Cruised to Bermuda from 7/22-7/29 (two passengers). We chose the Escape from Manhattan because it is very accessible from NJ where we live; also, I had not been on a cruise in 22 years, so I was concerned about the possibility of ... Read More
Cruised to Bermuda from 7/22-7/29 (two passengers). We chose the Escape from Manhattan because it is very accessible from NJ where we live; also, I had not been on a cruise in 22 years, so I was concerned about the possibility of seasickness. Fortunately for me, I had no issues whatsoever.
Embarkation was a breeze. We scheduled our arrival between 11:30a-12:00p and ended up arriving just a couple minutes past 12:00. Dropped the bags off, headed upstairs and followed the guides who will send you to one of many check-in areas. The lines moved very quickly and we were on board before 1:00.
The Escape has been around since late 2015, so you might expect some wear and tear after two years of hauling ~5,200 passengers and ~1,700 crew members back and forth every week - I couldn't find anything out of place. The ship was immaculate. We stayed in a port side balcony stateroom and it was also very well maintained.
The entertainment that I saw on board was simply incredible. I can't speak for any of the paid entertainment, nor the ones which required a reservation because I never made it to them, but I wouldn't have had the time to see everything! There were plenty of shows constantly going on in the Atrium throughout the day, mostly for children, but they also had some adult-themed games and events in there at night. If I must make one recommendation on entertainment, though, it would be to see Howl at the Moon (dueling pianos) during your trip. They were absolutely incredible. They played Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night and we attended every single show. No reservations accepted, just come and go as you please between 9:00p-1:00a. A word of caution, though: children are not recommended beyond 11:00p. They make it abundantly clear that children should not be present and will not hold back once the clock strikes 11:00, and they definitely stand true to their word there. If you have to pick one day to go, I would recommend Saturday. Most of the cast from all of the other performances showed up to Howl at the Moon and went on stage to play and sing different songs with them. One disclaimer here is that the people we saw at Howl at the Moon were just finishing up their time on the ship, so anyone who sails after this will have a new set of people and things may be different. Also make sure to hit up Spice H2O at night. They do themed parties up there every night around 10:30, and many of them are a ton of fun. Make sure you go to the glow party on Friday night (wear white) - there had to have been 500-600 people up there. It was nuts!
The activities on board were pretty fantastic as well. The ropes course was a ton of a fun: there are a couple of planks to walk which take you over the side of the ship, as well as a couple of zip lines to travel, one which also takes you over the side of the ship. It was exhilarating! If you're interested in doing the ropes course, go whenever you see that it's open. There were several days on our cruise when the ropes course was not open due to wind/weather, including on the final day. I'm sure anyone who waited was disappointed. Mini golf is a lot of fun as well. There is a teen lounge for kids 13-17 which I'm sure is good for them, as well as an arcade and a game area near O'Sheehans on Deck 7. The pool is probably my biggest gripe on the ship. Personally, I do not use the pool area very much so it does not directly affect me, but having only one (relatively small) pool area for adults and one for children means you are going to have a tough time if your desire is to sit and relax by the pool on any sea day. We typically just walked around on the pool deck and went to do other things, but it was extremely crowded up there and also caused there to be longer lines for other things we wanted to do since many people were not able to swim or secure chairs up there. The casino is huge and a lot of fun - all the standard table games and lots of slot machines if you're interested in that.
The food and drinks on board were wonderful. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews about the food, so I'd like to give my feedback regarding everything I experienced. To start, I would like to say that you should not be expecting the best meal you've ever eaten at every restaurant on the ship. That is both ridiculous and incredibly unreasonable. That being said, everything I ate was very good - I have no complaints whatsoever. The Garden Cafe (buffet) is massive and has something for everyone, and their food was really good for buffet food. Never ate dinner there, but went once for lunch and a few times for breakfast items, as well as periodically at night for a quick bite. Savor/Taste/Manhattan Room all have the same menu which changes daily. We ate there four times in total - once for lunch in Savor, one for dinner in Taste, and twice for dinner in the Manhattan Room. The ambiance and service in the Manhattan Room is superior to the other two, but I loved every single meal I ate in all of them. Our final meal in the Manhattan Room (Saturday night) was made even more incredible by our server, Diosa, who brought us several little unexpected treats during our meal. O'Sheehan's is pretty good too! If you like wings, you should definitely try them - very impressed. We also ate at four of the specialty dining restaurants: Teppanyaki, Le Bistro, La Cucina, and Moderno. Teppanyaki is a really fun experience, definitely recommended for families as the cooks all put on a fun little show that kids are sure to love. La Cucina was very good as well, especially since we were able to eat along the Waterfront. Moderno was incredible. If you've never eaten at a Brazilian-style steakhouse, you should not pass this up. I have several in my area, so I'm familiar with that style of dining, and it was still incredible. Finally, we come to Le Bistro. I could write an entire review just about the meal I had there. If you are going to pick one specialty restaurant to visit, Le Bistro is the one you choose. It was by far the best meal I had on board. We both had the sirloin and it was so incredible I can still taste it. Do not pass this up. There isn't really a whole lot that needs to be said about the drinks on board: if you drink at all, get the ultimate beverage package which covers all drinks that are $15 or less. This covered our vodka clubs the entire vacation. Bars are everywhere and open until various times (O'Sheehan's is always open).
The Waterfront is like a (glaringly obvious) hidden gem on this ship. We were there at all hours of the day and night and it was rarely crowded - never so crowded that we couldn't find a nice spot to sit down and enjoy the weather. Sometimes it was so quiet that we felt like the only two passengers on the ship. We spent a great deal of time on the Waterfront.
The service was incredible throughout the entirety of the ship. Our cabin steward, Suraj, was friendly and was always available when we needed him, but never overbearing or intrusive. Everyone in the hallways would smile and say hello to you as you passed by. There were only two instances of "poor" service that I can think of. One was at the Waves bar by the pool where the bartender just seemed miserable in general, which I can definitely see as he was probably serving drinks to drunk and rude people by the pool all day. The other instance of poor service is a little more debatable. On our last night we were playing an intensely competitive round of mini golf when the clock struck 10:00, which is when mini golf is supposed to close. Immediately a worker came over to us while we were on hole 6 of 9 and made us hand over our balls and putters. While I understand that the signs clearly say "open until 10:00p," I would not have thought we would be forced to hand over our equipment immediately; rather, they would simply prevent anyone else from starting a new game and allow us the extra 10-15 minutes to finish the last three holes. I wouldn't give them any kind of negative marks for that, but it doesn't ring as a friendly experience in my mind. Oh, and one word of caution for the room service - beware of the time you select. I selected room service to be delivered every morning between 8:30-9:00, and it only came during that time period twice (Monday and Saturday morning). All of the other days it would come anywhere between 7:30-8:15. It was no problem for us, and our room service attendant was incredibly nice, but just watch out for that as a very real possibility.
If you've made it through this entire review, congratulations and I'm sorry for the novel. I could write so much more, but I think that's where I'll end it. It was an amazing experience on a fantastic ship with some of the best service and friendliest staff I've ever encountered. If you are considering the Escape, do not let the negative reviews scare you away - most of them are extremely petty and seem to be looking for anything negative to write. You're on vacation, relax and enjoy your floating city for a week. It's beautiful and you'll never run out of things to do.
Oh, and good luck with the public restroom soap dispensers. You'll need it! Read Less