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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
As a surprise for friends of ours (they had received the cruise as a Xmas gift) we booked the same cruise to Bermuda along with another couple. The surprise was successful and the 6 of us generally had a great time. Once we realized that ... Read More
As a surprise for friends of ours (they had received the cruise as a Xmas gift) we booked the same cruise to Bermuda along with another couple. The surprise was successful and the 6 of us generally had a great time. Once we realized that it was school vacation week (the couple we were surprising were teachers) we bid for The Haven as the other couple joining us had stayed in The Haven previously and felt that it would give us a bit of piece and quiet when we wanted it. Bids were successful, however, piece and quiet did not come with the upgrade. The Haven was full of kids which filled all three hot tubs and the pool day and night (we never got to use either). Parents appeared to have disappeared for the entire cruise and between wet towels being thrown around the pool area and loud games of Marco Polo we couldn't even enjoy sitting on the upper deck (pool is open for 2 decks). Our attempt to use the adult only pool outside The Haven was not successful either since the adults only rule was not enforced. Other benefits of The Haven were great but unfortunately overshadowed by the constant running, pushing, shoving, etc. We are not against kids (have our own) but were put off by the lack of parental control and lack of staff enforcing the rules. Cabin steward provided superior service, entertainment options were top notch and specialty dining very good. If we try NCL again it will definitely be a different time of year. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Cruised to Bermuda over Spring Break. Disembarkation left a sour taste, but trip had lots of highs and lows. Kids loved ropes course and arcade. Not enough pool space for kids/family. Spa/Haven and adult only areas are great for adults but ... Read More
Cruised to Bermuda over Spring Break. Disembarkation left a sour taste, but trip had lots of highs and lows. Kids loved ropes course and arcade. Not enough pool space for kids/family. Spa/Haven and adult only areas are great for adults but not as much for family. 12 year olds would not go to Splash Academy after bad experience the first night. Best dinner was hibachi. Food overall, including main dining room was good. The mid-April cruise to Bermuda is a little cool to fully enjoy waterslides and decks, especially while at sea. Worst part of trip was disembarkation where we were directed to a line that we stood in with self-assist luggage for about 3 hours. No organization or willingness of staff to direct traffic as folks came off elevator and stepped into line (unlike when we got off elevator and were directed into the line to nowhere). Attempts to get help got no results. Other cruisers said could not remember such a bad disembarkation experience. In general guest services and shore excursion staff were not that helpful on this trip. Staff for rooms and restaurants were excellent. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked with Friends who had never cruised b4 , then realized it was school vacation week so we opted for the haven, as we got upgrades, we got split up our friends moved to the 17th floor we were moved to the 9th. with no one to call ... Read More
We booked with Friends who had never cruised b4 , then realized it was school vacation week so we opted for the haven, as we got upgrades, we got split up our friends moved to the 17th floor we were moved to the 9th. with no one to call at NCL about this (we had a forward facing cabin that had an obstructed view of the staffs bow area) with a window in the bedroom that overlooked the staff area of the bow (no view) but people constantly working outside of our window. We were also directly above some sort of loading area with constant banging. We were woken up at 4:30 in the morning to the crew pressure washing outside of our bedroom window. Although the room itself was beautiful, we were extremely disappointed with our view and all of the activity around us. We were also disappointed in the separation from our travel companions. We bid to be in the Haven but were placed in a room 8 floors and 1/2 the length of the ship away. My husband suffers with severe foot pain and walking this distance was very difficult. Our room had access to the Haven but we were not in the Haven even though we paid the same amount of money as our friends. When we booked the cruise, we had a $500 credit to apply to our account and we are latitude members, so we do not understand why our travel companions, with no credit and no latitudes rewards ended up paying the exact same amount as us. It seems that they jack up the price to eat up the $500.00 credit. During the time that we spent in the Haven, the children on board ran wild. We paid extra to have an area away from the large crowds of people. We understand that it was school vacation but we couldn't even sit by the Haven pool (which should be quiet) because the pool and hot tubs were filled with children screaming MARCO POLO (which should be banned, especially in that area) Eating in the pool, throwing towels in the hot tub etc. I understand that kids will be kids but if the parents were not going to control them, it should have been up to the staff to say something. Even when we went to adult only areas, it was saturated with kids, including the adult only hot tub and pool, adult only bars, kids taking up seating, sleeping on couches so the parents could stay up and party. The theater had signs saying "no kids" in the front 3 rows, however it was packed with kids. For the record, there were many many people complaining about the behavior of the kids and lack of parental responsibility. I have been on many cruise vacations and the Escape is a beautiful ship but we were highly disappointed that we paid so much extra for a peaceful vacation and didn't get it. For the record, we have 4 grown children and multiple foster children so we are not immune to how children behave but would never allow them to behave in this manner ..... and one other thing who designs a ship that has SMOKING in a casino to have the casino OPEN AIR to TWO FLOORS ABOVE??? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to share with all of you a Tale of Two cruise lines: Norwegian vs. Celebrity. I have been on three cruises now. My first two cruises were through Celebrity, one eastern caribbean and one western. My latest cruise last week was ... Read More
I wanted to share with all of you a Tale of Two cruise lines: Norwegian vs. Celebrity. I have been on three cruises now. My first two cruises were through Celebrity, one eastern caribbean and one western. My latest cruise last week was through Norwegian from New York to Bermuda. It wasn’t until I arrived at the Norwegian cruise that I began to really appreciate all that Celebrity represents. I was told by my cruise agent to park at the wharf in New York City. I was nervous about the parking because I was traveling alone with my 18 year old son. When we arrived at the wharf just after noon, the lot was closed and was deemed full. We were advised we had to drive around the area to look for a parking garage. It was terrifying to me to drive around because the city is unfamiliar to me. We ended up parking a half a mile away, and had to tow our luggage that distance. I had expected $40 a night for parking, as quoted by my cruise specialist, and when we returned we were faced with a $406 parking bill ($58 per night) for a garage I had to find on my own. Also when we returned, the sidewalk across from the cruise ship was littered in feces, and we had to walk into the street to avoid getting it all over our feet and on our luggage. Granted, we flew and ubered to our celebrity cruise, but this greeting to Norwegian was a real turnoff, and costly. My first hours on Celebrity were always positive, organized, and full of happy, smiling employees trying to make every hour a good one. My first hours on Norwegian felt like I was being moved like cattle by people who truly hate their jobs. Smiles were rare. The woman who checked us in, however, did tell me to sign a paper at guest services on the ship because my son is 18 and he would be allowed to drink beer and wine while at sea if I signed a permission slip. This made my son most happy. The ship was a mob scene with people clogging the elevators, and we needed to walk up the 11 flights of stairs (I was carrying a very heavy backpack) to get to a deck where we could sit and find a drink. I know there are a lot of people on the boat, so we were as patient as we could be given the situation. Later that night we ventured to the guest services to inquire about the waiver I needed to sign so my son could have beer and wine. We brought with us our driver’s licenses, and passports, and presented them to guest services. We were then told in order for me to be able to sign for him I had to have his birth certificate, and proof of my name change to prove I am his mother. You see, when I got divorced from his abusive father, I changed my last name back to my maiden name. I explained this to the worker. I should not need further proof. It was just me and my son travelling together, and our drivers licenses show we live at the same home address. They refused to allow me to sign for him. They did not believe I am his mother simply because our last names are different. This is outright discrimination. What this said to me is Norwegian decided that a woman who gets divorced and has kids must keep the ex-husband’s last name. This exchange dredged up painful memories for both me and my son, and it was not necessary. Our home addresses match and we were sharing a room on board. Of course I am his mother! To claim otherwise is absurd and an intent to discriminate, and sets a tone of poor customer service. Although our dinner service the first night was top notch, this was not always the case on Norwegian. Again, the wait staff remained distant, and often were inattentive. There were nights we waited for any service for 10 minutes. We sat without water, or drinks, and waited for someone to greet us at our table. Perhaps I was just spoiled by Celebrity and their very attentive staff. Our wait staff on Celebrity learned our names the first night, and were the reason we never wanted to leave to go to a specialty restaurant. We were served by multiple people, had a cocktail waitress and a wine connoisseur to pair my wine to my meal. Everyone including the maitre d were attentive and wanted us happy every night. On Celebrity we were treated like we were part of their family. On Norwegian, attention was lacking and we were ignored. Even in the specialty restaurants we waited for service. On the last night, I gave the hostess our coupon to get a cake to celebrate my son’s high school graduation and college acceptance, and the cake never came to our table. It was completely forgotten. So a “perk” they granted us was then taken away from us. We tried to get tickets to shows on Norwegian, and we were able to see the musical one night, but the other nights the tickets to all shows were “sold out.” The only time we felt we obtained individual attention was when our room was adorned by a different towel animal each night. My son really loved finding them in the room, and took pictures of them every day. We have heard this service will be ending on Norwegian, and I have to say that is a shame because it is a strength. Even though my son is 18 he found these animals amazing. Disembarkation on Norwegian was disgusting. The people who held onto their luggage to carry off the ship were the first to disembark. They clogged the stairwells and the elevator shafts. We sent our luggage through the overnight route, and chose the first time possible to disembark after people who kept luggage were done disembarking. We had to wait in a line to disembark that wrapped in and out of restaurant tables, a line that took over an hour to get through. The disorganization was atrocious. We had no food or drink available as we waited in this enormous line. In sharp contrast, disembarking on Celebrity was always easy and well organized. Both times I travelled with Celebrity, I essentially walked off the ship at our scheduled time. The main difference between the two cruise lines is customer service. Celebrity treated us like family. Every person that worked with us greeted us with a smile, and wanted us to be happy. Even when I received message that my cousin (47 years old) died back home, the Celebrity staff embraced me, and did all they could to make my trip overall a good one. Norwegian was filled with workers who seemed grossly unhappy. Every time I went to guest services I was treated like a nuisance. This was not just imagined after I was blatantly discriminated against as a divorced mother. One of the times I waited in line I was talking to another passenger who felt the staff treated us as an inconvenience. In the end, I was lured to Norwegian to get three free perks, but the perks did not make the trip any less expensive, and the level of service was not up to Celebrity standards. If I were choose between “The Tale of Two Cruises” again, I would choose Celebrity cruises without reservation. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and i have cruised 7 times, including this cruise, with 3 of those on the norwegian gem and 1 time on the breakaway. We really love norwegian for the freestyle cruising and i feel like we get the most out of our money with them. ... Read More
My husband and i have cruised 7 times, including this cruise, with 3 of those on the norwegian gem and 1 time on the breakaway. We really love norwegian for the freestyle cruising and i feel like we get the most out of our money with them. The escape was the biggest ship we’ve been on and it was really nice. However, it might be because its so large that getting on and off took forever at both departure and the ports of call. We were also traveling with our toddler and spent prob 10+ hours during our cruise waiting to get on and off the ship while anxiously trying to keep him from having a meltdown on the ship- not fun. Embarkation was truly horrendous. There was some kind of issue and they made us wait in line for close to 2 hours. My son was screaming the whole time while we tried everything to quiet him and by the time we were getting on the ship i was close to tears. They do have a nursery with drop off available for babies up to 3, and the nursery attendants were really good with kids but if your kids cry for more than 10 mins (which is likely when theyre left with strangers), they buzz you on a beeper to come pick them up. Our son did well the first 2 times and the last 3 times we did a drop off to have dinner we got called back 10 mins later. Not their fault of course and im glad they told me instead of just letting him cry, and again, they were absolute sweethearts, but next time we will prob be bringing family to help watch our kids. The playroom for babies is only available for 2 hours a day on sea days, plus two 30 minute hosted activities where parents joined, so the other 10+ hours a day were spent either in our stateroom or chasing after our toddler while he ran around bumping into people. Oh and there were NO cartoon channels in the room. It was only one channel with tv shows that played randomly. Most other cruises weve been on had the food network, cartoons, hgtv, etc. We paid extra for a family mini suite which had a bath tub and that def helped a lot. But It felt like there was no where for us to go most of the days at sea but the arcade where we ended up spending $400 keeping our 22 mo old entertained. The best time we had was when we stopped at disney. This trip made me reconsider cruising with young kids. I think next time i might just go straight to disney and stay at a resprt or try a disney cruise, which might be more family friendly. Also we chose free wifi as one of our free promotional optio s but it never worked for us and i was too exhausted to figure out what was wrong. Outside of those annoyances, it was overall still a pleasant cruise. One of the times our son did okay at the daycare we were able to enjoy a nice dinner at moderno, one of their nicer restaurants. And norwegian ships are really beautiful and spacious. It wouldve been 100 times more pleasant traveling without a kid and a lot of the gripes i had would be nonexistent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I didn’t choose this cruise it chose us. Based on my availability and the itinerary and we wanted to give NCL another go, the Escape was our only option. The specialty dining was Disappointing to amazing. LaCucina was terribly ... Read More
I didn’t choose this cruise it chose us. Based on my availability and the itinerary and we wanted to give NCL another go, the Escape was our only option. The specialty dining was Disappointing to amazing. LaCucina was terribly disappointing from the waiter to the food selection the temp of the food to taste. Wouldn’t recommend and won’t eat their again, was a waste of a specialty dinning. Bayamo was better with a good menu a knowledgeable staff and great tasting food. Would recommend and would choose it again. Cagneys.....excellent from the second you walk in, great menu, knowledgeable staff with good recommendations, food was hot, delicious and left full! HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE HAVEN.....our concierge (Adrian) was by far the best that the NCL team has to offer. 19 years with NCL and it shows. Was super knowledgeable about everything and I mean everything from the ship, to the shops, to the entertainment, to excursions. He was friendly, fun, social, sweet, helpful, accommodating and got to know our entire party (14 of us) Haven or not. I would choose another NCL cruise to wherever he was concierge simply to cruise with him again. Our Housekeeper (Gina) was my next favorite thing about our cruise. She was a doll, another over the top, go out of her way NCL A+ staff personnel. She couldn’t do enough for our entire party as they all came to our Haven suite often. She was beyond sweet and helpful. Friendly, caring and accommodating. She saw to us like a friend.and I cannot say enough about her. The two of them made the price of the Haven suite otherwise worth the money. The cruise itself nice. Didn’t get to see great stirrup Cay for the second year in a row, beginning to think it’s a non stop on this itinerary. The rest of the cruise, food was good, service was good accommodations were nice entertainment was ok. The magician was terrific. Other than that it was a “good “ cruise. Not terrific, I wouldn’t do it again. Hoping that the staff we got attached to goes to another destination that we like and than we would cruise NCL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the NCL Escape for our 46th cruise on March 31st. We were overdue for a getaway. It had been over 13 months since our last cruise. We usually do 2-4 per year but family issues have interfered with vacation time. We enjoyed our ... Read More
We chose the NCL Escape for our 46th cruise on March 31st. We were overdue for a getaway. It had been over 13 months since our last cruise. We usually do 2-4 per year but family issues have interfered with vacation time. We enjoyed our time on the Escape, however RCCL remains our preferred line largely due to their loyalty program which does a very good job at rewarding past passengers far better than the loyalty programs on other lines, even with similar status. Embarkation This could not have been better or faster. As platinum members, we had a dedicated queue and we were first in that line. The agent was quick and courteous. We had all of our documents in order (that helps immensely, of course) and we were told that boarding had already begun even though it was barely past 11 am. Parking the car to being on the ship was less than 20 minutes! Insane. Vibe Beach Club We rarely have been able to get passes to the Vibe Beach Club. They are always sold out. We have been on the Breakaway 5 times and the Getaway once and have only been to the Beach Club once. We were thrilled to get a pass this time, even at $209/pp. However, in the final analysis, it probably wasn’t worth it because the first and the last days we were still too far north for the weather to be warm enough to really use it to its fullest. Fortunately, the casino proved generous enough to pay for the entire cost of the Beach Club for the week! Specialty Dining Package We bought a 3-night Specialty Dining Package, which is very typical for us. In all of the nights that we have cruised on NCL, we have dined in the MDR less than 5 times for dinner. The Specialty Restaurants are definitely our speed. As platinum members, we get 2 additional dinners as well. We had one dinner ashore and one dinner at the supper club (more on that later) so there was no time for the MDR once again. Moderno was good, La Cucina was very good, as was Le Bistro and Teppanyaki. Cagney’s, well, I think its over-rated. We did not go to Ocean Blue this time around. This is the first time that we passed on it. We are New Englanders so there is no reason to over-pay for seafood that I am sure is no better than what we get for half the price anywhere here. Even with the dining plan, they upcharge everything on the menu at Ocean Blue! The 2 best restaurants are the two newest ones. Pincho’s Tapas Bar and Food Republic. We went to the latter twice and had insanely good food at both places. Both places are a’la carte pricing and lunch can easily run over $40-$50. Service at the Specialty restaurants was ok, but not top notch. At Le Bistro, for example, our entrees took a long time to arrive, while a neighboring table got their food before us. We eventually told the server that we had to rush dessert and skip coffee in order to catch the show. That should happen. Free Dining The Garden Café on Deck 16 lacked variety for lunch. At breakfast, all of the staples were there and we never went up there for dinner (they advertised some interesting feasts, however, such as seafood night, grill night, etc), but at lunch, there never seemed to be a featured item. O’Sheehan’s has the same 4-5 items daily, thankfully there was Pincho’s Tapas Bar and Food Republic but most of you will not want to pay for them. We did 3 lunches with them, one with O’Sheehan’s, one with Margaritaville one ashore and one at the Garden Café. On the Breakaway and the Getaway, there is the Speigel Tent and the Magic Castle, but on the Escape there is the Supper Club, which is half a for-fee dining venue and half free dining. It took us a few days to figure it out. They have a number of shows there at 6pm and 8pm along with a free (fixed menu) meal. The meal is nothing to write home about (but certainly something to write Cruise Critic about!), a simple salad, meat/vegetable dish, dessert. Period. It’s not bad. I guess that NCL certainly gets to control their food cost/consumption here. If your were to rate 1-2-3-4 the Specialty Dining, MDR, Garden Cafe and Supper Club, the latter is unquestionably last. Specialty Dining must be (and better be) the best (#1), The Main Dining Room should be #2 because you are getting served and if you don’t like something the manager will make it right and/or give you something else. The Garden Café must be the #3 because of the sheer volume of food. Even if it isn’t that good at least you have plenty. Then surely the Supper Club is the poorest choice. We didn’t hate our meal. It’s just that there wasn’t much (but enough for us) and it was ok (luckily I like beef). Oddly enough, it seems to compete with the Specialty Dining Packages. We have, in the past, bought 7-night dining packages (before being platinum members). If we had done that, we would have missed out on the show at the Supper club that we did see which was excellent. I wonder how good the shows that we missed were? If we had seen those shows, we would have had to forfeit one or more of our Specialty Dining vouchers for the sake of a show and a mediocre meal. Breakfast in the dining room was our choice about half the time. I like that NCL has a choice of 3 specialty breakfast items. They seem to have discovered that breakfast goes beyond “2 on a raft and a cup of joe”. One of the items was Waffles, Bacon, Poached eggs and Hollandaise. The choices change a bit and they are a bit imaginative but they aren’t quite as tasty as they sound. Entertainment The show that we saw at the Supper Club was Flashback Four and it was excellent! Also outstanding; Choir of Men in the theater. We saw that twice! A+! We skipped out of After Midnight. We were not entertained. You might be though. There were many comedy shows but we only saw one of them. The shows at the theater and the Supper Club mostly require a reservation, which further complicates things. Sometimes, you just aren’t ready to make plans like this while on vacation. However, it appeared that we were going to miss After Midnight and Flashback Four because they were both over-booked as far as the Box Office showed. However, we got into both shows easily on standby. Easily. NCL Smartphone App So, NCL finally has a Smartphone App, similar to RCCL’s App. Their previous one has been a joke, especially when compared to RCCL’s. Big problem though. It doesn’t work. You can’t view items that you booked on your phone or on your stateroom TV. Everyone had this problem. I can’t be sure if it was broken just this week or if it isn’t ready for prime time. Basically, it’s still useless. Too bad. Excursions We only did a bus transportation to Epcot Center. Our plan was to go to the World Showcase and have an early dinner/late lunch in Italy and that is exactly what we did. We have done this type of thing before. You certainly don’t get a lot of time at any park. If you were with a little kid, it probably would not be very satisfying, but for us, it’s a nice diversion from ship life for a day. The organization for excursions on the vessel was outstanding. The meeting place was in the Manhattan Room. Tours were called promptly. No hustle and bustle. Very organized. All told, it was an expensive day. Bus, park entrance, dinner in Italy, but we knew what we were getting into. It’s been said before, and it is true. NCL does have a lot of add-on costs that sharply raise the price of a cruise. True, they are optional, but if you want to eat well and you want to avoid basic cheap hotel food, it will cost you. Drinks are expensive. We booked the Escape because we had one last CruiseNext certificate. The cruise did not disappoint. However, this is our 46th cruise and our Diamond level with RCCL gives us far more perks than Platinum with NCL does. With that in mind, we will continue to favor RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
My husband and I decided to take our first vacation together without our kids. He loves cruises and swears by them and I’ve only ever been on one cruise before this which was a great experience. This was not as great as I thought it ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take our first vacation together without our kids. He loves cruises and swears by them and I’ve only ever been on one cruise before this which was a great experience. This was not as great as I thought it would be. There seemed to be great things for young kids and elderly but not as much for the Middle Aged or couples trying to enjoy their time. Our first stop in Florida was a waste of time..not too sure why they would even make that a port to visit. We spent money on a shuttle to take us to cocoa beach and it was a complete waste of time. Weather was horrible and people were walking back before they even got there. Shuttle driver was telling us there is cvs and Walgreens as if they were a site to see. Anyways, our next stop was bahamas and that was great. Weather was perfect and the island owned by Norwegian cruise itself was beautiful..next was nassau bahamas which was extremely crowded because there was about 5 other cruise ships docked as well at the same time. Honestly most of our time was spent on the ship other then a few hours for the two bahama days. We didn’t have much to do so we ate most of the day because we didn’t know what else to do. Entertainment could of been much better..too Manucho trivia games which seemed to gear towards more of the older crowd. Dining was good but service on our previous cruise seemed much more better and personal. They made everyone feel special whereas here you can tell when they gave special attention to someone else because let’s say they were dining with a high ranking working. We hated that you had to make reservations for the show and that there was only 2 complimentary dining options plus the buffet. They have 25 dining options and only 2 are free so most of those stayed empty throughout the cruise.. waste of space and services. Shore excursions were extremely expensive and bahamas was ripping people off getting them to pay for aquarium and public beach that people were going in for free. Cabins were fine considering we had inside cabins but getting to the rooms was so confusing and they separated my husband and I from my brother and sister in law when they knew we were traveling together. I would go on a cruise again but not this one unfortunately. I wish I had taken my children atleast they would of enjoyed it much more. Atleast we got to rest though. Overall it was a average rating for all topics. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a spring break cruise for our family traveling with elementary aged kids. They were not too impressed with the kids club or kids activities because of the restricted hours of operation for splash academy and the organization of ... Read More
This was a spring break cruise for our family traveling with elementary aged kids. They were not too impressed with the kids club or kids activities because of the restricted hours of operation for splash academy and the organization of activities in the Club (games when you were “out” you had to sit and wait with nothing to do). We were also not very happy with the food in the main dining and especially the buffet. The variety was limited and the layout was too large to fill a plate of food before it got cold. In main dining, service was a bit slow as well and we could not expect to spend less than 2 hours over dinner. The ship was nice and new and seemed to have many options for everyone. However, 2 in my immediate family and 2 in extended family got food poisoning, or stomach illness on second to last day on board. Also eye infection. So although things looked clean, common areas may have needed a bit more attention. It did not feel too crowded even though we had a full boat, so that was nice. And our rooms were comfortable and a relaxing retreat. Embarkation was smooth and faster than anticipated, and debarkation was not too bad either. Overall, we would probably consider a cruise in Norwegian Escape again, however, not until both children are over the age of 13. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The ship is huge but the atrium (where it all happens) is tiny. There’s no room for the amount of people on the boat to attend the shows and fun things going around. There aren’t even enough show times for everyone to attend in the ... Read More
The ship is huge but the atrium (where it all happens) is tiny. There’s no room for the amount of people on the boat to attend the shows and fun things going around. There aren’t even enough show times for everyone to attend in the main theatre. You have to make reservations right away or you won’t get in. Some shows were BORING. Entertainment was not good. I liked the entertainment in the supper club, which is kind of hidden and no one knows is free. There’s so much on the ship that has a hidden cost. We had lots of incorrect charges on our account that Norwegian made nearly impossible to have removed. We were charged for the mini bar that we had removed on day 1.. as well as charges from one of the restaurants for the drinks that they brought that were incorrect. Still have not been reimbursed. We only saw the cruise director once... and we attended a lot of things. He didn’t go above and beyond. We wanted to go to the staff talent show but the theatre was so full you couldn’t get near it. The pool is also so small we were only able to get in it once. The hot tubs there were maybe like 2 on the main deck and 2 elsewhere on other decks. Could not even get into! Why such a big ship and not more on the decks? The gym is the tiniest little sad thing. They must have really just overbooked the cruiise ship or have way too many staterooms. I thought the food was good but at the buffets the food wasn’t hot which worries me a little bit. The main dining room food was really good and hot though. Port Canaveral is not a good port to stop at. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Overall, I was extremely unhappy with this cruise. Thankfully, I received the cruise for free from Casino at Sea and only had to pay the taxes & port fees. The ship was full of spring breakers partying hard all day and night. The ... Read More
Overall, I was extremely unhappy with this cruise. Thankfully, I received the cruise for free from Casino at Sea and only had to pay the taxes & port fees. The ship was full of spring breakers partying hard all day and night. The people staying all around me were screaming on their baloncy until 4am everynight. At one of the late night clubs a spring breaker dumped a drink on top of my head after I accidently bumped into her. I couldn't believe someone actually dumped a entire drink on top of my head. I've never experienced anything like that in my entire life and I'm nearing 40. I didn't even know how to react when she dumped the drink on me. I was stunned. The elevator situation was a total nightmare. The staff are worked to the bone and the bars are extremely understaffed. I had the worst meal of my life at Bayamo. We sent it back and it was removed from our bill. The worst Norwegian cruise experience out of the 4 previous Norwegian cruises I had been on. I would not recommend this ship to anyone. The staff was great and the shows were worth attending! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because my husbands parents have cruises with Norwegian multiple times and have loved every single one. I can say say thst this experience wasn’t all that pleasurable this time around. The ship was extremely crowded ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my husbands parents have cruises with Norwegian multiple times and have loved every single one. I can say say thst this experience wasn’t all that pleasurable this time around. The ship was extremely crowded in which we had to wait several minutes up to 15 minutes for an elavator thst would accomadate our family with two strollers. Our cabin was not fit for a family with A toddler and an infant therefor our two year old had to sleep in between me and my husband. We did not have a bath tub in our room which made it impossible to bathe our small children ( 2 year old and a 10 month old) we had to go three floors down to my husbands parents cabin to bathe our children. That in itself was a inconvenience. A basic standard stroller did not fit in our doorway, having us take our daughter out each time and collapsing the stroller before entering our room.. yet another inconvenience. We had long wait time in restaurants after being seated. People who arrived after us got their food first and left before us. We needed to keep asking for our beverages and our dinners averaged about two hours long for 4 adults and two children. Overall, we were not satisfied with our crusing experience and I can’t say that I would recommend the Norwegian escape to any of my family or friends Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
My expectations may have been too high and or wrong before coming on the cruise, therefore it wasn't exactly the trip that I hoped I had saved up for. As far as vacations go, I usually can only afford places that I can drive to. My ... Read More
My expectations may have been too high and or wrong before coming on the cruise, therefore it wasn't exactly the trip that I hoped I had saved up for. As far as vacations go, I usually can only afford places that I can drive to. My girlfriend and I decided to come on the cruise because her parents suggested it and were offered 2 additional guests as a perk. I am in college so this was the only week I would be available. They booked the cruise and we split it 4 ways which was the only way we could afford it. The cost of booking including taxes and fees ended up being about $1000 a person which was manageable. Because we had a balcony room, we got to pick a second perk. We would have picked the ultimate drink package for the main 2 guests but due to misinformation by the Norwegian employee on the telephone (who said we would need to purchase for all 4 people) we chose the $50 per port for excursions. If we had the drink package for the main 2 guests, we would have split the cost of the drinks for my girlfriend and I between the 4 of us and saved much more money. On top of that mix up our second excursion was cancelled (Stirrup Cay) and we lost out on that $50 and the part I was looking forward to, riding jet skis in the Bahamas. I don't blame Norwegian for the weather as that would be ridiculous, but I am a bit jaded because almost every day was cloudy, windy, and cool (low 70's). This most certainly affected using the pools and waterslides on the ship. As I said our second port was cancelled, and our excursion to Aquaventure in Atlantis was a bummer. I just hadn't expected to pay $180 for a waterpark in the Bahamas only to freeze getting in and out of the water. The beach looked beautiful, but the water was off limits due to dangerous swells and riptides. Orlando, our first port was our favorite. We chose the Airboat ride and Alligator Jungle. It was a great day for the weather and my only complaint was how rushed the Airboat ride was. Since we missed Stirrup Cay we had two days at port in Nassau. This ended up working out for us as we didn't have a curfew the first night and were able to experience the bars and nightlife. I brought my mask and snorkel to the beach there, but the water was too rough. Onboard the ship I hadn't expected the prices of everything to be so high. I really had to limit myself to make sure I didn't go too far over budget. If I cruised again, I wouldn't do it without the drink package. Even though I spent less on drinks than the package would have cost I felt like I would have had been more relaxed if I didn't have to keep a running tally every time I ordered a $10 beer. It just seemed like everything we wanted to do was going to cost extra plus taxes and gratuities. I chose to go without internet because of cost although I did enjoy being disconnected for a week. The buffet food was above average, but I preferred O’sheehans because of how crowded the buffet was all the time. O’sheehans did everything extremely well except for the prime rib special one of the days. The other complimentary dining was average to me. The waitstaff was courteous, the food was good, but the menus were boring and very similar to each other. The one specialty dinner we chose to go to was Teppanyaki. The food was delicious but personally I didn’t consider it a value at $38. There were positives on my trip, and I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share. First and foremost, our room Steward Derrick was amazing. Our room was always perfectly prepared and clean, and his towel animals were amazing. I asked him a lot of questions because I am very inquisitive and he was always honest and polite, and never looked remotely annoyed. This was true of most of the staff. The entertainment was all very good. Wen went to Howl at the moon twice because it was our favorite show. The man who played piano at the Brew pub was also very entertaining. After midnight, and Wine lovers the musical were great, and it was exciting to see the performers out and about on the ship. Matt Johnson and the comedians also had great acts. Will I cruise again? Possibly when I finish college and can afford to spend much more. I do feel I could have offset certain things if I could afford to replace them with other things. I would also probably cruise from Miami next time so that even my days at sea are in warmer weather. All in all it was a learning experience for me. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
To start, I was on this cruise that got hit by 115mph winds and made some news headlines. I would commend the crew for their professionalism and help during this incident and afterwards. The remainder of this review reflects the cruise ... Read More
To start, I was on this cruise that got hit by 115mph winds and made some news headlines. I would commend the crew for their professionalism and help during this incident and afterwards. The remainder of this review reflects the cruise overall. Being in the Haven made this cruise a bit more bearable. My wife and I traveled with her mother who was turning 76, she has mobility issues, and this suite made it very easy for us to travel together. The ports and excursions were not terribly appealing so at least we had a nice room! The BEST part: The Haven experience was good and the benefits for priority to boarding and and show reservations and disembarking were invaluable when traveling with an elderly with a scooter and mobility issues. Haven Restaraunt hostess Made' (?) and Charlotte were the stand outs here). The WORST part: The ship overall is a huge headache for anyone with GLUTEN FREE dietary needs. (this is why dining is getting a poor rating btw) Yes, they can accommodate GF requests for dinners but for example, the main buffet area not only lacked a dedicated GF section and much less noting what (if any) foods would be GF. you always had to ask. and sometimes they go in in the back and get you a prepackaged off-the-shelf cookie, or the standard GF dessert of "flourless chocolate cake". We've sailed other cruise lines that were far more accommodating to this. AND it's not that hard to implement. (Charlotte in The HAVEN was very helpful in coordinating GF dinners.) It's a small thing, but it's a big deal for my GF wife. The level of service and price point that we paid for on this cruise, we were disappointed that we had to ask the butler staff to bring GF options. Frequently something would be forgotten for room service and we'd have to remind the staff. Personally I think the Butler staff is stretched too thin. our Butler had to 14 rooms to handle. He was often rushed, seemed overwhelmed at times to the point where we felt bad asking him for things. And we never felt we were getting the attention we were promised. in the Haven restaurants and others there was poor follow up by wait service., for getting to take a drink order with our meal, we'd have to wave someone else down to get a drink. And on a cruise ship your glass should never be empty. ( again for the price and level of service that was paid for I was not impressed. comparatively other cruise lines attention to such details and service were stand out even at the general dining rooms.) The Moderno stood out as one of the best overall experience and other restaurants on the Escape should look to the Moderno as to how to wait service properly. Anna stands out as the exemplary server here. The shows that stood out were Choir of Man- excellent, and After Midnight was very impressive.. There WAS a Brat Pack show when we booked ,but had ended it's run by the time we sailed, so there was less entertainment to choose from as no replacement show was in place. THANKS NCL! We were hard pressed to enjoy any of the shows in the supper club. Port of call and shore excurisons- Port Canaveral- we spent the day at epcot and the hour or so bus ride there and back. but we were hard pressed to find any interesting excursions. GREAT STIRRUP CAY. we did not visit, as weather to risky for the tender boats to ferry. from other reviews this seems to happen a lot and I would hardly promote this as viable port call. but looking at those excursions, there doesn't seem to be much to do there anyway that doesn't involve immediately going somewhere else. NCL needs to significantly improve this experience. with out this stop, when made it too NASSAU Bahamas a day early and I appreciated having the time and overnight stay here. NOTE: Nassau Bahamas has very poor "disabled" accommodating excursions and such. and note you are at the end of a very long dock that takes along walk to get to the main shopping area. I made excursion arrangements not affiliated with NCL. and had a great time! Getting back to the ship with 5 minutes to spare! The other activities (pools slides, rope courses etc outdoor stuff )of the ship seemed better suited for southern ports and warmer weather, leaving from NY in early March tends to temper this a bit. I don't feel I got my money's worth here as there were a couple of days on the 7 day cruise where it was too cold to take advantage of this. Lastly, the 678 section with the shops and such restaurants and such. the casino is located on deck 7 and the openness of these atrium type sections means you can smell cigarette smoke throughout the floors. The selections of shops is mostly jewelry and watches. Seriously NCL how many of these repetitive stores do you need??? Get some variety in those shops! And a side note.. their photo area doesn't even sell any gopro stuff. Overall the cruise was just okay, mainly because we stayed in the Haven section of the ship. Doubtful I'd consider another cruise with NCL regardless of the Haven. NCL is welcome to try and change my mind though. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
First let me start off by saying the embarkation was very organized Maybe it took 30 minutesstart to finish. The food was excellent the service was amazing. I have been on 30 cruises this was the best service and food. BUT AND THIS ... Read More
First let me start off by saying the embarkation was very organized Maybe it took 30 minutesstart to finish. The food was excellent the service was amazing. I have been on 30 cruises this was the best service and food. BUT AND THIS IS A BIG BUT!!!!! The shipped sailed into winds of 115 mph hurricane 3 force winds And this 19 story 165 thousand ton ship tilted and listed a On a 45 degree angle for maybe 5 -7 minutes which is quite long when your terrified . Glasses and dishes breaking . People crying screaming sliding holding on for dear life. A slot machine feel on top of a woman causing her serious injury . The Rccl Athem left the same time and same route managed to avoid this ..... how could the Captain not know what he was sailing into. The ship looked like a scene from the titanic... that being said the crew worked all night to put it all back to normal .... hats off to them ..... I am a world trade survivor I know terror this came very close we just kepted tilting you really thought we where going over ..... so no matter what the ship offered after that it was impossible to enjoy. The deck are in adequate to House 4500 people not enough Area for everyone . It is the biggest ship as if I’ve been on but felt like a small ship because whenever they were space it was either a cabin or a bar but not a real open area I just got off the breakaway in November which is 20 tons smaller but it actually felt bigger. We were on able to go to GSC due to winds It was very disappointing and the weather was crummy that you cannot blame on Norwegian but the fact that we sail through a hurricane wind and what terrorized on the first night of a trip there is not much more to say Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our 15 Cruise so I am very familiar with how things usually go on a ship. I knew the first two days there was something not right about this cruise. Way too crowded, long lines for everything. Dinner took 2 1/2 hours, food not ... Read More
This was our 15 Cruise so I am very familiar with how things usually go on a ship. I knew the first two days there was something not right about this cruise. Way too crowded, long lines for everything. Dinner took 2 1/2 hours, food not hot, long time between courses. 40 minutes wait for an omelet, repeated had to ask for missing items on table. Finally able to speak with someone in the know and was told that this cruise was overbooked. That there were 5100 people onboard when advertised as ship holding 4200 guest. Also was told that some of the top notched staff were placed on the Encore to train others. So I paid and expected what I have come to expect in the past form NCL and they put profit ahead of reputation and service. This particular ship was not my favorite even without those items. You needed reservations for just about every show, you needed to know what you wanted to do in advance, this is not relaxing. We missed several shows due to the amount of time we spend getting served for dinner. I feel like I spent most of my time in the restaurants. The poor passengers that embarked as we left were hit by wind gust that tilted the ship and was all over the news. What they didn't mention was that a new captain got on the ship that day as well. Maybe a fluke, no one can control a wind gust. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We just returned from a 7-day cruise. This was cruise #6 with Norwegian and we have never had a complaint - before this. Our cabin steward was pleasant enough when he saw us but seemed to really not care. We got our comp sparkling wine the ... Read More
We just returned from a 7-day cruise. This was cruise #6 with Norwegian and we have never had a complaint - before this. Our cabin steward was pleasant enough when he saw us but seemed to really not care. We got our comp sparkling wine the 2nd night. We asked for ice one afternoon and never got it. He rarely changed our dirty glasses. We have always sailed on ships that have smoking areas that are either enclosed or out of the way. On this ship, one must cross through smoking areas to get to other areas of the ship. Sadly, while we love piano bars, we had to give this one a miss as it was in a smoking area. Further, the casino (a smoking area) is mid-ship and the smoke rises to other areas on other floors. We found the hostesses at the comp restaurants cold and officious - something we'd never experienced on a Norwegian ship before. And, as others have mentioned, service in the restaurants was brutally slow. We did enjoy the shows that we went to - they were top-notch. And, as before, we really have no complaints about the food - although they could really add more veggies to the dishes in the sit-down restaurants. Had this been our first Norwegian cruise, we would never return. We will certainly never book on the Escape again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise to leave from NY and not have to deal with airports. The ship was beautiful and clean. The food at every restaurant was excelllent. My luggage was broken in transport to my room. I filed a report and hoped they ... Read More
We chose this cruise to leave from NY and not have to deal with airports. The ship was beautiful and clean. The food at every restaurant was excelllent. My luggage was broken in transport to my room. I filed a report and hoped they would replace on the ship so I could transport my personal belongings back home. I contacted Customer Service twice after and received no response. We were supposed to have 3 beach days. The 2nd day was the private Island in the Bahamas. The weather was perfect but they said the tender couldn't go to the island due to wind. We were stuck on an overcrowded ship with over 1,500 kids who were allowed in the adult only pool and hot tub. Everyone complained about people reserving chairs that they didn't even use. On the last day, finally, the staff put stickers on the chair with times so if people didn't come to their chair, they would take the towels off. When you leave from NY, you expect 3 out of the 8 days to be at a beach. We got shortchanged without any compensation. the spa on the ship is beautiful, but very expensive. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Winter because it was the only time my brother could cruise for our mom's 90th birthday. As Haven guests with mom in wheelchair and on oxygen, embarking was horrible. Stuck all of us in a small area waiting to board. Way to many ... Read More
Winter because it was the only time my brother could cruise for our mom's 90th birthday. As Haven guests with mom in wheelchair and on oxygen, embarking was horrible. Stuck all of us in a small area waiting to board. Way to many people in a closed space. Haven area is excellent! Butler and concierge were top notch. Only issue is now have so many Haven guests the Haven restaurant could not accommodate all of us. NCL needs to provide a better solution after all you are being charged a lot as a Haven Guest for that restaurant accommodation. Shows were great! February has way to many kids running all over the ship with No Parental guidance. Left to run crazy. Not good. NCL needs to change policy and make sure parents watch and accompany their children. Seven year olds were alone on elevators. Scary!! The Tobacco Road lounge is more about good whiskey and a good cigar. On every cruise my husband and I go and enjoy this, not this time. The humidor cigar room was loaded with all cigarette smoke. Horrible. Another issue is the private island. Big issue. We could not take the tender due to wind and safety. Well NCL get going on building a dock. Royal Caribbean has one on all their private islands. People pay and should get what they pay for or issue everyone a cash refund for that day lost. Horrible. We also were taking my mother's sister and her husband on this cruise but she got terribly ill and could no longer travel. Well people, travel Insurance is giving us a hard time. We hhaveall rhe doctor notes and they are still fighting us. Travel Insurance does not guarantee you anything, even with good reason. Good luck! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The Escape was our first Norwegian Cruise, and we picked it due to its New York City departure point and the 14 day voyage. For reference, and to know what we are comparing this ship to, we have 16 previous cruises, all on Princess, ... Read More
The Escape was our first Norwegian Cruise, and we picked it due to its New York City departure point and the 14 day voyage. For reference, and to know what we are comparing this ship to, we have 16 previous cruises, all on Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. We are a mid 40s couple travelling with another couple. Overall, I compare the Norwegian Escape to a well run Best Western Hotel in that you won’t be overly impressed with anything but neither will you have many complaints. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the ship a solid 6. The Good: The Norwegian Escape is a newer, large, modern ship that is kept immaculately clean. The sanitizing program was very evident in all dining areas, especially the buffet. The staff were non-stop sanitizing: menus, salt and pepper, condiments, tables, chairs, elevators buttons, hand rails, etc. Regardless of cruise line, we do not dress up for dinner but Norwegian takes this one step further with their casual vibe with a resort casual dress code almost everywhere, and it was nice to be able to wear shorts to the dining room for dinner. The food and experience in the up-charge / dining package Cagneys Steakhouse and Bayamo Seafood were both very good, with Bayamo being the best dinner we had onboard. Both offered upscale environments, high quality well prepared food, impressive desserts, and good service. The bars were also good, notably The District (a brewpub onboard) with their nightly piano entertainment, and Sugarcane (Mojito bar). Our cabin was nice, especially as it had an extended length balcony with an extra lounge chair, and an in room coffee maker. When returning from port, we liked the welcome service on the dock which included cold eucalyptus cloths, and water, popsicles and other refreshments along with a place to drop your dirty beach towels. The Waterfront on the Promenade deck is a great idea, one that I hope other cruise lines incorporate into their new ship designs. The Cruise Director Alvin and his staff were very visible, and hosting events throughout the day including parties most nights in Spice H20. The Not as Good: Both the food and service in the main dining rooms (Taste, Savor and Manhattan) were simply subpar. It was very obvious that there were cost saving measures in place with basic appetizers and entrees being served, and a notable absence of cruise line staples: no escargot, prawns, lobster on the menu. You can expect a dry protein covered in sauce, a generally good starch (like a risotto or a cheese polenta) and broccoli as a typical entree. They pulled all the stops on the last evening however, with Prime Rib, scallops, free flowing wine and good desserts no doubt hoping we would forget about the previous two weeks of mediocre experience. Expect a 15 to 20 minute wait to order, in between courses and for beverages. Also, you have to ask for everything: rarely will you be asked if you would like coffee or cappuccino with dessert. We like a relaxed pace, non-rushed dinner but spending two hours in the dining room is simply too long when you realize most of the time is spent waiting. The buffet is far superior to Royal Caribbean but still lacked true variety and quality. It was open all day without the closed times like RCCL. Additionally, they were very flexible on their breakfast hours - even though it was over at 10:30, if people were showing up and wanting breakfast, they kept a portion serving breakfast well past that time. The two atrium areas could be nice but the one is plagued by smoke from the casino permeating the shops, walkway and Le Bistro and the other is constantly crowded with events scheduled throughout the day resulting in neither being an overly relaxing place. If you love the excellent International Cafe on Princess, or good Promenade Cafe on Royal Caribbean you will be disappointed with the Atrium Cafe on the Escape. Its just not a popular venue, and offers no complimentary snacks with your specialty coffee. As there was only one staff member, it frequently took 10 minutes to get your beverage even if there was only one other passenger ahead as the one staff member had to do everything. The display had for purchase macarons (which were good) and cupcakes (which were not good - the cold, hard icing came off whole revealing a dry cupcake underneath). On other cruise lines, we like getting our morning coffee and an afternoon ‘pick me up’ from the cafe, and this was just not the same experience. Another miss is no burger bar outside by the pool. While they had burgers in the buffet, its not the same getting a burger from a tray and putting in on a bun versus a fresh made burger. The entertainment was hit or miss also. An unexpected highlight was a performance by Vox Fortura, semi finalists from Britains Got Talent. Choir of Man was also good. For us, a weak point was After Midnight - although it received a standing ovation, I think it was in recognition of the effort of the performers (It can’t have been easy doing yet another extended tap dance) as the storyline was weak. Other evenings there was no entertainment scheduled, or just duplicate shows. Lastly, and this is being picky but the overall design of the ship is very basic. Yes, it has relatively modern colours and decent finishings but there isn’t anything extra, or ‘wow’ points. An example is the main Escape Theatre, which is basically a rectangular box with no effort taken to turn the room into an impressive theatre. Another example would be the lack of artwork around the ship, instead there are mirrors on all stairway landings instead of pictures. Summary: We enjoyed our cruise and overall vacation however am in no rush to go on another Norwegian ship as I would instead go on another line that I know ticks more boxes for us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Communications between the ship and passengers was horrendous. We waited on line for hours to check in to get onboard with no explanation. We were not allowed back on the ship in Port Canaveral for over an hour with no explanation. Line ... Read More
Communications between the ship and passengers was horrendous. We waited on line for hours to check in to get onboard with no explanation. We were not allowed back on the ship in Port Canaveral for over an hour with no explanation. Line dancing classes were always late or didn't happen, no explanation. 4th day out ship ran out of straws, no explanation. Unable to report problem in elevator, no one answered the telephone, not even the operator. Although I really enjoyed the number of dance lessons (even on port days), most dance instructors were not trained, the worst we’ve experienced in our 37 cruises. Cruise director, Alvin, promised to replace the worst dance instructor who couldn’t even keep a count and did not keep his word. The 10 people in our group were mostly dancers and enjoyed a lot of the music onboard but were disappointed in the lack of floor space available. Pictures of the ship showed a beautiful large dance floor in the Manhattan Dining Room which was a deciding factor in choosing this cruise/ship. When we got there, we were disappointed to find that 80% of the dance floor was covered with tables and chairs. Loved the fish on the carpet in the passageways showing direction of the front of the ship. The “Make up the Room” system is excellent. Soft drinks included in the drink package was better than some other lines. The orange juice was better than most other cruise lines and tomato juice almost always available which was nice. However, the Pina Colada’s were horrible. The food was mediocre at best and very spicy for most tastes. Booked a mini suite but found it was smaller than other ships with very little storage space for two people. Passageways were very narrow forcing passengers to step into a doorway to allow others to pass going in the other direction. Had to reserve shows, tenders, games etc. Having 4,700 passengers on the ship and a theater that seated only 800 was a problem (although it had more foot room than some other ships). Some entertainment was excellent but most was not. Our friends had a problem with the safe and couldn’t get anyone on the telephone, not guest services, the operator or housekeeping. Most of the staff that we interacted with (waiters and cabin stewards etc.) were friendly had a ready smile and did a good job. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The for slow about 45 minutes to an hour to get our food in the Manhattan room took a bow and Savor and taste about 30-35 minutes the activities will great set for two shows they were born shows for after midnight in the male vocal group ... Read More
The for slow about 45 minutes to an hour to get our food in the Manhattan room took a bow and Savor and taste about 30-35 minutes the activities will great set for two shows they were born shows for after midnight in the male vocal group they put you to sleep. In the Manhattan room it's very loud they have music every other day. The game shows with funny and fun the dance classes fun to watch and learn. 60% of the ship granny generation. There's nobody that was under the age of 30 made a 1/3 of the ship and there we're only a hundred kids on the ship on this Cruise. Course of man was a great show all ages is very hilarious to watch it kept you entertain and they came out into the audience gave away two people. We saw a guy in the headliners Club she was 18 and over he was hilarious and raunchy. There was a a woman in a band named Victoria who voice was excellent must see. 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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