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We decided to go on another Bermuda cruise, but we had very few choices in October from NY/NJ. We have always gone earlier in the season. While we have always gone on smaller ships (Gem, Summit), we decided that Bermuda would be the gentlest way to experience a big ship, since there would be no tendering necessary, and only one port at which we could come and go at our leisure. Honestly, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal is always crazy, but it wasn't any worse with the big ship. We got there around 11:00AM, and were on board around 12:30PM. Unfortunately, we couldn't even go right to lunch - we had to stand in line to get our dining reservations changed. Our NCL TA made reservations for us, but he was only able to make them for parties of 4, and at very late times. We were able to change them to slightly better times. Once we got that done, we went to lunch at Savor - one of the two main dining rooms that were open. Lunch was good, people were friendly, and things were looking up. We had a bit of time to kill, and since it was raining, we found a comfy seat on the Waterfront - protected from the rain. Once it was announced that our cabins were ready, we headed up to deck 10. Our mid-ship mini suite was nice enough. Too bad there is no divider (heavy drape) between the bed and living area - as there is on the Gem. This way, it was really just a regular balcony cabin with a nicer bathroom. We found our room steward, Dominick, and asked for a few things, which he remembered for almost the entire cruise. (For some reason on the final night, he didn't get to our room for towels, ice, or anything.) We went to O'Sheehan's for dinner since it was Prime Rib night - my partner loved it. I had Shepherd's pie - and it was pretty good. We found it easy to get drinks most of the time (we had a drink package), and they were really good for the most part. We were invited to the exclusive Captain's cocktail party a couple of days later, as well as the Cruise Critic meet and greet. The meet and greet was fine - officers showed up and did their little speeches, but the venue was WAY too small for the number of people. We went to the Supper Club for the exclusive cocktail party, and waited... and waited... and waited until more than 15 minutes past the announced time - they still hadn't opened, and the line was getting ridiculous. We then left since it's our vacation, and were insulted that this is how they treat their returning guests. So much for that, and it left a really bad taste. Food was good for the most part. Le Bistro was wonderful. In fact we at there twice, changing our last reservation from La Cucina to Le Bistro. We also ate at Bayamo - which was a mixed bag. Appetizers were WONDERFUL - we had the crab cake, scallops with pork belly, and shrimp cocktail. Entrees were disappointing. His grilled fisherman's platter was cooked properly, but nothing special. My grilled lobster had a weird texture, and zero flavor. Desserts were terrible. He has some kind of apple tart on puff pastry - but the puff pastry never puffed. It was pale and disgusting. My lime sorbet (couldn't find anything else appealing) was off - not very good. On top of the food being an issue, we were told by the person when we checked in that there was only one appetizer, one entrée, two sides, and one dessert per person. We told her that isn't true - only the entrée is limited to one per person. She insisted that this restaurant (Bayamo) was different. Whatever. We planned on ordering three appetizers anyway, and would deal with any charges later. Our waitress also said the same thing - only one appetizer, one entrée, two sides, and one dessert per person. Seriously - people like to order soup and salad - so they are saying it would be an extra charge. The bottom line, we were not charged for any extra appetizers. The NCL.COM website clearly states everything is included, and it only limits the entrees. I wish NCL would assure that their website rules are clearly communicated to their on-board staff. Le Bistro, the last night was incredible again. It's really the only specialty restaurant worth going to. No mention of only one app per person. The two main shows we saw in the theater were amazing - Choir of Man and After Midnight. We would absolutely recommend making reservations for both of those shows. They were absolutely the best shows we have ever seen on a cruise ship! We went to the Supper Club for a couple of dinner shows, and it was OK. Dinners there were pretty generic, with no real choices. We ended up going to the buffet afterwards. Breakfast and lunch were generally good in both the smaller dining rooms and the buffet. Service was slow one morning for breakfast. Dinner in the Manhattan room was fine one day, and a disaster the second time. It took almost two hours to get through an appetizer, main course and dessert, while every other table around us had turned over at least once. People who arrived after us had finished, and the new people who were seated were done too. Our waiter disappeared for long periods of time. Dinner itself was good, but annoyingly slow with no explanation, and no one asking if everything was OK. Bermuda was great - as it always is, but that had nothing to do with NCL. One very disappointing part of this cruise was the lack of open bars and venues past midnight or 1:00AM. Food choices were O'Sheehans or nothing. While O'Sheehans was OK, why not keep a small part of the buffet open very late with just some snacks? We found lines of people after lunch, and after dinner, looking for food while the employees were breaking down (and tossing out) food. If there are people who are hungry, waiting at the buffet, make an exception and keep sections opened. One of the other VERY disappointing aspects of the Escape, was the lack of an appropriately sized venue for many of the events. Almost all of the events held in the Atrium were EXTREMELY over-crowded. If you didn't get there a half hour early, you had to struggle to find a seat. The Gem has the Spinnaker Lounge - a much larger venue for all of the trivia, games, and just about everything else that was hosted in the Atrium. It appears that NCL was more interested in adding smaller venues and extra cabins instead of creating appropriately sized venues. The Cruise Director, Jacky, was pretty good - as was most of the staff. The Cruise Next desk folks were RIDICULOUS. I wanted to purchase one certificate, and they argued with me, twice, on two separate occasions, that I needed to buy more than one. I walked away twice and was almost NOT going to buy one, but decided to just go back one more time, state that I only wanted one, and they finally stopped arguing with me. (I noticed that the Gem is scheduled to be back in NY next year, so we plan on doing the Caribbean itinerary next year.) The last morning was the first time we noticed a severe lack of civility - and it was on the elevators. I was pushed so hard by people trying to get onto a crowded elevator that I almost got knocked over. Had my partner not been standing right behind me, I would have been knocked down. If people would be a little patient, they would all get on the elevators eventually. We won't do another big ship on NCL based on our experience on the Escape. It's really too bad that NCL is more interested in their bottom line than the comfort and enjoyment of their guests.

First time on a big ship, and likely the last time.

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by DinaS

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Mid-ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
We decided to go on another Bermuda cruise, but we had very few choices in October from NY/NJ. We have always gone earlier in the season.

While we have always gone on smaller ships (Gem, Summit), we decided that Bermuda would be the gentlest way to experience a big ship, since there would be no tendering necessary, and only one port at which we could come and go at our leisure.

Honestly, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal is always crazy, but it wasn't any worse with the big ship. We got there around 11:00AM, and were on board around 12:30PM.

Unfortunately, we couldn't even go right to lunch - we had to stand in line to get our dining reservations changed. Our NCL TA made reservations for us, but he was only able to make them for parties of 4, and at very late times. We were able to change them to slightly better times.

Once we got that done, we went to lunch at Savor - one of the two main dining rooms that were open. Lunch was good, people were friendly, and things were looking up.

We had a bit of time to kill, and since it was raining, we found a comfy seat on the Waterfront - protected from the rain. Once it was announced that our cabins were ready, we headed up to deck 10. Our mid-ship mini suite was nice enough. Too bad there is no divider (heavy drape) between the bed and living area - as there is on the Gem. This way, it was really just a regular balcony cabin with a nicer bathroom. We found our room steward, Dominick, and asked for a few things, which he remembered for almost the entire cruise. (For some reason on the final night, he didn't get to our room for towels, ice, or anything.)

We went to O'Sheehan's for dinner since it was Prime Rib night - my partner loved it. I had Shepherd's pie - and it was pretty good. We found it easy to get drinks most of the time (we had a drink package), and they were really good for the most part.

We were invited to the exclusive Captain's cocktail party a couple of days later, as well as the Cruise Critic meet and greet.

The meet and greet was fine - officers showed up and did their little speeches, but the venue was WAY too small for the number of people.

We went to the Supper Club for the exclusive cocktail party, and waited... and waited... and waited until more than 15 minutes past the announced time - they still hadn't opened, and the line was getting ridiculous. We then left since it's our vacation, and were insulted that this is how they treat their returning guests. So much for that, and it left a really bad taste.

Food was good for the most part. Le Bistro was wonderful. In fact we at there twice, changing our last reservation from La Cucina to Le Bistro. We also ate at Bayamo - which was a mixed bag. Appetizers were WONDERFUL - we had the crab cake, scallops with pork belly, and shrimp cocktail. Entrees were disappointing. His grilled fisherman's platter was cooked properly, but nothing special. My grilled lobster had a weird texture, and zero flavor. Desserts were terrible. He has some kind of apple tart on puff pastry - but the puff pastry never puffed. It was pale and disgusting. My lime sorbet (couldn't find anything else appealing) was off - not very good.

On top of the food being an issue, we were told by the person when we checked in that there was only one appetizer, one entrée, two sides, and one dessert per person. We told her that isn't true - only the entrée is limited to one per person. She insisted that this restaurant (Bayamo) was different. Whatever. We planned on ordering three appetizers anyway, and would deal with any charges later. Our waitress also said the same thing - only one appetizer, one entrée, two sides, and one dessert per person. Seriously - people like to order soup and salad - so they are saying it would be an extra charge.

The bottom line, we were not charged for any extra appetizers. The NCL.COM website clearly states everything is included, and it only limits the entrees. I wish NCL would assure that their website rules are clearly communicated to their on-board staff.

Le Bistro, the last night was incredible again. It's really the only specialty restaurant worth going to. No mention of only one app per person.

The two main shows we saw in the theater were amazing - Choir of Man and After Midnight. We would absolutely recommend making reservations for both of those shows. They were absolutely the best shows we have ever seen on a cruise ship!

We went to the Supper Club for a couple of dinner shows, and it was OK. Dinners there were pretty generic, with no real choices. We ended up going to the buffet afterwards.

Breakfast and lunch were generally good in both the smaller dining rooms and the buffet. Service was slow one morning for breakfast. Dinner in the Manhattan room was fine one day, and a disaster the second time. It took almost two hours to get through an appetizer, main course and dessert, while every other table around us had turned over at least once. People who arrived after us had finished, and the new people who were seated were done too. Our waiter disappeared for long periods of time. Dinner itself was good, but annoyingly slow with no explanation, and no one asking if everything was OK.

Bermuda was great - as it always is, but that had nothing to do with NCL.

One very disappointing part of this cruise was the lack of open bars and venues past midnight or 1:00AM. Food choices were O'Sheehans or nothing. While O'Sheehans was OK, why not keep a small part of the buffet open very late with just some snacks? We found lines of people after lunch, and after dinner, looking for food while the employees were breaking down (and tossing out) food. If there are people who are hungry, waiting at the buffet, make an exception and keep sections opened.

One of the other VERY disappointing aspects of the Escape, was the lack of an appropriately sized venue for many of the events. Almost all of the events held in the Atrium were EXTREMELY over-crowded. If you didn't get there a half hour early, you had to struggle to find a seat. The Gem has the Spinnaker Lounge - a much larger venue for all of the trivia, games, and just about everything else that was hosted in the Atrium. It appears that NCL was more interested in adding smaller venues and extra cabins instead of creating appropriately sized venues. The Cruise Director, Jacky, was pretty good - as was most of the staff.

The Cruise Next desk folks were RIDICULOUS. I wanted to purchase one certificate, and they argued with me, twice, on two separate occasions, that I needed to buy more than one. I walked away twice and was almost NOT going to buy one, but decided to just go back one more time, state that I only wanted one, and they finally stopped arguing with me. (I noticed that the Gem is scheduled to be back in NY next year, so we plan on doing the Caribbean itinerary next year.)

The last morning was the first time we noticed a severe lack of civility - and it was on the elevators. I was pushed so hard by people trying to get onto a crowded elevator that I almost got knocked over. Had my partner not been standing right behind me, I would have been knocked down. If people would be a little patient, they would all get on the elevators eventually.

We won't do another big ship on NCL based on our experience on the Escape. It's really too bad that NCL is more interested in their bottom line than the comfort and enjoyment of their guests.
DinaS’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MC
Cabin was good - really just a balcony cabin with a bigger bathroom. Mattress was comfy. Couch was comfy. Cabin steward, Dominick, was really good. Got some noise at night on the balcony from the Waterfront on Deck 8, but it wasn't bad.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins