December 2015 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Escape
The boat has the same interior decor as 3 of their other ships so that was an immediate let down. The layout was terrible to navigate between floors and activities so it feels like massive traffic jams or funnels of people everywhere. As speed bumps and turns slow car traffic, as do this ships' winding, maze like walkways and random staircases. The walls also needed padding since the boat stabilizers are worthless. This ship rocks, creaks, and pops to every wave and wind gust; the closet hangers were best placed on the floor due to the nonstop banging noise.
The running track loops directly with both main walkways and a dining area. The pool area was completely overcrowded it feels like you get hotter from close people rather than the weather.
Since this is their largest it lacked in accommodating the guest increase so finding service was difficult, made more challenging by the lack of knowledge and English within the staff. I could tell in 2 minutes if directions or assistance was even worth asking the person, instead it was easier to get lost on your own or just return to the same area you found the most peace. Places were not well marked unless they could fit more than 30 people. Such as finding the cigar room, or demonstration area would be in a restaurant not open yet that day but then called something else.
Entertainment was so limited to Broadway style in shockingly small theaters. Shows are booked full even before boarding. Using the touch screen kiosk to book and attend non complimentary shows was aggravating when saying a spot was open, try to reserve, then the entire slot would disappear, search again and it was somehow available but booking was the same fail procedure.
Bars closed at midnight or you need to find the only one open, somewhere. Late night food eats were cheese cubes and meat slices. The other complimentary dining hours are busy and restricted, as well as lengthy food waits. Food quality just wasn't up to fine dining level: chewy meat, bland sauces, the same feel from buffet food without getting it yourself. Desserts are great though!
The trick to survival is room service food, it's delicious! Call your food an hour ahead of being hungry. Become friends with a couple staff people that service multiple areas to get the better spots and treatment, as well as the most help. This made our trip much better than wishing to be back home, spending our vacation babysitting a pet rock.
This entire review would still have been the same opinion even if I didn't fracture my right ankle on day 2. I received no employee attention for 30 minutes while laying on the floor in tears of pain. Getting a wheelchair and then off/on the boat was just short of planning some air strike and dive team invasion attack on a watermelon. It took 2 hours arranging the correct wheelchair to brought up just to visit an island. A shower chair delivery would have arrived faster if the staff wasn't watching paint dry.
The client services desk has zero manners or customer priorities, staring at their counter screen while "listening to you." But never mind the fact I'm NCL Gold status, I suppose their post to Facebook is more important.
All in all, this was the best experience of AWFUL CRUISING imaginable.