EPIC 11/13/10 ...Review and Comments
DH, DW, ages 63 & 70
•Considered taking the Cruise Connection bus (79.00 p.p. RT) -but opted to
•Drove from west coast of Florida, 3 hr. drive.
NIGHT BEFORE THE CRUISE:
Hampton Inn - on 79th St. by Miami Airport
+ clean & comfortable
+ FREE airport shuttles
+ FREE breakfast
~ NO FREE PORT SHUTTLE ($10.00 - 12.00 p.p. Each way)
+ FREE parking
+ Friendly and helpful staff
+/~ Paid the fee and took the hotel shuttle. Shuttle left @10:00, stopped to pick up 36 other people. The shuttle stops at the sister hotels: Marriott and Fairfield Inn. Arrived at POM @ 11:00
We wanted to see the South Beach area. We checked into a "Hop On-Hop off" tour bus, but it was $59.00 p.p. and they only ran until 7pm. Since it was already 4:30 p.m., we didn't think we'd get enough use of the bus to justify the price; so we drove. It was a 30 minute drive, very easy directions to get there by car and plenty of conveniently located parking lots and garages. Parking was $1.00 an hour. (They told us a taxi would be approx. $30.00 each way from the hotel, so the parking was a bargain). SB was a fun place to visit; we felt very safe walking around at night and I can now check that off my bucket list.
Terminal C at Port of Miami
+ Went directly to the check-in area, hardly any line, only 5-10 minute wait before our turn at the counter.
+ Completely checked in and seated in waiting area within 25 minute of arrival
+ Seated in waiting area for only 15 minutes before boarding.
+ Seated in groups as you completed check in, then the whole group was given the okay to board.
+ boarding must have started at 11:30; we were not in the first arrival groups, yet we were still walking onboard @ 11:45.
CABIN LOCATION: Balcony 12270 - port side - aft
+ great location near Elevators
+ convenient to get to Spice H20, we used that pool area every day.
+ convenient for us to get to Manhattan, Taste and Moderno.
~ a bit of a walk to get to the Garden Cafe
~ actually only docked on port side one time - in Costa Maya
+ very comfortable bedding
+ Plenty of storage
+ No sofa in room, therefore more open floor area.
Outfitted for handicapped accesssability.
+ Wider balcony
~ ~ ~ ~lighting in cabin was dim. DH had a hard time shaving with only a tiny light over the sink area.
~ No waste basket. The only trash bin is a metal container that's hooked on the inside of the large towel drawer.
•Sink definitely is not user friendly, but it wasn't a big deal...you get use to it.
•Toilet and shower area combined. Very large area.
•I found it inconvenient to always have to open the drawer, and then open the bin, every time I had a piece of trash to throw out. Next time I'll bring some grocery bags with me and use them for my trash. We bought a bucket of beer, took the bucket to the room and used that as our trash bin. ?
Garden Buffet - LOVED IT!
+ ate breakfast here every day, so many choices.
+ DH was in heaven ordering omelets and eggs cooked to order.
+ Plenty of people at the food stations to cook the eggs or refill the items.
+ ate lunch here several times, anything from soup & sandwiches to hot meals - delicious every time.
•Breakfast was usually crowded. To avoid some of the crowds and noise, we opted to carry our plates downstairs and eat at the La Cucina tables. Coffee and juice is available in La Cucina for easy refills. (Thanks Laura! That was a great tip!)
•Nice selection of cold cuts available for lunch - we would make up our own "antipasto platter" of meats, cheeses, olives....etc. and take it to our room to enjoy with a bottle of red wine. ? fun!
Great Outdoors Buffet - Didn't really use it.
+ very Convenient and great location for people in the pool area
+ only had a burger there one time, DH had a sausage; looked great but didn't impress.
+ Unless you don't want to put on a cover up, for a few more steps you could eat in the Garden with better choices and more variety.
O'Sheehan's (24/7) Poor Service
+ Watched football game from here, nice view of the screen, especially if your seated around the rail.
+ First time DH had the corned beef sandwich and said it was good.
~ I had wings and I didn't care for them. Soggy and mushy. I only ate 3 of the 6 wings.
~ Plenty of seating always available, but not easy to get someone to wait on you.
Tried to eat here 2 other times; both times we waited over after 15 min. and were never waited on - we walked out and went to the Garden cafe both times. Other people were experiencing the same service.
+ Always had availability and seated immediately. We usually appeared there around 8 pm.
+ menu choices were pretty good.
~ DH couldn't chew the steak - too much grizzle. He sent it back and they were very apologetic.
~ ate here 2 nights, had very slow service both times. Long waits between finishing one course and the waiter bringing the next one.
+ smaller, better service
+ menus were identical to Manhattan Room, but service was extremely more efficient.
+ ate here 3 times
+ always approached the hostess desk around 8 pm and never had a problem being seated immediately.
•With the exception of DH's steak, food was good. I can't say there was anything exceptional aboutthe menu; it was very "neighborhood restaurant" quality - but good, nevertheless.
Moderno Brazilian Steakhouse ($18) DELICIOUS!
+ Our first experience with Brazilian food/concept.
+ Worth the price
+ Salad bar could have been the meal.....so many high quality choices.
•We ate here our last night. It was definitely a Grand Finale. Absolutely the best meal all week.
Le Bistro French Did not go here
Blue Man Group
Great show, don't know if I'd do it again. People around me were roaring with laughter.
Cirque Dreams Dinner - (Didn't have time - will do it next time.)
Murder Mystery -
(We canceled because it was too nice a day to spend inside. )
Second City Comedy - Good Show
+ went to the late-night adult show. Our group was very actively participating.:)
+ good! Three of the actors were especially good...like Saturday Night Live one day good.
Howl at the Moon LOVED IT!
+ We dropped in whenever we could. Always great and entertaiing.
Fat Cats Blues Bar LOVED IT!
Comedy/Magician Jeff Hobson - OUTSTANDING!!!
+ So funny. LMAO! A must see.
+ would have gone again, but heard that it's the same performance at each show.
BARS and BAR ENTERTAINMENT:
+ 2 for 1 martinis in Modernos the last three nights. ? fun bartenders and a happy group.
+ Apollo Duo entertaining in the Atrium - fantastic.
+ Shakers - really nice piano music, but he gets drowned out if the crowd is too loud.
+ Svedka Ice bar - they told us they were full, but we showed up anyway and they got us in. It was fun. Two drinks for the $20.00 cover; you gotta try it - but wear close- toed shoes. People with sandals were freezing! No one stayed longer than 25 minutes.
+ Bliss Lounge - beautiful at night.
Pool - Waterslides FUN!!!
+ used the "tube" waterslide and it was really fun...no wait line.
+ Did the purple and the green slides. Purple is too kiddish; green puts you under water at the very end.
Fitness Center - Ashamed to say that we never even looked inside this area.
+ lots of tables & games. No problem getting on the slots.
+ dealers were very friendly
~ only one $5.00 Roulette table. I was never able to nudge my way up there to get a space at the table.
+ Cigarette smoke, that other people complained about - was not a problem.
~ the 2nd. Roulette table ($10.00 min.) sat empty most of the time.
Spice H20 LOVED IT!
+ nice area - perfect for adults only.
~ crowded - get your chairs before 10am or you won't get one.
+ drink servers were attentive, without being not pesky or annoying.
+ sitting outside on the lounge chairs at night with a soft cool wind was awesome.
+ watched The Newlywed Game and the Quest here @10:00pm and it was very comfortable
We did not participate in any of the late night dance activities held here.
PORTS - WE did not do any ship excursions.
COSTA MAYA - on our own
+ Taxi to beach.
+ $2.00 pp taxi ride each way.
+ we both had a one hour massage for $20.00 each.
+ $1.00 Dos Equis while sitting in the beach loungers.
+ great snack (Mexican sampler platter) at PEZ
+ fun people
++ Grand total for both of us to have such a wonderful day $69.00!
ROATAN - on our own
+ Victor Bodden tour - Best of Roatan - disappointing.
+ snorkeling - great!
+ Monkeys - interesting and fun.
+ Island is very pretty.
+ Only bought a few items. Went to the Yabba Ding store ???? (sp) No pressure sales and they took Visa.
I got extremely bit up by some type of bug. I bet I have 50 bites, mostly on my legs and thighs, but also on my neck, chin and arms....and I wasn't even on the beach...except to walk from the taxi to the pier to get on the snorkel boat. It is now 6 days later and I am still itching. "no see-ems" "sand fleas" "chiggers" ???? don't know?
+ walked the main area around the pier.
+ bought some antibiotics, pure vanilla and some tequila!
Next time we'll either rent a car and sightsee on our own or do a snorkel excursion.
MISC. OTHER COMMENTS And Tips.
The best staff I've ever encountered. There was plenty of staff around the ship willing to help or answer questions; always a hostess at the entrance to the restaurants; always someone greeting you, smiling and asking if you're having a good cruise. Very impressive!
The Captain and the hotel Management team came to our Meet and Mingle gathering!
I was extremely impressed that the captain, along with 6 of the ship's Directors came to our CC Meet & Mingle. For these busy executives working in their high positions o take the time to attend our CC social gathering means that NCL truly is concerned with passenger perspective. VERY IMPRESSIVE!!
Daily Bulletins: I was disappointed that the Bulletins didn't include more information about the islands.
i.e. Local maps, how to get around, things to do, public transportation, areas to avoid etc. Do your research on the computer before you leave; don't depend on the cruise line to provide you with any information other than their ship sponsored excursions.
Movies: I was disappointed that there wasn't a free movie shown on the TV in the cabin. Especially since most of the movies shown on the Atrium screen were kid movies (Star trek, The Princess and the Frog.) ?
Deck 9: If you have a balcony on deck 9, be prepared that the balconies of the cabins above you may be in a position to look down onto your balcony. In addition, balconies on deck 9 are exposed to the elements, there's no ceiling on those balconies to protect you from the rain or sun if you want to sit outside.