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Due to hurricane Dorian we were notified several days before this cruise that the ship would be arriving late and that embarkation would take place from 4 to 7 pm (rather than 11am-2pm). We dutifully arrived at 4:30 pm only to be met by thousands of passengers milling all over the terminal. Since there we’re not enough chairs, people were sitting and lying on the floor. There were hardly any NCL employees to ask about what we could expect. We’d were at one point handed a ticket good for one bottle of water ( if you were willing to stand in another line!). This went on for 3 hrs,! We saw many disabled or elderly passengers who seemed to be in real distress and talked to one man who was diabetic and couldn’t get anything appropriate to eat. Although we finally got on the boat at 7:45, there were people who told us they had not received the message (phone and text) and arrived at the terminal at noon, waiting more than 7 hrs to board! Norwegian officials made only perfunctory apologies for all of this and NO compensation was offered to passengers for time taken away from a cruise they paid for, the extra expenses of meals in NY, or the extreme stress of the day. I finally received my luggage at 10:30pm. Although the hurricane was not NCL’s fault, once they decided to go ahead with the cruise they had a responsibility to make embarkation at least bearable! In this regard, they failed miserably! Unfortunately their inefficiency didn’t end with the embarkation. There were four ports on this cruise so we signed up for a shore excursion on each one. Three of the excursions started late, two of them a whole hour late! The meeting place for one of our excursions was also the meeting place for numerous other trips and the room became dangerously overcrowded! Passengers were camped out in the halls and could not hear announcements so had to pull over those streaming out to ask which trip was being called. The crowd became so dense I had to leave to get some air! Regarding entertainment, the two shows we attended I would rate somewhere between fair and good. The crew talent show was over almost as soon as it began! You were only able to prebook one show,(After Midnight) so you had to sign up for the others after boarding. By the time we were deciding what to do, the venues were mostly booked. Also, a lot of the entertainment happens late at night so if you’re not a night owl you’re going to miss it. Although they had a lot of bars, the smaller ones are constantly changing the hours they’re open so it was difficult to keep all that straight. There is little in the way of any educational programming except when NCL is trying to sell you something which they do consistently throughout the cruise! As one previous NCL cruises, the food was very good and of consistently high quality and the service was good. No real complaints about our cabin either. The biggest problem I see with Norwegian Escape is that it is just too big and NCL has not mastered the art of handling that many people efficiently. Everything is always crowded and there seems to be very few places on the boat to have a quiet moment. The layout of the ship is not really user friendly although I coudn’t tell you exactly why. It is noisy, chaotic, and is the only cruise I have gone on where I came home with jangled nerves and in need of a vacation! This was our 5th Norwegian Cruise and will most probably be our last!

Very disappointing cruise!

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by jcfrish

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2019
  • Destination: Canada & New England
  • Cabin Type: Aft-facing Balcony Stateroom
Due to hurricane Dorian we were notified several days before this cruise that the ship would be arriving late and that embarkation would take place from 4 to 7 pm (rather than 11am-2pm). We dutifully arrived at 4:30 pm only to be met by thousands of passengers milling all over the terminal. Since there we’re not enough chairs, people were sitting and lying on the floor. There were hardly any NCL employees to ask about what we could expect. We’d were at one point handed a ticket good for one bottle of water ( if you were willing to stand in another line!). This went on for 3 hrs,! We saw many disabled or elderly passengers who seemed to be in real distress and talked to one man who was diabetic and couldn’t get anything appropriate to eat. Although we finally got on the boat at 7:45, there were people who told us they had not received the message (phone and text) and arrived at the terminal at noon, waiting more than 7 hrs to board! Norwegian officials made only perfunctory apologies for all of this and NO compensation was offered to passengers for time taken away from a cruise they paid for, the extra expenses of meals in NY, or the extreme stress of the day. I finally received my luggage at 10:30pm. Although the hurricane was not NCL’s fault, once they decided to go ahead with the cruise they had a responsibility to make embarkation at least bearable! In this regard, they failed miserably!

Unfortunately their inefficiency didn’t end with the embarkation. There were four ports on this cruise so we signed up for a shore excursion on each one. Three of the excursions started late, two of them a whole hour late! The meeting place for one of our excursions was also the meeting place for numerous other trips and the room became dangerously overcrowded! Passengers were camped out in the halls and could not hear announcements so had to pull over those streaming out to ask which trip was being called.

The crowd became so dense I had to leave to get some air!

Regarding entertainment, the two shows we attended I would rate somewhere between fair and good. The crew talent show was over almost as soon as it began! You were only able to prebook one show,(After Midnight) so you had to sign up for the others after boarding. By the time we were deciding what to do, the venues were mostly booked. Also, a lot of the entertainment happens late at night so if you’re not a night owl you’re going to miss it. Although they had a lot of bars, the smaller ones are constantly changing the hours they’re open so it was difficult to keep all that straight. There is little in the way of any educational programming except when NCL is trying to sell you something which they do consistently throughout the cruise! As one previous NCL cruises, the food was very good and of consistently high quality and the service was good. No real complaints about our cabin either.

The biggest problem I see with Norwegian Escape is that it is just too big and NCL has not mastered the art of handling that many people efficiently. Everything is always crowded and there seems to be very few places on the boat to have a quiet moment. The layout of the ship is not really user friendly although I coudn’t tell you exactly why. It is noisy, chaotic, and is the only cruise I have gone on where I came home with jangled nerves and in need of a vacation! This was our 5th Norwegian Cruise and will most probably be our last!
jcfrish’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Aft-facing Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B1 10264
Cabin was comfortable and in a good location.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins