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We chose this ship because of the promotions, features and itinerary. Being a holiday cruise, we knew the ship would be crowded and with lots of children. But it was more crowded and louder than we expected. The Cruise Director (Tyler) apparently is under the impression that all passengers were on board to party. I'm sure that was the case with many, but I know that was not true for many others (including us). I think the personality and tone set by the Cruise Director made this ship (seem) much louder and rowdier than it needed to be. I would have preferred that he recognize that, while some passengers were there to party, others wanted a relaxing and quiet vacation. Because of the crowds, we really didn't have many opportunities (other than port days) to use the aqua park and ropes course (which are some of the primary draws to this ship). You generally had to wait at least 30 minutes for each turn during at sea days. The tendering process at Great Stirrup Cay was royally screwed up. Not only did we have to wait over an hour to tender, but several passengers cut in line and the crew did nothing to stop it. It was a very frustrating process (although the tender process at Grand Cayman went smoothly). All that having been said, once we adjusted to the crowds, we had a great time. The food and service on the ship were excellent. The thermal suite (we both bought passes) was incredible and my favorite part of this trip. Although we booked at Eastern Caribbean cruise, they switched us to the Western Caribbean due to the fall hurricanes, and the new itinerary turned out to be very enjoyable (although I would have preferred Cozumel to Costa Maya). This is a great ship for people who enjoy parties, activities and night life. Maybe less so for people looking for quiet relaxation (except in the thermal suite).

Beautiful ship, but loud and crowded

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by oksteveou

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
We chose this ship because of the promotions, features and itinerary. Being a holiday cruise, we knew the ship would be crowded and with lots of children. But it was more crowded and louder than we expected.

The Cruise Director (Tyler) apparently is under the impression that all passengers were on board to party. I'm sure that was the case with many, but I know that was not true for many others (including us). I think the personality and tone set by the Cruise Director made this ship (seem) much louder and rowdier than it needed to be. I would have preferred that he recognize that, while some passengers were there to party, others wanted a relaxing and quiet vacation.

Because of the crowds, we really didn't have many opportunities (other than port days) to use the aqua park and ropes course (which are some of the primary draws to this ship). You generally had to wait at least 30 minutes for each turn during at sea days.

The tendering process at Great Stirrup Cay was royally screwed up. Not only did we have to wait over an hour to tender, but several passengers cut in line and the crew did nothing to stop it. It was a very frustrating process (although the tender process at Grand Cayman went smoothly).

All that having been said, once we adjusted to the crowds, we had a great time. The food and service on the ship were excellent. The thermal suite (we both bought passes) was incredible and my favorite part of this trip. Although we booked at Eastern Caribbean cruise, they switched us to the Western Caribbean due to the fall hurricanes, and the new itinerary turned out to be very enjoyable (although I would have preferred Cozumel to Costa Maya).

This is a great ship for people who enjoy parties, activities and night life. Maybe less so for people looking for quiet relaxation (except in the thermal suite).
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin M6 8122
We loved our cabin! The balcony was huge, although we didn't use it as much as we expected (due to strong winds and not spending much time in the cabin). My wife and I traveled with our 2 daughters (21 and 17). I was really concerned that we would be cramped in one cabin, but it turned out to be great and it saved us a ton of money.

The large bathroom and balcony were the best parts. Our room steward (Jimmy) did a great job keeping our room clean and getting our beds ready each evening.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beach
    Although it was a bit of a walk to get to the meeting point, and a very bumpy ride to get to and from Maya Chan, we loved our day there! The beach was very natural and the water not especially beautiful due to the nearby mangroves, but it was so peaceful and beautiful and the food and service were spectacular. I love authentic Mexican food and the taco buffet was sublime! Food, drinks, round-trip transportation and private shaded cabanas were all included in the price.

    The only disappointment was the massages. They were reasonably priced ($45 for an hour) but frankly were pretty bad and killed an hour that we could have enjoyed on the beach. I would skip those the next time.
    View All 339 Beach Reviews
  • Dunn's River Falls
    We had a great private tour to Dunn's River Falls and Blue Hole with Native Tours. They provided all transportation, a driver (Odean) and entry to both attractions. We had separate guides at each attraction (we didn't have to pay for those guides, but we did tip each of them).

    Dunn's River Falls is the most popular tourist attraction in Jamaica and for good reason. The falls are beautiful and climbing them was great fun for anyone with decent balance and mobility. It was not particularly difficult or strenuous, but I could see it being stressful for people who lack confidence in such things. Some kind of water shoes are needed, but we all wore chacos, which were fine. Lots of great photo opportunities.
    View All 219 Dunn's River Falls Reviews
  • Irie Blue Hole
    We had a great private tour to Dunn's River Falls and Blue Hole with Native Tours. They provided all transportation, a driver (Odean) and entry to both attractions. We had separate guides at each attraction (we didn't have to pay for those guides, but we did tip each of them).

    Blue Hole is great if you want to swim and jump off of small cliffs. It's much less crowded than Dunn's River Falls and more interactive.
    View All 56 Irie Blue Hole Reviews
  • Catamaran Tour
    This was our favorite part of our trip! We did a private catamaran tour with Sailing with Friends (their Cruise Ship Special). Alice, Patrick and Vernon were gracious and kind hosts. We visited Stingray City, and Vernon knew the stingrays by name and brought them to us and showed us how to make them comfortable. Then we went snorkeling (which was great, especially the moray eels). Then we went to Star Fish Point. Alice even served us a fresh pizza as a snack on the shore! She also took a bunch of photos throughout the tour, which she provided for no additional charge after we returned. It was great having just our party of 6 on board, even though it cost a bit more than a group tour. For us, it was well worth the extra cost.
    View All 32 Catamaran Tour Reviews
  • Great Stirrup Cay
    The beach was absolutely GORGEOUS. One of the prettiest I have seen anywhere. But it was very crowded and windy (and rather cool) when we were there. And the tendering process was an absolute fiasco. I suspect that was not the norm, but it almost made it more trouble than it was worth. The food at the taco bar was really good (especially the fish tacos).
    View All 1,162 Great Stirrup Cay Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Miami
    We did not do an excursion in Miami, but we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Brickell beforehand and would highly recommend it.
    View All 2,427 Miami Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Miami Cruise Port Review