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14 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from New York

14 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from New York (Manhattan)

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Norwegian Escape
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Itinerary


Norwegian Escape

Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
4.0
1,665 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

Sail Date: March 2018
The Escape is a fairly new ship and is very nice and has a luxurious feel. This is nicest part of the cruise. There is no dought that this ship is way over crowded. There is major lack of deck and pool space on this ship. When building ... Read More
The Escape is a fairly new ship and is very nice and has a luxurious feel. This is nicest part of the cruise. There is no dought that this ship is way over crowded. There is major lack of deck and pool space on this ship. When building these ships they have taken away pool and deck space to add special features like water slides and rope courses. Those added features are nice but in the process used up to much space that should have been used for another pool. The ropes course is billed as the largest on the sea. It also takes up a large amount of deck space. This is suppose to be an added feature for the boat. However the days at sea when you would like to use these features it was closed because its to windy on deck. So on days when the decks are the most crowded you can’t use it. 4200+ passengers onboard and one adult pool and one kids pool. The food was what I would consider average at best considering our previous cruising experience. The free style dinning is a nice concept, but almost impossible to make reservations for a party of four weeks in advance of the cruise. If you wait until you are on the cruise to make your reservations you will be eating after 9 pm every night. The specialty restaurants on board had better food than the main dinning room however it was not as good as the main dinning room of other cruise lines like Royal and Disney. There maintenance staff needs help. During the third day on board our toilets in our stateroom stopped working for more than 36 hours. What ever was wrong affected 50 staterooms. Not a fun when you have to run up three decks every time you need to go to the bathroom. This is where there customer service completely missed the mark. There was no help from them at all. No sorry for the inconvenience or compensation of any type. After it was over all we received was a note reminding us not to flush anything but toilet paper. This but a major damper on our cruise. Overall customer service was lacking. NCL adopted service fees instead of tipping. I understand the reason behind this but it seems the staff is not interested in doing anything to please you or help you. In our previous cruises our room attendant would introduce themselves the first day and check with us everyday if we needed anything. We went this cruise and never even met our room attendant. Bar service was very slow and the drinks were not made constantly. The way a drink was made from one bartender tasted completely different when made by a different bartender. Many of the wait staff in general seemed to strugle with the English language. I have done 7 other cruises and never had so much trouble ordering food or drinks. With a ship this big the problems even extended to the shore exersions. To many people packed into one group. We did a sail and snorkel on a cateraman that normal held 75 people. They put 92 of us onboard. Then when we were ready to snorkel they did not have enough mask and fins for everyone. After complaining to NCL again they did nothing. We tried NCL hearing it was very nice and a step above many of the other cruise lines. We found this not to be the case. It is several steps below other cruise lines. My family will not cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We were nervous at first going on a large passenger boat. Friends had selected it but were pleasantly surprised. We never except getting on the boat the large amount of people on it. That being said we did not choose NCL excursions so can ... Read More
We were nervous at first going on a large passenger boat. Friends had selected it but were pleasantly surprised. We never except getting on the boat the large amount of people on it. That being said we did not choose NCL excursions so can not comment on them. Our room was 15756 Spa balcony. The spa was wonderful. We loved the walk in jaccuzi. And with the exception of the last sea day, was never crowded. We didn't see our room steward much and only one day did he not bring us ice in the afternoon. The room was nice no drawers, though. The hints of bringing magnet hooks is a good one. We did not. The pool can be very crowded but we only laid out one time (Not a sun worshiper) that would be a big drawback for anyone looking for pools. Overall it was a great experience with great old and new friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
I will preface my review by stating that if a person leaves this ship disappointed, it is because they purposefully tried NOT to have an amazing time. The service on this ship was incredible and I have no complaints for the week. ... Read More
I will preface my review by stating that if a person leaves this ship disappointed, it is because they purposefully tried NOT to have an amazing time. The service on this ship was incredible and I have no complaints for the week. Embarking in Miami was a bit of a hassle as we got there early due to an early flight and the doors to the building to start the embarkation process has not opened yet. Mayhem. There's just not enough organization there for both activites (embark/disembark) to be happening at the same time. Once we were through the doors and security, it was a much smoother process. As you enter the ship, you are soon greeted with the smiling faces of the crew and the beautiful 678 Ocean Place. It really was a welcoming view. We immediately began exploring and found a neat whisky bar - Tobacco Road - and Pregdrag (one of our favorite bartenders) prepared us the best Old Fashioned I've had in my life. Due to the fact that rooms were not ready (because we were there very early) we then explored the Waterfront and other areas of the ship. We like to play cards, so we went and checked out what tables were available and then headed to deck 16 to check out the water features and visit the buffet. I will say that the buffet was quite impressive. It is expansive and runs along both sides of the ship. While the stations repeat themselves on both sides, there was always a great variety of foods and something for everyone. The food was served in smaller batches, so it was displayed nicely and always had the appropriate temperature. I like to think we sampled about 80 percent of the items served for breakfast and lunch and we did not find one thing we weren't a fan of. We did tour the spa directly after lunch and ended up signing up for the thermal suite package--SO WORTH IT! We are not a couple who enjoys lying around the pool deck roasting like hotdogs for hours a day, so this was a beautiful retreat for us. The views were stunning from the front of the trip and we thoroughly enjoyed the saunas, steam room, snow room, salt room, thermal pool, and the heated loungers. We spent hours a day relaxing and reading and yes, sometimes napping. The passes were $249 each for the week and I will do it again. My husband also splurged on a facial for me in the spa. I had never had one before, but he was adamant that I would like it. And I did! It was a great, relaxing hour. Hammad gave me great pointers and explained a routine he would recommend I start implementing. I will say that I did NOT like the fact that he was pushy trying to sell me $100-200 creams for 20 minutes after I said no. I felt a little patronized when I refused, so it put a mild damper on the experience. Also, beware that they already add their 18% gratuity when they bring you the final bill. We were so excited when the announcement came on that our rooms were ready! We were excited to get to the cabin and check it out and were impressed when we opened the door. The room was spotless and roomier than I thought it would be. There was ample closet space for my husband and I and abundant storage in the bathroom! I was actually really impressed with the layout of the bathroom and how much storage they were able to get into that space and still make it feel large. The seating area was lovely and sat across from the vanity-area, which was great for me. The balcony is larger in this cabin due to the fact that it is on a slanting section of the deck. So not only did we have two deck chairs, but we also had a lounger. Due to the slant, however, if you are by the railing, you can be seen by the cabins to your left if they are by the railing too--so no naked yoga or anything outlandish. the bed was comfortable and the sheets and blankets were warm. My husband is hot natured, so he used the sheets only and was very comfortable. A note about this area of the ship: There is a laundry facility or SOMETHING right above you and you will hear a lot of noise between 12am and 2am. I pair of ear plugs fixed it for us. The room steward, Jerome, was a sweetheart, we weren't needy but left notes for an extra pillow, extra coffee packets, coffee creamer and they were instantly fulfilled. He kept the room clean for us throughout the day and hit the mark with his towel animals--no matter how old you are, you never get tired of those... The first night we dined in the Manhattan room. We were served by Jocelyn and went back a time or two to request her. She was always full and we can imagine why--she was so friendly and prompt and waited on us graciously throughout our meal. It was the epitome of service and kicked of a great week of dining for us. Our dinners went as quickly or as slowly as we wanted them to throughout the cruise. There were times when we were in and out in 45 minutes without feeling rushed one bit (we were just anxious to get to the casino), and there were also evenings when we took our time, ordered another appetizer, stayed for coffee after dessert, and the service never stopped. We also ate in Taste and Savor which served the same menus as the Manhattan room and again had great service. These were also the main dining rooms that offered breakfast and lunch daily, so we found ourselves in there a few times. I actually really enjoyed their menus and our favorite there was Angela (who also works in Teppanyaki with Rowan--the washy washy guy!) We did order the Unlimited Beverage Package and Ultimate Dining Package for this cruise so we also experienced Bayamo, La Cucina, and Teppanyaki. Bayamo was AMAZING! Great seafood—my mouth is actually watering just typing about it. It’s a small upcharge from the UDP, but it was well worth it. We ordered the crab legs and crab cakes for appetizers (Crab cakes would rank in the top 3 I’ve ever had), lobster and scallops for main courses (both out of this world), and petit fours and chocolate cake for dessert. This meal was a highlight of the trip—the chocolate cake was so delectable, I wanted to go back to that restaurant just to order that to-go! La Cucina was a great Italian meal. My husband ordered the veal and I ordered the filet. Both were amazing and cooked perfectly. The asparagus risotto was also very impressive. Teppanyaki is a hibachi style restaurant that lended a great atmosphere. We had fun watching the chefs and they were all very entertaining. The fried rice was actually very, very good, and I was impressed at how well the food was cooked—the shrimp, scallops, and chicken were all at the perfect temperatures. It is a lot of food and you definitely get your dollars’ worth here at this restaurant. Included in your fare: O’Sheehan’s. Think of this as your favorite pub comfort food. We ate here for lunch and late night a time or two and were never disappointed with the food. Don’t expect delicacies here—this is casual, comfort food, but it’s good. Entertainment—YOU NEED TO RESERVE YOUR ENTERTAINMENT BEFORE YOU BOARD THE SHIP! We were not able to make any of the shows due to my lack of foresight in making reservations. You have to understand that there are over 4,000 other people on the ship and reservations are a must. Even so, the free entertainment they had aboard the ship every night was top notch. There were always performers in the Manhattan room each night and also in the Atrium and Skyline lounge. This was great for us because we spent a lot of time in the casino and could hear the bands and singers. We had an amazing time in the casino (played every night but the first). The dealers were great—Tara, Rishori, V, and so many more. We especially loved the pit boss – Lynn – who actually was one of the nicest, funniest people we met on the ship. My husband is a handful and she handled him perfectly—knew exactly how to take his humor and ensure we had the best time. I hope we get to see her on another cruise with Norwegian because that would make my day. Smoking: There are both smoking and non-smoking areas of the casino and we played in both. We typically do not like smoke at all, but the ventilation was pretty good in the area. For Blackjack: there are $10, $15, $25, $50 minimums, as well as a high-roller section. Note: the $10 tables only pay 6 to 5. We stuck to the $15 tables and met some really awesome people that we ended up playing with all week—so much fun! As I mentioned, the service on this ship was outstanding. Everyone was polite and seemed eager to help make our trip the greatest. We even got pointers on where we should cruise to next from a few of the crew (we’ve already put down our CruiseNext deposits). Actually, to show how awesome the crew was, I will swear to you that I did not write down one name while I was on the ship and now, almost 2 weeks after embarkation, their names are still fresh on my mind. Very, Very impressive! While we didn’t do any cruise-sponsored excursions, we did visit some of our ports: Jamaica’s cruise port is actually very nice and you get a great view from the dock. The second you step out of the port, you are fearing for your safety. We took a van out of the port with 10 other people and a driver to Montego Bay. We made the mistake of sitting in the back row and almost suffocated and had heat stroke simultaneously, but once we made it to the beach, it was all worth it. The ride down there was $20 each round trip, but we paid an extra $60 for a different cab driver to take us back to port when we had our fill at the beach. We weren’t going to experience the awful ride we had up there again. The beach was stunning, $6 admission each, $12 each from chairs and $30 for a bucket of beer. It was a little more expensive than I would have thought, but it was a gorgeous day in the water and I will not complain about that at all. Bottom line—if you don’t book an excursion with the cruise at this port, I wouldn’t even bother getting off the ship. The beach was beautiful, but leaving the port was kind of scary and not worth the risk to do it on your own. We stopped in Grand Cayman but we did not get off the ship in this port. You have to tender there and back and it was a lengthy process we just really didn’t want to do. We enjoyed the spa and an emptier ship on this day. We were supposed to go to Great Stirrup Cay – NCL’s private island – but the swells were too high to safely tender to the island. This whole tendering thing kinds sucks. I was really looking forward to spending the day on the beach and snorkeling. Nassau was our final port and it was a beautiful place. The local people were friendly when we got off the ship and very helpful. We got a cab for $2 each to Paradise Island and walked to a public beach. We ended up paying $100 for two chairs, an umbrella, and 4 coconut drinks and got to lounge on the beach for several hours. IMPORTANT: IF YOU ARE TAKING CHILDREN TO THIS SIDE OF THE ISLAND, YOU MUST WATCH THEM IN THE WATER! Even if you are an adult, if you are not a swimmer, stay out of the water. There are some serious undertows on this beach. My husband was a swim instructor in the Marine Corp and ended up saving a man and a child in the water. The ocean is something to take seriously. We woke up the last morning not wanting to leave the ship. We went up and had breakfast at the buffet and grudgingly debarked. We packed carry ons only so we decided to just take our bags and walk off at our leisure. We waited until after 9am and walked down to the debarking line. It took maybe 10 minutes to get off the ship and another 10 to get through security and we were hailing a cab for the airport. It was a breeze but we were very reluctant to leave… We will be back, NCL!!! Read Less
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