Those of you in the New York area should consider yourselves lucky to have access to the NCL Escape and its Bermuda itinerary. This was a great ship and we (my wife and I – ages 59 and 50) experienced a high level of service in almost every aspect of our cruise (we are experienced cruisers). Could it be that our extra attention came because of the cruise critic meet and greet, and our personal connections made at that meeting with some executive staff and other cruisers? Maybe, but then again, we talked to more than a few people who found the level of personal service to be excellent. Also, if you are reading this review, you'll probably have joined the cruise critic roll call for your cruise, and you will probably have the opportunity to make the same connections that we did.
The food ranges from "good" to "great", where one of the better meals (surprisingly?) was in the MDR (Manhattan room) with a pork belly dish that made our mouths water and compelled us to inquire how they prepared it. Other highlights included well-prepared steaks in Cagneys, a virtual meat-orgy in Moderno that my wife loved so much we had it twice, and the whole experience in Bayamo. The best kept secret (shhhhh! don't tell anyone! You'll spoil it!) is the breakfast area in Margaritaville (one flight up from the buffet - open to everyone!!). If it's not raining (access may be limited in bad weather) head up there to avoid the crowds and you can get made to order omelets and eggs, and a mini-buffet of eggs benedict, bacon, sausage, fruit, cereal and chocolate croissants - among other standard items. O'Sheehans was a great late night option for some good ol' junk food (and it was pretty good). Buffet was good quality, large and had many options and plenty of seating whenever we attended, save for a crowded last day at breakfast (no Margaritaville open at that time). And my wife and I witnessed that if you are a female and enjoy one too many late-night libations, and then happen to pass out at your table in O’Sheehans, a kindly security officer and assistant (one of each sex, smart policy by NCL) will kindly assist you up from the table and up to your room – thankfully, it did not happen to us. :)
The talent is great on NCL, and once again, did not disappoint. After Midnight was great, and Choir of Man might have been even better! In fact, the talent playing in most lounges and the DJ’s in the dance bars and for the Glow Party are also high quality. We enjoyed the Howl at the Moon piano bar, although we have seen slightly better performers at this venue on other ships- still had a very good time, though (the female performer who was primarily at the Brewhouse but joined the guys for a few songs was actually the best of the bunch). The Supper Club show we attended was the Knights - a trio that performed a medley of British Male iconic singers - and they were just entertaining enough to make up for the "just slightly better than mediocre" food that came with the show. There’s no way to see everything the ship has to offer in one sailing, and it’s easier if you don’t try!
The highlight of Bermuda (for us) was a "Hidden Gems" shore excursion (booked privately) that, while expensive was worth every penny. Cliff diving, cave swimming, spelunking, snorkeling - it had everything and more.
Any criticisms I could give would truly be nitpicking (fruit could have been slightly better quality, the apple pie on the ship could use a makeover, and my raspberry crème brulee in Cagney's did not have a crust that "snapped" when I started in on it (still devoured every delicious bit anyway). MDR lunch can be slow sometimes (we never did breakfast here but heard the same). I did notice, however, that a day or two into the cruise the wait staff inquired whether you had dietary or time restrictions in most venues, which were accommodated - so don't be afraid to ask. The casino staff does need improvement, as this is the area I would consider service "spotty" (I personally saw mistakes made by dealers in the bettor's favor two times at UTH - dealer missed seeing he had a flush twice - and I heard about another - and I witnessed one error against the bettor at the craps table where a bet was not pressed properly - so gamblers, be aware). Drink service was also spotty at times in the casino. Some may think mistakes in the bettor's favor is a good thing, but those in the industry would recognize it's an indication of a larger issue.
For disembarkation, our flight got moved up, and we had to self-disembark by lugging our luggage off ourselves. I suggest that unless you do one carry-on bag per person, this option will be a major hassle, but this was made bearable for us by Denielle Reyes, who really went above and beyond to make our cruise great. Personal visits by the high-level staff seemed common at many venues – it was one of the more memorable crew experiences we’ve ever had.
All-in-all, this was a more than positive vacation experience. I would definitely recommend this ship and its itinerary, and will be sailing NCL again.
Spacious cabin,and, with access to the spa, a benefit worth the extra money
I enjoyed the walking tour and getting a bit of history about St. George - my wife felt a little bored and tired and would have preferred a hop-on, hop-off trolley type tour, but we didn't see it.View All 19 St. George's Walking Tour Reviews