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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
The Ship alone was great. It just came out of drydock and it was almost like a new ship. The crew were also very kind. The dining room was our issue. Our wait staff on our first night needed some training again. All of our foos was ... Read More
The Ship alone was great. It just came out of drydock and it was almost like a new ship. The crew were also very kind. The dining room was our issue. Our wait staff on our first night needed some training again. All of our foos was not correct and he seemed not to care. The food also did not taste good either. I did not expect a lot because it was a 3 day cruise but it should have been better. Our room was always clean and neet. When we got off the ship at the end we did a facial recognition system for immigration and it was a lot faster and easier. We carried our bags off and was off the ship by 8am. Over all we had fun. We do not drink much so the drink package for us was water and coffee This shop is really not for kids. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and i have cruised 7 times, including this cruise, with 3 of those on the norwegian gem and 1 time on the breakaway. We really love norwegian for the freestyle cruising and i feel like we get the most out of our money with them. ... Read More
My husband and i have cruised 7 times, including this cruise, with 3 of those on the norwegian gem and 1 time on the breakaway. We really love norwegian for the freestyle cruising and i feel like we get the most out of our money with them. The escape was the biggest ship we’ve been on and it was really nice. However, it might be because its so large that getting on and off took forever at both departure and the ports of call. We were also traveling with our toddler and spent prob 10+ hours during our cruise waiting to get on and off the ship while anxiously trying to keep him from having a meltdown on the ship- not fun. Embarkation was truly horrendous. There was some kind of issue and they made us wait in line for close to 2 hours. My son was screaming the whole time while we tried everything to quiet him and by the time we were getting on the ship i was close to tears. They do have a nursery with drop off available for babies up to 3, and the nursery attendants were really good with kids but if your kids cry for more than 10 mins (which is likely when theyre left with strangers), they buzz you on a beeper to come pick them up. Our son did well the first 2 times and the last 3 times we did a drop off to have dinner we got called back 10 mins later. Not their fault of course and im glad they told me instead of just letting him cry, and again, they were absolute sweethearts, but next time we will prob be bringing family to help watch our kids. The playroom for babies is only available for 2 hours a day on sea days, plus two 30 minute hosted activities where parents joined, so the other 10+ hours a day were spent either in our stateroom or chasing after our toddler while he ran around bumping into people. Oh and there were NO cartoon channels in the room. It was only one channel with tv shows that played randomly. Most other cruises weve been on had the food network, cartoons, hgtv, etc. We paid extra for a family mini suite which had a bath tub and that def helped a lot. But It felt like there was no where for us to go most of the days at sea but the arcade where we ended up spending $400 keeping our 22 mo old entertained. The best time we had was when we stopped at disney. This trip made me reconsider cruising with young kids. I think next time i might just go straight to disney and stay at a resprt or try a disney cruise, which might be more family friendly. Also we chose free wifi as one of our free promotional optio s but it never worked for us and i was too exhausted to figure out what was wrong. Outside of those annoyances, it was overall still a pleasant cruise. One of the times our son did okay at the daycare we were able to enjoy a nice dinner at moderno, one of their nicer restaurants. And norwegian ships are really beautiful and spacious. It wouldve been 100 times more pleasant traveling without a kid and a lot of the gripes i had would be nonexistent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Cruised with Royal Caribbean before and have had good experiences with them in the past. This is the first time on a larger ship and don’t really care for it. Embarkation went smoothly out of Bayonne. Had balcony cabin which was kept ... Read More
Cruised with Royal Caribbean before and have had good experiences with them in the past. This is the first time on a larger ship and don’t really care for it. Embarkation went smoothly out of Bayonne. Had balcony cabin which was kept very clean and stateroom attendant was excellent. All the staff was excellent. Best bet for dining is the main dining room. Ship had great comedians. Pools and jacuzzis were always crowded but that’s to be expected. Our few excursions were very poor though. Was very rushed through Kennedy Space Center and Essential Nassau was also very rushed. Wasn’t able to book private cabana or beds for coco cay. They went too fast. Best time to utilize jacuzzis and pools in Solarium is port days or dinner time. We were unable to use our balcony on one day due to maintenance and the smell was very unpleasant. That’s my only complaint in regards to our room. I do feel like you get nickel and dimed a bit. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I didn’t choose this cruise it chose us. Based on my availability and the itinerary and we wanted to give NCL another go, the Escape was our only option. The specialty dining was Disappointing to amazing. LaCucina was terribly ... Read More
I didn’t choose this cruise it chose us. Based on my availability and the itinerary and we wanted to give NCL another go, the Escape was our only option. The specialty dining was Disappointing to amazing. LaCucina was terribly disappointing from the waiter to the food selection the temp of the food to taste. Wouldn’t recommend and won’t eat their again, was a waste of a specialty dinning. Bayamo was better with a good menu a knowledgeable staff and great tasting food. Would recommend and would choose it again. Cagneys.....excellent from the second you walk in, great menu, knowledgeable staff with good recommendations, food was hot, delicious and left full! HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE HAVEN.....our concierge (Adrian) was by far the best that the NCL team has to offer. 19 years with NCL and it shows. Was super knowledgeable about everything and I mean everything from the ship, to the shops, to the entertainment, to excursions. He was friendly, fun, social, sweet, helpful, accommodating and got to know our entire party (14 of us) Haven or not. I would choose another NCL cruise to wherever he was concierge simply to cruise with him again. Our Housekeeper (Gina) was my next favorite thing about our cruise. She was a doll, another over the top, go out of her way NCL A+ staff personnel. She couldn’t do enough for our entire party as they all came to our Haven suite often. She was beyond sweet and helpful. Friendly, caring and accommodating. She saw to us like a friend.and I cannot say enough about her. The two of them made the price of the Haven suite otherwise worth the money. The cruise itself nice. Didn’t get to see great stirrup Cay for the second year in a row, beginning to think it’s a non stop on this itinerary. The rest of the cruise, food was good, service was good accommodations were nice entertainment was ok. The magician was terrific. Other than that it was a “good “ cruise. Not terrific, I wouldn’t do it again. Hoping that the staff we got attached to goes to another destination that we like and than we would cruise NCL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose the NCL Escape for our 46th cruise on March 31st. We were overdue for a getaway. It had been over 13 months since our last cruise. We usually do 2-4 per year but family issues have interfered with vacation time. We enjoyed our ... Read More
We chose the NCL Escape for our 46th cruise on March 31st. We were overdue for a getaway. It had been over 13 months since our last cruise. We usually do 2-4 per year but family issues have interfered with vacation time. We enjoyed our time on the Escape, however RCCL remains our preferred line largely due to their loyalty program which does a very good job at rewarding past passengers far better than the loyalty programs on other lines, even with similar status. Embarkation This could not have been better or faster. As platinum members, we had a dedicated queue and we were first in that line. The agent was quick and courteous. We had all of our documents in order (that helps immensely, of course) and we were told that boarding had already begun even though it was barely past 11 am. Parking the car to being on the ship was less than 20 minutes! Insane. Vibe Beach Club We rarely have been able to get passes to the Vibe Beach Club. They are always sold out. We have been on the Breakaway 5 times and the Getaway once and have only been to the Beach Club once. We were thrilled to get a pass this time, even at $209/pp. However, in the final analysis, it probably wasn’t worth it because the first and the last days we were still too far north for the weather to be warm enough to really use it to its fullest. Fortunately, the casino proved generous enough to pay for the entire cost of the Beach Club for the week! Specialty Dining Package We bought a 3-night Specialty Dining Package, which is very typical for us. In all of the nights that we have cruised on NCL, we have dined in the MDR less than 5 times for dinner. The Specialty Restaurants are definitely our speed. As platinum members, we get 2 additional dinners as well. We had one dinner ashore and one dinner at the supper club (more on that later) so there was no time for the MDR once again. Moderno was good, La Cucina was very good, as was Le Bistro and Teppanyaki. Cagney’s, well, I think its over-rated. We did not go to Ocean Blue this time around. This is the first time that we passed on it. We are New Englanders so there is no reason to over-pay for seafood that I am sure is no better than what we get for half the price anywhere here. Even with the dining plan, they upcharge everything on the menu at Ocean Blue! The 2 best restaurants are the two newest ones. Pincho’s Tapas Bar and Food Republic. We went to the latter twice and had insanely good food at both places. Both places are a’la carte pricing and lunch can easily run over $40-$50. Service at the Specialty restaurants was ok, but not top notch. At Le Bistro, for example, our entrees took a long time to arrive, while a neighboring table got their food before us. We eventually told the server that we had to rush dessert and skip coffee in order to catch the show. That should happen. Free Dining The Garden Café on Deck 16 lacked variety for lunch. At breakfast, all of the staples were there and we never went up there for dinner (they advertised some interesting feasts, however, such as seafood night, grill night, etc), but at lunch, there never seemed to be a featured item. O’Sheehan’s has the same 4-5 items daily, thankfully there was Pincho’s Tapas Bar and Food Republic but most of you will not want to pay for them. We did 3 lunches with them, one with O’Sheehan’s, one with Margaritaville one ashore and one at the Garden Café. On the Breakaway and the Getaway, there is the Speigel Tent and the Magic Castle, but on the Escape there is the Supper Club, which is half a for-fee dining venue and half free dining. It took us a few days to figure it out. They have a number of shows there at 6pm and 8pm along with a free (fixed menu) meal. The meal is nothing to write home about (but certainly something to write Cruise Critic about!), a simple salad, meat/vegetable dish, dessert. Period. It’s not bad. I guess that NCL certainly gets to control their food cost/consumption here. If your were to rate 1-2-3-4 the Specialty Dining, MDR, Garden Cafe and Supper Club, the latter is unquestionably last. Specialty Dining must be (and better be) the best (#1), The Main Dining Room should be #2 because you are getting served and if you don’t like something the manager will make it right and/or give you something else. The Garden Café must be the #3 because of the sheer volume of food. Even if it isn’t that good at least you have plenty. Then surely the Supper Club is the poorest choice. We didn’t hate our meal. It’s just that there wasn’t much (but enough for us) and it was ok (luckily I like beef). Oddly enough, it seems to compete with the Specialty Dining Packages. We have, in the past, bought 7-night dining packages (before being platinum members). If we had done that, we would have missed out on the show at the Supper club that we did see which was excellent. I wonder how good the shows that we missed were? If we had seen those shows, we would have had to forfeit one or more of our Specialty Dining vouchers for the sake of a show and a mediocre meal. Breakfast in the dining room was our choice about half the time. I like that NCL has a choice of 3 specialty breakfast items. They seem to have discovered that breakfast goes beyond “2 on a raft and a cup of joe”. One of the items was Waffles, Bacon, Poached eggs and Hollandaise. The choices change a bit and they are a bit imaginative but they aren’t quite as tasty as they sound. Entertainment The show that we saw at the Supper Club was Flashback Four and it was excellent! Also outstanding; Choir of Men in the theater. We saw that twice! A+! We skipped out of After Midnight. We were not entertained. You might be though. There were many comedy shows but we only saw one of them. The shows at the theater and the Supper Club mostly require a reservation, which further complicates things. Sometimes, you just aren’t ready to make plans like this while on vacation. However, it appeared that we were going to miss After Midnight and Flashback Four because they were both over-booked as far as the Box Office showed. However, we got into both shows easily on standby. Easily. NCL Smartphone App So, NCL finally has a Smartphone App, similar to RCCL’s App. Their previous one has been a joke, especially when compared to RCCL’s. Big problem though. It doesn’t work. You can’t view items that you booked on your phone or on your stateroom TV. Everyone had this problem. I can’t be sure if it was broken just this week or if it isn’t ready for prime time. Basically, it’s still useless. Too bad. Excursions We only did a bus transportation to Epcot Center. Our plan was to go to the World Showcase and have an early dinner/late lunch in Italy and that is exactly what we did. We have done this type of thing before. You certainly don’t get a lot of time at any park. If you were with a little kid, it probably would not be very satisfying, but for us, it’s a nice diversion from ship life for a day. The organization for excursions on the vessel was outstanding. The meeting place was in the Manhattan Room. Tours were called promptly. No hustle and bustle. Very organized. All told, it was an expensive day. Bus, park entrance, dinner in Italy, but we knew what we were getting into. It’s been said before, and it is true. NCL does have a lot of add-on costs that sharply raise the price of a cruise. True, they are optional, but if you want to eat well and you want to avoid basic cheap hotel food, it will cost you. Drinks are expensive. We booked the Escape because we had one last CruiseNext certificate. The cruise did not disappoint. However, this is our 46th cruise and our Diamond level with RCCL gives us far more perks than Platinum with NCL does. With that in mind, we will continue to favor RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Cheers package- we had this and it cost us about $617+ for my husband and I. Drinks range from $6.85-$15.00 each. So I’m thinking it’s been worth is as you can purchase water bottles through this as well as coffee (that’s not in main ... Read More
Cheers package- we had this and it cost us about $617+ for my husband and I. Drinks range from $6.85-$15.00 each. So I’m thinking it’s been worth is as you can purchase water bottles through this as well as coffee (that’s not in main dining and other drinks alcoholic or non) for whatever the reason- drinking water seems really far away the entire time lol. They only have water spouts in the main dining and the rest is for purchase. I learned after late in the 2nd day you can ask for water bottles at the bar with your cheer package so basically if you don’t have cheers each water bottle will cost you $1.25 (or 3.75 for the ones in your room) OR you purchase a 12 pack for 4.50 before you board which we also did but ran out. Cheers is good and we would do it again. It’s sort of like a peace of mind thing. Faster to the fun is a MUST and makes everything better. It took my husband and I about 15 minutes to check our bags and we were on the ship - in that 15 minute period. Getting off the ship was still good and only took about 30 mins. You also get off first at each port (or mostly). The service team will place letters in your cabin to let you know when and where your supposed to do what. We had a balcony cabin which was really nice. Only issue is that A LOT of people break the rules and smoke off the balconies. It sucks because it goes right into your room and unfortunately there’s no way to report it because you can’t see anyone doing it specifically but you know it’s happening! It’s sad but true the food is NOT that great. Guys burgers is good and Always has a line- Unless you get there a little before people come back from the time off the ship. Blue iguana is actually really great! The main dining room is like hospital style food ....but it seems like it gets better further into the trip. However, we couldn’t tell if it actually was getting better or that we were just getting used to it. HA! We were assigned the imagination dining room- ‘your time’ and that worked out OK. We would say the food is about 7% better than the food in the main dining- there is a wait and usually it’s 30mins - 1 hour. The service is great and they will accommodate you. For example- I really hate sitting in the very middle of anything right next to others I don’t know...any time I had an issue they had no problem giving us an empty corner booth or table and actually didn’t role their eyes or anything. I know my request can be super annoying. The wait staff are responsive but I recommend getting a drink while you wait and bring it with you. The bar drinks inside the restaurant are slow but only because the place is packed. All the servers were really nice. Entertainment was interesting also a bit cringy at times- 2 dudes lead the whole ship and you can tell they are working hard to make improvements- the biggest issue that we had and number 1 down side is that we sort of didn’t have anything to do while at sea- I feel like we spent A LOT of time walking in circles. They try and have shows or different activities throughout but the main event is laying out by the pool or walking in circles unless you like to gamble. The comedy club is fun. They did a carnival quest scavenger hunt the last night and that was REALLY Fun and hilarious. We wish they would have done it the first or 2nd night though because we may have been able to meet other couples/friends. The scavenger hunt makes you team up with a group of 12-20 so it’s a perfect ice breaker game. They should really do it every night it is THAT much fun! We purchased a Nassau hopping tour- but not enough people showed so they cancelled it. 26 were needed and we had like 17. They gave a full refund. So We Just walked around the town which was OK but not great. If you don’t like being haggled don’t do this! We Ended up at Senor Frogs and it was a BLAST!! It may sound weird but it was probably the best time we had. it’s pricey and you need to get there no later than like 11:30am to be able to fully enjoy. Half Moon Cay was beautiful- UNTIL everyone got there lol. There’s NO direction on what to do so everyone just sprints for a chair etc. There are blue cabana shells towards the back - they are $29.99 for the whole day and they make everything better!! It’s private and you get some shade. Otherwise good luck to you. I found that the furthest you are from the entrance the less people there are but it’s a walk. Again - unless you love smoke (previous smoker here too) there are tons of people that just want to smoke all up in your face so we had to move a couple of times. The lunch they served on the island and was pretty Good and better than the ships main dining. Water shuttle leaves every 30 mins or so to get back to ship and if you go back early - no lines. Overall the trip was good- The service was really great and they have outstanding organizational skills and procedures in place to manage the amount they have to. We gave it a 3 because there was just not enough to do for people that had no kids or older kids. We kind of wandered A little too much. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise four months prior to cruising. We have six people and three balcony cabins. We purchased the key program for all of the people in our party. I felt this was a good deal as it gave us the internet package which which ... Read More
We booked this cruise four months prior to cruising. We have six people and three balcony cabins. We purchased the key program for all of the people in our party. I felt this was a good deal as it gave us the internet package which which was $11 per day by itself. For the extra $8 a day the perks seemed reasonable. I checked with Royal Carribean twice before our sailing to verify the time we would be able to board the ship. During both calls I was told 9:30. I also asked how many key packages they sold. I was told 50. Upon arriving at the dock we were told they would load the ship beginning at 11:30. I spoke to several other people who purchased the key and they confirmed they were all fine the same 9:30 time. We ended up boarding at 10:45. Once on board we enjoyed a great lunch at Chops and began to explore the ship. One of the other major key benefits was reserved seating at the shows you have made reservations for. During the first two shows we attempted to see the first did. It have enough seats in the key section to allow our party to sit together disputed having reservations. At the second show there was no signage indicating where key members would sit. One we located the area there were no seats available at all. After complaining we did get several phone calls asking us what happened but no one offered us any thing to make up for our inconvenience or refund us for the services not received. We also learned that there were 180 key packages sold, not quite the 50 we were told earlier. The priority dembarking at the ports was wonderful. No long lines. We found the service in the dining room to be lacking. Our dirty dishes sat in front of us for nearly 15 minutes one night and our drinks sat empty. There were a few standout dishes but most were merely ok. While all of the other food venues had a large variety of offering nothing really stood out as great. We really enjoyed The Gift but felt Spectra was just weird and Will Rock You only ok. The journey tribute band was great! The movies on deck were a fun stop at night and most of The game shows left everyone laughing. The pool areas in this ship are outstanding with a wide variety that will fit the bill for everyone. The seaplex was fantastic and our teens really enjoyed all the activities that were offered. All in all we had a fun vacation but it didn’t knock my socks off Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise as it was the spring break of our soon to be graduating daughter (HS), and it is an easy three hour drive to Baltimore. We have always loved the Port of Baltimore for efficiency and ease! We have been on three ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the spring break of our soon to be graduating daughter (HS), and it is an easy three hour drive to Baltimore. We have always loved the Port of Baltimore for efficiency and ease! We have been on three Enchantment cruises in the past that we absolutely loved! I did read the reviews of the Grandeur (after booking, unfortunately , and had some concerns that the Grandeur would be different based on hearing it was for "the older" passenger demographic). Hey, I am no spring chicken, so due to proximity, and praying that this is spring break time, there would be something for my daughter to enjoy while making friends. Well, alas, it was not the case. I am not going to "bash" this cruise. We were in room 7078, a balcony with an awesome location! There were many "highs", and we did have fun. John Blair, the Cruise Director and his wife, worked very hard to make everyone's trip a fabulous event. He is an INCREDIBLY talented singer, and his Neil Diamond show was incredible! What a voice! Enjoyed the dancers and singers .... will not lie, I have heard better but also far worse. Good comedians, and overall great entertainment. Our room steward, Cornelius and waiters, AJ and Andy were fabulous! Dinners very good; not the best, but considering the number of guests they are feeding? We did not buy tickets for the upscale restaurants, but I heard a variety of reviews. I guess I just feel that you are already paying a significant cost, so the "push" for upscale meals is trying. There is seemingly never ending marketing for additional revenue; that is for sure! You can get some good buys, but many are overpriced or simply "junk". We did buy a Citizen watch. 35% off, but the retail price stated was less than looking the same one up on line. We usually play bingo .... did not even go as we heard it was $40 to play! The casino??? Horrible!!!! Never ending losses, machines a joke, and how the dealers keep pulling 21's is remarkable, to say the least. On previous cruises, they at least give you a free drink when losing your shirt; no longer happening! All in all, I would rate this cruise a 3.5. We did have a great time, met great people, and had lovely men and women working hard in their jobs to serve us. We were blessed with beautiful weather, and relatively calm seas. The Grandeur apparently has a huge following, and we now know it is geared for an "older" geographic population that enjoys smaller ships and is not focused on her "older" appearance with fewer activities. Not sure how long she will continue to be in service ...... but perhaps they need to take that into account when establishing pricing. Again, we did enjoy the trip ...... just trying to give an accurate evaluation of what to expect so there is no disappointment or regrets for your choice. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
My husband and I decided to take our first vacation together without our kids. He loves cruises and swears by them and I’ve only ever been on one cruise before this which was a great experience. This was not as great as I thought it ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take our first vacation together without our kids. He loves cruises and swears by them and I’ve only ever been on one cruise before this which was a great experience. This was not as great as I thought it would be. There seemed to be great things for young kids and elderly but not as much for the Middle Aged or couples trying to enjoy their time. Our first stop in Florida was a waste of time..not too sure why they would even make that a port to visit. We spent money on a shuttle to take us to cocoa beach and it was a complete waste of time. Weather was horrible and people were walking back before they even got there. Shuttle driver was telling us there is cvs and Walgreens as if they were a site to see. Anyways, our next stop was bahamas and that was great. Weather was perfect and the island owned by Norwegian cruise itself was beautiful..next was nassau bahamas which was extremely crowded because there was about 5 other cruise ships docked as well at the same time. Honestly most of our time was spent on the ship other then a few hours for the two bahama days. We didn’t have much to do so we ate most of the day because we didn’t know what else to do. Entertainment could of been much better..too Manucho trivia games which seemed to gear towards more of the older crowd. Dining was good but service on our previous cruise seemed much more better and personal. They made everyone feel special whereas here you can tell when they gave special attention to someone else because let’s say they were dining with a high ranking working. We hated that you had to make reservations for the show and that there was only 2 complimentary dining options plus the buffet. They have 25 dining options and only 2 are free so most of those stayed empty throughout the cruise.. waste of space and services. Shore excursions were extremely expensive and bahamas was ripping people off getting them to pay for aquarium and public beach that people were going in for free. Cabins were fine considering we had inside cabins but getting to the rooms was so confusing and they separated my husband and I from my brother and sister in law when they knew we were traveling together. I would go on a cruise again but not this one unfortunately. I wish I had taken my children atleast they would of enjoyed it much more. Atleast we got to rest though. Overall it was a average rating for all topics. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a spring break cruise for our family traveling with elementary aged kids. They were not too impressed with the kids club or kids activities because of the restricted hours of operation for splash academy and the organization of ... Read More
This was a spring break cruise for our family traveling with elementary aged kids. They were not too impressed with the kids club or kids activities because of the restricted hours of operation for splash academy and the organization of activities in the Club (games when you were “out” you had to sit and wait with nothing to do). We were also not very happy with the food in the main dining and especially the buffet. The variety was limited and the layout was too large to fill a plate of food before it got cold. In main dining, service was a bit slow as well and we could not expect to spend less than 2 hours over dinner. The ship was nice and new and seemed to have many options for everyone. However, 2 in my immediate family and 2 in extended family got food poisoning, or stomach illness on second to last day on board. Also eye infection. So although things looked clean, common areas may have needed a bit more attention. It did not feel too crowded even though we had a full boat, so that was nice. And our rooms were comfortable and a relaxing retreat. Embarkation was smooth and faster than anticipated, and debarkation was not too bad either. Overall, we would probably consider a cruise in Norwegian Escape again, however, not until both children are over the age of 13. Read Less

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