September 2016 - Norwegian Escape to Caribbean - Eastern
We have cruised on Norwegian two other times and on both Princess and Royal Caribbean, as well. Both my husband and I were very disappointed in this particular cruise. I will break it down into categories.
1. Our cabin - we had a mini-suite, something we've had before on both Norwegian and Princess. With Escape being only one year old, we were anticipating extra-nice accommodations. However, the acoustics were bad. We heard the man in the suite next to our snoring every night - loud enough he could have been in bed with us. Also, there were children in the suite on the other side and it sounded like loud stomping constantly. Their door slammed so loudly it made our wall shake. My husband stood outside our cabin to see if the people were deliberately slamming their door and they were not. There's just no insulation to keep out noise. On previous cruises, I used the balcony a great deal. However, I was never able to use this balcony because of the noise. Even with my Ipod and headset, I could not drown out the noise from our neighbors.
2. The food - the food was just ok. On our last Norwegian cruise, we enjoyed the specialty restaurants every night. On this cruise, however, instead of a $25 or $30 surcharge per person, everything was ala carte. The dinner we paid $25 for last year was now $50 and we really don't believe the food was as good. On previous cruises, my husband would go to the buffet and bring back delicious cantaloupe and pineapple for me. He tried to on this cruise, but the cantaloupe was never very good and on more than one occasion showed evidence of having been frozen. He tried to bring back some dessert, just for fun, and we never found one that we liked - one bite was one too many. They looked pretty, but they had no flavor or were just nasty.
The service - we really noticed a difference in the level of service. On two occasions in separate dining rooms, we left our table before receiving our meal because the service was so SLOW. It wasn't that the wait staff was lazy or just standing around. They were very busy and it appeared the dining rooms were understaffed. Once, upon leaving, the maître' d asked how our meal was and my husband honestly answered, "Not very good. I never got my breakfast because first they brought me the wrong food and then never brought me my corrected order." The maître d apologized and said they wanted to make it up to us, but guess what - they never did anything. Even our cabin steward was not up to Norwegian's previous service. I used the lotion the first evening and it was never replaced. On more than one occasion, our trash was not emptied. On only one night, did we receive the last service where they turn down our bed linens and place "towel animals" on the bed. We received evening mints on only one night. We always tip in addition to the mandatory gratuities. On more than one occasion we left no additional tip because the service was not satisfactory.
Overall, the cruise was disappointing and makes us question if this is how all Norwegian cruises will be in the future. We have always been very happy with Norwegian and I look to them first when planning a cruise vacation. We actually have reserved a mini-suite for a 10-day Norwegian cruise in January of 2018, but are questioning that decision.