This was our first cruise, and we traveled with friends. We don't have another cruise experience to compare ours too, but we liked this experience. First off, the staff of NCL are extremely polite and friendly and all went out of their way to engage us. The Epic is a huge ship, and there is always something going on at all times. Get to know your copy of "Freestyle" daily for the schedule of activities and you will find something fun. We participated in karaoke, dancing at the H20 Spice and Bliss clubs, Blackjack tournament, beer tasting, wine tasting, Deal or No Deal, Bingo, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, Blueman Group, Legends....do you get the picture there is plenty to do on board?
Definitely worth the upgrade. The balcony is spacious. I just wish there were hooks to hang clothes and towels to dry. Otherwise, it's a great place to sit and enjoy the ocean while reading a book or listening to music. The room itself is about what I expected for a cruise ship stateroom. I read plenty of horror stories about the bathroom configuration and the sink. These weren't issues for me and my wife. The sink is a bit small yes, and it's hard to rinse your face without getting water all over the floor but so what? I just put a towel down and went to work. There's plenty of storage, and we place our luggage under the beds. Tip: bring a few coat hangers because there is a 2nd closet to hang clothes, but no coat hangers provided. No issues with noise from other cabins, we slept great.
We dined at the buffet's for breakfast and lunch, then upgraded to the Specialty Dining package to eat at the various restaurants on board. Italian, Churrascaria, Cagney's Steakhouse, French, Teppanyaki, Chinese....all were well worth the upcharge. I never had a bad meal during the entire week. If you wanted a snack, there were plenty of options, even a hot, tasty pizza could be delivered to your stateroom for just $5.
Overall, I felt this was the best vacation value ever. We visited three beautiful ports, were entertained non-stop, played casino games, and enjoyed delicious meals during our cruise...and never once had to worry about driving home after having too much to drink. Wonderful time...we can't wait to go on another cruise with NCL.
The Costa Maya port is a giant tourist trap. If you want to get to know the area, take a short cab ride to MaThis was our favorite excursion of the cruise. You get picked up by an open air bus brightly painted orange and black. Your guide will share his knowledge of the surrounding area during the trip to a private ranch. You get to ride tandem mountain bikes for about a half mile to a Mayan cenote, which is basically an underwater cave. Those who choose to enter get to experience what Mayan's considered a therapeutic treatment. Then it's back on the bikes and to the bus for a short trip to a private, secluded beach where you can relax, swim, lounge in a hammock while the guides prepare a simple lunch of chicken fajitas with tortillas. The beach is gorgeous and worth the price of the excursion alone.
The port of Cozumel is a zoo that represents a tropical Tijuana, complete with shops, and vendors promising you a "good deal". Just outside, there's even a Starbucks, and Hooters, with outrageous prices (which explains why the menus are posted in pesos not dollars so tourists have no idea how bad they are getting ripped off) If none of this bothers you, then you'll love the port of Cozumel.
If you'd prefer something different, book a cab ride to one of the beach resorts, like Nachi Cocom, and you will have a nice, quiet, and relaxing day at a beautiful beach.
Loved the tubing! This was worth the cost. We were on the river for over an hour, and enjoyed the beautiful Jamaican scenery.
If you combine the zip line with anything else, you get a very abbreviated zip line experience that I didn't think was worth it. You get three zip stations, two of which aren't very high off the ground and relatively short.