Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Review

Norwegian Cruise Line's Newest Ship, Norwegian Escape, sails seven-night cruises to the eastern Caribbean, with ports stops in St. Thomas, USVI: Tortola, BVI; and Nassau, Bahamas

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Ships > NCL > Norwegian Getaway > Review

Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Review

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norwegian escape alongside tortola

Cruise Duration: 7-nights     When: February 8-15, 2014
Where to: St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau


About The Ship
Embarkation day Stateroom
Special Events Pool Area
Food Spa
Entertainment Sports Area
Service Summary


Getaway Dailies and other handouts from the Inaugural Cruise

Spa Service Menu


About us:

We are two middle-age adults, long-time southwest Florida residents, married with grown children, and traveling alone. We’ve sailed a combined twenty-three (23) times with various cruise lines including: Carnival, Celebrity, NCL, Princess, and RCCL. One of us prefers a smaller ship and cruises for the serenity. The other prefers bigger ships for the extra amenities and cruises for the party. All of our cruises have been to the Caribbean, traveling as far south as Trinidad.  

About the cruise vacation purchase:

We booked our cruise vacation using the website approximately 75 days in advance. We chose this cruise to experience a new ship and be part of the inaugural Caribbean cruise festivities. We received a Florida resident discount along with a Latitudes member discount. We purchased a balcony stateroom guarantee for $949.00 per person (pp).  About four weeks after we received our cabin assignment we noticed fares went down $100.00 pp and the shipboard credit increased by $25.00 pp. We contacted NCL about the deal and they gave us a three category upgrade and the additional onboard credit. If you have a good travel agent they'll follow the fares and get that upgrade for you. If you book yourself, download a fare watcher app or do it the old-fashioned way and check your cruise company website every few days to look for deals.


Overall score gold stargold stargold stargold star gold star5 out of 5 stars

We live about three hours northwest of Miami and drove to the port the morning of the cruise, leaving our house around 8:30 a.m. for a 4 p.m. sail away. We arrived at the port on-time with no glitches or headaches and parked in Garage C. Rates start at $20.00 per day or $140.00 for the week. You can pay with cash or a credit card on the way out after your cruise. Finding the terminal was easy and quick. There were no lines at the check-in counter or at security. We waited only a few minutes to board the ship after we were checked in and our  cabin was ready for us by 11:30 a.m. We grabbed lunch at the Garden Café and then took a tour of the ship before the mandatory 3:30 pm safety drill. We sailed from Miami at 4 p.m. - right on schedule.

Special Events during the Inaugural Cruise

Geoffrey Zakarian was onboard to celebrate Ocean Blue. He hosted a Q&A session in the Atrium along with a book signing. He also gave a cooking demonstration in the theater.

• The artist, David LeBatard, better known as LEBO, was onboard to work on the ship art and gave a painting demonstration at the Garden Café.  More about LEBO

• Helicopters buzzed the ship in St. Thomas and Nassau. One of the helicopters came awful close to the ship and stayed there for a bit. I couldn't help wondering about what if an accident happened and it crashed near or on the ship. Would the blades cause a breach? Would a fire spread? Where will the shrapnel go?  I'm sure the Captain is not a fan of the practice. We suspect NCL was filming for promotional videos and such. Why did they need to be so close?

The Ship

Overall score gold stargold stargold stargold star 4 out of 5 stars

The Norwegian Getaway is big and beautiful. She carries about 4,000 passengers, 1,600 crew, and comes in at 144,000 GRT. She sailed smoothly and we rarely felt a rocking motion. Seas were never more than five feet and the good weather lasted our entire cruise.

There are two elevator lifts, each with six elevators. One lift is located mid-aft and one is located mid-forward. There are no atrium lifts so all traffic heading to the atrium must use one of the two main locations. If you're located all the way aft or forward, put your walking shoes on. 

Maneuvering the ship was very easy and we never got lost or turned around looking for the public rooms. The Getaway is decorated with warm earth tones and all the public rooms are comfortable on the eyes. You won't find glitz on this ship other than the Atrium chandelier.

Ship features include: the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides, including twin Free Fall slides; a three-story sports complex that includes the largest ropes course at sea, walk the plank, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and more; a unique Waterfront promenade reminiscent of a beach-side pier with intimate cafés and boutique shops; 17 meal options to choose from. For the kids, the ship features Splash Academy located forward on deck 12 and a Nickelodeon-themed Kids' Aqua Park located midship on deck 12. 


insider tip
Shipdetective Tip
vibe beach clubVibe Beach Club - Space is limited.
Inquire as soon as you get on the ship before space sells out.  See rates



Overall score gold stargold stargold stargold star gold star5 out of 5 stars

Our forward standard balcony located on Deck 12 was well appointed. The tan carpet with pretty swirls caught my eye immediately. The room decoration is easy on the eye and the space felt warm and cozy. Getaway rooms use the inserted our key-card to activate room lights. The vanity area/wet bar featured a large mirror, hair-dryer, a cubed storage container  doubling as a seat for the vanity, two electrical outlets, a one-cup coffee maker along with the usual ice-bucket and drink set-up. We had plenty of shelf space both in the sleeping area, the closet, and the bathroom, but there were no drawers. The closet space was generous with four large shelves and room for shoes on the floor. The sliding doors were easy to open and they close shut on their own as they near the end of the track. However, the closet location is in a horrible place - right next to the bed. I'm a fairly petite person and didn't have trouble getting in and out of bed, but to maneuver clothes and shoes in and out was a real pain sometimes. You can't reach through the closet very far so most of the time you must close one side to get to the other. The balcony is small, but NCL is known for having smaller balconies and the size didn't surprise us. It's enough space for two. 

insider tip
Shipdetective Tip
fish point forwardNCL makes it easy for passengers to know which way to go. Just step outside your cabin and look for the fish printed on the hallway carpet. The fish always swim forward.


Pool Area

Overall score gold stargold star 2 out of 5 stars

You will find the pool area located midships on deck 15 and includes the main pool, the kids splash pool, and a lap pool located next to the splash pool. The main pool area features four hot-tubs, two bars, and a bandstand. The band performed live music in the late mornings and early evenings. The lap pool was tucked away off to the side and we rarely saw anyone using it. We were a tad disappointed with the layout of the pool deck space. The area seemed small for 4,000 passengers. There was no real space between the pool and the bandstand to dance or play games and there was no space between deck chairs on the sun decks. We didn't like the running track where it is located on deck 16. It circles around the water slides and the Flamingo Grill. Runners and walkers had to compete with other passengers for space, especially at the entrance to Flamingo.


insider tip
Shipdetective Tip
If you have kids attending Splash Academy, book a forward or midship cabin on Deck 12.


Sports Deck

Overall score gold stargold star gold stargold star4 out of 5 stars

The Norwegian Getaway features a ropes course, a nine-hole mini golf-course, rock climbing wall, five waterslides, and you can walk the plank that extends over the side of the ship. We didn't see much action on the ropes course or the plank but the waterslides, basketball court, rock-climbing wall, and mini golf-course stayed busy.


Overall score gold stargold stargold stargold star 4 out of 5 stars

The Garden Café buffet offers a wide variety of foods although the variety doesn't change much throughout the week. The food was consistently good and the café offers plenty of seating. The pizza station and dessert station were big hits. We did experience a problem with the water dispensers located just outside the Garden Café after the first day of the cruise. They shut down the dispensers after crew members worked long and hard to get the thing working with no success. Only one water dispenser on each side of the café was working and we had to compete with diners all week to keep our Tervis water bottle filled.

Dining Room
Savor, Taste, and the Tropicana Room offer about the same menu. We ate at Savor the first night and preferred this venue over Taste. Savor was just a little better the night we went compared to Taste. At the Tropicana Room, staff were still working out the kinks. Food was good but service was marginal. 

Specialty Restaurants
We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants. There was plenty available in the complimentary restaurants to try. Our next cruise on the Getaway will include visits to the Brazilian Steakhouse and Le Bistro.


insider tip
Shipdetective Tip
norwegian getaway kiosk
Self-service kiosks are located on every deck near the elevators. Use the kiosk to book appointments, shows and excursions.


Overall score gold stargold stargold star gold star4 out of 5 stars

There's more than enough to do on the ship day and night. You may actually run out of time on a week cruise to do all the things you want to do. Note: You must book all shows in advance.

Must see FREE entertainment:

• Shows - Legally Blonde®, Burn the Floor®, Levitt Comedy Group®, Grammy Experience®, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, and Dancing With The Getaway Stars

• Dance - Norwegian's Night Out (formal night) 80's Party and Fireworks Show, and the GLOW Party (formerly the White/Hot Party).

Recommended paid entertainment: Illussionarium®, and Wine Lover's Musical®


insider tip
Shipdetective Tip

Mandera Spa Thermal Suite package includes use of the hot tubs, vitality pool, steam rooms and a dry sauna.  See rates here



Overall, service was good. Sometimes exceptional and sometimes just average. The dining room staff was just average and service was marginal a few times. I believe specialty dining perpetuates average food and service in the complimentary dining rooms. Long gone are the  personal touches that encourage us to want to rarely miss a meal in the main dining room. We received great service from Guest Services, but the Latitudes representative was unhelpful. With the exception of a few, the staff provided excellent service throughout the cruise, especially our cabin steward, Michael.

Port Destinations

We didn't have anything planned in advance. We've been to all three destinations numerous times and were looking to take it easy on this trip. We did want to see both sides of St. Maarten again so we hired a taxi for a 3.5 hour tour. We were lucky to find our driver, Orlando, standing near the entrance to the welcome center.  He was the first driver we spoke with and as it turned out, we picked the right guy. Orlando was very knowledgeable about everything and he graciously put up with our constant barrage of questions. We recommend you consider booking a tour with Orlando if you're interested in taking a private taxi tour of the island. Four adults fit comfortably in his car but he also has a van. You can email him in advance of your trip to schedule a tour. Email Orlando at:

We took pictures and shopped in St. Thomas and did nothing in Nassau. We wanted to spend our last day of the cruise enjoying the ship and the scenery.


The Norwegian Getaway will appeal to all types of cruisers. The ship is pretty to look at from the inside out. The hull art is beautiful and tasteful. The Interior rooms are easy on the eyes, decorated in dark woods and earth tones. The studio cabins make single cruising comfortably affordable. Parents will appreciate the Splash Academy facilities and the many activities offered for kids of all ages. Young adults will enjoy the sports court, deck parties at Spice H2O, and the Bliss Lounge nightclub. Other entertainment options include first-rate stage shows and comedy shows along with trivia games, dance classes, bingo, Jeopardy, and more. The staff goes out of their way to make things fun and we appreciate that about NCL. Overall the cruise was everything we expected and more and look forward to sailing on her again.


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