This was our third cruise this year, and we took it solely because we got a good deal. Getting to the port proved to be a chore, because there were four ships all loading at the same terminal side, but once we got into the area, boarding ... Read More
This was our third cruise this year, and we took it solely because we got a good deal. Getting to the port proved to be a chore, because there were four ships all loading at the same terminal side, but once we got into the area, boarding was fairly quick and painless. We were allowed into our cabin immediately (possibly because it took so long to get to the port -- we didn't board until after 2pm.)
I appreciated that the muster drill was held in the casino, rather than crowded onto the decks, like we've experienced before.
Starting with what we loved, the meals in the Manhattan Dining Room were excellent, accompanied by a jazz quartet that provided subtle, but mood establishing, background music. We had dinner in Taste one evening, didn't like that as much, and in the Noodle Shop, which was pretty good. Otherwise, snacks in the pub on deck 6 (good chicken wings, rest was kinda meh) and the buffet on deck 15 was okay for breakfast and lunch (the breakfast buffet, got very boring as the week wore on, always the same stuff, would have preferred some variety.)
The entertainment was great, the best we've experienced at sea. Comedy club was tops, dueling pianos awesome, the shows were top notch (didn't like "Priscilla," it's not to our tastes) and Cirque Dreams and Dinner was an amazing add-on ($50/person for the premium seats, well worth it.)
I'm not one for the casino, but it has to be on a par with some Las Vegas establishments -- hundreds of slots machines, and at least a dozen tables. It was kind of annoying that you often had to walk through it to get from place to place, because it's not non-smoking, but there are other ways to get around.
The Cavern Club was great and the Epic Beatles were outstanding. Can't say enough for the two shows of theirs that we saw. Martini Bar was a great place to hangout and had great staff.
They sponsored our Cruise Critic meet and greet, as well as the slot pull (provided some gifts,) that was very cool. We met great friends at the meet and greet, very happy that we got to do that.
Now, the not so good...
Stateroom -- terrible, see below
Bar staff -- there were a couple bars that were good, but service, in general, was very slow. The bar outside of the Manhattan Room was particularly bad
Television -- the "sports pub" had two tvs that pretty much placed soccer 24/7. That's okay with me, but I know that there were those who were disappointed that Monday Night Football, for example, wasn't available on the ship. In the cabin, you had four channels (FoxNews, MSNBC, BBC News and Sports 24/7) in addition to the cruise line info channels and one movie channel (showing random films, it wasn't HBO or something similar.)
Atmosphere -- there was definitely an "upsell" feel to the place, that NCL constantly had their hand out for one thing or another, from future cruise deposits to pull tabs to raffle tickets to...
Communication -- ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. This baffles me, because you can't blame it on the ship, which is newly in Port Canaveral -- these are not "shake down" issues. Prior to the cruise, we received no information about what terminal to report to. During the cruise, you are required to make reservations for shows and dinners and stuff, but there is no way to see what you've reserved without going to the customer service desk and having them print it out for you. At Grand Cayman, our excursion brought us back to port with 15 minutes to spare, only to find half the ship, literally, about 2,000 people, ahead of us in like to get on the tender. We waited in the sun for almost an hour to get on and, apart from an NCL officer walking through the queue once (probably trying to figure out how long it was going to take to get everyone on board) and a guy handing out cool towels thirty feet ahead of the tender loading area, no one came to check on the passengers, many of who were older, to hand out water, assure people they'd get on, etc. We were basically ignored. Finally, on disembarkation day, we had, literally, no idea what the process was. No one delivered luggage tags, we'd been given customs forms, but absolutely nothing else about the process. I turned on the tv at 7am to see if there was something about it, and there was a channel with some info, but nothing about what deck to go to if you were going to carry your stuff off (which we had to do, lacking luggage tags.) We wound up asking a fellow passenger at the elevators (get off on deck 7.)
On the whole, we will likely give Norwegian another try -- the food and entertainment are powerful enough draws -- but would never go on the Epic again. Read Less