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We were looking for a family cruise to start the summer, as we do every year. We've been solid RC customers (with a little Princess and yes even Carnival once), so this wasn't our first time on a ship however this is the first time we've felt compelled to do a review. Every cruise line seems to have it's ups and downs and NCL - Escape was no different. Hoping this review helps others in navigating the cruising world. Embarking If you're used to the fluid embarking in say Miami, Ft Lauderdale or Tampa, brace yourself. Unless you're in the Haven (which have the "special lines") you are in for a switchback line up that would make Walt Disney cry. Four "port security officers" checking names on passports with tickets before you hit the metal detectors. Parking above the terminal was convenient for the almost $300 parking fee! Cabin Family oceanview on deck 5 portside, 5156. If you are going to travel with a family of four, this is your cabin. It's a standard cabin but the space that would have been part of the balcony was included in the cabin space. Once you get by the main bed, there is not enough room for a small carry on to roll between the end of the bed and the wall, there is lots of space and a curtain that nicely separates two main areas (sitting / bedroom). The bathroom has a double sink and a full tub (with a solid glass wall that easily closes). Our cabin steward was, well, average to slightly below average. We got the required towel animals and he was good to exchange our towels (cabin ones and blue pool ones) on a regular basis. Beyond that, he never introduced himself, never said more than "hi" if we saw him in the hall, never even asked if everything was in order. Also, once the pullman was down, it never went back up - so the "couch" was useless. FYI NCL, this is one of the reasons why I hate gratuities added daily. If you're good, you'll get tipped, if not, no tip. Food We've been telling friends, family and now this review, the food was a solid, 3 out of 10. The up-selling restaurants, and you have to be on your toes on which ones those are, were useless for a family. Only two of us got the meal package so the kids were "extra", which means $30 each for dinner. Even at those up-selling restaurants, the food was nothing to write home about. The buffet was just sad. Granted that Royal Princess was one of the best we've ever had and Windjammer (place any RCL ship name here) is a close second, NCL needs some serious work in this area. There are four primary food areas (your "mains") two desert areas, and the worst salad bar (it's less than 10 ft long with a handful of options) at sea. The late night snack is almost the same as lunch (fries, burgers, hot dogs, nachos, and some desert - same as from dinner!). Even the Grandeur of the Seas pulled more together in a late night snack. Entertainment Like the cabin, it was the other high light of the cruise. Thanks to Alvin and Jo Jo for all they did. Sailing from NYC over Independence Day, you have to expect an amount of celebration for the majority of US passengers. Alvin even had a Canada Day celebration (for the 87 fellow Canadians on board). It was a nice touch that really made our day. I'm sorry Alvin as I for got the name of your boss (so I could mention her name here and get her attention for you). The floor shows and entertainers were some of the best we've ever seen. If you haven't watched "The Choir of Man" you need to see where they are traveling and catch the show (although the food was standard NCL - 3 out of 10). Deck / Pool There is little to no deck space around the main pools. It's hard to call them pools as our hot tub is almost as big as them. The main pool is "adults only", which is hard for our son who likes to just sit with us but clearly doesn't pass as an "adult". The kid pool is, again small, and full. There is a slide and water park, both are well used. The slides are fun but were useless on the day at seas when the waves were a little rough (also as useless was the rope course on that day). Disembarkcation Walk your luggage off! It's easy and we were off in less than an hour with minimal line. Overall The technical hiccups we encountered at the start, kids ship cards got the unlimited drink packages and we had to straighten that out (why you'd give an 11 year old an unlimited alcoholic drink package is beyond me). Trying to fight to get restaurant reservations once on board (our online reservations were magically erased around three weeks before) in the end was unnecessary as we could have used in the smartboards around the ship to book. If only someone has explained this before! Which is another major point, every cruise line is different and we've learned the "rules" on other lines, no one took the time to explain the NCL "rules" to us. This really was a negative factor in our vacation. An unlimited drink package but you still have to pay the gratuities. Dinner packages that aren't worth it. No place to lay by the pool or even sit in it as a family. If you've already booked, and you're checking reviews to see what you've done, don't worry, you'll have a great time, but you need to plan a bit and look beyond these annoyances. For us, we'll pass on NCL next time.

Great price....but wait for the up-sales

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by tobandit991

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Family Oceanview Stateroom with Large Picture Window
We were looking for a family cruise to start the summer, as we do every year. We've been solid RC customers (with a little Princess and yes even Carnival once), so this wasn't our first time on a ship however this is the first time we've felt compelled to do a review. Every cruise line seems to have it's ups and downs and NCL - Escape was no different. Hoping this review helps others in navigating the cruising world.

Embarking

If you're used to the fluid embarking in say Miami, Ft Lauderdale or Tampa, brace yourself. Unless you're in the Haven (which have the "special lines") you are in for a switchback line up that would make Walt Disney cry. Four "port security officers" checking names on passports with tickets before you hit the metal detectors. Parking above the terminal was convenient for the almost $300 parking fee!

Cabin

Family oceanview on deck 5 portside, 5156. If you are going to travel with a family of four, this is your cabin. It's a standard cabin but the space that would have been part of the balcony was included in the cabin space. Once you get by the main bed, there is not enough room for a small carry on to roll between the end of the bed and the wall, there is lots of space and a curtain that nicely separates two main areas (sitting / bedroom). The bathroom has a double sink and a full tub (with a solid glass wall that easily closes). Our cabin steward was, well, average to slightly below average. We got the required towel animals and he was good to exchange our towels (cabin ones and blue pool ones) on a regular basis. Beyond that, he never introduced himself, never said more than "hi" if we saw him in the hall, never even asked if everything was in order. Also, once the pullman was down, it never went back up - so the "couch" was useless. FYI NCL, this is one of the reasons why I hate gratuities added daily. If you're good, you'll get tipped, if not, no tip.

Food

We've been telling friends, family and now this review, the food was a solid, 3 out of 10. The up-selling restaurants, and you have to be on your toes on which ones those are, were useless for a family. Only two of us got the meal package so the kids were "extra", which means $30 each for dinner. Even at those up-selling restaurants, the food was nothing to write home about. The buffet was just sad. Granted that Royal Princess was one of the best we've ever had and Windjammer (place any RCL ship name here) is a close second, NCL needs some serious work in this area. There are four primary food areas (your "mains") two desert areas, and the worst salad bar (it's less than 10 ft long with a handful of options) at sea. The late night snack is almost the same as lunch (fries, burgers, hot dogs, nachos, and some desert - same as from dinner!). Even the Grandeur of the Seas pulled more together in a late night snack.

Entertainment

Like the cabin, it was the other high light of the cruise. Thanks to Alvin and Jo Jo for all they did. Sailing from NYC over Independence Day, you have to expect an amount of celebration for the majority of US passengers. Alvin even had a Canada Day celebration (for the 87 fellow Canadians on board). It was a nice touch that really made our day. I'm sorry Alvin as I for got the name of your boss (so I could mention her name here and get her attention for you). The floor shows and entertainers were some of the best we've ever seen. If you haven't watched "The Choir of Man" you need to see where they are traveling and catch the show (although the food was standard NCL - 3 out of 10).

Deck / Pool

There is little to no deck space around the main pools. It's hard to call them pools as our hot tub is almost as big as them. The main pool is "adults only", which is hard for our son who likes to just sit with us but clearly doesn't pass as an "adult". The kid pool is, again small, and full. There is a slide and water park, both are well used. The slides are fun but were useless on the day at seas when the waves were a little rough (also as useless was the rope course on that day).

Disembarkcation

Walk your luggage off! It's easy and we were off in less than an hour with minimal line.

Overall

The technical hiccups we encountered at the start, kids ship cards got the unlimited drink packages and we had to straighten that out (why you'd give an 11 year old an unlimited alcoholic drink package is beyond me). Trying to fight to get restaurant reservations once on board (our online reservations were magically erased around three weeks before) in the end was unnecessary as we could have used in the smartboards around the ship to book. If only someone has explained this before! Which is another major point, every cruise line is different and we've learned the "rules" on other lines, no one took the time to explain the NCL "rules" to us. This really was a negative factor in our vacation. An unlimited drink package but you still have to pay the gratuities. Dinner packages that aren't worth it. No place to lay by the pool or even sit in it as a family.

If you've already booked, and you're checking reviews to see what you've done, don't worry, you'll have a great time, but you need to plan a bit and look beyond these annoyances. For us, we'll pass on NCL next time.
tobandit991’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Family Oceanview Stateroom with Large Picture Window
Cabin O1 5156
Family oceanview on deck 5 portside, 5156. If you are going to travel with a family of four, this is your cabin. It's a standard cabin but the space that would have been part of the balcony was included in the cabin space. Once you get by the main bed, there is not enough room for a small carry on to roll between the end of the bed and the wall, there is lots of space and a curtain that nicely separates two main areas (sitting / bedroom). The bathroom has a double sink and a full tub (with a solid glass wall that easily closes). Our cabin steward was, well, average to slightly below average. We got the required towel animals and he was good to exchange our towels (cabin ones and blue pool ones) on a regular basis. Beyond that, he never introduced himself, never said more than "hi" if we saw him in the hall, never even asked if everything was in order. FYI NCL, this is one of the reasons why I hate gratuities added daily. If you're good, you'll get tipped, if not, no tip.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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