Friday, March 24, 2017

Norwegian Escape To The Caribbean

Recently returned to Canada after a vacation excursion via the Norwegian Escape cruise ship to the Eastern Caribbean. It sure was good to experience some sunshine in the month of March and get a tan instead of sporting the usual Canadian "fish belly white" winter pallor.






https://www.ncl.com/ca/en/cruise-ship/escape?cid=PS_TSI_CAN_SHP_GOO-g_LEN_SRH_SHIPESC_norwegian%20escape_NA_174200722935&gclid=CNyCk4rH79ICFRm1wAodiowMqQ




The Escape




The Escape is one big ship! Seventeen decks and akin to a floating city with all kinds of shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Commissioned in 2015 she is a relatively new boat in Norwegian`s fleet of cruise ships and can carry in excess of five thousand passengers and crew.









 The Destination



Cruising the Eastern Caribbean we visited the US/ British Virgin islands and Bahamas on a seven day cruise. One day of (some) rain and cloud but otherwise perfect weather. An easterly cruise meant we skirted the Atlantic ocean so there was some chop but nothing to severe as to cause any seasickness.




The Accommodation




 I had booked an Oceanview stateroom with a window view of the bow of the ship. It was quite suitable for two guests with lots of storage space, a large bed and a decent sized bathroom. Balcony rooms are nice but who wants to stay in a stateroom when you have the entire ship as your oyster?




The Food




We had three specialty dining opportunities as part of our package but the Garden Cafe buffet was well appointed, clean, comfortable and the quality/variety of the food very good. One could have easily eaten quite well without specialty dining. Le Bistro was a French specialty restaurant and was very good. Teppanyaki was a Japanese venue which I enjoyed, including the challenge of using chop sticks. Cagney`s steakhouse saw me consume a thirty two ounce bone in medium rare rib eye with a glass of Shiraz and sautéed mushrooms. It was fabulous and one of the highlights of my cruise!




The Drink


 I really like the fact the ultimate drink package and gratuity was built (up front) into the cost of the cruise so there were no $ surprises upon disembarking. I walked off the ship only owing about $150 CDN primarily the result of my spouse`s bingo expenditure, a few top shelf drinks and a one litre bottle of rum purchased from the duty free shop. There was an excellent variety of beer, wines and spirits to choose from and if you opted for the ultimate drink package beverages were unlimited. Any drink over the $15 package price was available - you just paid the difference from the list price. Top shelf spirits could be had for a few extra dollars billed to your shipboard account. Lots of bars,lounges and pubs to choose from. From the mid ship Atrium to Margaritaville, to O'Sheehan`s Irish pub there was something for everyone.




Entertainment


All kinds of entertainment available on board including live music and theatre. We attended the shows After Midnight and Brat Pack in the ship`s theatre and both were excellent musicals. I highly recommend both shows.




The Crew


The service on the ship was outstanding for the most part. Very friendly. Take some dollar bills with you and tip the hardworking waiters, stewards and bartenders. They work long split shifts for months at a time. Our star of the cruise was Rowena; a waitress in the Atrium bar. It was our meeting spot and "go too" lounge. She became friends with our group, knew all our names and even our beverage preferences. I`d nod over the crowd and had my Michelob Ultra or Myers rum in short order.


The Excursions




 Lots of excursion options to be had on the cruise. Best to book in advance to ensure your ticket.









The ship visited St. Thomas AVI, Tortola BVI and Nassau Bahamas with shore excursions available in all three places. We beached it in both Virgin island locations that included a tour of the islands en route to the beaches in open aired modified truck style busses. Steep narrow roads were sometimes not for the timid or faint hearted but the scenery was both rustic and beautiful. You`re definitely not in Kansas or Canada anymore....!









Did a walkabout in Nassau picking up some souvenirs and searching for that elusive bottle of local rum. Did not find that top shelf sipper I was looking for in Nassau but had purchased a bottle of Botany Bay in St Thomas (after a tasting) and a Dominican Republic offering upon the ship. Reviews to follow.











It was a great vacation. Highly recommend Norwegian cruises.

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