Mine and my cousins first time cruising!
We flew from Birmingham to Barcelona (a city we have had the pleasure of a 3 day city break so didn't explore further, we wanted to see our Epic ship!) on Ryanair- not an ounce of turbulence and plenty of leg room!- We arrived at the airport and was kept waiting for our cruise rep who arrived after 30 minutes, we were unfortunately kept waiting a further 1 hour for our coach which was running late and was then a further 2 hours till we arrived at the port waiting for other passengers at other terminals due to delayed flights. When we arrived we were greeted with a mass of people in a modern style airport hanger being divided up into number groups to be called up to queue at our allocated reception (we found a pop up bar type thing and got a Pepsi and a pastry and was promptly called) a further 20 minutes queuing and we were greeted by a friendly polite lady who explained embarkation, took photos, wanted credit card details and gave us our on board cards etc to us novice cruisers.
At last we were on the ship!!!
It was worth the wait! excitement overload, walking up the gantry being greeted by friendly crew checking our cards and scanning hand luggage (for security) and pointed to the correct lift, blue side and red side!
Fab-u-lous. up there with the loveliest hotel rooms iv stayed in around the world, dark wood, nice shower with shampoo conditioner and shower gel, pleasant toilet (similar to airplane toilet-same suction so a loud noise when you flush), a curtain dividing sleeping area and bathroom area ( i can understand some people moaning but wasn't an issue for us, your sharing a room with someone for a week there isn't much your going to be able to keep private and modest!! get over it!!) the sink area kitted out in hand wash soap and hand cream, over head mirrored cabinet, a big plastic bin which i thought was the sick bucket but my cousin later pointed out was the used towel bin lol! tea coffee making facilities (get used to UHT cream as they cant keep milk fresh on a ship, not going to taste like your moms brew, so get over it and no biscuits) large dressing table with mirror lighting and leather stool with hairdryer, an absolute pleasure to get ready every night, large sofa, safe, storage ,wardrobes, loads of hangers and storage for your suitcases with life jackets and pool towels provided. The balcony was my only moan it was bland and dirty and your over looked, my concerns were proved right. People on the above decks were smoking and flicking there buts over their balcony the buts falling short and landing on our balcony, im not anti smoking and miss smoking in pubs my gripe is put a cover over the balcony then if someones sick or chucks something over board it wont fall short land on our balcony? or common sense dont throw stuff over the balcony!
Mohammed, he was soooo cute friendly and appeasing, there is a note pad and pen provided and i asked him 2 things in a week, please keep us stocked of tea coffee milk and sugar and clean our balcony of tissue bird muck and fag ends to which he did -hassle free. Legend!!! he made the cabin up and did our turn down service.
spotless, casino, restaurants, bars, pool, spa, toilets, shops, theater, cirque tent, corridors and the viewing deck all easy to find and move around baring in mind there were 6000 souls on board to capacity.
did not have a bad meal, i suffer with IBS and iv never felt better, hand sanitiser provided everywhere, i recommend everywhere to eat particular the Manhattan for steak. Never queued, never waited for a table but then again never ate later than 8.30, people seemed to queue from 9pm on wards.
Made the holiday, first class Broadway shows with Burn the floor and Priscilla queen of the desert- you were warned 4 times before show there's swearing and adult content so was annoyed at family's getting up 10 mins into show dragging kids out in disgust, no sympathy your own fault leave the adults to enjoy the show thank you. Howl at the moon and the Soul Sensations were the best for music not to mention the Beatles tribute in the freezing cold cavern club- aircon to cold, take a cardi or jumper- there was something different every night so you wont be board, just plan you meal times around your entertainment that way you'll avoid queuing and sit where you want on both accounts.
Adults only pool small but i just wanted a dip to cool off, too small to swim and kids area i have no idea about, i dont have children and dont want to hear or see them on holiday so stayed in the adults only section more peaceful and relaxed to what looked like mayhem walking through the kids pools to the restaurants lol! the open air cinema is in the adults only section so that was nice being shown different cities on the screen whilst relaxing and also watched the Euro's live-great atmosphere! if you didn't like football it was tough.
Activities and excursions!!
never took part in any activities- if i wasn't off the ship discovering new places i was on a sun lounger or in the spa but that's my holiday. your given a new itinerary every night for the following day with a full list of on shore or on board activities starting with yoga at 6am every day. the "treble is the new double" proper Malibu and Pepsi put paid to any rising before 9.30am apart from Rome day. We visited Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes and Marseilles all very stunning and beautiful. Cannes i shall be re visiting again. simply divine.
It is an American ship "Vegas on water" is how we described it. the currency on board is US dollars and predominantly American passengers. No one told us and we took euros to which NCL wanted 9 euro with every transaction for not paying in dollars so was forced to hand over a credit card to pay for on board shopping, shows, spa treatments, room service and supplemented food and drink. they charge you 27 dollars per cabin a day service charge but if your like me and prefer to tip as you go ask for a form and it will get deducted that saves you 170 dollars a week before you've started. You get a 9.30 Ding Dong from cruise director Monica every day and the odd message from the captain- very HI-DE-HI! 24 hour English film channel sports channel and news channel. on board medical center and guest services so always somewhere to go for help.
Would definitely go in the ship gain and recommend for a first time cruise!! Elemis Spa ans would recommend........ if you've booked have a fab time!! and if you haven't....why not???
Beautiful and comfy, bed not full length for space that's only problem
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