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Sail Date: June 2019
I'm a glass if half full kinda guy so read my review with this in mind. I decided to take my 20yo daughter on a decompression vacation the day after she took her MCAT test after 6 months of study. We booked at the very last minute. ... Read More
I'm a glass if half full kinda guy so read my review with this in mind. I decided to take my 20yo daughter on a decompression vacation the day after she took her MCAT test after 6 months of study. We booked at the very last minute. Cruise Outlet messed up our reservation so we ended up in an ocean view room with no perks instead of balcony with all the "Free at Sea" stuff. The ride to NYC from NH was uneventful and we ended up at the port by 11:00. The embarkation lines were pretty long and it took a couple hours to get on board which was fairly annoying. We had booked last minute so we had to visit customer services to give them a credit card and to sing the forms so my daughter could drink on board. The lines were short and we had no issues. We decided to have lunch, but after rejecting the mess at the buffet, we got to O'Sheehan's just as it closed for the mandatory drill. Oh well, a little fasting before 7 days of overeating probably isn't a bad thing. The Escape Man this is a big ship. I went on a few cruises 20 years ago and things are a lot bigger now. As others have mentioned, the elevators are a major issue during busy times. We just took the stairs. It's good exercise, but going from 5 to 17 is a haul. The top decks are huge. There were usually chairs available, but there was virtually no place to get out of the sun. I know it's impossible to ever have enough pools and hot tubs for 5000 people. I think the same group of Jersey bros pretty much monopolized one of the hot tubs every day with enough bud lite to keep them pretty happy for the next month. Other than the top deck, outdoor space is really limited on the Escape. We spent a lot of time reading in the comfy seats on deck 8. The only problem was if you ever left (like for lunch), you'd never find a spot again. The inside of the Escape on decks 6/7/8 smells like an old ash tray. I'm not sure who thought allowing smoking in the casino that is open to 3 decks was a great idea. It was kind of a flashback to my grandmother's living room in the 50's. Cabin We ended up in an ocean view cabin (5728). It was nice enough and clean. I wish there was a place to sit and read rather than lying in bed. The window is big enough to sit in, tho you'll get a little dizzy with the ocean whizzing by just 25 feet below you. The beds were comfortable and bathroom was fine. There was plenty of storage, but having just 3 outlets was a hassle trying to keep phones, ipads, headphones etc all charged up (especially if you fall asleep with your ipad as I usually do). Meals We ended up eating in specialty dining 5 nights. Reservations were easy to come by the 1st few days, but got really hard the last couple. Moderno Churrascria - Excellent salad bar. I could have been happy just eating there. Too bad it was the only salad bar on the ship. The meat was good but not great. I think NCL tries to pass pot roast off as fancy steak by wrapping bacon around it. The pork and lamb was ok. The roasted pineapple was excellent. Teppanyaki - The Japanese jokes get old after about 10 minutes (I never saw any of the large numbers of Japanese guests eating there, but I would have been a little offended if I were them). The food was excellent. I ordered steak and chicken, but there was left over shrimp and scallops so I sampled them too. All except maybe the chicken were very good. The green tea cake for dessert was horrible. La Cucina - We sat outside which was nice. The pasta appetizers were good but the sauce was a little thick. Maybe they sat under a heat lamp for a bit. The main courses were good as was dessert. Cagney's - We went there twice. The 1st night was excellent. The filet was perfect, as were the side dishes. The Creme Brulee and 7 layer cake were both great. The 2nd time, we ended up with a 9PM reservation and I think the crew had checked out for the night. I had surf and turf this time. The filet was extremely rare (I ordered it medium). The shrimp were small and tasted like the frozen ones from the grocery store. 4 of our 5 side dishes showed up 5 minutes after the main course was server (the 5th is still AWOL). Dessert kind of saved the day. MDR - Really not that bad other then a lot more kids than in the specialty dining rooms. We ended up next to the band in the Manhattan Room and has to ask to move since it was very loud. The french onion soup was very good. I had a pork entree that was as good as what I'd eaten in the specialty dining rooms. O'Sheehan's - We ate breakfast and lunch here most days. The made to order omelettes are good. The corned beef hash is nice. They don't have a clue how to make toast though. I finally figured out they had english muffins the last day and it was toasted perfectly (too bad it came out 10 minutes before my eggs). We had fajitas for lunch a few times and they are good. My daughter liked the burgers and the wings. Drinks/Bars - As I mentioned earlier, Cruise Outlet screwed up our reservations, so we were in the small minority of people on the ship without the drinks package. We had a $30-ish bottle of wine with most dinners and for the most part they were pretty good for the price (at least before the automatic 20% got added on). We liked the District Brew House until they ran out of Dogfish Head IPA on day 5. We had a Margarita at it's 5 O'clock Somewhere but it had almost no alcohol in it for north of $30 for 2 of them. I assume thats a side effect of most everyone having "free" drinks and not wanting to knock everyone out before 5 O'Clock. We would never drink enough to justify paying $120/day/person for the drinks package, but it sure would have been nice to have it for free. Entertainment Loved Choir of Man Slept through After Midnight The WIne Lovers lunch show was entertaining Liked Howling at the Moon. The audience is pretty entertaining and the performers are fun There was nice music at the Tobacco Bar a couple nights, but people were talking too loudly to enjoy it. Bermuda What can I say... It's beautiful. Everyone is very friendly and I never felt the least bit threatened. I'm not crazy about King's Wharf since it's off in the middle of no where. The last time I went, the ship docked at St Georges, but I guess modern cruise ships are too big to get in there these days. We did take the free NCL ferry to St Georges one day. It's a great little town and an easy walk to Tobacco Bay. We rented pedal bikes one day and logged 25 or so miles biking down to Horseshoe Bay and back. The rail trail is very nice for biking once you find it (it starts a couple miles from the port). Horseshoe Bay is a total mess. Wall to wall people and the day we stopped by the beach was covered in seaweed. We did fine several unoccupied beaches along the way as well as Fort Scaur which is very interesting. We went on the local shipwreck snorkel trip. The boat was nearly empty and it was a good time. In the End... I'd do it again. Hopefully with a Balcony room so we had some private outside space. The NCL Escape is nice enough. I'm not sure specialty dining is necessary, but it does get you some variety. I'd love more time to explore Bermuda off the beaten track Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Chose this cruise because with it having only one port of call I was able to commit to some much needed R & R. Cruise over all was excellent. NCL was very kind and gracious to support our CC Meet and Greet Group and they, I will say, ... Read More
Chose this cruise because with it having only one port of call I was able to commit to some much needed R & R. Cruise over all was excellent. NCL was very kind and gracious to support our CC Meet and Greet Group and they, I will say, did an outstanding job at hosting us. The cruise met our needs. 5 start accommodations, food and entertainment all the way. My only not so positive feedback rests in the increasing number of pay per use restaurants; I feel they are becoming a bit over kill and the fee structure they have in place for the drink package could use some tweaking. ie. my spouse, for religious reasons, does not consume alcohol however eligibility for the (included) drink package relies on both occupants in the cabin purchasing it. As well, the gratuity fee that was asked of me to pay upfront I felt was excessive given the amount I drink. I opted to pay for drinks as I went along and my bar bill turned out to be less than what I would have paid for the upfront gratuities for one person. I feel a better situation would be that when the cruise line is offering a free drink package that it is contingent on the fact that with each drink ordered on the ship that the cruiser knows that he/she will be billed a ie 20% gratuity fee thus the gratuities would be more fairly charged out. My only other last bit of feedback rests in the fact that the past 3 NCL cruises I have taken - not once did our cabin steward introduce him/herself - no customer relations / friendliness on that level. This has left me wondering if this is actually NCL's intention that stewards stay clear of patrons or minimize their interactions?? My historical experience with other cruise lines has been that stewards introduce themselves on the first day, provide assurance that if there is anything needed to let them know and are friendly with hello/have a nice day etc on a daily basis. All other staff on the ship were over the top professional, respectful and friendly. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We loved this cruise and the boat was amazing. The staff were very helpful and kind. Our cabin was always clean and the public areas were also always clean. We only had a few suggestions. The speciality resturants were amazing. The food ... Read More
We loved this cruise and the boat was amazing. The staff were very helpful and kind. Our cabin was always clean and the public areas were also always clean. We only had a few suggestions. The speciality resturants were amazing. The food was good but we waited a long time for food when we went. We actaully missed a show we had scheduled because the meal took so long. They book us for another night to see the show but it wasn't when we wanted to go. Also we were on deck 15. Spa mini suit with balcony. While most of the time we did not hear the action from the pool deck above us we did hear it sum. If you are on deck 15 you will be fine but given a choice I would choose deck 14 or 13. We had the spa package and hosntley didn't use the spa that much. It was nice and very clean but mostly used by older folks and the heated lounge chairs were hard to get. I am not sure I would pay again for the spa room. If you want to lay inside a lot consider doing it but other than that it wasn't amazing. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I always choose to sail out of NYC because it's easy for me to get there and NO FLYING!! I love cruising with NCL because of the "do what you want to do" atmosphere. There's always fun night parties and passengers ... Read More
I always choose to sail out of NYC because it's easy for me to get there and NO FLYING!! I love cruising with NCL because of the "do what you want to do" atmosphere. There's always fun night parties and passengers of all ages attend and seem to really have a great time. The dining options are very wide, and although I did not do specialty dining this time, I have in the past and they are worth the experience. The main dining room menus offer a good variety of food AND you can always order 2 entrees so we can try different foods. The servers were a bit slow on some nights. Our balcony room was perfect and spotless. The Island of Bermuda is the most beautiful island. I have been there 4 times and it does not get old. Horseshoe Bay Beach is outstanding. There are taxis right at the port that can take you for a flat fee of $7.00 per person one way, plus the cab driver gives you information about the island, all you have to do is start the conversation. Enjoy!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Arrived at the port around 11 and only weddings and media were being checked in. So we waited maybe 15 minutes and then we were able to get to the check-in scanner-holding people who scanned your passport and check marked your boarding ... Read More
Arrived at the port around 11 and only weddings and media were being checked in. So we waited maybe 15 minutes and then we were able to get to the check-in scanner-holding people who scanned your passport and check marked your boarding pass. On through Security and then a short wait in the lounge with the other platinum guests; boarding started around 11:45. Went to our 9C aft wrap cabin to drop off our carry-ons. Cabin decor is nice with blue and beige. Closet space could be larger, or have drawers somewhere. There just one shelf high above where hangers go in both closets. Nightstand has a little storage; prior occupant left some lotion in the cabinet. Bathroom decor updated but not the toilet as it had a black ring in it that would not come off. Shampoo and body wash were good. Mattress was very comfy. Empty fridge which promptly received our bottle of wine we brought onboard. The balcony itself has not been re-done. The flooring had holes in it and whoever mopped it got wads of mop rope in it. Also the black rubber rings around the windows were in bad shape and missing on the inside in some places. This is where Carnival lacks attention to detail. And the tvs are blaring when you enter the cabin. This is an issue with their tvs---every time you turn it on the volume is blasting. Also, I noticed there was only one lounger on our huge balcony and asked the cabin steward to get another. He had some excuse like "this is how they're doing it now" however, once I was able to reach Guest Services on the phone, (on hold way too long hearing how important my call is) that person called the floor manager and shortly after that, another lounge chair showed up. So to those who get our cabin next: you're welcome! Headed to Guy's Pig and Anchor and enjoyed an outdoor lunch there. Wandered forward to Serenity area which was very nice. Huge hot tub; its own bar area. We liked this area a lot (and it helped that we were the only ones there at that time) but since our balcony had loungers, we spent most of our lounging time there. We came across brand ambassador John Heald while in NYC port and reminisced about our 2 day Carnival Dream cruise years ago--in a nor'easter. It was an adventure on a brand new ship. He was there for the ship-naming ceremony and was soon off to catch Legend in Alaska. It's odd on this class of ship to see cabins on deck 5 aft where the piano bar, comedy club and one other club used to be. The Comedy club is now in Limelight lounge which worked out just fine although people had difficulty finding the mid-ship entrance to Limelight. The night club that used to be across from Alchemy is gone and the piano bar is now there along with Red Frog which was host to many events. Nice, open space. Didn't like walking through the casino to get mid-ship. The shops are the shops, and the Java Coffee bar that also used to be on deck 5 is now in the atrium area of deck 4. Had very interesting and delicious-looking donuts and muffins there. Game room (with board games) is gone and a few games are in the corner of the coffee bar. There is also a coffee bar in the buffet and we got cappuccinos there. The ropes course looked cool. There is a pool table up there too that we tried to use on a sea day. Can't do it when there is any ship movement. There is outdoor exercise equipment there, as well as the basketball court, and up one deck is mini golf. Water slides looked fun but we didn't get to them this cruise. Spa pass in a non-spa cabin was $69+ for the 4 days. Gave you access to the saunas, steam rooms, infrared room and heated loungers.  Liked the outdoor movie screen and we caught the end of the newer Mamma Mia movie. 2 movies showed every evening. Muster still takes too long. Carnival must be the only line that still makes you line up outside vs. sitting in a theater or restaurant. We had YourTime dining option, and the one night we went for dinner in the dining room we went to the check-in desk on deck 5, waited in a very short line, got our table assignment and took the paper to the aft dining room and we were seated right away. Worked out nicely, and has pretty much every time we've done this since Carnival introduced the option a few years ago. Forgot we could have used the HUB app to secure our table. Got a reservation at Fahrenheit 555 on board. Food and service was very good. It's a smaller restaurant since it is part of what used to be the upper area of the mid-ship dining room. Tried a few times but we were not able to get a reservation at the Italian restaurant. We were waitlisted and they did call us the last night for an 8:30 reservation which we declined. Also tried out Bonsai, and the appetizer and roll we had were both very good. Guy's burgers are consistently good. I did miss the Mongolian Grill as that was my favorite restaurant on Carnival ships. Buffet is a madhouse at breakfast time so we went to Blue Iguana where hardly anyone else was. Check the Fun Times to see where omelet stations are--there are several at various locations, as well as other breakfast options. Sea Day brunch was very nice and there is a new menu. I missed chicken diavolo and the froot loop crusted french toast, yet there were other good things to have. Pastas, burgers, breakfast items, etc. Everything we had was good at the brunch and I used my platinum drink coupon here for a mojito. I took a pic of the menu but I have to try to remember how to post it! Chocolate Extravaganza is now just a few cakes and a fondue station. The dark chocolate cake was very good. The new map channel is useless. Bring back the old one! I still do like the bridge cam to see what's ahead of us since our view was side and behind the ship. I liked CD Chris from Scotland and his never-ending selection of kilts. I loved when his announcement ended with something like "whatever you do, put FUN in it." Thought that was great. Welcome Aboard show in the Liquid Lounge. I expected to see previews of cruise entertainment, but it was Chris the CD talking to the audience and having a contest which would determine VIPs for the cruise. Just took longer than I expected. Then there was a 10 minute performance of the singers/dancers which was just ok. We didn't go to any of the shows except both comedians. The guy was very funny. Musicians around the ship were quite good. We have OBC from our TA and Carnival gives me a hard time when I want to split it among the people in our cabin. Why can't they just split it between the people sharing the cabin like other lines do. Becomes a pain to have to figure out who gets what or what to pay for on my account to cover their OBC. Also, on the tv (and Carnival Hub app) your account seems to get higher and higher $ but they don't show the OBC being deducted. You have to go to Guest Services to get that (or a kiosk to print out your statement). All things I wish worked simpler on Carnival. Platinum gift was the lanyard with the cheapest, junkiest plastic to hold your cruise card. Nothing else onboard to trade it for I was told. Believe me, I asked. First sea day was quite rough but not our first rough seas to Bermuda. During the cruise we had wind, rain, sun, more rain, more sun. Quite a variety. We arrived in Bermuda just after the beautiful Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas. It was windy in Bermuda, so we got to Horseshoe via the $7 shuttle, and no umbrellas were being rented due to wind. We did see one go flying, so we understood. Nothing here is cheap--the 2 lounge chairs we got were $44. It really is a beautiful beach and it does, in the right light, look pink. In summary, I was overdue for a cruise and it hit the spot. I love being at sea on the balcony; it's my bliss. However, I do wish Carnival had done a real overhaul everywhere bow to stern since there was rust all over the stern, the window rubber I mentioned already, etc. There was also a foul smell mid-ship on the lower decks near the lobby occasionally. I was glad we were staying at the stern. A short cruise is better than no cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked this cruise 4 days prior to departure based on the value. We had attempted to plan a land vacation for the following week, but the estimated cost kept us focusing on a cruise. RC did not have any close by or in our price range ... Read More
We booked this cruise 4 days prior to departure based on the value. We had attempted to plan a land vacation for the following week, but the estimated cost kept us focusing on a cruise. RC did not have any close by or in our price range but we found NCL did so we booked. We became a little concerned after booking as there had clearly been some competition on the NCL customer support staff to see who could get our booking first. This lead to a little rudeness, which with explanation we would of somewhat understood, but we had to assume what happened on their end and just shake it off. The next day we received a call from a NCL supervisor asking us about the experience and we knew then something had happened. While we had nothing to do with what was happening the supervisor did provide some OBC which we thought was very generous and began to clear our minds about concerns that did happen during the booking process. Our travel arrangements were made. We normally travel the day before to the port of departure so we do not have to worry about arriving on time, especially living near Washington DC and know New York traffic can sometimes be a challenge. We chose to drive into DC early the morning of departure and take Greyhound into New York. This really was the only option since I had to work 8 am - 11 pm the day before. We were scheduled to take a 5:55 a.m. bus out of DC but since the driver decided not to show up we were delayed 2 hours before a bus finally arrived to take us into New York. Despite the delay we still arrived in New York around noon and a quick cab ride to the pier found us ready to check in. The check in process went smoothly and since we had booked so last minute, our key cards had to be printed, although that did not take very long. We boarded the ship and off we went to the box office to get reservations for shows that we had researched that we wanted to see. This was suggested on a couple of sites to do after boarding. We are not used to having to do reservations for shows, although we see the larger ships moving in this direction. We found the process easy and got all the reservations we requested. It would have been nice to have a print out when we left or something that linked to the App to remind us of what we had booked. We did have to go two separate times to guest services or the box office to confirm times for shows that we had booked. I guess we could have simply written it down when we made the reservation but were not thinking that far ahead. After making reservations we headed to the buffet for a bite to eat. We found plenty of options on the buffet. Several reviews talked about the spacing in the buffet to not be crowded especially the further back you went. We did not find this to be the case. The buffet itself was not crowded, however to maneuver around the people coming and going was sometimes tricky. While on the subject of food, we had decided that we would only partake in the complimentary dining options. While there were plenty of eating options, we wanted to try those that cost no extra and believed we could do something different each day on a 7 day cruise. Most of our breakfast meals were in the Garden Cafe or Margaritaville (we did none in the dining rooms), we did lunches or snacks in the Garden Cafe as well. We experienced Taste, Savor and the Manahattan for dinner and found it odd that the menu's were the same, just a different seating environment. While we only went to these one time, we found our service at Taste was a little less than typical and not in a great way. This was the only time that we found staff to seem uninterested in us as passenger. In fact just asking for water to be refilled seemed to be a daunting task. We chalked it up on them having a bad day and walked away assuming all servers in that venue do not have the same mentality. Two of the shows we booked did come with a meal as well, so we had two meals in the Supper Club. Overall, food options were good. Food was flavored more than what we are used to with RC and a little more salty. The point for serving warm food does go to NCL though, food was always hot when served, this cannot always be said with RC. This was the largest ship of the 14 cruises I have been on and will be traveling next year on Anthem of the Seas which I believe is comparable in size. While it will not be fair to judge RC for or against NCL on onboard activities I did thoroughly enjoy the different options that I am not used to having on the smaller ships. The ropes course was a lot of fun, although most of it stayed closed because of weather. I did two of the waterslides and while one is not really to exciting the other was lots of fun although there was a bit of a wait to participate. We really enjoyed Escape the Big Top (reservations required), never had done a group escape experience before and our team was only one clue from completing before time ran out. We enjoyed the Waterfront as well, especially in the evening. We did not spend much time at the bars or lounges as we are not big drinkers. We stayed away from the Casino as well. These all seemed to be enjoyed by our fellow passengers just not much interest to us. Entertainment was certainly different than what we have experienced on RC. The shows that it seems that NCL contract out were awesome. We saw the Choir of Men and thoroughly enjoyed it. The different entertainment at some of the pubs or the Headliner Comedy Club were about what was expected. We did not care much for the production that NCL did with their singers and dancers, rated about the same as RC. We also enjoyed the night parties in the H2O Zone. Always something different and really was a party atmosphere. Overall the ship was fun. We did find spaces that we felt were full of voids, although we assume it had something to do with the construction of the ship. Lots of dead spaces throughout. We were not impressed with all the food options (additional fee required). One or two may have been nice, but it seemed like that was all that was in the public spaces. The only negative we really found though was cleanliness. There was a clear and obvious difference in how RC cleans their vessels as opposed to NCL. We found many items were dirty and in some cases questioned when certain items were lasted cleaned. This is not the best situation considering how quickly illnesses and germs can spread in such a confined space. It was very evident to us and was probably the only area which could deter me choosing NCL over another cruise line. Our destination on this trip was to Bermuda for roughly 3 days. I had only been to the island once about 12 years ago and recalled finding it a bit lacking then. This trip did not change my belief in that. Day 1 we bought the transportation pass for the day, took the ferry to Hamilton. Arriving in Hamilton we just did not find many options. Now this may be our fault, since it was a last minute trip we had not really done much research on the island. From Hamilton we decided to go to St. George (we would later learn that NCL has a free ferry there from the ship). Taking the bus to St. George we arrived to find a small town with very limited options. While we strolled the streets for a little while we opted to take the ferry back to the ship to relax and grab dinner before once again heading to Hamilton for a weekly street celebration. Once we finished up dinner we went to stand in line to await the ferry, finally it showed and we were off. We arrived in Hamilton to find a very limited number of vendors or things to do at their street festival. It was really disappointing, especially knowing we had to wait again for the ferry to make a half hour trip back to the ship. Unless we were missing something I would not suggest wasting your time to attend this street festival. On day 2 we were excited about renting a moped to go to the beach, lighthouse and smallest drawbridge in the world. There was a rental shop near the ship. After paying we got to run a track to test our skills, while somewhat challenging the staff felt we were good and could be on our way. Unfortunately we were not good. The experience on the track was nothing like what it was on the roadways and especially having no experience on this piece of equipment. Needless to say about 3 miles from the port we crashed, causing some injuries. We knew we had to return the mopeds and get to the ship doctor for care. Our injuries did not stop us from getting the mopeds back to the shop (which were kind enough to refund us after seeing our injuries). Going to the medical center I ended up with 7 stitches and lots of bandaging. Although we did not let this dampen our spirits we laid low the rest of this day and just did things onboard. Day 3 (final day on island) we searched out a safer means of travel. Learning that there is a mini van option in lieu of the expensive taxis that would get us to the destinations we had attempted the day before. While the beach was out, because of the injuries we did get to see the smallest drawbridge in the world and visit the lighthouse and take some wonderful photos from the top. As we completed this we returned to the port to do a little last minute shopping on the island before our planned departure to head back to New York. Despite the daily follow-up visits to the medical center and a little rough seas, the return sailing was uneventful. We did some things around the ship and enjoyed out last day on the Escape. We would also learn that other passengers had seen or knew people injured just like up on the mopeds and really suggest to everyone to only consider them if you truly have experience and know what you are doing. Of course the rental shop is not going to tell you that for fear of not getting your business. While we do not blame anyone but our reckless selves for this, we do believe there should have been better warnings about this and more up front information at the rental shop about the dangers. Upon arrival and embarkation from the ship we had a late bus ride back to DC. We planned it this way to walked around New York and avoid traffic in DC. We spent the day walking Times Square and visiting some sites along with going into Central Park. By the time we got on the bus we were ready to sit and relax and enjoy the ride home. The trip from New York to DC was smooth and didn't take as long as expected. By the time we got to DC as well traffic was light and our travels home were not delayed. We would clearly choose to sail NCL again and would certainly recommend and travel again on the Escape. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This trip was for our grandson so chose a ship with lots of amenities for kids. Cruise description said included pool table, bowling alley and arcade but there is a charge and can add up fast over a 7 day cruise. Ping pong 4 tables so ... Read More
This trip was for our grandson so chose a ship with lots of amenities for kids. Cruise description said included pool table, bowling alley and arcade but there is a charge and can add up fast over a 7 day cruise. Ping pong 4 tables so you usually have to wait - no charge Basketball court great but held tournaments for over 18. A number of younger kids my grandson's age 10 but did not offer tournaments for them Strict children's pool with lifeguard blowing his whistle a lot and banning kids from pool after 3 warnings. Too bad they weren't as strict with their "No smoking in cabin and on balcony" rule Enjoyed food and lots of entertainment in Atrium Dress code - you only have to dress up for speciality restaurants. Shorts allowed in Savour, Taste and Osheehans for all meals. Bermuda and weather great, will go back again Enjoyed the ship and did not feel crowded except by pools on sea days which is normal. Would cruise again on this ship or one of the other Norwegians new ships. We all had a great time. Grandson said best vacation ever. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Hubby and I were on the Norwegian Escape week long cruise from NYC to Bermuda departing 12th May. It was our first time on Norwegian. Most previous cruises have been on Celebrity Reflection or Eclipse. We decided we wanted to try out ... Read More
Hubby and I were on the Norwegian Escape week long cruise from NYC to Bermuda departing 12th May. It was our first time on Norwegian. Most previous cruises have been on Celebrity Reflection or Eclipse. We decided we wanted to try out another cruise line and were fully prepared for this to be different to the Celebrity experience. The weather was not great when departing from NYC and for the 2 sea days before we reached Bermuda, this meant more people were inside and made the ship feel crowded. We felt this especially in the Garden buffet. We, therefore, used the main dining rooms for breakfast and lunch more often than we would normally to avoid the crowds. Cabin was great, plenty of storage for clothes etc, bed was very comfortable and the shower room was spacious, good shower pressure. Balcony was well enclosed and very comfortable even when it was windy. We thought the food was of a very high standard especially in the main dining rooms and service was very professional. Hubby is a cake connoisseur,however, and he said cakes were not great, even the cupcakes that were in the atrium cafe at additional charge were not great. We enjoyed the 2 theatre shows ‘Choir of Men’ and ‘After Midnight’ but I particularly liked the piano guys ‘Howl at the Moon’ they were great. The thing Norwegian did very well for me was the complementary dining experience. As I said the food and service was very good and I liked having 3 venues to choose from. The Manhattan Room was large and more like a traditional main dining room but it had the additional feature of the entertainment while you dine. Taste and Savour are smaller and feel more like being in a restaurant which was very nice. What we both missed most on the Escape, however, was appealing space on the ship outside our cabin to sit and relax. The Atrium Cafe, where you can have espresso coffee, was beside a busy bar, customer services and a stage where the entertainment team held the games and presentations so it was always noisy. The outside adult area wasn’t very appealing either, no pool and not very comfortable loungers. We enjoyed the cruise very much, Bermuda is lovely but we may not go back on Norwegian as overall, for our taste, Celebrity ticks more boxes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Cruised with my husband and our friends. Don't sit on the port side of Spice H2O. The exhaust spits out little drops of oil that covered our clothes and Skin. There were drops floating in our drinks and covering the deck. ... Read More
Cruised with my husband and our friends. Don't sit on the port side of Spice H2O. The exhaust spits out little drops of oil that covered our clothes and Skin. There were drops floating in our drinks and covering the deck. Dining room staff was amazing. Specialty dining was awesome. We went to Cagney's, Moderno, and La Cucina. Beware of the upcharges if you have the dining package. There is actually an upcharge just to get into Bayamo even if you have the package. On the first night my friend and her husband asked for a Absolute Citron with diet soda at Cagney's...they brought her drink and said they were unable to make her husband's because they ran out of the vodka. Never heard that I a cruise before. Room Stewart did not replenish coffee, Creamer, Sugar. New beach towels were not replaced in room after use. Toilet smelled so bad...i think he needs a lesson on how to clean the bathroom. Bermuda was beautiful and I would definitely go back. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
My family of four was looking for a last minute cruise leaving from New York for a bit of a getaway, and Norwegian Escape 7-night to Bermuda delivered. I was impressed with the family friendly activities and amenities for kids from the ... Read More
My family of four was looking for a last minute cruise leaving from New York for a bit of a getaway, and Norwegian Escape 7-night to Bermuda delivered. I was impressed with the family friendly activities and amenities for kids from the adorable splash park and water slides to the kids club, all the way to mini golf and the ropes course. More specifically, watching my two young daughters explore the various elements of the splash park and pool was a highlight of our time on the ship -- it had kids of all ages from babies to teens enjoying themselves, and never felt overcrowded. Regarding our dining experience, the buffet always seemed to have kids pleasers and a wide assortment of options for all ages, and the Manhattan room felt classy with great views and talented entertainers during dinner. I must say that the staff at all the dining facilities were very friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. Things that would have been nice to know - the shore excursion credit promotion: the dollar value is really spread amongst all the days evenly. Meaning, if you have a $150 credit, you need to book 3 excursions for 3 days, applying only $50 for each day’s excursions. Kids clubs: if you do not take a tour during the first afternoon, you will not be able to look at the facilities at all – they are adult free zones for all and parents will not be allowed in, even a few feet into the shared space. NCL Ferry to St. George – it gets full much before the scheduled departure time, and we saw dozens turned away trying to make it (like us), so either get there much earlier than the times called for and wait in line, or simply take the ferry ($5 each way for an adult with young kids free). Regarding the kids clubs, they have a nursery (ages 1-3), and a kids club (ages 3-9), which was an impressively a large space featuring different fun themes each day. However, even as a parent of a 3 year old that has been fully potty trained for months, it would have been nice to know that they simply offer bathrooms for kids, but nobody is offering to help them – for example, they told me they walked her over twice one evening, but couldn’t tell me if she had actually used the bathroom. Additionally, both kids program areas do not allow parents inside when operating, which I would think is for security reasons, however, as a mom to two very friendly and outgoing kids that went willingly the first night for an hour or two, and the second – they were vehemently opposed to heading back again for the remainder of the 7 night cruise. It would have been nice to figure out a way to make them feel comfortable, however, none of the staff really seemed to go out of their way to try and help or form a connection with the kids, which seemed odd. As for the cabins, we had a balcony cabin (9218), and the size was as expected, with a great view out of the balcony both in Bermuda and sailing back into New York City. However, on most nights, there was a heavy banging noise coming from the floor below our room – enough that we could feel and hear it repeatedly for hours, several times a day (6:30pm, 6:30am and at points throughout the night). It both made it hard to fall asleep and woke us up several times. It certainly was a topic of conversation for those on the same side of the ship in the mornings by the elevators, and those on the other side seemed unaffected. I eventually said something at customer service a few nights in, although it was not resolved for the duration of the cruise. Otherwise, the cabins were nice, and as expected – meaning, I would just book a cabin on the other side or different floor! A random comment about the ship was regarding the smoke smell that emanated from the casino and into all the open area and middle of the ship as a result. My family made it a point to try and avoid walking through the whole middle section of the ship, and opted for going up/down/outside or in hallways as a result. I understand that they are allowing smoking for those in the casino, but it really affected our decisions such as not to eat at the specialty restaurants I had potentially wanted to try, but were in the vicinity of the smoke smell. Also, the hallway heading to the kids clubs also had a pungent (toilet) smell, which was a joke amongst parents dropping their kids off in the kids clubs. I would hope there is a solution for those, as it taints the experience on such a great family friendly ship. Bermuda had spectacular beaches – the light, clear and beautiful blue water which was stunning. The two beaches we went to were clean and fun for the family. We initially took a bus, which was extremely inexpensive and relatively easy, although the most expensive taxi/minibus for a family of four was only $32, which we took on the way back, especially since if you arrive or depart by bus you will need to climb up many stairs (which we did with 2 strollers!). Horseshoe Bay had a pink hue to the beach, which was beautiful, as well a special lagoon that kids, and adults, can enjoy on the right as you enter, but we did not notice until our way out! Notably, the beach in walking distance from the ship, Snorkel Beach Park, was really fun and offered an easy getaway packed with fun activities – we utilized the kayak and paddle board, and simply hung out on the beach the day of departure which was a true highlight of the trip! In short, this is definitely a cruise line and ship I can see me and my family coming back to – my husband thoroughly enjoyed the ropes course and waterslides, and I enjoyed the entertainment I could make it to – with 2 young kids, it was limited. However, we would most likely look to return to this line/ship when they are a bit older. The destination, Bermuda, was beautiful and breathtaking, and we thoroughly enjoyed the balcony view both in port and on the way back as we had front row seats and felt as though we could reach out and touch both the Verrazano Bridge and Statue of Liberty as we returned to New York City. All in all, an extremely memorable first vacation with a family of four! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
As a solo traveler, I booked last minute on a Sail Away offer. No free at seas with this, but good value for a balcony cabin. I like this particular itinerary because it allows for a restful vacation. My work is fast-paced and my vacations ... Read More
As a solo traveler, I booked last minute on a Sail Away offer. No free at seas with this, but good value for a balcony cabin. I like this particular itinerary because it allows for a restful vacation. My work is fast-paced and my vacations are often a way to escape, pun intended, to be alone, have some needed quiet time. Friends ask me how I find solitude on a ship with thousands of people. I must say that the Norwegian ships I've traveled on thus far offer that. I can always find a quiet spot, often on deck eight. I've done the Bermuda cruise out of Boston (on the Dawn) as well as New York. The first day or two at sea allow for a detox from my busy life. Staying in port for 3 days takes away the self-imposed pressure of having to visit a lot of places. Having been to Bermuda and some of the more popular beaches before, I chose to simply walk to the nearby Snorkel Park and enjoyed floating in that luxurious water. I didn't need to run around and shop, and the free tender that Norwegian offers over to St. Georges is a pleasant ride even if not going ashore. The only negative thing I can say, is service at the Supper Club, which I attended on a couple of occasions, was lackluster. It seems like more attention was given to people ordering drinks (for $$$) as opposed to myself who just wanted iced tea and/or coffee (no $$$). Seriously considering making the Bermuda Cruise an annual retreat. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
All in all the cruise was very nice. My wife and I liked Bermuda the last time we sailed there. Pros: Restaurants were top notch. We had selected the specialty restaurant package last time we cruised, and this time my wife said: ... Read More
All in all the cruise was very nice. My wife and I liked Bermuda the last time we sailed there. Pros: Restaurants were top notch. We had selected the specialty restaurant package last time we cruised, and this time my wife said: "The food and service is so good in the complimentary restaurants, we don't need the specialty restaurant package". Entertainment was great. We only took advantage of a couple of the venues, but they were very entertaining. We attended our first art auction. Mostly because we were curious. There were a couple pieces we could afford, but most was WAY out of our league. Staff was friendly and conscientious. Cabin was a Balcony, and had more than enough room for me and my wife. The shower stall was smaller compared to a mini-suite, but it was sufficient for our needs. Cons: Ship was too big with too many people for us. We will most likely choose a smaller ship next time. At Taste and Savor restaurants, they had salt and pepper mills that looked exactly alike. Sometimes we had a salt and a pepper, but had to try them over a dish first. Sometimes we had two salts, and sometimes we had two peppers. Be careful with the internet if you buy it. You log on using "login" and log off using "logoff". It's usually "login / logout" or "logon / logoff". I made a mistake and burned through a couple hours of my 250 minutes. The friendly internet manager gave it back to me without an argument. Karaoke: They only had one tablet for signing up to sing. There was no list posted for the songs that they had. So you had to search over and over for songs you knew that they didn't have. I have mentioned to them twice that they ought to have loose leaf binders with lists of songs for people to browse before they order. The Cigar Lounge: This is one of the most important amenities for me. I enjoy sitting down in comfort enjoying a fine cigar and I choose Norwegian because many of their ships have indoor Cigar Lounges that are roomy and comfortable. On our last cruise on the Breakaway, the cigar lounge sat next to an indoor bar with a door to the outdoor bar on the deck. Cigarette smokers were allowed to sit at the bar and at the tables to smoke on the deck. They even had a couple of tables fenced off for cigar smokers. On the Escape they changed these rules. So all the cigar and cigarette smokers crowded into the Cigar Lounge taking up all the seats and putting out a smoke load that the air handlers couldn't take care of. On the first night, when I walked in at 9:00 the smoke in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. When I left, my clothes stunk so bad, I designated that outfit as my "smoking outfit" and changed into it each time I wanted to use the Cigar Lounge. It was like this at least half the time when I was in the Cigar Lounge. I felt bad also for the cigarette smokers many of who waved their hand in front of their scrunched up face when they walked in. This was a huge disappointment, and will prompt me to consider other Cruise Lines. If the Cigar Lounge isn't enjoyable, then what's the sense. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because it was exactly I was looking for. I have the best time of my lit. I love the shows, the comedians, the life music and the parties. Bermuda was amazing, I can’t wait to go back. I love the pink Beaches, the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was exactly I was looking for. I have the best time of my lit. I love the shows, the comedians, the life music and the parties. Bermuda was amazing, I can’t wait to go back. I love the pink Beaches, the Crystal Caves, the City and the town. I had the opportunity to enjoy the Bermuda because I had 3 amazing days to explore and go to all the places I want it to go. The cruise ship was huge and had everything I could have asked for. The food was excellent and the was a big variety. I love the white party and all the themes party. The beds were comfortable even though the room was too small, but thankfully I have a balcony to enjoy the view and a big closet for my stuff. I can’t wait for my next cruise. I wish I can anyone every year Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We enjoyed this cruise very much. Food, service, cleanliness, almost everything was perfect. This is our 5th cruisse, 4th on NCL, and 2nd on the Escape. We had a spa mini suite this trip. The room was very nice, but no larger ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise very much. Food, service, cleanliness, almost everything was perfect. This is our 5th cruisse, 4th on NCL, and 2nd on the Escape. We had a spa mini suite this trip. The room was very nice, but no larger than a regular balcony room. The bathroom is bigger with a much larger shower. That was very nice. Having a spa room gave us access to the Thermal Suite. The only bad thing was that we didn't get a spa pass on a previous cruise. It was AMAZING!! We ate as a group of 6 and again as a group of 15 in the Manhattan Room. Both times the food and service was top notch. Food Republic was great and worth paying the extra money, especially if you enjoy sushi as much as we do. Pinchos was amazing! We love the small plat2es concept and the food is always spectacular. Bayamo was great too! We paid the upcharge for the lobster and the surf and turf. Evreything was cooked to perfection. Le Bistro is our favorite restaurant fleetwide, and as usual it did not disappoint. The food and service here is always impeccable. O'Sheehans was eh. Not great, not bad. We ate breakfast and lunch in Taste and Savor a few times, and for the most part everything was good. We spent a majority of our time at Spice H2O. It's nice to have a place to go where kids are not allowed. Especially when you travel on a school vacation week. Service was great! District Brew House is also a great place to go with no kids! Service at every bar or restaurant we stopped at was great! Now for the bad parts. Disembarkation was a nightmare!!! Very little organization, hard to find crew to assist us with my cousins husband who was in a wheelchair, and basically rude and obnoxious passengers made it a stressful end to our vacation! And the other bad part was OTHER PASSENGERS and their UNATTENDED KIDS! What is wrong with people now a days???? Does noone know manners???? Do people not understand that you let the people off of the elevator off, especially those in a wheelchair, off before you get on?? Why is it acceptable to let your young children run amuck while you are nowhere to be found? I understand that this is not NCLs fault, but if you are reading this, please try to be nice to others. You are not the only one on vacation. The world doesn't revolve around you or your children. Show some humanity and don't act like animals. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose Norwegian just to try something different, as i have been a Royal Caribbean cruiser. I was told from a friend of mine that she loves Norwegian, so my husband & i decided to try a different cruise line. We usually travel in ... Read More
I chose Norwegian just to try something different, as i have been a Royal Caribbean cruiser. I was told from a friend of mine that she loves Norwegian, so my husband & i decided to try a different cruise line. We usually travel in September, However we traveled this year for our anniversary in April & was very overwhelmed with the amount of children on board. We did not realize that it was spring break. Kids will be kids but it made our cruise miserable as they have no respect for the handicapped. The food in the Garden Cafe was never hot enough, You did not sell Newport menthol on your ship. There are not enough elevators to accommodate the passengers on board. I really was very dissatisfied with the amount of staff that you employ that do NOT speak English although very polite, just cant understand. My stateroom steward Kiran was an absolute Blessing as he was very attentive to my Husband & i truly appreciated that. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First time on the Escape. I've been on the Gem and Breakaway as well another cruise lines. Embarkation in NY always seems to take a long time. Waited about an hour before boarding. I had a mid ship mini suite. The room was ... Read More
First time on the Escape. I've been on the Gem and Breakaway as well another cruise lines. Embarkation in NY always seems to take a long time. Waited about an hour before boarding. I had a mid ship mini suite. The room was spacious. The bathroom was quite large. My room attendant Leo went above and beyond for me. The ship is clean. The areas were all clean. The staff was friendly. Everywhere. The ship is basically the same as the Breakaway. The same issues with the Breakaway are with the Escape. The atrium is too small for all the events they hold there. If you have to pull out folding chairs for the people then perhaps hold some of those events in the theater. The smoke from the casino is overpowering. It wafts up into the 6/7/8 area. The pools are too small for 4200 people. The entertainment was enjoyable. The Choir of Man and Howl at the Moon were great fun. The specialty restaurants - Cagneys, LaCucina and Le Bistro were excellent. The buffet and Savor/Taste were ok. Thermal Suite Well worth the extra money. Bermuda was great. We had 3 days of sun. It's nice staying in one place and being able to come and go as you please. One perk, and this is a good one, is NCL has a free ferry to St. Georges. This makes it easy to go to the Caves, Tobacco Bay and the town. The ferry is the nicest I've been on with the reclining seats. The worst part was the disembarkation. We knew we were going to be late because of the weather on Saturday so there is no excuse for how the Escape handled it. I had the green tag which would be self carry first off. Well at 8 AM there were lines from the front to the back, up the steps, in the elevators. It was totally ridiculous. 2 hours on line and only saw one staff member who tried to get some type of order to the line. About an hour into being on line and the cruise director made an announcement about what color tag should proceed to the deck. Everyone laughed. Clueless for sure. It took 2 1/2 hrs to get off the ship, get through customs was easy. this left a bad taste in my mouth. Overall is was a nice cruise. The staff really works hard. Bermuda was beautiful. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Embarkation - Entering the terminal by car was a mess. There was no signage or guides to help you through. I have been on enough cruises to know that it is customary to drive in, unload bags with the porter and proceed to the car parking ... Read More
Embarkation - Entering the terminal by car was a mess. There was no signage or guides to help you through. I have been on enough cruises to know that it is customary to drive in, unload bags with the porter and proceed to the car parking lot. So here, you pass the entrance to the parking first and the bag drop was at the end of the line. Then we had to exit, loop around the block in heavy traffic and then get back in the same line and enter the parking lot. In retrospect, we could have entered the parking with our luggage and rolled it to the porters. Better signage or guidance upon driving into the terminal would be most helpful. After the parking frustration, things went more smoothly and we boarded shortly after moving through the check-in line. RCI does a much better job of allowing passengers who desire, to take care of many of the check-in steps while at home and then checking people in with mobile devices instead of requiring everyone to get into long queues for the check-in desk. Food and Beverage. We had great service all around. Bar service was the best I ever encountered. Service in all the restaurants was also solid. We were generally pleased with the food in all the complimentary restaurants. The decor was nice as well. Buffet food quality was a bit of a letdown in comparison to those we have experienced on other ships. We had the beverage package and it was nice to not need to sign a slip every time we ordered a beverage. Last time we cruised RCI, they still require a slip to be signed every transaction for some reason, perhaps for the extra gratuity pitch. Entertainment - Choir of man was fun and the Levity comedians on board our sailing were great. We wanted to see the Elton John show, but by the time we found out about it, (not listed as an option prior to cruise) it was always sold out. Other than that, we were not enthused, and the entertainment paled in comparison to the offerings from RCI’s Anthem of the Seas sailing a similar itinerary. Ship - we really did not care for the layout of the ship. The restaurants were fine, but we never found a favorite lounge-around/hangout spot on the ship that was not crowded. The water slides were great, but the hours for the ropes course were oddly quite limited which meant lines were always insane. As my title states, this is the smokiest ship I have been on, which I found odd on such a modern ship. The casino is not as isolated as on other ships, so the majority of 7th deck, including areas with shops and bars, smells like an old ash tray. Also, smoking was permitted at all the outdoor bars including the one directly adjacent to the smallest jogging track at sea. So if you are a smoker, you’ll love it. If not, not so much. Fitness center was also quite small for such a large ship. You get the gist of the target demographic for this ship. Bermuda was nice as always. We did not use any of the NCL excursions, as Bermuda is easy to do on your own. Just get a transportation pass which gives you access to all the busses and ferries and you can get to wherever you need and book direct with whatever it is you want to do. There is a kiosk near the ship and the staff are quite helpful. For example, the aquarium and zoo is a great little visit. Entry is 10 bucks per person and transportation is about the same. The complimentary NCL ferry to St. George’s was awesome and much appreciated. Tobacco Bay and surrounding area was wonderful. Disembarkation - lucky four us, we had the earliest time for luggage walk-off and we headed down early since finding an elevator can be maddening. We were placed in a que in the casino and waited about a half hour after our scheduled departure until we were cleared. Those coming later were frustrated as there did not seem to be a system to organize all the people who were showing up. We were delayed due to weather, so perhaps that caused things to back up more than usual. Once we got off the ship, proceeding through customs and leaving the terminal and NYC by car was smooth. Overall, the crew made this a bearable cruise. We always make the best of the situation and even though we didn’t really care for the vibe of this particular ship, we still had a nice vacation. The new NCL Encore coming next year has a large observation lounge in the front and some more exciting-looking entertainment, so we’ll look forward to giving that one a try. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My teenage daughter and I took this cruise because she was on school break. We like to cruise out of NYC because it's only a four hour drive from our house. Driving in and out of NYC was no problem. Traffic is not bad at all on Sunday ... Read More
My teenage daughter and I took this cruise because she was on school break. We like to cruise out of NYC because it's only a four hour drive from our house. Driving in and out of NYC was no problem. Traffic is not bad at all on Sunday mornings. We parked a few blocks away from the cruise terminal, thus cutting our parking costs in half (relative to parking at the terminal). Embarkation was easy. But, if they are going to assign boarding numbers, they should follow these numbers. It seems like lots of people were getting aboard well before their number was called. The first thing we did on board was go to the box office to make our show reservations. I highly recommend doing this. I'd prefer to make all the reservation online before the trip. But, since this isn't possible, it's best to take care of reservations as soon as you get on board. The process was very quick. There was a handout at the box office listing all the show times and we got to the front of the line even before we had decided what shows we wanted to see (and when). Also, make sure to ask about the "Escape from the Big Top" show. There's a sheet to sign up, but the show wasn't listed on the handout. We avoided the hassle of eating at the Garden Cafe the first day by going to O-Sheenan's instead. The hostess told us the wait would be 20-30 minutes. But, it turned out to be only a few minutes before we were seated. The food at this Irish pub was pretty good and there were so many items that looked good on the menu that I had a lot of difficulty deciding what to order. We only ate at the complementary restaurants and I was very impressed with the quality of the food. There were not a lot of exotic dishes (and never lobster!). But, the food tasted good, especially considering how many passengers they are trying to accommodate each day. We never had to wait for more than a few minutes to get a table. Several times, the hostess asked if we minded being seated with another party and told us there would be a wait if we declined. But, even though we insisted on a table for 2, we always were promptly seated. The service was very good, even though there was a lot of variance -- one night we were in-and-out of the restaurant in less than 30 minutes. Another night, the meal lasted over 1.5 hours. Sometimes the waiters were chatty, other times they just quietly went about doing their jobs. This is to be expected under the "freestyle" dining structure. I personally prefer the set dining times offered by Royal Caribbean (and other cruise lines) where you get to know your servers and they get to know your preferences. But, the freestyle approach is fine as long as you go into it with reasonable expectations. We initially purchased an inside guarantee stateroom. But, our bid (of $55 per person) for a balcony stateroom was accepted a couple of weeks before departure. It was nice to have a bit more space in the room and it was great having a balcony. I'm not one to splurge on the staterooms -- it's mostly just a place to sleep. However, if the cost of an upgrade is so reasonable, I can't pass it up. Our stateroom steward was extremely efficient, but I hardly ever saw him. I don't like to make small talk anyway, so that was good for me. The shows were really good. I saw "Choir of Man" twice. It was really entertaining. "After Midnight" was very well performed. I enjoyed it even though I'm not really a fan of that genre (1920's and tap-dancing). All three of the main comedians (including the hypnotist) were very good. I prefer the early - PG shows. Even the PG-13 show was bit too raunchy for my tastes. The warm-up comedian was awful. She was not funny at all and pretty much just obscene. We saw two shows in the Supper Club -- "Rocket Man", which was a tribute to Elton John and a 4-guy singing group. Both were OK, well below the quality of the main shows. I liked the Rocket Man show much more than the other one. But, the singers were very good -- I just wasn't a fan of the song choices -- It was corny to hear the young men perform songs from their grandparents' era and I'm not a fan of the new hits (which are much too vulgar for my tastes). The Super Club food was the worst on the ship, mostly because you don't have any choice of what you get so you can end up with ingredients that are not your favorite. But, you always could eat something before or after the show -- no one is going to starve aboard the Escape! I'm a big fan of puzzle rooms. But, the "Escape the Big Top" has room for improvement. The puzzles themselves are extremely good -- sufficiently challenging, but doable. The problem is with the structure. There are 10 teams (8-12 members each) all competing simultaneously. Each team is assigned a table right next to the other teams and all teams share the same props. There isn't enough room for all members to work on the assigned table and as you get up to examine the various props, it's hard to keep track of who is on your team. Furthermore, each team can see what the other teams are doing. Thus, the best strategy would probably be to just look over the other 9 teams' shoulders and aggregate the information. Even if you're not trying to "cheat", it's impossible not to hear what the other teams are thinking. Finally, you have to wait on the other teams before trying your solution(s). Our team would have won. I had the "correct" answer on my list of possible answers, but it didn't seem fair to hog the lock trying out each of the combinations team members came up with while a line of other teams were forced to wait. The activities on the ship were fun. The mini-golf course was challenging with lots of obstacles -- probably the best course I've seen on a ship. The aqua racer water slide (with the freefall drop) was really cool. It also was never crowded, probably because you had to weigh at least 100 pounds to ride it, thus ruling out many of the little kids. The other water slides were very boring to me. But, they must have been enjoyable to others since the lines were always very long. The ropes course was excellent, better than the one at our local mall. It was closed most of the sea days, which was very disappointing. The game shows were pretty standard fare for a cruise ship, but still entertaining. There was an issue of the Atrium not being large enough to accommodate all the passengers who wanted to see the shows. You had to arrive 30 minutes early to have a place to sit. I wasn't willing to do this (especially for a show that's only going to last 15 - 25 minutes) so I ended up standing. Or, if you don't mind sitting on the floor, there was always room up front (which my daughter always did, along with the other teenagers). I've been to Bermuda before. But, the beaches are extremely nice. The high temperatures where in the upper 60's. I did a lot of snorkeling (at Elbow Beach and several beaches within the Cooper's Island Nature Preserve on St. George) and it was much better than the last time I went. One day, we took the Ferry to Hamilton and did the City of Hamilton Walking tour that is led by Ed Christopher, the Town Crier. The tour begins on the steps of City Hall and lasts about 2 hours. I would highly recommend taking this free tour. It was very interesting and informative. The guide seems to know all the locals and many had very intriguing back stories, e.g., we met a boxer who earned a gold medal in the Olympics. After the tour, we took a bus to Elbow Beach. There were less than 20 people on the whole beach and I was the only one snorkeling -- most people consider the water too cold to swim in this time of year. But, it was perfect for me. The second day in Bermuda, we went parasailing. Actually, only my daughter flew -- I've done it before and am not a huge fan of being so high up. She considered this to be the highlight of her vacation. I highly recommend booking through KS Watersports (6 Dockyard Terrace). You book your tour through the Island Tour Centre, which is just a few minutes walk from where the ship docks. Although advance reservations are strongly suggested, we always wait until the day we want to go in order to make sure the weather is good (and have had no trouble getting a spot on the boat). That afternoon, we took the "Caves and Waves" tour. Typically, we book our excursions through independent tour operators. But, this time we booked through NCL because there wasn't much of a price difference and you do end up going quite a long ways from the Royal Dockyard. I loved this excursion. The visit to the caves was a bit "touristy" for my tastes, but the afternoon at the Cooper's Island Nature Preserve was spectacular. Most guests stayed close to the bar/restaurant and first beach they dropped us off at. But, I would strongly encourage you to be more adventurous. There is a neat walking trail that must pass at least 10 other beaches. So, if you walk far enough, you should be able to have an entire beach to yourself. My daughter loved climbing around on the rocks and I loved the snorkeling. There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore around the rocky outcroppings and mini-islands. Also, our tour guides were extremely nice and provided an informative narration of various spots in Bermuda as we took the hour-long bus ride back from St. George to the Royal Dockyard. Disembarkation was the worst part of the cruise. There needs to be more organization. You weren't told where to wait and thus people congregated on the steps and hallways (even though we were told not to). It would be helpful to have more specifics about where the line begins. Instead, it was a huge mess. Furthermore, you can't rely on the announcements since nothing was said when departures began. Even though there were color-coded tags to denote your time of disembarkation, staff did not check passengers and thus everyone just tried to get off at the same time. And, I overheard the staff telling their superiors not to announce disembarkation had started since it was already too crowded at the gangway. Lack of information (or enforcement of policies) could be the primary source of the excessive congestion. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to see Bermuda, and spend more than one day in port - this cruise fit the bill. Overall, a very good cruise, but there is room for improvement. First, the big positives: 1 - Balcony room was very nice - good bed, largest ... Read More
We wanted to see Bermuda, and spend more than one day in port - this cruise fit the bill. Overall, a very good cruise, but there is room for improvement. First, the big positives: 1 - Balcony room was very nice - good bed, largest shower (by comparison to other ships) we've seen, and a super room steward (friendly and helpful). 2 - Great cruise director and staff - personable and a lot of fun - no shortage of talent there. 3 - Good variety of entertainment options. 4 - Overall, a clean, nice ship. Room for improvement: 1 - While food was good, overall it was not as good as food we have had on Royal Caribbean and Princess. Less variety at the buffets than on Royal Caribbean and Princess. 2 - Maybe it was because it was a busy holiday week (Easter), but the bartenders were not as cheerful as we have seen on other ships. Also, while rest of crew was friendly, we received less "Good Morning" greetings than we have on other ships. While it might seem like a small, minor point, I think it definitely reflects on the overall friendliness of the entire crew. 3 - Deck 6 Atrium is a great place for the interactive shows and contests onboard with its neat high-definition wall screen. However, the overall size was too small for many of the events conducted there, leading to overcrowding and people fighting to get seats there, with the crowd overflowing into the Guest Services area. The situation could have been improved by moving the popular comedic adult games shows to a larger venue like the theater with more room. The games were a lot of fun, but the overcrowding hampered many from truly enjoying the shows. I have discussed the good, the bad, and now the UGLY: 1 - Only one truly poor thing, but unfortunately it was the last impression we had. The disembarking procedure was a horrible joke!! Two hours in a line winding from bow to stern, through halls and mazes in the main dining room, then on to the Customs maze (which only took about 15-20 minutes. No organization whatsoever, and a lot of angry passengers stuck forever between decks on staircases. Although groups of passengers were assigned departure times, none were observed or controlled by the ship personnel. Plus, handling your own bags made things move even slower. NCL - Take some lessons from Royal Caribbean - they have disembarking down to a science. When cruising on the Allure of the Seas, with 6,300 passengers, I was able to disembark, including Customs, in 15 minutes. With 4,000 on this NCL ship, it took another member of our group of friends over 3 hours - a total joke that quickly soured a lot of us to NCL. Again, overall a very good cruise, but if NCL could get its disembarking procedure totally changed, and tweak the few things I mentioned, it could have been a 5 star cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I was looking for a quick last-minute mini-break, so this 4 day cruise was ideal and priced right for me, a single traveler from the New York area. One day at sea - one day in Bermuda - one day at sea. There was some confusion about ... Read More
I was looking for a quick last-minute mini-break, so this 4 day cruise was ideal and priced right for me, a single traveler from the New York area. One day at sea - one day in Bermuda - one day at sea. There was some confusion about boarding times by those who booked early, but that didn't affect me, since I booked a few days prior to sailing. I walked onto the ship with no wait. However, this was likely due to the fact that the ship had no passengers to disembark upon arrival. Norwegian sells hard from the moment you get on board. Nearly everything is at an upgrade and added fee. If that makes you feel ill-at-ease, this is not the line for you. The staff is courteous and efficient, but due to the large numbers, there's always one or two still training and inexperienced. The Getaway is a very large ship and when fully booked (4,000 passengers) it can be chaotic - especially during the 'muster' / boat drill. The ship also attracts many non-English speaking people which can sometimes cause confusion and conflict due to the lack of communication possible. This is a fact, not a problem. Patience is needed at all times on a big ship like this. For first timers to Bermuda, I highly recommend the bus tour of the full island. It takes five hours and visits St. George and Hamilton and everything in between. Guides / drivers are knowledgeable, friendly, and funny. I wish it were not raining nearly the whole time, but this is in mother nature's hands, so we made the best of it. My only complaint is that since it was an atypical trip length, there were all sorts of omissions and errors, especially in the Freestyle Daily newsletter. A happy mistake was that they charged us too much for port taxes and refunded them in onboard credit. The ship docked in Bermuda and it was 45 minutes before the first announcement about the arrival - and that was to inform us that the ship was not yet cleared. When a ship arrives - an announcement of status should be made immediately to avoid confusion. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We had a wonderful time on the Gem! We’ve met new friends along the way also the ship has a friendly crew. The Gem seemed like it was lacking crewmen. Service was somewhat subpar in some cases. Service at Cagneys on our second specialty ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the Gem! We’ve met new friends along the way also the ship has a friendly crew. The Gem seemed like it was lacking crewmen. Service was somewhat subpar in some cases. Service at Cagneys on our second specialty reservation was awful. Any ways we had a great time on her. I was not impressed with the casino staff, I had requested my points to be transferred from the other ships but only one was forwarded. Gem is a beautiful ship! I’m not sure if I wanna sail on her again. It’s a maybe or maybe not... Gem had a great refurbishment. I love Osheehans it’s my go to bar lol! I’m not sure why the bar stops serving alcoholic beverages at 2am. Osheehans service could can be on a slow side during lunchtime, and around the wee hours. I would suggest the Gem to my friends and family... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Went on this cruise with a friend and found it to be a better cruise than some others I had been on. Entertainment - especially "Choir of Men" was fantastic. Food available in quiet settings which was a good alternative to ... Read More
Went on this cruise with a friend and found it to be a better cruise than some others I had been on. Entertainment - especially "Choir of Men" was fantastic. Food available in quiet settings which was a good alternative to waiting in line. Pedicure was good but sales pitch for weight loss product throughout pedicure was horrible experience. (Found out later I could have requested she didn't do that, but shoudn't have to ask). Cabin very spacious and Casino had great lively staff. Stay in Bermuda was cut short, but wasn't much we missed out on except possibly a day trip to Hamilton. Went on RUM cruise and had a blast - beautiful sunset, delicious rum! Highly recommend that as a side trip. Did a "Cruise Critic" tour of rooms and LOVED the Haven suites! Definitely recommend the Haven for those who can swing them! Our family ocean view room was more than ample though! This vessel much larger than last Norwegian vessel which tells you how long it's been since I went on Norwegian! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Overall fantastic. The stateroom was spacious and clean. Great balcony view. Housekeeping was always efficient and very accommodating. Food great in all the restaurants and buffet. Friendly, attentive staff. Very knowledgeable about ... Read More
Overall fantastic. The stateroom was spacious and clean. Great balcony view. Housekeeping was always efficient and very accommodating. Food great in all the restaurants and buffet. Friendly, attentive staff. Very knowledgeable about gluten allergy and precautions needed to ensure safe dining. We at at Moderno, Bayamo, Cagney's, Teppanyaki, Le Bistro, O'Sheehans, Food Republic, Tappas Bar, Manhatten Room, Taste and Savor, as well as the Garden Cafe. Had drinks in most of the bars and lounges. The various activities in the atrium we're fun and we'll attended. Our bartendrs at the Mojito tasting we're knowledgeable and entertaining. Choir of Men show was phenomenal. We loved that so much we saw it twice. Our only disappointment was the Brat Pack show. It was raunchy and offensive and we had to leave. Sadly, good talent wasted with disgusting material. The 80s movies and songs could have been crafted into an entertaining show without people stripping disn to their underwear and making crude references to religions. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The ship is very large with alot of people. This cruise we traveled with friends, not all liked the large ship. We travel out of the NY port which is very convenient for us living in Penna. One draw back on the ship is the Atrium is way ... Read More
The ship is very large with alot of people. This cruise we traveled with friends, not all liked the large ship. We travel out of the NY port which is very convenient for us living in Penna. One draw back on the ship is the Atrium is way too busy. I prefer a Martini bar which NCL has omitted from the newer ships. The martini bars were always out of the way of the crowd. The only place to get favored Martinis is at the Atrium where there is a lot of activities going on most of the time. So you can not relax very often at the Atrium bar. NCL has added a couple of other bars, where you can go for a quiet atmosphere. a wine bar and a brewhouse (beer). The stores on board had some nice products. We always like the specialty restaurants, mainly Le Bistro, Cagney's , and Teppanyaki. The mini-golf is always a draw for many people but is a fun activity for all. We were not able to enjoy all the shows but the ones we attended were enjoyable. Because we have been to this port before we did not take any excursions but walked around the port shops. The shops had a variety of items at mostly reasonable prices. The overall cruise was good and enjoyable. NCL has the best prices and ammenities for the price. The cabins have always been comfortable for us. I will continue to cruise with NCL (16 cruises and number 17 coming up) but do not like all the changes that have been made by the company. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first time on the ESCAPE and the first time on this large of a ship. Way too many people for us. We will be going back to the smaller ships. WAY to many kids. A few suggestions for NCL- 1. Perhaps have a kids sections ... Read More
This was our first time on the ESCAPE and the first time on this large of a ship. Way too many people for us. We will be going back to the smaller ships. WAY to many kids. A few suggestions for NCL- 1. Perhaps have a kids sections at the dining rooms so everyone doesn't have to listen to crying babies while trying to enjoy a nice dinner 2. Use the Main Theatre for events/gathering instead of the Atrium for everything- NOT enough seating and jams up the area-very frustrating MOST Events were held in the Atrium, very strange! 3. DON'T make people pre-book comedy shows etc. half the people don't even show up that book it and then the tickets are sold out and you have to get there 40 minutes ahead of time to wait in the standby line. Too much thinking ahead of time. People just arrive that want to go to the show, when it's full come back to another one. Once again the venues are WAY to small for the size of ship to many people having to stand at ALL the shows or turned away. Use the Theatre that is mostly never used at night Staff was very friendly, food was good, rooms were nice. It was a great trip just too many kids which we were surprised this time of year. Crystle Caves are a must for a tour- Do both! NCL is still our favorite cruise line! Read Less

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