My husband and I and our 3 children 9, 9, and 8 just returned from an Epically awesome Norwegian cruise. We flew into Orlando on the 25th because of the huge fare difference between Miami and Orlando. We rented a mini-van for only $50 and did the 3 hour drive from Orlando to Miami. We returned our car at the Miami Airport where we received a FREE Shuttle Ride from the rental car agency to the port of Miami. I thought this was an awesome deal. We arrived at the port at about 11am where we had an extremely quick check in process and we were on the boat riding the slides by 12:15. Our cabin was even ready when we got on the boat so we were able to drop off our extra things before heading to the pool. We always come prepared to swim when we get on the arrive and you could see everyone wishing that they had planned as well as we had. There was no waiting on any of the slides and my kids had a blast.
The 1st evening is Lobster Night in the Manhattan Room and the Taste Restaurant so we headed to the Manhattan room for a wonderful evening of food and dancing to a live band. We really enjoyed it. After dinner we took our kids to the kids club which I have to say has more energy than the DIsney Kids Club and my kids said it was far better than the Disney Kids Club. My husband and I went to the Howl at the Moon Piano show the first night and we were in awe of this entertainment. Drew, Kim and Matt were phenomenal. It was like hanging out with your best friends and we were amazed at their talent. These three were truly amazing. We also tried out for Slime Time Live the first evening and we were picked to be on the show. The show was taped on Monday morning. We had a blast as the red team. We didn't win but we enjoyed our 2nd place finish with Pies in the face. Nacho Libre works with the Nickelodean team and we absolutely loved him. He is a macho mexican man!!
The next day we enjoyed the pool deck and relaxed and in the evening we went to the Cirque Supper Club Show which I highly suggest. The performers were amazing and really drew us into the show. We purchased preferred seating and it was amazing. We were right under the performers, I don't think I have ever sat so close in a live show. GO TO THIS SHOW, YOU DON"T WANT TO MISS IT!
Day 3 we did rock climbing and slides and the epic bounce where the recreation staff learned the names of all my kids and that was amazing. We ate dinner very quickly at the wonderful Garden Cafe Buffet before we headed to Blue Man Group. My kids absolutely loved this show and I did too. They were outrageous and out of the box. What a treat!! Then we went back to the Garden Cafe for fresh made Crepes before bed and our kids spent a few more hours at the kids club. They were always begging to go there.
Day 4 we spent in St. Maarten on the most amazing excursion which you cannot book through the cruise line. You have to go to randomwind.com to book an amazing 5.5 hour sailboat trip that includes lunch and snorkeling, swimming, soda, beer and a Pirate Swing that my kids absolutely loved. The owner of the boat will be right there with you and you can see that she loves her job. Do not miss this opportunity in St. Maarten. It will be a lifetime memory for you! You will love it!!! That evening we discovered that the dining room Taste is the best on the ship. In love with the Salmon. YUMMY!!
Day 5 we were ready to get off the boat asap which ended up being 7:45am. We have been to St. Thomas before so we knew what we wanted to do. We took a 5 minute taxi ride to the Marriott Morningstar Beach and were in our beach lounge chairs by 8:01am. We love this quiet beach managed by the Marriott. We played in the surf and the sand until 3pm when we had to return to the ship. This is a great inexpensive way to spend your day in St. Thomas. This is the best kept secret, go enjoy the beach!! That night we went back to Taste for dinner and I had some super yum Mahi Mahi. We went to Howl at the moon again and to Slam Allen Jazz for a few minutes. We took our kids this time and they loved it. My 9 year old was even asked to come up on the stage and play Heart and Soul with Drew at Howl at the Moon, this was huge for her as she is very shy. Drew gave her a lot of encouragement and I think she has faced her biggest fear. WOW! That was above and beyond!!!
Day 6 was another sea day. We relaxed and had dinner at the buffet again and then saw Legends in Concert. It was fantastic although I am not a fan of Whoopi Goldburg so I could have done without her, but that is purely preference. Jimmy Buffett and Donna Summer were great, but Michael Jackson was fantastic!! He had the whole package and I really felt like I was watching Michael. BRAVO!!! Later in the evening my husbands name got drawn for the Minute to Win IT game show in the Bliss lounge and he won, it was great fun. This event was hosted by Gustav from South Africa and he was HILARIOUS!!! Couldn't understand a word he said but we loved him anyway!!
We hit the Living in America comedy show later that night and had some laughs! Great JOB!!!
Day 7 was full of end of cruise blues as we were on our last day. We were in Nassau. We don't care for Nassau so we stayed on the ship and had the whole pool deck to ourselves. CRAZY considering the ship has over 4000 passengers. We finally broke down and paid to go to Le Bistro on the last night and we enjoyed our evening there. The food was delicious and the staff was wonderful. I highly suggest it!!
On disembarkation we did the easy walk off which was just that, easy! We woke up at 7am, ate breakfast which was just as good as any other day, grabbed our bags and we were on the curb waiting for our rental car shuttle by 830am. This is truly an awesome option for those of you who pack light like we do. We took the shuttle back to the airport, got our car and returned to Orlando for our flight home.
All in all this was the perfect trip. Everyone had a great time and the week simply flew by. It almost seems like it was a dream because of how smoothly it all went. I predict an extremely bright future for Norwegian Cruise Line. They are blazing a new trail in the cruising industry. They have great prices and a high quality product. I have the utmost respect for how they do business. TAKE A CRUISE ON THE EPIC!!! YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!