This was our first time on a Norwegian cruise, having sailed previously on Royal Caribbean. We chose the Norwegian Escape because of the special perks being offered as well as because it had a western Caribbean itinerary that fit our schedule. Our cruise left from the Port of Miami, and we gave the boarding process "five stars". We boarded easily and made our way to O'Sheehan's for lunch. While we waited for our cabins to be ready, we used the kiosks to make reservations at specialty dining restaurants, comedy acts, and musical shows for the week.
We had a balcony stateroom (10744), and it was relatively close to the elevator and stairs. Our room steward did a phenomenal job of keeping our cabin clean, with plenty of fresh towels and ice.
The food at the specialty restaurants was excellent, and certainly comparable to specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed dinners at Cagneys (steak house), LeBistro (French cuisine), La Cocina (Italian), and Modernos (Brazilian steak house). The service was outstanding at all of the specialty restaurants. It was even more enjoyable for us because we had three specialty dinners included with our cruise reservation. While on board, we also dined in the ship's three main dining rooms: Taste, Savor, and the Manhattan Room. The Manhattan Room was the highlight, with musical entertainment offered during dinner. To be honest, we found the quality of the food in the Norwegian main dining halls to be less impressive than the food offered in Royal Caribbean's main dining rooms. For example, Royal Caribbean offered fresh lobster at least once per week during our previous cruises. On Norwegian, there was no comparable offering.