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First, let me say that we were part of those 800 Travel Agents on board. While I can't speak for the more influential members of the groups (Owners, upper Management, etc.) we did not get any preferential treatment in terms of available reservations for shows or specialty restaurants. Any venue we used during the day would have been closed anyway. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night and too a shuttle to the Embassy Suites in Miami near the airport. The next morning we took a cab to the port rather than the shuttle provided by the hotel because the cab was much less expensive ($28 plus tip rather than $12 per person X 5). First, yes, embarkation started late for some reason. Possibly up to an hour which did not help the temperament of approx. 4,000 waiting in the terminals. This ship is so big it need two terminals (B and C) to embark. Once on the ship, it was up to level 16 and the buffet. The food was average to above average depending on the item, but finding a table was a challenge. The ship left two hours late due to a downpour which prevented supplies from being loaded, but this is in no way NCL's fault. The service and food in the specialty restaurants were above average with La Cuchina and Bayamo, and Tapenyaki being excellent. The service and food in Manhatten was above average. We found the service Taste, Savor, and O'Sheehans to be some form of slow, unfriendly, at times incompetent, and in two cases downright rude. Our son is a developmentally disabled adult and his taste is food is very plain and simple compared to what is served in the MDRs. We had no trouble getting him an alternative (Chicken Tenders, Cheeseburger, etc. ) in the specialty dining restaurants, but it was a challenge in Taste and Savoy. Unless you are one of the Haven customers special requests are not this staff's strong point. We had the ultimate soft drink package which requires you to go to a bar and get a bartenders attention just to get a soda. During the day it was manageable, but jockeying for attention in the evening with everyone wanting to get the most of their ultimate beverage package was ridiculous. There were never enough bartenders to handle the customer load, especially near the casino. My family did like the various trivia contests held on board and won several as well as winning twice at Bingo. The family enjoyed the John Hughes' supper club show. We found the three piano players in Howl at the Moon entertaining for about 30 minutes, but after that it became repetitive. Million Dollar Quartet was cancelled for the entire cruise due to an illness in the cast. I guess NCL has never heard of understudies. I'm sure NCL will get a lot of complaints. The internet was horribly slow, inconsistent and expensive. I understand it's a ship at sea, but if your going to provide and service and charge 2 months of land rate for 75, it really should work. Disembarkation and Embarkation at the three ports (St. Thomas, Tortolla and Nassau was uneventful. While Julie is probably and excellent Cruise Director, it struck me as odd that she would be on the dock at 8:30 in the morning in a shimmering silver dress and red heels. She is outgoing, friendly remembers faces well and he staff runs some very nice events during the day on board. We went to Paradise Point and Megan's Bay on St. Thomas and enjoyed both very much. The next day on Tortolla it rained on and off, but part of the family was still able to enjoy a nice beach while others went Zip-lining in the canopy and had a great time. The last stop, Nassau was a disaster due to a constant daylong rain, so we did not get make full use of the waterpark at Atlantis. A word of caution, if you need to get back to your ship around 4-5 in the afternoon, the traffic over the bridge from Atlantis is horrible. Disembarkation for us was uneventful. Walked right off the ship at the assigned time, found our luggage and were through customs in about 30 minutes. In summary, it's a nice new ship with lots of amenities. I would not consider this a family ship in any sense of the word nor would I suggest taking children on this line. There are many other cruise lines that appear to do a better job. It's big enough where it doesn't seem too crowded most of the time. The specialty restaurants are worth every cent we paid for them. Other than Manhatten, the complementary restaurants were average to below average in food and service, in our opinion. Others may find them perfectly acceptable. As it is a new ship perhaps the service will improve with time and the menus may get adjusted. We will be trying at least two other lines in the future and depending on what we find, we may or may not be back to NCL.

First NCL Cruise; Possibly, but Not Definitely, Our Last

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by Rob0519

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2010
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
First, let me say that we were part of those 800 Travel Agents on board. While I can't speak for the more influential members of the groups (Owners, upper Management, etc.) we did not get any preferential treatment in terms of available reservations for shows or specialty restaurants. Any venue we used during the day would have been closed anyway.

We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night and too a shuttle to the Embassy Suites in Miami near the airport. The next morning we took a cab to the port rather than the shuttle provided by the hotel because the cab was much less expensive ($28 plus tip rather than $12 per person X 5).

First, yes, embarkation started late for some reason. Possibly up to an hour which did not help the temperament of approx. 4,000 waiting in the terminals. This ship is so big it need two terminals (B and C) to embark.

Once on the ship, it was up to level 16 and the buffet. The food was average to above average depending on the item, but finding a table was a challenge. The ship left two hours late due to a downpour which prevented supplies from being loaded, but this is in no way NCL's fault.

The service and food in the specialty restaurants were above average with La Cuchina and Bayamo, and Tapenyaki being excellent.

The service and food in Manhatten was above average. We found the service Taste, Savor, and O'Sheehans to be some form of slow, unfriendly, at times incompetent, and in two cases downright rude. Our son is a developmentally disabled adult and his taste is food is very plain and simple compared to what is served in the MDRs. We had no trouble getting him an alternative (Chicken Tenders, Cheeseburger, etc. ) in the specialty dining restaurants, but it was a challenge in Taste and Savoy. Unless you are one of the Haven customers special requests are not this staff's strong point.

We had the ultimate soft drink package which requires you to go to a bar and get a bartenders attention just to get a soda. During the day it was manageable, but jockeying for attention in the evening with everyone wanting to get the most of their ultimate beverage package was ridiculous. There were never enough bartenders to handle the customer load, especially near the casino.

My family did like the various trivia contests held on board and won several as well as winning twice at Bingo.

The family enjoyed the John Hughes' supper club show. We found the three piano players in Howl at the Moon entertaining for about 30 minutes, but after that it became repetitive.

Million Dollar Quartet was cancelled for the entire cruise due to an illness in the cast. I guess NCL has never heard of understudies. I'm sure NCL will get a lot of complaints.

The internet was horribly slow, inconsistent and expensive. I understand it's a ship at sea, but if your going to provide and service and charge 2 months of land rate for 75, it really should work.

Disembarkation and Embarkation at the three ports (St. Thomas, Tortolla and Nassau was uneventful. While Julie is probably and excellent Cruise Director, it struck me as odd that she would be on the dock at 8:30 in the morning in a shimmering silver dress and red heels. She is outgoing, friendly remembers faces well and he staff runs some very nice events during the day on board.

We went to Paradise Point and Megan's Bay on St. Thomas and enjoyed both very much. The next day on Tortolla it rained on and off, but part of the family was still able to enjoy a nice beach while others went Zip-lining in the canopy and had a great time. The last stop, Nassau was a disaster due to a constant daylong rain, so we did not get make full use of the waterpark at Atlantis. A word of caution, if you need to get back to your ship around 4-5 in the afternoon, the traffic over the bridge from Atlantis is horrible.

Disembarkation for us was uneventful. Walked right off the ship at the assigned time, found our luggage and were through customs in about 30 minutes.

In summary, it's a nice new ship with lots of amenities. I would not consider this a family ship in any sense of the word nor would I suggest taking children on this line. There are many other cruise lines that appear to do a better job. It's big enough where it doesn't seem too crowded most of the time.

The specialty restaurants are worth every cent we paid for them. Other than Manhatten, the complementary restaurants were average to below average in food and service, in our opinion. Others may find them perfectly acceptable.

As it is a new ship perhaps the service will improve with time and the menus may get adjusted. We will be trying at least two other lines in the future and depending on what we find, we may or may not be back to NCL.
Rob0519’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin M6
Clean and new as was expected. The "large" balcony was hardly large. barely fit two chairs and a small table. The bathroom however, was quite nice and larger than expected. Double sinks, nice but useless as two people really cannot fit in the bathroom at the same time. There were both a shower and tub in our cabin.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews