July 2016 - Norwegian Escape to Caribbean - Eastern
Just as a point of reference, this was our 19th cruise, 4 of them on NCL.
1) We have to pay for almost everything on this ship. Even on the main restaurant NCL is placing items on the menu for $25 to $30 per order. Lobster can only be had for an extra $29.99 charge.
2) No more free room service!
3) Manhattan Room, the larger of the 3 main dining venues is so loud (live music every night) that one just can not enjoy a meal. This is not a subjective thing. IT IS LOUD, so one can barely hear the waiter and one's travel companions.
4) Wait service is getting really really poor. Although the quality of food being is very good and staff were very friendly, the servers seem to be way too busy (not enough of them), so they aren't (or can't) be attentive. In two occasions our appetizers were completely forgotten. Once they brought soup and salad at the same time; on another occasion the wrong meal was brought to the table. Very often we had to wait a very long time between courses. The service just did not flow.
5) We had a mini-suite, and by mini-suite NCL means nothing other than a bathroom with a bathtub/shower combination. Other than that, it was just as small (and very narrow) as every other balcony cabin onboard.
6) The smallest balconies in the industry: We had already seen that on the NCL Getaway... On the Escape, they are just as small.
7) Over 4300 passengers with double occupancy (in our cruise it was a lot more because there were too many family with many 3 or 4 in their cabins) for just one adult pool (which opens for kids after 5pm), and not enough loungers. NCL optimized the number of passengers without giving these same passengers any more deck or pool space. It makes sense for their coffers, and their passengers have to deal with very busy open deck spaces. Programing around the one and only adult pool was Carnival like, of poor taste and very loud.
8) No more Capitan's Dinner or Reception. They just don't want to give their guests a single chance to have a free glass of wine!
9) No Sauna or changing room facility off the gym. If you want to enjoy the steam room, you MUST pay for their spa packages, and you have to sign up for it for the entire cruise, not just for a day of two.
9) New "NO OUTSIDE BEVERAGE POLICY" is too restrictive, and even though they claim it was implemented due to "security", they managed to allow wine, which off course they charge a "corkage" fee. It's is all so obvious!
All in all, we managed to have a great trip among the 4 of us, but it was not much due to NCL. If NCL keeps it up, they will be another Carnival for us. That means, that cruise line you just take when there is not other choice and/or they had a great sale!