We head on with the second leg of our eight week tour! After a few nice days in autumnal Berlin we go by train to Hamburg. At the new Cruise Terminal, Steinwerder, there she waits – the Norwegian Escape. The newest and largest cruise ship of NCL is presented and premiered in Hamburg. For the first time they set sail with guests on board, and we are among them.
Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line
The ocean liner is designed for 4,200 passengers. 335 meters long and 41 meters wide. Wow! At check-in we are greeted with a North German singing from HHLA shanty choir.
Once on board, we first look for our cabin – a mini suite on deck 11. The design is classy and with its motley design has nothing in common with the older ships. The 22 square meter cabin is decorated in warm brown and beige tones. Overall, I find it a bit narrow, but long. The balcony is small, but with a glass front for an unobstructed view. The bathroom is the the only difference between the mini-suite and the normal balcony cabin and this is seen very clearly. The bathroom is very spacious with a floor to ceiling rain shower and double sinks.
So we make our way exploring the Norwegian Escape with its 19 decks. We are not in a particular hurry with this, as we will going in a few days, with the Norwegian Escape, from Southampton to Miami. During the 10-day transatlantic tour we can “turn over each stone”.
There are 27 restaurants and 21 bars to be found on board. A new addition is the Waterfront, an outdoor promenade to stroll, for dinner outdoors and to enjoy cocktails with a view. The Norwegian Escape will cross the Caribbean; such an area makes perfect sense then. As luck would have it, our first way leads us to the ice cream parlor, Dolce Gelato. 😉 In the neighboring Bake Shop, there are cupcakes and macaroons. They taste as good as they look.
On decks 6, 7 and 8 – also known as “678 Ocean Place” – are most of the restaurants and bars as well as shops and the atrium, with the impressive 9-meter-long chandelier. There are 3 restaurants included in the price, Savor, Taste and the Manhattan Room. On deck 16 the buffet restaurant “Garden Café” can be found; also in a classic wood design.
On the outside decks several pools, water slides, a rope course and a miniature golf course allows you to forget that you are on a ship. Add to that a water park for the kids, who have been abundantly taken into consideration. There is day care for the youngest guests, the huge indoor splash Academy and a lounge for teens with video games. Even the adults have their own area: Spice H2O with a bar, canvas, sun loungers, hot tubs and the grotto, which is designed for you to cool off during warm Caribbean nights.
Around 6:30pm, the Norwegian Escape sets sail. A large Sail away Party hits the jetties in the city of Hamburg. There are already 10,000 guests waiting on the newest ship in the NCL fleet and a never-ending fireworks display begins. The better view is certainly from land. Still, it’s an unforgettable experience! Left of the ship, the crowded party and on its right the colorful sky.
For dinner we decide to go to Food Republic, a specialty restaurant with a new concept. The cuisine has an Asian influence. On iPads you can choose between Sushi, Asian Food and a selection of other unusual dishes. The special spices provide an absolute taste experience topped off with a sinfully delicious dessert.
With that, our eventful day aboard comes to an end. While the Norwegian Escape pushes through the North Sea, we fall into the comfortable, new beds – asking ourselves if we are truly the first to sleep in it – and already dreaming about our upcoming <transatlantic cruise.
Since we ate plenty the night before, we skip breakfast and go to lunch at one of the restaurants incorporated in the price – Savor. There is popcorn shrimp, tuna salad sandwich and a Key Lime Parfait.
A little later, on a behind the scenes tour, we can have a look at how the food is prepared for us. We visit the kitchen and the laundry.
Also not available to everyone is the exclusive area “The Haven”. Around 40 suites are located in a separate part of the ship with its own pool, restaurant and bar. We are allowed to take a look at the different suites. The biggest of which has an area of 120 square meters.
There after we also take a look at the difference of the various types of cabins on board. We are staying in a mini-suite. The balcony cabin is similar in size, only the bathroom is slightly smaller. All cabins, including the exterior and interior cabins, have that nice warm wood design. The studios have been specially designed for single travelers. The individual cabins are located in a separate area with an extra lounge to meet up with other solo travelers.
It can also be somewhat stressful on such a large cruise ship with its thousand options. Guests can relax in the enormous Mandara Spa on two floors with cosmetic and relaxation area, sauna, snow room and vitality pool. Extra costs for admission and treatments apply here.
On the last night of the premiere ride we eat at Moderno. The Brazilian Churrascaria restaurant we already know from other NCL ships. Grilled meat is served fresh from the spit at the table. Everything tastes excellent right up to the huge buffet of side dishes, but the grilled pineapple and the tender fillet overall, is the crown on top.
Following that we go to the theater for the new musical “After Midnight”. As we already know from other vessels, the show is of top quality with very good singers and dancers. I have always said that you could ask for admission for it. The NCL has taken it to heart. 😉 The shows in the theater Escape remain free, but at Supperclub you can enjoy a very special spectacle: the dinner show “For The Record: The Brat Pack” for $25. We will test this on our transatlantic tour!
For us, it goes on to the airport. For four days we will drive along the coast of the South of England visiting Canterbury, Eastbourne, the chalk cliffs, Brighton and Stonehenge. Bye Norwegian Escape, see you in 4 days in Southampton!
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Thank you to NCL for the invitation to the Premier Cruise!