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We were on the December 28th 9 day sailing on Escape. Ports included Orlando (overnight), Miami, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau. This was my 17th NCL cruise. Previous cruises included Star (3x), Breakaway (3x), Jewel (2x), Getaway (2x), Jade, Gem, Epic, Sun, Dawn, and Spirit (reviews all on here). We had the opportunity to sail in the Haven on this cruise. We had sailed previously in the Getaway Haven and the Gem Haven, and had non-haven suites on Jade and Star (2x). I mention this as much of my review is about Haven and the comparisons to these other experiences. Escape Haven was the worst service we’ve had in the Courtyard and Restaurant of any sail. Ports were not the destination of this cruise for us. We wanted the ship and the Haven. We stayed on board all ports except for GSC. All I will say is that GSC was a great day and we highly recommend the Wave Runner tour. All of the reviews about it are true – you can go as fast or as slow as you want and it is all around fantastic and well worth the price! I’ll talk first about entertainment. After Midnight was just so-so for us. I expected to know more of the songs but I didn’t know any. The tap dancing was good, but the rest of it just really wasn’t our cup of tea. We stayed for the entire performance only to be polite. We really enjoyed The Brat Pack, but unless you are intimately familiar with all of the movies, none of the lines or references will make any sense to you. I’ve seen all of the movies except Weird Science probably 20+ times. That said, once was enough for us. We much prefer Rock of Ages on Breakaway to this show. JR on piano in the District Brew House is great. We also enjoyed Chelsea Taylor the one time we saw her. The bulk of our time was spent at Howl at the Moon which was fantastic. Marty was just ok, Ben very good, and Angela is phenomenal. Definitely not to be missed. We heard phenomenal reviews about Choir of Man and regret not springing for this dinner show. Next time for sure! Dining. We ate at Bayamo, LeBistro, Cagneys, Teppanyaki, and LaCucina. All were fantastic, and Bayamo was definitely worth the $12pp upcharge to your dining package. We had a 3 meal package plus our two coupons for being Plat Plus. The service in the specialties was excellent and better than the Haven. So now for the Haven. This was hands down our worst Haven experience in terms of Courtyard and Restaurant service. First, the positives as there were several. First, the room was gorgeous (a forward penthouse suite) and our Butler, Bagus, was great. No issues with service from him despite being outside of the Haven proper. Our Steward was also excellent. The highlight for us was Haven Bartenders Branko and Shah. They were social, entertaining and just all around great guys. Now for the bad. Now here’s the thing. If this was your first ever Haven experience you would probably not have an issue with some of this as you don’t know how good it could (and should) be. After having phenomenal service on our prior Haven & Suite sails, things just fell short. 1. Courtyard Valet. There is only one Valet, and we never saw him before noon. Occasionally servers from the bar area would come around but only did so after we complained to the Concierge that we were having to walk inside to get our own drinks. Again, if you were sitting at the large pool bar this was an improvement in that the bar was never crazy the way the large pool bar is. But you still should not have to go in an get your own drinks, they should be coming around every 15-20 minutes. This was our experience with the Valets on Gem and Getaway. There were always people, including us, that would be in wet bathing suits and robes or towels at the Haven Bar. Not once did we have to go to the Getaway Haven bar for our own drinks while pool side. Gem didn’t have a bar but the Valet was constantly there and our drinks were rarely empty. Also, in the mornings, used coffee cups and such would sit on tables for hours before being cleared as again, there was no valet service. I will note that we saw this most often on Port Days. But even if the majority of Haven guests are off ship, the service should not be diminished (or eliminated?) for those who chose to stay on board. What is shocking is that the Escape Haven is twice the size of Gem Haven yet they both only have one valet? How does that make any sense? Escape Haven is 3 decks, although technically only two would be serviced by the Valet. It is still too much space and too many people for just one Valet. The sheer volume surely contributed to the fact that the towel covers on each lounger were not regularly replaced at each chair. Often these would be wet from prior use by another guest. It was often necessary to place another towel on top to stay dry. 2. Restaurant. Holy cow this was the absolute worst service ever. We are used to the wait staff knowing us pretty much after day 1. Here it was absolutely chaos. On several occasions, we had to wait for a table with a restaurant sitting empty. One morning there was a line of about 5 couples waiting to get in, again, empty tables galore. In what I assume is an attempt to be accommodating, we’d have 3 different waiters come by to ask if anyone had gotten us our drinks or taken our order yet. Why isn’t one waiter assigned to a particular station? This resulted constantly in our table conversation being interrupted and us having to say “someone got it already”. This also removed the personal element that we feel you pay for by being in the Haven. Every morning it would take FOREVER to get our tea, coffee and milk despite this being the same order every single day. On Star, for example, the Maitre’D would see us coming in and would bring our tea and coffee to us within seconds of sitting down, without us even having to ask. We had the same waiters every day and one serving us, not 2 or 3. On Escape, breakfast averaged about an hour, lunch even longer. Very, very slow and others had commented on these same issues. One night, we ordered coffee and tea with dessert. The desserts came out and were long gone before the coffee and tea ever arrived. To make matters worse, the concierge was utterly useless. We voiced our complaints to him on at least 2 occasions, early on. While there were some improvements here and there the only result was for them to send flowers to the room and have even more people come to ask us if anyone had taken our order. Very strange. Getting nowhere with the Concierge, we then phoned his supervisor. We received a call back from Roland, the Assistant Hotel Director, who listened and agreed with us that this was unacceptable for the Haven. He said he would like to meet us and that he’d come by our table personally as he knew what time we’d be at LeBistro that evening. He further said he’d be our “ambassador” for the week and keep in touch with us. Well, Roland never came to meet us at dinner or any other time and we never heard from him again. This was on, I believe, day 4 of the cruise. Roland’s lack of follow thru of any kind was, quite honestly, shocking. We cruise NCL 3 to 4 times per year and enjoy the line and usually have gotten top notch service, particularly when an officer has been involved. This again was such a difference to us after experiencing incredible service from Concierges of the past (Suzanna and Anoop, specifically). We had a standing room service order every night that included pizza, to be delivered around 10pm. We repeatedly asked for the pizza to be well done. It came soggy and undercooked every night, and one time it didn’t come at all. I know our Butler was on top of this because we’d heard him phone it in. But because it comes at 10pm it’s brought by room service, not him or the night butler. One time it didn’t come until 1030 and we happened to be in the room that night and the pizza was already cold. Totally unacceptable. We were fine with it being cold at midnight or whatever time we rolled in as that was to be expected. But at the time of delivery it should be hot. 3. Haven access. On two occasions we saw teenagers in the Haven Courtyard hot tubs that were not part of the Haven. We reported one group and another passenger reported another group. They were removed, but why isn’t this being policed by the Concierges? Another reason to have a Valet to assist with these matters. Relative to the group we had removed, the Assistant Concierge merely came out and told them to leave. She then left the area before making sure they did indeed leave. I feel they should have been formally escorted out or that she should have at least waited until they left. They did ultimately leave but only after another 10 minutes went by. The courtyard was not busy at this time, and these individuals would have had to walk right by the concierge desk. At this point, it was also day 8 of the cruise. Shouldn’t they know by then who does and doesn’t belong? The rest of us passengers certainly did. Then the last night there was also someone at the Haven Bar who was not a Haven guest who had been invited in by a friend. This could have possibly been a dinner companion which I know is allowed with permission and usually payment for dinner so we did not say anything about this. As a suggestion to NCL, they should either do random card checks, have a double access door, or figure out a way to ensure the Haven door closes faster. The one on Escape is very slow. Anyone could easily be as far away as the elevator bank, see someone go in, and follow them in long before the door is even close to closing. The one particular group of teens we saw were loitering outside of this door. We did enjoy this cruise, but would probably not sail in the Haven again on this ship unless a different Concierge was assigned.

Great Cruise, Haven Not As Good as Other Ships

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by BostonGal35

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: The Haven Forward-facing Penthouse with Balcony
We were on the December 28th 9 day sailing on Escape. Ports included Orlando (overnight), Miami, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau. This was my 17th NCL cruise. Previous cruises included Star (3x), Breakaway (3x), Jewel (2x), Getaway (2x), Jade, Gem, Epic, Sun, Dawn, and Spirit (reviews all on here). We had the opportunity to sail in the Haven on this cruise. We had sailed previously in the Getaway Haven and the Gem Haven, and had non-haven suites on Jade and Star (2x). I mention this as much of my review is about Haven and the comparisons to these other experiences. Escape Haven was the worst service we’ve had in the Courtyard and Restaurant of any sail.

Ports were not the destination of this cruise for us. We wanted the ship and the Haven. We stayed on board all ports except for GSC. All I will say is that GSC was a great day and we highly recommend the Wave Runner tour. All of the reviews about it are true – you can go as fast or as slow as you want and it is all around fantastic and well worth the price!

I’ll talk first about entertainment. After Midnight was just so-so for us. I expected to know more of the songs but I didn’t know any. The tap dancing was good, but the rest of it just really wasn’t our cup of tea. We stayed for the entire performance only to be polite. We really enjoyed The Brat Pack, but unless you are intimately familiar with all of the movies, none of the lines or references will make any sense to you. I’ve seen all of the movies except Weird Science probably 20+ times. That said, once was enough for us. We much prefer Rock of Ages on Breakaway to this show. JR on piano in the District Brew House is great. We also enjoyed Chelsea Taylor the one time we saw her. The bulk of our time was spent at Howl at the Moon which was fantastic. Marty was just ok, Ben very good, and Angela is phenomenal. Definitely not to be missed. We heard phenomenal reviews about Choir of Man and regret not springing for this dinner show. Next time for sure!

Dining. We ate at Bayamo, LeBistro, Cagneys, Teppanyaki, and LaCucina. All were fantastic, and Bayamo was definitely worth the $12pp upcharge to your dining package. We had a 3 meal package plus our two coupons for being Plat Plus. The service in the specialties was excellent and better than the Haven.

So now for the Haven. This was hands down our worst Haven experience in terms of Courtyard and Restaurant service. First, the positives as there were several. First, the room was gorgeous (a forward penthouse suite) and our Butler, Bagus, was great. No issues with service from him despite being outside of the Haven proper. Our Steward was also excellent. The highlight for us was Haven Bartenders Branko and Shah. They were social, entertaining and just all around great guys.

Now for the bad. Now here’s the thing. If this was your first ever Haven experience you would probably not have an issue with some of this as you don’t know how good it could (and should) be. After having phenomenal service on our prior Haven & Suite sails, things just fell short.

1. Courtyard Valet. There is only one Valet, and we never saw him before noon. Occasionally servers from the bar area would come around but only did so after we complained to the Concierge that we were having to walk inside to get our own drinks. Again, if you were sitting at the large pool bar this was an improvement in that the bar was never crazy the way the large pool bar is. But you still should not have to go in an get your own drinks, they should be coming around every 15-20 minutes. This was our experience with the Valets on Gem and Getaway. There were always people, including us, that would be in wet bathing suits and robes or towels at the Haven Bar. Not once did we have to go to the Getaway Haven bar for our own drinks while pool side. Gem didn’t have a bar but the Valet was constantly there and our drinks were rarely empty. Also, in the mornings, used coffee cups and such would sit on tables for hours before being cleared as again, there was no valet service. I will note that we saw this most often on Port Days. But even if the majority of Haven guests are off ship, the service should not be diminished (or eliminated?) for those who chose to stay on board. What is shocking is that the Escape Haven is twice the size of Gem Haven yet they both only have one valet? How does that make any sense? Escape Haven is 3 decks, although technically only two would be serviced by the Valet. It is still too much space and too many people for just one Valet. The sheer volume surely contributed to the fact that the towel covers on each lounger were not regularly replaced at each chair. Often these would be wet from prior use by another guest. It was often necessary to place another towel on top to stay dry.

2. Restaurant. Holy cow this was the absolute worst service ever. We are used to the wait staff knowing us pretty much after day 1. Here it was absolutely chaos. On several occasions, we had to wait for a table with a restaurant sitting empty. One morning there was a line of about 5 couples waiting to get in, again, empty tables galore. In what I assume is an attempt to be accommodating, we’d have 3 different waiters come by to ask if anyone had gotten us our drinks or taken our order yet. Why isn’t one waiter assigned to a particular station? This resulted constantly in our table conversation being interrupted and us having to say “someone got it already”. This also removed the personal element that we feel you pay for by being in the Haven. Every morning it would take FOREVER to get our tea, coffee and milk despite this being the same order every single day. On Star, for example, the Maitre’D would see us coming in and would bring our tea and coffee to us within seconds of sitting down, without us even having to ask. We had the same waiters every day and one serving us, not 2 or 3. On Escape, breakfast averaged about an hour, lunch even longer. Very, very slow and others had commented on these same issues. One night, we ordered coffee and tea with dessert. The desserts came out and were long gone before the coffee and tea ever arrived. To make matters worse, the concierge was utterly useless. We voiced our complaints to him on at least 2 occasions, early on. While there were some improvements here and there the only result was for them to send flowers to the room and have even more people come to ask us if anyone had taken our order. Very strange. Getting nowhere with the Concierge, we then phoned his supervisor. We received a call back from Roland, the Assistant Hotel Director, who listened and agreed with us that this was unacceptable for the Haven. He said he would like to meet us and that he’d come by our table personally as he knew what time we’d be at LeBistro that evening. He further said he’d be our “ambassador” for the week and keep in touch with us. Well, Roland never came to meet us at dinner or any other time and we never heard from him again. This was on, I believe, day 4 of the cruise. Roland’s lack of follow thru of any kind was, quite honestly, shocking. We cruise NCL 3 to 4 times per year and enjoy the line and usually have gotten top notch service, particularly when an officer has been involved. This again was such a difference to us after experiencing incredible service from Concierges of the past (Suzanna and Anoop, specifically). We had a standing room service order every night that included pizza, to be delivered around 10pm. We repeatedly asked for the pizza to be well done. It came soggy and undercooked every night, and one time it didn’t come at all. I know our Butler was on top of this because we’d heard him phone it in. But because it comes at 10pm it’s brought by room service, not him or the night butler. One time it didn’t come until 1030 and we happened to be in the room that night and the pizza was already cold. Totally unacceptable. We were fine with it being cold at midnight or whatever time we rolled in as that was to be expected. But at the time of delivery it should be hot.

3. Haven access. On two occasions we saw teenagers in the Haven Courtyard hot tubs that were not part of the Haven. We reported one group and another passenger reported another group. They were removed, but why isn’t this being policed by the Concierges? Another reason to have a Valet to assist with these matters. Relative to the group we had removed, the Assistant Concierge merely came out and told them to leave. She then left the area before making sure they did indeed leave. I feel they should have been formally escorted out or that she should have at least waited until they left. They did ultimately leave but only after another 10 minutes went by. The courtyard was not busy at this time, and these individuals would have had to walk right by the concierge desk. At this point, it was also day 8 of the cruise. Shouldn’t they know by then who does and doesn’t belong? The rest of us passengers certainly did. Then the last night there was also someone at the Haven Bar who was not a Haven guest who had been invited in by a friend. This could have possibly been a dinner companion which I know is allowed with permission and usually payment for dinner so we did not say anything about this. As a suggestion to NCL, they should either do random card checks, have a double access door, or figure out a way to ensure the Haven door closes faster. The one on Escape is very slow. Anyone could easily be as far away as the elevator bank, see someone go in, and follow them in long before the door is even close to closing. The one particular group of teens we saw were loitering outside of this door.

We did enjoy this cruise, but would probably not sail in the Haven again on this ship unless a different Concierge was assigned.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Wave Runner Tour
    Best excursion ever! You could go as fast or as slow as you wanted. Only complaint is that it was too short!!!! Will book again.
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