Norwegian Escape Cruise Review to Transatlantic

Experience
4-6 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
2

3 out of 5

Wonderful Ship and Staff, but inaugural trip was much ado about nothing.

Sail Date: October 29, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

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. 

Cabin / Stateroom
The cabins were very nice and actually fairly spacious, with TONS of storage. This was by far the best room layout and storage facilities we have seen. Very nice room.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Embarkation was smooth and organized. Disembarkation was an absolute disaster, hands down the worst we have experienced on any of our NCL Cruises. Luggage was hard to find, customs was extremely slow, many people left during the walk off service even though they had had their baggage taken off. The line up to get off was so long with people using walk off that the other colors ended up being at least 20-30 minutes behind. Then once off the ship, again the customs line up was incredibly slow and disorganized.
Ship Quality
The ship itself is beautiful and large with a wide variety of activities. Unfortunately they seem to be under utilizing some areas of the ship, leading to a lot of activities, including some of the bigger game shows (newlywed game, dancing with the stars, deal or no deal, progressive Trivia, etc) being done in the Atrium which has very little seating and horrible sight lines. This was fairly disappointing. Some things could likely be moved into other areas, such as the Manhattan Dining Room during the day, and possibly creating another large lounge similar to the Spinnaker that is available on many ships.
Destinations and Excursions
Onboard Activities
The activities were enjoyable, including most of the main theatre shows being absolutely fantastic. But there were some big lulls during the day where there was very little to do. This would be fine on a regular cruise where you spend your days in port, but for 10 days at sea, many of which where the weather did not allow any outdoor activities, this was a bit disappointing.
Children's Programs
We did not use this service for this cruise as it was an adults-only getaway.
Entertainment
Million Dollar Quartet, After Midnight, Tenors of Rock were absolutely awesome. Comedians were good, but not always great. The Spanish Rumba Kings was pretty weak and we left after only a few minutes. We were mostly disappointed in having to make reservations for most of the shows. Without reservations you would often have to miss out.
Service and Staff
All the staff were wonderful, including the cruise director's staff with Sassy Sarah, Joey, Alvin, Rommel, Julie, Jesse and Paquito. Our favorite bartender was Lovely in the Atrium bar, who was always pleasant and remembered our drinks, and same for Santosh in the poolside bar.
Food and Dining
The dining itself was just fine, but NCL has moved in a new direction with many restaurants having cover or a la carte menus, to the point that it's now the majority, and the main dining rooms seem a bit underwhelming all of a sudden.

Tip

The ship itself is wonderful and I would recommend cruising on it. I would not recommend doing another inaugural cruise. I would consider another Trans Atlantic cruise.



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