Five Things to Know About Norwegian Cruise Line's Escape Cruise Ship
Best for: Families, stimulation-craving adults, and anyone who likes a big ship with lots of action
Sails: Bermuda, The Caribbean, New England and Canada
At a Glance: The biggest ship in the line’s fleet, the 164,600-ton Norwegian Escape packs so many restaurants, activities, and bars onto its decks, it’s almost impossible to try them all in one trip.
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There’s an Exclusive Wing Within the Ship
Norwegian Escape has the line’s largest Haven—an exclusive suites-only area with its own restaurant, lounge, courtyard, and pool. Fifty-five suites are set in the area, though passengers in Penthouse and Spa Suites outside the Haven have access to the complex, as well. The largest suites on the ship are the 1,345-square-foot two-bedroom Deluxe Owner’s Suites, which come with a living room, a large dining table, and a huge balcony. Not staying in a suite? Staterooms range in size from a 135-square-foot Interior cabin to a 513-square-foot Mini-Suite with a pullout couch.
The Activities List Is Long
The AquaPark may be the ship’s splashiest feature. There are four slides in all: one freefall, two tandem-racing slides, and a slower, open slide. Also on deck are a kids’ AquaPark, a pool, and screens for outdoor movie nights. For those who’d prefer to stay out of the water, there’s the largest rope course at sea, a nine-hole mini golf course, bocce, a basketball course, and ping pong. If you’re traveling with kids or teens, there’s an arcade onboard, as well as a children’s program for every age group with activities like circus and improv lessons. New for Escape: the Guppies Nursery, where parents can drop off kids three months to 3 years old, then take off for some alone time.
The Spa Impresses
With 24 treatment rooms and more than 40 treatments on offer, the two-deck Mandara Spa might be the most relaxing spot on the ship. There’s even a spa menu for teens, complete with an acne facial and mother-daughter massage. But the centerpiece of it all is the Thermal Suite, where passengers come to take a dip in the hot tub or thalassotherapy pool, or loll on heated lounge chairs while checking out the sea view through the forward-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. In the Salt Room, a salt aerosol machine fills the air with salt particles, said to relieve skin and respiratory issues. In a first for Norwegian, Escape also has a Snow Room, where the temperature is a chilly 14 degrees Fahrenheit and snowflakes fall from the ceiling—the perfect place to sit after a session in the sauna. Spa suite guests have unlimited access to the Thermal Suite, while a limited number of passengers can purchase a pass.
The Restaurants Are Abundant
There are more than 25 places to eat on board, so prioritizing is a must. Complimentary dining rooms include the expansive Manhattan Room and the more intimate Taste and Savor—all of which have the same menu. But if you really want to treat yourself, the for-fee restaurants—most of which are à la carte—are worth the splurge. Spend a night at one of James Beard Award winner Jose Garces’s two restaurants: Head to Bayamo for pan-Latin dishes like ceviche and roasted lobster with stuffed cachucha peppers; or go for tapas next door at Pincho. Also new for Norwegian is global fusion restaurant Food Republic, which serves everything from sushi to Korean chicken wings to fish tacos to steak. (You can also order a few Food Republic dishes at the District Brew House.) For oysters Rockefeller and bone-in rib eye, try Cagney’s, Norwegian’s signature steakhouse. Other for-fee options include Brazilian steakhouse Moderno Churrascaria, Italian eatery La Cucina, and traditional French restaurant Le Bistro. The most popular poolside lunch spot? Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, which serves up conch fritters and Cheeseburgers in Paradise à la carte.
The Nightlife Is Lively
The ship has more than a dozen bars onboard. Beer lovers flock to the District Brew House, which has a photo booth and more than 70 types of beer, 24 of which are on tap. Cocktail fans head to Tobacco Road, named after what was once Miami’s oldest bar, for creative concoctions like the Smoke Fashion (Woodford Reserve bourbon, maple syrup, bitters, and sweet vermouth with smoke). Oenophiles opt for The Cellars, a partnership with the Mondavi family and Norwegian’s first wine bar. For tropical drinks, try Sugarcane Mojito Bar (attached to Bayamo) and The 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, while those looking for an Ibiza-style outdoor dance party stay up late at Spice H20. As for entertainment, passengers can take in stand-up at Headliner’s Comedy Club or hit Escape Theater for one of the top-notch shows: Gen Xers will especially love the John Hughes-themed musical For the Record: the Brat Pack.