As a birthday surprise, my husband purchased a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise for us. We have cruised many times before, on several lines, most were to the Caribbean. He felt that we needed some "unwind" time after my mother's passing and all the turmoil that ensues afterward. He booked a Haven balcony stateroom, which was reasonably priced, on the Epic, a LARGE ship. Normally, we opt for the smaller ships. By smaller, I mean 3000 or less passengers. I felt the large ships would be too crowded, too impersonal, and just plain too busy. "What the heck! Let's give it a try", was my thought. Three days before departure, I received a phone call from Norwegian asking if we would like to upgrade. Duh! No brainer! We were upgraded to an Owner's Suite! At the port, we were "escorted" to the VIP check-in, a lovely lounge area, with no waiting. We were then escorted from there to our room. When the door opened, you could hear a "kerplunk" when both our jaws hit the floor. Our stateroom was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen on a ship. On deck 17, with floor to ceiling windows, separate master bedroom with king size bed(and 40" TV), living room (with 50" TV,laptop,Ipod dock,DVD library), dining area, huge bar with a coffee/tea/latte/cappuccino machine, double walk-in closet, and a bath that took your breath away! The decor was gorgeous! I must tell you about the bath.....floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the bow of the ship, 2 free standing sinks and vanity mirrors, a shower big enough for two to do jumping jacks in, and a free-form bathtub up against the windows. Over the tub was a display of star-like twinkle lights that could be adjusted via several small control panels around the stateroom(also adjusted the stateroom's other lighting for daylight, TV watching, candlelight effect, etc.) The stateroom had an over 90* view of the ocean. Also, a butler and concierge were included!
The ship, itself, is incredible! Something for everyone. The shows are not to be missed, from the Blue Man Group to Legends(Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Jimmy Buffet, Rod Stewart, etc., impersonators) to Cirque Dreams in the Speigel Tent to Howl At the Moon/Dueling Pianos(hysterical!). Several pools, including water slides, adults only, and a private pool and sundeck area for Haven guests, keep you busy. Activities during the day and night are endless, if that is what you want, or you can choose to do absolutely nothing!
The food was some the best we have ever had at sea or on land. The crew members are attentive, friendly, and fun. They bend over backwards to make your cruise enjoyable. Tons of entertainment all day long, from on-deck music to game shows, whatever you could possibly want. There are children's programs, teen programs, and, the best yet, accommodations specifically for cruisers who wish to sail alone! They have staterooms for single travelers where you DO NOT pay double occupancy! They are stylishly decorated. There is even a lounge for those who prefer to sail alone making it easier to meet new friends.
One of the most important aspects we have always found on Norwegian is their awareness of providing PLENTY of hand sanitizing stations, a point neglected by other lines. The crew awaits you when you board with spray bottles of sanitizer at every port, and there are hundreds of dispensers all over the ship. As stated, we have been on ships where this is not done, and on those cruises, the last one we were on comes to mind, many, many people became ill with Norovirus(approx. 200!). I am sure I have left many things out of this rambling review, but all I can say is this was definitely one cruise we will never forget! Kudos to Norwegian, the Epic, it's crew! By the way, 4 new ships will make their appearance over the next year. From what we heard, the Epic crew is slightly jealous of those crew members who will be sailing on them. I can't wait to check them out! Before you book with any other line, go to www.ncl.com and look over the Epic, the Breakaway(sailing out of New York to Bermuda), and the new ships. I am sure you will enjoy every last minute of your cruise.