Are you considering cruising on a Norwegian Escape or already made your plans? In this post, I will tell you everything you should know about the Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship, secret tips, and fun recommendations before you go on your cruise adventure.
Norwegian Escape – Cruise Ship at a Glance
There’s something for everyone on Escape, which you’ll notice as soon as you board the cruise ship. Once onboard, you’ll be captivated by the beautiful three-level Ocean Place where a lot of the action at night takes place. And once you make it to the top decks of the ship, the adventurer in you will be excited to see a ropes course and thrilling water slides!
- Norwegian Escape is one of the newest ships in the fleet, sailing since October 2015.
- It is huge, it has 20 floors and can accommodate up to 4,266 passengers (plus crew).
- The ship is great for families or adults, and pretty much anyone who likes a big ship with a lot going on.
- Norwegian Escape sails primarily out of Miami and New York to Bermuda, The Caribbean, New England, and Canada.
- With 28 bars and restaurants onboard, you probably won’t be able to try out everything in one trip.
- Escape is ideal for people looking for shows and entertainment variety. Broadway-quality performances, in the form of two shows (“After Midnight” and “The Choir of Men”), are very entertaining and are definitely worth going to. The music and performers are flawless and among the best I’ve seen.
- With so much going on, the ship can get loud. Loud music, people, shows… Although I didn’t feel like it was too crowded!
- You’ll find yourself sharing the ship primarily with couples and groups of friends, with families and little ones dominant during the holidays and summer breaks.
Bottom line: When it comes to a variety of things to do and try, Escape is a great choice. Everyone in your group will be able to find something that appeals to them. Adventure? Try out the rope course and water slides. Want to relax at the swimming pool or a hot tub? Choose one! Want to go to a pub that feels so genuine you’ll forget you’re on a ship? It has that, too. And those are just a few options!
Norwegian Escape – What I Loved
We had a really fun itinerary with stops in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Harvest Caye, and Roatan! Feel free to read my reviews of our stops, but here I would like to focus on the ship itself and what it has to offer.
District Brew House: This is one of my first Norwegian Cruise line secrets that I will share about this ship. The pub serves up 75 beers (25 on tap), including craft beers from Miami’s Wynwood Brewing Company. This was my favorite place, I stayed here to watch the sunset and came back after dinner to listen to inappropriate songs by one of the musicians onboard. District Brew House is a cool hangout like you can find in a city with great drinks (try the specials) and a fun atmosphere.
Come to the District on the first couple of days of the cruise when no one has discovered it yet and you will be coming back again and again!
Food Republic: If you are going to eat at a specialty restaurant onboard, it’s the best one. The menus offer food from around the world, everything is very well-prepared, no matter what I tried.
Bayamo: Another great specialty restaurant on Norwegian Escape is Bayamo. Dishes include ceviches, lobster enchiladas, and swordfish in a coconut broth.
“The Choir of Men”: This is a really fun show, that you have to attend when you’re on Norwegian Escape. When the show starts, you’ll be introduced to “The Jungle”, a British pub, where talented cast performs everything from classic rock to sing-along favorites. You will laugh, you will feel happy, sad, amazed and will surely sing along with “the choir”.
Who Norwegian Escape is Best For
This ship is great for a lot of different groups since there is something to do for everyone. As long as you enjoy the party atmosphere, don’t mind the crowds, and have a good attitude, you will love this ship.
Norwegian Escape Can Get Noisy
If you like to party, you will love it. However, there are still a few quiet decks onboard where you can relax, read a book and enjoy some quiet time. If you don’t like the bustle, avoid the casino area and Deck 16 at day time.
Know What’s Included in Your Cruise Fare
On your cruise, the following is all included:
- Complimentary dining: Three dining rooms, meals at O’Sheehan’s and the buffet.
- Ice water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and select juices in the buffet
- All theater shows
- Comedy shows and piano bar
- Use of the water slides, the ropes course, and mini-golf
- Access to Spice H2O adults-only sun deck
- Most daily activities unless noted below
- Use of the gym
Not included with your cruise fare:
- Gratuities ($15per person, per day or $18 per person, per day for those staying in suites)
- Beverage and spa tips (20 percent, paid automatically)
- Spa treatments and most fitness classes
- Shore excursions
- Vibe Beach Club adults-only sun deck
- Late night (after 10:30 p.m.) group babysitting
- Activities including, but not limited to, the Cellars Wine Bar classes and seminars, photo booth sessions, arcade games, and bingo
- Photos and artwork
Pack Well, Especially Your Cruise Carry-on Bag
At the cruise dock, you’ll give your large suitcases to the porter who will check them for you. You can carry on a small bag and personal items and you might not receive your checked bags until later. That’s why you should pack everything you may need on the first day in your carry-on: documents, wallets, bathing suits, cameras, medications, sandals, sunscreen, a change of summer clothes and toiletries.
If the cruise line takes a while to deliver your bag, you’ll have all your necessities on hand and can change into more comfortable clothing right away!
See More Cruise Packing Tips here.
Get to Know Freestyle Cruising
That’s what Norwegian Cruiselines are all about: there is no set dining time for each evening, you can go to the restaurant whenever you want. That being said, you may have to wait at peak times, so it is still better to make a reservation if you know when you’re planning to eat and where. (Especially if you are cruising as a larger group!)
Cruise Tip: You can use the flat-screen TVs on the ship to see which restaurants are open and the approximate wait times.
Book Your Activities and Shows Early
Free style cruising but you have to book your shows? I got caught off guard. And when I wanted to book a show, a lot of them were already full! Schedule shows and specialty dining in advance to make sure you get a space.
Bonus Tip: Show up to sold-out shows
If you want to see one of the big-name shows on Norwegian, but the tickets are sold out, get in line prior to showtime, cruise ship staff will let you in if seats are available.
Norwegian Escape Dress Code
Daytime: Feel free to be casual, with swimsuits, shorts, and T-shirts at the poolside and around the ship.
Evening: There’s generally no formal dress code (though there is an optional elegant night). Khakis and collared shirts are common for men in the evening, while women wear sundresses or blouses with slacks or skirts.
Note: Shorts are not allowed at some of the more upscale restaurants, like Cagney’s and Bayamo.
To find out more ideas and tips, see What to Wear on a Cruise.
Take Advantage of Kids Clubs
If your child is 3 – 17, take advantage of the FREE kid’s clubs. It’s a great way to let the kids play and meet other kids! (And give yourself some time to relax!)
I am so glad I tried the water slides and the rope course – I was a little scared at first, but it was a lot of fun! If something seems a little scary, go outside of your comfort zone and try it – it makes great memories and fun stories! But, always be careful, of course!
I have a lot more helpful tips and hacks for Norwegian Cruise Line that you should read before you go!
Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Dining
There are more than 25 places to eat on board, so you will have to choose. Complimentary dining rooms include the elegant Manhattan Room and the more intimate Taste and Savor – all of them offer the same menu. But if you really want to treat yourself, the for-fee restaurants—most of which are à la carte— can be worth the splurge. I have already talked about my favorite specialty restaurants earlier, note that Moderno (Churrascaria) and Teppanyaki (Japanese) are a $39 cover charge.
Note: Norwegian line really wants people to wash their hands before entering the buffet area and while I think it’s great to remind people, the last thing I want to hear when I wake up in the morning is “washy-washy songs” to a sound of the tambourine.
Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Bars and Lounges
The Norwegian Escape has 21 bars and lounges – the most I’ve seen on a ship. Some of these are great for a casual drink, others are a lot more elegant. I especially loved the District Brew House. I also liked The Cellars, a wine bar, which is fun for enjoying a glass of wine and a great place for wine education classes and tastings. For tropical drinks, try the Sugarcane Mojito Bar and The 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar (liked the outside area).
Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Entertainment
The choreography of “After Midnight” is exceptional, and the costumes are amazing. This musical is based on the music of Duke Ellington. While the show is richer on costumes and vocals than it is on a storyline, I loved being immersed in the world of Harlem’s Cotton Club.
The Supper Club venue also features great shows, but I also loved the stand-ups and the dueling piano show at the Headliner’s Comedy Club.
Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Cabins
The Norwegian Escape cruise ship has 2,175 staterooms, and there’s something in every price range. The large suites are in The Haven, while the Norwegian Escape also has nice balcony and oceanview cabins with a large window overlooking the sea. There are also nice inside cabins for the budget-conscious cruiser. Solo travelers will especially enjoy the Studio Cabin complex, which features tiny cabins designed for one person each.
Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Outdoor Decks
The Norwegian Escape sails in the warm Caribbean year-round, so it’s not surprising that the large, resort-style cruise ship has very impressive outdoor decks. Spice H2O is the adult relaxation, dance, and movie area. For those who’d prefer to stay out of the water, there’s the largest rope course at sea, a nine-hole mini-golf course, bocce ball, a basketball course, and ping pong.
Norwegian Escape has the line’s largest Haven—an exclusive suites-only area with its own restaurant, lounge, courtyard, and pool.
Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Kid’s Areas
The Norwegian Escape cruise ship has three separate areas for children:
Guppies – ages 6 months to 3 years: Norwegian Escape is the first ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to offer childcare services for children ages 6 months to 3 years. The Guppies Nursery has a playtime area with age-appropriate activities and a separate place for napping.
Splash Academy – ages 3 years old through 12 years old: Splash Academy is Norwegian Cruise Line’s youth program and has spaces and age-appropriate activities for three different age groups. In addition to the age-appropriate activities, Splash Academy features a Nickelodeon-themed night. Kids can also enjoy an expanded Circus program and participate in an environmental interactive program. Of course, the Splash Academy has video games, a place to dance, and arts and crafts.
Entourage – ages 13 through 17 years old: Teens have their own space near the ship’s video arcade with trendy lounge furniture and a central gaming station. The area also has teen favorites like foosball and air hockey. At night, Entourage transforms into a teen-only nightclub.
There are plenty of things to do and places to eat on Norwegian Escape and some of them come at a higher price. Are you going to cruise on Escape? Let me know in the comments below about your experience.