Sail Date: April 2017
The ship is poorly designed. Not enough pool area. There were so many people in the pool there was scum floating on top. They said it was an adult pool but there was no security to keep the unruly kids out. The quiet area with no kids ... Read More
The ship is poorly designed. Not enough pool area. There were so many people in the pool there was scum floating on top. They said it was an adult pool but there was no security to keep the unruly kids out. The quiet area with no kids had no pool just some rock water feature that dripped water on your head. The food was awful. If you wanted edible food you had to pay extra. Not enough time in ports. We arrived in Tortola at 7am and left at 2:30. It's not fun going to the beach at 7am There were 18 year olds drinking falling all over the ship to many drunk people and unruly kids. I was almost knocked over by kids running up and down the steps. They need more security. Tha cabin attendants were the only good thing about the cruise. I asked for more coffee and they brought it immediately. I will stick to rccl Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I have been on a number of different cruise ships with various cruise lines. My family and I decided to try the Norwegian Escape and we were very disappointed with various aspects of the cruise. The ship is new and lovely, but very ... Read More
I have been on a number of different cruise ships with various cruise lines. My family and I decided to try the Norwegian Escape and we were very disappointed with various aspects of the cruise. The ship is new and lovely, but very compartmentalized. It is very hard to find various venues and certain entertainment. The areas for shows are small and fill up quickly. The food is good, but the service is terrible. We were a group of 12 and rarely were we able to eat at a table together. We usually were split up. It often took up to 3 hours to have dinner. At breakfast one morning it took 40 minutes to receive an espresso that was ordered. We often had to repeat requests 2-3 times before we finally received an item we ordered. We spoke to many people who told us they were skipping the restaurants to dine at the buffet otherwise they missed the shows. Give a pass to After Midnight, but the Brat Pack and the Fours Seasons tribute were good. The crew have very poor communication skills. There is an air of indifference among the staff at all levels and the servers often border on rudeness. We had several issues that we spoke to management about. We were told that they were picking up our meal at one of the specialty restaurants. There was no explanation as to how the ship was going to pick up a meal we had made reservations for and paid for on our upgraded meal plan and on our beverage packages. Beware if you are overweight, they will weigh you like a slab of beef in a very public area at their own discretion without even asking if you are within their restrictions or giving an explanation. No attempt at sensitivity. The staff do not seem to have any customer service training. My family enjoys cruise vacations for being made to feel pampered and special. The staff on the Norwegian Escape made us feel neglected and insulted and as a result, we would not recommend them to anyone or sail with them again. Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Disney have way more to offer! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
The ship is nice but there are many things to dislike. Our balcony had an obstructed view. The feeding frenzy at the buffets was painful. The sit down complementary restaurants - Manhattan, Taste & Savor was barely ok - food bland and ... Read More
The ship is nice but there are many things to dislike. Our balcony had an obstructed view. The feeding frenzy at the buffets was painful. The sit down complementary restaurants - Manhattan, Taste & Savor was barely ok - food bland and no one understands English - order peach yogurt - get peaches, OJ never arrives, too many issues to list. The specialty restaurants were slightly better but hardly worth the additional costs. We had to ask for clean cups and silverware many times - not healthy on a cruise with 3000+. The MOST SIGNIFICANT ISSUE - the towels in the stateroom. We had a towel that was used by someone who had a haircut & hair dye - this was hung up in the bathroom and my wife did not see this - it was inside. She showered and then felt hair and looked in the mirror and screamed - it was all over her face and body. She went back into the shower and nearly got sick. We called the manager of housekeeping who said he was disgusted but his concern was going to the laundry to see what happened - not asking us if there was anything he could do. I have pictures of the towel to share - disgusting. The disembarkation was horrific - we came to deck 7 and were forced to exit to the rear of the ship only to learn we needed to return exactly to where we started - took over an hour and we carried our bags. Only my third cruise - never again on NCL and maybe never another cruise. The ship spent way too much time at sea - only 3 stops. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
We have been on many NCL cruises over the years. This was our first time on the 5000 plus passenger ships. It was though the design criteria was "Lets see how many people we can cram into the ship". Poor layout of public areas, ... Read More
We have been on many NCL cruises over the years. This was our first time on the 5000 plus passenger ships. It was though the design criteria was "Lets see how many people we can cram into the ship". Poor layout of public areas, people everywhere and loud. The pool area seemed to be squeezed into an available area, small and surrounded with boat structure so little sun. Too many kids water slides that were little used .We booked a mid ship balcony cabin. Extremely small, crawl over one bed to get to another, only inches to get to the balcony. Dining was frantic at all venues. Lines for everything. Food was presented well but no flavor. Specialty restaurants the same, worst food we've had on any cruise. Very, very disappointed. NCL does a good job with their entertainment, an only bright spot. It will be a long time before we book NCL again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
After excitedly booking on the phone 9 moths in advance with a Norwegian Travel specialist named David our dream of going on a Caribbean Cruise to Nassau was in motion! I booked for my husband, myself and 3 children aged 16, 14 and 7 in a ... Read More
After excitedly booking on the phone 9 moths in advance with a Norwegian Travel specialist named David our dream of going on a Caribbean Cruise to Nassau was in motion! I booked for my husband, myself and 3 children aged 16, 14 and 7 in a family inside suite. As never having cruised before I had a lot of questions, I scoured sites like this to make sure I knew all the insider tips. I decided we wanted a balcony suite. They do not offer balcony suites for this number of guests so David (rudely) accomodated us by upgrading us (for more money) to side by side rooms with balconies. All was well. Or so I thought. I had to change one of our children as he could not come after all as he had a sport event that he could not miss. I knew I couldn't get my money back for his cruise fare but thought I had to let them know anyway. Turns out David the specialist had booked my children at the opposite end of the ship from our room. I panicked as this was close to our sail date. Leaving us all being at different areas! I could not get David to return an email or phone call. I was very upset. The new agent secured us adjoining rooms (at yet another charge) and assured me we would all have drink packages included as a promotion for the balcony rooms. (David never included that?) Sail time I found it very organized with the time to board etc. our rooms were great, however a 100.00 bottle of wine and basket of fruit that was supposed to be in our room was not and it took me 2 days to get anyone to bring it. Food was awesome! In every restaurant. That is all the positive I can say. It was overcrowded. Entertainment was boring. Pool was small and really over crowded. Couldn't get a chair, as we respected the rule of not saving seats. No one else does. Drunk adults and unsupervised children resulted in a drowning child. (We heard after the cruise) None of the staff speak English. The waterslides were closed half the time. They were good if you don't mind a Disney size line up. Our rooms were our only sanctuary. We were late getting to port 1, we were rushed to our excursion on an overcrowded small dirty ferry and had a whole hour there and had to rush back for early departure? Second port same arrived late, rushed, and back on a little more respectable ferry this time. Well we thought at least we get a whole day in Nassau! Wrong! Shortly after leaving second port Captain comes on and says due to propulsion problems we aren't stopping in Nassau! What?.. My children cried, I'm not gonna lie, I cried. I didnt even know they could do that! Not give you what you've already paid for? We got 50.00 credit! What? How can propulsion work all of a sudden to port back in Miami? So 8 day cruise, 6 at sea. At sea! Nothing to look at. Nothing to do, as everywhere is crammed with people. Got charged 3.00 every time you took a step. Entertainment was lame. Norwegian sucks from booking to sailing to port! Do not go on their oversized, overpopulated, boring boat. I wrote them a letter telling them we spent 12000.00 of our hard earned money to realize a dream of going on a cruise and to the Bahamas! And they wrote me back saying they gave me 50.00 credit on the boat. You suck! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Great ship, great food, do not expect to get to the pool unless you get there by 8 a.m. The problem was we did not stop at our last port, Nassau! And, apparently, this is a common problem with this ship. They announced after Tortola there ... Read More
Great ship, great food, do not expect to get to the pool unless you get there by 8 a.m. The problem was we did not stop at our last port, Nassau! And, apparently, this is a common problem with this ship. They announced after Tortola there was a problem with the ship and we would be heading straight back to Miami! But they would give us $50 credit. Seriously? $50 for missing a port? So 7 days, 2 ports....lots of sea time. Shouldn't you get a 33% refund for missing 33% of your ports? They said it was a "propulsion problem" but we later discovered this is the norm for this ship and it was set to sail again the afternoon we arrived back in Miami. That was a fast fix! The great food and entertainment just couldn't make up for missing the Bahamas. We got major cabin fever by the time we returned. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise because it was a low price. We should have known that you get what you pay for. This was our first cruise on Norwegian. The service was poor at best, inconsistant, and sanitary questionable. The waiters and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a low price. We should have known that you get what you pay for. This was our first cruise on Norwegian. The service was poor at best, inconsistant, and sanitary questionable. The waiters and assistant waiters didn't communicate well with each other and acted like they worked in different pairs each night. We did have two great nights of service in the Manhattan room. The one night our server was Deanhill. Very professional and perfectly timed courses. He also automatically refilled our drinks and cleared the table as he went along. The second great service was from Nympha in the Manhattan room. Once again perfectly timed, attention to detail, professional. She was the only waiter that cleared the crumbs from the table. A typical nights meal service in Manhattan, Taste or Savor was very slow, average to poor quality of food, and not so happy wait staff. One night I timed the service. It took 40 minutes to get soup brought out from the time we ordered it. Finish the soup and it was another 30 minutes to have the main meal brought out. The waiter and assiatant waiter asked the same questions unaware that the other had just asked us. We left before desert, who inows how long that would take. One night the waiter overheard us talking. We said that we think they forgot to put our order in. He looked right over to our table, then went to the station where he had the orders. He then comes over and apologized, saying that there is a delay in our order and he was going back to the kitchen to check on it. It took another 15 minutes to arrive, Easing me to believe that our order was never turned in. Lets talk coffee. I love coffe for breakfast but stopped ordering it on the Escape. I prefer a medium roast but understand that many prefer a little bolder brew. If the the coffee was consistant, I would understand. During the same meal I received a nice medium brew cup of coffee, then refilled with espresso strength, then refilled with a bold brew. No consistency. Two evenings we were within 3 feet of the waiters arguing. Managers had to come over to break it up. The staff overall seemed unhappy and didn't work well together. Lets talk cleanliness. The elevators were wiped down with a sticky liquid and allowed to drip down the sides of the mirrored walls and controll panel. Another passenger told us on the last day that it was a cleanser to keep from spreading bacteria. I think they could have wiped it off, or at least not let it drip. The walls were not wiped down just the top and it dripped all the way down. Horrible experience! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
Father in law booked family cruise. It was my girls 1st time on a cruise. We were disappointed with the customer service from the bar and lounges as soon as we got on the ship. They stared at you and ignored you. They did not have ... Read More
Father in law booked family cruise. It was my girls 1st time on a cruise. We were disappointed with the customer service from the bar and lounges as soon as we got on the ship. They stared at you and ignored you. They did not have enough staff to accommodate the customers. We were told as a family of 8, we couldn't be accommodated at Savor because they didn't have a table big enough. ...Put 2 tables of 4 together. Disembarkation was a joke. I found out the process at 12 the night before we left because I went to Guest Services. Prior, I had gone to Guest Services and had asked about disembarkation and was told I was all set and I didn't need anything. Food was mediocre on the buffet at best. Teppanyaki and Enrico(?) was excellent. It was the one good experience we had on the ship. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I was travelling with 2 of my girlfriends. They shared a balcony room. I had my own balcony room. I am a retired travel agent with over 20 years in the industry. Due to the prior week's outbreak of Norovirus caused by many drunk ... Read More
I was travelling with 2 of my girlfriends. They shared a balcony room. I had my own balcony room. I am a retired travel agent with over 20 years in the industry. Due to the prior week's outbreak of Norovirus caused by many drunk passengers, our embarkation was delayed by several hours as they sterilized the whole ship from top to bottom. EVERYONE seemed to show up at 1. The lines were out the door but seemed to move fairly quickly. HOWEVER, once we got through check-in the nightmare began. We got in another line to get on the ship. We waited over an hour while they scanned cards, waited for slow moving passengers to get up the gangplank and clear it, then send another group up. It would have been too hot to send up a steady stream of people. Once we finally made it on, they announced the cabins weren't ready so everyone went to the bars to start their unlimited drink package drinking. And boy did they take full advantage. By 4:30 they started announcing the cabins were ready. Mad dash of 4000 of your new best friends to only two sets of elevators. For the whole ship. Aft and forward only. None midship. I waited and waited for about 30 minutes for an elevator I could get on. Made it to the cabin and had just enough time to drop our luggage and run to the mandatory muster. There I watched in horror as the drunkest women in the group made fun of the staff explaining how to put on the life vests etc. An officer had to tell them repeatedly to sit down and be quiet. The cabin was ok for me. As everyone else mentioned the bed up against the closet is ridiculous. The bathroom was a wonderful size with a great shower and great pressure. Balcony was a good size too. Cabin good for a couple, my friends were cramped. RCCL has better sized balcony cabins. Unfortunately we found that the unlimited drink package was taken advantage of by people who clearly have no boundaries or filters. They felt they had to partake every second of every day. The poor bartenders and waitstaff had their hands full. Fighting, throwing up, taking TWELVE drunks back to their rooms in wheelchairs. Ahhh humanity. There were long lines at the Garden Cafe every time we went. People would just jump in and grab whatever they wanted with total disregard for lines and the people waiting their turn. Best part was making reservations before we cruised for dinner at the restaurants. Food was delicious at specialty restaurants, when it was served together. We ate at Cagney's and got our steaks but no sides. Ten minutes later they were served and the waiter said he would remove them from our bill. He did. He also DOUBLE CHARGED us! THAT little incident cost us 45 minutes at guest services trying to explain it to the CSR who clearly did not understand English very well. He had to get someone from Cagney's down and we had to explain it again. We waited there until we were presented with a credit refund slip. Every single restaurant had a line for breakfast and lunch. Hurry up and get in line. Bathrooms were constantly being closed for cleaning or whatever. Elevator banks were constantly being locked, presumably being cleaned because people couldn't hold their drinks. (We saw the evidence). The crew was great about sterilizing everything. WASHY WASHY! The best part was the catamaran cruise on the Rebel Yell to Jost van Dyke. Sixty people, none drunk, enjoying the BVIs. Escape the Escape on this one!! To give credit where credit is due, for the most part the crew was wonderful. Waitstaff and room steward were great. I don't know how they do it week after week. It was the drunk passengers and disorganization that had me packed and considering a flight home from St. Thomas. If you enjoy constant drunks, chaos, waiting in lines, mediocre food and being embarrassed by your fellow passengers , then this is the cruise for you. If you don't, consider a smaller ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
ncl did not tell anyone that over 150 people the week before came down with a nuerovirus. the ship could not release the rooms until 5 pm the first day and since most of the staff was "deep cleaning" the ship there was really no ... Read More
ncl did not tell anyone that over 150 people the week before came down with a nuerovirus. the ship could not release the rooms until 5 pm the first day and since most of the staff was "deep cleaning" the ship there was really no one informing anyone of what was going on. by the second day almost all the shows were booked to capacity so we had to do the standby for most of the cruise. the ship appears to be based on an idea that they just wanted hundreds of rooms and little else. for the size of the ship the venues are small and most ill suited for what they are using them for. the only thing they got right in the room was the shower. there wasn't one drawer in the room just ledges and cubby holes. quite strange. we missed the second dress up night because basically there wasn't a notice of it either on the t.v. or the daily notice. that goes for debarcation also. if you are prepared to pay a substantial amount more once onboard above and beyond the price of you ticket then you should have a much better time than relying on the complimentarys, shows, food etc. that ncl provides on this ship. because of the virus prior no one was allowed to serve themselves which created not only long lines but tremendous problems communicating with staff what you wanted. we have sailed for over 38 years and over 75 cruises in our lifetime. we have sailed with all the major lines and I can tell you I have never had to work so hard on vacation than I had to work on this ship just to try to have a moderately good time. we sailed on the ncl sun just 3 yeas ago and they were superb. the staff seemed to indicate that the new management of ncl was to blame for the deterioration of the staff. the food was good and the entertainment had great comedians and a couple of decent shows and that was about it. whomever designed the ship seems to have tried to create a poor imitation of a carnival or royal caribbean ship. very utilitarian. bottom line don't expect any information that goes into detail from the staff and prepare to open your wallet wide to have an enjoyable cruise on this ship. this ship is for the haven suite traveler and the first time cruiser and all of this is just my opinion after many years of cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
First the good part - The Mini-Suite cabin on the ship was very nice. Huge bathroom. Great entertainment and excellent cuisine in both free and supplemental restaurants. Crew could not have been nicer. Now the rest - I made ... Read More
First the good part - The Mini-Suite cabin on the ship was very nice. Huge bathroom. Great entertainment and excellent cuisine in both free and supplemental restaurants. Crew could not have been nicer. Now the rest - I made reservations through a NCL agent. Booking for cabin went fine. However, booking for supplemental restaurants was a disaster. Was sent confirmation email with prices for restaurants I had selected. Nowhere did email indicate any funds were due. Agent and NCL had my credit card as cabin had been charged to it. Before sailing, I went to confirm dinner reservations. They had been canceled due to "lack of payment" and no way to reinstate them until I was on board the ship. Agent could not help. As I said, no bill was ever presented, and they could have simply charged to the credit card they already had on file. Next, half way through the cruise, my cabin mate and I got horribly sick, as did a number of others on the ship. A notice was sent to all passengers indicating that a problem with norovirus had developed. The only changes visible to passengers was that plates and silverware in the buffet were now handed to passengers rather than letting them pick up their own. Additionally, all food and drink in the buffet was not plated by service people rather than by passengers. You could also see than additional sanitizing was taking place throughout the ship. Given the limited amount of remedial action taken, one has to wonder why these actions aren't simply taken all the time. Once the notice went out, you would think that help in the medical center would be available 24/7, but this was not the case. The medical center was open for 1.5 hours in the morning and again for 1.5 hours in the late afternoon. Unfortunately, my intestinal distress did not occur on a predictable schedule. I do want to point out that the norovirus is like nothing you have ever experienced. For 24 hours i could not leave the bathroom. It took me a further week after the cruise, and a trip to the doctor before I was finally over the virus. Further problems occurred on the day of disembarkation. Firstly, no final bill was ever delivered to my cabin. Secondly, although we selected to carry our luggage of the ship and depart in the first group early in the morning, the entire process was handled terribly. The line wound down all staircases, elevators were packed, and once on the gangway level, the line meandered around the entire deck. It took 1 hour to get off the ship. I have sailed over 25 times on many different cruise lines and on ships even larger than the Escape, and this has never happened. I wrote a letter to NCL concerning my problems and was told I would receive a response in 15 days. I finally received a response after 23 days. The response was a form letter telling me about all the actions NCL had taken once the virus broke out, and saying that they hoped I was feeling better by now. They then told me that no compensation could be offered. This last line was intriguing for two reasons. Firstly, I had not asked for compensation, and secondly, as the owner of the cruise line, they could offer compensation but chose not to. It's not as if some regulation prohibited them from compensating me if they wanted to. Even more importantly, the letter did not address any of my other issues. To date, for example, I still have not received a final bill although my credit card was charged to additional expenses. As I say, I am an experienced cruiser and have sailed on many different lines and ships. This is the first time I have had such a horrible experience. Given all the cruise line choices, I see no reason to ever give NCL my vacation business again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We went on this cruise with a group of Military friends, 30+ of us total! 2 staterooms were charged twice for their excursions and funds never given back even after the cruise! Each room was DOUBLE CHARGED $364! That a large chunk ... Read More
We went on this cruise with a group of Military friends, 30+ of us total! 2 staterooms were charged twice for their excursions and funds never given back even after the cruise! Each room was DOUBLE CHARGED $364! That a large chunk of change for them to refuse to reverse back in charges! The food in main dining is the left side of menu only, right side has up charges of $19.99 and up! Menu is very limited in main dining! Service was very slow, took over 2 hours to have our dinner! Ship has no elevators in the center only on ends and they are a far walk for disabled persons. Plan to wait on elevators (5-10 mins) during busy times! There are a set of spiral GLASS steps near the Casino, but if you are disabled or cant do see through steps then plan on walking to one end of the ship to wait on a elevator! Cabins were nice, but had to ask for ice last 3 nights of cruise. All crew members were amazing! They were the best part of the cruise! They went over and above to accommodate our group and the USMC Cake Ceremony! Activities on ship was fun and crew for them was very entertaining! We have been on many cruises and this is my first negative report I have ever written! This cruise cost us the most out of any of the cruises and was the worst! The dining needs great improvement! If you are looking for a cruise to just sit around with a drink in your hand then make sure you get the alcohol package! Drinks are pricey without it! (We had the drink package and the drinks were awesome) But, some of our friends did not and most drinks were $11 and up each! After talking to many on this ship it was sad to hear how many on it really was disappointed in how this new ship was up charging and the selection of food in main dining and over charging in their system on items purchased. We will NOT be going back on this ship and more than likely not NCL at all after this cruise! First time on NCL and probably our last! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
This was my 2nd cruise, the last being Royal Carribean. I thought this would be a fun, cheerful experience. We were going to my favorite port, St. Thomas. This turned out to be the cruise from HELL. This is a cruise ship for the rich, ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise, the last being Royal Carribean. I thought this would be a fun, cheerful experience. We were going to my favorite port, St. Thomas. This turned out to be the cruise from HELL. This is a cruise ship for the rich, entitled, snooty upper class and older crowd. This is a HUGE ship. It has 1 small pool for over 5,000 guests. There of course are NEVER any lounge chairs. Maybe 6 hot tubs on the entire ship. The agendas for each day mostly consisted of bingo, listening to someone play on a piano, sing a song from the 70's or 80's, how to make sushi, or wine lovers things. my sister and I are 25 and 29. None of that appeals to us. They had a few nights with comedians but when we went to book we didn't know we had to book everything for the entire week. So the entire week, every show, every day was sold out. The entire staff was sooooo rude and disrespectful and acted as if they did not want to be there. if you smiled at them or said good morning, they would ignore you and look right through you. The guests were the same way. They looked through you like you were trash beneath their feet. We had never felt so disgusted, bored, depressed and disrespected by anyone in our entire lives. Then on the 2nd day a sickness broke out on the ship of ronovirus. I didn't get that but i did get walking pneumonia, so the whole time i was pretty much laying in bed because i couldn't breathe. This boat rocks so badly. i don't know if its because its so big and the wind pushes it but if you are easily sea sick you would hate this boat. you will literally fall into the walls trying to walk. Then our steward would never take any dishes out of our room. The only way to get him to take away dishes was to put the dishes on the ground in the hall. He would only make the bed and empty the trash. He left dirty towels and wash clothes. He would hang them back up. It was disgusting. That's probably why everyone got sick. We paid hundreds of dollars and all we pretty much did was sit in our room and watch the news. The ONLY channels available. I will NEVER book with Norwegian EVER again. Only Royal Carribean. Please if you are young, single or just wanting to relax and have fun, do not take this cruise line. Its $5.50 for 1 bottle of water. Please do not waste your money or your health and self esteem. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Escape is a new ship for ncl and they don't quite have it under control. We had 200 passengers with norovirus and they couldn't handle it.we were all confined to our cabins. Room service took an hour to get through (there was ... Read More
Escape is a new ship for ncl and they don't quite have it under control. We had 200 passengers with norovirus and they couldn't handle it.we were all confined to our cabins. Room service took an hour to get through (there was only one lady taking orders),it then took an hour to deliver the order which was wrong. We had eaten in the Taste restaurant that morning and something was off. The medical bay first said that the doctors charge would be $150 plus medications. They dropped that after we aid we would continue walking around the ship and infect other people as it was on the ship that we were infected. Other changes are now that service charges cannot be cancelled, ncl are going to have a big problem with this as there were lots of people complaining at the guest services on the last day. Plus now all specialty restaurant charge for extra for items, in Cagney if you want a better steak then it's an additional charge over the $35 flat charge. Even in the Manhattan dining room now half of the menu has items with prices. When you book the guaranteed rate is $300 less than room selection with 2 or more "free" items ,do you actually pay $600 more for "free" items, plus that add additional service charges to the selection. This is the last time we sail on norwegian, it used to be good now is just like a booze cruise. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I have long sung the praises of Freestyle Cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line. I just completed my second cruise this year and have [finally] cinched the title of “Platinum” cruiser with NCL Latitudes, the frequent flier-like program ... Read More
I have long sung the praises of Freestyle Cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line. I just completed my second cruise this year and have [finally] cinched the title of “Platinum” cruiser with NCL Latitudes, the frequent flier-like program after nine NCL cruises and some with multiple other cruise lines. I’ve experienced the range of cabin classes- from inside cabins to a last-minute upgrade to a Spa Suite in the Haven. The most recent cruise was on the Norwegian Escape from October 8th-15th, 2016 in a mini-suite with my family of four. The package deal included the unlimited beverage program and no additional costs for my two kids in the same stateroom. Despite enjoyable past cruises, this will likely be the last. While the ship itself was very enjoyable, this cruise had, by far, the worst service of any cruise I have been on and ruined the experience. In fact, nearly every aspect of service was terrible, a stark difference from what I had been accustomed to. How was it bad? Let me count the ways: 1) Food Service: We had to request the manager for the first time ever on a cruise, and we had to do it twice in one of the main dining rooms. (The first time, the waitress was exceptionally rude and among other issues, basically refused to honor our beverage package to get an alcoholic drink. The second instance came after sitting 20+ minutes without a server or so much as water.) The staff overall seemed very frazzled and understaffed. While I have found that the menu doesn’t vary significantly on NCL despite changing ships, the food wasn’t as good on this cruise, even having received some cold entrees that were meant to be served hot. (The Beef Wellington, however, was absolutely mouth-watering.) Another major fault here was the frequency of incorrect orders. I’d guess that 75% of the time, we received an order that was somehow wrong or incomplete. Due to the length of time it took to be served, we rarely asked for corrections, although I’m sure they would have obliged. 2) On-board Guest Service: After a particularly annoying incident with the wine steward in the wine bar, I made my way to the Guest Services desk to speak with a staff member. Despite no line, the manager completely brushed off my complaints, interrupting me with unimpassioned apologies (“sorry about ‘that”) without allowing me to complete my story. She asked for no details, and despite the scripted response, didn’t even pretend to care. She gave the company line with less emotion than a robot (no offense, Siri). 3) Bar Service: This was the first time that I had the unlimited beverage option. On this particular cruise, it meant that you could get as many drinks as you wanted, one per keycard per time. It seems to me that most of the cruise had the same package. Lines were long, and contrary to other cruises, there was nearly nobody on the deck walking around taking orders. I had no issues waiting for drinks, but the service was horrible. I had servers turn their back to me to talk amongst themselves after they had asked what I wanted. They were short-staffed, and focused on the few people who didn’t have the unlimited package. (Presumably, they were tipped better on those.) While there were some exceptions, the bartenders were rude and annoyed. They typically just slopped a drink together, set it down and walked away. No “here ‘ya go”, no nod- just a mediocre drink with double shot of bad attitude. One bartend in the brewery wouldn’t even make a Gin and Tonic stating that it was a beer place- despite the long row of gin behind him at the bar. If nothing else, Norwegian needs to fix their issue with bartender dissatisfaction and attitude ASAP. 4) Room Steward: Overall, we had good service from the room steward. In fact, he was the only one that seemed to have a good attitude about things. However, on the last night of the cruise, we were charged for mini-bar items that we didn’t use. Guest Services reluctantly took the charge off ($6.95 for a bottle of water!), but not before insinuating we were trying to pull a fast one. 5) Customer Service: This was the second cruise in a row I had been hit with bad service. (On the cruise prior, my NCL rep informed me that I got unlimited in-suite drinks if upgrading to the Haven, which was not true. Shortly after my cruise, he was no longer my designated NCL travel agent.) After this cruise, I called NCL to get an updated copy of my invoice to confirm the final charges were correct. (They were.) However, it took me 53.5 minutes on hold for a two-minute request. Before the cruise, we found that Cruise Critical had the most up-to-date information on possible delays due to the hurricane, and not the NCL website. 6) The Pool: Yes, even service at the pool was an issue. And by service, I mean the one guy it takes to waltz over and take off the “pool closed” sign from the front of the kids’ pool. They routinely opened the kids’ area significantly later than when it was scheduled to open and always closed it up too early. They’d have 10+ kids and anxious parents waiting for it to open, then would get snarky when asked. We had to ask 3 times the one morning, and it was quite obviously too much to ask. As they don’t have the pools staffed in any way, it really should have been a very minor inconvenience to them to stick with the schedule. There were definitely some perks to this cruise. The ship had more amenities than I was used to, and many were free. The ropes course was a lot of fun, plus there was mini-golf and water slides, including one innertube waterslide. While not free (or cheap), I was impressed with the video arcade. Having an additional free dining option of the Manhattan Room was a nice touch. The rooms were quite nice, and I ended up with a very spacious balcony- a must to get away from the crowds of the deck. To be clear (which you may be hard-pressed to believe), I don’t like to complain. I do, however, think that airing my grievances is only fair. Fair to the potential future cruiser who may be aware of some issues before booking and fair to NCL to have the opportunity to improve the many issues on this cruise as they were certainly not unique to me. **Recommendations for future cruiser: 1) Downgrade your automatic tip if you received bad service. Having a tip be automatic is an issue and defeats the purpose of tipping in the first place. (Not to mention, I do think that the full tip amount of $13.50pp for kids aged 3+ is excessive. A half-priced tip here would be more reasonable.) The link is here: www.ncl.com/servicechargerefunds. (Please don’t do this lightly- many crew members rely on these tips and work very hard for them.) 2) Request that the mini-bar be emptied out or locked on the first day of your cruise to avoid being accused of thievery when you contest a false charge. 3) Get “for any reason” travel insurance. (Make sure you read the fine print!) We almost missed the cruise due to Hurricane Matthew. NCL does not cancel for any reason, and had we not made it, we would have been very sorry campers. 4) Book directly with NCL unless you get an unbelievable deal with another travel agent. If you don’t, NCL will treat you like a second-class citizen. Upgrades appear to be offered more commonly than those who book through NCL. 5) Use third-party website to post your reviews good or bad! Your voice only counts if you use it. **Recommendation for Norwegian: 1) Clearly, I have no idea of how you compensate your staff. All I can say is that they were overall very dissatisfied on this cruise, resulting in abysmal service in almost all categories and levels. Not sure if this is limited to the Escape or due to restructuring of package deals, but it needs fixed. Seriously, the attitude of the cashier at McDonalds on the drive back home was a welcome change after service on the Escape. 2) Quit changing the room service setup- every other cruise I go on, the room service is free or is a steep fee. 3) Change the menu more! Even during the span of one cruise, it seems the menu doesn’t change nearly enough. (In some restaurants, it doesn’t change at all.) 4) Open the pool on time and don’t close it early. (Did I really just have to ask for that?) You’re breaking the hearts of many, many little kids. Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I'd like to start by saying the cruise and the ship were not all bad, in fact it's a beautiful ship and even the inside rooms are well laid out and comfortable. I'm tall and I found the showers to be a comfortable size (for ... Read More
I'd like to start by saying the cruise and the ship were not all bad, in fact it's a beautiful ship and even the inside rooms are well laid out and comfortable. I'm tall and I found the showers to be a comfortable size (for a ship). The food is well worthy of a quality cruise as is the availability of it. I wouldn't call the food fantastic but it is very good and it's prepared and presented well. Entertainment on the ship is plentiful and fair to good. I don't necessarily agree with the cruise critic that NCL has the best entertainment, but it's right up there with the best of them. There's plenty to do on board for all ages along with plenty of ways to spend your money through the many add on services and dining options, but that's where the joy of the cruise stops and the negative aspects begin to ruin the experience. Customer service (agents) on the Escape are nothing short of atrocious. I've sailed more than 50 cruises over 30 years and this is absolutely the worst I've ever encountered. They're poorly trained, unconcerned, largely unprofessional and borderline rude. In my opinion, hey do not represent the brand well AT ALL. I'll start with my purchase on line. The best way to describe it is "bait and switch". Their website offers one thing, but the ordering system apparently doesn't know what the website is offering. When you show the customer service the offering on their website, they refer to the order in the system (which apparently does not contain the information from the website where it's clearly advertised). They could care less... and they're not even kind about it. I'll be spending my cruise dollars elsewhere in the future but if you're going to endure the kind of abusive customer service they provide on the Escape, I'd highly recommend you book with a travel agent rather than through their website. At least you'll have some recourse when you don't get what you purchase, or should things go south. NCL does "NOT" care about you, your cruise experience or any silly problem you might have. Just give them your money, enjoy the buffet and zip your lip because any issues fall on deaf ears "literally". The customer service desk is located on the middle of a lounge with bands and other entertainment drowning out what ever it is you have to discuss with them. Their limited English language barrier presents its own set of problems, compounding the difficulty of obtaining any possible resolution or intelligible answer. Noteworthy!! Gone are the days of cash on the ship. They do not accept cash or credit cards anywhere on board or for anything. All purchases are processed directly through your account. Should you have an extra charge or something that shouldn't be on your account... Too bad! They have your credit card and error on the side of the company. Refunds should they be unable to give you a good enough reason to keep it can take up to 30 days to process (or so they tell you "after the fact"). Oddly enough that's about the time limit to dispute charges with most CC companies so I'd BE CAREFUL which card you choose to give them. An on board service charge of $13.50 is automatically added to your account each day. It's supposedly divided amongst service personnel like your cabin steward, bar and wait staff. Oddly, they cannot tell you who gets what from that fee, neither do they tell you about any "management" fees they take off the top for dispersing those payments to the deserving parties. These service fees are stated as "discretional" on their website but they will chase you down the street to get them out of you. This includes regular harassment via letters on your door every day and phone calls from the finance office. Technically you can tip directly on your own as you should be able to. personally I like to ensure the person serving me is the one getting my money, but in order for customer service to remove those "discretional" service fees from your account, there's paperwork you'll have to fill out and it can "only" be processed at the end of your cruise on the morning you disembark the ship between the hours of 6:00am and 9:00am... This process entails 30 minutes at the front desk squabbling with them and waiting (they run and hide in the back office for extended periods of time, hoping you'll go away). Then they tell you it will be another 30 days for them to process the request so "your" money returned to you (we'll see). If you have a dispute on your bill and they have your credit card on file... don't expect to get any of your money back without more squabbling with someone at the NCL office who's never heard of you. I used to think Carnival was bad about customer service but NCL takes poor customer service to a whole new lower level. Shame, shame NCL !! Dining: The wait service personnel in the dining areas are less than happy to be there (a lot less). They are professional and do the job but there are very few smiles in the room and you can almost sense a "disturbance in the force" somewhere. Don't be surprised if you have to ask multiple times for simple service (like more water for your empty glass) and expect to wait a bit longer between courses. My guess is; they likely aren't getting those gratuities as the should be and it's showing in their service. Since they're foreign nationalities working for a non US company... that just makes it TS to be a server for NCL. Unfortunately it's even tougher if you're a customer because you don't get the service you deserve yet, you're still expected to pay for it through those daily service fees they automatically add to your account. There are many things about the ship itself I think could have been planned better. As a non smoker I found it offensive to have to walk through the smoky casino to get from one end of the ship to the other in the common areas. The smoke smell extends all three levels in the atrium. Then there's the customer service desk located in the middle of an entertainment venue. The ship is 1,100ft long with entertainment in forward areas and dining located central and aft, so if you're cabin is forward you'll do your share of walking. There are no stairs or elevators close to the bow of the ship so if you're cabin is forward, expect to walk to mid ship to get to stairs or an elevator (about 500ft). On a more positive note, the room stewards and buffet staff are hard working, pleasant, do a great job and are there for anything you might need. The ship is clean and seems to be well maintained (it's new). As for the many other services on board, I didn't experience them. After my early experience with customer services I elected not to spend any more money with NCL than I already had. NCL will not be on my list of cruise companies to return to. There are plenty of lines and ships out there who still treat their customers like "customers". You should consider your options when selecting your cruise vacation options. I hope sharing my experiences with NCL along with the other cruise experiences here will help you make better decisions when selecting a cruise provider. No matter who you choose, I hope you'll enjoy a great cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We Chose to try Norwegian because we have cruised with most all other cruise lines and had not tried them yet and had heard it was comparable to Royal Caribbean. NOT TRUE ! 1. we didn't meet or room steward until the 4th day. 2. ... Read More
We Chose to try Norwegian because we have cruised with most all other cruise lines and had not tried them yet and had heard it was comparable to Royal Caribbean. NOT TRUE ! 1. we didn't meet or room steward until the 4th day. 2. My wife wanted a Mojito from the main bar by the pool, we were told me would have to go to another deck and get it. 3. We weren't told when we booked that is was fall break and there would be double the kids,there was 1500 kids on board. A e mail or phone call should happen warning passengers that didn't book with kids giving them an option to change dates as that is a way above normal amount of kids. There was a ton of other people we talked to on the ship that were very upset about this, several complaints were made to the ship director. There was one pool on the ship and it was over run with small unsupervised kids, even the supposed adult area with signs at the back of the ship had kids, We complained to guest services and were told they didn't want to upset the parents...... Really ? I understand customer service, but it goes both ways, that area was posted and disrespecting adults still took there kids in that area so there was nowhere to get away. Don't get me wrong I like kids but 1500 ? Then we finally found a place on the very top of the ship in the very back, We sat for over an hour and no wait staff ever came by to serve drinks. 4. Once we paid the deposit down, our group representative would never answer her phone or return phone calls and was very hard to get a hold of, if she did return calls it was once for the day, if I missed the call and called back because I was on the other ;line she never answered and never called back for the day. I should have paid attention to this red flag as to how the rest of the cruise would go. Finally I had to call and talk to a supervisor and get our Cruise representative changed The new Represenative was awesome and one of the very few positive things I can honestly say about the cruise. The food at the buffet was pretty good for the most part, but again swamped with little kids, O shaunesty s was poor, The main dining rooms the food was fair with a temperature problem. half of all meals we ate in the general dining rooms were just warm. The excellent dining was only in the upscale extra restaurants that are not included that you pay extra for. These were excellent. What made this whole experience .even worse, we took my 70 year old aunt and uncle who had never been on a cruise before in their life and we raved for months to them what it would be like and they were very disappointed and don't even have any cruise experience to compare it to. Lesson learned and recommendations ....... Before booking a cruise google when schools are out on breaks. Don't cruise Norwegian the service was sub par compared to to others. I am talking about the go out of there way to serve you service, I am not including all the little kids, that's a separate issue. Most of the staff on the ship seemed like they were new and getting trained. The entertainment was fair Oh what a night was good, there was another I can remember the name but people were getting up and walking out, The shore excursions, we had a blast at St Thomas, we did the helmet dive, Tortola our beach excursion got cancelled and it was sunny out they said there was red flags at the beach, OK not allowed in the water...... would have still been nice to lay on a quiet beach. The only other positive experience, we ran into a chief officer one night and he asked all four of us what we thought, we told him and we also mentioned it was my uncles Birthday that week and me and my wife's wedding anniversary also. He had our cabin decorated by surprise and sent Champagne and chocolate strawberry's and cake.Its was a great surprise but it didn't make up for the four of us feeling like we wasted 5 grand per couple on the vacation. 5 Grand includes airfare hotels,shore excursions and all other expenditures to go on this ship for a balcony room double occupant. Bottom Line not happy wont do it again. We go every year on a cruise and try to get friends or family to go Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
This is our 37th cruise, so when I say cruising is not what it use to be I know why I say it. We've been on enough cruises to see how little by little the industry is changing, and not for the better. So needless to say the Escape was ... Read More
This is our 37th cruise, so when I say cruising is not what it use to be I know why I say it. We've been on enough cruises to see how little by little the industry is changing, and not for the better. So needless to say the Escape was very disappointing. For starters for being a new ship it did not have the feel of a new ship. The entertainment thru out the ship was poor. The food was poor quality except for the specialty restaurants, which is what the industry little by little is trying to push. The first cabin assigned on the 14th deck forward was exceptionally noisy, they did change the cabin 2x again due to noise. Unfortunately since the service charge is automatically put on your bill this practice then allows for some of the staff to be less than helpful, in some instances rude. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We selected to cruise on the Norwegian Escape since it is the newest ship of Norwegian. We have cruised before with Disney and NCL (Sky) and our experiences were awesome. The first thing we didn’t liked was the boarding experience, it ... Read More
We selected to cruise on the Norwegian Escape since it is the newest ship of Norwegian. We have cruised before with Disney and NCL (Sky) and our experiences were awesome. The first thing we didn’t liked was the boarding experience, it took us over two hours to embark from the time we received our cabin keys. Once we boarded we went to our cabin, we had a mini suite. The cabin was average, nothing special. The set up was awkward since the space between the closet and the bed is about 1 feet, not leaving much room to get your clothes and things from the closet. The bathroom was very nice, very large and comfortable. The balcony was also very nice. After we viewed our cabin we headed up to the Garden’s Café to have lunch and it was very crowded. It took us over an hour to get our food and find a table. I’ve never seen a place so packed with people, it reminded me of “black Friday sales”. Then we proceeded to explore the ship and every single place on the ship was crowded. The ship’s capacity is 4,248 people and you can see it. Almost every one of the amenities are inside the ship, there are not many amenities outdoors. The stores, the casino, the main lobby all smell like cigarettes since people are allowed to smoke in the casino which covers a large area of the ship and it is in a central location. There are only a few areas for adults to get away, there is a pool and a water cave, a bar, large screen TV, and hot tubs at the aft of the ship, that is only for adults but only during certain hours. After 2 p.m. kids can come in. There also the brewery which was the only adults only place. If you are a couple traveling with no children and want to have a nice quiet time, this is not the ship for you. We never had the chance to get in the pool since it was always packed with children. There were a few restaurant selections but the menus were almost the same, with the exception of a few items that vary from restaurant to restaurant. We didn’t get the specialty restaurants package but for what we were told from other people that got it is that they had to wait too long and sometimes they ended up eating at a regular restaurant. The food wasn’t good, I returned my meal on 5 occasions, since it was under cooked. Entertainment was ok. My wife and I were looking forward on having some Latin dance lessons as we had in other cruises but that wasn’t offered on this cruise. There was not a specific place for Latin dancing, they only had two options a duet and a DJ, which moved constantly around the ship and in most instances we missed it because they only played for an hour or so and by the time we found it, it was late. We went on three shore excursions and while the excursions were enjoyable we were rushing back to the ship because there wasn’t enough time. By the time we disembarked, found our tour guides and got on the road it was almost noon, and we had to be back at the ship by 4 p.m. That didn’t leave us much time to explore or to shop. So if you are planning on doing a shore excursion expect to spend the entire day on the excursion even if it only says 2 hours. The debarkation process sucked even worse. It took us over three hours to disembark, due to a system malfunctioning, or so we were told. This is the first cruise I was glad when it was over. Overall, the ship looks nice, the food is ok, nothing special, and amenities are substandard. But the worst part was how many people were onboard. Every place was always crowded and that limited the enjoyment. I will cruise again with Norwegian but definitely not the Escape. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
I sailed on the NCL Escape on 8/14 which is actually a 6 day western Caribbean cruise. This was my 3rd time on NCL this year with my first 2 cruises being on the Getaway. I really enjoyed the Getaway, so I thought the Escape would be as ... Read More
I sailed on the NCL Escape on 8/14 which is actually a 6 day western Caribbean cruise. This was my 3rd time on NCL this year with my first 2 cruises being on the Getaway. I really enjoyed the Getaway, so I thought the Escape would be as good or even better. That's where I was wrong. The Escape was not a good experience. The ship is brand new and very clean. The balcony room was nice and beds very comfortable. Also, the bathroom is nice size and very clean. I have no complaints about the room. The food was a big disappointment on this ship. I'll start with the buffet which was the worst. One word comes to mind..CHAOS! It was like a feeding frenzy with people entering the line from every direction. Kids spilling drinks and ice cream on the floors. I saw officers walking around in the food lines oblivious to what was going on. I was surprised as the buffet on the Getaway was spotless. OK now for the actual food part. The food was very bland and generic tasting. NCL must be getting the cheapest ingredients they can possibly get to save money and it shows. They had a big selection of food, but it all tasted the same, bland! I did eat at one specialty restaurant, Cagney's Steakhouse. I had eaten there on the Getaway and really loved it. This time, not so much. It was not exceptional in any regard. It was just average. You could do better at a Longhorn or the type. O'Sheehan's, one of the complimentary places was just average if not below average. It was good for late night just to get something quick. Again, don't expect much or friendly service. Speaking of service, the employees on this ship did not seem happy to be there. I heard many speak of home and how their contracts require them to be at sea for 8 mos now. While I feel bad for them, people spent good money on this vacation, so fake it if you need to. I want to have fun on a cruise and be treated well by the staff. This was certainly lacking on this trip. OK onto my next big complaint, kids! Kids and tweens were running rampant on the ship. In the halls, stairwell, buffet line, casino, yes the casino even. Parents just let them run free and be someone else's problem. I will not sail with NCL next time and will explore RCCL. I hope this review helps someone who is consdiering the Escape. The only way you may like it is if you have nothing to compare it to. Take my word. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
NCL is at the bottom of the list. I have been on over 50 cruises all over the world and the latest on the NCL Escape was the worst. There is absolutely no class attached to this cruise line! Detailed issues from an often cruiser: 1-Up ... Read More
NCL is at the bottom of the list. I have been on over 50 cruises all over the world and the latest on the NCL Escape was the worst. There is absolutely no class attached to this cruise line! Detailed issues from an often cruiser: 1-Up charge for everything - 9 pay for dining rooms along with several other charge areas, bakery etc. Complimentary includes the normal dining room, café and one pub. 2-There is lousy food in the Cafe & Dining Room. Even have charges listed for a lobster on the complimentary dining room. No shrimp cocktail offered as an appetizer! This line is absurd and downright cheap. 3-There is slow service in the dining room. 4-No Captains night with a simple drink nor lobster offer, must pay $25 for it which is listed on the complimentary menu. 5-No liquids brought on board; no one wine per person free. You can’t even bring in a bottle of water. Aggressive boarding security took my wife’s bottle with medicine in it when she attempt to board. 6-The ship has a lousy layout with the Atrium, center of ship, overcome by noise of kid’s area one deck above. One can’t even hear the service desk personnel. 7-There is no men's locker room next to gym. Have to pay for spa if you want a locker 8-The gym is a very small area. 9-Tight balcony cabin as actually had to sit on the bed to use the closet, but all of them are doing this to get more on the ship. 10-Casino deck has slot machines all over the place which junks the ship up. 11-Second class entertainment, if not worse. 12-They advertise the liquor as duty fee and a deal when it is in fact about the same you would pay state side. 13-It is a small thing, but in all of but one port stop, they had not wet cloths available open coming back on board. 12-The complimentary areas are shrinking with the charge areas increasing. Anyone that has cruise often sees the downward trend of such a line. This was a last minute booking, but I should have known better based on a past experience to cruise with NCL. Big in this case is not beautiful. I suggest one goes with Princes, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean if you want to cruise in style. Needless to say, the River Cruises are great options as well! DON’T GO NCL! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
NCL has a charge now for room service, $8.00 per order! Speciality dinning has invaded the main dining rooms, there are charges for the steaks and lobster. Only two speciality restaurants has a fix price now, all others is a la cart! ... Read More
NCL has a charge now for room service, $8.00 per order! Speciality dinning has invaded the main dining rooms, there are charges for the steaks and lobster. Only two speciality restaurants has a fix price now, all others is a la cart! Everything seems to be extra charges! We tried to make speciality dinning reservation for our party of 15 on the second day for the French restaurant, not possible as its already fully booked! A lot of rude service staff, more then the usual %.....which is weird as this is the flagship for NCL? There is only one adult pool and is always packed with wall to wall people! All in all a horrible cruise for the almost 500.00 per day that we paid for a mini suite...... We will most likely not return for another on NCL! And it's a shame since we are Platinum members! This NCL ship is now one step up from a Carnival party ship! And we have never sailed on a Carnaval ship because of how cheap and awful we have always heard they are! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
Although a new ship the facilities cannot cope with the 5000 passengers that often fill it.We had to book for main restaurants and for the shows because the rooms were not big enough to cope with the capacity of the ship.This makes a ... Read More
Although a new ship the facilities cannot cope with the 5000 passengers that often fill it.We had to book for main restaurants and for the shows because the rooms were not big enough to cope with the capacity of the ship.This makes a nonsense of the free style dining that are advocated by NCL.The cruise director did not communicate hence you were always trying to find out what was happening in the week on board the ship. Norwegian Escape is not a ship I would recommend if you are looking for peace and quiet do not go on this ship it is pure hassle !Shows were put on in smaller rooms also that yopu could not get into as they were fully booked.Popular events were often held in the atrium which was a crazy place to hold them in front of guest services and shore excursions etc.You also could not get a seat to watch anything here . Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This review has two parts. The second part will explain why I gave this cruise an overall terrible rating. To begin, if you have read other reviews, you will see that our cruise experience was very similar to many others that have posted ... Read More
This review has two parts. The second part will explain why I gave this cruise an overall terrible rating. To begin, if you have read other reviews, you will see that our cruise experience was very similar to many others that have posted here. This was our first NCL cruise, The ship is new and everything is very clean and well kept. We traveled with a multi-generational group so early dining reservations were made before we boarded. It worked out well as the older members of our party were able to dine without having to wait. The food in the free dining venues was not the most exciting but overall the group was pleased with the food ordered. Several times service was very slow so it is helpful to tell your wait staff that you are going to a show. That really sped things up. The main atrium area and pool deck can be very loud! As other posters have mentioned the cruise director is always yelling make some noise. We played a bit of a game to count how many times we heard him say it and after the first day we lost count. It's constant as is the loud volume of the music on deck and in the atrium (at times). Yes smoke wafts out of the casino and into the atrium. Sometimes it's not too bad. Just depends how many smokers are on board. We really enjoyed the water-slides and ropes course. Avoid them the first sea day. The lines do get shorter as the week goes on. We didn't sit by the pool as it was crowded and not very relaxing. I feel they have put so many amenities (slides, ropes course, kids splash area etc on this ship) that there is not enough deck space on top to accommodate everything. Glad we had a balcony to get away from the crowds. One tip if you don't mind people smoking around you, On deck 17 there is a smoking area with bar that overlooks the main pool stage. It's a great spot to watch the bands playing poolside. It usually isn't very crowded because most non-smokers avoid it. Overall if my review ended here I would give this cruise 3 1/2 stars. It's about what I expected after reading many reviews. The epic failure involved the attitude of the security staff on this ship. I've cruised many times but never really thought much about a ship's security staff. Now I certainly will! To be brief, my adult son lost an item and decided to file a report in case the item did get turned in to customer service. We really didn't think he would get it back but we thought he might feel better if he reported it. So what should have taken about 20 minutes, took 2 hours. The first security guard asked over and over and over what were the "events" which we explained to him multiple times. At one point I was starting to laugh because it was so ridiculous. Finally we were passed to a second security guard who tells us we can't make a report unless we tell them the "events". What have we been doing for the last hour?? It gave me the feeling of dealing with a foreign call center where they read from a script and can't veer from it. Now I'm getting angry and I ask for their supervisor. He eventually comes out and pretty much tells us to make a report and "rolls his eyes" as we explain that is what we have been doing!! Eventually they tell us they will investigate and let is know what they find. The next day security came to my son's cabin and told him they can confirm our report but nothing can be done. Should have ended there...BUT then they told him we had been a problem and that WE WERE LUCKY THEY HAD LOOKED INTO IT AT ALL. I guess helping passengers isn't a top priority for them. There is a company I don't need to cruise with again. The remainder of the cruise I felt very uneasy. I believe the NCL security officers don't always understand or speak English very well. I think that's what created the original problem of repeatedly asking about the "events". What if this had been a serious problem which certainly can happen with 4000+ passengers. Would senior security brush it off if they didn't feel like dealing with it? I can't answer that but I won't cruise NCL again. There are too many other cruise lines and we have never had an experience like this on the 15+ other cruises we have been on. Read Less
33 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
I've been on 15-20 cruises over the years, but this was my first with Norwegian since 1992. I will never cruise with Norwegian again. Pros- The Norwegian Escape was new, so it was clean and pretty. The ropes course was really cool ... Read More
I've been on 15-20 cruises over the years, but this was my first with Norwegian since 1992. I will never cruise with Norwegian again. Pros- The Norwegian Escape was new, so it was clean and pretty. The ropes course was really cool (but only 2 of our 6 were ever able to get on it.) The crew was generally respectful and courteous, Virgin Gorda was an amazing port accessed by ferry easily by cruising into Tortola or (a much longer ferry) by cruising into St. Thomas. The food was better than adequate but fantastic in the specialty restaurants like Le Bistro and Moderno which had some of the best food I have ever eaten. Cons- This list is very long. I may have to do several paragraphs. First, the ship is overcrowded. I found myself standing in lines continuously. There were always lines for the elevators, the restaurants, excursions, to embark or disembark at ports, and to do any activity on the ship. The "atrium" was not grand at all. It was basically 2 floors with no glass elevator- very "blah." Since the ship has 20 floors, it's a short ship with only two sets of elevators instead of the normal three, which created nonstop lines and people scurrying to get on ahead of you. The buffet ran almost nonstop at Garden Café, but if you entered, it was wall-to-wall people waiting in lines at each station, and you could rarely find a seat. Several times, we had to go outside to eat where the humidity was so bad that we had to go back to the cabin for showers. Also, the free activities on the ship were EXTREMELY limited. Basically, you could do trivia, dance, (with a lot of drunk people) or watch movies on deck. Everything else was too crowded or cost extra. The ropes course was often closed, (due to the wind) so the lines were crazy when it finally opened. (The two people in our party who withstood the lines loved the ropes course which included two zip lines (but one was not working) and two planks over the side of the ship (but one was not working.) Of course, you had to stand in line in the middle of the ropes course to get to either of those two features. Everything on board the sports deck had lines from Dodgeball and Mini Golf to Ping Pong and even Shuffleboard. The whirlpools were always in use, and the pool situation was awful. Unless you paid extra for spa services, you could choose to use the AquaPark which was packed with kids or the main pool which was impossible to get into. We tried to go watch a couple of activities on the pool deck, but there were never any chairs available and the pool was literally 3-4 rows thick of people sitting around the edge of it, just trying to get their feet in. Because of Norwegian's special drink package, half of the people on the pool deck just stayed there all day in chairs they had claimed at the crack of dawn that they did not want to lose and literally tried to see how much they could drink in one day to "get their money's worth" on the "free" drink package that had cost them hundreds of dollars. Consequently, there were a lot of loud, drunk people on board. We did not do any of the ship's excursions because they were double the price of booking them on our own. In St. Thomas, we took a cab to one of the three best beaches (for snorkeling), Coki Beach. (The other two are Sapphire Beach and Secret Harbor.) Coki Beach was gorgeous in the morning but very crowded in the afternoon when we left for an hour of shopping before getting on the ship. Magen's Bay is the prettiest beach overall, but the snorkeling there is not good. (Taking the ferry to St. John's is a great option, but we've already done that multiple times, and our time at each port was EXTREMELY limited by Norwegian.) At Nassau, we've done Atlantis before which costs a fortune, even after you pay the park's very high admission price, and we've done Blue Lagoon (which is smaller, but really pretty and more economical), so we took the #10 Jitney bus (for $1.25 pp) from the main street (about a 10 minute walk from Festival Park where you dock) to Breezes All-Inclusive Resort where we bought a day pass for $80 pp. You must be at least 14 years old to go there, so it was nice to get away from the kids, the drunks, and the crowds. (Sandals is another all-inclusive with day passes for $120. It's 18+ and is even nicer, but we had a 16-year old with us.) Breezes was very relaxing. They had several pools, one with a swim-up bar, chairs in shallow pools, water and beach volleyball, a rock climbing wall, trapeze lessons on the beach, snorkeling, (and I believe they had a limited amount of non-motorized sports like kayaking and paddle boats; we never went over to that section of the beach. We had all of the alcohol we wanted. The price also included a buffet (which was average) and the grill which served hamburgers, etc. all day by the pool. It did storm after 2 hours, so we had to leave the water, but we didn't even care. The price had included (rather slow) Wifi. Since we hadn't used our phones in 6 days, we welcomed the chance to "catch up" with our technology. We even completed airport check-in for the next day. Despite the weather, this was a great excursion. The excursion we chose in Tortola was the best. It is physically demanding because of the walking and bending, but we saw people overweight and people 60-70 years old who were handling it okay. We walked a short ways to Speedy's to take a $38 round-trip ferry that included a Safari bus to the Baths and the Caves at Virgin Gorda. Look these up on Youtube. These were amazing! Volcanic activity has created huge boulders all over the island with gorgeous "caves" with nooks and crannies where you can swim and explore. It's big enough that you can find your own private spot but small enough that you can't get lost. The only negative is that there's a line to get through the main route in the caves, but you are not required to stay in that line. My son’s a rock climber, and he scaled the top of the boulders in his sandals. There's also great snorkeling at the Baths Beach and at Devil's Bay which is at the end of the caves. We saw lots of coral and fish, even an eel and an octopus. The worst part was having to be back on the ship by 3:00. We could have easily stayed here all day. There was a little restaurant on the beach at the Baths and a bigger one up by the parking lot. That one even had a fresh-water pool you could use for free. Overall, the best part of the cruise was the excursions that we booked ourselves. Back to the cons- I have not yet addressed my three biggest concerns: money, the casino, and guest services. Let's start with money. Norwegian tries to make an extra buck whenever possible. You have to pay big bucks for things that should be included. We avoided the spa which charged for everything, even for just seeing their cool ice room. The two main activities throughout the cruise were Bingo and "Deal or No Deal." Bingo was very expensive. The first round is free to get you hooked. Then prices range from $29-$49 just to play, and if you win, you barely recover what you paid to play. They also make a lot of money on Instant Bingo, and there are very few winners. On other cruises, game shows have been free. On Norwegian, they play "Deal or No Deal," but you have to pay for a $20 card (or $40 or $60 for multiple cards) just to get a CHANCE at being selected to play. (The cards let you "play along" with the main contestant, but hardly anyone won anything at all by "playing along.") Plus, it's so crowded for these activities, your chance of winning anything is very small. Norwegian is making a FORTUNE on this. You also had to pay for things like bowling, (which only had two lanes and was always in use) pool tables, and arcade games. I was actually quite surprised that fees were not charged for Shuffleboard, Ping Pong, and Karaoke. I'll try to be brief in regards to the casino. First, I swear that the slot machines were rigged. We never saw even one person win big on the slot machines the whole time we were there. Secondly, the tournaments were a sham. On other cruises, they have a tournament almost every day with the winner getting at least $500. Norwegian was purposefully vague about the rules until people had bought multiple entries the first day. It worked like this, the SINGLE (slot, Blackjack, or Poker) tournament ran the entire length of the cruise. On Days 1-5, if you won your round, your name went on the leaderboard. On the very last day of the cruise, only the top 6 names on the leaderboard were able to advance to the final round in which ONE person from the entire week won $500. The cruise ship made THOUSANDS on the tournament, only giving up $500. In addition, we had a card for free drinks in the casino. While there, it was often difficult to find a waiter, it often took him a long time to return with drinks, and the cruise line "accidentally" put drink charges on our account more than once which required standing in line to rectify the bill. Overall, the casino was a bad experience. Finally, Norwegian's biggest problem was accounting. The first twenty-four hours onboard, I personally spent six hours standing in line at guest services trying to get an onboard credit that I had called to verify before we ever left home. I had to be passed from purser to purser and explain the story over and over. While onboard, I had to call my travel company (who said the cruise line should have it) and wait on the phone with them 40 minutes. Only then would Norwegian fill out an "official" report and have someone research the problem. I eventually got the onboard credit, but it took a lot of work and a lot of time when I could have been relaxing on the cruise. In addition, I had to go back to stand in line at guest services almost every day for multiple problems that often resulted in other problems. After returning to guest services a couple of times when members of my party had "issues" with their card (which is essentially a room key and debit card), we figured out that no one from our group of six had the required credit cards attached to their accounts which was the reason for most of the individual problems. This could have been easily fixed if Norwegian had asked for our credit card when we checked in and attached it to our account. (Because they never asked for a credit card at check-in, we erroneously had thought that the cards we had used to pay for the cruise were attached to our account.) We had to go through several people declining our individual cards and then visiting guest services individually before we figured that everyone in our party had to visit guest services and fix this. In addition, I had to visit guest services for issues with our dining plan, for putting the wrong people’s charges on the wrong accounts, and for charging us for things we had not bought. VERY FRUSTRATING. In conclusion, will I cruise again? Yes! Will I cruise again with Norwegian? Heck no! This is the first review I have ever written at any web site online, and I am writing it the day after I returned from the cruise. This should show you how disappointed I was with Norwegian's Escape as a whole. I have heard similar complaints about Carnival, and we've gradually backed away from using them. I've been on tons of cruises with Norwegian, MSC, Carnival, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean was definitely the best, and I plan to return to them next time. (We've also heard that Princess is very good.) One final note, Norwegian has an elite area of the ship called the Haven which is only available to passengers who pay a lot more money for these "suites." The Haven has its own restaurant, pool, and club, and has complete access to all of the spa services. If money is not an issue for you, this might be a viable option, but, personally, I would choose another cruise line. We waited for months for this cruise because we just wanted to kick back and relax. With all of the anxiety we experienced, that was hard to do. Usually, I dread having to return to the “real world” after a cruise, but part of me was glad to escape the Escape. I hope this review helps others to make a smarter choice. Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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