Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by sniperx4
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: Bahamas
Family Vacation - 2019 - Norwegian Escape NCL NYC to Nassau, Bahamas
I wanted to inform you of the experience my family and I had on our recent cruise with Norwegian that embarked on February 24th. This cruise was very special as my family and I were all celebrating our birthdays as we are all only
a few weeks from one another and we planned on celebrating on the Escape!
To start we arrived at the terminal and handed our luggage to the gentleman out front of the terminal, which seemed very sketchy to say the least as he had no marked clothing announcing he was part of NCL. Once inside the terminal we were greeted with a long line that seemed to move at a steady pace! After about a few hours wait; checking in, working through security, and awaiting our boarding # to be called by the grumpy staff we proceeded to board the ship!
My family and I started immediately by walking around the ship and exploring the sections that were available and open. We were not yet able to enter our stateroom as it was still in process of being prepared, so my family and I decided to get some lunch at the Garden Buffet. This initial experience was terrible. The food was not hot, the crowd of people was so intense that there was pushing, arguing and there was overall mayhem. Finding a seat was next to impossible as there was many people having to stand with their plates and eat their food due to the lack of seating to accommodate the vast amount of people wanting to eat.
We eventually were able to find a seat only to have many people hovering near us for our seat to open up. We ate our food and left the buffet area. Since our room was still not made up, we decided to walk the outer deck and view the NYC skyline as we sailed away from the NYC port; we were excited to begin our vacation!
I have been on other NCL cruises in the past and experienced really good service and experience. This cruise did not come close to my other cruises as far as enjoyableness and relaxation. For the money spent, I feel the experience should have been much greater!
We felt that the ship was filled with overworked, understaffed employees that didn’t really show the enjoyment to paying customers looking to have a vacation of a life time!
Our Stateroom- When our stateroom finally opened, we entered and were a little amazed to find that there were soiled towels still sitting on our bathroom floor, a pair of soaked women’s underwear outside our balcony and a bag of opened/dumped candy and mens glasses under our bed. Not quite sure of the cleaning process, but we were expecting a spotless room. The room also had an issue with the balcony door handle or seal where it seemed there was a constant whistling air leak pouring into the room making a hissing noise. After notifying guest relations, housekeeping was sent to the room to re-tidy the room, we were told sorry for inconvenience. The balcony door hiss was never resolved and we were told there were no other rooms available to move to so we persevered thinking “How much are we really going to be in the room?” It was quite an annoyance as we couldn’t really get much sleep with the air whistling into the stateroom. Another really poor experience was that the stateroom below our room had a couple that was constantly smoking marijuana and the smell was pouring into our cabin. This caused many issues as I had my 2 boys with me and I had to explain to them why there was a constant odor of “Skunk” in our cabin! I had to them them a skunk may have snuck on board, fibbing as I could see them smoking when I was on my balcony. Again calling guest relations revealed the guest below us had a license and was legally consuming the drug. If this was the case we would have opted for a different cabin from the get go at the beginning of booking our cruise to avoid the awful odor. Another problem we faed in our room was the lack of cold water. At times there was only scolding hot water unless the water had been ran for about 30 mins to allow the temperature to be bearable.This was an extremely unpleasant ordeal I feel no one should have ever have to endure. The upkeep of the room was very poor as there were several worn items in the room and could tell there was very poor upkeep, like the seal on the back of the toilet that was hanging off of the wall (noticed when we came into room). Our housekeeper did an excellent job with making our beds and cleaning during the day. She was very friendly but we could tell she was extremely tired and overworked not once seeing her not working our section cleaning rooms. I don’t think she ever slept even seeing her in the middle of the night in the hallways. Amongst other issues faced in our room these were a few that made our cruise the most unenjoyable.
The overall food selection I feel was not as variable as I have experienced on other NCL cruises. It seemed to be the same bland selection daily with very little diffraction on a day to day basis. The lines were so long at the buffet and the tabling was so extremely limited. We often found our selves having to either come back at another time to eat or having to be force to make a reservation at one of the onboard restaurants to guarantee food and a seat.. The sit down restaurant experience was not awful but could use room for major improvement. The wait to get into the restaurant with reservation was very fluid, not having to wait long once arriving to get seated. The wait for the food took quite a bit and almost every time left you with a plate of food that was barely room temperature most likely due to having been sitting waiting for waiter to bring to table. Due to what seemed to be understaffing this was most likely why the food always came out with a non-hot temperature and an under/overcooked taste and texture. One thing I did enjoy was how often the staff had made us wash our hands for safety and cleanliness; a very good practice to have.
We ended up eating at Jimmy Buffets Margaritavile at Sea 2 times. Once by choice because we had not tried before and another because we had a dining upgrade and our kids wanted to try. The second time we ate there it was about 25 degrees outside and we had asked to have our food as a takeout so we could go inside to our stateroom to eat. This seemed to be a problem as we had to argue a bit to allow this! But eventually we were told we could bring the food from the restaurant to our room.
My family and I a few times dined at O’Sheehans. The food here was really good but the overall service was terrible. We frequently found our selves waiting about 45+ minutes for our drink orders to arrive and items missing from our orders. We did however return because the food was tasty and we could sit and not have to fight others in the buffet area if we happened to walk buy and see an available seat for us.
On board Entertainment:
I would’ve to say for the few shows we did attend, we really did have a good time at Greg Gleason’s magic show. He definitely is a A-List magician and we were lucky and privileged to have experienced his show while on board. We also saw the Choir of Man which again was a enjoyable show. The daily shows and activities that were going on in the atrium left many standing while the shows went on due to overpopulation of people and a lack of sufficient seating for guests to relax and really enjoy the shows and entertainment. There was many things going on throughout the day so there was always something to keep one occupied which was good.
My wife and I both had the Unlimited Beverage Package which was nice. The only issue was it was never made clear to us that while we were ported we would incur taxes to our accounts unless we were out in the water and not at port. Everytime we visited the bar, we found our selves waiting for a very long time due to there only being a few bartenders to make drinks for the several thousand on board looking for service. We at times left to find another bar in hopes for quicker service. The bartenders were very friendly once we got service and the drinks were very good as well, but overall I was not impressed with the experience.
My family and I did a few activities while on board to stay busy. The ropes course was one the kids really enjoyed the few times it was actually opened but the staff that manned the course were very abrasive, grump and somewhat rude to guest looking to do the course and have a good time. We felt very safe with the harnesses and had a good time once we were able to try. The mini golf course was fun and I had a good time doing this with my family. The fitness area was very warm and the few treadmills I attempted to use were unstable and shaky when running forcing me to use other equipment like the cycling bikes. The selection of gym equipment otherwise I felt was pretty decent compared to other cruise line onboard gyms.
Swimming Area: The 2 swimming pools on board this ship I feel were not adequate causing the pools to be frequently overloaded and crowded with very little room or space to enjoy and relax in the heat. One pool solely for kids is not enough and the adults only pool was not enough either. The upper deck where the other hot tubs was almost always shut down with a sign saying closed due to high winds, I assume a safety concern but this was also a major inconvenience. There were not enough lounge chairs for the hundreds of guests in the area and this was unsettling as we had to walk around at times wasting almost an hour eventually finding a seat to place our items down to relax. There should be better monitoring of people throwing there items down taking up multiple chairs when they are actually unused so others could enjoy the area.
The shopping selection onboard was descent with somewhat decent prices to match. You can tell there are quite a markup on most jewelry and watch items but other watches and sunglasses were competitively priced. The tax free shopping was very good and allowed to save some money.
Tendering and excursions:
They day we were set to tender to Great Stirrup Cay was very exciting for us as our kids were looking forward to this the most. The process for tendering and getting the guests safely to the island went pleasantly well. Once on the island we were greeted my happy staff. We immediately claimed a lounge chair by the water and went to collect our snorkeling gear. All went well with getting our gear and getting ready to use in the water. At first the water was very calm as many people had not yet arrived to the island so we were able to see the many beautiful fish in the water through our goggles. This experience quickly got a little iffy as we had many times had other cruise guests come up to our chairs attempted to take our towels because they forgot there’s and actually having one guy take my wife towel and use to dry off. His mother came over and got really irate and childish acting towards my wife.My wife kept her calm and the lady finally walked off to her own area away from us. We did let the crew walking by know if this but it seemed they didn’t really understand what we were saying to well and kept nodding at us. We hate at the BBQ on the island that day; the food selection was somewhat limited and was not very warm either. It was quickly picked though and seemed to be rushed at being cooked and hot so everyone could eat, personally I feel it should have been prepared earlier so it was cooked thoroughly and hot for all cruise guests to enjoy… When the day was close to ending and our time to board the tender boat back to the ship was hear, we boarded the tender boat to find an overpopulation of people crammed and forced on to one available ship while another empty tender boat sat next to ours unused. This trip back to the ship after being crammed like sardines in a can and being sunburnt and hot was very unpleasant and unenjoyable.
The day we spent in Port Canaveral came a little to soo causing us to miss out on extra time on the ship as we were all notified we had to get to Florida sooner due to an ill passenger on board. This caused us to have to get off the ship earlier than expecting and wait longer for our excursion to start for the one we picked. Time we were hoping to have spent a little longer to relax onboard in the hot tub we had found. Somewhat understandable due to the ill passenger but an unpleasant experience for us overall.
Nassau day was fun for us as we were early to get off the ship and enjoy the shopping options of the island. getting on and off was seamless and the security did a good job ensuring all passengers were not bringing any prohibited items on board. After a long day of shopping we were back on board ready to set sail back to NYC port.
Nassau to NYC Port:
The next few days back to NYC port went by fairly quickly. After all the walking we had done and the sun we had received had us wanting to relax and enjoy our last few days on board. Again we were not able to receive much sleep due to the air leak noise in our room from our balcony, and the frequently present scent of marijuana from the guests underneath us found us not being able to wait soon enough to get off of the ship we had such a unpleasant experience with. We found the disembarkation process to be straightforward besides the fact once we were off the ship, we were forced to stand outside close to an hour in the freezing cold until we were allowed to get into the terminal to collect our bags; another unenjoyable experience!!
Overall my family and I did not really have a memorable pleasurable experience, with so many things going wrong while on and off the ship we feel this experience could have been 1000x better. In hind site, after this cruise we wished we hadn’t been on the cruise do to all the issues we faced. For the amount of money spent on this family vacation trip we now wish we saved our money and did something else. After this experience, we are unsure if we will cruise with Norwegian again as we feel the service has gone downhill compared to previous NCL cruises we have been on. The privateness and memorableness previously felt on other cruises was tarnished due to the issues we endured while on this cruise. This cruise was supposed to be a memorable and exciting time for all as my older son is due to leave for the military and my father in law had just passed the week prior. I was hoping for lifetime vacation; one we could enjoy and celebrate the life of our lost loved one and memories we could hold and cherish for time to come. Only to have memories of a horrible experience that we will have to share with others of our overall experiences we faced.
I sincerely hope that Norweigan Cruise line can take this feedback and alter the way they treat and accommodate guests like us that have strictly and constantly chosen NCL for our cruise trips! Unsure as we are if we will ever cruise with Norwegian again after this ordeal I hope you can help and assist with turning around our unpleasant experience into a positive future experience.
This is an honest review of our trip and a small portion of the unpleasantries we faced this time around.
Update: NCL reached out to us last month, with only a "We're Sorry", no discount, assistance or help in making our unpleasant experience any greater!
Just want to say, worst cruise I have ever experienced!
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