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I figured since I used everyone else’s reviews to research and learn I would do my part and give my impression of NCL and the Escape. I’m not as good a writer as many on here but I’m just going to lay it all out there. Also, I apologize ahead of time for bad grammar and spelling and for going back between singular and plural when talking about my experiences and our experiences. Background first. I (31) took my husband (35) on his first and our first cruise together. I’m giving my age because I have found that it is important information when reading reviews. I am a professional performer in the arts/entertainment industry and my husband works in Museum/Theatre/ non-traditional education and higher educational settings- that may sway some of our opinions. We booked this cruise because the price was right and without sounding like an alcoholic- we’re big drinkers- we got the Pick 2 promotion with UBP and 3UDP. I had been on the Grand Princess about 15 or 16 years ago when that ship was new- and I was a teenager so everything was amazing and I never had any complaints… except for packing 4 teenage boys in an interior room for 7 nights- it got smelly. Pre-Cruise Hotel: To experience South Beach we stayed at the El Paseo Hotel. The price was right and with the mandatory resort fee- we were able to use two beach loungers and towels at the beach! It is centrally located near everything- lincoln road, the beach, ocean dr, restaurants downstairs, etc. The room: 
The room- balcony room #14136 on the Escape. I thought the room was great- enough space for two people- I think we could have maybe fit a third but they would have to be a close friend or relative because it would be tight. I thought the balcony was a decent size with two chairs and a table- honestly if we had a big enough balcony for lounge chairs we wouldn’t have even used it- this ship is so huge with so many things to do. Our steward kept the place clean and was always attentive with towels and ice. Entertainment: The two main shows were awesome- After Midnight had the best singing and dancing, however, good luck finding a reason to stay engaged. They adapted it from a broadway show to under an hour run-time which meant all plot and relationships between characters was thrown out the window. I found myself nodding off. The Rat Pack show was the one I was expecting to not enjoy- as I was born in 1986 and have seen maybe one of the movies they made this show about. This show ended up being our favorite of the two because the writers made a clever through line to tie all the characters and the random songs that quote the 80’s movies. We did not see any of the comedy or magic shows or see anything in the supper club or the Atrium, except for walking by trivia in the mornings. The dueling pianos show was awesome and a must see if you enjoy improvisation and live piano/singing. Also, after many drinks during sail-away we took a few laps around the waterfront. This became a tradition- we loved walking around the waterfront- either to get some sort of exercise or sober-up or just enjoy the water. Speaking of exercise- I didn’t visit the “gym” at all on the boat and just enjoyed my week away from normal exercise- I wanted to relax and enjoy my vacation. However, we are both able bodies people and not once took the elevator- I challenge everyone else to do that too (if you have no health issues warranting this unsafe of course). The fitbit said we got over 100 flights a day and at least 20-30,000 steps a day. Back to the review- we found ourselves at The District Brew House- and caught one of the many shows that ‘Beau Tahana’ does and he was awesome- he does kind of his own dealing pianos show but just by himself. In my opinion he’s probably the most underrated performer on the ship that we saw- go check him out. The Staff: I thought the entire staff on the ship were amazing and super super friendly. I will only touch on a few I really enjoyed- The washy washy guy in the buffet was amazing- and I will always sing washy washy now when I use hand sanitizer or wash my hands from now on. I also enjoyed the two girls that sang a different version of “good morning! blueberry muffin! only today! different tomorrow!” as they served the pastry of the day and wandered around. Bong- was one of my favorite bar tenders and he learned my name on the first day! The cruise director Tyler…. he was not our favorite- I think he did a great job- i have no idea what makes a great cruise director but I bet he qualifies for that- we just didn’t like him- we just found him a bit disingenuous. Restaurants: the first meal- they herd everyone to the buffet but that was a madhouse and there were no tables/chair to be found anywhere on this floor. We headed down to Savour and had a nice calm lunch. Breakfast for the week was either at the garden cafe but once we went to Taste. Lunch- garden cafe. Dinner- we had the 3 nights specialty dining package. First we tried Le Bistro, which was awesome A+. Cagney’s was not as amazing as Le Bistro- I don’t eat red meat so I had the Tuna which was great and my husband had the filet which he said was a little over cooked for what he ordered but he would never send anything back-ever. He still enjoyed it. La Cucina- we thought was the worst- the food tasted bland and meh. Our sides where cold but it was such a long process between appetizers and pasta/rissoto and then the entree. There was no need to complain- we were full. We enjoyed the Manhattan room the other 4 nights- I would be completely fine going on another cruise with just eating at the Manhattan room- service and food were excellent every time. I should note we ate late every night (like 8:30-9) and that may have swayed our service for the better. We are used to eating late during our normal lives and we decided to do the same on the ship. If we got a little snacky at anytime we just walked up to the garden cafe for a quick bite. We tried Food Republic once for the Lobster Rolls and specialty drinks they have there- it was awesome. I’m originally from New England- and am used to big chunk lobster meat in a lobster roll. At Food Republic- it was more shredded lobster meat but it tasted awesome. They also have unique specialty drinks that fit the UBP and you can’t get anywhere else on the ship. We visited O’sheehan’s twice- once for lunch after a port day and once for late night food after a long night. The wings were all pretty bland compared to what I’m used to but it all hit the spot. Pool/Hot Tubs/Ropes Course/Slides/Spice H2O: There are ample hot tubs everywhere on the top decks of the ship and it was never hard to find a spot and we were on a fully booked ship. My husband dubbed them ‘warm tubs’ because they were meh in temperature. There are two pools- one is a kids pool and also has the splash park next door. The other one was an adults only pool. Aside from when they were doing the big competitions like Mr. Sexy Legs, etc. there was always room in the pool. The slides were great too- the two drop slides were awesome- we found the green one to be more aggressive than the blue one. Also, no jewelry not even earring’s or rings- they don’t tell you that till you hike all the way up there. Then, if you are like like us, you have to go back to your room to drop off your wedding rings cause we’re not leaving it with our flip flops and towels on the pool deck- NOPE. The tube slide was cool too- I wish they could have made more of the slide clear/ see-through not just the one section. The ropes course was exhilarating- We did it twice- once when the boat was trucking at 22 knots and they closed the plank and the zip-line because of wind and another time when we were able to use them both. I thought it was a lot of fun and a unique thing to do on a cruise ship. I didn’t see them ever allowing the upper level of the ropes course open though- I don’t know if I missed that or they always have it shut down though. Spice H20 gets its own paragraph: I loved Spice H20. The reason I loved Spice H2O is because its completely open to the sea and views- theres nothing above you and it has everything you need. We hung out there during sail away and had a blast. We used it one day at sea to hang out on the lounge chairs and bask in the sun. I thought that the grotto was really underwhelming. Our cruise was in December and the weather was awesome, the sun was almost always shining with temps in the 80’s the whole time, but the grotto is shaded and had freezing cold water- so barely anyone used it- I bet it gets more use in the summer. The all-ages dance parties from 10:30pm on in Spice H2O were awesome, but they only had them a few nights up there. On the off nights they would have the parties down in the skyline club and that was a big let down. The skyline club is everything that H2O isn’t- it’s not open air and has a low claustrophobic ceiling and its in the middle of a smokey casino. I can go to a claustrophobic bar anytime in any city but how often can I go to a bar on the top of a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean? I wish they had Spice H2O open every night for fun! Ports: They cancelled our Falmouth, Jamaica stop because of weather and told us the port closed but something seems odd about that as the water and wind were both calm- but I’m not a sailor so I have no idea if it actually was. We had booked a ‘Best of Ocho Rios’ tour through NCL because we wanted to do Dunn’s River Falls and see Konoko Park. We also booked through NCL because we are two gay men wanting to visit Jamaica and it has a reputation of being one of the most violently anti-gay countries in the world. Whether it is gay-friendly or not I can’t say because we didn’t stop there. The tour was refunded to us as well as $7/pp port fee. Next was Grand Cayman, we booked a private excursion through Captain Marvin’s because I wanted to see Stingray City as well as two snorkeling stops while the boat was out- NCL didn’t have anything comparable and I chose Captain Marvin’s because of reviews and reputation- they delivered and I would definitely recommend them. Great Stirrup Cay was probably our favorite stop even though NCL really screwed up with their tendering. They had to split tendering for GSC with the Sky because both ships were on the island and apparently that had never happened before in NCL history. The tender groups were called to the theatre for their meeting time but the slim amount of staff they allotted to the theatre couldn’t handle the amount of disgruntled guests nor could they remember where they seated each tender group. Some people waited 45mins to an hour while some people waited 5 minutes for a tender. We are not ones to openly complain about situations but obviously I kept my eyes open and watched the whole thing. It got ugly- the behavior of some of those guests were some of the worst of humanity I have seen. I felt bad for the staff getting screamed at and pushed close to their limit- however, I don’t think the guest would have been quite as angry if the staff led the tender groups out of the theatre with any sort of order or fairness to correspond to when they arrived- it seemed they were just randomly telling groups they could leave- or they forgot where they sat groups. Last stop was Nassau. The downtown area right outside of the port left a lot to be desired. We walked to see the Queen’s staircase and the Fort at the top of the hill but that was about it. We then headed back to the port to catch a ferry to Paradise Island. We decided on the ferry option over the very aggressive taxis pimps trying to get us to take a taxi. Additionally, we wanted the view from the water! It was $4/pp each way and included a “tour guide” who added humor and told us about the sights along the way. Once on Paradise Island- we walked around the casino and public area of Atlantis- just to see what it looked like and then headed off to Cabbage beach. About a mile walk down the street just past the Versailles Gardens and Cloister. The beach was the most beautiful color blue and the sand is all made of crushed shells. Post Cruise Excursion: After the cruise we booked the Everglades tour by Airboat through NCL. We had a later flight and wanted to explore without having to lug around our luggage. We wanted to see the Everglades and liked that the tour bus held your bags while you toured around and then dropped you off at the airport after. Everything was great- embarkation went smoothly, the bus ride out to the Everglades was great, the location was Everglades Safari Park- the tour was great and we law many alligators in the water as well as the show they had after. Complaints: 
I already mentioned not liking the use of the skyline club over Spice H2O but that just meant for us more walking around the waterfront for fresh air and seeing the stars. One of the biggest complaints I have is there is no way to see when and where you have reservations. I guess I’m like Dory in Finding Nemo because I can’t seem to remember when I made reservations for and which restaurant and what night I made them for. You can make reservations months ahead of your cruise, on your TV in your room, using the iConcierge app onboard, on the screens by the elevator or at any host stand in front of a restaurant- but there is no way to check on them if you forget…. Except for asking a host at any restaurant but the one we asked seemed really annoyed that we were asking her that or the guest services desk. After waiting in a line at the guest services desk we asked for a print out of all our reservations- you would have thought we were asking to her to solve some difficult math equation. She finally obliged. It didn’t seem hard to find a listing of all the purchases on your account for the week- why couldn’t they list the reservations you have for the week there also. The same goes for tendering- if you forget which tender group you booked- theres only one way to find out- waiting in line at the guest services desk. All in all, we had the BEST vacation and really enjoyed NCL and the staff and our experience. We will definitely go on another cruise and almost definitely try NCL again. The Escape is a lovely huge ship- I’m happy with all of the choices we had. I never felt over crowded or that I couldn’t do something that I wanted to. I’ve read lots of complaints about not finding a chair either in the shade or in the sun and we never had that issue- there were chairs everywhere. I’ve also read complaints about the pool- yes, I did find it odd that with over 4000 guests only one small adult’s only pool and one small children pool was there- but we never had difficulty finding a spot. We made some good friends on the boat that reassured us that not all humanity is awful like that day in the Escape theatre waiting for our tender. Hope this was helpful!

Long Review of NCL Escape

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by mycakewalk

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom
I figured since I used everyone else’s reviews to research and learn I would do my part and give my impression of NCL and the Escape. I’m not as good a writer as many on here but I’m just going to lay it all out there. Also, I apologize ahead of time for bad grammar and spelling and for going back between singular and plural when talking about my experiences and our experiences.

Background first. I (31) took my husband (35) on his first and our first cruise together. I’m giving my age because I have found that it is important information when reading reviews. I am a professional performer in the arts/entertainment industry and my husband works in Museum/Theatre/ non-traditional education and higher educational settings- that may sway some of our opinions. We booked this cruise because the price was right and without sounding like an alcoholic- we’re big drinkers- we got the Pick 2 promotion with UBP and 3UDP.

I had been on the Grand Princess about 15 or 16 years ago when that ship was new- and I was a teenager so everything was amazing and I never had any complaints… except for packing 4 teenage boys in an interior room for 7 nights- it got smelly.

Pre-Cruise Hotel:

To experience South Beach we stayed at the El Paseo Hotel. The price was right and with the mandatory resort fee- we were able to use two beach loungers and towels at the beach! It is centrally located near everything- lincoln road, the beach, ocean dr, restaurants downstairs, etc.

The room:


The room- balcony room #14136 on the Escape. I thought the room was great- enough space for two people- I think we could have maybe fit a third but they would have to be a close friend or relative because it would be tight. I thought the balcony was a decent size with two chairs and a table- honestly if we had a big enough balcony for lounge chairs we wouldn’t have even used it- this ship is so huge with so many things to do. Our steward kept the place clean and was always attentive with towels and ice.

Entertainment:

The two main shows were awesome- After Midnight had the best singing and dancing, however, good luck finding a reason to stay engaged. They adapted it from a broadway show to under an hour run-time which meant all plot and relationships between characters was thrown out the window. I found myself nodding off. The Rat Pack show was the one I was expecting to not enjoy- as I was born in 1986 and have seen maybe one of the movies they made this show about. This show ended up being our favorite of the two because the writers made a clever through line to tie all the characters and the random songs that quote the 80’s movies. We did not see any of the comedy or magic shows or see anything in the supper club or the Atrium, except for walking by trivia in the mornings. The dueling pianos show was awesome and a must see if you enjoy improvisation and live piano/singing. Also, after many drinks during sail-away we took a few laps around the waterfront. This became a tradition- we loved walking around the waterfront- either to get some sort of exercise or sober-up or just enjoy the water. Speaking of exercise- I didn’t visit the “gym” at all on the boat and just enjoyed my week away from normal exercise- I wanted to relax and enjoy my vacation. However, we are both able bodies people and not once took the elevator- I challenge everyone else to do that too (if you have no health issues warranting this unsafe of course). The fitbit said we got over 100 flights a day and at least 20-30,000 steps a day. Back to the review- we found ourselves at The District Brew House- and caught one of the many shows that ‘Beau Tahana’ does and he was awesome- he does kind of his own dealing pianos show but just by himself. In my opinion he’s probably the most underrated performer on the ship that we saw- go check him out.

The Staff:

I thought the entire staff on the ship were amazing and super super friendly. I will only touch on a few I really enjoyed- The washy washy guy in the buffet was amazing- and I will always sing washy washy now when I use hand sanitizer or wash my hands from now on. I also enjoyed the two girls that sang a different version of “good morning! blueberry muffin! only today! different tomorrow!” as they served the pastry of the day and wandered around. Bong- was one of my favorite bar tenders and he learned my name on the first day! The cruise director Tyler…. he was not our favorite- I think he did a great job- i have no idea what makes a great cruise director but I bet he qualifies for that- we just didn’t like him- we just found him a bit disingenuous.

Restaurants:

the first meal- they herd everyone to the buffet but that was a madhouse and there were no tables/chair to be found anywhere on this floor. We headed down to Savour and had a nice calm lunch. Breakfast for the week was either at the garden cafe but once we went to Taste. Lunch- garden cafe. Dinner- we had the 3 nights specialty dining package. First we tried Le Bistro, which was awesome A+. Cagney’s was not as amazing as Le Bistro- I don’t eat red meat so I had the Tuna which was great and my husband had the filet which he said was a little over cooked for what he ordered but he would never send anything back-ever. He still enjoyed it. La Cucina- we thought was the worst- the food tasted bland and meh. Our sides where cold but it was such a long process between appetizers and pasta/rissoto and then the entree. There was no need to complain- we were full. We enjoyed the Manhattan room the other 4 nights- I would be completely fine going on another cruise with just eating at the Manhattan room- service and food were excellent every time. I should note we ate late every night (like 8:30-9) and that may have swayed our service for the better. We are used to eating late during our normal lives and we decided to do the same on the ship. If we got a little snacky at anytime we just walked up to the garden cafe for a quick bite.

We tried Food Republic once for the Lobster Rolls and specialty drinks they have there- it was awesome. I’m originally from New England- and am used to big chunk lobster meat in a lobster roll. At Food Republic- it was more shredded lobster meat but it tasted awesome. They also have unique specialty drinks that fit the UBP and you can’t get anywhere else on the ship.

We visited O’sheehan’s twice- once for lunch after a port day and once for late night food after a long night. The wings were all pretty bland compared to what I’m used to but it all hit the spot.

Pool/Hot Tubs/Ropes Course/Slides/Spice H2O:

There are ample hot tubs everywhere on the top decks of the ship and it was never hard to find a spot and we were on a fully booked ship. My husband dubbed them ‘warm tubs’ because they were meh in temperature. There are two pools- one is a kids pool and also has the splash park next door. The other one was an adults only pool. Aside from when they were doing the big competitions like Mr. Sexy Legs, etc. there was always room in the pool. The slides were great too- the two drop slides were awesome- we found the green one to be more aggressive than the blue one. Also, no jewelry not even earring’s or rings- they don’t tell you that till you hike all the way up there. Then, if you are like like us, you have to go back to your room to drop off your wedding rings cause we’re not leaving it with our flip flops and towels on the pool deck- NOPE. The tube slide was cool too- I wish they could have made more of the slide clear/ see-through not just the one section. The ropes course was exhilarating- We did it twice- once when the boat was trucking at 22 knots and they closed the plank and the zip-line because of wind and another time when we were able to use them both. I thought it was a lot of fun and a unique thing to do on a cruise ship. I didn’t see them ever allowing the upper level of the ropes course open though- I don’t know if I missed that or they always have it shut down though.

Spice H20 gets its own paragraph:

I loved Spice H20. The reason I loved Spice H2O is because its completely open to the sea and views- theres nothing above you and it has everything you need. We hung out there during sail away and had a blast. We used it one day at sea to hang out on the lounge chairs and bask in the sun. I thought that the grotto was really underwhelming. Our cruise was in December and the weather was awesome, the sun was almost always shining with temps in the 80’s the whole time, but the grotto is shaded and had freezing cold water- so barely anyone used it- I bet it gets more use in the summer. The all-ages dance parties from 10:30pm on in Spice H2O were awesome, but they only had them a few nights up there. On the off nights they would have the parties down in the skyline club and that was a big let down. The skyline club is everything that H2O isn’t- it’s not open air and has a low claustrophobic ceiling and its in the middle of a smokey casino. I can go to a claustrophobic bar anytime in any city but how often can I go to a bar on the top of a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean? I wish they had Spice H2O open every night for fun!

Ports:

They cancelled our Falmouth, Jamaica stop because of weather and told us the port closed but something seems odd about that as the water and wind were both calm- but I’m not a sailor so I have no idea if it actually was. We had booked a ‘Best of Ocho Rios’ tour through NCL because we wanted to do Dunn’s River Falls and see Konoko Park. We also booked through NCL because we are two gay men wanting to visit Jamaica and it has a reputation of being one of the most violently anti-gay countries in the world. Whether it is gay-friendly or not I can’t say because we didn’t stop there. The tour was refunded to us as well as $7/pp port fee.

Next was Grand Cayman, we booked a private excursion through Captain Marvin’s because I wanted to see Stingray City as well as two snorkeling stops while the boat was out- NCL didn’t have anything comparable and I chose Captain Marvin’s because of reviews and reputation- they delivered and I would definitely recommend them.

Great Stirrup Cay was probably our favorite stop even though NCL really screwed up with their tendering. They had to split tendering for GSC with the Sky because both ships were on the island and apparently that had never happened before in NCL history. The tender groups were called to the theatre for their meeting time but the slim amount of staff they allotted to the theatre couldn’t handle the amount of disgruntled guests nor could they remember where they seated each tender group. Some people waited 45mins to an hour while some people waited 5 minutes for a tender. We are not ones to openly complain about situations but obviously I kept my eyes open and watched the whole thing. It got ugly- the behavior of some of those guests were some of the worst of humanity I have seen. I felt bad for the staff getting screamed at and pushed close to their limit- however, I don’t think the guest would have been quite as angry if the staff led the tender groups out of the theatre with any sort of order or fairness to correspond to when they arrived- it seemed they were just randomly telling groups they could leave- or they forgot where they sat groups.

Last stop was Nassau. The downtown area right outside of the port left a lot to be desired. We walked to see the Queen’s staircase and the Fort at the top of the hill but that was about it. We then headed back to the port to catch a ferry to Paradise Island. We decided on the ferry option over the very aggressive taxis pimps trying to get us to take a taxi. Additionally, we wanted the view from the water! It was $4/pp each way and included a “tour guide” who added humor and told us about the sights along the way. Once on Paradise Island- we walked around the casino and public area of Atlantis- just to see what it looked like and then headed off to Cabbage beach. About a mile walk down the street just past the Versailles Gardens and Cloister. The beach was the most beautiful color blue and the sand is all made of crushed shells.

Post Cruise Excursion:

After the cruise we booked the Everglades tour by Airboat through NCL. We had a later flight and wanted to explore without having to lug around our luggage. We wanted to see the Everglades and liked that the tour bus held your bags while you toured around and then dropped you off at the airport after. Everything was great- embarkation went smoothly, the bus ride out to the Everglades was great, the location was Everglades Safari Park- the tour was great and we law many alligators in the water as well as the show they had after.

Complaints:


I already mentioned not liking the use of the skyline club over Spice H2O but that just meant for us more walking around the waterfront for fresh air and seeing the stars. One of the biggest complaints I have is there is no way to see when and where you have reservations. I guess I’m like Dory in Finding Nemo because I can’t seem to remember when I made reservations for and which restaurant and what night I made them for. You can make reservations months ahead of your cruise, on your TV in your room, using the iConcierge app onboard, on the screens by the elevator or at any host stand in front of a restaurant- but there is no way to check on them if you forget…. Except for asking a host at any restaurant but the one we asked seemed really annoyed that we were asking her that or the guest services desk. After waiting in a line at the guest services desk we asked for a print out of all our reservations- you would have thought we were asking to her to solve some difficult math equation. She finally obliged. It didn’t seem hard to find a listing of all the purchases on your account for the week- why couldn’t they list the reservations you have for the week there also. The same goes for tendering- if you forget which tender group you booked- theres only one way to find out- waiting in line at the guest services desk.

All in all, we had the BEST vacation and really enjoyed NCL and the staff and our experience. We will definitely go on another cruise and almost definitely try NCL again. The Escape is a lovely huge ship- I’m happy with all of the choices we had. I never felt over crowded or that I couldn’t do something that I wanted to. I’ve read lots of complaints about not finding a chair either in the shade or in the sun and we never had that issue- there were chairs everywhere. I’ve also read complaints about the pool- yes, I did find it odd that with over 4000 guests only one small adult’s only pool and one small children pool was there- but we never had difficulty finding a spot. We made some good friends on the boat that reassured us that not all humanity is awful like that day in the Escape theatre waiting for our tender.

Hope this was helpful!
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom
Cabin BD 14136
The room:

The room- balcony room #14136 on the Escape. I thought the room was great- enough space for two people- I think we could have maybe fit a third but they would have to be a close friend or relative because it would be tight. I thought the balcony was a decent size with two chairs and a table- honestly if we had a big enough balcony for lounge chairs we wouldn’t have even used it- this ship is so huge with so many things to do. Our steward kept the place clean and was always attentive with towels and ice.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins