October 2015 - 10 Night Transatlantic Westbound (Southampton To Miami) Cruise on Norwegian Escape
My wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary just a couple of weeks before the new Norwegian Escape's inaugural Trans Atlantic voyage. While we had considered trying out another cruise company for the first time (all of our cruises so far have been with NCL) we decided to go with this one for the inaugural trip, expecting a very large party with all kinds of one of a kind celebrations for it being the Inaugural cruise. To say the least this ended up being very underwhelming.
The ship itself is fantastic, and the entertainment staff were wonderful. However, NCL has moved towards many paid options for restaurants, which has always been an option, but now it seems to be more like the majority. This includes some restaurants where you pay a cover, AND ALSO pay for some items a la carte. This to me is really not acceptable. This seems like the management, who have experience in some of the higher end cruise lines, are really missing their target market, and are risking pricing themselves out of the market that has made them so successful. But I suppose this is a topic for another thread. The biggest disappointment with this cruise was the lack of fanfare over being a brand new ship. NO real celebrations or promotions regarding the inaugural trip, and absolutely NO inaugural voyage merchandise to be had. We would have spent a lot of money on this, but feel NCL really missed the mark on this one. After so much build up, we felt the trip overall was just OK.
The entertainment was great, and certainly earned back a lot of value for the cruise. I fully recommend Million Dollar Quartet, After Midnight, and The Supper Club (even though this one again has a cover charge associated with it). One other issue with regards to the entertainment is that unlike most other ships, the Theatre seems to be too small to accommodate everyone in only 2 shows, so you actually have to make reservations for the shows, and you need to do this fairly quick or you may miss out.