Sail Date: December 2010
Just returned off the first full 7 day cruise on the Escape and sad to say not very impressed OVERALL. The mostly good stuff - Getting on board and getting off was far and away the easiest I have ever experienced. Great job in ... Read More
Just returned off the first full 7 day cruise on the Escape and sad to say not very impressed OVERALL. The mostly good stuff - Getting on board and getting off was far and away the easiest I have ever experienced. Great job in getting that right. Food was really pretty good throughout the cruise, service on the other hand was very inconsistent if a server was involved (will critique below). Savor restaurant: Food very good, food server very good, so good she replaced the drink server as he was really slow and not available the first night. Gardens: The cafeteria style place to eat was very good to excellent in the layout and the food selection. Moderna: Brazilian restaurant, Very good as all the server needed to do was get the water and order drinks. With the self serve salad bar, which was excellent, all you had to do was sit at the table and the rest of the dinner came to you. Teriyaki Japanese steak House: Very entertaining, typical food selection and good. Pricey though if not part of the dinner package deal. Cagney's Steak house, food was excellent but boy was the kitchen slow. Waiter wanted to take our food order before he asked if we would like a drink. Got the drinks first, and very quickly by the way. However waited over 20 minutes between the appetizer and the entree. Now what could be classified on the BAD side: Margaritaville was the biggest disappointment of the trip. A food and beverage place that lacked any atmosphere at all. Not a good thing if the name is Margaritaville. Not only was there no music but when open ,weather permitting and it rained two days at sea, only 11-4pm I might add, unless you were first in line there was a 1.5 to 2 hour wait and that was when half the seats in the place were EMPTY. Bar Tenders: With few exceptions they were very slow AT BEST, did not recognize you until they were ready for you. No HI, BE right with you, nothing. This was the case in most bars and was the same for others we talked to during the cruise. Entertainment Nightime: Not really much to do on the cruise. Sure they had a few "shows" (3). One was "The Brat Pack" $30 included dinner, sold out each night Did not hear any reviews pro or con from any fellow passengers (120 of us in a group) about the show. Would like to have seen the "Million Dollar Quartet" (a show about Carl Perkins, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and a fourth recording all at the same time at atlantic records) however cancelled after first night due to sickness. Due to time at sea no replacement was around till the last two night on the way back. Entertainment Daytime: While the pool stuff was pretty normal and fun, the area is small for 4200 people on board. Bingo was $69 each time and then the 'special' for the last game another $20. If they returned a good amount to the winners that may have offset the following: "RIPOFF", as they only paid $100 - $300 for each game. In all fairness last day's game pd big money $300, $400 & $800. Should as at least 200 people were playing. Do the math. Casino: That would have been at lot of typical fun, win/loss/draw if it wasn't so damn SMOKEY. Even the non-smoking area was filled with the smell of tobacco. Shopping On Board: Per the wife: Very poor. Cruise store lacked enough of the sizes that we needed, selection of goods was limited, shared space with duty free store. Other specialty shops were high end and not the greatest value. When they were selling the junk for $10 you could not through the hallway however. Final comment: All the service issues were attributed to ( by a cruise professional that had 800 travels agents on board) staffing the ship with 25% experienced service people leaving a whopping 75% rookies. Who knew.. Wait to book on this ship would be my advise right now Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2010
This was our third cruise with NCL and we have never had any problems. We are now "silver" latitude members but after this trip we may be finding a new favorite. To begin with we had a great time and do not regret that we chose ... Read More
This was our third cruise with NCL and we have never had any problems. We are now "silver" latitude members but after this trip we may be finding a new favorite. To begin with we had a great time and do not regret that we chose this ship on its first route through the Caribbean. Lets just start from the beginning...Embarkation. Why do they assign group numbers if they have no interest in following through with the order? Example we were in group 3 as were many people around us. We started noticing that there was many people walking right on with higher group numbers (example 8,9,10). The port employee never turned any of them away and just let them all through. As they turned a gave us all waiting our turn a nice big 'HA HA" smile all we could do was the right thing and wait our turn. RUDE! Next was the groups booked on this cruise. If I had known this bit of information I may have rebooked for another date. There was as many a three (just from people we talked too and there may have been more) LARGE groups of mostly some kind of travel agents doing their annual conventions on the trip. One we spoke too had 800+ people and the other two that we found out both had 300 or more. This was a huge problem if you did not belong to one of these groups. A lot of rooms were reserved for private functions. The back deck H20 (which was our favorite spot to go on the Epic every night after dinner) was almost every night closed to some kind of party for them many of the restaurants were taken every evening. That brings me to the special packages that were offered when booking. Food, drinks and excursion credit is what we were offered/talked into. Since we pay our excursions ahead of time and we don't drink much we chose the dining option. once we got on the ship and realized the amount of groups that were there we tried to book some reservation for dinners. NOTHING!! all 7 days of this trip there was not one reservation to be had in anything except one at 9:30 at night. We found out from a very rude reservation person at customer service that we should have booked before the cruise (which have NEVER had to do before) and that most of the times were held by the groups on board. we talked to a manager and asked to be switch to the drink package since we were going to get no use of the dinning at all. they sent a message to corporate and told us it could be up to week to get an answer from them. Really? oh do please tell them the we are on a 7 day cruise and I would like to find out if we could do this BEFORE we disembark in Saturday. We did get switched but did not get much use of this bonus because once again we don't drink much. The gift shop was a joke. there was maybe 3-4 racks of t-shirts (that only came in med and small because they sold out of everything) and one of my biggest pet peeves NOTHING had prices on them. you had to ask someone, (if you could find anyone) how much everything was. The shop was very small and I'm disappointed that we did not get many souvenirs because we didn't have time to wait in line and ask. The smoke from the casino was horrible. I'm very sensitive to smell and you could almost not walk through the atrium and not get a face full of stench. We start going the long way around to avoid this area at all cost. We had a good time just disappointed in some things that were unforeseen. The shows that we did get to see and were not canceled due to the groups moving in were good. I prefer the EPIC over Esacpe any day. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The food and staff were very good. No lounges to relax and read a book. Watched 2 shows and both were very good. This ship is basically trying to extract money from you by every means possible, eg by charging for some meals which ... Read More
The food and staff were very good. No lounges to relax and read a book. Watched 2 shows and both were very good. This ship is basically trying to extract money from you by every means possible, eg by charging for some meals which were al a carte and payable, Small bottle of beer was 6.95 US $ which is expensive. The ship has been built to cater for American families sailing in warm weather I don't suggest anybody using the ship unless the cruise is where the weather is warm. Unless you want to join badly behaved youngsters running riot all day, avoid this ship. Finally on boarding and leaving the ship they expect you to carry all your own luggage up and down stairs. How can a 80 year old woman with a walking stick, mange this? Staff just watch people struggle and offer no help. Leaving the ship is dangerous having to carry all your own luggage down 4 flights (at least) of stairs. You only need I person to slip, and many people will be injured on the stairs. Leaving the ship it is an accident waiting to happen....may sure it is not you who has any accident. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
50th Wedding Anniversary.Only time we could get family and a couple of friends all together. Booked months ago, booked table for 12 for 2030. Confirmed by e Mail. Only Manhatten dining room would accept a party this size. No ... Read More
50th Wedding Anniversary.Only time we could get family and a couple of friends all together. Booked months ago, booked table for 12 for 2030. Confirmed by e Mail. Only Manhatten dining room would accept a party this size. No children's menu, despite assurances that there would be, no table, food inedible,service non existent. Finally left hungry after 2 hours wait. Drinks expensive, staff that could speak English, unhelpful. Cabin absolutely fine, show, Million Dollar Quartet, absolutely brilliant. We have sailed on a couple of occasions with NCL, no problems at all, enjoyed the cruises, so we know this is not typical. So,so let down. NCL this should be your flagship, not your Titanic. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This was just a one day/ one night taster and my first experience of Norwegian cruise line. I was pleasantly suprised by the decor onboard, I liked the cabin, it was spacious ( although the balcony door seal was already coming off and ... Read More
This was just a one day/ one night taster and my first experience of Norwegian cruise line. I was pleasantly suprised by the decor onboard, I liked the cabin, it was spacious ( although the balcony door seal was already coming off and prevented us from being able to fully close/open door). The shower was great, but as with American ships, as a Brit, I didn't like the weak as puddle water tea or creamer milks. The entertainment was outstanding, we watched the Million Dollar Quartet and loved it. What an awful disappointment then, after coming from the theatre on a high, to find long 45 minute queues at every complimentary restaurant. I do not understand why this happened as surely they have experience of organising meals, after all they have quite a few other ships, and it cant have been that they number of people wanting to eat that evening was unexpected. A total and unprofessional mess, although the staff kept smiling despite many heated exchanges. Norwegian cruise lines are not for me, after sailing with other lines, I found them to be amateurs, they certainly didn't impress me. What a shame Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We had a one night taster before this new ship NCL Escape went on its maiden voyage to Miami. On first sight the ship was enormous but quite ugly. Embarkation of 3400 passengers was a bit chaotic but I have seen much worse. Bear in mind ... Read More
We had a one night taster before this new ship NCL Escape went on its maiden voyage to Miami. On first sight the ship was enormous but quite ugly. Embarkation of 3400 passengers was a bit chaotic but I have seen much worse. Bear in mind that the following day she was sailing full with 4500 passengers !! We went to our cabin and where pleasantly surprised. The design and splendour of the cabins was what we would expect from a good quality cruise ship. I am afraid that's were the good points ended. For our tastes the ship was too big. You never felt like you belonged. There where 20 restaurants' and I couldn't count how many bars. The sun deck area was very uninviting and the public areas below deck very uninspiring. The coffee lounge was far from intimate and relaxing, but more like the corner of a working mans club. Whilst the cabins where well appointed, the rest of the décor around the ship seemed rather cheap and understated. The atrium had no wow factor and everywhere just seemed crowded with people. Once the evening arrived, things got worse. No room in any of the bars,. We could not see a show because apparently you have to book and they where full. I have never known this before on a cruise ship. I suppose it was the consequence of a very small theatre on a very large ship with thousands of passengers. The chaos at the main free dining room was also a result of the amount of passengers. (goodness knows how they will cope when full) Food should have stopped being served at 9.30 but they where still trying to find empty tables for passengers well after 10.00. The food was uninspiring and not up to the standard we have become accustomed to on other cruise lines. The buffet was a pleasant experience for breakfast and seemed to cope adequately with the numbers. All in all not the greatest of experiences. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Let me start with the positives: great positive attitudes, best bathroom with large shower & love the "trough" style sink, good pillows & bed, great entertainment. Most everything non-smoking including casino. It ends ... Read More
Let me start with the positives: great positive attitudes, best bathroom with large shower & love the "trough" style sink, good pillows & bed, great entertainment. Most everything non-smoking including casino. It ends there. We started in Paris for 3 wonderful days then took the journey from hell to Southampton (10 hours on 2 busses & a train!) to catch the ship. (No - no food/drink) Got to the ship at 4:30 just in time to go to the Munster station ( still no food or drink) Embarkation was anything but pleasantly handled. And let me go forward to say debarkation was a circus! Our "maiden voyage" package included "complimentary 3 specialty restaurants" - what does the word " complimentary " mean to you?? We were Charged for these restaurants because NCL has now set "spending caps" due to changes in the home office. No- we weren't notified of this prior to sailing & yes we fought it but lost that battle ( they eventually gave us an extra $19 toward this) Big Whoop!! Maiden voyage? Never saw anything about this- later learned maiden voyage celebrations (christening the ship, fireworks, etc) would be done After this cruise left Miami. Really?? Entertainment was great! Our favorite was Tenors of Rock that is- if you could get in to see them!!! They have 2 shows ( they need 3!) and sometimes but not always - you needed reservations!! So--spend your valuable vacation time standing in line - twice!! Can't remember EVER having to make reservations to see a show! Sound Volumn in these shows hurtfully loud - & at end of show as all were exiting the "Julie cruise director" always had to make comments while people ( many with canes etc) were attempting to exit in the dark! Main dining room music so loud you could not have a conversation at your table- Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville - great food & atmosphere but at least an hour wait! LaCucina restaurant - terrible! No menu changes for 10 days for breakfast & lunch in the other 2 main restaurants - Taste & Savor. Very very loud open area with very limited seating.internet was a joke!! No deck chairs anywhere except at pool area. And don't think of getting s haircut at the spa - so botched they refunded my money! Not a lot if options during daytime - perfect opportunity for lectures etc. I'm a genuine shopper! A couple high-end specialty shops & very limited gift shop except for tee shirts & $5 Pringles! Didn't spend much time here. Drinks very expensive plus 18% gratuity & always the option for additional tip. All in all - very disappointed in this trip & never intend to sail on this ship again. Decor was ok but nothing exceptional! We are currently booked for another NCL next year but currently looking at other options. NCL really better take care of their people - that's their best asset! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our 3rd cruise on NCL. Our first on NCL was dreadful so we did a second in case the first was just bad luck. The second was equally bad – actually it might have been worse – I forget – so an opportunity to try Escape at a ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on NCL. Our first on NCL was dreadful so we did a second in case the first was just bad luck. The second was equally bad – actually it might have been worse – I forget – so an opportunity to try Escape at a good price £899 for balcony cabin, night in Miami and included drinks package seemed like a chance to see if NCL could redeem themselves. Alas, it was not to be. We got off to a bad start in the departure lounge. We arrived there about 11am. Our two previous cruises on NCL afforded us no advantage so we expected to have to wait. No problem with that. However, it is nothing short of damned annoying when they call you up to join the queue when clearly you are going to be standing queuing for some considerable time. There were plenty of seats to remain seated. We were called up and joined the queue. We waited and waited and waited. At least 40 minutes. Oddly, we were hardly moving and two more sections were called out to join the queue. Why not leave people seated until you know they can go pretty much immediately up to the check-in booths? There was a lady at the entrance demanding to see our ESTAs which we had to find in our hand luggage. I protested but she insisted. All she checked was that the top of the paper said ESTA. No way could she possibly have checked that they were for us. As we snaked around the queue, we arrived near to where she stood. By then the queues were so bad she was just waving passengers through. What was that all about then? Muster practice – to me – was worrying. We didn’t have lifejackets with us – they are not stored in the cabin – and crew members demonstrated how to put them on. If you’ve done a few cruises you’ve probably had a good stab at putting your lifejacket on but the lifejackets are the new standard (which will become law in a few years so expect them across all cruise lines) and my bet is that the vast majority of cruisers, in a panic, in a confined space, maybe in poor light would find it pretty tricky to put them on. We noticed that the crew member had partly prepared his and slipped it on like he was dressing for dinner. It ain’t gonna happen like that, believe me. I think everyone should have had a lifejacket to try. I did raise this later when we had an opportunity to ‘meet the officers’. He listened to my concerns but frankly NCL have made the decision to do it their way and it ain’t going to change anytime soon. Our balcony cabin (I know they call it a stateroom – we were on a ship – it’s a cabin) reminded us immediately of Celebrity. That crafty way they have of alternating cabins with a bed by the window then the next one has a bed nearer the door. Slightly curved or inset walls so they can ‘interleave’ the cabins and thus get more cabins along the deck. The bathroom was large though the shower was on the small side. Nice etched, glass door – so theoretically someone could use the loo whilst the other is showering – both retaining their privacy. Plenty of storage space, cupboards and shelves. As bog standard balcony cabin bathrooms go – pretty good I’d say. No bathrobes but plenty of towels. Two large beach towels doubled up as additional bath towels which could be refreshed out on deck by the pool. Wardrobe space was a joke – we had approximately 3 feet of hanging rail though the last say 8 inches were unusable due to some indentation into the cupboard space. Deep shelves. Not a drawer in sight. We had a sofa bed in our cabin (a 4 berther – a bunk in the ceiling as well) which was right in front of the wardrobe so it wasn’t easy getting at our hanging clothes. God knows how 4 people could share the cabin. We have had 4 berthers years ago with the kids and they were very good (P&O – Aurora/Oriana/Arcadia) so we know a good one when we see one. NCL’s are not good ones for multi occupancy! As the cruise is casual dress code I guess you don’t need a stack of clothes so maybe some passengers found the wardrobes adequate. There are no launderettes on board for DIY washing. I knew this in advance having studied the deck plans. We received two offers during the cruise for a bag full of washing for $19.95. Note, wash not pressing. So put in a few shirts and expect them back crumpled I suppose. I guess we could have filled a bag with a few days’ worth of undies and socks but to be honest it does grate on me. I do like to do my own stuff. So we washed odds and sods through and hung them out on the line in the shower which in the end was quite adequate. During the first night the sea was rough and it was very windy. Throughout the night we were kept awake by an ear splitting whistle coming through the balcony door due to the draft. I couldn’t have faced another night like that so we went to reception and complained. The door clearly needed some adjustment. To be fair, a ‘carpenter’ appeared in no time flat and proceeded to seal up our balcony door with copious lengths of duck tape, promising to return when the wind had dropped to do a ‘proper job’. He never did return so the first 8 days of our cruise we couldn’t use the balcony – though the weather was a bit iffy so that wasn’t too much of a loss. The bed was huge and comfy. Plenty of soft pillows. Our cabin steward was fine, he kept the place lovely though we are a doddle to look after. I tidy up before a steward sets foot in the door! We always take an old card with us to stick by the electric slot so as soon as we come in we can put the lights on and keep both our cards with us – unfortunately ‘our man’ took the card away but fortunately we managed to retrieve it from him later. Later on, we removed the sticky tape so we could use the balcony and stuck it to the frame ready to reapply if it was windy later and the whistling returned. Our cabin steward threw it away saying it made the frame sticky and he needed to clean up. Hm…….I confess I was a bit cross but as husband said at the time – no problem, the carpenter will just have to come back. We had explained the problem to the steward so it wasn’t like we were just sticking tape about the place to be decorative. We ate only twice in a special restaurant – Cagneys Steakhouse was outstanding, Food Republic was OK – just not for us. There are a number of pay-for eateries on board which we find a worrying trend these days. Eventually, I guess the price will just be board only and food will be extra! After about the first 3 days I think the restaurants were pretty booked up. So I imagine many people were disappointed they could not get in. We happened to drift along and got a late booking slot. You can buy packages on board and they did look to be a reasonable price. However, once purchased I guess you’d need to make your bookings so as not to be disappointed. This might be tricky – in my case – I wouldn’t have wanted to book ahead not knowing if the weather was going to be icky. I wouldn’t have wanted to ‘eat out’ on a rough evening. We ate mostly in the main restaurant. We always managed to be seated immediately though we were disappointed that we rarely shared. I guess for some people who like a table for two that is good news, but for us it was a downer. Part of our cruise experience is meeting and chatting with other cruisers. Dress code is casual. Very. As can be expected some passengers take this to an extreme wandering into dinner in t-shirts and knee length shorts looking like they’ve just stood up from a sunbed on deck. It doesn’t bother us but I suspect anyone used to cruising on the more formal cruise lines might find this a bit of a surprise. Some nights the service was just about OK, some nights it was terrible. The staff didn’t seem to know whether they were coming or going. We asked for extra steamed veg and they delivered a plate of a good selection. So top marks for that. Getting a drink was sometimes really painful so the last few nights we got our drinks at a bar and took them in. We frequently couldn’t get our choice of wine being told it had run out. What they really meant was someone hadn’t recognised the stocks were getting low and hadn’t organised replenishment from the stores. Though the last few days our favourite wine really had run out. Generally, the food was pretty good. Not the best we’ve had but certainly not the worst. Fair amount of choice. On the last night we decided to go for lobster and fillet steak as a treat at $24.99 on the a la carte section of the menu. They’d run out of lobster so I queried whether just the steak was available. It was, but for the same price. Do I have mug written across my forehead? I wasn’t paying the same for just the steak so the waitress offered us two pieces of fillet steak for $24.99. To be honest, this was an amazing deal, we think probably better than steak plus lobster. We were able to have a steak each. How peculiar is that? It was absolutely delicious – I regretted not having ordered it earlier in the cruise – though my hips didn’t. Most of the time we ate breakfast in the buffet apart from two mornings when we ventured into the restaurant on deck 6 – mainly because it was so rough I couldn’t face being thrown around on the 16th deck. However, on both occasions the service was unbelievably bad. The second time I confess I totally lost it. I do grow really weary of being told by a cruise line how wonderful they are when clearly they are not. I never used to be one to complain but age has got the better of me. When you’ve had to order a pot of tea twice because it’s stone cold and then the cereal you’ve ordered has run out (for that read, they didn’t recognise it was getting low and hadn’t replenished stocks) and you overhear that the table next door never even got their cereal delivered at all – it was forgotten – and the previous day you waited 40 minutes for a juice – then please forgive me - but I feel justified in complaining. No decaff tea bags on board at all. Thank goodness we had taken our own stocks. We’ve been caught out before on other cruise lines where the decaff tea bags are locked in the safe. Indeed, this was a bit of a joke and we met many other passengers who had bought their own tea bags. Which begs the question – how can you be a 5 star cruise line and passengers feel the need to bring their own tea bags? Thank heavens for the free drinks package. We are not big drinkers but during 10 days at sea we ‘bought’ $505 (£336) worth of drinks. Even on a package you still have to sign for your drinks and out of interest we kept all the receipts and added them up. Wow! The drinks were expensive. One day when our favourite had ‘run out’ they produced a glass of white wine each for us. Kerching…. $36. I nearly fell of my bar stool. That’s £24! That’s more than we pay for a bottle of wine. Well, actually, that’s what we pay for 4 bottles of our favourite wine when it’s on special in the supermarket. Honestly, if you are a serious drinker do not even consider NCL unless the deal includes a free drinks package. Don’t even consider buying a package. It’s just daft, silly money. Only go for included package – for God’s sakes don’t pay for it. We found it really difficult to find somewhere nice to sit and just enjoy a drink. Bars to us seemed either too small and thus always full, or came with some sort of entertainment which we were not interested in listening to. Daytime entertainment was absolutely dire. The first week of weather was bad – pretty rough and windy – so no chance of going outside unless you wanted to wrap up like an eskimo whose igloo roof had been blown off. The best place to mooch about the ship was low and midships – this was the atrium area. It was here that the centre of the daytime entertainment universe existed. There were nowhere near enough seats for everyone who wanted to partake. Every day was the same old activity. A quiz. A demo – towel folding, cake icing etc. A puzzle. You could set your watch by what was happening if you happened to pass by. And astonishingly, occasionally, a film. Who in their wisdom would make the decision to put a film on in an area with hardly any seating? And with overhangs such that even if you got a seat you couldn’t necessarily see the screen. You couldn’t make it up. One day the film was in the theatre – smart move whoever organised that. The entertainment staff in my opinion were poor – I guess I’m getting too picky after too many cruises. One in particular who shall remain nameless nearly drove me potty. He couldn’t read some pretty simple stuff off the screen when announcing answers to the quizzes. I guess some passengers might have thought that rather quaint – my thoughts were – God, is this the best they can employ? The quizzes were totally geared towards the US market. OK, it’s a $ ship but there were a considerable number of Brits on board (also Germans and French). I sat there and thought to myself – if I was an entertainment person on board I’d be generating quizzes suitable for all. Everything was delivered at 150 decibels – why do they have to shout? The PA system was totally unintelligible. Muffled. Thank goodness we didn’t have an emergency. At least, I don’t think we did. If we did, I didn’t hear it. Well, OK, I did hear the code red and the heli-vac but that was probably because at the time we happened to be walking down the corridor from our cabin. Evening entertainment was OK…ish. Our main complaint would be – what’s with this booking to see a show lark? The ship has a ‘Box Office’. Hm….we smelt a rat. If it has a box office then they must be expecting you to book for something. Fortunately, we twigged this on day one and booked our seats. But other passengers we spoke to had totally missed that you had to book for some of the entertainment and thus never got to see it. Frankly, this just isn’t good enough. What are NCL telling us? That they’ve built a theatre too small and can’t accommodate everyone to see a show or can’t they afford to pay the entertainment team to put on more than one show? In the theatre we saw a few shows and one film. We saw a show that was from Las Vegas. Well, OK, if that’s what it was then so be it but frankly it wasn’t our cup of tea. We saw ‘Tenors of Rock’ who were outstanding. There were other shows that were part of a meal package but we didn’t see them so cannot comment. We watched a comedian in the Headliners show bar – he was dire even allowing for the fact it was clearly American humour. He spent a considerable length of time putting down Carnival which frankly we thought unprofessional and actually wasn’t that funny. Wifi was hit and miss. We heard reports that it was really slow but when we came to use it we found it acceptable (for a ship – we’ve known worse). Maybe the Americans are used to seriously speedy broadband speed at home so the ship’s wifi seemed slow to them. But we were OK with it. We had hoped to pre-book our homeward flight seats but on the last day of the cruise there was no wifi whatsoever. News was they were trying to hook up to another satellite. Up to that time chatter was up to the satellite and via Germany. Thus the slow speed I guess. PAYG - $0.95 per minute. Other (expensive) packages available but not much good if no satellite! I guess be prepared to do without. Wifi in Mc Donalds in Miami was top notch – best Mc D’s wifi ever we reckoned. We found there to be a bit of a language difficulty with the crew. They were doing their best under pressure – clearly there are not enough crew on board. When the sun came out so did the passengers. Acres of sunbeds and hardly an inch between them. We are not ‘into’ sunbathing so it didn’t bother us but I guess for the serious sun worshippers it could have been a pain. Husband ‘did’ the ropes and said it was good fun. We both ‘did’ the tubes and had great fun. The number of times we went round was restricted by the number of times we could climb the steps to get to the top of the slide. For us the limit was eight! Oh, be fair, there were a fair few number of flights. We noticed on the last day when the weather really warmed up that the tubes were really busy and the inflatable rings that you rode on had run out. We were glad we had had our turn the day before. So, after 10 days at sea we berthed in Miami. More fun was about to begin. We were due off at 9am. We didn’t have to vacate our cabin until 9am – a BIG PLUS point. Other cruise lines take note please. Our colour was called and we joined the queue to disembark. Except we went nowhere fast. We must have stood there for some 10 minutes or so (bear in mind we are pretty able – others around us are not so lucky) when an announcement went out to say that shore side had requested that no more passengers be allowed off as it was too busy. This gave us a feeling of impending doom – we disembarked in Miami off RCI in 2002 which was absolutely the worst disembarkation in our lives – surely things had improved in 13 years. In your dreams. We had no idea how long the delay was going to be for so remained in the queue. We waited and waited and waited. Occasional announcements were made that we were not allowed ashore. Eventually, after a good half hour, the queue started to move. Very slowly. Bear in mind, by this time the general area was heaving with people. Nowhere for people to sit. In their wisdom an announcement was made for the next colour to disembark. What planet are they on? Are the crew all blind? Can they not see that the queue is snaking round the ship and adding another colour will achieve nothing other than pandemonium? Just as we get to the point of disembarkation they call yet another colour. This seems to be a feature of NCL – they do like you to stand ‘in line’. I guess it must make them feel good. It sure does nothing for the passenger. As an aside we noticed day after day endless queues at reception. What are all the problems that passengers are queueing up to have fixed? Or are they queueing to report something good? We don’t understand it. You don’t see endless queues on P&O ships. Say no more. Could it get any worse? Yes. Our baggage was ‘Gray’. Silly us. If we’d known that ‘Gray’ was going to be stowed away from the other colours we’d have pretended we had an 8am flight and got an earlier colour stowed in the main hall. It was an unbelievable fight to retrieve our baggage. Again, we are able but we felt sorry for those less able than ourselves. The NCL staff shore side were useless. I asked where ‘Gray’ was and the lad said he didn’t know. I suggested he find out which just resulted in a scowl. Honestly, NCL are not alone in this, cruise lines really need to learn that just throwing you off the ship and leaving you to it is not being customer friendly. How difficult is it for crew to familiarise themselves with shore side proceedings so they can help you out. It surely would only take 10 or 15 minutes. There were 10 booths at border control – one was closed and one was for US citizens. So we had 8 booths available for us all. Each pair of passengers took about 3 to 4 minutes. We stood ‘in line’ for an hour to get through. All in all it took us pretty much 2 hours to get off the ship and be on our way. It hadn’t finished. We needed a taxi. There were none. We queried this with the ‘taxi lady’ and she said that she had been told that all passengers had disembarked the ship and thus no more taxis were required. So they’d been sent back to the taxi park. Honestly, who are these people who organise all this stuff? Just because all the passengers are off the ship doesn’t mean no more taxis are required. There are probably another 1000 passengers still looking for their luggage and waiting to go through border control. We booked the cruise late and cheap. Though I think actually some people managed even a better deal than us. You can argue we got what we paid for. We paid cheap and got cheap. I’ll bet a good few passengers didn’t get it cheap and I’d be interested to see what they report. Surely Escape is billed as a 5 star ship. Thank God we didn’t pay top prices. For what we paid we had a good break, good food, poor daytime entertainment, not too bad evening entertainment (spoilt by this having to book nonsense), a lovely bathroom, not the best balcony cabin ever, nice new furnishings, a friendly enough crew working under difficult circumstances, sky high drinks prices saved by free drinks package, shortage of wine and the usual welcome to the USA. As a bonus, when we flew home (Virgin to Heathrow) the flight was half empty. We were all allowed to take what seats we wanted and thus I had a row of 3 seats to myself to kip on. Bliss! In case anyone asks, no we didn’t remove our gratuities though some days I came close to it and we spoke to passengers who had. The crew have to put in terrible hours, really long contract periods and put up with some seriously weird passengers. I sincerely hope that the gratuities do get into the hands of the crew. They all deserve it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
I Arrived in Gatwick 2 days early and stayed at the Hampton Inn on the airport property. This was very convenient for getting to the port. I chose Bus transportation but either bus or train is very convenient from this location. ... Read More
I Arrived in Gatwick 2 days early and stayed at the Hampton Inn on the airport property. This was very convenient for getting to the port. I chose Bus transportation but either bus or train is very convenient from this location. Unfortunately, other than my excellent room steward, the service on this transatlantic left much to be desired. This was my fourth transatlantic cruise in the past five years and I have never been on a cruise that was so poorly planned for. The wine selections were extremely limited and the drinks were extremely weak. Almost every day a waiter would tell someone in my group that a requested item was not available. I generally eat at Le Bistro at least once on a cruise, but when I saw part of the seating located in a very busy hallway area I chose not to. Also this was advertised as an Inaugural Transatlantic Cruise. It seemed more like a vacation for senior staff. However, the Headliner comedy entertainment, "After Midnight", and "Million Dollar Quartet" were excellent, though other performers were lacking. Embarkation for me was simple once I was able to convince the greeter I was a Gold Latitudes member but it did seem confusing for others. Disembarkation had to be halted but I was not in a hurry so I came off late. Overall it was disappointing, but ok. If this is as good as Norwegian can do on their newest ship I don't know how many more times I will sail with them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
We have cruised with Norwegian several times in Alaska, Caribbean, and Europe. All of them as a Haven guest. We are fun loving people who like to dance, explore, and enjoy the people around us. We had high expectations as our ... Read More
We have cruised with Norwegian several times in Alaska, Caribbean, and Europe. All of them as a Haven guest. We are fun loving people who like to dance, explore, and enjoy the people around us. We had high expectations as our experiences aboard the Epic was excellent. However, this we very disappointing. The boarding, the shows, the dancing, the food, and the haven experience are fully reviewed below. Bottom line - This feels more like a floating mall with food quality falling purposely to push the customers to all the additional paid restaurants. The service is suffering because it is obviously understaffed. Everything is focused on shutting down the night life after 11:00. 1. The Haven boarding experience was disastrous. Typically they greet you, you have refreshments and they walk you to your cabin. There was nobody to greet us to explain the process, then we stood in line in the haven area with no refreshments for over an hour, they did not have our keys ready, the guests in the haven waiting area were all extremely upset, some people who waited over 2 hours, people checking in through the regular lines got on much faster. While this is a new ship, the process is the same for the Norwegian cruise lines. 2. The Shows: Boring. Our reviews below. "After Midnight" It was a documentary of an evening at the Harlem Cotton Club back in the 20'/30's in its hay day. They had talented people but it was not entertaining. I was as choreographer and dancer in my hay day. It is a shame to waste all the costumes and talent on something that is not entertaining. If feel asleep after the first hour. The only saving grace was one routine by a single women "Don't advertise your man". My wife thought it would of been ok, if the show was only 50 mins long. 1 and half hours was too long. "Million Dollar Quartet" It was a documentary of Sun records with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, ????. The people who impersonated the stars were very talented. This again was not entertaining. If it wasn't for the Jerry Lee Lewis character, I would of went to sleep. This was another show which would of benefited from a 50 minute length instead of 1 and half hours. "Brat Pack" We canceled after the first 2 disappointing shows. The shows aboard the Nowegian Epic are entertaining and great "Blue Man Group" & "Cirque du Soleil" 3. Dancing - My favorite activity - Disappointing. I dance to everything Disco, Swing, Caribbean, Country, big Band, Latin, even house music. There was no dance club at all. "The Manhattan room" This is an elegant room which is used for drop-in dining. It has a great dance floor with an beautiful dance floor. Unfortunately 2/3 of the dance floor is covered with tables. The 3 person band was not playing dance music. They are excellent musicians who were into playing their own music. The varied the speed of the music which makes it difficult to dance. They play for 45 mins and take 15 to 30 mins breaks. Not appropriate for a night of dancing. "Outside by the pool" - Daytime - this was ok, but the pool area was packed. The area was too small for this size ship. Great dance music on the first day. "Atrium" - They would 2 or 3 piece bands playing music but they occupied the entire dance floor. The said you could dance up there with them but please be careful of the cables which run to the speakers at the front the dance floor. Dismal. "H2O Spice" Back of the ship outside. At night they would have a rave like party with music. However, it was house music which they focus on putting your hand in the air and jumping. The music switches constantly like a person with ADHD who can't decide which song to choose. It was hot and sweaty. This is great if you are a teen or 20 something. When the ship was underway on the second day, the exhaust from the ship was terrible. 4. The food - The standard food was ok and uninspired. It suffered from sitting around. The food was much better during the old days of giving you an set dining time with multiple choices of great; Appetizers, Soup, Salad, Entrees, dessert. It seems like they purposely push you to: "If you want a good meal, you now have to pay additional to go to one of their specialty restaurants.". Cagney - Took too long between courses - Slow service but food was good. Teppanyaki was excellent and the cooks were entertaining. The Manhattan room - free but the meal was ok but they offered several up charges for your entre:i.e. Prime rib at a cost of $20. 5. The Haven - This is really disappointing. The changes were disappointing for all returning haven guests. We paid for a haven experience but received much less. a. Boarding experience was disastrous as explained previously b. They would not serve you food on the private pool deck. c. The haven staff was gone by 11:00 pm. The bar closed at 11:00, the concierge closed at 8:00 PM, the dining closed 9:30. This upset many of the haven guests. d. The private dining room was always overbooked and you had to wait 30-45 mins. this never happened on the Epic. e. We had a haven room but it was not in the haven. We were on deck 12 at the front of the ship. The have was on deck 17 and 18. It took 128 steps from our room to the elevator then we had to go up 5 floors. We did not expect this. I would not book the haven unless it was in the haven area. f. There was never staff around to help with towels and drinks. Previously they had all kinds of snacks, candy, water, and service. g. The outside haven area is boring. It was great on the Epic. You could overlook the pool and see what was going on. You had private elevators down to the pool area. h. The have obviously over extended the haven service to other rooms in the ship. This has negatively affected the service level of the haven experience. 6. The late night dining experience is dismal and a complete failure. Everything is shutdown except for O'Shehans and room service. O'Shehans has several food items and a couple of desserts. However it seems purposely understaffed. The tables are always filled with dirty dishes. The servers will tell you it will take 30 mins for soda and get your order taken and another hour for food. After dancing late night you would like to get something to eat with your friends. They make this a terrible experience. They need to have an open bar and grill with burgers, fries, hot dogs, pizza, and ice cream. They should have several areas with easy access ice cream machines. There seems to be an increase of pay as you go items, restaurant, video arcade, candle pins, ski ball, and casino machines. On a lighter note - If you are first time cruise person, you may enjoy this boat with water slides, a nice ropes course, buffet dining, drop in dining and beautiful ship. Experienced Haven guests will not like this. Several of the Haven guests all felt the same way. one was embarrassed because they brought their extended family to try the new ship. There was one incident which was also a black eye for Norwegian. A young man was sitting at a bar with a friend on the ship. Another man approached him and punched him in the face. The young man had to get stitches. The good news: they threw the other man off the ship at the next port. The bad news: they gave the young man a doctors bill for $1,800 and told him he could not get off the ship unless he paid the bill. He obviously could not pay this bill. Any other business in the US would of been glad to take care of this bill since it happened on their property. They even had video footage of the whole incident which showed the young man was minding his own business when this happened. Shame on Norwegian!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I love cruising but haven't been able to go in the past 5 years because our kids were too little and our oldest daughter, who is now 6 years old, has cerebral palsy and we were too scared to bring her on a ship. We got ... Read More
My husband and I love cruising but haven't been able to go in the past 5 years because our kids were too little and our oldest daughter, who is now 6 years old, has cerebral palsy and we were too scared to bring her on a ship. We got to go on our last cruise with Royal when she was 1, but we left her at home with my parents. We were tired of seeing our friends get to go on cruises without us so we finally bit the bullet and booked the Escape for our family of 5. We also traveled with two other groups of friends. We were excited to say the least! Unfortunately NCL fell flat on just about everything. We were expecting there to be a few growing pains since the ship was brand new, but there was no reason for the awfulness that we encountered. Overall this huge ship just feels small. There isn't anything grand about it. Nothing feels "big". The decor was nice but nothing to write home about. CHILDCARE: The Escape boasts that they have child care for 1 year olds, "the first in their fleet!" What they don't tell you is that it costs an additional $20 per session, and the sessions only last 1hr & 50min. Not even a full 2hrs! There were only a couple sessions per day. This information was never relayed to us at any point until we were signing her up for the child care on the ship. I couldn't find it anywhere on their website either. The only reason we booked this ship at all was because they had child care for that age group so I didn't mind paying a full ticket for a baby who wouldn't even be eating any food. They also limit the number of babies in the 1 year olds room to 10, so you have to book the times you would like the babysitting in advance to insure they have availability. I had no freakin' clue what we were going to be doing that night, let alone two days later. They said they limit the number of babies to keep the ratio of babies to caretakers at 2 to 1. Which is nice in theory, but entirely unnecessary. 3 to 1, or even 4 to 1, would have been perfectly manageable. Paying for the childcare pissed me off to no end and set the tone for the whole cruise. The child care for our 3 year old was okay, he loved it while he was there! the problem is that it only lasts 3 hours and then you need to pick them up for a 2 hour break! So as soon as you are getting settled in somewhere it's time to go pick up the kids again! The real kicker came when we had the baby and our older kids in the child care at the "same" time. We had to pick up our 2 older kids at 12:00pm for their 2 hour break, but the babies child care went till 12:20. So we either had to pick the baby up early and lose out on 20 minutes of child care that we had payed for, or walk around for 20 minutes with our other 2 kids which defeats the whole purpose of having the baby in the child care to begin with. At the very least they should make all the child care hours the same. The staggered times were just stupid, whoever came up with that did not think it through at all. Child care for our 6 year old daughter who has cerebral palsy, is wheelchair bound, and is completely non-verbal was way below the standard that I would expect from such a huge company. We've been spoiled by Disney I guess who will bend over backwards to accommodate for any special need. The childcare at my local Gym is better than what NCL provided for her. They offered her zero accommodations and told us that they did mostly high energy games, and played loud music so she wouldn't be able to participate since they offer absolutely no one on one help, no acceptations. I asked if she could be put in the same class as her younger brother since he at least would play with her and help push her around, but I was denied. When I dropped her off and pushed her through the gate that goes into the kids section they just left her there until I pointed out that they will at the very least need to push her chair into the kids room. The girl who I was talking to was not happy that she would need to assist my daughter even in this minor way, we were an obvious inconvenience to her. I would never recommend NCL to anyone with a child with any disability. FOOD & DINNING: The buffet was average cruise food. The one thing that was absolutely awful was the scrambled eggs for breakfast. They were the consistency of soggy oatmeal and tasted even worse than they looked. We dinned at the Churrascaria restaurant which was pretty good and we were fine with paying the additional $25/head. Just make sure you make reservations! All of the other pay restaurants were booked so we didn't get to try them. We went to TASTE for breakfast one morning and wish we had stuck to the buffet with the soggy eggs! We waited over an hour to get our food. The server brought us only one set of silverware for both my husband and I, I couldn't get anyones attention so I got up and went to the server station myself to get what I needed. No one even noticed. We were never offered any water and our server wasn't anywhere to be found to ask for some, so we had to choke down our breakfast that took an hour to get to us. I guess the food was hiding in a hot box in the back because the mint garnish on my waffles had shriveled up to a crisp and had turned black. On our last night we went to FOOD REPUBLIC. It's a shame we didn't find it earlier! It was amazing! The service was great & the food was fantastic. If you decide to give the Escape a go, this restaurant is a must. We would have gone here for every single meal and gladly paid the extra $$. The whole ship seemed understaffed, but none as much as the bars on the ship. My average wait time for a drink was around 20-30 min. This was the resounding experience from everyone I talked to on the ship as well. They ran out of tequila by day two. SHOWS: We saw the million dollar quartet. It was okay but I fell asleep half way though. The acoustics in the theatre were pretty awful, that or the sound guy needs to find a different job. We had reservations to see after midnight but had heard such horrible things about it from every single person that had seen it that we opted to go to the comedy club instead. The comedy club at Headliners was great. We didn't make reservations but were able to get in by waiting in the standby line. The show was hilarious! I was in tears I was laughing so hard. Landry, the headlining act single handedly saved this cruise for me and is the only reason I'm not giving a one star rating. The ropes corse would have been cooler if 2 out of the three zip lines hadn't been closed. I have much more to say but i think you get the gist, everyone we talked to, young and old, with and without kids, were all saying the same thing. That they will never go on NCL after this trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
So much expectation and such a bad experience! Everything badly overcrowded, not enough common areas for this number of passengers. We had ultimate food package but in 1 hour after getting to the ship, we couldn't make restaurant ... Read More
So much expectation and such a bad experience! Everything badly overcrowded, not enough common areas for this number of passengers. We had ultimate food package but in 1 hour after getting to the ship, we couldn't make restaurant reservations, everything was booked! As a result, we couldn't have dinner on 2nd night, on 1st and 3rd nights we had dinners in restaurants we didn't want and on time we didn't like. Except buffet nothing was available even for lunch. Even on deck restaurant we were offered 1.5 hr wait. Pool size is a joke for this ship; elevators you have to wait forever; even getting a drink was a challenge. We cruised on NCL Sky and Pearl several times before and used to love this cruise line. 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
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
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
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This cruise was the first cruise in 10 years for my wife and I, and the first ever cruise for our 6 year old daughter. For the last 10 years, we have been timesharing, as we are Marriott Vacation Club owners in Aruba and NJ. My cruise ... Read More
This cruise was the first cruise in 10 years for my wife and I, and the first ever cruise for our 6 year old daughter. For the last 10 years, we have been timesharing, as we are Marriott Vacation Club owners in Aruba and NJ. My cruise history is 3 previous cruises on Royal Caribbean, and my wife has been on 6 cruises. Two of her cruises were on Royal with me, and the other 4 were split from Norwegian and Carnival. MIA Transfer and Embarkation: We decided to go with the NCL transfer, as we’ve done that in the past and it was smooth. This time, it was also very smooth. There was a NCL rep waiting at the baggage claim for our flight with a sign. She walked us over to their desk, tagged our bags and asked us to sit down until the next bus was available. It took about 20 minutes for the bus to arrive, and then we walked about 100 yards to get to the bus. NCL handled the bags from the time they tagged them until they showed up in our cabin. The bus trip was pretty quick and the driver was entertaining. There were lots of people in line at the port. The first line is for security. Here, you need to show your cruise doc to prove you are a passenger, then you go through security, just like going through TSA for a flight. After this, you go into another line to “register” for the cruise and obtain your onboard ID/cabin cards. Then, you go upstairs and get into another line to wait to be called to go onto the ship. This is in a large sitting area, so you can also just sit and hang out. The security line was about 20 minutes, then 15 minutes to register, then 10 minutes before getting on the ship. As we boarded, there was a lot of island type music playing, and friendly staff greeting us onboard. We went right to our cabin to put down our carry bags and then headed up to the Garden Cafe for lunch, as it was about 1:30pm. Cabin (5164 Family Oceanview/10246 Balcony): We booked the O1 midship (5164). The cabin was similar to the floorplan images available on NCL.com. It seemed plenty spacious. There was a decent separation between the queen bed and childs sleeping area. We just used the couch that converted to bed for our daughter. There was also a drop-down bunk from the ceiling. The bathroom was very good size. It was probably the size of a older home (60s/70s) full bathroom. There is a full tub/shower instead of a stall, and the sink is a double sink. There was also plenty of shelving/cabinet space in there. They provide shower shampoo/conditioner and body soap, as well as liquid hand soap at the sink. Just note that if you are taller than 6’2”, you will have to hunch over to fit in the shower. I’m 6’0” and there was probably 2 inches above my head in the shower. Our daughters favorite part of the cabin was the large window area. She would actually sit up there and shut the curtain, and play on her tablet while we were in the cabin. She loved it. I don’t really have anything negative to say about the actual cabin, other than the room between the foot of the bed and the wall, which is less than a foot. We did have a problem with this cabin though. UNBELIEVABLE NOISE!!!! This cabin is below the Atrium’s seating area between the internet kiosks and the guest services area. That seating area has about 4 sofas and 12-16 chairs. Each of the first 4 nights, there was an activity going on in the Atrium lounge area at the big screen. We didn’t really hear anything from the activity. However, during these activities, we did hear people moving all of the furniture from the window area that it is meant to be over near the middle of the ship. The dragging of the furniture literally sounded like we were in a metal box while the roof of that box was being ripped off. It was as loud as someone yelling right next to you. Needless to say, it woke us up. Waking up my wife and I is fine. Waking up my 6 year old, I get upset. This would go on from about 9pm to 2am. The activities weren’t that long, but the furniture would be moved several times, maybe some pieces at different times, throughout that timeframe. This caused my daughter to wake up, be in a daze and cry. It also caused all of the other children in the surrounding cabins to wake up. There were smaller kids in the cabins around us. Those kids, from no fault of their own, would start screaming for the next 15 minutes until their parents would calm them down. Then it would happen all over again 20-60 minutes later. And so on... We were moved to cabin 10246 (BC mid) on Wednesday. I’ll get to that later (see Issues). This cabin, having a balcony, felt substantially smaller than the O1. There was no separation between our bed and our daughters bed. We were about 10 inches away from each other. There was more room between the foot of the bed and the wall. There was also a lot less clothing storage. The O1 had a TON of clothing storage in lots of drawers and 3 closets. The BC had 1 closet and less than half the drawers of the O1. We made it work. The shower in the BC had at least 4” more height than the O1. The shower is a stall, the overall bathroom is probably half the size of the O1 bathroom. A lot less shelving, obviously. The ship: The ship is large, as we know. One thing I was worried about was how packed it would feel on the ship. Even though it is larger, I was worried with the number of guests that would be on the ship. I never really felt like it was packed. There is enough space on the ship for people to spread out. The layout was pretty standard for many ships. But, I never really got the lay of the land throughout the week. I think this may be because of all the dining options, you are never always going to the same place. We went to restaurants on 6, 7, and 8 for dinner. Some are midship, some are aft. We were always trying to find signage or something that showed which way to go. But the signage only existed at the elevators. The signage was also not laid out very nicely, IMO. If you come down a staircase, you have to either know which way to go, or go to the elevators to find out where to go. I tried the ropes course on the morning we were arriving in Nassau. I could see Nassau in the distance while up there, so it was cool. I am not really a fan of heights, so it was a little nerve racking for me, but it was very fun overall. I did 2 of the zip lines, including one that swings out past the edge of the ship. I was very nervous to do that one. I did not do either of the planks, as I watched a 12yo do it, and wanted to puke just from seeing him do it. The pools were somewhat disappointing. Of the 2 pools on deck 16, they are both pretty small. Neither are really for swimming, just wading around. The pool by the aqua park is tagged the kids pool and the other is adult only. Out at sea, the ship rocks so much that it was also nearly impossible to wade in one spot, so we were being smashed into everyone else around us. On one day, the rocking was so bad that the water was going out of the pool onto the deck, rising 3 feet on either end. It was more like a wave pool, and not really safe for younger kids. The kids pool is 5’0” at one end and 5’7” at the other. So your kid has to either know how to swim or wear a life jacket, so plan for that if you have younger kids. I stayed in the pool with my daughter at all times as she is a novice swimmer. The elevators did not seem to be configured properly. Both forward and aft had 8 elevators (for most floors). Each bank of 8 was configured in two separate groups of 4. Because of this, everyone would push up/down on both banks. This means you will likely be stopping at several floors to pick someone up, but there is nobody there because they already got on the other bank of 4. Expect to stop at almost every floor on your elevator journeys. I am not a smoker. I, personally, find the faintest smell of smoke disgusting. As many have discussed on this forum, the rules were switched in the casino about smoking. I spent as little time as possible in the casino, while walking through, so I don’t know where the smoking area is or isn’t. But, it doesn’t matter where it is or isn’t. I smelled smoke on decks 6/7/8 forward to aft. For us, this meant if we wanted to go to the shops on 8, we were smelling smoke the whole time. Same for anything along these 3 floors. The most disappointing part of this, for us, was when we walked out of the door of Teppanyaki. As we opened the door to exit the restaurant, we were immediately hit with smoke smell. For a non-smoker, this is not the greatest thing after eating a nice meal. I felt even worse for the diners at Le Bistro that were sitting in the seats out in front of the restaurant. They had to eat in that smell. I’ll also say that when we were on deck 5, we smelled smoke all around the elevator/stair area, and slightly less in the hallways to our cabin. We did not experience the same thing on deck 10. Dining: We ate at several different locations on the ship. The food, for the most part, was good to very good. Some places were not good at all. For breakfast, we went to the Garden Cafe every day except for one day. The Garden Cafe food was decent, but it was the same list of items every day. The other day, we went to O’Sheehans. My food was good, and my wife liked her food. My daughter would not eat the scrambled eggs they made her. My wife tried them and said they were also disgusting. We ended up going up to the Garden Cafe afterwards to get my daughter some food. But, honestly, the scrambled eggs up there were exactly the same, so we didn’t eat those all week. We did have the omelet chef make scrambled eggs one day, which were good. For lunch, we ate at the Garden Cafe almost every day as well. Again, the list of items was almost the same every day. The desserts differed. The food was decent, like breakfast. There is nothing I had that I said, this is really good. We weren’t expecting culinary gems though. We did attempt to go to Margaritaville twice, but never wanted to wait for the 90 minute wait. Our dinner was different almost every night. We had some very good food at dinner. My favorite would probably be a tie between Teppanyaki and Cagneys. I had the 8oz. filet at Cagneys, which was fantastic. I had the Azura (filet and lobster) at Teppanyaki, which was also fantastic. My wife loved Teppanyaki as well. We really liked the food at all the specialties we went to. In all, we did Cagney’s, La Cucina, Moderno and Teppanyaki. We had the 4UDP for the 2 of us. At each of the specialties, except for Moderno, our daughter had a kids menu item. However, unlike the information we read on NCL.com, at Moderno and Teppanyaki, it is up to the Matre d’s discretion as to whether you can get a kids meal. We only had to beg at Teppanyaki. At Moderno, our daughter actually ate the meats sent around. She ate plain filet mignon and they also cooked her a chicken breast without bacon wrapped around it. She loved both. Because she ate so little, they did not charge us for her, which was a nice surprise. There are 2 complaints I have for the dining. First, we had reservations for each night. We were never seated within 20 minutes of our reservation. We made reservations for a reason. Either because we are used to eating on the early side with our daughter, or because we had a show or something else scheduled on the same day. The worst was at Manhattan Room. We had a 5:30 reservation there on Saturday and Thursday nights. We arrived 10-15 minutes early each night. The fact that they had 1 person available at the first desk to get people through the line was not good. With so many people attempting to go to this main dining room, they should have 2 lines, one for reservations and one for walk-in. Because they didn’t, there were several groups of people that did not have reservations, but were seated ahead of us. I know this because on Saturday night, I thought that maybe the line was for walk-in, and we could walk right up to the desk for our reservation. But when I got up there, the woman said, you’ll have to go to the back of the line. I asked, do all these people have reservations? She said, reservations do not matter, we seat everyone as they come. HUH?!? What’s the purpose of the reservation then? As we walked back to the end of the line, I asked several people if they had reservations and many of them said no. At the other venues, there was always a few families trying to walk-in without a reservation and they would argue with the staff for several minutes, stopping them from seating anyone, so it took a long time to get seated for our reservations. Again, only one person serving the front of the restaurant. My second complaint is about the drinks. We had the soda package, as my wife is not a big drinker. I like to get a drink or two at dinner. Whether we ordered soda or alcohol, or both, it took forever to get our drinks. It took even longer if we wanted a refill. Ports: On St. Thomas, we took at taxi to Secret Harbour. This is a $20pp ride, each way. We hadn’t been there before, but I read about it on TripAdvisor as a great place to go. We thought the place was great. It was not too busy. There is a nice restaurant and bar right there, as well as bathroom/changing area. There is also a nice “surf shop” there where we rented snorkeling gear. The water and beach are was very nice. My daughter and I snorkeled for a while and she loved seeing the fish in the water. We ate and had drinks at the restaurant. The food was pretty good. At Tortola, we took a taxi to Brewers Bay. This is a $8pp ride, each way. Again, we went there due to TripAdvisor info. This beach was awesome. The sand beach and sand in the water was so nice. It is not a large beach, but it was not busy at all. We rented a lounge chair for $5. On the other hand, the restaurant/bar looked so run down that I don’t think anyone got any food or drinks, except beer in the bottle. The bathrooms were disgusting. Only 1 of the 2 was functional. When you take your kids in the bathroom, there will be some education for them written in black marker on the walls. How to go to the bathroom as a male and female, where, and what to do afterwards. Nassau was our only pre-paid excursion. My daughter loves dolphins, so we did the shallow water dolphin interaction. While the time in the water with the dolphins was very short, less than 30 minutes, she loved it, and so did we. When we booked on NCL.com, the details said our excursion was 1pm-3pm. But when we arrived, we were given bracelets for 3:11pm with the dolphins. We sat around at the port for about an hour before getting on a bus. We had 90 minutes to waste, so we had access to the Cove Beach area. We went out on the beach, found some nice seashells, and then we asked if our bracelets also allowed us to go into the pool. The staff said it was fine, so we hung out there for an hour. After the excursion, the staff didn’t tell us how to get back to the ship, so it took us some time to figure that out. There was a ton of traffic getting back to the ship. The driver said it was because it was Friday night and everyone is heading to bars as well as the locals heading to cash their paychecks. Once back to the port, my daughter had her hair braided because she loves that. Entertainment: We went to After Midnight Issues: In the cabin section above, I mentioned that the O1 cabin was way too noisy. It truly was to the point of unacceptable. We travel several times per year, so we know that you have to expect surrounding noise, but this was to another level. After the first night, I went up to Guest Services (GS) and asked them if they could stop guests from moving all of the furniture because of the noise. I was told that it was impossible that the furniture was moved because “that furniture is always in a specific layout, so is not moved”. I informed the GS rep that I came up during the night to see that it was causing the noise, and was again told that it was not possible and I did not know what I was talking about. This was the first of our bad experiences. I go into these interactions as polite as possible because I deal with customers all the time in my line of work, and I know that the more polite you are, the best resolution you’ll get. But, that didn’t seem to matter. This is when we went to O’Sheehans for breakfast. The waiter was not good. First, it took well over 5 minutes to come to our table. There were only 5 other tables seated in the entire place and several wait staff on duty. When he asked for our order, we asked if it was possible to get scrambled eggs for our daughter. They aren’t on the menu there. His response was, “well, we do have a menu, which I can see you are reading, and scrambled eggs is not on the menu.” He could have simply said that we need to order what is on the menu. So I said, “I’m sorry we asked.” He then said that he would ask, but don’t get our hopes up. They did get us scrambled eggs, so the attitude from him was not needed. There were several other occasions when the staff was either rude, had an attitude or was just clueless about things they should know about. When we got to Tortola, it started pouring. We stayed in until it stopped. Once it stopped, we headed down to the gangway to get off the ship. On our walk down the gangway, my wife was behind my daughter and I. When my wife got to the bottom of the gangway, she slid on the metal, her legs going out from under her, and she slammed down on her side on the gangway ramp and the concrete pier. An officer of some sort came running down the gangway, asked if we were OK, took down our names and cabin number, and asked if we needed medical attention. My wife was very sore, but felt she was OK. He said, we could go to the infirmary at any point, completely free. We said we would see how the day went and go if needed when we got back. He said, go any time as it would be documented. We had our nice day in Tortola, but my wife’s hip, arm and ankle became all black and blue. She had a large cut on her ankle. When we got back, we went up to the infirmary, hoping to just be checked out and maybe get some anti-inflammatory. We found that the hours are 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening each day. There was a phone to call for immediate assistance. I called. I was asked for our cabin number and the issue. I informed the medical staff what happened on the gangway and that my wife had lots of bruising and some cuts and wanted to be checked out. The response I got was, “well, this is certainly not a medical emergency, so feel free to come back during the hours that are posted on the door to the infirmary.” I asked if she was kidding and she said no. I couldn’t believe it. After the third time I went up to ask about the chair movement, we ended up getting a call from the GS Manager. She said they wanted to move us. We ended up moving Wednesday evening. We were told to go pack our bags and call them. We did. They said they were sending someone to get our bags and move us, immediately. We waited at our door with all our bags for about 20 minutes. Several officers (staff in white suits) walked by us without saying anything. That’s fine, as it wasn’t there job. Then, another one stops and asks us if we needed help. He was the Director of Food & Beverages. We told him what was going on and he made a quick call. 3 minute later, someone showed up. The Director asked why it took so long, and the response was, I just got the request to move them 30 seconds ago. While we were waiting, we were talking about why we were moving. He told us that they always use the first several weeks to identify the noisy cabins, and then block those off for future cruises, unless demand required them. He said the whole stretch of cabins we were in were being identified as noisy cabins. He ended up sending us some chocolate covered strawberries in the new cabin. He was great. We got a call the first night in the new cabin at about 10:30pm. We were all sleeping. The GS rep told us that we had an emergency in our cabin and we needed to inform them what it was. My wife answered the phone and she was confused. She didn’t know if he meant there is an emergency, or if he was asking us if there was an emergency. After several attempts of trying to find out the true nature of the call, she told me to get on the phone. He was saying that they have an alarm going off down at the GS desk saying that we have an emergency in our cabin. I asked what kind of emergency and he said he didn’t know, that’s why he called. He then asked if we were all OK and I said yes. He then asked me to turn off the emergency alarm by pressing the green button near the door for 7 seconds. There was no button and I attempted to tell him that over and over. He started laughing and said not to worry about anything, and they would fix it in the morning. I went back to bed, but my wife was worried that something was wrong in our cabin. I got dressed, went downstairs and talked to the guy that called. He told me to listen for the alarm. I heard it. We then walked over to that part of the desk where the alarm message screen is. He then says, there are 4 cabins with alarms right now, and I will read them off to you. Cabin X, Cabin Y, Cabin Z and your cabin, cabin 10846. I said, I’m in 10246. Again, he started laughing and said not to worry about anything. I asked, does this mean that someone in 10846 truly has an emergency and you better contact them or get someone up there ASAP? He got embarrassed and started to call that cabin as I left. Simple mistake, but late in the evening, and he could have avoided it by being detailed in what he did. Especially when I told him we didn’t have the green button (only in handicap accessible rooms), he should have realized the mistake. Moving our cabin was great. I never asked them to do that, but they did, and it was nice. It caused some additional issues though. GS never informed housekeeping that we moved, so it took until Friday, when we called, to get our cabin made up and get new towels, etc. Because we switched cabins, our photos got all messed up and was a hassle to figure out. The room credit was all messed up, so we couldn’t figure out what our true cabin credit was via the TV. Our reservations were not moved over, so they also were not on the Vacation Planner on the TV. I had to call and have them tell me all of our reservations, as I didn’t bring my laptop on the cruise. We also didn’t get any disembarking documentation or tags for our paid transfer. We needed to go get that from the GS. They said they sent it to our old cabin. None of this is very major stuff, but add it all up and it was annoying. We did get a call from the GS Manager on the last night of the cruise telling us that she understands we experienced several unacceptable issues on the cruise. She said she documented all of what happened to us from her staff and the experience itself. She sent it to corporate and I will be hearing from them about future cruise credits. I thanked her. Overall experience: We did have a great vacation. Would we knowingly select to go back on NCL again, after this experience, NO. Will we cruise again, not sure. We really love our timeshares and the other dozens of Marriott Vacation Club locations we have been to. We’ll see. We talked to several people on the cruise, both on the ship and on the islands. Almost everyone we spoke to had similar complaints as us about the staff being bad. One guy said he felt the UBP was a rip-off because there are so few bartenders at each bar, it takes 20 minutes to get a drink, so you can’t even make good use of it. That’s not the staff itself, but lack of staff. We loved our family time, met some very nice people on this trip. Its certainly at the bottom or near the bottom in overall experience for us though. Not what we were expecting. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our 5th Cruise. 2 With Carnival (Fantasy, and a mid size who's name escapes me) and 2 with Disney (Magic). We had a fabulous time and a great vacation despite the ship/staff which we found lacking in many ways. The ... Read More
This was our 5th Cruise. 2 With Carnival (Fantasy, and a mid size who's name escapes me) and 2 with Disney (Magic). We had a fabulous time and a great vacation despite the ship/staff which we found lacking in many ways. The specialty restaurants that we tried were awful. The food in Moderno (the Brazilian steak house) was cold and uninspired. When I mentioned this to the head waiter he shrugged and said he'd ask the chef about it (we never heard from him again). If you are going to charge an uncharge for specialty restaurants I expect them to have better than buffet food. This was NOT the case. We actually preferred the buffet food over any of the regular restaurants. (contrast that to Disney's up-charge resturaunt Palo, same price as Moderno, which is in the top 1% dining experiences I've ever had). The main dining rooms (Taste and Savor) was OK, about the same as the buffet, but portions were small and the staff just didn't care about serving food. In fact, none of the staff on board seemed to care about the customer at all. I don't think we had a single person ask how things were and listen to the response (let alone do something about it). When ever we did bring up a problem it was always referred to a different person (or different line) with no one actually taking initiative or responsibility for the issue. I will not only never sail on the escape again, we won't be going back on Norwegian ever again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
From this point forward, I've decided I will write a review for every cruise that I take because I don't normally, and if you report the bad, then I will need to make it a point to report the good. I've taken two in the ... Read More
From this point forward, I've decided I will write a review for every cruise that I take because I don't normally, and if you report the bad, then I will need to make it a point to report the good. I've taken two in the past...1998 when the Carnival Ecstacy was pretty new and 2014 for Christmas on the same, much older, ship. The ship was older but the staff was amazing...the staff can make or break a ship...anyway, I digress. This was my first time on NCL and OMG what a disappointment! Maybe I should have waited a few months for everyone to get used to being on this new vessel, I don't know....at this point I don't think I will take another NCL cruise. I know for sure it wouldn't be a new ship and it would have to be one with lots of reviews that says the staff is on point. I chose NCL since my good buddy had a great time on the Getaway, so I figured I would have a great time as well on the Escape. I was a bit concerned when I read a few of the reviews prior to my Thanksgiving sailing, but I really thought that many were probably being over critical, and that most people probably enjoyed their cruise, but didn't bother to give a review....Well, I have to agree with what many have stated...the most glearing issue was how unhappy the staff seems to be. I deal with clients daily via phone, so I make it a point to sound cheery and upbeat during my training sessions. If you're in customer service, it is your job to smile and be engaging. I literally would ask those that looked especially down troddened how their day is going and tried to start conversations. Majority of the staff seemed just downright stressed and unhappy in their roles and most times I felt like I was a bother. The only person that I can say was pretty nice and consistent was our steward Gary. I will say, Thanksgiving day and the last day of the cruise was a bit better, where you actually got smiles and greetings. I had a couple run ins where some of the staff were just terse and rude...I totally was taken aback, but hey I didn't let any of it ruin my day. The food in The Manhatten was so so, but the service was very good. The Savor breakfast was good, but the service...we waited an extended amount of time for our meal, he got my girls orders completely incorrect, and never bothered to stop back by. I had to hunt someone down to bring cream. The food was not good enough to tolerate the wait and lacking service, so I didn't go back, nor did we bother trying Taste. We did go to O'Sheenans a few times...the hot dog and burgers were gross but the wings are good. What I found pretty consistent, they take your order but rarely return to see if you need more water or if you'd like anything else. No one ever asked if everything was ok. Oh I even questioned them about the cheese on the nachos which looked like watery mustard and the response was "that's the way it is today." One of the visits, I sat there for a really long while before anyone came over and it wasn't that busy. What really annoyed me was the Maitre D walked right by my table (though I was looking right at him) and went to the table behind me to ask how their food was. The absolute worst food on the ship was at Margaritaville...it was down right disgusting. First off, we were given a pager and told it could page us anywhere on the ship, so we went back to our room. When it went off, I headed right over, when I got there the host said to her mgr with an attitude that she had been paging me for a long time (like I wasn't standing right there)...as though I shouldn't get seated. The mgr seated us, but I couldn't believe how I was greeted. On top of that, the wait was LONG and the food was horrible! The chicken fajita was made from some kind of bbq pulled chicken and the conch fritters were a salty glob of dough. I am so glad I didn't order an entree. My husband ordered dessert and the waitress that was serving us disappeared. Like thirty minutes later we (along with three other tables) were complaining asking what happened to our waitress. The mgr and another staff member finished up the orders and the sad thing is keylime pie was aweful, so def not worth the wait. I am pleased to say the food in the Garden Cafe was pretty good. The breakfast options were EXCELLENT. I loved the crepes and the scooped ice cream. They had this pumpkin chilli dish for Thanksgiving that was just out of this world delish!!!! They offered lots of Indian and Asian dishes that were really good. So, needless to say we ate there most days. We didn't bother with the speciality restuarants because they were all booked before we even got on board. The last night of the cruise though, the Garden cafe dinner time offering was less than appetizing. It was as though they just made a hodge podge of whatever was left over. I was glad that I really wasn't too hungry at all. Other than that one time, the food was really good there. The best thing on this cruise were the shows...they were OUTSTANDING! I went to After Midnite, Million Dollar Quarter, Tenor of Rock, and the Comedy show in the theater...it totally made the cruise tolerable. We aren't drinkers and there wasn't a real party club for dancing. Just a couple nights of themed parties that were just ridiculously lame. The DJs played the same music and vids, there was no "feeling" the crowd for the music that really got people dancing. I will say the other singing acts on board throughout were really great performers but there weren't able to get people motivated to dance either. The lady at Howl at the Moon was just amazing!!! It was another bar setting, with the two dueling pianos, so no dancing there either and packed to the brim every night. The different little games with the cruise director Julie and such were cute, and the singing acts nice and all, but there should really be a dedicated space for dancing nightly. The ship is broken up into little pieces, the different singers, and the DJ's are at different places all the time, there isn't one consistent place where there is happening music, fun, and dancing for ADULTS. When they did have the so called parties...everyone was invited, so you would have little kids/teenie boopers there...like really??!!. The ship was great for lots of sitting and drinking... boring. My hubby and I started to joke that they were going to do some redition of the Lawrence Welks show any minute. Music with Juan had the old couples up doing the waltz and cha-cha...ok to watch, but not my cup of tea. Said all that to say, the shows are absolutely top notch, but if you are looking to have a fun party to go to in the evenings, this is not the ship for you. Now regarding the ship itself...loved the slides, rope course, mini golf, gym, all of that was great! Again the staff though, oh my Lord on one of the slides, the man was sleeping at his post. The kids knew to go on the green, but still. I was going to report him and I changed my mind. I wouldn't want anyone losing their job, but gosh I'd feel horrible if someone had gotten hurt. I loved that there were bathrooms everywhere and they were clean. Like I mentioned earlier, though the ship is huge, it is so compartmentalized it seemed almost tiny in some ways. No big grand entrance. The Splash Academy section seemed pretty cool but neither of my girls were interested so they weren't there much. The gym weight area was too small, but that is pretty normal from what I've read. The lack of gym ettiquette was perturbing to say the least, but I was happy to get in a couple workouts. Our room was tiny, but I knew that would be the case. Loved the bathroom and the room was well kept by Gary. I thought there was ample closet/shelf space considering you could store luggage under the beds. Just something I think I should mention, I have teen boys that enjoyed Entourage except they were forced to hang out with a kid that made some really offensive remarks. Though the kid was reported by multiple kids, other than my own, they were all told that if the kid wasn't allowed to participate then they would not be able to participate in the teen activities...like WHAT? How about someone address the adverse remarks made by the kid? So, the kids in turn, opted to instead meet up outside of the teen club to avoid the kid. They had a blast none the less, but that sure did put a bit of a damper on things for a minute. Embarkation took too long because the lady did something wrong and had to keep doing my two son's keys over again...that went on for a good 20 minutes. Those in other lines though seemed to fly through pretty quickly. isembarking went GREAT!!!! We took our own luggage and walked right off the ship when the port opened. LOVED THAT! I was ready to go, it was orderly and efficient. Loved the ports, had a great time. If you go to Tortula, take the ferry (you can walk over) to Vista Gorda to the Baths! Breath taking experience. I wish St Thomas departure was at 3pm and Tortula the longer stay, but oh well. Liked Bahamas too, so much has changed since my last cruise there. St Thomas...be careful and negotiate before getting in the private taxis. It shouldn't be more than a few bucks per person to take the short trip to the beach. Another thing, be very careful going up and down the stairs around the hot tubs on the main pool deck. I slipped and fell, but thank God I didn't hurt myself. A gentlemen was actually doing a report at the exact moment I slipped, so security was already there. I got the impression that they were more chalking it up to not being careful/drinking, but the surface was really slick. I didn't bother to give a report since I was fine. What I should have done a report on was the glass that sliced my big toe on the pool deck. Uggh, it still isn't completely healed. I just didn't realize how deep it was at the time. I hate complaining and I didn't bother addressing my feelings to any of the staff on the ship. I honestly didn't get the impression that they would have cared. I could be wrong, but that is just the vibe I got. Though there were many negatives that really shouldn't have been, my family and I still enjoyed ourselves. The amenities and the shows helped overshadow the not so friendly staff. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
We were so excited to do our family vacation with the new escape. This boat was very beautiful but if you read all the negative reviews, sadly they are all true. The service was pitiful the waits for everything was such a nightmare. A ... Read More
We were so excited to do our family vacation with the new escape. This boat was very beautiful but if you read all the negative reviews, sadly they are all true. The service was pitiful the waits for everything was such a nightmare. A hour for a glass of milk for my 3 year old son. Really. The food was very disappointing. Some shows were amature and some were awesome. I ended up get the extra fee dining package and when we're got into the ship I was told they are all sold out all week. After spending 15 hours with customer service before boarding with issues and like 3 hours of my vacation time complaining it was a total waste of my time and money. Some people were so nice and some rude. The child care for my 10 month old and my 3 yr old were amazing. They had a blast. We did get a nice surprise from upper management for all our troubles. They got us in cagneys steak house the last night with a surprise cake and decorated our room for my wife's bday. That was very nice. Other then that it was so upsetting that we spent 6000 for a week and our big getaway for the year was sooo upsetting. They wear pins that say vacation heros. We kept saying we need you to save our bad vacation and be the hero and no one did. 7 days for 1 night in a specialty dining was not exceptable. We deserve a free cruise to come back because this was not cool. My wife happens to work in a travel industry and I am a wedding Dj. We deal with lots of people who ask about vacations. As of now Norwegian is not on my good list. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Group of 15 with the following demographic: 28-45 Years of Age Multiple Ethnicities Straight & Gay Let's start with the positive, the ship is beautiful with all details accounted for down to the salt and pepper ... Read More
Group of 15 with the following demographic: 28-45 Years of Age Multiple Ethnicities Straight & Gay Let's start with the positive, the ship is beautiful with all details accounted for down to the salt and pepper shakers at the restaurants. Also, the water slides where very nice and lots of fun when they were open. The adventure course was pretty cool too. Night Life: THERE IS NOT ONE INDOOR CLUB! They have an open sun deck in the back of the ship that is only open weather permitting. It's windy and interesting the first night but you get over it pretty quickly. Then there's the Skyline...the second in line "club wise". Fully open smack next to the casino...feels like part of the casino. The bartenders were literally ALL very rude and just not happy to be there. There was only one bartender that is usually in the pool bar and would go to the Skyline to back up that was super nice and full of energy. He was always happy, dancing, and made excellent drinks. His name is Clarense Bennett from Honduras and the only one that would always wear a straw hat. Then the worst part, since the Skyline is so open, the teenagers would constantly crash the party (we did the best we could with the so so music). All of them in mass groups doing the nae nae and cupid shuffle amidst the drunken old men. Super inappropriate and unsupervised. Many times my drinks would disappear and while I thought the bartender was just cleaning the bar too fast, I saw one of the young ones with sheer talent stealing one of my friends drink...pure stealth. Only the last night after a complaint did the security guard go in and kick them out. The Service: For some reason the person in charge of my stateroom was all attitude with mediocre cleaning. I called daily for proper cleaning and one day the guy gave me his schedule and basically insinuated with his tone he would come and make up the room as a favor. The housekeeping manager was very nice and the last couple of days everything was up to par. The couple a few doors down with a different person had a good experience and I haven't asked the rest of the group so maybe it was just mine. The Spa: It was nice...nice but after sailing in the NCL EPIC, I was expecting the same or more. The pool was smaller and the overall set up was not as impressive. The snow room was super cool, that was my best memory from the space. The attendants in the front can use a training on proper "spa" service...again, the ladies at the EPIC were also very nice and professional. The Gym: You have everything you need but very tight..although the ship is bigger, the gym is smaller than the one in the EPIC. The view from the cardio area, very nice as usual. Brace yourself to bump sweaty arms in the weights area. The Restaurants: The only 2 restaurants that I can say were excellent and worth the expense were Food Republic and Le Bistro in second place. The rest were OK, noting to die for. The H2O Sundeck Area: Light and low low music...good place to get sun while taking a nap. The Main Pool Area: I like my pool area with a DJ and drinks. Most of the time there was a live singer with unbrushed hair. I consider the pool to be small for the size of the ship and there are not enough Jacuzzis. Speaking of jacuzzis, full of children all day. Packs of 10 snorkeling under the bubbles....for hours. Children EVERYWHERE except their kiddie area. Thank goodness for the area upstairs that's enclosed. I don't remember the name but you have to pay extra to be allowed in and it's adults only. I recommend the drink Pain Killer! In conclusion, if you're looking for a fun lively ship with a night life and modern music, this is not it. This ship is meant to relax, gain 10 pounds (all you can do is eat) and play bingo. I kissed the floor when I finally got off the ship (so was my entire group). After this experience I don't want to think of a cruise but when I do, my eyes are shifting over to another line...my heart can't bear another ESCAPE experience. Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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