Our vacation began with two days prior to the cruise in Barcelona, Spain. We booked the Husa Oriente through the Norwegian web site. The hotel was average and a little disappointing, but that would change quickly. We toured Barcelona using the double decker tour bus. A great value and we saw the most we could see.
The cruise experience began on Sunday. The bus picked us up at the hotel and took us to the port. We were escorted to the VIP check-in line, which had no wait. We were then escorted to the VIP lounge, had a few snacks and were quickly taken aboard the ship before the other passengers. We were brought to the Haven Lounge where the concierge, Adrian, met us. He took us on a tour of the Haven, which included, all private, a lounge, a restaurant, a gym, spa room, sauna, steam room, pool, bar deck, and a freestyle sun deck. We had a wonderful lunch of shrimp cocktail, filet of beef and banana cream pie (to die for).
Our rooms were ready after lunch. I knew what the Owner's Suite looked like from YouTube videos and pictures, but those were nothing compared to what we walked into. This was the most luxurious cabin we had ever seen or heard about. Four rooms, including a living room, private lounging deck, a master bath which rivaled the best hotels out there and a bedroom that I did not want to leave. The room was equipped with a laptop, two televisions, floor to ceiling windows (including the shower), a tub, full closets with room to spare and a half bathroom.
Our butler, Joha, greeted us with champagne and canapes. He also brought 3 full bottles of liquor, included in the price of the suite. The refrigerator was stocked with sparkling water, regular water, soda and mixers. All of which are restocked daily. The coffee machine was able to make coffee, cappuccino, steamed milk and tea.
Our stewart, Athena, delivered our bags promptly and offered to have anything pressed for free that day. I sent our clothes out and they were delivered the next day crisp and hung neatly. She handled our laundry requests and turn down every night. We were greeted every night with a animal towel creation, which I saved every day and created my own zoo.
We were treated to a private sail away party that night. The next night we were invited to a Haven only cocktail reception with the captain and the senior members of the crew. The captain knew who we were throughout the cruise and always took time to say hello and check on our needs.
Adrian escorted us to each and every event we had scheduled. We sat in only the best seats of each event and he always checked in us, no matter where we were.
I had asked Adrian to see if he could change our post cruise hotel because I did not like the one we were staying in. He said he would do whatever he could, but no promises. The night before we left the ship, he assured me that the experience would different at the same hotel and that they knew who I was. He was not kidding. They had hired a bellman, gave us the best room with a fruit basket, drinks and a working air conditioner. Adrian was a nothing short of a magician.
This was our 25th anniversary and the crew of the Epic made it spectacular. My hat is off to Norwegian for providing the best of the best, crew, food, drinks, and the overall experience.