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Sail Date: October 2015
This was just a one day/ one night taster and my first experience of Norwegian cruise line. I was pleasantly suprised by the decor onboard, I liked the cabin, it was spacious ( although the balcony door seal was already coming off and ... Read More
This was just a one day/ one night taster and my first experience of Norwegian cruise line. I was pleasantly suprised by the decor onboard, I liked the cabin, it was spacious ( although the balcony door seal was already coming off and prevented us from being able to fully close/open door). The shower was great, but as with American ships, as a Brit, I didn't like the weak as puddle water tea or creamer milks. The entertainment was outstanding, we watched the Million Dollar Quartet and loved it. What an awful disappointment then, after coming from the theatre on a high, to find long 45 minute queues at every complimentary restaurant. I do not understand why this happened as surely they have experience of organising meals, after all they have quite a few other ships, and it cant have been that they number of people wanting to eat that evening was unexpected. A total and unprofessional mess, although the staff kept smiling despite many heated exchanges. Norwegian cruise lines are not for me, after sailing with other lines, I found them to be amateurs, they certainly didn't impress me. What a shame Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
2 couples on a 2 day cruise booked from Hamburg - Southampton , £500 for inside , £1700 for haven paid. Allowed to board at midday in itinary , arrived at midday and should have got there by 11, we booked an inside as we ... Read More
2 couples on a 2 day cruise booked from Hamburg - Southampton , £500 for inside , £1700 for haven paid. Allowed to board at midday in itinary , arrived at midday and should have got there by 11, we booked an inside as we always do and our friends booked a haven suite so we have a good perspective of both sides of the coin. It took our haven friends 10 minutes , us 90 minutes , both parties carried their own luggage and if paying haven rates would have been miffed. Once on board and in our cabin ( aft a huge wait for the lift ) we settled and unpacked , inboard had insufficient storage for a 7 day cruise as we had only enough room for a 2 day and felt that although nice cabin it did not provide us with mouth storage and before anyway states anything - we can do a 2 week Florida trip in hand luggage :) Our haven friends had a gorgeous cabin with plenty of space and a huge amount of storage with all the right top class amenities as you would expect. 2 sets of lifts was hard work especially on embark and disembarkation - will be trouble on a full ship ! Anyway - straight out to explore and have a drink, went to find onboard itinary to be told no more English available ? Seriously ?!!! Our German is not the best so went back to our room to get the English onto hav found a German one - our room attendant said he had no more so put in the German one instead . met our haven friends and found the majority of service in the bars to be very disappointing, 25 minute wait for a cocktail on first bar, staff levels generally under a lot of pressure and not many smiles given. Things did not improve , pool bar 10 minute wait to be served , brew house, table service forgot half the drinks had to go back myself to fetch them. Theatre bar, two drinks forgotten and then never came back as then too late to fetch them as show started. Food in buffet was very very poor and we are not snobs, cold, ran out, no smiles. Our friends in the haven were extremely well looked after - in fairness, lobster , fillet, scallops champagne etc brilliant and they could not fault the service or quality on any level. We took off our daily tips and complained about lack of customer care, we ordered a starter and main and then they both arrive together, we asked why and they said the kitchen is busy so we had a choice of hot starter or hot main, I ate the main and sent back the starter to be reheated ( not cooked fresh ) the waiter came back with a new starter ? Why they could not do that in the first place is strange. Manhattan restaurant was very nice, food more than acceptable and our waitress very funny and smiley. Taste and savor were again very good service and lovely staff. The shows consisted of 2 , midnight in Harlem and the million dollar quartet , the first average , the second we really enjoyed and was the highlight of the cruise. Pool area, I don't think 4000 people will enjoy this area, sardines in a tin spring to mind. Having visited the haven area which I have to say is spectacular ! Plenty of space and lots of staff to take care of you. We have Cruised many times before and always stay in and are happy with inboard cabins as we spend very little time in them but I think we will not return to this ship as it felt that unless you are paying top whack then you will receive standard service, mediocre food and spaces inch you will definitely have to fight for when busy. I can appreciate you get what you pay for but this is the fist time we have felt this way on a cruise ship and maybe because it is new and things need ironing out but at best our vote is average if payment anything less than 1st class price and if you are paying this you will definitely not be left disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We went on one of the 24 hour taster cruises, with two friends. Embarkation was somewhat disorganised, but not too slow. Our cabin, a junior suite, was ready on arrival. It appeared to be identical in size to our friends balcony cabin, ... Read More
We went on one of the 24 hour taster cruises, with two friends. Embarkation was somewhat disorganised, but not too slow. Our cabin, a junior suite, was ready on arrival. It appeared to be identical in size to our friends balcony cabin, but with an improved bathroom. The balcony cabin had a shower cubicle, the junior suite had a shower occupying the side of the bathroom with room for two (if desired!). Similarly the balcony cabin had a single basin, the junior suite a double basin trough. Soap and shower gel was available from dispensers, there were no amenities such as cotton wool, buds etc nor fluffy dressing gowns. The room was equipped with a coffee machine, one tea bag, sugar and no coffee. On enquiry we were told that coffee pods were not being provided for the one night cruises. We had only one shower towel between the two of us. I rang down for an extra one and was told that one would be sent but two hours later it had not. I rang again and it then came quickly. But ringing for help was not easy as the operator did not answer the phone, on several occasions, for a considerable time. We did not have a shower mat, assumed these were not provided, but later found out that our friends had one. They also had the conventional decorative towel on the bed which we did not, but we were not too fussed about that. The bed was large and comfortable, but there was no real suite amenities. The only furnishing difference from the balcony cabin was a bench - type settee instead of a chair. There is not a lot of storage space for a longer cruise. This is an enormous ship, though not an attractive one externally as it has the appearance of an office block on water. Internally the colours are muted and restrained and the better for it. The general internal appearance is pleasing. Facilities are many and varied, including high level 'assault course' type wire walking, plank walking. Facilities for children included excellent-looking water slides and a crèche. Not all of the facilities were working. We enjoyed the crazy golf but this would have been better if there had been more than 4 balls available - in total. We used 2 for our party of 4 and gave the other 2 to another party. There were lots of clubs available but others could not play for lack of balls. It seemed as though many of the balls had been broken under pressure of the clubs, as there were broken balls around including in the target shoots. We asked a member of staff but were told there were none more on board. Similarly we would have loved to play ten pin bowling, and did see some others doing so, but for most of the time this was out of order with technicians seemingly unable to fix the machine. Quite a number of the other machines also were out of order, which seemed surprising for a ship less than a week into service. Norwegian need to do something about their public address system. Announcements were largely inaudible over the general hubbub, despite us trying to hear them. The only person who could be heard clearly was the captain, when telling us of the importance of attending the muster station drill. He did not otherwise speak. However the other announcements during the drill returned to the inaudible standard. The drill was worryingly lax. Passengers seemed to have no idea where to go and were arriving throughout the demonstration, and being sent to other stations. Lifebelts were not given out and we were supposed to watch one being put on, but the place at which it was being put on was obscured by other passengers so we could see nothing. No attempt appeared to be made to check that all passengers attended. The self service Garden restaurant served food of a reasonable standard. No attempt was made to invite passengers to use the hand cleaning dispensers, and most did not. As a striking apparent design flaw, the aft lifts (elevators for American readers) emerge in the middle of the Garden restaurant, so passengers wishing to use these for the remainder of the attractions of that deck walk straight through the serving and eating areas. Not clever. The plates in this restaurant are plastic, reminiscent of picnics. Mid-way through the afternoon we looked on the information screens throughout the ship and found that the 10.00 p.m. performance of the theatre show was full and there were only 170 seats left for the 7.00 p.m., so we booked that. The theatre appears nowhere near big enough for the number of passengers. Tip: book early. We were required to be in our seats 10 minutes before the performance started, reasonably enough, i.e. 6.50. This ruled out a served dinner beforehand. But the result was that when the theatre emptied at 8.30 we, together with all the others attending, all attempted to access the freestyle dining in the main restaurants. They were full, including by those passengers intending to attend the 10.00 o'clock performance, and could not cope leading to lengthy queues, then passengers turned away for an hour or so. Some further consideration needs to be given to the show times. The show, Million Dollar Quartet, was outstanding, probably the best we have seen on any ship. It appeared to be a bought-in production, and we cannot speak as to the in house team. Regrettably the comedy club was not open during this cruise. Dinner was a mixed experience. Two of our party had meat options which were considered very good. There was no fish option except lobster/other shellfish. The two non-carnivores therefore had a filled pasta dish, the only vegetarian option. This was appalling, insufficiently cooked, hard, tasteless, cold. They asked to see the maître d'. This took 10 or more minutes and when he came he was offhand, not very apologetic. One particular gripe was the mark-ups on the wine. Cruisers expect a service charge on drinks (in this case a steep 18%). But Norwegian also added VAT and duty, apparently justifying this by a note on menus in minute type that in certain ports local taxes were added (we had the meal at sea but never mind). The result was to increase the menu price by around 50% in total. Breakfast was very slow. 1 hour 10 minutes from entering the restaurant until our hot courses came. A grapefruit was cut in half but not segmented. Difficult to eat an unsegmented grapefruit, especially when the only spoon provided is a soup spoon! We asked for marmalade for the toast but this never came. Overall, Norwegian have spent a fortune on this ship and there is the potential for some excellent facilities for those who like them. But there is a low staff to passenger ratio and it shows. The passenger-facing staff were friendly and doing their best but rushed off their feet and in many cases insufficiently trained. Things may well improve when the staff have worked together on this ship for longer. There was an unpleasant apparent fear of their middle-managers who could be seen berating staff but not lending a hand to show an example when things were busy. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We only spent a night on board the Escape and didn't see all of it, however, the bits that we did see were awesome! Firstly, the rooms. Size wise, they similar to those on MSC, Princess and Royal Caribbean. The shower was the largest ... Read More
We only spent a night on board the Escape and didn't see all of it, however, the bits that we did see were awesome! Firstly, the rooms. Size wise, they similar to those on MSC, Princess and Royal Caribbean. The shower was the largest that I've had on a ship, with it being equivalent to a proper shower cubicle at home. In the suites (which our friends had) the shower was a rectangle that ran the width of the bathroom, so pretty big. Colours are nice and have the usual amenities. For those who would use a travel cot, there is plenty of space alongside the wardrobe. We were a family of three, so we had a drop down bed; all pretty standard. The facilities on this ship are what makes it such a fantastic ship for families. The high ropes were great fun. There was a queue for this activity, but as you just get stopped on and then get on your way, there is no waiting around. The queue time was less than 5 minutes, even though the queue seemed pretty big. The course is well done; you can often choose a "solid path" or a woolly rope path, whichever you feel most comfortable with. The guys that work on there are great; I had a wobble at the zip wire across the ship, but the staff made me feel better and encouraged me to carry on. A word of advice; the course goes right around the front of the ship and the exit is where you start. I didn't realise that I had to go all the way back to the beginning until I had been on the course about 25 mins. Had I have realised, I would have turned back earlier. The walk through weather feature was in a really cool 'room' at the front of the ship, it had a real party atmosphere and is well worth a visit. The arcade room is fab. A must do is the paceman air hockey. At certain points in the game, 20 pucks invade the table and you have to go crazy trying to pot them. Other fun games included bowling on deck 7, pool, basketball etc. The food on the Escape was excellent, with many options of eateries and cuisines. We went to the show and ate in O'Sheehans Irish bar: nachos and fajitas. Good food for a quick eat. We needed to get our little girl to bed. Our friended ate in the complimentary Manhattan restaurant. They had lobster and steak, both of which were excellent. Everyone that we spoke to said the same. The show 'the Million Dollar Quartet' is really worth seeing. Our 4 year old sat through 90 minutes, foot tapping away and the finale got everyone, including ourselves up on their feet dancing. It was, by far, the best show we have seen at sea. Even my husband, who would always much rather sit in the sports bar of a ship really enjoyed it. The water park was worth stripping to swim wear on a cold October day! The slide with the inflatable tubes was great. It has jazzy lights inside so it's a bit different. The yellow slide is quite serene. Both were suitable for small children. The two thrill rides were closed, which was disappointing because they too looked fab. The children's water park had enough to keep younger children busy and the red slide was a lot more surprising than it looked! The pools were actually quite warm. Warm water was being pumped into the pools, so up near the wall waterfall it was actually like a warm shower. My little one laid down in this area and stayed there for quite some time. Bars- there are lots! Our favourite was the Brew House on deck 8. It's got a really cool vibe and we had some fun in the photo booth. Hubby really enjoyed choosing from tens of draught beers. We had a look around the kids club. It was enormous, with play stations, huge bean bags and plenty of space to let off steam. The staff were cheery and helpful. Despite being on the ship only a small time, we had a great experience and can't wait to sail on the Escape again. Though there isn't marble everywhere or diamond staircases, this ship certainly has the wow factor because of the entrainment, food and activities. Can't wait for our NCL cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This was my tenth cruise and the only one I've ever done for one night. I usually do Princess or Royal Caribbean so was keen to try Norwegian. Just did the one night inaugural sailing from Southampton. Only its second night of paying ... Read More
This was my tenth cruise and the only one I've ever done for one night. I usually do Princess or Royal Caribbean so was keen to try Norwegian. Just did the one night inaugural sailing from Southampton. Only its second night of paying customers at sea. This review is therefore mainly my opinion on the layout and decor as opposed to the service etc which only cruisers experiencing a longer period aboard can really comment. First glance the ship.is big and nice to look at but nothing particularly spectacular. Boarding is on deck 5 which has nothing much on it so first impressions are of a very long voting corridor. No grand atrium entrance as is the norm. The decor in the ship is very modern and dark brown. Think boutique hotel meets Ikea. The interior is quite dark and not particularly open. There's not much height variation as you walk through the ship and I felt claustrophobic and I don't normally feel that on a ship. The atrium is very basic and not at the central hub as in so many ships. It is small and lack lustre and has fruit machines around the top level. Really? What were they thinking of? The lifts are enclosed and there's no nice look out when you leave them. It's all very dull and dreary I feel. The promenade deck is very lacking too. It's covered mostly with lifeboats so there's no nice walk to have around the ship nor any seats to sit on. The show was excellent. A 50's musical play featuring 'Jerry Lee Lewis' and gang who were amazing musicians but not the usual singing and dancing revue I was perhaps hankering after. It did last over an hour and a glad which I thought was good. The meal in the restaurant was excellent quality however the tables were so close together and the noise horrendous. The casino was more of a walk through and looked a bit like a nice working men's club rather than a cruise ship. The buffet was again quite penned in a d dark and claustrophobic compared to what I'm used to. Was like being in a department store cafeteria rather than a cruise ship. The food was okay at the buffet but not especially good. The room was very nice with all amenities including hairdryer, safe, LCD tv etc. The bed was amazingly comfy. The bathroom was fab with loads of room and a proper nice big shower cubicle. The top deck of the ship was really good with two nice pools, big waterslides and a really cool overhead ropes course which all our party enjoyed. A bit like Go Ape but smaller. The outside disco sail away was good with excellent sound system and deejay. All in all I wouldn't really want to spend any more time on this ship. I much prefer a bit of bling and the refinement and great customer service that you get on Princess and the fab entertainment on Royal Caribbean. It might suit some people but not for.me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We had a one night taster before this new ship NCL Escape went on its maiden voyage to Miami. On first sight the ship was enormous but quite ugly. Embarkation of 3400 passengers was a bit chaotic but I have seen much worse. Bear in mind ... Read More
We had a one night taster before this new ship NCL Escape went on its maiden voyage to Miami. On first sight the ship was enormous but quite ugly. Embarkation of 3400 passengers was a bit chaotic but I have seen much worse. Bear in mind that the following day she was sailing full with 4500 passengers !! We went to our cabin and where pleasantly surprised. The design and splendour of the cabins was what we would expect from a good quality cruise ship. I am afraid that's were the good points ended. For our tastes the ship was too big. You never felt like you belonged. There where 20 restaurants' and I couldn't count how many bars. The sun deck area was very uninviting and the public areas below deck very uninspiring. The coffee lounge was far from intimate and relaxing, but more like the corner of a working mans club. Whilst the cabins where well appointed, the rest of the décor around the ship seemed rather cheap and understated. The atrium had no wow factor and everywhere just seemed crowded with people. Once the evening arrived, things got worse. No room in any of the bars,. We could not see a show because apparently you have to book and they where full. I have never known this before on a cruise ship. I suppose it was the consequence of a very small theatre on a very large ship with thousands of passengers. The chaos at the main free dining room was also a result of the amount of passengers. (goodness knows how they will cope when full) Food should have stopped being served at 9.30 but they where still trying to find empty tables for passengers well after 10.00. The food was uninspiring and not up to the standard we have become accustomed to on other cruise lines. The buffet was a pleasant experience for breakfast and seemed to cope adequately with the numbers. All in all not the greatest of experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We have just returned from a family taster on the new escape. We were by in large impressed with the ship,but it had teething problems. The life boat drill was a shambles I appreciate that it has to be done but to wait for everyone to turn ... Read More
We have just returned from a family taster on the new escape. We were by in large impressed with the ship,but it had teething problems. The life boat drill was a shambles I appreciate that it has to be done but to wait for everyone to turn up well past it's start time was ridiculous, the majority of us turned up and signed in when told but there were passengers just strolling in well after, a waste of half an hour especially when you are only on board for less than 24 hours. We have previously sailed in the Epic so the Escape had a lot to live up to and in some cases it didn't. The drinks were very expensive as was the al a carte menus. We were fortunate enough to have booked a dining time at the Manhatten Room because they were queuing to get in. Not all that impressed with the menu and way too much garlic butter on the steak. We were disappointed that there was no childrens menu in the restaurants, our 10 year old son had to eat an adult meal which was too much for him and only one thing tat he liked on the menu. All the bars were good and served a nice prosecco. Our stateroom was lovely although we didn't like being woken up by an announcement in the middle of the night about a code bravo. The beds in the stateroom were extremely comfortable. Breakfast was a free for all with passengers bringing their suitcases in the garden cafe and all trying to find a table. We thought the staff were friendly and pleasant. All in all we had a good time but had we not have cruised before it might have put us off, but because we had such an amazing time on the epic we will be cruising again. We won't ,however, be doing a taster again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We went on this one day taster cruise to compare the experience of NCL with Celebrity and Princess cruises. The first mistake that NCL make is forcing you wait nearly 2 hours to board the ship. Once we managed to get on the ship we ... Read More
We went on this one day taster cruise to compare the experience of NCL with Celebrity and Princess cruises. The first mistake that NCL make is forcing you wait nearly 2 hours to board the ship. Once we managed to get on the ship we immediately made our way to our Cabin which was sold to us as a Midship Cabin whereas in reality is at the rear. The cabin, in comparison with the same class of cabin on Celebrity, was extremely small although it had a very nice balcony. The pleasant bathroom has body wash, shampoo and hand wash dispensers exactly like those that you get in the budget hotels such as Premier Inn. We then went up to the 16th deck to get some lunch. Although the types of cuisine provided were very basic the food was quite good but unfortunately there are not enough tables and chairs so you have to walk around and around, with your food getting cold, until you find some. If you want a quiet relaxing "pre dinner" drink where you can meet fellow cruiser then this ship is not for you as it does not have anywhere to sit and relax. NCL have mixed a Bar area with the area that is used for quizzes, bingo and karaoke at the same time The service in the " freestyle" restaurant " Savour" was very slow and all of the courses were served either " Luke warm " or cold. The Buzz boy servicing our table had no idea what to do so the waiter had to clear away the plates. There is also a charge for a "post" dinner coffee which cannot be taken at your table. The " Free " entertainment was very good but you must remember to book otherwise you will not be allowed into the very small theatre and don't expect to be able to get a drink whilst you watch the show as it more like a cinema than a theatre. If you forget to book the free show then NCL will charge you up to $50 per person to see any of the other shows. I think that you should you NCL a wide berth unless you like cruising with a Premier Inns set up. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
well, we thoroughly enjoyed trying out a brand new ship! we couldnt fault anything.we had booked manhattan dining for 6.30 and got in straight away,had 3 staff serving our table all pleasant cheerful and polite Veal course was ... Read More
well, we thoroughly enjoyed trying out a brand new ship! we couldnt fault anything.we had booked manhattan dining for 6.30 and got in straight away,had 3 staff serving our table all pleasant cheerful and polite Veal course was delicious.saw the million dollar quartet at 10pm.got in straight away and it was excellent ! went to 5 o clock somewhere after the show and such a fun atmosphere there.. thought the pool/ropes/slides area amazing .We wished we had booked the 2nd taster for the 28th..checked out everywhere else on the ship and had a late night snack at 2am in osheehans,,fast service and great snacks..we would recommend the ship for sure Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
There were 7 people in our group, all of whom have cruised many times before. This was our first time with NCL and if this is any indication of their standards - never again! Having arrived we took a number and after about an hour were ... Read More
There were 7 people in our group, all of whom have cruised many times before. This was our first time with NCL and if this is any indication of their standards - never again! Having arrived we took a number and after about an hour were called to check in. We then had to sit down again (or stand as there were no seats available) and wait another hour to be called to board. Service on board was very slow and the drinks were very expensive (2 rum and cokes $21.50 plus 18% tax). Waited half an hour to be seated in the main restaurant and 2 hours later (having only eaten starter and a main course, both of poor quality) we left. At no time did we see a wine waiter. After dinner we went to the District Brewhouse where the live pianist was very good; unfortunately all the best seats were taken up by crew members who seemed to treat it as their own private club. Overall we have left with the opinion that NCL is very expensive (all restaurants except the main restaurants carry a surcharge or are a la carte), the service is slow and standards are not as high as other cruise lines we have experienced. The only good thing about this taster cruise was the Million Dollar Quartet show which was excellent! Read Less
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