2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Being my first time I was very impressed with all the activities on board and since I am so new at this cruising is a very enjoyable and fun experience. This vacation was I feel one of the best I have had in a long time and was really a ... Read More
Being my first time I was very impressed with all the activities on board and since I am so new at this cruising is a very enjoyable and fun experience. This vacation was I feel one of the best I have had in a long time and was really a luxury for me. I usually go on fishing and hunting trips so I did not have to do anything except be pampered and spoiled by you, relax, rest and really just enjoy and experience luxurious living and vacation like the "rich and famous." The staff and all employees were always so pleasant, kind and professional oh and helpful. The cruise Director and others kept us informed and were given a sheet daily with all activities. Thank you again for the best vacation and my retirement celebration is actually what it was for me a time to cherish and remember for the rest of my life. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
I've cruised 6x prior to this cruise, all on Disney. We were hesitant to try another line since we enjoy DCL so much (and we don't even have kids!), but when I saw this quick little 3-night sailing on Norwegian's new ship, I ... Read More
I've cruised 6x prior to this cruise, all on Disney. We were hesitant to try another line since we enjoy DCL so much (and we don't even have kids!), but when I saw this quick little 3-night sailing on Norwegian's new ship, I thought it would be a good way to try out a new line. Let me tell you, even 3 nights was too long on this ship. Service was just abhorrent. I get it, it's a new ship, there will be kinks to work out. I can understand that. I expected it. But this was just too much. Since everybody has the ultimate beverage package, the bars were always mobbed. We'd wait 15+ minutes to be served as the bartender served others who arrived after us and didn't even acknowledge our presence. All the free dining venues were slow, drinks would arrive after the food, our server completely disappeared at O'Sheehan's, etc. I felt a lot of the staff did not speak English very well. I know most of them are not native English speakers, but it seemed like they weren't even trying. The only good service we got was at Moderno, which, surprise surprise! was an upcharge. Which brings me to my next point... The nickel and diming: I'm happy to pay a cover charge for a premium experience onboard a ship if it's the exception to the norm. But on this ship, the upcharges were everywhere. Want to see a show? Get a cupcake? Have prime rib at dinner? None of this is free on the Escape. More restaurants cost extra on this ship than are free. When I go on a cruise, I assume my meals are included. On the Escape, you were basically strong armed into paying extra if you wanted edible food in a reasonable amount of time. The ship itself: The Escape was only a couple weeks old when we sailed and still had that "new ship smell". It was beautiful. However, NCL did not really compensate for all the extra staterooms they added to this ship. The public areas are basically a copy of its smaller sister ships, the Breakaway and Getaway, just with hundreds more people added. So basically, there were people EVERYWHERE and nowhere to escape. Two tiny pools that were always crowded - no adults only pool or quiet area. No quick food near the pool either - had to go to Margaritaville or the buffet. Basically, we spent most of this cruise on our balcony because it was the only place to get away from people (and even then, it wasn't quiet, as our neighbors were very loud). Combined with all the extra charges, I don't see us going on another NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I were on the 3-day sailing of the Escape on November 11th, which was the U.S. public inaugural sailing. We booked in February 2015 when the sailing was supposed to go to GSC and have one sea day. In July, NCL changed the ... Read More
My husband and I were on the 3-day sailing of the Escape on November 11th, which was the U.S. public inaugural sailing. We booked in February 2015 when the sailing was supposed to go to GSC and have one sea day. In July, NCL changed the itinerary to Nassau + one sea day. I seriously considered canceling, because we've gone to Nassau plenty, but my husband convinced me not to and I'm glad he did. Going in, we knew that this was the second sailing after the TA so there would be kinks and not everything would be perfect. I think that helped our view of the Escape and the trip itself. Embarkation: Really easy! We arrived at the port at 11:30 a.m. and were on the ship by noon. We are Silver Latitudes members, but were put in the Gold/Platinum checkin line, which may explain the fast checkin. Overall, we were very impressed with the ship. We've sailed the Epic and the Sky (as well as other lines), and knew the Escape was an improvement on the Breakaway and Getaway, which were improvements on the Epic. Layout: We very much liked the layout of the Escape. There were some similarities to the Epic, so we found it easy enough to navigate. I'm still glad those fish on the carpet point forward, though! Stateroom: We were in a balcony on deck 12 aft. Enjoyed the location and the room was spacious for two of us (but held four people). We have not sailed the Breakaway/Getaway, but have read the balconies on those ships are quite small. Our balcony (angled) was quite comfortable, and it looked like a lounge chair could have also fit, along with the two chairs/table. Would have been tight, but it looks like one would have fit. Margaritaville: Was complimentary when we sailed, but we waited 1 1/2 hours one day and 2 hours another day to eat there, so I can see why the have changed it to an a la carte menu. The food was good, and once we were seated, service was good as well. But the wait...you had definitely had to plan if you wanted to eat there! And perhaps grab a snack while you waited. MDRs: We've found the food on our NCL cruises good to very good, so dine in the complimentary venues. We have yet to dine in a specialty venue because the complimentary food has met our needs. Therefore, we dined in each of the MDRs (a different one each night) as well as O'Sheehan's, Margaritaville and the Garden Cafe. Food is subjective, but we found it to be very good in all venues, despite menu changes and fewer menu choices in the MDR. Spice H20/the Grotto: Favorite part of the ship, particularly the grotto. So happy it's adults only. That policy was not enforced on our Epic cruise earlier this year, but we were glad to see it enforced on the Escape. The Waterfront: This was our second favorite area on the ship. We enjoyed walking around pretty much the entire ship and loved the views from the aft. Running track: My husband is a runner and ran on the ship each day. He didn't like the placement of this track (around the slides) in comparison to the placement of the track on the Epic (in a more out-of-the-way area). Also, the track "closed" around 8 a.m. each day, as deck chairs would be placed around it, but he got up to run early. Service: This was a 3-day cruise with a large group of about 900 on our sailing. Nearly everyone seemed to have the UBP, so on our sea day, the pool bars in particular were out of many of the popular mixes - Baileys, pina colada mix, mango mix. Also, bars were very, very busy, so bartenders rarely acknowledged who arrived first, second, third and so on. Instead, people just shouted out orders at random, therefore making bar waits 15-20 minutes at times. We saw one or two people walking the decks taking orders, but they would be stopped by the same groups each time and never would get to others. That is the only place service lacked on that cruise. Million Dollar Quartet: Thoroughly enjoyed it, even my husband! We did not see After Midnight or the Supper Club, since we only had three days. Disembarkation: As fast as embarkation. Perhaps it helped that it was a short cruise, but we walked off the ship at 8:45 and were through customs by 9:05. We sail again in January on a 7 day and are looking forward to checking out all the places we missed on this cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
We did the 3-night inaugural cruise from Miami to the Bahamas on November 11, 2015. We had a standard BC balcony cabin. All in all this was a great cruise. Both embarkation and disembarkation were perhaps the easiest I have ever had. ... Read More
We did the 3-night inaugural cruise from Miami to the Bahamas on November 11, 2015. We had a standard BC balcony cabin. All in all this was a great cruise. Both embarkation and disembarkation were perhaps the easiest I have ever had. We arrived at the port around 11am. The lines for check in were long, but since we are Platinum, we were able to bypass them. We quickly check in and were given boarding group number 4. Once on board, we headed to Margaritaville for lunch. I have been to several land based Margaritaville restaurants. The food is always so-so, but this was much better. service was outstanding, and the food was piled high and tasted good! We had breakfast mostly in O'Sheehan's, and it was good as usual. There were some service issues, both here and in the MDRs. I'm not sure if the ship was short staffed .... but I have bene on many, man NCL's cruises, and never had the wait times that we had here. Not just waiting for food, but also service issues - like someone taking your drink order, or your food order. Hopefully, those issues have been resolved by now. We didn't get off the ship in Nassau. Been there too many times, and really just wanted to enjoy the ship. We are returning to the ship with family in the spring, and this was our "check out" time. The pool deck is laid out much better than the 'away ships. While I was really looking forward to the Grotto, it was just way too crowded in there. We saw all three shows. Million Dollar Quartet was simply amazing. Incredible! do not miss it! After Midnight was a little slow for me, but my husband really enjoy it. I thought the tap dancers were phenomenal. The Supper Club show was very good, but the food left a lot to be desired. I'm not a picky eater, but left most of my meal. It was just ... bad. All in all, a great cruise. I am hopeful that the service issues have been worked out. The crew did not seem happy, but that could also be the stress of a new ship showing. I am looking forward to our spring cruise, and will do another review when we return. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
First of all far to many private event blocking assess to many restaurants and area of the ship, cabins are not designed for 3 people had aft facing cabin with a very small balcony. Embarkation very slow and disorganized probably due to ... Read More
First of all far to many private event blocking assess to many restaurants and area of the ship, cabins are not designed for 3 people had aft facing cabin with a very small balcony. Embarkation very slow and disorganized probably due to all the 800 plus travel agents on board that were given priority treatment. Even with all drink package given out drink were easily obtained service was very good. Margaritaville was a joke could never get lunch without a 2 hour wait even there were numerous empty tables with a jogging track running right thru the line waiting to get in. Garden cafe was very good except not once got warm french fries always cold, bar in the buffet need more than one bartender. Manhattan room was very good great service, the Taste restaurant was service was terrible wait forever for anything even water. O'sheehan's restaurant very good again french fries very cold. Vibe beach well worth the money online said $79 on ship $99 staff very very good. On board entertainment very very good. Cabin steward excellent name Grace room service for coffee in morning very good always on time. Hallway leading to cabins very narrow. As big as the ship is not a smooth riding, I always get an aft cabin so it it not because of that. After reading the reviews about the H2o noise I moved my cabin from the 13th deck to the 10th deck no problem but my elder sisters were stuck on the 13th deck Norwegian would not move them unless they paid $1000 even tho it was a downgrade to the 10th deck. I have been cruising with Norwegian since 2006 but, I thinking this will be my last cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Cruise on the Escape, first full week cruise of the new ship. Food was very disappointing except for dinner at Le Bistro (very good). Service was poor, ate twice in O'Sheehan's, first time had to wait 1 hour for food to ... Read More
Cruise on the Escape, first full week cruise of the new ship. Food was very disappointing except for dinner at Le Bistro (very good). Service was poor, ate twice in O'Sheehan's, first time had to wait 1 hour for food to arrive, second time waitress never even asked for our drink order until after food was served, (with no separate plates for fajitas). And had to ask her to take the drink order. After 7 days never got into Margaritaville, 1 1/2 hr wait lines and it's only open between 11-4pm. Freestyle dining, however, several locations close down and are unavailable for dinner. Ate twice in Savor (one of main dining rooms) waiter had no knowledge of the items on the menu. A side note, majority of the crew were from other NCL ships, so they were experienced). Ship shook and rolled like crazy, waking us several times during the night, not sure if this was a problem with the ship itself. Seas were moderate with 8 ft waves at times. But have never been on a ship that rolled and shook that much. Cruised on the Allure 2 yrs ago and it was fine. Took tour on Tortola, port is under construction, guess they are gearing up for cruise ships, not much in the immediate walking area. Decide to take a tour of the island from one of the tour groups located on the dock. We were given the price of $16 per person. About half way through the tour the driver announces he will be collecting the fee at the next stop. Then tells us its $20 per person, no big problem but should have told us in advance. Overall disappointed, guess I'll be going back to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
After two prior cruises on the Getaway we expected this ship to be as good or better. There were a number of things that contribute to the low rating. To start the luggage took over six hours to be delivered to our room, the food at the ... Read More
After two prior cruises on the Getaway we expected this ship to be as good or better. There were a number of things that contribute to the low rating. To start the luggage took over six hours to be delivered to our room, the food at the buffet was very average throughout the entire trip and not what you would expect from NCL, the entertainment just average as well. Headliners was good, the band in the 5 o'clock somewhere bar had no business being allowed to perform and the main show the Million Dollar Quartet was cancelled. The Latitudes reception was also unusual. The introductions took about 5 minutes and they left... Normally they would stay and visit with guests and hand out pins. We were bumped from food reservations 4 times and reassigned 3 shows due to special functions that NCL chose to accommodated a large group of travel agents at the expense of the other guests. I personally had never heard anyone say they couldn't wait for the cruise to be over until this cruise. I really hope NCL realizes what a disappointment the Escape is and fixes the issues. They also should warn guests when they are booking that they will have large special groups aboard that they will be catering to. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
The highly anticipated maiden voyage on the Norwegian Escape was a disappointment to say the least. Approximately 800 travel agents were "invited" on the cruise and received all the special treatment. Paying customers, such as ... Read More
The highly anticipated maiden voyage on the Norwegian Escape was a disappointment to say the least. Approximately 800 travel agents were "invited" on the cruise and received all the special treatment. Paying customers, such as ourselves, were treated more like we booked in steerage. Anniversary dinner with my husband at Le Bistro was not memorable. Waited almost 10 minutes for water to be refilled during our meal while the travel agents were getting their food salt and peppered. Was bumped off an excision that was booked and paid for online and put on a waiting list so travel agents could get the first option. Too many private functions being held in many areas of the ship which were off limits to paying customers. Booked a spa balcony with thermal suite access. Was told our stateroom was being re-categorized and our stateroom would either be changed or would still be given spa access. Our stateroom was never changed and once onboard we were not on the list for spa access. Spent my first day on the ship running between guest services and the spa to get the pass that we already paid for. Many issues in the thermal suites. Snow room and steam room periodically working. Whirlpool tubs lukewarm. Tile loungers were barely warm. The only good points on the ship was the ease of getting around the ship. The elevator banks were positioned well so you were able to walk all the way through the ship on each floor. We did enjoy the free style dining and the food quality was much better than we have experienced on Carnival. I don't think we will ever book another maiden voyage and give the cruise line time to work through all the bugs. The travel agents should have been "invited" when they set out on the sea trail to the Bahamas a week before the maiden voyage. Not sure we will be booking on NCL anytime in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Waited for a year to take our first cruise - what a major let down. Embarkation - waited at check-in counter over 1/2 hour while they tried to get key card to work. Ship delayed at port 2 hours due to weather - had to pay port tax on ... Read More
Waited for a year to take our first cruise - what a major let down. Embarkation - waited at check-in counter over 1/2 hour while they tried to get key card to work. Ship delayed at port 2 hours due to weather - had to pay port tax on every drink during that time despite having the Ultimate Beverage Package. Booked Million Dollar Quartet and complimentary dining rooms 3 weeks prior to embarkation. Million Dollar Quartet cancelled on Tuesday and rescheduled for following night but for 6:15 instead of 7:30. Cancelled dinner reservation at 5:30 in Taste in order to attend. Went to room to change for dinner at 4:30 only to find a message advising cancellation for rest of week. This was the one show we were really looking forward to seeing. Have they not heard of "understudies or replacement singers" who could have filled in that night? Tried to get into the 5 O'clock Somewhere bar 3 times and Margaritaville 2 times - not available due to "Private Function". Everywhere you looked, there were signs "Private Function". There were several large groups (I heard one group of travel agents was more than 800 people) who were given priority at restaurants, theatre, etc. over all the other passengers. Line-up at Margaritaville was always a minimum of 1 to 2 hours to get a seat despite many empty tables. Pools were very small and unless you could swim and/or climb up and down a ladder, you were out of luck. Shallow end was over 5 feet deep. Music and announcer at pool was so loud, I had to cover my ears. Room was nice (Mini-Suite Balcony, mid-ship) and room attendant did a very good job. The final insult was on the last night. I had booked the Savor Restaurant 3 weeks prior to boarding. I went to the reservation desk at 4:00 pm and asked if everything was still o.k. with my reservation at 5:30. I was told yes, your reservation is there. We arrived at the restaurant and what was outside the entrance door - a sign stating "Private Function". I told the girl we had confirmed reservations. She waved her hand and said, "You'll have to go over there" indicating the Taste Dining room across the hall. I informed her that if I had wanted to go to "Taste" I would have booked it. She then called over the manager. I asked why this group was more important than us - and that the reservation had been confirmed not more than 1 1/2 hours prior. After a few minutes, he said "Well, I guess we could "fit you in somewhere". Really! Really! Fit us in! I told him not to do us any favors and left. I then went to Customer Service, however the reservation people were no longer there. My complaints fell on deaf ears - "Oh, so sorry" at that point just didn't seem adequate enough for me. There are too many other places to go, whether it be resorts or cruises, where we are not treated as second class passengers. If this is "Cruising Like a Norwegian", they can keep it. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
first off I have been reading reviews to see if anyone else had our same experience, and have noticed that some people have and some people just want to say how wrong you are. I want to say this was our very first cruise and so I have ... Read More
first off I have been reading reviews to see if anyone else had our same experience, and have noticed that some people have and some people just want to say how wrong you are. I want to say this was our very first cruise and so I have NOTHING to compare it to, I just had my vision's of what it would be like. I am so glad we finally got to go one one and will probable do it again. With that being said this was OUR experience: getting on the ship is scary, but it went smooth I thought. We were so excited to see our room which we got to do as soon as we finally got to get into a elevator. (VERY BUSY) but with everyone getting on I guess that was expected. The only problem with the elevators were they were hot. We got to our room which I thought was beautiful, and our balcony was a nice size. It was raining out so hard we didnt stay there long. We laid our carry on bags on the bed and off we went to get a drink and to meet up with the 11 other people we went on the cruise with. We found the pool bar and got our drinks (which took about 20 minutes) but again everyone was getting on board and it was raining so I figured that was the reason the service was so slow. We did find the BEST bartender at that bar Michael ROCKED !!!!!! We didnt get much of a send off because of the rain but we were all excited to be on board after Months of anticipation. We had a few cocktails and looked around the ship a bit and after we were on our way we decided to go get dinner. Since we had lunch in the buffet we decided to go to O'Sheehan's. We sat there for 45 minutes and not one wait staff even walked up to our table. We tried to flag 3 different people down and they were busy but VERY RUDE. So after waiting that long back down to the buffet we went. We went back to our room and i wanted a cup of coffee, (there was a coffee maker in our room) and there was still a used coffee filter in the coffee maker from the cruise before us!!! YUCK!!! Our room stewart which we told about that was very sorry and for the rest of the cruise he was very good. I felt the crew was not happy to be there and there were not smiles or friendly jesters. I just expected more "niceness" we did get a little animal on our bed everyday which I loved. We had booked all of our excursions before we ever sailed so that was taken care of but when we had a question on our Nassau port the shore excursion person was very rude and hardly gave us the time of day. We did a couple of specialty dinners, the Teppanyaki was wonderful. The next time I will do that when the seas were not so rough lol. we also did the Lobster dinner which was ala cart one night. I know that we had to pay extra but that did not bother us but the portion size was VERY small. they say you get a lb and something but if we got a 1/2 I would be surprised. the wait staff that night was rude also, it seemed like we were in their way. But I think the worst part of the whole cruise was that we are non smokers and there was a cabin somewhere around us that smoked cigarettes and pot on their balcony. We called and complained and after the 4th time the head of house keeping came down but as you know it they had stopped and just didnt know where the smoke was coming from. So we just had to deal with it. I saw a couple of joggers almost knock down some older people while waiting to go into Margaritaville. rope course was a blast. Anyway this was our experience and I will do another cruise, I just dont think I would ever do a new ship again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
We looked forward to this cruise for months, excitement building as the date came nearer...........and loved every minute, we were a group of 4 adults, 2 couples, from Scotland. We have cruised with 4 other cruise lines before, always with ... Read More
We looked forward to this cruise for months, excitement building as the date came nearer...........and loved every minute, we were a group of 4 adults, 2 couples, from Scotland. We have cruised with 4 other cruise lines before, always with fixed seating dining so looked forward to flexible dining. Booking - we booked through a TA in UK and reckon we got an excellent deal, included were UBP and all gratuities. Embarkation - we arrived at POM at 11.00, check in process was quick and easy, through security, got a boarding number of 6. They started boarding at 11.30 with a large group from Cruise One then general groups started at 12.00, we were called at 12.25. The waiting room had water, juice, tea & coffee available free. We went straight to Margaritaville for lunch, were told it would be an hour wait, got a buzzer and sat there for a drink and were called after 35 minutes. Cabin - we had a basic grade balcony cabin on deck 13 forward, loved the cabin, small balcony but adequate, enough storage (though would have liked a bit bigger hanging space in wardrobe). The shower room was the best we have had in a balcony cabin on any ship, lots of shelves and storage and great shower. The people on the next balcony were smoking regularly, smell was awful so we commented to Guest Services, after complaining twice they did visit them, warned them of a $250 fine and there was no more smoking. Dining - we chose to eat in the all - inclusive restaurants, Taste & Savour were excellent, great choice in menu, service good and felt as though we were in speciality restaurants. Only complaint was food sometimes could have been a bit hotter, especially the soup. One evening we ate in Manhatten but felt it was too big and open and much preferred the other two. We didn't feel the need to pay extra for the other speciality restaurants. The buffet was the best we have had on any ship, had breakfast and lunch, always got a table, great choice of food, tables cleared quickly. We had lunch in Margaritaville 3 times, enjoyed the food but service got slower as the week went on. Bars - we had the UBP, never a problem getting drinks, but no continuity in cards - sometimes we showed one card for 4 drinks, other times they asked for 4 cards. Loved 5 o'clock bar but got annoyed when it was regularly closed for a private function. Entertainment - were disappointed in both main shows, Million Dollar Quartet and After Midnight, I know lots of people loved them but not really our choice, and don't want to sit in a theatre on a ship for 90 minutes. However, Howl at the Moon was absolutely fabulous, wish we had found it earlier, what a great bunch of guys. We also enjoyed the comedian one evening and would loved to have gone back but tickets went very quickly. Pool area- always able to get sunloungers where we wanted them. Weren't in pools at all and hot tubs always busy. Other facilites - loved the mini golf (a challenge when sailing wasn't smooth!), bowling alley, pool tables and the ropes course. Ports of call - always very easy to get on and off ship, we never had to queue. Casino - after getting very excited at the thought of no smoking we discovered this ban had gone - and the smoking was horrible. We did ask why can't they have one side for smoking and one side non but were told it wasn't possible - that "gambling and smoking go together" - very disappointed!!! Disembarkation- we got a time of 9.00, left the ship on time and were through with luggage in 20 minutes. We did have to wait 15 minutes then for a taxi for 4 of us plus luggage but if you wished a regular taxi there were plenty. All in all, a really wonderful cruise, fabulous ship and would love to return if they changed the itinerary, although we love St Thomas and Tortola we would like different islands next time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
I learned and benefited so much from reading the CC boards prior to my recent cruise, I wanted to share what I could. I know people have different experiences and opinions so, to be clear, this was what my husband and I experienced and, ... Read More
I learned and benefited so much from reading the CC boards prior to my recent cruise, I wanted to share what I could. I know people have different experiences and opinions so, to be clear, this was what my husband and I experienced and, take or leave what you want from it. Nov. 14th: 5:45am flight PVD to FLL-- great flight easy boarding, early arrival to FLL. We booked Jiffy Jeff transportation to ship on recommendation from CC posts. Our driver was late but Jeff did call to let us know. He made several stops-- in airport and at a hotel-- prior to leaving for port. We still arrived at POM around 11:30am. Embarkation was smooth, efficient and quick. Moderate lines moved quickly. After reading the reviews from previous cruises regarding long lines at Margaritaville, we headed right up there for lunch--for our cruise, it was complimentary except for bar drinks. Even though the restaurant was just opening, we were told the wait was over an hour and were really pushed to go to the buffet. There was a large section of empty tables. I asked to sit there while we waited (raining so outside tables not useful). At first we were told "no" but, then we were seated. A very nice waiter came over and offered drinks...and we started a very happy experience with our UBP!!. We did wait about an hour and the lines got huge with no where for the people to sit to wait. Once seated in the main restaurant, service was prompt and friendly. IMHO the food was plentiful but only ok---definitely not good enough for me to want to wait an hour or more again. I did note a really fun and friendly bartender who tried to get a party started by singing and dancing as he worked. Unfortunately, they closed Margaritaville and Spice H2O to the public so travel group could have private party for sailaway. This was SO WRONG!!.....they hogged two of the best places for sailaway. I have to admit, I got some evil satisfaction when it was pouring during sailaway so they really couldn't enjoy it. While we waited for our room to be ready, we explored some and went to the Internet Café where my husband signed up for the unlimited plan ($209-- we found it very slow but, helpful in following happenings at home) The announced when blocks of cabins were ready (the speaker system generally useless as cannot hear in almost all areas) We were in mid-ship mini-suite 14832. Very nice. Bed near balcony, big sofa, long narrow desk with tv and plugs.(we brought additional and extension cords) fyi, there are outlets to charge phones on lamps (didn't find these until cruise almost over ) To answer some others' questions, we did not have lights on our balcony but, this was just fine for us. Large bathroom with big spa shower--very nice. Minimal bathroom storage. After reading previous poster's review, both my husband and I brought those storage bags to hang on bathroom door and, this worked out great. We had plenty of storage in room for all our stuff and we brought lots! Plenty of room under bed for our suitcases. We had reserved spa passes-- for us, we needed to go to spa where they stuck a sticker on the back of our cards-- easy peasy! While there, they were having a drawing for $50-$500 in spa certificates--had to listen to short talk about different services offered but, worth it if you win the $!! Of note, you have to be there to win-- you can't claim prize for spouse, child, etc. Spa is beautiful. More on that later. ***Important note**** Highly recommend that you reserve all your specialty meals PRIOR to booking. There were lots of questions about this before we cruised. We chose the 3 day SDP but, wanted to pay separately for the Supper Club (not a good value using the sdp for this), it ended up coming out of the SDP-- I tried to fix it and book LeBistro once on board and there were absolutely no openings for LeBistro or Cagneys once on board. I heard many complaints from fellow passengers that, reserving even the other venues required a very early or late reservation. You should also reserve shows--- even comedy--that can only be done onboard and, I did not realize this and we got blocked out of most comedy shows. Speciality restaurants/shows: So, as I previously said, we had 3 day SDP. We did Supper Club: awesome show-- of note, arrive early for good seats. We had a table to the left as you enter --to the far left with a small raised podium beside it. Little did I know that I would become part of the show!! The performers frequently use that and, dance/perform right in front of us...so fun!! They sit you with others to fill the space, as necessary. None of us at our table loved the food but, many others did-- it is all subjective. I would still go again as the show is so worth it! Cagneys--we booked this on an at sea day prior to seeing Million Dollar Quartet. Allow at least 2 hrs prior to a show to be safe. Food was good--found restaurant a little loud. Honestly, we liked the steakhouse on Carnival's Valor better.--again, personal taste. Million Dollar Quartet was great and well worth seeing Teppanyaki-- loved it! I know some people say that they can do this at home but, you can also go to a steak house or a show. It was still fun and the filet mignon/shrimp was some of the best food on our cruise. They also brought out a cake for my birthday and it was yummy! (enough to share with table) We went to see After Midnight after this but, the long hours, food and UBP caught up with me and I fell asleep so, can't speak to that. Comedy/Headliners: Loved Gina and Rodney. We never got to see any of the late shows as they booked up (see warning above) Howl at the Moon was in the same venue alternate times/nights- -- very popular, never got in but found so many other awesome things to do. Seriously, you have to try real hard to be bored!! Bars/Drinks-- never a problem getting a drink at the bar or from wait staff. My husband and I could order for 2 with one card, no problem. I am usually not a drinker but, tried lots of new concoctions-- favorites were Mango meltdown and Rebellious Fish (seriously, I drank over 20 of these during the week..love em!!) We read a lot about "Bong" from the Getaway being in the Sugarcane Mojito Bar but, ended up going on a night that the huge group of travel agents had taken over Bayamo next door and it was overrun. Bong was overworked and overwhelmed... very nice, but I don't think we got to see the guy everyone loves. I wasn't a big fan of the drinks so we never went back there. Liked the specialty drinks in Teppanyaki-- forget the names but they were on the menus. You can bring drinks from one venue to another including the spa. If you are going on the pool deck, just ask for a plastic cup. Spa/Thermal Suite/gym: we didn't try any extra treatments in the spa. Access easy-- just present card, they take it and give you a card to access. Towels and robes provided-- also, tea and ice water with fruit. Great view from bow and awesome place to lie with a beverage on a heated lounger watching the sunset! Always lots of loungers-- heated ones a little more difficult but, always found one and usually, two together. I did notice that they allowed people awaiting treatments to use the loungers and, when they came to get them, they would tell them to leave their towels and they would be cleaned up and, they never were. The loungers appeared in use or "hogged" when, in fact, the spa staff did not, clean up. If I saw this and saw people unable to find heated loungers, I would let them know. We like the vitality pool and it had a beautiful ceiling above. The Jacuzzi was too cool the whole time so didn't use it much. My husband liked the moist heat room, the snow room (30 sec only!) and the exercise machines. There is a push by the staff to access services for additional cost and they got him to buy "Good Feet" inserts for $200! Honestly, we probably did not get our value from the pass but I am glad we experienced it. Not sure if I would do it again on a Caribbean itinerary but, on a cooler itinerary, absolutely! Groups: the good, the bad and the ugly! Ok... so I mentioned how they reserved 2 of the best spots for sailaway...definitely NOT cool!! They do block out rooms for them. During the day, they are generally venues that would not be open anyway so, no biggie. At night, though, they did block out entire restaurants. The first night, it was Savor but, we were able to get into Taste without problem so, not a huge issue. As I mentioned, they blocked Bayamo one night-- did not effect us directly except when they were all pushing to get to the bar before their meal. Once they left (en mass) all was good. Generally, en mass, was the biggest problem...you didn't want to be anywhere that they were heading in or out of. The good: they were not on deck taking up chairs. We NEVER had a problem getting a chair anytime even prime spots near the pool. While I am on the subject of the pool...I think our cruise was different in that it was the week before Thanksgiving so, the number of kids was very small and, I found the ones there very well behaved. But, I did notice a father take a well behaved 11ish girl into the hot tubs (which, btw, were marked "Adults only" and and, quickly, a fellow in a yellow shirt (there were a bunch wandering the deck...not sure of their exact job) politely and discreetly ask her to get out. We'll see if that continues on later cruises with more kids. The kids play area was really nice and, though the slides were open only intermittently, all using them appeared to enjoy them. Also, the ropes course was down a lot but, when open, the wait was very short and they seemed to have a good time. We got a good view while playing mini golf, which was fun (and a bit of a challenge when the ship rocked!!) Surprise find! They often had games in the atrium near the Guest services desk. Whenever I passed through, I always found myself drawn in to the fun-- ending up sitting at the bar, having a drink, making some friends and having a great time. On one occasion, I found Guy Harvey giving a lecture which was awesome (he was on our cruise with his family and was very nice, accessible and interesting. He also painted while people watched but, I did not see this) Final thoughts: It will be really hard not to have a great time on this beautiful, fun and huge ship! Bring some comfy walking shoes and a sense of adventure. Despite over 4000 people, it rarely felt crowded. We could always get an elevator-- sometimes they were crowded but, generally, people just used it as a time to meet! Oh, sorry to go off topic but, just remembered--regarding elevators and boarding at ports-- there tends to be a huge line right as you board as there are only 2 elevators which go down to that deck. If you can, just walk up one flight and there is a whole bank of elevators and no line. Also, this leaves those 2 elevators for those in wheelchairs and with strollers--that's my public service announcement for this critique. I hope this lonnnngggg post helps/interests people. To those with upcoming cruises...have fun....I am soo jealous as I want to be back there right now!! addendum: I am now reading that NCL has made Margaritaville an a la carte restaurant. This is very disappointing. Though my cruise was great, the time from booking to the cruise was full of such "changes" such as increasing the service charge twice, adding upcharges even in the "free" dining venues...etc, etc. (just read CC boards) On top of that, NCL's site and customer services is difficult to access, often wrong and inefficient. NCL has misrepresented the product that I booked consistently throughout the time from booking to cruising. Though Margaritaville was complimentary when I cruised, those after me have a right to be upset. I think anyone looking to book with NCL should be aware of this practice by the cruise line and that the service they purchase will likely look very different from the one they receive. Unless you follow CC boards, you will not know until you get there as NCL will likely not tell you.... SURPRISE!!! your cruise is gonna cost a lot more than you thought Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This is my third NCL Cruise and I did buy 2 more "Next Cruises" so I will be cruising again with NCL. Embarkation and Disembarkation both were easy, fast and without any problems. I have no suggestions where they could ... Read More
This is my third NCL Cruise and I did buy 2 more "Next Cruises" so I will be cruising again with NCL. Embarkation and Disembarkation both were easy, fast and without any problems. I have no suggestions where they could improve we were delighted with how fast it went. Service was a little slow but it is to be expected on an inaugural run. I expect after a couple runs they'll be more seasoned servers. We ate at Savors and the wait was 1 1/2 to get our food which was horrible, but our friends told us by the end of the cruise it was a lot better. After that we chose to eat in the buffet and honestly, I'm on a cruise and didn't want to spend all my time in restaurants, I want to grab my food, eat and get on with the fun. The food in the buffet was, fresh, hot, and had very good flavor, we found out half the time, what ever they're serving in Savor, Taste and Manhattan (Complimentary) you can get up in the Buffet. We had a HUGE travel agent convention on the ship, so a lot of venues/restaurants were booked and we heard lots of complaints from other passengers regarding that. It didn't affect us as we didn't use those areas, but I felt bad for them, as we all paid to cruise and when you can't use areas because they are closed for private functions every day, it puts a damper on the fun. We went to the 80's Party at Spice H2O... Very nice area but not enough seating and the bar is way to small for that type of venue. The grotto is nice but I think it's a waste of space, they should have put another bar on that side. Due to the lack of seating, if you got up to dance you lost your seat, and the dance floor was full of people standing around because they had no place to sit. For this reason we skipped out on "Glow" which is suppose to be an beefed up "White Hot Night", we didn't want to have to sit in our seats or lose them and/or fight our way to the bar or on to the dance floor. I went to dueling pianos and it started out a lot of fun, but after an hour the begging for tips stopped being funny and became annoying we ended up leaving. Margaritaville from what I could tell seemed like a huge waste of space. It seemed to always be closed, when the party should be starting, there was no music, it definitely wasn't the party atmosphere I was thinking it was going to be. I heard there was an hour to an hour and a half wait to be seated but it was never busy??? They should turn it more into a dance place or club. Not enough of those on the ship. Lots of bars though. Speaking of bars, there are a lot of them, a little something for everyone, we tried them all. Our favorite bar was the pool bar "up top" It's the only place on the ship to smoke besides the casino, if you gamble a lot I guess that's ok but the circulation was poor so it always smelled pretty smokey in there, and Tobacco Road Bar was disgusting, the smoking/cigar room fan broke the 2nd day and it never was fixed, you didn't need to smoke just walk in there and inhale. I should have taken pictures, other's did but it was a fog and you couldn't see across the room to the other side. I loved St. Thomas, Tortola was horrible, shopping is 7 blocks away and it was all these little huts with the same stuff in it, the people were friendly but if we were to cruise there again, I'll probably just stay on the ship, and Bahamas was really expensive as far as shopping goes, it rained out horribly so we didn't get to explore much. Over-all we love cruising, and few bad reviews never stop us. I've always believed, you make your cruise what you make it and we still had a good time. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
A little background information. We are a family of three. I'm 41, my wife is 40, and my son is 6. We live in New Jersey. It was a family cruise on the Norwegian Escape, seven day eastern Caribbean itinerary. We got down to ... Read More
A little background information. We are a family of three. I'm 41, my wife is 40, and my son is 6. We live in New Jersey. It was a family cruise on the Norwegian Escape, seven day eastern Caribbean itinerary. We got down to Miami a day before the cruise. We stood in the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. The marquee is a wonderful hotel. It's a little pricey but you get what you pay for. Positives 1. Food Republic, Le Bistro, Cagney's, Bayamo, and Pincho Tapas Bar. The food was sinfully good in those restaurants. Food Republic was my favorite. 2. Splash Academy, my son enjoyed that place. The staff was really friendly and professional. 3. Recreational activities, between the water slides, mini golf, children's waterpark, rope course, and etc.. There was always something to do for the family. We were never bored. 4. The Garden Café (the buffet) had a good selection of food. 5. St. Thomas and Tortola were fun places to visit. We did beach excursions. 6. The comedians in headliners were extremely funny. I enjoyed their standup. 7. The bars are abundant on this ship. I never have to wait long to get a drink. Negatives 1. Dinner reservations (Specialty Dining), if you don't book your reservations prior to the cruise, you will have problems booking it on board. By the second day of the cruise everything was booked. 2. O'Sheehan, the service was extremely slow. I went there twice and both times the server was nonexistent. The food is mediocre. There is no Kid's menu in this restaurant. 3. Margaritaville, the food is subpar and the wait to get in can be one to two hours. 4. No dance club, there isn't a designated area for dancing. They need a Bliss on this ship. Like one on the Norwegian Epic. 5. Internet, the speeds on the ship is mind numbingly slow. I can understand if this was 2005. Royal Caribbean and carnival has high speed Internet. Why can't Norwegian have it? Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
having booked my cruise well over a year in advance for my daughter's 40th b-day, to say that the anticipation of the escape came to a complete stop soon after boarding, is being kind. The CONNECT group took over the entire ship, ie: ... Read More
having booked my cruise well over a year in advance for my daughter's 40th b-day, to say that the anticipation of the escape came to a complete stop soon after boarding, is being kind. The CONNECT group took over the entire ship, ie: travel agents; from all the specialty dining rooms, the spas, the pool, the theater, the H20, i could go on but you get the picture. having to eat in the garden cafe for dinner was disgusting. the group had their private events every day, all day and again into the evening. walking by a restaurant and not seeing a soul at the tables but were told everything was booked was worse than a slap in the face. i paid a lot of money for this cruise but was treated like a low class citizen. the food was not the best, the staff were in their own world feeling overwhelmed by the numbers of people. very limited vegan choices. the entertainment was cancelled for the week. the super slide was out of order. the line to the jimmy buffet somewhere was a joke, standing for several hours only to find out over an hour waiting time. forget that. the cabin was quite small for 3 people, however, the bathroom with its shower was a delight. the fitness room was wonderful, altho, i never once saw a staff member. service was poor, even at Taste, the food was worse. the atrium was used for so many functions and was so loud if you needed to be at guest services to complain, it was impossible to hear. very little room if something was going on at the atrium. i am a platinum guest and have been on many NCL ships in the past. Unfortunately, i have a family cruise planned in april 2016 so i will join NCL once again, however, i will have second thoughts if i plan another cruise on NCL. i have never been so disappointed in the service. the ship was beautiful and i loved the waterfront. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was my 23rd cruise. I've yet to have a bad time/experience on any of them. I've cruise with Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and NCL. I had a great time on the Caribbean inaugural of the Escape. There ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise. I've yet to have a bad time/experience on any of them. I've cruise with Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and NCL. I had a great time on the Caribbean inaugural of the Escape. There were a few kinks that need to be worked out but I'm sure NCL will be taking care of them. NCL's service continues to be one of the best at Sea. I love the fact that some of the staff recognized me from other ships. The food in all areas was great, especially Food Republic. There were waits at Margaritaville but never as long as they would say. The longest I ever waited was 40 min. and was told that it would be a 2 hour wait. I was given a pager and able to do other activities among the ship as I waited for a table to become available. Taste and Savor serve the same menu and is set up exactly the same. Some of the private functions happened at Savor so we hopped right on over to Taste. No big deal. All of the bars were good. The District Brewhouse had the friendliest bar staff at Sea. Spice H2O was perfect for all of NCL's parties. Million Dollar Quartet is not to be missed. I wasn't sure what to expect but it blew my socks off. The ropes course is not to be missed. Scared the crap out of me but so glad I did it. I was also fortunate enough to be able to ride all the slides including the free fall, even though it was only open a brief period. I know this upset a few people but it's best to be safe than sorry. Overall, this cruise was amazing. I'm cruising the Escape again in February. I assumed there would be kinks with this inaugural cruise and there were. However, I can't wait to see the positive changes NCL has made for a smoother cruise. Great job NCL Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I was the inaugural 7-day cruise on the Escape (11/14-11/21). My wife and I were anxious to experience "freestyle" cruising for the first time. We also wanted to learn what it was like on one of the new huge ships (would it feel ... Read More
I was the inaugural 7-day cruise on the Escape (11/14-11/21). My wife and I were anxious to experience "freestyle" cruising for the first time. We also wanted to learn what it was like on one of the new huge ships (would it feel crowded, etc.). And, of course, we thought it would be fun to be on such a new ship (we had cruised ~9 previous times, but, mostly, on ships with 2,000-2,500 passengers). We typically cruise as "casino guests" and we knew that the Escape had Norwegian's largest "Casino At Sea," so that was also appealing. To our delight, we never felt crowded on the ship. The deck and the facilities were ample for the ship's population (more on that later). We really liked the "newness" of the ship and the technology (you could make dinner and show reservations by the plentiful touchscreens around. Our balcony cabin was "OK." We don't spend much time in the cabins so we didn't really mind that it was significantly smaller than the similar cabin on other ships (e.g. Celebrity Silhouette). The bed and cabin temperature were very comfortable. The freestyle meals were excellent. We tried the main dining rooms and several specialty restaurants. Cagney's, LaCucina and LeBistro were our favorite specialty restaurants, though I suspect that Norwegian's new "a la carte" pricing for some of them will put off many guests (I'm not sure they were worth the extra price). On other cruise lines we've sailed, the specialty restaurants were a single, nominal upcharge). The cafe buffet (open most of the day and night) offered a good selection and was clean and well-maintained. The new Margaritaville and O'Sheehan's venues need some work, mostly on service. We realized this was their first cruise, so maybe they'll get that improved. NCL lets you bring wine on board for a $15/bottle cork fee (you show the bottles and pay the fee as you board the ship). For us, that worked great. We had our favorite wines (some had "screw tops"... you still have to pay the cork fee!) and didn't have to pay overcharged prices for wines we wouldn't enjoy as much. The staff was good in most areas. Most were very friendly. We enjoyed the ports (we planned our excursions on our own) and the onboard shows were very good ("Million Dollar Quartet" was excellent; "After Midnight" had a lot of talent and was well produced, but the "all music and dance" format wasn't really our taste. We also enjoyed the comedy club performances. Sounds good, huh? I guess it's right for some people, BUT we'll never return to Norwegian (unless, of course, they change their smoking policy). We are non smokers and think secondhand smoke is both unhealthy and uncomfortable. Norwegian cares more about its smokers than its other guests! They've eliminated smoking in the cabins and on the balconies, in all restaurants (well, sort of... more on that later), theaters and on most of the outside decks. BUT, because the casino is in the heart of the core of the ship and smoking is ENCOURAGED there, the smell permeates the entire 678 core. As I said, I was a "casino guest," so I fully expected to spend a good deal of time in the casino. In short, the smoke in the casino was DISGUSTING and SICKENING (and the smoke permeated throughout the 678 core of this gorgeous, brand new ship - The poor people eating outside of Le Bistro and those waiting on line for Headliners on another deck or O'Sheehan's, must have been gagging)! This ship promised extra ventilation and a designated section for smoking in the casino? "No" and "No"! Here's the "best" part! Because smoking on this 4,200-passenger ship is banned everywhere (except for a small section of the port side of Deck 17 and a small, enclosed lounge at the Tobacco Bar), at night, the casino became everyone's "smoking lounge"! I was constantly surrounded by groups of people who weren't even playing (and had no intention of playing), huddling in circles and sharing their ash trays while blowing their smoke in every direction. From 8pm - 11pm, I'd estimate that more than 60% of the smokers were NOT even playing! I've played at dozens casinos that allow smoking, but none were as awful as this one. We had to leave several times just to get air (twice, my wife had to leave because her throat was getting sore). And, of course, any clothes we wore reeked of smoke! Why would a cruise line that spent more than $1 Billion to build a magnificent ship want to stink it up, especially in the heart of its bragged-about 678 core? It doesn't make any sense. I heard dozens of non-casino passengers comment about the smoke as the walked past Le Bistro and O'Sheehan's bars (both on different decks than the casino). Oh well, as I said, I was a guest of the casino on this cruise, but they've lost my business forever. If they don't care about the health, comfort and well-being of their casino players, I'll go where I'm welcome (Celebrity's Casinos are non smoking). Here's the bottom line, if there were no smoking in the casino, I probably would have rated this cruise ship between 4.5 and 5.0 (out of 5). Because of the smell in the casino and 6-7-8 Core, I had to struggle to give it the "Average" rating I did. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I went on the inaugural seven day sailing of the Norwegian Escape for our honeymoon both of us are in our mid twenties. We have been big fans of NCL and have gone on 4 cruises with them in the last two years making us silver ... Read More
My husband and I went on the inaugural seven day sailing of the Norwegian Escape for our honeymoon both of us are in our mid twenties. We have been big fans of NCL and have gone on 4 cruises with them in the last two years making us silver latitudes members. I will start with the good things. The ship was beautiful, specialty restaurants had wonderful food as well as the buffet, the beer selection was great in the District and the right light district the best drink on the ship we had the unlimited beverage package which is a must as most drinks are at least $10. The entertainment was stellar, and the staff at guest services and the bars were great. The salon services at the spa were great and accommodate two requests for me and I scheduled each the day of. If you need a hair cut I highly recommend Lisa. The cruise director Julie was great and made playing the Newlywed not So Newlywed game great. Our favorite dueling piano player Vince Strong was on the ship and remembered us from last cruise in September of 2014 when we got engaged I highly recommend howl at the moon to anyone going on the ship as long as you are over 18 as children in the audience ruined it for everyone on the last night. The shore excursions on St. John and Virgin Gorda were breathtaking. We did the champagne catamaran sail and snorkel and the baths excursion. Now the not so good parts. The aft balcony room on the 13th floor was very comfortable with plenty of space for the two of us however the balcony was small not even room for one lounge chair and the balcony door extremely noisy and made it very hard to sleep also if you do not put clothing on the hangers they are also very loud when the ship rocks side to side. The at sea days were very rocky we were told that this was because the speed of the ship and was traveling to slow which was causing a rough ride. However others mentioned the same discomfort we felt and thought it was abnormal when discussing the handling compared to the Getaway. With the change in leadership of the company we have seen several new policies that led to a poor experience. we loved Spice H20 however the first time we went in there just after settling in and using the grotto we were kicked out for a private event. The freestyle daily should list when its closed. The new dining policy with a la cart pricing lead to longer dining times in the specialty restaurants and made it difficult to get reservations even with the unlimited dining package. It was on our third day on the cruise that I was contacted by restaurant reservations and asked to change my dining time for tepanyaki which I had made at least 60 days in advance of our sailing. I was told it was because our dining time conflicted with a scheduled entertainment event. However I went to restaurant reservations and asked why this was changed as we did not have any entertainment booked I was told it was not because of our schedule but were bumped to an earlier time slot so they could accommodate a group of 15 people completely unacceptable as no one was bumped when I wanted a reservation. On the secondary after dining at Cagney's the first night we requested another reservation they were completely booked. We asked to be put on the waiting list for any available time but were never contacted. We called everyday to check for a reservation finally on the last night we were given a time at Cagney's within ten minutes of our call only because someone missed their time. It's a shame they changed the O'Sheehan's menu as the new choices were not very good we couldn't even get a hot hamburger and avoid the shepherds pie. If you like craft hard cider bring your own the selection is Strong Bow or Angry Orchard only. The spa pass was to expense for both people over $400 for the both of us or $59 per person on an at sea day. The announcements over the intercom were completely inaudible in your cabin even if you were silent. The professional photo shoot we did at Perspectives was great but the photos cost way to much in my opinion. The entertainment for children was a big let down with no themed characters from Nick as originally advertised. We were expecting a mini golf course filled with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character. Disembarkation was a slight mess in the terminal when trying to get to your luggage if it was picked up the night before I highly recommend the easy walk off carrying your luggage. I don't think will be back on NCL anytime soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
This was DH and I’s second cruise, both have been NCL. Overall we loved it. *Embarkation- was a breeze. We arrived at 9:30 am to try to secure a Vibe pass. We were through security and to the waiting room within 10-15 minutes. We ... Read More
This was DH and I’s second cruise, both have been NCL. Overall we loved it. *Embarkation- was a breeze. We arrived at 9:30 am to try to secure a Vibe pass. We were through security and to the waiting room within 10-15 minutes. We boarded somewhere around 11:00 am in group #3. *Vibe- were able to secure #41 and 42 for Vibe passes. Other than the bad weather we had, that pretty much closed the Vibe a couple days, we really enjoyed the Vibe and it made our cruise. The Vibe is a small area in the front of the ship that has ample padded loungers, a separate bar and separate Jacuzzi. The bartenders at the Vibe were great, they knew us by name and since we had the UBP, they had drinks in our hands before we finished the others and brought them to us in the Jacuzzi. *Food- We are not foodies and don’t care for long drawn out meals, so we ate mostly at the MDR’s and the buffet. We found the food to be better in quality this year over last year’s trip. The buffet is clean, huge has tons of options and plenty of seating. During our trip Margaritaville was a free venue and we liked it as a change to the MDR’s and buffet. Now that there is a charge I don’t think I would pay ala carte for any of the food. We didn’t do any of the specialty restaurants. *Entertainment- I had million dollar quartet booked but it was cancelled due to sickness in the cast. We did not see any of the other shows. We did enjoy the games in the Atrium, always plenty of seating and movies. *Waterslides- The racer slides were out of order but the tube slides were fun and no waiting in lines during sea or port days. *Casino- was large, lots of new games and had a great bar in it, but very smoky. You could smell the smoke all the way down to the 6th floor. *Waterfront- loved napping on the waterfront on sea days, tons of comfy couches lining the waterfront, great for walks and picture taking. *Bars- our favorite was the District and the Casino bar. The District had comfy leather couches, and a great singer or on football days, games playing. We really enjoyed spending time there. The Casino bar was in the casino area with poker at the bar. We liked bellying up to the bar to play some poker. *Balcony Cabin- was new and plenty of room, balcony was big enough for 2 chairs. *Service- was hit or miss. Our cabin steward was not great and never had a smile. When I asked him for a cord for my CPAP he said he would get it tomorrow. Other staff we ran into seemed to run the gambit of happy to miserable. Pros- Good buffet and overall good food, Vibe, UBP, beautiful modern décor, the waterfront, the District, waterslides, ropes course Cons- Would like to see more movies under the stars, we only saw one at Spice, most were inside. The racer slides were out of order, Vibe closed due to wind a couple days, too much smoke in the casino and hit and miss service. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our first cruise therefore I have nothing to reference. There were 9 adults in our group 3 experienced cruisers and 6 cruise virgins. The ship itself was beautiful but unfinished, there were lots of areas you could see that were ... Read More
This was our first cruise therefore I have nothing to reference. There were 9 adults in our group 3 experienced cruisers and 6 cruise virgins. The ship itself was beautiful but unfinished, there were lots of areas you could see that were awaiting tv's and sound systems. There are two water slides onboard and only one was open the other was either still being built or was already in need of repair. I did have an incident on the slide that was open, the crew member who was working the slide that day gave a few of us a 'how to' on the ride. He told us to hold the tube behind us and to walk out as far as we could then sit down on the tube and push off. I was first, he kept yelling at me to keep walking farther farther farther then wham down on my rear end (not on the tube) and down the slide I went. That hurt. I tried to go to the medical office on board but it closed except for an hour here and there. But you could call them if it was an emergency which I didn't feel it was because I was still breathing and walking although I was bleeding. We expected some hiccups along the way, we're all reasonable people, which was ok. For the most part the crew really tried to do their best and take care of us but there were a few that seemed like they didn't care if we were on the boat or not. The food was all really good, there was plenty of variety and we never left any dining room hungry. The freestyle cruising that Norwegian offers worked well for us. We made two specialty dining room reservations once we were onboard and wound up eating after 9 pm on both occasions so book early. We didn't make reservations for any of the main dining rooms and didn't wait longer than 10 minutes for a table of 9. We were disappointed that Norwegian had started adding on a surcharge for certain menu items, anything you eat in the 'included' restaurants should be included. Getting drinks seemed more problematic, every drink ordered needed a signed receipt. Which I understand is necessary to help keep the non drink package people from getting free drinks and to keep track of costs and inventories. However when you show your card to a server or bartender and it is swiped then they shouldn't have to have you sign for every single drink. They can all be rang up on the register and one receipt printed per room for whatever you drank. It would've been really helpful if the servers had a handheld computer system that they could place your order on and swipe your card then bring back your drink and receipt. The bartenders and servers seemed really overwhelmed trying to keep up with the demand. BTW I would strongly recommend the ultimate beverage package, at $10/drink a person can run up a serious bar bill. Any parrothead looking to cruise on the Norwegian Escape be aware that Margaritaville at sea was a complete disappointment. Not a single Jimmy Buffett song, video, picture or any Buffettesque paraphernalia at all. It was a joke. We did see however a quick video clip at the 5'oclock somewhere bar, which we had to sit out side at and could only see the clip through the glass. We sat outside which was fine but the inside was closed most of the time for private functions. The ships crew did do a fine job with certain aspects of entertainment. We attended quite a few comedy shows, game shows and parties. There was an 80's party one night in the spice h2o adults only bar. We had a fantastic time listening to the 'oldies' but again we couldn't get a drink. -Overall the ship was very nice, our balcony room had a king bed, couch, desk area and bathroom complete with sink and shower. -Food was very good, plentiful and a nice variety. Although I was surprised that there wasn't more seafood you are sailing in an ocean after all. -bars were slow but poured a nice drink. - Margaritaville.... Huge disappointment when it was open and you were willing to wait up to 2 hours. -getting on and off the ship seemed ok. We didn't get to the cruise port until about 2 and there wasn't really anyone else waiting. Getting off we were in the last group and only waited a few minutes to actually get off the ship. -we didn't use any of the children's clubs or babysitting services. I did ask a few parents and kids how they liked those services and both seemed very happy. -shore excursions were terrible. We were put into the wrong excursion. Megan's bay in St. Thomas was very beautiful but the 'tour' of the island was pathetic and then getting dropped off at black beards castle and finding your own way back to port was not what I signed up for. There were two Megan's bay excursions, the one we wanted was a tour of the island then a few hours at Megan's bay then back to the ship. The Baths in Tortola was treacherous. The company provided a boat ride out to the island then a shuttle bus to the baths. I remember reading that there was a short hike with some uneven terrain and there was a skill level rating. When we arrived there was a 15 minute hike down a hill with uneven terrain where you ended up on a beach that was approximately 50 feet long an 15 feet deep. There was a long line of people heading towards another beach so we followed the crowd. There were people aging from probably 25-70 in this crowd. The hike was around a mile long and we were climbing over and under rocks, slipping, sliding the whole way. At some points we were wading through chest deep water while the crashing waves through us against the rocks. The whole time I carried our beach bag complete with towels and a fairly expensive camera over my head to keep it as dry as possible. This was definitely NOT in the description on Norwegian web site. We have discussed taking another cruise. So far we are undecided, I'm thinking if we do we will try another cruise line. Not that we were completely turned off by Norwegian or the Escape but there were things we liked and things we didn't. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I really wanted to like this cruise seeing as our family of 19 spent a considerable fortune on it. Alas, this was our first and last cruise with Norwegian. Rather than just throwing a couple stars at it, I shall endeavor to explain how ... Read More
I really wanted to like this cruise seeing as our family of 19 spent a considerable fortune on it. Alas, this was our first and last cruise with Norwegian. Rather than just throwing a couple stars at it, I shall endeavor to explain how a cruise line can fail on the most basic levels, even when you pay for a “premium” experience and allegedly “unlimited” drinking and dining packages. First, overall: I’ve been on four cruises in my life. This one ranks fourth when it comes to tone, atmosphere and execution. So much of this operation smacked of Amateur Hour that it made me remember, and cherish, the memories I have of the other three cruise lines. We were consistently surprised at how Norwegian managed to stumble - at everything - from small details like serving a beverage, to large-scale operational problems such as being chronically short-staffed. Add to that dysfunction the inescapable (pun intended) feeling that one is being nickeled-and-dimed at every single opportunity and it’s a recipe for resentment that begins before you leave the port. Mere moments after boarding one of our group ordered a coffee from the lounge in the “Haven” as we waited for our rooms. Haven is the premium section of the ship that you shell out extra bucks to access. After being served he was told the “unlimited beverage package” didn’t apply to coffee there. There was a surcharge. Welcome aboard! We were then informed that the cases of wine we’d brought aboard were being held hostage pending the payment of a $15/bottle corkage fee (and $30 for magnums). We had known about the corkage so the fees had been paid in advance of the trip, but Norwegian didn’t know this. The result was that rather than standing on the deck during the departure we were instead standing at guest services trying to determine where our wine was and why. Not 60 minutes into the trip we came to learn that all the information we’d been told before the trip was wrong. We’d been told we’d be able to make reservations on board. Everything was already booked. We’d been told we could arrange for the “Chef’s Table” while on board. Turns out the Chef’s Table didn't even exist yet. Fortunately the concierge worked hard to sort things out but it also required us to spend a great deal of time milling about his desk or on the phone in the hopes of landing somewhere to go for dinner. So relaxing. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that petty items like those – which occurred moments apart and minutes after boarding -- set the tone for the trip, and ultimately would contribute to the fact that we will not Cruise Like A Norwegian in the future. ESCAPE The ship is gorgeous, massive and brand new. No complaints there. The “Haven” premium section is well named. It’s the best thing going for this ship. We spent almost all of our time there because the main ship is an absolute cacophonous zoo. The Haven pool was quiet. The Haven deck was quiet. The Haven stateroom we had was stellar. Best stateroom I’ve stayed in, to be honest. Puts most New York City apartments to shame. The food at Haven’s restaurant is among the best on the ship and the Haven lounge is very comfortable. However, the service was inexplicably slow on almost every occasion -- whether you were in the restaurant, in the lounge, or on the sun deck praying that someone would come by. More on the service issue later. MAIN SHIP The midship floors 6-8 are an open floor plan with a casino, shopping mall and several dining and drinking venues. Curiously, the ship designer located the casino smack dab in the middle so kids run right though it and cigarette smoke fills all three floors in that area. It smells and looks like Atlantic City. The ship’s pool is absurdly small considering the sheer number of passengers on board. The hot tubs were not hot at all - merely lukewarm stews of sloth and gluttony. The main pool deck area was louder than loud. Music blasting all day. No refuge. There’s an 18+ deck in the back with two more uninviting warm-tubs, but no pool. Less loud. The water park, water slides and rope course entertained various family members. The kids love the arcades but naturally the games cost $1 - $5 to play. If you don’t monitor your child’s swipe card (or better yet, turn it off) you could wind up with a “courtesy call” telling you your kids racked up $700. This happened to someone we knew on the boat. RESTAURANTS Garden Café is the feed the masses restaurant. Good for undeveloped palates and quick, low-expectation dining. Moderno Churrascaria. I believe Moderno means “Incredibly Salty” in Spanish. It was sodium-heavy but delicious and one of the gauchos had a wonderful personality - so he stuck out. Probably the fastest meal on the ship next to Garden Café. As we sat down at Bayamo we were informed that despite being on the “unlimited” dining package, Bayamo was actually limited and there was a surcharge. We were not told of this by the concierge when she made the reservation. The food was good, though two family members fell ill after eating the swordfish. Olé! Food Republic was also not on the “unlimited” dining package. It was quite delightful Asian fusion. It’s the only meal on the boat where I didn’t feel like I was damaging my body. You order from iPads at the table. If you're tech savvy you can hack the iPads to see that the crew has very fast internet on the ship (as opposed to the slow/expensive internet the passengers get). Manhattan Room has a great atmosphere. I did not eat there because I decided take a day off of eating. La Cucina. The most memorable thing here is that it took three hours for dinner. Three hours. This was mainly because of service, but partial blame goes to a member of the family who pretends she’s allergic to gluten. Everyone else had to wait while her dish was specially prepared. But in general, terrible service and a forgettable meal. Cagney’s Steak House. A surprisingly good porterhouse delivered by a waiter who needed a second waiter. Another long drag of a dinner. Seriously Norwegian, hire more people. O’Sheehan’s. Low-grade pub food in an “Irish” restaurant (because there are some pictures of Ireland on the wall). They claim to be open 24 hours but what they don’t tell you is that “open” means that in the wee hours they put pathetic trays of leftovers out for everyone to finger through. They hope you’re too drunk to notice. Teppanyaki. An interminably long meal of rice with stuff in it. The only reason to go here is if you have kids and they like the "loud clang of spatulas" show. SERVICE This is where NCL fails terribly. Poor service is endemic from stem to stern. There are several factors at work here. They clearly have lower fluency requirements than the other cruise lines I’ve been on. A lot of the front-of-house staff have trouble speaking and/or understanding English. This leads to misunderstandings when it comes to restaurant or room service orders and answering questions. I believe the fluency problems have a lot to do with the fact that many times the crew don’t come off as “friendly.” They look at you and look away. They don’t respond to hellos and good mornings. They bump into you and say nothing. I got barked at in the casino for placing a bet improperly - didn't understand exactly what he was saying - just that he was yelling at me. But the root of service is the training. Especially when it comes to food and drink service. I was once a waiter so I have empathy but I also speak from experience: Many of the servers have not been adequately trained. They forget to come to the table. They ignore the table. They forget to check back after the food is served. They leave wine glasses empty or don’t know how to properly pour wine in the first place. They can’t answer basic questions about menu items. They screw up orders because of the fluency issue. They don’t clear the table. Someone finally takes my drink order, then returns to the deck 20 minutes later and hands it to someone else. The waitress – who should be moving about the lounge taking drink orders – is actually standing by the bar and chatting. It’s like every annoying dining experience you’ve ever had but all coming at you within the time-span of seven days, and for a lot more money. On numerous occasions I had to put down my book, don a shirt and trudge down two floors to the Haven bar to get a drink myself. Bad enough in any circumstance, but it stings harder when you’ve ponied up funds for the “premium” area on the ship. If Norwegian has managers, I’m curious if they’re on the same boat. FACILITIES Gym - Pretty good. No shortage of treadmills and a decent weight circuit. Didn't take advantage of the TRX classes and the like because I didn't feel like paying even more money. Stores - didn't spend much time in them. I don't understand the shopping-at-sea thing. Haven - If it weren't for Haven I would have begged the captain to steer us into an iceberg or coral reef. DESTINATIONS I wouldn’t have chosen a Caribbean itinerary if I’d had any say in the matter, but it was large family affair and I didn’t have any input. The ports are similar and unremarkable: duty free shops, touristy restaurants, souvenirs. We walked around for the sake of getting some exercise. We didn’t take advantage of the excursions because they were either not particularly interesting or overpriced for what they were. IN SUMMARY -Escape is a gorgeous ship, but thank Poseidon that we stayed in the Haven section because the other 7/8 of the ship is a circus. -Service is very mediocre all over. -Food is mostly bad save for Haven and the “premium” restaurants. -The nickel-and-diming is a total turn-off. -The four cruises I’ve been on – best to worst: Crystal, Radisson (now Regent), Disney, Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
My family and I boarded the NCL Escape with much excitement for a new large beautiful ship on its second cruise. We wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving week together on this new ship for rest, relaxation and fun. WHAT A HORRIBLE CRUISE ... Read More
My family and I boarded the NCL Escape with much excitement for a new large beautiful ship on its second cruise. We wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving week together on this new ship for rest, relaxation and fun. WHAT A HORRIBLE CRUISE OVERALL. Embarkation was ok although we are Platinum and High status Casino guests it was just ok, I feel sorry for those with no status of any kind. On board the ship the dual High Level Platinum status meant NOTHING! We had a Universal Dining plan and could only sit down for two Specialty restaurants out of their 14 restaurants due to the worst Reservation system ever!! We were treated terribly and even the Casino could do nothing to get us in to the restaurants and the overall Restaurant reservation staff were uncaring and not at all going out of their way to get us what we already paid for. By the way, We are Gold Casino level only one level above me is the highest and that meant nothing to the Casino Manager or anyone else! On thanksgiving Day it was even worse, 3 hour wait to get in to any restaurant on board and then when we finally sat our party of 6 was split up or another hour would have been in store. Food was only mediocre and the wait in Margaritaville was 90 minutes usually for food that was not at all worth the wait. Jimmy Buffet should not want his name on that disaster of poor service and mediocre food. I have been on 18 Norwegian cruises and this by far was the worst! Go on a different cruise line and a different ship. Do not waste your money on this HORRIBLE CRUISE!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Good Vacation, but left us wanting to go back to other lines. Embarkation: Good, Fast and Easy - Very Good (also got there around 2 PM so most people were already on board) Ultimate Dining Package: We selected this and the food was ... Read More
Good Vacation, but left us wanting to go back to other lines. Embarkation: Good, Fast and Easy - Very Good (also got there around 2 PM so most people were already on board) Ultimate Dining Package: We selected this and the food was very good. Cagney's: ate twice, both times food excellent and service excellent (now a la carte and our bill prior to being marked down to $0 for UDP was around $90 for two people) Le Bistro: Got the Lobster dinner and my wife and I both loved it Teppanyaki: My son loves eating at a hibachi and we ate there twice. Food was very good and the service was also very good Food Republic: A La Carte, we ate two sushi rolls and some buffalo shrimp and the food/atmosphere/service were all very good (cost us about $30 for two drinks, two rolls and the buffalo shrimp) Complimentary Meals: Margaritaville: STARTING TODAY 11/28/15 THE EMPLOYEES SAID THAT THIS RESTAURANT WILL BE A LA CARTE. ABOUT $8 FOR A BURGER, $3 FOR KEY LIME PIE, FISH SANDWICH ABOUT $10. We were able to eat there complimentary and the food was good. The wait was about 2 hours so we only ate there on Port days as the ship was empty, still waited about 30 min. Don't know that the food is worth paying for. Garden Cafe: normal good food for cruise ship buffet. Savor: ate there once for breakfast and we almost left and went upstairs, the service was horrible, food not any better than upstairs at the buffet. Children Activities: My son (4) did not want to go into the Splash Academy so I cannot give an opinion, but it did not seem great when we walked through. Nothing great for him to motivate him to go back for. Water Slides were great, but watch out!!!!! The kids aqua park was constantly being overrun by 12-15 year olds that were acting like complete morons and of course they were not being supervised by their parents. Several parents complained and I even took a video of two kids walking up the slide and stopping kids from coming down and then about 10 kids would come crashing down the slide, several times kids were crying from being hurt. We and other parents spoke to the crew and finally they brought somebody to watch but that lasted a day or so. If you have little ones, the water park is great, but stand at the bottom of the slide and make sure that a 13 year old lineman is not barreling down right behind your 4 year old. The other bigger waterslides were a lot of fun!!! No Nickelodeon Characters: This really ticked us off as we booked the cruise months ago when they were stating that the cruise was going to have characters and the putt putt golf was going to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I called and complained as that was one of the reasons we booked and they said sorry, but no reimbursement and later told me that NCL did not feel that customers were willing to pay more for characters so they took them off. Big disappointment not only to be told that $3,600 for a cruise is not enough for kids characters, but then hearing the disappointment from my son when we got on board. NCL gets a big complaint from me on that one! Ropes course (for little kids) was good and he enjoyed it. Putt Putt Golf good, but I would recommend that you bring your own golf balls as many times there no golf balls to be found. Cabin: see below Entertainment: After Midnight: we left within the first ten minutes as did many other guests. Heard a lot of complaints. Million Dollar Quartet: Excellent! We really enjoyed and was the kind of entertainment that we enjoyed (We liked all the entertainment on the Getaway and the Epic) Howl At The Moon: They were excellent! Comedy: your normal stuff, good. Ports: I remember the days of being able to get good deals in the Caribbean, now I feel like I am constantly being ripped off! $100 for a taxi ten miles to a beach, two chairs, two beers and water! I have never seen New York City Look so Tropical! Ship: New and Nice. NCL is going overboard with the A La Carte/additional cost items. To see a bill for $90 for Cagney's, $60 for Teppanyaki is absurd. Yes, it was marked down to $0 for the UDP, but how do steak houses on a ship (where you have already paid for dinner in your cruise fare) now cost an additional $90. Margharitaville now going A La Carte, Food Republic A La Carte. It felt like average food was free, food that was good or better tasting cost you extra. Not a foodie, but just saying. Disembarkation: Easy and Fast Spa: my wife and I both had a massage and it was very nice! They did a great job! Overall: Not the experience of the Getaway or the Epic. We have gone on NCL 3 times in the past three years, but now we are thinking RCL might be the better option for our family. We had a good vacation and enjoyed ourselves, but felt that with it being a brand new ship with the latest and greatest stuff it wasn't what we were expecting. Our comparison is to the Disney Dream, NCL Getaway (Haven), NCL Epic (Mini Suite), RCL Independence (Jr. Suite). Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Let me start with I did enjoy my cruise. Weather good. Food good Entertainment above good. The Escape is a beautiful ship....That said the Escape needs work in the service area.There are not enough employees to meet the needs of 5000 ... Read More
Let me start with I did enjoy my cruise. Weather good. Food good Entertainment above good. The Escape is a beautiful ship....That said the Escape needs work in the service area.There are not enough employees to meet the needs of 5000 cruiser's. You can not make many reservations past the 1st day on the ship ....you need to choose before you go or lose out. All venues for entertainment except theater are small for the number of cruisers who are on board. For those who ask about children (I raised 2 and am a teacher ) Except District Brew house and H2O before 7 the 18 and above rule does not apply, and is not or is rarely enforced so if you go to a 16+/18+ shows they at times toned downed.They also let children in all areas so the late nite dancing venues is loaded with tweens HIGHS of the cruise H2O for adults during the day but bar slow ..The shows Howl at the Moon get there early awesome show....Brat Pack worth the up charge....To shows after midnite and Million dollaquartet great. Visit SugarCane bar great service there Embarktation we did walk off went great. Boarding the ship fine . service those on board do there best but they are understaffed Oh another must have to do Food republic. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
We landed in Fort Lauderdale aiport on Friday and went back to the airport on Saturday using the free shuttle from the Sheraton. We met at the NCL counter at baggage claim in Terminal 1. Taking the shuttle was a breeze and when we ... Read More
We landed in Fort Lauderdale aiport on Friday and went back to the airport on Saturday using the free shuttle from the Sheraton. We met at the NCL counter at baggage claim in Terminal 1. Taking the shuttle was a breeze and when we arrived at the ship, which was a little before noon we boarded right away...and given we were latitudes member (only Bronze) we were able to use the priority boarding line. Actually boarding the ship was the easiest we have ever had. Rooms were not ready yet so we went to get something to eat. The announcement said we could go to Taste or Savor MDRs or the buffet or Margaritaville. We went to go to the MDR's but were told there was a private event going on so were told to go to the buffet. We opted for Margaritaville. We were told it was going to be an hour wait and we were given a pager. so I went into the buffet to see what they had. I was surprised that they had stip loin so I grabbed a slice and some au gratin potatoes. Then our pager went off. It only took about 20 minutes. So I brought my slice of strip loin and my potatoes to Margaritaville. Wow they both were delicious and I wish we had just gone there for lunch. So My husband had a burger and fries and I had a chicken sandwich and coleslaw. We both got one of the many different margaritas they had on the menu. My husband said his sandwich was very good and my chicken sandwich was ok...the coleslaw was great. We went to Margaritaville again for lunch on our last day. We were told an hour and a half wait and it was exactly that. While there another person that was waiting said an employee told them in two weeks they will be charging for this venue. I told them that I read that on the cruise critic site but when I called I was told they were not going to be charging. So that is left to be seen. To be honest I don't think the food was that great to charge people. I would not have gone had it not been free and the burgers in the buffet were actually better tasting to me then the one my husband got (I tried a bite). We got to our room and we were pleased. The shows. You should book your shows before you go. We did. Most of the shows said sold out but our friends who did not book ahead of time were able to get in to each show. They take the people with reservations then they let the others go in. The shows. We went to Million Dollar Quartet, which we had seen twice in Vegas, and it was excellent and a free show. We went to the Brat Pack show in the Supper club which we paid for. It was excellent. Our dinner was a small tray of 3 different appetizers which I did not care for. I am sorry I cannot tell you what they were as I lost my notes. The main dish was shrimp and short ribs both were very good. We did not eat the side dish which was rice or orzo or something like this. We had a chocolate smore dessert and they also gave us a slice of cake. The show, After Midnight was also excellent and was free. They had some fantastic tap dancers. Probably not a show kids would like but us older folks (we are in our late 50's) enjoyed it. We went to Levity comedy in the theater which is walk in and in Headliners adult show. Both were great! We did not get to see the Tenor Rock but our friends did and they said it was excellent. They were only there for one day. We had fun in the casino. We won some and lost some but came out pretty close to even. There were 1300 kids on the ship this cruise since it was the Thanksgiving cruise so we did not go to the pool or use the hot tubs at the pool. We did go to Spice H2O and it was great. They had to chase kids out every day until they finally put a larger sign up and that seemed to help. There was two hot tubs, lots of chairs, and the grotto which is great and really cooled you off. If you are looking for bathrooms in this area just go around the grotto and you will see them. There is also smoking allowed on the bar side of H2O but since it is outside and on the 17th floor the smoke did not come over to where the beach chairs were so it was perfectly fine. I cannot give you info on the children's clubs and children's entertainment but it seemed there was a lot for kids to do. We like to relax and lay out so we did not do any daytime entertainment except for the first day when we went to Bingo with our friends. That was the one and only time as it was way to expensive for just three games of bingo. We did go to play miniature golf and it was just ok. We had to wait for ball since there were hardly any available. I am assuming with so many kids onboard they might have gotten lost. Our friends went to wine tasting, trivia and other daytime activities and they really liked them. Dining: We went to all three MDR's, Taste, Savor, and the Manhattan Room. I liked the Manhattan room the best since there was music there and it was really good. The food was the same each night in all MDR's and we found the food to be very good. We went to O'Sheehans one night late because we took a nap and forgot about the time change so it was the only place open at 10:15. It was not that great. Wings good. Nachos small but good but my roast beef sandwich I was not impressed with. It was small and tasteless and had just a small scoop of mashed potatoes. I saw that they had an ice cream bar and I was excited until I saw you had to pay for a sundae. I did not bother as there was hard ice cream at the buffet for free and soft serve late night. We went up and got the soft serve for free. O'Sheehans also offered an all you can eat prime rib night two times during the cruise. The breakfast and lunch buffet. We went to breakfast and lunch most days at the buffet. They had quite a lot of food. But be sure for both breakfast and lunch to walk around the entire buffet or you will miss things. I at first could not find the pancakes and had to ask. They have pretty much everything. At the far end of the buffet there are daily sandwiches which are pretty good. But this is only in one area and you could miss it. There is also a carving station at lunch and the offerings we saw were strip loin, meatloaf, pork shoulder, pork loin and roast chicken. This was the lunch. But we did see that the buffet offered prime rib one night and a seafood buffet. We did not go but heard they were good. We did not do any specialty restaurants but our friends went to Food Republic and said it was very good and they went to Cuchina the Italian restaurant and they said it was excellent. Shore excursions: In St. Thomas we did the NCL excursion called Champagne snorkeling to St. John. I was disappointed as I thought we would see more of St. John and we only saw one little beach. You could not sit anywhere on the beach only in the sand. So my husband who does not snorkel did not have that great of a time. By the way it was described it said you would be at the beach...they did not say you would not have a place to sit. The snorkeling was just ok...not much to look at. I did see a sea turtle under me which was pretty cool. I would not do this excursion again. They did have champagne, punch cheese, bread and fruit on the boat and that was good except for the little boy who touched every piece of watermelon while his mother was standing right there. I told him to please stop and use the tongs. And then his mother finally corrected him. Just a little common sense and manners go a long way. In Tortola we took the NCL excursion Tortola by Land and See. This was a great excursion We boarded a boat at the end of the pier that we were docked at The boat took us by the different islands of the BVI and the guide was very informative. We really enjoyed this. Then we were dropped off in a shopping area and we could shop for about 30 minutes and then we were picked up at a little bar/restaurant to do the land part of the excursion. We were taken up some very winding hills to see some beautiful views of the island. We stopped at a small bar that had some great views. We were then taken back to the ship. We would recommend this excursion. In Nassau we opted for a day pass, which was purchased prior to our trip, for the British Colonial Hilton. It is within walking distance from our ship. Probably about ten minutes. It is a business hotel with a small beach and a nice pool area. The pass cost us $60 each and this gave us $40 each for lunch and beverages. My husband had two alcoholic drinks, I had one and a bottle of water. We had lunch in the beach bar which is the only place you are allowed to go. We both had burgers, coleslaw and chips and an order of nachos. The total of all came to a little over $100 so it cost us an additional $20+. The positives are that it was a nice area...we did relax but our ship did not get to port until noon so we did not have a lot of time since our pass was from 9-5. However our friends took the NCL Atlantis 80 some dollar excursion and it took them almost an hour from leaving the ship to getting there. Then they were not allowed to go to the initial beach area because it was closed and so they went to another area which was too windy to lay out. So they went to lunch and that cost over $100 for the 4 of them and this was not included. They said they would not do this again. So I think our excursion was better for the money but next time I would stay on the ship. The ship was rocky the last few days. I don't mind this at all...actually I like it. But people were getting a bit ill with the rockiness. Someone said the captain probably did not have his stabilizers in use because he gets a bonus if he saves fuel. I have no idea what this means but thought I would throw it out there in case someone does. Also, we were in the gift shop and we overheard the guy vacuuming say to another employee who asked him whey he was emptying the dirt out of the bag rather than throwing it away that he was told they have to reuse the bags. I found this to be ridiculous...that is what you call penny wise pound foolish. This guy was literally trying to get the dirt out of the little hole in the bag. Whoever told him to do this should be demoted!!! Health Club. I used the health club every day and the only thing I wish they had were a few more recumbent bikes for those of us who have a disability. I was down there at 6a, each day except for one which I went down at 9am. On this day I had to wait at least 30 minutes for a recumbent bike since there were only 3 of them. I think they should have added a few more. Spa I went for a massage the first day as they offered a deal. The girl who did the massage was pressing to hard and it caused me to have cramping in my legs and caused severe back spasms. She spent most of the time trying to calm down my spasms. So for $175 it was the worst massage I had ever had. She was a nice girl but I have never had this issue before and then she said I should go to acupuncture as that would help me better. I wish I could get my money back for this massage...but oh well. Live and learn. Disembarkation was very easy and our shuttle back to Fort Lauderdale was right there when we walked out. No issues with getting off the ship. One of the few things I did not like was the Bake Shoppe where you had to purchase a small cupcake for $1.50 or $2.50 for a larger one and then pay an 18% gratuity for someone handling it to you from the case. Cmon NCL this is ridiculous. Just let people have a cupcake. We were on Celebrity this past January and they had a wonderful area with bakery that was delicious and it was free for the people on the cruise. I also did not like the elevators at all. They were very dark and not at all impressive. I also did not like that they had this big screen in Spice H2O and did not have movies playing on it during the day. They did put on football on Thanksgiving after some people asked. But what a waste of this huge screen when they could have made it nice. But All in all we really enjoyed our time on the ship. I would have liked to go to the pool but with all the kids there was no way I was going to even try to get into this area. I have had 3 back surgeries and I have a fear of being knocked down. I would recommend this ship to singles, couples and families as there was plenty do do for everyone. If you do not want to deal with a lot of kids probably best not to go during Thanksgiving. But even with all the kids running around the halls and in and out of the adult area we still had a great time. Plus the kids were just being kids and having fun. Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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