As a previous reviewer stated the Norwegian Cruise Liner Escape was offering “taster” nights on board, my sister and I went on one of these last month. The ship is certainly impressive. The beautiful murals on the bow (painted by Guy Harvey) look lovely and when the ship is in warmer water it will obviously look stunning. Even in the grey of a Southampton October it was striking.
The on board check in was quick and efficient and all the staff we met were very friendly and helpful (although some of them had the strangest uniforms, a sort of jogging suit which made us wonder if they were waiters or fitness instructors). We had an outside cabin with balcony and this was bigger than we had expected. The bathroom was a reasonable size and there was plenty of places to put our toiletries After dumping our bags we set off to explore.
This ship is huge! I loved the very clever pattern on the carpets – they had little fish heading to the front of the ship so you always knew which way you were going. The lift areas were always crowded and we opted for the stairs mainly. The décor is great but I wonder why cruise liners always decorate their inner passageways in brown? If I was decorating an area that had no natural light I would make it as light and cheery as I could.
We felt (in the interests of reviewing, of course) that we should sample all the bars and enjoyed a cocktail in the Atrium bar, Pincho Tapas Bar, The Cellars Wine Bar and the wonderfully named “5 ‘O’ Clock Somewhere” Bar. (We stopped our cocktail research then due to the fact that we wanted to remember our night at sea and not get too intimate with the toilet bowl!) Needless to say there are plenty of bars (22 I believe). There are touch screens throughout the ship on which you should have been able to book your dinner reservation. Unfortunately these didn’t seem to be working but we decided to go for an early dinner and went straight into the “Savor” restaurant. The service was impeccable and the food delicious. Wine was a little costly, but in retrospect was probably no more expensive than a restaurant in London. We had obviously made a good decision to eat early as when we left the restaurant there was a long queue and lots of people moaning.
One thing we didn’t like was that each bill we signed had a service charged added but then there was a space for us to add an additional tip! This applied even to drinks we bought at the bar.
We headed off to the Playhouse and watched a production of “Million Dollar Quartet”. I had seen this in the West End and the production on the ship was every bit as good. An excellent, talented cast and we were pleasantly surprised as our past experience of ship entertainment has not been great. Another quick cocktail to round off the evening and off to our nice cabin. (We could have stayed up all night, there are a lot of things to do on board but for that we would have needed to be younger and have downed less cocktails!!)
Next morning breakfast was very good. Even though the main breakfast restaurant, The Garden Cafe, was heaving with people, the staff seemed to manage to keep up with the enormous demand.
So has our taster night made us want to book a cruise on the Escape? We are still unsure. Yes, it is a beautiful ship, the food is excellent, the entertainment was excellent and the staff were friendly but it is, basically, like being locked in a luxury hotel! As someone who likes to wander out of the hotel and investigate neighbouring streets when I am holiday, I think I might find being on a cruise for too long quite claustrophobic. However, if you love cruises – Escape is definitely one to consider!