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Norwegian Escape Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,810 Reviews

Fabulous Faces at Sea: The 2016 Craniofacial Cruise onboard NCL Escape

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by SmithAlien

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Aug 2016
  • Destination: the Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Studio Stateroom

I organized a group for a craniofacial theme cruise (craniofacial birth defects), called Fabulous Faces at Sea: The 2016 Craniofacial Cruise. I ended up hosting a 17-member group. My travel agent (who also has a granddaughter with the same craniofacial condition I have) found this cruise line, routing, ship, date, and pricing for our group. She was able to get me into a Studio (solo occupancy) cabin on Norwegian Escape. My mother also came along (a late booking) and got a neighbouring Studio cabin with a connecting door to mine. Our group had some group-specific activities onboard (a Q&A session for me and my mother to answer questions from the group about my condition and how she raised me, as well as an ice cream social) on our days at sea, as well as a group-specific shore excursion (Coral World and Coki Beach on St. Thomas USVI).

From the time we boarded Escape in Miami on August 6 through the time we disembarked in Miami on the 14th, the service aboard ship was excellent. Mark, the cabin steward for both my cabin and Mom's cabin, went out of his way to serve our needs and made our cruise special, by leaving towel animals and other surprises in our cabin each night. One night, the Studio social manager left a sweets tray on our beds. Mom and I loved our Studio cabins--they were cozy yet space-efficient, comfortable with wide beds, and the decor was unique and funky (I loved the colour-changing mood lighting). I highly recommend NCL for solo travellers! The Garden Cafe buffet was our favourite place to eat breakfast each morning, and when our group were not having dinners in the Savor and Taste dining rooms, Mom and I had our dinners at the Garden Cafe. For our group dinners, both Savor and Taste restaurants served us beautifully, with gourmet meals (which we loved). On my own, I enjoyed O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill, the Irish pub (and it was my favourite dining spot for solo dining). On the last night of the cruise, I took Mom (on a mother-son date) to Le Bistro for dinner (ribeye steak for two with French cabernet sauvignon). The waiters in Savoy, Taste, and especially Le Bistro, were attentive in serving us while being very friendly. After my mother retired to bed (she's of advanced age), I enjoyed the nightlife, dancing away the evening (and wee hours of the morning) with new friends on Spice H2O and in the Skyline Club. During the day (especially on days at sea), Mom and I enjoyed just relaxing in the deck 6 forward atrium and listening to the piano music and entertainment (and we even saw a towel animal folding demonstration and cupcake icing demo) and soaking in the hot tub and sunning on Spice H2O. My mother was given priority attention during embarkation with wheelchair service, and the same upon disembarkation. All in all, the cruise was excellent in all aspects, and NCL worked well with our group (including some of us with medical needs and mobility issues). I would definitely cruise NCL again (and use the Studio cabins again). I plan to host more Fabulous Faces at Sea Craniofacial Cruises again in future years, and NCL is on my radar.

SmithAlien's Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Studio Stateroom
Cabin T1 10527

Cozy yet space-efficient, comfortable wide bed, funky decor and lighting, cute porthole window looking out into corridor, excellent shower in cabin with strong waterflow, and excellent room steward service.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

St. Maarten

I enjoyed just exploring the city of Philipsburg on foot.

Our group booked a group specific excursion to Coral World and Coki Beach.

View All undefined undefined Reviews

Compared to my last visit to Nassau (15 years ago on a cruise), Mom and I found it excessively commercialized, and Mom had difficulty walking in the city (with her walker). We encountered a guy in Parliament Square who was probably on drugs who demanded a tip for just talking to us.

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