There's nothing subtle about Norwegian Escape, which you'll notice before you even board the cruise ship. The hull art, designed by artist and conservationist Guy Harvey, is a bold yet beautiful, in-your-face marine wildlife scene that spans more than 1,000 feet from bow to stern. Once onboard, you'll be captivated by the glitzy three-level 678 Ocean Place; virtually all the action at night takes place at its various restaurants and bars. Even the top decks of the ship are bold, with a ropes course and four water slides that are sure to make your heart race.
Escape is ideal for people looking for stellar theater entertainment and variety. Broadway-quality performances, in the form of two shows ("After Midnight" and "For the Record: The Brat Pack"), are pitch perfect. The music and performers are flawless and among the best we've seen at sea.
When it comes to variety of activities, Escape is a winner. With 28 bars and restaurants onboard, most people will have to sail twice to try out everything. Everyone will be able to find something that appeals. Latin food? Check. An incredible brew pub that feels so genuine you'll forget you're on a ship? It's got that, too. An indoor-outdoor dining concept, called The Waterfront, which allows passengers to dine seaside? It's there. A first-at-sea Margaritaville? Yep.
With so much going on, the ship can -- and does -- get loud. Loud music, loud people, loud venues. Crowds, too, are noticeable, especially at peak periods around dinner and at show times, when everyone is clamoring for the same things at the same time.
At full capacity, the ship can hold 5,218 passengers, most of whom are from the United States. You'll find yourself sharing the ship primarily with couples and groups of friends, with families and little ones dominant during the holidays and summer breaks.
While Escape preaches a "freestyle" cruise experience, reservations are highly recommended and help reduce wait times, though expect lines to be part of the Norwegian Escape experience no matter what.
Three dining rooms, meals at O'Sheehan's and the buffet
Ice water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and select juices in the buffet
All theater shows
Use of the Aqua park, the ropes course and mini-golf
Access to Spice H2O adults-only sun deck
Most daily activities unless noted below
Use of the gym, but not most classes
Gratuities ($14.99 per person, per day or $17.99 per person, per day for those staying in suites)
Automatic beverage and spa tips (20 percent for both)
Spa treatments and most fitness classes
Vibe Beach Club adults-only sun deck
Late night (after 10:30 p.m.) group babysitting
Activities including, but not limited to, the Cellars Wine Bar classes and seminars, photo booth sessions at The District, arcade games and bingo
Photos and artwork
Daytime: Casual, with swimsuits, shorts and T-shirts poolside and around the ship.
Evening: There's generally no formal dress code (though there is an optional elegant night). Khakis and collared shirts are the norm for men in the evening, while women wear sundresses or blouses with capris, slacks or skirts.
Not permitted: Shorts are not allowed at some of the more upscale restaurants, such as Cagney's and Bayamo.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Norwegian Cruise Line.
My Recent Cruise Experience Aboard the Norwegian Escape