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This was our sixth NCL cruise, but the first on a big ship. On the plus side, we loved the quality of entertainment that a big ship can provide. We went to two evening shows, one special wine tasting show/lunch and a Motown review in the main dining room, Manhattan. On the other hand, we were unused to the crowds nearly everywhere (exceptions being the Library and decks not located near bars) and the long waits for elevators. Much of what we experienced was similar to other NCL cruises we've taken on smaller ships: service in Taste, one of two smaller main dining rooms, was always great; my husband got his daily crossword puzzle and trivia quiz in the library; and the smiles and great service by our cabin steward and other staff. However, one thing was difficult to get used to. On our other NCL cruises, the casino was tucked away, usually aft, and you didn't need to pass through if you didn't want to. On Escape, it was in the middle, on deck seven. After mistakenly passing through a couple times (shopping on level eight, dining on level six), we learned to avoid it. However, the odor from cigarette smoke was unavoidable when passing through the atrium. Very poorly placed and we would think twice before booking another cruise where we were so unprotected from cigarette smoke. (We are very sensitive to smoke; it might not bother others. We ate mostly in one of the main dining rooms, Taste. Food as usual was delicious and well presented. A couple times we had to eat at the buffet. While the food was all great, the crowds were a bit much. We prefer the slower pace and service of the dining rooms. Another time we ate at O'Sheehan's. The food was mostly fried, and the other diners were a mixed group. (It was Sunday, like several passengers I wore my NFL team's jersey. There was friendly banter between football fans, even if my team beat theirs in the Super Bowl. At O'Sheehan's, a 49ers fan came over to us saying I ruined her cruise for wearing my Seahawks jersey.) We took excursions at every port call. In U.S. Virgin Islands, I would pass on the Coral World trip; very much past its prime. Tip: Its sister attraction, Butterfly World, is located on the dock in spitting distance from the ship. Wish we had taken a city tour. We had great tour guides in British Virgin Islands, Nassau and Miami. Our guide in Nassau was the best, but he was challenged by Friday afternoon traffic. Overall, we had a great experience - but enough caution flags to make us think twice before sailing on another big ship. I would definitely book a balcony cabin to have a peaceful, private place to enjoy the cruise.

First cruise on a big ship; jury still out

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by swatkins56

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2016
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Oceanview Stateroom with Large Picture Window
This was our sixth NCL cruise, but the first on a big ship. On the plus side, we loved the quality of entertainment that a big ship can provide. We went to two evening shows, one special wine tasting show/lunch and a Motown review in the main dining room, Manhattan.

On the other hand, we were unused to the crowds nearly everywhere (exceptions being the Library and decks not located near bars) and the long waits for elevators.

Much of what we experienced was similar to other NCL cruises we've taken on smaller ships: service in Taste, one of two smaller main dining rooms, was always great; my husband got his daily crossword puzzle and trivia quiz in the library; and the smiles and great service by our cabin steward and other staff.

However, one thing was difficult to get used to. On our other NCL cruises, the casino was tucked away, usually aft, and you didn't need to pass through if you didn't want to. On Escape, it was in the middle, on deck seven. After mistakenly passing through a couple times (shopping on level eight, dining on level six), we learned to avoid it. However, the odor from cigarette smoke was unavoidable when passing through the atrium. Very poorly placed and we would think twice before booking another cruise where we were so unprotected from cigarette smoke. (We are very sensitive to smoke; it might not bother others.

We ate mostly in one of the main dining rooms, Taste. Food as usual was delicious and well presented. A couple times we had to eat at the buffet. While the food was all great, the crowds were a bit much. We prefer the slower pace and service of the dining rooms. Another time we ate at O'Sheehan's. The food was mostly fried, and the other diners were a mixed group. (It was Sunday, like several passengers I wore my NFL team's jersey. There was friendly banter between football fans, even if my team beat theirs in the Super Bowl. At O'Sheehan's, a 49ers fan came over to us saying I ruined her cruise for wearing my Seahawks jersey.)

We took excursions at every port call. In U.S. Virgin Islands, I would pass on the Coral World trip; very much past its prime. Tip: Its sister attraction, Butterfly World, is located on the dock in spitting distance from the ship. Wish we had taken a city tour. We had great tour guides in British Virgin Islands, Nassau and Miami. Our guide in Nassau was the best, but he was challenged by Friday afternoon traffic.

Overall, we had a great experience - but enough caution flags to make us think twice before sailing on another big ship. I would definitely book a balcony cabin to have a peaceful, private place to enjoy the cruise.
swatkins56’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Family Oceanview Stateroom with Large Picture Window
Cabin O1 13704
We originally booked an inside cabin, but a few weeks before the cruise we were given the opportunity to "bid" on an upgrade. We bid $250 for either an ocean view or balcony, and ended up with the ocean view. Our cabin was at the front of the ship; the view from our window was the same as on the deck cam. There was a space under the sloping ceiling, which was perfect for sitting or opening our suitcases. The one improvement I would make is a better chair for the desk. Cabin steward was great; got towel animals almost every night.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews