Find out our first impressions of the Norwegian Escape at the launch in Southampton.
It’s been just one week since we were onboard the Norwegian Escape in Southampton… and we miss it already! From the moment we clapped eyes on the colourful, vivid design of Guy Harvey’s artwork emblazoned across the hull of the ship, we were as excited as hoarde of teenage girls meeting Harry Styles for the first time!
We boarded the ship on deck 5 and as we headed toward the back of the ship, we were amazed at how friendly and efficient the staff were. As we passed the Guppies kids club energetic kids club leaders sang, danced and waved hello, raising our spirits ever further as we ventured deeper inside of the ship.
We immediately headed up to our cabins to remove the burden of our bags (packing light is never an option!). The cabins cater to your every comfort, the beds are super comfy and the plush pillows and duvet make you feel wonderfully cosy. Between our group we had a mixture of balcony and inside cabins. The inside cabins were compact yet comfortable. It’s clear that a lot of considerate thought has been put into the design process to make the most of every space – note the USB ports in the lights next to the bed which can be used for charger your phone (because who hasn’t forgotten an adaptor at least once in their lifetime).
Top Tip: On the carpet outside of your cabin there are small fish in the design, the direction they are swimming in is the front of the ship – we found this help us get our bearings right from the get-go.
We ate lunch in the Garden Cafe and if there’s one thing we’d recommend before grabbing a plate is doing a lap to check out the amazing amount of choice before you commit and your plate is full (although there’s nothing to stop you going back for seconds!). There are burgers, salads, soups, pasta and a whole lot more to choose from – so much so that you could happily go the duration of your cruise dining only here. In the Cafe there’s also free tea and coffee stations as well as soft drinks machines. The cloudy lemonade is incredible and we can imagine just how refreshing this would after an afternoon basking in the Caribbean sunshine! The decor in this dining space is bright and well-lit thanks to the amazing floor to ceiling windows offering a pretty spectacular view out to sea.
The Mandara Spa on the Escape is quite simply incredible. Everything about it evokes luxury and the Snow Room is something which everyone should experience. There’s a selection of 50 treatments to choose from in the spa and you can combine this with an experience in the spa suite facilities. Steam yourself in the thermal suite, take a dip in the vitality pool, improve your blood circulation in the snow room or unwind in the Salt Room which is designed to mimic the salt caves found in Eastern Europe. In fact the Salt Room is scientifically proven to improve respiratory and skin ailments and aid in overall wellness.
On the top decks there is a playground of activity for all ages. There’s urban/graffiti themed mini golf, swimming pools, jacuzzi’s and some pretty incredible looking slides with clear sections so you can see the water as you whiz down over the sea. You’ll also find a high ropes course and a sports court where you can play basketball, football and tennis. When it comes to relaxation on the upper decks it’s hard to beat Spice H20. By day this is a relaxing haven complete with a waterfall grotto and it’s own bar area, by night however it transforms into a lively party with a distinctive Ibiza beach party vibe.
What will appeal to many people about the Escape is the choice of dining venues, bars and lounges. There’s 17 places where you can grab a bite to eat onboard including Carlo’s Bake Shop which has been created in collaboration with the star of TV’s ‘Cake Boss’ – Buddy Valastro. In the Bake Shop you’ll find cookies, pastries, ice cream and even the option to order customised cakes for celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries onboard. As well as Norwegian cruise line favourites like the Bake Shop, there’s also many fleet firsts on the Escape. This includes Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea where you can find freshly cooked burgers piled high with crispy onion rings, tangy relish, smoked bacon and melted cheese. Opt to wash your meal down with a refreshing margarita served in a chilled glass for optimum holiday vibes! As well as Margaritaville there’s the 5 o’Clock anywhere bar which has a distinctive Caribbean vibe, Food Republic (created in collaboration with the Pubbelly Boys) and Pinchos Tapas and Bayamo created with Jose Garces.
In the evening we dined at the Manhattan Lounge and it was out of this world! The food was exceptional. Moreish dainty crab cakes, melt in the mouth beef wellington and velvety hot chocolate lava cake. Just thinking about it now makes our mouths water! Like all of the venues onboard the Norwegian Escape, the Manhattan Lounge has a great ambience that transports you to the elegant night-spots of yester-year in New York. Dark woods, deep turquoise accents, soft lighting and one heck of a dance floor will have you ready and waiting to get your jive on.
Come evening we rejoiced in the selection of bars and lounges that the Escape has to offer. The 5 o’Clock Somewhere bar was a firm favourite all around with its casual Miami beach vibes. Tobacco Road was a place to chill and catch up on conversation on the plush leather chairs and sofas whilst the District Brew House provided the evenings entertainment in the form of lively piano music and singing.
One thing’s for sure with the Escape – one night was not enough! We could have easily stretched out exploring all parts of this ship over a week. But we guess that just gives us an excuse to go back onboard!
Check out our gallery below for some of the pictures we snapped whilst onboard:
If you’re thinking of a cruise on the Norwegian Escape and you have any questions, feel free to ask us anything you’d like to know in the comments below. If you’d like to see the itineraries available for Escape sailings, you can view them on our website.