a rat. If it has a box office then they must be expecting you to book for something. Fortunately, we twigged this on day one and booked our seats. But other passengers we spoke to had totally missed that you had to book for some of the entertainment and thus never got to see it. Frankly, this just isn’t good enough. What are NCL telling us? That they’ve built a theatre too small and can’t accommodate everyone to see a show or can’t they afford to pay the entertainment team to put on more than one show? In the theatre we saw a few shows and one film. We saw a show that was from Las Vegas. Well, OK, if that’s what it was then so be it but frankly it wasn’t our cup of tea. We saw ‘Tenors of Rock’ who were outstanding. There were other shows that were part of a meal package but we didn’t see them so cannot comment. We watched a comedian in the Headliners show bar – he was dire even allowing for the fact it was clearly American humour. He spent a considerable length of time putting down Carnival which frankly we thought unprofessional and actually wasn’t that funny. Wifi was hit and miss. We heard reports that it was really slow but when we came to use it we found it acceptable (for a ship – we’ve known worse). Maybe the Americans are used to seriously speedy broadband speed at home so the ship’s wifi seemed slow to them. But we were OK with it. We had hoped to pre-book our homeward flight seats but on the last day of the cruise there was no wifi whatsoever. News was they were trying to hook up to another satellite. Up to that time chatter was up to the satellite and via Germany. Thus the slow speed I guess. PAYG - $0.95 per minute. Other (expensive) packages available but not much good if no satellite! I guess be prepared to do without. Wifi in Mc Donalds in Miami was top notch – best Mc D’s wifi ever we reckoned. We found there to be a bit of a language difficulty with the crew. They were doing their best under pressure – clearly there are not enough crew on board. When the sun came out so did the passengers. Acres of sunbeds and hardly an inch between them. We are not ‘into’ sunbathing so it didn’t bother us but I guess for the serious sun worshippers it could have been a pain. Husband ‘did’ the ropes and said it was good fun. We both ‘did’ the tubes and had great fun. The number of times we went round was restricted by the number of times we could climb the steps to get to the top of the slide. For us the limit was eight! Oh, be fair, there were a fair few number of flights. We noticed on the last day when the weather really warmed up that the tubes were really busy and the inflatable rings that you rode on had run out. We were glad we had had our turn the day before. So, after 10 days at sea we berthed in Miami. More fun was about to begin. We were due off at 9am. We didn’t have to vacate our cabin until 9am – a BIG PLUS point. Other cruise lines take note please. Our colour was called and we joined the queue to disembark. Except we went nowhere fast. We must have stood there for some 10 minutes or so (bear in mind we are pretty able – others around us are not so lucky) when an announcement went out to say that shore side had requested that no more passengers be allowed off as it was too busy. This gave us a feeling of impending doom – we disembarked in Miami off RCI in 2002 which was absolutely the worst disembarkation in our lives – surely things had improved in 13 years. In your dreams. We had no idea how long the delay was going to be for so remained in the queue. We waited and waited and waited. Occasional announcements were made that we were not allowed ashore. Eventually, after a good half hour, the queue started to move. Very slowly. Bear in mind, by this time the general area was heaving with people. Nowhere for people to sit. In their wisdom an announcement was made for the next colour to disembark. What planet are they on? Are the crew all blind? Can they not see that the queue is snaking round the ship and adding another colour will achieve nothing other than pandemonium? Just as we get to the point of disembarkation they call yet another colour. This seems to be a feature of NCL – they do like you to stand ‘in line’. I guess it must make them feel good. It sure does nothing for the passenger. As an aside we noticed day after day endless queues at reception. What are all the problems that passengers are queueing up to have fixed? Or are they queueing to report something good? We don’t understand it. You don’t see endless queues on P&O ships. Say no more. Could it get any worse? Yes. Our baggage was ‘Gray’. Silly us. If we’d known that ‘Gray’ was going to be stowed away from the other colours we’d have pretended we had an 8am flight and got an earlier colour stowed in the main hall. It was an unbelievable fight to retrieve our baggage. Again, we are able but we felt sorry for those less able than ourselves. The NCL staff shore side were useless. I asked where ‘Gray’ was and the lad said he didn’t know. I suggested he find out which just resulted in a scowl. Honestly, NCL are not alone in this, cruise lines really need to learn that just throwing you off the ship and leaving you to it is not being customer friendly. How difficult is it for crew to familiarise themselves with shore side proceedings so they can help you out. It surely would only take 10 or 15 minutes. There were 10 booths at border control – one was closed and one was for US citizens. So we had 8 booths available for us all. Each pair of passengers took about 3 to 4 minutes. We stood ‘in line’ for an hour to get through. All in all it took us pretty much 2 hours to get off the ship and be on our way. It hadn’t finished. We needed a taxi. There were none. We queried this with the ‘taxi lady’ and she said that she had been told that all passengers had disembarked the ship and thus no more taxis were required. So they’d been sent back to the taxi park. Honestly, who are these people who organise all this stuff? Just because all the passengers are off the ship doesn’t mean no more taxis are required. There are probably another 1000 passengers still looking for their luggage and waiting to go through border control. We booked the cruise late and cheap. Though I think actually some people managed even a better deal than us. You can argue we got what we paid for. We paid cheap and got cheap. I’ll bet a good few passengers didn’t get it cheap and I’d be interested to see what they report. Surely Escape is billed as a 5 star ship. Thank God we didn’t pay top prices. For what we paid we had a good break, good food, poor daytime entertainment, not too bad evening entertainment (spoilt by this having to book nonsense), a lovely bathroom, not the best balcony cabin ever, nice new furnishings, a friendly enough crew working under difficult circumstances, sky high drinks prices saved by free drinks package, shortage of wine and the usual welcome to the USA. As a bonus, when we flew home (Virgin to Heathrow) the flight was half empty. We were all allowed to take what seats we wanted and thus I had a row of 3 seats to myself to kip on. Bliss! In case anyone asks, no we didn’t remove our gratuities though some days I came close to it and we spoke to passengers who had. The crew have to put in terrible hours, really long contract periods and put up with some seriously weird passengers. I sincerely hope that the gratuities do get into the hands of the crew. They all deserve it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Sailed inaugural transatlantic cruise to Miami. Embarkation just OK in Southampton. There was some confusion when calling guests to the counter & then reseating us & calling us again to embark. The ship had been on a short trip ... Read More
Sailed inaugural transatlantic cruise to Miami. Embarkation just OK in Southampton. There was some confusion when calling guests to the counter & then reseating us & calling us again to embark. The ship had been on a short trip from Hamburg and had sat in port so NCL execs could spend a night on board, therefore some state rooms were not ready. Luggage arrived very slowly. Some staff seemed green, others very seasoned. We learned very quickly to ask for seasoned waiters in Manhattan Room. Lovely spot to dine but music was a bit loud for conversation. Food typical NCL fare. We had dining package & would not pay Ala Carte prices for privilege. Service in Le Bistro, excellent, La Cucina, slow service. Food not worth $80 ala Carte prices. Buffet was well designed and didn't seem too crowded, but this ship was only 70% full. Lots of choices. I had a special host due to dietary issues who was wonderful and attentive in dining rooms. Staterooms - mini suite small, tight squeeze by bed, couch and counters too low, one guest thought he was in a disabled room! Not so. Designed for short people. Closet space/storage lacking. One big sink, prefer smaller sink and more counter space, no tub. Balcony tight. Started out in 10202, loud clunking noise sealed in wall cavity-3 days in it got worse. Saw 2 other neighbors moved, we moved 4th day to 13802. Much quieter. Deck 10 mid ship port could have a NOISE issue. Thermal Suite - nice large area, but since there were no ports, it could get crowded and noisy. Had to pick your time to relax. Some folks were "sneaking" in and finally they instituted a key card system to prevent that. Some jets in the hydro pool weren't working, but finally after 4 days were fixed. Jacuzzi water in this area was too cool. I didn't use it after first day. Steam room not working. Mid cruise they refunded about a third of the $249 charge. Refreshment area not kept well stocked. Large gym, great equipment. Water slide was fun, wave pool is nice and deep but rough seas will make it difficult for lap swimmers. Salt water. Rope course and zip line available. I was expecting a separate zip line that spanned the ship but it is part of the rope course. Lots of bars and unfortunately they take up most of the scenic viewing areas. This ship has no promenade deck as many other new ships and no little indoor niches to sit and view the water. The bars take up all that space. As another cruiser said this ship lacked a WOW factor as far as the atrium was concerned. That area was crowded and noisy and shared space with guest services, Internet cafe and a bar. There were not enough seats for folks to watch the movie or other events. The Theater only seats 900 on a 4200 capacity ship, do the math! If you want to see a show, reserve your seats early or you will be out of luck. Many people missed the 2 Broadway shows which were excellent and people lined up early to have their room keys swiped to admit you to the theater. We also saw the Tenors of Rock, XFactor winners in the UK and they were excellent. NCL why only 900 seats! NCL also has a nasty habit of charging for in room movies at $9.99 a pop, unlike Princess. They showed 1-2 movies a day in the atrium area and people were crammed in like sardines or standing and watching the movie. Guest services were wonderful. I had a family death at home while I was on board and they offered phone and Internet gratis 24/7 I cannot say enough about this wonderful, caring accommodation. Thank you, NCL. Disembarkation in Port Miami was a disaster. Poorly organized, only 5 porters. It was nothing short of CHAOS. It took 2 hours to get off the ship and out of the port. NCL has a poor disembarkation routine. When our color was called we went down and there were very long lines. We were on that line for an hour. There has to be a more efficient way to get people off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Just returned from the Inaugural Transatlantic Cruise on the Escape. What a Great Bunch of Friendly Staff who were learning the UPS and DOWNS of the Huge-impersonal ship the Escape and Cruise Business. Lots of great Activities when ... Read More
Just returned from the Inaugural Transatlantic Cruise on the Escape. What a Great Bunch of Friendly Staff who were learning the UPS and DOWNS of the Huge-impersonal ship the Escape and Cruise Business. Lots of great Activities when they worked ( One set of slides and Steam Room in the Spa wasn't working for the entire trip). Definitely try the Rope course and Walk the Plank over the edge of the ship for a great experience with friendly and helpful staff for even overweight and old guys ( 275/61). Bring your own coffee for the coffee maker in the room; because they didn't have a pod to fit any of the automatic coffee makers even in the Havens!! ( no problem they were glad to charge A DELIVERY FEE EACH DAY TO BRING A CUP OF COFFEE TO YOUR ROOM BY ROOM Service or you could go down to deck 6 and but a great tasting Latte from the staff; but go early ( 7:00 a- because they were under staffed and the wait would kill a caffeine addict). Balcony's were cozy but don't invite any friends over or you will have to pull straws to see who can stand or sit on the deck. The closets were wide but you might want to bring along a baby gorilla ( with long arms) so that you can reach the openings since the couch is so close to the sliding door you cant stand in front of the closet and guys don't bring a suit coat if your shoulders are wider than 44 reg. the closet isn't deep enough to close the door with a hanger perpendicular to the wall. On board Shows were spectacular ( top shelve) entertainment was 10s but even with a reservations; plan on waiting 3/4 of hour, to get a seat tighter if you have a party of 4 or more but worth the wait. ( no drinks served at your seat because the venue is smallest I have seen for a large ship. The upcharges for food is a joke and now those cruisers who were used to going to the common restaurants and sneaking a lobster with the steak on the nights where both are on the same menu; can now pay for both or eat chicken or pasta served by a very friendly professional staff in a great and beautiful venue with once again great music. JUST ASK FOR A TABLE OUT AT 1 OR 11 OCLOCK BY THE WINDOWS, other wise the center aisle is to busy and you will have walkers, stumbling people and water dumped on you by the end of the night and your ears will ring for days from the music that's way to laud if you sit next to the very beautiful dance floor and under the gorgeous chandeliers. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Great new clean ship Excellent quality entertainment. Food at 3 restaurants same, I think they wanted you to try their speciality restaurants! . Enjoyed the open seating, anytime dinning. More variety in Garden cafe. Seafood night nice but ... Read More
Great new clean ship Excellent quality entertainment. Food at 3 restaurants same, I think they wanted you to try their speciality restaurants! . Enjoyed the open seating, anytime dinning. More variety in Garden cafe. Seafood night nice but tasteless. No shrimp cocktail like most cruises as daily appetizer. Staff extremely friendly. A bit rough the first few days and a rescue at sea. Lots of different types of entertainment . Trivia, deal or no deal, parties, etc. Ship was not filled to capacity which was great. Great room ( balcony) , with lots of storage. Getting off the ship was very chaotic and a long process. Events regarding the ships inauguration were in progress which did not help matters. Ship kept very clean. Sanitization always in process. Purchase of Aleeve on board very expensive $10.99 , 3x regular price! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Inside cabin worked better when we asked Chris the cabin attendant to separate the beds, otherwise it's a tight squeeze on either side of the bed. It would be great if you could turn the heat/Ac off completely as the dry air really ... Read More
Inside cabin worked better when we asked Chris the cabin attendant to separate the beds, otherwise it's a tight squeeze on either side of the bed. It would be great if you could turn the heat/Ac off completely as the dry air really affects my husbands asthma ( we got home late sunday night and on Monday he was $120 lighter in the wallet after a Dr's visit, 3 lots of meds and an x-ray. Can't complain for the price of the cruise but would have willingly paid more for at least ONE stop on the way to Miami. 8 days at sea is a long time. The entertainment was typically 2nd-rate, except for the Gaucho and the 3 comedians. Flamenco guitarists should stick to playing their guitars ....their singing was terrible ( who's the talent scout ???). We left after 15 mins. The Rock Tenors.... well, we left after 10 minutes, the effort to make reservations for seats was a complete waste of time. Food was good, we did 50/50 in the nicer restaurants and buffet. We had SILVER Latitude level when we boarded and DIDN'T have 'Priority Boarding' in Southampton. Now we have moved up 2 points and now have GOLD so hopefully boarding will be a better experience in Barcelona next year. Getting off the ship in Miami, our time to disembark was 9:30am as we had a late afternoon flight, well we were postponed until 10:30am and FINALLY got out of Customs & Immigration at 12:30. OBVIOUSLY THE PORT OF MIAMI WERE NOT EQUIPPED TO GET SO MANY PEOPLE OFF THE SHIP ....THEY NEEDED EXTRA STAFF TO FILL THE EMPTY BOOTHS and maybe it would have gone a lot faster. Also there were NO TOILETS in the waiting area ... 2 hrs with nowhere to pee, DISGRACEFUL ! THAT'S ALL FOLKS ..... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We have heard various critiques during the transatlantic cruise and was disappointed by how critical people were. Here's our two cents. Entertainment - Tenors of Rock, Las Vegas Tenors, After Midnight, Million Dollar Quartet ... Read More
We have heard various critiques during the transatlantic cruise and was disappointed by how critical people were. Here's our two cents. Entertainment - Tenors of Rock, Las Vegas Tenors, After Midnight, Million Dollar Quartet were all first rate. Food - We love "real" food and every day the buffet had loads of fresh vegetables prepared many ways, salads made any way you like and lots of fresh fruit. Balcony Room - lots of storage, biggest bathroom we've ever had, nice balcony. Staff-all unfailingly helpful and friendly. Rope Walk - awesome!!! Downside: Trivia was a lot of fun but Atrium is just too small for the amount of people interested. There seemed to be some "bottle jams" getting people moved around, particularly disembarking. Overall kinks they will work out. We were thrilled by the dollar value of this cruise and think overall it was excellent Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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