Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this cruise for the timing (spring break), cost seemed reasonable, looked like there were plenty of kids' activities, NCL has a good reputation for its food quality. Also, $15 corkage allowed me to bring many good bottles of ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the timing (spring break), cost seemed reasonable, looked like there were plenty of kids' activities, NCL has a good reputation for its food quality. Also, $15 corkage allowed me to bring many good bottles of wine on the ship. The food was great. Really tasty from the buffet to the specialty restaurants. My wife and I don't drink a lot of alcohol, so it was important to us to be able to bring good wine on board, which we were able to do for just $15/bottle. That's a good deal for drinking $100 bottles. Of course with any gathering of 5000 people, there are trashy other guests. The Cruise ship staff was absolutely awesome...but those other guests are rude, inconsiderate, selfish...leaving many of their kids unsupervised acting like animals all over the ship. It was also difficult at times to get good chairs by the pool. The layout of the Escape leaves a "good side" and a "bad side" depending on the direction of the sail/sun location. It's not a super wide-open floor plan so you really need to know the direction you are sailing that day, then get up early to get a seat...but the one thing I liked is that they enforced the "no saving seats" policy...they'd tag your seat and take your belongings if somebody else arrived and wanted your chairs if you have not been there for an hour. I love that! More places need to do that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
I will preface my review by stating that if a person leaves this ship disappointed, it is because they purposefully tried NOT to have an amazing time. The service on this ship was incredible and I have no complaints for the week. ... Read More
I will preface my review by stating that if a person leaves this ship disappointed, it is because they purposefully tried NOT to have an amazing time. The service on this ship was incredible and I have no complaints for the week. Embarking in Miami was a bit of a hassle as we got there early due to an early flight and the doors to the building to start the embarkation process has not opened yet. Mayhem. There's just not enough organization there for both activites (embark/disembark) to be happening at the same time. Once we were through the doors and security, it was a much smoother process. As you enter the ship, you are soon greeted with the smiling faces of the crew and the beautiful 678 Ocean Place. It really was a welcoming view. We immediately began exploring and found a neat whisky bar - Tobacco Road - and Pregdrag (one of our favorite bartenders) prepared us the best Old Fashioned I've had in my life. Due to the fact that rooms were not ready (because we were there very early) we then explored the Waterfront and other areas of the ship. We like to play cards, so we went and checked out what tables were available and then headed to deck 16 to check out the water features and visit the buffet. I will say that the buffet was quite impressive. It is expansive and runs along both sides of the ship. While the stations repeat themselves on both sides, there was always a great variety of foods and something for everyone. The food was served in smaller batches, so it was displayed nicely and always had the appropriate temperature. I like to think we sampled about 80 percent of the items served for breakfast and lunch and we did not find one thing we weren't a fan of. We did tour the spa directly after lunch and ended up signing up for the thermal suite package--SO WORTH IT! We are not a couple who enjoys lying around the pool deck roasting like hotdogs for hours a day, so this was a beautiful retreat for us. The views were stunning from the front of the trip and we thoroughly enjoyed the saunas, steam room, snow room, salt room, thermal pool, and the heated loungers. We spent hours a day relaxing and reading and yes, sometimes napping. The passes were $249 each for the week and I will do it again. My husband also splurged on a facial for me in the spa. I had never had one before, but he was adamant that I would like it. And I did! It was a great, relaxing hour. Hammad gave me great pointers and explained a routine he would recommend I start implementing. I will say that I did NOT like the fact that he was pushy trying to sell me $100-200 creams for 20 minutes after I said no. I felt a little patronized when I refused, so it put a mild damper on the experience. Also, beware that they already add their 18% gratuity when they bring you the final bill. We were so excited when the announcement came on that our rooms were ready! We were excited to get to the cabin and check it out and were impressed when we opened the door. The room was spotless and roomier than I thought it would be. There was ample closet space for my husband and I and abundant storage in the bathroom! I was actually really impressed with the layout of the bathroom and how much storage they were able to get into that space and still make it feel large. The seating area was lovely and sat across from the vanity-area, which was great for me. The balcony is larger in this cabin due to the fact that it is on a slanting section of the deck. So not only did we have two deck chairs, but we also had a lounger. Due to the slant, however, if you are by the railing, you can be seen by the cabins to your left if they are by the railing too--so no naked yoga or anything outlandish. the bed was comfortable and the sheets and blankets were warm. My husband is hot natured, so he used the sheets only and was very comfortable. A note about this area of the ship: There is a laundry facility or SOMETHING right above you and you will hear a lot of noise between 12am and 2am. I pair of ear plugs fixed it for us. The room steward, Jerome, was a sweetheart, we weren't needy but left notes for an extra pillow, extra coffee packets, coffee creamer and they were instantly fulfilled. He kept the room clean for us throughout the day and hit the mark with his towel animals--no matter how old you are, you never get tired of those... The first night we dined in the Manhattan room. We were served by Jocelyn and went back a time or two to request her. She was always full and we can imagine why--she was so friendly and prompt and waited on us graciously throughout our meal. It was the epitome of service and kicked of a great week of dining for us. Our dinners went as quickly or as slowly as we wanted them to throughout the cruise. There were times when we were in and out in 45 minutes without feeling rushed one bit (we were just anxious to get to the casino), and there were also evenings when we took our time, ordered another appetizer, stayed for coffee after dessert, and the service never stopped. We also ate in Taste and Savor which served the same menus as the Manhattan room and again had great service. These were also the main dining rooms that offered breakfast and lunch daily, so we found ourselves in there a few times. I actually really enjoyed their menus and our favorite there was Angela (who also works in Teppanyaki with Rowan--the washy washy guy!) We did order the Unlimited Beverage Package and Ultimate Dining Package for this cruise so we also experienced Bayamo, La Cucina, and Teppanyaki. Bayamo was AMAZING! Great seafood—my mouth is actually watering just typing about it. It’s a small upcharge from the UDP, but it was well worth it. We ordered the crab legs and crab cakes for appetizers (Crab cakes would rank in the top 3 I’ve ever had), lobster and scallops for main courses (both out of this world), and petit fours and chocolate cake for dessert. This meal was a highlight of the trip—the chocolate cake was so delectable, I wanted to go back to that restaurant just to order that to-go! La Cucina was a great Italian meal. My husband ordered the veal and I ordered the filet. Both were amazing and cooked perfectly. The asparagus risotto was also very impressive. Teppanyaki is a hibachi style restaurant that lended a great atmosphere. We had fun watching the chefs and they were all very entertaining. The fried rice was actually very, very good, and I was impressed at how well the food was cooked—the shrimp, scallops, and chicken were all at the perfect temperatures. It is a lot of food and you definitely get your dollars’ worth here at this restaurant. Included in your fare: O’Sheehan’s. Think of this as your favorite pub comfort food. We ate here for lunch and late night a time or two and were never disappointed with the food. Don’t expect delicacies here—this is casual, comfort food, but it’s good. Entertainment—YOU NEED TO RESERVE YOUR ENTERTAINMENT BEFORE YOU BOARD THE SHIP! We were not able to make any of the shows due to my lack of foresight in making reservations. You have to understand that there are over 4,000 other people on the ship and reservations are a must. Even so, the free entertainment they had aboard the ship every night was top notch. There were always performers in the Manhattan room each night and also in the Atrium and Skyline lounge. This was great for us because we spent a lot of time in the casino and could hear the bands and singers. We had an amazing time in the casino (played every night but the first). The dealers were great—Tara, Rishori, V, and so many more. We especially loved the pit boss – Lynn – who actually was one of the nicest, funniest people we met on the ship. My husband is a handful and she handled him perfectly—knew exactly how to take his humor and ensure we had the best time. I hope we get to see her on another cruise with Norwegian because that would make my day. Smoking: There are both smoking and non-smoking areas of the casino and we played in both. We typically do not like smoke at all, but the ventilation was pretty good in the area. For Blackjack: there are $10, $15, $25, $50 minimums, as well as a high-roller section. Note: the $10 tables only pay 6 to 5. We stuck to the $15 tables and met some really awesome people that we ended up playing with all week—so much fun! As I mentioned, the service on this ship was outstanding. Everyone was polite and seemed eager to help make our trip the greatest. We even got pointers on where we should cruise to next from a few of the crew (we’ve already put down our CruiseNext deposits). Actually, to show how awesome the crew was, I will swear to you that I did not write down one name while I was on the ship and now, almost 2 weeks after embarkation, their names are still fresh on my mind. Very, Very impressive! While we didn’t do any cruise-sponsored excursions, we did visit some of our ports: Jamaica’s cruise port is actually very nice and you get a great view from the dock. The second you step out of the port, you are fearing for your safety. We took a van out of the port with 10 other people and a driver to Montego Bay. We made the mistake of sitting in the back row and almost suffocated and had heat stroke simultaneously, but once we made it to the beach, it was all worth it. The ride down there was $20 each round trip, but we paid an extra $60 for a different cab driver to take us back to port when we had our fill at the beach. We weren’t going to experience the awful ride we had up there again. The beach was stunning, $6 admission each, $12 each from chairs and $30 for a bucket of beer. It was a little more expensive than I would have thought, but it was a gorgeous day in the water and I will not complain about that at all. Bottom line—if you don’t book an excursion with the cruise at this port, I wouldn’t even bother getting off the ship. The beach was beautiful, but leaving the port was kind of scary and not worth the risk to do it on your own. We stopped in Grand Cayman but we did not get off the ship in this port. You have to tender there and back and it was a lengthy process we just really didn’t want to do. We enjoyed the spa and an emptier ship on this day. We were supposed to go to Great Stirrup Cay – NCL’s private island – but the swells were too high to safely tender to the island. This whole tendering thing kinds sucks. I was really looking forward to spending the day on the beach and snorkeling. Nassau was our final port and it was a beautiful place. The local people were friendly when we got off the ship and very helpful. We got a cab for $2 each to Paradise Island and walked to a public beach. We ended up paying $100 for two chairs, an umbrella, and 4 coconut drinks and got to lounge on the beach for several hours. IMPORTANT: IF YOU ARE TAKING CHILDREN TO THIS SIDE OF THE ISLAND, YOU MUST WATCH THEM IN THE WATER! Even if you are an adult, if you are not a swimmer, stay out of the water. There are some serious undertows on this beach. My husband was a swim instructor in the Marine Corp and ended up saving a man and a child in the water. The ocean is something to take seriously. We woke up the last morning not wanting to leave the ship. We went up and had breakfast at the buffet and grudgingly debarked. We packed carry ons only so we decided to just take our bags and walk off at our leisure. We waited until after 9am and walked down to the debarking line. It took maybe 10 minutes to get off the ship and another 10 to get through security and we were hailing a cab for the airport. It was a breeze but we were very reluctant to leave… We will be back, NCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
we chose this cruise to experience the Norwegian escape and to depart from a southern port. With a group of 8, we had a great time. Food was exceptional, especially at our fav the Tepinyaki. Entertainment is high quality. We loved the ... Read More
we chose this cruise to experience the Norwegian escape and to depart from a southern port. With a group of 8, we had a great time. Food was exceptional, especially at our fav the Tepinyaki. Entertainment is high quality. We loved the dueling piano's as we visited twice on this cruise and the escape the big top was a lot of fun. We had balcony staterooms which were great and our steward was top notch. dining staff were topnotch, so polite and outgoing that we hardly had to ask for things. One thing I did not like on the ship was the ropes / walk the plank area. due to high winds, it was only open for about 4 hours the entire cruise, I would rather see the space used for another swimming pool and seating area. also, the main pool was not heated and hardly anyone went in it for the whole cruise. Otherwise, I would recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
I have sailed with family on other cruise lines and this is by far the best!! I will say good bye to Carnival forever because Norwegian by far has the best food, customer service, cabin, and entertainment. We took a 7 day cruise and my ... Read More
I have sailed with family on other cruise lines and this is by far the best!! I will say good bye to Carnival forever because Norwegian by far has the best food, customer service, cabin, and entertainment. We took a 7 day cruise and my 6th year old did not want to leave the ship! I just booked with them already for next March2019 and I'm already thinking of March 2020. If you are looking for a Family friendly vacation, this is for you! We work in a busy city and this vacation left us relaxed and full of life. I do suggest booking all the shows and entertainment early because they do tend to sell out. Specialty dining was really good, but we didn't really do that many since their regular dining was amazing enough. Lets talk about the buffet, I'm not a buffet person, especially in a ship full of people but I was obsessed and looked forward to our crepes every night! I'm hooked!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We booked this cruise with a group of neighbors for our kids spring break. The prospect of a spring break cruise was already a bit concerning and those fears were realized once we boarded to find 1400 children under 18 on board. The ... Read More
We booked this cruise with a group of neighbors for our kids spring break. The prospect of a spring break cruise was already a bit concerning and those fears were realized once we boarded to find 1400 children under 18 on board. The crew told us it was the largest number of kids ever on this ship. We were originally scheduled to visit the USVI and BVI plus Nassau but last fall's hurricanes shifted our route to Falmouth, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Little Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. I was disappointed but I guess it was in our best interest while the islands continue to recover. EMBARKATION: Arrival at the pier was the normal chaos of Miami. I can't fault Norwegian for the incompetence of Miami Dade County. The check in and boarding were as smooth as could be expected given a packed boat. We were on board before noon and headed upstairs for a bite and some sun. The cabins were ready by 1:45 and we found our way to our home for the week. CABIN: We had a Family Mini Suite (M2) which was a decent size for a cruise ship. The room was clean except for an odd stain on the carpet near the door. I did not care for their color choices of brown and tan carpets but whatever. There was enough room for our clothes, bags, and such stored in the closet and cabinets. Our Steward was friendly and available to support us when we needed him. PORTS: Falmouth was not the worst port I've visited but was nothing more than a pier and a handful of shops (including a Starbucks!) Grand Cayman is ok but I'm never a fan of tender ports. We were not able to stop at Little Stirrup Cay because of the sea swell (another tender port) so we proceeded to overnight in Nassau. I actually like the change and the ability to spend the night in Nassau. SHIP: With so many kids expected, I would have thought there would have been WAY more activities planned for the kids. I thought wrong. The Splash Academy kids club was at max capacity for most of the trip even know it offered terribly inconvenient hours of operation. The Guppies nursery was not nearly as crowded but was equally inconvenient in their operating hours (especially with the itinerary change and unexpected closure during our night in Nassau). Norwegian totally goofed when this ship was build by only having two banks of elevators. The max capacity of the ship and the placement of the elevators was so poorly designed. It would take forever to get an elevator and then stop on every floor both up and down. Every part of the ship was so painfully crowded during the two sea days and whomever decided to put Guest Services next to the Atrium activity area also made a horrible mistake. It was impossible to talk to someone without shouting. Despite constant video warnings about not reserving deck chairs, the entire pool area was unavailable by 9:30am on our first day at sea. I have no problem moving towels that are just left on a chair so I was able to find a spot but the fact remains the worst part of cruises is your fellow cruisers. Despite some very strong wind and rough seas, the ride was smooth. I really disliked Norwegian's approach to supplemental charges for so many things. Room Service is still "free" except for the $7.95 "convenience fee" for each order. SERVICE: Service was hit or miss. Some of the crew was amazing and others were so checked out it was obvious they didn't care. Getting a drink at most bars was a chore. The dining staff was decent. The folks who work the Garden Cafe (buffet) deserve an award for their patience and hard work. The complaints we did pass along to Guest Services were met with total indifference which was really disappointing. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: I didn't bother with the shows. The activities were decent. The ropes course was closed most days due to wind and packed (one hour plus wait) when it was open. On both sea days the water slides did not open until 10am. I cannot for the life of me figure out why they would hold the kids hostage until 10am. This goes back to my point about adjusting their schedule to accommodate the crush of kids on the boat. DINING: The Garden Cafe was so crowded at times that I just turned around and left. 1400 kids and four ice cream machines was a recipe for disaster. The Margaritaville restaurant was an add on charge (14.95) and I never saw anyone there. It was a large space that was empty or close almost the entire trip. Likewise the "Five O'Clock Somewhere" bar was almost always closed or used for activities. We ate at La Cucina and Teppanyaki. Both were quite good and the service was decent. DISEMBARKATION: We arrived in Miami around 5:30am and the process of leaving started. We were packed and out of our room just before 7am to walk off. We found the holding area as we awaited clearance to leave. As per normal there was a maze of ropes and staff directing everyone where to go as you left the ship. Off the ship by 7:40. In the car by 8am. Home by 8:45. One of the small joys of living in South Florida. SUMMARY: All and all I was disappointed by the cruise. The price we paid was sky high so maybe my expectations were equally (and unrealistically) as high. I appreciate the crew dealing with the obnoxious throngs of tweens and their constantly full plates of food left for garbage as well as their entitled attitudes. We were fortunate to be traveling with friends so we made the best of all we could. I think NCL would best be served by using this ship on a better run. Skip Jamacia, Grand Cayman and the private island and try to find locations that have a pier so tenders are not part of the equation. I'll probably avoid NCL for awhile or until they get their act together. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose to cruise on 3/24 since it aligned with our spring break. The pricing was decent and it aligned with our flights. Port/Embarkation: Miami as always is excellent. The short distance from airport ($27 flat fee for cabs) is ... Read More
We chose to cruise on 3/24 since it aligned with our spring break. The pricing was decent and it aligned with our flights. Port/Embarkation: Miami as always is excellent. The short distance from airport ($27 flat fee for cabs) is decent and there are decent hotel options for the night before. We arrived at our designated arrival time of 9:30am and were ushered into a line at security. We were allowed to move into the terminal at 10am. Check-in took around 5 minutes and we were given our card for boarding group 1. Juice, coffee, and water were available--however both bathrooms in the waiting area had out of order signs. We waited upstairs until 11:30 when our boarding group was called--there was a little confusion over which doorway to go through--there needed to be a bit better signage. We were onboard by 11:35 and were able to get signed up for the kids club and eat lunch at the buffet by 11:50. It was nice being able to get to the waterslides and pools while others were just arriving/eating lunch. A relatively smooth process--easily the fastest I have had in the last few years. Ship: We really loved the ship--I was on the Breakaway to Bermuda in 2016 and the Escape has definitely improved on many of the issues I had with the Breakaway. The District is the most significant improvement--it was a great space to gather and listen to music. I also loved the Tobacco Road bar. My wife and her sister enjoyed the Manhattan Room ambience. The ship felt less gimmicky (no Ice Bar like the Breakaway). The water slides were great and my daughter loved the aqua park. It was definitely a full ship and deck space was at a premium but we were able to find chairs when needed. The amount of people made it virtually impossible for bar staff to get to you at your chair so you had to go to the bar for drinks on deck but this wasn't too much of an inconvenience. The pools were very cold saltwater and were small for the number of people on the ship. I really liked the public rooms and the waterfront is still one of my favorite places to relax--lots of wicker chairs/couches/lounges to relax with friends/family. I wish there was a venue like the Spinnaker lounge on the Jewel class ships where Trivia and game shows can be done--the Atrium seats just don't cut it and there are too many people moving through the area. Everything was spotless on the ship. Restaurants: We ate at Cagney's the first night--the steak was excellent and the service was great. The Manhattan Room was very nice and the band was terrific--service was very good and the waitress doted on my daughter. Taste and Savor serve the same menu as the Manhattan Room but offer views a little closer to the ocean. Le Bistro's menu has definitely improved--the meal was one of the best I have eaten on a ship. The Teppanyaki room was great. I really cringed at paying extra for Margaritaville at Sea--I am not a big fan of the music and I couldn't see where the $14.95 would be worth it. My wife wanted to go so we went and it was fabulous. I really liked the Conch Fritters, the volcano nachos, fish tacos, and key lime pie. The atmosphere was great and they played excellent music. The buffet was the buffet--a wide assortment of decent quality food. I love having the English rasher bacon and bangers in the morning to be able to have an English breakfast. The crepe station was a favorite of my daughter. The Restaurant Manager (Jay Hizon.) was great--very visible and took excellent care of my family. My daughter loved the gelatos and cupcakes at the bakeshop. I think there was only one or two dishes we weren't thrilled with and that was more our taste buds than the dishes themselves. Service time was good in all restaurants but was slow in Margaritaville (but the bartenders and waiters made sure that we were stocked up while the kitchen crew got themselves out of the weeds). Loved having the Washy-washy guy onboard--he was on the Norwegian Jewel a few years ago when we sailed out of Houston--nice to see familiar faces. Entertainment: This was by far the best batch of entertainers I have seen on an NCL ship. We thoroughly enjoyed the Howl at the Moon guys, Beau in the district, Orly on guitar, the eastern European couple singing cover songs, and the After Midnight and Brat Pack shows. My only issue is the way the ticketing is set up for the comedians and the Howl at the Moon shows--we can book the big shows months out but we have to book this stuff on board the first day which is a pain. The cruise director, Scott, was very visible and did an excellent job. Crew: We went to the Meet and Greet for Cruise Critic (thanks so much for the others who organized it). The meet and greet was in the district and included some great appetizers and samples of beer--we enjoyed it and it was actually a better party than the Latitudes party that was later in the day. We met the various crew/officers and they talked to us and gave us their cards. Usually this is the end of things with the crew/officers but Jay Hizon (Restaurant Manager) and Deepak Punia (Hotel Director) went way out of their way to remember us and we felt pampered on the cruise. Definite kudos to them and their crew who were very friendly the entire cruise from deckhands all the way up--we rode the Disney Wonder in July and the NCL staff was actually friendlier and went way above the level of service we experienced on Disney. Kids Club: My daughter was coming off a Disney Cruise in July and we weren't sure how things would go. Initially the first two nights she was very excited about the kids club. Loved the games, loved the themes, etc. The third night the kids club tried to call us but the messenger system we paid $9.99 for doesn't work unless you always have the app running--we didn't know this. She was unhappy and wanted to leave. Turns out the activities were very organized and if you didn't want to do one of the activities you had to sit out but you didn't really have anything to do--she was used to Disney where there were things you could go play and do your own thing. This was a problem on two or three nights of the cruise as there were activities she did not want to participate in and she would have to sit out--she was particularly unhappy with a Russian guy nicknamed "Ice" who was very stern and was not particularly nice to the kids. She loved the spy themed night and overall I think she was okay with Splash Academy but she had a lot more fun on the NCL Jade and Jewel but that could also be her age. Shore Excursions: Terrible. This was the worst aspect of this cruise. It would have been so easy for NCL to make this right but this was by far the worst shore excursion experience I have had on a ship. I understand that the route was adjusted due to the hurricane damage and that the ports were a little overwhelmed with the amount of people from the MSC Seaside and other ships but NCL really screwed up the basics. Falmouth, Jamaica--Dunn's River Falls/Reggae Hill: We went to the tent/meeting place where we were supposed to gather for our excursion--there were several hundred people from the Norwegian Jade and the Escape mixed in the tent--the signs for the tours hung from the ceiling of the tent but some of them were reversible and had a different tour on each side of the sign which with the strong wind was blowing around so it kept on changing which tour was supposed to line up behind it. We arrived 15 minutes early--we ended up waiting 45 minutes and as we watched each group go we wondered when it would be our turn. We looked for NCL staff but it was all Bamboo Beach personnel and they did not know what was going on--they finally realized that they had forgotten about us and boarded us onto a bus with about a 20 year old tour guide named Shalene. They then realized that they boarded us wrong and made us change buses. The excursion was supposed to last the day and return around 3pm--giving us two and a half hours on shore before the boat left at 5:30. We drove the hour to Ocho Rios which was a pleasant drive through Jamaica. We arrived at Dunn's and there were huge lines--we waited over an hour to get down to the falls and were never quite sure which line we were supposed to be in or where we were supposed to go. The falls were crowded and it was kind of miserable. We left the falls at like 1:00 and arrived at Reggae Hill about 20 minutes later. They served local food which was relatively tasty and some mojitos and rum punch which were okay. The setting was pretty enough. The dj was blasting music which cut the tranquility and our tour guide had to serve us lunch which meant she had to walk long distances with a tray from a buffet setup. Not real ideal. We boarded the bus at 3:30 and had to make a scheduled shopping stop and an unscheduled bathroom stop. The onboard time was 5:30 and we pulled into the parking lot about a quarter mile from the pier at 5:17. NOT a relaxing experience at all. Shalene and Lenny the bus driver did their best in a bad situation and I would not fault them. Grand Cayman--Sea Turtle Preserve/Stingray City: We met in the Manhattan Room at 8:20 in order to ride our tender to dock. When we arrived at the dock it was again not real well marked where to find our gathering area. We found a few others and gathered. A representative of the tour comes by and quietly begins telling people the tour is cancelled. We looked at each other in disbelief. He said we should go back on the tender and get our money back. We ended up hopping a cab with a lady and her daughter that had been on the Jamaica fiasco with us and rode to the Royal Palms on Seven Mile Beach. We paid $4 per person for the van ride to the Palms, $2 per person entrance and $12 per chair and $15 per umbrella for a seat on a beautiful beach with bar service, a pool for 18+ year olds, restaurant, wifi, and waverunner/aquatic rentals. We loved it--was definitely a great experience and there were lots of vans making the trip back and forth to the ships. It filled in later in the morning but we had our chairs and the beach was great. Great Stirrup Cay: The whole trip was cancelled as it was too rough to tender. In the end we got an extra sea day and the ship sailed to Nassau and docked at 3pm. It was actually great--I hate Nassau because it is usually hot, crowded with cruise passengers, and dirty. This time the other cruise ships had all left, it was mid-70's, and the port had cleaned up significantly--thoroughly enjoyed our walk around the city. The VIA restaurant across the street had good WiFi. Nassau--Blue Lagoon Dolphin Experience: Once again we were given instructions to meet on the pier. NCL staff directed us to go stand by the palm tree--there were 5 palm trees in the area and we could not clarify which one. There were tons of people around us for several different tours and the Celebrity Summit and MSC Seaside were dumping off passengers as well. I heard someone say there is the boat for Blue Lagoon Dolphin Experience and a group started moving--again no clear direction--we followed and got on the boat. Others stayed behind--turns out we went early but we got good seats on the boat before it filled. It was an anxiety filled experience again and caused arguments over whether to stay or go. Once we got on the water the boat ride was narrated and was great. This was well worth the money. The island/lagoon was beautiful--loved the water and was a great place for families. The dolphin experience was also terrific. Did not want the day to end. There is a rush to get to ferries back to Nassau so make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to the ship/go shopping. The NCL shore excursion experience sucked on the Escape. I would say I would book on my own from now on but I always get nervous about a tour not making it back to the ship. I would have no problem with the Blue Lagoon or Seven Mile Beach but I might be a little worried about going out on my own in Jamaica. Basically NCL could fix the problem easily enough--I saw MSC passengers on tours and each tour had a cruise ship crew member with the group. Each member of the tour group had an MSC sticker with the number of the tour/group so that everyone could stick together. If NCL would have everyone meet in a room on the ship and pass out stickers and send a crewmember (anybody that speaks a moderate amount of English) with the tour I think it would alleviate a great deal of anxiety/confusion. Someone from NCL on our bus in Jamaica that could have reassured us that we weren't going to be left in Falmouth would have been welcomed. Also I am not sure why we had to go all the way to the dock in Grand Cayman to find out our tour was cancelled--this should have been communicated before we ever left the ship. Overall: We loved the ship, loved the crew, loved the entertainment, thought the food was good and had a great time. The major drawbacks were the NCL organized shore excursions and crowded deck space. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose the cruise at the suggestion of our travel agent for Norwegian's reputation as a family friendly cruise line. The food was quite good, the staff was friendly and service oriented, and the ship offered an array of amenities. ... Read More
We chose the cruise at the suggestion of our travel agent for Norwegian's reputation as a family friendly cruise line. The food was quite good, the staff was friendly and service oriented, and the ship offered an array of amenities. The one experience that negatively colored the trip was a bad haircut at the spa and guest service's unwillingness to do anything to correct it. When the spa itself refused to refund the haircut, guest services looked at me blankly and indicated that they couldn't do anything about it because the spa was run separately. This lack of ownership for the overall experience was aggravating. This was my only experience with guest services. Nonetheless, this experience was set against a good context for family bonding, good excursions (particularly in Jamaica - the blue water hole), and good entertainment (i.e., The Company Men, Escape Room, Bingo, etc.). Room and restaurant staff were highly accommodating and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Well, we choose this cruise because someone recommended it to us, we never cruised before, spend thousands of dollars on hotels, so we decided to try something different. The staff was very polite and friendly, but you can tell that ... Read More
Well, we choose this cruise because someone recommended it to us, we never cruised before, spend thousands of dollars on hotels, so we decided to try something different. The staff was very polite and friendly, but you can tell that they aren’t happy at what they do. You can tell by their demeanor ( my opinion) The food was good, the ship was clean and well kept, communication was great, our problem was, the cost was not clearly stated, so that a person working with a budget can actually be satisfied. The bar is expensive, water is expensive, they charge, a per person per day for cleaning fees, although two or more people share one! Room. Getting on and off the ship for port stops was relatively smooth, but we didn’t part take in the activities, as we were working with a budget, We settled our onboard account with the little cash we had, and the most distasteful part was the disembarkment, we we singled out by the ship security, to undergo extra search by customs and border control, so by this you guess it, we are ( African Americans) yes, not a cruise for blacks, you don’t know what card can play, it was embarrassing for me and my wife , having dogs sniffing through our bags and been patted down. Still trying to wrap my head around why us. But I will never sail with Norwegian Again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We are a a family of 4 with a 10 year old and 13 year boys. My 10 year old enjoyed the "dolphin" club and my 13 year old loved the teen club. The top deck activities were perfect for "hanging out" while my husband and ... Read More
We are a a family of 4 with a 10 year old and 13 year boys. My 10 year old enjoyed the "dolphin" club and my 13 year old loved the teen club. The top deck activities were perfect for "hanging out" while my husband and I enjoyed all of the show, stores and games inside the ship. The game show activities were especially hilarious and very entertaining. The staff was amazing, fun, and very helpful. The only few "complaints" I have are that the AC was on blast all the time and the whole ship felt like a refrigerator. The other was the food. While the food did taste good the variety was nothing to write home about. They served the same foods everyday and the restaurants that were included in the "free package" didn't have very many options. I also thought the two "twin" beds in our room were very uncomfortable. I think next time we may try another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our family's 5th cruise but the first one in about 5 years. We have been on Disney 3 times and Carnival once. This was our first time on NCL. My wife and I were traveling with our daughter (17) and our son (14). We opted ... Read More
This was our family's 5th cruise but the first one in about 5 years. We have been on Disney 3 times and Carnival once. This was our first time on NCL. My wife and I were traveling with our daughter (17) and our son (14). We opted to get 2 connecting balcony state rooms, which we found surprisingly affordable when we factored in that we got both NCL and Costco Travel promotions on both cabins -- which included Costco Credit ($190 per state room), on-board credit ($150/state room), 250 minutes of internet per stateroom and a 3-dinner specialty meal package for all 4 of us (2 per stateroom). Overall, a very good value-- which is why we cruised with NCL. In summary: Pros: Great entertainment aboard, varied and fun activities, a pretty ship that was clean and well-kept, some good meals in the specialty restaurants, decent friendly service and lack of hard sells (despite a LOT of upcharge services/foods); Embarkation and Disembark easily, Deck 8 promenade. Cons: Food was overall lackluster and lacked variety, itinerary suffers when have to skip port (see below), upcharges for most things, lack of special touches we found on other cruise lines. The Entertainment on-board, which is very important to us was first rate. The 2 "production" shows (After Midnight & For the Records; The Brat Pack") were both very high energy and delightful. We all loved them both. We saw a few of the night-club act type performances ( a singer and a comedy juggler) that were both also very entertaining. We also loved the "Escape the Big Top" -- which was a group escape the room type experience they staged in one of the theaters. My daughter (and I )were also completely charmed and blown away by the "Howl at the Moon" show -- a dueling piano/ all-request show that performed 4 of the 7 nights we were on the cruise (before 11 pm- family friendly). We spent at least an hour there on 3 of those nights. We also were very entertained by the group activities -- we loved the trivia sessions (although they were sometimes diabolically hard) and some of the game shows in the main atrium. We wished they showed more movies on board -- why not up on the main deck in the evenings? But appreciated the popcorn when they did. The activities at the teen club did not really entice our kids, who preferred to hang with each other and us. They enjoyed skeetball, shuffleboard, ping pong, bocce, miniature golf, duck pin bowling and the water slides. My daughter decided to try the ropes course the last day, but the line was too long so never made it up there. We loved "The Waterfront" on Deck 8- a promenade on the outside along the side of many of the ship's bars and restaurants with lots of very nice places to sit outside and read or have a drink. Great feature of this ship. One con on the cruise experience was that we only ended up stopping at 3 of the 4 ports on the itinerary. The ship was supposed to stop at NCL's private island in the Bahamas. However, they need to tender there and the seas were judged to be too rough for safe passage ashore. Truthfully, the water did not seem very rough at all that day -- i trust that it was a safety issue (as they said) and they did take us on to Nassau earlier so we had an overnight stay in the port there (which was meaningless to us but I am sure others enjoyed). We were just sorry to miss that port as some of our best cruise memories were from our beach days at Castaway Cay on the Disney cruises we have done. What made it slightly more troubling is that we learned that the ship had not been able to unload there for each of the 3 previous cruise weeks -- which begs the question why it was ever part of the itinerary to begin with? Another place where we thought (overall) NCL did not quite meet expectations was the food. The food was all fine, but with few exceptions really just fine. Very little stood out as exceptional or memorable. The food in the regular restaurants seemed very average and unremarkable- with a lack of variety (particularly as the cruise went on) and no effort at all on presentation. We ended up eating in the buffet a lot. The food there varied -- overall again it was fine. The Asian station always had some interesting and tasty dishes, but again there was a lack of variety over the course of the cruise. Seafood night featured limp shrimp and a passable seafood paella, among other seafood casseroles that did not look appetizing. We did not see a crab leg or a lobster (other than lobster ravioli) all cruise!! Whatever happened to lobster nights? When i researched the cruise they mentioned upcharges for lobster in the main restaurant and some lobster dishes in the speciality restaurants - -no and no. I did not see one real lobster dish on-board-- not even in the steakhouse! Also, a real lack of good fresh fruit-- there was some, but none of it was particularly good. The only berry I saw all trip was a single rasberry served with a dessert one night. My wife does not eat red meat or pork and could almost never find fresh carved turkey or properly prepared chicken dishes (other than in casseroles or rice/pasta dishes). One positive is that they did keep the buffet area clean -- with constant bussing of tables (almost too much) and again, some of the food was tasty. We ate in 3 specialty restaurants and these were a bit better. Teppanyaki, the Japanese steak house, was the best of them. The steak and shrimp that my kids and I had was delicious. My wife really enjoyed the seafood combo with shrimp, scallops and calamari. Service there was also excellent and we really enjoyed our evening there. Cagney's Steakhouse was pretty good-- but frankly I expected better. My kids were blown away by the size of the prime rib cut and it was well prepared and a real hit. My porterhouse steak on the other hand came in "fine" again, but nothing to write home about. I am not sure it was seasoned before it hit the grill at all. The port wine sauce was frankly inedible. Our shrimp appetizers were very good but not quite steakhouse quality or quantity. The fish choices available to my wife were pretty uninteresting and she was not too enamored by what she did order. We were too stuffed for dessert but brought them back to our state room -- unfortunately, as good as they looked, when we dug in later, we were disappointed. Our final specialty restaurant was the Italian restaurant, La Cucina -- the pastas here were all tasty. I really enjoyed my dinner there and the kids were happy too. The veal marsala was also pretty good if not a terribly interesting marsala sauce. Again, my wife's seafood dishes lacked taste or real good presentation. Overall, I really enjoyed our dinner at La Cucina-- my wife (who is not a pasta person) was less enthralled. I will say service there was very good. One thing on service -- overall the service on the ship was pretty good. It was rarely hard to get the attention of a bar tender, and I never got any angina from anyone about the fact that I usually only wanted a Diet Pepsi. The servers at the bars and the pools were easy to flag down and get a drink-- but also were not too forward trying to upsell us into buying drinks we did not want. If you caught their eye, great -- if not, they left you alone. Overall, perfect. The state room service was passable. Our steward (who never introduced himself) seemed to ignore evening turndown service if we were in the room for 10 minutes and he came by then-- happened 3 times without him coming back! This left us a few times with a dearth of towels. Every other cruise, we were always blown away by the state room service- -here it felt like a fairly average hotel maid service. On the plus side, the stateroom was usually relatively clean. In conclusion, we very much enjoyed the cruise. As noted, entertainment was a high point and the ship had some nice touches. My wife and I now lament the fact that we probably have become cruise/travel snobs but in comparing this to the other cruises we have been on, it just felt a little "less"-- a lack of those special touches, the little things that make a vacation special. We noticed the lack of chocolates on the pillows in the evening, the lack of "special" meal choices (like lobster, etc.), the lack of real effort in food presentation overall, the lack of movies and tv options in the state room. I think we hoped for a little more- -and just probably has us trying another cruise line (or going back to one of the others) next time. But maybe were just snobs! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We just got back from our 7-day Carribean cruise on the Escape. We brought a large group (21 in all) of family - myself, my wife, two kids, her brother, parents and two aunts, and some cousins. Our son is moderately autistic - calm and ... Read More
We just got back from our 7-day Carribean cruise on the Escape. We brought a large group (21 in all) of family - myself, my wife, two kids, her brother, parents and two aunts, and some cousins. Our son is moderately autistic - calm and sweet, but has trouble paying attention or following group instruction. One of the first things we did when we got on board was check into the kids club, where we had a short talk with the directors there about our son and what they could expect. He's self-sufficient and will absorb himself in an individual activity when one is available, and we were told that was fine. That lasted exactly one trip to the club, after which we were told that his disinterest in group activities made it a problem for him to be in the club and that "they can't provide one-on-one care." Since we weren't asking for that and he doesn't need it, this was a bit of a shock. What they had really told us was that they couldn't keep an eye on the whole of their club, since for our son's safety that's all they'd need to do. The issue wasn't one of age groups leaving the club to do ship-walks - we avoid those anyway (he does elope sometimes and needs to be in an enclosed space, which the club is.) This was an issue of the club being understaffed to the point that there were areas that would go unsupervised for stretches of time. While the cruise was Spring Break and there were as a result a LOT of kids on board (we were told between 1700 and 2500 total) this does not fly as an excuse. Spring Break cruises are substantially more expensive - if more staff is needed to properly handle the kids' club that week, more money has been collected. It should be staffed. And the kids' club is the same size, and maxes out at 190 kids, no matter how many are on board. We were extremely disappointed to be told that because there were so many kids, they couldn't give a sideward glance to ours, and singled him out for his special needs, which in an entertainment-packed, enclosed space, drop to zero in any case. This is a shame, because other aspects of the ship are fantastic. There's so much to do on Lido and above that, in spite of the truckload of minors, wait lines for everything were astonishingly short. We never waited more than 5 minutes to ride a slide, get on the mini golf course or use the ropes course. My (not special needs) daughter, I'm sure, would give the cruise all 5 stars. The food is exceptional at all the specialty restaurants we tried, and their one minor mistake (bringing me a well-done steak when I ordered medium rare) was corrected in less than 2 minutes. I'd highly recommend the drink package, if it's included or reasonably priced - not having to sign for every cocktail is an underappreciated joy, and most of them are included. The cabin we had was on the small side, but if you do a little pre-cruise research like my wife did, you can jam all your travel gear into it for 2 adults and 2 kids and not have any in the walkways. Good service abounds pretty much everywhere you go, whether it's getting on or off the ship, dining, or at the bars and lounges, where we were approached several times and asked by cruise directors how everything was going. (I didn't raise my concerns about the kids' club to them at the time, and kind of regret missing that opportunity). The only shore excursion we were able to do through the ship was the Jamaican bobsled and Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, and it was seamless and an eyeful. Norwegian is doing passengers a disservice by docking in Falmouth - Ocho Rios is maybe the most beautiful port I've seen anywhere in the Caribbean, and you can see it from the top of the mountain where the bobsled runs. (To be fair, our itinerary was changed due to damage from Irma and Maria last year, and Falmouth may have been a fallback from Ocho Rios due to port space). We were also supposed to tender at Great Stirrup Cay, but seas were too rough to run the tenders, and based on conversations we've had, it's a common enough occurrence that this should only be considered half a port; there's a very good chance you won't go at all. We steamed to Nassau early instead. Overall I really want to give a high rating to this ship, and if you're traveling alone or with neurotypical kids you'll probably love it. If one of your tykes is on the spectrum or needs anything resembling personal attention from the kids' club staff, though, expect to have them with you for pretty much the whole cruise. We didn't (and shouldn't have), and it put a pretty sizable dent in what was otherwise an excellent sailing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose the Escape because of the itinerary, the price, the reviews of the ship and the food. We had the ultimate beverage package which was fantastic! All drinks under $15 were free, anything over you just had to pay the difference for. ... Read More
We chose the Escape because of the itinerary, the price, the reviews of the ship and the food. We had the ultimate beverage package which was fantastic! All drinks under $15 were free, anything over you just had to pay the difference for. For those with the package, keep in mind that any drinks ordered while still in the Miami port will incur taxes on it that are not covered. The staff was super friendly and went the extra mile to make sure you enjoyed your stay. You can tell that Norwegian treats them all like family. Food was good and the ship is very nice and modern. Like others have mentioned previously, there should be more pools/hot tubs for the number of people on board. The water slides were awesome! The onboard entertianment could also be improved but there were a few good shows and activities. Overall we had a fantastic week and would definitely sail with Norwegian again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Pros Normally cruise with my Platinum Plus parents and assumed all the perks were related to that. Significant Other and I took this vacation alone and it was beyond expectations. The crew were fun and fantastic to be with. Specialty ... Read More
Pros Normally cruise with my Platinum Plus parents and assumed all the perks were related to that. Significant Other and I took this vacation alone and it was beyond expectations. The crew were fun and fantastic to be with. Specialty dining was excellent. Entertainment was great. So many additional little perks to make the trip extra special. Received chocolate strawberries to our room, bottles of champagne, petit fours, invitations to cocktails with the officers etc. Cons March break. Thought it would be over but it wasn't. Packed with kiddies. Luckily between the H20 Adult deck and the specialty dining which I assume parents didn't want to take their kids to it was just the hallways and regular pool that seemed overwhelmed. VIBE CLUB. These passes should be a lottery like the Officer's Dinner. We took the earliest flight out possible for us and made it onto the ship and to Headliners by 11:45am and they were sold out. Without us having to fly in the day before the cruise there is no way for us to be there early enough to get passes ever! Will definitely be back! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
The first time going on a cruise was a good experience. the embarkation and debarkation process was not bad at all compared to things i have heard from others about norwegian and different cruise lines. the food on the ship is amazing! ... Read More
The first time going on a cruise was a good experience. the embarkation and debarkation process was not bad at all compared to things i have heard from others about norwegian and different cruise lines. the food on the ship is amazing! from the garden cafe (buffet) to the specialty restaurants we have no complaints on the food! the common areas were very nice and well kept. we did not like the fact that after a morning work out and having breakfast but 9:15am we could not get a lounge chair in the sun by the pool. every chair had towels or bags sitting on them and the policy of one hour from what was on the screen was not adhered to. some of the people that saved them did not show up until after 10:30 and then they never used them as they were in the pool the whole time. we are anxious to go on our next one which will be next year...too early to decide which one we will use. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our first time on such a large ship. It will also be our very last time. The size of this ship caused it to beToo noisy, too busy and too chaotic. The pluses were the anytime dining which was well done. The negatives include ... Read More
This was our first time on such a large ship. It will also be our very last time. The size of this ship caused it to beToo noisy, too busy and too chaotic. The pluses were the anytime dining which was well done. The negatives include the cigarette smoking policy e which permeated throughout the atrium and some of the specialty restaurants, art exhibits, the small size of the rooms (shoe box) --and we had a mini suite and no place for outside dining in the buffet., We are LONG time cruisers on many lines and this was the first time we felt nickeled and dimed to death such as $7.95 charge for room service, not to mention the exorbitant charge if you wanted to watch a movie in your room. Did we have fun? --yes. Was there a lot to do? --yes. However one pool and about 1/2 of the lounge chairs needed for 4200 guests precluded joining in many activities. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
The staff was amazing. The food was great...especially the specialty dinners. The activities were well planned and very fun to watch or participate in! The ship was clean, the rooms were comfortable and the entire experience was amazing. ... Read More
The staff was amazing. The food was great...especially the specialty dinners. The activities were well planned and very fun to watch or participate in! The ship was clean, the rooms were comfortable and the entire experience was amazing. I knew the ship was large, but I had no idea HOW large! Every day we discovered another fun or entertaining room. Our favorite 2 events to watch, were the dueling pianos and the stand up comedy. Perfect pick for entertainment! They involved the crowd and made you laugh the entire set! The solo pianist on deck 8 was an absolute BLAST to watch! The drinks were made fast and always tasted great! By the end of the cruise, I was literally tired of eating!! Hahahahahaha. We were lucky enough to be sat at a table with 4 crew members...at Tebenyaki...they made the dinner special for us. Terry (TT), Younique, Simon, and one other gentleman (can not remember his name), made for one of the best nights of our vacation! Every time we saw them, they went out of their way to say hello and make us feel at home! You guys did an amazing job. I would book another cruise with Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Embarkation and disembarkation was great because we carried our own luggage of the ship.The price of the cruise was good. Been on this ship once before two years ago. Food could be better at free restaurants. Will wait for newer ship ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation was great because we carried our own luggage of the ship.The price of the cruise was good. Been on this ship once before two years ago. Food could be better at free restaurants. Will wait for newer ship for next trip. They are holding my money for one future trip. It was during spring break many college students on ship. Rather go at a different time. Cabin was decent. Kept clean. The whole ship was clean. Have no complaints about that. Main show was very good. Been to the ports many times so not very exciting for us. Love to be on the ocean just moving along. Could not go to private island because the ocean was choppy. Heard this often happens. I think for new cruisers it is a great way to begin cruising. Young children seemed to be having a great time. Enjoy cruising on RCL and Celeberity. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
BOOKING: This was a group trip planned almost a year ago. We were a group of 7 of various ages. I booked directly through NCL and booked a studio (solo) cabin to myself. We didn't give a thought to the fact that this might be during ... Read More
BOOKING: This was a group trip planned almost a year ago. We were a group of 7 of various ages. I booked directly through NCL and booked a studio (solo) cabin to myself. We didn't give a thought to the fact that this might be during spring break. I like the fact that you can pay towards your balance, so I split my bill by the months I had and paid a little each month. Then I paid my gratuities (and air fare). That really took the sting out of paying for vacation! Also, I got the UBP booze package included as well as $75 in OB credit. Prior to leaving, we all downloaded the iConcierge app. BACKGROUND: I'm 41, but look much younger (which I'll allude to later). I usually get along with anyone and like talking to new people, but I really dislike crowds and foolishness. This was my 4th cruise and 2nd on NCL. Others were RCCL and Princess. We're from New England where snow was still on the ground. ARRIVAL: We went down a day early mostly to avoid any issues with flights and weather. We pub crawled around FLL and had a great time. I (traveling alone at this point) took the Port shuttle the next day from FLL to the docks for $20. There's some bad reviews on google, but the experience was great. I even called an hour and a half early and asked for a pickup which they did. That means I was THE FIRST PERSON IN LINE to board the ship. First. Period. I didn't notice no one was collecting bags. I had to stand at the entrance until it opened (9:30a). Then I sat waiting for the xray (10a) which is when I realized no one else had their luggage. But I threw it into the machine and no one batted an eye. I went to get my room card. I didn't notice a seperate line for rewards members, but whatever- I was first. And then we waited again for boarding (11:15ish). I made friends with a few people including the person who happened to be staying in the cabin next to me! Some were trying to get on the ship asap to get the Vibe pass. I had no interest, so I let them go ahead of me. When I got on, they say the rooms aren't open until 2pm. I went immediately to my room with my luggage and it was ready, so I settled in. Great job steward!!! THE CROWD: I read reviews about the ship being very crowded. I also read some that said it was fine. Being a person who appreciates some quiet, I decided at last minute, days before the cruise, to get the Thermal Spa package (more on that later). But overall, with the exception of a few events, I didn't feel the ship was all that packed. I didn't have issues finding seats or tables. I had no interest in lounge chairs, but that didn't appear to be an issue, either. There were a lot of college kids aboard. Thankfully, most of them seemed fairly responsible and in control. The guys didn't seem all that D-Baggy. There was at least one sorority. And I, as a single male cruiser, was happy for the eye candy. My friends and I were asked which college we attended (remember, I'm 41) and I even spent an evening with a 28 year old- enough said, but thank goodness for that single cabin. THE APP: I hear the iConcierge app is being replaced soon. We all bought the $9.99 unlimited onboard texting package to communicate between our 7 people. It was worth it. Though the app bites- you have to continually reload it and it was question as to if and when your messages were delivered. But, again, it was still worth it. You don't need to pay for that feature but instead use it for checking your account and the day's events. not to mention reserving tenders and other events. THE SHIP EXPERIENCE: Our first stop was O'Sheehans. I expected this place to be a corner pub that was largely ignored. In reality, it's the heart of the ship and second only to the main pool- if even that. This is the bar that never closes and has food which any other place doesn't. Being St Paddy's- my first drink was a Guiness. PRO TIP: While in Miami or another US port, you will get taxed on your drinks! You'll see a charge on your NCL app- this is NOT gratuities, but tax! After we left port, those charges disappeared. I never went in the main pool. I did go into the spice h2o hot tub once. But I prefered the spa, mentioned later. All in all, I spent more time on decks 6-8 than up top. I didn't attend any shows or most of the events. Most were poorly, if at all, described. So why bother going if I didn't know what it was? The first night, we went to Irish trivia in the brew house and won, easily. Speaking of trivia, we also played World Beer trivia which we should have won (especially being brewers and beer judges) except for the fact that someone got them ALL right... but only because they've been on the ship for weeks and already knew all the answers according to the quiz master. So to the morbidly obese couple in the rascals- I hope you get a lot of use from your (MY!) frisbee. You'll probably use it as a plate. You're cheaters and the worst people I encountered on the cruise. So, speaking of the brew house... 8 port forward in a corner by the stairs... this seemed to be the hidden gem of the ship. Nice place and never too crowded. Adults only! But this as well as many other places had weird operating hours, even when the ship wasn't in port. Sometimes the only place to get a drink (or food) was at O'Sheehans. There was one afternoon while in jamaica that I was the ONLY person on deck 8. 4pm and no one was around and nothing was open. I found that to be annoying. MUSIC: The bands on board were decent and floating around venues. There were a few, but not very many, bands at the pool deck. The DJs Suuuuuuucked!!!! And it's not that they didn't play the music I like. I was happy and actually looking forward to some booty shaking garbage music the kids listen to. I went to the first dance party at Spice around 10:30p and had an amazing time dancing (which I never do, being a middle-aged hetero male) and then went to skyline after that an danced some more- and received compliments and a companion back to my room. BUT THEN came the glow party (white party, neon party). Same situation- Spice H2O 10:30p. What a HORRIBLE time! They played remastered versions of popular songs for about 15 seconds each followed by the DJ saying ok.. 3, 2, 1, jump! So, basically it was a bunch of mismatched people (kids and the elderly there despite there being a family glow party at 8:30) jumping up and down and not being able to dance because as soon as a song came on and you started to get into a groove- it was changed to something else. This was probably the most disappointing event on the ship. I hear the 80's night was much better as was the one I attended. Avoid the glow party at all cost!! FOOD & DRINK- I love food. I grow it, cook it, eat it. I like food from every country and eat anything from taco bell to fine french cuisine. I also like booze and am a brewer as mentioned. The food overall on the ship was okay. The closest anything came to standing out was some indian food in the buffet one night. The desserts, with exception of the rum balls, were spongy and disappointing. And the food, whether buffet, MDR (we did the manhattan room many times), or even in the a'la carte restaurants was just good. Not great. Not memorable. Having that $75 credit and nothing to really spend it on (minus the texting plan). I brought some dishes at food republic. Same story- good but not great. Especially considering you have to pay extra for it. I also tried some bites of other peoples' items and was still unimpressed. On the last day, I still had $35 in credit, so I bought a friend that expensive $50 glass of wine. -$15 for UBP discount +$7 service charge. I'm not a wine person, though I've been to many wineries and have even made my own wine (pinot noir and riesling). While this $250 bottle of wine was indeed smooth and tasty, I've had $20 bottles that I'd vastly prefer over this Mondavi thing. The brew house had a decent lineup of taps and bottles. Nothing too great, but still impressive for a cruise line. I appreciated trying the floridian brews including Funky Buddah, Cigar City, and others. Though, I mostly kept to hard alcohol drinks as beer is too filling and sometimes doesn't do the trick. Most of the drinks were okay though your overall choices are sugary or sour. So it's not long before you're sick of the acidic mixed drinks and start getting creative. Bombay and tonic. Rum and ginger beer. In most cases, the bartenders were great. I had one or two bad experiences and received drinks that were way off. STAFF seems like a good segue now. Other than the drink blunders above, I found the staff to be very friendly and attentive. Some of my friends would disagree, but I didn't have an major issues. Kudos to them and their hard work. SPA - So, again, I got the thermal spa package ($200 a week or $50ish a day) and I consider it money well spent. If you're contemplating getting a massage, just get the spa pass! It's a far better value and you'll enjoy it more. I'm not a rich man by any means and I like to watch my budget, but I have no regrets about buying the week pass. I went every day and maybe even twice on one of the days. It's quiet and relaxing. I'd go into the steam room and sweat out the booze then hit the jet pool for a massage better than what I've gotten from many humans including professionals. The saunas were also nice and then I'd finish in the salt room which did clear up my nose. For obvious reasons, I never stepped foot in the snow room- I can just open my door at home. OVERALL - There were times I was too bored, too hungry, and too sober. Not from lack of opportunities, but lack of interest in the available opportunities. The experience was okay, but I'm not looking forward to a cruise anytime soon. But if there's a next time, it'll probably be on RCCL. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I can't say enough about how much I wish I had spent my money elsewhere. My biggest complain is the staff. On our 7 day trip, there were only 2 staff members that weren't either incredibly rude or simply just there. As young ... Read More
I can't say enough about how much I wish I had spent my money elsewhere. My biggest complain is the staff. On our 7 day trip, there were only 2 staff members that weren't either incredibly rude or simply just there. As young adults, we were passed over at the bar multiple times in favor of older patrons. Even when the other passenger would say "they were here before me", the bartenders would either ignore or literally say "I don't care, what do you want?". I have been on multiple cruises with other lines, resorts, hotels, Airbnbs, and I have never been treated so poorly and felt more like I was so unwanted by staff. Our waiters simply just didn't speak-which could have been due to their very poor English skills. The food was good with some major exceptions. I had a friend find a toenail in his soup, have a raw chicken sandwich, and raw meatballs. When the food was cooked properly, though, it was good, although there were not many different options day to day. Don't let the ultimate drink package fool you- it's not all that ultimate. There is a certain dollar amount which is included and after that amount you have to pay-which they don't inform you of, of course, until you get your bill. You were also charged if you got more than 2 glasses of wine with dinner, which we did given dinners took quite a while with 10 people in our group, and you weren't made aware of that charge either. But, the package overall was a good value if you're looking to drink a lot- which we did given there wasn't much else to do on the ship during the day for young people. The cabins were very nice and the roomy for being on a cruise ship. The housekeeping staff did the minimum, but it was enough for what we needed. I found the entertainment options to be lacking and a bit repetitive. Another huge downfall was the lack of information given by staff. Had you not been on a cruise before, you wouldn't have known a lot of what to do. We were unaware of how to book a tender to shore or that that was even an option. We usually heard about activities through the grapevine. They were wildly unclear about the fact that you had to go get different color luggage tags for when you wanted to leave the ship. Many of my group were first time cruisers and had no idea what was going on and little to no help was given from the staff. They also skipped going to Norwegian's private island where everything was included due to high winds and safety reasons. I was told, though, that they only stop at their island on every 1 out of 5 trips and to avid cruisers that's a known fact, so that's a real shame and seems a little shady. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We just returned from a 7 day cruise and could not be happier to be home. This ship is extremely overcrowded, terrible customer service, less than average food. very noisy and a overall horrible experience. We considered jumping ship ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 day cruise and could not be happier to be home. This ship is extremely overcrowded, terrible customer service, less than average food. very noisy and a overall horrible experience. We considered jumping ship (not literally) and flying home from one of the islands. In fact if we did not have a group of people we were cruising with we would have totally flown home from the first point. The service in the main dinning room si brutally slow. Each evening dinner took more than 2.5 hours while our drinks set empty most of the time. We did the unlimited internet package and the internet did not work the entire stay. The wait for the elevators was incredibly long and when you did finally get an elevator you were packed in like sardines. We have been on many cruises with other cruise lines and have never see anything like this. Very unorganized and always a cluster. Disembarking at every port was a zoo. People would hide in the hallways near the exit levels just to avoid the mad unorganized rush. We did not get any sleep the entire trip because of college age kids screaming outside our door every night at 3:00AM. The staff did nothing to intervene the entire trip and told me there was nothing they can do. A very low class experience to say the least. The room square footage always includes the balcony no matter the website states so make sure to subtract the balcony. lll Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
My wife and I took this ship last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to invite friend to join us again this year. The ship itself is wonderful, clean and roomy. The food was great but on 2 of the nights that we ate in the main ... Read More
My wife and I took this ship last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to invite friend to join us again this year. The ship itself is wonderful, clean and roomy. The food was great but on 2 of the nights that we ate in the main dining room, we waited 2 hours for our dinner after we were seated. This is unacceptable. After these 2 nights, we stayed to the smaller restaurants that provided better service. The room steward did a good job of the cabin through the week but on the last night before disembarking, no clean towels so we had to shower using the blue beach towels. Again this was unacceptable. The entertainment was good with plenty of activities. The music was some of the best we have heard. We have been on over 35 cruises, including 3 Norwegian. I'm not sure we will book another with Norwegian. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The NCL Escape was worth the money. Our balcony cabin was all we expected and then some (larger shower and more space) ....Bed was comfortable and well lit! Balcony is always enjoyable. Entertainment, especially IN-OVATION (a ... Read More
The NCL Escape was worth the money. Our balcony cabin was all we expected and then some (larger shower and more space) ....Bed was comfortable and well lit! Balcony is always enjoyable. Entertainment, especially IN-OVATION (a wonderful singing group) engaging the audience and the sound was incredible. Food in all venues was excellent, with all wait staff ready and willing to be of service. All of the staff were friendly and knowledgeable, and always willing to help. The Bar Staff engaged "cruisers", and even remembered their favorite "beverage". If there is a concern, it is the WiFi on the ship. I would NEVER again pay the money to have the complete package. There were at least 3 days that the connecting was not working properly. NCL and their Free Style Cruising, allows you to relax and not worry about "dressing up", unless you want to. NCL is and will continue to be our "go to" cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
The cruise was average, great ship, staff. There was no welcome onboard libation as there was with other cruise lines we have sailed with on 14 previous occasions (Holland American and Celebrity). the evening meeting with the captain was ... Read More
The cruise was average, great ship, staff. There was no welcome onboard libation as there was with other cruise lines we have sailed with on 14 previous occasions (Holland American and Celebrity). the evening meeting with the captain was no eventful, no conversation with him, just introduced himself and no further conversations. The dinner at the Savors dining room was sent back (steak and frites - too salty, could not eat it). The issue was passed unto guest services - nothing further was heard. Our wine package was confused as the wrong cabin number had been written on the tag by the waiter, that issue took 2 days to be cleared up. The dining in the Manhattan dining room was good and memorable with the exception of the last dinner (Friday, 23 March 18), the waiter was not friendly at all. The Bistro speciality restaurant was fantastic, great food, staff made it a vey pleasurable experience. Our cabin was meticulous, I personally rewarded our cabin Stewart with a generous gratuity. Several of the ports-of-call we had already been too, but it is always a pleasure to return to see the changes (if any). The staff in the general self-serve dining area were courteous, helpful. The variety in this location is somewhat lacking, no smoked salmon. In the dining room there was no steak and lobster, in fact no lobster at all on the menue. There were no “going off-shore” canvass bags distributed to the passengers with the NCL logo on them. Generally it was a good experience, however, there were some downfalls. Read Less
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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