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10,967 Norwegian (NCL) Miami Cruise Reviews

I have been on Carnival many times and Celebrity twice. This was my first time checking out NCL. We got a very good deal on cruises.com. I traveled with my boyfriend. Embarkation went well. We went with the company Safe Cruise Parking, ... Read More
I have been on Carnival many times and Celebrity twice. This was my first time checking out NCL. We got a very good deal on cruises.com. I traveled with my boyfriend. Embarkation went well. We went with the company Safe Cruise Parking, and they drove us to the port very quickly. The lines we not long at all for security and check-in. We probably waited at least an hour an a half before we could board the ship. We had a guarantee inside room. Very tiny. Just enough room for a bed, closet, bathroom, and a desk. As for dining: We did not have the dining package. We ate at the Tropicana room 6 nights, and Le Bistro 1 night. The tropicana room is a very nice, semi-format environment. The service and food were consistently good. We had reservations for each night, which I would recommend, because it seemed at peak times there was a wait to get in. I mostly ate shrimp and fish dishes. The shrimp was always delicious. The fish was well cooked and seasoned as well. At Le Bistro I had french onion soup and sea bass. The sea bass had a little more flavor than fish in the Tropicana Room. We ate breakfast in the dining room 4/7 days, at O'Sheehans 1 day, and 2 days at the buffet. As expected, the buffet is a crowded disaster. The food is decent. The food in the dining room is slightly better, but service was slow some days. The food at O'Sheehans was pretty greasy and not something I'd want to have every day. The buffet has a pretty good variety of dishes-American, Indian, Asian, Salads, Desserts. There always was something to take from the morning til 11:30 pm. Ports: We went to Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. We did not take any of the ship's shore excursions. The order of Costa Maya and Cozumel arrivals were switched. In Belize, we did the Island Excursions Goffs Caye snorkel beach break. The tendering process went smoothly. NCL allows you to book your tender group on their app or on the TV. On the first day, it was pretty hard to find where to find this. The day before Belize, it was easier to locate. The excursion was great. Beautiful island and great snorkeling. We got yelled at for not keeping up with our group, but oh well. Afterwards we spent about 45 mins at the island with free rum punch. Roatan is probably the least safe port. We had arranged to go on a snorkel trip with Roatan Eco Tours, a private company, but the tour operator canceled on us. We discovered this while we were already out on the street with all the tour operators yelling at us to join their tour. This could have gone downhill potentially. A cab driver ended up talking to us and offered to take us to the beach/snorkeling we originally wanted to go to. We went to the West End and the West Bay Wall by boat and encountered some gorgeous coral and fish. Everything ended up working out, but I can see why the cruise line recommends you take the excursion with the ship. In Cozumel we went to the Money Bar. We took a cab there. Very nice bar and restaurant, right on the water. Some nice snorkeling right off the water. We saw angelfish! At Costa Maya we went to Chaccoben Mayan Ruins with Native Choice Tours. Very nice tour and knowledgeable guide. The ship as a whole has a slightly cramped public space configuration, compared to other ships like on Carnival. The public spaces are on floors 6, 7 and 8, as well as 15 and above. My only two complaints are that a lot events that should be held in theater were held in the crowded Atrium. Also, the library was right next to the atrium. Not quiet at all. The music in the public areas was very repetitive and catered to the baby boomer crowd. Music was also excessively loud during dinner at the Tropicana Room. Too loud to hear anything. The service was excellent. The dining, bar, and room stewards were all very kind and efficient. Absolutely on par with all other cruises I've been on. The two shows, Burn the Floor, and Million Dollar Quartet, were great. Reservations are required. Disembarkation went smoothly. We just walked off with our luggage and zipped right through customs. Overall this was a very fun cruise, totally worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Lots of options from food to entertainment. The main shows were great, they are really raising the bar on show quality. Our inside cabin 13623, was tucked away in a somewhat unusual inner corridor. Room was on smaller side, but ... Read More
Lots of options from food to entertainment. The main shows were great, they are really raising the bar on show quality. Our inside cabin 13623, was tucked away in a somewhat unusual inner corridor. Room was on smaller side, but bathrooms was same as others and much improved size over older ships. However the water pressure in cabin was very poor, not sure if it was because of the floor, or room location. Our other cabin in our group was 5130 an ocean view and was nice size and great water pressure. Love the use the private Vibe beach club, $99, but worth the peace and quiet and extra touches like padded lounge chairs, umbrellas and dedicated bar. We have been to most of the ports already so didn't get off the boat much. We did an independent tour in Cozumel to swim with Manatees. Was a great experience. Cost of photo's afterward was a bit high, but they are willing to negotiate Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Ship Size This was our first trip on a “big ship” and I enjoyed it, but I think I prefer a smaller ship. We had a really great time, but embarkation and debarkation in Miami and the ports was a lot more difficult. If we hadn’t ... Read More
Ship Size This was our first trip on a “big ship” and I enjoyed it, but I think I prefer a smaller ship. We had a really great time, but embarkation and debarkation in Miami and the ports was a lot more difficult. If we hadn’t been Haven passengers, it would have been a huge headache. Also, there were so many people that you had to make reservations for most of the entertainment ahead of time – most “headliner” shows filled up early. Additionally, the ship was so large it took us a couple of days to find everything and I think we really didn't have time to enjoy it all the ship offered. The Haven We really used “The Haven” amenities a lot and enjoyed them. On this ship, it was well worth the money. I would have had a great time regardless, but my DH doesn’t like crowds much and lines make him really crabby, so it made vacation MUCH better for him. If you decide to upgrade, research what they will do for you and take advantage of it. Eat in the restaurant ( outstanding food and service with an upgraded menu), use the priority embarkation and debarkation, etc ... (Virginia, the concierge was wonderful), watch the free movies, and lounge on the sundecks/pools. The Getaway She's a beautiful ship with many nice amenities. I love that the fish on the carpet “swim” to the front, so you can find your way. Our stateroom was the BEST! So comfortable and spacious! We enjoyed every meal and all the shows were entertaining. Yes, the pool deck is crowded, but there were always sun loungers open away from the pool. I think the Atrium is a poor place for shows, but the shows were fun. Don't miss the Illusionarium, Million Dollar Quartet and Burn the Floor. If I could cruise in the Haven, I would go on the Getaway again, but I think that overall I prefer a smaller ship if I'm in a regular cabin. Not a critique of the ship, but just my preference. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The Getaway was our 3rd cruise this year and by far our favorite!! The service was fantastic and our cabin steward, Rhey made us happy everyday with our adorable towel animals and clean room (balcony room, mid-ship room #14782). We only ... Read More
The Getaway was our 3rd cruise this year and by far our favorite!! The service was fantastic and our cabin steward, Rhey made us happy everyday with our adorable towel animals and clean room (balcony room, mid-ship room #14782). We only encountered one rude bartender but we did not count off for him because everyone else was so wonderful. There is always something going on, our at sea day was rainy but somehow every moment was filled. The atrium is a happening spot (Trivia, live music, Deal or No Deal, games, etc..) Embarkation: Easy and quick! Below is a rating of our experiences on the ship. Dining (Favorite is #1) 1. Teppanayki - chef was a blast and the food was wonderful. Steak & Lobster 2. Ocean Blue - order the Stone Crab Claws, they were YUMMY! Outstanding service. 3. Wasabi Sushi Bar - loved the Stone Crab Claws so much we ordered them here too! Loved the Rock and Roll but heard all of the rolls are excellent. 4. Cagney's - my birthday dinner was almost ruined by extremely slow service. Waiter was very nice but overwhelmed. Food was good. Filet & Lobster. If you ask for a decanter, be prepared to wait. 5. O'Sheehan's - 24 hour service and we ate here multiple times. If you like a Rueban I highly recommend! Breaded chicken wings and nachos were good. 6. La Cucina - food was average but much better than the same restaurant on the NCL Sky. 7. Shanghai Noodle Bar - we ate here our first night and thought it was very good and it is free which made it even better! We shared potstickers, spring rolls, fried rice and glass noodles with chicken. 8. Savor / Taste - the free dining rooms. We only ate breakfast twice (eggs Benedict was outstanding), lunch once (go for the steak and cheese) and dinner once (dinner was not memorable). 9. Buffet - as expected, good not great. 10. Illusionarium - food was terrible. (Review of show is below) Drinks: We got the Ultimate Beverage Package and thoroughly enjoyable. Bring some one dollar bills for small tips and you will get the best service of your life and you will never have to wait for a drink. (Especially if you visit the same person) Shows: 1. Million Dollar Quartet - this show is Broadway worthy, husband actually saw it on Broadway and thought it was just as good as seeing it there. 2. Burn the Floor - we loved this show! It was filled with energy and sensuality. We loved it so much we took Salsa lessons a few days later. 3. Illusionarium - kind of silly but entertaining. We really enjoyed the mind reader! Ports: (in order of date not best to worst) 1. Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras (06/07/16) - went on a scuba dive trip through the ship. The island is very poor and trash is everywhere. We were very surprised that we were expected to put all of our gear together, I have been on over 100 dives and this was the first time I have done this since my training. Although it was disorganized it was still enjoyable and absolutely beautiful. 2. Belize City, Belize (06/18/16) - Zip line and cave tubing excursion. Our tour leader "Shanna Banana" was wonderful, she was so proud of her country. The bus ride was over an hour to the park. The hike to the cave4. was easy and we loved the tubing; zip line was fun but the zip lines were short. Lunch was good but we waited over an hour to leave knowing we had an hour bus ride back, this was our only issue. We loved how clean and beautiful Belize was and plan on visiting again. 3. Cozumel, Mexico (06/09/16) - another day of diving and it was wonderful! 4. Costa Maya, Mexico (06/10/16) - we were shocked at how beautiful this city was! We thoroughly enjoyed our Salsa and Salsa excursion. We were taught to make outstanding guacomole, fresh salsas and margaritas, then were taught to dance the salsa. We ended the tour with several hours on the beautiful beach and went back to shop at the port, where we continued to drink more margaritas. Be careful at the stores, several people tried to sell my husband drugs. Lol Sea Days: Sea day #1 - 06/06/16 - very rainy which gave us the chance to play BINGO. Husband won Bingo King which allowed him to play for free the rest of the week. He also won blackout which gave us $560 to play later in the casino. He was quite the celebrity. Sea day #2 - uneventful but beautiful day. We were able to enjoy our beach chairs that we rented in the private adult beach area, Vibe. This is well worth the money, otherwise you need to get out of your cabin by 7:30 am to save a chair. Disembarkation: We decided to take our luggage off ourselves in order to get an early time, unfortunately I believe 3/4 of the passengers shared our idea. The line to get off wrapped around half the ship and took close to an hour to disembark. It was still very organized, just time consuming. Closing: We would highly recommend this ship to anyone! We had so much fun we already booked our next cruise for Thanksgiving on the NCL Pride of America to the Hawaian Islands. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Another slice of heaven on the Getaway. Now a week since we've returned and still feeling the positive energy and effects of a great vacation on NCL Getaway. The Getaway has become our favorite ship for so many reasons (see other ... Read More
Another slice of heaven on the Getaway. Now a week since we've returned and still feeling the positive energy and effects of a great vacation on NCL Getaway. The Getaway has become our favorite ship for so many reasons (see other reviews for details) and it continues to get it right. We were hesitant about the new menus and "rules" but were pleasantly surprised at the new additions. Will say that the biggest disappointment is the removal of the lunch calamari. Travesty. The nicest surprise was O'Sheehan's new menu and very fast service. The new mussels (appetizer) recipe at LeBistro was amazing and could be a meal itself along with the amazing bread. The re-done lobster pasta at Cucina's was also a great change. Pace yourselves, my friends. The room size (Inside stateroom) continues to baffle me - especially the shelf space (and lack of anywhere else to put clothing). Careful of this hidden space behind the safe where I can imagine things getting easily lost/forgotten. For the first time, we had a very poor cabin steward who daily forgot towels and who did some pretty shoddy dusting. He was anxious to get us out of there as he took out our waters from the fridge and locked it up during our last night. The bath gel, soap, and shampoo were labeled incorrectly and he never placed the foot of the bed blanket. We got quite a scolding/lecture when we forgot to remove the "Do Not Disturb" notice (even his colleague was near him and nudged him to stop). We've always left an extra generous tip for the steward but not this time. Recto needs an attitude change. The rest of the crew, however, were AMAZING as we've come to expect and love. The Officers (Errol, Tanberg, MammaTek, Anil, ONeal, Tom) are like family to us and we cannot say enough about their kindness and sweet treatment. The ways that they and certain waiters (Kerwyn and Raj in particular), hostesses (Janice, Sonia), and chefs (Ricardo and Chef from LeBistro) treated us was above and beyond true generous warmheartedness. Unforgettable and honestly the largest part of why we are loyal to NCL. Entertainment was fun. Scott (Cruise Director) was always happy, smiling, and friendly. Enjoyed watching his genuinely hilarious reactions to fellow passengers' responses during the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed Show. The Dancing With the Stars show was terrific as usual and the Best Couple Show made for some big laughs. Burn the Floor was incredible but unfortunately we couldn't stay awake for Million Dollar Quartet. The ports were fun - we did the beach excursions as usual. The water as calmer and warmer than usual and we took full advantage. Passion Island (Cozumel) was extraordinary. We had an attendant to ourselves who brought us new drinks all day long (never a warm cup of beer) and was friendly to boot. The guacamole (with fresh chips!) and mahi mahi were delicious and served the entire time we were on the beach. The catamaran trip back to the main island was fun with music and silly drivers with the salt water hitting us all in the face but no one caring b/c it felt like showers from the gods. But the best part? Hammocks in the ocean. You read that right. Hammocks IN the ocean. Best place to barter was Cozumel (go to the little "alleyways" off the left of the ship - the large shops in the mall area double and triple up prices). Roatan had quite a bit of security both in the port and at the beach we were at. Both comforting and a bit disconcerting. Worst customer service at Costa Maya's Uvero Beach Club. The ship itself is easy to navigate and remains clean. We wish the Waterfront had an area for smokers that was farther off than the "main" area as all non-smokers get a lung full of smoke right outside the doors. The Atrium is too small as a venue for game shows and we wish some would be moved to the Theater. If you've not tried the Getaway, try it. You'll love her and the staff on it. We've made so many great memories on this ship and with the crew and we have gotten friends and family to try her (or NCL) for the first time. All have returned with similarly positive feedback. For an easy slice of pure relaxation, fun, and being spoiled ---- Getaway. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our 15th cruise and 3rd with NCL. We had a large extended family group on board. We have sailed all of the major lines and decided to come back to NCL after a long layoff. Big mistake. The thing about NCL that you have to ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise and 3rd with NCL. We had a large extended family group on board. We have sailed all of the major lines and decided to come back to NCL after a long layoff. Big mistake. The thing about NCL that you have to understand is that it is now a corporate machine. They built these new ships to compete with RCL but they have decided to nickel and dime everything. The service is poor, not because the employees are lazy but because their hands are tied. Everything is a corporate policy and so the employees are like robots reading from scripts. Nobody has authority to do anything. This is not condusive to a luxury environment. We are used to being pampered on Princess and treated warmly and the service on NCL was cold and uncaring. I got the sense if any of the employees did anything to try to accomodate a passenger their might lose their jobs. Let's get into specifics. First, the good. The ship is new and clean and there were a lot of fun activities like the ropes course and water slides. The shows -- Million Dollar Quartet and Burn the Floor -- were excellent. The Tropicana Room is a great dinner venue. OK, that's about it for the positives. The negatives are overwhelming. The ship is large but the actual public space is not. Unless you pay extra, you are crammed into pools and hot tubs like sardines. The prime space on the ship -- the Waterfront -- consists entirely of pay venues. Many other areas (e.g., Haven) are off limits unless you pay extra. So the actual space for paying customers who are not the *extra* paying customers is limited. The regular customer is a second-class citizen. The water slides are fun but there are so many rules. Kids must weight at least 99 pounds to ride the fast slides. They have scales there and they weigh everyone. I saw a girl weigh in at 97 pounds turned away. You also cannot wear any jewelry. I saw a man with a wedding ring that he could not remove turned away. A girl with a tiny belly stud was turned away. Nothing in your pockets. They search you. A guy with a quarter in his pocket, turned away. Again, the employees are afraid of making the slightest exception to NCL's precious rules. The kids club was a madhouse. We waited over an hour to try to register the kids, then couldn't do so because one of the kids' keycards did not work. One of our kids was three days short of the age cutoff to join his older siblings and they would not make an exception. "Sorry -- we don't make the rules" was a constant refrain. You can see why the service was so awful. The reservation system does not work. The system does not let you reserve early dining and an early show, because the show is exactly two hours after the dining time and "the computer" requires a break of over two hours. So if you have kids and want early dining you have to reserve the late show (which does not work with young kids). So we just reserved the early dining. Of course when we all showed up the first night they did not have our reservation. I had the print out with me and showed it to them. "Sorry, the computer does not have anything." Is this cruise line run by some giant, malicious computer? Upcharges galore. Personally, I do not want to pay extra to eat at a restaurant when I have already paid for the food in the main dining room. But then they tell you if you want the more expensive options on the menu in the "free" restaurant there is a $25 upcharge. Really? There are no drink specials, and if you order a drink without looking at the menu be ready to pay $15 for that drink. Why? Because NCL will get away with anything it can to drive revenues. We booked a shore excurson on our own and a member of our party booked the same excursion through NCL for 3x the price! I am done with NCL. Cruising is such a fun, relaxing experience. We love to be pampered by friendly, accomodating staff. I don't need to have constant fights with NCL's "robots" and "computers" and hear excuses and "no" "no" "no". I am OK with some upcharge attempts -- I don't blame a cruise line for trying to make a little extra money -- but NCL takes it too far. It starts to feel like a timeshare operation. What NCL really has become is a cold, corporate money-making machine that does not care about its customers. The marketing concept of "Freestyle Cruising" is downright Orwelian. The ship feels more like a prison. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I cruise for the first time with NCL after being on Carnival twice previously. The Ship is gorgeous as its pretty new to the sea. The adult pool felt a little small for the size of the ship. The cabins were decent sized. (I had a balcony). ... Read More
I cruise for the first time with NCL after being on Carnival twice previously. The Ship is gorgeous as its pretty new to the sea. The adult pool felt a little small for the size of the ship. The cabins were decent sized. (I had a balcony). Our steward Brian was THE BEST. Whenever we needed something he was there for us. The dining was great! Food was phenomenal! We had the 4 nights of ultimate dining. We dined at La Cucina (italian), Tappenyaki (japenese hibachi), Moderno (brazilian churrascaria), and Cagney's Steakhouse. The portions were generous and extremely tasty. The main dining room Savor we only tried one night and the food and service there was great as well. As for entertainment and activities, the events held from time to time in the Atrium Bar were great. I DID NOT like the fact that I had to reserve seating for headliners or other shows on the ship. I was used to a first come first serve basis from Carnival. Service was great although I did not need much assistance while cruising. Steward was attentive like I mentioned before. Ports were amazing on the Western Caribbean. Honduras, Belize, Cozumel & Costa Maya were breath-taking. I would recommend this ship for future cruisers. Although I would probably explore other ships before going back on to another NCL ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Overall - This was my sixth cruise on Norwegian. The Escape and the cruise rank in the middle to lower end of them. There are many things to like about the Escape and there are some drawbacks. Cabin - The cabin was nice with plenty of ... Read More
Overall - This was my sixth cruise on Norwegian. The Escape and the cruise rank in the middle to lower end of them. There are many things to like about the Escape and there are some drawbacks. Cabin - The cabin was nice with plenty of storage space; it had more storage space by far than all the other cruises. This was a nice feature as we were not struggling to find places for our clothing and items. Dining - Lots of specialty restaurants, most you need to pay for a la carte and it adds up quickly. There is a bar between two of the main dining rooms and there is piano and singing entertainment in the bar. The sound easily carries into the dining rooms that have their own music. This creates a competition for sound and lessens the dining experience. This was made worse on my cruise as the entertainer was quite bad. Buffet is pretty standard. Embarkation - Norwegian has this nailed down and it was super easy to get on the ship. Enrichment activities - Spa was nice. Sat in on a presentation about detox where the presenter told us how he spent $300 on organic food in port because the food on the ship isn't the best for fitness. Then saw him two days later eating a big plate of ship food. Beware of the sleazy sales pitch. Entertainment - The comedy show was funny. Outside of that the entertainment was the worst of all the cruises I've been on. The pianists were horrible and I'm not sure how they got on board. The main show was just okay. Fitness & Recreation - Well stocked fitness room. The only thing that keeps it from getting 5 stars is they seem to have turned up the heat in the room to make you sweat more. Love the waterslides, pool, and ropes course. Public rooms - This is where the Escape falls way short and it's all Norwegian's fault. After 6 pm the only way to go from bow to stern without going up to the pool decks or via room hallways is through the middle of decks 6 - 8. Norwegian sets up multiple photo shoots on all decks including the main staircase in the middle of the ship. This blocks traffic and creates a mass of people trying to dodge photo shoots and weave through others waiting to take pictures. This was poorly thought out. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I just returned with my kids from a cruise on the Escape during the week of June 4, 2016. I've cruised perhaps 10 times before on various lines in the US and Europe including once on another Norwegian ship some 10 years ago. I ... Read More
I just returned with my kids from a cruise on the Escape during the week of June 4, 2016. I've cruised perhaps 10 times before on various lines in the US and Europe including once on another Norwegian ship some 10 years ago. I can't decide if this was the best cruise ever but it's certainly right up there. To start with it's a beautiful ship. The interiors are elegant and contemporary and not overly glitzy and flashy like on some other lines. The ship is big with as many as 18 decks but still easy to get around, although the main decks (6, 7 and 8) do get quite crowded at peak times. Entertainment, particularly the After Midnight show, was outstanding. There were some dancers in this show that were amazingly talented and had me wondering why they were performing on a cruise ship rather than on Broadway or some other famous venue. Also, don't miss comedian Frank Townsend, he is brilliantly funny. In the elevators there are small TV screens promoting, among other things, the onboard restaurant of chef Jose Garces of Food Network's Iron Chef fame. Many cruise lines have famous chef associations but you never expect to meet them. Not true on Escape as Jose Garces was actually on the ship giving cooking demonstrations. I'm not sure if this is a regular thing of just our lucky week but it was really cool. Another favorite entertainment venue of mine was the game shows and other events taking place every evening in the Atrium on Deck 6. Most were tremendously entertaining. Some do get a little risqué during the evening hours though so be aware of that if you have little ones, and you do need to get there early for prime seating. Dining was outstanding. On other lines (Carnival for instance) there were hours during the day and evening (for instance after main dinner service) when little could be found to eat onboard. On Escape O'Shehan's Irish Pub on Deck 7 was always open for bar fare like burgers, big 1/4 lbs. hot dogs and wings, and it was all GOOD! The wings were my favorite and were easily as good as any I've tasted on land. The Garden Café on Deck 16 was also available for a wide selection of meals and snacks from morning until late at night. Food in all the "free" restaurants was outstanding, although the portions were a bit on the small side, particularly the seafood dishes. Restaurant service was generally good but if planning to attend a show allow yourself 90 minutes for dinner beforehand as the pace of service quite relaxed. Boarding was very easy. This was the first time I'd experienced having to make an appointment time to board. I didn't make our appointment until the day before and so got the last time slot at 4:30 PM, but we arrived at the port at 2:30 PM and they processed us in and allowed us to board anyway (Thanks NCL!). Of course, not everything was perfect. Here are a few things I found a bit disappointing, although not nearly enough to spoil a terrific experience overall: 1. The pool deck area was extremely crowded. The main pool is quite large but the area around it seems small. This was due to the large superstructure in the middle of the ship that divides the open air decks in two. The very large water park occupies the area behind this superstructure leaving only the area in front of it for the adult pool. Now, I did say adult pool as kids are prohibited from this pool during daytime hours. That I did find very refreshing as on other lines the pools are always taken over by screaming and splashing kids. 2. My daughter is 13 but only 85 lbs and wasn't allowed to go on the two tallest water slides which require you to be 95 lbs. This was disappointing as my kids were very excited about the water slides. They rode similar ones last summer on the Carnival Pride without any such issues. 3. I've never been on a ship where you have to make reservations for certain shows and events. At first this struck me as a disappointment but I soon adjusted and didn't have too much of a problem with it given how easy it was to reserve using the TV in my stateroom. Some shows do fill up quickly though (the comedians for example). 4. I started cruising back in the 90s when there were no additional charge restaurants on ships. There are many of them on Escape and most are almost as expensive as on land. If you want lobster, which I consider a cruise ship tradition, you'll need to pay extra for it. I was determined not to pay extra for any meals but still consider the dining excellent overall despite giving up the lobster tradition. 5. Interestingly, your cabin number is not printed on your key card so you need to remember it from your luggage tag when you get on the ship. Our room was 13425 and nobody greeted us upon boarding to explain that our room was on Deck 13 and point us in the right direction. It would have been nice to be greeted and pointed to our stateroom upon boarding. 6. Clearly, NCL knows its target consumer, middle agers like me who grew up on the 80s, and markets to them constantly. There are 80s shows, 80s parties, 80s music performances and 80s trivia going on constantly. All this was generally fine but the marketing "attack" was not subtle and a bit disconcerting at times. Overall a really great cruise, and a remarkably good value provided you can control your urges to try all the extra charge restaurants. I'll certainly cruise NCL again and highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Getting on and off the ship was ran very smoothly. The ship is huge. We had a balcony room. This room is not large enough for four people. You could put two adults and one child in the room. We got our two kids an inside state room and ... Read More
Getting on and off the ship was ran very smoothly. The ship is huge. We had a balcony room. This room is not large enough for four people. You could put two adults and one child in the room. We got our two kids an inside state room and we had the balcony. Loved it. The dining is awesome. You do not need the specialty dining package on this ship to eat well. Most of the complementary dining restaurants offer steak. The two specialty dining room that I would recommend are Gagney's Steak House and Maderno. The Italian we went to was steak not spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna. Order the filet at Cagneys. We mostly at all our meals at the Garden Cafe Buffet. They served everything you could think of for breakfast, lunch, super and snacks. You can have all the soft serve icecream you want. They had lots of fresh fruit, ice cream and cakes to choose from for dessert. Complimentary drinks are water, unsweet tea, lemonade, juice and coffee. They do not have soda unless you have the soda card and you ask for it. I did not see any soda on the ship. They do have sugar and sweet cal packets for you tea. Book your shows the first day. We did not get to see any of the stand up comedies, they were sold out. Do not pick Atlantis Aquaventure for you half day excursion in the Bahamas. You will be disappointed at the time you have to spend there. It cost $189 a person and you only have time to ride about 4 slides. The 5 hour excursion is really only 3-4 hours with transport time. We loved the dolphin swim in Tortola and the Virgin Gorda and Baths. Would do those again. Magen's Bay Beach in St. Thomas is not that impressive. The ports in Tortola and Bahamas is beautiful. Our kids loved the rope and zip line course and slides on top of the ship. The pools are crowded and loud. We had lots of fun and would do it again. The photos the photographers take are excellent but find someone that has worked there a long time to ask about packages and books. The new people are clueless. Overall fun trip and I would do it again. Ready for next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this cruise because wanted to take our 7 month-old baby on a cruise, and my wife expressed interest in visiting the Bahamas, one of the few places she hadn't traveled with her parents. We were interested in having babysitting ... Read More
We chose this cruise because wanted to take our 7 month-old baby on a cruise, and my wife expressed interest in visiting the Bahamas, one of the few places she hadn't traveled with her parents. We were interested in having babysitting services available, which limited our choices of cruise line. We had never cruised with NCL, but they came in cheaper than RCL and Disney and offered a Family Mini Suite on a week that was convenient for us. We were nervous about traveling alone with our child. Most cruise reviews I had read regarding traveling with infants involved other family members helping out with the baby's care. We instantly had that fear alleviated when we met the ladies who work in the Guppies Nursery. They fell instantly in love with our daughter and they were always so kind to us. Although, as far as using their services... it didn't work the way we'd hoped. The first attempt, our baby fell immediately to crying and they called us away from our After Midnight show right after we sat down. The nursery didn't even charge us for this attempt, it went so poorly! The second time we got about 40 minutes of an hour and 50 minute time slot! Some progress, but it was late in the cruise and we didn't try again. We did, however, show up for several of the activities in the playroom and got a chance to interact with other couples traveling with small children. Although this was not my favorite cruise of all time (more on this later), I would definitely cruise NCL with a child who was Splash Academy age. We overheard many kids who were so excited over the theme nights, or who talked animatedly about their adventures the day before. For me, the downside of this cruise was the food. It was all adequate, but it often seemed like the same dishes with small tweaks served over and over. It was all fairly tasty, but salty and kinda boring. One night we splurged on the steakhouse, but although you are paying extra, the food seemed on par with eating in the main dining rooms or the buffet. After several days, I didn't look forward to eating. And I love eating! On the other hand, I cannot remember ever being so impressed with the staff on a cruise. There were so many who went out of their way to charm us (and the baby; let's be honest, the baby was the center of attention) and there were so many thoughtful little touches -- including providing each family with their own bottle of DEET spray before shore excursions in Nassau! Shout outs to Diana at the buffet, Michael, our room steward, and Mars in the Guppies Nursery for making our trip special. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was a family vacation, also first time cruisers. We are a family of 4, and my brother (21) and I (27) decided to treat our parents for their 30th anniversary (50s and 60s). Considering my parents are definitely not the party type we ... Read More
This was a family vacation, also first time cruisers. We are a family of 4, and my brother (21) and I (27) decided to treat our parents for their 30th anniversary (50s and 60s). Considering my parents are definitely not the party type we all had a fantastic time on the Escape. We arrived the night before our cruise and stayed at Fairfield Inn & Suites Miami Airport South (it was okay, wouldn't stay there again, close by the airport). The next morning we took uber XL to the Miami port (highly recommend this, it was only 20$). As first time cruisers I didn't realise I needed to tag my luggage outside the port, I thought they would do it at customs for some reason. We ended up having to drag our luggage around, fortunately our rooms became available at 12. Although our scheduled time for embarking the ship was 1pm we were there around 11am, there was a slight wait but nothing too bad. Once we got on the ship there was so much to explore, the ship is enormous! The little fishes on the carpet was great as the flow of the fishes were indication to the front of the ship. Sailing out of Port of Miami was beautiful. I had reserved all our shows well in advance, which I recommend. We had inside cabins and to be honest they suited us perfectly find, they were nice and roomie for two people, and we weren't inside our cabins majority of the time, only to sleep. Our steward kept our room clean at all times! He was great. The food on the ship is amazing, we didn't get a chance to do any of the paid restaurants, I only wanted to do one however the timings they had were all at 9pm, so definitely reserve these in advance if you want to go check them out. The Garden Cafe was great, it literally has everything you want and more. The Manhattan Room, Savor, Taste and O'Sheegans were also all great! I enjoyed everyone of them. The waterslides were tons of fun, and of course the rope course! I may chickened out a few times but made it through it :) It's a ton of fun, however they do then to close it down when it's too windy or if it looks like it's going to rain (it didn't rain), though when I got up there and saw how windy it could be it's a good thing they close it down when it's unsafe. They only really have two pools one is on the main top deck (16) and the other one is in the kids section. They have several hot tubs around, I recommend going to the top floors 17 and 18. I didn't have that much trouble finding a spot to sit but the chairs do get taken up during sea days. The Vibe area looked great (didn't get the pass for that). The spa looked gorgeous! Tip: If you want a nice peaceful area to just relax mid day or like me around 6pm, go to the 8th floor and find a spot on the red couches by the Wine cellar area, it's almost always empty and it's a beautiful view and just so peaceful and it doesn't hurt to grab a glass of wine (you are not required to). I watched a few movies in Spice H2O area, which was really nice. I didn't attend the 60s themed party but went to the glow party! That was a ton of fun! The shows were nice, my parents and I enjoyed it, don't miss the international crew talent show on the last day! They are so talented and did a great job. The service is wonderful, everyone is so happy and they work so hard, I can't even imagine how tired they must be. Tyler our cruise director did a fantastic job! They constantly hosted game shows and entertainment in the atrium (6th floor). Our ports were St.Thomas, Tortola and Nassau. Due to my father's restriction of not being able to do a lot of activities and minimum walking, we did only level 1 activities. In St. Thomas we booked the Coral World excursion, it was nice, but I wouldn't recommend it, it was somewhat boring. However we did just end up going to Coki beach right next to it and had a good time there (I would just taxi it to the beaches). Tortola was just beyond beautiful, we did the Tortola by Sea and Land, that was a lot of fun (no walking and free rum punch) and got to see a lot of Tortola that way. Though heard the Virgin Gorda was a lot of fun maybe next time. Nassau was probably the only port that was meh, the excursions to Atlantis was overly priced so we just walked around Nassau and went to junkanoo beach (walkable from the port). I think I'll take the taxi to a better beach next time, but this was free. Overall the service was great, loved the freestyle dining (no worries about having to dress up). I would definitely sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I don't get why anyone gives Escape a low rating. Sure, everyone's preferences and experiences vary, but I could not find anything wrong with this cruise. The food was better than ever. Service was superb (there may be a new ... Read More
I don't get why anyone gives Escape a low rating. Sure, everyone's preferences and experiences vary, but I could not find anything wrong with this cruise. The food was better than ever. Service was superb (there may be a new incentive plan going on...) We loved the new Bayamo and Food Republic venues. District Brew house was wonderful (should have spent more time there.) Brat Pack was a great show. I just don't get the 70%-ish rating. We had four in our group, including two teenage boys. They had a blast! Embarkation was a snap, but we were very late due to weather in Houston. We were in a Haven suite, though at the opposite end of the ship from the Haven proper. Still, the concierge service was spot on, though we didn't use our butler for much at all. We had breakfast every morning in the Haven restaurant, but that was the extent of our visits to the area. We ate at Cagney's (best it's ever been), Le Bistro (not my favorite this time), Teppanyaki (always great), La Cucina (wonderful), Food Republic (amazing), Bayamo (VERY interesting), and the Supper Club (good, but not great.) Did excursions in St. Thomas (St. John nature hike), Tortola (zip line), and the Atlantis experience. That's the last time we will do that. The service was horrendous!! Already planning next year. The Baltic perhaps? Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The Escape is a beautiful new ship. Everything is in great shape. Pool deck was very crowded but pleasantly surprised that the smell of smoke in the atrium was not pronounced like other reviews have stated. Had two rooms- one B6 large ... Read More
The Escape is a beautiful new ship. Everything is in great shape. Pool deck was very crowded but pleasantly surprised that the smell of smoke in the atrium was not pronounced like other reviews have stated. Had two rooms- one B6 large balcony and the other a Haven Front Facing Penthouse on Deck 9. The B6 room had a large balcony with a lounger and two chairs. Room had beds by the closet. Big enough for two but would be tight for more people. Bathroom was a decent size. Food was nothing special. Dined in O'Sheehan's and had some very good wings and fast service. Everyone was very friendly and staff was helpful. Buffet had a good selection although the eggs were not very good. NCL serves Pepsi products plus large selection of juice drinks and tea and lemonade for free. Main dining room food OK. Entertainment was OK but nothing outstanding. Saw the comedians twice and the free supper show the Cat's Pajamas. Casino was never packed mostly due to high minimum tables stakes. Bingo was fun. Embarkation and debarkation was fast and easy. Love the port embarkation where NCL provides cold wash clothes, water and juice and a towel exchange. Makes you feel special. All in all was a fun cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
At the end of April, 2016 we took a Western Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Getaway, booked a Mini Suite, and had so much fun that we wanted to cruise again. We originally booked a Mini Suite on the Norwegian Escape, Norwegian's ... Read More
At the end of April, 2016 we took a Western Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Getaway, booked a Mini Suite, and had so much fun that we wanted to cruise again. We originally booked a Mini Suite on the Norwegian Escape, Norwegian's newest ship, at the beginning of June to visit the Eastern Caribbean but then we had the opportunity to upgrade to "The Haven." The Haven offers a private area on the ship with its own restaurant, pool, and private Sun Deck accessible by special key card. You have a Concierge always available, and in addition to a Stateroom Attendant, you also have a Butler. When you arrive in your stateroom, there is champagne on ice and fresh cut flowers. The service food, and entire experience in The Haven made this the best vacation we had ever had. We visited St. Thomas, Tortola, and Nassau and went snorkeling each time. Getting off the ship to go on our Shore Excursions was by Priority Elevator so you could beat the crowds. Our initial arrival and eventual departure were also by Priority Status. It is definitely worth the extra money to book The Haven, and we will definitely book another cruise with Norwegian in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Background bio: Be patient, looong review to follow as a payback for the many before me that I learned from on these boards. I always pick up great ideas from the folks who have the patience to do these so thanks for all the tips that ... Read More
Background bio: Be patient, looong review to follow as a payback for the many before me that I learned from on these boards. I always pick up great ideas from the folks who have the patience to do these so thanks for all the tips that made our cruise trips fantastic. This was no exception. Here we go… First a little background on our family, my wife (49) and I (52) have cruised several times before this trip, once on RCCL Sovereign of the Seas in 1995 (pretty new back then on the Eastern Caribbean route out of Miami), then Celebrity Constellation (Southern Caribbean cruise ship of the year back then out of San Juan, PR, awesome trip) in 2004. Sailed RCCL Mariner of the Seas in June of 2007 with our girls, and finally RCCL Allure of the Seas in June 2012, also with our kids, loved it. We are from the Atlanta area and again brought along our now 22 and 18 year old daughters on this trip aboard the Norwegian Escape for the Eastern Caribbean route on June 4-11, 2016. We celebrated a high school graduation, a college graduation and our 25th wedding anniversary all in May so we wanted to do something special with them as our oldest will be entering grad school soon and will not be able to take any time off for a while. We all love cruising and wish we could do it more often. I was very limited with dates and really had one good week to work with for our schedules. I researched this trip extensively and chose it for the family based on improved reviews here and on other sites. I was a little worried about the early bad reviews when it first set sail late last year but they have really improved over time. I booked it back in early February I believe. I take the bad reviews with a grain of salt after experiencing this ship and Norwegian in general. You can’t please some people period and they will find issues with the smallest things. We are pretty easy going and laid back and roll with the little issues that sometimes come up when you travel. Precruise travel and hotel: We drove from Atlanta to Miami on Friday, June 3rd and stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Miami Airport West. Traffic and construction were not an issue anywhere, we were glad to get there before dinnertime. It got very good reviews on Trip Advisor. The hotel was clean and had a nice pool, basketball hoop, decent free breakfast and was fine. It is directly under a runway flight path but it was very quiet despite this. Came in the night before the cruise and stayed in a two bedroom suite with one King bedroom and one with two Queens, 2 bathrooms, a fridge and kitchen. It’s about a twenty minute trip to the port from there, good pick for us. Brought the luggage in from my truck for the night, area was a little sketch around the airport. Embarkation: We arrived at the Port of Miami facility at 9:00am Saturday for our 9:30 to 10:00 am prescheduled time and had all our passports ready, drivers licenses, cruise ticket e-documents printed off and in hand to hopefully get us on early and get a shot at Vibe Club passes. Got lucky, parked in the first row and rolled our bags (missed the bag drop at the curb) and a case of bottled water (labeled) to the entry door and walked in quickly. I didn’t trust the crappy paper luggage tags NCL has you print at home and used some clear packing tape to beef them up so they wouldn’t rip off during the whole luggage delivery/handling process. We were given group 4 embarkation slots and sat in the waiting area for about 90 minutes before we were finally called to board the ship. Juices, coffee and water were set out and the space filled quickly. I knew we wouldn’t have a shot at the Vibe passes by then and am glad in hindsight I didn’t drop the extra $400 it would have cost. More on that later when I cover deck chairs availability. Pretty well organized all in all, good job POM and NCL. Boarding: We boarded the ship and were greeted warmly by staff members around 11am. Rooms weren’t available yet and we were told it would be around 2 before the cabins would be ready. The ship is probably the best looking of any ship we have cruised on. Very well done and tastefully decorated. Beautiful colors and trim and hardware and dark rich wood have been used everywhere and we were all pleased with the beauty of the Escape. Love the directional fish in the carpeting indicating fore and aft, saved us a few early missteps. Day 1 Miami: We went to the Garden Café Buffet on deck 16 and found a table and ate lunch. Typical cruise ship buffet, food was good most of the time, occasionally great, sometimes not so great and a couple times food was cold. Overall it served well for most lunches and breakfasts. Had a specialty sandwich each day offered, not so great salad bar, burgers, hot dogs, lots of sides, sometimes an Asian offering, fruit and desserts. We were mostly disappointed in the Escape desserts in all restaurants. It’s like they left the sugar out of everything and several times the “warm” dessert items were cold. Never had problems finding a table, go all the way back and it opens up. Plenty of choices for all to eat, lemonade, water, juice, tea and coffee and there is even a bar there, winning. Booking entertainment and shows: We went to the box office on deck 7 after lunch and found out about several shows not shown online when I booked our restaurants and entertainment 90 days out. I was concerned after reading reviews that the shows and specialty restaurants were sold out early so I booked everything I could ahead of time. We had the SDP (Specialty Dining Plan for 4 of the upcharge restaurants at no extra charge) and UBP (Free Unlimited Beverage Package any drink up to $15 which is nearly everything except the most top shelf of things) when we booked as a perk. I booked After Midnight and the Brat Pack shows when I first could back in March. At the box office they booked us for three different comedy shows, a juggler show, and an acapella vocal group dinner show (free) called Cat’s Pajama’s. Glad we did this right away as they did book up but they have standby lines available that many took advantage of and were able to get in that way throughout the weeks shows. I went to the District Brewhouse early on as well to see if Beau Tahana was still aboard (great prior reviews of him from the Dougout on his killer review/trip report, other reviewers and from friends who sailed Escape a few weeks before us, he is a fabulous entertainer) only to be informed Beau left for New Zealand that same day and his contract was up. Also informed me Silas was gone as the CD and was replaced by Tyler. More on this later, had me really bummed out to hear this as I had read so many great things about them both. Cabins: We explored the ship some and were able to get into our cabins around 2pm. We were in adjoining balcony category BB cabins, 12218 and 12216. Glad we were able to get these next to each other. The rooms were great, plenty of storage and shelves for all our stuff. Luggage fits under the bed no problem. The bathroom was great, the shower, sink and toilet are very well designed and functional. Hansgrohe fixtures, very nice. Great water pressure and all the hot water you could ever ask for. Water drained in the shower just fine. Great size shower and well designed all around. I am 6’ 2” and 185 pounds and had no size problems in the shower or bathroom. My feet did hang off the bed (very comfortable bed, good pillows too) but it was fine. Our bed was next to the balcony, girls were the opposite set up. Bring an old keycard to keep the power on in your cabin to charge things when you leave otherwise the power shuts off. The at home, make up room, do not disturb buttons near the door feature is great, very innovative. Room safe even had a light in it, great attention to detail everywhere. TV had very few channels but we never used it anyway. The navigation channel showing where you are and your route is nice. Luggage, Muster and Sail Away: We explored some more, got our bags and water delivered around 4pm, unpacked and went to the muster drill in the casino. Took about 20 minutes at which time they shut down the bars and entertainment. Once this was done we hung at the pool and then went up top for the sailaway at 7pm. This was a lot of fun, who’s not jacked up heading out for a week long cruise? Took some pics up top and enjoyed some drinks while we floated away from Miami Beach. One weird thing we saw was a drone flying over the ship after we were some distance away from the shore. No idea whose it was or where it went and thought it was odd. Ate in one of the main dining rooms that night, I don’t remember if it was Taste or Savor but the menus are the same. Had a great waiter, Norman, who was one of the best all week. Very engaging and fun guy, saw him a few times later in the week in the buffet. Had the Caesar Salad and the Steak Frites NY Strip, it was pretty good but very salty as was the rest of the dinner there on night one. iConcierge phone app: Read about the mixed reviews on this but we all downloaded it anyway and felt it was worth the $40. We were able to text each other all week and keep up with each other and we rarely used it for voice. Didn’t work at all the last day at sea for some reason and was a little buggy the rest of the week, requiring you to shut down and reboot occasionally. Couldn’t see our reservations on the app like some have stated but it did show what was going on that day, some of the menu’s (wish they had them all) and gave you a view of your onboard stateroom charges but they weren’t even correct. They charged us for a bunch of things like small amounts for tickets and drinks but when I went to guest services towards the end of the week, none of the suspect charges were on there and they told me iConcierge is wrong, don’t worry about what it shows. Needs some work here. Didn’t purchase the wireless package as we heard how slow it was and we all wanted to unplug and get off the grid for a while. Didn’t really miss it (my girls may disagree) but did get some free wi-fi on our stops. You do pay for tax on drinks when you are in port however. Entertainment and to do’s: Freestyle Daily newsletters get delivered to your stateroom each night. Bring along a highlighter and check what you want to do the night before or at breakfast. All the typical events you would expect happen throughout the week like Battle of the Sexes, Mr. Sexy Legs, Ms. Norwegian, Game Show, Trivia, Deal or No Deal, Bingo, various singers and pianists, etc.. Howl at the Moon dueling piano show throughout the week is a lot of fun, check it out. I called to have one of our refrigerators emptied so we could chill our water bottles and asked the guy who came to open up the partition between the balconies. He did the first but told me they could no longer open the balcony partitions because they had some issues with kids going across multiple balconies. Thought this was strange and read conflicting stories on this topic in other reviews. Asked our cabin attendant when we met him the next day to do it and tipped him an extra $20 on top of the prepaid gratuities as I know how hard these folks work. He said no problem and opened it up. I find doing this (tipping extra) at the start of the week and not at the end always is helpful. Jongee from the Philippines was great, kept our ice full, towel animals in the girls room and extra towels each day (had to request it twice but then he got it after that). He was pretty much a ninja, he did a great job but was rarely seen, worked fine for our needs, thanks Jongee. After dinner the first night we went to the comedy show in Headliners on deck 6. It was Vince Acevedo and it was the 18+ show which turned out to be very funny and entertaining, not at all as blue as some over 18 acts can get. He was great and we bumped into him during the week and talked to him and he was very friendly and engaging. Opener and MC for the shows was Heath Harrison, also very funny and a nice guy when we saw him around the ship during the week. The girls all crashed after a few drinks and I explored the casino (high table minimums, crappy odds) and O’Sheehan’s for a bit before calling it a night. Room was insulated by other cabins up and down, no public areas around us and no cabin across the hall and was very quiet. The ship does creak and move around a little bit. Nothing like I have ever experienced on a cruise ship. It didn’t make you seasick but you could see the towels moving when strung above the shower and hear some creaks and sounds all week long. Didn’t bother us at all. Day 2 and 3 at Sea: I love at sea days. Knowing from the past reviews that chair hogs around the pool laying out a towel and never coming back are an issue I really wanted to get Vibe beach club passes so I knew we would have a place to get a lounge chair because we all love to just chill and read during at sea days. As all have said, Escape needs another pool for 4000+ people. Got aboard too late for passes for Vibe but it wasn’t an issue at all. Spice H2O is the adult 18+ area at the back of the ship. It was awesome. We got chairs each morning with a great aft view of the propeller wash and didn’t feel hemmed in at all like the pool area was. Chill relaxing music is playing up there, thought my kids would hate it but they really enjoyed it too (they brought headphones for their music on their iPhones). If you wanted to cool off, there is no pool there but the Grotto was perfect to walk through and cool off and get wet. Bar service was pretty good, never waited more than a few minutes and tipping an extra buck or two makes a difference. One or two guys were walking around offering bar service and spritzing you with a water bottle as well. Saved $400 on not getting Vibe passes and never had a problem getting a chair here. My 18 year old was asked for a picture ID the first day, she said she didn’t have it with her and they never asked again. If you have little kids this obviously won’t work for you but it fit us like a glove. Bravo NCL. We went to Cagney’s for dinner on day 2. It was great but took almost two and a half hours. We weren’t in a rush and enjoyed the slow pace and a few drinks and spending family time with our girls. One is heading to college and one to grad school so we really treasured our time together with everybody’s busy schedules. The steaks were a little inconsistent but we didn’t complain. Both daughters and I ordered our filets’ medium and my wife had the lobster. One steak was a perfect medium (me) and one was medium well and one was medium rare. We had plenty to eat prior with wedge salads, huge shrimp cocktail and crabcakes that we didn’t bother to complain as we couldn’t eat it all regardless. Overall it was superb in both service and food quality. Well done NCL. Saw the comedy juggler Scotty Cavanaugh after dinner and he was pretty entertaining and very talented. Tom Wolf replaced Beau in the District Brewpub. Just a piano guy, not really an entertainer like we had hoped for when we thought Beau was still going to be onboard. If you are a craft beer fan, this will be your nirvana and happy place. Great feature, especially with the UBP. They keep a running leader board going during the week for those who love to sample new stuff, great selection on tap and in bottles. Enjoyed strolling around decks 6, 7 and 8 and the different venues and bars. So much to see and do with the 5 O’clock Somewhere bar (see the Chocolate Cowboy), Tobacco Road, the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, Cellars wine bar, etc. Yes there is a bit of smoke smell from the casino in the very middle but as non smokers it never bothered us. The Waterfront was also a favorite of ours all week. Seems like most people didn’t know it was there. Great place to find a comfy chair and a drink and read or just chill and enjoy the view. We used it a lot during sea days and at sail aways, it is a great feature we loved, don’t miss it. The buffet didn’t have any granola bars or snacky stuff you could easily take back to your room or the pool areas but the casino bar and the Tobacco Road bar both have a great snack/pub mix that they can give you in a to go cup. We did Teppanyaki for dinner on day 3. Met a nice couple with two younger kids from PA I believe. The show chef was great, had some original stuff, not just your typical Benihana guy. Had the filet and lobster, so much food! Great fried rice but it had about a pound of garlic butter in there so if you don’t have a strong stomach, beware. Had some great veggies grilled in there too, it was fun. Saw Frank Townsend in the comedy club that night, he was a really good entertainer and like Vince, was so quick on his feet that he turned situations and people on the floor into a part of his act with ease. Saw After Midnight (Harlem jazz theme show) that night also and we made it through most of the show but left a little early. Too much of the same thing for us but they were very talented none the less. Day 4 St. Thomas, USVI: We have been here before so we didn’t have a set plan. Enjoyed sailing in from our balcony view. Did some walking around and shopping in the morning then took a cab to Emerald Beach Resort on Lindbergh Bay about a ten minute ride from downtown ($5 each). We did this at the recommendation of a local lady working at the tourism board stand. She said she goes there regularly, not sure if she gets something on the side or not but she was dead on for a great beach spot. There is no entry fee. Rented chairs ($7 each) on a beautiful bay (think a mini Magen’s Bay without the crowds). The resort looked a little older but the beach and water were to die for. Had a spotless bathroom to change in and use and a good lunch that was reasonably priced sandwiches and a nice outdoor bar. We enjoyed this tremendously, it was perfect. Cabbed back with some shipmates late afternoon and cleaned up for dinner reservations at 8pm, giving us plenty of time to get ready and enjoy a drink on the balcony. We left St. Thomas a little late (I think it was St. Thomas but maybe it was Tortola?). Five minutes after six o’clock (departure time) they made an announcement asking two names to report to guest services. They continued to make this announcement every few minutes and finally setsail about 20 minutes late. We were out on our balconies and all of a sudden one of the pilot boats raced up next to us and we assumed it was the missing passengers climbing aboard but couldn’t see it all from our vantage point. Moral of the story, don’t be late. Not sure what that might have cost them but I am sure there is a good story behind it. The Brazilian Steakhouse restaurant, Moderno, wasn’t crowded and we really feasted on the salad bar and sushi before the meat parade started. Beware, they serve these wonderfully addictive little cheese biscuits prior. Stay away if you want to enjoy the meat. Every few minutes some big slab of meat would come to the table if your card is turned to green. Despite the delicious cuts of every red meat imaginable, our favorite was the chicken and the roasted pineapple with brown sugar and cinnamon. To. Die. For. After that we were all in a meat coma and happy we didn’t have a show scheduled this evening. Went to the Five O’clock Somewhere Bar and enjoyed Karaoke (some really talented people on this ship!) and snuck outside to the bar occasionally to watch the playoff games too. Great day, great night. Nailed it NCL and St. Thomas tourism board. Day 5 Tortola, BVI: Our favorite day of the entire trip. Did some research on Trip Advisor as we had never been to Tortola and it didn’t look like there was much at the port. I came up with an intriguing snorkel trip through Scott from Aristocat Charters on a 48’ Privilege catamaran. He had great reviews and my kids are both “experience” people and fans in search of new things and adventures. While we had all snorkeled many times before, this was totally different and an awesome experience. It was $120 each and was so worth it. He has three boats total now, 2 are the same as what we sailed on and they have just purchased a power cat for going longer distances. The cat had a couple paddle boards, noodles, all the snorkel gear needed, two big trampolines to sit on, an enclosed cockpit area and a marine head. Scott has an interesting back story as do his crew members. Most are from the States and ditched the normal 9-5 life for a life at sea in the islands. I was first to book for the day months ago and got to choose the itinerary. I originally wanted to go to the Baths at Virgin Gorda but am glad Scott explained better alternatives. We did the Norman Island caves, the Bite and the Indians. Captain Peter shared stories of pirate days, buried treasure and a general history of the spots we snorkeled and safety tips for all. I wish we didn’t have to leave so early at the end of the afternoon as we would have loved to spend more time at all three but NCL insists on leaving port at 3pm. The clarity was over 100 feet and the ship and gear were great as were the crew. Peter and Jody were great hosts and captain and first mate. Their dog Betsy accompanied us and was very sweet. We sailed with another Atlanta family who we didn’t know prior but had mutual friends and an extended family of three sisters and their kids from the Chicago area (our original hometown) who were staying in the Haven. Peter and Jody were very safety conscious and never left anybody behind. The final stop at the Indians was amazing, we snorkeled all the way around a small island and the views, marine life and coral were like nothing we had ever experienced. At the end you must be able to swim flippers only, no arms to squeeze through some fire coral close to the surface and we all came through just fine. Jody prepares a great lunch for all between stops and rum punch, beer, water and sodas flow freely, included in your price of the trip. Peter told us after the last stop that in 1000’s of trips with guests he, for the first time ever, saw a 14 foot hammerhead shark right where we were swimming at the day prior to our trip. He didn’t want to scare anyone from going in. It’s a big ocean and we are visitors, glad we didn’t see him though on our day there! They team sailed with their other cat, The Lionheart and I am glad they did. They were very conscious of timing and getting us back by 2:30 but on our last release from tying up, Jody motioned to Peter that the line got stuck when they tried to release. Peter came and looked and was going to cut us free with a knife when Captain Luuck, from the Lionheart, dove in, checked it out and was able to pry it free with a screwdriver. Got us back exactly when they said they would, what a great day. They accept checks, tipped an additional $40 cash. Boat can accommodate 30 but they cap it at 20 to keep it comfortable. Once the sails go up you can really go fast and the winds that day were great. I highly recommend this trip. Did I mention the weather was awesome all week? 80’s and 90’s with no rain all week, so nice!!! Heading out south we had some winds on the top decks which was nice and comfortable but on the way back there were no winds and it was quite hot the last two days. Something with the trade winds direction maybe? Sat in the Waterfront for sail away. This is a beautiful island to sail away from in the daylight. Tons of small islands go by you. Some inhabited, some not. Some shacks, some mansions. Fascinating to see it all. We passed quite a few smaller boats. Headed back to clean up at the room and enjoyed drinks on the balcony until dinner time watching the killer view. Had dinner in the Manhattan MDR, really liked this, good steak, good sides, good service. Strolled around decks 6, 7 and 8 trying out drinks we probably wouldn’t normally order at home and watched some karaoke again. Great day and night. Day 6 At Sea: The photo shop does pictures all week long everywhere. Take advantage of it each time if you want. They cost you nothing if you don’t elect to buy, and have no sitting fee. We didn’t buy any this trip as we felt what we took personally were great. Spent the day again up in Spice H2O in the sun, reading, drinking frozen drinks and just chilling. The Grotto was our friend as the winds had died down. Had our only breakfast in the Savor/Taste MDR this day. It was good, relaxed pace and good made to order omelet’s and sides. Messed a couple items up but recovered quickly. When we came in it was packed and when we left it was empty. Took about an hour which was fine with us. Lunch was in the buffet. We saw the Cats Pajamas five man acapella singing group dinner show in the Supper Club that night. They were just okay in my opinion. Sang a variety of recent hits and we were done in an hour. Dinner was included and was complimentary. We picked at it and it was pretty good roasted chicken but we knew we were going to the Manhattan MDR later so we didn’t eat much. We wanted to check out the live music and dancing there again. It is a lovely room and the band was great but they take a lot of breaks so it wasn’t continuous. Very good dinner, beautiful venue with a tall soaring ceiling like you see in most ships MDR’s. We saw For The Record, the Brat Pack show this evening also. Concept is a combination of many of the John Hughes’s 80’s and 90’s movies and songs from them. These are some really talented people and great singers in this show. We sat in front of the cordoned off area for the Haven guests and ended up practically a part of the show as there are several stages they jump around too. Great show, wife and kids really enjoyed it. Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Pretty in Pink all were touched on. Not for little kids, some rough language and semi dressed parts, nothing major though. Glow Party in Spice H2O was this evening. Couldn’t really watch for long as it was Tyler yelling over and over to “Scream” and “Make Some Noise” repeated again and again. He is not ready for being a CD yet in my opinion. Other CD’s have been great in past trips with much more personality than him. Just my opinion, he just seemed uncomfortable each time we did see him. Day 7 Nassau: Say it ain’t so, last day, insert frowny face here. Not a big fan of Nassau but sail in at noon was cool. How they can get a ship the size of Escape turned 180 degrees inside that narrow channel in this port is a thing of beauty. Two other Carnival ships were in port with us so it was pretty packed downtown. Went to the junky straw market and picked up a few items for some folks at home and browsed some shops, younger daughter searched for and found what she was looking for. Wife bought some cosmetics and we headed back after about 90 minutes. Younger daughter then discovered she left her picture ID on the ship so older daughter and I walked back, procured said ID and came back to the entry way and got them. One thing I failed to point out is the nice touches NCL has when you return to the ship. Happy crew members welcoming you with hand sanitizer (washy-washy guy is awesome), cold Eucalyptus iced towels, cold beverages, music, and a towel exchange. Nice touches the other lines we have sailed didn’t do. Well played NCL. O’Sheehan’s: Had lunch in O’Sheehan’s this day. I had been there almost every night after everyone crashed to watch sports and playoffs and tried to get my youngest to hang out late a couple of times and get wings with me but she was too tired. We ordered a few things and shared them. Hot dog, nachos, and wings were great, Reuben sandwich was really fatty. Typical bar/pub food and the only 24 hour place to get some late night munchies on the ship (like we needed them!) Very fast service which I attribute to the limited menu. Got charged for soda’s here for some reason but the guest services desk fixed it for me at the end of the week with no struggle. I liked it as did the family. PS, only Pepsi products on board, no Coke. Bad when you are from Atlanta and like the hometown beverage of choice. Had a few ginger ales during the week but couldn’t bring myself to drink Diet Pepsi. Miscellaneous ramblings: Played Bingo that afternoon at the request of my youngest ($39 was the cheapest buy in, they must make a killing on this as it was a packed full room and most people had multiple cards and kept adding more). No winners for us, wahhh. One lucky lady did win a free cruise, sweet. Had Cagney’s reserved at 6pm and this proved to be great timing. Sail away was at 7pm and there was hardly anybody there when we arrived. They sat us all the way in the back for a gorgeous view of the island as we slowly left Nassau. Views of Atlantis and the gorgeous water colors were amazing. Another slow paced delicious dinner, about two hours this night. Great filets and lobster and lots of delicious sides all around. It was packed when we finally left. This is our favorite of the specialty restaurants. Did Howl at the Moon again and saw The Battle of The Sexes Game in the atrium, very entertaining. We looked at Food Republic early in the week but never made it back. Looked great, cool concept. One of the bartenders told me they have a tough time getting people to go there, maybe because of the ala carte not included pricing? Seemed pretty cheap to me, next time perhaps. Didn’t try Bayamo, La Cocina, Le Bistro or Pincho so I can’t comment on those, sorry. Jose Garces from Iron Chef was aboard this week and did a cooking demo but we missed it. One of the specialty restaurants, Bayamo, is his concept. Didn’t use the spa or gym either. Checked out the spa on day one, pretty pricey as expected, no thanks, not our thing. Onboard shopping was typical of any ship. Wife bought a bracelet she liked. The water slides are a must do as is the ropes course, so much fun. Closed toe shoes and sleeved shirts required for the ropes course. Bocce and putt putt were fun too. Easy to get on them when you are in port and they only shut part of the ropes course down one partial day due to wind, I heard this happens more often on some cruises but as I said our weather was GREAT all week. Disembarkation: Fill out the information for departure and the customs form left in your cabin and they will assign you luggage tags/times for disembarkation. We chose the walk off and kept our luggage with us in the room. Ate in the buffet for breakfast and walked off in about 15 minutes through the line going through O’Sheehan’s and out to customs about 8am. Took about 20 minutes total to get off and loaded in the truck and on the road, well done again NCL. I highly recommend this cruise as you might have gathered. Complaints: OK, there are a very few. 1. Fridge did not keep anything cold, just lukewarm, no biggie. 2. Remove towels set out to save chairs by the pool, Vegas does it, NCL needs to also. 3. Could never hear the Captain in his morning announcements, soft spoken and bad speaker/mic 4. Replace Margaritaville, it was always empty. Too bad they couldn’t retrofit a pool here. Bravo: Quite a few way above. 1. Great staff, happy almost always. 2. Great public spaces, beautiful ship. 3. Enough activities to keep all happy. 4. Great service. 5. Great specialty restaurants. 6. Public restrooms well layed out, plentiful and always were clean. They check them every hour. I appreciated that a lot. Thanks for sticking through for those who made it to the end. Somehow this turned into 6000 words. I hope some of this is helpful to you. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, have a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
After reading some of the reviews here I felt the need to add my opinion of our cruise. We were a group of 4 in our early 60s. Two of us had Ocean View Cabins and 2 had an inside room. I was in the Ocean View and it was terrific. We ... Read More
After reading some of the reviews here I felt the need to add my opinion of our cruise. We were a group of 4 in our early 60s. Two of us had Ocean View Cabins and 2 had an inside room. I was in the Ocean View and it was terrific. We got the cabin with the large window/family size. The cabin was spacious and the full bathroom was very roomy. We heard no noise in our room even though we were directly under the Escape Theater. We were on the 5th deck and felt no movement of the ship. Slight swaying on the upper decks with the sun decks and pool but only on a few days. Addressing the seating around the pool. We mainly sat on the deck overlooking the pool and there were always seats available until around 9a-10a. We preferred these seats because there was more of a breeze than sitting around the pool. Regarding music played there, it wasn't annoying or blaring and almost like mood music. They had a few activities around the pool on departure days and a combo playing on others but not too much to disrupt your relaxing on the decks. People have different points of view. A person I sat close to was disappointed that they didn't have more activities out there but I preferred it just as it was. The ship was very clean and beautiful. We had the ultimate dining package and ate at 4 restaurants, Modern - the brazilian steakhouse; LaCuccina - Italian (and my personal farorite) - Teppanyaki - Japanese and Moderno - steakhouse. All were wonderful, however, we made the mistake of sitting outside at LaCuccina and it happened to be one of the days with no breeze. Very humid. The buffet was very good and had a variety of choices. We never experience the overcrowded lines that were mentioned in other reviews. We enjoyed three of the shows. The Dueling pianos - that was kind of blah; After Midnight which was entertaining and another which was based on 80's movies and music - this was my fav even though I can't remember the name. There was slight profanity in this show but fair warning was given before the show and in the description shown on the ship TV. People still brought young children and ended up leaving before the show was over. My favorite part of the ship was the Waterfront. Areas on each side of the ship that had oversized furniture with fluffy cushions were you could relax when not sitting out in the sun. The ports left a little to be desired. St. Thomas and Tortola were nice but Nassau is dirty with small roads and lots of very aggressive vendors trying to get you to buy their wares. Next time we plan to take the 8-day cruise which includes St. Marten. Overall it was an excellent experience. One that I highly recommend and will do again as soon as we have a chance. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
What's there not to love on this ship. The ship is beautiful. The Escape is very roomy and you feel as if you are in a luxury hotel. The cabins are great. Cabins are quite roomy. Bathrooms have more space than most other ships. The ... Read More
What's there not to love on this ship. The ship is beautiful. The Escape is very roomy and you feel as if you are in a luxury hotel. The cabins are great. Cabins are quite roomy. Bathrooms have more space than most other ships. The food is very good. There are three main dining rooms to choose from. The food is very good in the dining rooms. There is also O'Sheehan's which is open 24 hours. Although the menu is limited, the food is good. Had great prime rib and ribs and shrimp there for dining. Great for a late night snack and the best part is it is free. The entertainment is excellent and we espacially enjoyed the Broadway productions and the comedy club. This ship provides a relaxing environment while having so much to do everyday. We have been on over 60 cruises and this ship ranks near the top of our list. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were awed at the size of the ship when we came into the cruise port. We had chosen the Escape because they stopped in Tortola. My husband and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary and we had gone to Tortola for our honeymoon. The ... Read More
We were awed at the size of the ship when we came into the cruise port. We had chosen the Escape because they stopped in Tortola. My husband and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary and we had gone to Tortola for our honeymoon. The ship was beautiful. The crew were fantastic. Embarkation was easy in Miami. Our embarkation time was 11:30, it was great because we could choose what time we could get on board. The cabins weren't ready until about 2pm which gave us time to explore the ship. We just walked the ship front and back, top to bottom, enjoyed lunch at the Garden Café buffet. Loved the Washy Washy guys, you could not pass them without smiling (as a nurse, I appreciated the opportunity at every dining venue to partake of hand sanitizer, did not want a norovirus ruining my vacation). We were able to get into our cabin before 1pm. The first night is "casual" casual, they tell you to allow them until 7pm to have your luggage delivered, ours was there about 2pm. We adored our cabin steward, Jocelyn. She made us feel like we were her only cabin, if we needed anything she dropped what she was doing to take care of us. She even decorated our cabin for our anniversary, left us a towel swan with rose petals on the bed. I would definitely recommend the ultimate beverage package, it is soooooo worth it. We took a promotion with the beverage package and 3 nights of specialty dining. The complimentary dining rooms are all wonderful. The food selections were great and service was great! Our favorite specialty dining rooms were Cagney's, Moderno, and Teppenyaki. Definitely recommend making reservations as they fill up fast. We usually ate around 5:30 - 6pm and the restaurants were not crowded yet. We then could catch a show after. We had to eat late at Cagney's because that was the only reservation available. Never had a bad meal. We enjoyed the comedy shows and Brat Pack. They had movies at night out on the deck, followed by some serious dancing afterwards. Tyler and Andre (Cruise director and Asst Cruise Director) were always ready to get you going. Enjoyed Andre's trivia games (Superheroes and villains and Harry Potter), he was bringing out the inner geek. We really loved the Karaoke at 5 o'clock somewhere, I had never seen karaoke and thought it was a blast! There was always something to do. We had been to St Thomas and Tortola before, Tortola will always be our favorite though. There are excursions for everybody, they can be a little pricey. Never had any problems with debarkation and embarkation, the chilled towels and Washy Washy guys were nice coming back on board. The only problems that we encountered were not enough elevators, there are the aft and forward elevators and they are ALWAYS full. There are all kinds of activities during at sea days but they are usually crowded. There is no way to get a seat at the pool unless you are there at the crack of dawn. We never made it to the pool - we could not even get near it. There are lines for the ropes course and waterslides but they are worth waiting in line. Even though you can't get to the pool they do have other sun decks that have hot tubs, misting stations, or the grotto out by the adult only area. We kept on thinking that our kids would have so much fun on this cruise so we are bringing them next summer when we go back! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose Norwegian after taking serval Royal Carribean cruises and seeing how they always have a party outside their boat as you are entering back after porting. However we were completely fooled to book with them. Let me say we are ... Read More
We chose Norwegian after taking serval Royal Carribean cruises and seeing how they always have a party outside their boat as you are entering back after porting. However we were completely fooled to book with them. Let me say we are frequent cruisers and we will NEVER go on Norwegian again. The staff is rude and they ship is a hot mess. We were a group of 16. When we booked we let them know that and asked about dinner, they said it it Freestyle Dining and you dine as you please. Well that was a joke. We went to the Flamingo the 2nd night and the head hostess was so rude that I almost left the restaurant. Hounding me about not having a reservation and we should have never showed up with 15 people without one. They set us. We ordered a bottle of wine. Never brought our ice bucket for it and set it on a side tray then I had to wait 20 minutes after our dinner was over and everyone had left because the bartender took my card and no one even seemed concern to find it and bring me the bill. Our dining experiances were not good at any of the restaurants even with reservations. They treated us soooo poorly. The only dinner we were treated nicely at was when we did not have our kids. Otherwise we were treated like low class trash at dinner. We loved our stateroom attendant Martin. He was the ONLY person who even greeted us on the ship. Other than him we were treated like trash by the staff. SCAM ALERT OF NOWEIGIAN---we received a bottle of champagne in our room on ice our last night in the room. I thought "Oh wow, what a nice gesture for our our terrible service" no comes to find out they charge you if you take the bottle of champagne. Again don't let the outside fool you. There are no real pools on the ships, the shows are done in the Atrium which seats all of 60 people so you can't sit and enjoy, everything is hard to find on the ship, very little shops. Just a poor quality ship all together. Don't be fooled. Spend the money to go Royal Carribean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We chose this cruise for our anniversary. I have taken 8 cruises before. 1 on Carnival and 7 on RC the last one being Freedom of the seas. It took way to long to embark the ship. One hour and a half. Once on board it was very unorganized. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our anniversary. I have taken 8 cruises before. 1 on Carnival and 7 on RC the last one being Freedom of the seas. It took way to long to embark the ship. One hour and a half. Once on board it was very unorganized. The ship is very nice but the lay out my,ex it too congested for the amount of people. The pool area is extremely small and it is almost self service to get a drink from the pool staff. My cabin steward was laxadasical. Being a first time cruiser I felt by myself trying to navigate. The illusionarium is your typical magic show and dinner feels rushed. The Japanese steak house is awesome. If you want room service be prepared to pay for it unless you are in the Haven. Burn the floor and Million dollar Quartet were fantastic. Save your money for the ports. There is nothing to shop for on board. Leave your room key in the switch by the door or you will not have power. Your A/C will,shut off if your balcony door is opened. We were in cabin 13904. It is aft and starboard. It has a nice layout and plenty of room for two people. If you want a good itinerary and don't care about service the Getaway is for you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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