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We booked this cruise 4 days prior to departure based on the value. We had attempted to plan a land vacation for the following week, but the estimated cost kept us focusing on a cruise. RC did not have any close by or in our price range but we found NCL did so we booked. We became a little concerned after booking as there had clearly been some competition on the NCL customer support staff to see who could get our booking first. This lead to a little rudeness, which with explanation we would of somewhat understood, but we had to assume what happened on their end and just shake it off. The next day we received a call from a NCL supervisor asking us about the experience and we knew then something had happened. While we had nothing to do with what was happening the supervisor did provide some OBC which we thought was very generous and began to clear our minds about concerns that did happen during the booking process. Our travel arrangements were made. We normally travel the day before to the port of departure so we do not have to worry about arriving on time, especially living near Washington DC and know New York traffic can sometimes be a challenge. We chose to drive into DC early the morning of departure and take Greyhound into New York. This really was the only option since I had to work 8 am - 11 pm the day before. We were scheduled to take a 5:55 a.m. bus out of DC but since the driver decided not to show up we were delayed 2 hours before a bus finally arrived to take us into New York. Despite the delay we still arrived in New York around noon and a quick cab ride to the pier found us ready to check in. The check in process went smoothly and since we had booked so last minute, our key cards had to be printed, although that did not take very long. We boarded the ship and off we went to the box office to get reservations for shows that we had researched that we wanted to see. This was suggested on a couple of sites to do after boarding. We are not used to having to do reservations for shows, although we see the larger ships moving in this direction. We found the process easy and got all the reservations we requested. It would have been nice to have a print out when we left or something that linked to the App to remind us of what we had booked. We did have to go two separate times to guest services or the box office to confirm times for shows that we had booked. I guess we could have simply written it down when we made the reservation but were not thinking that far ahead. After making reservations we headed to the buffet for a bite to eat. We found plenty of options on the buffet. Several reviews talked about the spacing in the buffet to not be crowded especially the further back you went. We did not find this to be the case. The buffet itself was not crowded, however to maneuver around the people coming and going was sometimes tricky. While on the subject of food, we had decided that we would only partake in the complimentary dining options. While there were plenty of eating options, we wanted to try those that cost no extra and believed we could do something different each day on a 7 day cruise. Most of our breakfast meals were in the Garden Cafe or Margaritaville (we did none in the dining rooms), we did lunches or snacks in the Garden Cafe as well. We experienced Taste, Savor and the Manahattan for dinner and found it odd that the menu's were the same, just a different seating environment. While we only went to these one time, we found our service at Taste was a little less than typical and not in a great way. This was the only time that we found staff to seem uninterested in us as passenger. In fact just asking for water to be refilled seemed to be a daunting task. We chalked it up on them having a bad day and walked away assuming all servers in that venue do not have the same mentality. Two of the shows we booked did come with a meal as well, so we had two meals in the Supper Club. Overall, food options were good. Food was flavored more than what we are used to with RC and a little more salty. The point for serving warm food does go to NCL though, food was always hot when served, this cannot always be said with RC. This was the largest ship of the 14 cruises I have been on and will be traveling next year on Anthem of the Seas which I believe is comparable in size. While it will not be fair to judge RC for or against NCL on onboard activities I did thoroughly enjoy the different options that I am not used to having on the smaller ships. The ropes course was a lot of fun, although most of it stayed closed because of weather. I did two of the waterslides and while one is not really to exciting the other was lots of fun although there was a bit of a wait to participate. We really enjoyed Escape the Big Top (reservations required), never had done a group escape experience before and our team was only one clue from completing before time ran out. We enjoyed the Waterfront as well, especially in the evening. We did not spend much time at the bars or lounges as we are not big drinkers. We stayed away from the Casino as well. These all seemed to be enjoyed by our fellow passengers just not much interest to us. Entertainment was certainly different than what we have experienced on RC. The shows that it seems that NCL contract out were awesome. We saw the Choir of Men and thoroughly enjoyed it. The different entertainment at some of the pubs or the Headliner Comedy Club were about what was expected. We did not care much for the production that NCL did with their singers and dancers, rated about the same as RC. We also enjoyed the night parties in the H2O Zone. Always something different and really was a party atmosphere. Overall the ship was fun. We did find spaces that we felt were full of voids, although we assume it had something to do with the construction of the ship. Lots of dead spaces throughout. We were not impressed with all the food options (additional fee required). One or two may have been nice, but it seemed like that was all that was in the public spaces. The only negative we really found though was cleanliness. There was a clear and obvious difference in how RC cleans their vessels as opposed to NCL. We found many items were dirty and in some cases questioned when certain items were lasted cleaned. This is not the best situation considering how quickly illnesses and germs can spread in such a confined space. It was very evident to us and was probably the only area which could deter me choosing NCL over another cruise line. Our destination on this trip was to Bermuda for roughly 3 days. I had only been to the island once about 12 years ago and recalled finding it a bit lacking then. This trip did not change my belief in that. Day 1 we bought the transportation pass for the day, took the ferry to Hamilton. Arriving in Hamilton we just did not find many options. Now this may be our fault, since it was a last minute trip we had not really done much research on the island. From Hamilton we decided to go to St. George (we would later learn that NCL has a free ferry there from the ship). Taking the bus to St. George we arrived to find a small town with very limited options. While we strolled the streets for a little while we opted to take the ferry back to the ship to relax and grab dinner before once again heading to Hamilton for a weekly street celebration. Once we finished up dinner we went to stand in line to await the ferry, finally it showed and we were off. We arrived in Hamilton to find a very limited number of vendors or things to do at their street festival. It was really disappointing, especially knowing we had to wait again for the ferry to make a half hour trip back to the ship. Unless we were missing something I would not suggest wasting your time to attend this street festival. On day 2 we were excited about renting a moped to go to the beach, lighthouse and smallest drawbridge in the world. There was a rental shop near the ship. After paying we got to run a track to test our skills, while somewhat challenging the staff felt we were good and could be on our way. Unfortunately we were not good. The experience on the track was nothing like what it was on the roadways and especially having no experience on this piece of equipment. Needless to say about 3 miles from the port we crashed, causing some injuries. We knew we had to return the mopeds and get to the ship doctor for care. Our injuries did not stop us from getting the mopeds back to the shop (which were kind enough to refund us after seeing our injuries). Going to the medical center I ended up with 7 stitches and lots of bandaging. Although we did not let this dampen our spirits we laid low the rest of this day and just did things onboard. Day 3 (final day on island) we searched out a safer means of travel. Learning that there is a mini van option in lieu of the expensive taxis that would get us to the destinations we had attempted the day before. While the beach was out, because of the injuries we did get to see the smallest drawbridge in the world and visit the lighthouse and take some wonderful photos from the top. As we completed this we returned to the port to do a little last minute shopping on the island before our planned departure to head back to New York. Despite the daily follow-up visits to the medical center and a little rough seas, the return sailing was uneventful. We did some things around the ship and enjoyed out last day on the Escape. We would also learn that other passengers had seen or knew people injured just like up on the mopeds and really suggest to everyone to only consider them if you truly have experience and know what you are doing. Of course the rental shop is not going to tell you that for fear of not getting your business. While we do not blame anyone but our reckless selves for this, we do believe there should have been better warnings about this and more up front information at the rental shop about the dangers. Upon arrival and embarkation from the ship we had a late bus ride back to DC. We planned it this way to walked around New York and avoid traffic in DC. We spent the day walking Times Square and visiting some sites along with going into Central Park. By the time we got on the bus we were ready to sit and relax and enjoy the ride home. The trip from New York to DC was smooth and didn't take as long as expected. By the time we got to DC as well traffic was light and our travels home were not delayed. We would clearly choose to sail NCL again and would certainly recommend and travel again on the Escape.

First time with NCL, normally with RC.

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by smd604

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Mid-ship Inside Stateroom
We booked this cruise 4 days prior to departure based on the value. We had attempted to plan a land vacation for the following week, but the estimated cost kept us focusing on a cruise. RC did not have any close by or in our price range but we found NCL did so we booked. We became a little concerned after booking as there had clearly been some competition on the NCL customer support staff to see who could get our booking first. This lead to a little rudeness, which with explanation we would of somewhat understood, but we had to assume what happened on their end and just shake it off. The next day we received a call from a NCL supervisor asking us about the experience and we knew then something had happened. While we had nothing to do with what was happening the supervisor did provide some OBC which we thought was very generous and began to clear our minds about concerns that did happen during the booking process.

Our travel arrangements were made. We normally travel the day before to the port of departure so we do not have to worry about arriving on time, especially living near Washington DC and know New York traffic can sometimes be a challenge. We chose to drive into DC early the morning of departure and take Greyhound into New York. This really was the only option since I had to work 8 am - 11 pm the day before. We were scheduled to take a 5:55 a.m. bus out of DC but since the driver decided not to show up we were delayed 2 hours before a bus finally arrived to take us into New York.

Despite the delay we still arrived in New York around noon and a quick cab ride to the pier found us ready to check in. The check in process went smoothly and since we had booked so last minute, our key cards had to be printed, although that did not take very long.

We boarded the ship and off we went to the box office to get reservations for shows that we had researched that we wanted to see. This was suggested on a couple of sites to do after boarding. We are not used to having to do reservations for shows, although we see the larger ships moving in this direction. We found the process easy and got all the reservations we requested. It would have been nice to have a print out when we left or something that linked to the App to remind us of what we had booked. We did have to go two separate times to guest services or the box office to confirm times for shows that we had booked. I guess we could have simply written it down when we made the reservation but were not thinking that far ahead.

After making reservations we headed to the buffet for a bite to eat. We found plenty of options on the buffet. Several reviews talked about the spacing in the buffet to not be crowded especially the further back you went. We did not find this to be the case. The buffet itself was not crowded, however to maneuver around the people coming and going was sometimes tricky. While on the subject of food, we had decided that we would only partake in the complimentary dining options. While there were plenty of eating options, we wanted to try those that cost no extra and believed we could do something different each day on a 7 day cruise. Most of our breakfast meals were in the Garden Cafe or Margaritaville (we did none in the dining rooms), we did lunches or snacks in the Garden Cafe as well. We experienced Taste, Savor and the Manahattan for dinner and found it odd that the menu's were the same, just a different seating environment. While we only went to these one time, we found our service at Taste was a little less than typical and not in a great way. This was the only time that we found staff to seem uninterested in us as passenger. In fact just asking for water to be refilled seemed to be a daunting task. We chalked it up on them having a bad day and walked away assuming all servers in that venue do not have the same mentality. Two of the shows we booked did come with a meal as well, so we had two meals in the Supper Club. Overall, food options were good. Food was flavored more than what we are used to with RC and a little more salty. The point for serving warm food does go to NCL though, food was always hot when served, this cannot always be said with RC.

This was the largest ship of the 14 cruises I have been on and will be traveling next year on Anthem of the Seas which I believe is comparable in size. While it will not be fair to judge RC for or against NCL on onboard activities I did thoroughly enjoy the different options that I am not used to having on the smaller ships. The ropes course was a lot of fun, although most of it stayed closed because of weather. I did two of the waterslides and while one is not really to exciting the other was lots of fun although there was a bit of a wait to participate. We really enjoyed Escape the Big Top (reservations required), never had done a group escape experience before and our team was only one clue from completing before time ran out. We enjoyed the Waterfront as well, especially in the evening. We did not spend much time at the bars or lounges as we are not big drinkers. We stayed away from the Casino as well. These all seemed to be enjoyed by our fellow passengers just not much interest to us.

Entertainment was certainly different than what we have experienced on RC. The shows that it seems that NCL contract out were awesome. We saw the Choir of Men and thoroughly enjoyed it. The different entertainment at some of the pubs or the Headliner Comedy Club were about what was expected. We did not care much for the production that NCL did with their singers and dancers, rated about the same as RC. We also enjoyed the night parties in the H2O Zone. Always something different and really was a party atmosphere.

Overall the ship was fun. We did find spaces that we felt were full of voids, although we assume it had something to do with the construction of the ship. Lots of dead spaces throughout. We were not impressed with all the food options (additional fee required). One or two may have been nice, but it seemed like that was all that was in the public spaces. The only negative we really found though was cleanliness. There was a clear and obvious difference in how RC cleans their vessels as opposed to NCL. We found many items were dirty and in some cases questioned when certain items were lasted cleaned. This is not the best situation considering how quickly illnesses and germs can spread in such a confined space. It was very evident to us and was probably the only area which could deter me choosing NCL over another cruise line.

Our destination on this trip was to Bermuda for roughly 3 days. I had only been to the island once about 12 years ago and recalled finding it a bit lacking then. This trip did not change my belief in that. Day 1 we bought the transportation pass for the day, took the ferry to Hamilton. Arriving in Hamilton we just did not find many options. Now this may be our fault, since it was a last minute trip we had not really done much research on the island. From Hamilton we decided to go to St. George (we would later learn that NCL has a free ferry there from the ship). Taking the bus to St. George we arrived to find a small town with very limited options. While we strolled the streets for a little while we opted to take the ferry back to the ship to relax and grab dinner before once again heading to Hamilton for a weekly street celebration. Once we finished up dinner we went to stand in line to await the ferry, finally it showed and we were off. We arrived in Hamilton to find a very limited number of vendors or things to do at their street festival. It was really disappointing, especially knowing we had to wait again for the ferry to make a half hour trip back to the ship. Unless we were missing something I would not suggest wasting your time to attend this street festival.

On day 2 we were excited about renting a moped to go to the beach, lighthouse and smallest drawbridge in the world. There was a rental shop near the ship. After paying we got to run a track to test our skills, while somewhat challenging the staff felt we were good and could be on our way. Unfortunately we were not good. The experience on the track was nothing like what it was on the roadways and especially having no experience on this piece of equipment. Needless to say about 3 miles from the port we crashed, causing some injuries. We knew we had to return the mopeds and get to the ship doctor for care. Our injuries did not stop us from getting the mopeds back to the shop (which were kind enough to refund us after seeing our injuries). Going to the medical center I ended up with 7 stitches and lots of bandaging. Although we did not let this dampen our spirits we laid low the rest of this day and just did things onboard.

Day 3 (final day on island) we searched out a safer means of travel. Learning that there is a mini van option in lieu of the expensive taxis that would get us to the destinations we had attempted the day before. While the beach was out, because of the injuries we did get to see the smallest drawbridge in the world and visit the lighthouse and take some wonderful photos from the top. As we completed this we returned to the port to do a little last minute shopping on the island before our planned departure to head back to New York.

Despite the daily follow-up visits to the medical center and a little rough seas, the return sailing was uneventful. We did some things around the ship and enjoyed out last day on the Escape. We would also learn that other passengers had seen or knew people injured just like up on the mopeds and really suggest to everyone to only consider them if you truly have experience and know what you are doing. Of course the rental shop is not going to tell you that for fear of not getting your business. While we do not blame anyone but our reckless selves for this, we do believe there should have been better warnings about this and more up front information at the rental shop about the dangers.

Upon arrival and embarkation from the ship we had a late bus ride back to DC. We planned it this way to walked around New York and avoid traffic in DC. We spent the day walking Times Square and visiting some sites along with going into Central Park. By the time we got on the bus we were ready to sit and relax and enjoy the ride home. The trip from New York to DC was smooth and didn't take as long as expected. By the time we got to DC as well traffic was light and our travels home were not delayed.

We would clearly choose to sail NCL again and would certainly recommend and travel again on the Escape.
smd604’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-ship Inside Stateroom
Cabin IA 13609
Cabin was comfortable. Furnishings seemed typical for normal cruise inside stateroom. We felt the stateroom itself lacked private storage space. Minimal drawers to put items. The rooms did not seemed to be designed based on storage and to some extent functionality. Our stateroom attendant did a great job at keeping the room in order and clean and was always there if we needed anything. He would always make it a point when he saw us to have a brief friendly conversation. The bathroom was larger than what we expected and for some reason had more than ample storage space. Comparing RC to NCL we would say NCL wins for the bathroom design while RC wins for the stateroom design. Our room was assigned by NCL as a guarantee last minute sale. We were happy with the cabin we were assigned as it was midship and central to the elevators either forward or aft. We did notice that there is a lot more noise from staterooms on NCL or maybe it was just this cruise. We could hear the television in the room next to us and hear people as they walked the corridor, even though we were in a small hallway. We never experienced hearing others on RC, it is almost as if our room is soundproof, we could not say the same for NCL.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins