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12 Night Caribbean Cruise from New York

12 Night Caribbean Cruise from New York (Manhattan)

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Norwegian Escape
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Itinerary

A city of endless possibilities, high energy and great diversity, New York has always been the benchmark for first-rate dining, unparalleled shopping and cultural activity. For visitors, it's an exciting city and, at times, is more than a little intimidating. New York natives always seem to be in a hurry, but with midtown traffic often at a complete standstill, it may be faster for them to walk across town than to take a bus. When you hear a foreign language, it could be international tourists -- flocking to the city in droves because of the weak dollar -- or it could be a New Yorker.

It's love at first sight when the Empire State Building comes into view, and the Statue of Liberty awes even the most blase tourist. Broadway shows will wow you; browsing Bloomingdale's will amaze you. It's always possible to stumble upon an unforgettable meal -- an oven-fresh slice of perfect pizza, Chinese food in Chinatown or a haute-cuisine dinner by candlelight. The views from the Staten Island Ferry are a knockout, and downtown nightlife will keep you busy in the city that never sleeps.

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  • Day 2
  • Day 3

As an anchor on Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries -- not to mention a turnaround port for many ships -- San Juan is a place where just about all cruisers, at some point or another, are going to wind up. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and San Juan is its urban hub. The city, by and large, is divided into new and old. The new includes a business district and outlying neighborhoods, concentrated with hotel chains like Isla Verde. The old is, of course, the historic city within ancient walls. Both offer many Americanisms. (Senor Frog's has a prime outpost, and you'll never want for a McDonald's Big Mac.)

Get beyond that, though, because of all America's Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico offers the most exotic aura. The melange of indigenous Taino culture, combined with European and African influences in San Juan (and all of Puerto Rico, for that matter), is one major factor. Add to that its own unique influences in areas ranging from cuisine and music to history and art. And there's more: folks who have traveled to Cuba say that Old San Juan reminds them more of Cuba, at times, than Cuba itself! It's also very Spanish (think Seville) and even a bit Italian (reminiscent of Naples). Finally, the city evokes just a wee taste of South America (like Buenos Aires).

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If you cruise regularly to the Caribbean, chances are you'll end up in St. Thomas. Its popularity as one of the world's most heavily trafficked cruise ports is well-earned. The island offers something for just about everyone and has the infrastructure that can accommodate a huge daily population influx. In addition to a duty-free shopping scene that's virtually unparalleled, other on-the-beaten-track sites include the world-famous beach at Magens Bay and a scenic tram ride to a mountaintop.

Nearly every ship sailing an Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes St. Thomas as a port of call, as do many Southern Caribbean voyages. You'll even see St. Thomas on Panama Canal and South American itineraries (when a Florida port such as Fort Lauderdale or Miami serves as a port of embarkation or debarkation). It's not uncommon, particularly during the Caribbean's winter high season, to see six ships or more docked or anchored in a day -- and that can mean an extra 20,000 people mixing into a population hovering in the mid-50,000s.

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Editor's note: Due to damage sustained from Hurricane Maria, Dominica is currently closed to cruise passengers.

A visit to Dominica (pronounced Do-min-EE-kah) promises to be unlike any other stop on your itinerary. Prepare to slow down, take in the scenery, breathe fresh air, sample fruit right off the trees and experience nature in a way unique to few places on earth.

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Barbados -- or B'dos, as the locals abbreviate the name -- was a British territory until 1966 and remains greatly influenced by the United Kingdom. Brits on holiday make up the largest number of visitors to the island. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road, and afternoon tea is a respected ritual. Anglican churches are the anchor of all 11 parishes, although, in recent years, more evangelical churches have become the choice of many Bajuns.

But those of all nationalities will feel at ease there. The Bajuns are open, friendly people, proud to share their home with visitors. There's little crime and a general sense of safety and well-being.

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Your first look at St. Lucia's lush coast from the deck of a cruise ship is likely to include the island's most dramatic geologic feature: the Pitons, two striking volcanic peaks that rise a half-mile off St. Lucia's southwestern coast. The island's beauty has earned it the nickname "Helen of the West Indies."

Though St. Lucia has plenty of visitors (including those from cruise ships and a steady influx of honeymooners), parts of the island have largely remained unspoiled due to the locals' commitment to protecting the rainforests and other natural resources. A decent percentage of the island -- some 19,000 acres -- is protected as part of the St. Lucia National Rain Forest.

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In 1493, Christopher Columbus was allegedly so smitten with this volcanic island that he named it after St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Since its discovery, St. Christopher (later shortened by British sailors to St. Kitts) has been fought over by the British and French who, tragically, made it a center of the West Indian slave trade. Pirates, including the notorious William Kidd who was marooned on Nevis after his crew mutinied, enjoyed lucrative careers in Basseterre Harbor.

St. Kitts and sister isle Nevis were part of the British Empire until 1967, earning semi-independent status when they were named associated states of Great Britain. In 1983, the 68-square-mile St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent, two-island nation with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister. While British holdovers such as cricket and driving on the left side of the road remain, the Kittitians are extremely proud of their history and how far they've come on their own.

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  • Day 10
  • Day 11
  • Day 12

A city of endless possibilities, high energy and great diversity, New York has always been the benchmark for first-rate dining, unparalleled shopping and cultural activity. For visitors, it's an exciting city and, at times, is more than a little intimidating. New York natives always seem to be in a hurry, but with midtown traffic often at a complete standstill, it may be faster for them to walk across town than to take a bus. When you hear a foreign language, it could be international tourists -- flocking to the city in droves because of the weak dollar -- or it could be a New Yorker.

It's love at first sight when the Empire State Building comes into view, and the Statue of Liberty awes even the most blase tourist. Broadway shows will wow you; browsing Bloomingdale's will amaze you. It's always possible to stumble upon an unforgettable meal -- an oven-fresh slice of perfect pizza, Chinese food in Chinatown or a haute-cuisine dinner by candlelight. The views from the Staten Island Ferry are a knockout, and downtown nightlife will keep you busy in the city that never sleeps.

Read More

Norwegian Escape

Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
4.0
1,527 reviews
Why Choose Norwegian Escape?

Pro

Exceptional dining, entertainment, bar and club options abound.

Con

A la carte fees and cover charges add up quickly

Bottom Line

There's something for everyone on Escape, but you might pay extra for it.


Cruise Reviews

2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our second time on the Escape, our 24th cruise on NCL. As usual, the employees on all NCL ships are friendly and helpful. Our steward Andro was fantastic, he met all of our needs and our cabin was always spotless. The ... Read More
This was our second time on the Escape, our 24th cruise on NCL. As usual, the employees on all NCL ships are friendly and helpful. Our steward Andro was fantastic, he met all of our needs and our cabin was always spotless. The Director of hotel services Deepak is outstanding ! The asst dir of food and beverage, Melvin Lobo was ever so kind and gracious. We had little sun during the cruise and all the staff worked hard to make our week enjoyable. The last day in Nassau was a beautiful sunny day and a great send off for the end of the cruise. We got off the ship at each port but because of the weather we didn't do any excursions. We took a taxi over and back to Atlantis on our stop in Nassau. The cost of the taxi wa $4 per person each way. We ate at specialty restaurants each night and Cagneys was really good and the staff were lovely and provided excellent service. The casino was fun but very very smokey although they did try to remind people that smoking was allowed for gamblers only and that for others there are designated places that allow smoking. Nonetheless, the casino was very smokey. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
every football game was on, a gallon of water in each room, yes overcrowded the first day it was cool with showers so everybody was inside, the rest of the cruise it was spread out, shows were great, buffet food was standard, Tapanaki ... Read More
every football game was on, a gallon of water in each room, yes overcrowded the first day it was cool with showers so everybody was inside, the rest of the cruise it was spread out, shows were great, buffet food was standard, Tapanaki chefs put on a good show and the food was excellent, the room seemed much bigger because of the layout, 5 shelves in the bathroom so there was room for everything, closets were OK, 3 times the hangars that I have seen in other lines, TV was built in so there was even more room on the desk my only problem was with the service desk they did not seem to understand what was going on, the line was long no matter what time you were there, the lady in front of me asked for a copy of her statement and was refused, WHY she was still asking even after I left Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The new huge ship was just that, newer and bigger than the other Norwegian Ships we had been on. The newness was very nice, the bigness was not necessarily a plus. The set up and location of the restaurants, theatres, pool, hot tubs are ... Read More
The new huge ship was just that, newer and bigger than the other Norwegian Ships we had been on. The newness was very nice, the bigness was not necessarily a plus. The set up and location of the restaurants, theatres, pool, hot tubs are the same as other NCL ships. There was a nice boardwalk where you could walk, buy gelato or baked goods, get a drink and just relax in comfortable chairs. I really enjoyed that area for some peace and quiet. The main atrium area was not very grand at all, however, they held many shows there that would normally be held in the theatre on other ships, smaller space and more people, meant the area was often too packed to get a seat and in some cases no standing room. The theatre was nice, however only on one deck, so seats were not on enough of an angle to see over those in front of you. The newer specialized lighting and other effects were very good. There were also several other small clubs for comedy and other acts each night. Because all of the venue are smaller and the number of people is much larger, make reservations for everything you can to ensure yourself a spot, most activities and shows are packed. The shopping area was okay, but generally expensive. Lots of space allocated to the Art Gallery and the Casino. The main difference from other NCL ships, besides the newness, was that there were a LOT more people and venues are divided into many small ones rather than less large ones. Except for the pool area, on an at sea day, all lounges were saved by 9am. While the number of complimentary dining choices remained the same, there were MANY other restaurants, bars and clubs to choose from. The restaurants were new and beautiful and the food was excellent as usual. Still love Norwegian, loved the NEWness of the new ship, it seemed the main point of the huge size was simply to fit on more people, while they did generally spread them out well. My son, LOVED it, the Entourage Teen club was amazing, they did numerous great events, he made many friends and can't wait to return with friends from home. It would have been nice to have a club for single parents, who had not thought about the fact their young teen would be off with new friends every night....lol. Just a note from the rating section, I marked embarkation as poor because as latitude members we were suppose to be able to avoid the line, and while we booked an appointment to do so, we did not receive the service. Did not do ship shore excursions. Read Less
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