There's nothing subtle about Norwegian Escape, the first ship in Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Plus Class. Norwegian Cruise Line attracts a median adult passenger age of 51, and Escape is no exception. Norwegian Escape's carefree attitude carries over to its dress code, which basically allows for anything. A daily service charge of $13.50 per person, per day, is billed to passengers in all cabin categories up to and including mini-suites. Island Escape joined the Thomson Cruises' fleet in 2009, having once sailed as Royal Caribbean's Viking Serenade. Today it is aimed squarely at the budget end of the market and offers decent-quality cruising with a few modern twists like an alternative restaurant. The 1,504-passenger ship's reputation is based on offering a more relaxed cruising experience than the "traditional" cruises offered by for example P&O Cruises and Fred.
The ship caters exclusively for a British market, many of whom will have been on a holiday provided by parent brand Thomson, and been tempted (or persuaded) to try a cruise.
There's a genuine sense of community among the staff, a lot of whom have been aboard the ship together for a long time. The ship is based in Palma, Majorca, and offers Mediterranean and Canary Island fly-cruises. However, Thomson announced in 2015 that Island Escape's days are numbered -- it will be offloaded when the line's newest ship, Discovery, joins the fleet in 2016. Island Escape is exclusively British, and it has a large proportion of first timers, families and couples relative to other ships. Passengers are encouraged to take a more relaxed and informal approach to their cruise and, as such, there is no real dress code.


This was our second cruise on Island Escape ,we wanted to spend another week aboard before her retirement.
Broadway-quality performances, in the form of two shows ("After Midnight" and "For the Record: The Brat Pack"), are pitch perfect. With 28 bars and restaurants onboard, most people will have to sail twice to try out everything. Wait service varies from slow and begrudging to friendly and efficient; we were surprised that we received the best service in complimentary venues onboard, such as Taste, Margaritaville and O'Sheehan's.
It's a young average age for the cruise sector and is skewed down further during school vacations, when the ship attracts families.
During the day, it's all casual, with swimsuits, shorts and T-shirts poolside and in ports. It also has a fiercely loyal repeat customer base that returns to the ship again and again.
However, many passengers do dress up in the evenings, especially when dining in the Oasis Restaurant, but this is by no means compulsory.
Leaving an extra tip for members of staff who do a particularly good job is by no means expected, but definitely appreciated. Food again adequate ,lots of choice and themed evenings also it was nice to dine at the Oasis for a change one evening. The hull art, designed by renowned artist and conservationist Guy Harvey, is a bold yet beautiful, in-your-face marine wildlife scene that spans more than 1,000 feet from bow to stern. Crowds, too, are noticeable, especially at peak periods around dinner and at show times, when everyone is clamoring for the same things at the same time.
At night, there's generally no formal dress code, though there's a no-shorts rule at some of the more upscale restaurants (Cagney's and Bayamo, for example).


Once onboard, you'll be captivated by the glitzy three-level 678 Ocean Place; virtually all the action at night takes place at its various restaurants and bars.
While Escape preaches a "freestyle" cruise experience, reservations often help people reduce wait times, though lines still are a part of the experience. Escape is deployed in Miami and attracts predominantly Americans, with a small percentage of Brits. Otherwise, khakis and Polo shirts are the norm for men in the evening, while women wear sundresses or blouses with capris, slacks or skirts.
An 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar drinks, all specialty dining (including dinner theater), spa and salon services, and even Vibe Beach Club passes. Thankfully, reservations can be made from your cabin or via multiple interactive screens throughout the ship for nearly anything. Norwegian doesn't have a true formal night, though passengers are encouraged to dress up for Norwegian's Night Out once per cruise. Even the top decks of the ship are bold, with a ropes course and four water slides that are sure to make your heart race.
Few people actually don their fancy duds, but those who do wear suits (for men) or cocktail dresses (for women). An indoor-outdoor dining concept, called the Waterfront, that allows passengers to dine seaside?



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