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For our family vacation this year we chose the NCL Escape. This was our 3rd cruise on NCL, and the 2nd on a Breakaway class ship. This cruise was, unfortunately, just OK. The Escape is a HUGE ship, over 4000 passengers, but I found it to be poorly thought out and crowded. Our embarkation was flawless, NCL really has this down. Since we are latitude members we went from parking on the pier, to being on the ship in less than an hour. We were able to get into our cabin in about 2 hours, and finally start to relax. We sailed on time and leaving NY is always amazing to see! The ship is beautiful, clean and BIG! NCL's mantra has always been "Freestyle Cruising", so if that is the case why do I have to BOOK EVERYTHING! The one thing that I don't want to do on vacation is to make appointments and to keep them, but I can tell you from experience if you do not book shows, dinners, etc beforehand you will NOT get in. On our last NCL cruise you could just show up to the dueling pianos, or the comedy club, or theater, not this time. Everything was sold out, standing room only. The specialty dining sold out almost immediately so even though we had the dining package we ended up eating at the included restaurants most nights. The other issue I have is the "mandatory" tipping that has caused the service to go away. In the past tipping was something that we did when the service was excellent. Now, with mandatory tipping there is no reason for any of the staff to go above and beyond. I can tell you that I would wait almost 20 MINUTES for a drink at the pool bars. There was only 1 bartender on staff! My cabin steward for not unfriendly, but he rarely spoke to us. He worked his butt off and our room was spotless, but on past cruised they were always so friendly and went out of there way to get to know you. Also an FYI, NCL has stopped doing towel animals, stating that they want to cut down on washing, how about if you just put one less towel in the room and make the animals anyway, those little things cannot be emphasized enough. You can ask for them, but I did not know that until our last day. The food was hit or miss, some entrees were to die for, others I could make better at home. The staff in the dining rooms was also unpredictable. Some nights the servers were amazing, others they just did not seem to care. It was disappointing. Debarkation was as smooth as getting on. We walked off the ship through customs to our car in about an hour. It is definitely worth it to walk your own bags off the ship if possible. Any vacation is what you make it to be and we did have a great time. However, because of the things I mentioned above I will have to consider other cruise lines for our next trip even tough we are Latitude members. The ship was just too crowded and poorly thought out and mandatory tipping has taken the great service away from what has always been a great cruise brand. We may have to try Royal Caribbean next time.

We had a great time, but disappointed in NCL's choices

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by dvpmevans

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2019
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom
For our family vacation this year we chose the NCL Escape. This was our 3rd cruise on NCL, and the 2nd on a Breakaway class ship. This cruise was, unfortunately, just OK. The Escape is a HUGE ship, over 4000 passengers, but I found it to be poorly thought out and crowded.

Our embarkation was flawless, NCL really has this down. Since we are latitude members we went from parking on the pier, to being on the ship in less than an hour.

We were able to get into our cabin in about 2 hours, and finally start to relax. We sailed on time and leaving NY is always amazing to see! The ship is beautiful, clean and BIG!

NCL's mantra has always been "Freestyle Cruising", so if that is the case why do I have to BOOK EVERYTHING! The one thing that I don't want to do on vacation is to make appointments and to keep them, but I can tell you from experience if you do not book shows, dinners, etc beforehand you will NOT get in.

On our last NCL cruise you could just show up to the dueling pianos, or the comedy club, or theater, not this time. Everything was sold out, standing room only. The specialty dining sold out almost immediately so even though we had the dining package we ended up eating at the included restaurants most nights.

The other issue I have is the "mandatory" tipping that has caused the service to go away. In the past tipping was something that we did when the service was excellent. Now, with mandatory tipping there is no reason for any of the staff to go above and beyond. I can tell you that I would wait almost 20 MINUTES for a drink at the pool bars. There was only 1 bartender on staff! My cabin steward for not unfriendly, but he rarely spoke to us. He worked his butt off and our room was spotless, but on past cruised they were always so friendly and went out of there way to get to know you.

Also an FYI, NCL has stopped doing towel animals, stating that they want to cut down on washing, how about if you just put one less towel in the room and make the animals anyway, those little things cannot be emphasized enough. You can ask for them, but I did not know that until our last day.

The food was hit or miss, some entrees were to die for, others I could make better at home. The staff in the dining rooms was also unpredictable. Some nights the servers were amazing, others they just did not seem to care. It was disappointing.

Debarkation was as smooth as getting on. We walked off the ship through customs to our car in about an hour. It is definitely worth it to walk your own bags off the ship if possible.

Any vacation is what you make it to be and we did have a great time. However, because of the things I mentioned above I will have to consider other cruise lines for our next trip even tough we are Latitude members. The ship was just too crowded and poorly thought out and mandatory tipping has taken the great service away from what has always been a great cruise brand. We may have to try Royal Caribbean next time.
dvpmevans’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
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Shore Excursions
Ages 13 to 15
Ages 16+
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom
Cabin BE 12300
Considering the size of this ship, the cabins are quite narrow. While we were happy with the cabin, it could have been a bit bigger. Surprisingly the bathroom is very roomy and the shower works well for someone who is 6' 2". The bed was comfortable and clean.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins