78 Norwegian Escape Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Bermuda

We chose this cruise because it had been a few years since we sailed Norwegian. We previously sailed the Jade, and enjoyed it. Also, the NY pier is a 3 hr drive from our home. Bermuda is beautiful and I can leave a review regarding ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it had been a few years since we sailed Norwegian. We previously sailed the Jade, and enjoyed it. Also, the NY pier is a 3 hr drive from our home. Bermuda is beautiful and I can leave a review regarding that on a Bermuda board, but for this review I am limiting my review to our time on the ship. The good: -Embarkation went smooth, less than 1.5 hour wait. -Sitting outside at the waterfront and dining during sunset. -Amazing view from an aft balcony -The drinks/drink package -Shows, particularly comedy, Marva Hicks, and wine lovers musical. The good and bad: The spa I bought over $800 worth of services and enjoyed it all. One down point here: I did purchase a nail fix as my most inexpensive service, $15 plus tax, to glue a piece of my nail down that was beginning to break. A couple of hours afterwards, it fell off anyway and the spa assistant manager refused to give me a refund. Because of this, I will probably not use the spa again even though the rest of the services were spectacular. I was even able to purchase the Keratase products I use on my hair here. My “vacation hero” was Amir from India who works in the hair salon. He was very personable and gave me a wonderful haircut. The bad: -Food. The food is generally not good on this ship. I am referencing the taste and beyond. The beyond refers to the night my husband and I repeatedly went to the bathroom with upset stomachs. My husband also orally could not keep any food down the same evening. The remainder of the cruise was full of upset stomachs, bathroom trips, bloating and gas. We both experienced this. I am probably used to a high quality of food but whatever the reason may be, we either didn’t like the food or became sick 60-70 percent of the time. On the ferry into Hamilton, Bermuda, other passengers also expressed their dissatisfaction with the food. Your best bets our the main dining rooms at lunch rather than the buffet and specialty restaurants at dinner, particularly Cagney’s and Teppanyaki. We ate everywhere except Le Bistro and Pinchos Tapas Bar. Staff onboard: Some staff members were exceptional, including our cabin steward Rochelle, guest service employees, Amir and Christina in the spa, bartenders and various waitstaff and we tipped amply on top of the automatic gratuities to show our appreciation. I suggest everyone do the same if they are willing and able. The problem with this ship is that service is hit or miss. We had very dismissive and slow service in La Cucina, for example. Also, when we called restaurant reservations to cancel reservations and free them up for others (after already making replacement reservations on our app), the female rep who answered was short tempered and impatient on multiple occasions. We were shocked that was the case when we were being courteous to other guests. Layout of the ship: The guest services, Internet cafe, main big screen interior television, bar, espresso shop and shore excursions are all in the same location with the art gallery not far away. Too many people are converged into this area of the boat at all times. There are also people walking slow and looking at art making it more congested. I have been on smaller ships that did not feel as cramped, including the Jade. I’ve also been on large ships that did not have this problem, such as MSC. In fact, Norwegian could take lessons from MSC as to how to lay out a large ship. -Disembarkation: Was a crap show. Our ship arrived into port late due to Hurricane Dorian and started disembarkation at 2:45. They gave out different colored luggage tags which were supposed to correspond with your disembark time. No one from Norwegian actually checked the tags until midway into the line or more and everyone appeared to converge on the gangway at the same time. Lots of people were visually frustrated and some verbalized it. -Water: Norwegian bring bottled water back to premium beverage package. It’s ridiculous that on a ship with wine and liquor everywhere, water appears to be its most expensive asset. Miscellaneous: Parking: We used a parking app, Park Whiz, to book a spot on 58th in walking distance to the pier. Very convenient to the pier. Shore excursion: Did not do an organized excursion, instead rented a Twizy during whole time docked. We visited Warwick Long Bay and John Smith Bay beaches and highly recommend both. The Twizy is uncomfortable for the rear passenger but a necessary evil to get around on your own unless you take a cab or bus or stay close to the ferry terminal. Visual appeal of Escape: 10/10 exterior. Inside, however, could use some color and rooms in need of refurbishment. I added this to miscellaneous as it is purely subjective and thus, I have tried not to base my review on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this ship because our friends had planned this trip and the convenience of the port. We had a wonderful time going to Bermuda. This was our first time on an Norwegian cruise line. The ship was very big with lots of activities to ... Read More
I chose this ship because our friends had planned this trip and the convenience of the port. We had a wonderful time going to Bermuda. This was our first time on an Norwegian cruise line. The ship was very big with lots of activities to do. The captain was very careful to avoid the hurricane Dorian when we were going to Bermuda. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. The food of course wasn’t the best but still tasted good. I would have to thank the guest manager for treating us very special. I would have to say we want to try the Norwegian Escape again. This was also our first time doing a meet and great and the slot pull which was lots of fun. The captain was also careful with the hurricane going back home. Although we had arrived late we came back to port safe and sound. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Very disappointed in the NCL Escape cruise to Bermuda. Smoking is allowed in the casino which located at the center atrium of the ship. Smoke is smelled throughout the ship on ALL levels because of this. Shame on NCL for subjecting us ... Read More
Very disappointed in the NCL Escape cruise to Bermuda. Smoking is allowed in the casino which located at the center atrium of the ship. Smoke is smelled throughout the ship on ALL levels because of this. Shame on NCL for subjecting us to second hand smoke. Smoking is also allowed at certain outside bars located directly adjacent to the children's water park. Children should not have to smell smoke and be subjected to cancer. The overall service staff was rude and not cordial. A bartender at the H20 bar from India yelled at me for not picking up my mixed drinks on time. The guest services person gave me incorrect information on when the time zone change would occur. The NCL mobile app had incorrect information that we were going to be in Hamilton for three days and not the dockyard. Fire alarm testing at 10 am during the breakfast rush is unacceptable. This should have been tested during the afternoon when most are off the ship on excursions. I was excited to take a tour of the bridge and see behind the scenes areas like the kitchen, laundry and engine room like I did on other cruise lines, however, NCL has the nerve to charge $79 per person for this tour of their ship. This is disgraceful. Not having a pitcher of water or bucket of ice in the room, as well as no chocolate at night or towel bunny is cheap and disgraceful. Charging $7 a bottle for water when I have the all you can drink package up to $15 per drink is also disgraceful. Nickel and diming me for port charges for drinks while at NY should be picked up by NCL. Coffee should be served at the tables at the buffet so I don't have to navigate back to my table with piping hot coffee through hundreds of people walking in all different directions. The food and pastries at the buffet and most of the specialty restaurants was subpar with most pasties tasting like they were mass produced and from frozen cartons. The waiters did not show us the proper attention like other cruise lines where you had dedicated waiters. Maybe because their tip is already included! Many of the waiters or waitresses did not understand English and got our drink orders wrong. There were also few food carvings or any other special food nights. The seafood extravaganza was a joke with only peel your own shrimp. No crab legs or anything. The specialty seafood restaurant waitress said not to order the lobster I was craving because its frozen and many people are said to be returning it due to poor taste. The sushi appetizer at the Cagney Steakhouse caused intestinal distress for a day and half. Many of the entertainment shows were sold out immediately as we boarded the ship. The comedy club size is a joke holding about 75 people with a ship of over 4,000 passengers. This show should have been held in the main theater so more people can watch and not be subjected to standing in the rear against a wall. The bar in the comedy club was also closed during a show preventing many people from ordering drinks. Theater showings should be after 10 pm so it doesn't interfere or conflict with my open seating for dinner which NCL prides themselves on. NCL cruise line was very disappointing. I will be going back to Royal Caribbean cruises where they treat their customers with respect and the food is always good. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I have been cruising with NCL for about 10 years and 17 cruises. This cruise was for our 20th wedding anniversary. We decided to get a Haven suite. Our previous cruise had too many children so we had thought that the Haven ... Read More
My wife and I have been cruising with NCL for about 10 years and 17 cruises. This cruise was for our 20th wedding anniversary. We decided to get a Haven suite. Our previous cruise had too many children so we had thought that the Haven would have fewer children. The children were from age 6 months on up. We were very wrong. The entire ship was overrun with babies & toddlers. The strollers were clogging the elevators and the walkways. Every restaurant had at least one screaming baby (including the specialty restaurants). Even the Haven area was mostly unusable as the pool area was completely taken over by young children. The service was, as always, spectacular. Every NCL staff member we encountered was pleasant and friendly. The food was equally spectacular. The only problem we had was everything was so good but one can only eat so much. The entertainment was great. We loved the comedy shows. The shows in the Escape theater were very good. However, it appears that NCL has shifted their business model to cater to families with young children. It was like being on a Disney cruise. I would strongly recommend that one does not cruise on NCL unless one wants to cruise with a lot of children (and I mean a lot). However, if one is looking for a child friendly cruise line then NCL is a great fit. My wife and I have decided to break from NCL. Our children are grown and we have no desire to share our vacation with other people's children. The Bermuda cruise will be our last that we book. We have already paid for another cruise so we will do that and be done with NCL. I wish NCL the best. I have a lot of great memories from NCL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
always cruise with Norwegian love the service and free style dinning love Bistro ,Cagneys was good and la Cucina was very good all food were very good have no complaints at all on this cruise all the service was amazing include room ... Read More
always cruise with Norwegian love the service and free style dinning love Bistro ,Cagneys was good and la Cucina was very good all food were very good have no complaints at all on this cruise all the service was amazing include room service and casino service.the layout of the ship was nice in a large ship bartenders was very quick and friendly. ii also like the large shower in the room the room seamed big even if wasn't..my wife would like you to include the drinks in the room refrigater included in beverage package including water also have another smoking section beside casino smokeroom and pool deck entertainment was good nice to hear different music in parts of ship which was done good. and I want to point it was nice to have clean machines in the casino that was great, not like the gem had on my last trip where a lot of people was getting sick a lady was snezzing all over the manchines slot Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Had a great time at the Norwegian Escape . Everything went well and smoothly. The service, the staff, the restaurants, the food and the entertainment was all over the top. A lot of activities to do. There are plenty of dining options to ... Read More
Had a great time at the Norwegian Escape . Everything went well and smoothly. The service, the staff, the restaurants, the food and the entertainment was all over the top. A lot of activities to do. There are plenty of dining options to choose from; even the complimentary restaurants are great with a variety of delicious food. The staff always welcoming and willing to accommodate your needs. Despite the number of alternative venues on Escape, the Garden Cafe which is the buffet, can be quite crowded during peak breakfast and lunch hours. Nevertheless the variety of food was always good. We didn’t take any excursions but we did visit Horseshoe Bay which is a must, the beach is absolutely beautiful and traveling to and from was very easy , safe and cheap, only $14 round trip. Overall my husband and I had a great time and a positive experience. I highly recommend cruising with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had an early embarkation so vacation started early which was an awesome start. Our cabin was in the perfect location not far from the elevators. All of our meals were great especially with friends . We really enjoyed Howling at the ... Read More
We had an early embarkation so vacation started early which was an awesome start. Our cabin was in the perfect location not far from the elevators. All of our meals were great especially with friends . We really enjoyed Howling at the Moon . Bermuda is our favorite destination and Rising Sun Catamaran swim and snorkel is our favorite excursion it was a great day in the sun at a beautiful location. Couldn't hit a jackpot in the casino but had a great time anyway! Drinks and dancing at Spice H20 always a great time. Met so many people all the staff were friendly and service was great. Alvin the cruise director was Awesome as always does a great job getting people to join in the festivities and always makes us laugh!! We had an early disembarkation which was swift no waiting just the way I like it! We Love NCL and will definitely be cruising with them again soon!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Generally the ship was nice and clean. The food was above average. Entertainment was very good. Staff was courteous and always helpful. Biggest problem with ship is the swimming pool situation and no real adult area. That makes this ... Read More
Generally the ship was nice and clean. The food was above average. Entertainment was very good. Staff was courteous and always helpful. Biggest problem with ship is the swimming pool situation and no real adult area. That makes this ship a very poor choice for me and most adults I know. Hard to believe whoever designed this ship missed on this one. First time i cruised Norwegian, but I will need to check ship out in more detail before I cruise with them again. The agent I booked with said there was an adult pool and area. He was correct, but the pool was tiny, there was only one adult hot tub and there were kids all over the place. Also, whats the point of having a small pool and the entire thing is 6'8" deep. everyone was hanging on the sides because no one like treading water in the middle when you are trying to relax and talk to friends. design people really messed up big time. I was not the only one complaining. It seemed to be what many people talked about everyday. Variety of bars was great, but usually difficult to get a drink. What makes it worse is paying for the drink package and spending half you time trying to get drinks just to get your moneys worth. Also for the price you pay for drink package, they should have bottled water. Very poor! Agent told me they did have bottled water with package, but was wrong. Very disappointed, as i am a water drinker more than an alcohol drinker. I had to spend money to buy bottled water. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise because we got married on the Norwegian Crown 20 years ago, and our time in Bermuda got cut short due to Tropical Storm Arlene. We were rerouted to Newport, RI. We had a nice time, but always wanted to go ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because we got married on the Norwegian Crown 20 years ago, and our time in Bermuda got cut short due to Tropical Storm Arlene. We were rerouted to Newport, RI. We had a nice time, but always wanted to go back to Bermuda. My husband is not a big fan of cruising (he is now, more to come), so we looked in to flying and staying there for a week. It is so expensive to stay in Bermuda, so we decided to cruise. We live in NJ, so took an Uber to the port. Embarkation, despite some of the reviews I read, went very smoothly! We followed the directions, arrived at our assigned 11 am embarkation time, and were on board in about 30 minutes. I did A LOT of research before the cruise. I studied this ship, read all the reviews, watched a lot of videos...I made it my mission to make sure we knew what we were doing before we boarded. I even had a spreadsheet of our planned daily activities/dining reservations. As I mentioned before, my husband had not cruised since our wedding. I have been on 2 cruises since, so had a little bit of experience. We don't have children and we don't like huge crowds, so I researched where the quiet places were. As soon as we got on board, we changed into our bathing suits and got in to the pool while everyone was at the buffet. We enjoyed about an hour of almost no one in the pool. Highly recommend getting a railing spot to see the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge as you leave Manhattan. Once rooms were available, our luggage was waiting (hint-tip the luggage porters at the port very well!). We were in a Spa Balcony: room 15750. We met our steward right away. Her name was Aileen. We ABSOLUTELY loved her. We gave her a tip on the first day, and kindly asked for a few things (robes and ice in the ice bucket every day so we could fill our water bottles). I believe that getting to know her and always going out of our way to talk with her made a difference in the service. On previous cruises, I only saw my steward the first day, and that was it. A complimentary bottle of bubbly, along with an Anniversary card, was waiting for us. When we booked the cruise, we told our travel agent we were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. Our room was clean and well appointed and included a small coffee pot, which was great. It had lots of storage, as well. More than enough for 2 people on a 7 day cruise.The nicest room I've ever stayed in. Balcony was perfect for 2 people. I'll NEVER be able to stay in an interior room again. We were right under the ping-pong tables, but it didn't bother us because we weren't in our room that much. We were very close to the stairs and elevators, which was super convenient. Noise was not an issue at all. We spent a lot of time at the Thermal Suite, which was included with our room. Other guests over 18 can buy a week or daily passes. There is a limit on the number of passes they sell, so it never gets crowded. The heated ceramic lounge chairs were AMAZING. The therapy pool, sauna, and snow room were fantastic. I highly recommend the Thermal Suite if you are looking for tranquility and a place to get away from the crowds. They have orange infused water, teas, and oranges available. My husband loved this place. This was the game- changer for him. He said he will always cruise NCL in the future and will always make sure we have access to the Thermal Suite. We had several spa treatments (he had a shave and teeth whitening, I had a manicure, and we did a couples hot stone massage). All of these things were extra, and were expensive, but I felt were well worth the price. My husband, who has NEVER been to a spa or had any type of spa services, loved the shave and the massage! Do be aware that they will try to hard sell you on their products, which is slightly annoying. If you are not interested, just be honest and say no. The food was very good, however I remember it being a lot better when we cruised on the Crown 20 years ago (perhaps because it was a much smaller ship). We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants. We ate at the buffet every morning for breakfast, and would stop in there, or O'Sheehan's for something in the afternoon if we were hungry. We got to know some of the O'Sheehan's wait staff-they were so kind and treated us like royalty! Tip: get the Thai wings. DELISH. O'Sheehan's is open 24 hours a day, also, and has decent pub style food. I enjoyed the fish and fries. My husband liked the shepherd's pie. The breakfast buffet was standard cruise breakfast food, but the French toast was amazing! Highly recommend. We tried the buffet, Taste, Savor, and the Manhattan Room for dinner. Tip: Taste, Savor, and The Manhattan Room are all main dining rooms. If you have a larger party, be sure to make reservations in advance so you don't have to wait. The menu is the same in all 3. Apps were very good, including the smoked mozzarella ravioli, the spring rolls, and the Caesar salad. Main dishes were good-I had fettuccine Alfredo with mushrooms one night and really liked it. I tried to ignore the bread, but COULD NOT. It was delicious. Tip: you only live once, you can diet later. Eat the bread. I'll say it again, eat the bread. I had a baked apple dessert one night that I thought was great. BE SURE to enjoy the mojitos at SugarCane! Even if you don't drink alcohol, they'll make you a raspberry guava sans rum. I LOVED the jalapeno cucumber mojito. Sounds strange, but it was fantastic. Loved the bartenders, too. TIP: this is not a fast food restaurant. These guys are seriously making amazing mojitos and it takes time. I heard some snarky remarks about the slow service. Relax, you'll get your drink! And side note: take the time to say hello when a crew member is not super busy. Ask them where they are from and how long they've been with NCL. Do this with as many crew as possible. These people work their butts off to make everyone happy. As soon as they get back to port, they have a few short hours to flip the ship, and they are back at it, and start all over again to make sure you have a great time. I'm a little annoyed with how NCL manages the beverage packages. On RCL, you have 2 options, if I recall. The soda package and the unlimited beverage package. The unlimited allows all alcohol under a certain amount (which is just about everything), soda, and bottled water. On NCL, you don't get bottled water with your Premium Beverage Package. If you want bottled water, you have to buy it. Tip: bring an insulated tumbler, like a Yeti, and just drink the tap water from your stateroom (it is good water), or fill up at a water cooler. Ask your steward for ice every day and he/she should provide it in your ice bucket. NOTE: don't be a jerk...follow the directions at the water coolers and fill up a cup and pour into your own bottle. Sadly, we did not take advantage of the shows. I really wish we would have seen Choir of Man, because it gets rave reviews, but my husband is not into musicals, so we didn't make reservations. Tip: go to see this show. I hear it's awesome. We did go to the Atrium on most days to watch the game shows and entertainment. This was a lot of fun. We either sat a the Atrium bar, or sat up 1 level around the bar that surrounds the atrium, which is served by O'Sheehan's. The pool. If you have done any reading about this ship, you already know the pool issue. It's small. If you are a pool person and do not mind close quarters, get out there first thing and enjoy. Don't be a chair hog. The crew will remove unattended belongings after 1 hour. I love the pool, but my husband hates crowds, so we just worked around it. We loved The Grotto, which is in Spice H2O, the adults only area. It's perfect for cooling off. Alvin, the cruise director, and Alex, the assistant cruise director, were fun and HILARIOUS! We had 2.5 days in Bermuda. We did 2 excursions (not my choice; my husband wanted to do this...Bermuda is very safe and easy to navigate using public transportation, but he was not comfortable going out on our own). We took a minibus to Horseshoe Beach on day 1. it was for about 3 hours and cost $45. We could have taken a taxi for much less. TIP: take a taxi, don't bother with the excursion. There are plenty of taxis there to take you back to the ship. Speaking of coming back to the ship, when we got back to the ship on day 1 in Bermuda, there was a very, very long line to get back on. I think we waited for about 10-15 minutes, which in the hot sun is a long time. We found out that the line was for cold wash cloths and water. We could of by-passed that line and gotten right back on the ship. It would have been helpful to have a representative from NCL at the end of the line providing this direction. On day 2 we took a minibus tour of Bermuda. Highly recommend. I think it was $145 per person. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. On day 3, my husband did a jet ski tour that he booked the night before at a place right by the ship. He loved it and got to see a sea turtle. We then went to Snorkel Beach ($5 fee). Got there at 9 am, before the crowd, and enjoyed ourselves. Great place to see fish, lots of activities, music, and a snack bar. TIP: wear water shoes. There are some rocky areas. TIP: if you venture out on day 3, DO take an excursion. Do not chance it because if something happens, the ship does not wait. If you are on a ship affiliated excursion, they will wait for you. Our plan was always to hang around the Dock Yard on day 3, because you are right by the ship. We did not dine in Bermuda. Food (and everything else) is super expensive in Bermuda. The reason we cruised there was to save money on food and accommodations, so we were surely not going to spend money on an expensive meal. I do regret not getting a signature Bermuda drink (Dark and Stormy and Rum Swizzle), but we will be back! Debarkation was pretty simple. The day before, go to the Guest Services area, get your tags, and follow the directions on the television monitors near the tags, or on your television. When your color is called, leave the ship. We chose to leave our luggage outside our door the night before and picked it up in the designated area at the terminal. TIP: if you chose this method, make sure you have something on your luggage so it's easily identifiable, like a bright colored luggage tag or pom-pom. We then walked few blocks up and got an Uber. We were home by 10 am. Before we left, we tipped our steward again, because she was so kind and went out of her way to help us have our perfect vacation. So in a nutshell, here are my tips: plan. I cannot overstate it. There are SO MANY things to do on this ship. If you don't have some sort of plan and understand the lay of the land before you get on board, it may be overwhelming, and you may waste your time figuring out what you want to do and where to go. Be patient. 4000+ people on one ship is a lot of people who come from all walks of life. I caught myself getting very annoyed more than once, but had several reminders that we are all on this planet together, and everyone has their own story. I met some really kind, interesting people because I took the time to talk and listen. BE KIND to the crew. GO out of YOUR way to say thank you. I looked everyone in the eye, from the Washy Washy man to the woman sweeping the restrooms, and said "thank you" or "have a nice day!" These people are away from their friends and family 9 months at a time, don't make a lot of money, and make it their mission to make sure we are having a great experience. The very least we can do is be kind. NCL has a reputation of "nickeling and diming." This is easily avoidable if you plan in advance. It's your choice-if you don't want specialty dining, then eat what is included. If you don't want to pay for spa treatments, then don't do it. You can have a grand time with what is included in your fare. We loved this cruise so much that we put down deposits for 2 upcoming cruises using the NCL Cruise Next program. I was so afraid my husband was not going to have a good time, and he ended up loving it. If you know you'll cruise again, highly recommend this approach. You can go to the Cruise Next desk to learn more. I also recommend attending the Cruise Next presentation in the atrium on Saturday afternoon. You'll learn more about itineraries and the NCL fleet. If you chose this cruise ship, you'll see why it's the happiest ship on earth. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We live NJ and were married on Bermuda. The convenience and our love of cruising makes a NYC-Bermuda a no-brainer for us. We've sailed the Breakaway in 2014, and Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas in 2018. This was our first retail ... Read More
We live NJ and were married on Bermuda. The convenience and our love of cruising makes a NYC-Bermuda a no-brainer for us. We've sailed the Breakaway in 2014, and Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas in 2018. This was our first retail purchase of a Haven cabin. We definitely loved the serenity away from the crowds. There was never a problem finding a sun lounger and the sundeck service was top notch. We loved the fruit kabobs and shrimp cocktail that were passed out throughout the day! Our room cabin steward was excellent and kept our cabin spotless. The treats left for us were delicious! We had a butler and only used her once for an in room breakfast. When I asked for fresh squeezed juice, I was told she could not get that...oh ok. Other Haven guests were shocked when we told them as their butlers got them whatever they asked for. Maybe our Butler was too busy that morning. Dining- The concierge was able to make us reservations to 2 restaurants the very first day we boarded. However, if you do not make the request immediately you will not be able to get a reservation once it sold out. We were under the impression the Haven would allow for a more priority dining experience. I tried to book the seafood restaurant mid cruise and was told "sorry, all booked". We were able to repeat one restaurant but only because we showed up at 5PM and got lucky and was seated. The food in the Haven restaurant was very high quality, but the menu does not change. My husband who is a fussy eater ran out of options quickly. Overall we really enjoyed the cruise. We got lucky with perfect weather the whole time. We'd book the Haven again at the right price. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our 2nd trip aboard the Escape, and our 8th cruise on NCL. We finally made it to Platinum!! YAY! In May, my husband and I decided that we needed to get away and we started looking up cruises. We like to leave from NY so we ... Read More
This was our 2nd trip aboard the Escape, and our 8th cruise on NCL. We finally made it to Platinum!! YAY! In May, my husband and I decided that we needed to get away and we started looking up cruises. We like to leave from NY so we don't have to fly, and we have always had a wonderful time on Norwegian. It turned out that there were many offers going on and I think this was probably our best value to date! We love that we can get the drink and dining packages and then they were also offering wi-fi, and shore excursion and on-board credits. We made out quite well! Our positives outweigh our negatives, but the negatives are ones that we always experience and feel that they could definitely be improved with not too much effort. I'll start there... ~EMBARKATION--This is always a pressure point for us. The lines at the port in NYC are always ridiculous! There has to be a better way! We have tried arriving at many different times over the years, but it seems that there really is NO good time to arrive. It takes HOURS to get on the ship! ~DECK CHAIRS- THIS is always an issue. People put their towels on chairs and are never seen again! We Just wanted to sit in the sun for about 30 mins...60 TOPS...and we could not get a chair ANYwhere! We did see that they are starting to use round stickers with times on them so if the chair is still empty when the time is up, the crew will remove the items and open up the chairs for others to actually USE them. The problem was that it wasn't really being enforced too well, and also people would come back in an hour, remove the sticker and go away again. Again, there has to be a better way! Now the good stuff!... ~CABIN- We were in a Spa Mini suite on deck 15. Our cabin was wonderful, as always, and we really never have any complaints in this respect. We have enough room, love having a balcony, and the mini-suite has a great sized bathroom and shower. Only 1 small issue on this cruise, we were right below the main deck area and the chairs being set up in the morning (EARLY) was quite loud above our heads. ~DINING- We ate at Cagney's one night and Bayamo 2 nights. Both were excellent!! Fantastic food and great service. The other nights we ate in the Manhattan room and this was outstanding as well. The host remembered us from booking our dining options on day one and took excellent care of us when we arrived for dinner each night. This was a nice little touch that really made us feel special! ~ENTERTAINMENT- Since we were on the Escape last year we didn't go to the main shows. We LOVE to go to the comedy though. One comedian was awesome and the other...not so much. We did see The Choir of Man though, and that was fantastic!! Howl at the Moon is always a good time as well. ~SERVICE- Never a complaint about this!! The crew on NCL has never been anything short of phenomenal! They are always happy and friendly. It always amazes me that they remember our names!! I don't know how they do it! And if you go to a certain are more than once they usually remember what kind of drink you order! Amazing!! ~PORTS- We only docked in Bermuda. We love this itinerary. So nice to be in the same place for three days. We could never tire of visiting Bermuda! We did do a shore excursion this time. On the last day in port we did the shipwreck snorkel cruise. It was awesome! Our captain and his mate were wonderful and we really had a great, relaxing time. Lots of fun!! As I said, we LOVE NCL, and we LOVE Bermuda so I'm sure we will be back again soon! Hopefully when there is a different ship doing that route. We don't mind going on the same ship more than once, but it is also nice to explore new ones! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I think it's important before leaving a rating to understand the frame of mind of the traveler and their expectation levels before cruising. Let me say that in my case - I love cruising. To be it's about relaxation, the ... Read More
I think it's important before leaving a rating to understand the frame of mind of the traveler and their expectation levels before cruising. Let me say that in my case - I love cruising. To be it's about relaxation, the vacation coming to you, the full itinerary, the work is done for you, and the fact that everything is settled in advance. You go, you don't have to think too much about spending a fortune, you unwind, recharge, and when you get back, you don't feel like you need another vacation. That said on The Escape... The service was absolutely excellent, the food was excellent. The shows (Choir of Man and After Midnight, their Magic duo) were excellent. Our weather and our "ride" to an fro were excellent. So why just a 3-star review? The Escape loses points because it is simply overcrowded, there are not enough "open" spaces to just conversate or relax unless you want to tan on the upper deck and even that is way too overcrowded, and a little unruly and dirty (not their fault, the guests just leave food and drinks and dirty towels everywhere and the staff can't keep up). A lot of the indoor functions took place in the Theatre or the "Atrium," and it too was way overcrowded. The Theatre was fine, uncomfortable and rather small considering that there are 4000 guests on the ship. Spice H2O is a great party space, but again, way too overcrowded. This made it uncomfortable for my kind of tastes. As NY'ers, we go on a cruise to get away from that shoulder-to-shoulder discomfort, not to enter into it. Bars were hit or miss with service. O'Sheehan's., the main bar overlooking the Atrium was incredibly understaffed at the bar, and on a number of occasions we were simply ignored for 10-15 minutes at a time. Thankfully, there are other bars where it's easier to score a drink...no big deal. Felt a bit nickel-and-dimed at times (do they really have to charge $5.50 for a bottle of water in the room, especially when they charge guests $15 a day already?), and way, way, way too much space designated to art and photography. that's just a money grab and a waste of good space. On nights when photographers were around you had stairways blocked, cues of lines in hallways just to pass, it was rather obnoxious at times. It's a problem because the Escape just doesn't have a lot of usable space for a ship this large, there is simply too much congestion, and then throw in blocked hallways and staircases into the mix simply to take a portrait, c'mon now! And to do it for the final 4 nights on the cruise is a little too much. Choose a single night to do that, people dress up, take your picture, and be done with it. The Escape just hits you over the head with that nonsense. The automated bingo with predetermined winners was a letdown and way too expensive. Deal or no Deal and some of the other "game shows" were really boring and a letdown, but because that's not why I choose to cruise it didn't lose too many points. The bottom line is this - the Escape is NOT cheap and it is a good time. Where it needs to deliver - Food, drink, service, cleanliness, embarkation process - it truly is fantastic! but there a lot of minor annoyances that certainly will have me looking to "try something different" next time around, not because it's a bad ship but because I didn't walk away saying, "Wow, that ship is amazing" and that's simply what I want when I cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
OK . . . I'll start by saying that there were plenty of positives, but... The food was not nearly as good as any of our previous cruises with other cruise lines The lines were too long for the slides and the high ropes course ... Read More
OK . . . I'll start by saying that there were plenty of positives, but... The food was not nearly as good as any of our previous cruises with other cruise lines The lines were too long for the slides and the high ropes course Every comedy show we tried to go to was sold out well in advance of the show The other shows we did attend were average at best, nothing spectacular No convenient way to stay hydrated, suggest putting in water bottle filling stations Smoke wasn't contained to casino and could be smelled on other levels Automatic gratuities do not encourage excellent service, had to complain more than once Teen curfew was not enforced, found at least 50 noisy teens out and about at 2:30am Took advantage of a massage special that included a Dr consultation, massage great, no Dr In general, crowded with over 5,500 guests on board, lots of lines and not enough seats! Would we go again? To get to Bermuda, yes! But we would probably consider looking at other options. We thought we would be wowed by NCL and they turned out to be slightly better than average. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Well I was a bit skeptical going in......Some of the past reviews I have read about the Escape were somewhat mixed. Large ship, lots of people, bad service?? I was concerned let's be honest. But it was just so wonderful, where do I ... Read More
Well I was a bit skeptical going in......Some of the past reviews I have read about the Escape were somewhat mixed. Large ship, lots of people, bad service?? I was concerned let's be honest. But it was just so wonderful, where do I begin. We haven't cruised in 30 years. This was our 30th anniversary celebration. This ship is just beautiful. The service was first class. Food very good. Shows were amazing. Yes, some areas crowded up, but it was never a big issue. So much to do so everyone was scattered about. We will definitely go Norwegian again. I also loved the designated quiet areas on the ship The Waterfront on deck 8 was very relaxing when you wanted quiet time. Something for everyone on this cruise. One thing I can suggest, if any: maybe another pool area for cause one pool for adults only? Could have been a bit larger. But still it was no big issue for us. Maybe some get togethers for couples of two - just a suggestion. All in all, a perfect cruise to Bermuda. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We loved the Escape. Great rooms, food and entertaining. If I have one complaint is that there is limited smoking areas which I get. It was a little inconvenient but I survived. My biggest issue is that the Cigar bar has inadequate ... Read More
We loved the Escape. Great rooms, food and entertaining. If I have one complaint is that there is limited smoking areas which I get. It was a little inconvenient but I survived. My biggest issue is that the Cigar bar has inadequate ventilation. It is horrible in that room. They need to fix that. My favorite restaurant was LaCucina. The food and service were outstanding. The comedy dueling pianos was great! We saw The Choir of Man - very talented young men. Great show. Our room steward Danny was outstanding. Embarkment was a breeze. Disembarkment took no more than 20 minutes. They are very organized. One other issue was with the pool chairs. I was glad to see that the chairs are tagged. You have an hour to return or they take your stuff to guest services. So many chairs have towels on them with nobody sitting in them for hours. Again it was a great week. Bermuda is lovely and so are the people. But it is pricey. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My parents booked this cruise as a gift to me for my 22nd birthday , (07/14) . From the second I got there , I was treated far better than any all inclusive resort in Cancun or Punta Cana . I had a studio room , the studio is small but ... Read More
My parents booked this cruise as a gift to me for my 22nd birthday , (07/14) . From the second I got there , I was treated far better than any all inclusive resort in Cancun or Punta Cana . I had a studio room , the studio is small but full of everything u need . Shower , toilet , sink , very comfortable bed , closet , tv , and these party lights installed all throughout our he room which really changed the mood of the whole trip . The buffet food at the restaurant was okay , however the exclusive restaurant were out of this world . Le bistro, was superb , the Manhattan was great , moderno had amazing meats . The drinks were made to perfection . Nothing watered down, all drinks premium and perfect with the alcohol . The amount of friends I made on this cruise is unreal . Norwegian does everything they can to make it as easy as possible to have a good time . If you are early 20s or late teens , definitely book a cruise with Norwegian because they give you everything you need , full of activities , you just have to make the best and most fun of it . Which is fairy easy Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
1st and last time we will be sailing on Norwegian. The Escape carries at least 1000 more passengers than it really should. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. It took a day to figure out the layout after always sailing on ... Read More
1st and last time we will be sailing on Norwegian. The Escape carries at least 1000 more passengers than it really should. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. It took a day to figure out the layout after always sailing on Royal. We liked the entertaining, food and bar layout on decks 6, 7 and 8. The ship was packed!!! I hace sailed on similar sized Royal ships and never felt crowded. Not on the Escape...way too many people. Dinner at Taste and The Manhattan Room were nice but we felt rushed. The main course came while eating our appetizers each time. Food Republic, Moderno and Teppanyaki wer all really good. Definitly make reservations on-line or at any resturant as soon as you get on. The pool area was always very crowded. The pool itself is very poorly designed. It is 20x10 anf 6'8" deep, so unless you want to tread water, you better hope for a spot around the edge. The deck furniture is literaly on top of each other so much so that you can smell the breath of the person sitting next to you. The bar staff is WAY understaffed for a ship this large. 2 or 3 bartenders at the pool bar is not nearly enough. They are so overworked that it effects their attitude. Most are not friendly at all, agin, because their workload is too much. On Royal, if the bar is crowded, the bar officer jumps in to help. Not on the Escape. The smoking area is on the top bar area above the pool. Twice I saw cigarettes blow into the pool and you can often smell the smoke. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The quality of the crew, their attentiveness and professionalism was far lacking. It was apparent they did not care to be on the ship. From boarding to disboarding the overall attitude toward passengers made me wish I was not there. The ... Read More
The quality of the crew, their attentiveness and professionalism was far lacking. It was apparent they did not care to be on the ship. From boarding to disboarding the overall attitude toward passengers made me wish I was not there. The quality of the food was horrendous, soups had no whole ingredients and were clearly powdered. I myself was sick the entire trip! The setup on ship was a detriment to anyone not there with a whole family as they corralled guests into areas such as Skyline for evening parties (an area much too small for all guests) and then closed the only place to get a drink when passengers engaged in fighting due to the cramped conditions. The adult only pools/ hot tubs were nearly never enforced! I never got to enjoy the pool/ hot tub areas due to an excess of children present at all times splashing and screaming. When I put forth the money to get a spa experience in hopes of some kind of relaxation I was shorted the whole service (tip to toe) including a collagen eye treatment I never received even after asking about completing the service. It was nearly impossible to find a quiet space or other singles on the ship. I spent more money on this cruise than my last and am utterly shocked by my experience with Norwegian as a whole. No kind of vacation I would choose for myself again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The restaurants had some of the worst food I have ever had and the service was terribly slow. It seemed like they bought the cheapest buffet food online and then tried to feed it to us! Half the buffet was closed almost all of the time and ... Read More
The restaurants had some of the worst food I have ever had and the service was terribly slow. It seemed like they bought the cheapest buffet food online and then tried to feed it to us! Half the buffet was closed almost all of the time and half of the golf course was closed off when we got there! The remote in our room only worked about .3% of the time. I finally was able to rent a movie on the tv and then the TV glitched and deleted it! It was $10.00 for the movie! The woman at the Atrium bar was very rude and made consistently rude comments to us so we complained to customer service and they were unable to assist us. Everything from the pool tables to the regular tables looked run down and old. We turned on the light to have our room made up and towels exchanged and the cleaning woman came in turned off the light and closed the door! She did not clean the room, exchange the towels or even come back! The room service was a joke and took forever to get there. They forgot a part of the same order 3 times and brought it town 2 hours later. We had to keep calling to follow up. The entertainment was lacking and the movies were showed in the Atrium which is located in the center of the ship so you could not hear anything! We were just happy to get off the forsaken nightmare that was that ship. I have cruised with Princess, Royal Carribean and Celebrity and have never had a bad experience on their ships. Save your money and go with a different company or you will have a bad time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My wife and I were looking for something special to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. Talking with family and friends about what and where to go everyone said they or someone they knew had been to Bermuda and nothing bad was ever said. So we ... Read More
My wife and I were looking for something special to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. Talking with family and friends about what and where to go everyone said they or someone they knew had been to Bermuda and nothing bad was ever said. So we had a place now how to get there. Our older daughter had been there last year flying in and staying a week but we were looking for something a little more relaxing. Since we have cruised before we decide to look at that and we found Norwegian fit our needs best. We booked a year in advance and had to change sailing dates due to work conflicts which was not an issue with the help of our Norwegian cruise advisor. Sailing day arrives and what excitement. Since we didn’t have to fly to NYC we used that savings to upgrade to a suite and it was worth it. Check in went smoothly and we were onboard being served lunch while the cabins were being completed. Finally got to our suite dropped off our carry on luggage then off to explore and grab a drink. The one thing that stuck with us was how polite and considerate the staff was and very helpful, you had a question you got an answer with a smile sometimes they would take us to where we wanted to go. Food need I say more, awesome! Shows were entertaining. We do want to give special props to Alvin our cruise director and his staff. They made every day and night exciting with their entertainment. We were able to have dinner with the senior officers one night which was very nice. The only down side to the cruise was getting a lounge chair at the pool. Only two days we were able to. And if you think you can get out early to put down a towel to save the chair for later we’ll the staff monitors use if unoccupied for an hour they remove the belongings. You’ ll understand when you’re trying to find a seat why they need to be vigilant about this. Bermuda itself was excellent. We booked our excursions thru the ship which is a wise move. If you have a problem you have someone to help but we didn’t have any problems just peace of mind. So if you want something special book the cruise to Bermuda on Norwegian. BTW next year 2020 they bring their newest ship to sail Bermuda. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We selected this cruise for a newer ship and all the perks received. We had the unlimited beverage package, 3 free nights in specialty restaurant, and OBC. The ship was spotless, great friendly service and crew in all areas. After ... Read More
We selected this cruise for a newer ship and all the perks received. We had the unlimited beverage package, 3 free nights in specialty restaurant, and OBC. The ship was spotless, great friendly service and crew in all areas. After Midnight and Choir of Men were exceptional, make sure to make reservations for both. We were pleased with food in all areas. The only complaint - we were billed for 4 people in Margaritaville, when it was only for 2 - my wife and myself. I saw this on TV - went to guest services, and the correction was made. We are Royal Caribbean and Celebrity fans, but cruise NCL also since out of NYC and no flying - and additional perks. We are booked on Dawn for October - hope service and food is just as good. Also, one really nice feature that is not offered on all cruise lines - we had a relaxing lunch in MDR - great service and avoided the craziness of buffet on embarkation day - wish more lines would adopt this policy. Till we were done with lunch cabins were just about ready. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My spouse and I took this exact same cruise at the exact same time last year and it was, hands down, the best cruise we'd ever taken. When we booked this cruise earlier in the year, we were very excited at the thought of matching ... Read More
My spouse and I took this exact same cruise at the exact same time last year and it was, hands down, the best cruise we'd ever taken. When we booked this cruise earlier in the year, we were very excited at the thought of matching last year's cruise. Sadly, there was a stark difference in the two cruises and we were left with a feeling of disappointment in some areas. In others, this ship shined. For transparency, we tend to sail in the Haven. This year was no exception. Not because we are rich. We are far from it. But I am disabled and have health challenges. For that reason, we budget every year to insure that we are able to travel in a way that's most comfortable for me...and in a way that allows me to get the best experience possible out of our travel. We are not "snooty," nor are we "entitled." However, when you pay a premium, you do expect that "premium" to be delivered. About 3 weeks prior to our cruise, I emailed the pre-cruise concierge, as directed, for any requests that may make our cruise more enjoyable. In that email, I explained that due to severe allergies, we are not able to have fresh flowers in our room, nor are we able to have any kind of feather bedding as they cause significant allergic reactions. I received an email response assuring me that this request would be handled prior to embarkation. Embarkation was close to flawless and we were told our room was ready as soon as we boarded. We were staying in a Haven Spa Suite and it was nice. However, when we walked in, we noticed a vase of wilted and dying flowers....obviously left over from the prior cruise. Not a huge deal...we figured we'd give it to our room steward when we met him. The ice bucket had lukewarm melted water in it....presumedly from the prior cruise that ended earlier that day. There was only one towel, and one bathrobe. There was no bottle of champagne on ice as we were told there would be...and as there was last year. Individually, not a huge deal...but adding it up, it was a little disappointing. Shortly thereafter, our room steward arrived and we spoke with him about the flowers, etc. He apologized for the oversights, said he'd fix them by the time we returned from lunch and assured us that the room was feather free. That was the big part for us, so we were grateful. After the first night, my spouse woke up with a pretty intense allergy attack. Since the vents were on the ceiling, we figured it was the air ducts and the air circulation. We were assured that the room was de-feathered, so we didn't think that was the problem. For the next 5 nights, our allergies were pretty intense. We were living on allergy medicine and continued to chalk it up to the air conditioning. By day 6, I was beyond miserable. At that point, I took a closer look at the pillows. All but one were exactly what we needed. The last one, all feather. We called our room steward to ask him to please change it, but he was unavailable. So we called our butler.....who, up until that time, we had seen, maybe 3 times the entire cruise...who informed us that our room steward was on break and would handle when he came back during the nightly turndown. We called about it just after noon. After explaining that the allergic response was making us pretty miserable, he did send someone in his place to change out the bedding. We vacated the room so that could happen. Our allergies never cleared up and we realized on the morning that we left, that while there was no feather bedding ON the bed, they had stored all the feather bedding UNDER the bed. It was pretty awful. Adding to that frustration, we had to ask almost daily for fresh ice...and the only thing we asked of our butler was to have cookies in the evening. He promised cookies every night. They came once. We didn't ask anything else of him....we didn't order room service....we did not dine in our room...he was pretty much non-existent. He did, however, show up on the morning of debarkation to collect his tip. Again, I need to stress....we are NOT snooty. We weren't asking for outlandish things. We asked for next to nothing. But we paid a premium for a certain service and that service didn't deliver. It was even more disappointing because we do work so hard to afford that level of service. For it not to be there, cast a bit of a shadow on our week. Especially with the allergy/feather situation. The rest of the cruise was AMAZING!! We loved Cagney's and Moderno. We also enjoyed Food Republic. It's a different concept but enjoyable nonetheless. The only exception was Bayamo. We didn't enjoy Bayamo as much as we'd hoped and probably wouldn't return. The Garden Cafe was perfect for what we needed it for, and we enjoyed dining at Taste one night as well. As for the entertainment.....for the second year, Choir of Man was absolutely incredible!! We also saw Melinda Doolittle's solo show in the Supper Club....and that was one of the most enjoyable evenings of our cruise. She was very warm, engaging, and very friendly. It was a very cool thing to be able to talk with her a bit after her show as well. I was really pulling for her when she was on American Idol, so it really was a thrill to see her perform. We didn't see any other shows as it was an early night most nights for us. We met some really great people through the meet and greet/slot pull/cabin crawl. We had a great time with them. Blackjack was very kind to us, but we seemed to give our winnings back to the slot machines!!! We loved karaoke nights as well. The pools were crowded as they normally are....but the slides seemed to be popular. We did not use the Haven pool area, but we did use the sundeck in the Haven once or twice and that was pretty relaxing. The Haven restaurant was also very good. Bermuda was beautiful as always. We took the free ferry over to St. Georges and headed to Tobacco Bay. That was a beautiful area. We seemed to luck out as we heard that Horseshoe Bay was filled with Portuguese Man-O-War which made it difficult to swim. In fact, someone from our Cruise Critic group was stung and from what we heard, had to be treated at the hospital. I'm not sure we'll do this itinerary again. We love cruising out of NY because we are local and flying is challenging for me. But I think we'll try something elsewhere next year. We are firm believers in vacations being exactly what you make them to be...and in that sense, we had a magical week onboard the Escape. But the service...or lack thereof...did make things challenging for us most of the time. And that part, was probably the most disappointing aspect of our cruise. Will be sail NCL again? Absolutely. Will we sail the Escape again? Probably not. 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 June 2019
Initially very tentative about moving up to such a large ship with over 4000 passengers. Some reviews wailed about long lines before, during and after. But my wife convinced me it would be great... she was right. Stayed in Manhattan ... Read More
Initially very tentative about moving up to such a large ship with over 4000 passengers. Some reviews wailed about long lines before, during and after. But my wife convinced me it would be great... she was right. Stayed in Manhattan the night before and decided not to go to the terminal until after embarkation had begun. So much better than standing for an hour waiting for security to open. We were able to go right to security and into the registration area lines which just kept moving. Total time including forms, pics, and up the gangway just 45 minutes to the first beverage. Spent some time wandering and discovered the 5 O’clock Somewhere outside bar. Great view of Manhattan. This bar and comfy seating areas surrounding the outside on Deck 8. Moved onto our room that was nicely appointed with a balcony that was great for morning coffees, afternoon sunning and champagne evenings. Our only disappointment was the cleaning staff who did not keep the standards we expected. The entertainment was great. Two pianos “Howl at the Moon” were so much fun we went 3 times! Steve and Rhonda we incredible talents, perfect performers for this type of music singalong. They even let a 87 year passenger play the drums a few times. Joe played great and it was a joy to see him play. There was also a 3rd player who had just joined “Howl”. He had an amazing voice. Two other shows we saw in the Theatre were After Midnight at the Cotton Club featuring a look back at the great songs of a vibrant era in Harlem. Great dance and voices that raised the roof. Next was The Choir of Man where a full slate of typical “anthem” songs with great choreography, solos and harmonies pulled you along with the boys night at their pub. The restaurants were exactly as billed with variety that should have pleased anyone. As with any ship you need to do some research. Check menus so you get what you like. Italian, Brazilian, Steakhouse, Japanese, Asian, French, Tapas. Some of those with up charges or as part of a dining package. The food hub is the Garden Cafe (Buffet). Every station is different so take a trip around the room that has everything from Hotdogs to Pad Thai, Fast or slow, deserts fancy and simple. Breakfast options, again, take a look around, self serve and never leave hungry. Oh yes, it also has two service bars. Short moving lines, plenty of seating that might be a bit tight if you are trying to sit a large group together. Leisure areas with pools, hot tubs, pool bars, deck chairs everywhere. My wives tip, go up, up higher for a cool experience sunning at H2O 17th deck that had a cooling waterfall grotto. Water slide, Ropes course with walk the plank off the edge of the ship. Basketball, Miniputt all up high. Once in beautiful Bermuda, we decided to pass on the excursions instead taking the Ferry across for a short trip to Hamilton for the day as we bar hopped from terrace to terrace. On Wednesday’s they hold a street festival in the evening. The next day we stay on the Wharf, while my wife hits the shopping, I tour the Old Fort built by the British. A great look into history, great exhibits and views. Next time beaches and snorkeling are on the agenda. Oh yes, there will be a next time for Bermuda! The elevators are fore and Aft. Occasionally busy and again possibly difficult for large groups or large families with strollers. But overall pretty smooth. Tip: remember that each set of buttons only calls 4 of the 8 elevators around it. If you press both sets on the same side, then all 8 are called. (PS that’s why the doors open and no one gets on occasionally). But you’re already on, so don’t get steamed, just get good at the close door button inside after you wait a beat for slow walkers. On The last day if you can’t get down the stairs the elevators will be quite full. Tip: Go up to go down. The sea days were great and the ship took the sea with very little sway thanks in part due to the weather awesome. Life is good! We’ll be back on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
To summarize my very long review below, a brief version for anyone just looking for the cliff notes: The Good: Top notch friendly employees, Room size/cleanliness/comfort, Drinks, Large Casino, Mojito Bar, Tapas, Taste/Savor, buffet, ... Read More
To summarize my very long review below, a brief version for anyone just looking for the cliff notes: The Good: Top notch friendly employees, Room size/cleanliness/comfort, Drinks, Large Casino, Mojito Bar, Tapas, Taste/Savor, buffet, Starbucks. The Bad: Not enough elevators, not enough smoking areas, far too crowded, lots of up-selling, not enough explanation, extremely long wait times at bars. Almost all entertainment/dining options booked up right away, Supper Club, Room service meal. This was our second NCL to Bermuda cruise, the last was on the Breakaway 2 years ago. The extra passanger capacity between the ships and the nickel and diming reduction of service definitely showed however we were still able to enjoy our time. Other passengers seemed much less happy, as for us we are willing to try Norwegian again but may try out MSC as a replacement. There were no life jackets in the room. This was by design but concerning none the less. I’m guessing by only keeping them at muster stations and not 1 per passenger at muster and 1 in room they are saving money at the expense of safety. It quickly grew frustrating the lack of explanation of things/up-charges or even ship information yet the constant attention to advertising. For instance they have 4-5 cruising magazines in staterooms, none of which about the ship you're on, other ships in fleet or ports, all of which are about things you can buy on board. Half or more of the TV channels are dedicated to adverts and just about every other day we came back to the room with robo advert messages left on our phone and in our stateroom account page on the TV. When you just gave them a lot of money for the current cruise it doesn't feel as though they appreciate the business when they immediately go into upsell mode. It really sets a sour tone. Embarkation- Pier 88 parking was very expensive but worth it. We arrived at 11AM was in the terminal and boarding by 11:45. Previously we arrived very early and waited this time it felt much more seamless. I don't recommend getting to the NYC terminal earlier than 11-12, it was a breeze for us. Ship- The ship was incredibly large. We were in a forward room, you will get in all your daily steps for the day just leaving and returning to your room a few times. By the third day my feet were sore and I stopped wearing 'cute' shoes, I noticed I was far from the only woman who just gave up and wore sneakers to navigate this huge ship. The main draw back was how incredibly crowded the ship felt at times. Elevators were certainly a 'good luck' endeavor. After the muster drill it took, no exaggeration, 45 minutes for elevators to fit the people who were waiting. After the breakaway I knew not to bother so we stayed where we were and watched others getting increasingly frustrated. Especially the mobility challenged passengers who were unable to get their scooters into the elevators, something that became a common problem as the trip went on. Waiting for elevators was a rather common experience throughout the week, typically anything before 10PM you'd need to wait for 2 as the first that would come would be full. NCL seemed to try to lean into the extra passangers by creating a club like atmosphere in many places. The pool, the casino, several of the bars including Spice which is listed as a designated quiet zone. We stayed on the ship during 2 of the 3 days in Bermuda and it was wonderful. Finally many of the mobility challenged passengers were able to get out of their cabins and maneuver around. Smoking- We are smokers. Unlike the breakaway where there seemed to be many designated smoking areas the Escape has 3 for over 4K people. 2 of which outdoors on level 17, 1 inside on 8. It was here that I'd hear the majority of complaints and 'Never again Norwegian'. The inside area was what was supposed to be a cigar lounge, it was very small and often crowded. Even as a smoker I found it difficult to be in a small area with that much smoke and no fresh air. The reason I later discovered it was always so packed there was because it was the only smoking area anyone with mobility issues could navigate to. The other two had tables, chairs and a large volume of people you'd need to pass through in order to get to. Spice has several stairs to the smoking area and while there is a ramp you'd have to navigate around every one in loungers to get there. At night when Spice does parties you'd have no way of reaching the ramp. The casino does have a smoking section when it is open so long as you are gambling but this is a pay to smoke option. I'd read the Escape uses a better filtration system for their smoking area in the casino and you can really tell. Even when people were actively smoking it didn't linger and create that cloud it also seemed to really contain itself to the casino area which was impressive. There are not near enough smoking areas on the ship for the amount of smokers on board. Dining- This time every time we went to a sit down the server asked me for food allergies. I appreciated the attention to it but it became a bit overboard with me being allergic to some shellfish not being served any seafood and even my husband not being served. I suppose with such a big ship cross contamination happens often so even if you're getting a burger and fries it's possible to get shellfish in things they shouldn't be in. Buffet- I was surprised to see such a tone down of 'washy washy' only during peak hours did they have someone at the main entrance insuring people washed. I brought my own hospital grade hand spray and we used it constantly. The first night someone threw up in the buffet so they closed it down. We ate breakfast there every day, I wish they served their breakfast a bit later than 11 or had a 'brunch' option between lunch service because I found their breakfast much better than their lunch options. I loved their full salad bar and the breakfast was excellent every day. My husband loved the garbanzo salad so much we'd stop there just for that. Dining- Food Republic- We were planning on using our first dining credit for here. We made reservations and arrived only to be told Food Republic is not included in any dining plan. I was very thankful the matri-d explained right off the bat before seating us and we racked up a bill unknowingly. No where on the dailies did it say this nor when I selected the dining plan which places it would be good for. We went to guest services and they annotated a copy of the daily with the information on which is up charged on top of dining package and which were not included at all. Margaritavilla and Food Republic not covered at all Tapas and Super Club Upcharge Cagneys and Bleu - Upcharge is for certain items and indicated on the menu. Being as though it was too late to get another reservation we ended up at Savor and it was fantastic. Savor/Taste- Really great. On the breakaway it seemed it was the same quality as the buffet just plated and served. Here it was great, my husband had a better steak here than at the steak house Cagnys we went to later. Breakaway it seemed service was incredibly slow, if we went sit down it would be 2 hours minimum and it would typically be faster to go to the bar yourself to get a drink while waiting so we tended to just do buffet but not on the Escape. You were never rushed, servers were excellent and attentive as was the food. Manhattan Room- I chose the Manhattan Room for our anniversary dinner. On the breakaway it seemed the more upscale option in the most beautiful setting. The setting on the Escape is just as beautiful but they seemed this time to pack far more people into the room and it felt much more casual. What was the dace floor on breakaway was now extra seating so no dancing and what was nice live music was unmanned instruments. The server was great the food was decent. Unbeknownst to us when we handed the matri-d our free anniversary cake coupon they brought it over with a song. My husband and I have a standing agreement to never ask for the 'happy birthday' song for each other (though it is often threatened lol) while embarrassing it was incredibly cute and made it quite memorable and special. The servers, the matri-d even the buspeople, even though they were very busy were incredibly kind and wishing you a good day. Cagneys- I had heard very good things about Cagneys but found them a bit on the meh side, nothing to write home about but nothing bad either. I think the bar from Savor/Taste was raised too high for me to be wowed. I can't even remember what I ordered but I do remember that as always the service was fantastic. In Cagneys we had our picture taken, on the breakaway they were in our folders so we could order them at the end of the cruise this time when we went to order them at the end we were told eventhough we could see them in our file, we were not allowed to buy them. We would have had to have done so at the table not a big deal just something to be aware about. Moderno- The Italian place was a bit odd, they were playing American classic hard rock, think Alice Cooper, Guns N Roses etc. While I'm a fan of that it took away from the atmosphere a bit. The food here was good. I ordered a steak with bleu cheese ravioli and thought it was amazing, my husband got one of the pasta options and found it a bit underwhelming and not filling. Tapas/Pincho- This restaurant was a $7 upcharge per person and does not take reservations. We were incredibly confused on hours and seating. They don't have a designated matri-d section and when you walk up it looks like an empty sushi stand with no one manning it. We waited for a while, saw other people looking around, looking at the menu waiting then giving up. It was now too late to get a reservation anywhere else so we were about to just go to the buffet when I decided to ask the matri-d at the next door seafood restaurant if she knew when the tapas place would be open. Turns out they never man the serving area, it will always appear closed, to get seated you must go to the seafood restaurant. Something so small a tiny sign could help but nothing. They lost the up charge or straight extra business of 4-5 other couples in just the time we were waiting because none of us knew how to be seated. Frequently when passing Pincho you'd see confused people looking around to be seated or walking away. Once we were seated this was the most incredible meal we had not just on the ship but in years. It's definitely a hidden gem and you might need to work harder than you should to visit it but it is well worth it. We were expecting tiny samples, just tasters really and not only is it enough for a meal everything is incredible and sharing it is so much fun. The server here was incredibly knowledgeable about everything on her menu. Even if you don't have the meal package you need to visit this place. If you have the meal perk, spend them all here and gladly hand over the extra charge. Super Club- This was so bad we actually complained at guest services. After we booked I was on the website and saw I could book a dinner theater show here and prepay, so I did. We arrived 30 minutes early which was advised and right off the bat it was nuts. The server came over and in the thickist accent I've heard from anyone on board tried to take our order before we even sat down. Apparently they need to put in your dinner order right away, the only option is fish or beef. You do not get to choose any courses and you are not able to know what they are, they are brought put down and you figure it out for yourself. They advertise a 5 course meal and this is by far the worst when it came to my allergies. The main server asked if I had one, I told him shell fish he took the wine list off the table as we were sitting down, apparently they did not have enough so I needed to steal one from another table so my husband could read it which he wasn't given enough time to do before the person taking drink orders came around and they never came back. Once we sat we noticed the table was not secured to the base. We had to be incredibly careful not to flip it all night. The pictures they show online of big booths reminiscent of a 50s jazz lounge is not at all what it’s actually like. They brought over a colored ‘foul’ placard and put it in front of me, I thought it odd but with the rushing was given no explanation. Apparently the bulk of their courses, which we didn’t know would be predetermined were seafood of which I would be served none and only 1 of which had an alternative, the alternative was a few slices of canned beets. My husband even had seafood pulled away from him because we had a placard at the table. I was asked no less than 7 times what my allergies were, I had desert served to me then pulled back up because they needed to check with the kitchen staff if it had been contaminated. There was a larger table behind us with 2 foul placards and after enough people being passed over by the third course got rather upset and told them to take the placards away and bother telling them what the courses were so they could decide for themselves. My 5 courses turned into 2 plus the addition of some sliced canned beets on the side. Several times I moved my placard slightly off to the side so I could have my drink or one of the plates I was allowed to have in front of me and 3 separate times I had someone move my plate, drink or purse so the placard would be in front of me at all times frankly it was getting embarrassing. We figured whatever, one pretty awful experience won’t ruin our trip and I can always go to the buffet later. However we found out that not only did I prepay, but it counted against our meal package. What I paid was not the fee but the uncharge all for food I was unable to eat and given no alternatives. We went to guest services and explained that we were never informed what I paid was an uncharge and I wasn’t even served 3 of my supposed 5 courses that I’d paid for. Jeff in guest services was very apologetic and acknowledged the website does not tell you the $36 fee is the uncharge on top of your dining credit. He not only gave us our credit back but went out of his way to get us into Moderno on the last night (we were planning on just going to the tapas place for lunch again with our last credit as everything was booked from that point on) apparently if you’re going to buy/reserve ANYTHING on the website do it over the phone instead where they can tell you if what your paying is the actual full charge or not. Oshehans- We went to Oshehans the night of the Super Club failure so I could have dinner and again for lunch. Great bar food, great service. Always incredibly busy and packed but the servers seem to really take it in stride. Room Service- We did this once late night. I think it was really meant more for very drunk people than anyone else. I ordered a salad and a hot dog- hot dog was nuked, burnt and exploded missing the onions and fries were replaced with potato chips, missing the deli pickle advertised on the menu. Husband ordered fruit and yogurt plate that was missing the yogurt. Salads were good though. Bars- This is the place where you’re going to feel the added passengers more than anywhere else with exception of the elevators. Bars were often packed and it could be very difficult to get drinks. If you had diner reservations and decided to stop for a drink you must allocated about 20 mins of wait time and that is not an exception. At least once a day we would wait at one bar for 15-20 minutes, see no end in sight so move to another bar and wait again. The bar tenders were really trying but there just isn’t enough of them for the amount of people they are expected to serve. Often times you’d see people just holding up at the bars, unlike the breakaway where they would get their drink and move on. If you planned on a drinking night it seemed you needed to scope out a chair in front of the bartender if you wanted more consistent service, again not their fault. Even at the casino, which we visited every night, I was able to get two drinks at the slots my husband was only able to get a drink once. Bars were another place you’d hear ‘Never again Escape or Never again Norwegian’ even late at night the casino bar turned into a club and Oshehans was packed. If we ever do Escape again we will not get the drink package, for the two of us the added tips alone were $250 that is probably what our drink charges + tips would have been for all the drinks we were able to get served to us at the ship bars. On the breakaway the drinks were incredibly consistent Escape speed seemed to be the primary concern. Little corners cut, such as the mai tai recipe calling for cinnamon, breakaway had cinnamon sticks as stirrers here all cinnamon was left out completely though it still remained on the menu. There were also several specialty bars and it could get a bit confusing who was serving what. There was a whisky bar that seemed to just exist for the people in the small smoking room to drink something and navigate people over to one of the ships bars. There was a margaritaville tie in bar called 5 oclock somewhere that also had a special menu and did not serve anything else. There was a specialty mojito bar that only did mojitos. No where at any of these 3 bars did they have a sign or anything stating they were not normal bars so the over worked bartenders had to keep repeating it over and over and over again. The mojito bar was incredible. We only stopped there because it was the one bar that didn’t have a line even though by then wed realized they were mojitos only. We went back again and again, by the end of the cruise it seems other people were catching on to how good they were and it became another packed placed hard to get a drink at. Straws- I was relieved to see they had gotten paper straws but dismayed to see them so stingy with them. You could get one if you asked or if you got a frozen drink. I support their effort to be green but I don’t believe thats why they are doing it. If they cared about the environment they wouldn’t be using plastic disposable cups, they wouldn’t be denying people straws they would have moved to paper or plastic less ones. They are doing it to save money at the expense of customer enjoyment and spills all over the floor and in every elevator every night. Speaking of plastic cups the NCL logo ones are no more now it’s clear cheap plastic. It seems everything that costs a few pennies but isn’t absolutely needed is being removed. Disabled Passengers- We’ve been considering bringing my parents on a cruise. My mother is mobility impaired, she can walk and stand but only for limited periods so this cruise I tried to pay special attention to the conditions from a disabled persons perspective and frankly I do not recommend cruising, at least on Norwegian for anyone who relies on a mobility scooter. I had debated renting one for my mother thinking she wouldn’t need to worry about walking but seeing what people in those scooters went through it would be easier to carry her on my back if I had to. I’m now debating bringing her one of those seated walkers but unless I can find one that folds I still don’t think it would go well. The elevator situation on the Escape while bad for all passengers seemed a right nightmare for the disabled. One man mentioned they should have one dedicated elevator for people needing scooters and I completely agree. The buffet showed handicapped placards but you’d still need to be able to move a chair out of the way, there were chair lifts for the areas not accessible by elevators but you needed to call someone to use it. I don’t know why they couldn’t have a special key card but even then, how would you get the scooter up there? Main hall ways were virtually impassable at times as is and for some reason in room hallways they put the housekeeping cart in the middle of the hallway instead of making it slightly shorter to fit in the concaves of the room doorways. It would be impossible for anyone in a scooter to leave or return to their room. It seems the only times most were actually able to use the ship was during it’s time in port. How sad to pay the same for a vacation as everyone else and be able to enjoy only a fraction. Room- Previously we stayed in the mini suite, this time we were in a regular balcony. The only difference was the bathroom was smaller but for 2 people it was more than adequate. It took me 3 days to realize I was in an obstructed view balcony as for me it just meant I could see other people below me. We went through a travel agent who warned us it might be possible to get an obstructed view so I was worried. At least in my case the obstruction was something most wouldn’t notice or mind. Despite being far forward there was very little movement. The only noise was the occasional slamming door. I asked our room steward for extra coffee and creamer for the coffee maker and an extra blanket. Not only did he do that, he left me extra coffee and creamer every single night from then on. One evening I decided I wanted tea and thought about asking him to bring some extra that night but I didn’t want to be a bother, sure enough as soon as he noticed I had gotten into the tea he put in extra and also took note of the sugar I was using to leave more of that as well. I was so very happy to see towel animals as I’d heard they were phasing them out. No I’m not a child, no this wasn’t my first Norwegian cruise I just love them. I know you can request they be made but most people don’t want to bother others for things that are not needed. I made sure to tell our steward how much I appreciated him taking the time to make them without having to ask. Both verbally and in tip. I also left it in the note for his hero card at the end of the week. Entertainment- We made our own entertainment for the most part. Unfortunately a lot of the things I was interested in watching took place in the Atrium. The Atrium is far too small, even being two floors to see anything let alone get a seat. We saw Melinda Doolittle at the supper club, she was fantastic. We also went to the late night comedy show I don’t remember his name but he was pretty decent. He did seem to go on and on about farms though and the audience seemed to get pretty sick of it. We went to the 90s party and it was incredibly packed, we had a really great time though just be aware the H20/Spice night shows are a very club like atmosphere. While the ship was in port we were able to make use of the Bocci set, the Mini golf and the large chess set. Mini golf was a bit strange, parts of the floor seemed to be sinking where you’d stand other than that all of the equipment seemed in good shape. Other entertainment options sold old very quickly. To me it sort of doesn’t agree with the freestyle vibe if you absolutly must reserve a dining room or a theatre ticket by 5PM sunday that you might want to go to on Saturday. It didn’t bother us too much though but be aware your ‘freestyle’ vacation might need to be planned meticulously as soon as you get on the boat as there just isn’t enough showings for all the people on board to get a seat. Bermuda- We’d been to Bermuda before and we are planning on going again. It’s incredibly beautiful and it’s so wonderful to be in an area that you feel so comfortable and safe in. This time we decided to enjoy the empty ship but we did visit tobacco bay. There was a $5 cover per person, this is certainly not a swimming style beach and if you visit water shoes need to be warn in the water as it’s very rocky with bits of glass. You can see beautiful little fish through the crystal clear water here. This is not one of the pink beaches but it is close enough to the ship you can walk, just follow the little green feet on the sidewalk and it takes you there. The absolute best show of the cruise will be watching the runners trying to make it back to the pier. Even the locals show up for this one. Employees/Tips- The vast majority of employees are really fantastic. One morning at breakfast they sang songs and offered people pastries. Very often they smile and say Hi or wish you a good day. I’d say the people they have working for them make the cruise. That being said I found the added gratuities a touch excessive when I did the math. Bartenders are not included as they are covered under the tips added from the unlimited drink package, which @ 270 for 2 people is excessive in and of itself. If you have 10 drinks a day that still equals out to almost a $2 tip per drink, even if they just hand you a beer. The added tips at the end is $15 per person per day or for us, was $210 specialty dining tips aren’t included in that nor is room steward. We ate at sit down main dining rooms 5 times 210/5 means we left a $42 tip each time. I’m all for tipping and tipping well but this is excessive. You can remove it at the end of the week I did not but before I go again I will do more research as it is probably much better to just cary enough cash to tip on the spot and forgo drink package as well. At least then you know for sure it’s going to the person and not the company. Shopping- I’m not one of the people who go on board to shop unfortunately there was 1 thing I was looking for which was the ship model and I wanted to collect every ship I’ve been on. Unfortunately even on day 1 they did not have it. I’m not sure if they discontinued them or not. I was also very surprised to see the large duty free liquor and tobacco store they had on the breakaway was much much smaller and melded with the general store on the Escape. It seems they gave all the room to the more upscale perfume or jewelry stores. I took note of some of the ship priced for toiletries a small bottle of mouth wash for $9 a dollar store disposable razor for $7. It’s good to know they have these things but be aware if you forget the mark up is huge. They had a starbucks on board though they did not advertise it anywhere. It’s in the atrium they call it cafe something but it’s starbucks. Surprisingly the mark up here isn’t that bad. The coffee on board really wasn’t all too great so we stopped here about 3 times. Each time someone asked me where I found a starbucks when they saw my cup. This goes back to not informing people of the amenities of the ship they are on and instead saving all the room for advertisements. Overall I enjoyed my time, if you’re not the kind of person who can go with the flow and not let little things ruin your day Escape might not be for you. We have decided to try at least 1 more NCL cruise on a much smaller ship, The Dawn to see if it fares any better with fewer people. NCL has it’s saving grace and that is it’s wonderful staff. I don’t wan’t to feel like a commodity with someone’s hand in my pocket, begging and begging for more money after I’ve spent thousands on a vacation and that’s what it seems NCL is becoming. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Norwegian Escape Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Service 3.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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