Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by rachel_rose: EPIC proportions - pros and cons
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EPIC proportions - pros and cons
My partner and I are both wheelchair users and approached this holiday with some trepidation. Our major concerns were that we travelled alone and I suffer from sea sickness - we needn't have worried.
We were checked in as a priority (as all people with "special needs" were) and it was fairly straight forward, it did however still take about an hour to get on board which we were told by other seasoned cruisers was fairly normal.
We arrived on the casino deck and were confronted by a table with cocktails on which we quickly discovered were NOT COMPLIMENTARY ($12 EACH if memory serves!) and a lot of people were saying other cruise companies give the first drink free.
We had pre-booked an "unlimited sodas" package for $6.25 per person per day and were so thankful we had. We collected that as soon as we could having found out that sodas were normally $4 EACH!! For someone who needs to drink plenty due to disability the sodas package was a godsend as it would have More cost a fortune if we hadn't - one afternoon we drank 4 drinks each in an hour because of the heat!
We arrived in our room shortly after 2pm (the time we were told the cabin would be ready) to discover that part of the anniversary/birthday packages we had booked for 5 days into our trip were already in our room - thankfully NOT the perishables.
The room was fairly large, though not the size we expected from a wheelchair accessible room. There was enough room down one side of the bed(s) to get a wheelchair down, but not the other. It took till the night before we disembarked that we discovered we could have moved the bed, but it took another passenger to tell us that - the steward saw us on a number of occasions and had plenty of opportunity to tell us. The other major problem was the ramp into the bathroom being steep and so close to the beds it made it difficult to get into the bathroom as you could get a "run up". The big problem on the accommodation decks was when the maids were cleaning the rooms - there was no room to pass their trolley in a wheelchair and we had to either shout to get them moved or find a maid to allow us to get passed.
The fire drill was an experience, most people around us insisted on spending this time talking at the top of their voice so the announcement was barely audible. There was absolutely NO mention of what special needs passengers should do in the event (our accommodation was on a different deck to our mustering station) of an emergency and nothing in the rooms either. We asked a member of the crew who did tell us but otherwise we would not have known
We had breakfast in the garden cafe every morning and the staff there cannot be faulted for service. Every day, without fail, as soon as we were spotted by the greeter we had a waiter/waitress hovering round us with a tray who followed us round getting absolutely everything we wanted and coming to our table several times to ensure we had everything we needed.
We ate at the "free" restaurants most days. The only exceptions being one night at "Cirque Dreams" which we would NEVER do again - the show was nothing special and the food atrocious, definitely NOT worth the extra cost - and 9th September when we ate in "Le Bistro" as we had paid for the anniversary package. The food at Le Bistro was what we would expect from a premium restaurant. The staff were great and left us to enjoy a romantic evening, only approaching to clear plates, refill glasses and at the end to sing happy birthday to my husband.
The only other entertainment we saw was "Legends in Concert" - as someone else said, is Britney Spears really a legend and non american Madonna was an experience! - and nightly a two piece called "Wildfire" who were superb.
Our major complaint (and it was fairly major) was the carpets on the main decks. These were thick pile which made it very difficult to push a chair on. My husband, who is fairly fit, even found the carpet tough going PLEASE PLEASE NCL remove a 3ft wide strip of carpet along one side of the ship on every deck! It would make life for an independent wheelchair user and those pushing a wheelchair/child's buggy a whole lot easier. Less
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