Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by Bob305
- Sail Date: December 2017
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom
Price: typical price-gouging. Instead of working on forging good relationships and repeat business, like so many other corporations, Norwegian doubles their rates during higher travel seasons (economic terrorism).
None of the ship's "tips" or "useful info" mentioned needing to arrive at Port of Miami over two hours early to make your embarkation time. The port has no traffic management, and is peppered with misguiding or no directional signs, and mostly non-English speaking employees or difficult to understand immigrant employees. Expect two hours of stress and gridlock.
Embarkation: a little better organized, but our rooms were not ready so we were stuck hauling around our carry-ons for 2-3 hours.
Extra Charges: of all other cruise lines, the worst so far. Expect to double your initial ticket price on a 7-day cruise with pre-included gratuity (for sometimes mediocre employee service), double to triple priced drinks (even $5.00 or more for a bottle of water-really?), service charges for room service just to name a few.
Kids: They need to have family only cruises and separate these. Cruises are for singles, couples, and retirees, not families with kids. Typical of the modern day rude, selfish, inconsiderate, narcissistic, liberal-millennial people/parents of today, these people brought their obnoxious kids onboard and let them run amuck, completely undisciplined. They created major safety issues running in the restaurants, food areas, around the decks, through the casinos and various other "adult only" areas which Norwegian employees did not enforce at all.
Overcrowding: more passengers were booked onboard than amenities and deck space could accomodate. Unless you get out there at 8 am, do not expect to be able to get a lounge chair anywhere onboard or access any of the hot tubs or pool. Think of the crowding on a full airline flight, general boarding. This is how much space there was. Bigger is not better. Norwegian simply more than doubled the number of cabins/passengers than on smaller ships but did not increase the amenities space.
Port visits: Two ports involving tenders were not worth going ashore for. They are required to use the ports tenders. There are simply not enough. Expect to wait in a two hour plus line to get on/off the ship each time giving you only 2-4 hours at the port. Not worth leaving the ship.
Sanitation: Again, staff not enforcing rules, and rude, obnoxious cruisers thinking the rules don't apply to them. At the buffet, people would come from the pool area, bare foot, shirtless, dripping water on the floor into the food/buffett area. Despite their efforts of using hand sanitizer everywhere, due to over-crowding and typical modern rude people boarding themselves or kids whom they know are sick, both of us caught a horrific flu from other passengers last day of cruise and were bed-ridden for 3-4 days after.
Organization: There was none. The buffet area had no banisters or directionality in lines (ie, pick up a plate and form an orderly line in one direction). It was a kamikaze free-for all, dozens of people crowding the buffet counters from all directions, and again, typical rude people and their kids actually cutting others off and pushing people out of the way.
Excursions: again, due to over crowding, excursions on two occasions were disorganized, we almost missed one because the "guide" led us to the wrong bus, and the experience was not as good as it could have been.
Food: Good, but on a cruise, and for what they charge, I expect at least 4-star. Their specialty restaurants barely made the 4 mark and the buffet was only a step or two up from hospital cafeteria food.
Kids (again): during the game shows and comedy routines, which clearly contained serious, explicit adult content, language, and sexual connotations, children as young as 8-10 yrs old were allowed to observe these by both their irresponsible, unqualified parents, as well as the ship's employees.
Casinos: Questionable. Took forever for servers to keep up on drinks. Kids constantly running around, completely inebriated people being allowed to continue playing, holding up the games, spilling drinks on the tables, etc. I also question their regulatory honesty. Blackjack dealers were getting an unusually high consistency in dealing themselves 18-21, while dealing a full table smalls through 15. (15-20 hands in a row.) I have been playing for years and never seen this, and though I have no proof of any cheating going on, what I observed is a mathematical impossibility.
By far this was not a good experience. Though it may differ on their smaller ships, due to their policies, costs, and overall management, I will not be utilizing this line again, nor would I recommend them to anyone else. They need to overhaul their operation, and screen the caliber/quality of guests they bring on board for people with better manners.
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