We traveled as a group of 10 occupying 4 different rooms. This was a well planned trip with many dining reservations made in advance. Below is a list of highlights related to this trip.
Things that went well:
1. Cagney's is by far the absolute best dining experience around. 2. The rock wall is a huge hit with the kids with short waiting lines. 3. The Garden Cafe is a wonderful place to visit any time of day for the missed meal, or just a quick hand-scooped ice cream. 4. The giant Wii wall doubles as a large screen cinematic theater in the afternoon and evening hours. 5. The ice bar is quite the experience. While it is billed as the only ice bar at sea, it lives up to the experience with fantastic photo opportunities inside. 6. The pools are filled with fresh (salt-free) water. 7. I am a fan of the locker room near the workout room. This room was very nice in amenities and offered 2 full size showers. The locker room is even better when the stateroom facilities are in use. 8. The work out area is very crowded at the beginning of the trip but dwindles as the cruise progresses. There were never any problems getting the desired equipment. The cold (chilled in small refrigerator) wash clothes post-workout are delightful. 9. Having made dinner reservations prior to the trip, we were please for all seating to fully accommodate the group party of size 10. 10. Embark/Disembark is a breeze. 11. Soap and Shampoo are provided in all shower areas. 12. Having the large group, we requested the room servant to open the balcony doors so that the adjoining rooms could freely walk from balcony to balcony. 13. Understandably Blue Man is a popular show, however the meet & greet with the Blue Men later in the cruise (not in costume) was unexpected and very interesting.
What didn't go quite so well...
1. Table service at the Taste and O'Sheehan's(24 hour) restaurants is very slow. 2. The water slides always had a very long line. 3. The Circus was absolutely terrible. Do not even consider spending the $20 for this event. The couple in front of us "saved" space for an additional 17 people to cut in line. Once pointed out to NCL staff nothing happened. The entertainment is horrendous, bordering on inappropriate, and the food is salty. My wife sent hers back to the kitchen twice and finally gave up. 4. The Euro Bungy is an oddity in itself. Once discovered by the teens this is hugely popular. Again, so is line-cutting, long waits, and short hours. 5. Room layouts are also odd. I would strong suggest picking an outside stateroom with the bed closer to the windows. Ours was not, rather it was in close proximity to the sink which was always a tight area to traverse. 6. Recommended service charges have gone up. Just 2 years ago they were 10/pp/day. Now the adder is automatically 12/pp/day. These can be adjusted, but are a hassle. 7. EPIC arrive at Nassau around noon, departing around 5pm. This isn't enough time to get your money's worth on an excursion. While we did think about this, we ultimately chose island shopping instead. 8. I wish there were a better way to prevent passengers from stealing the nice beach towels provided to everyone. Instead of giving this some thought, the $25 replacement cost added to the bill is used as a threat. 9. No matter what the venue (pool, dinner, shows, etc) there are constantly servers asking to take your drink order. 10. Understandably Pepsi drink cards are very popular with the teens, but service for the teens is very difficult. They are waited on last. They are accused of sharing, and often downsized into smaller cups or refused service. Kids are integral to cruising and need to be treated better by NCL. 11. There is no game/card room if interested in this. 12. Smoking is permitted on ship. 13. There is no promenade deck to walk the perimeter of the ship on. 14. The spa looks fabulous, but does come with a $199/couple/week charge. I came back a couple days later to see if a pro-rated charge was available, but NO, it was still $199. 15. The 2 common area pools are quite crowded. Yes, there is another adult pool at Spice-H20. 16. The repeater party (for NCL previous cruisers) is only available to those who have sailed a minimum 5 previous cruises. 17. Warning, in-room movies are $12 each. 18. Elevators are at the front and rear of the ship. However, since she is so large, mid-ship elevators are also needed. 19. At St. Maarten the mandatory water taxi was unexpected. How can fully paid cruise passengers all are surprised with more fees to get to the port? Round trip was $6pp and not expected, we paid enough, and NCL should negotiate these into fares or include in port charges.
Overall this trip was very enjoyable. Would we do EPIC again? Certainly. Would we do things differently? Absolutely. I'm sure that everyone can find something to-do on this magnificent vessel and create their own special vacation.