Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by leoel8888: Cruising NCL Epic - 03/05/2011-03/12/2011
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Cruising NCL Epic - 03/05/2011-03/12/2011
I traveled with my 10 your old twin boys. We flew to Miami early in the morning and took a taxi - MIA airport to the port - flat fee of $24 (plus tips). We were at the port at 10am (pay attention if your terminal is B or C), dropped our suitcases with the baggage handlers (tips). By noon - we were exploring the ship. The cabins were not ready till 2pm. The excellent weather and plenty of lounges around the pool made the wait a pleasure.
Our cabin 11320 turned out to be very small with a single closet without any shelves - not enough for a family... Hmmm... would not enough for a single person either... I did ask the attendant about the shelves and he pointed out that there is a "connecting" door that "took away" the space that would be a closet with shelves... Hmmm... that didn't make me feel better. But the bigger issue, I mean the issue, was a very strong unpleasant smell. We could feel it from the moment we stepped in, so... we ran to the balcony and... started to enjoy More the view, forgetting about the... smell. I did call the attendant complaining about the smell and left the cabin - it was time for the boat drill. The boat drill - uneventful... a crowded walk down from deck 11 to deck 6 and back. By the time we got back to our cabin, the smell - was still there... I had to make another call to the Housekeeping. After some negotiations (it was getting late and I was determined not to sleep with this unknown and never mentioned by NCL "feature") I was shown another cabin on the same deck - not an upgrade. That somewhat upset me and I went all the way to the Guest Services (deck 5) to resolve the problem.
Cannot complain about the Guest Services - the wait was not long and Alex, the representative, was very pleasant and efficient. He suggested a Family cabin on deck 13 (#13229). We checked it out and frantically moved in. The new cabin was bigger and comfortable. Closet space and shelves - plenty (I didn't pack enough to fill every available space - what a difference).
It was around 8pm and my twin boys were eager to get to the kids Recess program. So we ran to the opposite side of the ship and to deck 14. For 10-12 year old group - parents must be present the first time only... After - children can sign themselves in and out. But, once they sign in - they must stay at the Recess minimum 2 hours (I could go and pick them up earlier if under 2 hours).
Now - after 8pm - straight to the Mandara spa. I was passing it several times during the day - there were a lot of people making appointments - it is smart to book on the first day the time slots that are convenient for you. This late in a day - there were no people at the spa reception. I asked at the reception to show me the spa facilities and tell me more about the treatments and special promotions. I was not impressed with the spa specials - only extra 15 minutes of massage on the port days. Thomas, the massage therapist from Poland, showed me around. I booked several massages with him ranging from Swedish to Thai Poultice to Hot Stones. I have been getting massages mainly to deal with everyday stress and help enhance relaxation. Thomas became my massage therapist for the duration of the cruise and I am very happy with the outcome. He took the time to work on muscle tension and problem (dry) skin areas. I found the sessions with Thomas to be therapeutic and relaxing.
By the end of this very long and eventful day 1 I was tired and... needed a vacation... My twin boys came back from the Recess program at 10:35pm (it ends at 10:30pm, but can be extended until 1pm for a fee). We were ready for a great night sleep...
Day 2 - Sea day... Highlight - Blue Man Group. Fun, but not impressive...
Day 3 - Costa Maya, Mexico... I booked a Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Tour thru The Native Choice Tours (www.thenativechoice.com). This company was highly recommended on TripAdvisor. David, our guide, truly impressed me with his knowledge. He enthusiastically shared his wealth of information about the archeological site and ancient Mayan history, culture, and architecture.
After the trip we booked our dinner at Teppanyaki, a Japanese hibachi style restaurant. The food and presentation were excellent. My twin boys were excited!!! Me too...
Day 4 - Roatan, Honduras... Nice, easy day... We took a taxi to the West Bay beach... The beach, water, weather were amazing... Relaxing and happy time...
At night we went to see the Cirque Dreams at the Spiegel Tent. My opinion - the best show on the ship. I was booking in person and asked for the best sitting (premium or standard). I was so happy with the recommended standard (on balcony) option. We had to arrive about 45 minutes prior to the opening and asked specifically for balcony seats (there are about 50 of those). The performance was just fantastic and joyful.
Day 5 - Sea day... I spent most of my time on the balcony reading and at the spa. My boys were at the Recess club most of the day.
Day 6 - Cozumel, Mexico... We signed up for Dolphin Swim and Ride at MyNCL prior to sailing. It was a truly memorable experience. I felt... like a child... simply... happy...
Day 7 - Sea day... The last day on the ship... more time at the spa and relaxation before heading back home.
Day 8 - Miami, FL... Having our flight back home at 5pm, we decided to book an excursion to Everglades. I am so happy that Yana from NCL's Shore Excursions suggested that. We had so much fun being on the airboat and my boys even got a chance to hold an infant crocodile who was (only!!!) 3.
Wish you find some of my very compressed (except for day 1) notes helpful... Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Epic 13229
Originally booked - 11320 (aft, rear-facing) - NO!!! Tiny and smelly... "Upgrade" Family Deluxe - 13229 (mid) - Yes! Plenty of closet space... Both cabins - strange design of the cabin. Shower and toilet areas are separated by the entrance foyer (I don't know how to describe better)... When you step out of the shower into this foyer and someone, expected or unexpected, walks in... hmmm... I will leave this to your imagination... Comedy on TV - funny, but in reality and you - not so sure... :)