My husband and I had a most wonderful time on the Epic early this month. We've cruised many times before, but after having enjoyed our Norwegian Pearl cruise last year, we were very anxious to try the new Epic and certainly were dazzled and amazed by the huge ship. We love the freestyle concept of dining. The ship is beautifully designed and there is always something to do. There are lots of open decks where you could enjoy watching the ship sail along and enjoy the warm sunshine and fresh ocean air.
Embarkation was really fast; we were on board within 10 minutes of arriving at the port terminal and soon after that, were having a wonderful and relaxing lunch at Taste at noon.
Our cabin was very nice with lots of storage space, so everything was kept out of sight and even the suitcases were easily stored under the bed where there was lots of room. We loved the design of the cabin which was very modern and elegant. The balcony was just the right size and we slept with the balcony door open every night to enjoy the fresh ocean breezes and the sound of the waves. If you ever wanted a quiet place to relax and read during the days at sea, you could always retire to your balcony, but we enjoyed all the fun activities on the pool deck and shopping decks.
You did have to save your loungers early in the morning on sea days as that was the most popular deck. Some people did save chairs in the sun as well as in the shade which was very annoying. We did notice one set of loungers went unoccupied for 5 hours, so we just removed the towels so others could enjoy the chairs. About 3 hours later, we saw a couple retrieve their towels; they had spent the day on loungers in the sun just in front of us, but also wanted chairs in the shade! The majority of people didn't do that, but for those who did - "shame on you."
The food venues on the Epic were delightful in quality and quantity. We loved the Garden Buffet and always had breakfast and lunch there. The food was very tastefully presented and incredibly fresh and delicious. Too many things to choose from and all artfully presented. The evening buffet had numerous choices as well, but we chose to eat in the main dining room for a change and be pampered.
For dinner we ate in the Manhattan Room. We went early for the 5:30 opening and always found a quiet table by the window, which is one of the main reasons we love freestyle dining. The service was excellent and efficient and we were always treated with friendly and attentive staff. The choices were plentiful and we thoroughly enjoyed all the meals which were beautifully plated and delicious. Again, too much to choose from. We also loved the live band each night which played beautiful dinner music and some diners danced between courses on the dance floor in front of the band. Truly a very elegant and inviting dining room.
We did love to have dessert in the Garden Buffet where they make the most delicious crepes with various fillings, topped, if desired with whipped cream.
The staff on the ship were extremely friendly and helpful and we never encountered anyone who wasn't courteous or pleasant. Everyone greeted you with a happy smile.
The gym was incredible; state of the art equipment and lots of cardio machines to choose from. We did go early in the morning and never had any problems finding a treadmill, elliptical trainer or bike. The weights were also plentiful. That was certainly the best gym at sea we've ever encountered and we really enjoyed our workouts in such a modern and spacious gym. They had a small fridge stocked with small cool towels which were really refreshing after a work-out and a thoughtful touch.
The entertainment on the Epic is excellent and we really enjoyed the Blue Man Group. We also saw Legends in Concert which was thoroughly entertaining and spent a couple of hours watching the Second City group perform. Cirque Dreams was a wonderful show and we found the best view to be in the balcony as you could see all the action with no obstructed views. The set meal was tasty as well, but you didn't want to look down at your food and miss any of acrobats who were extremely talented.
Jeff Hobson, the magician/comedian performed one of the funniest acts we've ever seen; he truly was incredibly talented and we're glad we caught his act.
We also listened to some small groups playing in different lounges and it was nice to sit and relax with a drink or coffee and enjoy the entertainment.
The ports were interesting. We didn't do much at Costa Maya, but did go out and spent a couple of hours around the port, relaxing on lawn chairs in the shade and watching the antics of the dolphins.
We took an Island tour of Roatan and had a fun time at the iguana farm, feeding them leaves. Later on, we stopped at a quiet beach for a couple of hours of relaxation and a lovely swim in the calm ocean, which was the highlight of our tour as we love swimming in the ocean.
Cozumel was also fun since we stopped in town, and we just walked around and stopped off for lunch at a quiet little restaurant.
So, all in all, a most fantastic cruise on the Epic with absolutely no complaints. We can't wait to go back on the Epic next year and have again purchased a Cruise Reward voucher whereby you put down $250.00 on a future cruise to be taken within 4 years and get a $100.00 of that back towards your current cruise account.
After our cruise ended, we disembarked for a 3 1/2 hour tour in Miami which took us by bus to an nature park attraction for an air-boat ride through part of the Florida Everglades, where we saw resident crocodiles, various birds and turtles. There was a visit to a crocodile exhibit which was very entertaining and informative. This was an excellent tour from NCL which entertained us in the morning as our flight left at 4:30 p.m. The air-boat tour was extremely different and interesting and something we thoroughly enjoyed. The tour bus got us to the airport by about 1:00 p.m.
Can't wait for our next Epic cruise!