Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 12:30, process was very good and we were on the ship by 1:15pm. We brought our own water and 6 bottles of wine which we paid $15 corkage fee for each...not a problem since we like the fact we can have our own wine.
Once aboard we were advised that cabins were ready so we proceeded to drop of our bags and head to Taste for lunch. This was our third sailing on the Epic at the same time of the year. Lunch at Taste was alright, better than going to the buffet. However, their service is very slow and getting lemon for your water was a chore we had to request a couple of times before they brought some over.
We opted for an inside cabin, since the price was very good $449 per person, and we really just come to sleep...we are nappers so we take a long afternoon nap as well. We found the cabin to be much smaller than other inside cabins, not having a sofa or chair..getting ready for a lady is almost impossible unless your a midget since the mirror is underneath a cabinet and you have to almost kneel on the floor to see yourself and lighting is very poor. we did not mind the bathroom situation, don't understand what the big deal is; but it does not have much privacy to go with children on the same cabin. TV was also a joke probably a 13 inch and not much to watch...we have cruised on their balcony cabins and eventhough the room is harder to get around the bed it does offer much more room and a bigger tv!
Dinner at the MDR, 1st night it was crazy as usual, last time we went we found that going to eat around 9:00pm seemed like the best waiting time...i guess everyone else did as well..we ended up being seated around 9:30pm. We always order San Pellegrino, and we always have an issue with waiters pouring regular water on our glasses...it happened about 3 times on this ship and we were never offered another bottle just apologies. We decided not order anymore and just drank regular water with Lemon...once again having to ask for it several times. We ate at MDR 4 out of the 7 nights and food was ok...except for the pork loin, that was flavorless an felt like it came out of a can.
Specialty Dining, -
Moderno - we ate there the 2nd night always great food and service. we told the waiter we only wanted Filet Mignon and lamb chops and that is all they brought us...very much worth the $20 surcharge.
La Cucina - we ate there 2 nights, 1 planned and 1 because my husband got upset with the MDR hostess, he came down to get a beeper while if finished getting ready and she said no need, 10 minutes later when i arrived there was a 45 minute wait...totally unacceptable.
3rd night La Cucina - the hostess was very accommodating she had been called by the MDR and she quickly seated us by a nice table for 2 by the window. We had a waitress from Macedonia, can't remember her name, but she was very friendly and efficient. We had brought a bottle of Santa Margharita Pinot Grigio and she quickly put it to chill for us. Dinner was fabulous, for $15 dollar surcharge is well worth it...we shared a caprese, beef carpacio, bruschetta and calamari...delicious. My husband had the spaguetti carbonara and Chicken Parmegian...could not finish but both delicious. I had the Rib Eye steak and shrimp risotto...again could not finish but delicious...for dessert we had tiramisu and the chocolate tarte...i recommend the tiramisu.
5th night La Cucina - we were seated once again by the window, cannot remember waiter as he was not as good as the other server...he could not find our wine, even though we told them to save for us there since we would be back...after a couple of times telling us they could not find...i told him it could not be too difficult since they did not carry Santa Margharita and our name and stateroom was on the tag...we finally received it.
Since we had been served so much food the last time we opted for the caprese salad and bruschetta. I had the Lobster fettucini with a side of shrimp...absolutely wonderful...my husband had the lasagna...delicious and we had tiramisu for dessert. Well worth the surcharge.
The not so good...
After our 5th attempt at sailing NCL (2 on Sky and 3 Epic), we have decided this is not for us...Freestyle meaning you do not build any rapport with your waiter, which we like since we appreciate having good service. Never knowing what time you will eat, since after you get to the MDR you are still given a pager or otherwise you have to pay for the specialty restaurants.
We felt that in order to do anything on the ship you had to pay for it...bowling, shows, bingo, etc. We have already seen the Blue Man Group twice, in Vegas and on the ship....don't like that type of show....The comedy players, not my cup of tea, improvisation and people seem to be amused by stupid things such as bodily functions and such...We did see Michael Jackson after the Legends show...and he was real life like; but we do not like that type of show so did not attend. The only show we did attend was the Magician/Comedian that was on from Wednesday thru Thursday. He was very funny and worth while watching.
Casino - we are gamblers; but i must say that by Thursday night we stopped playing since we lost all our money and never felt like we could win at any of the slots...we did see a lady win a 4900 jackpot and win again smaller jackpots other days...good for her!!
Lastly we did have very good service from our room attendant Antonio, and there was a hostess at Osheeans that was also in the MDR at night "LEAH", i asked her to give me her full name but we did not catch her to get it afterwards. She was the most attentive person on that ship she always saw us and said hello and always tried to find us the best table when we ate on the MDR.
Again they seem to have this down to a science we went down when our color was called and had no waiting to get bags or go through customs...around 15 minutes total.
We will continue sailing; but not on NCL as we did not enjoy it as much as we have on RCL and Celebrity.
We have an upcoming cruise on Celebrity on April 5th Ultimate Caribbean 10 days...cannot wait!!