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Norwegian Escape Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2861 reviews
4 Awards

Cruising post-COVID, the same and different

Review for Norwegian Escape to the Mediterranean
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6-10 Cruises • Age 40s

Rating by category

Public Rooms

Additional details

Sail Date: May 2022
Cabin: Mid-ship Balcony Stateroom

The Ship

The Escape was launched in 2015 and normally carries about 4500 passengers. Due to COVID and maybe passenger hesitancy, the ship sailed with about 1500 passengers. The ship interior design has a clean, modern feel to it, with dark brown accents in the stateroom halls and a lot of stainless-steel surfaces. However, the design does not include a lot of deck space for those who want to sit poolside and get some sun. Most other ships have some space for deck chairs near the jogging track, but not here. Instead, a lot of top deck space is dedicated to features such as the ropes course and a kids’ splash pool. Eventually we found some open areas to relax, such as Spice H2O.

Our balcony stateroom was on the port side of the ship. This worked out very well for almost all the ports, except for Civitavecchia (where we had a view of the sea vs. the city) and Livorno. At all the other ports, we had a great view of the scenery as we arrived.

Cabin Review

Mid-ship Balcony Stateroom

The cabin was comfortable. The bathroom was larger than we've had on smaller ships. The shower was decent, and large enough to be able to turn around.

We picked one on Deck 12 with the angled balcony, which gave us a bit more balcony space. I tried to get one with the angle facing forward, but could not secure that because of booking issues. We almost never saw the cabin steward, but that may have been intentional.

Port Reviews

Athens (Piraeus)

Busy, crowded, slow traffic, but the Acropolis is a must-see (once at least). My rating is mostly due to the logistics, and the cruise terminal is not close enough to walk to anything, so you need a bus or taxi to get anywhere. We had an independent tour and took a taxi back to the port. Be prepared to insist that you are charged fairly for the taxi ride and have a picture of where you want to go, as the taxi drivers may not be very good at English (or may pretend they are not good).


Delightful, but not enough time here to see the town and drive around the island. I didn't mind it feeling a bit touristy. Even in May, it was getting warm; summer is probably very hot here.

Malta (Valletta)

Malta was really interesting. Lots of history here. Definitely on our list of places to visit again. The late departure should have allowed enough time for some food in town, but we didn't want to risk missing the ship.


Nice enough, but insufficient time to really enjoy it. Our coach bus tour was mostly a drive-by, with some stops at very busy places.

Florence (Livorno)

Too many choices of what to do for a first-time visitor. We'd been to the area before and visited Pisa, Florence and Tuscany. This time, we booked a private tour of Tuscany, with wine tasting and visits to two old towns (Volterra and San Gimignano). Definitely a highlight, but we had to scramble at the last minute due to our delayed arrival.


Pompeii is another must-see, and it's big enough that you could spend most of the day here if you're into the history. Sorrento was nice enough, and Positano is worth visiting vs. observing from a nearby overlook. You need to book a private tour to go there, and it will take all day. I'd like to see Naples itself on another visit. The traffic was bad sometimes and our driver knew how to get around the jams, which was good.

Rome (Civitavecchia)

We stayed in Rome post-cruise and had enough time to visit things we missed seeing 10 years earlier. Civitavecchia probably deserves some time to visit as well, but we had no time to see the old fort or other things even in the area near the port.

We did our own ho-ho in Rome for the 3 days we were there. I would not suggest this for a shore excursion if you are coming to Rome for a port call (vs. begin/end here). You'll spend all your time waiting for a bus, and moving slowly around town without getting very close to anything.

Taormina (Messina)

We took a driving tour to Taormina and Castelmola (another place with small streets that is hard to get to with a large tour bus) but at least our independent tour was able to get close enough to walk up the hill. Both towns were worth a visit. We tried limoncello and heard about the local history as well. Be prepared to see a few things the kids might not understand!

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