After having only sailed from Southampton with a baby we were slightly dubious about how smooth things would go after choosing a late booking on board the NCL Epic sailing from Barcelona.
I have to say we really didn't need to worry. The check in process was actually quicker than that we have experienced at Southampton or indeed pre-child cruises from Miami!
We initially thought the standards on board an NCL ship would not quite match those of royal Caribbean or P&O, but we were proved wrong on all counts. The modern spacious cabin was excellent and having a separate toilet and basin to the shower was so helpful when trying to get an 18month old ready at the same time as yourselves. Our cabin was in an excellent location close to the lifts and we never experienced any noise.
The food onboard was definitely superior to that of the recent P&O cruise that we had taken onboard the Azura with so much choice and varied menus in the restaurants onboard. We did pay extra one night and visit the Chinese restaurant, well worth the supplement-although as we really enjoyed the food in the main restaurant and buffet we decided not to bother with the other supplement restaurants as they had limited choice for our son. The garden cafe buffet restaurant is excellent and had so much choice for our son. As we quite like our dinner served to us though we would often take our son there to eat and then go on to the main dining room for our dinner.
The entertainment onboard is definitely a notch above any that we have seen on other ships. Yes you have to pay a supplement for the cirque show-but wouldn't you rather do that than watch yet another "Christopher Maloney-esque" crooner murder a frank Sinatra or Neil diamond classic? I know we would. The blue man show is very good also. Perhaps one of the best things that we paid for was the nickelodeon character breakfast, a definite must for families with small children. Lovely breakfast serve to you at the table and then the characters join you singing and dancing for about 30 mins. Our son was totally enthralled by it.
All of the public areas on board were extremely clean and tidy including the pool areas. The toddler pool and slide is very good - although the only thing I would say about this area is that as it is shaded the water remains very cool-perhaps NCL could heat all the water running through this area?
In conclusion this was an excellent holiday and we enjoyed it so much we have now booked the same cruise for next year - roll on July 2013!