Exceeded our expectations: Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by SOUTHERN MD CRUISER

Norwegian Epic 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Exceeded our expectations

Sail Date: November 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
We were not sure what to expect considering the sheer number of managing almost twice the number of passengers the standard cruise ship carries. Every aspect (with a few exceptions) met/exceeded our expectations.

Embarkation: There were two terminals assigned for the EPIC, and the wait to check in was less than 10 minutes. In order to board the ship you get a card with a boarding group on it and wait your turn, but the wait was less than 10 minutes.

We chose to have lunch in the dining room (Taste), which was easily found as we boarded the ship. The service and food were very good. We had about an hour wait to get into the cabin after lunch.

Cabin: The balcony cabin was smaller than most standard balcony cabins. The layout is quite odd. As you enter the cabin there is a toilet "pod" to the right and a shower "pod" to the left. A curtain can be drawn for privacy, but there is no privacy if the cabin door is opened. The sink is in the cabin. The beds More stick out pretty far, so it can be a tight squeeze to get around the beds to the "pods." There was an odd shapped sofa in there as well, which could be used for a third person. We had the "extended" balcony, which was a triangular shape and felt much larger than the standard balcony. Even though the cabin was a bit small, we got used to the tight squeeze and worked around it. While we did enjoy the balcony, the guests in the majority of the surrounding cabins were smokers, so that limited the time we spent outside.
The steward was very friendly and provided excellent service.

Ship layout: We were midship, and there were no stairways or elevators in the immediate area. We had to walk a little to get to the elevators at either end of the ship. There is also no promenade (or deck that surrounds the ship) which was a little odd. The dining rooms, pools, and public areas were easy to find.

Dining: Most of the time we ate at "Taste" dining room, and we rarely had to wait. The food and service were excellent. Taste is open for breakfast and dinner every day, and for lunch when the ship is at sea. The menu is the same for breakfast and lunch every day, and changes at dinner, although at dinner there are some standard dishes available every day. Highly recommend the salmon. There is a sugar free option for dessert offered at lunch and dinner.
There are many specialty restaurants available. We ate at Shanghai (Chinese) for $15 each, and the food was excellent there as well. We ate at the buffet one day and the food was good there too.

Pools: We discovered the "H2O Spice" pool on the second day at sea. It is an "adults only" pool. The pool was very small, but there were two hot tubs, which normally were open. During the sea days there is a grill/bar behind the pool that is open with burgers, chicken, salads, etc. A very good option if you prefer an environment without children. The main pool has a water slide and is always very busy.

Entertainment: We reserved Blue Man Group and the Legends tickets. Do not recommend the Blue Man show. It was very odd and boring; in fact we left early. Everyone we spoke to about the show felt the same way we did. The Legends show was great. Very entertaining and professional.

Casino: The largest casino at sea. It is huge and always busy. And always very smoky. Most of the guests in the casino are smokers, so be prepared if you are a non-smoker, as we are.

Bars: Spent a few evenings at "Shakers" martini bar, which has excellent martinis. Discovered "Maltings" next door, which has a happy hour two for one from 4-6 in the evening. Basic drinks at happy hour prices. The best deal is the bucket of beer; one bucket is buy 5 get one free; during happy hour buy one bucket get one free. A lot of folks were purchasing and taking to their cabins.

Overall, I would give this ship four and a half stars out of 5. It loses a half star due to the odd layout of the cabin and the smoky balcony/casino. Overall, the crew, stewards, servers and staff were very friendly and helpful. I would definitely recommend this ship and plan to sail on it again in the future. Less

Published 12/05/12

Cabin review: B610180 Large Balcony

Smoky balconies. "Extended balcony" is a nice feature, as it give additional space outside.

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Port and Shore Excursions

We wanted to go to Atlantis, so after a short walk through the shops we were able to locate a taxi to go to Atlantis. They typically will gather up a small group and load them in a van to maximize the trip for the taxi driver. Atlantis is beautiful and there are many things to explore on your own, including the casino and parts of the property. If you want to go to the "big dig" (underground aquarium) you can either purchase tickets through an excursion or in the casino. Taxi ride back to the ship was a little scary, as there was a lot of traffic (5:00 on a Friday afternoon), but we made it back safely.
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Beach Break

Took an excursion to Magen's Bay for a few hours on the beach. Excursion provided transportation to/from beach. Nice beach, but I would not describe as beautiful. It was a public beach, and you had to rent chairs/floats if you wanted more than a towel to sit on. There was a small restaurant/bar adjacent to beach, as well as a gift shop. The water was beautiful and you could easily see the bottom. There were no rocks/seaweed, so that was a plus.

We only got off the ship to do a little shopping, and returned to the ship. Fair amount of choices within walking distance of the ship.
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