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We chose this cruise mostly for convenience - when our dog sitter/mom checker-up-on was available. We like sailing out of NYC since we can get there by train. Our son lives there so we can also get to visit with him. This is our third NCL cruise out of New York. Of our various cruises, we had never sailed north so this was of interest to both of us. Embarkation was unbelievably fast and easy. We took an Uber to the port, left our checked baggage and went through the terminal process very quickly. We never even had a chance to sit down and we were on board by 1:30. Our chosen time to embark was 1-1:30. That was the fastest I have ever boarded any ship. The Garden Cafe was extremely crowded but we found a table eventually. Before we finished eating, it was announced that the cabins were ready and the place cleared out. Our cabin - 9712 - was plenty big enough for the 2 of us and had a nice size balcony which was the best part. I had been looking for an aft balcony again but none were available. We had 1 lounger, 2 chairs and a table. One weird thing was that there was no light on the balcony. Looking up at the other decks, we could see from the angle that ours was larger than the others above us but not quite as big as the one below us. Someone actually yelled from above us to ask if we were in the Haven and we said no - we'd just reserved the biggest balcony we could find. There was a lot of storage but some was tricky to find. There were no shelves in the closet but I'd packed everything in packing cubes so that helped. DH put his stuff on the shelves under the TV. The bathroom was a good size, as was the shower. I knew from past experience that was no conditioner (just that combo shampoo/conditioner that I hate) in the showers so I brought my own. Last time, on the Breakaway, I noticed that they had a sharps container in the bathroom but I wasn't sure if that was standard now - it was! Hooray! About the TV - we rarely watched it Tthe programming was mostly news shows, some sports, 1 cartoon channel, and 1 "favorite movies" channel. Not my favorites! They also had a Guy Harvey channel, consisting of lots of shark shows. Also not my favorites. Luckily, I don't cruise to watch tv. Of course, they had the shopping channel and other in-house shows. Our bed was great, very comfortable king-sized with 2 pillows each. At first, I noticed a sharp thing at the bottom of the beds. Turned out it was a clip of some sort to hold the 2 beds together. I was worried that I would cut my foot on it overnight but I never noticed it again. The end tables on each side of our bed were pretty narrow but we made that work. The lights beside the bed now have a USB charger port. Yay! Luckily, I read a Kindle before bed so I never really needed to use the bedside light. Our luggage arrived before 2:30 pm which was really nice. I had been concerned about going on a ship this size but there was really no problem. The elevators were crowded the first day but after that, no big deal. I would like to point out that we mostly always took the stairs going down and walked up if it was only 2-3 decks. When we were in the elevators, they were clean. Both of the RCI cruises I took had sticky elevator buttons, presumably from children using them after eating ice cream or something. One thing that RCI has that I would like to see on other ships was the "day plate" on the floor. Often, I get involved in a cruise and have no idea what the day is, so that would be helpful on all ships. We got the unlimited internet package and it was well worth it for us. I am the webmaster for a couple of companies so I need to spend some time online each day. This internet package was a life-saver for me and we were able to share it between the 2 of us. However, I was not able to get onto some of the secure websites I needed due to the nature of this Wi-Fi. Everywhere we went, the crew was smiling and friendly - and everything was very clean. We mostly ate in the Garden Cafe. The dinner show with Choir of Man was fantastic! We also ate once in Teppanyaki. My husband had a huge problem with the chef's insulting patter and complained to Guest Services the next day. I'm not sure how that worked out since the complaint was on disembarkation day. I would not eat there again because I felt so uncomfortable. Teppanyaki was a pretty standard Japanese food, on this ship cooked by a Philippines chef. There were combinations of chicken, beef and seafood served with miso soup, seaweed salad, vegetables and fried rice. I had green tea cake/ice cream for dessert and some of the others had fruit sashimi. The library was very small and open only certain hours. For reasons unknown to us, the books were all locked up in glass cases. There was nowhere we could find what hours the library was available. Sudoku and trivia games were available but no pencils. Fortunately, we travel with our own books. We had no use for any of the Children's Clubs. There were very few youth and children on this cruise We were in the "Lime" disembarkation group so we had a leisurely breakfast, after packing up our carry-offs and taking them to the Cafe with us. There was some hold up at Customs on shore so they stopped offloading for a few minutes, then resumed. Our color was supposed to be called about 10:15. It was called around 10:00. We were off the ship, got our luggage, through Customs and in an Uber by 10:30. Very fast and efficient. We had a great time overall and wouldn't hesitate to take this ship again. I'm ready to go again, as soon as I can save up enough money :) Ports: Portland. We were supposed to go on an NCL Working Waterfront and Lobster pull but NCL had contacted us before we left and said that this excursion was no longer available. So, I'd found a Windjammer to sail out on.  I had wanted to do the Casco Bay Mailboat but it sold out while I was talking to Tom.  I had been on that trip as a kid and had fond memories. Bar Harbor. This port was tender only. Most of the tendering time was loading/unloading the tender. People were supposed to register for tender tickets the night before but if you had an official excursion, you could just go in time for that. We were supposed to go whale watching but that was canceled due to rain so we went on a nature sightseeing cruise instead. It had the same naturalist that whale watching would have had. Tendering back was an issue because most of the people want to go back about the same time. Saint John. We went to a Maple Syrup processing farm. Our bus was supposed to go across a cable ferry but couldn't make it so we all got off while a garbage truck tried to tow it backwards. The tow cable broke. The driver finally got it onto the ferry after we all got off the bus. The Maple Syrup was anticlimactic after this! Halifax. This was the best for me after a rocky start. There was another bus issue when they loaded the 8 of us onto a repurposed hop on-hop off bus. The person in charge was trying to tell us about landmarks on the way but had to ask the bus driver. Neither had a loudspeaker. The Citadel was great. We did the "Highland Experience" and practiced with bagpipe chanters, learned how to do Victorian military drills (to the amusement of other tourists), raised signal flags and had a nice snack. Heading back to the ship we got on a real hop on-hop off bus with actual narration. We were on the top deck and I got a headache from the gas fumes but my husband got off at the Titanic cemetery (Fairview Lawn Cemetery) and said that it was more moving that he'd thought it would be.

Heading North!

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by Mairzy Doats

Trip Details
We chose this cruise mostly for convenience - when our dog sitter/mom checker-up-on was available.

We like sailing out of NYC since we can get there by train. Our son lives there so we can also get to visit with him. This is our third NCL cruise out of New York.

Of our various cruises, we had never sailed north so this was of interest to both of us.

Embarkation was unbelievably fast and easy. We took an Uber to the port, left our checked baggage and went through the terminal process very quickly. We never even had a chance to sit down and we were on board by 1:30. Our chosen time to embark was 1-1:30.

That was the fastest I have ever boarded any ship.

The Garden Cafe was extremely crowded but we found a table eventually. Before we finished eating, it was announced that the cabins were ready and the place cleared out.

Our cabin - 9712 - was plenty big enough for the 2 of us and had a nice size balcony which was the best part. I had been looking for an aft balcony again but none were available. We had 1 lounger, 2 chairs and a table. One weird thing was that there was no light on the balcony.

Looking up at the other decks, we could see from the angle that ours was larger than the others above us but not quite as big as the one below us. Someone actually yelled from above us to ask if we were in the Haven and we said no - we'd just reserved the biggest balcony we could find.

There was a lot of storage but some was tricky to find. There were no shelves in the closet but I'd packed everything in packing cubes so that helped. DH put his stuff on the shelves under the TV.

The bathroom was a good size, as was the shower. I knew from past experience that was no conditioner (just that combo shampoo/conditioner that I hate) in the showers so I brought my own.

Last time, on the Breakaway, I noticed that they had a sharps container in the bathroom but I wasn't sure if that was standard now - it was! Hooray!

About the TV - we rarely watched it Tthe programming was mostly news shows, some sports, 1 cartoon channel, and 1 "favorite movies" channel. Not my favorites! They also had a Guy Harvey channel, consisting of lots of shark shows. Also not my favorites. Luckily, I don't cruise to watch tv.

Of course, they had the shopping channel and other in-house shows.

Our bed was great, very comfortable king-sized with 2 pillows each. At first, I noticed a sharp thing at the bottom of the beds. Turned out it was a clip of some sort to hold the 2 beds together. I was worried that I would cut my foot on it overnight but I never noticed it again.

The end tables on each side of our bed were pretty narrow but we made that work. The lights beside the bed now have a USB charger port. Yay! Luckily, I read a Kindle before bed so I never really needed to use the bedside light.

Our luggage arrived before 2:30 pm which was really nice.

I had been concerned about going on a ship this size but there was really no problem. The elevators were crowded the first day but after that, no big deal. I would like to point out that we mostly always took the stairs going down and walked up if it was only 2-3 decks.

When we were in the elevators, they were clean. Both of the RCI cruises I took had sticky elevator buttons, presumably from children using them after eating ice cream or something. One thing that RCI has that I would like to see on other ships was the "day plate" on the floor. Often, I get involved in a cruise and have no idea what the day is, so that would be helpful on all ships.

We got the unlimited internet package and it was well worth it for us. I am the webmaster for a couple of companies so I need to spend some time online each day. This internet package was a life-saver for me and we were able to share it between the 2 of us. However, I was not able to get onto some of the secure websites I needed due to the nature of this Wi-Fi.

Everywhere we went, the crew was smiling and friendly - and everything was very clean.

We mostly ate in the Garden Cafe. The dinner show with Choir of Man was fantastic!

We also ate once in Teppanyaki. My husband had a huge problem with the chef's insulting patter and complained to Guest Services the next day. I'm not sure how that worked out since the complaint was on disembarkation day. I would not eat there again because I felt so uncomfortable.

Teppanyaki was a pretty standard Japanese food, on this ship cooked by a Philippines chef. There were combinations of chicken, beef and seafood served with miso soup, seaweed salad, vegetables and fried rice. I had green tea cake/ice cream for dessert and some of the others had fruit sashimi.

The library was very small and open only certain hours. For reasons unknown to us, the books were all locked up in glass cases. There was nowhere we could find what hours the library was available. Sudoku and trivia games were available but no pencils. Fortunately, we travel with our own books.

We had no use for any of the Children's Clubs. There were very few youth and children on this cruise

We were in the "Lime" disembarkation group so we had a leisurely breakfast, after packing up our carry-offs and taking them to the Cafe with us.

There was some hold up at Customs on shore so they stopped offloading for a few minutes, then resumed.

Our color was supposed to be called about 10:15. It was called around 10:00. We were off the ship, got our luggage, through Customs and in an Uber by 10:30. Very fast and efficient.

We had a great time overall and wouldn't hesitate to take this ship again.

I'm ready to go again, as soon as I can save up enough money :)

Ports:

Portland. We were supposed to go on an NCL Working Waterfront and Lobster pull but NCL had contacted us before we left and said that this excursion was no longer available.

So, I'd found a Windjammer to sail out on.  I had wanted to do the Casco Bay Mailboat but it sold out while I was talking to Tom.  I had been on that trip as a kid and had fond memories.

Bar Harbor. This port was tender only. Most of the tendering time was loading/unloading the tender. People were supposed to register for tender tickets the night before but if you had an official excursion, you could just go in time for that.

We were supposed to go whale watching but that was canceled due to rain so we went on a nature sightseeing cruise instead. It had the same naturalist that whale watching would have had.

Tendering back was an issue because most of the people want to go back about the same time.

Saint John. We went to a Maple Syrup processing farm. Our bus was supposed to go across a cable ferry but couldn't make it so we all got off while a garbage truck tried to tow it backwards. The tow cable broke. The driver finally got it onto the ferry after we all got off the bus.

The Maple Syrup was anticlimactic after this!

Halifax. This was the best for me after a rocky start. There was another bus issue when they loaded the 8 of us onto a repurposed hop on-hop off bus. The person in charge was trying to tell us about landmarks on the way but had to ask the bus driver. Neither had a loudspeaker.

The Citadel was great. We did the "Highland Experience" and practiced with bagpipe chanters, learned how to do Victorian military drills (to the amusement of other tourists), raised signal flags and had a nice snack.

Heading back to the ship we got on a real hop on-hop off bus with actual narration. We were on the top deck and I got a headache from the gas fumes but my husband got off at the Titanic cemetery (Fairview Lawn Cemetery) and said that it was more moving that he'd thought it would be.
Mairzy Doats’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience

Cabin Review

Large Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B6 9712
Our cabin - 9712 - was plenty big enough for the 2 of us and had a nice size balcony which was the best part. I had been looking for an aft balcony again but none were available. We had 1 lounger, 2 chairs and a table. One weird thing was that there was no light on the balcony.

Looking up at the other decks, we could see from the angle that ours was larger than the others above us but not quite as big as the one below us. Someone actually yelled from above us to ask if we were in the Haven and we said no - we'd just reserved the biggest balcony we could find.

There was a lot of storage but some was tricky to find. There were no shelves in the closet but I'd packed everything in packing cubes so that helped. DH put his stuff on the shelves under the TV.

The bathroom was a good size, as was the shower. I knew from past experience that was no conditioner (just that combo shampoo/conditioner that I hate) in the showers so I brought my own.

Last time, on the Breakaway, I noticed that they had a sharps container in the bathroom but I wasn't sure if that was standard now - it was! Hooray!

About the TV - we rarely watched it Tthe programming was mostly news shows, some sports, 1 cartoon channel, and 1 "favorite movies" channel. Not my favorites! They also had a Guy Harvey channel, consisting of lots of shark shows. Also not my favorites. Luckily, I don't cruise to watch tv.

Of course, they had the shopping channel and other in-house shows.

Our bed was great, very comfortable king-sized with 2 pillows each. At first, I noticed a sharp thing at the bottom of the beds. Turned out it was a clip of some sort to hold the 2 beds together. I was worried that I would cut my foot on it overnight but I never noticed it again.

The end tables on each side of our bed were pretty narrow but we made that work. The lights beside the bed now have a USB charger port. Yay! Luckily, I read a Kindle before bed so I never really needed to use the bedside light.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Acadia National Park
    This port was tender only. Most of the tendering time was loading/unloading the tender. People were supposed to register for tender tickets the night before but if you had an official excursion, you could just go in time for that.

    We were supposed to go whale watching but that was canceled due to rain so we went on a nature sightseeing cruise instead. It had the same naturalist that whale watching would have had.

    Tendering back was an issue because most of the people want to go back about the same time.
    View All 177 Acadia National Park Reviews
  • Highlander Experience
    This was the best for me after a rocky start. There was another bus issue when they loaded the 8 of us onto a repurposed hop on-hop off bus. The person in charge was trying to tell us about landmarks on the way but had to ask the bus driver. Neither had a loudspeaker.

    The Citadel was great. We did the "Highland Experience" and practiced with bagpipe chanters, learned how to do Victorian military drills (to the amusement of other tourists), raised signal flags and had a nice snack.

    Heading back to the ship we got on a real hop on-hop off bus with actual narration. We were on the top deck and I got a headache from the gas fumes but my husband got off at the Titanic cemetery (Fairview Lawn Cemetery) and said that it was more moving that he'd thought it would be.
    View All 3 Highlander Experience Reviews
  • Portland (Maine)
    We were supposed to go on an NCL Working Waterfront and Lobster pull but NCL had contacted us before we left and said that this excursion was no longer available.

    So, I'd found a Windjammer to sail out on.  I had wanted to do the Casco Bay Mailboat but it sold out while I was talking to Tom.  I had been on that trip as a kid and had fond memories.
    View All 310 Portland (Maine) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Portland (Maine) Cruise Port Review
  • Saint John (New Brunswick)
    We went to a Maple Syrup processing farm. Our bus was supposed to go across a cable ferry but couldn't make it so we all got off while a garbage truck tried to tow it backwards. The tow cable broke. The driver finally got it onto the ferry after we all got off the bus.

    The Maple Syrup was anticlimactic after this!
    View All 10,623 Saint John (New Brunswick) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Saint John (New Brunswick) Cruise Port Review