Sail Date: December 2018
We picked Norwegian for our past experiences and leaving out of our home city is always a plus. The Escape is quite large, which means it gets crowded with passengers, but it also means that there are many options for food and things to ... Read More
We picked Norwegian for our past experiences and leaving out of our home city is always a plus. The Escape is quite large, which means it gets crowded with passengers, but it also means that there are many options for food and things to do. Our cabin was not particularly clean when we arrived and a few of the signature restaurants had so-so food. As for entertainment on board, the production shows were nothing special, but the dueling pianos (Howl at the Moon) more than made up for that -- Excellent. Also, there was something bad about the towels in the spa -- our bathing suits got discolored/ruined. Biggest issue was that the ship arrived back in New York the evening before, so all passengers did not get the full day at sea as booked. It's also bothersome to be in port at 9:00pm, and not have the option to get off and go sleep in our own beds at home. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Very good dining. Staff is friendly and food and beverage employees are for most of them really working hard to satisfy guests. I mean it. They are excellent. I felt that the boat was booked beyond the real capacity of the staff and ... Read More
Very good dining. Staff is friendly and food and beverage employees are for most of them really working hard to satisfy guests. I mean it. They are excellent. I felt that the boat was booked beyond the real capacity of the staff and venues. And felt like always racing to have a table, chair or a seat at the theater pool restaurant atrium shore excursions and buffet. I disagree on the fact that there are more restaurant and shows with extra charges than the free ones and that they charges more for certain liquors. The haven section is a big joke making you feel like you didn't pay enough. Why don't they build a Norwegian Heaven instead. Finally talking with other guests that were one ncl for the first time I found that I paid more for less. Even after coming back for the fifth time. Been on the Dawn and Gem and the entertainment crew was better. The only entertainment thumbs up is the regular parties at h20 other than that it's the first cruise that I sometimes felt bored. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Hello my cruise travelers. I’m a platinum member on the NCL. I just came off the lovely NCL Escape November 25th, 2018, which is my 11th time cruising with NCL, and here’s my experience on the NCL Escape. I feel NCL is starting to ... Read More
Hello my cruise travelers. I’m a platinum member on the NCL. I just came off the lovely NCL Escape November 25th, 2018, which is my 11th time cruising with NCL, and here’s my experience on the NCL Escape. I feel NCL is starting to cut corners. First night use to be Lobster tail night, I use to look forward to having dinner the firsts night to get my Lobster tails, but for some reason they stopped. Plus, there’s no more 6 dollars Black jack tables, the minimum is 10 dollars which I think it’s way too much for first time players and players who’s not that fortunate financially, I was also disappointed that we didn’t stopped at Great Stitrrup Caye for some reason, when the weather appeared to be perfected when we checked the forecas They need to turn the 5 o’clock bar into a jazz and blues club, because what ever it is now it was always empty. I still love NCL they just need to stop cutting corners. Also they should had added a bar in the solo lounge like the breakaway and better menu at the complimentary restaurants. They menu were awful!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Just OK. Strange timing of events. Latitudes get together 6 PM in middle of dinner hour. Change of booked shows without notification and then they rescheduled the cancelled ones and didn't inform us of cancellation or that they booked ... Read More
Just OK. Strange timing of events. Latitudes get together 6 PM in middle of dinner hour. Change of booked shows without notification and then they rescheduled the cancelled ones and didn't inform us of cancellation or that they booked another one for us at a time and date we had something else scheduled. Found out by accident looking at our calendar. No water for a day and never notified about problem or how long it might take to repair. People showing up for breakfastr in Garden Cafe in bath robe and pajamas.Guests using tables reserved for handicapped guests and not giving them up when one is needed. $100 a day for drink package and you can't even get bottled water, orange juice or specialty coffee with the package yet you can get all the pineapple and cranberry juice you want. Music in atrium and theater was really loud. Bar service was great. need to bring back martini bar and include all martinis in pkg. not just 5 0r 6 that bartenders were allowed to make. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We sailed on NCL Escape for 14 nights beginning November 25, 2018. I'll start by saying we aren't a fan of these bigger ships. I don't like that there isn't a promenade deck to walk all the way around. The ... Read More
We sailed on NCL Escape for 14 nights beginning November 25, 2018. I'll start by saying we aren't a fan of these bigger ships. I don't like that there isn't a promenade deck to walk all the way around. The "jogging" track is a joke (very short: 8 laps for a km) and isn't even open for the most part during the day. With the casino in the middle of the ship in an area open one floor above and one below, the smell of cigarette smoke was noticeable. I'd hate to be sitting in the "outdoor" area of Le Bistro eating dinner where you'd smell cigarette smoke during your entire meal. The cigar lounge had a number of cigarette smokers in it. My understanding is that is for cigar smokers ONLY. I feel sorry for the cigar smokers that would not have been able to enjoy a cigar there, not to mention those of us sitting outside the cigar lounge in an otherwise nice bar, but the strong waft of the smell of cigarettes was not pleasant. My other gripe is the lack of bar venues where you could meet with others an have a normal conversation. Nearly everywhere there was live music and it was much too loud. Background music during dinner or in a bar is nice, but blasting amplified music such that you have to shout to be heard is not. That was the experience most everywhere we went. There were times we just left, because it was pointless to try to talk. The food was mixed. Some was too salty and/or overcooked and some was very good both in the specialty restaurants and the main dining rooms. All of the staff were incredibly friendly, often actively asking for comments for anything they could do to make the cruise more enjoyable. Our balcony cabin was fine. Our bed was closer to the balcony door for the first time ever (vs closer to the entrance door) and we found we preferred that. Our cabin steward was very friendly and attentive. One minor point about the electricity management in the room is that all power in the bathroom is controlled by the switch outside it. We always put a nightlight in the bathroom for those middle of the night visits. That gives just enough light without waking us up. Unfortunately the plug in the bathroom would only work if the light was on, providing too much light and defeating the purpose we were trying to achieve. We've never had the problem before. We did buy a future cruise credit and will sail with NCL again (for the 10th time) but will look for one of the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This is our 4th NCL cruise since 9/2017. If our first NCL Gateaway/Baltic Sea experience in 9/2017 were like this Escape to W. Caribbean, we would probably NOT take 3 consecutive NCL cruised thereafter (Jade, Gem & Escape just now). ... Read More
This is our 4th NCL cruise since 9/2017. If our first NCL Gateaway/Baltic Sea experience in 9/2017 were like this Escape to W. Caribbean, we would probably NOT take 3 consecutive NCL cruised thereafter (Jade, Gem & Escape just now). We rank (my husband, I and my sister for whom I paid for staying in a studio) this Escape cruise as AVERAGE, the first such grade we ever offer for a cruise, including those on Carnaval, Royal Caribbean and Princess. The principal reason is the entertainments. While the theater show of After Midnight was outstanding, the Brat Pack was a disaster due to its "gross" language and contents which were incompatible with the average age of the ship's majority retirees-passengers. We have NEVER witnessed so many people exist right in the middle of performance in any professional shows! The cruise also repeated "same" theater shows multiple times. NOT GOOD. Besides, the comedians were not funny. Magic shows were not that "magic". Supper Club shows generally charged a fee. If the cruise wanted to cover the cost, then why not factored it into the pricing at the beginning? In addition, many shows required reservation onboard (pre-board on-line booking had not been available). We certainly did NOT feel "free" to waste time in line in front of Box Office to make any such reservations. While the cruise entertainments were BAD generally, we give an A to Cruise Director Alvin et al for their effort - they could only deal the cards being given! The foods on board seemed a bit better than the other 3 NCL cruises mentioned above, including the special dinings. The services in all restaurants and Garden Cafe seemed a bit better also. They are the reasons why we rank this cruise experience AVERAGE. Otherwise, we would rank the entertainment alone POOR. The NCL back office who managed this Escape entertainment should be fired, in our opion. At least it could keep us thinking twice before we go on another NCL cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to get away before the holidays. The embarkation in New York was very quick and easy. The disembarkation was one of the best we hace experianced in a long time. The cruise line is getting better with this process. Our first ... Read More
We wanted to get away before the holidays. The embarkation in New York was very quick and easy. The disembarkation was one of the best we hace experianced in a long time. The cruise line is getting better with this process. Our first stop in Florida was delayed by 3 hours due to injuries suffered by crew members, of course this was unavoidable. But because of the late hour of arrival (4:30 PM) did not get off the ship because it would be dark by the time we got back. The 2nd stop, their private island was canclled due to strong currents, also unavoidable, safety first. So we did not get off the ship from Sunday until Thursday. Which is a long time to be stuck on the ship for us but we made due. Unfortunately this late arrival (not for injuries) and missed stop happened to us in May 2019 as well. The ship is big with alot of people. But there is too many activities held in the Atrium and not enough room. Some of the activities should be held in the theater or other venues. NCL has changed their bars to the point you can only get certain drinks at 1 or 2 bars., ex: flavored Martinis can only be ordered at the Atrium bar where all the activity is, too noisy not enough seats! There were very few shows that we enjoyed this trip The best one was in the Supper Club, the Choir of Man. There were 2 other shows in the venue that were also very good. The only 1 that was a pay for show was the Choir of Man, well worth the cost and saw it twice. The shows in the threater were ok but not as good as the Choir of Man. The service in the dining rooms was good and the food was very good as well. The only big issue we had this trip was the room steward. We like to give an extra tip when we first arrive so the few extra things we ask for will be taken care of, ex: extra coffee in the room. Well not only did we have to keep asking for more coffee we had to get wash cloths, and had to complain because the room was not cleaned by 3 PM in order to try to get a nap before dinner. From now on the extra tip will be much smaller in the beginning if at all. This was a 2 week cruise and had 5 stops that we were able to get off on. We were on a tour to a beach in Ocho Rios, would not recommend, old and in need of up keep. Told a small tour in Grand Cayman was ok. Have been there many times and have seen it all. In Belize we took a tour of the Mayan ruins but the time to get there and back was very long. The beach in Harvest Caye was much nicer but at the end of November after all the storms there was a lot of sea weed. The last tour was in Cozumel to a resort which included food and drinks. You need this extra because it was for 4 hours. There were stores and 2 pools along with the beach. But again there was a lot of sea weed at this time. This was the nicest tour of the whole cruise. I would recommend this cruise but not in November. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Was disappointed with this ship, particularly in comparison with the RCCL large ships. Embarkation was slow and there was not a lot of information available as to what to do when. The good: after some first night issues, the rest of ... Read More
Was disappointed with this ship, particularly in comparison with the RCCL large ships. Embarkation was slow and there was not a lot of information available as to what to do when. The good: after some first night issues, the rest of the dining went well. The food was great. Service in general was good and the crew friendly. The stateroom attendant took good care of the room. The escape room was fun (although you have to search hard to find out info or to make reservations). The comic juggler was excellent!! The bad: the entertainment was pretty bad, in general. There are only two (free) shows and both are pretty boring. There were spotty comedians sprinkled throughout. There doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to the entertainment schedule. The spa and fitness offerings are pretty standard. Many other venues and corridors are crowded. The ugly. Many activities (game shows, entertainment, etc) are held in the open atrium in the center of the main deck. It is noisy, crowded and hard to find seats. I do not understand this at all!! Elevators are hard to get during peak hours. There are two banks of 8 elevators but in one bank, you have to push buttons on both sides to get all elevators in play. The best entertainment .... you have to pay for! That was unexpected. Silly things like there are no activity lists available in the lobby, charges for room service, no self service 24x7 food locations, etc. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We like to sail out of NYC so we don't have to fly anywhere. We previously sailed on NCL Dawn twice and the Breakaway 3-4 times. We were excited to get the Escape with new entertainment and a bigger and better thermal spa and ... Read More
We like to sail out of NYC so we don't have to fly anywhere. We previously sailed on NCL Dawn twice and the Breakaway 3-4 times. We were excited to get the Escape with new entertainment and a bigger and better thermal spa and casino. Unfortunately, we found the crew to be friendlier and more efficient on the Breakaway, the specialty restaurant Ocean Blue on the Breakaway to be far superior to the Bayamo (seafood restaurant on the Escape), and the overall experience to be better on the Breakaway. We like to stay in the Haven, most recently in the spa Haven room with includes access to the wonderful thermal spa and has a whirlpool tub in the cabin itself. The spa on the Escape had many more lounge chairs, more saunas, but the water temperature in the thermal spa was uncomfortably warm, making it impossible to stay in it more than 15 minutes or so at a time. The water temperature on the Breakaway was cooler than the water temperature in the the jacuzzi, which is how it is suppose to be. The Haven restaurant, while it still has the best food on the ship, was not as good on the Escape as on the Breakaway. The entertainment on the Escape was also not as good as the Breakaway. The Escape has the Broadway show After Midnight, featuring 1920's Cotton Club type of music. The singers and the dancers themselves were excellent, but at times the music was so slow it was hard to stay awake. The free juggler/comedian show on the Escape was excellent, the paid Choir of Man show was fun (but not worth repeating), but the acoustics of the music of the Brat Pack in the main theater was so bad that you could not understand the singers. We miss the acrobatic show and the Burn the Floor ballroom dance show on the Breakaway. The food in the asian fusion restaurant on the Escape was literally horrible, the sauces overly sweet and the tastes not asian at all. The food at Cagney's and La Cucina was also subpar on the Escape. While we enjoyed seeing different entertainment on the Escape, overall we enjoyed the Breakaway experience more. They were able to accommodate a gluten free diet with ease in the Haven restaurant on both ships (morning french toast and gluten free english muffins for hamburger buns was great), they had gluten free pizza, bread and pasta available in the italian restaurant and at the buffet. The teppanyki restaurant also did a great job using gluten free soy sauce. The casino experience was less smokey on the Escape than on the Breakaway, but was hampered by the fact that they were hosting a poker tournament which often took up half of the casino, making it impossible to find open gaming tables for non-tournament participants. The roulette spinners were totally erratic with their spins, and several people complained they were forced to leave the tables when they started winning a lot. Service was fine overall, but it took 3 days and leaving a detailed note to get things fixed in our cabin (such as the sink drain being broken). The majority filipino staff was friendly, but often had the feeling they were extra friendly when it was time for the additional tips. Perhaps the staff is overworked and overwhelmed by the large number of passengers on the boat. That being said, the staff on NCL is much friendlier than the eastern european staff we had on our last Princess cruise. Love the casual nature of the dining and clothing requirements. Make sure to make show and dinner reservations early in the trip or you may find it difficult to get reservations unless you have access to the Haven concierge. Embarkation and debarkation was very smooth. Love that they have 30 relatively current film choices to stream for free in the Haven cabins. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise as we heard great things about Norwegian and it left out of our home port - New York. I thought this was a win-win for us. I was wrong. The ship was packed and every where you went there were massive crowds. Okay, ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we heard great things about Norwegian and it left out of our home port - New York. I thought this was a win-win for us. I was wrong. The ship was packed and every where you went there were massive crowds. Okay, I get that. However, you couldn't get a reservation for most of the specialty restaurants and the ones we did get - - Italian and Steakhouse were awful. We did not get specialty dining for free. We paid and boy was it not worth it. The main dining rooms were pretty good. The dining staff were great. On another note, I cannot believe a ship of this size does not have mid-ship elevators. You had to walk clear to one end of the ship or the other to get where you were going and it took forever to get on an elevator. A lot of the shows were in the atrium which was insane because you couldn't walk through to get to another part of the ship without having to navigate massive crowds that were standing room only for the shows. I will say the entertainment was great. The staff in the restaurants and bars were great. A shout out to the Tobacco Road bar staff. They were amazing as well as the Latin Band that played there a few nights. Just terrific. The room staff were unfortunately not on the same level. I met our steward once and when I called for a few items (pillows, blankets, etc.), I never heard back or I couldn't get through. Had to call at least 4-5 times before I got a response. It was never like that on Carnival. The staff there couldn't do enough for you. They are amazing. To say we won't cruise on Norwegian again is an understatement. I'm going back to and staying with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I sailed this cruise on November 4th. I made the most of a bad situation and had a good time despite the many quirks. I wouldn't go NCL again, I'll stick with Royal Caribbean. I'm a young 45 and my guest is 40. The crowd ... Read More
I sailed this cruise on November 4th. I made the most of a bad situation and had a good time despite the many quirks. I wouldn't go NCL again, I'll stick with Royal Caribbean. I'm a young 45 and my guest is 40. The crowd was older and often the dance floors were empty. Talk about boring! It was difficult to find a quiet space on the ship to read since 5,000 people were confirmed to be on it. When I did find a quiet spot (right outside the doors on the 17th floor) a pipe burst above my head and water started pouring out of the ceiling. The couple in the chairs in front of me hightailed it out of there. I went to my room and started crying. Seeing water gushing onto the floor of a ship brings back memories of the Titanic and it racked my nerves. Embarkation was very easy, however, once on the ship they try to shuttle everyone to the 16th floor buffet for lunch. They know they don't have seating for 5,000 people in the buffet so why they do this I don't know. My partner and I circled for 10 minutes with full plates and couldn't find seating so I dumped my plate and left. O'Sheehan's had originally said there was a 20 minute wait but when we ditched the buffet and went back to O'Sheehan's we were seated immediately. I enjoyed all of the complimentary restaurants (Taste and Savor) and specialty restaurants (Teppanyaki, La Cucina (my favorite!) and the Steakhouse.) Disembarking was a breeze. No issues there. The spa was to die for. If you must take this ship (which I don't recommend) I'd definitely advise you get the $200 per week spa access ackage. Totally worth it and about the only place you'll get a modicum of quiet. They also have a very nice gym area although on one particular day 5 treadmills in a row were inoperable. I got on the elevator once and all the lights were out. Weird. I didn't care for the cruise director on this trip. He laughs at his own jokes as if they were really funny and they weren't. They recycled the same 2 male comedians plus a female opener. The female opener was beyond terrible and no one laughed at her jokes. I heard alot of people at different venues talking about how terrible she was. There was a comic named Daniel something who was hilarious! The comedian named Smith was also pretty good. I didn't like the fact that Smith and the female recycled their jokes. If you only have a 20 minute set, and you're performing for 4 nights, why can't you have fresh material? We saw the comedians twice and decided that was enough. Some shows we couldn't get into because you needed a reservation. My impression is that they don't put money in their shows or theater seating like Royal does (with the lights, staging, etc.) so I didn't much care. The private beach was nice but again, the dj was spinning really cool music and none of the guests danced. If you're 50+ you might like this. So, between the stupid pole in front of my door, the pipe bursting above my head, the delayed-flushing toilet, and the lights out in the elevator I didn't feel comfortable. I like that Royal tries to wow you. NCL feels like you should wow yourself. Example: on Royal's Anthem of the Seas there's spectacular art on every landing...a picture-taking moment. On NCL's Escape, each landing just has a big mirror. Lazy and cheap! Anthem has the date on the floor of the elevators and it changes every day. On Escape, you're lucky to have the lights ON in the elevator! NCL's mini-golf looked like something from a post-apocalyptic movie set. It was gray, ugly and terrible! One of the bowling lanes didn't work (there were only 2 - $6 per game.) I'm sticking to Royal Caribbean. Can't believe NCL charges more but gives you so much less! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Let me start by saying we just got back from the Norwegian Escape, during NJ Week. This is a week that all NJ schools are closed for 2-3 days, so it's a popular time for families to go with school-age children. We went with 4 ... Read More
Let me start by saying we just got back from the Norwegian Escape, during NJ Week. This is a week that all NJ schools are closed for 2-3 days, so it's a popular time for families to go with school-age children. We went with 4 teenagers (15-17) and a toddler (less than 3). We booked this trip for a few reasons: It sailed from NYC so we didn't have to fly, it looked VERY family/kid friendly, it was a newer ship with lots to do. The Ship: The ship is GORGEOUS! It's very well maintained, very clean, and has quite a bit to do on it. After being on it for a day or so, you get used to it and know where to go and how to find places. Bars: There are a TON of bars. If I didn't have the unlimited drinks package, this would actually be annoying as it seems there's a bar every 10 feet (similar to a Starbucks on every corner in NYC). The drinks were GREAT! There's a mojito bar (Sugarcane) that had amazing passionfruit mojitos, and a bunch of other varieties. Margaritaville (on Deck 17) had amazing margaritas, etc. Drinks were great overall. DOWNSIDE: I had to choose one of 5 free things when we booked and we booked the Drinks Package. Because of how many rooms we had and how we were situated, we had one adult, one child in the rooms. Even though if we had 2 adults in a room, we each would have gotten the Unlimited Drinks package, we only were able to get a Soda package for our kids. This is fine, until we got hit with a charge for a variety of "drinks" my teens got such as a non-alcohol pina colada (that cost the same as a regular one). This seems very bizarre to me as the only reason they couldn't get one is it's not included in the soda package but if they were over 21, this would not be an issue. They credited me back the money, but I think it's bizarre that teens can get a "smoothie" drink but can get soda if they're part of the "perks package." Food: Food was pretty good. Some nights it was amazing, some it was ok. I must give a HUGE shout-out to Aleia Puey, the Asst. Maitre'D who was BEYOND helpful to us. We have a child with allergies and she was always helping us with the menu and ensuring our child was able to eat without worrying if it had the allergen in there. If you go with anyone with allergies, they will custom-make food for you, and we are forever grateful to her (and many others) who were very helpful and accommodating. The food was very meat/dairy heavy. If you're vegetarian, you have some decent options. If you're vegan, you have salad. I'm mostly plant-based, so it was tougher. Service: This was VERY hit or miss. The people who tended to our rooms were amazing and very accommodating. Many of the people at the restaurants (specifically the hostess at the Manhattan Room) and some of the staff at the buffet were just rude! They would pretend not to notice things, almost like if someone fell, they would look the other way just to not have to deal with it. Overall, service was good, but there are a few people that if they reported to me, I'd def fire over their carelessness. Activities: Great arcade! We had several issues w/ money being charged and games not working or not giving tickets (this was troubling for my toddler) but these were fixed very quickly so I'm happy about that. The biggest challenge here for us was that most activities were geared for either babies under 1, or kids over 14. There were probably some that kids who were 3-8 can enjoy but not many. I was shocked that there was no play room/indoor park for kids. The guppies room was TINY and my toddler refused to go there after going one time. There were very few options for a parent to go play w/ the child. These were all drop off services (paid) which would be fine, but my toddler is almost 3 and didn't make the cutoff to the bigger room. They should split it up into 6months-24 months, and then 2-3 years old. They currently have it as non-walkers vs. walkers. Some kids walk at 10 months, so it's a 35 month old with a 10 month old. Doesn't make sense to me. The Splash Academy is 3+. My son was bored a lot! Entertainment: This is the biggest miss on the ship. I will say Alvin, the entertainment director, was Amazing! Very engaging, always "on" and happy, and I have no idea when this guy sleeps! The shows were eh. My son loves going to shows with us, from cirque du soleil, to broadway style, and he could not sit through some of these. Some of the shows were comedy shows. I'm sure these were great, but most kids aren't into it. One of the shows, The Brat Pack, while amazing (the stars were just wonderful and had great energy and voices) is a 16+ show. They used quite a bit of offensive language (F you was said several times, as were other words), had several half naked scenes, and had a lot of strobe lights. My son loved it but couldn't sit through it. My teens loved the half naked guys of course, but it was def more of an 18+ show than a family-friendly show. The Scotty Cavanaugh (sp?) show was great where it was comedy mixed with juggling. I would've expected better show options. Excursions: This is where the rating became a 3. We've cruised before (never Norwegian) and this was the first time this happened. When we got to the private island, in order to get off the boat (using the smaller boat), we had to first file into the theatre and SIT there... for about 30-40 minutes. I was ready to forget the whole thing at that point. I understand there are many people who want to leave, but this should've been orchestrated much better. I was VERY disappointed w/ NCL at this. The island itself was very nice. Overall, I would recommend this cruise only to people going without kids. There were also a TON of adults complaining about amount of kids which was annoying. Don't they seem commercials and see that it's supposed to be for families? if you don't want to see kids on vacations, go to adult-only vacations or to cruises without an aqua park. Or not during Jersey week! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I will start by saying the ship was absolutely beautiful and is very well maintained. The staff was mostly helpful and extremely nice. The food was about the same as we have seen on other cruise lines, nothing that stood out. That being ... Read More
I will start by saying the ship was absolutely beautiful and is very well maintained. The staff was mostly helpful and extremely nice. The food was about the same as we have seen on other cruise lines, nothing that stood out. That being said, there were several experiences that left me disappointed. First, Escape holds over 4,200 passengers, which made it feel like Christmas at a shopping mall most of the time. It seems that Norwegian just stacked the decks higher to fit more people but did not provide sufficient public space to accommodate those people. The pool deck was a nightmare. Unless you got there by 8am there was no way you were getting a lounge chair near the pool. You had to settle for space on the higher decks, far away from the pool, which is not very convenient for people with children. In addition, the Escape offers only one pool that is open to children, and it is the smaller of the two pools on deck. The larger, more open pool near the music is adults only. The kids pool was tiny considering there were probably over 1,000 kids on board. It is also very closed off and parents can only see their children if they stand on one side, which is also a walkway so it is a bit crazy. There are 4 waterslides, but only 2 are open to children under 100 lbs. The ropes course was great, but the line to get on took about 45 minutes. It also goes over the mini golf area, which made it hard for people to play golf because parents were walking around the course looking at their kids on the ropes. My children normally love to go to the kids club on ships but this time they did not want to go back after the first night. They said it was very chaotic and they all got separated into different areas from their friends we were travelling with even though they were the same age. As for dining - the food was okay but the buffet was extremely crowded and frustrating. The options for the "free" food were very limited. There are at least 10-12 places you have to pay to eat in, but the only dinner choices are the main dining rooms of O'Sheehan's which were all very crowded. The staff did a good job of seating our large party on most nights, but one night at the "Taste" dining room it took us nearly 3 hours to eat dinner. 45 minutes before we got drinks and nearly 2 hours until our main course arrived. The manager said he would "take care of us" the next night but he was nowhere to be found. We were also approached by the assistant food and beverage manager one night when he overheard us talking about the poor service at dinner and promised he would "send something special to our room"....which we never received. On other cruise lines we have been able to just show up for the entertainment and watch the shows without reservations. On Escape, you have to book ahead of time (because there are so many people), and sometimes the shows were sold out. You also needed to pay to watch some of the shows (wine lovers musical and choir of man). They also offered a lot of programs such as towel folding demonstration and cupcake decorating, but all of them were in the atrium near customer service and there was not enough space for everyone who wanted to participate. This was especially frustrating on the last sea day when it was too cold to go outside. While they did offer a few different things each hour, they were all very crowded. The staterooms were about average or slightly smaller than we have seen on other lines. The room steward was wonderful and called us by name every time he saw us. The main issue with the staterooms was the noise in the hallway or neighboring rooms carrying into our cabin - especially when the housekeeping carts were rolling by. The private island was amazing. We were very happy we decided to do the private cabana so we were on the quieter part of the beach. The only downside was that we were not near the buffet or , but we were able to get our attendant to bring food to us and we walked over to go snorkeling. The main beach looked like spring break in Ft. Lauderdale. Getting on the ship took about an hour fro the time we arrived at the terminal and we spent about 40 minutes going through customs after disembarking. The disembark procedure was different - everyone had to go to customer services and select their own luggage tags which were color-coded by time you wanted to leave the ship. It worked out fine and we were able to eat breakfast before getting off the ship. I would likely not travel on Norwegian again, and certainly would not go on a ship that held so many passengers. I encountered many people who felt the same way which is a shame because it really is a beautiful ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Considering the size of the ship it felt crampt. The top levels were poorly designed considering the large potential space. The Kid pool was embarasingly small and tucked in at the back of the ship. I would not take this ship if you are ... Read More
Considering the size of the ship it felt crampt. The top levels were poorly designed considering the large potential space. The Kid pool was embarasingly small and tucked in at the back of the ship. I would not take this ship if you are traveling with a family that likes spending time in the pool together. You can't put the pool loungers near it as the open space if mainly focused on an adults only area or the "Haven" for folks in the uber large cabins. The majority of the restaurants are for people that want to pay additional fees. If you want to eat the food provided your only choices are between the Buffet and two other restaurants. To add insult to injury, both retaurants had the exact same menu on the days that we checked the out. On the plus side, the crew was fantastic and were all very curteous and friendly. Specially the staff in the Taste/Savour restaurants and the Kid Kennel areas :) I would not recommend this cruiise ship or NCL for family cruises based on my experience on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked a mini suite on deck 13, it was not worth the extra money. Its basically the same exact room as a regular balcony cabin except the bathroom is slightly larger. Save your money and go balcony rather than spending extra on a ... Read More
We booked a mini suite on deck 13, it was not worth the extra money. Its basically the same exact room as a regular balcony cabin except the bathroom is slightly larger. Save your money and go balcony rather than spending extra on a "minisuite". At least on the Gem the mini suite is slighter wider than a regular balcony and has a bathtub but I guess that is on is for not researching it well enough. We have cruised on the Breakaway twice and enjoyed it so figures the Escape would be similar. I felt like the Escape was very crowded, every time we got on an elevator it was completely full and stopped on almost every floor. I expect this on the first day and prime times but this was all of the time. Garden Cafe was also always very crowded. This was our first cruise with our toddler and having a stroller on the ship was another issue, the stateroom carts are in the hallways almost all day and the hallway is too narrow to pass by with the stroller so we were constantly having to move the carts into a doorway as we walked to/from our room. I would imagine this would be even harder for someone in a wheelchair who doesn't have help to move the carts. Tendering in GSC was also a challenge. They lock the elevators so they don't stop on deck 4 where the tenders are so we took the elevators to 5 and got off and when i asked a crew member who was directing people for assistance he told me i would have to carry my son and stroller down to deck 4! You have to be kidding me, it seemed like this was the first time they ever ran a tender operation. As far as the food goes, we had good meals in taste/savor and manhattan room along with moderno teppanyaki and le bistro. Sometimes i miss the traditional way of cruising when you'd get to know the waiter/assistant waiter and talk about your day etc. We felt it was just take your order and get you out but i can overlook that as long as the food is good which it was. Went to Margaritaville for lunch one day and it was terrible. Service was really bad, food wasn't good, save your $ its not worth it. We did use the guppies program for our son and that was great. He really enjoyed going and the staff was excellent and made us feel more than comfortable leaving him. I have always liked NCL but I can't see myself ever going on the escape again. If we go back it will be on the Jewel class or a newer class of ship. Another thing that sticks out is that there is only 1 pool for the adults on this ship. Not acceptable, I don't know why they didn't put a pool in the aft section where the grotto is. The grotto is nice but its kind of useless. Im sure you'll have a nice cruise as long as you know what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Ive sailed with NCL 6 times, and I was somewhat disappointed in this cruise. The food was really lacking in taste and temperature in the specialty restaurants, buffet and O'Sheehans. Main dining rooms were good with the exception ... Read More
Ive sailed with NCL 6 times, and I was somewhat disappointed in this cruise. The food was really lacking in taste and temperature in the specialty restaurants, buffet and O'Sheehans. Main dining rooms were good with the exception of the uncomfortable chairs in Taste and Saver. The Choir of Man MEAL was down right awful and am disappointed I attended. The vegetables were not even cooked. Beef was terrible and so was dessert. The show however, was pretty good. Service was top notch throughout the cruise but it does not reverse or outweigh the negatives. The magic show in the theater was ok, I have seen better and worse fly on entertainment on NCL. The magic show was ok in the Supper Club, the meal was great however. La Cucina was nice even though I do prefer the old menu from a few week ago. Margaritaville, while great was costly for lunch. Smoking next to the pool on the top deck, not behind a barrier was uncalled for. I couldn't even walk past there or use the jogging track. What I was most disappointed in however was the maintenance of the ship. For being 3 years old, it did not hold up well at all. Menus covered in pen marks, lounge chairs falling apart, flooring worn out and cut up on the stairs (starboard side, near an upper deck) really took away from the experience. I was on the Getaway in September and that ship has faired far better. Like I said, overall the cruise was good but I'm glad this was my 4th NCL cruise of the year- this cruise would have left a lot to be desired. I will be back but I hope the quality of food improves and ships are maintained a little bit better. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted to go to Canada and this was the dates that matched our availability. On and off the boat worked smoothly and timely. While the boat had room for everyone, the days at sea were just too crowded. There was room for everyone but a ... Read More
Wanted to go to Canada and this was the dates that matched our availability. On and off the boat worked smoothly and timely. While the boat had room for everyone, the days at sea were just too crowded. There was room for everyone but a venues and events were full up with folks and crowded. The Atrium was always crowded. Yes, it was cold and rainy so you couldn't use the pool deck and thus lost that physical space to put people and perhaps that's why I think it was crowded. Room was good but the sofa was too uncomfortable to use to sit on for more than a few minutes. So if you wanted to read you had to lay on the bed as it was impossible to find a quiet corner anyplace else on the boat. Complimentary entertainment was good, but the venues were crowded. Didn't attend the shows and pay the upcharge - if I wanted to pay for a show I'd have stayed at home in Vegas. Used most of the dining venues and they were all very good - food and service. And the continuous noise - some would call it background music but musical selection was not something you'd want to hum or dance to. It basically turns out to be background noise just every place you went. So if you wanted to talk to someone you had to talk loud and that just added to the noise. And for your customers with hearing aids, it really becomes noise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This is a nice ship, but really BIG! There are not enough places to sit and visit, or play a board game, or write a note, or sit and plan your next day. The outdoor area is fun but small. The slides are great, but fall in to the ... Read More
This is a nice ship, but really BIG! There are not enough places to sit and visit, or play a board game, or write a note, or sit and plan your next day. The outdoor area is fun but small. The slides are great, but fall in to the smallest pool I've ever seen on a ship. The food is good, but we found nothing "great"; and, we had expected some seafood while around Maine, but alas, flounder only. The quality of the food in all complimentary venues is good, but nothing great, or memorable. The ports in the USA were great, but the 2 ports in Canada were lame, with little to nothing to see or do. Don'[t do their "Foodie" tour as it is a walk to the "market" and then 4 wee samples of foods which were fair at best. The pier restaurants in Canada were delicious, and the small shops and restaurant in Kennebunkport were awesome! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We went on this cruise as a big group of 16 — each couple had their own room. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly — the crew seemed to have everything figured out there. The rooms were great — bigger and nicer than ... Read More
We went on this cruise as a big group of 16 — each couple had their own room. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly — the crew seemed to have everything figured out there. The rooms were great — bigger and nicer than the Princess ship we had been on the year before, and the air conditioning worked well. The bathroom was pretty spacious as well. The ship itself was beautiful and well kept up. The entertainment was so-so, there were a decent amount of choices, but things got booked up so fast that we weren’t able to see a couple shows that we were hoping to. We loved the slides and zip line area, and my one year old LOVED the kid zip line area, so we did that every day. We also enjoyed the Bocce area, ball court, and mini-golf. The food was my big problem. It was not very good, and didn’t have very much variety. The Princess ship had AMAZING food, and each restaurant had different options. On the Norwegian Escape, most of the restaurants had the same menus as each other every night, and the buffet food was just meh. Then on the day we got to Bermuda, I got food poisoning from one of the restaurants the night before (Shrimp Alfredo is what did it, I believe), and I was not able to leave my room for an entire day — therefore I missed out on an entire day on Bermuda. Luckily and unluckily I was able to send my husband and toddler on the island to enjoy themselves. I proceeded to sleep/throw up/ etc all day, and when my husband got back that night, we went to the cruise desk and reported my sickness. In hindsight, we should have reported it earlier, but I did not think about it. But since we hadn’t reported it earlier, they didn’t believe us. They said that they could investigate it with the Dr, but by that point, a lot of my symptoms had gone. I just thought that I’d have to pay the ridiculous dr fee if we called, so that’s why we didn’t earlier. The maid for our room was very friendly and helpful, and the service staff at the help desk was friendly, just not overly helpful. We did have a couple other issues, like an unexplained charge on our account and the texting on-board app not working, and they refunded us our money for both. Unfortunately the food poisoning experience left a sour taste in my mouth (literally also), and I will not be going on another Norwegian Cruise because of it. It’s not worth it to me to be sick and miss out on half of the island days. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This is my 3rd Norwegian cruise last 2 on breakaway. I dont prefer this ship for a few reasons 1. Deck space in pool area small and crowded 2. After midnight show was long and I struggled to remain interested 3. Dining in main hall was ... Read More
This is my 3rd Norwegian cruise last 2 on breakaway. I dont prefer this ship for a few reasons 1. Deck space in pool area small and crowded 2. After midnight show was long and I struggled to remain interested 3. Dining in main hall was meadeocure flavor and presentation really fell flat 4. Choices of dinning areas limited unless you want to spend a lot of extra $$$ and thise restaurants were not even busy 5. Limited hot tubes and tbey closed at 10pm 6. Dinning options after 930 are limited to mainly snacks and bar good and for days at port tnis is especially difficult to make dinner due to limited bus schedule on the island. Overall, I have failed carnival 1 time and Norwegian 3. I may choose a different cruise line based off of this experience. The pros... Cabin cleanliness, staff service, some entertainment, length at port Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Given rich African/Black cultural traditions and experiences in Halifax NCL needs to offer related excursions. We did the research and planned an outstanding day by visiting: 1 Africvile Museum with an outstanding presentation by ... Read More
Given rich African/Black cultural traditions and experiences in Halifax NCL needs to offer related excursions. We did the research and planned an outstanding day by visiting: 1 Africvile Museum with an outstanding presentation by Brittany Vaillancourt 2, the Black Cultural Centre, We met Johnson on the evening of September 24, when we realized the mix up over our Savor Restaurant reservation. In addition to immediately seating us, when he learned about the birthday celebration, he not only make arrangements for the customary cake and singing, he provided complimentary wine for the table. For the balance of the cruise, Johnson gave us ultra VIP treatment (from strawberries in our rooms to complimentary wine). When we celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday he made arrangements for NCL celebrations at dinner on the 28th and 29th!!!! She felt honored and remains thrill about the attention and care shown. He was attentive to our every need. He has a warm and engaging personality and exquisite training in customer-centered care and treatment. We also very much appreciated Stefanny Moore (wait staff in Savor) and George (wait staff in O Sheehan’s). Our cabin Stewart Jose was also attentive, respectful and highly pleasant...had more than passing concerns about the pre-boarding contact with NCL. The website is inefficient, slow and not well designed. Calls to the NCL help lines resulted in 10-15 minute holds, not given the option when setting up account to register credit card, then receive an email on September 20, 4:443 pm regarding “We are happy to announce that we have added additional functionality to our On-Line Check-In. You can now record the credit card that you will be using onboard as well as purchase our Essentials Travel Protection (if you have not already obtained travel protection) which will provide trip delay and medical coverage while you are on your cruise vacation.” When signing into my online account the option was NOT available. I in turn called 1-866-234-7250 and was on hold for 14 minutes only to be advised that the option was not available to me and that an mass email was sent to all customers. The embarkation process was inefficient and long. In part this is due to the large number of people on the cruise. However there is an absence of customer care with the process. We were asked to complete forms while in line, without tables and writing instruments. The Canadian declaration form seemed ill timed and a waste of time for the majority of the vacationers. Not able to use the dining package due to the venues being over subscribed. Challenges with setting up complimentary internet package. Only one staff to assist everyone. We had to wait more than 30 minutes to receive assistance.. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
The Escape has stylish and thoughtful decor throughout, which extends to their well-designed cabins. Our room was quite comfortable, and the included access to thermal spa area was a highlight, as we used it every day due to unseasonably ... Read More
The Escape has stylish and thoughtful decor throughout, which extends to their well-designed cabins. Our room was quite comfortable, and the included access to thermal spa area was a highlight, as we used it every day due to unseasonably chilly and wet weather. All of our specialty dining meals were indeed special experiences. The few meals we had in the included dining rooms were very non-special, approaching disappointing.. Our primary complaints were the seemingly endless fees for everything, and the overall feeling of being jam-packed with thousands of other guests, with very few areas of escape the crowd other than the thermal spa. Also, NCL seems to have little interest in gathering feedback from their guests, which seems strange for a service based business. I think we will try a different cruise line for our next cruise vacation, because our impression is that NCL's main interest is in making money from their guests. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Just got off the Escape. I should say this was a 7 day cruise to Maine and Canada out of NYC. The Escape is about 3 years old and was a BIG ship by Norwegian standards. We had 4300 passengers, and I guess if there was a theme here it ... Read More
Just got off the Escape. I should say this was a 7 day cruise to Maine and Canada out of NYC. The Escape is about 3 years old and was a BIG ship by Norwegian standards. We had 4300 passengers, and I guess if there was a theme here it was massive crowds everywhere. We have been on Allure of the Seas, which is bigger, but this one felt much more crowded, the most crowded I have ever been on out of 25 cruises. Long lines to get on the ship too. We waited 90 minutes to get our room key, but lines after us were even longer. So let me talk about the crowds first. Getting food at the buffet and finding seating wasn’t bad, and getting a seat in the main dinning room wasn’t bad, but the hallways, especially near the buffet was just packed with people. The Atrium, which I’ll talk more about later, gets so packed that everyday they need to add hundreds of folding chairs to contain all the people, and finding a seat there can be impossible. Then there were the elevators. Instead of 3 banks of 6 elevators each, like you would expect on a ship this size, this one has 2 banks of 8 elevators. You often have to wait for elevator after elevator to find one that WASN’T packed full of people. And here is another weird thing about the elevators. So lets say you are on the 8th floor, but want to go to the 18th floor. So the elevators are in a bank of 8, with most only going to the 17 or 16th floor, and only maybe one goes to the 18th floor. (They say the floors serviced above each elevator) So you press the “up” button which connects to all 8 elevators. Lets say an elevator comes but it only goes to the 16th floor, so you press the “up” button again, and maybe it only goes to the 16th floor, so you have to press the “up” button again and again and eventually you get the 18th floor elevator. This has to be the most stupid design I have ever seen. STUPID STUPID. So let me describe the ship more. Its a new ship, so you expect an grand multistory atrium, with grand stairways and those fancy glass elevators. NOPE none of these are in the Escape. The atrium is a single story, but it does have a hole in the top where people at O’sheehan's can look down. And note that the atrium on the Escape is the main stage here entertainment like game shows and bands play. There is never enough seating, so they bring in hundreds of folding chairs and there still isn’t enough seating. It makes the place more look like a Sunday bingo parlor than a billion dollar cruise ship. Very cheap looking. Overall the ship has 23 bars (I think) and many extra charge restaurants. There is this room called “5 O-Clock Somewhere” that LOOKS like a bar, but its really a room where they hold jewelry and watch sales. Headliners is another used for comedy shows, and also, wait for it, art auctions. Overall this ship is very plain. No notable paintings or sculptures. On the back of the staircases are just mirrors. There is no theme, like on most ships, that I could see. I should note that the nicest part of this ship were on top. The ropes course, the pool, a grotto, and miniature golf, but as I said, this was a cruise to colder climates so we didn’t get to use these things. The ropes course was open but it was cold and windy, so you need to be very brave. There was no covered pool on this ship, so maybe not the best choice for cold weather. So the room. We were in a mini suite and it was big by cruise standards. It was maybe a foot wider and a few feet longer than typical for a balcony. Plenty of storage, with room between the couch and the closet. There was maybe 2 feet between the end of the bed and wall, which is really good. And the bathroom was roomy. A double sink and a shower that must have been 6 feet wide. The shower had 6 water jets you could control in groups. Very nice. Bath gel was on the wall, as was shampoo/conditioner combination. I DEFINITELY like separate shampoo and conditioner much better. No DO NOT DISTURB door hanger here, the room had Do Not Disturb and Make Up the Room lights which can be switched on. You need to put your ship card in a slot to power the room, like in European hotels. Food: The only cost restaurant we went to was Food Republic so I will start there. Its a la carte and ordered with a tablet at your table. We ordered a California Roll which cost about $8.50 after taxes and gratuity. The menu was mainly sushi rolls and small snacks. My wife asked if they had any “Tempura” but they didn’t know what that was. The California Roll was OK, maybe halfway between a good Japanese restaurant and grocery store sushi. I’d give it 6 or 7 out of 10. Next the buffet. For breakfast, the only thing missing for me was smoked salmon. Eggs were good, and there was an omelet station. Seats were available and lines weren’t bad, BUT here is the negative. The buffet runs about 1/3 the length of the ship, and different things are in different locations. Want a toasted bagel, ham and eggs, and be prepared for some walking. Lots of walking. For lunch, the buffet wasn’t great in my opinion. They had pizza, burgers, salads, hot dogs, but only two different sandwiches each day, and two soups, which were usually very strange. They had an Asian section, but it was mostly Indian and not Chinese or Japanese. No sushi except one night for dinner. The pizza and sandwiches were fine, but nothing special. For dinner, the buffet was better than lunch, certainly fine but nothing you would say WOW over. Mostly baked fish, chicken, pork meals with hamburgs, pizza, pasta, salads, and a few odd-and-ends. There is no stir fry, no request pizzas or sandwiches. You won’t starve to death, but not much beyond typical fare. If its expensive, like crab, or scallops or lobster, nope, not here. For the dinning rooms, the Escape has three, Taste, Savor and the Manhattan Room. All have the same food, but for dinner, the Manhattan room has a singer, band and dance floor. This is a nice touch but note the singer leaves about 7pm, so for later dinner, no music. We had breakfast and dinner in the dinning rooms. Both were good. You can get smoked salmon on bagel for breakfast. Portions are a bit small, but you can order two so not a big deal. You can get omelettes (as long as its some combination of ham, cheese, mushrooms and spinach), pastries, fruit, etc. For dinner, the meals were good, but nothing expensive or exotic. As usual, I ordered two appetizers and an entree. On ALL cruises up to this point, they would ALWAYS bring one appetizer, then when finished they would bring the second. NOT this cruise. I mostly got both at once. Service was excellent but they also seemed short staffed. Dinners had shrimp, but lobster, scallops, and many other choices weren’t offered. They did have salmon. O’sheehan's was the third free venue, open 24 hours a day. We only had lunch there. They had bar food which was fine. I had the “buffalo chicken wings” which looked great, but had absolutely no “heat” at all. Rubin was good, soups weren’t bad. All the food was fine, but nothing that strayed too far from normal. For entertainment, we went to “For the Record” and “After Midnight” and a comedy show. All were good, but also ALL required reservations by the first day, or they would be sold-out. The theater was only one level, believe it or not on such a large ship. No balcony at all. Just regular theater seats that made it hard for the waiters to get to you if you wanted a drink. The stage had microLED displays around it, cutting edge and pretty cool. Most of the other entertainment was the usual Deal or No Deal, Bingo, Trivia, and stuff like that. We didn’t see even one “enrichment talk.” My wife likes those. So overall, a good cruise, certainly nothing special on the food side, service was excellent, but the ship was pretty blah for a new ship. It did have a two-lane bowling ally, with small balls, but it cost $6 and few used it. Very few photos were taken, and only two photo areas were set up in the atrium. We never saw anyone getting their pictures taken. Pictures were $25, and almost never saw anyone else in the photo store. You could see photos on a touch screen or in binders they had for each room. Mark my words, in the next refurb in 2020, I bet the photo gallery is history. With phone cameras everywhere, do we really need $25 photos? Customers have voted NO. Oh almost forgot, the gym. Pretty large and also never more than 5 or 6 other people in it. This was an older crowed. Not the exercise type I guess. After this cruise, the wife and I decided, no more LARGE cruises. The crowds have become too large, and having to make reservations for everything not why we go on cruises. Apparently “Freestyle” doesn’t apply to entertainment, only to food. The Escape is not a ship I’m dying to go on again. Maybe for a Caribbean cruise, but not likely otherwise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Introduction We previously sailed on the Escape in 2016. When we saw the fall colors itinerary on this ship, we decide to book the Escape again. We have traveled on several cruise lines, but have the most cruises on NCL and MSC. ... Read More
Introduction We previously sailed on the Escape in 2016. When we saw the fall colors itinerary on this ship, we decide to book the Escape again. We have traveled on several cruise lines, but have the most cruises on NCL and MSC. Embarkation We arrived at the port by 10 a.m. Our flight arrived early, and we decided to go to the port early. This was a good idea. They opened security a few minutes after our arrival. We were given boarding number 1 as Platinum members. We waited about an hour, and then our number was called. The process was quick and we were dining at O'Sheehan's by 11:30 a.m. Our luggage arrived by 1:30 p.m. Overall one of our better embarkation experiences. Room We previously stayed in the Haven on our last Escape cruise, but with just two folks and the ever escalating Haven prices, we were fine with a balcony. Curiously, we got four emails from NCL asking us to bid for an upgrade. As the minimum bid for a Haven upgrade was $1,000 per person, we passed. This was another good idea. The room was fine with a bed, couch, small bathroom and balcony. We never use the butler or concierge anyway so no loss on that front. Our room steward was very good. Prompt room make up and turn down. Dining This is were NCL really shines. We dined twice at Le Bistro, twice at La Cucina and once at Cagney's, Taste and the Manhattan room. All the meals were good. Le Bistro and La Cucina were particularly excellent. A side note on these venues. We are not snobs, but do like to dress consistently with the venue. These are beautiful dining rooms, yet half the folks show up in jeans and tee shirts. Le Bistro now even calls you in advance to remind patrons not to wear shorts. Freestyle appears to be taken to the nth degree by folks going casual even in fine dining restaurants. Entertainment This is a problem on all the new NCL ships. Every since they went to Broadway shows, you basically have only two or three nights in the theater. We saw the Brat Pack, After Midnight and a Magic show on the last night. The later two were very good, but the Brat Pack was disappointing. The rest of the days, we congregated in the atrium which had some music acts. The problem is the atrium's acoustics are terrible. It was not built for musical performances and seating is limited. The comedy shows were all reserved by the first day. There are alternative shows in the dinner theater for a fee, but known of them seem particularly worth the fee. There are few enrichment activities on board, unless you count towel folding and bingo as enrichment. Onboard Experience NCL is geared to sell things 24/7. Art auctions, bingo, fee shows, tee shirts, drink packages and Cruise next rewards Ad nauseum. About four of the T.V. channels are devoted to sales. We don't experience anywhere near this level of sales pitches on any other cruise line. We attended the Lattitudes Party. After the crew introduction, exclamations of how much they loved us and one drink per person, we were told basically to get the hell out of the room because they had to set up for another event. Total time 30 minutes start to finish. Shore Excursions Another hit and miss area. Our tour to Bar Harbor was cancelled due to the inability to tender. Our Nova Scotia tour, booked through NCL, reminded us of the Peterman Reality Tour from Seinfeld. The tour guide was fixated on tales of woe including: 911, a Swiss Air plane crash and the Titanic which she connected to Nova Scotia's involvement. Interesting stories, but a bit much for folks on vacation. After driving about one hour to Peggy's Cove, we started our return and the bus promptly broke down. We waited about an hour for a replacement bus. This bus arrives, but the air conditioning and sound system is out. We made it back to the next stop the Titanic Cemetery. At this point, many folks are hot and are few looking sick. The tour company indicates a third bus is coming. At this point, about thirty of us revolt and tell the driver we are not going on a third bus, many of us have dinner reservations and we want to return to port. The company relents and returns one bus to the port and one to continue the tour. The next day I go to shore excursion desk to express my issues with the tour. The gentleman, after hearing my story, launches into a defense of NCL. Basically, he asserts that NCL has no responsibility for tours that it sponsors through its web-site. I attempt to explain the law of agency to the employee, and the concept of customer service, but this falls on deaf ears. After much debate, he agrees to a 30% reduction of my fee. However, we still never acknowledges NCL's roll and responsibility in this matter as promoters of these tours. Service With the exception of the above incident, service was good. Waiters, the room steward and others we encountered were all friendly and competent. Value for money It is clear since Mr. Del Rio was named CEO, the emphasis at NCL is drive revenue and reduce costs wherever possible. As a NYSE listed company, I certainly understand quarterly margin pressure, but you can take this concept too far and it impacts the customer experience. I recently priced Alaska cruises for next year. NCL's price on the Joy for a balcony for two was more than the cruise I booked on Holland for four in a 500 to 700 sq. ft. Neptune Suite. The pricing increases on NCL has been relentless the past few years, and it is very noticeable when you compare pricing with other cruise lines. My wife is about to turn Platinum Plus on NCL and I am one cruise away, but even with status, I doubt we will be back at NCL anytime soon unless the value for money proposition changes. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We wanted to see Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; and, New Brunswick and Halifax, Canada. It was also an easy trip from our home area (NYC) and we previously cruised on the Escape which we liked. I have Celiac Disease and therefore cannot ... Read More
We wanted to see Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; and, New Brunswick and Halifax, Canada. It was also an easy trip from our home area (NYC) and we previously cruised on the Escape which we liked. I have Celiac Disease and therefore cannot eat any Gluten. The restaurant Maitre D's everywhere were excellent in watching out for my Gluten Free food. In the buffet, the servers were trained to change their gloves. My food was taken from closed trays in the back or specially made in a safe place to avoid cross contamination. Their GF pizza was the best and I had them add veggies to it. The GF french fries were fresh and excellent, but the Veggie Burger was dry and I couldn't eat it. Gluten free was always fine; however, the food quality in general is hit or miss. It used to be much better!! My husband and I found the chicken was dry sometimes, bland/lack of seasoning, too much pepper, no baked potato; sometimes the meals were tasty. The French restaurant, Le Bistro had very delicious meals! We didn't try the others. We also took some tours sold by NCL and they were very good, except for the hop on hop off bus in Halifax because it was overbooked by other cruise ships and there was so much traffic from the G7 Summit. However, when I complained to the Cruise Excursion desk, they refunded me 25%, apologized and said they would put less people on it next time. This was the first trip to these ports for Norwegian. Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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