December 16th Escape Quick Review

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Vancouver, BC
70 Posts
Joined Dec 2014

About 2 weeks before sailing, my girlfriend, my sister, and I decided to book a last-minute cruise on the Escape, sailing from Miami to Falmouth, Georgetown, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. For this sailing, they didn't charge 200% for single occupancy, so my sister got her own room for the price of 1 person! I'll admit it, part of the me wanted to book 3 cabins for the same price, but I didn't . My girlfriend and I originally booked a Balcony (BF) but later got upgrade to Spa Mini Suite (M9, 15762) through the bidding process. I've always heard that Spa Mini Suite was its own bidding category, but we bid on the normal Mini Suite and got this. It was a very very pleasant surprise! My sister went from Oceanview Guarantee (OX) to Mid Ship Mini Suite (MC, 10834) also through the bidding process. Again, a very nice upgrade!

Flight from Vancouver to Miami (Rant about American Airlines, skip if not interested)

Due to the insane Christmas flight prices, we were forced to go with not only a red-eye transfer flight, but also fly to FLL instead of MIA. Our flight departed from YVR at night, landing at DFW at 5am, taking off again at 7am, and getting to FLL at 11am. Before the trip, the seats for the DFW-FLL leg were all gone already, except for all the "premium" seats. Don't even get me started on just how not "premium" those seats really are. Anyways, I opted for not paying for those seats as it said I will be assigned a seat at check-in. When we got to YVR for check in, we were given the boarding pass for YVR-DFW, but for DFW-FLL, we were given the infamous "Priority Verification Pass", which is basically their way of saying "Oops we overbooked." I went an agent at YVR and asked what's going on, they actually admitted they overbooked the flight and I'll have to race against the others to get a seat once I land in DFW. But hey, on the bright side, they said I only need to beat 2 people! Since that's the number of seats they overbooked. After seeing the United fiasco a few months back, it suddenly hit me that I could be the one left at the terminal now and miss the cruise. As an act of desperation, I gave in and opened my AA app to purchase those "premium seats". But since the app believes only Americans go on their flights, that was the only option given for entering my billing address. We all know how that would turn out for Canadians. I then went to the gate agent and asked I could give them money, but nope, she said that even though they're up for sale at this point, I can't buy them! She didn't give me a reason other than "just get to the gate earlier at DFW". That really translated to "we could help you, but nah, just go take your chances." Fast forward to DFW, after we landed, we raced to our gate, but long and behold, there was no agent. I tried to use the machines around the gates to see if I can pick a seat, but instead of the Priority Verification Card, I get a "You have been placed on stand by" pass! So I ran down the terminal in hopes of finding an agent somewhere at 5am. Finally, I found an agent, but she said she can't help me other than to go to the customer service desk. Again, no one there. Nerve-wrecked, I waited until an agent finally showed up at our gate 20 minutes before boarding, and guess what she had? 3 boarding passes for us. PHEWF! Back in 2015, during a snowstorm, I was trapped at DFW for 17 hours, barely making my cruise, never thought that could *almost* happen again.


I have always known NCL uses 2 terminals at Port of Miami, but I never knew who gets which terminal. But since we have two cabins on decks 10 and 15, we found out that odd-numbered decks go to Terminal B while even-numbered decks go to Terminal C. Not sure if this holds true for all sailings, but for ours, it was like that.

We got to the Port of Miami at around 12:30pm, just in time for registered time on edocs. My sister went to Terminal C while my girlfriend and I went into Terminal B. Again, there is the usual line out of the terminal, but it wasn't bad at all and we were in the terminal within 15 minutes. After we passed security and went to the check-in hall, as expected, long long lines. It took about 1 hour from that point until we were on the ship. On the other hand, my sister got on the ship within 25 minutes at Terminal C. But oh well, it's the pain everyone has to go through before vacation starts, all worth it for sure! Other than the long lines, everything went pretty smoothly and soon we were onboard on the beautiful Escape! First stop, Garden Cafe! Yes, I'm a sucker for buffet, even if it's crowded .

Will continue...
Vancouver, BC
70 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
A photo of the Escape as we were boarding!


Our home away from home for the week was a spa mini suite, cabin 15672. I've seen a lot of Balcony vs Mini Suite talk before this sailing, and I've always felt mini suite is not worth the upgrade from balcony prior to this sailing. But thanks to the upgrade, I had a chance to try something I would have never otherwise tried. After staying in it for a week, I now feel if the cost difference is not big, it is definitely worth it! The sofa and bed area I actually couldn't tell much difference from a balcony room, but the washroom and balcony are the two places I could definitely tell the difference!

The washroom had a large sink for two, which was really nice when we had to brush our teeth, etc in the morning and at night! The shower area is considerably larger and the space is something I didn't even know I needed! It is my girlfriend's first time cruising (very spoiled for first time cruiser) and she definitely appreciated the extra space after seeing pictures of washrooms from other cabin type or other ships. The shower also came with those spa jets, I personally didn't use them as I find them rather strong and almost painful to use. Aside from physical differences, this cabin also came with special shampoo/conditioner/body wash in addition to the ones in the dispensers. I do not know my shampoo and body wash brands, but I'll just trust those are good brands

The balcony was about 37.5% larger than a standard balcony, and I could definitely tell the difference. Last time when I stayed in a balcony stateroom, After sitting down, I find myself feel slightly trapped, but in this balcony, I feel I could actually move. It's definitely not a huge balcony, but more than sufficient for sure! Since this is top deck balcony, we did have that roof thing cover our sky slightly, but that really didn't bother us, except for the times when I tried to take a photo and the roof would cut into my photos . One thing that's specific to the Escape though, where are the lights??? I remember on the Getaway there were lights for the balcony, but Escape didn't have anything.

Location wise, the cabin is located very near the forward elevators as well as the spa right upstairs. We found the location to be very convenient! To access to the pool deck or buffet, we just needed to walk up the stairs and it will only be a short walk away. Whereas my sister was on deck 10 and she had to take the elevator no matter where she went. As wonderful as this cabin is, it did have some downsides to it. As others may have already noted, this cabin is located right below the pool deck, hence, loud stomping and heavy bass music were very audible. During the day, it didn't bother us, but at night, I had pretty bad sleep the first night because of it. At around 5am, we could hear quite clearly chair dragging and banging go on for quite a while. Other nights we could hear the high pressure washer cleaning the floor, all in all, the noise was quite bad. We did bring the issue up to guest services on the second day and they reassured they will have that looked into. Starting the second night, the chair noise reduced, but the high pressure washer was still there. Props to NCL for atleast listening and trying to fix the issue! After all, they do have the clean the ship and there isn't exactly a better time to do it. But for other light sleepers like me, do think carefully before booking a deck 15 cabin.

The cabin also came with free thermal suite access, which was really really nice! More on that later...

Photo of our cabin and the view from it!

Central Illinois
126,658 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Nice start, Merry Christmas, and will be following.
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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
Vancouver, BC
70 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
This cruise we ate at 5 specialty dining restaurants and the buffet for 2 nights.


From my previous cruises, this has always been my favourite specialty dining restaurant. Not only is the food superb, they always put up a great show. On our last cruise on the Getaway, our chef even started folding origami for us after our meal and showed us photos of his family back in the Philippines, it was a great experience. Back to the Escape, this time, I ordered the Asuka combo, which comes with filet mignon and jumbo shrimps. The filet mignon did come out almost fully cooked even though I ordered medium, so that was a slight disappointment. However, the service was still great, the jumbo shrimps and all the other foods were yummy, and most of all, I came out STUFFED. When they portion the food such as the fried rice, it feels like they just cook +4 people's worth of food so people can get seconds later.

It was also here we witnessed the first of the two marriage proposals onboard! After the chefs were all done with cooking, they all gathered around a couple sitting across us and started singing, then shortly after, the man got on his knees, and she said yes! Good for them


Booking this place was HARD. The only times I would see this restaurant turn yellow on the wall machines was when the reservation time has either passed or coming up shortly. Prior to the cruise, we made a reservation at 9:45pm (I think) but by 7:30pm we were starving already. Just to take our chances, we went to Cagney's and asked if there was an earlier time available, and surprisingly, she said 8pm. Lesson learned: always go ask at the restaurant, the machines on the wall are NOT accurate.

For starters, I ordered the shrimp cocktail, my girlfriend and sister both ordered the pork belly. The shrimp cocktail was great, very cold and fresh. The other two said the pork belly was really good too, just a tad salty.

For entrees, I order a medium Ribeye steak with brussel sprouts. The Ribeye steak was cooked to perfect medium, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm a huge fan of brussel sprouts, and they were pretty good here too! I just wish they had more of these in different restaurants.

My girlfriend ordered the sea bass with onion rings since she's not a huge fan of steak. She said the fish was fresh and it was pretty good.

Last but not least, my sister ordered a medium-rare Filet Mignon. When the food came, it was too cooked for her liking and the server did not hesitate to bring it back to be remade. Here's the surprisingly part, the new rare steak came in literally 3 minutes. Literally. Wow. Whenever I hear them say "I'll get that remade for you", I take it as wait another 15-20 minutes. But 3 minutes, now that's speed.

Finally, we all finished off with seven layer cake for all three of us. I loved how as our server was taking our dessert order, he said "okay 7 layer cake for the miss, 14 layer cake for the other miss, and 21 layer cake for the mister! 21 layer cake coming right up."

Some other random photos of Cagney's that night

More on the others soon...
Vancouver, BC
70 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
Sorry I must have messed up the photos, but I'll try uploading from Tapatalk this time.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
Space Coast....FL!!!!
291 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
[quote=danny6514;54828301]Sorry I must have messed up the photos, but I'll try uploading from Tapatalk this time.

Not a problem! Looks fantastic!
Binghamton, NY
105 Posts
Joined May 2015
Looking forward to more - especially about the thermal suite!
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NCL Escape - 05/12/19 - 05/19/19: Bermuda, Take Two! Solo & Studio

Past Cruises
NCL Breakaway - 10/16/16 - 10/23/16: Bermuda! Solo & Studio
Fort Lauderdale, FL
739 Posts
Joined May 2004
Interesting and very illuminating report and in so many ways, too. Thanks for posting.
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More cruises than I can remember; not nearly as many as everyone else
Vancouver, BC
70 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
Food Republic

Having seen such high reviews for this place, we actually came here the very first night to try it out. When we got there at around 7pm, it was relatively empty with only a few occupied tables. The host greeted us promptly and informed us that the dining package is not accepted. The group infront of us seemed pretty upset about it and stated "so we're paying extra for the dining package and you guys are expecting me to pay extra on top of extra?" Even though I have no problem with paying more for good food, he does have a point...

Since we ate a snack in the afternoon, none of us were too hungry, so we only ordered a few items. If I recall correctly, we ordered the black cod skewers, dragon roll, crispy brussels sprouts, and bulgogi tacos. The black cod skewers were marinated really nicely and it was very flavourful. However, the fish did feel slightly undercooked, it almost had that sashimi feel. The dragon roll was decent and came with 8 pieces, on par with what I would frequently see at restaurants back at home. The crispy brussels sprouts was a disappointment. Even though the flavour was good, it was very very bitter and left a pretty bad after-taste. I'll likely order it again next time hoping that it was just a one off since I really do like brussels sprouts. Lastly, I didn't have any of the bulgogi tacos so I can't say much about it, but the two girls said it was good.

La Cucina

Remember in my last post I stated how the reservation machines aren't accurate? We tested our theory again and walked up to La Cucina well before our 9:30pm reservation time and was told to come back at 8:30pm, and that's exactly what we did. Again, when we arrived, we were promptly seated and had our drinks ordered. When introducing the menu, the server informed us that we were allowed a 5-course meal with the dining package: 1 starter, 1 pasta, 1 salad, 1 entree, and 1 dessert. Correct me if I'm wrong, but since when did pasta become an appetizer? (Not complaining) I asked the server that question in a joking way and he replied "oh it's because the portions are smaller." Believing him, I ordered the 5-course meal he said we were entitled to:

Starter: Calamari
Pasta: Linguine Cioppino
Salad: Caesar salad
Entree: They had a special angus steak, so I ordered that, medium.
Dessert: Tiramisu ofcourse

Boy was it a terrible mistake for ordering all that, I was so stuffed I couldn't finish my food. I felt pretty bad for wasting but the last thing I want to do on a cruise is to pack leftover food. I'm sure you guys all know what I mean

Overall, everyone was really happy with everything we ordered except the special steak I ordered. I've read somewhere in another review that NCL uses the same meat for all restaurants except Cagney's. Having just ate Cagney's the day before, the quality of meat tasted quite different and was more aligned with the steak served in the MDR. But back on the positive side, the tiramisu was REALLY good. It was very flavorful, if not the MOST flavorful tiramisu I have ever eaten. I would not hesitate to come back to this restaurant in the future and happily use one of my SDP credits.


On a previous cruise, this place was my least favorite place to dine of all places. But since my girlfriend really wanted to try Brazilian BBQ, I decided to give this place another try. Unfortunately, it was just as disappointing as my previous visit here. The meat was either too salty or too dry, and the only food I liked were the salad bar and the chicken. Overall, I believe this place is not worth the money and definitely not worth the SDP credit considering it's likely the cheapest of all the specialty restaurants at $24.95pp.