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Let me start by saying that we knew the risks of planning a cruise during hurricane season, so we weren't really that bothered by our itinerary changing. What followed is the reason for this review. We were sent to Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. At Port Canaveral, there's not really anything to do besides the space center, which you really need more time for. So we didn't bother getting off the ship. At Great Stirrup Cay, they don't have a dock for a cruise ship, so you have to get carried to shore and back by tender boats. This process is so time consuming that you only get about 4 hours on the island. 2 hours into it, they shut down all the food stands and bars. Then, the captain skipped our last stop (the main attraction) at Nassau. Now, I understand that we had to go out to sea farther to avoid the hurricane on the way home. What pissed me off is that instead of skipping their stupid private island and going to Nassau, we skipped Nassau. I am pretty confident this was done because it saved them money since they own Great Stirrup Cay. They saved on port fees by not going to Nassau. It's clear they don't care about the happiness of their guests. At this point, I would have expected them to offer SOME type of compensation or incentive for another cruise - ANYTHING. Especially when you consider that our new itinerary was exactly the same as one of their normal cruises, which is CHEAPER than the Bermuda cruise we booked. At the very least, a partial reimbursement for the price difference would have been the ethical thing to do. The other cruise lines that had to change course offered all their guests some type of compensation. Not NCL though. Next, let's talk about the actual ship. A member of our group has been on several Norwegian cruises (and will never go on another one after this). The other ships are apparently laid out the same, except the Escape added 2 floors of guest rooms and holds like 2000 more passengers. So there aren't really any more attractions, but there are way more people to fill up those attractions. That was a MAJOR problem during our cruise. Almost every single event/show/etc on the ship requires a reservation. By the 2nd or 3rd day, they were all booked. ALL OF THEM - not an exaggeration. We decided to try the stand-by line for one of the comedy shows. We showed up 45 minutes early and there were already about 70 people in the stand by line (and the comedy club isn't all that big). We didn't even bother. You basically have to plan your entire trip and everything you want to do by the 2nd day. You can't be spontaneous at all. There are 2 tiny pools they are ridiculously crowded at all times. I guess if you're into the frat party lifestyle where you're constantly grinding against other people all day you would really like this. For everyone else, it's miserable. Seriously, if you put both pools together, they would be about the size of a typical inground pool at a normal house in the suburbs. If that wasn't bad enough, they close all the pools and hot tubs around 10pm. Not for maintenance or anything - they just close them. By 11pm, pretty much everything except one restaurant/bar is closed. We are adults looking to stay out late and have fun on vacation, but that is apparently not on the menu with NCL. The one thing I actually enjoyed, the speed slides, were shut down for HOURS every day. The mini golf course has holes/dips under the green that you can't see until you step on them and almost fall, not to mention the frustration of a great putt randomly changing direction or totally stopping. The Bocce Ball court was tapered downhill from the center on both sides, which rendered it all but useless. I realize nobody takes a cruise to play Bocce Ball, but it's just one more thing on the list. They advertise the zip line that swings out over the side of the ship as a big attraction. What they don't tell you is that IT DOESN'T EVER WORK!!! In fact, 50% of the entire ropes course is permanently shut down. An employee told us that it's shut down because they have no way to work on it and maintain it. So this course probably only worked for the first year of the ship's life and will probably never work again. If you're not familiar with NCL ships, they have an Atrium in the center that is open for 3 floors, with the casino surrounding it on the center floor. They allow smoking in the casino. By the 3rd day of the trip, the smoke has traveled throughout the entire atrium - all 3 floors. This is really fantastic when your wife is pregnant and trying to avoid second hand smoke. We got the "ultimate" beverage package, which includes drinks up to $15. What they don't tell you is that they jack up the prices of everything so that the good stuff is just barely too expensive to get. You can get most mixed drinks and pretty much all beers, but if you're into sipping bourbon or scotch, you're only getting the middle shelf stuff. After all that, NCL wouldn't offer us anything at all. Not even 10% off a future cruise. Not even the difference in price for the cruise we got vs the one we paid for. I have been on Carnival cruises and had a much better time. I hear Royal Caribbean is great as well. I can say that I will never go on another NCL cruise in my life. Neither will any of the 25 other people in my group. That's how bad it was. In fact, I never even write negative reviews on anything, but this was so bad I felt like it was my duty to make sure others don't have the same experience.

Worst Vacation of My Life. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by Miller121

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Bermuda
Let me start by saying that we knew the risks of planning a cruise during hurricane season, so we weren't really that bothered by our itinerary changing. What followed is the reason for this review.

We were sent to Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. At Port Canaveral, there's not really anything to do besides the space center, which you really need more time for. So we didn't bother getting off the ship. At Great Stirrup Cay, they don't have a dock for a cruise ship, so you have to get carried to shore and back by tender boats. This process is so time consuming that you only get about 4 hours on the island. 2 hours into it, they shut down all the food stands and bars. Then, the captain skipped our last stop (the main attraction) at Nassau. Now, I understand that we had to go out to sea farther to avoid the hurricane on the way home. What pissed me off is that instead of skipping their stupid private island and going to Nassau, we skipped Nassau. I am pretty confident this was done because it saved them money since they own Great Stirrup Cay. They saved on port fees by not going to Nassau. It's clear they don't care about the happiness of their guests.

At this point, I would have expected them to offer SOME type of compensation or incentive for another cruise - ANYTHING. Especially when you consider that our new itinerary was exactly the same as one of their normal cruises, which is CHEAPER than the Bermuda cruise we booked. At the very least, a partial reimbursement for the price difference would have been the ethical thing to do. The other cruise lines that had to change course offered all their guests some type of compensation. Not NCL though.

Next, let's talk about the actual ship. A member of our group has been on several Norwegian cruises (and will never go on another one after this). The other ships are apparently laid out the same, except the Escape added 2 floors of guest rooms and holds like 2000 more passengers. So there aren't really any more attractions, but there are way more people to fill up those attractions. That was a MAJOR problem during our cruise.

Almost every single event/show/etc on the ship requires a reservation. By the 2nd or 3rd day, they were all booked. ALL OF THEM - not an exaggeration. We decided to try the stand-by line for one of the comedy shows. We showed up 45 minutes early and there were already about 70 people in the stand by line (and the comedy club isn't all that big). We didn't even bother. You basically have to plan your entire trip and everything you want to do by the 2nd day. You can't be spontaneous at all.

There are 2 tiny pools they are ridiculously crowded at all times. I guess if you're into the frat party lifestyle where you're constantly grinding against other people all day you would really like this. For everyone else, it's miserable. Seriously, if you put both pools together, they would be about the size of a typical inground pool at a normal house in the suburbs. If that wasn't bad enough, they close all the pools and hot tubs around 10pm. Not for maintenance or anything - they just close them. By 11pm, pretty much everything except one restaurant/bar is closed. We are adults looking to stay out late and have fun on vacation, but that is apparently not on the menu with NCL.

The one thing I actually enjoyed, the speed slides, were shut down for HOURS every day. The mini golf course has holes/dips under the green that you can't see until you step on them and almost fall, not to mention the frustration of a great putt randomly changing direction or totally stopping. The Bocce Ball court was tapered downhill from the center on both sides, which rendered it all but useless. I realize nobody takes a cruise to play Bocce Ball, but it's just one more thing on the list.

They advertise the zip line that swings out over the side of the ship as a big attraction. What they don't tell you is that IT DOESN'T EVER WORK!!! In fact, 50% of the entire ropes course is permanently shut down. An employee told us that it's shut down because they have no way to work on it and maintain it. So this course probably only worked for the first year of the ship's life and will probably never work again.

If you're not familiar with NCL ships, they have an Atrium in the center that is open for 3 floors, with the casino surrounding it on the center floor. They allow smoking in the casino. By the 3rd day of the trip, the smoke has traveled throughout the entire atrium - all 3 floors. This is really fantastic when your wife is pregnant and trying to avoid second hand smoke.

We got the "ultimate" beverage package, which includes drinks up to $15. What they don't tell you is that they jack up the prices of everything so that the good stuff is just barely too expensive to get. You can get most mixed drinks and pretty much all beers, but if you're into sipping bourbon or scotch, you're only getting the middle shelf stuff.

After all that, NCL wouldn't offer us anything at all. Not even 10% off a future cruise. Not even the difference in price for the cruise we got vs the one we paid for. I have been on Carnival cruises and had a much better time. I hear Royal Caribbean is great as well. I can say that I will never go on another NCL cruise in my life. Neither will any of the 25 other people in my group. That's how bad it was. In fact, I never even write negative reviews on anything, but this was so bad I felt like it was my duty to make sure others don't have the same experience.
Miller121’s Full Rating Summary
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Snorkeling
    This destination is awful. Expect to spend 4 hours on the island before getting back on the ship due to the lengthy tendering process. If you plan to eat or dink, do it in the first 2 hours because they close it down by then. The actual swimming area is unbelievably crowded - no fun at all. There was very little to see while snorkeling, and the snorkeling area is quite a swim from shore. I didn't use the life jacket, but if you're not in decent shape, you should consider using it. Better yet - avoid this cruise altogether. In fact, avoid NCL altogether.
    View All 79 Snorkeling Reviews