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My last two cruises were with Carnival, and while we liked it, my husband and I (early 30s, no kids) were looking to try a different cruise line. I had been on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean as a kid, but all my friends kept raving about NCL so we went for it. The ship itself is huge and beautifully decorated. Our balcony room was very nice, and while the balcony is nothing extraordinary, we both loved spending time on it in the early AM or before dinner. We enjoyed the water slides on the ship, tried out the ropes course (which turned out to be more intimidating than I thought!), and LOVED taking late night walks around the Waterfront. The casino slots were pretty tight (no surprise there) but it's a huge casino area if that's your thing. What I didn't love was being nickel-and-dimed all week. Want room service? There's a surcharge. Want to enjoy a yoga class at the gym? Upcharge. Want a cappuccino at breakfast? Charge. I even booked a $300 body treatment at the spa, and later came to find out it didn't include use of the steam room/sauna/thermal suite, which they were asking $250 per person for the week. Ridiculous. Not to mention that a lot of the entertainment required an extra fee...I understand paying for something like Bingo, but the comedy shows?? Insane. The biggest disappointment was the food. Everyone raved about how NCL is a foodie's dream...not quite. Maybe if you compare it to something like Olive Garden or Outback, but if you think that's fine dining we're on very different levels. We tried Cagney's, Le Bistro, and Moderno, all of which were good but nothing great considering the upcharge. Bayamo was slightly better. The service at all of those restaurants, including the main dining rooms, was always PAINFULLY slow. A dinner for 2 should not take 2-3 hours unless we are sitting there chatting/drinking. O'Sheehans was decent for lunch. The one shining star was Pincho Tapas Bar which we wound up going to 3 times because we loved it so much. High quality ingredients presented beautifully...THAT'S gourmet dining. As for the staff on board, the majority just seemed very unhappy and like they didn't want to be there. I'm sure they were exhausted and burnt out from the seemingly understaffed ship. Finally, keep the kids out of the adult areas!! This is definitely not a ship for a relaxing couple's vacation. A group of ridiculously loud and obnoxious 6-7 year olds should not be allowed to takeover a hot tub on the sun deck for HOURS. My husband heard one of the kids tell his mom he peed in the hot tub, and the mom told the kid to shh and not tell anyone. Disgusting. Not to mention everyone coughing and sneezing all over without covering their mouths. No wonder I got a cold by the last day. Maybe we just picked a bad week with an especially awful group on board, but it just seemed like too many rude, classless people ruining the experience. And NCL has the gall to snark about Carnival all week? It was literally the same experience except Carnival's a lot cheaper and their specialty restaurants are worth the price. This was not a luxury experience, nor a gourmet experience. We loved having a week in the warm weather and spending time on the beaches, but I wouldn't recommend this ship to other couples. It's definitely a party boat for parents who don't want to watch their obnoxious kids.

It was a great week, but wouldn't do it again.

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by LaurCruise

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: Caribbean
My last two cruises were with Carnival, and while we liked it, my husband and I (early 30s, no kids) were looking to try a different cruise line. I had been on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean as a kid, but all my friends kept raving about NCL so we went for it. The ship itself is huge and beautifully decorated. Our balcony room was very nice, and while the balcony is nothing extraordinary, we both loved spending time on it in the early AM or before dinner. We enjoyed the water slides on the ship, tried out the ropes course (which turned out to be more intimidating than I thought!), and LOVED taking late night walks around the Waterfront. The casino slots were pretty tight (no surprise there) but it's a huge casino area if that's your thing. What I didn't love was being nickel-and-dimed all week. Want room service? There's a surcharge. Want to enjoy a yoga class at the gym? Upcharge. Want a cappuccino at breakfast? Charge. I even booked a $300 body treatment at the spa, and later came to find out it didn't include use of the steam room/sauna/thermal suite, which they were asking $250 per person for the week. Ridiculous. Not to mention that a lot of the entertainment required an extra fee...I understand paying for something like Bingo, but the comedy shows?? Insane. The biggest disappointment was the food. Everyone raved about how NCL is a foodie's dream...not quite. Maybe if you compare it to something like Olive Garden or Outback, but if you think that's fine dining we're on very different levels. We tried Cagney's, Le Bistro, and Moderno, all of which were good but nothing great considering the upcharge. Bayamo was slightly better. The service at all of those restaurants, including the main dining rooms, was always PAINFULLY slow. A dinner for 2 should not take 2-3 hours unless we are sitting there chatting/drinking. O'Sheehans was decent for lunch. The one shining star was Pincho Tapas Bar which we wound up going to 3 times because we loved it so much. High quality ingredients presented beautifully...THAT'S gourmet dining. As for the staff on board, the majority just seemed very unhappy and like they didn't want to be there. I'm sure they were exhausted and burnt out from the seemingly understaffed ship. Finally, keep the kids out of the adult areas!! This is definitely not a ship for a relaxing couple's vacation. A group of ridiculously loud and obnoxious 6-7 year olds should not be allowed to takeover a hot tub on the sun deck for HOURS. My husband heard one of the kids tell his mom he peed in the hot tub, and the mom told the kid to shh and not tell anyone. Disgusting. Not to mention everyone coughing and sneezing all over without covering their mouths. No wonder I got a cold by the last day. Maybe we just picked a bad week with an especially awful group on board, but it just seemed like too many rude, classless people ruining the experience. And NCL has the gall to snark about Carnival all week? It was literally the same experience except Carnival's a lot cheaper and their specialty restaurants are worth the price. This was not a luxury experience, nor a gourmet experience. We loved having a week in the warm weather and spending time on the beaches, but I wouldn't recommend this ship to other couples. It's definitely a party boat for parents who don't want to watch their obnoxious kids.
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