Ship: Easy boarding. Got to the port at 11:00 am. Sat in waiting area until 11:30 when boarding began and walked right on. We all thought the interior decorating was very nice. Especially in the specialty restaurants. The theaters and clubs are all a nice size. There wasn't a bad seat in the Epic Theater. The casino is huge, but we don't gamble much, so we didn't hang out there at all. One big negative was that the smoking policy didn't seem to be enforced. We saw people smoking daily on the "non-smoking" side of the pool deck. We had to move seats twice to escape the smoke. I thought that one half of the casino was non-smoking, but I couldn't tell you which side that was. There was smoke everywhere, which was annoying because we had to walk through there almost every day with the kids. We also had a guy smoking a cigar on his balcony below us - yuck!! A tip for the pool deck - wear your shoes - they let you keep them on to ride the slides. I had blisters on my feet after trying to go More
15 feet across the deck while we were in port in Miami that first day. Do the slides the first day you get on. That day and the morning we docked in Nassau were the two least crowded times.
Room: SMALL!!! We had a family balcony on deck 14 (Quiet dead end hall near kids club - that was a big plus). We had 2 adults and a 9 and 10 year old. The bed was by the door. To get by each other around the bed, we had to crawl over the bed. When the bunk beds were set up at night, we couldn't open the closet doors all the way. To get to the balcony we had to climb over the ladder. I could not stand sideways between the bunk and the opposite wall. Kids slept fine on the bunks. If NCL had added just 3 or 4 inches to the cabin width, it would have made a huge difference. Our bed was comfortable except my feet hung completely off the end (I am 5'9") But the room was quiet and night. We loved the balcony and that really helped make up for the small room.
Bathroom setup: Thumbs down big time. The plastic door to the toilet lets every sound out. The opaqueness wasn't a big issue for us, but the toilet was so loud that we couldn't flush it at night or everyone would wake up. Our neighbors toilet woke us up one morning! The sink was the stupidest design I have ever seen. One of the Second City guys joked that after you wash your hands, you need to change your pants. Water goes everywhere. My husband and brother soaked the floor trying to shave. The best thing to do is just line the sink with hand towels. Having the sink in the cabin is also a pain. It is loud at night, too. In the morning, I like to run and so I get up earlier than everyone else. Well, I had to turn on the light in the bathroom with the curtain partially shut and then try to see well enough to put in my contacts. The light over the sink was too bright. On other cruises, I can go into the bathroom, shut the door, turn on the light, get ready and leave without any hassle. On the plus side, the shower was great!! And there was a lot of storage space!
Cabin Steward: Don't know if he's gonna make it. Our first night, we got back to the cabin and didn't have a ladder for the bunk. It was 11pm. We called our steward who said he was in bed and would bring it in the morning. My dad also called that night to see if he could get another pillow. Same answer. They need to have better coverage. Another time, he took our damp pool towels at night (they cost $25 if you don't return them). We called him at 7:45 am because we wanted to take them on our excursion at 8 am. Guess what! He said he was in bed and would bring them later that day. My husband called housekeeping and spoke to a director. We got our towels a few minutes later.
Entertainment: OUTSTANDING! Best shows on any ship I've been on. Saw Blue Man Group from 3rd row. Legends was fun. Second City was good. Cirque show rocked! Murder Mystery Lunch was great! One tip: Do not eat in the Speigal Tent. It was the same gross food for Cirque and the Mystery lunch. There are so many better options on the ship. In fact everywhere else we ate was great.
Food: Garden Cafe was great - there were a lot of choices. Kids loved the pizza, pasta, hot dogs, fries and ice cream. There were also Indian, Chinese, Deli, Salad, and Rotisserie options. It did get crowded at times, though. Our extended family managed to dine in most of the specialty restaurants and all gave great reviews. Don't miss the chocolate dessert at Cagneys! Tip: If you don't see a wine you've had at another restaurant on the menu one night, just ask, they will bring it to you! Service was good all nights except the 1st, when we ate in Taste. There seemed to be a lot of confusion about who was doing what. Analiza in the Manhattan Club served us another night and she was great!! One big thanks to a chef from India who helped me get some pasta for my picky son. Every other station in the Garden Cafe seemed to be open except for the Pasta station. When I asked him why, he said don't worry, I'll take care of you and he did!! My son got his dinner!! That was great customer service.
Kid's Club: My 10 year old loved it - he spent 10 hours in there on one of our days at sea. My 9 year old and her cousin (also 9) liked it okay. They were in the 6 - 9 year old group and felt that the activities were too young for them - too geared toward the 6 year olds. I think NCL should rethink their age groupings on the ship - especially since there were about 1200+ kids aboard. Maybe break them into smaller groupings. I do think they need to have more flexibility to move kids close to the next age group up like Disney does.
Activities: Water slides were great! Go on the first day to avoid crowds. It was also less crowded the morning we docked in Nassau. O'Sheehans was a great place for our family to hang out. We played pool, air hockey, mini golf and darts. We also had fun bowling in Bliss.
Fitness Center: Lots of treadmills, never waited. Loved that I could plug my Ipod in and listen to music!! A couple of fans would really help! The first day it was way to hot inside but it was better the rest of the week.
Photos: Not freestyle! Unless, they have printed one of your pictures and it is in your notebook or on the wall, you have to order the size of the print in the computer. We loved one of our daughter and niece but weren't happy that it was only available in an 8" x 10" size. If they had printed it, they said they could resize it at the desk, but since it hadn't been printed we had to pay $20 for the larger size. Thankfully some of the other shots were smaller and just cost us $10 or $15. I was surprised that you couldn't choose your size for all pictures.
Tip on reading the bill: You will figure this out quickly, but say you order 2 drinks at O'Sheehans for $13 and tip $1. Your bill will show a charge for $13, then for $14, and then there will be a deduction of $13. It makes for a lot of lines to go through if you add a tip to anything!
Atlantis waterpark 1/2 day excursion: Too short, but kids loved it!!! Take a taxi for $4 pp each way - you get more time in the park!!
Overall we enjoyed our cruise very much. The food and entertainment were outstanding. We weren't in the cabin much so it wasn't a deal breaker, but besides the balcony and storage there wasn't much to like. Less
Nice balcony - view of water below - no lifeboats. Quiet - on dead end hall. Across from stewards work room but didn't bother us. Good storage, but tight squeeze for 2 adults, 2 kids. Noisy toilet/bathroom, but they all are on the Epic!!