Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by clanhayes6
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
If you are scheduled to go on this ship, book all your shows, specialty dining and excursions as soon as you get your booking number. If you can't book online, call NCL and they will take care of it then email your confirmations. Many people were upset because they had waited till the week of the cruise, or the day of the cruise and everything was sold out. With reservations, we showed up about a half hour before showtimes and had no problem getting seats. If you do an excursion with NCL, you will get gold tickets in your stateroom which allow you to get off the ship first, no waiting for them to call a certain number. For the restaurants, we showed up at the time scheduled. BTW, you can also reserve seating in the main dining rooms.
With our package, we were able to dine at 3 specialty restaurants and chose Teppanaki, Cagneys and Le Bistro. Le Bistro was by far the best. Service was outstanding and the food was delicious and beautifully presented. I wish we ate there all 3 nights! The steak at Cagneys was delicious, but service was horrible. Teppanaki was delicious and entertaining, but very loud and way too much food. Taste and Manhattan had the same menu, but we preferred the ambiance of Manhattan much more. We tried to avoid the Garden Cafe (buffet) as much as possible. It's so loud and difficult to find seating. A tip for the buffet, you can go to the back of the restaurant, there is a staircase leading down a level to La Cucina where they allow you to sit for breakfast and lunch. It's much prettier and quiet. Bring your food down there to eat in peace.
Entertainment was outstanding on this ship. We went to the Cirque show the first night and were so amazed at the talent these people had. It was jaw dropping! Do not miss it. We also loved Priscilla the Desert Queen, but I wish they had chosen a musical that was more family friendly. They had several signs discouraging children under the age of 16. Burn the Floor was awesome as well. They also had a Beatles tribute in the Epic Theater which was outstanding. We went to Howl at the Moon and the Cavern Club for shows as well. Get there at least 45 minutes early and order some drinks or you'll be standing the whole time. They do not have reservations. Again, fantastic entertainment like you'd find in NYC!
Although booking shore excursions through NCL allowed us to get off the ship quicker, they were not too good. We did the jet skis on the private island which was fun, but the island itself isn't worth the hassle of getting on and off the ship via tenders. In Jamaica, we did the Martha Brae bamboo rafting. While the rafting was peaceful and beautiful, what NCL doesn't advertise is that it is an hour and a half drive to get there. UGH. So that was 3 hours of our short day wasted in a bus. We also did the stingray and turtle adventure in Grand Cayman. That was a good one, but the bus that took us there smelled like cat litter and the tour guide mainly pointed out fast food restaurants as we drove. Not too educational. I would recommend booking your own shore excursions with smaller groups, but keep in mind that it takes forever to get off the ship without the gold tickets. TIP: during busy times, especially when getting on and off the ship, get on the elevator going up to go down and vice versa. If you wait for a certain direction, you'll be there a long time.
When you aren't going ashore, I thought the ship had plenty of activities to offer. If you're a gambler, you'll be in heaven. The casino is huge and unlike other reviews, I didn't think the smoke smell was that bad. The pools are tiny but the waterslides are terrific. They also have a rock climbing wall, bowling alley and bungy trampoline. If you are having trouble finding a deck chair, or just want some quiet time, take the elevator from the deck 15 pool area up to deck 18. Then walk all the way to the front of the ship. They have brown wicker loungers there with thick cushions. They also have waiters and a cart of cold beers and other drinks. Speaking of drinks, I recommend ordering a double each time. It may be a long time before someone comes along for another drink order:) Another tip is to bring a Brita water bottle you can fill up in your room. They charge for water bottles, even if you have the unlimited drink package.
Activities for children were plentiful. That's another bonus of this big ship. Our 16 year old son came with us and had a blast at the Teen Club. We didn't see him much except at meal times and some shows. I was worried because he was without his siblings, but he made a lot of friends at the club. He still keeps in touch with several of the kids he met on the cruise.
Keeping in touch on the ship was easy with the NCL app. Be sure to download the app prior to getting on the ship! Once on board, the internet was spotty. The best part of the app was being able to text our son. You have to pay about $10/person/cruise for this feature, but it was worth it. We had unlimited texting while on the ship with him. This is only for texting and calls with other passengers on board, it is not for getting ahold of people back home. Our cruise package also came with 250 minutes of internet. This was enough for me to check my email daily. To use it, you have to login and logout each time. If you forget to logout, you could get a huge bill at the end of your vacation!
All in all, it was a great cruise. However, because it's such a huge ship, way too much time was spent researching and making reservations. Also, getting on and off the ship was a nightmare. I felt like I was at Disney in those long lines. This ship is better for staying on board.
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