This was my 8th cruise 1st on Norwegian. Three friends and I booked this cruise about seven days out.There were four guys in our group three married one single. This is my first review of a ship, I am in hopes the information can be used as a guide on certain aspects of our cruise and Port experience.
We all flew in from NC the day of the cruise took a taxi cab from Miami Dade to the port the cost was $24 total plus tip, not bad for four people.
Embarkation - We got there around 11:00 A.M. everything was standard. Herded into a room waited a while and then herded to the boat. I felt welcome upon entering,we were greeted with a smile.They had announcements about checking carry ons so you would not have to lug them around for 2.5 hours. We took advantage of this and drop-off and pickup was smooth a nice touch. They also made mention of having lunch while we waited on the 15th floor
The rooms were ready at 1:45 P.M. Here was a problem. The bed was still set up for a couple I ask the room steward by phone to separate and she said she would be there around 2:30 and she came just as stated.She came in and could only separate the 10 inches.
OK people I am a shy guy and the shower and toilet reminded me of an old phone booth no privacy two phone booths one in each corner. They do have a curtain for privacy although since early childhood I remember a door on my bathroom. As a matter of fact my Grandparents had a door on their out house!
That is fine if I am cruising with my wife, however the accommodations are less than adequate for friends. I would suggest an inside cabin for bed separation or even better two studios,although then you would not have a balcony and that is something I have to have when I cruise. So the Epic is out unless I cruise with my wife.
Putu was our room steward, she was very sweet and personable and made our stay in the show all see all suite as good as possible. Putu was attentive to all request and a pleasant surprise.
In my opinion and that is all it is, it was apparent from entry to the ship the crew are managed great, and they are happy with their jobs and working conditions and it showed with their positive attitudes. It appeared to me that it stems from the Captain on down. Great job to the management team of the Epic.
Cruise Critic - Meet and Greet - Mini wheat got this together and did a great job. I was impressed with the Norwegian Management team compared to other cruise lines for this event. They showed great interest in our group. They had top management from the Captain on down in attendance and made me personally feel that we were important to them. They also gave us contact numbers in case we needed assistance. I was sure that the cabin situation had been brought to their attention before my arrival by other guest so I felt no need to communicate my displeasure to them. Probably nothing could be done to rectify the situation anyway.
Garden View Buffet - Standard buffet food, smiling faces from the crew.
Cagney's Steak House - I had the Ribeye, not bad, however not worth the added $25. I have had better on other Cruise Lines.
Taste - The food was adequate again nothing special our service was good on the three occasions we were there.
Room Service - I attempted this twice not a good experience at all. The first time I called was Thursday at 6:00A.M. I wanted a BLT and a pot of coffee. I was told by whomever answered the phone that it would be an hour because i wanted something "hot" I told them to never mind and went to the Garden Buffet.
I called again at 6:00A.M. on Saturday with the same order and got the same response, this time I stated that would be fine. The phone rang one minute later and I was told that I could only get the continental breakfast of muffins and pastries, I said OK (I ordered room service for review only) and waited an hour and a half on the couch so i could here the door and it never appeared. I again just went to the buffet. Poor Job Food and Beverage Department.
You need to pre- register for all shows either for added cost or covered in the cruise. I recommend you do this before you cruise to ensure you get the time and date of your choice.
Cirque Dreams - fee $20 to $30 - Show and Dinner we paid for the Premier Seating $30. The dinner was quite disappointing and the show was OK. The guys in my party have seen this type show in Vegas and this one was no where near the level of this, however it was OK to do for something different.
Blue Man Group - No Fee - I was about to walk out after about 10 minutes of the start of the show. I am glad i didn't. Our group found the show quite entertaining after a slow start.
Legends in Concert -No Fee - The act were Janet Jackson, Neil Diamond and Aretha Franklin. The first two acts I was not impressed, however Aretha was very good and worth going to see the show.
Fat Cats - No Fee - Slam Allen was the entertainer for this venue. I am not really a blues fan so i be-bopped in there just to see something different and man was I impressed at the level of talent Slam has as an entertainer. If you are not a blues fan and you like a great act go in that show and that act just may change your mind. I was so impressed I bought his new CD This World Today on Amazon. Great Show. Great entertainer *****
In summery - In response to complaints about chairs around the pools on Sea Days. There was a representative tagging chairs in the morning attempting to stop the chair hogs. I went up there early and there were plenty of seats at 6:30 A.M. After 9 A.M. it was difficult to find premier seating, however you could find chairs at other locations on the ship. They have a soda machine on 15 AFT in the Arcade for $2.25 all pepsi products no cash room card only, I thought that was nice I could at least purchase one soda at a time. They have a coffee pot in the room(I guess all rooms but not sure) and extra coffee upon request from Putu the best room attendant in the world.
I have never been on a bad cruise, I find they are all what I make out of them. The Epic is a nice ship with a great Crew. I would cruise again with my wife when privacy in the restroom facilities and one bed is not an issue. I like my best friend of 20 plus years and all, however I do not choose to bath and sleep with him.