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This was our second time sailing the Escape. We had a revised itinerary, which both bummed me out (because we missed my favorite waters of Tortola), but afforded us two new ports we hadn't been to and a visit to Great Stirrup Cay (which was cancelled...more later on that). Food & Drink We had the Ultimate Beverage Package and Ultimate Dining Package (3 meal) as free perks. It was my first time with the beverage package and I think I actually drank less…weird. It was still financially worth it to us. I enjoyed cava and prosecco, decent red wines, mojitos, black Russians, craft cocktails, and a variety of draft and bottled beer. BIL bought a bottle of Chimay for us to share and it was just the $5 upcharge beyond the beverage package max of $15. We also got a discount on the wine classes in The Cellars. There were multiple every sea day. I attended a “black glass” tasting (blind tasting) and it was really educational and fun. I’d recommend this for any fan of wine. Shocking revelation: I don’t think I’d take the free dining package perk again, even though the specialty restaurants were great. We get two meals for being Platinum, so with our 3 meal package, that means we didn’t get to really enjoy the main dining rooms. I actually think the food in the MDR on the Escape is pretty great, and only got to enjoy it one night (order the lamb shank-it was great!) Otherwise we dined at: Food Republic (Not part of dining package, but worth it. Get the Tiger Roll and green tea mousse/brownie dessert), Bayamo (scallops were the winner here), Le Bistro (I recommend the lamb or filet), Cagney’s twice (I recommend the beets with goat cheese, strip steak with Korean chili butter and scalloped potatoes), and La Cucina (I wasn’t feeling well that night, so can’t give it a fair shake other than recommending the tiramisu and panna cotta). In fact, if you are looking for a nice late dessert date on board, just go there and pay for dessert and coffee, since it’s a la carte! Service was very good, except in Spice H20 they always seemed understaffed and MDR service took two hours the night we went. Entertainment We didn’t do our usual things this time around, so my comments here are scant. Caught a few game show things in the atrium. The cruise director’s staff did a great job with those. You do need to get there early if you want a seat, as they fill up fast. We also played trivia a few times (won twice!). They were well run (we’ve had some in the past that weren’t). Ports As mentioned before, our stop at Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled. We instead headed straight for Nassau and overnighted there. We were able to come and go from the ship from about noon Thursday til 3:30 Friday. Unfortunately, I don’t really like Nassau, so it wasn’t much of a perk. We just walked to the Fish Fry (eat at the stalls before you get to the Fish Fry…it’s where the locals eat and food is better, IMO), hung out at Junkanoo for a bit, and hit the brewery (Pirate Republic) near the port gates. We took a private boat arranged ahead of time in Grand Cayman. I’d recommend it! Waters were choppy, so all the larger excursions were cancelled. Our private boat still took us snorkeling and attracted some stingrays in a more remote area near Rum Point. We took a food tour in Falmouth. I’d recommend it. If you don’t want to go all the way out to Dunns River Falls, there aren’t many other options. This gave us history and some good food stops. I’d recommend it for those able to physically do it (not good for anyone that can’t walk well). If you don’t do the tour, try a patty sandwich. It’s like an empanada in this wonderful bread. We went to a place near the water square (town fountain). Very casual. I didn’t think Peppers Jerk Center was anything to write home about. My BIL and SIL enjoyed a nice meal inside the port area at Spice Kitchen. General Service The senior staff could be seen everywhere, and there was a real sense of teamwork. Many senior staff were on vacation before they went to open the Bliss, so I expected to feel that turmoil. But no, they did great! Our Cruise Critic group was welcomed and made comfortable. Other Notes Our fellow cruisers were really enjoyable on this cruise. People were respectful and generally happy, despite some weather challenges. If I were to suggest one thing to Escape cruisers, it would be to set aside your first hour to make reservations for things like comedy shows and tendering (if tendering options are available…Grand Cayman showed up Day 2 for us). And make your restaurant reservations before sailing, or you’ll always be eating after 8:00. We did make our restaurant reservations ahead of time, and felt too scheduled (which is another reason I wouldn't do the dining package again). We did not make comedy reservations and decided it wasn’t worth the hassle (given we had a small group) to try and wait list it. I was bummed about that, in retrospect.

Fun and comfort aboard the Escape

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by weltek

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2018
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
This was our second time sailing the Escape. We had a revised itinerary, which both bummed me out (because we missed my favorite waters of Tortola), but afforded us two new ports we hadn't been to and a visit to Great Stirrup Cay (which was cancelled...more later on that).

Food & Drink

We had the Ultimate Beverage Package and Ultimate Dining Package (3 meal) as free perks. It was my first time with the beverage package and I think I actually drank less…weird. It was still financially worth it to us. I enjoyed cava and prosecco, decent red wines, mojitos, black Russians, craft cocktails, and a variety of draft and bottled beer. BIL bought a bottle of Chimay for us to share and it was just the $5 upcharge beyond the beverage package max of $15. We also got a discount on the wine classes in The Cellars. There were multiple every sea day. I attended a “black glass” tasting (blind tasting) and it was really educational and fun. I’d recommend this for any fan of wine.

Shocking revelation: I don’t think I’d take the free dining package perk again, even though the specialty restaurants were great. We get two meals for being Platinum, so with our 3 meal package, that means we didn’t get to really enjoy the main dining rooms. I actually think the food in the MDR on the Escape is pretty great, and only got to enjoy it one night (order the lamb shank-it was great!) Otherwise we dined at: Food Republic (Not part of dining package, but worth it. Get the Tiger Roll and green tea mousse/brownie dessert), Bayamo (scallops were the winner here), Le Bistro (I recommend the lamb or filet), Cagney’s twice (I recommend the beets with goat cheese, strip steak with Korean chili butter and scalloped potatoes), and La Cucina (I wasn’t feeling well that night, so can’t give it a fair shake other than recommending the tiramisu and panna cotta). In fact, if you are looking for a nice late dessert date on board, just go there and pay for dessert and coffee, since it’s a la carte!

Service was very good, except in Spice H20 they always seemed understaffed and MDR service took two hours the night we went.

Entertainment

We didn’t do our usual things this time around, so my comments here are scant. Caught a few game show things in the atrium. The cruise director’s staff did a great job with those. You do need to get there early if you want a seat, as they fill up fast.

We also played trivia a few times (won twice!). They were well run (we’ve had some in the past that weren’t).

Ports

As mentioned before, our stop at Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled. We instead headed straight for Nassau and overnighted there. We were able to come and go from the ship from about noon Thursday til 3:30 Friday. Unfortunately, I don’t really like Nassau, so it wasn’t much of a perk. We just walked to the Fish Fry (eat at the stalls before you get to the Fish Fry…it’s where the locals eat and food is better, IMO), hung out at Junkanoo for a bit, and hit the brewery (Pirate Republic) near the port gates. We took a private boat arranged ahead of time in Grand Cayman. I’d recommend it! Waters were choppy, so all the larger excursions were cancelled. Our private boat still took us snorkeling and attracted some stingrays in a more remote area near Rum Point. We took a food tour in Falmouth. I’d recommend it. If you don’t want to go all the way out to Dunns River Falls, there aren’t many other options. This gave us history and some good food stops. I’d recommend it for those able to physically do it (not good for anyone that can’t walk well). If you don’t do the tour, try a patty sandwich. It’s like an empanada in this wonderful bread. We went to a place near the water square (town fountain). Very casual. I didn’t think Peppers Jerk Center was anything to write home about. My BIL and SIL enjoyed a nice meal inside the port area at Spice Kitchen.

General Service

The senior staff could be seen everywhere, and there was a real sense of teamwork. Many senior staff were on vacation before they went to open the Bliss, so I expected to feel that turmoil. But no, they did great! Our Cruise Critic group was welcomed and made comfortable.

Other Notes

Our fellow cruisers were really enjoyable on this cruise. People were respectful and generally happy, despite some weather challenges.

If I were to suggest one thing to Escape cruisers, it would be to set aside your first hour to make reservations for things like comedy shows and tendering (if tendering options are available…Grand Cayman showed up Day 2 for us). And make your restaurant reservations before sailing, or you’ll always be eating after 8:00. We did make our restaurant reservations ahead of time, and felt too scheduled (which is another reason I wouldn't do the dining package again). We did not make comedy reservations and decided it wasn’t worth the hassle (given we had a small group) to try and wait list it. I was bummed about that, in retrospect.
weltek’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin M6 8134
We had a M6 mini suite on deck 8. This has the extra large balcony. There is a great video review of the extra large mini suites on You Tube. We found it to be roomy and loved the extra space in the shower. The multi head shower was also fun. Nice to have two of us in the bathroom without banging in to things. The balcony itself was very comfortable with a table and two chairs, two loungers and a side table. We enjoyed our time out there, though had a cigarette dropped on a lounge chair and a cup of coffee purposely poured on us. Someone from above thought they’d dump their half drank coffee overboard, and it fell squarely on our guests sitting on the lounge chairs. The location of these cabins near the District Brew House was ideal for us. Easy to walk to all our dining options, too.
I’d absolutely book this again if I were a big balcony lounger. It was good for this cruise because we had adjoining rooms with family and played cards a few times on the balcony at the end of port days. For next time, I rather enjoy being out on the upper decks, so don’t know if it’s worth it to me. Felt the balcony went to waste other than our morning coffee and a few spells of reading. FYI-We did see a regular mini-suite set up for 4 people during our cabin crawl, and it looked comfortable (and they said it worked great).
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    Hit four food stops and got a lot of city history. Falmouth is the type of port where you really need to have a guide to get much out of it. I'd recommend this tour without hesitation. Must be in good enough shape to walk for a few hours over uneven surfaces.
    View All 48 City Tour Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    We asked for snorkeling, stingrays, lunch and starfish point. He also was able to stop at the brewery on the way to the boat (horray!). I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this customizable, affordable tour. He took us to spots that weren't crowded and managed to still give us a good tour when all others were cancelling. We always felt safe and taken care of.
    View All 308 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Star Fish Point
    We asked for snorkeling, stingrays, lunch and starfish point. He also was able to stop at the brewery on the way to the boat (horray!). I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this customizable, affordable tour. He took us to spots that weren't crowded and managed to still give us a good tour when all others were cancelling. We always felt safe and taken care of.
    View All 23 Star Fish Point Reviews
  • Miami
    We find Miami to be a fairly easy to sail port. Hotels are always expensive, but it is what it is. We used points to stay at the Marriott Biscayne Bay, which is convenient to port and had great service. Ate at Casablanca, which was good. Grabbed a quick breakfast at the grocery store near the hotel (empanadas & guava pastry) because we had to buy some cold meds. Not many breakfast options near that Marriott.
    View All 2,379 Miami Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Miami Cruise Port Review
  • Nassau
    Water is beautiful, but the port is such a crowded spot crammed with shopping. We hit a brewery, Junkanooo Beach, and the Fish Fry. Based on three trips, food at the Fish Fry isn't that great. I recommend the more casual food carts/stalls right before you hit the buildings.
    View All 5,848 Nassau Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Nassau Cruise Port Review