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Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by chiapet

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Norwegian Epic
Norwegian Epic
Member Name: chiapet
Cruise Date: October 2010
Embarkation: Miami
Destination: Western Caribbean
Cabin Category: B2
Cabin Number: 14077
Booking Method: Internet Agency
See More About: Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews | Western Caribbean Cruise Reviews | NCL Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 4.0
Entertainment 5+
Spa & Fitness 5.0
Family & Children (By Age Group)
        7-9 4.0
        10-12 4.0
Shore Excursions 4.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 4.0
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: Norwegian Epic Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Norwegian Epic Deck Plans
EPIC 10/30/10 Family Cruise ... Loved it!
BACKGROUND

* DH, DW, 2 DS (12 & 7) from South Jersey

* traveling with friends & family ages 5-55

* lots of previous cruise experience

PRE-CRUISE HOTEL

La Quinta Inn & Suites - Miami Airport East

+ clean & inexpensive hotel with comfortable bedding

+ FREE airport & pier shuttles

+ FREE breakfast with lots of choices

+ Bennigan's within walking distance

~ 2 double beds were small

~ noisy from planes & HVAC

~ temperature changes from A/C cycling

~ lines/waits for FREE pier shuttle so we took $24 taxi instead

EMBARKATION

Terminal C at Port of Miami

+ NO wait at x-rays or check-in upon 10:30am arrival

+ seated waiting area with water & OJ offered

+ no boarding #s but seated according to arrival time

+ boarding promptly started at NOON

~ 2 possible terminals B or C depending on your cabin location/deck

~ usual welcome-aboard glass of champagne not offered

CABINS

Family Balcony 14077 (cat. B1)

+ great location near Kids Crew, Buffet, Pool, Spa/Gym, Elevators/Stairs

+ lots of room for storage esp. 2 very deep drawers under the sofabed

+ 2 beds pushed together seemed even larger than normal

+ lots of fluffy pillows & comfortable bedding

+ standard balcony seemed deeper than on other ships

+ had connecting int. door & balcony partition door also opened

+ roomy showers & excellent water pressure/temperature

+ tiny magnets on curtains ensured no early AM light

+ large flat screen with interactive iTV to see acct, book shows, view shorex, etc.

+ full-sized hair dryer & large medicine cabinet w/ mirror

+ large basket under sink kept wet towels out of the way

~ very hard to maneuver around cabin with 4 people

~ ceiling pullman bunk bed had sharp corners where kids hit their heads

~ sink was indeed small so remember to not turn water up too much

~ toilets were loud esp. in the middle of the night

~ shower area caused a problem when someone was at the door

~ door clings we brought for privacy didn't stick to the frosted shower/toilet doors

~ lighting was dim & some switches were hidden so look under cabinets

~ our interior connecting door eliminated a section of possible storage space




RESTAURANTS

Garden Buffet

+ action stations reduced lines

+ so many options incl. Indian & Chinese

+ 8 different ice cream/sherbet flavors to choose from

+ also had soft-serve in addition to regular ice cream

+ plenty of seating esp. in the front of the ship so walk around

+ lots of omelet stations to reduce wait time

~ some items repetitive but there were still lots of options

~ breakfast items were the same every day

~ required cover-up so don't wear your swimsuit in

Great Outdoors Buffet

+ great location for access while at pool

+ soft-serve ice cream easily accessible here

+ lots of outdoor seating some shaded & was close to pool action

+ 2 locations to get drinks were close to the pool too

~ 2 buffets usually had pizzas/calzones, sandwiches & salads

~ could have used some variety

O'Sheehan's (24/7)

+ burgers were excellent here

+ great for late night munchies

+ plenty of seating always available

+ eat & bowl here at the same time

+ watch big screen in atrium while eating here too

+ could request take-out to bring back to cabin

~ limited hi-top seating with views of big screen

~ wings were a little soggy & not very crispy

~ could use more options on the menu

Manhattan Room (MDR)

+ usually had availability even if walking in w/o reservation

+ rotating menu choices were pretty good

+ loved having 2 different types of lamb here

+ Tues. night lobster was excellent

+ dancing was offered here with a band during dinner

~ steak was average

~ could only make reservations up to 6:30 & after 8:30

Taste (MDR)

+ smaller & more intimate

+ menus were similar to Manhattan Room MDR

~ harder to get a reservation but walk-ins were available

~ could only make reservations up to 6:30 & after 8:30

Moderno Brazilian Steakhouse ($18)

+ nice location next to Cagney's & above Manhattan Room

+ 8-10 different types of meats served tableside

+ extensive salad bar w/ an excellent chowder

+ served with 4 different sides

+ dessert choices were light & complimented well

~ 2 sauces offered needed more seasoning

~ meats also lacked seasoning but were good

Le Bistro French ($20)

+ french onion soup, escargot, scallops, bouillabaisse were all great

+ same great Le Bistro consistency as on other ships

ENTERTAINMENT

Blue Man Group

+ 7pm show on embarkation day was pretty empty

+ excellent show for kids young & old

+ 1st couple of rows were given ponchos just "in case"

+ kids loved the ponchos, show, music … everything

+ hey … it's FREE

~ some parts a little slow … but still awesome

Cirque Dreams Dinner ($20/$30)

+ premium seating buys you possible audience participation

+ excellent show for kids young & old

+ so much action it was hard to watch everything

+ optional kids menu of chicken fingers was appreciated

+ unbelievable talent esp. on ship that's moving

~ set menu with little deviation but it was adequate

Murder Mystery Lunch ($20)

+ Second City performance was good

+ eclair desserts were tasty

~ chicken was bland but extra marsala sauce made it better

~ not as much audience interaction/participation as before

~ not really for kids

~ would probably skip this next time

Nickelodeon at Sea

+ Slime Time LIVE show was enjoyable for entire family

+ get there early to be possibly get picked?

+ Nick LIVE Poolside was also enjoyable

+ Nickelodean Arts & Crafts included coloring Spongebob bandana

+ lots of Nickelodeon shows on TV in cabin but were repetitious

Second City Comedy

+ lots of shows on various nights at 7, 9 & 11 pm

+ late-night adult show was the best

+ you may reserve more than 1 night while onboard

~ improv shows were only as good as audience suggestions

Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos

+ 3 pianists were all awesome

+ rotated into 2 pianos along with 1 drum set

+ no reservations … first-come first-serve seating … so get there early

~ shared venue w/ Second City but we could have listened to them every night

Fat Cats Blues Bar

+ Roadside Louie & the Dusters were very good

+ no reservations … first-come first-serve seating

+ plenty of seating & never overly crowded

+ some space for dancing if you are so inclined

~ only 1 blues band





ACTIVITIES

Pool - Waterslides

+ 4 jacuzzis in the main pool area were accommodating

+ 2 separate smallish pools in main pool area (one w/ kids 2” splash area)

+ starboard side was smoke-free (as noted on tables) … not sure about port side

+ start with purple slide which is short but entirely dark

+ green slide is longer with a portion dark & a portion open

+ 2-3 baby pools some in shade next to main pool area

~ toilet-bowl slide requires raft p/u at bottom of slide & carrying it up

Spice H20 (adult only)

+ jacuzzi & a small pool in aft of ship

+ large TV screen was huge

+ food & drinks available here

+ water always available at the side of the bar

~ crowded during sea days

~ hot with little shade

Kids Crew Program

+ great location near family balconies deck 14 forward

+ entry from either side of elevator banks

+ open continuously from 9am-1:30am every sea day

~ check-in/out process was chaotic & sometimes disorganized

~ actual activity rooms for each age group were small & cramped

Fitness Center

+ 8:45am spinning $20/class or $45/all 3 on sea days was great

+ plenty of new equipment w/ personal TV screens attached

~ most classes were an add’l fee

~ free classes were just ok

~ only 1 access thru spa at aft elevator banks on deck 14

Casino

+ lots of tables & games available

+ dealers were very friendly

~ parts of casino were in the main walkway on deck 6

Other Activities

+ bowling $5/game in Bliss or O’Sheehan’s

+ rock climbing w/ 3 difficulty levels were fun

+ rappelling included climbing up a long enclosed ladder first

+ extreme climbing up the rappelling wall was intense & very difficult

+ 2 chess tables in Bliss

+ 2 ping pong tables deck 15 aft

Cruise Consultant - Latitudes Party

+ 2 cruise consultants onboard

+ Juan was extremely friendly & nice

+ wine & usual drinks offered but could request anything from open bar

~ latitudes reception for silver & up members on Wed. night

~ reception in Fat Cats was crowded so get there early for seating

Cruise Director

+ Paul Scally was very personable & energetic

+ entertainment director Julie (a former CD) was awesome

~ CD was not as visible b/c the ship is so darn big

PORTS – SHORE EXCURSIONS

COSTA MAYA - Chacchoben Mayan Ruins

+ informative Mayan guide on 1 hr A/C bus ride

+ soda & water offered

~ very MUDDY when caught in a downpour … yuck!

~ fairly small site & could not climb up on any of the ruins

~ guide tried to sell us on too many souvenirs

* FREE pool at port looked nice with some shopping/bars too at docked pier

ROATAN - Mayan Reef Clear Kayak & Beach Snorkel

+ short 20 min A/C bus ride to Gumbalimba Park

+ extensive guided 2-person clear kayaking in beautifully calm ocean

+ extensive guided snorkeling off beach saw lots of fish, coral, etc…

+ extra time at small beach and/or pool for remainder of day

+ could return to ship at our leisure on continuously running shuttles

+ could add wildlife park for add’l $10

~ didn’t see anything in clear kayaks b/c we avoided the reefs

~ beers & food were fairly expensive

~ lots of little no-see-em gnats at the beach … got bit a lot

* some shopping/bars at docked pier

COZUMEL - Dune Buggy & Beach Snorkel

+ 4-person manual dune buggies right at the pier

+ drove on roads along the water with very little traffic

+ saw a good part of the island

+ beach stop included lunch w/ empanadas, nachos, taquitos … all mostly fried

+ large margaritas/drinks were only $6 & very tasty

~ did not go off-road at all

~ no snorkeling due to rough surf

* lots of shopping/bars inside & outside docked pier area within walking distance

DISEMBARKATION

Easy Walk-Off

+ all ship services were extended due to anticipated late arrival into MIA

+ woke up late & had a late buffet breakfast without feeling rushed

+ final statement was fine esp. with periodically checking iTV

+ 2 deck 6 mid-ship (Terminal C) or forward (Terminal B) gangways

+ easy walk-off was one of the first ones called

+ TVs in all public areas showed the groups/colors called

+ easily carried/wheeled off all our luggage with no waits at all

+ customs/immigration lines moved quickly

+ lots of taxis waiting outside for $24 ride to MIA airport from pier

OTHER TIPS

* bring a swimsuit to use the pool/waterslides right after embarkation … there are no lines and the pool area is pretty empty

* check out the Bridge Viewing Room on the starboard side of deck 13 forward

* big screen in atrium with comfy chairs was great for movies & football games … you can even get FREE popcorn & coffee … but seating is limited

* tickets for reserved shows are on your keycard … keycards will be scanned upon entry to shows

* complete the liability release for yourself & kids only once when it’s not crowded … and then use your keycard for continued access to rock climbing/rappelling, giant spider web, epic bounce, etc… but you’ll need to have your keycard to participate

* first sea day was crowded at pools … get your loungers early … or walk around to the sides toward aft or go up to deck 16

* no access to deck 5 from aft elevator banks

* no access to Epic Theater on deck 5 … must use deck 6

* only access to sports deck is via pair of aft stairs above Spice H20 bar

SUMMARY

New ship cruising with family & friends for 7 days … what’s not to like?

Publication Date: 11/12/10
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