Norwegian Cruise Lines - Norwegian Escape
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Norwegian Escape is the latest in ship to be launched by
Norwegian Cruise Lines whose parent company also owns Regent Seven Seas and
The ship is very similar to Breakaway and Getaway and
carries on the theme of a complete resort at sea with a range of entertainment,
activities and dining options to suit all tastes. We had just a brief sailing on
the ship but, having experienced two almost identical ships, this was enough to
get a good feeling on what this ship is all about.
Our balcony cabin was one of 1130, but accommodation
ranges from the exclusive Haven suites, essentially a ship within a ship, to 82
single studios, also in an exclusive part of the ship. Norwegian remains the
only cruise line specifically to address the singles market. The exclusive single
studios area also contains a two deck high lounge and bar, enabling guests to
mingle socially knowing that everyone else there is also a single traveller. It
even has a white board so that people can leave messages, for example, to
arrange ad hoc groups to explore
ports of call.
Our cabin felt narrow although there was ample storage
space. There was even a single-cup coffee maker, although despite adequate
supplies of milk and sugar, there was no coffee! Where Norwegian excels is its
bathrooms. It was well lit, had a trough-like wash basin that accommodates two
taps, and a large glass shower cubicle. The shower itself was among the best I
have seen with not only an adjustable overhead unit but three pairs of jets
down the side which could be operated separately, enabling guests to shower
with no risk of wet hair.
Public areas in the covered decks are limited primarily
those around the atrium. Even the open decks do not offer a great deal of room
as much of the space is taken up by large water slides and a three-deck-high
ropes course. The ship may well become cramped and crowded on sea days.
Norwegian operates a freedom dining arrangement, there
are no fixed dining times, no formal nights and shorts are allowed all but two
of the dining areas. You can eat free in the buffet, Manhattan Room, offering
dancing and live music, O’Sheehan’s Bar, Savor and Taste, these last two being akin
to other ships’ main dining rooms. There are nine other places to eat but at
extra cost. Moderno & Teppanyaki have cover charges - the other seven are a la carte..
Many of the restaurants open onto a boardwalk so diners
have the option to eat inside or outside, an ideal set-up bearing in mind this
ship is designed for Caribbean itineraries.
We ate in Food Republic, an a la carte restaurant
offering dishes from Asia,
Central Europe and the Mediterranean. We were seated on bar stools with backs,
at tall tables holding six people. The idea is to order a number of dishes
which you then share. Guests order using iPads on the table then swipe their
card to pay. The restaurant is probably more suited to family groups, was
noisy, lacking in atmosphere and I’m not sure asking guests to get to grips
with the restaurant’s technology is what one would expect when paying extra to
eat in a speciality restaurant. The food, however was unusual with some great
design seemed to be focused on functionality with little attempt to bring art
and design flair into the mix. It veered towards the IKEA end of the scale and
was in obvious contrast to the eye-catching Anthem of the Seas which we had
experienced a few months earlier.
service charge is now standard on Norwegian ships and they have also increased
their gratuity charge to $13.50 per passenger per day. However, this charge is
not compulsory and I suspect that increasing numbers of British guests may
choose not to have this added to their on-board account.
are well catered for with Entourage, a teens-only lounge, and the Splash
Academy for younger kids. There is also a nursery, a first for Norwegian,
offering childcare for kids aged six months to three years and including an
open play area for parents and babies.
passengers are also looked after. There are 46 wheelchair accessible
staterooms, including two suites, four mini-suites, 16 Balconies, eight Ocean Views
and 16 Insides. All feature collapsible shower benches mounted on the shower
walls, toilets have collapsible arm guards and there are lowered ADA height
wash basins. Amenities in the staterooms include vibrating alarm clock, door
beacon (light flashes when someone knocks on the door), television with closed
caption decoders and fire alarm (flashing light). Each stateroom has
permanently lit emergency lights in its living area and bathroom. Braille text
is available in all staterooms and elevators. Hearing-impaired kits are
available to guests by request.
also places great store by its entertainment. There is, of course, a main theatre
as well as old favourites, Headliners Comedy Club and Howl at the Moon. There
are numerous themed bars and lounges and a casino which combine to create a
comprehensive range of options for evening entertainment.
certainly offers a wide range of accommodation, entertainment and guest
facilities but I can’t help wondering if it is trying too hard to be all things
to all people.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Norwegian Cruise Line.
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