As you can tell from the title,we had a brilliant time on the Epic,what a truely wonderful ship.we had the most amazing 13 nights onboard this big mega-ship,everyone should do a transatlantic crossing on this lovely ship at least once in their lifetime,it has so much to offer and the crossing can be as relaxing and fun as you want to make it.
we had joined a cruise-critic forum site for our particular cruise and sailing,were everyone could have a chat and share lots of tips before we actually boarded,we had some fantastic organisers on our forum (you know who you all are,you were brilliant,thank you ever so much)and they organised events such as a meet and mingle,cruise-critic luncheon,slot-pull,bar-crawl and cabin-crawl,we even had a great guy who kept us all updated with a spreadsheet every so often.
Once we boarded,it was lovely to meet people face to face from our forum and we made some lovely new cruise friends in the process,for sailaway we had all arranged to meet in Spice H2O wearing mardi-gras beads this was a good ice-breaker and we had a fab sailaway.So what I am really trying to say here is if you have booked any cruise or are about too,make sure you join this forum so you can meet your future friends!!!
Embarkation:- We arrived at 10:30am,check-in opened at 11am and we were onboard an hr or so later and in our cabins shortly after that.
Our cabin:- was a large balcony cabin on deck 11,our 25 year old daughter had a studio cabin nearby,our balcony was large enough to accomodate 3 sun loungers which we had asked our lovely cabin steward for when he introduced himself shortly after we arrived at our cabin.Please give your cabin steward an extra tip at the end of your cruise as they do such a good job,just make sure you give it to them on your last night as on the morning we arrived in Miami,we found new staff had already boarded and started their shifts.
Dining:- The main dining rooms served lovely delicous food on this sailing,with lobster night being on the second night which was also dress-up or not night.The buffet was also amazing with a huge variety of food on offer,a lot of items were even made to order these included:-omelettes,eggs- benedict,soups,stir-frys and even a sandwich and carvery station.
Speciality dining:- we always like to pay a little bit extra to enjoy these restaurants and for a nominal surcharge we enjoyed Cagneys,Moderno,Shanghais,Teppanyaki, Le Bistro and La Cucuina all these restaurants served beautiful food and we were served by lovely friendly staff who couldnt do enough for you in each establishment.
Chefs Table:- we had decided to do this before we boarded as a one-off experiance,it cost $75.00 per person and we had a lovely evening with the venue being the Epic Club lounge,a total of 12 guests are seated around the table and with each individual course coming paired with wine you do end up a little tipsy by the end of the night!!!
O Sheehans:- Grab some wings and enjoy the afternoon movie from here as it overlooks the large screen in the Atrium,we also played a couple of games of bowls in here.We had our main meal once in here and I must admitt we would never repeat the experiance all the food was cold and the starters and main came at exactly the same time, the servers were not vewry friendly in here and none of them managed to raise a smile.Although we did have breakfast in here once and that was ok.
Entertainment:- is second to none on the Epic and there is lots of entertainment everywhere,throughout the day and night all over from outside on the top decks to all the venues on the lower decks inside just make sure you check out your freestyle daily everyday to ensure you do not miss out on anything.
Blue-Man group:- very entertaining with a weird and wonderful twist.
Cirque:- A dinner show,with lots of visual circus style acts we enjoyed a good night in here.
Legends:- we were lucky enough to see a different show each of the two weeks.The first week we were entertained by Madonna, Elvis and Rod Stewart,the second week,Donna Summer,Jimmy Buffet,and Michael Jackson both shows were really good.
Second City:- These did three shows on different nights at 7pm,9pm and 11pm,I must say we werent too impressed but we met plenty of other people who were,so I think its just a matter of personal preferance.
Howl at the Moon:- You cannot fail to have a good time with these guys it was just fantastic,it was good old spontaneous fun with the audience choosing the songs they duelled through.
Fat cats:- Only managed to spend a couple of hours in here,we definately would have liked to spend more as the live act in here was really good.
Pre-sumed murder luncheon:- This was performed in the round by second city and incurred a small surcharge as you enjoyed a lovely lunch throughout this spontaneous,interactive murder-mystery,a good afternoon was had by all,this took place in the Spiegal Tent.
During our two weeks we were also privilaged to have been entertained by Re-voiced an acappella group, a magician,an hypnotist and the brilliant Graffiti a string quartet with a very funny differnce.
There were also 50's and 60's,70's,80's nights to enjoy in Bliss and once we got to the Carribean a Fabba night was held in Spice H20 on the top deck.
Halloween a lot of people dressed up for this,with Thriller dance classes taking place a couple of days before. A family pool party was held that night with the halloween bash being held in Spice H2O later on,which the entertainment team organised brilliantly even putting on a mini show to get everyone in the party mood.
White Hot Party:- was held once again in Spice H2O on one of the last nights of the cruise and another fabulous night was had by all once again.
Happy Hours:-lots and lots of these throughout the cruise,these were a good bargain,held between 4 and 6:30 in Maltings held every evening apart from the first one or two.Two for one on all beers and single spirit cocktails.
Martini,Margarhita,beer and wine tastings held every other day and at $15.00 these were another bargain as you more often than not got four or five nearly full size measures.
The Seas:- Not too rough at all,we had a really good crossing and once we got to the Carribean it was like sailing on a pond.
The weather:- was a little chilly for the first couple of days,but then once we approached the Azores it started to warm-up and then as we approached the Carribean it was absoulutely glorious and everyone was out on the top decks making the most of it.
St Thomas:- A word of warning here, customs come onboard early morning and it depends which deck you are on as to when you can proceed to the customs points to pass through them with non US citizens going to a different area than US citizens and Canadians.Our time was 8;30am but we didnt manage to get off the ship until ten because of the huge q's which had gathered by then,we did have a private tour booked for 9am so we gave them a ring and changed our pick-up time to ten without much of a problem.So just be aware of this when you are booking your own tours for lovely St Thomas.
Disembarkation:- once again this depends which deck you are on as to what time you can proceed to disembark and colour coded baggage tags are given out to reflect this,you can opt for early walk off in which case you can carry your own luggage off the ship early am.
All in all a fantastic value for money cruise,go on treat yourselves book this transatlantic crossing on the Epic you won't be dissappointed!!!