By Brittany Chrusciel
Cruise Critic Editor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Norwegian Escape Entertainment & Activities

Day & Night

  • Daytime schedules are packed with trivia, pub games, animal towel-folding demos, drink tastings, live music performances, water park and ropes course open hours, and other activities
  • Evenings are full of energy, with Broadway-caliber shows, a plethora of bars, game shows and Norwegian's popular top-deck dance parties
  • Massive casino with a variety of table games, slot machines and tournaments
  • O'Sheehan's features two duckpin bowling lanes, open throughout the day

You'll find various forms of entertainment going on all over the ship at any time of day. During the day, passengers who aren't outside sunbathing or cooling off at the Aqua Park have their fair share of indoor activities, most of which are free of charge. The buzzing, glowing arcade, on the other hand, with its vast array of games, costs extra.

At night, activity centers around the main atrium and other lounges, where you'll find trivia, music, dancing, the hilarious "Perfect Couple Game Show" and live bands. Evening karaoke is another popular activity. 

Norwegian Cruise Line offers some of the best theater productions in the industry, and Escape is no exception. The two-deck Escape Theater hosts the bulk of formal entertainment options onboard, including the Broadway show, "After Midnight" and the comedic adults-only "For the Record: The Brat Pack," a musical that's based on John Hughes movies from the '80s. Reservations for the shows, which are free, can be made by visiting the adjacent box office or using your in-cabin TV or touch-screen monitors located throughout the ship.

There is no disco onboard, so dance action takes place in Spice H2O, where the resident DJ spins dance tracks into the wee hours of the morning. Norwegian is famous for its Glow Parties, which take place in Spice H2O on select nights and are sometimes family-centric.

Norwegian Escape Bars and Lounges

Whether you're in the mood for handcrafted cocktails or craft beer, Norwegian Escape offers a place for every taste, each with a personality of its own.

Highlights include:

Skyline Bar (Deck 7): Located adjacent to the Escape Casino, the Skyline Bar is a wide-open space with multiple LED screens projecting cityscapes on the walls. It is the largest of the lounges onboard and features in-bar video poker and live entertainment at night.

O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill (Deck 7): The centrally located pub is a popular spot for food and drinks onboard. In the bar area, you'll also find pool, darts, Skee-Ball, video games and two duckpin bowling lanes. All games require an additional fee. TVs abound in all areas, and sports are broadcast throughout.

Prime Meridian Bar (Deck 8): Sitting gracefully between the ship's two steakhouses is Prime Meridian, a compass-shaped bar. It's ideal for those looking to imbibe in a low-key atmosphere, as the space never tends to get too crowded.

Sugarcane Mojito Bar (Deck 8): Next to Bayamo, you'll see the Cuban-inspired Sugarcane glowing green under enchanting palm tree pillars. It's a relatively small bar, so the wait time can get extremely long at night -- but it's worth it, for a unique-flavored mojito such as pineapple coconut, raspberry guava and jalapeno cucumber.

Cellars Wine Bar (Deck 8): Through the line's partnership with the Michael Mondavi family, Cellars Wine Bar is an oenophile's dream, with a curated wine list that includes 35 varietals from all over the world, as well as service from a certified sommelier. The refined venue also offers tastings and courses for a fee.

Tobacco Road Liquor Bar (Deck 8): Norwegian features an at-sea version of Tobacco Road, once Miami's oldest bar -- now sadly defunct -- that's a seductive place to hang out among leather couches and try a handcrafted cocktail.

The Humidor (Deck 8): Adjacent to Tobacco Road, this aptly named venue is simply the indoor smoking area and cigar bar, which also leads out onto the open Waterfront.

5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar (Deck 8): The 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar is part of the iconic Jimmy Buffett franchise. It exudes a laid-back Caribbean-inspired atmosphere, both indoors and outdoors on The Waterfront. A stage in the back is home to a house band that plays a mixture of reggae and up-tempo tunes.

District Brew House (Deck 8): Norwegian Cruise Line nailed the draft pub concept with District Brew House, which is complete with a keg room (though nothing is brewed onsite), 24 draft beers on tap and more than 50 bottled beers, including some from Miami-based Wynwood Brewing Co. Nights see either a piano player or live band; there's also a photo booth (photos cost $5).

Norwegian Escape Outside Recreation

  • Just two pools to service the entire ship; one additional pool for guests staying in The Haven
  • Top-deck recreation is an adrenaline junkie's dream, with two free-fall water slides, a racing-style water slide and a challenging ropes course

Norwegian Escape's outdoor offerings provide something for everyone -- and every mood, whether that's being lazy by the pool or facing your fears on the free-fall slide.

There are three swimming pools, including the main pool with a shaded hot tub on each side, a smaller all-ages pool with a waterfall feature (not to be confused with the kids' splash area) and one reserved for suite passengers in The Haven. (A quieter hydrotherapy pool can be found in the spa's thermal suite, which requires a day- or weeklong pass.)

Spice H2O (Deck 17), the line's adults-only sun deck, does not have a pool; though passengers can cool off in a walkthrough grotto, by wading in shallow water. Vibe Beach Club (Deck 19) is another adults-only sun deck, but it comes with a fee.

You'll find plenty of other spots for sunning yourself on decks 16, 18 and 20, as well as another hot tub on Deck 19.

Other recreational activities include a mini-golf course, sports courts and the hard-to-miss ropes course, one of the largest at sea. Standout ropes course features include sky rails (akin to ziplines) and two planks that jut out over the side of the ship, 172 feet above the water.

Perhaps the biggest draw to the top deck is the water park on Deck 16. The Aqua Park includes two freefall water slides, where each rider waits in a capsule for the bottom to drop, starting a twisting, heart-pounding plunge. It also includes a tube slide called the Aqua Racer, in which competitors can race side by side in tubes; there's even a clear portion that extends over the side of the ship. An open yellow slide makes for a tamer ride.

Norwegian Escape Services

  • Guest and shore excursion services
  • Future cruise sales
  • Small library and card room
  • Photo gallery
  • Internet cafe (find Norwegian Cruise Line prices here)
  • Shops: designer accessories and clothing, fine jewelry, Norwegian-branded items, toiletries, snacks, duty-free alcohol and tobacco products
  • Laundry service (no self-serve facilities)
  • ATM
  • Medical center

Norwegian Escape Spa & Fitness

  • Large selection of body treatment, facial, medi-spa and salon services
  • Frequent spa specials offered, especially on port days
  • Extra-fee thermal suite features heated loungers, a hydrotherapy pool, a steam room, a dry sauna, a samarium (combination sauna and steam room that's not so hot), a salt room and a snow grotto
  • Full fitness center with lots of Technogym equipment, as well as free weights, a stretching area and two classrooms (one for spinning and another for TRX and aerobics)

Spa

The Mandara Spa, with its panoramic ocean views, spans two upper decks. It has 24 treatment rooms, which include two fancy couples' treatment rooms (one with a bath in the room).

The spa offers more than 50 services, including facials, which start at $107 and go up to $325 for the 24-karat gold option; and numerous massages, starting at $107 for a 50-minute Swedish massage. Spa prices are subject to a 20 percent service charge.

The salon offers haircuts and styling, nail treatments and waxing, along with acupuncture, teeth whitening and cosmetic medical treatments, such as Botox and fillers. There is also a barber shop for men, with a beard trim starting at $15.

Norwegian Escape's thermal suite is huge, taking up the whole front of Deck 16 and affording stunning views from floor-to-ceiling windows. Access to the thermal area can be purchased by the day or for a full sailing; anyone who gets a treatment can purchase a same-day discounted day rate.

Fitness

The Deck 16 fitness center features equipment including treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals and a weight area. There are also dumbbells (up to 75 pounds), kettlebells (up to 15 pounds) and free weights as well as a Smith machine, which uses weight plates.

Fitness class studios are accessible from the weight area. Extra-fee classes include TRX suspension training, spinning, Boot Camp and Fight Klub boxing. Personal training is also available for an extra cost, but classes like stretching and abs are free.

A jogging track is located on Deck 17. Eight laps equals a mile. Be warned: The jogging track is only one lane, and it butts up against deck chairs and runs close to the entrance of Margaritaville, so if there's a line there (as is often the case), joggers could be tripping over other passengers.

Norwegian Escape For Kids

  • Norwegian Escape caters to families beyond the kids' clubs, with dedicated cabins, pool areas and recreational activities, and even spa treatments
  • Four separate kids' club programs divided by age group (3 to 5, 6 to 9, 10 to 12 and 13 to 17), each with their own play area or hangout space
  • Group nursery service (ages 6 months to just under 3 years) is available throughout the day for a fee

Kids

Splash Academy is a drop-off service with a full daily (free) program for kids ages 3 to 12. There is a separate room for babies and toddlers, Guppies Nursery, nearby. Advance-purchase items, such as diapers or baby food, can be delivered to your cabin. Once onboard, parents can also buy these items from the Nursery.

Age-appropriate activities might include arts and crafts, storytelling, dress-up games, sports, developmental activities and treasure hunts. One night is always movie night. Video game time is limited for all age groups. On certain port days, there are also organized trips to local sites.

Splash Academy is open from 9 a.m. (sea days) to 1:30 a.m., though it costs money to leave your kids there after 10:30 p.m. It opens earlier on port days, depending on when the ship gets in, and will include a Breakfast Club for parents who have early tours and want to leave their kids behind. There is no in-cabin babysitting.

Parents are required to register on the first day of the cruise. All kids must be signed in and out at drop-off and pickup, unless they are 10 or older and parents have granted permission for them to sign themselves out.

Teens

Teens, ages 13 to 17, hang out in their own monitored lounge called Entourage, a trendy space away from the Splash Academy. Activities might include a pickup game of basketball, a theater class, a nighttime pool party, video game time and social games like a #hashtag hunt and a hipper version of charades.

There is no official program for 18- to 20-year-olds, but look out for some events in the daily planner. Norwegian also allows young adults to drink (with parental consent) in international waters.

Norwegian Escape Ship Stats

  • Crew: 1,742
  • Launched: 2015
  • Decks: 20
  • Passengers: 4,200
  • Registry: Nassau, Bahamas
  • CDC Score: 97

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