NCL Escape 3 day from Hamburg to Southampton.
GETTING TO KNOW US
We in our late 60’s and we are active seniors who have done 29 cruises over the last 30 years. This was the end of 15 days in Europe to celebrate our 50th ... Read More
NCL Escape 3 day from Hamburg to Southampton.
GETTING TO KNOW US
We in our late 60’s and we are active seniors who have done 29 cruises over the last 30 years. This was the end of 15 days in Europe to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. We like the Freestyle NCL offers but have done other lines as well.
We had never done a “new” ship right off the dock and we were excited to be part of all the newness seeing it before others. Hubby and I anticipated that there were to be glitches in many areas and knew we would be the ships Guinea Pigs as staff had not had passengers yet.
SO, knowing all that, here is our review:
ARRIVAL TO PORT We arrived at 10:30 AM and we were on board about 12:15. The going was slow and there was a "Disney" line to get on the ship. As expected, crew had some confusion but handled each request from passengers as quickly as possible in our area. We were in Group 12 to board.
Embarkation was not as cruisers expect because there was no baggage assistance. For us, it was no issue as we were doing the 3 day, however, those getting on for the Transatlantic definitely struggled. Also, those with mobility issues or in wheelchairs were without assistance where we were.
OUR CABIN We have not booked an inside cabin for some time but because this was a 3 day cruise and we anticipated we would be exploring the ship most of the time, we chose an inside cabin, 13463. The best surprise was the bathroom, very large, lots of space to store things and the shower was wonderful. I am not a fan of climbing over the tub to shower so this was perfect.
We are not over packers so we found plenty of storage in the cabin. In the closet, we had 12 hangers, a safe, and several shelves along with space under the hanging side to store shoes. The bed had 2 small night tables with shelves in each one. I did not check under the bed for storage, too much to see and too little time. There was a built in table/desk with small bench and a refrigerator built in also.
Our cabin was set up to hold 3 people but the third bunk would have been too claustrophobic for me. The cabin hallways seemed bigger than on the smaller ships
The cabin needed a room card to keep power on so we threw in a grocery store card and everything worked and we still had our keys.
SHIP This was our first cruise on a ship of this size and huge it was. Our cabin was forward and we walked a lot to get to everywhere. In my younger days, this was not an issue but I think the mega ships are not for me, just a personal choice.
We explored everything we could and other than being huge, the ship was beautiful and the Waterfront truly brought back the Promenade Deck of the older ships.
My DH did the ropes course while still in port and it looked intense to me. Throughout the 3 days, the kids and adults who climbed the course were having a lot of fun. There was also a mini version of the course built in so the younger kids had a course to do. The water park was immense and rivaled some water parks in the US and kids were using it. I thought the tots water area was well done and had many things for the toddlers to do. We did not see Teen or Kids area as we had no need.
DRINKING ESTABLISMENTS (We had the Caps and Corks package)
We went to Tobacco Road, The Cellars, The District Brew House, 5 O’clock Somewhere and Spice H2O. We never waited for a drink, service was quick. There were some vintages of wine and several brews that were not available but this was a shakedown cruise and we always found something we liked. Drinks did come with a port tax that we were not expecting but nothing outrageous. The only thing on our NCL account at the end was some minor gift shop purchases and the $20 odd taxes.
Spice H2O was a great late night place but rain and weather kept the crowds away.
DINING VENUES (We had no paid meal plans)
We ate at both dining rooms, Garden Cafe buffet and O’Sheehans.
First night, the service v e r y slow but we expected something would happen as this was the first time the dining room was full for the staff to practice on. Same dining room next time was great.
We had breakfast in O’Sheehan’s and the selections for us seemed very limited. Lunch menu had more options.
We found the food in the dining room delicious and well presented. Always a good mix of selections with vegetarian options, also.
One thing NOT to our liking in the main dining room, items for a price. Prime Rib and 2 other items were on the menu but for an additional $14.95. These main dining rooms are our only place left without a la carte and we were very disappointed to them there. Come on NCL, at least leave the Main Dining alone.
There were a few hiccups like dessert and coffee taking forever, waiters not sure what table they were serving and trying to order drinks in the dining room.
The Buffet was well laid out and both sides had the same items so easy to find a small line. There was a bar within the Buffet that made getting a beer or drink very easy. I fell in love with the Pasta Bar, made to order with sauce and ingredient choices. There were no Hot Dogs or Hamburgers but maybe the Margaritaville at Sea was for hamburgers. The one time we went it was raining and this is an outside venue.
We only saw Million Dollar Quartet and needed no reservation to get a seat at the 7 PM show. The young musicians were amazing and portrayed the characters excellently. Not to be missed.
We went to the Howl at the Moon first night and I howled long and loud, LOL Music was good and piano players were energetic and had incredible talent. I am told I howled until 1 am but don’t remember. We went back on night 2 but crowd was not into it and we left. Night 3 was back to night one caliber.
The Casino seemed to be bigger than any at sea we had seen. It was nice because there was no smell of smoke yet. I put $5 in a slot on day 1 and came away with $37.50. Wish I could be more exciting about the Casino but we just did not have time to see everything and stay there.
All in all our experience was positive, we knew the ship would have issues but for us, they were few.
The staff and crew were always on hand to take care of passenger issues with one exception but that was eventually dealt with.
Having an inside cabin was okay for the 3 day but we agree we need to see out.
Because of the weather, we can’t comment on chair huggers, kids in the adult pool, or any people smoking where they should not be.
We attended the Meet & Greet and the Cabin Crawl and met some wonderful new friends we will keep forever. Read Less