A huge water park, a high ropes course on the open sea, shows worthy of Broadway, but also a real oasis of calm hidden on the 19th deck for adults looking for peace… There is never a dull moment on board Norwegian escape.
And that's a good thing, because last December this gigantic Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship had to significantly change its itinerary in the Caribbean due to unfavorable weather conditions (see other texts).
Since we were unable to use the announced stopovers as planned, we had to rely even more on the entertainment on board than in normal times. And we haven't regretted it.
The Norwegian Escape, built in 2015, is showing its age well. The common areas have – almost – not aged a bit (except for some carpets, which we suspect have seen better days).
Although the ship offers space for more than 4,000 passengers and around 1,700 crew members, it never feels cramped.
Firstly, because this behemoth extends over 20 decks and has a multitude of communal areas where the entertainment offering is as extensive as it is varied.
Adventure seekers will particularly enjoy a water park with a tube that gives you the feeling of diving into nothingness, as well as a water slide that you can slide down in pairs.
A real adventure course has also been set up there. It is one of the ship's most distinctive attractions.
In addition to the traditional mini golf course, the ship has a large swimming pool around which hundreds of passengers gather to enjoy days at sea, as well as numerous hot tubs.
However, these can become overcrowded, especially in cooler weather. And this is where a little-known part of the ship makes all the difference: The Vibe Beach Club, nestled on the 19th deck, offers an oasis of calm for adults looking for peace and relaxation.
To gain access, you will usually need to reserve your seat before boarding, as these are limited, and pay an additional supplement. But it's worth its weight in gold if you want to enjoy an exclusive bar, even more comfortable lounge chairs and a hot tub that's never too busy.
The communal areas around the swimming pool and hot tubs are very popular on days at sea. At the stern we notice the ship's impressive water park. Photo Sébastien Ménard
The shows offered each evening on Norwegian Escape are very varied and generally of high quality, particularly The Choir of Man. It is a kind of interactive musical comedy that is presented in the ship's huge event hall, which can accommodate more than 900 spectators at the same time.
The musical comedy The Choir of Man is interactive: viewers are invited to drink a beer in the bar that serves as a backdrop before the show, accompanied by the artist Photo Sébastien Ménard
Travelers looking to party will be delighted and will find somewhere to have fun, dance or entertain themselves every evening until the early hours of the morning.
As on other ships in the chain, the food on board the Norwegian Escape is varied and of good quality.
The same goes for bars, even if the service is not always the same: if you find a bartender who makes satisfying cocktails, it is better to visit him again so as not to be disappointed somewhere else…
One thing is certain: Norwegian Escape offers something for every taste: families, couples and even singles, for whom the ship has designed cheaper and smaller cabins – studios – especially for them.
View of a balcony stateroom, one of the most popular categories on cruise ships. Photo provided by Norwegian Cruise Line
If the weather doesn't cooperate…
Last December, the weather conditions in the Caribbean were not the best during this cruise aboard Norwegian Escape.
This forced the ship's captain to make major changes to the itinerary, canceling a planned stop in the Cayman Islands, where it would not have been possible to anchor, in addition to replacing a planned stop on the private island of NCL in the Bahamas with a stopover in the port of Nassau.
In bad weather, you can make the most of the ship's activities and facilities.
If you don't know what to do, check the mobile app or the brochure delivered to your cabin daily. There is something for every taste!
You may be offered onboard credit as compensation, as was the case with every Norwegian Escape passenger last December. Use it to indulge in one of the many specialty restaurants, visit the ship's spa or shop in one of the boutiques.
View of Paradise Island, Bahamas, from the upper deck of the Norwegian Escape during a stop in Nassau. The famous Atlantis complex can be seen on the back. Photo Sébastien Ménard
GOOD TO KNOW
- Because weather is unpredictable, cruise lines always reserve the right to change scheduled itineraries without notice.
- To minimize the risk of disappointing changes, choose itineraries that call at ports with docks where ships can dock, rather than calls that require ships to anchor and transport passengers ashore. Farms on board smaller boats.
ABOUT THE NORWEGIAN ESCAPE
- Year of construction 2015
- 165,157 tons
- Capacity of 4266 passengers and 1733 crew members
Common areas of interest
- Hebertism track
- Water Park
- Mini golf
- Swimming pool
- Water park for children
- Cigar lounge
- Arcade room
- Multi-story event hall
- Music hall style cabaret
- Comedy performance hall
- Karaoke room
- Private area for adults: the Vibe Beach Club
- Souvenir, jewelry and watch shops
During the days at sea, huge screens broadcast sporting events live, to the delight of many fans. Photo Sébastien Ménard
Meals included in the basic ticket
- Garden café buffet open all day (lunch, lunch, dinner and snacks)
- Full-service dining rooms, primarily for lunch and dinner, but sometimes for breakfast (Taste, Savor, and The Manhattan Room)
- 24-hour snack bar (O'sheehan's Bar and Grill)
Additional specialty restaurants are available for an additional fee ($).
- Brazilian restaurant Moderno Churrascaria
- Cagney's Steakhouse Restaurant
Cagney's Steakhouse, one of Norwegian Cruise Line's most iconic specialty restaurants, offers lavish seafood dishes like this photo Sébastien Ménard
- Sushi restaurant Food Republic
- American snack American diner
- Italian restaurant La Cucina
- French restaurant Le Bistro
A visit to Norwegian Escape's specialty restaurants, such as Le Bistro de Cuisine Française, will delight lovers of fine dining. Photo Sébastien Ménard
- Pincho Tapas Bar
- Teppanyaki Japanese grill restaurant
- Counter with pastries and frozen treats Dolce Gelato and The Bake Shop
Cellar's wine bar is part of Norwegian Escape's extensive drinks menu. Photo provided by Norwegian Cruise Line
Stopover in cloudy weather
During our trip, in addition to a planned stop in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, we made two unexpected stops: one in Cozumel, Mexico and another in Nassau, Bahamas.
It is absolutely not necessary to go ashore during stopovers. However, if this is the case and the weather isn't great, here are some suggestions on how to make the most of it.
– Sébastien Ménard, Le Journal de Québec
Known for its beaches with exceptional snorkeling spots, Cozumel was unfortunately not suitable for water activities when the Norwegian Escape docked there last December.
You can observe picturesque landscapes while strolling by the sea in Cozumel. Photo Sébastien Ménard
What to do ?
- Instead, walk along the waterfront and along Rafael E. Melgar Avenue, which is at the end of the pier. The view is beautiful.
- Stop at a bar, enjoy a cold cerveza, and do some dance moves if you feel like it.
- Do a little window shopping, then stop by the souvenir kiosks and return to the ship to relax from the wind before continuing your itinerary.
Why not take advantage of a stopover in Cozumel to enjoy some cold cerveza at this lovely eatery across the wharf? Photo Sébastien Ménard
On day six of this cruise, Norwegian Escape was scheduled to make a stop at Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island paradise in the Bahamas. However, due to weather conditions, this stop had to be replaced at the last minute with a stop at the port of Nassau, where docking was possible. Due to this last-minute change, very few excursions were available to ship passengers.
What to do ?
- Walk to the end of the pier and then stroll along Bay Street through the streets of historic Nassau. Take photos, it's very pretty; It's not every day you get the opportunity to visit this colonial town in the West Indies and discover that it has much more to offer than just beaches and rum cakes…
- If you continue your walk beyond the city center, you will reach a public beach, Junkanoo Beach. There you can wade in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea while taking wonderful photos of the area. You could even get away without spending a dime by simply laying out your beach towel on the sand: access is actually free and public.
- On the way back, do some window shopping and stop at the Straw Market, where artisans sell hand-woven goods. There are also many souvenir sellers there.
The facade of Nassau's famous Straw Market on Bay Street. There are local handicrafts and souvenirs. Photo Sébastien Ménard
Kind regards from Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Of all the stops planned for this cruise, only the stop in Ocho Rios, Jamaica was not affected by the poor weather conditions then prevalent in the Caribbean.
To fully enjoy this destination, it is not necessary to book an excursion that will certainly allow you to see the country but that will sometimes require you to drive for a long time through multiple and surprising road traffic jams like the ones we experienced back then . .
In Ocho Rios, Jamaica, several excursions offer an inner tube river cruise in turquoise waters, like this one. Photo Sébastien Ménard
In fact, beautiful beaches stretch near the dock in Ocho Rios, just a stone's throw from the ship and can be reached in a few minutes on foot. Why complicate life?
The city of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, from the upper deck of the Norwegian Escape. Photo provided by Guillaume Lavoie
If you still decide to go on a trip, Norwegian has around thirty options, including high-speed descents in inflatable dinghies, beach breaks including the very pretty Bamboo Beach, and typical Jamaican dishes with rum, plantains and excellent jerk chicken. A pleasure !
Pretty Bamboo Beach, about an hour's drive from Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Photo Sébastien Ménard