Hubby and I traveled with two other couples. We had been to Bermuda via Breakaway in 2014. That was a trip we knew we wouldn't be able to duplicate because our oldest son worked on the ship in the tech crew so we were able to meet the main actors in Rock of Ages, Wine Lovers and Cirque as well as hang out with him in Howl at the Moon. It was truly fantastic.
We enjoyed Escape and still loved Howl. As a surprise we even had the same two pianists in Howl this trip as last trip. The one additional pianist was a delightful addition as he also played drums, harmonica, violin and guitar. His name was Sean but he only had a two-week contract so he was leaving when we got off. Sorry for those cruisers who will miss Sean because WOW!!
The Escape differs from Breakaway a bit. I will say that although it was pointed out beforehand, we really missed Shakers martini bar. I had thought perhaps District Brewhouse would become our replacement hangout but that was not meant to be. There was live music which was so unbelievably loud that it was impossible to talk or even sit in there for long. I didn't find that the numerous bars onboard offered the selection of martinis that Shakers did and found that only in the Atrium could I get more than the standard Cosmopolitan. The martini tasting enjoyed over several cruises seems to be a thing of the past. The Mondavi wine bar was nearly always empty.
One of my initial draws to NCL was the commercials a few years back about freestyle cruising and how you weren't on someone else's clock. I think that system is all but forgotten now. I did book our three specialty dinings two months before sailing but I didn't book any of the comedy shows. What that translated to onboard was that the shows were sold out. I suppose I should've picked something on our first night but I thought some seats were held for stand-by. They are not. Just my opinion here but with a ship the size of the Escape, I think the main theatre would be the better option for comedians.
We watched about half of the two main shows in the theatre but we didn't particularly like Brat Pack and After Midnight was just not my cup of tea. I cannot emphasize enough how thoroughly wonderful Choir of Man was. If I'd known how terrific it was, regardless of the mediocre food, I would've booked it every night available. If harmonies are your thing, be sure to buy a CD afterward. The show is going on tour and I'm definitely going to see them when they're in DC.
The weekly spa pass was relaxing and never too crowded. I didn't use the spa as much as I imagined I would but the outside areas of the ship called as the weather was pretty.
We had a balcony bump out cabin on deck 13 Aft and we asked for and received a lounger for the balcony. There isn't much floor space in the cabins but it's workable. I did like the shower on this ship as it seemed bigger than on the Breakaway and Dawn class of ships.
We spent quite a bit of time in Spice H2O and we did see the attendants placing stickers on chairs that had towels without people. I have read that people always seem to ask about this issue so I figured I'd mention it.