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Full disclosure — we loved reading the detailed reviews on CC and have tried to repay the favor here. The result is a wordy and lengthy review of our fantastic trip. We sailed on the Norwegian Escape the week of January 13-20. We started planning the trip in early 2017 and finally pulled the trigger and booked with the Tax Free and 5 Free at See promos in May 2017. We knew we wanted a Haven or equivalent experience and considered MSC, Celebrity and other lines. In the end our criteria were: - Cabin quality, size, balcony, and bed - # of sea days - Lack of effort needed to do anything - Quiet area - Avg. passenger age (we’re late 30’s) and profile (understand and enjoy freestyle cruising) In the end, we chose the Norwegian Escape because of the number of sea days to enjoy the ship’s amenities (pre-hurricane itinerary change). We settled on The Haven because of the availability of true King-size beds (not just beds pushed together) and the quality of the experience from start to finish based on Cruise Critic reviews we read. We watched every video available about both The Haven and our cabin types. Every. Video. Multiple Times. If you have a YouTube channel with one of these videos, that bump in $ from Google ads is from our re-watching the same videos over and over. You’re welcome HAVEN DEBATES There are many good debates on CC regarding The Haven, in particular cost vs. benefit, kids-focused vs. sanctuary, value of butlers and concierges. Our take: - Kids: we sailed during a holiday week (MLK) but found the number of children limited. This may have been a function of it being just after schools went back into session from the Christmas/holiday break. There were some kids, but all were behaved and the courtyard was never loud. - Cost: expensive? Yes. Worth it to us? Absolutely (we’re now booked in the Bliss Haven and looking at a return to the OS on the Escape soon, too). Worth it to others – perhaps or not, but that’s the notion behind Freestyle Cruising – you do you. - Butlers and Concierges – we loved both Jorge (butler) and Anoop (concierge). I was not initially certain of the value we’d derive from a concierge but it quickly became clear that it’s great to have. Anoop magically appeared at each restaurant where we were eating, greeting us, and making sure we received VIP attention and care. When we requested a last minute reservation at Cagney’s on the last night of the cruise for six people, he made it happen – up to, and including, moving tables and chairs and setting the table himself to make it happen. I now very much understand and appreciate the value of a great concierge like Anoop. We tipped accordingly. - Vibe: we had purchased Thermal Spa passes for the week but passed on Vibe. We don’t see the need for Vibe based on our positive experiences in the Haven Lounge and there were always loungers available on the sun deck on Deck 19. I’ve come to think about the Haven perks such as priority ahead of other passengers – some folks probably relish in being made to feel special and the outward presentation of status. Not our cup of tea at all. For us the Haven service was all about maximizing our enjoyment and time on the ship and vacation – getting on/off the ship quickly, reservations when we wanted them, not having to visit the SHOREX or Guest Services desks, CruiseNext team coming to us vs. going to them. That meant we were switched off and truly relaxed. Except for embarkation where you’re marched in front of everyone, keycard color, and entering the Haven Lounge on Deck 17, there are few other times where Haven priority is outwardly noticeable to other guests – we like that. We appreciated the effortlessness of everything but know there’s much that goes on behind the scenes to execute, which we’re grateful for and tipped accordingly. CABIN TYPE We originally booked an Aft-facing Penthouse (H6) and were excited about the room size, layout (separate living room), two full baths, and rear-facing balcony. We also were excited about a quiet place to grab a drink or meal forward in The Haven area. We were fine with having to walk to the front of the ship to burn a few calories. Fast-forward to December 2017. NCL was running a promotion that included $500 OBC if we booked a Haven room. After debating the pros and cons, we bit the bullet and switched rooms to an OS (H3). Best decision ever. INSIDE THE HAVEN VS. HAVEN ACCESS Convenience: Moving from an H6 room to an H3 meant we were physically in The Haven area. We underestimated the convenience factor of just walking down the hall to the pool, concierge, bar and restaurant. As a result, we believe we spent far more time in the Haven areas and therefore felt the value-to-price increased for us. We felt the staff got to know us far more given our regular (constant?) presence in the Haven Lounge. We also had purchased Thermal Spa passes, which is one deck below the Haven. We believe the close proximity meant we used it more than we otherwise would have. We’ll miss the proximity on the Bliss (Thermal Spa is aft; Haven is forward) but will be good to validate if this was just a feeling or truth. The service in the OS was impeccable. Jorge was our butler and Ketut was our room steward. Always leading with a smile and a greeting us by our names, we missed them greatly after we left the Escape. We underestimated the difference in service attentiveness and quality based on conversations with friends we made onboard who were in H6’s. Haven cabins outside of the Haven are serviced by the same stewards as other cabins. Stories relayed by our friends in H6’s that week included dishes from their room which were left outside their door for hours despite multiple pickup requests, unresponsiveness, and a general lacking feeling of excellence and special treatment. Again, all second-hand stories but they reaffirmed our decision to rebook in an H3 vs. H6 and generally that service may be better for cabins located in the Haven as opposed to Haven-class cabins which are elsewhere onboard. Of course, YMMV. SECURITY AND EMBARKATION: We arrived at the Port of Miami at 12:20p. Security was quick and we were in The Haven check-in area thirty steps later. The lounge area was fairly full due to a couple of large groups that happened to arrive at the same time. We’re low key folks, and obviously not in a rush since we were on vacation, so we just waited our turn while seated. We didn’t pay attention at the time, but Anoop, the head concierge for the week, walked over to us. He introduced himself and let us know we’d be checked in next. Check-in was quick – health form, snap a picture, swipe your credit card, and you’re done. From there, we were escorted through the terminal and on to the ship. Perhaps a fluke given the large families we happen to check-in alongside, but this part felt a bit hectic given the size of the group escorted (15-20). Not a big bother - we’re all headed to the same place; but it felt disjointed. Once onboard, our purple-shirted escort cut right and we were off to a reserved elevator up to The Haven lounge. We then walked into The Haven and grabbed some seats. We passed on the sliders and fries – we knew Margaritaville was complementary for Haven guests on embarkation day, so we were saving up. One of the butlers came over to give us the overview of the Haven. It’s worth noting now that we’re planners. A sizable part of the excitement of a trip is the planning. We had scheduled our plan for the week several months before the trip—restaurants, shows, etc. At the 100 day mark we made our reservations and bought our Thermal Spa passes. So the only thing we needed to book were comedy shows. We did that on the touchscreen since Anoop and team were busy with several families at the concierge desk. We were in our cabin by 1pm and headed to Margaritaville shortly thereafter. CABIN H3 – Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony – 17100 – Norwegian Escape Bit of a blur but somehow we were met and escorted to our room. The OS is amazing - full stop. It’s well thought out, well appointed, and just really a nice room for the two of us. The biggest physical differences between H6 vs. H3 cabin are: - 1.5 baths vs. 2: We really liked the idea of two full baths in the H6 but it wasn’t an issue for the two of us after all. - Balcony: We were originally booked on Deck 13. We had a hard time finding a video of our cabin but once located noted that deck’s H6 balconies are the smallest. The Deck 17 OS balconies are huge (I estimate it at ~150 ft sq) and have a nice large covered section to stay out of the weather and the sun. Wind was not an issue except standing at the railing and while underway at night. - Finishes: the OS and DOS have stepped up finishes – more marble, tile entryways, leather, etc. If that is important to you. Rationally, one would probably expect it given it was an OS, but we really felt like every inch of the space lived up to the reviews, pictures, videos, and articles we obsessively read and watched. Nothing was a disappointment. Highly recommended and will book it again. FOOD We got three dinners as part of the Free at Sea/SDP promo and purchased four more dinners a piece. When we did the math, at $100/pp or $25/pp/dinner, it’s ridiculously cheaper than most entrees alone at restaurants near us. That said, seven specialty dinners was overkill for us as we ended up in the Haven restaurant for dinner a couple of times. Margaritaville (Sat Lunch) – free on embarkation day for Haven guests. We ordered the volcano nachos and split a burger. DW liked the food more than I did, but we both enjoyed the margaritas. La Cucina (Sat Night) - good al fresco experience, bad food. We ordered the shrimp scampi which was not prepared in a traditional way. Service was fine and attentive; the restaurant was mostly empty (it was embarkation night, so not surprising). Would not return, though we know a lot of folks like it. Le Bistro (Sun Night) - our most anticipated dinner — we love French food so booked it for two dinners. We canceled the second reservation after the first dinner. The food was fine, service was excellent but we weren’t enamored with the food enough to want to return. Also the number of Happy Birthday renditions got old, but we understood why they occur. We canceled our second reservation later in the week and ended up in the Haven restaurant instead. Cagney’s (Mon Night) – both excellent food and service. Ordered way too much food. Steakhouse classics. All around probably the best meal of the week (probably tied with the Haven lamb and sea bass). Only minor complaint was that the area we were seated in (aft, portside corner against the glass) was very warm despite it being a great table location otherwise. Haven Restaurant (Tues and Wed Nights) - the complaint we read is that the menu doesn't change. This is true, but I had the best lamb chops I’ve had in ten years, easily. DW has the sea bass and raved about it as well. The preparation is top notch and there wasn’t anything we didn’t enjoy. Service is equally good and pacing of the courses was perfect. We liked it enough that we ate their twice during the week – up from zero originally planned. Side note: we also ate lunch multiple times at the Haven Restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed it. No issue with the menu selection and finding multiple options during the week. We enjoyed the patio outside which provided great views all the way down the ship and pool area. Teppanyaki (Thurs Night) – we both had high hopes because we love hibachi fried rice. Food was quite good but we nearly left before the meats were cooked. We love teppanyaki restaurants but the noise level is deafening here. NCL either needs to add acoustic material in the ceiling or tell the chefs to not bang on the outer edges of the grill, which are hollow and therefore amplify the noise. We were happy with the quantity of fried rice though! We skipped dessert because of the noise. Cagney’s (Fri Night) – an unfortunate reversal from our great dinner earlier in the week. They forgot my DH’s soup course, steaks were not cooked to temperature, and generally not great service. Being surrounded by new friends onboard/good company made up for it. Haven Lounge – albeit not a restaurant, we wanted to call out the Haven Lounge crew specifically. Branco, Jelica, and Badanka were amazing throughout the week. I counted the number of “Pleases” from other guests on probably one hand and yet they responded with graciousness and speed, and greeted every passenger by name. We’re looking forward to seeing Jelica and Badanaka on the Bliss and hope NCL will be sure to place them in the Haven Lounge (please!). THERMAL SPA For us, it was well worth the $200/pp for the week. Despite using it five of the seven days, we lamented not using it more. It was only ever ridiculously crowded on embarkation day; we were able to get heated loungers the rest of the week without waiting much, if at all. As others have said – after 5pm, it tends to clear out as folks head to dinner/shows. 5-7pm is a great time to go IMO if you have later dinner reservations like we had (7-8pm). All the facilities were clean and kept that way. Towel service was never lacking. It rarely ever felt crowded. I loved the steam room and ice room combination. DH was a fan of the heated tile loungers. PORTS & EXCURSIONS Falmouth, Jamaica: we did the bobsled and loved it. I worried about burning an hour each way from Falmouth to Ocho Rios for a couple of minutes, but we enjoyed the tram ride, bobsled, and a quick lunch at the top of the mountain. Wouldn’t repeat it since the novelty is gone, but would recommend it for first time visitors. There’s not much to say about Falmouth that probably hasn’t already been covered. We didn’t spend much time in the port area itself and there’s not much readily accessible nearby. Georgetown, Grand Cayman: we didn’t book anything and elected to stay on board the ship to do the water slides, enjoy an empty Thermal Suite, and have a relaxing lunch. I chickened out on the Aqua Racers but we really had a ball on the tube slide. GSC: we bypassed GSC due to wind. We had planned to do the jet skis, so it was a bit of a bust but allowed us a leisurely morning and no tendering. We arrived early into Nassau around 1pm Thursday (vs. Friday AM). Nassau, Bahamas: We took a cab to Atlantis to check it out. Can’t begin to express how disappointed and how quickly we left there. The main areas and casino are run down and dirty. The staff was unhelpful when we tried to find an exit. Highly recommend avoiding the property. We had scheduled to do the Aquaventure park on Friday but after our brief experience there, we cancelled the excursion. CASINO The smoke issue in the Escape casino is real and we’re glad that NCL is addressing it on Bliss with a (hopefully) fully enclosed area. Much as the number of kids in the Haven varies week to week, I suspect the amount of smoke in the casino does as well. We found ourselves only playing early in the day to avoid the heaviest smoke at night. By late afternoon, it was thick. Our recommendation is to bring clothes to wear specifically to the casino and/or some Febreze to try to cut down the smell. DISEMBARKATION We elected for the 9:15am priority disembarkation. We met in the Haven Lounge and Jorge escorted us to the elevator where we rode it down, scanned our cards for the last time, and joined the line to get through border control. Only complaint is that for the little bit of screening that CBP does (quick glance of the passports to match photo to passenger), it would be incredibly easy for them to staff a Global Entry line which would have made our disembarkation even quicker. That said, we left our cabin at 9:15am and we were in a Lyft by 9:45am. Not horrible. OVERALL Every part of the trip was exquisite. While the cost can be substantial for the Haven and the OS, we would (and plan to) do it again. The level of service, effortlessness to enjoy the time, and genuine care exhibited by all of the crew made the vacation a top one for us. Hats off to them as they do it week over week and maintain that level of care.

Norwegian Escape - Haven H3 Owner's Suite; January 2018

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by glenviewky

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2018
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: The Haven Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
Full disclosure — we loved reading the detailed reviews on CC and have tried to repay the favor here. The result is a wordy and lengthy review of our fantastic trip.

We sailed on the Norwegian Escape the week of January 13-20. We started planning the trip in early 2017 and finally pulled the trigger and booked with the Tax Free and 5 Free at See promos in May 2017. We knew we wanted a Haven or equivalent experience and considered MSC, Celebrity and other lines. In the end our criteria were:

- Cabin quality, size, balcony, and bed

- # of sea days

- Lack of effort needed to do anything

- Quiet area

- Avg. passenger age (we’re late 30’s) and profile (understand and enjoy freestyle cruising)

In the end, we chose the Norwegian Escape because of the number of sea days to enjoy the ship’s amenities (pre-hurricane itinerary change). We settled on The Haven because of the availability of true King-size beds (not just beds pushed together) and the quality of the experience from start to finish based on Cruise Critic reviews we read.

We watched every video available about both The Haven and our cabin types. Every. Video. Multiple Times. If you have a YouTube channel with one of these videos, that bump in $ from Google ads is from our re-watching the same videos over and over. You’re welcome

HAVEN DEBATES

There are many good debates on CC regarding The Haven, in particular cost vs. benefit, kids-focused vs. sanctuary, value of butlers and concierges. Our take:

- Kids: we sailed during a holiday week (MLK) but found the number of children limited. This may have been a function of it being just after schools went back into session from the Christmas/holiday break. There were some kids, but all were behaved and the courtyard was never loud.

- Cost: expensive? Yes. Worth it to us? Absolutely (we’re now booked in the Bliss Haven and looking at a return to the OS on the Escape soon, too). Worth it to others – perhaps or not, but that’s the notion behind Freestyle Cruising – you do you.

- Butlers and Concierges – we loved both Jorge (butler) and Anoop (concierge). I was not initially certain of the value we’d derive from a concierge but it quickly became clear that it’s great to have. Anoop magically appeared at each restaurant where we were eating, greeting us, and making sure we received VIP attention and care. When we requested a last minute reservation at Cagney’s on the last night of the cruise for six people, he made it happen – up to, and including, moving tables and chairs and setting the table himself to make it happen. I now very much understand and appreciate the value of a great concierge like Anoop. We tipped accordingly.

- Vibe: we had purchased Thermal Spa passes for the week but passed on Vibe. We don’t see the need for Vibe based on our positive experiences in the Haven Lounge and there were always loungers available on the sun deck on Deck 19.

I’ve come to think about the Haven perks such as priority ahead of other passengers – some folks probably relish in being made to feel special and the outward presentation of status. Not our cup of tea at all.

For us the Haven service was all about maximizing our enjoyment and time on the ship and vacation – getting on/off the ship quickly, reservations when we wanted them, not having to visit the SHOREX or Guest Services desks, CruiseNext team coming to us vs. going to them. That meant we were switched off and truly relaxed.

Except for embarkation where you’re marched in front of everyone, keycard color, and entering the Haven Lounge on Deck 17, there are few other times where Haven priority is outwardly noticeable to other guests – we like that. We appreciated the effortlessness of everything but know there’s much that goes on behind the scenes to execute, which we’re grateful for and tipped accordingly.

CABIN TYPE

We originally booked an Aft-facing Penthouse (H6) and were excited about the room size, layout (separate living room), two full baths, and rear-facing balcony. We also were excited about a quiet place to grab a drink or meal forward in The Haven area. We were fine with having to walk to the front of the ship to burn a few calories.

Fast-forward to December 2017. NCL was running a promotion that included $500 OBC if we booked a Haven room. After debating the pros and cons, we bit the bullet and switched rooms to an OS (H3). Best decision ever.

INSIDE THE HAVEN VS. HAVEN ACCESS

Convenience: Moving from an H6 room to an H3 meant we were physically in The Haven area. We underestimated the convenience factor of just walking down the hall to the pool, concierge, bar and restaurant. As a result, we believe we spent far more time in the Haven areas and therefore felt the value-to-price increased for us. We felt the staff got to know us far more given our regular (constant?) presence in the Haven Lounge.

We also had purchased Thermal Spa passes, which is one deck below the Haven. We believe the close proximity meant we used it more than we otherwise would have. We’ll miss the proximity on the Bliss (Thermal Spa is aft; Haven is forward) but will be good to validate if this was just a feeling or truth.

The service in the OS was impeccable. Jorge was our butler and Ketut was our room steward. Always leading with a smile and a greeting us by our names, we missed them greatly after we left the Escape. We underestimated the difference in service attentiveness and quality based on conversations with friends we made onboard who were in H6’s.

Haven cabins outside of the Haven are serviced by the same stewards as other cabins. Stories relayed by our friends in H6’s that week included dishes from their room which were left outside their door for hours despite multiple pickup requests, unresponsiveness, and a general lacking feeling of excellence and special treatment. Again, all second-hand stories but they reaffirmed our decision to rebook in an H3 vs. H6 and generally that service may be better for cabins located in the Haven as opposed to Haven-class cabins which are elsewhere onboard. Of course, YMMV.

SECURITY AND EMBARKATION:

We arrived at the Port of Miami at 12:20p. Security was quick and we were in The Haven check-in area thirty steps later. The lounge area was fairly full due to a couple of large groups that happened to arrive at the same time.

We’re low key folks, and obviously not in a rush since we were on vacation, so we just waited our turn while seated. We didn’t pay attention at the time, but Anoop, the head concierge for the week, walked over to us. He introduced himself and let us know we’d be checked in next.

Check-in was quick – health form, snap a picture, swipe your credit card, and you’re done.

From there, we were escorted through the terminal and on to the ship. Perhaps a fluke given the large families we happen to check-in alongside, but this part felt a bit hectic given the size of the group escorted (15-20). Not a big bother - we’re all headed to the same place; but it felt disjointed.

Once onboard, our purple-shirted escort cut right and we were off to a reserved elevator up to The Haven lounge. We then walked into The Haven and grabbed some seats. We passed on the sliders and fries – we knew Margaritaville was complementary for Haven guests on embarkation day, so we were saving up.

One of the butlers came over to give us the overview of the Haven. It’s worth noting now that we’re planners. A sizable part of the excitement of a trip is the planning. We had scheduled our plan for the week several months before the trip—restaurants, shows, etc. At the 100 day mark we made our reservations and bought our Thermal Spa passes. So the only thing we needed to book were comedy shows. We did that on the touchscreen since Anoop and team were busy with several families at the concierge desk.

We were in our cabin by 1pm and headed to Margaritaville shortly thereafter.

CABIN

H3 – Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony – 17100 – Norwegian Escape

Bit of a blur but somehow we were met and escorted to our room. The OS is amazing - full stop. It’s well thought out, well appointed, and just really a nice room for the two of us.

The biggest physical differences between H6 vs. H3 cabin are:

- 1.5 baths vs. 2: We really liked the idea of two full baths in the H6 but it wasn’t an issue for the two of us after all.

- Balcony: We were originally booked on Deck 13. We had a hard time finding a video of our cabin but once located noted that deck’s H6 balconies are the smallest. The Deck 17 OS balconies are huge (I estimate it at ~150 ft sq) and have a nice large covered section to stay out of the weather and the sun. Wind was not an issue except standing at the railing and while underway at night.

- Finishes: the OS and DOS have stepped up finishes – more marble, tile entryways, leather, etc. If that is important to you.

Rationally, one would probably expect it given it was an OS, but we really felt like every inch of the space lived up to the reviews, pictures, videos, and articles we obsessively read and watched. Nothing was a disappointment. Highly recommended and will book it again.

FOOD

We got three dinners as part of the Free at Sea/SDP promo and purchased four more dinners a piece. When we did the math, at $100/pp or $25/pp/dinner, it’s ridiculously cheaper than most entrees alone at restaurants near us. That said, seven specialty dinners was overkill for us as we ended up in the Haven restaurant for dinner a couple of times.

Margaritaville (Sat Lunch) – free on embarkation day for Haven guests. We ordered the volcano nachos and split a burger. DW liked the food more than I did, but we both enjoyed the margaritas.

La Cucina (Sat Night) - good al fresco experience, bad food. We ordered the shrimp scampi which was not prepared in a traditional way. Service was fine and attentive; the restaurant was mostly empty (it was embarkation night, so not surprising). Would not return, though we know a lot of folks like it.

Le Bistro (Sun Night) - our most anticipated dinner — we love French food so booked it for two dinners. We canceled the second reservation after the first dinner. The food was fine, service was excellent but we weren’t enamored with the food enough to want to return. Also the number of Happy Birthday renditions got old, but we understood why they occur. We canceled our second reservation later in the week and ended up in the Haven restaurant instead.

Cagney’s (Mon Night) – both excellent food and service. Ordered way too much food. Steakhouse classics. All around probably the best meal of the week (probably tied with the Haven lamb and sea bass). Only minor complaint was that the area we were seated in (aft, portside corner against the glass) was very warm despite it being a great table location otherwise.

Haven Restaurant (Tues and Wed Nights) - the complaint we read is that the menu doesn't change. This is true, but I had the best lamb chops I’ve had in ten years, easily. DW has the sea bass and raved about it as well. The preparation is top notch and there wasn’t anything we didn’t enjoy. Service is equally good and pacing of the courses was perfect. We liked it enough that we ate their twice during the week – up from zero originally planned.

Side note: we also ate lunch multiple times at the Haven Restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed it. No issue with the menu selection and finding multiple options during the week. We enjoyed the patio outside which provided great views all the way down the ship and pool area.

Teppanyaki (Thurs Night) – we both had high hopes because we love hibachi fried rice. Food was quite good but we nearly left before the meats were cooked. We love teppanyaki restaurants but the noise level is deafening here. NCL either needs to add acoustic material in the ceiling or tell the chefs to not bang on the outer edges of the grill, which are hollow and therefore amplify the noise. We were happy with the quantity of fried rice though! We skipped dessert because of the noise.

Cagney’s (Fri Night) – an unfortunate reversal from our great dinner earlier in the week. They forgot my DH’s soup course, steaks were not cooked to temperature, and generally not great service. Being surrounded by new friends onboard/good company made up for it.

Haven Lounge – albeit not a restaurant, we wanted to call out the Haven Lounge crew specifically. Branco, Jelica, and Badanka were amazing throughout the week. I counted the number of “Pleases” from other guests on probably one hand and yet they responded with graciousness and speed, and greeted every passenger by name. We’re looking forward to seeing Jelica and Badanaka on the Bliss and hope NCL will be sure to place them in the Haven Lounge (please!).

THERMAL SPA

For us, it was well worth the $200/pp for the week. Despite using it five of the seven days, we lamented not using it more. It was only ever ridiculously crowded on embarkation day; we were able to get heated loungers the rest of the week without waiting much, if at all. As others have said – after 5pm, it tends to clear out as folks head to dinner/shows. 5-7pm is a great time to go IMO if you have later dinner reservations like we had (7-8pm).

All the facilities were clean and kept that way. Towel service was never lacking. It rarely ever felt crowded. I loved the steam room and ice room combination. DH was a fan of the heated tile loungers.

PORTS & EXCURSIONS

Falmouth, Jamaica: we did the bobsled and loved it. I worried about burning an hour each way from Falmouth to Ocho Rios for a couple of minutes, but we enjoyed the tram ride, bobsled, and a quick lunch at the top of the mountain. Wouldn’t repeat it since the novelty is gone, but would recommend it for first time visitors. There’s not much to say about Falmouth that probably hasn’t already been covered. We didn’t spend much time in the port area itself and there’s not much readily accessible nearby.

Georgetown, Grand Cayman: we didn’t book anything and elected to stay on board the ship to do the water slides, enjoy an empty Thermal Suite, and have a relaxing lunch. I chickened out on the Aqua Racers but we really had a ball on the tube slide.

GSC: we bypassed GSC due to wind. We had planned to do the jet skis, so it was a bit of a bust but allowed us a leisurely morning and no tendering. We arrived early into Nassau around 1pm Thursday (vs. Friday AM).

Nassau, Bahamas: We took a cab to Atlantis to check it out. Can’t begin to express how disappointed and how quickly we left there. The main areas and casino are run down and dirty. The staff was unhelpful when we tried to find an exit. Highly recommend avoiding the property.

We had scheduled to do the Aquaventure park on Friday but after our brief experience there, we cancelled the excursion.

CASINO

The smoke issue in the Escape casino is real and we’re glad that NCL is addressing it on Bliss with a (hopefully) fully enclosed area. Much as the number of kids in the Haven varies week to week, I suspect the amount of smoke in the casino does as well. We found ourselves only playing early in the day to avoid the heaviest smoke at night. By late afternoon, it was thick.

Our recommendation is to bring clothes to wear specifically to the casino and/or some Febreze to try to cut down the smell.

DISEMBARKATION

We elected for the 9:15am priority disembarkation. We met in the Haven Lounge and Jorge escorted us to the elevator where we rode it down, scanned our cards for the last time, and joined the line to get through border control.

Only complaint is that for the little bit of screening that CBP does (quick glance of the passports to match photo to passenger), it would be incredibly easy for them to staff a Global Entry line which would have made our disembarkation even quicker.

That said, we left our cabin at 9:15am and we were in a Lyft by 9:45am. Not horrible.

OVERALL

Every part of the trip was exquisite. While the cost can be substantial for the Haven and the OS, we would (and plan to) do it again. The level of service, effortlessness to enjoy the time, and genuine care exhibited by all of the crew made the vacation a top one for us. Hats off to them as they do it week over week and maintain that level of care.
glenviewky’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

The Haven Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin H3 17100
The Escape OS is smartly designed, well appointed, and just a fantastic room for two people. The room is listed as holding four people, which is possible but realistically a couple with one child is probably the best scenario for the H3.

We considered booking both and H6 (Aft-facing Penthouse) and the H3 (Owner's Suite).
The biggest differences between H6 vs. H3 cabin are:
- 1.5 baths vs. 2: We really liked the idea of two full baths in the H6 but it wasn’t an issue for the two of us after all.
- Balcony: We were originally booked on Deck 13. We had a hard time finding a video of our cabin but once located noted that deck’s H6 balconies are the smallest. The Deck 17 OS balconies are huge (I estimate it at ~150 ft sq) and have a nice large covered section to stay out of the weather and the sun. Wind was not an issue except standing at the railing and while underway at night.
- Finishes: the OS and DOS have stepped up finishes – more marble, tile entryways, leather, etc. If that is important to you.
- Location: we initially really undervalued the location of the H3 at the front of the ship. Located within the Haven and one deck above the Thermal Spa, it's very close to most of the areas we wanted to be in (Haven Courtyard, Lounge, Restaurant, and Thermal Spa).

One would probably expect it, given it was an OS, but we really felt like every inch of the space lived up to the reviews, pictures, videos, and articles we obsessively read and watched. Nothing was a disappointment. Highly recommended and will book it again.
Deck 18 Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Jamaica Bobsled Experience
    We did the bobsled and loved it. I worried about burning an hour traveling each way from Falmouth to Ocho Rios for a couple of minutes of fun, but we enjoyed the tram ride, bobsled, and a quick lunch at the top of the mountain. Wouldn’t repeat it since the novelty is gone, but would recommend it for first time visitors. There’s not much to say about Falmouth that probably hasn’t already been covered. We didn’t spend much time in the port area itself and there’s not much readily accessible nearby.
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  • Miami
    We arrived two days early (Wednesday night) and stayed an extra day on the back end of the trip. Those extra days were great - made it feel like two vacations in one. Highly recommend it if you have the vacation days to use.
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  • Nassau
    We took a cab to Atlantis to check it out since we arrived early, having bypassed GSC. Can’t begin to express how disappointed and how quickly we left there. The main areas of Atlantis and the casino are run down and dirty. The staff was unhelpful when we tried to find an exit. Highly recommend avoiding the property.

    We had scheduled to do the Aquaventure park on Friday but after our brief experience there, we cancelled the excursion.
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