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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We love Norwegian Cruise Lines and this was our fourth cruise. The ship is just to big with too many passengers for the space aboard. Finding an place to sit or lounge is hit and miss. As with any other cruise line there is a problem with ... Read More
We love Norwegian Cruise Lines and this was our fourth cruise. The ship is just to big with too many passengers for the space aboard. Finding an place to sit or lounge is hit and miss. As with any other cruise line there is a problem with people placing stake and not being there. I did see a great attempt at the pool to mark lounge chairs that had towels on them. Wait staff was fabulous and supervision was always checking to see that you are happy. Tobacco Road only had one bartender the entire cruise. District Brew house was our favorite and Vinnie was the BEST! The Cellars is marked up about 300% but with the Beverage package that was not a big deal. We stayed in cabin 13788 a mini suite. The only difference between this and a balcony is the shower and sink. Nothing special in the bathroom like a spa suite. Book the balcony and save! I'm very pleased that there are sharp containers in the cabins. Being Diabetic this was a big help. But I ask why you cannot find sugar free ice cream anywhere including Dolce Gelato. Norwegian always has sugar free deserts but that's it. The ship really needs to provide more shade as not everyone is a sun God. The people in the connecting cabin kept us awake until 3am with constant fighting and slamming the cabin door. I can honestly say that we could not wait to get off that ship. Will we continue to sail on Norwegian, yes! in fact we only have one more sail day to reach Silver status. I blame this all on the Norwegian Gem! To date, it was the best ship we have ever been on across the cruise lines we have taken. Every show was booked and we did not see any of shows. Any tickets that were available were to late or conflicted with dinner reservations. I'm always upset when I see reviews like this posted as the crew will go out of their way for you. I can tell you that the 5 of us will not sail on the Escape again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
This was my first cruise experience, and while it was good overall there were some things that dampened the experience. Prior to the cruise I was able to take care of many things on the web site such as excursions and seeing the ... Read More
This was my first cruise experience, and while it was good overall there were some things that dampened the experience. Prior to the cruise I was able to take care of many things on the web site such as excursions and seeing the entertainment on board. I found this very helpful. It would have been much better if they also had the schedule of events prior to getting on board. The specialty dinners that we went to required reservations, and had we known about the entertainment schedule we would have adjusted our plans to enjoy it. Unfortunately we ended up having to get reservations later in the evening and missed a lot of the entertainment. Norwegian has an app for mobile phones, which only works on the ship. It doesn't really tie into anything done on line before the trip. It would be much better if the app was fully integrated so that you can have everything in one place. Purchased excursions don't show up on the app. Also, if you want to use the app to call other apps on the ship it's $9.99. This would be great, except that they charge you per minute for talking. Since this is only over their internal WiFi, that's just gouging the customers. Also, the app wouldn't work all the time. Several times it would not connect and show information. Speaking with other passengers this was very common. The other problem is that not everything showed in the app. We were deciding what to do one evening and several items that were on the daily printout were not in the app list of events. The app is a very, very poor product and they need to either fix it or eliminate it. The embarkation process was pretty poor. Norwegian has you select a time to arrive, as early as 9:30 am, however when you get there you are handed an arbitrary group number to board with. We were some of the first people to arrive, and had to board with group 21. Might as well showed up at 1:00. Once on board it was fantastic. The buffet was hopping, plenty of food for everyone. It was very busy with everyone getting on the ship, but there was no shortage of food and it was excellent. Our stateroom was beautiful. Very clean and comfortable. The cabin steward was really great too. We would come back after swimming, shower and use the clean towels, and when we came back later he had been in and cleaned up again leaving fresh towels. The "Free Style Cruising" is fantastic! The buffet and one of the pubs serves food 24/7. The complimentary restaurants are amazing. No reservation needed, and the food, service and ambiance is outstanding. The "Manhattan Room" with the live music while you dine was really great. The specialty restaurants are excellent as well. Food, service, everything was just great. **The one major problem with this ship is the cigarette smoke. They run the casino through the middle of the ship, and through an area that's open for 3 decks but don't have sufficient exhaust. We dined one evening at the french restaurant on deck 6. The casino was above us on deck 7. While the food and service were excellent, the smoke was disgusting. There's nothing worse than choking on smoke when you're trying to enjoy a good meal. Overall I enjoyed the cruise, however I would not go on the Escape again. If Norwegian finds it important to allow smoking, they should have it in a closed room with proper exhaust. Having to inhale second hand smoke removes any desire to be on the ship, and there are plenty of other cruise lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We were looking for a family cruise to start the summer, as we do every year. We've been solid RC customers (with a little Princess and yes even Carnival once), so this wasn't our first time on a ship however this is the first time we've ... Read More
We were looking for a family cruise to start the summer, as we do every year. We've been solid RC customers (with a little Princess and yes even Carnival once), so this wasn't our first time on a ship however this is the first time we've felt compelled to do a review. Every cruise line seems to have it's ups and downs and NCL - Escape was no different. Hoping this review helps others in navigating the cruising world. Embarking If you're used to the fluid embarking in say Miami, Ft Lauderdale or Tampa, brace yourself. Unless you're in the Haven (which have the "special lines") you are in for a switchback line up that would make Walt Disney cry. Four "port security officers" checking names on passports with tickets before you hit the metal detectors. Parking above the terminal was convenient for the almost $300 parking fee! Cabin Family oceanview on deck 5 portside, 5156. If you are going to travel with a family of four, this is your cabin. It's a standard cabin but the space that would have been part of the balcony was included in the cabin space. Once you get by the main bed, there is not enough room for a small carry on to roll between the end of the bed and the wall, there is lots of space and a curtain that nicely separates two main areas (sitting / bedroom). The bathroom has a double sink and a full tub (with a solid glass wall that easily closes). Our cabin steward was, well, average to slightly below average. We got the required towel animals and he was good to exchange our towels (cabin ones and blue pool ones) on a regular basis. Beyond that, he never introduced himself, never said more than "hi" if we saw him in the hall, never even asked if everything was in order. Also, once the pullman was down, it never went back up - so the "couch" was useless. FYI NCL, this is one of the reasons why I hate gratuities added daily. If you're good, you'll get tipped, if not, no tip. Food We've been telling friends, family and now this review, the food was a solid, 3 out of 10. The up-selling restaurants, and you have to be on your toes on which ones those are, were useless for a family. Only two of us got the meal package so the kids were "extra", which means $30 each for dinner. Even at those up-selling restaurants, the food was nothing to write home about. The buffet was just sad. Granted that Royal Princess was one of the best we've ever had and Windjammer (place any RCL ship name here) is a close second, NCL needs some serious work in this area. There are four primary food areas (your "mains") two desert areas, and the worst salad bar (it's less than 10 ft long with a handful of options) at sea. The late night snack is almost the same as lunch (fries, burgers, hot dogs, nachos, and some desert - same as from dinner!). Even the Grandeur of the Seas pulled more together in a late night snack. Entertainment Like the cabin, it was the other high light of the cruise. Thanks to Alvin and Jo Jo for all they did. Sailing from NYC over Independence Day, you have to expect an amount of celebration for the majority of US passengers. Alvin even had a Canada Day celebration (for the 87 fellow Canadians on board). It was a nice touch that really made our day. I'm sorry Alvin as I for got the name of your boss (so I could mention her name here and get her attention for you). The floor shows and entertainers were some of the best we've ever seen. If you haven't watched "The Choir of Man" you need to see where they are traveling and catch the show (although the food was standard NCL - 3 out of 10). Deck / Pool There is little to no deck space around the main pools. It's hard to call them pools as our hot tub is almost as big as them. The main pool is "adults only", which is hard for our son who likes to just sit with us but clearly doesn't pass as an "adult". The kid pool is, again small, and full. There is a slide and water park, both are well used. The slides are fun but were useless on the day at seas when the waves were a little rough (also as useless was the rope course on that day). Disembarkcation Walk your luggage off! It's easy and we were off in less than an hour with minimal line. Overall The technical hiccups we encountered at the start, kids ship cards got the unlimited drink packages and we had to straighten that out (why you'd give an 11 year old an unlimited alcoholic drink package is beyond me). Trying to fight to get restaurant reservations once on board (our online reservations were magically erased around three weeks before) in the end was unnecessary as we could have used in the smartboards around the ship to book. If only someone has explained this before! Which is another major point, every cruise line is different and we've learned the "rules" on other lines, no one took the time to explain the NCL "rules" to us. This really was a negative factor in our vacation. An unlimited drink package but you still have to pay the gratuities. Dinner packages that aren't worth it. No place to lay by the pool or even sit in it as a family. If you've already booked, and you're checking reviews to see what you've done, don't worry, you'll have a great time, but you need to plan a bit and look beyond these annoyances. For us, we'll pass on NCL next time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
My daughter picked this cruise in order to get married on Bermuda. I’m handicapped and everyone was so polite to me. We ate in different restaurants. Obviously, the included ones and we spent the money for the very pretty ... Read More
My daughter picked this cruise in order to get married on Bermuda. I’m handicapped and everyone was so polite to me. We ate in different restaurants. Obviously, the included ones and we spent the money for the very pretty upgraded restaurants!! I am being honest about the food. I was told by veteran cruise clients just how wonderful the food was. I was disappointed with the food. It wasn’t bad , but it certainly wasn’t amazing food. I was disappointed with the food. So was my husband especially since we were told that the food was exceptional! We picked the upgraded beverage/alcoholic package since my husband prefers certain brands of alcohol. We were SHOCKED that bottled water was not included in our upgraded beverage package. Since I drink a lot of water, we were inconvenienced to go down to the 6th deck to order bottled water which was an additional price. We both enjoyed the cruise and especially enjoyed our balcony. I’m sorry that I can’t say that we would cruise again with Norwegian but we did get wonderful service from the young man who took care of our room!! His name was Jake and he was EXCEPTIONAL!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I took my nieces and nephew on the cruise but was disappointed with the service for the suite. The inside room had better service. Maybe an off week for the concierge. Food was ok nothing great. The daily shows have gone downhill. ... Read More
I took my nieces and nephew on the cruise but was disappointed with the service for the suite. The inside room had better service. Maybe an off week for the concierge. Food was ok nothing great. The daily shows have gone downhill. Comedian was good. Disappointed that all the activities involved couples and sex. Trying to have time with kids was difficult unless you wanted to subject them to these shows or spend money on bingo. The Butler was great as was the room steward. Very nice ad always pleasant. The app iConcierge was really good. Tapyeneki was one of the high points of the cruise. The chef was awesome. Boarding was easy as well as getting off in Bermuda. Kids were 13, 14, 19, 21 and 24. The youth staff was great. One liked attending the activities. The young adults had a great time and would definitely go back. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Bermuda was absolutely beautiful. The Cruise itself was okay. We have bern on 2 carnival cruises and a Disney cruise in the past. This cruise doesn’t come close to the outstanding service of Disney. NCL you could do so much better. ... Read More
Bermuda was absolutely beautiful. The Cruise itself was okay. We have bern on 2 carnival cruises and a Disney cruise in the past. This cruise doesn’t come close to the outstanding service of Disney. NCL you could do so much better. We were a party of 12 and had 3 ocean view family cabins. The NCL staff was average at best. Extremely slow service at pool area and main dining areas. Took forever to get a drink and I’m wondering if it was because we had the drink package included. Specially dining was much better. My parents have cruised with NCL many times. It was their 50 anniversary, but nothing special was done by NCL A simple card in their cabin would have been a thoughtful. You missed the boat on that one! If another cruise line sails from Boston in the future, I will definitely sail with them instead of NCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
My wife and I love cruising to Bermuda, its an excellent way to experience the island and gives lots of flexibility to explore and get on and off the ship on your own terms. It also substantially reduces the daily expenses as Bermuda is ... Read More
My wife and I love cruising to Bermuda, its an excellent way to experience the island and gives lots of flexibility to explore and get on and off the ship on your own terms. It also substantially reduces the daily expenses as Bermuda is rather expensive for tourists. One notable change since the last time we cruised to Bermuda is that NCL has procured their own Ferry providing free service to St. George from the Dockyard. This provided an extra cost savings which was enjoyable, but also seemed to push a greater number of cruise guests to the town, and Tabacco Bay than we previously experienced on an October trip to the island. We chose the Escape because it was a newer ship, a larger vessel than we had cruised on before. We've experienced Bermuda on the Dawn out of Boston, and cruised many other times on the smaller class of ships. After cruising on the Escape, there was a clear difference in the cruise experience as the crew to guest ratio was a bit lower which definitely impacted service. Bar service was normal, with quick and attentive bar tenders, but the sheer volume of people made for less enjoyable experiences in specialty dining and entertainment venues. Main dining rooms proved to be staffed well, and produced a good pace of service. The Maderno Brazilian Steak House had excellent and quick service, but some of the meat was slightly over cooked, which is not out of the ordinary for the style of restaurant. Bayamo produced slightly overcooked seafood, and some of the prawns that I had were quite fishy in taste but the rest of the meal was good. La Cucina was good, but the food wasn't stellar - it just met expectations though the service was less attentive later in the dining experience than in the first half. The overall meal times for some of the specialty restaurants seemed to be extensive (2-2.5 Hours in length). This wasn't bad, but certainly could have been faster. We loved the District Brewhouse for entertainment, specifically Beau Tahana, who was amusing and fun to experience. We also enjoyed the dining at Food Republic. The service and food there was fantastic, we ate there three times because each time we went, we saw other menu items we wanted to try on another visit. One of the primary differences of this ship and its size was the impact it had on our choice of entertainment. We had high expectations for Howl at the Moon in the comedy club, but once we seated ourselves prior to the show, the entire room filled with more guests, standing to exceed capacity. Our seats were in the back, so the standing patrons blocked our view of the show - we promptly left and went to the District Brew House. Additionally, the experience of having to reserve your seats for the shows was a bit ridiculous. All the show times filled up with reservations, but you can always get in because some people never show - this was something we found out about halfway through the trip and would have been nice to know that you can always go standby for the shows. On other ships, it was always first come first serve to shows, a format that we enjoyed better than this ship. We went to Choir of Man, which was excellent. Absolutely one of the best shows we've seen while cruising NCL - if you get a chance to see their show while they're in the US touring 32 states, you should. The pool deck experience for days when the ship was at sea was crazy busy. The pool size for the volume of people on the ship was definitely not sufficient, and the deck chairs were always 100% reserved. We tended to avoid the pool deck as it seemed over crowded on most of the sea days. Our balcony stateroom on the ship was better than the staterooms on some of the smaller ships, simply because the bathroom was laid out better and provided more room so as not to make it seem like a closet with a toilet and shower. Our stateroom steward was excellent, very friendly, always prompt and courteous. We've never had a bad stateroom experience on our cruises, so this was no different and upheld the high quality standard we've come to expect. The only negative that we have for the stateroom experience is generally that the mattress could have been a little softer - but overall we did get good sleep in the room. We enjoyed the cruise, and especially Bermuda, but the lower quality of service at restaurants, lower food quality, and the crowded / fully booked entertainment options knocked this rating down from Very Good to Average. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We were on this cruise to celebrate my son's birthday. He chose Norwegian. There are many great features on this ship; plenty of activities for kids in particular. Because of the small size of the kids pool, it was extremely ... Read More
We were on this cruise to celebrate my son's birthday. He chose Norwegian. There are many great features on this ship; plenty of activities for kids in particular. Because of the small size of the kids pool, it was extremely crowded--shoulder to shoulder--and it became very dirty by the end of the day (it was drained daily). The rope course was a blast. My complaint is with the lack of gluten free options in the cafe. I was promised before the cruise that NCL had a great GF menu; however that did not pan out as promised. The food labels in the cafe did not include food allergies at all and there was absolutely no one who could offer help. If you have no food allergies, you would probably rate the cruise as excellent. Also, Cagney's was not worth the money. The service was horrible. I asked for butter three times and was never given any. My steak was dry and the sides came late well after the meat was served. The sides were cold and there was nothing on the baked potato. We had a spa mini suite and the spa was great. Very large large and included with the room. It was a nice, quite place to spend a few hours--great hot pool, saunas, etc. Very nice. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I’m not generally cruise company loyal. The itinerary generally drives my decision as to what cruise company I sail with. I have completed over 8 cruises on NCL and a Platinum Latitudes member. I tend to enjoy the larger ships ... Read More
I’m not generally cruise company loyal. The itinerary generally drives my decision as to what cruise company I sail with. I have completed over 8 cruises on NCL and a Platinum Latitudes member. I tend to enjoy the larger ships and ones that are newer. This ship is less than two years old and has really kept up looking quite nice. There are many different restaurants on the ship which never seemed to be too crowded. There are three complimentary ones - Taste, Savor and Manhattan. All three share the same menu items each night. The first two are very similar in decor and are right across the aisle from each other. The Manhattan restaurant is in a different location on the ship and was my least favorite. Getting seated in the restaurant was a disaster. There seemed to be no main process for people checking in except for being told to get in one line and then moved somewhere else. One particular gentleman, I believe his name was Marc, was quite rude and seemed to be highly flustered and not effective in crowd control. I am also used to three sets of elevators on most ships. This ship had no center sets of elevators. We were constantly going from one end to the other to get to various locations. The pool area was quite congested not necessarily from the large number of passengers but from the limited space. It was generally not a problem finding a lounge chair to sit on but it’s location may be quite far from a pool or shower to cool off in. Quite a lot of space is devoted to the various water slides and quite frankly I never really saw a large number of children utilizing them. The talent on the ships main two shows were excellent but the shows were awful! I love most ship show but I was very disappointed with After Midnight and The Brat Pack. Last year’s show on the Epic were 100 more times more enjoyable than these. There was also another show on the ship which looked to be fantastic but costed each person an additional $39.00 to attend which included a three course dinner. Why not use this show as free entertainment and leave the cooking to the other ship's restaurants? Howl at the Moon was a nice show and ran every other night. Docking in Bermuda for three days was quite different from what I am used to. I like a different port each day to see more. We did arrange two excursions on our own through Viator.com - Island tour to Hamilton and a Segway tour around the dockyard. Both were quite nice and cheaper than what was offered on the ship. I would also have preferred the first two days at sea to be on the way back versus the first two days of the cruise. The ship took two at sea days to get down to Bermuda and only one at sea day to return back. Switching this might have made the cruise a little more relaxing coming back. Seems as if everybody now has free adult beverages as one of their perks on NCL. Hardly noticed anybody ever signing for a mixed drink or beer. There were many enrichment activities scheduled throughout the day on this cruise we chose not to attend very many. The service on the ship was great, except for the rudeness in the Manhattan Restaurant. All servers, bar tenders, assistants, and cabin cleaners were quite helpful and always very kind and friendly. We did not encounter a single problem. I stayed in a studio room while others in my group had balcony rooms. Both type of rooms worked out just fine. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Positives Room size, features were great. Haven Staff was great and very helpful with onboard reservations. Bermuda was beautiful and weather was great. lots of activities, bingo, TV, music Negatives Our cabin steward ... Read More
Positives Room size, features were great. Haven Staff was great and very helpful with onboard reservations. Bermuda was beautiful and weather was great. lots of activities, bingo, TV, music Negatives Our cabin steward was awful, there was trash from the last guests when we arrived, old glasses on the balcony (that was never cleaned up). No tissues, no robes. It was definitely not Haven class service. Main Dining Room Staff was slow, rushed and not very friendly. Almost every show was sold out, our family members could not get into the comedy shows or other events. This is our last NCL vacation, might consider if it was just me and my husband and we stayed on the Haven floor, but never again in the general group. We ate in the main dining room almost every night as we traveled with a large group and the service was so slow and we had a different server each night even though we were at the same table. Read Less
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