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MaryBethV

Escape! Feb 10-17 Trip Report & Review

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Planning, researching, and reading reviews for the last year+ was half of the fun for me. My husband was happy to let me do my planning thing and just be ‘along for the ride’ when the time came. The two of us actually got away for a whole week together, without kids, for the first time in almost forever - so our trip basically consisted of eat, do something lazy, eat again… repeat. This trip report will likely be long and detailed - if that is not your thing, bail now!!! Two things I am definitely not: a light packer and concise bullet-point-style writer. There will be no refunds given for any future reading time wasted. You’ve been warned. ;)

 

We are in our early 40’s (as established by POA1 - early 40’s is anything under 45!) and this was our first cruise.

 

Yes, ever.

 

We live close to Lake Michigan and our family vacations have usually been spent on it’s shores… looks like the ocean, no salt, no hostile sea creatures you need to avoid, and powdery sand beaches for miles and miles. However, sun & swim season here is pretty much limited to July and August unless you are part polar bear.

 

*Side Note* DH had a series major surgeries in his early-20’s and has been in physical therapy of some sort for the last two decades. When we booked this cruise over a year ago, he was dealing with daily pain (as usual) but didn’t have major mobility issues. That changed late last year and he has been walking with a cane since then. Stairs, and any extended length of walking ranges from painful to just not possible. Thanks to a fellow CC member, I learned about scooter and wheelchair rentals from Special Needs at Sea and we reserved an electric scooter in advance of our cruise. More about that later. I also called Norwegian’s ‘Access Desk’, told them we rented a scooter, and had DH noted as needing wheelchair assistance.

 

This cruise was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Since our anniversary lands right in the middle of family-holiday-insanity - not to mention Caribbean hurricane season - we thought a February cruise might be a wiser choice.

 

Except for potential blizzards and flying out of MI… whoops… somewhat forgot to figure that in.

 

Thursday | February 8th

We were planning on getting up early Friday morning to drive to Detroit for our 8:30am flight. By Wednesday the forecasts for Friday early am were Winter Storm Warnings and blizzard conditions… so we booked a last minute room at the Comfort Inn Metro Airport in Romulus in hopes of avoiding nasty driving conditions. We had mostly clear roads on the way there and checked into our room. Good, clean, affordable hotel within a mile of the airport. No complaints. The in-hotel restaurant looked ok to grab a drink at, but wasn’t somewhere we wanted to risk eating dinner. A quick check on TripAdvisor led us to Merriman Street Grill which looked like a small, family-run place with great food. It was busy at 9pm on a Thursday night which I took as a good sign. They have an extensive menu with tons of variety and we opted for the steak fajitas (me) and beef burrito (dh). Both were good-would order again. Definitely look them up if you are in the area!

 

*ANOTHER Side Note* I love to cook, grill a fabulous steak, pretend I’m Italian and make pasta, grow fresh ingredients, etc… SO - food on this cruise was important to us me. At the same time, I realized that I needed to manage my expectations considering they had the task of feeding 4,000+ people a day. Food photos will follow (when I remembered to take them) with my OPINIONS. Food - and service - is nothing if not subjective!

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Friday | February 9th

 

I waited a long time to see this on my ShipMate app!

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The meteorologists actually got the forecast right and we woke up to heavy snow falling. After a predictable hotel continental breakfast (meh, but we wouldn’t starve before reaching Miami), we left for the airport. Pulling into the long term parking garage I realized that I had definitely dropped the research ball here as it was quite a bit more $ per day than I thought I read on the website. In my defense - researching parking at the airport is not nearly as fun as researching cruise ships and ports. Deciding to just go with it, we found a nice close parking place and put off thinking about the $23/day fee until we returned.

 

The airport was great at noticing mobility issues and ushered us to the shorter lines a few times which was much appreciated. It was going to be a long day and the less steps for DH, the better. Once settled at our gate and waiting to board, a look out the windows at the white-out conditions made me nervous.

 

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The odds for flying out any time soon did not look promising. I have to say, I am incredibly impressed at the not-so-small army of people it takes to run that airport in inclement weather. Snow plow teams consisting of 3-4 plows each were running non-stop circuits trying to keep a runway or two open. More teams of de-icing vehicles sprayed down every inch of one plane after another. Stuff you know they do and don’t really think about until you NEED them to do it so you can get to Miami before a ship LEAVES WITHOUT YOU! We ended up taking off around 9am - only half an hour past the original departure time. Others later in the day were not as fortunate, so I am extremely thankful we booked an early flight a day in advance of our cruise.

 

Flying over Florida… the first beaches were spotted! SO HAPPY

 

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Our hotel reservation Friday night was for the Courtyard Marriott Miami Airport. They offered a complimentary hotel shuttle that supposedly ran every 15 minutes… 35 minutes later it finally came. The hotel was located in a gated compound of three Marriott hotels that all shared an outdoor area and pool.

 

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Our room wasn’t going to be ready for a couple of hours, so we grabbed lunch at Champions Sports Bar which was adjacent to the lobby. I had the fish tacos - Baja style in soft flour tortillas with shredded cabbage slaw, salsa, and lime ranch. Lots of flavor and very good. Would definitely order again. I don’t remember what DH had. I was still in a we-actually-made-it-to-Miami! mood and didn’t start taking notes until we were on the ship.

 

Dinner: There is a Cane Fire Grill which is a more upscale restaurant located in one of the other Marriott hotels - just across the pool/outdoor area. However, for convenience, we ate at the Champions Sports Bar again for dinner. This time I had the Miami Press sandwich - slow roasted pork, swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and mojo sauce. After my fish tacos at lunch I was expecting flavor and this was just really really bland and dry. Would not order again.

 

Our room was nice, clean, and overlooked the existing highway AND the construction on the nearby overpass - where there was a jackhammer running all. night. long. Thankfully we could barely hear it on the 10th floor with the fan running. From overhearing guests the next morning, others were not so happy. Hey - there were palm trees in the distance out our window - how could I not be happy?!

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Saturday | February 10th | CRUISE DAY!!!

We woke up to a beautiful Miami day!

 

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We went down for the hotel breakfast buffet (which was an upgrade included in our room rate). Back to the Champion Sports Bar where the buffet was set up. You could order made-to-order omelets to compliment the buffet offerings, but there was no need. The buffet had a wide range of eggs, bacon, sausage, ham croquettes (yum), fresh fruit, pastries… very well done and a great way to start the day. If you stay at this hotel, the breakfast is worth adding to the room rate or just paying the $15/pp.

 

Time to get to port! We called an Uber XL (Remember, I am not known for my light packing abilities - ha!) and it took forever for the driver to figure out how to get into the compound. We should have taken the clue and cancelled him and gone with someone else. But we didn’t. The “arrive in 2 minutes” turned into 20+ before he pulled up. He was a man of very few words. I’m not even sure he understood us. Or could read traffic signs. And the biggest problem - he didn’t know the cruise port area. We had to read signs and give him directions. NOT FUN to do when you’ve never been there yourself.

 

I spy the Escape all the way on the left!

 

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Finally, we made it. Big sigh of relief! It was about 9:30-9:45am and it was obvious that we were early.

 

Really early.

 

The area was mass chaos and flooded with departing passengers. My ‘early is better’ rule may not apply here. We finally found a porter that was taking luggage and got into the line for security. Once they started putting people through security it went quite quickly.

 

We went up the escalator, filled out the medical forms, and looked around for the Special Needs at Sea kiosk where we were supposed to pick up the scooter. Nothing in sight - if it was we are blind as bats and missed it (possible). Here is the thing - the form we had was not clear. It says pick up at kiosk and then the paragraph under that says it will be delivered to your stateroom.

 

So, we got into the “special assistance” check-in line. Surely they will know!? Nope. I showed the check-in person our paperwork from Special Needs at Sea and he had to go ask his supervisor about it. She quickly scanned the paperwork and came back telling us it will be in our stateroom because that is what it says on the form (at least the part she was looking at). Okay. Fine. We were directed up another escalator to the embarkation waiting area. They did not note that we were first time cruisers, or note “wheelchair assistance”, or say anything about it even though it was clearly on our NCL cruise docs. AND WE WERE IN THE SPECIAL ASSISTANCE LINE. But, this being our first ever cruise & not knowing any better, we did as directed thinking that help would be available where we were going.

 

Once in the waiting area, boarding group 2 card in hand, I realized DH was going to need to board the ship via all the ramps with everyone else. Ugh. I found someone in NCL attire and asked if she could point us to where there was wheelchair assistance or assisted embarkation. She went to check with someone else, returned after 5-10 minutes and said we’d have to go all the way back to the check-in area downstairs if we wanted a wheelchair, because that is where they handled that. Um, no. At this point I’m feeling like no one at NCL is trained for any of this AT ALL. Very frustrating. Long story short - when they started boarding - they called for what sounded like (it was really loud in there and impossible to hear clearly) special assistance passengers along with boarding group 1. So we went. It’s not like we were running for Vibe passes. DH managed. He always has a can-do attitude. We just stuck to the side of the ramps, went slowly, and let others pass us.

 

Whew! We were on the ship!!! The cruise staff had a great energy and made you feel welcome when you boarded. We made it inside, and sat down in the Atrium for a rest & a drink.

 

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Next we stopped at Guest Services for a quick hole punch in our cards, and made our way to Taste/Savor for lunch. (thank you Cruise Critic) They DO try to divert everyone to the buffet - even a sign sitting on the hostess stations at Taste/Savor had an advertisement for embarkation lunch at the Garden Cafe. We took a much-needed seat on the couches and waited for the dining room to open. Next to us were two nice ladies reading the daily that they had picked up at Guest Services right away (smart - will do that next time) and we learned they had been on over 80 cruises together! They said we picked a good cruise line for our first cruise and told us about the fish on the carpets (which I knew from CC, but it was sweet of them to try to help us not get hopelessly lost).

 

Lunch at Savor | Our server was Idania. She was great and we were happy to see her a couple of other times throughout the week. We chose Savor over Taste because it had the water view - which we enjoyed at our table by the window.

 

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Today’s menu. I think this is the only Main Dining Room menu I photographed all week.

 

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Great review so far, MaryBethV! Your writing is entertaining and I can't wait to read the rest.

 

-Janine

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Apps ordered were hummus & pita (DH) and potato skins with crab salad (me). Potato skins were fine. Crab salad was quite mayo-heavy with not much crab flavor. Hummus was good, but nothing special. Not bad, but wouldn’t order either app again. For entrees - DH had the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and creamed corn. He said it was delicious - juicy chicken and really good corn. I had a taste of his corn and it was in fact freshly shaved sweet corn. Yum! I had the Shrimp Arrabiata - penne pasta with spicy tomato sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano (I am a bit of a cheese snob - happy to see the use of quality ingredients). It was delicious, served piping hot, and it actually had a good amount of flavor and spice. Not bland at all. Would order both entrees again. Dessert was Key Lime Parfait and some fresh fruit to share. Neither one of us have much of a sweet tooth, but DH loves Key Lime Pie. This was not key lime pie (obviously). I had a small taste and DH had the rest. OK, but wouldn’t order again. Overall - quite impressed with the service and food for our first meal on-ship!

 

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After lunch we took a little walk around the top deck areas. It was such a gorgeous day and beautiful Miami views in every direction!

 

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Friday | February 9th

 

I waited a long time to see this on my ShipMate app!

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The meteorologists actually got the forecast right and we woke up to heavy snow falling. After a predictable hotel continental breakfast (meh, but we wouldn’t starve before reaching Miami), we left for the airport. Pulling into the long term parking garage I realized that I had definitely dropped the research ball here as it was quite a bit more $ per day than I thought I read on the website. In my defense - researching parking at the airport is not nearly as fun as researching cruise ships and ports. Deciding to just go with it, we found a nice close parking place and put off thinking about the $23/day fee until we returned.

 

The airport was great at noticing mobility issues and ushered us to the shorter lines a few times which was much appreciated. It was going to be a long day and the less steps for DH, the better. Once settled at our gate and waiting to board, a look out the windows at the white-out conditions made me nervous.

 

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The odds for flying out any time soon did not look promising. I have to say, I am incredibly impressed at the not-so-small army of people it takes to run that airport in inclement weather. Snow plow teams consisting of 3-4 plows each were running non-stop circuits trying to keep a runway or two open. More teams of de-icing vehicles sprayed down every inch of one plane after another. Stuff you know they do and don’t really think about until you NEED them to do it so you can get to Miami before a ship LEAVES WITHOUT YOU! We ended up taking off around 9am - only half an hour past the original departure time. Others later in the day were not as fortunate, so I am extremely thankful we booked an early flight a day in advance of our cruise.

 

Flying over Florida… the first beaches were spotted! SO HAPPY

 

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Our hotel reservation Friday night was for the Courtyard Marriott Miami Airport. They offered a complimentary hotel shuttle that supposedly ran every 15 minutes… 35 minutes later it finally came. The hotel was located in a gated compound of three Marriott hotels that all shared an outdoor area and pool.

 

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Our room wasn’t going to be ready for a couple of hours, so we grabbed lunch at Champions Sports Bar which was adjacent to the lobby. I had the fish tacos - Baja style in soft flour tortillas with shredded cabbage slaw, salsa, and lime ranch. Lots of flavor and very good. Would definitely order again. I don’t remember what DH had. I was still in a we-actually-made-it-to-Miami! mood and didn’t start taking notes until we were on the ship.

 

Dinner: There is a Cane Fire Grill which is a more upscale restaurant located in one of the other Marriott hotels - just across the pool/outdoor area. However, for convenience, we ate at the Champions Sports Bar again for dinner. This time I had the Miami Press sandwich - slow roasted pork, swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and mojo sauce. After my fish tacos at lunch I was expecting flavor and this was just really really bland and dry. Would not order again.

 

Our room was nice, clean, and overlooked the existing highway AND the construction on the nearby overpass - where there was a jackhammer running all. night. long. Thankfully we could barely hear it on the 10th floor with the fan running. From overhearing guests the next morning, others were not so happy. Hey - there were palm trees in the distance out our window - how could I not be happy?!

 

We too stayed at Compund De Marriott back in August. Funny you mention the overpass. We stayed at the Residence Inn so didn't hear noise but we did use the pool (a biit rundown IMO) and they were pile driving the whole time.

 

We also tried Champions for dinner and had good food and service. One in our group got the tacos as well.

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Rooms weren’t quite ready yet - so next up was a quick tour of the thermal spa area. We had a spa balcony room with thermal spa access for the week so it was great to have a look around and check things out. The couple on the tour with us did not have access and I believe the spa staff person said that it was $259/pp for the week and passes would probably sell out that day.

 

The view right over the captain’s level was great! Couldn't wait to be in this spot while at sea.

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I miss these stone loungers already…

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The hot tub and therapy pool.

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Loved that they provided water, fruit (usually small oranges), and tea!

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Sat for a minute to rest and enjoy the view.

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After our spa tour, our rooms were ready! We were in room 15144 on the port side just a couple of rooms forward of the forward elevators. My first thought was small compared to a hotel room on land, yes - but actually more spacious than I was expecting. Not sure I’d want to share one with a couple of our kids (messy teenagers) though!

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A bottle of sparkling something-or-other. Not sure if it is standard in a spa balcony room or if it was for our anniversary - but thank you NCL.

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Our bed was next to the balcony and we both found the bed was a good quality - firm enough not to hurt your back and soft enough to be comfortable.

 

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The balcony was great! Not something I’d want to cruise without. We enjoyed coffee and/or breakfast on the balcony a few times and it was a perfect place to see the ship coming into and leaving ports. There was ample storage for two people (and probably even more as there were shelves we never even used). Packing cubes were very helpful to put on the closet shelves. We also appreciated tips from other CC members regarding magnetic hooks for the metal walls to hang little things on (such as hats, sunglasses, lanyards, etc.) and over the door hooks (which we ended up putting on the shelf under our tv). These little things really helped keep the room in a semi-organized state.

 

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The bathroom: Next time we cruise I will bring something to hold small items in the bathroom. There are no drawers, just shelves. A bunch of little bottles and bags are kind-of a pain to deal with all week. We have a cruise booked on the Getaway this spring with our four kids who will be in the room next to us (ages 13-23) and I think I will also bring a hanging shoe organizer for over their bathroom door. We didn’t need one, but they are going to need all the organizational help they can get!! I'm going to start praying for their room steward now lol (and saving up for his or her much-deserved daily tips!). Also - in the shower - a bar for shaving legs would be really nice. Practically standing on one’s head with razor blades in hand on a moving ship - what could possibly go wrong?

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The spa balcony room came with a few upgraded amenities. There were two robes (I made use of mine all week, DH didn’t use his) and two pairs of slippers (which we didn’t see hiding in the corner of the closet under the robes until we were re-packing on the last day). In the bathroom there are small bottles of shampoo (OK), conditioner (adequate, but glad I brought a little of my own from home), and lotion (didn’t use) as well as a round bar of soap (didn’t use).

 

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In addition to these were the standard amenities in the bathroom. The hand soap in a wall dispenser was nice (and why we never used the bar of soap). There were also two dispensers in the shower - one with a combined shampoo/conditioner (would NOT work for my hair - I’d look like a Chia Pet all week with the humidity!) and body wash (does not lather/suds). For our next cruise in a non-spa cabin I will be bringing my own shampoo, conditioner, and maybe even body wash. DH doesn’t really care and will use whatever is there.

 

Anybody want to guess what wasn’t in our room?

 

That’s right - the scooter. UGH. A trip down to the Guest Services desk to inquire about it & they thankfully had it in a room right behind guest services and brought it out for us. SO, it ended up not being at either a kiosk or in our room. I’m pretty sure a scooter is a fairly common thing, but it seemed like a rare occurance to all the staff we encountered. Or maybe they think all cruisers know what they are doing and have dealt with this before… which obviously was not us. Ha!

 

Here it is in our room. We found that if we took the front basket off and pulled it straight in right up next to the counter/desk, then we could get the bathroom door to open fully. We could also easily get around it and out the main door into the hallway when we weren’t using it.

 

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Our room steward… some of our luggage arrived within an hour or so and our room steward, Bristol, briefly introduced himself. He was very nice and was obviously incredibly busy. The first day I left a little note asking if we could possibly have some ice, an extra pillow, and an extra bath towel. That night we had ice (and 2x per day every day after), two extra pillows and two extra bath towels (which we also had all week). Our room was always neat and clean. Cute towel animals made us smile when we came back each evening as well. Bristol was always friendly when we saw him in the hallway and courteously moved his cart for us to get the scooter by on a couple of occasions. He ended up being one of our “cruise hero’s” (I couldn’t pick just one person, so I filled out a few of the cards) and we greatly appreciated how hard he worked to make our stay enjoyable.

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Sail Away | We had amazing views from our port side balcony while leaving Miami! The Carnival Vista and another cruise ship headed out before we did.

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Hi, we are going on the March 10 Escape and I had a quick question: where can I buy those amazing metal magnetic hooks you bought, as any organizing help would be beneficial for 3 people in our family [emoji2] in one cabin! Awesome review so far, and hope to hear your reviews of the shows and ports of call. Cheers!

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

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“Hmm, what shall we do before dinner? Well, since The Doug Out’s home away from home is just a few (well, 7) floors below us… let’s go there.”

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While we are in no way cool like Doug and Sue - we did love the District Brewhouse. DH had a funky buddha hop-gun. He said the beer was good - but we are spoiled coming from “Beer City” where we have a multitude of microbreweries and amazing IPA’s. Ironically - I’m not a beer drinker at all - so I ordered their cannonball cocktail and it was very good. Would order again - and did so later in the week.

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Thank you to all who are following my rambling so far… Keith, Janine, dexddd, LSKC, LuCruise, skynyrd, fantasytraveler, offtopic, and Diane.

 

 

Dexddd - That photo of the pool area at the Marriott compound is as close as we got to it. That’s too bad that it was a bit run down when you were there. :(

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Hi, we are going on the March 10 Escape and I had a quick question: where can I buy those amazing metal magnetic hooks you bought, as any organizing help would be beneficial for 3 people in our family [emoji2] in one cabin! Awesome review so far, and hope to hear your reviews of the shows and ports of call. Cheers!

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

 

We got them on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y5Y9Y34/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

They were so useful and I'll be bringing all of them next time so the kids can have them in their room as well.

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Thank you for your review! We are sailing on the Escape in August and staying in a spa balcony room (15156), too! I hope that our bed is near the balcony, like yours was. I didn't know that we would have special toiletries! :) This will be my DH's first cruise, and I am going to have him read this as well. DS will be with us, same cabin, as well - he will be 25. We will make it work.

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Dinner at Savor | Kadek was our server. (In most cases, if I bothered to get the server’s name and record it in my phone -- we liked them!) We ordered three apps to share: Crab Wontons (amazing), Bruschetta (ok, a little blah), and a Crab Cake with shaved cucumber on top (The texture wasn’t bad - but wasn’t my favorite as the crab pieces were small and there was more filler than crab. The taste, however, was excellent - great sauce and the cucumber was a perfect compliment to the other flavors.). Would order the Wontons and the Crab Cake again. For entrees, DH and I both had the salmon over quinoa. It was good, but not very memorable. Would we order it again? Maybe - depending what else was on the menu.

 

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We ordered blueberry cheesecake to share for dessert. As mentioned in this forum - this is in no way real cheesecake… more like gelatinous (our descriptor for many of the desserts) pudding. My husband still liked it. I did not. Pudding that just so happens to hold it’s shape like jello Is. Not. Cheesecake.

 

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I photographed this thing so many times during the week, my DH started to just automatically stop here and wait for me.

 

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A note on wine: We like wine, but we aren’t wine snobs. We have had superior wines on occasion, but that isn’t the norm. It’s true that there are not as many by-the-glass options on the ship as one would like. However, the North & South Red Blend was quite good and became our go-to red wine for the week. I’d compare it to an Apothic Red that we like to have on hand at home. The Matua Sauvignon Blanc was our favorite white wine of the standard by-the-glass options.

 

After dinner drinks were at the Cellars Wine Bar. Beautifully decorated venue. It would be MUCH better with more comfortable seating though - no wonder people grab wine there to take with them instead of staying. There was never more than a person or two in there - there is only one normal-height table and the rest are high tops! High top tables are not comfy! It didn’t help that the servers seemed less than thrilled to serve (on at least 3 different occasions). Maybe because we asked for recommendations? Or because we were only ordering by-the-glass options covered by the UBP? We both had a glass of Matua Sauvignon Blanc - served nice and chilled.

 

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Next was a short walk on the Waterfront on deck 8. Amazing! The fact that you can just walk around and enjoy the sea without the craziness or volume level of the pool deck - or enjoy a meal & drinks there made this our favorite public space on the ship. It was always possible to find a chair or a couch to relax on - even on sea days when it was used by more passengers. It was also definitely a more enjoyable way to get from one end of the ship to the other instead of walking through the interior. We’re not writing off other cruise lines in the future, but having access to a deck like the Waterfront will weigh heavily on our future cruising choices.

 

Late night snack at O’Sheehans | We ordered nachos (not a hit - not a surprise from reading in advance about the cheese sauce) and spinach dip & chips (OK - ordered once more later in the week).

 

And our first towel animal. Love.

 

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Thank you for your review! We are sailing on the Escape in August and staying in a spa balcony room (15156), too! I hope that our bed is near the balcony, like yours was. I didn't know that we would have special toiletries! :) This will be my DH's first cruise, and I am going to have him read this as well. DS will be with us, same cabin, as well - he will be 25. We will make it work.

 

You are going to love it!

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Sunday | February 11th | Sea Day

 

Our bodies are programmed to wake up early due to work and school schedules… and mine apparently did not get the memo that we were on vacation and sleeping in was allowed. I fully intended to roll over and go back to sleep, but made the mistake of pulling the curtain aside and peeking outside. The sun was coming up and it was incredibly beautiful! Sunrises (and sunsets) are God’s specialty and I was going to enjoy it - so I grabbed the camera and made a quick cup of coffee to enjoy on the balcony.

 

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Breakfast at Taste | Our server was Idania again. Loved her. DH ordered a made-to-order omelet (good!) and I had the eggs benedict (very good! - kicking myself for not ordering it again that week). We also ordered French toast. It is more like slightly toasted pound cake. DH liked it, but I much prefer a version made with French bread, soaked in egg/milk/cinnamon mixture, and pan-fried.

 

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We went back to our end of the ship via the Waterfront and to our stateroom to change for the spa. You can’t help but relax in the spa, even when it is busy on a sea day. The therapy pool is nice and warm and deeper than I was expecting at about 4’ deep. Plus it is quiet, the whole place smells like eucalyptus, the stone loungers are as comfortable as people say they are, and the 180 degree views from the front of the ship are to die for.

 

Lunch at Savor | Jess was our server. We both ordered the caesar salad with salmon - very tasty. The chefs on this ship sure do love their salad dressing! Some would say (and I heard other guests actually saying…) that the salads are overdressed. In my opinion, what’s not to love as long as the dressing is yummy and the greens are still cold and crispy because it was dressed just prior to serving?

 

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We also ordered the popcorn shrimp to share. It came with one good aioli-type sauce and plain old ketchup. It was OK. We did jokingly wonder if they shop at Costco… because I’m pretty sure it was exactly what we had for Super Bowl snacks a few weeks prior. Wouldn’t order again amidst so many other options.

 

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For entrees, DH ordered the lamb dish (good) and I had the fish & chips. The fish was not great - pretty sure I’ve never had to chew fish like that before… and dig out my floss later. (Good thing I remembered to pack that!) The fries were hot and freshly done.

 

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Lunch cont… None of the desserts were something we wanted to try, so we ordered Mudslides at the Mixx bar on our way out. Better dessert option!

 

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FACE PALM! About this time I realized it was 1:30 and we had missed our noon CC meet & greet! :loudcry::loudcry::loudcry: I was looking forward to this and I should have had it written down or set an alarm on my phone!!! To the wonderful people who took the time to plan this event - we are so incredibly sorry for saying we would be there and then not showing up.

 

We walked back to our end of the ship via the Waterfront again,…

 

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...took a short lazy nap in our room, and changed into suits to go find some sun to soak up. We were hoping not to have to climb any stairs, but the forward portion of the ship was popular and SUPER WINDY. The very front area opposite of vibe was closed due to wind and all other available loungers on decks 18&19 were taken, so we headed up to deck 20. The rebellious fish drink I grabbed from the bar on deck 19 wasn’t a good call. The wind literally blew the drink out of the cup while I was carrying it! Lids would be helpful on windy days NCL!!! The sun was nice even with the gale-force winds. We are from the currently frigid North and will happily take our sun any way we can get it.

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Dinner at The Manhattan | Ralston from Jamaica was our server. I mentioned the wind earlier, and at this point the ship was starting to give little frequent lurches. I thought you weren’t supposed to feel movement much on these big ships! NOT TRUE. Ralston assured us that our slightly bobbing wine glasses were not a cause for alarm. He had, in the distant past, worked on a smaller NCL ship during a transatlantic crossing that had flipped the grand piano on it’s head. Truth or story? - not sure, but it was amusing and oddly calming. The Manhattan room is beautiful with the high ceilings and lighting.

 

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On to dinner… we both ordered cobb salads (good, but not memorable) as well as Thai spring rolls (good with very good dipping sauce) and Mozzarella ravioli with lobster sauce (also pretty good).

 

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DH ordered fried flounder for his entree and was underwhelmed with it.

 

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I had the Pacific broiled hake (white fish) which sadly was probably the worst thing I ate all week. It was like licking a salt block. Only ate a couple of bites. The pearl onions were yummy though. I never use them at home because who has an hour to peel a few baby onions???

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Dessert was after dinner mint mousse which we shared - very rich and quite good. The live music which started around the time our dessert came was enjoyable and not too loud even though our table was right on the dance floor.

 

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Really enjoying your review! Escape is one of our favorite ships so we are really enjoying your perspective plus all the great pics:cool:

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Enjoying your review so far! We will be on the Escape three weeks from today! Fellow Michigander here although now I live in Wisconsin. :)

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After Midnight Show | Definitely go see this! I truly hadn’t expected this kind of talent on a cruise ship. We arrived at the theater a little bit early - early enough to get seats high up & near the middle... and for the bar server that was walking around to take our order and bring me a Pina Colada. :)

 

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Now the ship at this point was MOVING. The little lurches from during dinner became bigger lurches and long, slow-pulling sways to the side. Maybe it was the Pina Colada mixed with the movement - but about an hour into the show I had watched the stage curtains sway unnaturally to the side and watched people’s heads all shift in unison like a synchronized bobblehead army one too many times. I started debating in my head if it would be more rude to walk in front of the people in our row to get out or to take the chance of losing my Pina Colada in the midst of fellow show-goers. I wasn’t so much feeling nauseated as I was feeling trapped, but I still went with option A and headed out. The talk in the hallway and restroom was “WOW this ship is moving.” and “I’ve been on a lot of ships and have never felt anything like this.” Not what a first time cruiser wants to hear people! I went back into the theater and decided just to stand in the back near where my husband had parked the scooter for the last few minutes of the show. I did hold on to the half-wall I was standing in front of rather tightly. The brave people were on the stage, DANCING and singing and not missing a beat. #impressed

 

After the show, we waited to let the crowds disperse because we knew there was no chance of getting a scooter on an elevator right afterwards. It was interesting walking down one side of the hallway and suddenly you are walking on the other side of the hallway - or walking forward and all of a sudden losing all of your forward inertia due to no effort of your own. So on our way back to hide in our rockin’ room, we get on an elevator with a dear couple that has at least a couple of decades on us… and where are they on their way to? In excited, amused voices they say “We’re going to the pool deck to watch the water slosh out of the pool!”. Alrighty-then. You just take your bad selves on up there and do that. We are still going to our room! :') All my drama aside - looking back it was not THAT bad. Disconcerting and a new experience? Yes. However, at no time was I in fear for our actual safety.

 

Look who was there to greet us in our room… he was obviously taking the tippy boat in stride, so I figured we should too.

 

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Not long after reaching our room, we turned the corner around the SouthEast part of Cuba and, magically, there was calm once again. Ahhhh.

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That boat was definitely moving more than I've ever had that first sea day, and I was in the aft of the boat for most of the day! Though I'm weird because I much preferred the big up and down movement instead of the subtler movements.

 

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

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Monday | February 12th | Falmouth, Jamaica

 

Obviously the sunrise the day before made quite the impression on my subconscious and I was awake bright and early again. So worth it.

 

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A few rain showers in the distance.

 

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An abandoned building project???

 

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The haze was lifing. It is going to be another gorgeous day!

 

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We made our way into port and the captain had us do a little 180 to back in.

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AND... the most stunning rainbow came into view!

 

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Wow. Beautiful shots... especially the one with the rainbow!

 

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk

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These guys waiting to tie the ship up were so funny! They were yelling at people on the ship (not in English) and then laughing hysterically at themselves. Would have loved a translator!

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This guy... enjoying a bite to eat in peace and quiet before passengers flood the cruise port. Made me think of 'the calm before the storm'.

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A shanty town???

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Hey fellow Michigan person! Enjoying your review very much. Know what you mean about our beer in Michigan!

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Breakfast at O’Sheehans | Marcos was our server. We both had omelets (good) and hashbrowns (so good). We also tried their pastry basket. The little sweet pastries were fine, but we really liked the butter croissants. From then on we asked for just croissants sans the other pastries. I shudder to think how many of those I ate throughout the week!

 

We went off the boat and walked around the enclosed cruise port area for a bit. It was nice for DH to be able to take the scooter off the boat to get around in the port area. Considering the travel advisories and DH’s mobility challenges, we didn’t venture further than that. The cruise port was clean and nice to walk around, but this port probably would not be on our list to visit on future cruises.

 

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