Welcome to the biggest ever Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Escape. Launched in late October 2015, she offers 19 decks of fun, activity, tranquillity, entertainment, dining, enrichment or relaxation.
Carrying over 4,200 passengers she is the first of a series of new build ships for Norwegian Cruise Line as part of the Breakaway Plus class in the fleet. Some facts and figures – there are 27 dining venues, 21 bars and lounges, 24 hour room service, 50 different types of bottled beers and 24 draft beers plus 98 different cocktails to try!
One of the great innovations in the cruising industry was freestyle cruising, but what does that actually mean? Well for starters you can wear what you want as you won’t find formal nights on board Norwegian Escape, you are free to dress up in your formal attire if you wish and many people still do. Resort casual and shorts are allowed in all dining venues on board except Manhattan and Le Bistro after 5pm as you would expect shoes and shirts must be worn. But this means you can go for dinner in shorts in the majority of restaurants – how relaxed and freestyle is that! Freestyle dining is also a major part of Norwegian Cruise Lines ethos. In a nutshell there are numerous places to eat on board – Norwegian Escape has 27 different dining venues on board. Some of them do carry a small cover charge; the majority are included in the cruise price. And with Norwegian, you don’t turn up at a set restaurant, at a set time or sit with the same people. Norwegian Cruise Line want to give travellers the choice and you can literally eat your way around the world with the impressive selection at a time that suits you, and if you want to meet new people, you can sit with them for dinner, or if a private table for two is for you, that’s also fine.
There is also an Ice Cream Bar and Room Service available 24 hours a day. The other complimentary restaurants include Margaritaville on deck 17, Savor and Taste, on deck 6 and Manhattan Room. I sampled lunch in Taste, the service was quick, the menu was extensive with plenty of choice, I chose the Chicken Nachos followed by Fried Chicken which was superb! Some of the speciality restaurants include Bayamo, Cagney’s, Food Republic, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Moderno, Pincho, Teppanyaki, Dolce Gelato and The Bake Shop. Food Republic is where you can travel somewhere new with every delicious bite as you savour a fusion of foods and cultures from around the globe, jet away to Japan to try a new type of sushi roll or have a hearty helping of noodles from China. There are 27 venues you can visit, no matter how long you are on board, you can’t say there isn’t choice!
There is the photo gallery that you can go and spot your embarkation photos, shops with souvenirs, clothing, perfume – make sure you leave a couple of hours to get round them all! There is also a chance to buy some art at sea, head to ‘The Collection’ for a chance to see some great paintings on sale! On top deck, there are 12 pools and hot tubs to choose from. An impressive water park awaits with several slides, plus a special kids water park. There is mini golf plus a ropes course, where you can suspend over the ships edge with nothing beneath you, apart from the sea 19 decks below! If you fancy that, and the kids don’t, why not use the on board kids clubs? Guppies is for the little ones, Splash Academy is for the older ones and Entourage is for the cool teens!
Now the important bit, where will you be sleeping? Well Norwegian Cruise Line have a range of comfortable accommodation to pick from. If you are a solo traveller there are studio cabins, there are around 60 of these on board Norwegian Escape, with their own studio lounge to meet other solo travellers. If you are travelling as a couple or family there are inside, ocean view, balcony and mini suites available. Or you want the ultimate experience, go for the Haven suites, these have multiple rooms within your suite including the bedroom, en-suite bathroom and lounge.