My wife and I joined another couple for this fantastic cruise! We'd sailed with them previously on the Norwegian Star to Alaska and immediately knew we had to cruise NCL again. We love Freestyle and couldn't wait to sail on their newest ship. From the cold of Alaska, it was time for the warmth of the Western Caribbean and this cruise was my birthday gift to my wife.
The Epic is enormous and enormously beautiful. Our spa deluxe balcony stateroom was spacious and comfortable. Interestingly, upon our initial booking the NCL web site showed this room as having a Jacuzzi tub in the corner and a round bed in the center of the room. As time went on and I'd check the web site regularly (partly due to being anxious!), the photos of the actual room changed and the centrally located bed and the Jacuzzi disappeared. The room initially portrayed as our stateroom then became displayed as a "spa suite" room. That was a bit disappointing. But, I digress...
Let me just say that the ship is huge and fantastic as are the number of on-board activities. There is no shortage of staff to greet you and accommodate your every need with a smile! Our stateroom steward, Rolando, made sure our stateroom was immaculate at all times and towel animals were in no short supply.
The dining options as well as the fare-included meals were all excellent!
Equally wonderful was the on-board entertainment. The Blue Man Group was sensational as well as the Cirque Dreams dinner show. Legends in concert was okay but, why have Elvis on the poster if there is no Elvis in the show?
The Epic Casino encompasses almost the entire area of deck six and is much fun even if not profitable...snicker, snicker.
The Svedka Ice Bar was a bit disappointing in that it was crowded and our friend suffered from true claustrophobia in there. To make up for that, we found and enjoyed the wonderfulness of Shaker's Martini Bar and the warmth and attention provided us by bartender extraordinaire Armando! The Martini tastings were a world of fun, too!
The ports of call were all magnificent, even if Costa Maya was a bit depressed - completely understandable as they are still recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Dean.
There is one drawback to Freestyle cruising in international waters: Although cruising is truly a "family friendly" way of vacationing, there were children allowed in EVERY CORNER of the ship! I even had to sit next to a youngster (he had to be only about 12-years old) AT THE MARTINI BAR! I even saw one CHILD pick up a Martini for mommy and carry it to her from the bar to her seat. This was REALLY off-putting! It seemed there was no corner of the ship where adults could sit in comfort without the presence of youngsters. We are not crude -- don't get me wrong -- but, there are times when adults like the comfort of sitting around other adults to converse and relax without children present.
The "Spice H2O" bar is stated as "adults only" but, children are allowed to transit back and forth through there on there way to the Epic Plunge and other areas. So much for adult camaraderie. I truly hope NCL will reconsider this...especially vocal teenagers and kids running through the casino, too.
Even with these drawbacks, however, the Epic was truly a pleasant cruise that I would do again. I forgave the "kid" thing and we did find so many ways to have fun!