Just the Facts:
Ship: Norwegian Escape is a 165,000-ton Breakaway+ class ship launched in 2015 with a guest capacity of 4200-5000.
Ports: Port Canaveral, Puerto Plata, St. Thomas, Tortola, Great Stirrup Cay
This will be my first cruise on the Norwegian Escape, my 8th cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line, and my 196th cruise overall. I’m cruising as a solo.
Saturday / February 28th, 2023 / Embarkation / Day 1I finished packing early Saturday morning and I was off on my drive to Port Canaveral at about 8:20 am. I did the direct route: Hwy 52 to I-75 north, then east on Hwy 50 to the FL Turnpike, then Hwy 528 to the Beachline Expressway to the port and Atlantic beaches. I arrived at Park-N-Cruise cruise parking at about 10:30 am when they opened for departure parking. A nice line already waiting but they are efficient and I was soon on my way. Park-N-Cruise is my overall favorite of all the parking locations and ports in Florida. We were soon at Port Canaveral, busy with six mega ships in port today. A bit of a line to enter NCLs terminal 10 and security, but once inside it went quickly…I was on the ship at about noon. I dropped off my bag at the cabin and went up to the Garden Cafe on deck 16 for a Buffet lunch. I was busy, but a lot of Food Stations for guests, I’ll learn about them soon. Today I had Fresh Shrimp, French Fries, a Turkey cutlet, a Banger Sausage, and Sauerkraut. It was very good. For dessert a Peach Cobbler. I then returned to the cabin to unpack and set up. I have one of the unique Studio Cabins designed for Solo guests. Small with many built-in features. At about 3:30 I went down to the Theater for Muster Drill…yes NCL has just restarted the traditional meet-up before sailing away. You sit in the theater and listen to the safety spiel and they show you how to wear your life jacket. The main problem is that when it’s over you have 5000 guests trying to get back to cabins all at the same time. A mess indeed. We soon sailed away and I had a relaxing short time in my Studio. The WiFi works very well (so far) and I’m learning to use the new, to me, NCL App. At about 6:00 pm I went to the Atrium Bar for two Cosmopolitans. Guests were certainly taking advantage of the inclusive drink program, every bar I passed today has been packed. But guests do tend to party hard on the first day. I had 6:30 Reservations at Sabor the smaller of the two MDRs (Main Dining Rooms). It was busy, but I scored a nice two-top at a window. Dinner was very good, I ordered: Crab & Cream Cheese Wontons, A Baby Spinach Salad (excellent), the Beef Sirloin Medallions with Steak Fries & Broccoli entree, and a Fruit Plate for dessert. The table was very nice with Starched linens, Bread Basket, and good Service including Bar Service. I did a walkabout after dinner. The public areas and even the passageways are smaller which makes the flow seem crowded. A lot to explore but I retired early, I had a long granddaughter day on Friday and a lot of walking today. It was a very nice embarkation day on the Norwegian Escape.
Saturday / February 4th / Debarkation Day / Port Canaveral, FL
Rocky seas on our last night. I woke early to finish packing. At about 7:15 am I went down to deck 7 and joined the line for self debark. They started about the time I got down there. It was Facial recognition at Customs so it went well, I was soon on the Shuttle bus and left the lot at about 8:00 am…fairly smooth process. I stopped and saw family in Orlando before getting home before 3:00 pm.
The ship is huge, but the lack of a larger central atrium and narrow corridors in the public areas makes the ship crowed and difficult to navigate from one area to another. The passageways on passenger decks are even narrower making it difficult to pass guests let alone dodge cleaning carts. Only two sets of elevator banks, but ten elevators in each bank. Art and decor is only fair IMHO although some theme areas are cleverly done.
New to me are the Studio cabins for solo guests. The Studio cabins have their own area and a lounge. I had cabin 11501 near the lounge and private entry so good location. The bed is full size, the storage along one wall that includes your TV, shelving, and a small sink A Shower unit in the corner. The toilet is in a separate space across from shower. The unique mood lighting system is interesting. Small but fine for a solo.
All are well trained and efficient. Most of the crew are from the Philippines and there seem to be a lot of crew for the passenger ratio. Friendly and nice.
Dining / Food / Bars / Entertainment
Fantastic to have Tablecloths in the MDRs. I love it. The Bars are almost always packed with guests…makes since since almost all passengers have a drink package as a part of the NCL booking system. The bartenders are quick, drinks are good and the passengers were very courteous.
Highlights of the Cruise
The Choir of Men
Puerto Plata Day
Sabor Main Dining Room
St. Thomas Day