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1. Our trip from NYC fell on tail end of Hurricane Dorian. NCL gave us repeated daily text messages, phone calls, and emails for days prior to the cruise informing us there would be delays on embarkation. No problem, except that the terminal only had a handful of chairs for hundreds and hundreds of people told to be there at between 2-4 PM. Tempers and frustration was high as people sat on the floor for hours with a coupon redeemable for water and a bag of chips. Many people who booked through travel agents or traveled from abroad never received messages from NCL about the delay and were stuck in the cruise terminal from 8 AM until we finally started boarding around 7 pm. This process was long and tedious unless you were a Haven guest with priority boarding and treatment. No other priority boarding (for prior NCL guests like us) was honored. NCL had days to make arrangements for a smooth process but did nothing. No ship credit was offered for missed hours onboard or for our inconvenience. 2. Our group of four (all in our 50's) enjoy craft beers. We were excited to try out the District Brew House / Sports Bar onboard. Our first trip there we were told it was closed for a private party for Cruise Critic guests. Our next trip, a quarter of the bar was shut down for an "educational tasting party" that required extra money but the staff spoke so loud that the whole bar got the "education". On two other visits we had to leave because the piano player was playing so loudly (over loud speakers) that we couldn't hold conversation. The piano music was sleepy "elevator music" that only worsened when the player also decided to sing. On Saturday (last full day at sea), we all donned our college football jerseys and headed to the Brew House expecting to play cards and watch the ball games. Again, we get there to discover they are closed for another private event. An hour later, they reopened for the peons, and we discover the same soccer game is playing on every single tv in the bar. Staff has no ability to change channels and guest services informed us that soccer is the only thing showing in every bar on the ship. We return to the bar disappointed, only to discover the same boring piano player is setting up again to put everyone into sleep mode. NCL obviously has no clue what music is appropriate for a brew house and they over-rate American interest in soccer. (This being said, there are good beer choices in this pub and we had no complaints with service because there were very few patrons). 3. We weren't aware that our stop in Bar Harbor would require a scheduled tender to get ashore until we arrived back at our room and read it on the itinerary. By the time we got back down to get it scheduled, all the early times were done. A staff member took us to the kiosk to get us scheduled, but ended up only booking one person of our group for four tenders instead of booking four of us on one tender. This forced us into an even later time slot which made us late for our privately-booked excursion. Thankfully, they waited for us but it limited our time at port. 4. Taste and Savor stop seating for breakfast at 9:30 AM. This is fine since they need time to set-up for lunch service. But on port days, they don't serve lunch but still will not seat guests for breakfast past 9:30 AM. This is ridiculous given that thousands of people are trying to eat breakfast at the same time before going to shore. 5. We have traveled on NCL Getaway twice before taking NCL Escape. The ships have very similar lay-outs and amenities. We were completely surprised that the guys could not smoke cigars at the OUTSIDE deck bar directly outside the smoking lounge. Instead, they had to go up to Deck 16 or 17. The biggest absurdity to this, is that NCL allows indoor smoking at their casino which inconveniences every single non-smoking guest onboard. For this reason, I didn't give one dime to that casino. 6. If you want food or alcohol service at the high-tops at O'Sheehans, be prepared to walk over to the hostess and get registered. Staff will come by to clear tables, but without being seated by the hostess, they will not give any service. 7. The highlight of the cruise was the shows in the Escape Theater. Escape the Big Top was very fun, but not enough time is given to really work on the clues. The Choir of Man was amazing and had everyone clapping and singing. After Midnight was very entertaining, as well. The comedians (late night) were very funny. We didn't get a chance to catch the dueling pianos show. 8. The game shows are very funny to watch (and participate), but they were exactly the same as our prior sailings on NCL Getaway. We were hoping for more variety and more entertainment given this was a cruise with cooler weather where guests wouldn't be spending much time in pools and decks. 9. Bingo and Deal or No Deal are a rip-off and people should not waste their money. 10. Le Bistro remains our favorite restaurant onboard all NCL ships. We were disappointed with the quality of our steaks at Cagneys. Tempanyaki is good, but every chef does the same show, so you know what's coming because you hear it from people who were seated before you. 11. The ports on this cruise did not disappoint. We booked privately for the ports in Maine, and did Halifax and Saint John on our own. 12. The cabin staff was wonderful. We had coffee and danishes delivered to our room each morning (no fee) and they were on time and coffee was hot. 13. The staff at O'Sheehans restaurant was a mixed bag, as was the food consistency. 14. The ropes course was often closed due to wind. We did get to do half the course and it was fun. Mini golf is a fun hour spent. Bocci Ball is the best deck activity and very popular. They could use more of these courts. 15. Overall, we would do this itinerary again, but NCL Escape will not be our ship of choice. In fact, we are scheduled for a 14-day Scandanavian cruise on the NCL Escape in May 2020 and we have decided to cancel because of our disappointment on this trip. It's a shame, because it is a pretty ship with lots of potential, but just poorly executed. The smoking situation in the casino and the disappointment in the District Brew House Sports Pub are deal-breakers for us.

A mixed bag

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by FL-sunny-girl

Trip Details
1. Our trip from NYC fell on tail end of Hurricane Dorian. NCL gave us repeated daily text messages, phone calls, and emails for days prior to the cruise informing us there would be delays on embarkation. No problem, except that the terminal only had a handful of chairs for hundreds and hundreds of people told to be there at between 2-4 PM. Tempers and frustration was high as people sat on the floor for hours with a coupon redeemable for water and a bag of chips. Many people who booked through travel agents or traveled from abroad never received messages from NCL about the delay and were stuck in the cruise terminal from 8 AM until we finally started boarding around 7 pm. This process was long and tedious unless you were a Haven guest with priority boarding and treatment. No other priority boarding (for prior NCL guests like us) was honored. NCL had days to make arrangements for a smooth process but did nothing. No ship credit was offered for missed hours onboard or for our inconvenience.

2. Our group of four (all in our 50's) enjoy craft beers. We were excited to try out the District Brew House / Sports Bar onboard. Our first trip there we were told it was closed for a private party for Cruise Critic guests. Our next trip, a quarter of the bar was shut down for an "educational tasting party" that required extra money but the staff spoke so loud that the whole bar got the "education". On two other visits we had to leave because the piano player was playing so loudly (over loud speakers) that we couldn't hold conversation. The piano music was sleepy "elevator music" that only worsened when the player also decided to sing. On Saturday (last full day at sea), we all donned our college football jerseys and headed to the Brew House expecting to play cards and watch the ball games. Again, we get there to discover they are closed for another private event. An hour later, they reopened for the peons, and we discover the same soccer game is playing on every single tv in the bar. Staff has no ability to change channels and guest services informed us that soccer is the only thing showing in every bar on the ship. We return to the bar disappointed, only to discover the same boring piano player is setting up again to put everyone into sleep mode. NCL obviously has no clue what music is appropriate for a brew house and they over-rate American interest in soccer. (This being said, there are good beer choices in this pub and we had no complaints with service because there were very few patrons).

3. We weren't aware that our stop in Bar Harbor would require a scheduled tender to get ashore until we arrived back at our room and read it on the itinerary. By the time we got back down to get it scheduled, all the early times were done. A staff member took us to the kiosk to get us scheduled, but ended up only booking one person of our group for four tenders instead of booking four of us on one tender. This forced us into an even later time slot which made us late for our privately-booked excursion. Thankfully, they waited for us but it limited our time at port.

4. Taste and Savor stop seating for breakfast at 9:30 AM. This is fine since they need time to set-up for lunch service. But on port days, they don't serve lunch but still will not seat guests for breakfast past 9:30 AM. This is ridiculous given that thousands of people are trying to eat breakfast at the same time before going to shore.

5. We have traveled on NCL Getaway twice before taking NCL Escape. The ships have very similar lay-outs and amenities. We were completely surprised that the guys could not smoke cigars at the OUTSIDE deck bar directly outside the smoking lounge. Instead, they had to go up to Deck 16 or 17. The biggest absurdity to this, is that NCL allows indoor smoking at their casino which inconveniences every single non-smoking guest onboard. For this reason, I didn't give one dime to that casino.

6. If you want food or alcohol service at the high-tops at O'Sheehans, be prepared to walk over to the hostess and get registered. Staff will come by to clear tables, but without being seated by the hostess, they will not give any service.

7. The highlight of the cruise was the shows in the Escape Theater. Escape the Big Top was very fun, but not enough time is given to really work on the clues. The Choir of Man was amazing and had everyone clapping and singing. After Midnight was very entertaining, as well. The comedians (late night) were very funny. We didn't get a chance to catch the dueling pianos show.

8. The game shows are very funny to watch (and participate), but they were exactly the same as our prior sailings on NCL Getaway. We were hoping for more variety and more entertainment given this was a cruise with cooler weather where guests wouldn't be spending much time in pools and decks.

9. Bingo and Deal or No Deal are a rip-off and people should not waste their money.

10. Le Bistro remains our favorite restaurant onboard all NCL ships. We were disappointed with the quality of our steaks at Cagneys. Tempanyaki is good, but every chef does the same show, so you know what's coming because you hear it from people who were seated before you.

11. The ports on this cruise did not disappoint. We booked privately for the ports in Maine, and did Halifax and Saint John on our own.

12. The cabin staff was wonderful. We had coffee and danishes delivered to our room each morning (no fee) and they were on time and coffee was hot.

13. The staff at O'Sheehans restaurant was a mixed bag, as was the food consistency.

14. The ropes course was often closed due to wind. We did get to do half the course and it was fun. Mini golf is a fun hour spent. Bocci Ball is the best deck activity and very popular. They could use more of these courts.

15. Overall, we would do this itinerary again, but NCL Escape will not be our ship of choice. In fact, we are scheduled for a 14-day Scandanavian cruise on the NCL Escape in May 2020 and we have decided to cancel because of our disappointment on this trip. It's a shame, because it is a pretty ship with lots of potential, but just poorly executed. The smoking situation in the casino and the disappointment in the District Brew House Sports Pub are deal-breakers for us.
FL-sunny-girl’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom
Cabin BF 13300
Mattress could be softer, but not bad. Cabin was clean. Adequate storage.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews