Let me hear you say yeah! - my escape nov 11-18 review w/ dailies!!!

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#1
New Jersey
108 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Hello fellow Cruise Critics!
I am (unfortunately) back from my Escape cruise. I keep trying to use my room card hoping my balcony and drink package will magically appear again but oh well here we go! This is my first extensive review so bare with me. I lived on Cruise Critic for the past year researching for my cruise and trying to get every little morsel of info I could. Let me introduce myself...


My husband and I are in our early 30's with two little monsters. We are from the East Coast and couldn't wait to escape the cold and feel that Miami heat. We were celebrating our tenth anniversary with 3 other couples. One couple was also married on the same day, same year. The second couple just celebrated their first year anniversary. And the last couple, we met them for the first time through mutual friends have also been married for ten years. So it was a week of celebrating.
I swore off Norwegian after our last cruise on Epic eight years ago. I hated our room, the food and entertainment, in a nutshell. But....after looking at Escape online I was intrigued.


FRIDAY 11/10
FLIGHT- The best deal I found for flights was on Southwest. For the two of us it was $487. But we had to fly into Fort Lauderdale. So i downloaded Uber and Lyft to get us to Miami where we were staying.
This was my first time flying Southwest and I loved it. It was super easy to check in. I got in boarding group B. It was surely a different process than I'm using to but I loved being able to pick my seats and have two free checked bags. We had no problem finding a seat together. I was intent on getting my window seat and it was easy! We got our customary half a can of soda/juice and a small bag of honey roasted peanuts and Wheat Thins. Not much but it was free so I'm not complaining. I totally recommend Southwest.
So while my husband waited for our bags to come out of baggage claim I was searching my phone for an Uber or Lyft. I hadn't used either before so i was going to use my first time code on either. Most times Lyft was about $5-$8 cheaper so we only used Lyft that first day and night. It was $41 to get to Miami. Our Lyft driver scared the crap out of me. I feared for my life the entire ride. He was a TERRIBLE driver. He almost hit a car and the guard rail during our lovely trip to the hotel. I made sure to leave a nice little review for that ride.


Now our HOTEL...I searched quite a bit and settled on the brand new Hampton Inn Miami Airport East. It just opened October 28th. It is directly across from the Miami Airport so it would've been nice to fly into that airport but I like to save money. The hotel is nice new and most importantly clean! The staff is friendly and helpful. We checked in easily and got a room on the top floor (5th floor). We had a view of the next door hotel which is the Hyatt Place. The room isn't initially impressive. Typical Hampton Inn room. The bathroom was nice, a little narrow but good for two people.
The breakfast in the morning was good. I always look for a place that has free breakfast, one less thing to think about. I'm glad i did in this case because there wasn't anything within walking distance. The hotel is right off a major road and it's very busy. The hotel does have a shuttle that will take you to restaurants (fancy or fast food) within a three mile radius but they said it goes from 4pm-11pm. Doesn't make sense to me. We reserved their shuttle to get to the cruise port. Make sure you do that asap before it fills up. The other thing that didn't make sense to me is the availability of the shuttle. They only over 9:45am or 12:45pm shuttles. We reserved 9:45pm because we were due to be at the port at 10:30am. Even though we were outside on time the first shuttle filled up quickly. So we waited about three minutes and another shuttle pulled up and took the rest of us. We were about fifteen minutes away from the port.
I would stay at this Hampton Inn again. Beds were super comfy and it wasn't congested. No major issues.
To get aorund we used Lyft liberally. We went to the nearby Walgreens. We both needed sunglasses and gum. My husband needed a travel cologne and I needed tape for our cruise tags. I bought the Cruise Critic tags but they wouldn't stay so i put tape around the tag to keep it in place. That Lyft trip was $6 each way. Super easy.


NIGHTLIFE- That night we met up with our friends at a rooftop lounge called Rooftop at Eleven. One of our friends discovered it. There are multiple signs on the highway saying it's open 24/7. The Lyft ride cost $11 to get there. We had never gone to downtown Miami so we were excited. I'm from New York so I'm not fazed by much. But if you're not a city dweller you might be a little nervous going into this part of Miami. There were a lot of homeless people. A lot of garbage and dimly lit streets. It was the glossy pretty side of Miami. Our Lyft driver dropped us off in front of the building even though it was clearly not the correct entrance to use. It was raining but we got out anyway since he was so insistent. One of the men roaming the streets actually helped out and told us to go to the back of the building. That was where we should've been dropped off.
You can reserve tickets to get in if you want but they aren't necessary and they are free.
So we go up to the rooftop. It's beautiful. Despite rain it was covered and not cold. We were led into the restaurant that's on the rooftop and it's also beautiful. They have small plates (tapas) on their menu. It's overpriced but everything was so good. You're going to pay anywhere from $14-25. I noticed all the waitresses were wearing tiny outfits but I ignored it and just thought "Hey we are in Miami!' More on that in a bit...
Ambiance was great. Drinks were amazing and strong! The cooking area is open which was cool. They had a lot of TV's around with sports. The staff was really cool and helpful and very flirty.
So the waitress says she's going to comp our entry into the lounge/club section on the first floor. We thought that was really cool. We got a personal escort by one of the bouncers to the first floor. We walk in and the smoke hits you first. It's thick and strong. Then we start noticing it's mostly men around. And no typical "club music". Then we start noticing girls dressed in bathing suits (more like string taped together) and then there's a pole in the middle of the floor with a young lady dancing around. I looked at Yelp prior to this visit and saw nothing about strippers. And no one ever said anything to us. They must've thought we knew what we were in for. We quickly exited and laughed the whole way out. Our night ended with an epic round of UNO and setting the alarm for tomorrow.
More to come later...
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#2
National Harbor, Maryland
527 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Great start, looking forward to reading more....thanks for the review!
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Jan




#3
20,254 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
The 2 free luggage with SW is really a come on. Never felt overpacking when we started flying SW. Will be following along.


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#4
north jersey--Transplant from Boston
391 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
You caught my attention! following
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NCL Breakaway, Aug 27, 2017
NCL EPIC, Feb 25, 2017
NCL Escape, March 5, 2016
NCL Breakaway, Aug 16, 2015
NCL Getaway, Feb 28, 2015
NCL Breakaway, Aug 17, 2014
NCL EPIC March 2, 2014
NCL EPIC March 9, 2013
NCL Pearl Feb 26, 2012
NCL Epic Feb 26, 2011
NCL Pearl Feb 20, 2010
skipped 09 - got married and headed to vegas
NCL Dawn Dec 13, 2008 - my first NCL and hooked ever since!
#8
Central Illinois
117,175 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Excellent start, looking forward to more!
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Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Jewel, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#11
New Jersey
108 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Sorry for the delay but life with kids happens...I have to say depsite all the mention of freestyle cruising this was the least freestyle for me. Call me a nerd but I did make a basic spreadsheet detailing our entire week. I had to in order to keep up with all my dining and entertainment reservations. We had a group of 8 so I had to make changes on the ship the first day so that spreadsheet was a life saver. But how about we get to the boat?
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#13
New Jersey
108 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
SATURDAY 11/11- We were up early, had our breakfast and were downstairs in time for our shuttle. After a little wait we arrived to the port at 10:15am. We needed to be in Terminal B but B and C are within walking distance. We dropped off our bags to the porters, tipped them. My husband at the last minute decided he didn't want to carry his duffel bag around the ship so we asked for a tag and the porters have plenty. And yes our bags were successfully delivered to our room. We got on a short line, got in the building, made our way through security, filled out our medical forms and got on line. Two years ago we left out of Fort Lauderdale and we were stuck on long lines with no organization. This time beginning of Miami was a breeze. We were at a representative's desk maybe within five minutes. We went upstairs and received boarding group 9. No we were not in the survivors race to get Vibe. We took our picture, sat and waited until 11:30am when our number was called! Again everything was easy. We walked on to the ship greeted by a DJ and our beloved Washy Washy lady dancing next to him. I did miss walking into a grand atrium like I have on last cruises but it wasn't a big deal. They had balloons set up as you walk in. You walk into Deck 7 right in front in front of the Escape theater. We went to the Garden Cafe to have lunch. It wasn't as crazy as most make it seem. It is true that if you walk to the back of the buffet you'll find seats easier and that's also where the bar is so Win Win!!I
Next up first meal...
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#15
New Jersey
108 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Originally posted by ColinIllinois
Is it okay if we just read it and not take our clothes off?
Whatever makes you comfy
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#16
New Jersey
108 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Originally posted by ray98
So Lyft was cheaper? I have to make the trip from FLL to Port of Miami this weekend.
Yes consistently cheaper. I️ waited until going back to Newark to use my first time Uber code.
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#18
Kentucky
13,473 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by ray98
So Lyft was cheaper? I have to make the trip from FLL to Port of Miami this weekend.
My son prefers using Lyft over Uber. Definitely cheaper.
#19
Georgia
1,970 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Coreysgrl06
Yes consistently cheaper. I️ waited until going back to Newark to use my first time Uber code.

Thanks for the info. Enjoying the review.