My girlfriend and I cruised with our 3 daughters ages (12,14,14) and left the husbands at home.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
- We arrived at the port right at check-in time of Noon. We had no trouble with lines or getting our luggage taken care of. The only thing holding things up was getting the customary embarkation picture.
I was surprised when we arrived that our rooms were not ready. I've been on many cruises and usually arrive early and have never had to wait to get to my stateroom. We wanted to drop our carry-on luggage and change into swimwear, but instead decided to head up for lunch.
- I have to say that the ship did not blow me away and the lack of a top to bottom atrium was a major detractor. But, in general it was a nice, very BIG ship. The rooms were insane. My 2 daughters and I shared a balcony room and we could not move! Every evening when we were showering for dinner, I would be climbing on the bed to get around my daughters. Thank goodness there was plenty of storage space.
I missed a nice promenade for walking. The jogging track on one side was terrible. Not to mention the fact that the lifeboats completely blocked the beautiful ocean view. I love to get some exercise by walking on the promenade and enjoying the ocean view.
- The water slides were just fantastic for the kids. My girls spent many hours a day on the slides and in the pools. The rock climbing, rappelling, bungy, bowling ($5 per game), and video arcade ($) kept them fairly busy. We were disappointed to find that pool (i.e. billiards) was $1.50 per game ( and darts were $1 per game( not a big deal, but why?)
The kids club was disappointing. My younger daughter turned 12 (on the cruise) and wanted to go with the older two girls to the teen club. On Royal Caribbean (Serenade of the Seas) just last year (she was 11), I was able to sign a waiver that allowed her to go with the teens. No such luck on EPIC. With 2 teens and one 12 year old this was a major problem.
Blue Man Group - I'd seen them many years ago in Boston. They were just as good as I remembered. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but we enjoyed it.
Murder Mystery Lunch - This was just barely ok. It was done by the Second City Improv group. The kids really wanted to do it, but it was not geared toward them. There was not so subtle sexual innuendo. The food was disgusting, there was better food on the buffet. I didn't even eat.
Cirque Dreams Dinner - The food was better than the Murder Mystery Lunch. The acrobatics in the show were very good. The cheesy "musical" surrounding the acrobatics was just that "cheesy". We had the "standard" seating. You could see about 1/3 of the show; anything up high and down low you could not see. I was seated behind a pole which further inhibited my view. But, I'm definitely glad I did not pay$30 a person for that dinner show.
Howl at the Moon - Loved it! So much fun. Lots of different music. Great musicians. Wish they hadn't felt the need to get sleazy later in the evening, but someone paid $20 to hear the "pussy cat" song.
Legends was ok, nothing to write home about.
The Second City Improve was ok, some funny stuff. Similar to the Boston Improv we saw New Year's Eve.
The comedian/magician, Dana Daniels was good and totally clean (great for kids), just wondering WHY he was booked at 11pm every time??????
Absolutely nothing spectacular. The buffet was ok. No chocolate or midnight buffets. We enjoyed the fresh made crepes in the evening at the Garden Buffet even if the fillings were canned. Enjoyed the nightly dinner music in the Manhattan room, but the service was just HORRIBLE! I have never had such poor service on a cruise. I don't think I was offered a drink (wine, bar) in the dining room until the fourth night. The noodle bar was ok (we had lunch there) the prices were reasonable (I guess if you have to pay extra).
My friend signed up for a pedicure and the attendant was a no show. They re-booked her for free.
I paid for my daughter to have a 45 minute pedicure for her birthday which lasted no more than $30 minutes and the tip (%18) is mandatory.
We saw some good shows and had fun on the slides and ports and enjoyed the nice caribbean weather. But, as far as service and food go, I've had better experiences