Sail Date: August 2019
Generally the ship was nice and clean. The food was above average. Entertainment was very good. Staff was courteous and always helpful. Biggest problem with ship is the swimming pool situation and no real adult area. That makes this ... Read More
Generally the ship was nice and clean. The food was above average. Entertainment was very good. Staff was courteous and always helpful. Biggest problem with ship is the swimming pool situation and no real adult area. That makes this ship a very poor choice for me and most adults I know. Hard to believe whoever designed this ship missed on this one. First time i cruised Norwegian, but I will need to check ship out in more detail before I cruise with them again. The agent I booked with said there was an adult pool and area. He was correct, but the pool was tiny, there was only one adult hot tub and there were kids all over the place. Also, whats the point of having a small pool and the entire thing is 6'8" deep. everyone was hanging on the sides because no one like treading water in the middle when you are trying to relax and talk to friends. design people really messed up big time. I was not the only one complaining. It seemed to be what many people talked about everyday. Variety of bars was great, but usually difficult to get a drink. What makes it worse is paying for the drink package and spending half you time trying to get drinks just to get your moneys worth. Also for the price you pay for drink package, they should have bottled water. Very poor! Agent told me they did have bottled water with package, but was wrong. Very disappointed, as i am a water drinker more than an alcohol drinker. I had to spend money to buy bottled water. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Choose for the pools and activities for teens we brought. Very crowed pool area with just one adult pool that you could not stand up in. Child pool not so great either. I would call this "Cruise without pools". Cruise for the ... Read More
Choose for the pools and activities for teens we brought. Very crowed pool area with just one adult pool that you could not stand up in. Child pool not so great either. I would call this "Cruise without pools". Cruise for the 18 to 25 age group that like much noise. The big water slides are very slow with long lines, rope course not used much. They would have been better off using the room for more pools, these were not used much. Plenty of so called hot tubs with few umbrella's in upper quieter decks. Food was mediocre at best, restaurants all seemed to get food from same location with some minor differences. Don't bother with the filet, tasteless dry beef, they should wrap it with bacon. If your want hot food and real toast just go to buffet for breakfast, breakfast at restaurant will give you: no toast, under cooked bacon and just plain cold breakfast that is brought in from above. Maybe the buffet is the best for all meals, so skip the specialty restaurants, not worth it. They are strange about the towels, just make sure you leave what was in your cabin back when you leave. Balcony rooms are very nice with plenty of room, do not get inside cabin. Shows and activities just repeat every night it seems. Bottom line I/we will never go on this cruise again. Will look for something much better. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We just returned from 7 day trip to Bermuda with NCL Escape and I've come to the conclusion that cruises are not what they used to be anymore. Stay at the Haven was fantastic - great service, hospitality and amenity. However, the rest ... Read More
We just returned from 7 day trip to Bermuda with NCL Escape and I've come to the conclusion that cruises are not what they used to be anymore. Stay at the Haven was fantastic - great service, hospitality and amenity. However, the rest of the ship and what it offered was just average, nothing unique or spectacular. The Haven review - Staying in The Haven was worth every penny, just to be able to avoid the layers and layers of people at the main pool deck on sea days. We appreciated the constantly high level of attentive, friendly and professional service from the entire staff on the Haven (room steward, concierge, Haven restaurant staff, and other service staff). - Embarkation/Disembarkation was very smooth, having an ability to use Haven only priority lane as well as the Haven only elevators. But don't expect any welcome cocktail anymore (at least not at New York terminal). - We spent a lot of time on the Haven pool area. Because of the time of the year, there were many families with small children, but they were all relatively well behaved. There is also an adult only part of the Haven on sundeck, including hottub, if you want to get away from kids. That said, Haven pool area was never crowded or loud and we were always able to find a lounger or place to sit and relax. - We ate a lot at THE Haven restaurant. Food was very good with varieties of stuff on menu so we never got tired of eating there. I say the quality was equal or better than the high end specialty restaurants. The service was a bit slow but that's expected on cruise ship restaurant - you slow down your pace and get to enjoy your meal and family time for a change! Cabin (H5 on port side) Rooms are significantly small, compared to those on older ships, which is the downside of these newer ships. It's much smaller than family suite on Dawn, for example. It is enough for 2 adults and 1 kid but if you wanted to dine in your room, a table is not big enough (it's cocktail table). A deck is small, enough only for 2 chars and a small table. But since we were so close to the Haven lounge/pool/sundeck, it was fine. If you carry a lot of clothes, there may not be enough closet space though. One tip of advice - if you are going to Bermuda, a port side will face the island but there is a beach party some nights, which is pretty loud and goes to wee hours so if noise is an issue, you may want to consider the location. However, you get to see a beautiful sunset from your balcony. Rest of the Ship - Main pool area is small and compact (and crowded as expected) - Kids pool area is right next to the main pool, which is good and bad - adults can go get drinks and other things easily, but it feels really cramped. - H2O area is nice and it is open to all ages after 6pm. We enjoyed the outdoor movie night and dance party thereafter. - I thought indoor entertainment amenities were lacking. There are 2 lanes of duck pin bowling and arcade games - that's pretty much it. I wish they offer more music and other fun activities indoors during a daytime. I personally think RCI offers better fun amenities. - We ate at Cagneys, Teppanyaki and Cucina and I thought food qualities were much better than other NCL ships. I was pleasantly surprised by the teppanyaki filet. - Main entertainment was pretty good. We enjoyed magician and Choir of Man. However, the rest of the entertainment/activities throughout a day were very disappointing. Many were clearly designed to sell you stuff, which really turned us off. - Jogging track is a joke and seemed like it was completely afterthought. RCI, for example, has jogging track secluded from the main deck. This one cuts through the bars and busy access area to the pool areas so it's only open till 9am and after 6pm, which is fine as I usually run early in the morning, but the worst part was it was only 0.2KM in length! After about 5 laps, I lost track. For a ship this size, I expected much bigger and better jogging track. Also, it is right beside the smoking area so you get to enjoy second hand smoking as you run. Ports - We love Bermuda and this is our 4th trip there. We independently booked the access to Elbow Beach Resort. Since it was a private beach, it was not crowded and beach was great. However, wave was pretty rough (not sure if it was particular for that day or is usually like that) so was not ideal for families with small children. Also, food/drinks were so overpriced (2 regular beer on tap and 1 OJ = $35), we ended up not eating there. - Glass bottom tour was nice - our captain was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot about Bermuda, its marine life, architecture and history. It was packed but we all were able to see the glass bottom. - Snorkel beach is very tiny and is not nearly as nice as other beautiful beaches Bermuda offers but it's convenient. I hear it gets pretty packed on the last day so recommend going there the first day. Kids This was the second cruise on our 4 year old and she enjoyed it. It was nice that there were many families with kids in the Haven level. She did not want to go to Splash Academy until the last day - and when she finally did, she really enjoyed it. Hopefully she will go more the next time! Kids pool area looked fun but again, it was very crowded so she spent most of her time in the Haven pool area with us. I wish there were more kids friendly amenities indoor. Final thoughts Although experience at the Haven was very nice, I am not sure if it was worth the money we paid. We've been to all-inclusive beach resort with personal butler/chef/nanny included for the similar price. Although we will definitely go cruising again (what can I say, we love cruise), I think it is time to try different brand. NCL has become a bit too formulaic, and does not offer that special feeling you get on the cruise trip anymore. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
All the entertainment options my wife and I wanted to experience were fully booked by the first evening on the ship. The complimentary restaurants all had the same menu so there was only really two food options each day, one of the ... Read More
All the entertainment options my wife and I wanted to experience were fully booked by the first evening on the ship. The complimentary restaurants all had the same menu so there was only really two food options each day, one of the complimentary restaurants or the buffet. There was more food options but of course you would have to pay extra if you wanted to dine at them. The internet package that my wife payed access for only let her connect have of the time. Although the ship looked big the deck space was limited and almost all lounge chairs were claimed by 9am each morning. On the positive side the room steward was excellent and very attentive. He provided ice for us every day so we could keep or son’s baby food frozen. We did do excursions but decided to book on our own because it was cheaper then to book through the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
For our family vacation this year we chose the NCL Escape. This was our 3rd cruise on NCL, and the 2nd on a Breakaway class ship. This cruise was, unfortunately, just OK. The Escape is a HUGE ship, over 4000 passengers, but I found it ... Read More
For our family vacation this year we chose the NCL Escape. This was our 3rd cruise on NCL, and the 2nd on a Breakaway class ship. This cruise was, unfortunately, just OK. The Escape is a HUGE ship, over 4000 passengers, but I found it to be poorly thought out and crowded. Our embarkation was flawless, NCL really has this down. Since we are latitude members we went from parking on the pier, to being on the ship in less than an hour. We were able to get into our cabin in about 2 hours, and finally start to relax. We sailed on time and leaving NY is always amazing to see! The ship is beautiful, clean and BIG! NCL's mantra has always been "Freestyle Cruising", so if that is the case why do I have to BOOK EVERYTHING! The one thing that I don't want to do on vacation is to make appointments and to keep them, but I can tell you from experience if you do not book shows, dinners, etc beforehand you will NOT get in. On our last NCL cruise you could just show up to the dueling pianos, or the comedy club, or theater, not this time. Everything was sold out, standing room only. The specialty dining sold out almost immediately so even though we had the dining package we ended up eating at the included restaurants most nights. The other issue I have is the "mandatory" tipping that has caused the service to go away. In the past tipping was something that we did when the service was excellent. Now, with mandatory tipping there is no reason for any of the staff to go above and beyond. I can tell you that I would wait almost 20 MINUTES for a drink at the pool bars. There was only 1 bartender on staff! My cabin steward for not unfriendly, but he rarely spoke to us. He worked his butt off and our room was spotless, but on past cruised they were always so friendly and went out of there way to get to know you. Also an FYI, NCL has stopped doing towel animals, stating that they want to cut down on washing, how about if you just put one less towel in the room and make the animals anyway, those little things cannot be emphasized enough. You can ask for them, but I did not know that until our last day. The food was hit or miss, some entrees were to die for, others I could make better at home. The staff in the dining rooms was also unpredictable. Some nights the servers were amazing, others they just did not seem to care. It was disappointing. Debarkation was as smooth as getting on. We walked off the ship through customs to our car in about an hour. It is definitely worth it to walk your own bags off the ship if possible. Any vacation is what you make it to be and we did have a great time. However, because of the things I mentioned above I will have to consider other cruise lines for our next trip even tough we are Latitude members. The ship was just too crowded and poorly thought out and mandatory tipping has taken the great service away from what has always been a great cruise brand. We may have to try Royal Caribbean next time. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I think it's important before leaving a rating to understand the frame of mind of the traveler and their expectation levels before cruising. Let me say that in my case - I love cruising. To be it's about relaxation, the ... Read More
I think it's important before leaving a rating to understand the frame of mind of the traveler and their expectation levels before cruising. Let me say that in my case - I love cruising. To be it's about relaxation, the vacation coming to you, the full itinerary, the work is done for you, and the fact that everything is settled in advance. You go, you don't have to think too much about spending a fortune, you unwind, recharge, and when you get back, you don't feel like you need another vacation. That said on The Escape... The service was absolutely excellent, the food was excellent. The shows (Choir of Man and After Midnight, their Magic duo) were excellent. Our weather and our "ride" to an fro were excellent. So why just a 3-star review? The Escape loses points because it is simply overcrowded, there are not enough "open" spaces to just conversate or relax unless you want to tan on the upper deck and even that is way too overcrowded, and a little unruly and dirty (not their fault, the guests just leave food and drinks and dirty towels everywhere and the staff can't keep up). A lot of the indoor functions took place in the Theatre or the "Atrium," and it too was way overcrowded. The Theatre was fine, uncomfortable and rather small considering that there are 4000 guests on the ship. Spice H2O is a great party space, but again, way too overcrowded. This made it uncomfortable for my kind of tastes. As NY'ers, we go on a cruise to get away from that shoulder-to-shoulder discomfort, not to enter into it. Bars were hit or miss with service. O'Sheehan's., the main bar overlooking the Atrium was incredibly understaffed at the bar, and on a number of occasions we were simply ignored for 10-15 minutes at a time. Thankfully, there are other bars where it's easier to score a drink...no big deal. Felt a bit nickel-and-dimed at times (do they really have to charge $5.50 for a bottle of water in the room, especially when they charge guests $15 a day already?), and way, way, way too much space designated to art and photography. that's just a money grab and a waste of good space. On nights when photographers were around you had stairways blocked, cues of lines in hallways just to pass, it was rather obnoxious at times. It's a problem because the Escape just doesn't have a lot of usable space for a ship this large, there is simply too much congestion, and then throw in blocked hallways and staircases into the mix simply to take a portrait, c'mon now! And to do it for the final 4 nights on the cruise is a little too much. Choose a single night to do that, people dress up, take your picture, and be done with it. The Escape just hits you over the head with that nonsense. The automated bingo with predetermined winners was a letdown and way too expensive. Deal or no Deal and some of the other "game shows" were really boring and a letdown, but because that's not why I choose to cruise it didn't lose too many points. The bottom line is this - the Escape is NOT cheap and it is a good time. Where it needs to deliver - Food, drink, service, cleanliness, embarkation process - it truly is fantastic! but there a lot of minor annoyances that certainly will have me looking to "try something different" next time around, not because it's a bad ship but because I didn't walk away saying, "Wow, that ship is amazing" and that's simply what I want when I cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We went on this cruise with 13 people because we had a lot of young adults with us and figured it was the most economical. First off the pool area is way to small for the size ship. When your on vacation you shouldn’t need to get up at ... Read More
We went on this cruise with 13 people because we had a lot of young adults with us and figured it was the most economical. First off the pool area is way to small for the size ship. When your on vacation you shouldn’t need to get up at 6:30 in the morning just to try and save a few seats together. If the pool is packed your not getting a seat if you show up later than breakfast. Second we had multiple issues at the extra restaurants. We waited almost more than an hour after our reservation at Cagneys the steak house and then were finally given a table with no view whatsoever next to a wall. We also went to Tapenyaki and two peoples orders were either wrong or didn’t get the full meal. We didn’t realize until after because one of our younger girls didn’t want to make a big deal about it. But when your paying extra, you should get what your paying for. Finally we were at dinner in the Manhattans room. We had an adult order a diet soda and instead was given a jack and coke. Not a big deal unless the mistake was done to a minor or even worse a recovering alcoholic. The staff was always apologetic and always very pleasant with that being said. I just think the ship at full capacity is unable To ruń efficiently and smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
So I was a little weary about this cruise just by reading some of the most recent reviews but I decided to go in with an open mind. NYC is the port my family and I travel out of the most. Out of this port we have been on the Gem, ... Read More
So I was a little weary about this cruise just by reading some of the most recent reviews but I decided to go in with an open mind. NYC is the port my family and I travel out of the most. Out of this port we have been on the Gem, Breakaway, and now the Escape. We sailed to Bermuda in 2013 on the Breakaway for her inaugural season. We really enjoyed the Breakaway and thought that we were going to really enjoy the Escape as it was a sister ship to the Breakaway. When I learned that we were going on the Escape I started doing my research on the ship. I noticed that it was the first of the Breakaway Plus class. I was pretty excited as I have been following the Bliss and Joy which are also breakaway plus ships. Unfortunately what I failed to realize is that the Escape holds almost 400 more people than the Breakaway. This paired with the higher than usual drunk New Yorkers that seemed to love to try and fight people from Jersey, (as someone from Mass I don't understand the feud) made the cruise a little bit frustrating. By the end of the cruise it seemed that people were generally less relaxed than when they got on. The atmosphere was pretty tense the morning of disembarkation; seemed like people just wanted to get off. We were a group of 5 split between 3 Family Oceanview Staterooms. We all put in bids to upgrade from inside to Oceanview at $50pp per stateroom and they were accepted. Couple in one room had one room stew and myself and another couple had a different stew for our two rooms. Our room stew Kutut was honestly the best room stew we have ever had on NCL. He anticipated our needs before we even had to ask him and was just generally a pleasant person to have a quick chat with throughout the cruise. The food seriously ranged throughout the cruise. On sea days the food was usually rushed and seemed as if the quality was lacking. The people in the Garden Cafe had some trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of people that the restaurant sees during high traffic times. People clearing tables were on top of their game and there was ample amount of staff for that and getting new forks and napkins and such. We dined in the Manhattan room the first Sea Day evening and the last night we were in Bermuda. Same situation here. Since people were out and about on Bermuda there was less demand from the Kitchen Staff so the quality of meals went up pretty good. O'Sheehans didn't seem to serve Mozzarella sticks. This is just a personal snack that I would have loved to have. They served them on the Breakaway so I am not sure what makes the escape different. All in all I would say that I was underwhelmed with the food on the ship throughout the week. Embarkation was an absolute breeze. We got to the port around 11:30 and we went through TSA, Customs and the Check In area right away. We were on the ship by Noonish. Our cruise director was Alvin. We have never had him as a cruise director. At first he is a little annoying but he grew on us by the end of the cruise. The Cruise Director staff was pretty good for the most part. Another thing about this ship is how poorly planned the Gym was on board. Way too small of a room to try and work out. Not enough machines and equipment for the amount of demand the gym has. Good luck trying to work some of that food from the Garden Cafe off. Everything went pretty smoothly throughout the cruise and didn't seem to have a problem. The shuffle board equipment was all pretty banged up and in need of serious repair but that was whatever. Slides and ropes course are truly the coolest thing about the ship. I did the ropes course on the Breakaway when we were in port. I did them this time on a Sea day. Long story short, next time I will wait until we are in port to do the ropes course. The only thing that was the worst part of the cruise was the sheer amount of people. It was like we were packed in like sardines. You could not move around comfortably throughout the ship. Thankfully were were docked in Bermuda for three days so it thinned out the herd a little. Bermuda is absolutely beautiful this time of year and its my favorite place in the world so there was nothing stopping me from enjoying the vacation. We will most likely cruise on NCL again but definitely will be shopping around next time instead of going right to NCL. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
1st and last time we will be sailing on Norwegian. The Escape carries at least 1000 more passengers than it really should. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. It took a day to figure out the layout after always sailing on ... Read More
1st and last time we will be sailing on Norwegian. The Escape carries at least 1000 more passengers than it really should. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. It took a day to figure out the layout after always sailing on Royal. We liked the entertaining, food and bar layout on decks 6, 7 and 8. The ship was packed!!! I hace sailed on similar sized Royal ships and never felt crowded. Not on the Escape...way too many people. Dinner at Taste and The Manhattan Room were nice but we felt rushed. The main course came while eating our appetizers each time. Food Republic, Moderno and Teppanyaki wer all really good. Definitly make reservations on-line or at any resturant as soon as you get on. The pool area was always very crowded. The pool itself is very poorly designed. It is 20x10 anf 6'8" deep, so unless you want to tread water, you better hope for a spot around the edge. The deck furniture is literaly on top of each other so much so that you can smell the breath of the person sitting next to you. The bar staff is WAY understaffed for a ship this large. 2 or 3 bartenders at the pool bar is not nearly enough. They are so overworked that it effects their attitude. Most are not friendly at all, agin, because their workload is too much. On Royal, if the bar is crowded, the bar officer jumps in to help. Not on the Escape. The smoking area is on the top bar area above the pool. Twice I saw cigarettes blow into the pool and you can often smell the smoke. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We have sailed on NCL before- last year on the Gem to the Bahamas. That trip was lovely- the boat was smaller and not as modern, but the overall experience was better. Getting on and off the ship was easy- unfortunately, the called ... Read More
We have sailed on NCL before- last year on the Gem to the Bahamas. That trip was lovely- the boat was smaller and not as modern, but the overall experience was better. Getting on and off the ship was easy- unfortunately, the called “last call” for our check out at 7:40- when our check out was 8:30-9:00- so we rushed- and that was the issue. You had to get to everything before it ran out it sold out- the shows- the buffet- the lounge chairs( good lord- let’s not go there- people save them forever and tons at a time- then go and sleep til noon. You go to deck at 7 am- and it’s empty, but all the chairs are taken- NCL has a policy on this, but doesn’t follow through). 18 and over deck- lol- no one is going to say much to dad putting his kids in the hot tub- so much for that. Want to watch something in the Atrium- better get there 1 1/2 hours early to be able to see anything! It was exhausting and created a negative vibe. And staff was fine- just so obviously overwhelmed and overworked- very different than our last experience with NCL. We made the best of it and had a great time- but it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you are surrounded by workers so obviously exhausted and stressed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We went on this cruise because we were traveling as a family group of 24, with ages ranging from 2-96. It is not a cruise I would select traveling as a couple of empty nest adults. Frankly, the children's activities were also ... Read More
We went on this cruise because we were traveling as a family group of 24, with ages ranging from 2-96. It is not a cruise I would select traveling as a couple of empty nest adults. Frankly, the children's activities were also lacking, as described below. A few tips: 1. The ship was vastly overcrowded. There is ONE adult swimming pool (and the adult-ness is not enforced) for 5200 passengers. The pool at our 200-unit condo is at least twice the size. The one children's pool reeked of urine. The hot tubs are small and not particularly hot. I never went into one pool or hot tub on our week long cruise, they were that unappealing. Naturally, it is impossible to get a lounge chair for the same reason. 2. The beverage package includes wine- yet only up to $15. The only included wines were underwhelming and there are no $15. glasses; it's $9 or you pay full price for anything over $15, which is the wines you might care to drink. 3. Child Care- there are no included children's activities for under 3 year olds. Our grandson went once to the afternoon children's center and was so upset about the experience that he never went back again. Also, the ship needs to have an option for in-room babysitting at night. We were willing to pay for babysitting, but unwilling to have him fall asleep in one place and then need to move back to his own room. 4. Don't bother with internet. It is very expensive and hard to log out of. Consequently, our minutes constantly disappeared with every use. 5. The staff is trying and most were kind and helpful. Security staff are unnecessarily harsh. 6. Food is decent, though certainly not memorable. We enjoyed meals at Cagney's and Le Bistro, for which there were a la carte upcharges. All in all, we have done 2 other multigenerational cruises on Royal Caribbean, and we enjoyed those more. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Have sailed on all of the major lines but never a ship of this size. Although the crew was pleasant and responsive the experience seemed impersonal due to the large number of passengers they had to deal with. The buffet food was fair, ... Read More
Have sailed on all of the major lines but never a ship of this size. Although the crew was pleasant and responsive the experience seemed impersonal due to the large number of passengers they had to deal with. The buffet food was fair, restaurants much better. Teppanyake specialty restaurant had the best food; quality and quantity, but prepare for an entertaining and loud performance by chefs preparing your meal. My balcony cabin was good size, clean and well maintained. Disappointed in the public areas; seemed in the attempt to make areas more intimate they felt small and cut up. Biggest disappointment was the lack of a grand and elegant open lobby most ships, especially of this size, boast. Mid ship is an attractive glass staircase but due to the fact it was open to the casino an awful stench of stale cigarette smoke infiltrated all three decks adjacent to it. I'll sail again with NCL but not this ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My spouse and I took this exact same cruise at the exact same time last year and it was, hands down, the best cruise we'd ever taken. When we booked this cruise earlier in the year, we were very excited at the thought of matching ... Read More
My spouse and I took this exact same cruise at the exact same time last year and it was, hands down, the best cruise we'd ever taken. When we booked this cruise earlier in the year, we were very excited at the thought of matching last year's cruise. Sadly, there was a stark difference in the two cruises and we were left with a feeling of disappointment in some areas. In others, this ship shined. For transparency, we tend to sail in the Haven. This year was no exception. Not because we are rich. We are far from it. But I am disabled and have health challenges. For that reason, we budget every year to insure that we are able to travel in a way that's most comfortable for me...and in a way that allows me to get the best experience possible out of our travel. We are not "snooty," nor are we "entitled." However, when you pay a premium, you do expect that "premium" to be delivered. About 3 weeks prior to our cruise, I emailed the pre-cruise concierge, as directed, for any requests that may make our cruise more enjoyable. In that email, I explained that due to severe allergies, we are not able to have fresh flowers in our room, nor are we able to have any kind of feather bedding as they cause significant allergic reactions. I received an email response assuring me that this request would be handled prior to embarkation. Embarkation was close to flawless and we were told our room was ready as soon as we boarded. We were staying in a Haven Spa Suite and it was nice. However, when we walked in, we noticed a vase of wilted and dying flowers....obviously left over from the prior cruise. Not a huge deal...we figured we'd give it to our room steward when we met him. The ice bucket had lukewarm melted water in it....presumedly from the prior cruise that ended earlier that day. There was only one towel, and one bathrobe. There was no bottle of champagne on ice as we were told there would be...and as there was last year. Individually, not a huge deal...but adding it up, it was a little disappointing. Shortly thereafter, our room steward arrived and we spoke with him about the flowers, etc. He apologized for the oversights, said he'd fix them by the time we returned from lunch and assured us that the room was feather free. That was the big part for us, so we were grateful. After the first night, my spouse woke up with a pretty intense allergy attack. Since the vents were on the ceiling, we figured it was the air ducts and the air circulation. We were assured that the room was de-feathered, so we didn't think that was the problem. For the next 5 nights, our allergies were pretty intense. We were living on allergy medicine and continued to chalk it up to the air conditioning. By day 6, I was beyond miserable. At that point, I took a closer look at the pillows. All but one were exactly what we needed. The last one, all feather. We called our room steward to ask him to please change it, but he was unavailable. So we called our butler.....who, up until that time, we had seen, maybe 3 times the entire cruise...who informed us that our room steward was on break and would handle when he came back during the nightly turndown. We called about it just after noon. After explaining that the allergic response was making us pretty miserable, he did send someone in his place to change out the bedding. We vacated the room so that could happen. Our allergies never cleared up and we realized on the morning that we left, that while there was no feather bedding ON the bed, they had stored all the feather bedding UNDER the bed. It was pretty awful. Adding to that frustration, we had to ask almost daily for fresh ice...and the only thing we asked of our butler was to have cookies in the evening. He promised cookies every night. They came once. We didn't ask anything else of him....we didn't order room service....we did not dine in our room...he was pretty much non-existent. He did, however, show up on the morning of debarkation to collect his tip. Again, I need to stress....we are NOT snooty. We weren't asking for outlandish things. We asked for next to nothing. But we paid a premium for a certain service and that service didn't deliver. It was even more disappointing because we do work so hard to afford that level of service. For it not to be there, cast a bit of a shadow on our week. Especially with the allergy/feather situation. The rest of the cruise was AMAZING!! We loved Cagney's and Moderno. We also enjoyed Food Republic. It's a different concept but enjoyable nonetheless. The only exception was Bayamo. We didn't enjoy Bayamo as much as we'd hoped and probably wouldn't return. The Garden Cafe was perfect for what we needed it for, and we enjoyed dining at Taste one night as well. As for the entertainment.....for the second year, Choir of Man was absolutely incredible!! We also saw Melinda Doolittle's solo show in the Supper Club....and that was one of the most enjoyable evenings of our cruise. She was very warm, engaging, and very friendly. It was a very cool thing to be able to talk with her a bit after her show as well. I was really pulling for her when she was on American Idol, so it really was a thrill to see her perform. We didn't see any other shows as it was an early night most nights for us. We met some really great people through the meet and greet/slot pull/cabin crawl. We had a great time with them. Blackjack was very kind to us, but we seemed to give our winnings back to the slot machines!!! We loved karaoke nights as well. The pools were crowded as they normally are....but the slides seemed to be popular. We did not use the Haven pool area, but we did use the sundeck in the Haven once or twice and that was pretty relaxing. The Haven restaurant was also very good. Bermuda was beautiful as always. We took the free ferry over to St. Georges and headed to Tobacco Bay. That was a beautiful area. We seemed to luck out as we heard that Horseshoe Bay was filled with Portuguese Man-O-War which made it difficult to swim. In fact, someone from our Cruise Critic group was stung and from what we heard, had to be treated at the hospital. I'm not sure we'll do this itinerary again. We love cruising out of NY because we are local and flying is challenging for me. But I think we'll try something elsewhere next year. We are firm believers in vacations being exactly what you make them to be...and in that sense, we had a magical week onboard the Escape. But the service...or lack thereof...did make things challenging for us most of the time. And that part, was probably the most disappointing aspect of our cruise. Will be sail NCL again? Absolutely. Will we sail the Escape again? Probably not. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Dedicated NCL membersDisembarkation took 3 hours. They lost our souvenirs which they were holding for us and then were nasty about it. Two nights for dinner at Cagneys were fair at best. Our potatoes came first followed 10 minutes later ... Read More
Dedicated NCL membersDisembarkation took 3 hours. They lost our souvenirs which they were holding for us and then were nasty about it. Two nights for dinner at Cagneys were fair at best. Our potatoes came first followed 10 minutes later by our steaks which were not cooked properly. Dinner at La Cucina was not up to par. Food came late again. The first 7 nights were otherwise great. Dinner at Le Bistro and the Manhattan room were terrific. We were invited to a beer tasting which was great. We have travelled on the Escape four times and the first 3 were excellent which is why we went back again. Embarkation was smooth and our room was ready and the luggage came timely. The regular General Manager Deepak was not on the ship this time and I wonder if the service slipped because of this. We will come back hoping this was an isolated incident. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
To summarize my very long review below, a brief version for anyone just looking for the cliff notes: The Good: Top notch friendly employees, Room size/cleanliness/comfort, Drinks, Large Casino, Mojito Bar, Tapas, Taste/Savor, buffet, ... Read More
To summarize my very long review below, a brief version for anyone just looking for the cliff notes: The Good: Top notch friendly employees, Room size/cleanliness/comfort, Drinks, Large Casino, Mojito Bar, Tapas, Taste/Savor, buffet, Starbucks. The Bad: Not enough elevators, not enough smoking areas, far too crowded, lots of up-selling, not enough explanation, extremely long wait times at bars. Almost all entertainment/dining options booked up right away, Supper Club, Room service meal. This was our second NCL to Bermuda cruise, the last was on the Breakaway 2 years ago. The extra passanger capacity between the ships and the nickel and diming reduction of service definitely showed however we were still able to enjoy our time. Other passengers seemed much less happy, as for us we are willing to try Norwegian again but may try out MSC as a replacement. There were no life jackets in the room. This was by design but concerning none the less. I’m guessing by only keeping them at muster stations and not 1 per passenger at muster and 1 in room they are saving money at the expense of safety. It quickly grew frustrating the lack of explanation of things/up-charges or even ship information yet the constant attention to advertising. For instance they have 4-5 cruising magazines in staterooms, none of which about the ship you're on, other ships in fleet or ports, all of which are about things you can buy on board. Half or more of the TV channels are dedicated to adverts and just about every other day we came back to the room with robo advert messages left on our phone and in our stateroom account page on the TV. When you just gave them a lot of money for the current cruise it doesn't feel as though they appreciate the business when they immediately go into upsell mode. It really sets a sour tone. Embarkation- Pier 88 parking was very expensive but worth it. We arrived at 11AM was in the terminal and boarding by 11:45. Previously we arrived very early and waited this time it felt much more seamless. I don't recommend getting to the NYC terminal earlier than 11-12, it was a breeze for us. Ship- The ship was incredibly large. We were in a forward room, you will get in all your daily steps for the day just leaving and returning to your room a few times. By the third day my feet were sore and I stopped wearing 'cute' shoes, I noticed I was far from the only woman who just gave up and wore sneakers to navigate this huge ship. The main draw back was how incredibly crowded the ship felt at times. Elevators were certainly a 'good luck' endeavor. After the muster drill it took, no exaggeration, 45 minutes for elevators to fit the people who were waiting. After the breakaway I knew not to bother so we stayed where we were and watched others getting increasingly frustrated. Especially the mobility challenged passengers who were unable to get their scooters into the elevators, something that became a common problem as the trip went on. Waiting for elevators was a rather common experience throughout the week, typically anything before 10PM you'd need to wait for 2 as the first that would come would be full. NCL seemed to try to lean into the extra passangers by creating a club like atmosphere in many places. The pool, the casino, several of the bars including Spice which is listed as a designated quiet zone. We stayed on the ship during 2 of the 3 days in Bermuda and it was wonderful. Finally many of the mobility challenged passengers were able to get out of their cabins and maneuver around. Smoking- We are smokers. Unlike the breakaway where there seemed to be many designated smoking areas the Escape has 3 for over 4K people. 2 of which outdoors on level 17, 1 inside on 8. It was here that I'd hear the majority of complaints and 'Never again Norwegian'. The inside area was what was supposed to be a cigar lounge, it was very small and often crowded. Even as a smoker I found it difficult to be in a small area with that much smoke and no fresh air. The reason I later discovered it was always so packed there was because it was the only smoking area anyone with mobility issues could navigate to. The other two had tables, chairs and a large volume of people you'd need to pass through in order to get to. Spice has several stairs to the smoking area and while there is a ramp you'd have to navigate around every one in loungers to get there. At night when Spice does parties you'd have no way of reaching the ramp. The casino does have a smoking section when it is open so long as you are gambling but this is a pay to smoke option. I'd read the Escape uses a better filtration system for their smoking area in the casino and you can really tell. Even when people were actively smoking it didn't linger and create that cloud it also seemed to really contain itself to the casino area which was impressive. There are not near enough smoking areas on the ship for the amount of smokers on board. Dining- This time every time we went to a sit down the server asked me for food allergies. I appreciated the attention to it but it became a bit overboard with me being allergic to some shellfish not being served any seafood and even my husband not being served. I suppose with such a big ship cross contamination happens often so even if you're getting a burger and fries it's possible to get shellfish in things they shouldn't be in. Buffet- I was surprised to see such a tone down of 'washy washy' only during peak hours did they have someone at the main entrance insuring people washed. I brought my own hospital grade hand spray and we used it constantly. The first night someone threw up in the buffet so they closed it down. We ate breakfast there every day, I wish they served their breakfast a bit later than 11 or had a 'brunch' option between lunch service because I found their breakfast much better than their lunch options. I loved their full salad bar and the breakfast was excellent every day. My husband loved the garbanzo salad so much we'd stop there just for that. Dining- Food Republic- We were planning on using our first dining credit for here. We made reservations and arrived only to be told Food Republic is not included in any dining plan. I was very thankful the matri-d explained right off the bat before seating us and we racked up a bill unknowingly. No where on the dailies did it say this nor when I selected the dining plan which places it would be good for. We went to guest services and they annotated a copy of the daily with the information on which is up charged on top of dining package and which were not included at all. Margaritavilla and Food Republic not covered at all Tapas and Super Club Upcharge Cagneys and Bleu - Upcharge is for certain items and indicated on the menu. Being as though it was too late to get another reservation we ended up at Savor and it was fantastic. Savor/Taste- Really great. On the breakaway it seemed it was the same quality as the buffet just plated and served. Here it was great, my husband had a better steak here than at the steak house Cagnys we went to later. Breakaway it seemed service was incredibly slow, if we went sit down it would be 2 hours minimum and it would typically be faster to go to the bar yourself to get a drink while waiting so we tended to just do buffet but not on the Escape. You were never rushed, servers were excellent and attentive as was the food. Manhattan Room- I chose the Manhattan Room for our anniversary dinner. On the breakaway it seemed the more upscale option in the most beautiful setting. The setting on the Escape is just as beautiful but they seemed this time to pack far more people into the room and it felt much more casual. What was the dace floor on breakaway was now extra seating so no dancing and what was nice live music was unmanned instruments. The server was great the food was decent. Unbeknownst to us when we handed the matri-d our free anniversary cake coupon they brought it over with a song. My husband and I have a standing agreement to never ask for the 'happy birthday' song for each other (though it is often threatened lol) while embarrassing it was incredibly cute and made it quite memorable and special. The servers, the matri-d even the buspeople, even though they were very busy were incredibly kind and wishing you a good day. Cagneys- I had heard very good things about Cagneys but found them a bit on the meh side, nothing to write home about but nothing bad either. I think the bar from Savor/Taste was raised too high for me to be wowed. I can't even remember what I ordered but I do remember that as always the service was fantastic. In Cagneys we had our picture taken, on the breakaway they were in our folders so we could order them at the end of the cruise this time when we went to order them at the end we were told eventhough we could see them in our file, we were not allowed to buy them. We would have had to have done so at the table not a big deal just something to be aware about. Moderno- The Italian place was a bit odd, they were playing American classic hard rock, think Alice Cooper, Guns N Roses etc. While I'm a fan of that it took away from the atmosphere a bit. The food here was good. I ordered a steak with bleu cheese ravioli and thought it was amazing, my husband got one of the pasta options and found it a bit underwhelming and not filling. Tapas/Pincho- This restaurant was a $7 upcharge per person and does not take reservations. We were incredibly confused on hours and seating. They don't have a designated matri-d section and when you walk up it looks like an empty sushi stand with no one manning it. We waited for a while, saw other people looking around, looking at the menu waiting then giving up. It was now too late to get a reservation anywhere else so we were about to just go to the buffet when I decided to ask the matri-d at the next door seafood restaurant if she knew when the tapas place would be open. Turns out they never man the serving area, it will always appear closed, to get seated you must go to the seafood restaurant. Something so small a tiny sign could help but nothing. They lost the up charge or straight extra business of 4-5 other couples in just the time we were waiting because none of us knew how to be seated. Frequently when passing Pincho you'd see confused people looking around to be seated or walking away. Once we were seated this was the most incredible meal we had not just on the ship but in years. It's definitely a hidden gem and you might need to work harder than you should to visit it but it is well worth it. We were expecting tiny samples, just tasters really and not only is it enough for a meal everything is incredible and sharing it is so much fun. The server here was incredibly knowledgeable about everything on her menu. Even if you don't have the meal package you need to visit this place. If you have the meal perk, spend them all here and gladly hand over the extra charge. Super Club- This was so bad we actually complained at guest services. After we booked I was on the website and saw I could book a dinner theater show here and prepay, so I did. We arrived 30 minutes early which was advised and right off the bat it was nuts. The server came over and in the thickist accent I've heard from anyone on board tried to take our order before we even sat down. Apparently they need to put in your dinner order right away, the only option is fish or beef. You do not get to choose any courses and you are not able to know what they are, they are brought put down and you figure it out for yourself. They advertise a 5 course meal and this is by far the worst when it came to my allergies. The main server asked if I had one, I told him shell fish he took the wine list off the table as we were sitting down, apparently they did not have enough so I needed to steal one from another table so my husband could read it which he wasn't given enough time to do before the person taking drink orders came around and they never came back. Once we sat we noticed the table was not secured to the base. We had to be incredibly careful not to flip it all night. The pictures they show online of big booths reminiscent of a 50s jazz lounge is not at all what it’s actually like. They brought over a colored ‘foul’ placard and put it in front of me, I thought it odd but with the rushing was given no explanation. Apparently the bulk of their courses, which we didn’t know would be predetermined were seafood of which I would be served none and only 1 of which had an alternative, the alternative was a few slices of canned beets. My husband even had seafood pulled away from him because we had a placard at the table. I was asked no less than 7 times what my allergies were, I had desert served to me then pulled back up because they needed to check with the kitchen staff if it had been contaminated. There was a larger table behind us with 2 foul placards and after enough people being passed over by the third course got rather upset and told them to take the placards away and bother telling them what the courses were so they could decide for themselves. My 5 courses turned into 2 plus the addition of some sliced canned beets on the side. Several times I moved my placard slightly off to the side so I could have my drink or one of the plates I was allowed to have in front of me and 3 separate times I had someone move my plate, drink or purse so the placard would be in front of me at all times frankly it was getting embarrassing. We figured whatever, one pretty awful experience won’t ruin our trip and I can always go to the buffet later. However we found out that not only did I prepay, but it counted against our meal package. What I paid was not the fee but the uncharge all for food I was unable to eat and given no alternatives. We went to guest services and explained that we were never informed what I paid was an uncharge and I wasn’t even served 3 of my supposed 5 courses that I’d paid for. Jeff in guest services was very apologetic and acknowledged the website does not tell you the $36 fee is the uncharge on top of your dining credit. He not only gave us our credit back but went out of his way to get us into Moderno on the last night (we were planning on just going to the tapas place for lunch again with our last credit as everything was booked from that point on) apparently if you’re going to buy/reserve ANYTHING on the website do it over the phone instead where they can tell you if what your paying is the actual full charge or not. Oshehans- We went to Oshehans the night of the Super Club failure so I could have dinner and again for lunch. Great bar food, great service. Always incredibly busy and packed but the servers seem to really take it in stride. Room Service- We did this once late night. I think it was really meant more for very drunk people than anyone else. I ordered a salad and a hot dog- hot dog was nuked, burnt and exploded missing the onions and fries were replaced with potato chips, missing the deli pickle advertised on the menu. Husband ordered fruit and yogurt plate that was missing the yogurt. Salads were good though. Bars- This is the place where you’re going to feel the added passengers more than anywhere else with exception of the elevators. Bars were often packed and it could be very difficult to get drinks. If you had diner reservations and decided to stop for a drink you must allocated about 20 mins of wait time and that is not an exception. At least once a day we would wait at one bar for 15-20 minutes, see no end in sight so move to another bar and wait again. The bar tenders were really trying but there just isn’t enough of them for the amount of people they are expected to serve. Often times you’d see people just holding up at the bars, unlike the breakaway where they would get their drink and move on. If you planned on a drinking night it seemed you needed to scope out a chair in front of the bartender if you wanted more consistent service, again not their fault. Even at the casino, which we visited every night, I was able to get two drinks at the slots my husband was only able to get a drink once. Bars were another place you’d hear ‘Never again Escape or Never again Norwegian’ even late at night the casino bar turned into a club and Oshehans was packed. If we ever do Escape again we will not get the drink package, for the two of us the added tips alone were $250 that is probably what our drink charges + tips would have been for all the drinks we were able to get served to us at the ship bars. On the breakaway the drinks were incredibly consistent Escape speed seemed to be the primary concern. Little corners cut, such as the mai tai recipe calling for cinnamon, breakaway had cinnamon sticks as stirrers here all cinnamon was left out completely though it still remained on the menu. There were also several specialty bars and it could get a bit confusing who was serving what. There was a whisky bar that seemed to just exist for the people in the small smoking room to drink something and navigate people over to one of the ships bars. There was a margaritaville tie in bar called 5 oclock somewhere that also had a special menu and did not serve anything else. There was a specialty mojito bar that only did mojitos. No where at any of these 3 bars did they have a sign or anything stating they were not normal bars so the over worked bartenders had to keep repeating it over and over and over again. The mojito bar was incredible. We only stopped there because it was the one bar that didn’t have a line even though by then wed realized they were mojitos only. We went back again and again, by the end of the cruise it seems other people were catching on to how good they were and it became another packed placed hard to get a drink at. Straws- I was relieved to see they had gotten paper straws but dismayed to see them so stingy with them. You could get one if you asked or if you got a frozen drink. I support their effort to be green but I don’t believe thats why they are doing it. If they cared about the environment they wouldn’t be using plastic disposable cups, they wouldn’t be denying people straws they would have moved to paper or plastic less ones. They are doing it to save money at the expense of customer enjoyment and spills all over the floor and in every elevator every night. Speaking of plastic cups the NCL logo ones are no more now it’s clear cheap plastic. It seems everything that costs a few pennies but isn’t absolutely needed is being removed. Disabled Passengers- We’ve been considering bringing my parents on a cruise. My mother is mobility impaired, she can walk and stand but only for limited periods so this cruise I tried to pay special attention to the conditions from a disabled persons perspective and frankly I do not recommend cruising, at least on Norwegian for anyone who relies on a mobility scooter. I had debated renting one for my mother thinking she wouldn’t need to worry about walking but seeing what people in those scooters went through it would be easier to carry her on my back if I had to. I’m now debating bringing her one of those seated walkers but unless I can find one that folds I still don’t think it would go well. The elevator situation on the Escape while bad for all passengers seemed a right nightmare for the disabled. One man mentioned they should have one dedicated elevator for people needing scooters and I completely agree. The buffet showed handicapped placards but you’d still need to be able to move a chair out of the way, there were chair lifts for the areas not accessible by elevators but you needed to call someone to use it. I don’t know why they couldn’t have a special key card but even then, how would you get the scooter up there? Main hall ways were virtually impassable at times as is and for some reason in room hallways they put the housekeeping cart in the middle of the hallway instead of making it slightly shorter to fit in the concaves of the room doorways. It would be impossible for anyone in a scooter to leave or return to their room. It seems the only times most were actually able to use the ship was during it’s time in port. How sad to pay the same for a vacation as everyone else and be able to enjoy only a fraction. Room- Previously we stayed in the mini suite, this time we were in a regular balcony. The only difference was the bathroom was smaller but for 2 people it was more than adequate. It took me 3 days to realize I was in an obstructed view balcony as for me it just meant I could see other people below me. We went through a travel agent who warned us it might be possible to get an obstructed view so I was worried. At least in my case the obstruction was something most wouldn’t notice or mind. Despite being far forward there was very little movement. The only noise was the occasional slamming door. I asked our room steward for extra coffee and creamer for the coffee maker and an extra blanket. Not only did he do that, he left me extra coffee and creamer every single night from then on. One evening I decided I wanted tea and thought about asking him to bring some extra that night but I didn’t want to be a bother, sure enough as soon as he noticed I had gotten into the tea he put in extra and also took note of the sugar I was using to leave more of that as well. I was so very happy to see towel animals as I’d heard they were phasing them out. No I’m not a child, no this wasn’t my first Norwegian cruise I just love them. I know you can request they be made but most people don’t want to bother others for things that are not needed. I made sure to tell our steward how much I appreciated him taking the time to make them without having to ask. Both verbally and in tip. I also left it in the note for his hero card at the end of the week. Entertainment- We made our own entertainment for the most part. Unfortunately a lot of the things I was interested in watching took place in the Atrium. The Atrium is far too small, even being two floors to see anything let alone get a seat. We saw Melinda Doolittle at the supper club, she was fantastic. We also went to the late night comedy show I don’t remember his name but he was pretty decent. He did seem to go on and on about farms though and the audience seemed to get pretty sick of it. We went to the 90s party and it was incredibly packed, we had a really great time though just be aware the H20/Spice night shows are a very club like atmosphere. While the ship was in port we were able to make use of the Bocci set, the Mini golf and the large chess set. Mini golf was a bit strange, parts of the floor seemed to be sinking where you’d stand other than that all of the equipment seemed in good shape. Other entertainment options sold old very quickly. To me it sort of doesn’t agree with the freestyle vibe if you absolutly must reserve a dining room or a theatre ticket by 5PM sunday that you might want to go to on Saturday. It didn’t bother us too much though but be aware your ‘freestyle’ vacation might need to be planned meticulously as soon as you get on the boat as there just isn’t enough showings for all the people on board to get a seat. Bermuda- We’d been to Bermuda before and we are planning on going again. It’s incredibly beautiful and it’s so wonderful to be in an area that you feel so comfortable and safe in. This time we decided to enjoy the empty ship but we did visit tobacco bay. There was a $5 cover per person, this is certainly not a swimming style beach and if you visit water shoes need to be warn in the water as it’s very rocky with bits of glass. You can see beautiful little fish through the crystal clear water here. This is not one of the pink beaches but it is close enough to the ship you can walk, just follow the little green feet on the sidewalk and it takes you there. The absolute best show of the cruise will be watching the runners trying to make it back to the pier. Even the locals show up for this one. Employees/Tips- The vast majority of employees are really fantastic. One morning at breakfast they sang songs and offered people pastries. Very often they smile and say Hi or wish you a good day. I’d say the people they have working for them make the cruise. That being said I found the added gratuities a touch excessive when I did the math. Bartenders are not included as they are covered under the tips added from the unlimited drink package, which @ 270 for 2 people is excessive in and of itself. If you have 10 drinks a day that still equals out to almost a $2 tip per drink, even if they just hand you a beer. The added tips at the end is $15 per person per day or for us, was $210 specialty dining tips aren’t included in that nor is room steward. We ate at sit down main dining rooms 5 times 210/5 means we left a $42 tip each time. I’m all for tipping and tipping well but this is excessive. You can remove it at the end of the week I did not but before I go again I will do more research as it is probably much better to just cary enough cash to tip on the spot and forgo drink package as well. At least then you know for sure it’s going to the person and not the company. Shopping- I’m not one of the people who go on board to shop unfortunately there was 1 thing I was looking for which was the ship model and I wanted to collect every ship I’ve been on. Unfortunately even on day 1 they did not have it. I’m not sure if they discontinued them or not. I was also very surprised to see the large duty free liquor and tobacco store they had on the breakaway was much much smaller and melded with the general store on the Escape. It seems they gave all the room to the more upscale perfume or jewelry stores. I took note of some of the ship priced for toiletries a small bottle of mouth wash for $9 a dollar store disposable razor for $7. It’s good to know they have these things but be aware if you forget the mark up is huge. They had a starbucks on board though they did not advertise it anywhere. It’s in the atrium they call it cafe something but it’s starbucks. Surprisingly the mark up here isn’t that bad. The coffee on board really wasn’t all too great so we stopped here about 3 times. Each time someone asked me where I found a starbucks when they saw my cup. This goes back to not informing people of the amenities of the ship they are on and instead saving all the room for advertisements. Overall I enjoyed my time, if you’re not the kind of person who can go with the flow and not let little things ruin your day Escape might not be for you. We have decided to try at least 1 more NCL cruise on a much smaller ship, The Dawn to see if it fares any better with fewer people. NCL has it’s saving grace and that is it’s wonderful staff. I don’t wan’t to feel like a commodity with someone’s hand in my pocket, begging and begging for more money after I’ve spent thousands on a vacation and that’s what it seems NCL is becoming. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We were a group of ten and we all had a wonderful experience! Will we do it again? Most definitely, we are actually planning the next cruise lol! Our 3young one had a great time. Also all the adults had a fabulous vacation... In our ... Read More
We were a group of ten and we all had a wonderful experience! Will we do it again? Most definitely, we are actually planning the next cruise lol! Our 3young one had a great time. Also all the adults had a fabulous vacation... In our opinion the service and entertainment in this cruise was fantastic. The crew was great and my favorite the CAS host and casino crew was my definite Cruise Heroes! Can’t wait for our next NCL cruise. Before I forget we also had a Meet and Greet with the ship officer and they’re amazing and very very friendly... I have known most people f the ship officers from our previous NCL cruises and I’m happy when I get a chance to see and say hello to them again. Our service at the main restaurants were great. Our cabin a large balcony had 2lounger chairs and 2 small chairs. Kids club for the kids was excellent. Overall I recommend this ship and itenerary Escape to Bermuda Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I traveled solo on a May cruise to Bermuda from NY and got a pretty good last minute deal on an oceanview cabin. Norwegian has a lot of programs for solo travelers especially if you get a studio room. Since I was not located in the ... Read More
I traveled solo on a May cruise to Bermuda from NY and got a pretty good last minute deal on an oceanview cabin. Norwegian has a lot of programs for solo travelers especially if you get a studio room. Since I was not located in the studio section I did not get access to lounge or any of the solo activities, hence I didn't meet many people. Overall I was surprised by the amount of kids on the cruise especially since it was mid May. Most seemed decently behaved but others just ran wild everywhere. For this reason I did not find this cruise to be totally relaxing. The food for the most part, with the exception of one meal I had in the dining room was excellent. I tried Savor, Taste and Manhattan. All serve the same food. I liked the Manhattan room the best. I did not go for any of the specialty dining. I found the buffet to be endless and had some great selections including crepes. I really enjoyed the supper club and saw both shows. This was one of the highlights of my cruise. I didn't care for the pool activities. Belly flop contests, who has hairiest chest, twerking,. Just not my things. But The waterslides were pretty cool. I tried two of them. On one you used an inner tube to slide down a series of turns and twists. The other one was a 30 foot drop followed by a couple of corkscrews. Beware because water goes up your nose on this one and it is quite intense. I'm gonna try to Celebrity next time. It's more expensive but it seems to check more of the boxes I'm looking for. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
okay, here are our comments....... to preface everything we did, our last 5-7 cruises were on the Gem so I'm using that as the baseline to compare .....the GEM was so enjoyable and so pleasant........the ESCAPE was way too ... Read More
okay, here are our comments....... to preface everything we did, our last 5-7 cruises were on the Gem so I'm using that as the baseline to compare .....the GEM was so enjoyable and so pleasant........the ESCAPE was way too big....whoever made the decision that there should be only TWO elevator banks for 4,200 people should be demoted to swabbing the poop deck....horrible decision......unfortunately our cabin was located middeck....about 1/8 mile from the nearest elevator bank...seemed like a 1/4 of a mile after awhile.....that trek grew tiresome... the disembarkation methodology was great...one of the fastest ever and most comfortable (we could sit down while waiting to leave)....the embarkation was more than adequate provided you got there by 9:30..... the most unfair, unjust thing was the passage fee we were charged....what I object to the most is that we didn't have the option to reject all the "free" perks and thus get a lower fare.....by not having the option to get a lower fare, I feel that we were "taken to the cleaners"......we were paying for everyone's drinks et. al. by being forced to pay the same price whether one took the drink package or, for that matter, the part of any other package........no option to forego the "free" stuff for a lower fare....the cruise on the GEM last year cost $2,800...this year the cost was $3,600.....WOW!!!!....I only agreed to go because my wife really wanted to go....but never again!!!!!!...not at this price!!! ….the balcony on the ESCAPE was much too small...the GEM spoiled us....service was great (ESCAPE) and the staff were very friendly....didn't do any excursions…..St. George's walk-about was great....loved The White Horse Inn....If we can't go on a smaller ship, on whatever line, we've been on our last cruise.....we will never again sail on a ship with more than 2,000 people.....bring back the GEM to NYC!!!!! ...the GEM spoiled us....we'd like to say see you again next year, but not on this ship....or any one of this size like it....the food in the garden café was ok.....nothing great....however we loved the desserts there.... the dining in the specialty restaurants was above average...Le Bristo was the best....loved the freestyle dining..... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
The service was excellent, the food was excellent, and we loved having 2 1/2 days at Bermuda vs the usual 8 hour port call. I would easily give this cruise 4 or maybe 5 stars if not for one thing. The number of elevators on the Escape ... Read More
The service was excellent, the food was excellent, and we loved having 2 1/2 days at Bermuda vs the usual 8 hour port call. I would easily give this cruise 4 or maybe 5 stars if not for one thing. The number of elevators on the Escape is completely inadequate for the number of passengers. This may sound like a minor gripe, but it is a serious problem. You can easily wait 10 minutes or more at non-peak times before an already packed elevator stops with barely enough room for you to cram yourself in. At peak times such as embarkation and disembarkation, it gets worse. Much worse. I was travelling with someone with limited mobility, so taking the stairs was simply not an option. Even if you are healthy enough for the stairs, do you really want to run up and down 10+ floors of stairs multiple times a day? This is not how I envisioned my vacation, nor will I spend a vacation this way again. This was my 4th cruise. The previous 3 were on Carnival. I hoped Norwegian would be a more upscale experience than Carnival, and in some ways it was. The cabin bathrooms were far superior to Carnival. Also we did not wait a minute before being seated in any of the dining rooms for a meal. Also kudos to Norwegian for the kids activities. Our 11 year old wanted to be at the kids club pretty much 24 hours a day. Not really sure what they were doing in there, but I don't really care either. If everyone in your party is young and healthy, you could have a great time on the Escape. But do not book this boat if you have anyone who doesn't want to run stairs like a high school track star. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
If you are a complete novice to cruising and were to read some of the reviews here for this ship you might come away thinking that the cabins are all filthy, the crew all have a chip on their shoulder, the food is substandard even by ... Read More
If you are a complete novice to cruising and were to read some of the reviews here for this ship you might come away thinking that the cabins are all filthy, the crew all have a chip on their shoulder, the food is substandard even by cafeteria standards, the entertainment is poor, the ship is packed to the gills with rude passengers and children are all running amuck. This absolutely is not the case. Although there might be a kernel of truth to some of the negative statements you will read in these ship reviews, one must take them with a grain of salt and always keep in mind that everyone has their biases, myself included, and tend to be more hypersensitive to the things that annoy them most. The underlying truth is that a vacation aboard the NCL Escape is a wonderful experience. In this review I will try to remain as objective as possible and give tips where I can. Understand that my rating of 3-stars is not a negative assessment of the Escape or her crew. It is merely a neutral rating, meaning I rate the Escape as average especially when I compare the ship against other cruises and other lines on which I have sailed. I have set this review up with headers to make it easier for you to skip those things that are not of interest to you. SHIP BACKGROUND: Make no mistake, the NCL Escape is a really BIG ship. As of 2019 it is the 14th largest cruise ship in the world! The Escape is similar to the Breakaway and her sister ships in physical layout, but had additional cabins added to make her a “Breakaway-Plus” class ship. Whereas the Breakaway accommodates 3,963 passengers (and a crew of 1,657) the Escape accommodates 4,266 passengers (and a crew of 1,733). This does not include third or fourth passenger occupants (often children) in a cabin. On our voyage, for example, the total passenger headcount was 4,829. A ship of this size is NOT for everyone, regardless of the itinerary; bigger is not always better. So my first tip is to do your homework before booking any ship and select the one that is right for you. OUR BACKGROUND: This review is for the Escape’s cruise of May 5-12, 2019. To understand our perspective, on this voyage there was my wife (50+) and myself (60+). It was our ninth cruise overall, third time on Norwegian, and our fourth time to Bermuda. One of our sons (27) joined us for this trip. It was his third cruise overall, second time on NCL and first time to Bermuda. NYC CRUISE TERMINALS: There are three cruise terminals serving the NYC market: Manhattan (serves Norwegian, Carnival and Holland America), Brooklyn (serves Princess and Cunard) and Bayonne, NJ (serves Celebrity and Royal Caribbean). Unless you live in NYC, the Manhattan terminal is probably the most difficult and most costly to access. Parking is available at the pier for $40/day but it is limited. If the parking garage is full there are other garages in the area, but these can come at an even heftier price. If you are coming from nearby points in NY, NJ, PA, or CT my recommendation is to price out other options than parking at the pier. Oftentimes the convenience of not having to drive into Manhattan is worth the extra cost. For comparison purposes, we used YELP! to get 12 quotes from Hunterdon County, NJ to NYC. The totals we found (for fare + tips + tolls) ranged from $183 to $319 each way, with most in the $225 range, so be sure to shop around. As a tip, if you are driving yourself to the piers, leave sufficient time to find a parking garage. It may be easier for you to park first and wheel your luggage to a porter, rather than using the curb side luggage drop off and then going in search of parking. Also, if you do not have EZPass, expect high tolls on all of the tunnels, bridges and turnpike approaches so have sufficient “toll money” available. EMBARKATION: Embarkation was slow, painfully slow, the slowest we have ever experienced on any cruise. We arrived at the NY Cruise Ship Terminal at 11:30 AM. We did not step foot aboard the ship until 1:10 PM. Almost all of that time was spent standing in queue to check in, after having quickly gone through security. Considering passengers are supposed to complete their preboarding on-line, I do not know what took so long. What I noticed was that many of the guests who were taking 10 – 15 – 20 minutes or longer with a boarding agent were non-US citizens (judging from the color of their passports) and probably had additional paperwork to fill out. There really needs to be a separate line to assist these individuals. Once onboard the muster drill at 3:30 is definitely a congested event. This is amplified at the conclusion of the drill when everyone heads for an elevator at the same time. (And as noted in other reviews, this ship does not have any elevators midships, so everyone is crowded fore and aft.) My tip is that if you are capable of walking at least 4 flights of stairs, take the stairs to Deck 8, go outside, and enjoy the views while the lines thin out. It will easily save you a half-hour wait for an elevator. On this cruise, just prior to the muster drill the Captain announced that our departure was being delayed from 4:00 PM until 6:30 PM due to some heavy weather that had passed through and was currently in the ocean. This was fine; I am sure he did not want a repeat of the incident from a few months ago when this same ship encountered unexpected 125 mph winds offshore. But I suspect there was more to it than just weather since, at 5 PM, I could see the forklifts on the dock were still loading massive amounts of luggage onboard. Nice try. Norwegian, but there was no way that was all getting onboard had we left at 4 PM as scheduled. CABIN: Our cabin was a forward balcony, 10730. It was sufficiently large for 3 adults, as the couch was made into a 3rd bed for my son to use. There are no drawers in this stateroom, but ample storage on the shelves in the closet assuming you stow your empty luggage under the bed. Our steward, Reggie, did a great job of keeping the room clean. He recognized that there were 3 of us in the room so brought in an extra chair for the balcony and, at my request, also brought in a dozen extra hangers for the closet. The bathroom in these cabins is large by cruise ship standards with plenty of space to store toiletries. The shower stall is enclosed with a curved Plexiglas door rather than a shower curtain, which is nice. It is also well lit. PASSENGERS: For our cruise the average age of the passengers was probably 30-something. There were a lot of young couples pushing toddlers in strollers and more school-age children than I would have expected. (I guess pulling your child out of school for a week in May is no longer as big of a deal as it used to be.) There were very few teenage/college age kids on this cruise, since most schools were still in session. I suspect that once school is out for the summer this ratio will change dramatically and the Escape will take on the air of a being either a summer camp or a party ship. So buyer beware when booking your cruise dates, especially if you are looking for a quiet voyage, and consider Bermuda in the months of April/May and September/October. CREW: The crew was remarkable; friendly and hard working. Practically everyone we encountered or passed in the hallway smiled, said hello, and offered us a “good day” greeting. And for the few who did not, my take on it is not that they were being rude or unfriendly but that either they were preoccupied with some other task at hand or were not as well versed in English to respond appropriately. As a passenger, my advice to anyone is to remember that a cruise is only as much fun as you make it. So just smile and say “Hi” to everyone you meet. After all, you are on vacation – so act like it. You will be surprised at how pleasant everyone can be to you in return. One weak note, in our opinion the Cruise Director Jacky was AWOL for the most part. We never saw him anywhere other than in the main theatre, and even there he never had much of a presence. I can remember cruise directors by name from 10 years ago who were engaging, humorous, and generally fun. I will not remember Jacky in even a few weeks. FREESTYLE CRUISING: In general, we are huge fans of Freestyle cruising. Not having set dining times, set seating, or a formal night (and therefore not having to pack a suit and tie to play dress up) is perfect for us. I believe some people have taken the notion too far, however, and are “too free” with their wardrobe choices. NCL is not doing anything to turn people away from the MDRs who are not appropriately dressed in “resort casual”. For example, we had a passenger sitting near us in the Manhattan room wearing a Patriots football jersey, cut off shorts, and a Boston baseball cap (backwards). Not appropriate. It was not uncommon to see t-shirts instead of collared polo shirts and flip-flops instead of topsiders. These are fine for the Garden Café, but a little too casual for one of the MDRs. And there was even one woman sitting at the table next to us smoking an eCigarette – something that is not supposed to be permitted. Come on Norwegian – police yourself better before you ruin a good thing. As it is, NCL has changed a lot in the last few years and not in a good way; it now feels more like a Carnival ship. DINING: The food aboard the Escape was good, but not “OMG – WOW” good. There was no lobster night in any of the MDRs, and prime rib was not on the menu until the last evening. Nor were there any of the traditional “cold fruit soups” on any of the menus. I found it interesting that the repeating classic fare – that is, the menu items that are available every night – did not include the customary salmon dish. Instead, the repeating seafood entrée was breaded flounder. I think this is an indication of NCL cutting back on expenses and going with a cheaper selection of meals. Food is always a matter of personal taste, and for us we often found the meals were lacking “something”. That may have been a soup that was missing seasoning, an appetizer that should have included a sauce to moisten it up, or a dessert that needed more zing. Again, none of the food was bad, but none of it stood out on this cruise as being superior. Perhaps the best item on the entire ship was the honey crème brûlée on the first night; that was indeed delicious. On the other end of the scale, the worst food item was probably what NCL tried to pass off as pizza. The crust was so thin and hard that the pizza tasted more like tomato sauce and cheese on a cracker. I am sorry, but if you are serving the NY/NJ market you better have a darn good pizza on your ship’s menu. And please, serving French Fries in the MDR on a plate that calls for mashed potatoes or a baked potato is just being cheap. It was nice to see NCL does have nighttime snacks available in the Garden Café from 9:30-11:30 each night. This is something that was missing on the Breakaway during its inaugural season. Aside from that, breakfast and lunch in the Garden Café did not vary their daily choices by very much. The food was fine, but not outrageously spectacular. The most noticeable issue we had with the whole dining experience was its inconsistency. A sit-down lunch in Taste/Savor took about 1 ½ hours. Dinner in the Manhattan room took about 2 hours. Much of this time was spent idly waiting to be served. One person would seat you, 10 minutes later another person would take your order, and 20 minutes later a third person would begin to serve you. Often that third person mixed up the orders at the table (no big deal), but on more than one occasion they started to serve us a meal meant for another table. We would always order 4 items from the dinner menu: an appetizer, a soup, a salad and an entrée. We expected these to be served in sequence but again, on more than one occasion, we were served the appetizer, soup and salad all at the same time. That is poor service. Of course, an Assistant Maître-D’ would always come around and ask how things were. We did not complain about the minor slips, it was not worth it. But they do build up in your mind after a while and lower your overall impression of the service. NCL probably should spend a little more time working on training their dining room staff. The running joke we had throughout the cruise was that no one on the ship knew how to fill the simplest order – that of after-meal tea and coffee. This was not limited to dinner only, or to just the Manhattan room. It occurred at breakfast, lunch and dinner in all of the complimentary restaurants. My wife and I always order a pot of tea, each, with a small pitcher of milk, each, and our son ordered coffee. For seven days we received every possible permutation of that order except the correct thing. We usually were served only 1 pot of tea for the two of us, sometimes with one cup, sometimes with two cups (for a table of 3), sometimes with 1 milk for the entire table, sometimes with no milk, sometimes with 1 teabag, sometimes with 3 teabags (already in the pot!). The worst was one night when we were served 1 pot of tea and 1 cup for my wife and me to share. We could not get a waiter’s attention, so my son rinsed out his coffee cup at the table with a glass of drinking water and we reused that. Again, this is poor service. As a few additional, random thoughts on dining, the food portions in O’Sheehan’s seemed to be more generous than in the MDRs. And the Garden Café offers both hard ice cream and soft self-serve cones. That is nice. RECREATION: Recreational activities are pretty standard for NCL. There are 2 shuffle board courts, a bocci court, a basketball court, the ropes course, water slides, pools, a kiddie-zone and a miniature golf course. Caution – the two zip lines from the rope course go over the mini golf course and, if the rail is wet from rain, drip lubricant in the wind. My guess is that it is an environmentally friendly substance and not petroleum based, as it did wash out of my white polo shirt after much scrubbing. But we all were instantly covered in dozens of spots. Judging from the amount of dried black spots on the railing on Deck 8 and on the lifeboat davits on the starboard side as well, NCL is well-aware of the problem but has done nothing to warn its guests. ENTERTAINMENT: Entertainment was hit or miss. The highlight of the cruise is the show Choir of Man. It is a lively hour of entertainment set in a British Pub atmosphere. There is singing, dancing, and audience involvement. And the best part is that the “pub” opens about 15 minutes before the show starts, during which the entire audience in the theatre is invited onstage for a free beer and to mingle with the cast. The low point of the cruise entertainment is the show After Midnight. This is a plotless hour of song and dance that is supposed to be a tribute to the jazz music of Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club in Harlem during the 1920s-1930s. The cast was talented, no question about it, but we are talking music that is nearly 100 years old. It was quite boring. Some of the audience loved it; we did not. In fact, this is the first time I have seen a show at sea that I would have walked out on it had we been in an aisle seat. Yes, it was that bad. The other shows in the theatre included a welcome show on the first night that was a forgettable sample of the acts for the week to come, a comic-magician who was entertaining, and a comedian who was not funny (we skipped the theatre show having seen him perform in one of the clubs the night before and not having laughed once for his entire set). Some of the best entertainment on the ship is to simply pop into Headliners for a few minutes to sit and listen to the piano duo referred to as Howl at the Moon. PUBLIC AREAS: During the muster drill and around the pool deck on sea days the ship definitely felt congested. Also, any time there was an activity in the Atrium getting through that area could sometimes be a challenge. Other than that, the public areas on the ship merely felt crowded, especially during peak periods – such as dinner time or when a show was getting out. There are plenty of public places to go to escape the swarms of passengers; you just have to find them. Our favorite spot was the stern on Deck 8 or walking around the Waterfront. SHIP IN GENERAL: Considering that ship’s hull art is by marine artist Guy Harvey, I would have expected that the exterior marine life theme would have been carried forward to the interior motif. It has not, and that is a big disappointment. Staircase landings are all adorned with mirrors rather than art. (Why no Guy Harvey murals, NCL? You commissioned him to do the outside of the ship, why not the inside, too?) In fact, the mini golf theme is urban ghetto. I kid you not. The putt-putt course is made to look like the roof top of tenement apartments, complete with graffiti style lettering proclaiming itself as ‘Roof Top Golf’. It was totally out of place on this ship. The grotto on Deck 17 in the Spice H2O area is nice, and adults only. So it is another place to get away from the children onboard if so desired. Enrichment activities are numerous throughout the voyage, but typical of what you would find on any cruise line. I cannot complain though; as a result of the raffle for attending the seminar on wrist watches I won a $900 (MSRP) watch that I gave to my son. Sweet. One of the disappointments with the Escape is the gift shop. My wife and I collect shot glasses from all of our cruises. On this ship there was virtually no NCL branded merchandise at all. No shot glasses, no mugs, no Christmas ornaments, no pewter refrigerator magnets, nothing. When I inquired about this I was told, “Well, we used to have it, but nothing has been sent for a while.” Someone in the NCL marketing department definitely has dropped the ball. Likewise, we were never given our Latitude Rewards Member ship pins by our steward, as has been the case on previous cruises. I did obtain one each for the three of us, but only after I went down to the Service Desk and asked for them. BERMUDA: We have been to this Island nation multiple times now and look forward to going back again many more times. Prices have gone up, but the residents are still friendly and helpful. By way of a few price points, gasoline was $2.19/liter (i.e., $8.29/gallon). Rum Cakes at Dockyard are $18 apiece for the small size. The National Museum of Bermuda is $15/pp admission. Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is still the best buy on the island at $2.50/pp admission to climb up to the top. And the 75-minute jet ski tour (of which my son raved) is $145 for a single. Transportation costs are another matter that needs closer discussion, so let me do that separately. BERMUDA TRANSPORTATION: Transportation fares in Bermuda have steadily risen over the past few years, to the point where it takes a little bit of math to figure what is the best value based on one’s personal plans. The island is divided into 14 zones and has two basic fares: one for a trip of 3 zones or less and one for anything greater than that (called a 14-zone fare). As a rule of thumb figure anything you do (Dockyard to Hamilton, St. Georges to Hamilton, Dockyard to the south shore beaches, etc.) is going to be a 14-zone fare. A one-way fare is $5 cash. Tokens are offered at a reduced fare of $4.50. Day passes are offered for 1-Day ($19), 2-Day ($31.50) and 3-Day ($44). Figure that unless you plan to get on a different bus/ferry more than 4 times on any given day, the tokens are your best bet. Tokens or passes can be purchased in Dockyard right on the pier at the shack made from a reconditioned cargo container or at the visitor information building. They cannot be purchased in advance over the internet or on the ship. Please note that the most economical fare is to purchase a book of 15-stamps for $37.50. These can be shared within your group. Unfortunately, the Bermuda Transportation Department is no dummy – these books cannot be purchased at Dockyard, nor can they be purchased in advance. If you want to use them to save a few dollars you will need to first pay for a token to take a ferry from Dockyard to Hamilton and then buy your book of stamps there to use for the rest of your stay. For most people, this extra effort is not worth the savings. Norwegian offers a complimentary ferry service to St. George and back. This is the most economical way to go especially if you plan your day to do St. George in the morning and then stay around Dockyard in the afternoon to visit the shops, the National Museum of Bermuda, or perhaps take a water sport excursion. There are also private mini buses that leave right from the pier in Dockyard and follow the #7 bus route to Horseshoe Bay Beach. These shuttles are like taxis and charge a flat rate of $14/pp round trip. This is $5 more than the public buses, but the added convenience of being taken “down the hill” to the beach might appeal to some people. The new public bus schedule for 2019 has buses leaving Hamilton for Dockyard, and Dockyard for Hamilton, every 30 minutes. The posted schedule is for the starting point, which is not so helpful if you are standing at a beach stop somewhere along the route. There are no scheduled times for any of these other stops. The entire end-to-end trip is listed as taking 62 minutes, but it can be longer or shorter depending on how many times the bus stops to load or unload passengers. Therefore, even if you know when a bus should be passing a certain point, unless you get to the bus stop early it is likely you will miss the bus and will have to wait 30 minutes for the next one. The posted time for the #7 buses to start their run from Clock Tower Mall at Dockyard heading to Hamilton is at 10 minutes before the hour and 20 minutes after the hour. As a tip to help you remember when to catch the bus on your return ride, this is approximately the same time that a bus heading the opposite way from Hamilton to Dockyard will pass Horseshoe Bay Beach. DISEMBARKATION: A lot has been written in recent reviews about how chaotic disembarkation from the Escape has been in NYC. Although we did not find it to be chaotic, we did find it to be long. Here is our experience. Shortly after departing Bermuda on Friday, one of the ship’s TV channels started airing information about the disembarkation procedure for Sunday morning. Passengers were instructed to pick up color-coded tags by the Customer Service Desk. These included the tags for your luggage if you wanted to set them outside your cabin on Saturday night as well as tags if you wanted to do self-assisted walk off. For self-assist the first block of time was Green (7:45-8:00 AM) followed by Orange (8:00 -8:30 AM) and Brown (8:30 – 9:00 AM). There are then 7 additional colors/times for guests who leave their luggage outside their cabins the night before, with embarkation starting at 9:00 AM and the last group leaving at 10:10 AM. There was no other announcement about these tags. My tip is to get to the desk early on Friday afternoon if you have a specific window in mind that you want to exit. By the time we stopped by the desk after dinner on Friday the only self-assist tags that were left were green. This was fine for us as we wanted to be in the first group to leave anyway, but keep this in mind if you are looking for a later time. The tags go first come, first served. The ship docked in NYC around 6:00 AM on Sunday. We ate a quick breakfast in the Garden Café at 6, did a final check of our cabin, grabbed our luggage and went down to Deck 6 forward at 6:45 AM. At that time the line to exit the ship through the door nearest the theatre already stretched through O’Sheehan’s back to the chandelier midships. (The length of this line will make more sense to you once you are actually onboard.) A 2nd line also formed on Deck 6 aft from the exit near Taste/Savor back towards the chandelier from the opposite direction. As you may have read in other reviews, there are no midship elevators, a major design flaw on this class of ships, so these are your only options. We stood in line until 7:45; 1 full hour. I can only imagine how long the two lines were by that time or what confusion existed if you were trying to get on one. For this reason, my recommendation is – if you are doing self-assist then get in line as early as possible and be prepared to wait. There was no announcement on the PA that disembarkation had begun. It just suddenly started to move at 7:45 on the dot. We exited the ship fairly quickly at that point, but then needed to walk the entire length of the pier from the bow to the stern, outside in the rain, only to meet up with the other embarkation line that was exiting nearest the stern. These two lines merged and funneled into the cruise terminal. My tip is to get on the embarkation line in the rear of the ship to start with. Once inside the terminal we took our luggage down an escalator, through the warehouse where all of the other luggage was arranged for those passengers getting off at a later time, and through the winding queue to the Custom’s officials. Custom forms are no longer required unless you have over $800 in purchases to declare. We were out of the building and on the curb, in the rain, at 8:05. So, figure it took us 20 minutes to go from ship to curb once we actually started moving. Those behind us obviously took longer. CLOSING THOUGHTS: In summary, as I stated at the beginning, a vacation cruise aboard the NCL Escape is a wonderful experience. The crew is great and there is more than enough to keep anyone busy day and night for the full the week. Bermuda is a gorgeous port of call and having three days/two nights in port gives you a lot of time to explore. The NCL Escape itself, however, is not for everyone because of its size and volume of passengers. The overall dining and entertainment experience is about average for any of the mainstream cruise lines; not the best, certainly not the worst. I would not hold back recommending it but would simply add the caveat to do your homework before booking and go in with your eyes wide open. Thank you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Embarkation was relatively easy if you consider two hours normal for a large ship. The specialty dinning was nothing special; The Manhattan has a wonderful menu every night and the managers have the staff working together to provide ... Read More
Embarkation was relatively easy if you consider two hours normal for a large ship. The specialty dinning was nothing special; The Manhattan has a wonderful menu every night and the managers have the staff working together to provide excellent service. The Manhattan had a nice variety of dinner shows. For example, I was served purple veal at La Cucina and walked right out and went The Manhattan. Who designed the Atrium and thought it would be a good idea to hold entertainment events there requiring people to sit on folding chairs in aisles and making difficult to conduct business at Guest Services, Excursion Counter, etc? The “reservation “ system for shows is an unnecessary burden. Those needing extra assistance disembarking should do so BEFORE the general public (as the airlines do). Ramming wheelchairs down the ramp through the crowd is dangerous for all involved. IT on board is poor; restaurant staff walking around with lap tops instead of tablets, poor WiFi in cabins and staff writing food orders on paper. Other companies have a better system of disembarking by having groups separated by tag color wait in different areas of the ship. The Cruise Director did a poor job; he would rather be the center of attention than create a better system of communicating useful daily information (hint, a televised morning show) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This cruise would have wound up being rated 10 stars out of 5 if they had not made the two of us and another friend sick with diahrea and strep throat. Other then that is a great cruise. The cruise director Jacky and his entertainment ... Read More
This cruise would have wound up being rated 10 stars out of 5 if they had not made the two of us and another friend sick with diahrea and strep throat. Other then that is a great cruise. The cruise director Jacky and his entertainment staff are hilarious and full of fun. The event list was filed to the brim. Always a show or event or game or demonstration or arts and craft or dance class. .ore than any ship I've been on. This was my 20th cruise do that's saying alot. I wish all Norwegian ships were like that. For clarification sake they are not all like that. This one was miles apart from the other two Norwegian ships I was on. Those were snoozer sit by the deck read a book cruises. The escape staff though? Showed up showed out and did it's thang . The cruise director Jacky and his staff were very funny. There were many activities during the day. Do much so that I wasn't able to it all. But as I said non of that matters if the lack of cleaniness and whatever goes on with the water supply is lacking. All three of us came home very sick . Also there was cigerrete smoke all over the common areas. There were designated smoke areas but the smoke didn't stay there. I wasn't to fond of the nightly shows. They were so boring I fell asleep on some of them. it wasn't to bad because they really keep you entertained during the day. I believe that a variety of food was available more often and later then most cruises. Usually after a certain time it's pizza. On this boat real food and buffets were available at midnight. So as great a cruise I thought it was I'm not do sure I'd do it again. It's not worth being sick 3 weeks after. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This is my first cruise on Norwegian. Since I've done 2 RCL last year, those experiences were still fresh on my mind so I compare the three ships. Sadly I must say that Norwegian is like many had lamented, lagging behind other leading ... Read More
This is my first cruise on Norwegian. Since I've done 2 RCL last year, those experiences were still fresh on my mind so I compare the three ships. Sadly I must say that Norwegian is like many had lamented, lagging behind other leading cruise lines now. Ship: Escape is quite impressive in size and plan. I like the water slides/park, rope course, and very nice mini golf course. Escape also seems to be rocking harder at similar weather, and definitely shakes (at 6th floor MDR you can clearly feel the tremble - as if someone's shaking legs at your table, and you can feel it at times even in the 16th floor Garden Cafe!). Can't help but think of the listing incident. Our last day had huge wind - 70+ miles, waves several meters high, but we were safe. I do like the casino not being as smelly as some other ships, and the atrium always having some interesting activities. Summary: RCL wins because they offer surf simulator and flight simulator. Skating rinks, rock climbing etc. And overall smoother ride. Cabin: Had mini suite on Escape, and Balcony on Allure/Anthem. I like Escape's cabin number plate, with "make up room", "at home", "do not disturb" indicators. Size wise they seem similar, but mini suite had bigger/nicer bathroom. The biggest complaints I have against Escape are listed further down in cabin review Summary: Easy win for RCL here. Food: MDR was a semi-disaster. Even if you go there at an early time, you might have to wait a bit to get in. The menu had few things special usually, and you have to wait a super long time for any course. The waiting staff were slow refilling (my water glass was empty and 10 mins past no one filled it up. I finally got a chance to ask the waitress and it took another 10 mins to get it). It was so bad that after the first 2 days, we went to Garden Cafe pretty much all the time. Norwegian claimed "Nobody does dining like Norwegian". They're right - we haven't seen a slower MDR on Carnival, RCL, or Celebrity! Anthem/Allure MDR was quite efficient and always had something interesting to order. I think it's not that Escape staff was bad, but they seem very short on hand in MDR. One waiter has to deal with many tables. It almost makes one think Norwegian deliberately drove traffic to Garden Cafe. But at least Garden Cafe is its saving grace. It's much better than RCL's horrendous windjammer. There's barely any long lines in Garden Cafe AND never ever had one had to wait outside the Cafe waiting to get in. Windjammer of RCL is small and jampacked, had food that's not that good and a few times had lines 20-30 mins long waiting outside to get in! We ended up mostly using MDR on RCL. Summary: RCL edges out, only slightly. Much better buffet on Escape can't fully compensate for the huge lack of finer dining option (sans paying extra for specialty dining). Entertainment: We booked every show, including escape room (you should book them right after you get on ship, in the box office) on Escape. The main, Broadway-quality show, After Midnight - nearly everyone of us fell asleep during some part of it. It's great singing, great showcase of jazz. But not including other music style AND without a real plot made it boring. The comedy shows were fine, same quality as other ships. The staff talent show - I was wowed. Grace from the O'Sheehan packed a powerful voice. She's in the wrong line of work and deserves a better stage. The Chinese dancer was quite professional and chose music nicely with good choreography. The magician was fine. Later ones were not as good but still quite impressive. The Knights - a huge letdown. They picked mostly obscure songs from the most famous knighted singers, and the few that were famous, you can't tell until the 3rd line! Somehow they managed to take every song and sign it in their own way, and not a good way! Their voices were ranging from OK to very good, but they shouldn't be singing pop songs. One of them should be belting out Broadway hits instead. Dizzy the magician was great! He's really funny and had some very nice tricks that I still scratch my head. But the real surprise was Choir of Men. I never heard of them before but they were fantastic! Like Knights, they took famous songs and sang in their own way, except it's a very good way! One of the Knights member joked at the end of their show said a Choir of Men member "came to watch their show on his off day, just to see how it shouldn't be done". It's actually true. Where Knights failed miserably, Choir of Men triumphed. From a powerful rendition of Adele's Hello to touching love ballade (not sure whose song was it). They chose different voices for different songs and nailed most of them. The bar tender, sadly, did not have a great voice but was tasked on two songs not well suited for him, particularly Sia's Chandelier?? He couldn't really do it, despite the nice harmony created by the team. But overall this is a 5-star show. I'd say don't miss Dizzy's show and definitely not Choir of Men! Activities wise it's similar to RCL, and the atrium big screen is nice for both simultcast and other activities. Summary: RCL still wins out easily. Anthem had We will rock you and Allure betters with Mamma Mia. Both had some impressive acts flown in to perform some shows and every show on RCL ships were quite good. The escape room on Escape is very similar to the one in 270 on Anthem, so that's even. Pool: Didn't really use it much. Hot tub usually quite busy, including spice H2O. The waterfall was quite gimmicky. Summary: RCL edges out slightly with bigger and better equipped solarium vs the small spice H2O. Fitness: Escape has decent size, and better classes at a slightly lower price for unlimited. It's way more packed the first two days than both of the RCL ships too. But one equipment had a bad seat from beginning till end of cruise despite that they said they called it in a while ago. Summary: This might be the only Norwegian win here. Port: Bermuda is nice! I like the beaches all looking different. View from lighthouse was very nice too. We heard various opinions that said Elbow Beach had the pinkest sand, or Horseshoe had the pinkest sad. But as we discovered, Jobson's Cove definitely had the pinkest sand of the 3, and possibly all beaches! One thing though - don't pick up anything translucent on the beach. And if you don't have place for your snorkeling gear, don't worry. Most of the beaches had few fishes. Horseshoe had like 10, Jobson's Cove had 4. My son said he saw more fish at the Garden Cafe... (There is actually reasonable number of fish at Tobacco Bay though, which has nice rock formations too). BTW surprisingly, even though the water's cold, once you get in, it wasn't so bad. On nice sunny April days, you can swim. We didn't book any excursions and didn't feel the need to. Took Escape's ferry to St. George and most other times were using public bus and ferry (bought bus tickets in post office). That was fine - the bus was slow and no clear schedule at individual stops, so we took taxi at times too. Final verdit: While we enjoyed our trip quite a bit, Norwegian was disappointing as it had the same price as RCL but definitely failed to provide the same entertainment and service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Joining my niece and her two girls for Spring break motivated us to book this cruise along with its convenience as we live in Manhattan. Overall I'd rate this experience under the "meh" category. I'm not a fan ... Read More
Joining my niece and her two girls for Spring break motivated us to book this cruise along with its convenience as we live in Manhattan. Overall I'd rate this experience under the "meh" category. I'm not a fan of these megaships and this confirmed my feeling. Way too many people, service not at Celebrity or Cunard standard for suite guests and, in some food venues, literally ineatable food. Haven concierges are helpful and it's good for embarkation and disembarkation. When I say ineatable I mean ineatable. Steak in Manhattan Room tasted like detergent. The Haven menu sounded good and rarely delivered in quality. Food all felt overly processed and not at what you pay for at Haven rates. Service in the Haven restaurant, though a pleasant room inside and outside dining, didn't live up to what it should be. (Eg waiting 10 minutes in the morning for coffee and coffee cups, I'm not kidding) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have cruised before on Norwegian Breakaway, also out of NYC...that experience was wonderful. We were encouraged by our cruise agent to try this ship...bigger, better etc. Wrong. The ship is almost EXACTLY the same layout. ... Read More
We have cruised before on Norwegian Breakaway, also out of NYC...that experience was wonderful. We were encouraged by our cruise agent to try this ship...bigger, better etc. Wrong. The ship is almost EXACTLY the same layout. EXCEPT...it can host over 2k more people. I knew more, but 2k more? No. We traveled with my teenage son, my teenage nephew, my mother brother and husband. There were six of us total The Escape is about quantity, not quality. When we sailed on Breakaway 2 years ago, I didn’t appreciate how lucky we were in comparison to now. Imagine 2 thousand MORE people sharing the same accommodations. No additional restaurants, no additional roaming space etc. it’s like crammed sardines. I’m a New Yorker and I’ve never experienced so many rude people. Pushing, cutting on lines, the first couple of days were very trying on my patience. The staff? They work very hard, it’s obvious. The shows...spectacular. Choir of Man is a MUST! These guys are massively talented. The best is that they are coming to off broadway NY. After Midnight, another MUST! The dancing, the singing, the band...the tap dancers were amazing! Sincerely a great show! The Supper Club, featuring the talented Sharon Wilkens and her ensemble of musicians was also a MUST! At first I didn’t realize who she was...she’s been in many movies. Not only is she funny, she is extremely talented! A joy to watch. Let’s talk excursions Our cruise headed to Bermuda. If you wanted to go to HORSESHOE BEACH do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT book an excursion at $45 pp. RIPOFF!!! There are cabs everywhere the second you disembark, $7pp each way. You come and go at your own leisure. Thus was our first excursion and left us feeling like we were going to be screwed the rest of the trip. We were wrong Clearwater Beach aka the Triangle Beach excursion was well worth every penny! Private beaches, not over crowded and a wonderful tour of St George over on the bus. Lunch provided, umbrellas and chairs included. A must excursion. The BEST excursion was our last day Snorkeling on Zara’s Catarmaran. They don’t tell you in the description when you book that is on an amazing Catamaran YATCHT. Impeccably clean, gorgeous boat, friendly, professional staff, private area of snorkeling, paddleboarding. Again worth every penny! These young guys work their asses off! Make sure you tip them, they deserve it!! Bermuda-yachts They do private chartering too. I would’ve paid just to have been on that yacht for the 3 hours without even snorkeling. By far the best excursions. They only started doing tours last month with Norwegian so hopefully people don’t ruin this great experience for others. Overall, I would never cruise on this line again. Unless a smaller boat. Bigger is not always better. It just means more people on board. 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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