we cruised as a family of six on this long awaited break after a terrible last five months that had affected us all and we were all so excited.We spent one night pre cruise at the hotel colon in the Gothic quarter in Barcelona which sits right in the square opposite the cathedral.We soaked up the atmosphere with a couple of drinks outside and watched all that was going on in the square which was great.We definitely recommend this hotel. The four guys visited Nou Camp the next morning while my daughter and i took a walk around some very interesting shops then we all took a short taxi ride to the cruise terminal.
On approach the epic is so huge it makes the other ships look small and i must admit its not the most attractive cruise liner to look at,but as we say its whats on the inside that matters eh?.It`s a shame some people don't see humans that way as i will mention later.
The lines were very long but the staff were also very fast at getting passengers on board it wasn't bad at all.we were having lunch an hour later.
we didn't go on any shore excursions but wondered around the ports for a short time ourselves, but really enjoyed the ships facilities when in port as it was quieter cos the majority got off the ship for the whole day.
service charge of 12 usd pp per day and the bill at end of week can be expensive if you like a drink as we do!! but most ships the same.My daughter and i wondered around the ship on the first port of call and it seemed empty - lovely!!!
The Epic is indeed a beautiful ship inside and out. We had two cabins of which one was a balcony on deck 10 forward and another inside below on deck 9 forward.
Our wave balcony stateroom was nice but the inside cabins seemed to have more space. we hated the bathroom set up, and the tiny sink is ridiculous also the curved bed which your feet hang out of, although it was a comfortable mattress. Also there is no room at the end of the bed which is the thro fare to the rest of the cabin , as others have said in their reviews three sharing would be difficult. Can`t fault the storage space which is plentiful.Having a balcony was wonderful and was very well used by all of our family.If you want to escape the madness on board and enjoy the scenery,or have a drink in peace please treat yourselves and book one you will need it!!!
The week we sailed it was full capacity which i think may have a lot to do with our over all view of the cruise,4,928 on board we were told and it was CRAZY at times.we were also advised near the end of the cruise, that the last week of July and first two weeks in august are when the Spanish take their holidays.
I wish we had known before we booked as we definitely wouldn't have chosen those dates.I say this because on a personal level we found them the most but not all, to be very very rude and ignorant, others we spoke to as well as staff didn't like their lack of manners . Two members of our family were treated awfully by them as they look physically different, one due to to recent events earlier this year and this occurred on a daily basis.As a family who needed this break and it nearly didn't happen, it upset us and could of ruined our time away as it was as i mentioned on a daily basis. I must add that we met and spoke to lots of people from all over the world and didn't notice this reaction as much, the Spanish were just so blatantly obvious in theirs. How sad.
If your curious i work with brain injury and ironically a family member suffered one as a consequence of getting knocked down by a car. Could happen to any one of us. Yes? food for thought that's all -Enough said,personal moan over.
All staff on this ship are excellent. cabin staff knew our names by the 2nd day. ours was called Hopeton from Jamaica - a wonderful guy, just talk to him he`s lovely. as did the bar staff and they are all so interesting and friendly to talk with, they all have a story to tell and come from all over the world.nothing is too much trouble, Sharon who was looking after the cabin our daughter and her partner with brain injury were in was excellent- understanding that he returned to the cabin a lot for frequent rests and was so personally caring towards them but never asked questions. Sharon took time to teach my daughters partner to make a baby elephant with towels because he requested how to make them- how good is that!! they are all so kind and courteous- faith in human nature restored!!thank you ncl.
We went to two shows - the blue man group and Los ole locos.Both very entertaining and funny, they come from my family who range in ages 18-45 highly recomended. we liked howl at the moon but my favourite act was twice as nice who are a male and female soul/motown vocalist,musicians, they are also lovely people who i spoke to a couple of times,very approachable and they sang a song dedicated to me,which meant alot.just request a song and they will sing for you.i miss them already!!
spice H2o is adult only in the day. no music,plenty of sunbeds, a pool,hot tubs, great bar and just blue planet DVDs playing on a giant screen without the volume but H2o comes to life at night with various musical acts and DJ the place is electric and so much fun. This was our favourite place on the ship. O`Sheenens is an Irish bar on deck 7 with pool tables ,darts and it shows sports on TV screens. the food is great and we ate there alot and drank there in the evenings too as it looks down over twice as nice playing on deck 6!!. Complaint!!
We can`t believe that a ship that size doesn't have an outside deck you can walk around! lots of complaints about that,i was told by staff.The garden cafe is a great buffet but madness unless you choose to eat really early or really late.the NCL Jade had food stations which stops you waiting in lines and i was totally surprised they don`t have them on a ship of this size but there are plenty of other lovely places to eat and drink though.
If you have children be prepared for them to be on lido deck with water slides,fountains and pools, it`s a kids paradise and very busy.plenty to do for all on this ship and a good sized sports deck.I chose to buy cruise rewards which gives you discounts on future cruises before leaving as i did this when we were on the ncl jade, and this is where i was told that future ships will NOT have the wave design cabins and the separate bathrooms.Will NOT have curved beds,they WILL have an outside deck you can walk around and that they will NOT hold as many passengers as the epic. These were the biggest complaints people had and the company know they have made some mistakes and are listening to the people as the epic was also an experiment but there are also alot of great things on the ship that they should include in the new ones.
We will definitely cruise with NCL again but would not go back on a ship of this size,it was just too big. We were docked several times next to the carnival magic and it looked amazing,we have been on two of their ships on Caribbean ports of call which i might add are much prettier and cruiser friendly, but we like the fact that NC Ls cabins are away from the entertainment and when you go to your cabin you can`t hear a thing, unless you have chosen certain ones. Bliss!!. Have a great time.