2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Background info: I have been on 1 Disney cruise, 1 Royal Caribbean, and this is my third Norwegian cruise. All have been Caribbean except one Alaska cruise. We have been sailing Norwegian mostly due to the great comped rooms we get ... Read More
Background info: I have been on 1 Disney cruise, 1 Royal Caribbean, and this is my third Norwegian cruise. All have been Caribbean except one Alaska cruise. We have been sailing Norwegian mostly due to the great comped rooms we get from the casino, hard to beat that price! We (me, hubby and 13 year old daughter) are not hard to please people, we roll with the punches and expect that things will not be 100% perfect. We also do not generally use the specialty dining. We have sailed the Getaway, and since the Escape is a sister ship I was expecting my likes and dislikes to be similar. I booked this ship primarily due to the abundance of kids activities available and the Grand Cayman stop. This was my daughters 7th grade spring break and there weren’t lots of kids on board. On to the review. Embarkation: We arrived from Fort Lauderdale around 11:40am. The line moved very quickly. Once inside we waited for about 10 minutes to check in. This went smoothly, no issues. We were sent to the big waiting room and no waiting, on the ship we went. This went so smoothly, no chaos or crowded room to wait in. Headed to the buffet, of course it was crowded as typical. Rooms were ready around 2:00. Ship layout: I read that some people did not like the layout of the ship. It didn’t bother me much, however we did not like that you cannot walk outside from the front to the back of the ship on any deck. We missed this. Also, I don’t believe you can go to the very front of the ship, it looked like it was for staff only. Also there is no real jogging track. Technically there is a small one but it is not usable, it is in between rows of chairs and is the only walkway on that deck, therefore it’s full of people walking to and from. Bad design here. I saw someone jogging by, leaping over chairs and dodging people, yikes! Now for the casino and smoke, it was the same as the Getaway. The smoke does travel around Deck 7 and 8 in the open areas. Bad design here. As with the Getaway, terrible location of guest services. They do many activities in the Atrium area (movies, games, Q&A speeches, singing, kids activities) and it is a challenge to be at guest services, onboard credit, and shore excursion desks and actually hear the person. I did this once. The coffee café and another bar are there as well. Some activities should be moved to the theater where there is more room, most times there was not enough seating for everyone. It was nice to sit at O’Sheehans and look down below at the Atrium when activities were going on though. We found elevators to be just fine, no waiting very long. Rooms: We had a regular balcony room, yes the balcony was tiny but we made due with it. The room was big enough for the 3 of us, lots of storage. The bathroom was a nice size and had a good amount of storage as well. I like having a real shower door instead of a curtain. The TV channels were poor, there was a movie channel with not current movies, 3 different BBC type channels, a TV show channel, Guy Harvey channel, the usual Norwegian channels. It seemed like the Getaway had better movies. Our room steward was good, we got towel animals every night except the first night. Again, we aren’t hard to please as long as we have towels when we need them. We always re-use them a couple times before trading them in for new. Just leave them on the floor when you want new ones. I brought along these magnetic hooks for the wall, this helped a lot with hanging bathing suits, towels, notices, anything else. This time I brought those Dollar Store battery tea lights so I didn’t need to leave the bathroom light on. Dining and food: I like the freestyle dining concept. We made some reservations ahead but didn’t always use them since we either weren’t hungry or doing other things. We ate at Manhatten Room twice, Taste, and buffet. We liked Manhattan Room best due to the entertainment they have there. I was happy with the food and service. Food was always warm and the wait staff was always pleasant and friendly. The bread was never warm though. We were usually done in 1 hour, we also don't eat early, typically around 8:00. The chocolate lava cake was really good as usual in the dining rooms. Our waitress got us the lava cake one night when it wasn’t on the menu. Use your hero cards for things like this, it helps the staff! My hubby still thinks that Royal has better dining room food, I think it’s a tossup. We were pleased again with the buffet. We ate there for every breakfast, lunch and 2 dinners (for Prime Rib). Always something that was good. Hubby was very happy to always have a good selection of Indian food. If he goes more than a couple days with no Indian food he isn’t happy. We found the desserts at the buffet to be mostly subpar with a few exceptions. I don’t know why the apple pie is never good, bummer. So I usually grabbed an ice cream cone, they have soft serve machines and scooped hard ice cream. I didn’t care for the scooped ice cream except the sorbets. Buffet was usually crowded but that is true of all cruises I think. But there was always somewhere to sit. People generally weren’t rude or pushy so that was good. One thing I still don’t like is the buffet layout. It’s like this never ending square. I prefer the buffets that are in a big room so to speak so you can see everything. Some things are only in 1 spot, like the waffle/pancakes and the afternoon crepes while some are on both “sides”. So you must circle around until you find them, frustrating. Pool: As expected they are small and inadequate. Since there weren’t many kids it wasn’t too bad in the family pool. The drop slides were fun and fast, my daughter finally weighed enough to do those so she did those a million times. The tube slide was awesome, there were lights and colors in there and we did that so many times as well. Lines weren’t bad at all. On sea day a lot of people were drinking quite a bit by the adult pool so we steered clear and sat in the shade more toward the kids pool area. The music is loud and we aren’t noise people. On the sea day we went to the pool around 1:00pm and there were a few chairs in the shade for us. Staff came around with cookies one day. There were a couple waiters circulating the pool area taking drink orders. Here is what I don’t get. There are 2 big screens at the pool yet they don’t show any movies there, only info about the ports and announcements about not hogging chairs. This seems wasted to me, it would be nice to have something there. Maybe I just missed it? Drinks: We took the UBP this time and got our money’s worth between our few drinks a day plus my daughter’s virgin strawberry daiquiris. I tend to like martini’s and the fruity drinks. My hubby loved the Moscow Mule with the candied ginger in it. One weird thing happened: one time at the Atrium bar I was charged for a virgin strawberry daiquiri. I went to guest service and he said smoothies aren’t covered. I said this wasn’t a smoothie I just didn’t want alcohol in my drink. He said well I can request to have it removed but I don’t know if it will be. It ended up getting removed. Kids Stuff: We didn’t do the teen club since she didn’t want to and I thought just turning 13 she was a bit young given the older teens in there. She loved the ropes course and did it twice with no lines. I remember on the Getaway there were long lines for this but there were also a lot more kids on board. We also played mini golf. We like the atrium shows and games and attended the ice carving, cupcake decorating, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Sing It If You Know It, Deal or No Deal, Just Dance, Bingo and others. I thought bingo was very pricy ($40) and they only play 3 games, I need to remember this and not do it again. Service: We were very happy with the service most people we encountered was upbeat and friendly. We love washy washy and this time wakey wakey with the coffee lady. Bartenders, waiters, room steward, all were talkative and happy. A lot of them remembered our names, I have no idea how. We gave our room steward extra $$ at the end. And I tipped the bartenders and drink waiters a few times as well, they were busting their butts. We also did the cruise critic meet and greet at the District Brew House, it was great! They kept passing out free beer samples, unfortunately we aren’t really beer people but it was nice. Met some great folks. Shows: We didn’t actually attend any theater shows this time, they just didn’t peak my interest like Burn the Floor did on the Getaway. After booking Brat pack online, I saw on the ship that it is rated PG16, so we cancelled, wish we knew that earlier. We did the Escape room and did pretty poorly but it was fun. Didn’t book early enough for the Magic and Illusion show. We skipped the Glow party this time, not really our scene. I also didn’t see a Farewell show which I usually like. Howl at the Moon was fun, we watched for a bit. This cruise we felt so tired at the end of the day so we turned in earlier then last time. Maybe because it was hotter on the islands then when we went in November? Just felt worn out. Ports: Nassau: We went to Melia resort for the day. We hopped on the #10 jitney, and had to wait for more people to get on before he would leave. We were almost ready to get off but then he decided to take off. The ocean felt cold so we spent most of the time in the pools testing our new Olympus Tough underwater camera. The pools are really nice and felt refreshing. We got a free Starbucks with our admission, this was nice. We didn’t get any food, ate when we got back on the ship. Ocho Rios: The port area is tiny and kind of congested with all the tour buses inside the gate. It looks like Carnival got the better of the ports to dock at right near the shopping area. We took Peat Taylor tours to the Blue Hole. It was fabulous! A guide helped our group of 6 navigate the rocks. There were several spots to jump in and the rope swing as well, it was really fun and glad we did this. We had them drop us off at the shopping area after the Blue Hole. I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t encounter aggressive vendors, at most some ladies asking if we wanted braids. We did smell ganga a few times while in Jamaica, and some guys were selling brownies on the road on our ride up to Blue Hole. Our driver told us it was not illegal but was illegal to smoke in public. We walked back to the pier, no problems at all we felt safe. Kind of wish we did more in Jamaica. Grand Cayman: We booked Acquarius Sea Tours online to do the stingray sandbar, snorkel stop and starfish beach. So the night before Grand Cayman the tender reservations were available to book on the TV. We got Tender group #1. I made us all get up early, eat at the buffet and on the tender seamlessly by 8:00. After arriving at the port, we followed the instructions from Acquarius and walked to the Carnival port. Once again they got the nicer port area. Here is where we had confusion. The tour says meet by the info kiosk at 8:45. Well, there are no signs for Acquarius like with the other vendors and we asked several people and got sent in different directions. The lady inside the visitor center directed us to the white tents where other non-Carnival excursions meet. The blue tents are for Carnival. There was still no sign but another vendor confirmed this is where Acquarius meets. A sign like other vendors had would have been helpful. I was also getting the stink eye from the family for making them get up so early for nothing. The tender process really was quick, no waiting. They were 10 minutes late so we were a little nervous, another vendor from Moby Dick tours actually called him for us and no worries he was on the way. Captain Mario apologized for being late and informed us that it would choppy out there except for Starfish beach and we could cancel if we wanted. That was a nice heads up but we forged ahead and so glad that we did. We took a van to his boat and went to the snorkel stop first to the Secret Garden. It was about 10 feet of clear warm water. As soon as we put our head in we saw all kinds of blue, yellow, white fish and 3-4 stingrays. We loved it! It was choppy, yes, but no matter. We then went to starfish beach and got to hold the most amazing red starfish. Acquarius was very clear about keeping them in the water, don’t pull them out. We loved this stop too. There is also a lovely beach with soft sand as well. On to stingray sandbar. This is a busy place, we had to wait for another boat to leave. Our guides were great and gave instructions for taking a picture with them and ensuring their safety. It was choppy here too with some waves. And the best part, Acquarius takes pictures the whole time and loads them into Dropbox FOR FREE! Highlight of our trip for sure. Disembark: We had an 11:00am flight out of Miami so we did self-assist disembark. It was very smooth and quick, not like our Getaway experience at all. Customs was fast and on to the airport via Lyft. Conclusion: We had a great cruise overall. The staff is what makes this ship so wonderful in my opinion. Loved the service! We turned in a few vacation hero cards to recognize great service. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
My best friend wanted to go to Jamaica. The cost of a hotel was the same as the cruise and we would be able to see more places on a cruise.. We both got the mini-suites for ourselves and our husbands. I Highly recommend the upgrade to a ... Read More
My best friend wanted to go to Jamaica. The cost of a hotel was the same as the cruise and we would be able to see more places on a cruise.. We both got the mini-suites for ourselves and our husbands. I Highly recommend the upgrade to a mini suite. The ship was very clean and dining was amazing. So many restaurants to choose from. We hung out on the 19th deck at the "Vibe Bar" and had a blast. Met lots of fun people and the bartenders were a hoot! We went on three excursions and were able to see so much of each port, which was very enjoyable. There was a special price for the spa we took advantage of, which was really nice. We were surprised though that the facility was not included with our treatments, so we couldn't use the pool, spa, or steam room before our treatments. That's an extra charge. Other than that, the cruise was smooth, fun and worth the trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
The ship is beautiful, love the shows, the cafe is average but the Manhattan restaurat was great. Great service, I never foun d the bakery (I think it needs to have a better sing). Our houseking Elbert was great, plesent and always on ... Read More
The ship is beautiful, love the shows, the cafe is average but the Manhattan restaurat was great. Great service, I never foun d the bakery (I think it needs to have a better sing). Our houseking Elbert was great, plesent and always on point. But I think the people before me smoke in the room. The room was clean but you could still smell it on the pillows and the bed. I don't smoke and dont like to get the funk. The entretainment staff was great nice job, had some good LOL's. Hanna the shoping guide do a great job, but when you go to the ports check on the company www site if posible for the item you are getting. I found mine cheaper on the USA www site then what I paid on Grand Cayman, and yes I contact them the minute I got home. This make you think, buyers be ware. DI International Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
the boat was beautiful, rooms were huge compared to others I've been on. was unhappy with cutomer service though.. had 3 unexpected things go wrong that they wouldn't or couldn't fix. 1. the Jamaica excursion was ... Read More
the boat was beautiful, rooms were huge compared to others I've been on. was unhappy with cutomer service though.. had 3 unexpected things go wrong that they wouldn't or couldn't fix. 1. the Jamaica excursion was falsely advertised. It said Dunns river falls and glass bottom kayak tour. when we arrived it was not glass bottom, which was the ENTIRE reason we booked that excursion. I told customer service I was unhappy and she told me that no one else had complained. (so you think I'm lying since no one else complained??) Turns out after some bickering that the vrey last sentence in the long description of the tour says 'we no longer use glass bottom boats ' To me this is still false advertising because the title still says in bold lettering 'glass bottom' as well as my receipt. if you can go back and edit the last sentence in the description you could edit the title as well so that people like myself that don't want to hold up the line reading every sentence don't get kanoodled. 2. This is between the customer service and my travel agent, but we chose to have the extra 50.00 off of the excursions. I specifically asked my t.a. if I could use my 150.00 all on 1 excursion or if it had to be 50.00 off of 3. She told me they would just give me 150.00 credit on my bill at the end, that it wouldn't matter. WRONG..has to be 3 excursions booked through the ship, so i was shorted 50.00 credit as i onlt took 2 excursions... once again customer service had their hands tied, nothing they could do, no manager higher on duty to speak with me. Wouldn't you think that with a mix up such as this that they would find some way of giving on board credit to make a new customer happy? nope.. too bad, so sad. guess once again i didn't read the fine print. 3. I applied for the Norwegian credit card for another 100.00 on board credit. I was emailed the offer 2 days before sail date and decided why not, love cruising, it's our anniversary, we'll get the card and splurge a little. once again nope, no card in hand, no charges and No onboard credit, but if i fill it out a second time right now I'll get 25.00 credit and can charge without the card in hand, then just cancel the first card when i get home. what the what?? Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Well, that was a lot of fun. First time Cruise for my wife and I. Midwest 50+ couple without the kids for the first time in 20 years. We thought we would try the Escape for our first cruise. Ports were in locations we had not ... Read More
Well, that was a lot of fun. First time Cruise for my wife and I. Midwest 50+ couple without the kids for the first time in 20 years. We thought we would try the Escape for our first cruise. Ports were in locations we had not experienced and the ship looked fantastic. I read everything I could find before the cruise and appreciate all the tips. Let's start with the Balcony stateroom. Nice decor and the perfect size for just the two of us. Kade was our Steward and did an magnificent job for us. His towel animals were very creative! While the Port side was recommended, I think I would have preferred the starboard side to see more of the passing islands. There was also a constant electrical whine emminating from below that was a little annoying when sitting on the balcony for any length of time. They are constantly cleaning on board, which I appreciate. They do not cut corners on the amount of crew to service you for the week. . The Food: Overall, very impressive with one exception. LaCucina could be described as Chef Boy R D. Same color too. Our order of preference was Le Bistro, The Manhattan Room, Savor, Bayamo, Cagneys, Taste and LaCucina. Two of the top three overall experiences and food quality came from the complimentary restaurants. Bayamo and Cagneys were average and the bottom two...well they were at the bottom. Most of the breakfasts and lunches we had were at the buffett where the food quality was better than I expected. We didn't take advantage of shore excursions other than walking around the different ports. We enjoyed the friendliness of Jamaica and the cleanliness of the Grand Caymans. Nassau was a first experience for us and it was ok. Costa Maya was a stop where we quickly came back on board. I left my phone in the safe all week and really didn't miss it. Misc: We have done numerous all inclusives in Mexico. On a ship traveling to different ports is more appealing especially with the outstanding food choices. I like to tip. However, there was little difference in the quality of service between tipping or not tipping, unlike the all inclusives. You get to know the staff a little better at the all inclusives because you see the same people everyday. On the Escape, the staff is "business friendly or business professional." It was a lot of fun to meet people from all over the world. Both passengers and staff. Yes this is a big ship. But you really only noticed it on at Sea Days. Even on those days you could find a place for a little peace and quiet. We only went to one show, The Brat Pack. It was ok. Make sure you get a drink at the bar ahead of time. It shuts down just before the show begins. We missed out. Cigar smokers...There is the Humidor where you are outnumbered by cigarette smokers and H2O starboard side next to the bar. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Miami the night before the cruise. That was a nice experience and the bed was super comfortable. People were friendly and there is a nice seafood bar/restaurant right next door. We will cruise again. Wondering if we should try a smaller ship so we have something to compare...but not sure we want to give up all of the things to do that the Escape provided us. It was a lot of fun. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
The Escape is a great ship. The crew is top notch and could not be better. My first time in the studio and it was an excellent experience. Soooo quiet! Fun lighting! And, all the food and drink you could want at any hour... that ... Read More
The Escape is a great ship. The crew is top notch and could not be better. My first time in the studio and it was an excellent experience. Soooo quiet! Fun lighting! And, all the food and drink you could want at any hour... that lounge is a convenient place. Everything is so well thought out that there was more than enough room for all your belongings. The dining was very good as well. I love the convenience of the free style cruising. I took out the spa package just in case I missed having a window in my stateroom. That was a good decision as I used all of the amenities, spa pool, saunas, salt room and steam room. I was not brave enough to use the "ice" room. I'll leave that for you to report on..... On the downside I personally felt that the entertainment could have been better with the exception of the Headliners Comedy Club. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Like the Escape very much. 5th time on her. Like the variety of restaurants available, the attentive staff, good to great food., the nice Supper Club with entertainment and set dinner for free. Don’t like that they don’t change the ... Read More
Like the Escape very much. 5th time on her. Like the variety of restaurants available, the attentive staff, good to great food., the nice Supper Club with entertainment and set dinner for free. Don’t like that they don’t change the shows very often and no extravaganza shows like on Carnival. Also like the casino, and the casino likes me very much! The Caribbean is always so beautiful with beaches and snorkeling, etc. Our favorite excursions on this trip were the lazy rafting down the Martha Brae River in Falmouth, Jamaica. Also the Seahorse Sail and Snorkel in Nassau. Must have been a magical day for snorkeling, because we saw thousands of fish of all colors and lovely coral. Can’t wait to go again on NCL this September in Europe. The Baltic 9-night cruise on the Breakaway with lots of cruising friends. We had Cabin 9700, big forward room but 175 steps from Forward elevator. Ocean view but couldn’t see the ocean! There are no Forward elevators on this ship....I think they took them out to accommodate the Studios for singles. So what they call the Forward elevators are really Mid-Ship! The Aft elevators are really Aft, though. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
The Escape is a great cruise ship. We traveled in the Haven this time and found the experience top notch in most areas. The staff were quite amazing and we met some great people. The downfall was the number of children staying in the Haven ... Read More
The Escape is a great cruise ship. We traveled in the Haven this time and found the experience top notch in most areas. The staff were quite amazing and we met some great people. The downfall was the number of children staying in the Haven paired with the lack of parental oversight. When we ate at the Haven restaurant the children were literally allowed the jump from chair to chair, yell, run around, etc. The meals were loud and not what I at all expected- we had to plan our meals around the times the multiple families with their wild children ate or avoid the haven all together. The pool in the haven is quite small and there are no times where children were excluded from that area as well- they were equally not held in check making the experience of sitting my the pool miserable. We were also talked into purchasing the transportation from the ship to the airport with the belief it was a seamless process and we would not have to 'wait' in the long lines those who opted for a taxi had. This could not have been further from the truth- we ended up paying for both the bus and a taxi when we stood in the sun for several minutes only to be told the next two buses were already full. I will never do that again! Overall my experience was a good one- wish they had a haven trip limited to adults or a time when the pool and restaurant were without children. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Decided to kick start the summer with a relaxing cruise and getaway. The ship, staff and cabin were all great. A little disappointed in Jamaica and the over aggressive peddlers. Only issue with the cruise itself was the food often was ... Read More
Decided to kick start the summer with a relaxing cruise and getaway. The ship, staff and cabin were all great. A little disappointed in Jamaica and the over aggressive peddlers. Only issue with the cruise itself was the food often was like being at a Luby’s Cafeteria. The VIP dining helped but even there saw the same food a few times. The cabin was great as the balcony allowed us to have private outside space and leaving door open was wonderful. Did not care for the deck chair hogs who claimed chairs each morning at 0700 laying towels, clips and books on them. I sat there one morning for hours with no one returning or crew removing the towels as other guests searched for loungers to sit on. The crew was delightful to interact with and were helpful. The entertainment at the District Pub in the evening was fun and enjoyable. It was a best kept secret as it wasn’t crowded. Overall rate this cruise a 4.5 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
I first heard of the "studio" cabins when looking at the Norwegian Epic. I didn't take that Cruise but did schedule a "studio" cruise on the Escape. While booking a Studio cabin does not give you the same rate as ... Read More
I first heard of the "studio" cabins when looking at the Norwegian Epic. I didn't take that Cruise but did schedule a "studio" cruise on the Escape. While booking a Studio cabin does not give you the same rate as someone sharing a cabin with a partner, it does allow you to save money from purchasing a double cabin for yourself. What you get is a very small cabin that is located in a "keycard only" accessible area of the ship that includes a lounge for relaxing and enjoying coffee, juice, pastries, etc.. You also get a "solo" cruise manager which meets with you each evening to help schedule dinner and entertainment for that evening. I absolutely love the solo concept. NCL clearly seems dedicated to the solo traveller. Unfortunately, as of now, this dedication only extends to the newer larger ships. Hopefully when the new Leonardo class launches in 2022, they will also include solo travellers as there are issues on the current larger ships which I will relate below. Dining: You can't complain here. There are plenty of dining options, although most of them are at an upcharge. The main dining room, the O'Sheehan's Pub and the Garden Buffet are still complimentary and provide 24/7 coverage. Overall, these venues are what I expect to find on any cruise. The Garden Cafe Buffet is a step above what I have found on some other lines. But your best options for Breakfast and Dinner still lie with the main dining room or the Pub. If you get the Ultimate Dining package, the world, is as they say your oyster. I had dinner at Cagney's (Steakhouse), Teppanyaki (Hibachi Grill aka Benihana), and Moderno (Brazilian Rodizio aka Texas De Brazil). All three were outstanding. The only thing missing from Teppanyaki was the onion volcano for obvious reasons (open flames and ships don't mix). Another great feature of Escape is the "Waterfront" which extends around nearly 2/3 of the ship and consists of a nice promenade to walk around the deck and relax in comfortable seating. This "Waterfront" also allows seaside dining for several restaurants and bars, and a sunset meal at Moderno was sublime. The only thing I found a little disappointing was Margaritaville At Sea. Originally designed as a "free" dining option (like guy's burger joint for Carnival), this venue was then moved to al a carte shortly after introduction which seemed not too popular. And now has a "weird" cover charge that for 14.95 allows you to choose an appetizer, main dish and dessert. This wouldn't be too shabby as a nice casual dinner, but it is only open from 12:00pm to 5pm. When you add the 20% mandatory gratuity, you're looking at nearly 20 bucks for lunch. NCL needs to really rethink it's MAS concept because the space was criminally under utilized. When it was free, it was hopelessly swamped. Now it's a ghost town. It's a shame, because the food is good, but it just doesn't have a good fit in it's current configuration. Cabin: They are extremely small but comfortable. I actually loved the modern layout and led color lighting. Some have complained about shower size, and true, it's not huge. But I weigh over 300 lbs, and was still able wash adequately. If you've ever showered in a motorhome, then you know what you're getting. Having the toilet and showers in separate "closets" takes a little getting used to, but I had no real problems with the bathroom. The only issue I had with the cabin is that your keycard is required to be inserted near the door to operate the lights and outlets. So if you don't leave your room shortly after you remove your card, it's literally lights out. This also prevents you from being able to leave your room and charge your phone/tablet while away from your cabin as all wall outlets turn off when you leave the room as well. Entertainment: The entertainment that I went to was fantastic. The Cotton Club show was amazing and the comedians were very funny. SPA: The Thermal Suite is by far one of the highlights of the cruise. Yes it costs extra, but the thermal suite gives one a fantastic quiet area where you can read, relax in a comfortable and restful setting. The thermal suite has a HUGE whirlpool, a hot tub, a salt room, snow room, steam room and two types of saunas, not to mention heated tile lounges and more typical lounges for relaxation. I can't say enough about the difference it makes to have a nice place to retreat on a ship of this size. Pools and Deck space: Another disappointment. There is only ONE adult only pool and it is on the main deck and shares space with the kid's pool and splash zone. This makes the main sun deck a very noisy and crowded space. The ropes course, and basketball courts also take up deck space. If you are a dedicated sun worshiper, it might be worth getting on as early as possible and purchasing a Vibe Beach Club pass in Headliners Comedy club. These sell out quickly, however. For the rest of us there are always places that one can find a place to sit, but deck space is still crowded and finding a peaceful area usually means a hefty walk to the bar or hot tub. Shore Excursions: Both the Dunns River Falls and Mayan Ruins excursions in Jamaica and Costa Maya were well worth the spend. My only issue with the Mayan excursion was that we got back fairly late and had to hurry back to the ship. I would have liked us to have a less hectic return to the ship. SHIP. Here's the biggest problem I had with the ship. It's size. While the ship never felt overcrowded, a 19 deck 4200 passenger passenger ship does have challeges when trying to get from the entertainment and dining decks (6,7,8) and Sun Decks (16,17,18). Earlier ship designs put the entertainment areas right below the sun deck so that all public areas were close together. But that takes away from valuable balcony space. So now ships are placing their casinos, dining, drinking, and shopping venues low in the ship which used to have the non-balcony cabins. In the Escape, this is a 10 deck hike. Elevators are vital on this ship. This is the only time the ship felt crowded. No one like waiting forever for an elevator to arrive at your floor only to see it already filled to the gills with people going down to the casino or up to the sun decks. The elevators need to be bigger and more of them. Overall, I had a great time on the cruise. NCL is fantastic for the solo traveller. They will continue to get my business. Hopefully they will look at addressing the challenges that arise when you put more and more passenger decks between venues. I also hope they still keep the solo traveller in mind when they decide to downsize their ships in the early 20's. In the meantime, I am already booked for a follow up cruise on the Bliss in 2019 and the Encore in 2020. This should show how much I believe in the future of NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We picked this cruise because of the destinations. Great ship. Wonderful crew. Just too many people to enjoy the pool area. Food was very good at buffet and Taste. We had the dining package as one of our perks. We dined at Carney’s, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of the destinations. Great ship. Wonderful crew. Just too many people to enjoy the pool area. Food was very good at buffet and Taste. We had the dining package as one of our perks. We dined at Carney’s, La Cuinia, and Moderno and good was wonderful. We stayed in a mid-ship mini suite with a balcony and it had plenty of room with a nice sized bathroom with a shower no tub Would have liked drawer space for clothes not just cubbyholes. Liked excursion to Dunn’s fall and dolphin encounter in Jamaica. However we had a family with that decided to do there own thing and we ended up two hours late back so I was unable to spend time in port area shopping. Turtle farm in caymans was interesting but not something I would do again. We had scheduled a beach getaway Costa maya Mexico however we decided not to go due to seaweed and bug warnings. So we spent day in port and had a nice time. The zoo in Nassau was very sad. I felt sorry for the animals there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Really nice cruise that with just a few tweaks (suggestions to NCL at end) would've been even better. Smooth as silk transport, 11am in Miami, easy transfer to pier, then onboard by 1pm. Directly we headed for the crowded buffet, ... Read More
Really nice cruise that with just a few tweaks (suggestions to NCL at end) would've been even better. Smooth as silk transport, 11am in Miami, easy transfer to pier, then onboard by 1pm. Directly we headed for the crowded buffet, delicious and comprehensively appointed: basil pasta, salad, turkey parmesan, bratwurst, steak and a chocolate desert. And that was just my load. We explored the pool area on 16 (next to dining area) but it was loud with lousy music and crowds like it’s Coney Island beach. Not our speed to put it mildly. (Later saw an octogenarian reading a book poolside while a racket of bad music accompanied a male sexiest leg competition. My heart went out to him, poor devil. His wife likely forced him there.) But soon we were looking over the aqua-green water on a sunny Miami day on the stateroom balcony. The buzzkill muster was predictably painful but likely the necessary response to the hubris of “unsinkable” Titanic a century ago. Thirty minutes of people crammed and overheated and listening to long monologue by disembodied speakers saying perfectly obvious things like “don’t throw anything overboard”. I don’t recall Royal Caribbean (RCL) being quite so overbearing. But oh the glorious insouciance of having unlimited food and drink at your beckon call. Limited only by our body and not wallet, we imbibed in dinners at 1 and 7, with plenty of beers and bloody mary’s in between. If we’d paid for these, it probably would’ve run us at least $80, still well under what we would’ve paid in a package ($170 a day). Luckily we had a “free at sea” deal although tips of $230 make it not really free. The food is good, better than RCL, but no Catholic priest on board to offer Easter mass alas. The TV didn’t work which was annoying. Called service desk and they rebooted and it worked for awhile and we were able to watch Final Four game. After Final Four game TV frozen again. “At Sea” days mean little space to lay out on ship in the sun. The balcony is the “cruise saver” on those days. Workout on elliptical overlooking the ocean - awesome fitness center not overly crowded at all. It’s “elevator roulette” where you hit a button and hope that when it arrives it’s not already full. Nice dinner at the Manhattan room, inspired by 1930s NYC. Great jazz band offered music. Good steak dinner and Neapolitan Easter soup. Two cute little European girls did pirouettes on the dance floor. Monday: Did the free continental breakfast in room. Room service: that’s what I’m talking about! Back on ship after a jog in Jamaica had tasty lunch of basil pasta and seasoned chicken. Added slice of pizza because I could. Then beer o’clock, or rather mixed drink o’clock. Winsome outdoor seating areas on 8; comfortable outdoor couches no less. Dinner at Savor restaurant overlooking ocean. Delicious food expedited due to our having a show at 7:30. “After Midnight” it was called, a series of dance/song numbers set in 1920’s jazz club. Lots of swinging brass music. Good show. Tuesday: The ship has arrived at Grand Cayman, thus making Cayman grand again. Around 10:30 we caught a tender and then headed on 5-minute walk to Eden Point. My wife watched as I went into the water amid a half dozen intimidatingly large fish, each maybe 2’ by 6’. She was not eager to mix it up with ‘em - the water was clear and you could see them swarming the entrance steps. I slipped in and saw it was really nice, like an undersea Japanese garden with picturesque coral “castles” and fish I’d never seen before. Slightly waving sea fans dotted the sandy bottom at regular intervals and a brain corral was perfectly round, like a brown bowling ball. It all seemed very neat and tidy, with coral looking like leafless bonsai trees. Very zen fish exuded the otherworldly calm that fish often do. I climbed out to tell my wife to come in as the water was fine. She demurred and soon after a guy exited the water in a hurry saying there was a shark. At this point even I thought we should just take a cab to a seemingly more official and safer spot to snorkel, Smith’s Cove. So we walk back and talk to the taxi person and she says a really good spot is where we just were (!) and that there’s a friendly nurse shark that frequents there. So we headed back, no longer scared of Casper the Friendly Shark, and I snorkeled. Another fine and well-services dinner at Taste or Savor. Wednesday: 10am elliptical workout to make up for dietary (mortal) sins. Water the color of tanzanite; the shore sounds visual tambourines. The ship wakes’ horizontal fireworks of whites and blue-greens. We walk to the new-built port in Mexico. The obligatory shopping area was attractive, at least for Potemkin villages. By 12:30 we shuttled to the small 10-block town, sparse of buildings. We landed at an overcrowded beach, guided by hawker waiting new arrivals like New York locals guiding incoming Irish immigrants in the 1800s. We decide to walk down the beach looking for something better and find a hotel renting loungers in the shade: Caballo blanco at Costa Maya, Muhaula. Walked the beach strip and bought 5 cigar set for $15. Tons of beach massages going on, plied by mostly heavyset Mexican women, perhaps hefty to give the impression of strength to unknot those knots. All told about 3 hours in our paradise cabana. Just stunning natural beauty. Mexico Quintana Roo, is just otherworldly. Has to have my favorite beaches on earth, not just sand but lots of tropical plants. And I’m a sucker for the thatched umbrellas atop palm trees. Every port seems to have has 4-5 people missing at sail. On a ship of 5,000 I guess that’s not unexpected, but you must really be three sheets to the wind to miss the boat, literally. We sailed without them, 7 minutes later than scheduled, yesterday. Thursday: The dream of the Caribbean - except it’s no dream - is the sunshine so steady you can be spendthrift with it. Elliptical followed by lunch, then 2:30 to District Craft brewhouse and comfy leather chairs to collapse into. 20+ different kinds of craft beer give or take! Saw decent ‘80s music show at 7:30. Great music, especially “Turning Japanese”, “In Your Eyes”, Melt With You” and others. Impressive lights display as well. Friday: Last day of cruising. We’re off to Nassau in the Bahamas, arrival by noon.We interrupted the sun coverage for a needed lunch: jerk pork chops, salad and red velvet cake for dessert for me. Yum. Best week of food I’ve ever experienced in my life. Come 2pm we were back out and decided to go on the water slide rides. I did the one where you get sent down a tube nearly ninety degrees, a roller-coaster-like free fall. Adrenalin producer. Disembarkation was so easy and painless as not to be believed. Suggestions for NCL; big difference makers: —Designated quiet area sundeck —No cigarettes in humidor cigar lounge and bigger cigar lounge. —More comfy chairs on cabin balcony Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Our cruise was great! Only downer was we went during spring break and there happened to be a senior trip on board too. Which is fine but, there were a lot of drunk 18 year olds that were not fun to dance near during the theme nights. I ... Read More
Our cruise was great! Only downer was we went during spring break and there happened to be a senior trip on board too. Which is fine but, there were a lot of drunk 18 year olds that were not fun to dance near during the theme nights. I wish there were more activities that target 30 year olds. There were a lot of activities but we never seemed to find anyone around our age range. Also, we went on the Dunn river falls with bamboo beach club excursion. It was a lot of fun except it just felt PACKED at the falls and very very rushed. We kept getting told to keep moving so we didn’t get an opportunity to really take any nice photos in front of the falls together. The service was outstanding and ship was always super clean and easy to navigate. At one point my Apple Watch fell out of my beach bag on the ship. It took the security team only a day and a half to track it down. They made me super happy and I was impressed how on top of it they were. I was happy to end the trip on a happy note! The shows were ALL super amazing. Our favorite being Brat Pack and Company Men. The pool was nice to have the ledge to sit on. Drinks were pricey- only regret was not getting the drink package. The library was one of our favorite spots! I had a allergic reaction to my sunscreen and couldn’t go in the sun so it was fun to be able to play card and board games and meet others. The books in there all looked brand new too! Everywhere we ate the food was exceptional! Our favorite was garden cafe of course and Food Republic. Ronin (washy washy guy) always made us smile and laugh as well as our room steward Chotbal was amazing! Working in the hospitality industry too I was quite impressed with all the environmentally friendly features they had onboard too. Like the electricity turns off in the room when you leave, the rooms don’t have trash bags, the stewards use paper bags to dispose trash, you need a key card to turn on the lights and outlets in the room, you have the option to reuse towels, and they don’t use plastic travel size bottles for shower things. They actually have soap dispensers in the shower which was really cool. Overall the cruise was fantastic. We hope to go again soon! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Overall the Escape was very nice, and the crew is extremely dedicated to customer satisfaction. The buffet food was very good and there was a lot of choice in what to eat at each meal. Breakfast was our favorite. Getting on and off the ... Read More
Overall the Escape was very nice, and the crew is extremely dedicated to customer satisfaction. The buffet food was very good and there was a lot of choice in what to eat at each meal. Breakfast was our favorite. Getting on and off the ship for ports and excursions was very smooth. The housekeeping staff (Jimmy) did a fabulous job and always addressed us by name, including our 15 year old son. We really enjoyed the sports area with bowling, skee ball, darts, etc. The only downside to the Escape is that there are only two pools for over 4000 cruisers. One is an adults only pool most of the time and that excluded our 15 year old and the other was full of toddlers. None of us ever got in a pool the entire week. We'd go out early to sit by the pool - before 9 a.m., but all chairs were already taken or being saved. A lady on one of the excursions told us that you had to be at the pool by 5:30 on sea days to get a chair, and she was one of those people who was doing that. Not us! No way! Fortunately, there were only two sea days. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We planned this trip only a few weeks in advance. It was my husband and me, plus our three teenagers. Only my husband and youngest child had cruised on Norweigan before, so this was new for most of us! Arrived at our embarkation time ... Read More
We planned this trip only a few weeks in advance. It was my husband and me, plus our three teenagers. Only my husband and youngest child had cruised on Norweigan before, so this was new for most of us! Arrived at our embarkation time and all went smoothly. We carried our luggage on and snuck back to leave it in the cabin with no issues. Our cabins were great (side by side balconies on deck 9). Quiet location, easy to get to everything. This deck is directly over the lifeboats, which means you can't stand at the rail and look directly down to the water but that really never bothered me -- I was always looking off into the distance anyway!! Cabins were clean and well-appointed. We preferred 9854, which had the bed closer to the balcony vs 9852, which had the beds closer to the door -- it just seemed like a better layout and did not restrict access to the closet. Our steward seemed nice enough but made no effort to introduce himself. Our booking included the beverage package and 3 nights of upgraded dining -- thank goodness I had read on here to book the dining ahead, as everything seemed booked up by the time we boarded (at least for groups of 5). It was odd, because the restaurants did not seem full? We chose to eat at Bayamo (which was a charge on TOP of upgraded dining but was WONDERFUL and totally worth it -- just a dream meal), La Cuchina (the Italian restaurant -- we ate there our last night of the cruise and it was a fitting ending -- the best meal of the week), and the Churrascaria (lovely, varied menu and the service was great -- we never felt like we were being pushed into the lower quality items and loved the sushi at the salad bar!!). Other nights we spread out to various included restaurants and loved them all. We did not realize until Day 2 that we could get Continental Breakfast delivered for free to the cabins in the am by putting out a card the night before -- it was a wonderful addition!! As soon as we got on the ship we booked tickets for the comedy shows and liked both. One was better than the other, but both were fun. My husband loved the District -- the Craft Beer location. The selection was fabulous and the bartenders really went above and beyond to get to know their patrons. Our big issue with the cruise is that it was just so darned CROWDED. Most of the time we could work around it, but unlike other ships we've been on, there was no effort at all to make sure that people did not leave their things on deck chairs and disappear. This meant that some days there were chairs that were taken but unoccupied for many hours at a time (one day the 18 and over chairs at Spice were all taken by 9:30am but we saw some that were never occupied at all before we left at 4:00 in the afternoon). This was very frustrating for so many people! It was Spring Break but seemed pretty tame. Only exception is that there were some roaming (and clearly way beyond drunk) groups of teens and pre-teens out much later than I would have expected and they could be loud in the hallways and the balconies. We did not do any cruise-offered excursions but had a great day with Peat Taylor tours in Jamaica -- HIGHLY recommend them!!! Our teens did not ever go to the teen events but it seemed that lots of other kids did and had a great time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Can only compare to Regal Princess; We decided to try Norwegian for a change had a great time all in all pluses and minuses. Our only complaints were the buffet wasn’t as good as Princess but the restaurants were actually better. Too ... Read More
Can only compare to Regal Princess; We decided to try Norwegian for a change had a great time all in all pluses and minuses. Our only complaints were the buffet wasn’t as good as Princess but the restaurants were actually better. Too much focus on up selling with NCL and charges for basics such as Coffee, bottled water which was all free on princess. Pool has been sacrificed for the water park whereas Princess had two pools. So the sea days are cramped up on deck around the one pool. Luckily H20 made up for that as somewhere to cool off at the stern of the ship. This is a good ship for first timers the minuses were made up with pluses elsewhere as we had something to compare to. They do need to back off on the up selling it’s a turn off for anyone. This ship suits the 20-60 yr old demographic who want carefree cruising geared to a more lively experience. If your looking for quiet elegance this is not the ship or the cruise line for you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
My second time on the Escape and it was quite pleasant. Originally booked as an eastern Caribbean cruise, it was re-routed to a western loop because of last fall's hurricanes. I showed up at the port around 13:45 and by then most ... Read More
My second time on the Escape and it was quite pleasant. Originally booked as an eastern Caribbean cruise, it was re-routed to a western loop because of last fall's hurricanes. I showed up at the port around 13:45 and by then most people had already boarded. At that time check-in was instantaneous, I literally walked from the curb to my stateroom in less than 30 minutes. I was in a solo studio again and loved it. It's just the right size for a person travelling alone. Connected to the solo studios is the solo lounge and we had a very good consistant group of around 10-15 solos participating in the meals, shows and activities all coordinated by our amazing Solo Host T-T (Terry Tesoro). The official CC Meet and Greet in the District Brewhouse was very well attended, as was the unofficial sail away party on the Waterfront. Service was quick and efficient in most of the bars as well as in the restaurants and MDR. Layout of the ship, activities and maintenance/cleanliness are all top notch. My only small complaint (and the reason I can't give this ship a 5 star rating) is the main pool area. It's a claustrophobic overcrowded mess. Shows were top notch as usual, 2 main shows were the same as last year, but seemed a little more polished and refined. Company Men dinner theatre show was superb, as was Memories of a Tenor. Ports were: Falmouth Jamaica: I am not a fan of Jamaica, could have done without this port. Grand Cayman: Got some great scuba diving with Lobster Pot Diving. Stirrup Cay: Brought my gear and snorkelled in the bay all afternoon. Was nice! Nassau: Scuba dived with Stuarts Cove (booked thru ship). Lovely dive sites! Overall very satisfied and will probably cruise this ship again next march. 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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