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We booked this cruise 4 weeks before sailing. We booked a balcony guarantee BF category or better. We were ultimately assigned a large balcony cabin on 9 Forward, category B6. A nice outcome for the price for sure. We booked the ultimate beverage package and three specialty dining package as our perks. For the price, including the taxes that are tacked on when you pick these free perks, this was a good cruise in terms of value for money. This was our first cruise with NCL. I was well prepared for some of the differences that could be expected from other lines that I have cruised. I am glad that I was aware of little things like small additional charges for food in certain restaurants, bottled water and specialty coffees not included in the ultimate beverage package. I knew ahead of time, so these small inconveniences didn't bother me. I can understand others might be disappointed if they only found out once on board. The Escape is a large ship, but after a day or two I felt pretty well oriented. There is a lot to do and discover on this ship, and the phrase "something for everyone" should hold true. We didn't get everywhere by any means but quickly developed some favourite spots and kept on finding new places on board right up until the last day. The Waterfront on deck 8 provided an excellent place to relax and read. The pool deck energy varied by time of day - you could relax there in the mornings in general, and if you are into "hey everybody let's make some noise" sort of activity then you wouldn't be disappointed either. Dining options are plenty on the Escape. We visited 3 of the specialty restaurants, and dined in the Manhattan Room - one of three Main Dining Rooms - on the other evenings. If I were to book again, I would probably choose a different free perk other than specialty dining. We had excellent meals in Manhattan and enjoyed the live music and dance floor. Very elegant for an MDR. I was not sure I would enjoy the open dining on NCL, and while I will still tend toward fixed seating when I cruise other lines, I had no difficulty at all with NCL's Freestyle dining. Our specialty dining experiences were generally nice. We had a less than stellar experience in one very highly regarded restaurant. I think we got them on an off night. We had met the F&B director - Kivanc - at our meet & greet. I don't often complain, but I called him the next day to express some disappointment. He answered his line on the first ring, looked into the matter, and arranged for a complimentary "do over". Our second visit to the restaurant was exceptional. Nobody is perfect all the time. In general we found that the supervisory staff in the restaurants were very good at identifying situations before they develop and keeping the overall service levels very high. Severs in general were really efficient and friendly, if perhaps stretched occasionally. Breakfast, lunch and snacks could be found in complimentary form in the buffet, or in sit down locations like O'Sheehan's at all times of day. We also checked out Food Republic for snacks one afternoon. A la carte pricing for food, but not particularly expensive especially for the quality. Drinks are still covered by the drink package in the a la carte restaurants, so you only get charged for food if you have the UBP. I could probably write some more about our week, but I think I am verging on the TLDR ground, so I will wrap it up here. The short version is that we were very impressed with NCL Escape. We will sail NCL in the future. Not exclusively, but certainly without any hesitation.

2016-09-17 Norwegian Escape Review

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by Shawsy

15 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2016
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Large Balcony Stateroom
We booked this cruise 4 weeks before sailing. We booked a balcony guarantee BF category or better. We were ultimately assigned a large balcony cabin on 9 Forward, category B6. A nice outcome for the price for sure. We booked the ultimate beverage package and three specialty dining package as our perks. For the price, including the taxes that are tacked on when you pick these free perks, this was a good cruise in terms of value for money.

This was our first cruise with NCL. I was well prepared for some of the differences that could be expected from other lines that I have cruised. I am glad that I was aware of little things like small additional charges for food in certain restaurants, bottled water and specialty coffees not included in the ultimate beverage package. I knew ahead of time, so these small inconveniences didn't bother me. I can understand others might be disappointed if they only found out once on board.

The Escape is a large ship, but after a day or two I felt pretty well oriented. There is a lot to do and discover on this ship, and the phrase "something for everyone" should hold true. We didn't get everywhere by any means but quickly developed some favourite spots and kept on finding new places on board right up until the last day. The Waterfront on deck 8 provided an excellent place to relax and read. The pool deck energy varied by time of day - you could relax there in the mornings in general, and if you are into "hey everybody let's make some noise" sort of activity then you wouldn't be disappointed either.

Dining options are plenty on the Escape. We visited 3 of the specialty restaurants, and dined in the Manhattan Room - one of three Main Dining Rooms - on the other evenings. If I were to book again, I would probably choose a different free perk other than specialty dining. We had excellent meals in Manhattan and enjoyed the live music and dance floor. Very elegant for an MDR. I was not sure I would enjoy the open dining on NCL, and while I will still tend toward fixed seating when I cruise other lines, I had no difficulty at all with NCL's Freestyle dining.

Our specialty dining experiences were generally nice. We had a less than stellar experience in one very highly regarded restaurant. I think we got them on an off night. We had met the F&B director - Kivanc - at our meet & greet. I don't often complain, but I called him the next day to express some disappointment. He answered his line on the first ring, looked into the matter, and arranged for a complimentary "do over". Our second visit to the restaurant was exceptional. Nobody is perfect all the time. In general we found that the supervisory staff in the restaurants were very good at identifying situations before they develop and keeping the overall service levels very high. Severs in general were really efficient and friendly, if perhaps stretched occasionally.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks could be found in complimentary form in the buffet, or in sit down locations like O'Sheehan's at all times of day. We also checked out Food Republic for snacks one afternoon. A la carte pricing for food, but not particularly expensive especially for the quality. Drinks are still covered by the drink package in the a la carte restaurants, so you only get charged for food if you have the UBP.

I could probably write some more about our week, but I think I am verging on the TLDR ground, so I will wrap it up here. The short version is that we were very impressed with NCL Escape. We will sail NCL in the future. Not exclusively, but certainly without any hesitation.
Shawsy’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B6 9118
The cabin itself is not any different than your typical balcony cabin. The larger balcony had a bistro set and a lounger. The room overlooks the mini-suites on deck 8, so you might still end up with balcony envy, but those above you have normal sized balconies.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Scuba Diving
    We took a cab to Coki beach independent of the cruise line. Excellent beach featuring great snorkelling and scuba divers from shore. Our ship was first to arrive in port that day and we had prime real estate with rented loungers and umbrellas.
    View All 10 Scuba Diving Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    We did the catamaran sail & snorkel excursion on "No Fear" catamaran. This was an excellent experience the snorkelling was great. Our visit to Pirate's Bight was surreal. This was a bit off season, so none of the facilities were open, but on the flip side, 20 of us had a fabulous beach pretty much all to ourselves for an hour. Throw in some rum punch far too early in the day, and we had a fantastic time!
    View All 67 Snorkeling Reviews