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Escape vs. Gem - Which Would You Choose?

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There are two cruises out of NYC with the same exact itinerary on the Gem and Escape. One leaves on a Saturday and the other on a Sunday.

 

If you had to choose, which would you pick?

 

The prices are similar enough that paying a bit more for the Escape isn't a deterrent.

 

I have been on both the Gem and the Jewel several years ago already but I've never been on a "mega" NCL ship.

 

The trip will be for my boyfriend and myself (30). We aren't huge drinkers but like to go to the free shows and entertainment.

 

Thank you in advance for your advice :)

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I’d do the Escape, and the Gem in my favorite ship (also really liked the Jewel). I did enjoy the Breakaway, but now I know I prefer smaller ships. However, my teens preferred the Breakaway.

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I would do the Escape simply because there is so much more to do on the ship. Sailing from NYC, you are going to have at least two or three sea days and there will be plenty of options to fill your time. Even if you aren't big drinkers, the beer and wine bars can be great places to spend time. Plus, there are multiple places to hear music each evening, including Howl at the Moon which can be a lot of fun.

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I’ve also been on both. Each had their own benefits but overall I’d probably pick the Escape. If it had a Great Outdoors and a Spinnaker it’d be near perfection.

 

 

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My husband and I sailed the Escape 1x and Getaway 2x. They're both megaships, and sister ships, IIRC. We love the Escape and are indifferent on the Getaway. The Escape offers more to do. Him and I are drinkers and we really love the whiskey bar and the craft beer bar on the Escape.

 

When narrowing it down, I'll always pick the newer ship. The Gem was made back in 2007, and the Escape was launched in 2015.

 

 

Anyway, good luck choosing. I just booked the Escape for the March 24th sailing. So excited.

Edited by allyfrizzle

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I have only sailed on two NCL ships so far and they just happen to be the Escape and the Gem. I definitely preferred the Escape. The pros of the Gem were:

  • Better live entertainment (live music and such, not main shows)
  • Spinnaker Lounge (MUCH better venue for game shows and the like, which they do in the Atrium on the Escape)
  • The strip of bars and live entertainment venue by Magnum's

But after that, the Escape was better in every way:

  • Much larger Cafe with more stations open more hours
  • District Brew House
  • Larger, more updated balcony cabins
  • Better bathroom layout in balcony cabins
  • More venues and things to do on board
  • Larger, better, more updated casino
  • Food Republic
  • No lines/waiting for the MDRs

I am sure there is a lot more I am forgetting. We agreed that we would go on the Gem or another Jewel class ship in the future if pricing and itinerary made sense, but our preference is going to be for the Breakaway and Breakaway Plus class ships moving forward.

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Personally, I would pick the Gem, since I have been on both, and I love the feel of the smaller ships. But it really depends on a couple of things. Mainly, do you want to try a megaship? If so, this might be a good time. The Escape is my favorite of the megaships. It really is a lovely ship with a lot to do, so this itinerary would be a good chance to check it out. Do you enjoy Broadway-style productions? The shows really are in another class, compared to the entertainment on the smaller ships.

 

But if you know yourself, and you know that you really prefer the ambiance of a smaller ship, with more personalized service and a much less crowded feel, then there is no need to try the newer ships. You already said you aren't big drinkers, so the District won't be a big draw for you. Do you like a lot of physical activities, like a ropes course, rock climbing and big waterslides?

 

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Escape is newer and has more bells and whistles, I'd go with that option if price/itinerary are comparable.

 

we alternate between superships and smaller ones every other cruise or so. we have a blast on any ship we are on.

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I’ve also been on both. Each had their own benefits but overall I’d probably pick the Escape. If it had a Great Outdoors and a Spinnaker it’d be near perfection.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

This was my mine and my wife's sentiment as well. We really did miss both places, as we spent at lot of our time there when we sailed the Gem.

 

 

The only thing I didn't like about the Escape, and it is a good problem to have, was I felt like I missed out on things, because there was so much to do. There were a few performers we didn't get to see, just because we didn't have enough time. Where on the Gem, we were able to see all the shows and performers at least once.

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I would recommend sailing the mega NCL ship at least once, to experience it and see if it's a good mix for both of you - given your cruise history on other lines & on NCL. We prefer the mid-sized Jewel/Gem class ships and the Dawn is doing a homecoming next year - we missed that "old"ship (last sailed her in 2005, NYC was homeport then.)

 

Unlike the mega-sized ships, the average staterooms are bigger & feel roomier on the "older" ships but the mega ones have a better bathroom layout ... except, we don't sleep & spend a great deal of time in there daily. Ditto against the micro-balcony on the new ships, unless you "up-sized" them.

 

Basic dining are nearly the same for both ships, the advantage for the Escape is the more variety for premium, upscale $$ specialty options - but, we don't cruise for fresh seafood & cold water lobsters on a ship. Just a few elements in evaluating one's odds of likings for these ships.

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There are two cruises out of NYC with the same exact itinerary on the Gem and Escape. One leaves on a Saturday and the other on a Sunday.

 

If you had to choose, which would you pick?

 

The prices are similar enough that paying a bit more for the Escape isn't a deterrent.

 

I have been on both the Gem and the Jewel several years ago already but I've never been on a "mega" NCL ship.

 

The trip will be for my boyfriend and myself (30). We aren't huge drinkers but like to go to the free shows and entertainment.

 

Thank you in advance for your advice :)

 

 

We were on the Gem 3 times and are thinking about the Escape in January . Our TA got us 8 free specialty dining meals for an OV cabin .

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I sailed on the Gem twice. Perfect no frills, very relaxed vibe, no crowds. I sailed on the Escape this past May and was wowed!!

I would love to sail on the Escape again.

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Haven't been on the Gem but have been on a sister ship, the Pearl once, the Getaway three times and Escape twice. I like the mid-sized ships better for overall cruising. Having said that, if I had 4 sea days I would choose the larger ships because there is more to do at sea and more dining and entertainment options.

 

 

BTW, last August on the Pearl to Alaska, had the best entertainment ever with Tim Kiminski, Jim Badger, the cruise director and the magician (forgot their names).

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I reommend Escape which offers much more entertainment! I have affinity group going w/pre paid gratuities and bev pkge or dining pkge with all service fees/tips. You are welcome to join in on our perks. Here is itinerary:

 

Sunday, January 20 New York (Manhattan), NY 3:00pm

Monday, January 21 At Sea

Tuesday, January 22 At Sea

Wednesday, January 23 San Juan, Puerto Rico 3:00pm 10:00pm

Thursday, January 24 St. Maarten 10:00am 7:00pm

Friday, January 25 Tortola, British Virgin Islands 8:00am 5:00pm

Saturday, January 26 St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 8:00am 5:00pm

Sunday, January 27 Roseau, Dominica 9:00am 5:00pm

Monday, January 28 St. Lucia 8:00am 5:00pm

Tuesday, January 29 Barbados 8:00am 5:00pm

Wednesday, January 30 St. Kitts 11:00am 6:00pm

Thursday, January 31 At Sea

Friday, February 1 At Sea

Saturday, February 2 At Sea

Sunday, February 3 New York (Manhattan), NY 8:00am

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I was on the Escape in June and the Gem in August. I have to say I prefer the Gem. The staff was amazing. Felt like by the middle of the cruise I spoke to and met a lot of the staff even the captain. Was always able to get a seat in the atrium for trivia and other games. Never had to wait inline and the shows were much better. If you need the rope coarse and many bars then go with the Escape. If you want a cruise where you do not have to rush around and fight crowds with a great staff then pick the Gem.

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I was on the Escape in June and the Gem in August. I have to say I prefer the Gem. The staff was amazing. Felt like by the middle of the cruise I spoke to and met a lot of the staff even the captain. Was always able to get a seat in the atrium for trivia and other games. Never had to wait inline and the shows were much better. If you need the rope coarse and many bars then go with the Escape. If you want a cruise where you do not have to rush around and fight crowds with a great staff then pick the Gem.

 

Funny we had such opposite experiences. I think maybe it comes down to how full a ship is when sailing. I was on the Escape last February and had no problems booking reservations on board (didn't pre-book anything for that cruise), never had trouble getting a seat at the MDRs or the Garden Cafe, but did have some trouble getting seats in the Atrium for the gameshow events.

 

On the Gem in June, the line for the MDRs started forming more than a half hour before they opened for dinner and they remained all evening, often causing issues with access to elevators. There were MANY times when one of us would have to snag a table that opened up in the Cafe and sit and wait for the other to get their food and eat in shifts. We tried booking dinner reservations the first day on the ship and the best time we could get for Moderno was 9:00 pm on Friday! Trivia in the Atrium was literally standing room only... people were using pillars for writing surfaces. I mean that ship was PACKED and I don't think it was set up nearly as well for handling being packed as the Escape is. Certainly, the traffic through the public areas of the ship couldn't/didn't flow as smoothly because of the layout of the halls and access points.

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My choice would be the Gem.

 

I am not a huge fan of the Breakaway Plus design... it seems to funnel everyone towards the middle of decks 6-8.

 

I like the Jewel Class layouts better, and it seems to me to be a bit easier to get around, having three banks of elevators rather than two.

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I reommend Escape which offers much more entertainment! I have affinity group going w/pre paid gratuities and bev pkge or dining pkge with all service fees/tips. You are welcome to join in on our perks. Here is itinerary:

 

Sunday, January 20 New York (Manhattan), NY 3:00pm

Monday, January 21 At Sea

Tuesday, January 22 At Sea

Wednesday, January 23 San Juan, Puerto Rico 3:00pm 10:00pm

Thursday, January 24 St. Maarten 10:00am 7:00pm

Friday, January 25 Tortola, British Virgin Islands 8:00am 5:00pm

Saturday, January 26 St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 8:00am 5:00pm

Sunday, January 27 Roseau, Dominica 9:00am 5:00pm

Monday, January 28 St. Lucia 8:00am 5:00pm

Tuesday, January 29 Barbados 8:00am 5:00pm

Wednesday, January 30 St. Kitts 11:00am 6:00pm

Thursday, January 31 At Sea

Friday, February 1 At Sea

Saturday, February 2 At Sea

Sunday, February 3 New York (Manhattan), NY 8:00am

 

I was on the Gem this past January... the ride back was pretty s l o w ... not enough to do, particularly the last two days when the temperatures were too low to spend any time poolside. The sea was pretty rough and we felt it. That was last year's weather... but you'll have sea days to fill without the anticipation of the beginning of the trip.

 

It was much better than being at home! But I would opt for the bigger ship.

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I have group sailing on Jan 20 Escape and anyone interested in this sailing can join in and get open bar w/all service charges and prepaid shipboard gratuities. I sailed on Escape in May and found it a lot more fun then Gem for nightlife and things to do. Never bored!

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