Transfer to ship with Norwegian was slow but then we were not in a rush due to the booking in process not starting till 12. Then Luck was not on our side as we had the slowest check-in line but this is to be expected too with everyone turning up to het onboard at the same time. Once we were booked in and received or onboard cards we were quickly on our way and pleasantly surprised to be able to go directly to our cabin. Our suitcases had arrived by the time we had returned from lunch.
Inside cabin 11026 was beautifully decorated to a 4 star standard, spotlessly clean and well attended by our cabin attendant Richard. We requested the beds to be separated to provide two singles and there was plenty of room for the 2 of us throughout our stay. The beds were extremely comfortable and spacious. Of course the separate toilet and shower area was peculiar at first but to be honest it proved much better than standard cabin bathroom layouts. Once the curtain is drawn there is more than ample space for drying, putting on creams and dressing in private. By the end of the cruise we took no notice of the configuration of the facilities and would say overall we preferred this layout.
As with all cruises you are given a card to allow access to and from the ship and to pay or purchase any item on board. We chose to pay by cash. We topped up the card at reception on arrival and thankfully they were no set amounts. When there was no money left on the card we topped up again at reception. The TV in the cabin showed account information detailing where the money has been spent.
As I do not drink I purchased the Soda Package. Unfortunately because of the rule that both people in a cabin must purchase the same drinks package my sister could not get the alcohol drinks package. This to me is a very unfair policy.
On arrival we made our way up to the Garden Café. Food was delicious and the selection of dishes would satisfy anyone’s appetite. The inclusion of ice-cream was a pleasant surprise and we took full advantage of it throughout our holiday. The staff works really hard here to make sure all tables were well attended and cleaned away in no time. We never experienced any difficulty getting a table at any time of the day. We ate here every day for breakfast and lunch. We alternated dinner between the Garden and the other complimentary restaurants.
Taste/Manhattan/O Sheehan’s – all excellent restaurants. We were always seated immediately on arrival to our own table for two. We do not like sharing tables on cruises as we like to do our own thing. This was a big positive for the Epic. Food in all 3 restaurants was always served promptly after order was taken and always hot. The staff again in all 3 restaurants cannot be faulted. Fast, friendly and totally efficient – they all worked well as a team. Every night we dined in a different restaurant making our dining experience always something to look forward to.
There are plenty of sun beds in the pool areas and never once did we have to search for a bed.. We had plenty of space even on the day at sea which was a pleasant change from the other ships we have cruised on.
The pools themselves while on the small side were never over full that you could not go in for a dip. Ok swimming was a bit of hit and miss but still a cooling dip was always nice. There was always plenty of activity around the main pool area but there is also the adult only pool if you wanted peace and quiet.
The one thing that was unusual with the Epic was the need to book your entertainment which I would recommend doing early. On other ships you could turn up when you want and get a seat but the epic is different. The entertainment actually gets booked out and once the doors are shut there in no entry to latecomers. Over all we enjoyed all the entertainment on board at night.
1. **DO NOT MISS OUT ON SEEING HOWL AT THE MOON**
They had everyone singing and laughing at every show and every show was different due to the audience deciding what music they played by send up song requests and they will play anything! They were FANTASTICELEY EPIC!
2. CIRQUE DREAMS & DINNER
Well worth the cover charge for Premier Seats. I would recommend getting here early to get the better seats. This is an excellent show, full of energy and entertainment from start to finish. We sat upstairs to the right of the balcony area. Best Seats in the House! Get to these seats if you can.
This was entertaining but Christina Aguilera a legend? I wouldn’t think so! But Diana Ross and Prince were very entertaining so overall we did enjoy this show.
4. BLUE MOON
Was okay but it just did not hit reach the high expectations we had for the show. We went; we saw and that’s where it ends. We would not see the show again.
We attended numerous other shows such as the Best Couple and Battle of the Sexes Competition which had us in stitches, Beatle Tribute and Epic Stars..There is lots and lots of things to do on this ship..Even if it is just a quiet drink at the piano bar or the casino or even just to watch a movie on their cinema style screens.
As we have cruised many times we prefer to do our own thing when we arrive at the different ports. Getting off was always fast except for the day we were using a tender boat for Cannes which is to be expected. As such we cannot comment on any of the organized trips.
We enjoyed all the ports stops especially Cannes and Palma which were to be our 2 beach days. Cannes is lined with beaches so spoiled for choice the minute you get off the tender. Palma transfer will drop you at the Cathedral and the beach is not far from there.
We have visited Naples before so we stayed on board in the morning and after lunch when to the shops at the port then back to the pool.
Civitavecchia transfer drop of point is a bit further away from the centre of town than previous cruises but you can walk or get the transfer which will bring you to the train station. We always enjoy this port for its shops, markets and beach.
Livorno again transfer is fine and your drops off in the centre of the town, plenty of shops etc here too.
We were up early for 5.30am breakfast as we had a transfer organised with NCL and we were the 1st off at 6am. The whole process was very fast and we were on the way to the airport at 6.20am.
1. Book a forward room if possible as it is away from the dining areas but close to all the entertainment and pools.
2. Pack a change of clothes and sunscreen so that if needed you can change and sit out at the pool.
3. Bring sufficient Dollars and Euros if paying by cash as there is a 10 Dollar Commission charge for every currency conversion.
4. There are plenty of drink stations on Board where you can get tea, coffee, water, lemonade and juice.
5. Arrive early for food at the Garden Café if you want it to be hot rather than warm.
6. Go to Deck 18 (adult only) deck area if you want a sun bed away from the noise, children and entertainment by the main pool.
7. Book the entertainment...Easily done on the TV in your room or the screens around the ship. No need to queue at the booking office.
8. CIRQUE DREAMS & DINNER BEST SEATS – sit to the RIGHT of the entrance either down stairs or up in the balcony.
9. If you are getting a transfer make sure which terminal you are flying out of as the bus will drop off at different terminals and there is quite a distance between them.
Over all we both really enjoyed the NCL Epic and could safely say it was the best cruise we have had to date. It was a pleasant change from other cruise liners we have travelled with. I will without hesitation book another cruise with NCL in the near future.