Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NCL Escape



We spent our Thanksgiving onboard the NCL Escape. We were very excited about this ship as it was brand new. We flew to Miami on Friday and spent the night there. We were exhausted because Michael had flown in only four hours earlier from California. Saturday was Samuel's birthday so we opened some small presents and headed for our ship. We were first to embark and met some great friends while waiting in line. We went straight to the desk for Vibe passes which ended up not such a great deal because we also had Spa passes and the spa was so amazing we didn't want to do anything but that! We explored the ship and the kids played in the aqua park and we had a great time. That evening we ate at La Cucina as Samuel requested pasta and bread for his birthday dinner.
Sunday was a day at sea. Michael and I worked out and did the spa and then picked up the kids for lunch in the buffet and more water slide/aqua park time. Then they went back to the club and we headed up to the Vibe lounge deck to sunbathe and read. That evening we dropped the kids off at the club and we went to the supper club to see The Brat Pack which was an absolutely phenomenal show.
Monday was another day at sea and we repeated most of Sunday's activities. We did some bowling in O'Sheehans and looked at art and the kids played in the arcade. That evening Michael and I had a date at Bayona, a specialty restaurant. We dined on the waterfront and had a nice conversation with two of the performers on the boat.
Tuesday we docked in St. Thomas and had planned to head to the beach, but Samuel was sick and running a fever so we kept him close and onboard. We sat in the shade on the pool deck and he read his book and sipped virgin strawberry daquiris and Michael and Davis hit the water slides hard. Sam and I had a long rest in the afternoon in the cabin and played games on the bed and people watched from the balcony. That evening, Sam and Davis stayed in the room playing minecraft and Michael and I went up to our favorite wine bar on the waterfront of our ship. The boat was leaving the harbor and the sun was setting. Michael and I got glasses of Puilly Fuisse (Included on our drinks package!!!!!!) and watched the sun set in front of us and St. Thomas recede behind us. It was probably my favorite moment of the cruise. It was incredible.
Wednesday was in Tortola. We had breakfast in the dining room and then went off the boat to a beach. It was a nice taxi ride through the hills and he gave the kids instruments to play along with local music on the stereo. The beach was white and pretty, but I had a terrible headache (could it have been the instruments????). Michael and the boys rented a glass bottom kayak and went out for an hour while I read. When they got back they beached badly, and Samuel got run over. We gave up on our beaching at that point. We bought a local vegetable pie from a lady beach vendor and cabbed back to town. We did some shopping and then got back on the boat. Davis and Michael did the water slides some more and Samuel and I went and got cleaned up and rested. (He was still not feeling well.) That evening, we took the kids to see After Midnight which was kind of disappointing. I had really high hopes for that show and we didn't end up loving it.
Thursday was our last day at sea. Michael and I went to the gym and spa and the kids went to the club. That day was Thanksgiving and the weather was starting to get bad. It was very windy. The waves were huge and lots of people were seasick, but not us. The kids did club in the morning to prepare for their show that afternoon. We tried to do an art activity during the lunch break, but the ship was so overrun by children (1400 of them!!!), and so understaffed (second week out) that it was a failure. We went to see the kids in their circus themed show. Samuel was a clown and was fantastic. He was so funny! He's a natural clown if I do say so myself. Davis was featured on the chinese yoyo and killed it. We were really proud. While the kids went back to the after party, we went to Cellar's wine bar to do a Thanksgiving- wine and chocolate tasting. It was delicious and really enjoyable. That evening we laughed at everyone trying to find a place to have turkey and took ourselves to One Republic, a fusion restaurant where we had sushi, kimchee fried rice, pad thai, deep fried brussel sprouts with an asian sauce. So good. Best Thanksgiving dinner EVER!
That night was a crazy storm. They said the wind was blowing 40 miles an hour. I stayed awake for hours that night with my forehead pressed against the glass of our balcony window watching the lightning and the waves and listening to the thunder. I was in full on fight or flight mode. It was scary. But we survived. Obviously.
Our last day on the ship was in Nassau. We chose not to get off the ship. We had a leisurely breakfast and explored the ship some more. The kids did their last morning in the club and Michael and I spent our last moments in the spa. It was so fun to lie on the heated loungers on the front of the ship and watch it come into dock in Nassau. Once parked, we went to go do the ropes course. It was very windy and a little bit scary. It was huge and tall and Sam was terrified and wanted to quit halfway through. Davis loved it. We got Sam down, but I doubt he'll do another ropes course any time soon. That afternoon we did the waterslides for a bit, but it was too cold and windy for me so I hung out in the room till they were done. Davis went back to the club and Samuel and Michael and I found cozy couches on the waterfront and read books and sipped and ate treats until time to pick up Davis. After dinner in the buffet where they were having a cute kids deck party, we dropped the kids off for a pajama party at the club and went out to the theater to see Million Dollar Quartet. This was a great show and Michael and I absolutely loved it. After the show, Michael and I went to the Pinchos the Tapas bar and had some marvelous tapas and a great red wine called Tinto Toro. Then we went downstairs to the headliners club to see the Howling at the Moon dueling pianos. We picked the kids up late, let them watch the pianos for a while and headed to bed before rising early for our long day of travel home.
We enjoyed ourselves on our cruise and the kids had a marvelous time. I thought the spa, the wine bar, the specialty restaurants, the entertainment and the bathroom in our room were all absolutely amazing. I did not love the crowds, the lack of bartenders, the mass crush of people in not enough space with not enough programming.
It was a good time, but I think we might be giving up on NCL. We shall see. We do still love cruising.

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