Sail Date: December 2010
The ship was beautiful. However, I was extremely disappointed with the customer service on the Escape. If you had to call guest services you would have to put the phone on speaker to let it ring for ten minutes before they would answer the ... Read More
The ship was beautiful. However, I was extremely disappointed with the customer service on the Escape. If you had to call guest services you would have to put the phone on speaker to let it ring for ten minutes before they would answer the phone. Other than going to the bar poolside there were no one walking around providing you service. To eat at Margaritaville would be a 1-2 1/2 hour wait. We were giving ever excuse from the pager device wasn't working properly to the kitchen couldn't accomondate the crowd. The bars were under staffed and under stocked. The employees were unfriendly and overwhelmed. They ran out of certain liquor with 2 days left or so we were told. The dueling piano bar was a great show. NCL should have better trained their employees or pulled more experienced staff to accomondate their guest. The ATM's wouldn't work half the time and there were only 2 on board. The Escape was a disappointment. Being a new ship it was beautiful and clean. We went on the Epic last year and it over the top in customer service. If they're going to build larger ships than you should be able to accomondate guest Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This was my 23rd cruise so I consider myself somewhat a seasoned cruiser. The ship is nice in its own way. If you like modern and dark. The theater is the most underused venue in the whole ship. perhaps because of its pure dark ... Read More
This was my 23rd cruise so I consider myself somewhat a seasoned cruiser. The ship is nice in its own way. If you like modern and dark. The theater is the most underused venue in the whole ship. perhaps because of its pure dark grey walls with no decoration at all. A very depressing room. instead most of the shows were done in the atrium which is bright and lively, however if it is a popular event such as a port talk there is extreamly limited seating even though they try to bring out folding seats. One huge dissapointment was the fact that Guy Harvey ( who designed the beautiful hull ) had several presentations as did the group ( sorry I forgot their name ) who had educational shows on coral reef restorations. These shows were not even mentioned in the daily planner, but shows such as hot dog eating and balloon blowing were. Shame on you Norweigian! Things we especially liked were the fact that there were plenty of loungers on deck for everyone. Also the Wave Restaurent ( lido buffet ) had plently of tables and good offerings at the buffet. One of the stupidest things I have ever seen on any cruise ship is a jogging tract that goes right through main traffic . Theirs ran between a bar and Jimmy Buffets. What were they thinking ?? I would like to give guest relations high marks, I had several fix its on my new room, and they got to it quickiy and checked back with me to make sure all was done to our satisfaction. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
I was thrilled to be on the Inaugural trans Atlantic sailing of the ESCAPE. I flew to London the day before, took the National Express Bus to Southampton, over nighted at a local hotel and took a cab to the ship. It was the UK so of course ... Read More
I was thrilled to be on the Inaugural trans Atlantic sailing of the ESCAPE. I flew to London the day before, took the National Express Bus to Southampton, over nighted at a local hotel and took a cab to the ship. It was the UK so of course it was cloudy and raining. The dock is very convenient to town. The check in was a nightmare. Lines snaked all over the place. The only Latitude check in was for Gold and Platinum. It was not a good first impression. Once on board the cabins were ready and you could move right in. Taking a walk around the ship brought to mind the Breakaway with a very similar layout. You could easily adjust to this ship. I was in cabin 13188 a minisuite. It was nicely decorated and laid out. It was a bit larger than a balcony cabin, but not much. The bathroom was the largest I have ever seen on a ship. There was a double sink and the shower was huge with lots of nozzles. Fantastic shower. I was traveling alone so the storage was not a problem, but it would have been if I had someone else sharing the cabin. Not enough storage. The AC/Heat worked very well. Lighting was good. No electrical outlets by the bed but there were three plugs by the desk. I really enjoy the open dining on NCL which is why this is my third cruise in one year. I never had to wait for a table at any restaurant. However, that was the end of the good times. I was VERY disappointed in the food. They have changed the menus and the offering were really odd and unappetizing. The portions are smaller, the courses less in number. Even in the complimentary restaurants there were items for purchase. I did not like that at all. I think they are testing out having everyone eventually pay for each meal. It was impossible to get coffee unless you ordered desert. I ate in Cagney’s and it was wonderful. The Garden Café was a terrible disappointment. There was a good variety of offerings, but at lunch and dinner rather then being hot and fresh the food was cold and congealed. Every dinner was a total disaster with temperature and freshness. Overall the food was terrible, the worst I have ever encountered. The crew and staff could not have been better. Even for a new ship they preformed very professionally and friendly. I was very impressed. The Atrium was well used for activities, but it is far too small for all the activities. People would be standing 6 or 7 deep. You could not see anything. They should have held them in the theatre. They also blocked the flow of walking traffic. Entertainment overall was excellent. They had tremendous performers. If I did not like a show it was not due to the performers it just was not my type of entertainment. The TV entertainment was horrible, unless you wanted to pay extra. My big complaint was the Internet. The price is immoral. The quality is pathetic. You use all your minutes just signing in. The last day it did not work for most of the day. When it did it was incredibly slow. To charge the outrageous cost they should provide A+ access. They do not. The ship is too large for me, but that is my preference. It was very nice, but nothing exceptionally special. It was nice being on the maiden voyage, but other than that it was not memorable. My next cruise is on RCCL which gave me a better price. Although I like the open dining, they have to give you food worth going to eat. At this time this ship does not do that. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
First, let me say that we were part of those 800 Travel Agents on board. While I can't speak for the more influential members of the groups (Owners, upper Management, etc.) we did not get any preferential treatment in terms of ... Read More
First, let me say that we were part of those 800 Travel Agents on board. While I can't speak for the more influential members of the groups (Owners, upper Management, etc.) we did not get any preferential treatment in terms of available reservations for shows or specialty restaurants. Any venue we used during the day would have been closed anyway. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night and too a shuttle to the Embassy Suites in Miami near the airport. The next morning we took a cab to the port rather than the shuttle provided by the hotel because the cab was much less expensive ($28 plus tip rather than $12 per person X 5). First, yes, embarkation started late for some reason. Possibly up to an hour which did not help the temperament of approx. 4,000 waiting in the terminals. This ship is so big it need two terminals (B and C) to embark. Once on the ship, it was up to level 16 and the buffet. The food was average to above average depending on the item, but finding a table was a challenge. The ship left two hours late due to a downpour which prevented supplies from being loaded, but this is in no way NCL's fault. The service and food in the specialty restaurants were above average with La Cuchina and Bayamo, and Tapenyaki being excellent. The service and food in Manhatten was above average. We found the service Taste, Savor, and O'Sheehans to be some form of slow, unfriendly, at times incompetent, and in two cases downright rude. Our son is a developmentally disabled adult and his taste is food is very plain and simple compared to what is served in the MDRs. We had no trouble getting him an alternative (Chicken Tenders, Cheeseburger, etc. ) in the specialty dining restaurants, but it was a challenge in Taste and Savoy. Unless you are one of the Haven customers special requests are not this staff's strong point. We had the ultimate soft drink package which requires you to go to a bar and get a bartenders attention just to get a soda. During the day it was manageable, but jockeying for attention in the evening with everyone wanting to get the most of their ultimate beverage package was ridiculous. There were never enough bartenders to handle the customer load, especially near the casino. My family did like the various trivia contests held on board and won several as well as winning twice at Bingo. The family enjoyed the John Hughes' supper club show. We found the three piano players in Howl at the Moon entertaining for about 30 minutes, but after that it became repetitive. Million Dollar Quartet was cancelled for the entire cruise due to an illness in the cast. I guess NCL has never heard of understudies. I'm sure NCL will get a lot of complaints. The internet was horribly slow, inconsistent and expensive. I understand it's a ship at sea, but if your going to provide and service and charge 2 months of land rate for 75, it really should work. Disembarkation and Embarkation at the three ports (St. Thomas, Tortolla and Nassau was uneventful. While Julie is probably and excellent Cruise Director, it struck me as odd that she would be on the dock at 8:30 in the morning in a shimmering silver dress and red heels. She is outgoing, friendly remembers faces well and he staff runs some very nice events during the day on board. We went to Paradise Point and Megan's Bay on St. Thomas and enjoyed both very much. The next day on Tortolla it rained on and off, but part of the family was still able to enjoy a nice beach while others went Zip-lining in the canopy and had a great time. The last stop, Nassau was a disaster due to a constant daylong rain, so we did not get make full use of the waterpark at Atlantis. A word of caution, if you need to get back to your ship around 4-5 in the afternoon, the traffic over the bridge from Atlantis is horrible. Disembarkation for us was uneventful. Walked right off the ship at the assigned time, found our luggage and were through customs in about 30 minutes. In summary, it's a nice new ship with lots of amenities. I would not consider this a family ship in any sense of the word nor would I suggest taking children on this line. There are many other cruise lines that appear to do a better job. It's big enough where it doesn't seem too crowded most of the time. The specialty restaurants are worth every cent we paid for them. Other than Manhatten, the complementary restaurants were average to below average in food and service, in our opinion. Others may find them perfectly acceptable. As it is a new ship perhaps the service will improve with time and the menus may get adjusted. We will be trying at least two other lines in the future and depending on what we find, we may or may not be back to NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
I was travelling solo with a group from a German cruise website. This was my first (and likely last) NCL cruise. I decided to go on this cruise to meet some people I am chatting with on the cruise website and to find out if the big 3000+ ... Read More
I was travelling solo with a group from a German cruise website. This was my first (and likely last) NCL cruise. I decided to go on this cruise to meet some people I am chatting with on the cruise website and to find out if the big 3000+ passenger ships in general and NCL would be an alternative to choose from in the future. I have been on many cruises before with the biggest ship so far being the Celebrity Solstice. Escape is NCLs newbuilt which is to be doing Carribean Cruises out of Miami once she reaches the other side of the Atlantic. The 2 days from Hamburg to Southampton were the inaugural cruise. It is really a big ship with 20 decks and some 4200 passengers. There are lots of activities like ropes course, water slides, bars, restaurants, trivia, art auctions and so on. Shows at the Escape Theater were great, Howl at the Moon was fun, too. Dining experiences were mixed (I only ate at included restaurants) ranging from good service and good food to poor service and mediocre food. The bar menu doesn´t have alcohol free cocktails and you only get alcohol free cocktails from some of the bars. I had to search the ship for a Virgin Colada. My inside stateroom was designed for 4 persons. Storage space was fine for just one person on a 2 days cruise and a following 2 days in London but I doubt I would like to do a week with 2 or more people in this room. Way too little storage space in there. The interior design is a little bit too dark for my taste. The bathroom was great and includes a clothes line in the shower. My favorite venues were the Waterfront (outside restaurant area) were you can sit and enjoy the sea view even when the restaurants are closed) and 678 Ocean Place which is the stylish Atrium. I do not go on waterslides or ropes courses but met some kids who loved both. The spa is run by Elemis and gave me a great but overpriced massage and a hard sell talk afterwards telling nonsense about all the people who don´t by their products being not healthy. Fitness Center is equipped well and was never crowded on this cruise. Both embarkation and disembarkation had long lines and the terminal in Southampton seemed to be overcrowded with all the people disembarking and looking to find their transfers. Overall I found out that the ship is too big for me and I would enjoy better restaurant service. The best on it are Waterfront, the shows and the idea of the Studio staterooms. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
GOOD: The Crew - met many crew-friends and experienced great dining experience The food (Breakfast Taste/Savor, Lunch Margaritaville, Snack O'Sheehan's, Dinner The Manhattan) was very good - especially the daily changing ... Read More
GOOD: The Crew - met many crew-friends and experienced great dining experience The food (Breakfast Taste/Savor, Lunch Margaritaville, Snack O'Sheehan's, Dinner The Manhattan) was very good - especially the daily changing specials for breakfast. Food Republic was not my world since I do not like Fusion. I like Asian or Western but cannot deal with the mix of two. Sorry. Nice ship BAD: Missing embarkation and debarkation services. Was hard to handle baggage in elevators. Especially debarkation in Southampton over aft STEEP gangway without assistance. 25% VAT instead of 19% on purchases on board. 30 USD per day for slow internet for one device. 75 USD for transfer to Heathrow (before it was 35 EUR) and no transfer service in Hamburg Balcony cabin so narrow that when you sit on your bed you have your knees at the closet. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We tried this just to see what a cruise proper would be like but we have to say that we wont be rushing to book one anytime in the near future - certainly on a ship of this size!! Perhaps a smaller liner may suit us. Anyway, the ... Read More
We tried this just to see what a cruise proper would be like but we have to say that we wont be rushing to book one anytime in the near future - certainly on a ship of this size!! Perhaps a smaller liner may suit us. Anyway, the embarkation procedure was fine, took quite a bit of time but you have to wait at an airport don't you?? Our cabin was lovely and the double bed in it was soon separated for us by the steward (we are two ladies) - only two teabags in the room though - could have done with at least a couple more. Unfortunately we were woken twice in the night. The first time by a young girl walking in the cabin, chatting on a mobile and turning all the lights on - she soon left after she realised her mistake but we are still curious how she got in at all??? The second intrusion was a annoy announcement advising that "bravo drill" had been cancelled!! This announcement was made we believe three times at about 3 in the morning - probably someone pressed a wrong button somewhere. We were not impressed. We had a lovely meal in Taste BUT our biggest mistake and one which we feel is tantamount to being criminal, was that we ordered two glasses of red wine. At the end of the meal, the invoice was handed to us and it was for £33.46 - we could not believe it - £16.73 for one small glass??? Absolutely outrageous - how can this possibly be justified? Apart from this, we were handed, on disembarkation, an invoice in the sum of £60.46 being the heavily overpriced glasses of wine together with two service charges of £27.00. I'm sure someone will say "its in the small print" but it shouldn't be, it should be in very large print. Finally we managed to go to the Theatre to see The Million Dollar Quartet - excellent show but we only got there by chance. We tried to book the 7.00 p.m. show on the onboard reservation screens, only to be advised that there were no seats left!!! We took the chance after our meal just to have a look at the theatre, only to find there were plenty of seats available so had we not bothered and taken the touchscreen as being gospel, we would have missed it. What is wrong with the touch screen bookings? All staff we encountered were very helpful and polite but some found it difficult to understand what we were saying (English) and had to get another staff member to help. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
So this was my 12th cruise with Norwegian following Epic, Spirit, Breakaway, and Getaway (the last both the inaugural sailings). I managed to get on the two 1 night sailings CTN from Southampton on the 27th and 28th before the 29th ... Read More
So this was my 12th cruise with Norwegian following Epic, Spirit, Breakaway, and Getaway (the last both the inaugural sailings). I managed to get on the two 1 night sailings CTN from Southampton on the 27th and 28th before the 29th trans-Atlantic. It also allowed me to experience both an inside cabin as well as a balcony cabin. I love Epic but when the away class came out I immediately loved the Waterfront concept, the negatives of the away class were the small Spice H2O and the bliss nightclub so was eager to see how Escape matched up to its older sisters. First impressions: due to issues with NCL not providing luggage service (even though HO in UK had told two in our party there would be luggage service) we had to drag our 2wk cases onboard ourselves. We boarded deck 5 and so went down the long tunnel like corridor past the kids area which didn't feel like a ship! As I'm used to the away class I knew roughly where everything was so we checked out the deltas. The brew house district was great, one of my fave bars although disappointed that a lot of beers had already been drunk by those from Germany and wouldn't be re-stocked until Miami! A theme which was familiar throughout the cruise.. Skyline bar was a nice open plan bar with the screens but my thoughts immediately thought where could a do do play nightclub music?? The answer is he can't and nothing was on after 12:30. Apparently it was an oversight. They had planned to use the 5 o'clock somewhere bar but with cabins directly above this wasn't an option late. So bars/lounges: Hits: Brewhouse District - nice layout. Nice atmosphere, best on the ship. Would have been nice to have some tables/chairs outside on the waterfront Misses: 5 o'clock somewhere bar - packed with too many tables/chairs. Outside on the waterfront it's the smokers bar so you couldn't drink out there and had to walk through the smoke when walking along the waterfront :( No nightclub. Dining: Hits: Magaritaville - had two lunches in there but had to wait 1.5hrs for a table the 2nd time due to popularity, can't see it staying complimentary for long! O'Sheehans - new menu with the old specials now included and new entries like brownie cheesecake but the chicken pot pie has gone :( Misses: none really except the Oreo cheesecake has gone from Cagneys menu and its of course now a la carte. Ents: Hits: the Brat Pack supper club was brilliant and clearly the best ents onboard. They haven't fixed the sound bleed through issue into the theatre above so if you are in the theatre watching something else you'll feel the bass. Make sure you arrive early to get best seats. Misses: I was born in the 70s so for me Million dollar quarter and after midnight were not great. Not having a nightclub venue was disappointing. Too many people playing pianos.. Cabins: Hits: balcony grade and above have USB sockets on the bedside lamps to charge phones etc.. Insides don't. Guest services/admin: Really disappointed as even though a new ship these were all experienced staff and officers who had brought out the other new ships. Had to make frequent trips to guest services as things pre-paid were being charged again. Some after I'd provided evidence the first trip. Bill was wrong, ents pre booked lost, took 0.5hr on departure day as they didn't charge the full amount and they didn't know why.. Too much "computer says no" Staff: Were great bar staff and room steward. Just seemed like less waiters around. Disembarkation: Worse ever. 1hr queuing onboard with no announcements. Instead the crew started a drill whilst passengers still trying to get off. Miami is by far the worse cruise terminal I have experienced. In the end it took 3.5hrs to get off and through immigration then a further hour wait for the transfer in the boiling Sun! Overall. Given the choice of Epic, Breakaway. getaway, or Escape I'd pick Escape last. If you are over 50, heard of Jimmy Buffet, don't like staying up late or are a smoker then you'll love this ship! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This was my tenth cruise and the only one I've ever done for one night. I usually do Princess or Royal Caribbean so was keen to try Norwegian. Just did the one night inaugural sailing from Southampton. Only its second night of ... Read More
This was my tenth cruise and the only one I've ever done for one night. I usually do Princess or Royal Caribbean so was keen to try Norwegian. Just did the one night inaugural sailing from Southampton. Only its second night of paying customers at sea. This review is therefore mainly my opinion on the layout and decor as opposed to the service etc which only cruisers experiencing a longer period aboard can really comment. First glance the ship.is big and nice to look at but nothing particularly spectacular. Boarding is on deck 5 which has nothing much on it so first impressions are of a very long voting corridor. No grand atrium entrance as is the norm. The decor in the ship is very modern and dark brown. Think boutique hotel meets Ikea. The interior is quite dark and not particularly open. There's not much height variation as you walk through the ship and I felt claustrophobic and I don't normally feel that on a ship. The atrium is very basic and not at the central hub as in so many ships. It is small and lack lustre and has fruit machines around the top level. Really? What were they thinking of? The lifts are enclosed and there's no nice look out when you leave them. It's all very dull and dreary I feel. The promenade deck is very lacking too. It's covered mostly with lifeboats so there's no nice walk to have around the ship nor any seats to sit on. The show was excellent. A 50's musical play featuring 'Jerry Lee Lewis' and gang who were amazing musicians but not the usual singing and dancing revue I was perhaps hankering after. It did last over an hour and a glad which I thought was good. The meal in the restaurant was excellent quality however the tables were so close together and the noise horrendous. The casino was more of a walk through and looked a bit like a nice working men's club rather than a cruise ship. The buffet was again quite penned in a d dark and claustrophobic compared to what I'm used to. Was like being in a department store cafeteria rather than a cruise ship. The food was okay at the buffet but not especially good. The room was very nice with all amenities including hairdryer, safe, LCD tv etc. The bed was amazingly comfy. The bathroom was fab with loads of room and a proper nice big shower cubicle. The top deck of the ship was really good with two nice pools, big waterslides and a really cool overhead ropes course which all our party enjoyed. A bit like Go Ape but smaller. The outside disco sail away was good with excellent sound system and deejay. All in all I wouldn't really want to spend any more time on this ship. I much prefer a bit of bling and the refinement and great customer service that you get on Princess and the fab entertainment on Royal Caribbean. It might suit some people but not for.me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
2 couples on a 2 day cruise booked from Hamburg - Southampton , £500 for inside , £1700 for haven paid. Allowed to board at midday in itinary , arrived at midday and should have got there by 11, we booked an inside as we always do and ... Read More
2 couples on a 2 day cruise booked from Hamburg - Southampton , £500 for inside , £1700 for haven paid. Allowed to board at midday in itinary , arrived at midday and should have got there by 11, we booked an inside as we always do and our friends booked a haven suite so we have a good perspective of both sides of the coin. It took our haven friends 10 minutes , us 90 minutes , both parties carried their own luggage and if paying haven rates would have been miffed. Once on board and in our cabin ( aft a huge wait for the lift ) we settled and unpacked , inboard had insufficient storage for a 7 day cruise as we had only enough room for a 2 day and felt that although nice cabin it did not provide us with mouth storage and before anyway states anything - we can do a 2 week Florida trip in hand luggage :) Our haven friends had a gorgeous cabin with plenty of space and a huge amount of storage with all the right top class amenities as you would expect. 2 sets of lifts was hard work especially on embark and disembarkation - will be trouble on a full ship ! Anyway - straight out to explore and have a drink, went to find onboard itinary to be told no more English available ? Seriously ?!!! Our German is not the best so went back to our room to get the English onto hav found a German one - our room attendant said he had no more so put in the German one instead . met our haven friends and found the majority of service in the bars to be very disappointing, 25 minute wait for a cocktail on first bar, staff levels generally under a lot of pressure and not many smiles given. Things did not improve , pool bar 10 minute wait to be served , brew house, table service forgot half the drinks had to go back myself to fetch them. Theatre bar, two drinks forgotten and then never came back as then too late to fetch them as show started. Food in buffet was very very poor and we are not snobs, cold, ran out, no smiles. Our friends in the haven were extremely well looked after - in fairness, lobster , fillet, scallops champagne etc brilliant and they could not fault the service or quality on any level. We took off our daily tips and complained about lack of customer care, we ordered a starter and main and then they both arrive together, we asked why and they said the kitchen is busy so we had a choice of hot starter or hot main, I ate the main and sent back the starter to be reheated ( not cooked fresh ) the waiter came back with a new starter ? Why they could not do that in the first place is strange. Manhattan restaurant was very nice, food more than acceptable and our waitress very funny and smiley. Taste and savor were again very good service and lovely staff. The shows consisted of 2 , midnight in Harlem and the million dollar quartet , the first average , the second we really enjoyed and was the highlight of the cruise. Pool area, I don't think 4000 people will enjoy this area, sardines in a tin spring to mind. Having visited the haven area which I have to say is spectacular ! Plenty of space and lots of staff to take care of you. We have Cruised many times before and always stay in and are happy with inboard cabins as we spend very little time in them but I think we will not return to this ship as it felt that unless you are paying top whack then you will receive standard service, mediocre food and spaces inch you will definitely have to fight for when busy. I can appreciate you get what you pay for but this is the fist time we have felt this way on a cruise ship and maybe because it is new and things need ironing out but at best our vote is average if payment anything less than 1st class price and if you are paying this you will definitely not be left disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We went on one of the 24 hour taster cruises, with two friends. Embarkation was somewhat disorganised, but not too slow. Our cabin, a junior suite, was ready on arrival. It appeared to be identical in size to our friends balcony cabin, ... Read More
We went on one of the 24 hour taster cruises, with two friends. Embarkation was somewhat disorganised, but not too slow. Our cabin, a junior suite, was ready on arrival. It appeared to be identical in size to our friends balcony cabin, but with an improved bathroom. The balcony cabin had a shower cubicle, the junior suite had a shower occupying the side of the bathroom with room for two (if desired!). Similarly the balcony cabin had a single basin, the junior suite a double basin trough. Soap and shower gel was available from dispensers, there were no amenities such as cotton wool, buds etc nor fluffy dressing gowns. The room was equipped with a coffee machine, one tea bag, sugar and no coffee. On enquiry we were told that coffee pods were not being provided for the one night cruises. We had only one shower towel between the two of us. I rang down for an extra one and was told that one would be sent but two hours later it had not. I rang again and it then came quickly. But ringing for help was not easy as the operator did not answer the phone, on several occasions, for a considerable time. We did not have a shower mat, assumed these were not provided, but later found out that our friends had one. They also had the conventional decorative towel on the bed which we did not, but we were not too fussed about that. The bed was large and comfortable, but there was no real suite amenities. The only furnishing difference from the balcony cabin was a bench - type settee instead of a chair. There is not a lot of storage space for a longer cruise. This is an enormous ship, though not an attractive one externally as it has the appearance of an office block on water. Internally the colours are muted and restrained and the better for it. The general internal appearance is pleasing. Facilities are many and varied, including high level 'assault course' type wire walking, plank walking. Facilities for children included excellent-looking water slides and a crèche. Not all of the facilities were working. We enjoyed the crazy golf but this would have been better if there had been more than 4 balls available - in total. We used 2 for our party of 4 and gave the other 2 to another party. There were lots of clubs available but others could not play for lack of balls. It seemed as though many of the balls had been broken under pressure of the clubs, as there were broken balls around including in the target shoots. We asked a member of staff but were told there were none more on board. Similarly we would have loved to play ten pin bowling, and did see some others doing so, but for most of the time this was out of order with technicians seemingly unable to fix the machine. Quite a number of the other machines also were out of order, which seemed surprising for a ship less than a week into service. Norwegian need to do something about their public address system. Announcements were largely inaudible over the general hubbub, despite us trying to hear them. The only person who could be heard clearly was the captain, when telling us of the importance of attending the muster station drill. He did not otherwise speak. However the other announcements during the drill returned to the inaudible standard. The drill was worryingly lax. Passengers seemed to have no idea where to go and were arriving throughout the demonstration, and being sent to other stations. Lifebelts were not given out and we were supposed to watch one being put on, but the place at which it was being put on was obscured by other passengers so we could see nothing. No attempt appeared to be made to check that all passengers attended. The self service Garden restaurant served food of a reasonable standard. No attempt was made to invite passengers to use the hand cleaning dispensers, and most did not. As a striking apparent design flaw, the aft lifts (elevators for American readers) emerge in the middle of the Garden restaurant, so passengers wishing to use these for the remainder of the attractions of that deck walk straight through the serving and eating areas. Not clever. The plates in this restaurant are plastic, reminiscent of picnics. Mid-way through the afternoon we looked on the information screens throughout the ship and found that the 10.00 p.m. performance of the theatre show was full and there were only 170 seats left for the 7.00 p.m., so we booked that. The theatre appears nowhere near big enough for the number of passengers. Tip: book early. We were required to be in our seats 10 minutes before the performance started, reasonably enough, i.e. 6.50. This ruled out a served dinner beforehand. But the result was that when the theatre emptied at 8.30 we, together with all the others attending, all attempted to access the freestyle dining in the main restaurants. They were full, including by those passengers intending to attend the 10.00 o'clock performance, and could not cope leading to lengthy queues, then passengers turned away for an hour or so. Some further consideration needs to be given to the show times. The show, Million Dollar Quartet, was outstanding, probably the best we have seen on any ship. It appeared to be a bought-in production, and we cannot speak as to the in house team. Regrettably the comedy club was not open during this cruise. Dinner was a mixed experience. Two of our party had meat options which were considered very good. There was no fish option except lobster/other shellfish. The two non-carnivores therefore had a filled pasta dish, the only vegetarian option. This was appalling, insufficiently cooked, hard, tasteless, cold. They asked to see the maître d'. This took 10 or more minutes and when he came he was offhand, not very apologetic. One particular gripe was the mark-ups on the wine. Cruisers expect a service charge on drinks (in this case a steep 18%). But Norwegian also added VAT and duty, apparently justifying this by a note on menus in minute type that in certain ports local taxes were added (we had the meal at sea but never mind). The result was to increase the menu price by around 50% in total. Breakfast was very slow. 1 hour 10 minutes from entering the restaurant until our hot courses came. A grapefruit was cut in half but not segmented. Difficult to eat an unsegmented grapefruit, especially when the only spoon provided is a soup spoon! We asked for marmalade for the toast but this never came. Overall, Norwegian have spent a fortune on this ship and there is the potential for some excellent facilities for those who like them. But there is a low staff to passenger ratio and it shows. The passenger-facing staff were friendly and doing their best but rushed off their feet and in many cases insufficiently trained. Things may well improve when the staff have worked together on this ship for longer. There was an unpleasant apparent fear of their middle-managers who could be seen berating staff but not lending a hand to show an example when things were busy. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
First, NCL clearly learned from the major mistakes on the Epic and did much better with the Escape, but she just wasn't quite ready for 10 days at sea. We had a mini-suite on deck 9 and embarkation was done pretty well. Not ... Read More
First, NCL clearly learned from the major mistakes on the Epic and did much better with the Escape, but she just wasn't quite ready for 10 days at sea. We had a mini-suite on deck 9 and embarkation was done pretty well. Not everyone giving direction were on the same page, but it was smooth. Only suggestion would be to put handicap security at the first portal and not the last. We didn't need it but it just made people with issues have to travel farther. Room was very nice with a few maintenance issues, one the steward could have already reported. Balcony door had something loose on the mechanism that banged loudly and only got worse as the seas rose. Also, the tub stopper was missing and the bed skirt was falling off. We reported all issues, but getting things fixed was the real problem. 4 days in and after standing in line and call each day was what it took. Twice they told us it was all fixed (it wasn't) they told us they didn't have parts (they found some). They never really knew if it was fixed b/c on day 7 someone showed to fix everything again. Regardless, the room was much more useful than the epic rooms. We had the UDP and dined in specialty rest's every night. All were very good with Cagney's being the absolute best. Tepanyakki (sp?) was just OK, show was great but food did not taste very good; Bayamo was good but just not our style; Food Republic was awesome; La Cucina was excellent even 10 days at sea and the fish was excellent; Le Bistro was good; Moderno was very good but go VERY hungry and you better like meat...the lamb chops were awesome. The dining reservation system was horrible. We booked before the cruise but had to change a few. You can access reservations from your room on the TV, but they were never the same as the desk computers. Also, they always told you the restaurants were booked but they almost never were. Their system was not ready for prime time. It was easier to use the printed receipts or sticky notes. Thanks to NCL for not making everyone walk through a smoke filled casino to get anywhere like the Epic. The layout was much better, but we did get smoke from the cigar lounge / deck up in the room. Most of the crew did a great job. There is always one or two who need to move on but most were spot on. They were going through a lot of growing pains with things not working and a learning curve. The rope course was great fun, even in 40knt winds and cold we had a blast. Where else can you walk a 5 inch plank out over the side 160 feet above the water and zipline to beat. It did have some maint issues, but the crew worked through everything. Two water slides worked but one never worked. The slide where you race and are automatically dropped was broken the whole time (that sucked), we also heard the spa had a lot of issues with the steam / saunas / snow room. I met a German guest who was embarrassed about all of the problems with the German built ship. Of the shows we saw, most were very good; the Million Dollar Quartet was probably the best show we have seen on a ship. Those guys were GREAT. Having to have reservations for shows was useless and frustrating. Also, having to pay for some shows was dumb. Much like having an ultimate dining package but still having to pay for a few restaurants. Activities were boring and just the usual, BINGO, Not so Newlywed, trivia... Nothing innovative for 10 days at sea. Given the issues, the crew did a great job with the ship. NCL should have worked out the problems first. They were making new keys for the crew for days since they still were all keyed for the construction pass key and one could open everything.....?????? Word o the street was there was a large contingent of German's waiting in Miami to try to fix problems when we docked...I hope that worked out. As usual, disembarkation was a fiasco. It started late, no one followed the color codes, crew members just watched and many had no idea how it was supposed to work. It's always blamed on Customs (who never has enough people), it's always delayed and there is always a mad rush. Welcome to the US. BL: It was a great cruise but NCL clearly was in a rush and didn't make sure the Escape was ready for prime time. Just some better attention to detail and some time and it could have been a perfect trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
New ship so it was quite interesting to see what's what.We were prepared for some initial teething problems .. and got them.Firstly we were in cabin 10244 midships. We couldn't sleep as the hum of the engine room nearby was ... Read More
New ship so it was quite interesting to see what's what.We were prepared for some initial teething problems .. and got them.Firstly we were in cabin 10244 midships. We couldn't sleep as the hum of the engine room nearby was horrible, but they moved us very efficiently to 10272.This is near the aft lifts and is very handy for the restaurants and nice and quiet.At the front of the ship you have a mile walk to have dinner and we spoke to people at the the back who said the propellor vibrations were dreadful. The first week was not very promising with breakfast room service a joke as we got all sorts of wrong orders but,as the cruise went on,things got a bit more organised in many respects. The crew were really nice, but very stretched so service was generally a bit slow. We had a balcony cabin which was kept very clean and adequate, nice bathroom but a bit cramped in the room. Food was really good (especially in Cagneys). It's a cruise ship, not a transatlantic one, and there are no really quiet places as the evening music is everywhere but, for 7 days in the Caribbean will be really good. Biggest problem is the number of passengers. We were only about 70 pct full but that was quite enough. The safety drill was ludicrous with crowds of people milling around and bar and restaurant service was pretty slow and it took us 3 hours to get off the ship although US immigration was probably the cause but God knows how long it will take with a full passenger complement. Prices are high so get a drinks' package. Loudspeaker announcements are almost unintelligible. Altogether they have a great ship but it's all on the margin of being average and great as they try to be luxury but cut corners and try to get as many bucks as they can. On our trip the price was right but we wouldn't pay a premium Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our third transatlantic and third Norwegian cruise. We had always liked the flexibility of Norwegian in the past and decided to bring the grand kids along this time. Weather was cold for 6 days so we could not use the rope ... Read More
This was our third transatlantic and third Norwegian cruise. We had always liked the flexibility of Norwegian in the past and decided to bring the grand kids along this time. Weather was cold for 6 days so we could not use the rope wall, slides etc. When the weather warmed all of the outside things were still not opened. One real disappointment; on other Transatlantic cruises we got these nice certificates with our names saying we crossed the Atlantic. This time we got one generic one that said "Escape Inaugural Cruise". Whee. The most disappointing part of this cruise was the ship itself. This is by far the largest ship we have been on yet it FEELS like the smallest. Nearly every public area (even outside) is chopped into several smaller one. The pool area seems tiny. And there is no grand stair way or lobby on any level. The Atrium holds about 300-400 people max so where are the other 3900 supposed to sit for all the fun ship activities? Main hot tub was out of commission as was another on the upper deck forward (19) and the two on the main pool hold 6 people so the other 4188 people have to go somewhere else. Food; standard cruise fare. Manhattan Dining far superior to Savor and Taste and you don't have quite the experience of eating in the back of the closet the other two offer; food was not disappointing but average. As was service; they kept telling us they put the best crew on the new ship, but there were many who seemed under-prepared or inexperienced. Our cabin steward threw out or souvenir cups and left a bowl of food for two days. Shows were great; Brat Pack especially but the high ticket price was a little hard to swallow and this ship has by far and wide the most "costs extra" of any ship in the universe. We did get the complimentary drink package but were charged tips as if we drank $54 dollars a day. I think we did that maybe once. And the bar in the buffet ran out of champagne before we got to Miami. YIKES! Disembarkation was a nightmare. We had vouchers to get an early airport transfer but the "walk-offs" were still leaving an hour after our call time. When they finally opened another gangplank all the early luggage was at the other end of the terminal which you had to fetch and then come back to the other area. Although we were in the second group scheduled to get off, the ICE officer told us the ship was half empty when we were being checked through customs. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We joined this ship in Southampton, as we did many times on first sailings. No issues with getting on. We found the ship very plain in décor compared to other NCL ships but the eye got used to it. As Platinum members we were promised ... Read More
We joined this ship in Southampton, as we did many times on first sailings. No issues with getting on. We found the ship very plain in décor compared to other NCL ships but the eye got used to it. As Platinum members we were promised some of the little touches that are supposed to keep you interested in NCL The Chocolate strawberry's and bubby didn't arrive until day3 at night The complimentary room service was not available, but was now only free for basic breakfast The Ships pins we never got The 'Behind the scenes tour' didn't happen therefore we didn't feel that warmly welcomed back. The cabin was adequate but no coffee facilities The Restaurants were similar to other NCL ships but the menus have changed for the worst in the free restaurants and would no longer be child friendly or if you wanted a steak and fires if you were not adventurous, well then you had to pay extra for that. Last year we had a family party of 18 on the Epic and had no issues with food in the free restaurants but that would have created big issues trying to make everyone happy with the meals now. Tea bags were almost impossible to get standard ones overall the staff were friendly but the Free entertainment could have been more frequent and easily available We believe NCl's direction has changed and their objective is to try to get you to pay for every possible thing they can think of. However we hope that someone within the company will see sense before it does them harm. Before we always sold NCL to our friends for their Freestyle approach but no longer think we will Getting off the ship became a nightmare with US immigration Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Just returned from the Inaugural Transatlantic Cruise on the Escape. What a Great Bunch of Friendly Staff who were learning the UPS and DOWNS of the Huge-impersonal ship the Escape and Cruise Business. Lots of great Activities when ... Read More
Just returned from the Inaugural Transatlantic Cruise on the Escape. What a Great Bunch of Friendly Staff who were learning the UPS and DOWNS of the Huge-impersonal ship the Escape and Cruise Business. Lots of great Activities when they worked ( One set of slides and Steam Room in the Spa wasn't working for the entire trip). Definitely try the Rope course and Walk the Plank over the edge of the ship for a great experience with friendly and helpful staff for even overweight and old guys ( 275/61). Bring your own coffee for the coffee maker in the room; because they didn't have a pod to fit any of the automatic coffee makers even in the Havens!! ( no problem they were glad to charge A DELIVERY FEE EACH DAY TO BRING A CUP OF COFFEE TO YOUR ROOM BY ROOM Service or you could go down to deck 6 and but a great tasting Latte from the staff; but go early ( 7:00 a- because they were under staffed and the wait would kill a caffeine addict). Balcony's were cozy but don't invite any friends over or you will have to pull straws to see who can stand or sit on the deck. The closets were wide but you might want to bring along a baby gorilla ( with long arms) so that you can reach the openings since the couch is so close to the sliding door you cant stand in front of the closet and guys don't bring a suit coat if your shoulders are wider than 44 reg. the closet isn't deep enough to close the door with a hanger perpendicular to the wall. On board Shows were spectacular ( top shelve) entertainment was 10s but even with a reservations; plan on waiting 3/4 of hour, to get a seat tighter if you have a party of 4 or more but worth the wait. ( no drinks served at your seat because the venue is smallest I have seen for a large ship. The upcharges for food is a joke and now those cruisers who were used to going to the common restaurants and sneaking a lobster with the steak on the nights where both are on the same menu; can now pay for both or eat chicken or pasta served by a very friendly professional staff in a great and beautiful venue with once again great music. JUST ASK FOR A TABLE OUT AT 1 OR 11 OCLOCK BY THE WINDOWS, other wise the center aisle is to busy and you will have walkers, stumbling people and water dumped on you by the end of the night and your ears will ring for days from the music that's way to laud if you sit next to the very beautiful dance floor and under the gorgeous chandeliers. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Sailed inaugural transatlantic cruise to Miami. Embarkation just OK in Southampton. There was some confusion when calling guests to the counter & then reseating us & calling us again to embark. The ship had been on a short trip ... Read More
Sailed inaugural transatlantic cruise to Miami. Embarkation just OK in Southampton. There was some confusion when calling guests to the counter & then reseating us & calling us again to embark. The ship had been on a short trip from Hamburg and had sat in port so NCL execs could spend a night on board, therefore some state rooms were not ready. Luggage arrived very slowly. Some staff seemed green, others very seasoned. We learned very quickly to ask for seasoned waiters in Manhattan Room. Lovely spot to dine but music was a bit loud for conversation. Food typical NCL fare. We had dining package & would not pay Ala Carte prices for privilege. Service in Le Bistro, excellent, La Cucina, slow service. Food not worth $80 ala Carte prices. Buffet was well designed and didn't seem too crowded, but this ship was only 70% full. Lots of choices. I had a special host due to dietary issues who was wonderful and attentive in dining rooms. Staterooms - mini suite small, tight squeeze by bed, couch and counters too low, one guest thought he was in a disabled room! Not so. Designed for short people. Closet space/storage lacking. One big sink, prefer smaller sink and more counter space, no tub. Balcony tight. Started out in 10202, loud clunking noise sealed in wall cavity-3 days in it got worse. Saw 2 other neighbors moved, we moved 4th day to 13802. Much quieter. Deck 10 mid ship port could have a NOISE issue. Thermal Suite - nice large area, but since there were no ports, it could get crowded and noisy. Had to pick your time to relax. Some folks were "sneaking" in and finally they instituted a key card system to prevent that. Some jets in the hydro pool weren't working, but finally after 4 days were fixed. Jacuzzi water in this area was too cool. I didn't use it after first day. Steam room not working. Mid cruise they refunded about a third of the $249 charge. Refreshment area not kept well stocked. Large gym, great equipment. Water slide was fun, wave pool is nice and deep but rough seas will make it difficult for lap swimmers. Salt water. Rope course and zip line available. I was expecting a separate zip line that spanned the ship but it is part of the rope course. Lots of bars and unfortunately they take up most of the scenic viewing areas. This ship has no promenade deck as many other new ships and no little indoor niches to sit and view the water. The bars take up all that space. As another cruiser said this ship lacked a WOW factor as far as the atrium was concerned. That area was crowded and noisy and shared space with guest services, Internet cafe and a bar. There were not enough seats for folks to watch the movie or other events. The Theater only seats 900 on a 4200 capacity ship, do the math! If you want to see a show, reserve your seats early or you will be out of luck. Many people missed the 2 Broadway shows which were excellent and people lined up early to have their room keys swiped to admit you to the theater. We also saw the Tenors of Rock, XFactor winners in the UK and they were excellent. NCL why only 900 seats! NCL also has a nasty habit of charging for in room movies at $9.99 a pop, unlike Princess. They showed 1-2 movies a day in the atrium area and people were crammed in like sardines or standing and watching the movie. Guest services were wonderful. I had a family death at home while I was on board and they offered phone and Internet gratis 24/7 I cannot say enough about this wonderful, caring accommodation. Thank you, NCL. Disembarkation in Port Miami was a disaster. Poorly organized, only 5 porters. It was nothing short of CHAOS. It took 2 hours to get off the ship and out of the port. NCL has a poor disembarkation routine. When our color was called we went down and there were very long lines. We were on that line for an hour. There has to be a more efficient way to get people off the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We have been of 27 cruises including 7 TransAtlantics and 8 NCL (Sky, Jewel, Sun, Epic, Getaway, & Escape) We booked a year in advance believing a maiden voyage woud have many extras as the owners would highlight their newest ... Read More
We have been of 27 cruises including 7 TransAtlantics and 8 NCL (Sky, Jewel, Sun, Epic, Getaway, & Escape) We booked a year in advance believing a maiden voyage woud have many extras as the owners would highlight their newest ship.... Wrong on all accounts... The transfer that NCL arranged from the airport to the ship was late & they had stopped taking boarding photos when we got to the ship (a dissapointment as we thought the background woud show it as a new ship........ Entertainment far from top of the line, A main theater to small for the number of passengers aboard the ship... on the subject of food, A limited & not impressive menue in the main dining room. Savor and Taste both served the same items nightly... Breakfast at these was very slow service & getting your eggs 1st but the toast later was not satisfactory... Jimmy buffets was not planned for cold windy rainy days... almost all seats are designed for the warm caribbean....We had reservations for the Italian restaurant.. a very limiter Italian menue..I had a tough time explaining to the waitress that I just wanted spaghetti with a meat sauce......O'Sheehan's served a good fish dinner also was good breakfast place ....We tried a pepperoni pizza at the Pizza bar once, the crust was thin like a cracker... This ship does not have space nor activities for it's passengers when the weather is bad.... We had several cold rain days in the crossing... this resulted in people sitting around every nook and cranny.... Which is another bad point their is NOT A COMFORTABLE CHAIR or sofa on the whole ship.... We had a balcony room and again the designers shrunk it down ... The bed was 8 inches from the closet... very unhandy to get to the closet.. storrage space under the sofa was full ... not available for guest storrage..The bath was a good design, like the breakaway.. I guess they learned not to make the mistake they did on the Epic... The balcony is smaller than other ships we have been on.. The room attrndant cleaned the room good each day, but he never started befor 9 am and many time it was sfter noon before he was done... This brings up another point that the designers failed to consider... It seems they reduced the hallways width... When the attendants carts are in the halls passage is at time difficult.... When we were two days out from Miami the weather cleared The sports & pool deck areas were full of passengers wanting to get outside.... again the design resulted in cramped quarters.... All in all We were not impressed with the new RCL ships I prefer the older ships that give you room... One last personal item NCL dwells to much on the Haven area When you have over 4000 guest but all the attention is for 200 guest, I feel offended... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
As this was the Maiden voyage of Norwegian Escape there were a few, if not many, teething problems. The situation was not helped by poor weather confining 3000plus passengers inside the ship. Public spaces were simply not large enough ... Read More
As this was the Maiden voyage of Norwegian Escape there were a few, if not many, teething problems. The situation was not helped by poor weather confining 3000plus passengers inside the ship. Public spaces were simply not large enough to cope. The Atruim was used for much of the entertainment but getting a seat was near impossible - unless you got up early and reserved a seat - as often happens on deck. Supplies for the ship had not arrived. The well advertised coffee machines were in the cabin but the coffee pods had not arrived in Southampton to be loaded. Many cocktails were unable to be made as some ingredients had not arrived. Being on a free wine package it was interesting to see just how many drinks were unavailable. (Although I always found something!). If you wanted a certain white wine you had to track it down in the various bars around the ship. (That is until it ran out completely!). Even printed menus had a suggested wine of the day which was unavailable. Staff were new, although I am told only new to this ship, they have to have several years experience with other ships in the fleet before being working on a new ship. They were learning to work together and become familiar with their working areas. Something that will certainly happen but did not happen immediately. We were left sitting in the restaurant for 40 minutes on two evenings without so much as a jug of water. When we complained we were told our waiter was not scheduled to start yet. Others around us were on dessert by the time our waiter arrived. Le Bistro, was very slow and the food inedible. Even the assistant Maitre D said he would make the chef eat the undercooked, raw meat that was served to me just to show what he was seving. When I complained about my profiteroles he suggested they were so hard they should be used as frisbees - his words not mine! Needless to say a free meal was given but what a waste of an evening! One good thing was that the chief officers were available for at least half an hour every morning in the Atrium. We spoke to Sean who consequently called the various heads of department to deal with our various complaints. He ensured our concerns were dealt with immediately. Compensation was very generous as they realized we were simply telling the truth about our experience. The ship itself - certainly a huge step up for NCL but still lagging behind other ships, RCL, Cekebrity, Princess etc. rather traditional for my taste, dark veneer rather than modern. Opinion on the whole was mixed some loved it, others were disappointed. We had a mini suite and this was well worth the extra money. We had more length to the cabin and a lot more width. Plenty of space between the end of the bed and the wall, an area often quite tight. I can honestly say that the bathroom was the best we have had on any ship. It was as big as many hotels. We had a full width shower with seven body jets as well as Jack and Jill sinks. There was plenty of storage and plenty of space for dressing inside the bathroom. We were lucky enough to go to the inauguration Christening ceremony and joined the party with Pitbull. This was memorable. NCL put on a fantastic show. It made our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
I was thrilled to be on the Inaugural trans Atlantic sailing of the ESCAPE. I flew to London the day before, took the National Express Bus to Southampton, over nighted at a local hotel and took a cab to the ship. It was the UK so of course ... Read More
I was thrilled to be on the Inaugural trans Atlantic sailing of the ESCAPE. I flew to London the day before, took the National Express Bus to Southampton, over nighted at a local hotel and took a cab to the ship. It was the UK so of course it was cloudy and raining. The dock is very convenient to town. The check in was a nightmare. Lines snaked all over the place. The only Latitude check in was for Gold and Platinum. It was not a good first impression. Once on board the cabins were ready and you could move right in. Taking a walk around the ship brought to mind the Breakaway with a very similar layout. You could easily adjust to this ship. I was in cabin 13188 a minisuite. It was nicely decorated and laid out. It was a bit larger than a balcony cabin, but not much. The bathroom was the largest I have ever seen on a ship. There was a double sink and the shower was huge with lots of nozzles. Fantastic shower. I was traveling alone so the storage was not a problem, but it would have been if I had someone else sharing the cabin. Not enough storage. The AC/Heat worked very well. Lighting was good. No electrical outlets by the bed but there were three plugs by the desk. I really enjoy the open dining on NCL which is why this is my third cruise in one year. I never had to wait for a table at any restaurant. However, that was the end of the good times. I was VERY disappointed in the food. They have changed the menus and the offering were really odd and unappetizing. The portions are smaller, the courses less in number. Even in the complimentary restaurants there were items for purchase. I did not like that at all. I think they are testing out having everyone eventually pay for each meal. It was impossible to get coffee unless you ordered desert. I ate in Cagney’s and it was wonderful. The Garden Café was a terrible disappointment. There was a good variety of offerings, but at lunch and dinner rather then being hot and fresh the food was cold and congealed. Every dinner was a total disaster with temperature and freshness. Overall the food was terrible, the worst I have ever encountered. The crew and staff could not have been better. Even for a new ship they preformed very professionally and friendly. I was very impressed. The Atrium was well used for activities, but it is far too small for all the activities. People would be standing 6 or 7 deep. You could not see anything. They should have held them in the theatre. They also blocked the flow of walking traffic. Entertainment overall was excellent. They had tremendous performers. If I did not like a show it was not due to the performers it just was not my type of entertainment. The TV entertainment was horrible, unless you wanted to pay extra. My big complaint was the Internet. The price is immoral. The quality is pathetic. You use all your minutes just signing in. The last day it did not work for most of the day. When it did it was incredibly slow. To charge the outrageous cost they should provide A+ access. They do not. The ship is too large for me, but that is my preference. It was very nice, but nothing exceptionally special. It was nice being on the maiden voyage, but other than that it was not memorable. My next cruise is on RCCL which gave me a better price. Although I like the open dining, they have to give you food worth going to eat. At this time this ship does not do that. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was the 3-night US inaugural cruise on the Escape out of Miami. Glitches and growing pains were expected. Overall, it was a great cruise. We had a lot of fun, and saw a lot of old friends (crew) on this ship. We had some issues ... Read More
This was the 3-night US inaugural cruise on the Escape out of Miami. Glitches and growing pains were expected. Overall, it was a great cruise. We had a lot of fun, and saw a lot of old friends (crew) on this ship. We had some issues that we never had before on NCL ... crazy wait times, lack of service both in the MDR and O'Sheehans ... and just overall the staff did not seem happy. I'm not used to that, and I hope it was just because it is a new ship, and people are not used to working together yet. We arrived at the port at 10:45am. We parked and walked right over to the terminal, where a baggage handler immediately took our bag from us. We went into Terminal C - no lines for security! We walked in, and went to the main room where we filled out our health questionnaire. There was a line for check in at that point, but since we were priority, we bypassed that line and became first in line. Check in was painless. We sat and waited a short time to board. We were in cabin 11134. This is a category BC balcony, port side. The balcony is much larger than those tiny postage-stamp ones on the Getaway and Breakaway. Kudos to NCL for listening to their customers! The cabin itself appeared to be narrower than those on the 'away ships, but perhaps that was just my perception. We enjoyed our cabin, and had no issues at all. We went to the Supper Club on night one of our cruise. This was a dinner show that we paid extra for ($70.78 for 2). The show was good. The food left a lot to be desired. I really enjoyed the appetizer, but the meal itself ... I couldn't eat it. I'm not a picky eater ... it was just ... yucky. Sorry to say. Dessert was good though. The show itself is long, it ran about an hour and a half. Just be aware of that if you are one that doesn't like to sit that long. We had seats in the front row right by the stage. Really could not have asked for better seats, and all of the actors were outstanding. Night two, we saw Million Dollar Quartet. I highly recommend this show. It was just amazing ... and while all of the actors did an outstanding job, Jerry Lee Lewis was just ... AMAZING. That actor is truly talented. Kudos to NCL for such a fabulous show! Night three we saw After Midnight. It was ok. My husband thought it was fantastic. All of the tap dancers were phenomenal though. I wouldn't see it again, but I'm glad I did have a chance to see the show. Other than the meal at the Supper Club, we had no issues with food. Everything was good. I did get the lobster one night in the MDR for the $19.99 charge (plus 18% gratuity - gratuity for what?!). If you enjoy lobster, skip this. The lobster was previously frozen, and you can tell. It was slightly mushy and lacked flavor. I wouldn't waste money on this again. I had the steak frites twice - very good both times. My husband had the Salmon twice (he likes salmon) and said it was delicious. We also went to Food Republic and had three sushi rolls, plus the sliders ... all were excellent! Margaritaville was excellent, and the BEST service on the entire ship was here. Seriously. The wait times were expected, but the staff was on the ball and did everything right. We ate here twice, and it was worth the wait. Now for the issues. On Day Two of the cruise, we went to the MDR for breakfast. I ordered the lox and bagel, bacon, and home fries. My husband ordered an omelet, home fries, and orange juice. The only thing ever delivered to our table was my lox and bagel. We sat there for 30 minutes after my lox and bagel arrived (half of a frozen lender's bagel with lox on it. Don't bother!). The rest of the meal and drinks never came. At that point, we walked out and went to O'Sheehans. We waited for a few minutes and were seated fairly quickly. Unfortunately from there, it was just downhill. Placed our order, and 55 minutes later we were served. It was just bad. People were walking out left and right. Those who were never served, and those who waited a long time for their food only to get the wrong order. People were not happy! We went to the pool deck after that, and all you heard was people complaining and grumbling about the service. No one staffed at the bars - no waiters walking around the pool deck - food taking too long to be served, etc., etc. It was a common theme, unfortunately. It seemed to me like the ship was short-staffed. Of course, I do not know if they were or not ... but it appeared that way ... and this crew did not seem happy. Not at all what I am used to from NCL. The menus in the MDR have changed. There are not as many options to choose from (but they did add surcharge items to the menu, go figure), and no soups at all on the dinner menu. As we were disembarking, I noticed there are two charges on my bill on 11/13/15 for $5.40 each for "Onboard Entertainment - Tickets". I have no idea what that is for. The only show we saw on 11/13 was After Midnight, and that was complimentary. We did not have any drinks in the show, so I really am clueless what those charges are for. I sent an email to NCL regarding the charges. If I do not hear back from them, I will have American Express remove the two charges. We are sailing again in March on the Escape. The trip was booked over a year ago. We are bringing 8 other cabins of people with us, many that are new to NCL. I really hope the glitches are worked out by then. It's embarrassing to basically talk people into spending over $3,000 on a cruise on a line they wouldn't normally sail, and then have bad service. I'm really nervous about that, but hopefully, they will get it together by then. If not for the included UBP, I would have a hard time not suggesting to everyone that we try a different cruise line. I hope NCL takes that seriously ... we cruise with them a lot, and that speaks volumes coming from me! Oh - several times we talked about going to a specialty restaurant ,,, but since they made them a la carte, we said "no" each time. Paying a flat fee was one thing ... spending $100 on a meal on a cruise ship that caters to 4,000 people is just ... foolish. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
As a disclaimer, I have been on 6 cruises all on Royal Caribbean, and this was my first time on another line. My wife has cruised on Royal and Carnival. I'm not sure if it is NCL or just them working the bugs out of a brand new ... Read More
As a disclaimer, I have been on 6 cruises all on Royal Caribbean, and this was my first time on another line. My wife has cruised on Royal and Carnival. I'm not sure if it is NCL or just them working the bugs out of a brand new ship, but the whole cruise was just a bit "off." The only high point of the cruise was the food. We ate at Cagneys, Le Bistro, and Teppenyaki. I had lunch at the Garden Café and in the main dining room, Taste. I food the food at each venue to be excellent. It was my first experience with "Freestyle" or whatever you wish to call it, dining. I can see the upside in being able to go when you want, but I missed having table mates to share the experience with. Also, many menus were ala carte. I absolutely hated seeing prices on a cruise ship menu. Part of what I love about cruise vacations is NOT seeing prices on a menu :). Now I've done specialty venues on RCI, and I understand the "cover charge." I'm fine with that, pay it or not. But this cruise seemed to have almost everything with an "extra" charge. Dinner show? Extra charge. Room service? Extra charge. Adult pool? Extra charge. Let me tell you about the service. Terrible. The worst, period. They were understaffed and those that were there were not helpful. Embarkation was annoying. We arrived early and found the line to be short. However, with only about 5 parties in front of us, we waited almost 30 minutes. Once at the desk, it was apparent that this was our agent's first day ever. And maybe the first time ever using a computer. Each step in the process required her to walk over to another agent to ask how to do it. It took forever and was frustrating. Once on board, we went up to Margaritiaville. 1.5 hour wait. But tables were empty? We found this theme throughout. Eventually we were told that they did not have enough staff to open them all. So I walked up to the pool bar instead. There were maybe 5 people seated, and one bartender. I sat there 10 minutes as he brushed passed me making orders for the waitresses. Now I get it that it's busy and understaffed, but a polite, "I'll be with you in just a minute, Sir" or something would have been nice. So after 10 minutes, I left. Continuing on service, I was often given conflicting (and wrong) answers to basic questions. I get it, the ship is new, but I was also never given a "I don't know, but let me find out." Our first night at Cagney's Steakhouse, we arrived for our 5:30 reservation at 5:25 (I know, early, but everything else was "full" even though it was half empty throughout). The staff was having a meeting in plain sight at the end of the restaurant. No one came to greet us, or the others waiting. Again, not a big deal on it's own, but it was just the theme of everything being "off." After the dinner, we saw that there was no line for gratuity included on the check (most other bills we saw had a gratuity included and then a line for additional tip), so we asked the manager if there was a tip included. He responded with, "You can leave an additional tip for outstanding service." Yes, but was the tip already included. "That is up to you sir." No, I get that but was the tip included already? "I think so." Wait, you think so, or it is? We don't want to stiff the server. "Yes, the tip is already included." So we asked the server as well. The server tells us she overheard what the manager was telling us, but the tip is most definitely not included. The ship was pretty, and had a new car smell, but it lacked large public gathering areas. Everything was broken up. To me it felt the smallest of any ship I have cruised on, but some may prefer that. The pool was small, the premier water slides were broken, (or as my wife kept saying, if it's brand new, it's not broken; it's just not finished). There was no true adult or quiet pool (just a grotto). 2 of the 3 zip lines were not functioning. 2 of the rooms at the spa were broken. The speakers in our cabin didn't work. Far, far, far to little elevator space. I could go on. The cabin was nice; we had a standard balcony. We enjoyed the dueling pianos. Disembarking was pretty smooth. My kids loved the kids program, but this was their first cruise. Overall, I don't think I'll ever come back to NCL. I felt nickeled and dimed and underwhelmed. 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
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
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
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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