NCL Epic: Best Cruise/Ship In (Almost) Every Way: Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by raken80

Norwegian Epic 5
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NCL Epic: Best Cruise/Ship In (Almost) Every Way

Sail Date: January 2013
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
I think this is my new favorite cruise ship!!! Even though there are a lot of passengers on this ship, it's big enough for everyone, and laid out well. There seems to be enough room for everyone! There are many different areas to soak up the sun, and the one out of the way area we favored for lounging was never overrun with people. We never felt crammed in our lounge chairs like sardines lined up in a can (as sometimes happens).

The water slides were a lot of fun. Some line ups during peak times as expected, but worth a few minutes of waiting!

The entertainment was wonderful. Second City was terrific. Legends was terrific too. Do not miss either of those shows!!! The magician (whose name escapes me) was wonderful too, though they put his shows on much too late. He should have a few shows scheduled for earlier than 10:30! Blue Man Group is something you either love or hate though. Our group was mixed on them.

This cruise on the Epic was the More first cruise where I've enjoyed the breakfast buffet all week long. Someone has FINALLY figured it out!!!! No long lines, no repeats due to limited choices, hot food actually HOT, and only once did we have to wander (briefly) with our plates. There were many areas to sit! It was great! One caveat with the breakfast buffet experience - the scrambled eggs are still as horrible as on every other cruise on every other ship. LOL

As for our other dining experiences: We did not enjoy the Manhattan Restaurant. We were there the first night and it was too loud! We had to shout to make conversation over the live background music. On the other hand, we loved the "Taste" restaurant. We went there for dinner most of the rest of the week, and it was perfect every night.

Another "best" experience for us was with the crew. The crew members we saw and/or encountered seemed by far the happiest group of people! They didn't seem happy because they were required to be. They just seemed genuinely happy to be on board this ship. Whether they were interacting with passengers, or interacting among each other away from passengers, they were just happy people!!! It was wonderful!!!

The only real problem we had with this cruise was the fact that we arrived to a dirty cabin! Bits of debris left from the last occupants were still lying on the counter. The cabinet behind the mirror (at the sink) had sticky shelves. The wall behind the coffee pot had what looked like splotches of coffee on it. The wall adjacent to the door had a glob of food on it. I was completed disgusted! Instead of unpacking, I had to go down to the customer service desk and complain. The young lady was apologetic and asked if I would meet with the housekeeping manager up at my room so I could show him the problem, which is what I did. After an inspection and conversation, the room got re-cleaned from top to bottom, but what a thing to come into! It certainly did not put their best foot forward!

I could blame our cabin steward, who's job it was to clean our room, but I think there might be a bigger issue here. The only other time (in a dozen cruises) that we came into an improperly cleaned cabin, was our only other NCL cruise. Does this cruise line not give staff enough time to clean properly? Do they not have supervisors inspect the cabins before they are released? Is there an issue with the policies of NCL or was this some odd coincidence? Both times a bottle of wine was delivered to our room as an "I'm sorry" gesture, but neither my husband nor I drink wine. In my opinion, the cruise line should have given a small shipboard credit to our cabin equal to the value of the bottle of wine.

Other than the dirty room, which could have ruined our outlook on the whole cruise if we let it, we had a great time on a great ship!!! Less

Published 02/05/13

Cabin review: BF8209 Balcony

Cabin 8209 was the very last cabin on the starboard side of the ship. It was quiet. The hallway area was quiet (I believe because we were so tucked away), but it was a LONG walk to walk to the front of the ship for breakfast! Good thing I power walk every day!!! If you have an aversion to exercise, don't book the very ends of this ship. Two things about our cabin worthy of mention: 1)the door didn't always shut tight. You had to check to make sure it was latched tight and clicked (even when it looked shut tight) to make sure your cabin was secure. 2) the layout of this cabin was such that I can't imagine two couples sharing a room or any adult sharing that you are not VERY close to. No problem for hubby and I, but we have cruised in the past with our kids, a niece, my sister, etc. and in those situations, this new bathroom concept would not work out very well. On this trip we traveled with friends (who had their own cabin), but on the nights that they came to our room to get us for dinner, they would step out into the hallway if we were not quite ready, since brushing your teeth or a quick application of lipstick could not be done discreetly behind a door. You can't let someone in if your partner is still in the shower, since the door is right next to the shower stall. Not a huge problem, just very different than the norm. I understand that most cabins on this ship have this new bathroom concept.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Nassau looks in a state of disrepair when you arrive in port. Metal sheet roofing pieces missing from the Welcome Center, hanging boards from other buildings, etc. Not pretty at all. If fact, next to the "Welcome Center" there is an area that is fenced off with barbed wire above it, with a sign posed that says "Biohazard Area". This is directly adjacent to where you are herded to get on and off the pier. I do not use the word "herded" loosely. It was crowded and there did not seem to be any other way to get past the pier area than through this building full of vendors selling their wares. If not for the fact that hubby wanted to see the marine life/aquariums at the Paradise Atlantis, we would have turned around and gotten right back on the ship. We did not pay for an NCL Atlantis excursion. We had been advised by friends who had recently been here that it was cheaper to grab a cab, go over to the Paradise Atlantis, and pay for a pass that allows you to walk through the grounds, which is what we did. One point to note: although this pass let us see all the marine life (except for the dolphin encounter), we could not wander anywhere. They check your arm bands. Specific colors allowed in specific areas from what we witnessed. We did enjoy our visit to Atlantis! We walked through a couple of streets in town after our visit to the Atlantis, and it was NOT a very nice place. Many people on the street aggressively try to get your attention. Whether it be to come into their shop, or someone selling something on the street, folks here are persistent and plentiful enough to be annoying.
Read 5046 Nassau Reviews

My favorite port by far. We always feel very safe here and this time was no exception. Shopping is the best: good selections, great prices, clean, and the town is located very close to the port (a $4.00 water taxi ride away). We got some great bargains! Since we specifically wanted to shop here, we did not book any excursions for this port. I guess my only complaint is that I couldn't fit in both shopping and beach time (beaches here are beautiful too)!

We took a open vehicle shuttle just off the pier into town. I believe the price was $4.00 per person. It was kind of a steep climb up to get on the shuttle for some of the older folks, but no problem for us. The town is not quite as nice as St. Maarten, and we found the prices were not quite as good, but there was a good selection of stuff to buy here too. This always winds up being our second favorite shopping destination relative to all the Caribbean ports we've ever been. No excursion here either.
Read 4003 St. Thomas Reviews

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