For sailing that falls in the mid-market price range, the NCL Escape has much to offer, including restaurant-quality dining and impressive shows.
Savor good food. With more than 20 places to eat, the Escape gives passengers options. Unlike many other ships and lines with specialty dining offerings, the Escape features restaurant-quality cuisine in its 3 “complimentary” (meals included in the cruise fare) dining rooms and at some of its specialty restaurants, especially Bayamo, Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Latin-inspired specialty restaurant. Other popular choices: Food Republic, the Asian fusion eatery; Pincho Tapas Bar, Garces’ Spanish small plates venue; and Cagney’s Steakhouse.
Enjoy topnotch entertainment. The Escape raises the bar for cruise-based entertainment by offering some enjoyable shows for free and for an extra fee. In “After Midnight,” an adaptation of the award-winning Broadway musical about Harlem’s Cotton Club, the performers belted out big band and jazz songs and swung into exuberant tap, soft shoe and other dance routines. On our sailing, at the Supper Club, Tony-nominated Brenda Braxton, backed by a quartet, expertly intermingled Broadway tunes, ballads and standards with biographical anecdotes. She is currently not performing on the ship, but we expect NCL will book equally impressive talent.
Relax by the waterfront. On the Escape, NCL improved its wrap-around walking deck by making it a place to eat, drink and hang out. Several bars open to the sea views and some of the restaurants offer al fresco dining. Along the walkway, wicker settees with comfortable cushions make enjoying the sea views even more pleasant.
Take advantage of Free at Sea deals. Without a package, specialty dining can be costly. At Bayamo we ordered chilled lobster salad, sea bass ceviche, black cod with squid ink glaze and Wagyu sirloin with salsa. Our dinner for two without wine totaled $80 plus an 18% gratuity. But we paid only the tip because, while booking our voyage, we selected specialty dining at four restaurants as part of Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion. Promotions vary with the sailing and the NCL ship. Past Free at Sea options have included choices of unlimited bar; free specialty dining for three meals on 5 to 9-night cruises and four meals on 10+ night cruises; free pre-paid service charges, and free Wi-Fi up to 250 minutes.
Information: NCL Escape sails from Miami, offering primarily 7-night Eastern Caribbean voyages to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas, as well as some 7-night Western Caribbean voyages to Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico in summer 2017. Fares vary based on sail date, generally starting at about $599 per person, double occupancy, for an inside stateroom to $2,999 per person, double occupancy, for The Haven, a private area with its own courtyard, pool, sundeck, hot tubs, lounge and restaurant.