Norwegian Escape Cruise Review
Norwegian Escape Dining Review
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There are more places to dine on Norwegian Escape than you can practically eat in during a seven day cruise. Overall, Escape offers a great deal of variety. In addition, there has been a clear (and successful) effort to enhance the quality of the food throughout the ship. As a result, my companions and I were quite impressed by the meals that we had on Escape.
The main dining rooms
Escape has three main dining rooms. The Manhattan Room is the largest and most spectacular of these. It carries forward the Art Deco supper club décor of the Manhattan Room on Norwegian Breakaway with a large two deck high center section, a bandstand and a large dance floor. On this cruise, there was live music but no floor show as there have been on Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. It is my understanding that a show is being developed for Escape.
The Manhattan Room was only open for dinner. The menus offered considerable variety and included a section of featured dishes, which changed each night, and a section of classic favorites, which remained the same each night. Each of the dishes that we tried were quite good. The Roasted Beef Tenderloin stood out as particularly flavorful.
Escape's two other dining rooms, Taste and Savor, are not as glamorous as the Manhattan Room. The décor is a pleasant contemporary style but is not striking. You go there to eat. Whereas Taste and Savor are mirror images of each other on Breakaway and Getaway, Taste now has a lower level envisioned as a secluded venue for large groups.
Taste and Savor are open for breakfast, lunch (sea days) and dinner. On Escape's predecessor ships, I have been reluctant to dine in these venues - - not because there is anything wrong with them but because the other venues on those ships are more interesting. Suffering from this prejudice, I did not venture into these venues on Escape until late in the cruise and then only because I felt obligated to do so.
Looking at the breakfast menu, I regretted that I had not come here sooner. The choices ran the gamut from healthy choices such as fruits and muesli to yogurt parfaits and on to French toast, pancakes, and specialty waffles. Of course, there were also eggs and omelets made to order as well as the traditional sides. In addition, you could taste the improved quality of the ingredients. In particular, the artificial syrup that I recall as ruining otherwise good waffles and French Toast on the predecessor ships had been replaced by a much better maple syrup. I looked forward to having breakfast in Taste for the rest of the cruise.
Guests staying in the Haven suites have exclusive access to the Haven Restaurant. Increasingly, guests who are considering staying in cruise ship suites want for something extra beyond their accommodations. Therefore, more and more lines including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, MSC Cruises and Cunard now have suites-only restaurants on some or all of their ships.
Norwegian has had such restaurants on each of its ships since Norwegian Epic. They are located in a separate section of the ship that also includes a courtyard with pool, a sun area, and a lounge. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant on Escape has an indoor room as well as a shaded outdoor area.
The Haven Restaurant is impressive. From the stylish contemporary décor to the excellent service to the variety and quality of the menu, it is indeed a first class restaurant. It is not merely a private version of the main dining rooms but an experience that is comparable to the specialty restaurants and to upscale shoreside restaurants.
Escape's buffet restaurant is the Garden Cafe. It is located in the stern of the ship, high on Deck 16.
Generally speaking, the Garden Cafe on Escape is similar to the Garden Cafes on Breakaway and Getaway. There is a good variety of offerings including deli, pizza, pasta, Asian and Indian food, salads, burgers, and more. At breakfast, there are made to order omelets and waffles as well as cereal stations with fruits and grains.
The room is full of light and Floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views. Serving areas form a quadrangle in the center of this area with the seating occupying the periphery.
Despite the number of alternative venues on Escape, the Garden Cafe can be quite crowded during peak breakfast and lunch hours.
An alternative to the Garden Cafe is the always-open O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill on Deck 7. Although this venue continues to specialize in comfort foods, here too, there has been improvement over the O'Sheehan's on Escape's predecessors. In particular, the burgers are now reminiscent of the premium burgers served at the Uptown Grill on Breakaway albeit with fewer choices. For those looking for a more healthy but still tasty alternative, try O'Sheehan's Caesar salad with grilled salmon. The salmon is a full fillet and thus the salad is a meal in itself.
Above: The Manhattan Room.
Below: The Haven Restaurant.
Above: Fois gras at the Haven.
Below: The Haven Surf and Turf.
Above: A Haven dessert.
Above: The Garden Cafe.
Below: O'Sheehan's Caesar Salad.
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