The new Norwegian Escape has so many bells and whistles it was hard to get a taste of everything during the 2-day inaugural sailing last week, but here’s a sampling of some delights we enjoyed and which your clients won’t want to miss.
Take a look at my headline again—I’m not just writing that because Norwegian Escape’s homeport is PortMiami or because the ship’s godfather is Pitbull. There are some genuinely cool Miami elements on board this 4,200-passenger, 2,175-stateroom ship. The vibe that envelops Miami’s hippest neighborhood, Wynwood, with its larger-than-life graffiti pieces and urban chic restaurants, is alive and well on board the Escape. On deck 8, your clients will find The District Brew House, a craft beer hall featuring an exclusive partnership with the Wynwood Brewing Company. Passengers can relax at this trendy venue while getting a taste of 24 draft beers on tap, including an all-new brew from Wynwood Brewing Company that will be available exclusively on the Escape. The beer is complemented by gastropub-style plates for snacking; and tell clients to poke their heads into the brew house’s photo booth and snap some shots that will live on in the District’s pin board. Non beer drinkers? No worries—there are award-winning handcrafted cocktails, too.
A few steps from the District on deck, 8, passengers can share savory small plates at the very hip Food Republic, an upscale food emporium from Miami’s own The Pubbelly Restaurant Group, creators of some of the city’s most popular tavern-like dining venues where the chef is the star. How does black truffle braised shortrib dumplings or dates with chorizo sound? Yum. Ordering? It’s done via an iPad, and a simple swipe of the key card.
Deck 8 is sizzling with Miami favorites, in fact. This deck is also home to one of the city’s most iconic bars—Tobacco Road, which closed its doors last year after 101 years of welcoming patrons, but now has a cozy home mid-ship on board the Escape. Check out the cool neon sign!
For true wine aficionados, The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, which features 35 grape varietals, including top selections from Tuscany’s Ornellaia and Mondavi’s own Napa Valley Estate, is a must (it’s also on deck 8). Here, clients don’t only sit back and enjoy the pure relaxation of sipping wine, but there are several immersive wine experiences, including one that involves a black glass that offers a fun challenge for wine drinkers. Don’t miss out on a soil sample.
Climb up 10 decks and you’ll come face-to-face with one of the ship’s coolest features—the 3-story Ropes Course with Sky Rails. Heights are my mortal enemy—I was on the edge of my seat, peeking through fingers wrapped around my eyes while watching the recently released movie, “The Walk,” so don’t even ask me if I actually dared attempt the Ropes Course—I didn’t. That means, I can’t speak from experience, but boy did it look like fun. My daughter and I played mini-golf and stared in envy at cruise passengers zipping across the width of the ship via zipline and balancing for their lives on one of two planks. If it were not for the shaky knees and sweaty palms my vertigo induces, I would certainly have been hanging over the ship in pure joy and excitement.
I might not have zipped across decks, but two decks below, on 16, I screamed with glee every time my daughter and I raced down the new Aqua Racer water slide at the Aqua Park, said to be the largest of its kind at sea. We didn’t have a chance to try the Free Fall, which are side-by-side slides that offer guests the chance to literally free fall, as the floor drops from underneath, propelling them into a loop—and even with my fear of heights this is one I just can’t pass up—as it was closed during the inaugural. Have your guests try it and tell them to drop us a line via Twitter (@Recommendmag) to see how they liked it.
After all that excitement, tell clients strolling on deck 16 that they’ll want to slip into the Mandara Spa, which spans two decks, and head straight to the line’s first Snow Room. This cool room ranges from a frosty 21 degrees to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and sends out a flurry of powdery snow throughout the day. It offers guests a multitude of health benefits, including stimulating blood circulation in the body and strengthening of the immune system. After that, it’s time for some more relaxation on one of the spa’s 17 heated loungers, or relishing one of the many treatments.
The bells and whistles don’t end there, of course, but get yourself on the Escape, because we want to know what got you most excited.
For more information, visit norwegiancentral.ncl.com.