I begin by saying that we were supposed to go in the NCL Jade last year, with almost the same itinerary, but due to a family emergency we had to cancel. We booked the EPIC for this year, and I was just a little disappointed because they left out MONACO from last year's itinerary. I was so excited to see the French Riviera, but things happen for a reason. I looked different options for this year's since Carnival had the Magic, boat that for the first time was cruising the Mediterranean, an actually pretty new boat. I also checked the Liberty of the Seas, from RCI, and they both had the same ports of call than the Epic, but of course some other ones, since the Magic was a nine days cruise, and the Liberty of the Seas, was touching the French Riviera. I wasn't sure about the EPIC because believe it or not, I didn't like the way it looks. I thought it looked like a building set on a floating device. Anyway, I finally made my decision and went for the NCL Epic, why? because they left out Monaco, Lol. Really, in the end I liked the idea of having two days at sea; found it relaxing, mainly for my husband. Of course, price wise a lot lot better the NCL one and the idea of the Free Style was going to work a lot better for us. So I booked the EPIC with a company called Crown Cruise Vacations. This was the same company I used last year, and since it had the insurance included they paid us the totality of the cruise last year and that to me was fantastic, so, why change company this year. The insurance was not included this time, but they offered $100.00 dollars on board credit and a bottle of wine. I wasn't sure on how this was going to work while in the EPIC, so I tried to make sure beforehand that NCL was really going to respect the gift from Crown Cruise Vacations so I called in advance and NCL said yes, so I trusted them. Needless to say that when we came in to our stateroom a bottle of wine and a certificate for the $100.00 on board credit were there waiting for us. AWSOME!!!
I also have the NCL Master Card, and had points to redeem, which I did prior to the cruise; well, those certificates were there too, waiting for us in our stateroom.
So, I can say THEY DELIVER WHAT THEY OFFER.
When we arrived to the port in Barcelona I was in WOW state when I saw the EPIC, yes, it still was a building set on a floating device, amazingly tall and long but... not that bad looking after all. The Check In process, quick and painless. Obviously it gets quicker when you have all your paper work handy. Staff, super friendly. They gave us our key cards, and advice our stateroom was going to be ready at 2:30, and it was probably around 1:00, so we took the time to take photos on our way up to the boat; we visited the stores there at the port, and I may add that my husband is a diet/coke/aholic and the EPIC is a PEPSI boat, so in the port stores he bought a case of diet coke cans (24) at a very reasonable price, and we didn't have any problem at all, bringing the sodas in the ship. Thank you EPIC, lol.
Since our stateroom was not ready yet, we checked some of the important decks for us, as in the guest services deck with some of the Specialty Restaurants in the deck 5; then up to deck six and seven to check on the EPIC theater, since we booked the Blue Man Group for that same Sunday, and of course, deck seven-outside, were they have the ashtrays for those of us who smoke.
We went to have lunch at the TASTE, very tasty, and very well attended, surprisingly not too many people in that restaurant, I mean good for us of course. At almost 3:00 pm we headed to our stateroom and it took us a little while to get there. The boat is huge, our stateroom was in the middle of the boat and as I remembered from the deck map, well.... definitely not the same, we walked some to finally found our stateroom.
We both were greatly surprised about the way NCL Epic designers used the space in an inside stateroom. I felt I had more than enough space to move around once we put away what was inside two carry ons, one big size suitcase and one suit bag. Drawers, closet, bathroom, WC room, everything impeccable, clean, shiny, in few words... a lot more than what one see in the photos in their website.
They have the safe box, a small fridge, which my DH filled immediately with his cokes. I don't drink red wine, so I left a note to our stateroom hostess about the chance of changing it for a white. He left me a note in return with phone numbers to call, and offered his help in any way we needed. Kriss Miller, you are awesome, thank you for all you do.
Our Meet and Greet fabulous. We had several crew members present, included the head chef, the cruise director, two of the activities directors, and well, sorry, didn't get all the names and positions, but it was really nice to see that Cruise Critic has become a respectable web site in all senses for the cruise industry. Thank you Cruise Critic. We even had our CC tags to identify ourselves.
Shows, activities, food, varied and for all tastes. Shops had a reduction price afternoon that reminded me a black Friday; so many people wanting to buy watches and earrings, evening clutches, wow!! Another day the had the 50% EPIC stuff, as in clothing, cups, and many more items.
They also have an afternoon (the first one on the boat) of half of price for pressing your clothes, and on Wednesday, fill a bag with all your dirty clothes and they will wash and press them for $24.95 or so. Oh... we filled it, Lol.
If the Locos Ole show is still in the Caribbean itinerary, please don't miss it; they are amazingly funny and talented guitarists and singers.
Blue Man group, silly, stupid, but incredibly funny. Those guys too are really talented.
Now there is just one thing I didn't like too much; the coffee in the Garden Room.... not good. Also, I think they should consider bringing down the price on the sodas a little. I am not asking to give them for free, but a glass of soda almost 3.00 dollars??? and of course it depends on the place were you get it, if in the Garden Room or the outside bar in deck 15, might be 2 something, but if in the Atrium Cafe or any other restaurant, $3.oo dollars??? that is a little too much, I think.
All and all, NCL EPIC, good class, good casino, good restaurants, good shows, amazing crew. I say... go for it, you won't regret cruising in the Epic.