Mike O'Connor, travel consultant and owner of Second to None Vacations LLC has been designated as a Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA) Cruise Counselor after recently completing the organization’s Certification requirements. Mike is now recognized within the cruise industry as an Accredited Cruise Counselor.
Mike has achieved Cruise Counselor Certification through completion of a comprehensive program of cruise sales training and product instruction, delivered through a combination of extensive classroom training and personal cruise experience. CLIA’s Certification program graduates are widely recognized as the foremost cruise vacation experts among American travel agents.
Second to None Vacations, LLC is one of more than 16,000 North American travel agency members of CLIA. According to CLIA statistics, the overwhelming majority of travelers – about 90% – book their cruise through a travel agency and for a good reason – travel agents understand the products they recommend and excel in finding the perfect cruise to match their clients’ needs, lifestyle and budget.
CLIA’s Certified Counselors are the cruise industry’s premiere travel agents and can arrange all of your vacation needs while providing the greatest service and value for your vacation dollar.
About Second to None Vacations, LLC
Second to None Vacations, LLC is a corporation that was incorporated in 2017. Mike O'Connor is the managing partner and family travel consultant. He works with clients from all over the world and turns their ordinary plans for a vacation into an extraordinary experience. Mike is a certified agent with many cruise lines including: Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, Paul Gaugin, Holland America, Disney, UniWorld, Viking, and AMAwaterways, etc.
Have you considered a romantic getaway to a Sandals destination? Have you dreamed of a 5 star Luxury family vacation to Beaches? Then you need to tune in! Join us on May 22nd at 7:45 PM Eastern Time for a webinar all about Sandals and Beaches. Our Sandals/Beaches rep Jenny will be telling you all about both products and you can sit at home in your PJ's to watch! So click the button below and sign up. This is going to be a really informative night.
After the webinar is over, give me a call and we can discuss how to get you there! We can package together everything you need to make the vacation of your dreams.
In part 1 we showed you around the cabins on board the Norwegian Escape. Now we are going to discuss and show you some of the public spaces and activities on board.
Public spaces and activities
The Escape is full of activities and spaces to keep busy. Activities vary from the pools and slides to dangling on the ropes course. The little ones will enjoy their own water play area and the programming of the respective kids club. As you head inside the ship, the beautiful layout and colors of the atrium extend into the dining venues and public spaces. The ship is easy to navigate around and has a comfortable feel to it. Lets take a look at some of these great spaces.
The pool and water activities aboard the Norwegian Escape are pretty extensive. Between the main pool deck with associated whirlpools, the kids splash park, and the multiple water slides, everyone in the family will have plenty to do on those nice days at sea. We toured the ship during February in New York, so you have to use your imagination for the splash park. I was very impressed as they even had a slide that was tamer which would be good for the younger kids.
On the Lido deck you'll find plenty of wet fun and activities, but their are also some other options as well. The Norwegian Escape features a mini golf or putt putt course as well as a ropes course. As well, the ship features an enclosed sports court which is a great spot to shoot some hoops or kick a ball around while the world sails by.
Other public spaces
As you navigate around the ship you will come across some great public spaces. The common spaces of the lower decks are home to many of the ships restaurants, entertainment venues. and the casino. Here are some of pictures we took while exploring.
At the rear of the ship is an adults only area called Spice H20. This area features a big screen, comfortable seating, whirlpool, water feature, and its own bar. In the evening, this area turns into a fun outdoor club area on certain nights.
The Casino featured all the popular table games and a good selection of slots to meet any passengers desires. The casino is centrally located on the ship and had a simple layout to it.
What about the young sailors?
Don't worry, we didn't forget about the little ones either! As a proud parent myself, I make sure to tour the children activity areas to insure that there is stuff to do for everyone. I always stress how important it is to take the kids when we travel, but I want to make sure they have something to do. On Norwegian Escape, there are three different kids venues, split up by age group:
Guppies Nursery- 6 Months (12 for transatlantic sailings) to Age 2
Splash Academy- Age 3 to Age 12
Entourage Teen Lounge- Age 13 to Age 17
The Guppies Nursery features childcare for your tiniest sailors. This venue is additional to your cruise fare but allows you to enjoy the amenities on board without towing your infant around. Inside the venue features separate areas for napping as well as play time. The counselors in this area will follow directions for your child and also insure they participate in group play when the children are awake. Its a great option for those who still want to travel with the little ones.
-One thing to note, this is the ONLY ship which has a nursery on board. The other ships feature infant play rooms which are NOT staffed. They host group play sessions but the rooms are open typically all day for you to bring your own child in and supervise them playing.
Splash Academy is the normal kids club you have on multiple ships. The certified counselors host activities for kids split up by age groups to insure the activity is both age appropriate as well as fun. These programs are included in your cruise fare, however there are some late evening programming which is available for an extra cost. Note that the kids clubs print their own daily itineraries outside of the Freestyle Daily you receive in your cabin. Make sure to grab one if your kids want to participate so they don't miss out!
For those worrying about security, the ships have strict policies about check in and check out at the clubs. As well, all kids are required to be checked in and out by the designated persons. These people must display their room key for identification as well as the security password you provided at registration. No child will be released to unapproved or any person without the key cards for identification purposes.
The Entourage Teens Lounge is a teens only area where you can kick back and relax. It features comfortable seating, open space, music, and video games. The Teen Lounge organizes group events like basketball games, theater classes, scavenger hunts, evening pool parties and other things to keep everyone involved. Note that the Entourage Lounge allows teens to come and go at their own discretion, they are not required to be picked up or dropped off by an adult. The only thing required is the key card of the teen to sign in. So if your teen is looking for somewhere to meet other kids or just to escape the family craziness, have them check out Entourage!
So there is some of the highlights of the public spaces and programming on the Norwegian Escape. This ship currently sailing from New York has lots of fun and entertainment on board. Check back for the next post about the dining options on board. If your looking to book your next trip on this amazing ship, give us a call and we will make sure to find you the best deal.
Norwegian Cruise Line was kind enough to welcome us aboard this winter to tour the beautiful Norwegian Escape. This ship, currently sailing from the New York Port is doing Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda itineraries until September. This ship has lots of great public spaces, dining venues, and well laid out cabins which will suit guests of all ages. Lets take you through some of the sections we were able to visit and discuss what you might expect on board. Part 1 we will discuss the staterooms and Haven Complex and then in Part 2 we will talk about the public spaces on board.
Norwegian eSCAPE aCCOMODATIONS
The Norwegian Escape basic accommodations provide a variety of options from the entry level inside cabins (Pictured Top Right) through the upper level mini suite cabins. The cabins are modern in feel with nice touches of decor to satisfy most. The rooms feature ample storage space between the dressers, closet, and under the bed storage spaces. As well, the Norwegian Escape has the single occupancy cabins, know as the Studios, where single passengers can sail without paying for a double occupancy cabin. These cabins also include access to the Studio Lounge where singles can mingle and make plans with new friends they meet on board.
These photos were taken during our ship tour. Note that the bathroom here was typical in all classes of regular staterooms except for accessible rooms.
The Haven accomodations
The Haven is the suite product aboard Norwegian Cruise Line. These accommodations feature butler and concierge service on all ships, and their newer ships feature access to the Haven Complex. The Haven Complex is a private retreat for suite guests where they can enjoy a small plunge pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna in a private covered atrium. As well, these ships feature a private sundeck area, Haven lounge, and the private Haven Restaurant. The restaurant features its own special menu that is not available elsewhere aboard the ship and is open for all meals.
Additional Haven Guest Amenities include:
hAVEN cOMMON AREAS ON ESCAPE
These photos were taken during our ship tour. The Haven Complex features a enclosed plunge pool, whirlpools, sauna, and plenty of lounge chairs to relax. As well, there is a outdoor sundeck area reserved for Haven guests that adjoins the enclosed space. The complex also features a private lounge with bar and a full service restaurant, The Haven Restaurant, which is available for all meals.
Note: We were not able to tour the Haven Staterooms as the guests were already on board in this area. We will have more information in September after I sail in the Haven on this ship. Keep an eye on our social media and the blog after the trip for pictures and reviews!
Escape Stateroom final thoughts
I was really excited to tour the Escape and got to see a lot of cabins. I was impressed by the layout of the standard rooms. Despite being similar to other ships, I felt the rooms were spacious and used space in a good way. As well, the decor and atmosphere was really warm and welcoming. I could easily see myself spending a week on board in a standard room.
For those of you that are looking to have the "VIP" experience, the Haven complex is absolutely amazing. Anyone sailing in this category would be spoiled by its amenities and the cabins live up to that point. These cabins allow the guests who want an elevated experience to not lose out on all of the fun and family friendly activities that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for. Most of the upscale lines reduce or eliminate much of the family fun options, like water slides or ropes courses, to put in other spaces. So if your traveling with family and want something that high end with all the fun things to do, I highly recommend you take a look at the Haven with Norwegian Cruise Line.
That's it for today, check back next time where we will show you some of the public spaces aboard the Norwegian Escape.
Traveling with our kids is always a debate in some way. We either are arguing about the destination, activities, or even the basic concepts of how we get there. But why do we argue? Our kids are the most special thing in most of our lives and we always want to make them happy and to make sure they are safe. But how do we keep them safe during air travel? Lets discuss a few things to consider:
The safety of your child is every parents biggest concern. I understand that some people have budget and other concerns to consider, but I hope you find this information helpful.
I have eagerly been working day and night to bring you a new website experience. My old site was not a true depiction of what I believe in and the reality is, family is everything! I am all about Family Travel and truly enjoy helping you share the gift of travel with your family. Don't worry if you're one of my valued customers that doesn't have kids, I am not throwing you away! Over the next few days you will see new updates and content added as we put some finishing touches here. Thanks for visiting!
Disney with my son Aidan, May 2018
That smile is what it's all about!