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F27TW

Hurricane Dorian on Escape 9/1-9/8 Bermuda

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Our very first time on Norwegian!   We are two (likely former!) Royal Caribbean guys.     8 cruises with RC and while we enjoyed each trip  on them, we needed a change.  Everything was starting the feel and look the same on RC, if that makes any sense.    We took a 2 year hiatus from cruising and did land trips.   We had been hearing so many great things about Norwegian from family and friends that when we decided a cruise was in order for this year, we booked the 9/1 sailing out of NYC on Escape .. a 7 day to Bermuda.   Yes .. hurricane season.  
I'm not doing this as a full trip report .. just gonna jump around randomly and mention our thoughts and experiences .. with a few pix thrown in.

 

We were booked in Cabin 10112 .. Deck 10 port side .. .WAY forward .. like 4 cabins from the front.   I knew it would mean more motion if the seas got rocky once we hit the hurricane (which i was sure we would), but the worst part was the lonnnnnnnng walk.   Everything is far away from this area of the ship .. the elevators, the bars, the stairwells .. everything.   Next time i'll definitely be sure we do a mid-ship or a cabin more toward the rear, as it seems like most everything is back that way.     


Thought it was weird .. we never once saw our cabin steward.   Everything got done .. and the cabin was spotless each day .. but it was odd not to have met the cabin steward even once.


Dinner first night was at O'Sheehans.   Sorry, but this place SUCKS!     My hub insisted we try it twice more during the week for lunch and it was awful.    The service was so bad .. apps forgotten about .. or brought out well after the main course    The first night, they had a Prime Rib special.   It was the worst, nastiest leftover roast (probably from days before) ... even the baked potatoes they served were old and reheated.   You can always tell when beef or potatoes are re-heats ... and this measly, gristly portion was shoe leather.    Ditsy servers, crowded and everyone around us unhappy with what they were getting.. after 2 more misses there, I said "thats enough".   It sucked.   Even the wings were horrible and how do you mess up wings ??  But thankfully all the other food venues we tried were the complete opposite.    


Dinner at Moderno, the Brasilian churrascaria the next night.  impressed, but not wow-ed  Loved the salad bar and the variety of the meats they came around slicing up for you.  But the chicken was kinda dry and way over-garlicked and it seemed to take a while for the Filipino gaucho boys (which we kinda got a chuckle out of)  to make the rounds.  One of them got a little testy when i asked if he had a more medium portion of the rare beef roast .. i heard a definite sigh ..   LOL.   Maybe we were just not really int he mood that night.   Just be hungry enough when you come here .. its not a light meal!


La Cucina also great .. service was terrific .. pasta dishes incredible (the pizza was kinda "Meh" and arrived cool), but the server, the wine, the view .. it was tough not to enjoy the experience.

 

Bayamo was probably my favorite of the 3 specialty restaurants.   Hub got the Shrimp Cocktail (4-enormous- fresh delicious shrimps) and I got the crabcake.   Absolutely delicious. We both got the Lobster Tail and Filet.     They make it clear (in the nicest way possible, of course) that if you're using a meal package you can get a max of four courses ... including dessert.    Which is still plenty.    The dessert I had that night was a chocolate mousse cake topped w/ganache and salted popcorn.   Don't miss it if you go!   


We were also very pleasantly surprised the nights we ate in the main dining rooms.    Savor and Taste.   We couldnt get into the Manhattan Room the night we wanted to because of a private function, but we loved the service and meals in Savor and Taste.   This is where NCL really kills RCCL... the MDR food.    RC has become very mediocre the past several years in the MDR ... harried, frazzled, overworked servers ... repetitious menus, lukewarm food .. of not great quality.   And the high pressure from the servers for good reviews  .. that was REAL strong the last 2 or 3  times we were on RC.   NCL's dining room teams  couldn't have been better.  So friendly, couldn't do enough to make their guests happy .. and the food was so good that we wouldn't probably bother with the specialty restaurants next time.    We asked the server teams in these 2 free dining rooms for the comment cards they turn in so we could fill them out for them.   These women were that good.  TingTing Li, Sheila and Minerva .. amazing service!


 Even the buffet up on Deck 16 was a huge improvement over the RC Windjammer.  Quality was amazing and we never had a problem finding a table.


The best kept secret, however was that Margaritaville serves breakfast free!   I'd never pay the $15 cover charge they want for a stupid burger at other times of day .. but the breakfast buffet in there is fantastic.   Almost all the options of the main buffet (ncluding THE best French Toast i've ever had .. anywhere .. buttery, custardy, crispy.. it was amazing!!).. sausages, hash browns, fruits, pastries, cereals, breakfast sandwiches .. and best of all .. cooked to order eggs and omelets!   Hardly anyone seemed to know about this spot for breakfast, but we ate here literally every AM.   Highly recommend it .. quiet, amazing food and a beautiful view.


I started a little drama on here a few weeks back before the cruise asking in another topic what the smuggling climate (Rum Runner flasks) was like on NCL and if bringing your own wine on board (the usual 2 bottles) was allowed.    Well, you'd think I kicked a sick kitten down a flight of stairs with some of the responses I got on here!  I got told off by everyone!   Listen .. I just like to have a little extra in the room for a cocktail without having to go to a bar.    We did get the standard bar package and it was great.   There are bars i swear every 20 feet on this ship!    We never waited once all week .. even on the sea days.   These are some hard working bartenders.   Basic package even covered Grey Goose . so for us, no need for any package higher than what we got. 


Decided against the Rum Runner flask (because I couldn't find it the morning we were leaving!)  …  but took 2  bottles of wine with me instead .. in my carry-on .. fully intending and willing to pay the $15 per bottle "corkage" charge.   We got dropped off … and apparently at the curb, I had put my carry on down too hard .. because as we had just gotten in the line for security inside the pier .. I smelled wine.    I looked down and saw red wine pouring down my leg, onto my new white sneakers … so I ran outside so as not to destroy their carpet … and discovered both bottles had cracked and dumped their contents into my carry on!     Everything in that duffel was swimming in red wine.   Cruise documents soaked and dyed purple … my Kindle destroyed.    So I dumped the entire duffelbag .. broken bottles and all right into the trash outside at the curb.   I'll bet if you go there today, you'll still see a wine stain right there in the pavement!     I actually never saw where they nab you and make you pay the corkage fee .. but by then I was still steaming over the mess I made, so I prob. just didn't notice.    I had that stale nasty wine smell stuck in my nose all afternoon from that point on and I'm sure anyone who came near me thought i was a damn win-o!   


Got on board by 11:30 and started exploring.   This is a huge ship, but very easy to learn.  Our cabins were ready at about 1:30 and luggage was delivered by 6:00.   No complaints there.  We were told to go immediately to Headliners Comedy club to score spots in The Vibe (a more private deck area), but it was already sold out.


Loved the Spice H20 area at the back on Deck 17.   Hub found it because its one of the places he was allowed to smoke, but its such a cool tranquil (no kids or loud music) atmosphere back there.   But the best feature of Spice H20 was the Water Grotto!    A wind-y cave structure with gentle waterfalls and mist coming down from overhead .. u can splash around in there or sit on the sides on the "rocks".   Loved this place .. perfect place to cool off without going to the madness of the pool area.  


Bermuda was blazing, blazing, nasty  hot.   We got off at 9AM on that first day and it already had to be 90.    Love the island and love that big groovy pink catamaran ferry NCL runs for free over to St George's a few times a day from right next to the ship.    Its a very nice 45 minute ride over to the other side of the island.   Here's a tip:  get on the pink ferry and go right upstairs.   The lower boarding deck is crammed with small coach airplane seats .. hundreds of them squashed in down there like 25 abreast ... about as comfortable and tight as a Spirit Airlines plane!    But ... upstairs is a very comfy "first class" cabin.   No charge, you just have to know to come up here.   Huge 2x2x2 first class sized seats and a fraction of the people .. definitely head upstairs!    We even saw a couple "make use of" one of the bathrooms up there (if you know what i mean)  .. they were a little obvious about it too ...  Euwwwww!   Lol


We did the Clearwater Beach shore excursion package (kinda rip off at $125 each) but was still a nice day overall.     Clearwater beach is OK .. very rocky, though.    Cool thing is its right at the end of the runway so if yo;re an aviation geek like me, its fun seeing the planes coming in directly across from you (though not quite as close as Maho Beach in St. Maarten).    This package included a little lunch and some VERRRRY tasty rum swizzles .. and not just one either .. the guys serving just kept pouring!     This beach and he one next to it (Turtle Bay i think) were ok but a little dirty and the chickens running around and actual turtles IN the water with you kinda wigged me out a little bit (as a city boy).       Horseshoe Bay Beach is still my favorite on Bermuda and next time we'd just take the bus or a taxi there ourselves for a day.   That place is perfection.


One thing I noticed coming up each day on our Room Charges were $15+$15  Service Charges.  I thought I had pre-paid the tips, but this being our first booking on NCL, maybe I goofed.  But be aware .. thats another $210 by the end of the week.    This may sound dumb, but for next time, is it possible to pre-pay those ahead?   Or is it only onboard?


By this point, many of us were kinda wondering about this huge slow-moving hurricane that we knew was gonna be crossing our path somehow coming home.   There were no announcements at all until that first evening in Bermuda.   Captain Pete (or was it Paul?) said that it was definitely changing course and would be a factor for us on the way back.   They decided the best thing was for us to leave Bermuda as normal on Friday at 3PM but we would head due west right toward North Carolina .. and then turn north and follow the coast up to NYC .. and follow behind the hurricane.   This  would mean a 7 hour delay getting into NYC on Sunday 9/8 .. docking at 2PM instead of 7AM.      Fine with us!      They offered free internet to to everyone and assisted however they could with re-booking flights for anyone  who needed it.   I got the impression that most of the pax were a local NY/NJ/CT/PA crowd and everyone took it well.   Speaking of the WiFi package .. I heard people grumbling that it sucked and had poor connectivity. 


We felt a bit of motion those last 2 days/nights and the barf bag containers were out .. but it wasn't  bad at all.   The size of this ship i think helped as far as the seas not feeling so rough.  

 
We even had a little drama on the way out.   On the first night around 11PM, we heard the racket of a helicopter hovering around outside out balcony!   Then the Captain came on and said someone was too ill to remain onboard and as being evacuated back to shore via Coast Guard helicopter.    They changed out course to head back toward Jersey shore and they plucked this poor person off the bow and right up into the helicopter.     I could only hope that person was unconscious at the time, becaue I can't imagine how scary that would be ... getting dragged by a cable in a basket off a ship .. at night!    The bill they will probably receive will be even more terrifying later.    


Before we knew it, it was over and we were back to reality.   Reality being .. disembarkation.    This is always a yuge mess regardless of whatever ship you're on.   Everybody who was laughing and cocktailing with you .. chatting and being friendly with you, making room for you on and off the elevators, etc. were back to themselves .. ready to stab you and push u down a flight of stairs.   This disembarkation was pretty poorly handled.   We were in the green group (go and get your tags 2 days before you arrive backhome .. they don't tell you this!) .. but there were yellow and orange and purple tagged people trying to get ahead ... the meek little crew members were no match for some of this NY crowd .. people were swinging and yelling and acting like animals and this was a bad final impression.  But kinda typical!


My only other gripe:   PEPSI products.   Gross!    Pepsi takes like medicine .. i SO missed my Diet Coke all week .. LOL!


Sorry for the random nature of this little travelog I did.    Suffice it to say, we absolutely loved the ship.   Its beautiful, only 4 years old, smells new even!    We will be back on NCL for sure.   So impressed with everything  (except O'Sheehans!!!).

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6 minutes ago, F27TW said:

One thing I noticed coming up each day on our Room Charges were $15+$15  Service Charges.  I thought I had pre-paid the tips, but this being our first booking on NCL, maybe I goofed.  But be aware .. thats another $210 by the end of the week.    This may sound dumb, but for next time, is it possible to pre-pay those ahead?   Or is it only onboard?

 

The tips you pre-paid  when you book the cruise was mostly like the tips for the drinks package and/or the dining package. They have their own separate tips from the standard room service charges/gratuities

 

This is why you need to look at booking confirmation and amenity statement very carefully. If you pre-paid the room gratuities, you booking confirmation should have PPSRVCHG as a promo code and on the amenity statement it is listed as PSCREC as item number and Prepaid Service Charge as description. It is also listed on your edocs under onboard amenity too.

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Glad you enjoyed the Escape and Bermuda. That's our favorite ship!  O'Sheehans has great breakfast and okay for a snack, we've never done dinner there.  We've yet to try Margaritaville for breakfast - always forget about it.  One hint is the drinks from Margaritaville are included in the package so we always venture up there for a Havanas and Bananas or Margarita at some point. 

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Thanks for the review!  It was funny and informative!  We are cruising to Bermuda next July!  How was the NCL Ferry over to the other side, was it rough or smooth?  

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Thanks for the review.  Lovely pictures. We actually looked at a Bermuda cruise for 9/1 when our Allure cruise cancelled. However, after looking at the weather forecast for Bermuda, we headed to Aruba for the week.  Those weather forecasts 🙄

 

anyway good old to hear your reports of the escape. We are trying our first NCL cruise on the Encore on 11/1.  Looking forward to something new as we are Rccl/celebrity cruisers. 

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4 hours ago, Karen1012 said:

Thanks for the review!  It was funny and informative!  We are cruising to Bermuda next July!  How was the NCL Ferry over to the other side, was it rough or smooth?  

That ferry is pretty big and was a nice and smooth ride.    It runs only 3 or 4 times a day, though .. so make sure to note the return time from St Georges .. thats a loooooong way from where the Escape docks!

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2 hours ago, maggieq said:

Thanks for the review.  Lovely pictures. We actually looked at a Bermuda cruise for 9/1 when our Allure cruise cancelled. However, after looking at the weather forecast for Bermuda, we headed to Aruba for the week.  Those weather forecasts 🙄

 

anyway good old to hear your reports of the escape. We are trying our first NCL cruise on the Encore on 11/1.  Looking forward to something new as we are Rccl/celebrity cruisers. 

We were blown away by NCL on our frst trip with them, I'll be honest.   And the Encore is going to be amazing!

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5 hours ago, ThxMomnDad said:

Thanks for some great tips! We'll be on the Escape in 26 days and I can't wait!!!

I'm jealous !     Have a great time .. thats one gorgeous ship!!

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23 hours ago, shof515 said:

 

The tips you pre-paid  when you book the cruise was mostly like the tips for the drinks package and/or the dining package. They have their own separate tips from the standard room service charges/gratuities

 

This is why you need to look at booking confirmation and amenity statement very carefully. If you pre-paid the room gratuities, you booking confirmation should have PPSRVCHG as a promo code and on the amenity statement it is listed as PSCREC as item number and Prepaid Service Charge as description. It is also listed on your edocs under onboard amenity too.

Thank you for spelling that out for me .. i was kind of at a loss as to what it was about !

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Thank you for the entertaining review!  I enjoyed it very much.  My question is do you know what time Margaritaville serves breakfast until?

 

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Thanks for reporting back on your smuggling decision.  I was going to ask if you didn't tell.  😆  Too bad about the wine.  I've done the same thing, but luckily only in a reusable grocery bag and not with any electronics involved.  

 

 

 

Edited by Travelicious

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2 hours ago, JimnSuzie said:

Thank you for the entertaining review!  I enjoyed it very much.  My question is do you know what time Margaritaville serves breakfast until?

 

Glad you enjoyed it!    ..  I wish i could help u on that question .. actually we were always there before 9am so i didnt notice when they closed breakfast .. sorry about that!

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14 minutes ago, Travelicious said:

Thanks for reporting back on your smuggling decision.  I was going to ask if you didn't tell.  😆  Too bad about the wine.  I've done the same .., but luckily only in a reusable grocery bag and not with any electronics involved.  

 

 

 

OMG it was  a MESS ..  people were pointing and giggling and everything!    LOL!!

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The Escape was held up on your return to New York. Where the waters ruff or calm on your return. How late  did you get off the ship. This delay caused a lot of problems for the people on your ship and those waiting to board  at the pier. Do you feel this was the best way to go now that your home.

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8 hours ago, waterjock said:

The Escape was held up on your return to New York. Where the waters ruff or calm on your return. How late  did you get off the ship. This delay caused a lot of problems for the people on your ship and those waiting to board  at the pier. Do you feel this was the best way to go now that your home.

We felt some motion on the last 2 days/nights .. but nothing too rough.   People were still out and about and going on as normal.  

 

They told us we'd dock at 2PM on Sunday instead of 7AM and we pulled in right at 2:00 and were off the ship by 3:15.   They offered free WiFi to allow people who needed to rebook flights or move other travel plans to do so .. and Guest Services was offering assistance as well.    No one seemed wigged out or too upset by it .. I think we all, on this sailing, expected that some kind of disruption might occur.

 

We sailed due west out of Bermuda toward the Carolinas and then north up to NYC .. staying behind the storm.   I thought the Captain explained and handled it all very well .. updated us as often as needed.   Was definitely preferable to sailing us directly into the storm .. I was more than OK with the extra half day we got!

 

As we were getting off the ship in NYC, we could hear the announcements being made in the terminal to the passengers checking in for the outbound heavily delayed cruise.   They were begging people to leave and come back no earlier than 5 or 6PM since the terminal was already at capacity!    They were begging people to "go into the city for a few hours" .. LOL.

 

It left very late that night, as expected. 

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Your review had me cracking up the entire time! I’m sorry about the wine and your stuff! This is why I don’t bother bringing anything on board. 

 

Your description of everyone trying to disembark had me rolling. I live in Seattle, we aren’t loud and boisterous, we just freeze everyone out with 0 smiles and no chit chat. Picture the most silent cattle call and everyone has RBF. 

 

Im so glad you enjoyed NCL! Have you started planning your next cruise? 

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On 9/20/2019 at 9:29 AM, Sweetnspicy said:

Your review had me cracking up the entire time! I’m sorry about the wine and your stuff! This is why I don’t bother bringing anything on board. 

 

Your description of everyone trying to disembark had me rolling. I live in Seattle, we aren’t loud and boisterous, we just freeze everyone out with 0 smiles and no chit chat. Picture the most silent cattle call and everyone has RBF. 

 

Im so glad you enjoyed NCL! Have you started planning your next cruise? 

Thanks .. glad u enjoyed!   It was fun to re-live the cruise.     

 

I'd love to experience some of your Seattle-style disembarkment civility some time.  I guess I'm getting used to the east coast style.  Two women (both over 60!)  almost came to swinging at each other over the tag-color thing  .. it was a riot to watch!  

 

We're looking at the same one next year .. it looks like it will be the new ship by then.   Really enjoy Bermuda .. kinda tired of Bahamas and Caribbean .. seen one island down there, ya knda seen them all!  All the "St.-somethings" kinda blend after a while!

 

 

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Hi, Thanks for your review, my family and I really enjoyed our cruise last April and we are going again on her to Bermuda next month out of NYC. Can you tell me by chance did you have an awesome bartender anywhere on the ship called Chips Ahoy? that's his nickname, he from the Philippines and is great, always happy, great personality, singing, his favorite line is "Happy wife, happy life " or " Free chicken dinner !!" He throw ice at you and plays great music of his IPod etc.. I am hopeful I will find him still on the escape..Appreciate if you could let me know if your paths crossed..

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4 hours ago, conciergecruiser said:

Hi, Thanks for your review, my family and I really enjoyed our cruise last April and we are going again on her to Bermuda next month out of NYC. Can you tell me by chance did you have an awesome bartender anywhere on the ship called Chips Ahoy? that's his nickname, he from the Philippines and is great, always happy, great personality, singing, his favorite line is "Happy wife, happy life " or " Free chicken dinner !!" He throw ice at you and plays great music of his IPod etc.. I am hopeful I will find him still on the escape..Appreciate if you could let me know if your paths crossed..

 

Sorry to say, he doesn't ring a bell!   

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