my husband and i started off on monday to represent our cruise agent on the epic. we were advised she was going to be late coming in as her engines had failed and so this would slow her down considerably. not a good start as we had heard about 2 fires that she had already had before this, at this time she had not been officially named. we were due to board her at 1pm on the tuesday and eventually after several enquiries we were told she was coming in a bit earlier now than 6pm as she had managed to make up some time. we were the last shuttle bus to be taken to the ship, and were lucky we didnt have to go to the terminal where 2,000 other passengers were waiting to board her! it was lucky for us and when the driver told us the news a big roar of approval went up. we met the dj mike reid in the car park he was on our coach and told us that he and tony blackburn were guest djs on board for this trip.
well finally checked in and in our cabin, we were aft on the spa deck. a nice room, but when i found out later that this was a cabin also for 3, i was amazed because it would definitely be too small. the new layout was quite nice but proved in some ways impractical. there was a sink just infront of the toilet area in its own area attractive, you had a separate shower/bath and toilet also, but the arm of the sink for water was unmovable which made brushing teeth as an example difficult. as a footnote i have since heard that these sinks have proved to be troublesome they leak etc, so are being taken out! our tv didnt work, our safe didnt open even though engineers were supposed to have fixed it. i found the spa to be quite small though spread out in several areas also extremely over priced in comparison to other ship spas. i thought the swimming area very much a copycat version of royal caribbean ships but not in a good way. no nice open spaces to sunbathe the tubes etc dominated this area. there was an ice bar which you had to book to go in for 45 minutes max. you were given a cape and gloves to wear and believe me you needed them, it was not for the faint hearted! i hadnt booked but they let me in for 5 mins to see it. it was all of ice the bar sculptures etc, nowhere to sit and extremely cold. the casino was huge but i have seen better layouts than this. the food we tried out in taste their everyday restaurant was not the best. we ate in cagneys, both nights and had the surf and turf amongst other things, it was very nice we were given a good window seat and managed to get in for 7pm as opposed to the 8pm everybody was told! it would have cost us $25 each normally to eat there, im not sure it was that good. the 24 hr bar was tried out for breakfast not very good it has a bowling alley huge screen and is quite a big open space but lacked atmosphere. the childrens area was quite well planned and my feeling of this ship was that it was for families, if they could afford to pay for all the extra things they may have wanted. most of the facilities carried a price tag to use. i call them little hidden extras! seems to be the way cruise ships operate now, a shame.
the staff were not particularly helpful in the main especially the shops. they were very poor in comparison to other ships and quite pricey too. the ship was very disjointed and not easy to get round the bars were mainly in one area and we found it hard to find one as headquarters. everywhere was negotiated by lifts and escalators a novelty not sure though if an elevator is good going from the bar to your room?! i didnt find a library or cinema i did look!! on a final note many restaurants some not opening till 9pm this particular one was called manhatten and it was at the back of the ship on a lower level to the many others which all carried a surcharge for entry we tried the manhatten which had a band playing at night for breakfast, this was very slow, nobody seemed to know where anything was half an hour wait or more for your meal, so if going on a tour probably the garden room would best, no charge for there. there is a noodle bar £15 surcharge, sushi, chinese. the other steak bar was brazilian but very different to what you would expect if you have ever been there, spicy and steak served on skewers mmm. there was nowhere to go and have a dance unless you wanted to disco. this was on the whole a very disappointing ship. i have been on many NCL ships and awaited with bated breath for this one to be launched but for me she was not as good as the others, big is not always beautiful. lastly the theatre was very small and the shows we had both the same the blue men were not really very good slapstick at its worst.