Sail Date: December 2010
The ship was beautiful. However, I was extremely disappointed with the customer service on the Escape. If you had to call guest services you would have to put the phone on speaker to let it ring for ten minutes before they would answer the ... Read More
The ship was beautiful. However, I was extremely disappointed with the customer service on the Escape. If you had to call guest services you would have to put the phone on speaker to let it ring for ten minutes before they would answer the phone. Other than going to the bar poolside there were no one walking around providing you service. To eat at Margaritaville would be a 1-2 1/2 hour wait. We were giving ever excuse from the pager device wasn't working properly to the kitchen couldn't accomondate the crowd. The bars were under staffed and under stocked. The employees were unfriendly and overwhelmed. They ran out of certain liquor with 2 days left or so we were told. The dueling piano bar was a great show. NCL should have better trained their employees or pulled more experienced staff to accomondate their guest. The ATM's wouldn't work half the time and there were only 2 on board. The Escape was a disappointment. Being a new ship it was beautiful and clean. We went on the Epic last year and it over the top in customer service. If they're going to build larger ships than you should be able to accomondate guest Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This was my 23rd cruise so I consider myself somewhat a seasoned cruiser. The ship is nice in its own way. If you like modern and dark. The theater is the most underused venue in the whole ship. perhaps because of its pure dark ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise so I consider myself somewhat a seasoned cruiser. The ship is nice in its own way. If you like modern and dark. The theater is the most underused venue in the whole ship. perhaps because of its pure dark grey walls with no decoration at all. A very depressing room. instead most of the shows were done in the atrium which is bright and lively, however if it is a popular event such as a port talk there is extreamly limited seating even though they try to bring out folding seats. One huge dissapointment was the fact that Guy Harvey ( who designed the beautiful hull ) had several presentations as did the group ( sorry I forgot their name ) who had educational shows on coral reef restorations. These shows were not even mentioned in the daily planner, but shows such as hot dog eating and balloon blowing were. Shame on you Norweigian! Things we especially liked were the fact that there were plenty of loungers on deck for everyone. Also the Wave Restaurent ( lido buffet ) had plently of tables and good offerings at the buffet. One of the stupidest things I have ever seen on any cruise ship is a jogging tract that goes right through main traffic . Theirs ran between a bar and Jimmy Buffets. What were they thinking ?? I would like to give guest relations high marks, I had several fix its on my new room, and they got to it quickiy and checked back with me to make sure all was done to our satisfaction. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Just returned off the first full 7 day cruise on the Escape and sad to say not very impressed OVERALL. The mostly good stuff - Getting on board and getting off was far and away the easiest I have ever experienced. Great job in ... Read More
Just returned off the first full 7 day cruise on the Escape and sad to say not very impressed OVERALL. The mostly good stuff - Getting on board and getting off was far and away the easiest I have ever experienced. Great job in getting that right. Food was really pretty good throughout the cruise, service on the other hand was very inconsistent if a server was involved (will critique below). Savor restaurant: Food very good, food server very good, so good she replaced the drink server as he was really slow and not available the first night. Gardens: The cafeteria style place to eat was very good to excellent in the layout and the food selection. Moderna: Brazilian restaurant, Very good as all the server needed to do was get the water and order drinks. With the self serve salad bar, which was excellent, all you had to do was sit at the table and the rest of the dinner came to you. Teriyaki Japanese steak House: Very entertaining, typical food selection and good. Pricey though if not part of the dinner package deal. Cagney's Steak house, food was excellent but boy was the kitchen slow. Waiter wanted to take our food order before he asked if we would like a drink. Got the drinks first, and very quickly by the way. However waited over 20 minutes between the appetizer and the entree. Now what could be classified on the BAD side: Margaritaville was the biggest disappointment of the trip. A food and beverage place that lacked any atmosphere at all. Not a good thing if the name is Margaritaville. Not only was there no music but when open ,weather permitting and it rained two days at sea, only 11-4pm I might add, unless you were first in line there was a 1.5 to 2 hour wait and that was when half the seats in the place were EMPTY. Bar Tenders: With few exceptions they were very slow AT BEST, did not recognize you until they were ready for you. No HI, BE right with you, nothing. This was the case in most bars and was the same for others we talked to during the cruise. Entertainment Nightime: Not really much to do on the cruise. Sure they had a few "shows" (3). One was "The Brat Pack" $30 included dinner, sold out each night Did not hear any reviews pro or con from any fellow passengers (120 of us in a group) about the show. Would like to have seen the "Million Dollar Quartet" (a show about Carl Perkins, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and a fourth recording all at the same time at atlantic records) however cancelled after first night due to sickness. Due to time at sea no replacement was around till the last two night on the way back. Entertainment Daytime: While the pool stuff was pretty normal and fun, the area is small for 4200 people on board. Bingo was $69 each time and then the 'special' for the last game another $20. If they returned a good amount to the winners that may have offset the following: "RIPOFF", as they only paid $100 - $300 for each game. In all fairness last day's game pd big money $300, $400 & $800. Should as at least 200 people were playing. Do the math. Casino: That would have been at lot of typical fun, win/loss/draw if it wasn't so damn SMOKEY. Even the non-smoking area was filled with the smell of tobacco. Shopping On Board: Per the wife: Very poor. Cruise store lacked enough of the sizes that we needed, selection of goods was limited, shared space with duty free store. Other specialty shops were high end and not the greatest value. When they were selling the junk for $10 you could not through the hallway however. Final comment: All the service issues were attributed to ( by a cruise professional that had 800 travels agents on board) staffing the ship with 25% experienced service people leaving a whopping 75% rookies. Who knew.. Wait to book on this ship would be my advise right now Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
This was our third cruise with NCL and we have never had any problems. We are now "silver" latitude members but after this trip we may be finding a new favorite. To begin with we had a great time and do not regret that we chose ... Read More
This was our third cruise with NCL and we have never had any problems. We are now "silver" latitude members but after this trip we may be finding a new favorite. To begin with we had a great time and do not regret that we chose this ship on its first route through the Caribbean. Lets just start from the beginning...Embarkation. Why do they assign group numbers if they have no interest in following through with the order? Example we were in group 3 as were many people around us. We started noticing that there was many people walking right on with higher group numbers (example 8,9,10). The port employee never turned any of them away and just let them all through. As they turned a gave us all waiting our turn a nice big 'HA HA" smile all we could do was the right thing and wait our turn. RUDE! Next was the groups booked on this cruise. If I had known this bit of information I may have rebooked for another date. There was as many a three (just from people we talked too and there may have been more) LARGE groups of mostly some kind of travel agents doing their annual conventions on the trip. One we spoke too had 800+ people and the other two that we found out both had 300 or more. This was a huge problem if you did not belong to one of these groups. A lot of rooms were reserved for private functions. The back deck H20 (which was our favorite spot to go on the Epic every night after dinner) was almost every night closed to some kind of party for them many of the restaurants were taken every evening. That brings me to the special packages that were offered when booking. Food, drinks and excursion credit is what we were offered/talked into. Since we pay our excursions ahead of time and we don't drink much we chose the dining option. once we got on the ship and realized the amount of groups that were there we tried to book some reservation for dinners. NOTHING!! all 7 days of this trip there was not one reservation to be had in anything except one at 9:30 at night. We found out from a very rude reservation person at customer service that we should have booked before the cruise (which have NEVER had to do before) and that most of the times were held by the groups on board. we talked to a manager and asked to be switch to the drink package since we were going to get no use of the dinning at all. they sent a message to corporate and told us it could be up to week to get an answer from them. Really? oh do please tell them the we are on a 7 day cruise and I would like to find out if we could do this BEFORE we disembark in Saturday. We did get switched but did not get much use of this bonus because once again we don't drink much. The gift shop was a joke. there was maybe 3-4 racks of t-shirts (that only came in med and small because they sold out of everything) and one of my biggest pet peeves NOTHING had prices on them. you had to ask someone, (if you could find anyone) how much everything was. The shop was very small and I'm disappointed that we did not get many souvenirs because we didn't have time to wait in line and ask. The smoke from the casino was horrible. I'm very sensitive to smell and you could almost not walk through the atrium and not get a face full of stench. We start going the long way around to avoid this area at all cost. We had a good time just disappointed in some things that were unforeseen. The shows that we did get to see and were not canceled due to the groups moving in were good. I prefer the EPIC over Esacpe any day. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
I was thrilled to be on the Inaugural trans Atlantic sailing of the ESCAPE. I flew to London the day before, took the National Express Bus to Southampton, over nighted at a local hotel and took a cab to the ship. It was the UK so of course ... Read More
I was thrilled to be on the Inaugural trans Atlantic sailing of the ESCAPE. I flew to London the day before, took the National Express Bus to Southampton, over nighted at a local hotel and took a cab to the ship. It was the UK so of course it was cloudy and raining. The dock is very convenient to town. The check in was a nightmare. Lines snaked all over the place. The only Latitude check in was for Gold and Platinum. It was not a good first impression. Once on board the cabins were ready and you could move right in. Taking a walk around the ship brought to mind the Breakaway with a very similar layout. You could easily adjust to this ship. I was in cabin 13188 a minisuite. It was nicely decorated and laid out. It was a bit larger than a balcony cabin, but not much. The bathroom was the largest I have ever seen on a ship. There was a double sink and the shower was huge with lots of nozzles. Fantastic shower. I was traveling alone so the storage was not a problem, but it would have been if I had someone else sharing the cabin. Not enough storage. The AC/Heat worked very well. Lighting was good. No electrical outlets by the bed but there were three plugs by the desk. I really enjoy the open dining on NCL which is why this is my third cruise in one year. I never had to wait for a table at any restaurant. However, that was the end of the good times. I was VERY disappointed in the food. They have changed the menus and the offering were really odd and unappetizing. The portions are smaller, the courses less in number. Even in the complimentary restaurants there were items for purchase. I did not like that at all. I think they are testing out having everyone eventually pay for each meal. It was impossible to get coffee unless you ordered desert. I ate in Cagney’s and it was wonderful. The Garden Café was a terrible disappointment. There was a good variety of offerings, but at lunch and dinner rather then being hot and fresh the food was cold and congealed. Every dinner was a total disaster with temperature and freshness. Overall the food was terrible, the worst I have ever encountered. The crew and staff could not have been better. Even for a new ship they preformed very professionally and friendly. I was very impressed. The Atrium was well used for activities, but it is far too small for all the activities. People would be standing 6 or 7 deep. You could not see anything. They should have held them in the theatre. They also blocked the flow of walking traffic. Entertainment overall was excellent. They had tremendous performers. If I did not like a show it was not due to the performers it just was not my type of entertainment. The TV entertainment was horrible, unless you wanted to pay extra. My big complaint was the Internet. The price is immoral. The quality is pathetic. You use all your minutes just signing in. The last day it did not work for most of the day. When it did it was incredibly slow. To charge the outrageous cost they should provide A+ access. They do not. The ship is too large for me, but that is my preference. It was very nice, but nothing exceptionally special. It was nice being on the maiden voyage, but other than that it was not memorable. My next cruise is on RCCL which gave me a better price. Although I like the open dining, they have to give you food worth going to eat. At this time this ship does not do that. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
First, let me say that we were part of those 800 Travel Agents on board. While I can't speak for the more influential members of the groups (Owners, upper Management, etc.) we did not get any preferential treatment in terms of ... Read More
First, let me say that we were part of those 800 Travel Agents on board. While I can't speak for the more influential members of the groups (Owners, upper Management, etc.) we did not get any preferential treatment in terms of available reservations for shows or specialty restaurants. Any venue we used during the day would have been closed anyway. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night and too a shuttle to the Embassy Suites in Miami near the airport. The next morning we took a cab to the port rather than the shuttle provided by the hotel because the cab was much less expensive ($28 plus tip rather than $12 per person X 5). First, yes, embarkation started late for some reason. Possibly up to an hour which did not help the temperament of approx. 4,000 waiting in the terminals. This ship is so big it need two terminals (B and C) to embark. Once on the ship, it was up to level 16 and the buffet. The food was average to above average depending on the item, but finding a table was a challenge. The ship left two hours late due to a downpour which prevented supplies from being loaded, but this is in no way NCL's fault. The service and food in the specialty restaurants were above average with La Cuchina and Bayamo, and Tapenyaki being excellent. The service and food in Manhatten was above average. We found the service Taste, Savor, and O'Sheehans to be some form of slow, unfriendly, at times incompetent, and in two cases downright rude. Our son is a developmentally disabled adult and his taste is food is very plain and simple compared to what is served in the MDRs. We had no trouble getting him an alternative (Chicken Tenders, Cheeseburger, etc. ) in the specialty dining restaurants, but it was a challenge in Taste and Savoy. Unless you are one of the Haven customers special requests are not this staff's strong point. We had the ultimate soft drink package which requires you to go to a bar and get a bartenders attention just to get a soda. During the day it was manageable, but jockeying for attention in the evening with everyone wanting to get the most of their ultimate beverage package was ridiculous. There were never enough bartenders to handle the customer load, especially near the casino. My family did like the various trivia contests held on board and won several as well as winning twice at Bingo. The family enjoyed the John Hughes' supper club show. We found the three piano players in Howl at the Moon entertaining for about 30 minutes, but after that it became repetitive. Million Dollar Quartet was cancelled for the entire cruise due to an illness in the cast. I guess NCL has never heard of understudies. I'm sure NCL will get a lot of complaints. The internet was horribly slow, inconsistent and expensive. I understand it's a ship at sea, but if your going to provide and service and charge 2 months of land rate for 75, it really should work. Disembarkation and Embarkation at the three ports (St. Thomas, Tortolla and Nassau was uneventful. While Julie is probably and excellent Cruise Director, it struck me as odd that she would be on the dock at 8:30 in the morning in a shimmering silver dress and red heels. She is outgoing, friendly remembers faces well and he staff runs some very nice events during the day on board. We went to Paradise Point and Megan's Bay on St. Thomas and enjoyed both very much. The next day on Tortolla it rained on and off, but part of the family was still able to enjoy a nice beach while others went Zip-lining in the canopy and had a great time. The last stop, Nassau was a disaster due to a constant daylong rain, so we did not get make full use of the waterpark at Atlantis. A word of caution, if you need to get back to your ship around 4-5 in the afternoon, the traffic over the bridge from Atlantis is horrible. Disembarkation for us was uneventful. Walked right off the ship at the assigned time, found our luggage and were through customs in about 30 minutes. In summary, it's a nice new ship with lots of amenities. I would not consider this a family ship in any sense of the word nor would I suggest taking children on this line. There are many other cruise lines that appear to do a better job. It's big enough where it doesn't seem too crowded most of the time. The specialty restaurants are worth every cent we paid for them. Other than Manhatten, the complementary restaurants were average to below average in food and service, in our opinion. Others may find them perfectly acceptable. As it is a new ship perhaps the service will improve with time and the menus may get adjusted. We will be trying at least two other lines in the future and depending on what we find, we may or may not be back to NCL. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Saturday, September 5th We arrived from the Miami Airport via an Uber cab ride that was free for us because we had a $20 off coupon. We were dropped at the NCL pier terminal B where our baggage was collected and promptly processed ... Read More
Saturday, September 5th We arrived from the Miami Airport via an Uber cab ride that was free for us because we had a $20 off coupon. We were dropped at the NCL pier terminal B where our baggage was collected and promptly processed through the ship's Latitude Members line. The other couple we were meeting aboard said the line was a lot longer and much more "toasty" at noon when they arrived. We were a bit later than them as earlier that day we drove in from our Sanibel Island pre-cruise vacation and had to drop off our rental car at the airport. Fashionably late seemed to work in this case. Our cabins were not ready yet so we met our friends at Sugarcane Mojito Bar where we discovered the ladies' favorite drink of the trip: Pineapple Coconut Mojitos. We had to toast the Getaway with something fruity in our hands!! It was a lovely sendoff even though it was pretty humid and cloudy leaving Miami. We went to our rooms to unpack after we finished our drinks. Both of us were feeling hungry and we knew it was going to be a late dinner, so we decided to try some of O'sheehans wings. The place was super busy but the only server in sight, Mykesh, seemed to be handling it well. He gave us excellent service. They were about average for wings, and I would definitely get the hot flavor if you like any heat at all. The wing sauce seemed to be tomato based and was unlike a traditional buffalo wing sauce. I ate them three times so I definitely liked them! Hubs enjoyed their fish and chips. As we were eating, we realized it was 5:00 and that I was supposed to meet my girlfriend at the spa for the raffle. I dashed up to the spa and caught the tail end of it, but didn't win anything for my efforts. The spa area is amazing with views of the ocean. I did get there in time to check out the debarkation special they were running which they called a "Head to Toe" for $149. It included a 75 minute full body massage, foot & scalp massage, and a facial. I had some birthday money and didn't get a massage before I came, so I justified signing up for one at 6:30 that evening. I am so glad I did! My masseuse, Summer, had a heavenly touch. She used Elemis products. It was an incredible way to unwind before the trip began and my skin was absolutely glowing. Hubs enjoyed the first of many naps while I was gone. When I got back to the cabin I was in a mad dash to get my hair and make-up done before the Illusionarium Dinner and Show @ 8:30. The Illusionarium was a must-see! It was an additional charge of $39/pp but well worth it. Hubs said it was by far the best show he saw on the ship. Upon walking into the place you want to take your time because it is interestingly decorated a la Steampunk. It was an entertaining show and an above average surf and turf meal with salad and dessert. There were several magicians and an amazing mentalist performing. We talked to some of the audience members afterwards that the mentalist picked, and they had no idea how he was able to guess the words and phrases that they appeared to have chosen on their own at random. The performers engaged the audience and it was a well run show. The only complaint amongst our group was that the seating in the rows is a bit tight from person to person and there was a good deal of elbow jostling during the dinner portion of the evening. Sunday, September 6th For breakfast we went to the Garden Cafe buffet, which is the ship’s main buffet area. Personally I enjoy the omelet station where they cook one to order for you. It was crowded and sometimes finding a seat is difficult as it is a popular destination for people on the ship. At 10:45 we went down to Cagney's to get ready for the Meet n Greet for our Cruise Critic roll call. I helped to organize the meet and greet and gave some brief comments about the forum activity. It was a very active roll call as over 120 people signed up online to attend. There was a pretty good turnout with 67 singing in on the sheet. Many of the officers and crew showed up and introduced themselves, and even Sponge Bob came and welcomed us aboard. Afterwards, another cruise critic member led us on a Cabin Crawl where we got to see the different types of cabins and what we could expect if to find if we up- or down-graded in the future. We saw about 8 different types of cabins, including the Haven, and it took a couple of hours. He also put poker hands into the mix for each cabin with a payout at the end, which added more fun to the crawl. I fell in love with the Haven spa suite on deck 14. The cabin was not actually in the Haven but you get the haven amenities when you book it in addition to full spa amenities. At 3:00 another cruise critic member organized a slot pull. If you are reading this, make sure to sign up for the roll call for your cruise on cruise critic to join in the fun and get to know people on your next cruise! For lunch we went to the Flamingo Grill for their Puerto Rican food. I had chicken, pork, rice, beans, cilantro sauce, sweet potatoes and caramel flan. Hubs had the rice pudding. This turned out to be one of my favorite and less publically frequented places to eat breakfast and lunch on the rear of the ship behind the water slides. After lunch, Hubs took a nap and I checked out the Spice H2O club with some newly made friends from the meet n greet. It is an adult’s only area with wading, seating, waterfalls and hot tubs. There is a big screen TV and of course a bar area, and it is a nice place to relax and hang out. During the day it is quiet and tranquil but at night it gets hopping with various party events. Next we had a mixer at the Grammy Experience, where we toured the grammy memorabilia on deck 8 forward. For dinner that evening we booked a couples night at Cagney's steak house for $30/pp. Hubs said it was the best steak on the ship. He also picked the best appetizer - the lump crab - whereas I picked the shrimp cocktail. Don't you just love that NCL will bring you another if you ask (and I did), so they gave me a lump crab appetizer as well! I enjoyed my lobster but it wasn't as good as the one I had the next night at Ocean Blue. Next time at Cagney's I will stick with what they do best, grilling a slab of beef over a flame. It was very good, mind you, but the Ocean Blue lobster was exquisite. The atmosphere, food, and the service made for a wonderful evening. We had originally planned to watch Burn the Floor but I was too tired and we chose to take our dessert to our extra large balcony. I used my UBP this night and hadn't been taking naps so it was all catching up to me. We chose the UBP as our free perk as opposed to the UDP because the Illusionarium and Ocean Blue are not included in the UDP and the only other two places we planned on eating at during the cruise with cover charges were Cagney's and Teppenyaki. Monday, September 7th This morning we had breakfast at the Flamingo Grill and tried their Key Lime SIN-ammon rolls! These cinnamon rolls alone are why I gained 5 pounds on the trip. They are so delicious. I also had a bagel w/smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers. While attempting to walk off the cinnamon rolls afterwards, we ran across the Carlos Bakery where we had to try some cupcakes. So much for the “healthy exercise” – you can’t walk 100 feet on the ship without running into a distribution center for sugar, trans-fats, or liquor! Hubs got the carrot cake and I saved my peanut butter chocolate for later because I was still full. By now we had a refrigerator full of desserts in our cabin mini fridge. We played a little in the Casino until it was time for me to meet up with my girlfriend for "Wine Lovers the Musical - Wine Tasting Luncheon", which was another hit show. I was surprised how many men were there as it was a musical, but then again it was also a wine tasting. It was held in the Illusionarium so there was much to see. There was an additional charge of $25 for the show, but it was very worth it. The host/narrator was excellent and we ended up seeing the actors in other shows later such as Legally Blonde. They really work these people! The lunch was peking duck salad, sirloin steak with breaded shrimp, lovely potatoes and mochaccino cheesecake. It lasted about two hours and we tasted five different glasses of wine, one of which was a special NCL blend. There was education and entertainment rolled into the mix. The guys were back in the casino gambling away their 401k funds - somehow we did end up cash flow positive for the gambling portion of the trip. Us girls did a little shopping and then met them at Sugarcane on the outside deck where we were served by our favorite bartender, "Clarence the Chocolate Cowboy" as he calls himself. We tasted more mojitos and the Cucumber Jalapeno comes in at #2 for my tastes. Dinner reservations that night were at Ocean Blue for $40/pp at 7:00, and for all involved it was the favorite meal of the cruise. We were seated by the window to view the ocean. The white tablecloth and formal upscale atmosphere were perfect for celebrating our friends' anniversary. The service was excellent, with wine suggestions and a good attention to detail. I started with clams in broth for an appetizer and us girls had the lobster. It was the best I've ever had. It was split and cooked to absolute perfection just ready to dip in the velvety clarified butter. For dessert I had the lemon meringue tart. Hubs had the lobster risotto and a huge slice of apple strudel that was the size of a brick. In addition, the NCL waiters served us champagne and chocolate cake to celebrate their anniversary. We of course ended up with more dessert added to our mini-fridge of dieting doom. Tuesday, September 8th This day we were at port in St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands). The four of us met in the auditorium and took the NCL sponsored B.O.S.S. excursion, which stands for Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter. It was a unique experience for those who aren't certified divers to get the chance to go underwater and see fish and corals. It starts with a 45 minute scenic boat trip to the spot where we went snorkeling while waiting for our turns on the motorized water scooters. There were reefs and a shipwreck to see. An underwater camera is a must for this excursion, and the crew will even take your camera and photograph you and your group with it underwater. I got some kind of bites in the water while snorkeling that we are still are unsure about. I was a good distance from the main group and may have encountered some baby jellyfish or fire coral. When we got back we attempted to get something to eat shipside at Senor Frogs, but they had extremely slow service so we decided to get back on the ship and eat. We found out later that another cruise ship had caught fire and evacuated, so many restaurants were overrun and some were even out of food. I was itching and uncomfortable from the snorkeling bites, so I just wanted a shower and some benadryl. While I did that, Hubs ordered room service. We ordered a cobb salad because I was feeling the need for some vegetables to counteract the previous day's meals, as well as a turkey club sandwich and a hamburger and fries for the Hubs. There is a $7.95 charge for room service now but I was glad we did it! It was great to just relax in the room and have the food delivered to us. The cobb salad had four whole pieces of bacon and an entire avocado in a gigantic bowl. We took it out on our balcony to eat but almost as soon as we sat down water a waterfall from the deck above us poured onto our table. You never saw anyone move so fast to save their salad. I didn't read the daily where they clean the decks on port days and water showers are to be expected on the balconies! I ended up eating most of my gargantuan salad and half the turkey sandwich. Those water sports make a gal hungry! This day, I too took a nap as I was worn out. Then we toured the ship some more and played the 9 hole miniature golf, which Hubs beat me at. Dinner was Prime Rib night at O'sheehans. It was average and a bit chewy. Hubs said that it needed a spice rub and to be slow cooked overnight, but I guess feeding that many people you don't have the time. I had wings again as an appetizer and some yummy mozzarella sticks. We arrived back at our room to more cute towel animals and turn down service by our wonderful room steward, Claudia! Wednesday, September 9th This day we docked in Tortolla (British Virgin Islands). We left the ship and began our mini-excursion hunt for dock C. The entire area was under construction and poorly marked, so we had to rely on information from the locals on which way to go, and it ended up being a good 20 minute walk to the dock by the time we finally found it. Here we boarded the catamaran Lionheart for a beautiful day of snorkeling hosted by Captain Steve. We visited three different sites including Norman Island and the Indians, and took many fantastic underwater pictures of fish, jelly fish and corals. We were served assorted beer, sodas and rum punch. First Mate Darrell put together a buffet of luncheon meats, cheeses, 3 or 4 different salads, deviled eggs, breads and hot dogs. It was a great day and I would most definitely do it again! We arranged the trip through our cruise critic forum and met up with some of them. Altogether there were 12-15 of us which fit comfortably on the Cat. Upon arriving back at the ship, the four of us had a 5:30 Reservation for Teppenyaki at 30$/pp. This dining experience is one of our favorite venues from our previous cruise, especially when traveling with friends. It is a Japanese hibachi restaurant that is loud and entertaining in addition to its merits as a good meal. The chef slices, dices and juggles your dinner as he grills. I had the seafood combination. The scallops were nice, lobster was overdone but the calamari was perfectly tender. Hubs had the steak and chicken which was excellent. I'm not sure what they marinate their chicken in but it is good. At 7:30 we saw the Legally Blonde Musical. There was no extra charge but you do need reservations for seating. There were enough sparkles and pink in the show to fuel an entire beauty pageant. It’s worth seeing! Thursday, September 10th For breakfast we went to Savor. We got lucky and scooped a window seat so that we had a nice view. I had a mimosa and their eggs benedict. Hubs had pancakes, hash browns and sausages. On this day the service was slow. Afterwards we did a little souvenir shopping, where I finally hunted down an NCL ship magnet after being told earlier in the week that they were not to be found on the ship anywhere. With the postcards and scrapbook materials I also picked up, I am all set for my Smashbook creation when we get home. The previous day we had received a bingo card in our NCL daily, so we went at 11:00 to check that out. We bought a few more cards for the excitement of high-stakes bingo, and of course we ended up not winning anything. At noon we were invited to an event at the Svedka/Inniskillin Ice Bar where we donned fur lined capes and gloves. We were escorted into the area where we toured the bar with all of its ice sculptures. There were two vodka drinks being served in ice chalices. The drinks were mango and lemon and both were tasty. I was glad to have prepared by wearing jeans and tennis shoes because it is literally a freezer with a bar inside of it. Hubs had a great photo opportunity sitting in the ice chair holding up his chalice. This was worth seeing once, but a little underwhelming. This being our last at sea day, I wanted to finally try the waterslides. None of my party was willing so I went off while the three of them went to the arcade. My first slide was the orange one which turned out to be my favorite. It was the right combination of turns with just the right amount of speed. The blue/green Free Fall Slides were not open until later but I DID IT, once, and I got my free neti pot. That's all I have to say. I laid in the chairs on the deck, got some sun, and had the bartender bring me drinks. It was nice until the trio found me. We ate lunch nearby at the Flamingo Grill, and finished it up with lovely coconut pastries. For dinner we went to the Tropicana where we had reservations for the Burn the Floor show. We had a table right by the floor so the view was amazing. For an appetizer I had a tasty ceviche and hubs had gnocchi. For dinner, I chose their evening special which was billed as a "whole turkey dinner". Much to my Hubs disappointment, they didn’t roll out an entire 20 lb turkey for me on a serving cart. Instead, what they gave me was both white and dark meat smothered in delicious brown gravy. On the side were brussel sprouts that were undercooked, dressing and cranberry sauce. The service was outstanding and the show was wonderful. The dancers were amazing! Some of the dances showcased were swing, salsa, and pasodoble. For desert we had Opera cake while a band played after the dance show. They were accompanied by an enterprising young toddler who owned the dance floor by herself for a good 15 minutes. We later joined the Glow Party at the Spice H2O club. There was quite a turn out for the party, so I was glad that we got there early to claim a table for ourselves. All in all it was a very nice evening indeed. Friday, September, 11th In port at Nassau (The Bahamas) , we ate breakfast again at Flamingo Grill. I couldn't get enough of those addictive Key Lime cinnamon rolls, plus it is a less crowded breakfast option and we were running late for our dolphin adventure excursion. We left the ship and walked to the ferry line for the Blue Lagoon. Our friends signed up for the excursion through NCL, but we went ahead and bought our tickets the day of directly from the tour agency. We saved a bit of money as it was $185 for the Dolphin Swim for me and $30 for Hubs to observe (the NCL price for the swim was roughly $250 a person). The ferry ride is about 40 minutes long and on the way you see many lush waterfront celebrity homes. Upon arrival at the lagoon, eight of us had about an hour and a half of interaction with a pair of dolphins. We got to touch them, hug them, kiss them and take a ride through the water as they pushed on our feet. I was disappointed that there was not enough time to do anything but the dolphin swim, take quick shower and grab an expensive snack. I would advise bringing something to eat with you because there is not much at their snack bar except chips, cookies and ice cream. It looks like there is a lot more to do on the Island but our ship didn't get us to port early enough to do anything more. I still feel like the dolphin swim was a once in a lifetime opportunity and was completely worth it. As hubs didn't participate we got some great pictures and video for free! After our excursion the enthusiastic crew greeted us outside the ship with water spritzers, icees, and cool towels. It was so refreshing and welcoming! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
We, a group of seven, spent a week on the Norwegian sister ship, Getaway. The Escape can handle 55 less tons than the Escape, can carry 279 more guests, has 11 more crew members, is 2 feet shorter than the Getaway, and is a year ... Read More
We, a group of seven, spent a week on the Norwegian sister ship, Getaway. The Escape can handle 55 less tons than the Escape, can carry 279 more guests, has 11 more crew members, is 2 feet shorter than the Getaway, and is a year younger than the Getaway. We came in very happy, looking for a real happy, great adventure. Here is what we found: We booked 4 cabins with balconies for all of us, since I would not cruise on anything less. When we entered the cabin and saw the balcony, my heart sank. The 2 chairs were positioned sideways, with a postage-stamp-sized table between them. Turning the chairs sideways, to face the water, left no room for my knees. Needless to say, the enjoyment of sitting out, enjoying the view and dining out on the balcony were out. Half of my expected enjoyment, and the reason to pay for a balcony, was out the door. Trying to take a shower was anything but. No pressure in any pipe. If my knees and my shoulder didn't touch the shower wall, I couldn't get wet. Still in the bathroom, after the shower, I couldn't comb my hair as the mirror, and the ceiling, were just a tab uncomfortable to stand straight. When I was younger I stood taller than 6 feet, but I have since shrunk below. Obviously, the balcony size (what size?), the ceiling height (what height?), allow for a few more cabins for the cruise line, a little less comfort for me. The ship had wonderful entertainment. But unlike any cruise line I have ever traveled with before, we had to pay dearly for it. The entertainment that was included in the price (not cheap), trust me, you want to avoid. The noise level anywhere on the ship, restaurants, entertainment venues, was maddening. If you are over 40 years old, don't even bother. The food even lost its taste with that noise. If you are younger than 30, it is designed for you. They assume that your ear drums are gone already. All decorations are made of plastic, so the noise reverberate without stop. No fabric, nothing soft to absorb the sound. We went to watch an event called "Dueling Pianos", looking forward for a bit of respite and culture, but had to leave after a few minutes. The noise was unbearable. And we were not alone. We did enjoy each others' company, but suffered from everything else. If it was a hotel on land, we would have checked out on the second day. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
***Always felt bad cruising/missing mass, but husb found Stella Maris Catholic Center a 2 min cab ride from taxi area! It's right across from the ships in a trailer like building. Google to read about its history/awesome man! ... Read More
***Always felt bad cruising/missing mass, but husb found Stella Maris Catholic Center a 2 min cab ride from taxi area! It's right across from the ships in a trailer like building. Google to read about its history/awesome man! History: 20 plus cruises, 3rd NCL, 2nd Haven. Inaugural Cruise! You think it might be a bit chaotic.. In Haven, smooth sailing. We did notice lengthy wait times in main dining. Main show cancelled due to flu! Food: We were pleased everywhere we ate. Tappas place was super fun and tasty. Bar food at Irish pub was great every nt. Specialty restaurants didn't disappoint. Cuddos to Japanese place. Had plenty of gluten free options/adjustments so I was pretty much eating the same entrées as the rest at table. Haven food spectac both in taste and appearance/ate there every other nt. Unlimited lobster soo tender, soo perfectly cooked/rivals your fave steakhouse. There was one dessert that must have had 15 components/layers/... Some type of nut featured. Drink: 5 O'clock Somewhere has best bartender on ship. Goes by the name of Chocolate Cowboy. His mojitos were better than mojito bar's. Aft Penthouse: Loved the extra room/separate living rm. Sound off aft balcony was like a waterfall/propellers. Soot from stacks caused required a daily wipe down of Everything, including floor so as not to track soot inside/we're decent. We chose to handle rather than call room steward/threw filthy pool towels in guest shower. We made FULL use of having meals from around ship brought to our dining rm and balcony/specialty restaurants, dining rooms, Haven restaurant... It's was THE BEST PART of our cruise. Husb and I never eat together at home due to work schedules, so we reveled in this time together. LOVED the daily cheese plate with olive tapenade and daily desert plate. We ate Everything steward left for us/delish, esp the choco strawberries! Wish tub was jetted, but no. Husband thought shower too tiny. For these reasons alone, we booked a spa room for next cruise. Activities: This ship had so much to do we never turned on either of our 2 TVs, and never made it to spa, a first! Some nut pulled the string soo hard on the ropes course plank walk he tore down the camera and it fell into the sea in port! Shows were top notch/Really enjoyed. Excursions: The Baths. Path to Devils Bay had a million white butterflies/felt like walking in a dream! The giant stones and clear water was Super picturesque. Would return. Spa: Used the nail salon twice. Paid for ultra mani and pedi experiences and was totally underwhelmed. Pedi appt was 20 mins late, and they still had me out on time/shortened the massage part/my fave part. Also, when I said I couldn't do scented products, tech made a big deal outta having to go get some plain oil. Mani was fine, but the Fire/Ice luxe part just weak. Just seemed like these ladies were tired, not very happy and lack of effort. My $30 local experience blows away the ship's $140 or whatever I paid. Pix: Ooof, they are losing big $ here. The camera guys Never fix a stray hair or crooked jacket... Least amt of pix ever purchased. Embark/Debark: Haven guests are escorted. It's AWESOME. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The food and staff were very good. No lounges to relax and read a book. Watched 2 shows and both were very good. This ship is basically trying to extract money from you by every means possible, eg by charging for some meals which ... Read More
The food and staff were very good. No lounges to relax and read a book. Watched 2 shows and both were very good. This ship is basically trying to extract money from you by every means possible, eg by charging for some meals which were al a carte and payable, Small bottle of beer was 6.95 US $ which is expensive. The ship has been built to cater for American families sailing in warm weather I don't suggest anybody using the ship unless the cruise is where the weather is warm. Unless you want to join badly behaved youngsters running riot all day, avoid this ship. Finally on boarding and leaving the ship they expect you to carry all your own luggage up and down stairs. How can a 80 year old woman with a walking stick, mange this? Staff just watch people struggle and offer no help. Leaving the ship is dangerous having to carry all your own luggage down 4 flights (at least) of stairs. You only need I person to slip, and many people will be injured on the stairs. Leaving the ship it is an accident waiting to happen....may sure it is not you who has any accident. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
I just arrived from the airport, and sat down to write this review, hoping to be the first. I'll start by saying that it's hard to write a review based on a 2 nights cruise. There are so many features of the ship we ... Read More
I just arrived from the airport, and sat down to write this review, hoping to be the first. I'll start by saying that it's hard to write a review based on a 2 nights cruise. There are so many features of the ship we didn't try, and so many venues we didn't have time to visit. However, I'm partial to the Breakaway class, so even after two nights I can say that the ship is a success. This was a 2 nights cruise from Hamburg to Southampton. I was not impressed with the boarding process. You had to carry your bags (all of them) through the whole boarding process and to your room. Instead of the 20 minutes it took us to board the Breakaway in New York, embarkation in Hamburg took more than an hour. Though this is something that will be different in future cruises from Miami. Although the weather was cold, we went straight to the water slides. The new slide is a huge success. By far, in my opinion, the best slide I saw on ships, and that's including Disney's Aquaduck. Same thing to be said about the improved rope course. It's huge, with various zip lines. You can spend hours on it. We had a family room oceanview on deck 5. I had the same room on the Breakaway. I was impressed than. I'm impressed now. It's the largest room I ever had on a cruise ship. It has a bathtub (!). Lots of closet space. Two TVs. Perfect layout. You can't get a better room. I won't switch it with a balcony or even a suite. I didn't have time to try the new Bayamo restaurant. Cagney's was amazing, as always. Teppanyaki was entertaining. The new Food Republic is really good - I like the iPad ordering system, as well as the dishes. A really nice addition. Breakfast in the Garden Cafe was a mess. But that's another thing that goes with this being the ship's first cruise. They'll improve. A note about the Internet service: Norwegian offer an unlimited plan (good for one device), for 30 usd per day. With Royal offering a new ultra fast internet service at a fraction of the price, I think Norwegian should reconsider their pricing plan. Especially when they offer slow internet speed. I saw the After Midnight show. It was nice. Nothing less, nothing more. Oh, the gym is bigger and better placed (as well as the spa and thermal suite with its snow room). Overall, you have to try this ship. Especially when it'll sail from Miami, and after a few weeks of working out the initial problems. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
I was travelling solo with a group from a German cruise website. This was my first (and likely last) NCL cruise. I decided to go on this cruise to meet some people I am chatting with on the cruise website and to find out if the big 3000+ ... Read More
I was travelling solo with a group from a German cruise website. This was my first (and likely last) NCL cruise. I decided to go on this cruise to meet some people I am chatting with on the cruise website and to find out if the big 3000+ passenger ships in general and NCL would be an alternative to choose from in the future. I have been on many cruises before with the biggest ship so far being the Celebrity Solstice. Escape is NCLs newbuilt which is to be doing Carribean Cruises out of Miami once she reaches the other side of the Atlantic. The 2 days from Hamburg to Southampton were the inaugural cruise. It is really a big ship with 20 decks and some 4200 passengers. There are lots of activities like ropes course, water slides, bars, restaurants, trivia, art auctions and so on. Shows at the Escape Theater were great, Howl at the Moon was fun, too. Dining experiences were mixed (I only ate at included restaurants) ranging from good service and good food to poor service and mediocre food. The bar menu doesn´t have alcohol free cocktails and you only get alcohol free cocktails from some of the bars. I had to search the ship for a Virgin Colada. My inside stateroom was designed for 4 persons. Storage space was fine for just one person on a 2 days cruise and a following 2 days in London but I doubt I would like to do a week with 2 or more people in this room. Way too little storage space in there. The interior design is a little bit too dark for my taste. The bathroom was great and includes a clothes line in the shower. My favorite venues were the Waterfront (outside restaurant area) were you can sit and enjoy the sea view even when the restaurants are closed) and 678 Ocean Place which is the stylish Atrium. I do not go on waterslides or ropes courses but met some kids who loved both. The spa is run by Elemis and gave me a great but overpriced massage and a hard sell talk afterwards telling nonsense about all the people who don´t by their products being not healthy. Fitness Center is equipped well and was never crowded on this cruise. Both embarkation and disembarkation had long lines and the terminal in Southampton seemed to be overcrowded with all the people disembarking and looking to find their transfers. Overall I found out that the ship is too big for me and I would enjoy better restaurant service. The best on it are Waterfront, the shows and the idea of the Studio staterooms. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
GOOD: The Crew - met many crew-friends and experienced great dining experience The food (Breakfast Taste/Savor, Lunch Margaritaville, Snack O'Sheehan's, Dinner The Manhattan) was very good - especially the daily changing ... Read More
GOOD: The Crew - met many crew-friends and experienced great dining experience The food (Breakfast Taste/Savor, Lunch Margaritaville, Snack O'Sheehan's, Dinner The Manhattan) was very good - especially the daily changing specials for breakfast. Food Republic was not my world since I do not like Fusion. I like Asian or Western but cannot deal with the mix of two. Sorry. Nice ship BAD: Missing embarkation and debarkation services. Was hard to handle baggage in elevators. Especially debarkation in Southampton over aft STEEP gangway without assistance. 25% VAT instead of 19% on purchases on board. 30 USD per day for slow internet for one device. 75 USD for transfer to Heathrow (before it was 35 EUR) and no transfer service in Hamburg Balcony cabin so narrow that when you sit on your bed you have your knees at the closet. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
NCL Escape 3 day from Hamburg to Southampton. GETTING TO KNOW US We in our late 60’s and we are active seniors who have done 29 cruises over the last 30 years. This was the end of 15 days in Europe to celebrate our 50th ... Read More
NCL Escape 3 day from Hamburg to Southampton. GETTING TO KNOW US We in our late 60’s and we are active seniors who have done 29 cruises over the last 30 years. This was the end of 15 days in Europe to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. We like the Freestyle NCL offers but have done other lines as well. We had never done a “new” ship right off the dock and we were excited to be part of all the newness seeing it before others. Hubby and I anticipated that there were to be glitches in many areas and knew we would be the ships Guinea Pigs as staff had not had passengers yet. SO, knowing all that, here is our review: ARRIVAL TO PORT We arrived at 10:30 AM and we were on board about 12:15. The going was slow and there was a "Disney" line to get on the ship. As expected, crew had some confusion but handled each request from passengers as quickly as possible in our area. We were in Group 12 to board. Embarkation was not as cruisers expect because there was no baggage assistance. For us, it was no issue as we were doing the 3 day, however, those getting on for the Transatlantic definitely struggled. Also, those with mobility issues or in wheelchairs were without assistance where we were. OUR CABIN We have not booked an inside cabin for some time but because this was a 3 day cruise and we anticipated we would be exploring the ship most of the time, we chose an inside cabin, 13463. The best surprise was the bathroom, very large, lots of space to store things and the shower was wonderful. I am not a fan of climbing over the tub to shower so this was perfect. We are not over packers so we found plenty of storage in the cabin. In the closet, we had 12 hangers, a safe, and several shelves along with space under the hanging side to store shoes. The bed had 2 small night tables with shelves in each one. I did not check under the bed for storage, too much to see and too little time. There was a built in table/desk with small bench and a refrigerator built in also. Our cabin was set up to hold 3 people but the third bunk would have been too claustrophobic for me. The cabin hallways seemed bigger than on the smaller ships The cabin needed a room card to keep power on so we threw in a grocery store card and everything worked and we still had our keys. SHIP This was our first cruise on a ship of this size and huge it was. Our cabin was forward and we walked a lot to get to everywhere. In my younger days, this was not an issue but I think the mega ships are not for me, just a personal choice. We explored everything we could and other than being huge, the ship was beautiful and the Waterfront truly brought back the Promenade Deck of the older ships. My DH did the ropes course while still in port and it looked intense to me. Throughout the 3 days, the kids and adults who climbed the course were having a lot of fun. There was also a mini version of the course built in so the younger kids had a course to do. The water park was immense and rivaled some water parks in the US and kids were using it. I thought the tots water area was well done and had many things for the toddlers to do. We did not see Teen or Kids area as we had no need. DRINKING ESTABLISMENTS (We had the Caps and Corks package) We went to Tobacco Road, The Cellars, The District Brew House, 5 O’clock Somewhere and Spice H2O. We never waited for a drink, service was quick. There were some vintages of wine and several brews that were not available but this was a shakedown cruise and we always found something we liked. Drinks did come with a port tax that we were not expecting but nothing outrageous. The only thing on our NCL account at the end was some minor gift shop purchases and the $20 odd taxes. Spice H2O was a great late night place but rain and weather kept the crowds away. DINING VENUES (We had no paid meal plans) We ate at both dining rooms, Garden Cafe buffet and O’Sheehans. First night, the service v e r y slow but we expected something would happen as this was the first time the dining room was full for the staff to practice on. Same dining room next time was great. We had breakfast in O’Sheehan’s and the selections for us seemed very limited. Lunch menu had more options. We found the food in the dining room delicious and well presented. Always a good mix of selections with vegetarian options, also. One thing NOT to our liking in the main dining room, items for a price. Prime Rib and 2 other items were on the menu but for an additional $14.95. These main dining rooms are our only place left without a la carte and we were very disappointed to them there. Come on NCL, at least leave the Main Dining alone. There were a few hiccups like dessert and coffee taking forever, waiters not sure what table they were serving and trying to order drinks in the dining room. The Buffet was well laid out and both sides had the same items so easy to find a small line. There was a bar within the Buffet that made getting a beer or drink very easy. I fell in love with the Pasta Bar, made to order with sauce and ingredient choices. There were no Hot Dogs or Hamburgers but maybe the Margaritaville at Sea was for hamburgers. The one time we went it was raining and this is an outside venue. ENTERTAINMENT We only saw Million Dollar Quartet and needed no reservation to get a seat at the 7 PM show. The young musicians were amazing and portrayed the characters excellently. Not to be missed. We went to the Howl at the Moon first night and I howled long and loud, LOL Music was good and piano players were energetic and had incredible talent. I am told I howled until 1 am but don’t remember. We went back on night 2 but crowd was not into it and we left. Night 3 was back to night one caliber. The Casino seemed to be bigger than any at sea we had seen. It was nice because there was no smell of smoke yet. I put $5 in a slot on day 1 and came away with $37.50. Wish I could be more exciting about the Casino but we just did not have time to see everything and stay there. All in all our experience was positive, we knew the ship would have issues but for us, they were few. The staff and crew were always on hand to take care of passenger issues with one exception but that was eventually dealt with. Having an inside cabin was okay for the 3 day but we agree we need to see out. Because of the weather, we can’t comment on chair huggers, kids in the adult pool, or any people smoking where they should not be. We attended the Meet & Greet and the Cabin Crawl and met some wonderful new friends we will keep forever. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We booked as a 3 night break from Hamburg to Southampton and then got the chance as Platinum latitudes members to stay on an extra night at a reduced price So overall thoughts on the ship? Firstly is it disabled friendly? On the ... Read More
We booked as a 3 night break from Hamburg to Southampton and then got the chance as Platinum latitudes members to stay on an extra night at a reduced price So overall thoughts on the ship? Firstly is it disabled friendly? On the whole yes, it’s a big ship but easy to get around and not too many bottle necks EXCEPT Embarkation Disembarkation Muster Drill And queuing for restaurants at peak times like just after shows finish It will be interesting to read reviews when the ship is full and in warm weather as to how crowded it gets on sun decks There were a lot of people with walking sticks and some in wheelchairs It can be a long walk from one end of ship to the other and would recommend getting a cabin near the elevators. If you can use stairs it’s a bit easier than having to wait for the elevators which at peak times were full when the doors opened onto your floor. The congestion on elevators was exaggerated on this short cruise by no portering facilities so you had to carry your own luggage on and off ship. The 2 sets of elevators with 8 in each are called forward and aft but are actually about a third of the way along from front and back of ship. With 20 decks the public area decks are 6/7/8 and 16 upwards for the sun decks Cabins We saw a good selection on our cabin crawl and there is bound to be a style to suit your style and budget. We liked our balcony cabin and the angled balcony available in a few such as 10276 will make a lot more room to relax in your own private space on a warm weather itinery. I’ve heard a few people complain that having the bed configuration near the wardrobe limits space . It certainly isn’t pushed up against it-there is a bedside table between the bed and wardrobe which is at least a foot wide. We didn’t find it an issue getting clothes out of the wardrobe in fact my husband found it easier sitting on the bed and leaning forward to grab his clothes from the shelves. The lighting system you activate by placing your room card in the slot inside your room works well and indicates to your cabin steward you are in residence. There are 2 switches to indicate do not disturb or make up room and they show as lights outside in the hall. Entertainment Million Dollar Quartet was very good but don’t drag your husband along if he isn’t a theatre fan! Howl at the Moon duelling pianos was great entertainment each night [they wont be playing every night on a regular cruise though or they will be exhausted Starlight band in 5 o clock sometime bar we really enjoyed but they are hampered by the design of the room. 5 o clock sometime bar implies a lively all day atmosphere but it doesn’t seem to work In May we were on the older NCL Star with the old bar refurbished to become 5 o clock sometime .That suffered by being a throughfare with bad acoustics and uncomfortable seats. This newly designed bar had its own problems attracting people to sit and listen to the on stage band. It had limited opening hours-supposed to open 12 noon but bar often closed mid afternoon Uncomfortable beach type chairs Rotating lights around stage dazzle audience for a few seconds There is an automatic door leading from waterfront which is the outside smoking area into the bar. Therefore there is a draft when people walk through it. The exit from the bar into the main inner r area consists of 2 glass doors. One of these open with a handle from the outside but have to push a lever from the other side and as there is no indication which door to open first the 2 doors never shut properly and bang together. SPA I used the thermal spa-very nice and had 1 treatment-a discounted head to toe with full body/scalp/foot massage and a facial Dining We ate in Manhattan restaurant one night where service was slow. Because platinum latitudes perks not extended to this short cruise we didn’t have a meal voucher so didn’t eat in speciality restaurant For ease and convenience ate mainly in O Sheehans and buffet and were perfectly satisfied Communication There was misinformation about back to back passengers having to attend multiple muster drills which caused frustration and resulted in people turning up late to their muster station. The only pre information given that there would be no portering facilities available at the port was for the invited guests cruise on 28th. There was no pre warning for the other mini cruises departing from Hamburg and Southampton Added taxes/gratuities We had pre paid our daily service charge and were aware of the 18% automatic bar charge .As we had pre paid a corks and caps beer and wine package that 18% was also pre paid However the final 2 days in and around Southampton there was extra port tax and VAT payable which was not pre warned but I knew to expect by reading info on cruise critic However I have read reports of irate people blaming NCL claim this extra money for themselves-nope blame our UK government. TEETHING PROBLEMS The non functioning safe and tv should have been on a checklist before guests arrived Toilets on deck 7 outside the theatre-there is a female toilet on 1 side and male on the other and both doors labelled correctly .However the high level indicators show a male figure on both sides! A silly mistake by someone hanging the signs but it’s going to irritate if not fixed Toilets on deck 8 outside District Brew house. The ladies has 3 cubicles 2 of which the handles are loose with too much play on the shank-someone risks getting stuck in there The curtain across the balcony window in our cabin had the final hook missing so a loose flap hanging down –looks unsightly on a brand new ship All above issues were reported to guest services/maintenance Would I do such a few days cruise again-oh yes!!! I am however disappointed that our group missed out on the souvenir lanyards tote bags etc that were given to other cruisers even day guests .Being the first paying guests on an inaugural cruise would have expected some kind of recognition. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Our first Transatlantic Inaugural cruise. We toured 3 days in London before the cruise. The Escape does not disappoint. Beautiful and friendly staff. We love NCL. Plenty to do onboard. Great group of passengers many have done TA ... Read More
Our first Transatlantic Inaugural cruise. We toured 3 days in London before the cruise. The Escape does not disappoint. Beautiful and friendly staff. We love NCL. Plenty to do onboard. Great group of passengers many have done TA cruises before. Entertainment was wonderful. Loved Margaritaville Nd 5 o'clock somewhere bar. Can't wait to cruise on the Escape whe we can use the pool and sunbathe. Cabins were nice. We were upgraded to a balcony thanks to NCL. This was our 13th NCL cruise. And we have 2 more NCL cruises since then Caribbean and Panama Canal). We have 3 more NCL cruises scheduled (Alaska, Caribbean and another Transatlantic with stops in France, Belgium and Netherlands and embarkation in Portugal with hotel there. Highly recommend the Escape and trying a Transatlantic cruise. Definitely prefer Norwegian to the other cruise lines. NCL ships just get better and better. I love the newer and larger ships. So much entertainment. Fantastic perks also. It is easier to get rewards with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
we chose this cruise for a bit of fun for our 2 Grandsons and my husband. we heard it was the newest ship yet and the 4th biggest cruise ship in the world, as soon as we heard NCL was coming to Southampton we rushed on the web and booked! ... Read More
we chose this cruise for a bit of fun for our 2 Grandsons and my husband. we heard it was the newest ship yet and the 4th biggest cruise ship in the world, as soon as we heard NCL was coming to Southampton we rushed on the web and booked! we had booked an balcony on deck 14 so we were very high. i didn't know it was high because when your with NCL they pick it for you, you cant pay extra to choose where your cabin is! we got at ocean terminal ( we like ocean terminal a lot, we went on ventura in that terminal) we arrived after McDonalds breakfast ( best ever, i had a bacon baguette). i would highly recommend it if your at Southampton and your struggling to find a breakfast the kids will like. we got at the terminal at 11:00am and boarded 11:20am best we have ever had ever! we walked to deck then we went to the garden cafe to have lunch and...... every single chair was used! there was no space whatsoever! we were hungry maybe we could go to the main dining room taste, but full up as well! we went back up to deck 16 to the garden cafe and there were lovely happy waiters helping us find a table 5 points for that! we had an announcement from the cruise director our cabin was ready but we didn't go yet because they're lots of ques for the lifts ( as always on this ship ) we waited half an hour to actually find a lift! as only 2 sets of lifts for 4,500 passengers is not enough ( what are ncl doing?) we went to taste for dinner ( loved it!) i had the chefs recommended chicken ceaser salad. our cabin overlooked other balconies ( would not like to be in those cabins!). our cabin was spacious and modern with USB chargers, the beds were comfy. there was a prom deck with the famous 5'O'clock bar. you CAN walk on the bow but its not connected to the promenade. the pool deck was small and split into two so it was crammend and horrible the pool is always packed and people hog the sunbeds! it is disgusting to see NCL being lazy and not putting in big pools and making there ones packed! i liked the water park, high ropes, mini golf and H20 all good for kids and middle aged adults. but i think the NCL escape needs more improvements and there are ques everywhere! the ship was a bit to big for me and bigger is definitely NOT BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Spent one night on the ship as a celebration to end of year of challenges taken on to raise money for a local children's charity , well this was spoilt by the whole experience . Firstly on Arrival at room , which was not even made up ... Read More
Spent one night on the ship as a celebration to end of year of challenges taken on to raise money for a local children's charity , well this was spoilt by the whole experience . Firstly on Arrival at room , which was not even made up , told by housekeeping on this cruise no coffee in cabin , tea bags but no kettle . Can live with that . First meal , well food was cold , staff rude not attentive at all , when received bill was horrified to find they had added an 18 percent gratuity , well the Services was not worth , your find this is standard company policy . Evening meal in the Manhattan ,we booked this 6 plus weeks ago , 8.30 sitting , we were still waiting at 9, to be told we still need to make up the table , the queues were out the door , people standing in the lobby it was like a crowd at a football match . Once seated we were given one menu between 8 of us , eventually more were handed out , we ordered our meals including dessert told this was to save time !!! Starters arrived , not up to much really , after some 45 mins our dirty plates were still on the table no one had been near us to even offer drinks or water . We had to call a manager over to ask what was happening , she showed no interest at all and thought by giving us a bottle of wine would make it right . Meals arrived , all cold , parsnips with steak which was like rubber , menu said chips , chicken so dry could not chew it . Crisps served with chicken and gravy , that did it called manager again (Corrine) , she said she would be back in 5 mins never came back . So we left with no dinner and ended up with a bar snack . We decided to make the most of our time , well had missed all the entertainment and no on board night club , everything shut at 1 ,on speaking to guest relation , was told its not a proper cruise , well we paid. Proper over rated price for what can only describe as butlins on water . I would not recommend this ship or company to anybody , could go on for ever Jusy don't bother wasting your money Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
As we'd enjoyed the 2 previous Breakaway inaugural cruises, it seemed only right to sample Escape to see if the Plus added much to the already excellent concept. Embarkation was very chaotic , badly organised and confusing, with ... Read More
As we'd enjoyed the 2 previous Breakaway inaugural cruises, it seemed only right to sample Escape to see if the Plus added much to the already excellent concept. Embarkation was very chaotic , badly organised and confusing, with even the Haven guest moved from one area to another. We are gold members , but the priority boarding seemed to have been abandoned in favour of a numbered card denoting arrival time at terminal! Eventually we embarked, and had to tote our hand luggage until cabins were released. We decided to lunch early, and made our way to the busy Garden Cafe, enjoying simple soups and salad. A poor design feature on this ship is placement of tea and coffee stations, alongside main entrance, with milk away from the hot drinks.Since no saucers or mugs were in evidence,it is inevitable that scalds will occur, ...and did! We made our way to our deck 13 cabin and were delighted by its comfort, generous size and large full tub bathroom. The big disadvantage of a forward facing cabin is the long walk to the central lifts. We later met up with a friend in the hospitable, comfortable O'Sheehans pub, where tea was served,and staff were pleasant. All the staff on board were so very pleasant ,many from the West Indies ,softly spoken and ever smiling We walked along the Boardwalk, noting the changes in restaurants, all sure to be huge successes once Escape reaches her home port of Miami. Although damp and chilly, we just had to see the new Aqua park , simply fantastic slides and facilities , and the scarily high rope walks. This class of ship has some of the best facilities for keeping children and teens active and safe we have seen on any ship. All activities are properly tested , supervised, and participants trained beforehand. Mandatory drill occurred before we sailed, and we were astounded by the number of guests who ignored attending, even though all guest services were suspended. We dined in one of the 3 main dining rooms, Savor , with good food, good service , and very pleasant atmosphere. After some wine, we made our way to the main showroom to enjoy MillionDollarQuartet. It was probably the best ship show we have ever see. We were assured at the start that the musicians were" not faking it" .. It was wonderful , live music from very talented, charismatic musicians , all making you believe you were really watching the legendary musicians. Particularly enjoyable were the talent,the stage presence , and sheer charm of the young man playing Jerry Lee Lewis.. A phenomenal musician! The cast member playing Elvis's girlfriend was a joy to watch, she was stunning, and seemed almost to have an inbuilt motor! Later, we found the bed to be exceptionally comfortable, the lack of movement great, and in the morning the lack of docking vibration a great surprise . Breakfast in the garden cafe was excellent, with good choices, a busy omelette station , the one downside being the lack of tables at a busy time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We have cruised with P&O, Princess, Cunard and Royal Caribbean so thought we'd try NCL so took a one night taster on the Escape. Well that's exactly what we'd have liked to have done ESCAPE! Standards are shockingly low. ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O, Princess, Cunard and Royal Caribbean so thought we'd try NCL so took a one night taster on the Escape. Well that's exactly what we'd have liked to have done ESCAPE! Standards are shockingly low. Service is non existent and staff are not interested in hearing your complaints! The only positive was the rooms are beautiful and the thermal spa amazing. Everything else was well below average. You have to Book dinner and shows on touch screens and although we booked dinner for 9:15pm when we arrived at the Manhattan there must have been over a hundred people queuing to get in. When I explained to the waitress that we had booked our table she was rude and told us to just get in the que!!!! Whilst stood in the que she was taking people who HADNT booked tables through to eat!! I approached her again to be told it would be another hour and half before we could eat!!!! When we finally sat down it took 3 hours to serve a 3 course meal and the food was average at best. I didn't eat my main as it was truly disgusting and come midnight still had no dinner!!! The wine waiter was so rude we refused to buy any in the end. Went to reception to remove the tips and complain to be told NOT to write the reason we were refusing to pay tips on the form!!!! The receptionist wasn't interested in the fact we'd had such a shocking dining/ service experience and told us to just ring head office. He didn't even apologise!!! Furious and hungry we went to bed. Upon trying to disembark there was absolute chaos (same goes for embarkation) and there was a woman with a young son in a wheelchair trying to get through the chaos of bodies to get her son off the ship. When she approached a staff member I heard her being told "we don't offer special service to disabled passengers"!!!!!! We were disgusted!! On the point of disabled passengers there are only 2 sets of lifts, both of which you had to wait at least half an hour to get in and disabled passengers seemed to wait forever. There was of course a private lift for "Haven" passengers but they wouldn't even let the disabled passengers use that!!! And to top it off the cheeky Devils still took the tips off our cards so filling out forms was pointless. If you want rubbish food, rubbish service and you love to que then this is the ship for you. If however you have more discerning tastes then avoid this bargain bucket cruise line! What worried me most was the utter lack of organisation in EVERY area of the cruise. I would not want to be on that ship with those staff in an emergency situation!!! I know this is a long rant but this is our FIRST AND LAST ever cruise with NCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We have just returned from a family taster on the new escape. We were by in large impressed with the ship,but it had teething problems. The life boat drill was a shambles I appreciate that it has to be done but to wait for everyone to turn ... Read More
We have just returned from a family taster on the new escape. We were by in large impressed with the ship,but it had teething problems. The life boat drill was a shambles I appreciate that it has to be done but to wait for everyone to turn up well past it's start time was ridiculous, the majority of us turned up and signed in when told but there were passengers just strolling in well after, a waste of half an hour especially when you are only on board for less than 24 hours. We have previously sailed in the Epic so the Escape had a lot to live up to and in some cases it didn't. The drinks were very expensive as was the al a carte menus. We were fortunate enough to have booked a dining time at the Manhatten Room because they were queuing to get in. Not all that impressed with the menu and way too much garlic butter on the steak. We were disappointed that there was no childrens menu in the restaurants, our 10 year old son had to eat an adult meal which was too much for him and only one thing tat he liked on the menu. All the bars were good and served a nice prosecco. Our stateroom was lovely although we didn't like being woken up by an announcement in the middle of the night about a code bravo. The beds in the stateroom were extremely comfortable. Breakfast was a free for all with passengers bringing their suitcases in the garden cafe and all trying to find a table. We thought the staff were friendly and pleasant. All in all we had a good time but had we not have cruised before it might have put us off, but because we had such an amazing time on the epic we will be cruising again. We won't ,however, be doing a taster again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
There were 7 people in our group, all of whom have cruised many times before. This was our first time with NCL and if this is any indication of their standards - never again! Having arrived we took a number and after about an hour were ... Read More
There were 7 people in our group, all of whom have cruised many times before. This was our first time with NCL and if this is any indication of their standards - never again! Having arrived we took a number and after about an hour were called to check in. We then had to sit down again (or stand as there were no seats available) and wait another hour to be called to board. Service on board was very slow and the drinks were very expensive (2 rum and cokes $21.50 plus 18% tax). Waited half an hour to be seated in the main restaurant and 2 hours later (having only eaten starter and a main course, both of poor quality) we left. At no time did we see a wine waiter. After dinner we went to the District Brewhouse where the live pianist was very good; unfortunately all the best seats were taken up by crew members who seemed to treat it as their own private club. Overall we have left with the opinion that NCL is very expensive (all restaurants except the main restaurants carry a surcharge or are a la carte), the service is slow and standards are not as high as other cruise lines we have experienced. The only good thing about this taster cruise was the Million Dollar Quartet show which was excellent! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Well this was our first time sailing with NCL...so it was great to sail on a brand new ship!The Escape is a great sized ship with plenty to do and see. The Top deck was great with the slides and pools along with a huge ropes course and of ... Read More
Well this was our first time sailing with NCL...so it was great to sail on a brand new ship!The Escape is a great sized ship with plenty to do and see. The Top deck was great with the slides and pools along with a huge ropes course and of course crazy golf. My 11yr old loved this, along with ten pin bowling and basketball games, etc. The public areas are great and we thoroughly enjoyed having a good look around. We loved the area around the O'Sheehan's bar, there was a real buzz here. We also really enjoyed the atmosphere in the District Brew house on an evening, the photo booth here went down well with my family members. The three complimentary restaurants were beautifully decorated, along with a lot of the ships décor. The staterooms were of a good size with great sized bathrooms. We stayed in a balcony room one night and an inside cabin the other night (as booked separately) and found them a perfect size. The balcony room came with tea and coffee facilities, but apparently there was no coffee available on the ship, so one teabag had to do! Hopefully this will be sorted out on the next leg of the ships journey. The balcony itself was actually bigger than I thought. We were able to have a look around the Haven suites which were absolutely fantastic! We watched one show, The Million Dollar Quartet, the singing was great but I found the show quite long, my other family members enjoyed it though, it comes down to personal taste though so my recommendation would be to check it out for yourself. Food wise, my favourite meal was at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville's one lunchtime, both the food and service were great, fantastic Keylime pie! We tried the Manhattan restaurant one evening, this was very busy and therefore there was no personal service from the staff. There was a good ambience however. Freestyle dining is great in principal but there were so many queues around the popular eating times, and getting out of the restaurant was a challenge! Personally I would like to see more 'Classic' dishes on the menu, I didn't find the starters or deserts on the menu very interesting. I chose herb encrusted chicken for a main which came with half a tomato and a small spoon of mashed potato, no other vegetables, so a little bland. I didn't enjoy the desert. Yet again this is just my personal opinion. The Garden café was okay for breakfast but not so much for an evening meal, I found the food quite cold. O'Sheehan's served some great snacks, the apple and cinnamon pie was very nice indeed! We didn't have a main meal here, will try that next time. The drinks onboard, as on any ship are very expensive, it would be well worth choosing an alcohol package if you are onboard for longer than a couple of days. The Sail away party on the top deck ( 28th Oct) was great, a fantastic atmosphere! So overall, the ship itself was fantastic, the activities were great, the cabins were great and the general atmosphere was great! BUT my main gripe has to be the severe lack of happy smiley faces with the staff, bearing in mind this is only a couple of days into the ship's inaugural cruises. I was quite shocked actually, normally on a cruise ship staff smile at you and say hello but I simply didn't feel that on this ship, (apart from Margaritaville's) Not sure why? I do love these taster cruises though, a family member was able to experience her first cruise and loved the ship, so it was perfect that it left from Southampton, looking forward to the next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We tried this just to see what a cruise proper would be like but we have to say that we wont be rushing to book one anytime in the near future - certainly on a ship of this size!! Perhaps a smaller liner may suit us. Anyway, the ... Read More
We tried this just to see what a cruise proper would be like but we have to say that we wont be rushing to book one anytime in the near future - certainly on a ship of this size!! Perhaps a smaller liner may suit us. Anyway, the embarkation procedure was fine, took quite a bit of time but you have to wait at an airport don't you?? Our cabin was lovely and the double bed in it was soon separated for us by the steward (we are two ladies) - only two teabags in the room though - could have done with at least a couple more. Unfortunately we were woken twice in the night. The first time by a young girl walking in the cabin, chatting on a mobile and turning all the lights on - she soon left after she realised her mistake but we are still curious how she got in at all??? The second intrusion was a annoy announcement advising that "bravo drill" had been cancelled!! This announcement was made we believe three times at about 3 in the morning - probably someone pressed a wrong button somewhere. We were not impressed. We had a lovely meal in Taste BUT our biggest mistake and one which we feel is tantamount to being criminal, was that we ordered two glasses of red wine. At the end of the meal, the invoice was handed to us and it was for £33.46 - we could not believe it - £16.73 for one small glass??? Absolutely outrageous - how can this possibly be justified? Apart from this, we were handed, on disembarkation, an invoice in the sum of £60.46 being the heavily overpriced glasses of wine together with two service charges of £27.00. I'm sure someone will say "its in the small print" but it shouldn't be, it should be in very large print. Finally we managed to go to the Theatre to see The Million Dollar Quartet - excellent show but we only got there by chance. We tried to book the 7.00 p.m. show on the onboard reservation screens, only to be advised that there were no seats left!!! We took the chance after our meal just to have a look at the theatre, only to find there were plenty of seats available so had we not bothered and taken the touchscreen as being gospel, we would have missed it. What is wrong with the touch screen bookings? All staff we encountered were very helpful and polite but some found it difficult to understand what we were saying (English) and had to get another staff member to help. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
50th Wedding Anniversary.Only time we could get family and a couple of friends all together. Booked months ago, booked table for 12 for 2030. Confirmed by e Mail. Only Manhatten dining room would accept a party this size. No ... Read More
50th Wedding Anniversary.Only time we could get family and a couple of friends all together. Booked months ago, booked table for 12 for 2030. Confirmed by e Mail. Only Manhatten dining room would accept a party this size. No children's menu, despite assurances that there would be, no table, food inedible,service non existent. Finally left hungry after 2 hours wait. Drinks expensive, staff that could speak English, unhelpful. Cabin absolutely fine, show, Million Dollar Quartet, absolutely brilliant. We have sailed on a couple of occasions with NCL, no problems at all, enjoyed the cruises, so we know this is not typical. So,so let down. NCL this should be your flagship, not your Titanic. 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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