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Norwegian Escape Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,810 Reviews

The Cruise of Disappointments

Norwegian Escape Cruise Review by reedbn202

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2020
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-ship Balcony Stateroom

Plain and simple - disappointing. To say the least we were very mislead. This was not a cheap vacation and we didn’t expect it to be, but we also expected it to be at least worth what we paid. We chose this cruise because it matched our travel dates, budgets, and it had a great itinerary. We loved the idea of freestyle dining. No set times, no dress codes, and we didn’t have to eat at tables with strangers - this was the best part about NCL, Freestyle Dining.

The port staff in Miami were very rude and rushed us through without allowing us to ask questions. We arrived in our stateroom to have it not be the stateroom that we booked. Guest relations was able to get it situated. Our steward was very sweet, however I was in complete disbelief at how incredibly rude, unfriendly, and unwelcoming the staff on board was. I was literally yelled at numerous times for asking simple questions. The restaurant staff in the specialty restaurants were extremely professional and good at what they do. The buffet was a nightmare. The food is odd - absolutely terrible in complimentary dining rooms (and all serve the same food at the same time, including the buffet) - absolutely outstanding in the specialty restaurants. The bartenders were slower than snails. Inside bartenders were more attentive than outside ones. They couldn’t care less outside, and the “cocktail servers” hid in corners and talked most the time.

We were usually right in schedule or early arriving into ports which was nice, however tendering was a total nightmare. Some of us waiting over 4 hours and most people with excursions canceled. It was very disorganized, there was no communication from the directors - it was the equivalent to waiting in an airport terminal for a very delayed flight. What a way to spend vacation.

The excursions were well worth it, but any cruise line utilizes them so I don’t feel NCL deserves the credit for these. If you visit Roátan, I highly recommend Jolly Roger Catamaran and Snorkeling - these guys are a blast and it’s an absolutely great time! There were people of all ages from early teens to 70s.

Mandy, our Cruise Director, as well as the rest of the entertainment staff were great. Mandy was the only Crewmember on board to even stop and ask our how our day was. She was so personable and really kept us entertained. There is ALWAYS something going on at all times of the day and night.

If you aren’t much for excursions or want something more low-key and private, I highly recommend day passes to the Mandara Spa. It is so relaxing and quiet. They were $246 per person but we used our moneys worth. Unfortunately it closed early the last night of the cruise without notice, so I was very disappointed when I went to get my last steam room session in.

The ship was clean and there was a lot to do. Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus, our amenities were limited to literally the pool, casino, and shops. Everything else was closed the entire cruise. The water slides, minigolf, shuffleboard, ropes course, all closed and no staff anywhere to tell anyone. I get the circumstances, but it was a bit insane and nobody was even apologetic.

All in all, we probably will not be back to NCL after this. We were also really looking forward to our first time on NCL with this cruise, to take advantage of the CruiseNext for our group cruise coming up, however as good as the deal was, I wouldn’t waste my money on this line. I did not feel valued or welcomed hardly at all on the ship.

reedbn202's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Mid-ship Balcony Stateroom

Very clean, spacious for a cruise ship, and comfortable. Good closet space and nice size bathroom.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Mayan Village and Beach

Tender Port - Over 4 hour wait times for tenders both there and back. We left almost 2 and a half hours late.

The excursion itself was great!!

View All 69 Mayan Village and Beach Reviews
Harvest Caye

Tender Port - 2 hour wait time - Culture tour was great!


Jolly Roger Catamaran - AWESOME! Lots of fun and great age range.

View All 345 Snorkeling Reviews
Costa Maya

There is a beach, pool, bar, restaurant area in the port. You can spend all day there! Be prepared to pay though.

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