Comparing the Norwegian Escape to the Norwegian Breakaway/Getaway
Photo by Jason Leppert
Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest Norwegian Escape is a Breakaway Plus-class ship, based on the Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway before her but slightly larger in size with several modifications along the way.
First, the Breakaway and Getaway measured in at 146,600 gross tons with a guest capacity of 3,969. The Norwegian Escape is instead 164,600 gross tons carrying 4,248 passengers. Besides the uptick in people onboard, several changes in the ship’s features and configurations were modified on the latest version, beyond receiving its own hull art and color scheme.
Starting from the lower decks and working up, the kids facilities of the Splash Academy and Guppies Nursery have been grouped together for added convenience on deck 5 adjacent to family oceanview and family inside staterooms. No longer is the academy a double-decker orientation on decks 12 and 13 nor is there a kids space just behind The Haven. Now, all eight forward elevators extend to that deck in its place for better suite access.
Meanwhile 678 Ocean Place, residing on the corresponding deck numbers, has expanded. The Taste main dining room now features a private room that descends below to deck 5. Otherwise, the layout of deck 6 remains largely unchanged. Only the internet cafe has moved from the starboard to the port side of the ship, and the Spiegel Tent and Illusionarium have given way to a more generic Supper Club in the bow.
On deck 7, the Bliss Ultra Lounge nightclub and Bar 21 have been converted into the Skyline Bar and entirely opened up to the adjacent casino to create a broader space. In fact, the casino itself has expanded in size by displacing the former Shanghai’s Noodle Bar restaurant. But two new establishments have made up for its absence along The Waterfront, Norwegian’s signature al fresco boardwalk on deck 8.
By removing some forward staterooms, the Norwegian Escape has extended The Waterfront to newly include The District Brew House and Food Republic, each with their own glass-enclosed ceilings and scenic windows overlooking the horizon. The outdoor deck extends behind where the line’s new partnership with Jimmy Buffett is first apparent at the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar entertainment venue. The layout along this stretch is mostly the same as before with only thematic changes like the adjacent new Tobacco Road Liquor Bar.
Gone entirely though is the previous Ice Bar, now opened up to the atrium as The Cellars – A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. With Norwegian’s partnership with chef Geoffrey Zakarian drawn to a close, his Ocean Blu specialty restaurant and the connecting Wasabi sushi bar and The Raw Bar have been replaced by Jose Garces’ Bayamo Restaurant, his Pincho Tapas Bar and the line’s Sugarcane Mojito Bar respectively. The bar across the way has now been displaced by expanded retail shops. Otherwise, all 678 Ocean Place favorites remain the same.
The Escape is taller than the Breakaway and Getaway by two floors, and the pool deck that was on deck 15 is now on deck 16 with more staterooms below. The configuration differs only slightly with two larger consolidated hot tubs, a more elaborate Kids’ Aqua Park play structure, now sans SpongeBob SquarePants, and an expanded spa facility with a larger full wraparound thermal suite with views overlooking the front of the ship.
Just above, The Haven ship-within-a-ship exclusive suite complex has also been enlarged with an extra deck of accommodations, rendering its courtyard taller and moving its restaurant up a level. Above it still are the same sun decks with four added hot tubs and more sunning space.
Up one deck on 17, the bar and grill has been given the full Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea treatment, tacking on a surcharge to stem crowding in the process. Meanwhile, the splash area of Spice H2O has been upgraded into an immersive rock grotto with lots of shade and waterfalls.
Lastly, all the way on top, the ropes course has expanded into three decks’ worth of challenges, zip tracks and planks, and while the two popular free-fall and singular family water slides remain, the two body tube racers on the other side have become one raft aqua racer instead.
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