December 2015 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Escape
Overall, a very good trip. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and fast but we got there early at around 11am to board. With disembarkation, we opted to bring our own bags out so we checked out around 8am after breakfast and lines weren't that bad.Since the ship was new in Oct. 2015 and we sailed on Dec. 19, the ship was practically new and I can see staff always cleaning the decks and hand railings. I can tell cleaniness was a top priority. There were folks always there to spray your hands with sanitary spray before you enter the Garden cafe like most ships. The bathrooms were cleaned with hands free tap and soap dispensers.
I particularly liked the message reminding people to use towels to open doors.
I didn't like the fact they don't have seats covers.
The main atrium was a little understated for a ship this size but it was ok.
I liked their show theater and their H2O outdoor theater venues.
Overall, I don't know if the ship was full but we saw many people relaxing on the deck chairs but it didn't feel crowded during our normal day moving around the ship. Of course, you need to wait a little bit sometimes to be seated for dinner but we made reservations. We mostly were able to find seats at the Garden Cafe.
Room - we stayed at the family mini-suites. The balcony and bathroom were roomy and I felt the room was a little small for a family of 4, not smaller than usual but I have always thought cabin was small on any cruiseship so not a major minus. One person had to sleep on a sofa bed but the main bed was roomy and comfy for 3 adults. The bathroom was esp.l roomy, the best I have seen.
Staff/service - Service was excellent and 99% of the staff were friendly and always initiated greetings with us regardless of what they were doing such as cooking, cleaning the rails, cleaning the rooms, waiting on tables in the main dining rooms, or just walking around. When we returned from our shore excursions, our ship was the only ship
who had lots of fanfare welcoming you: there were tents to provide us with drinks, exchange towels, and a welcoming committee of staff, music, to make us feel special. I felt that was cool and great but I think this probably may go away after the ship is no longer considered a new ship.
Food - overall good to excellent. There were some hits and misses but the hits were excellent. The only major complain was that they didn't offer
a midnight chocolate buffet. We asked and they said their seafood buffet replaced the chocolate buffet.
Hits - prime ribs at the O'Sheehan, baby short ribs, filet mignon, crepe, omelette, asparagus, shrimp cocktails, mussels, fish and chicken nuggets, grilled chicken, hamburger, and veg. at the Garden Cafe,
and appetizers like duck salad, Ceasars with shrimp, and desserts like
their Coconut souffle, Tiramisu, and the warm Choco lava cake at the Manhattan/Taste/Savory dining rooms.
There were no lack of food for sure from breakfast, snacks, and dinner at the cafe plus many specialty restaurants and bars from beer to wine, you want it, they have it. We were not into drinks but I can if you are, you should be very happy. There were always a great variety of good quality fruits and desserts at the Garden Cafe.
Shore excursions - it seems they offer the typical excursions like any other ships. They were ok. We went on hikes, beach, city tour. We didn't do snorkeling as some of my party can't swim but there were plenty of those tours.
Activities - lots of activities every day plus their onboard main attractions:
one and only giant rope course (a must do of this well-designed exciting course), giant water slides, and mini golf.
I give these an A+.
Entertainment - bingo was fun, they have a hugh casino but I don't gamble. They had some various raffles from the gift shops, ping pong tournaments, lip sync contest, dancing contests, etc.
Shows - the two complimentary shows were very good and we also saw a 3rd
excellent song/dance show called Winter Wonderland for the Christmas cruise