11 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

Nothing blew me away about this ship. It was a nice ship. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The food was not that great. I went on the Norwegian Pearl a few years ago and remember the buffets and other restaurant foods being ... Read More
Nothing blew me away about this ship. It was a nice ship. The staff was friendly and accommodating. The food was not that great. I went on the Norwegian Pearl a few years ago and remember the buffets and other restaurant foods being really good. This food was sub-par. The entertainment was actually really great on the ship - the best thing about our trip on the ship I think. One thing that did bother me about the food was that if you wanted to eat at a specialty restaurant, you really need to book those places a good amount of time in advance on this ship. I think that the included food was just not good enough and folks ended up buying up the dining package. We couldn't get reservations until almost 10 pm anywhere. Cagney's was booked for the whole week by Sunday (cruise left Saturday). They should really allow for some walk in people that don't want to plan every minute of their vacation before loading the ship. There is not enough information for disabled passengers anywhere. My grandmother was traveling with us and had a motor scooter. She can walk, but not really without a walker or assistance and cannot easily climb stairs or lift her legs very high. No where on any of the excursion descriptions does it give any indication of regular activity involved that may be limiting for some. Most of us can climb 5 of 6 bus stairs and not think twice about it, but for my grandmother it is a huge deal. Also there is no scooter storage on most group transport vehicles. it just needs to be outlined better and planned better as there were many folks on our cruise with handicaps. They should be able to enjoy simple excursions as well. They ended up having to cancel 2 of the 3 excursions booked at the last minute. My room was always neatly made but I really never saw my cabin attendant. I didnt have a hair dryer in my room and couldn't find her/him to get one until Thursday. The shore excursions were not really anything that I was interested in. We unfortunately got an itinerary change due to all of the storms (understandably) but I have been to Nassau countless times. Falmouth, Jamaica didn't seem to have much around at all, and from what I understand, most excursions were out of Ochos Rios - which took an hour bus ride each way. I liked the Bamboo Beach club, the people were incredibly friendly. The drinks and food were not great, but were included. It was a great trip because of the people I was with. The ship was nice enough and I got to lay in the sun and take advantage of the Unlimited Beverage Package (which is by far so worth it and I really hope to be able to book another cruise when this is a free option again!) I look forward to another cruise with Norwegian, but definitely on a newer ship I think. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We are latitude Members. It's an impressive vessel, but, too big for my needs. I chose it because we'd never been to Tortola and we like Great Stirrup Cay. I cruise with my adult Down Syndrome son quite a bit, so I look at ... Read More
We are latitude Members. It's an impressive vessel, but, too big for my needs. I chose it because we'd never been to Tortola and we like Great Stirrup Cay. I cruise with my adult Down Syndrome son quite a bit, so I look at amenities through a different 'lens" as most passengers. My cabin 12046 was a perfect local (near the elevator which was a direct route to the "vestibule" between the buffet and pool deck). It was spacious and had much more storage than we needed. Along with the "stationary" closet hangers I counted 21 additional plastic hangers (I don't know if those are customary or is someone left them behind). We booked the Paradise Tour and Beach. The vehicles were multi benched (held 4 average size people). We visited Cane Garden Beach for 1 hour - just long enough to get out toes wet and shop at the mini straw market. The vendors were NOT pushy. We've been to St Thomas many times, so we just walked around a little. Great Stirrup Cay - which I normally love - smooth sandy beach with no rocks - and very little wave action - perfect for tots was not a good visit. The weather turned and not only did passengers evacuate back to the ship (booked excursions were of course refunded) but we were actually headed back out to sea to avoid rough seas. I commend that decision: for although we did experience a little rocking, it didn't hamper moving about the ship. The food was good and varied. My compliments to the Buffet kitchen staff on Latin night because they made my son mashed potatoes! Moderne Brazilian Restaurant is a best kept secret. We did not take in any of the shows - too many people "jockeying" for scant coveted seats. My negatives: I believe that there are not enough cabin stewards! The Kleenex tissue in my room ran out 3 days into the trip and was not replenished. Likewise my in room beach towel. I know that I could've notified housekeeping, but I chose not to as an experiment to confirm my suspicions that there isn't enough staff in that capacity. Beware the Ultimate Beverage Package - it doesn't include water. On February 25th, through no fault of any of the cruise ships, embarking was a nightmare due to foggy conditions which put the ships way behind in disembarking the previous weeks passengers. We were 2 of the lucky ones - we were inside in terminal, out of the sun. The terminal staff did what they could do, but due to security regulations their hands were tied. Because I use a cane I was offered a chair - which I declined because there were others that needed the seat more. I suggest that they keep a supply of paper cups and water and perhaps more folding chairs. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Norwegian did something really smart by creating the Solo Studio for people traveling alone without hitting them with a single supplement. Recently took 7-day cruise on Norwegian Epic with 3 older lady friends. We have the means to travel ... Read More
Norwegian did something really smart by creating the Solo Studio for people traveling alone without hitting them with a single supplement. Recently took 7-day cruise on Norwegian Epic with 3 older lady friends. We have the means to travel but also enjoy the perfect mix of privacy and sociability that the Solo Studio provides. We each had our own room with stand-up shower, toilet, queen-size bed, sink, safe and storage areas but the Solo Lounge provided a great venue to meet other single travelers for coffee, snacks and, from 5-7 PM, drinks at our own fully stocked bar with personable bartender. We met a married couple who were also sailing in the Solo Studios. They liked that they each had their own shower and bathroom and their studios had a pass through door that gave them double the space and facilities for the same price as a double cabin. The food on Norwegian was excellent. I have cruised 4 times on Disney - which retains the crown as best cruise - and once on Royal Princess which was just OK but I'd definitely cruise Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My perspective is from a wheelchair-user. Check-in was very good, quick and easy. Upon entering the ship the sheer size and amount of people (it was a packed ship; 4500 capacity) is overwhelming. This eases up a bit, but it really feel ... Read More
My perspective is from a wheelchair-user. Check-in was very good, quick and easy. Upon entering the ship the sheer size and amount of people (it was a packed ship; 4500 capacity) is overwhelming. This eases up a bit, but it really feel much crowder than other smaller cruises. CABINS: Balcony handicapped rooms spacious and best layout than any other handicapped cabins in other cruise lines. We were AFT and the bathroom had a constant sewage smell; disgusting at times. The carpet was starting to show some mold around border with bathroom area. TV channels selection and variety was very good. Great movies and TV shows selection. Loved the phone service, definitely a step above all other cruise lines. ENTERTAINMENT: The Blue Man Group was torture...unless you enjoy 7-year old children type entertainment. My spouse and I were just bored to death, routines were not that funny neither innovative. Many stoned faces on the audience. Legends in Concert was PHENOMENAL. Nadeen Manuel the Hipnotist is absolutely AMAZING; THE BEST SHOW ON THE SHIP. Do NOT Miss it! The Second City Comedy was OK. The "Howl at the Moon" late shows were also phenomenal; talented, funny, creative, a real treat to watch and to participate. Staff making the reservations very courteous and helpful. FOOD: Not a foodie, did not even care to go to the TASTE or The Manhattan Room restaurants. We did tried the Moderno Brazilian Churrascarria and was good; for the price ($20/pp) I think it is definitey a good idea to try tthe concept. The Garden Cafe (Lido) food selection was average, food tasted delicious, spacious so that people were not running into each other with trays of food. However, difficult to find seating and notice how inconsiderate some able-bodied people are seating at designated handicapped areas. Some people just have no manners and even less class. The worst perpetrators? Moms with teenagers sprawling all over restricted handicapped areas. Borderline disgusting. SERVICE: Spotty; cabins never got done before 1pm. The cabin run out of supplies (toilet paper, kleenex) and we had to make calls for supplies which were delivered the next day. We noticed our Room attendant was replaced after 3 days. We did not complained, but I can see somebody else also affected and much less patient than we were. Room service delivery was the best we had, however. Prompt and good food preparation. SHIP: The Casino is huge and central, so no way to avoid the distraction, machines, or the smoke. The Atrium-- huge screen showing movies, etc. is fantastic. Some of the Guest Services staff is great, some are borderline rude (Carolina from the Guest Rewards programs could not get rid of inquring passengers fast enough...She seemed very annoyed that I was waiting to ask about the Guest Rewards while she was deeply engaged on a personal phone call (meeting somebody for dinner that day...)-- mind you at working hours; WOW! While sunbathing guests often bocked public transit and access area with the chairs. This is a SAFETY Fire Code issue. NCL needs to correct this and not allow certain areas to be blocked for the safe and accesible transit of other guests. Fitness room is huge and fantastic; the public stretch class room is tiny. The instructors: utterly uninterested unless you are paying a fee. PORTS: All fun. Favorite: Grand Cayman Islands: people polite, place is gorgeous. Least favorite" Ocho Rios-- was offered every type of drug within half hour of wandering off the boat. TIP: Shop for spices, etc at the supermarket. We bought at a local supermarket Jamaican Rum, spices, and tropical jams at a quarter of the price from the souvenir places. In Cozumel- don't pay the posted price EVER. Make an offer. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I wrote a review on our first cruise, this same itinerary on this same ship but in 2012, a few days apart from this one. We felt on that cruise that we had missed out on some of the entertainment and decided we'd rebook, along with ... Read More
I wrote a review on our first cruise, this same itinerary on this same ship but in 2012, a few days apart from this one. We felt on that cruise that we had missed out on some of the entertainment and decided we'd rebook, along with some friends we'd made on the ship. Well I'm glad to report that not only are we happy with this decision, we made many new friends and enjoyed the time we spent with the friends we'd made the previous year. My partner and I are a gay couple, not particularly flamboyant, just a couple of guys who happen to be gay. We aren't the type to only hang around with gay people. Straight people can't help being straight and we actually really like them. Some of our best friends are straight and we support them in all their endeavors, including straight marriage and equal rights. We are both friendly people and we really like the Norwegian anytime dining aspect of cruising. As long as we make our reservations and have dinner at some vaguely dinner-ish hour, there's no problem with eating in most places. The only exception for us was one night when we wanted sushi but had to make the Legends show. It was a sea day and the sushi place was packed with a good long wait. Even though we rushed to the noodle bar and asked for a quick meal due to our show reservations, we had to rush with 45 mins before the show and didn't get to finish. I suppose that's our fault for bad planning though. The quality of some of the food seems to have diminished. In particular the buffet food seemed less enticing than last year. We tended to eat in Moderno, Cagneys, O'Sheehans or one of the main dining rooms where the food was really good on the first night and slightly less enticing than last year's menu. I know this whole review is a bit out of chronological order. I will try to leave a good, honest, thorough review, but the cost of that for me is less emphasis on the order and more details on the aspect of the cruise I'm reviewing. When we arrived, I'd been pestering Jose to get down to the port ASAP. We'd left from our South Florida home about 1/2 hour later than we intended and all I could think of was the lines to board growing longer and longer by the second while we mosied on down the road behind somebody who thought it was a good day to take in the air at about 15 below the speed limit. Despite all that, we arrived to a seamless, streamlined and almost joyous boarding procedure with no issues whatsoever. I've got 8 bad discs and migraines and athsma and a few other medical issues which sometimes make travel a bit trying. When we arrived at the port, we drove to where the porters or stevedores or whatever they're called take your luggage away to be checked for prohibited items and delivered to the stateroom, which on this trip was a balcony midship, room 12177, the same room we'd had the year before. Anyway it's a good idea to tip this guy, he's picking up and moving lots of heavy bags. We tipped him $5 and he seemed happy with that. Jose jumped out because one of our rolling luggages was big and the luggage guy took our stuff away with a smile. We drove to the parking garage and we were early but the garage was getting pretty full. We found a spot conveniently located within view of the elevators after going up a couple of levels and off we went. The line for us was extremely small. The group in front of us said that it was a long wait before someone came over, but she was there and just about finished with them, and we had no real wait of more than a minute. I think it was the handicapped and/or latitudes line. We were eligible for all of the lines so opted for the shortest. We provided our e-docs and our passports along with a credit card and were given new room cards with our freshly taken pictures on them. For new cruisers, the card is your everything card on the ship. You can use it for all purchases up to your credit limit, including cash advances in the casino and for the different novelty machines on the ship. It's a power which can be easily corrupted. It's very easy on a cruise with a couple of drinks in you to swipe that card for everything. I bring a cash budget for the casino and since I am a casinos at sea member we also get free casino drink cards, which we take full advantage of in order to minimize our expenses and enjoy the benefits losing your money at the casino gets you. Anyway, we get past the signing in and paying and all that and move along to an area right next to the ship where we will board in groups of people separated into probably 4 groups. Because I had the cane with me, we were called up as one of the first groups to go on the ship. Which was nice that they went around and got us all individually instead of giving us numbers which would make it obvious that the handicapped people were all in one group. We had still arrived to that area a little after 11 and had to wait till about noon to board. I think they had some refeshments set up but less stuff than last year. And we boarded at about 11 last year, this year they made us wait. We found out later that the health inspector was on board, probably just a routine thing that is a necessary part of any kitchen. It could also be that they needed more time to prepare the rooms. Once we got on, we wanted to eat at Taste as we did last year, along with our friends we'd made on last year's cruise, but they weren't letting us in, and were being very vague about when we'd be able to eat. I was told to come back in 15 minutes and upon our return we were still refused access. So we went up to the buffet. The buffet was simple fare, burgers and dogs and curried chicken were the main dishes upon embarkation. We had no problem getting our soda stickers affixed to our cards before our staterooms were ready and got our souvenir mugs, which I'm drinking my seltzer water out of as I write this. For us the cruise is about the people and the entertainment, and we had met up with our friends before we boarded. We were in adjacent sections and saw each other so once we boarded we found each other again and went to the buffet after we couldn't get into Taste. So we didn't mind the buffet since we were catching up with our old friends and chatting away. Once the rooms were ready we went up to our midship balcony stateroom number 12177 and went through our "mail" from the ship. We had our casino players cards, free drink cards, letters about reservations we'd made, coctail parties we were invited to, a meet and greet for the Cruise Critic Roll Call my partner had set up and stuff like that. We met our steward and tipped him $20 right away, as an incentive to offer good service. I don't think he'd have been anything but excellent anyway, but he deserved that tip as well as the additional $20 we tipped him near the end of the cruise. His name was Moday, not sure of the spelling and we nicknamed him the ninja. We spent little time in our stateroom and it would always be fixed up when we'd return, so I said he was like a ninja, in and out of the room without being spotted. He did a wonderful job and wasn't deficient in any capacity, offering us whatever we needed and asking us to contact him with any requests we had. I did ask for him to keep up on the ice, but we spent far less time in our room than I'd anticipated so didn't really use the ice. Nonetheless, each time I checked the container there was ice there for us. The room itself is a typical balcony stateroom, dimensions and such can be found elsewhere on this site. I believe it's 216 sq feet including the balcony, has a couch which can be another place to sleep, 2 twin or one big bed, a flat screen tv more attuned to ship's services than tv watching, though there are a few channels one can watch, and of course the bathroom, shower, sink and a mini fridge chock full of things you can buy. I've read that one can ask them to remove those items so that you can use it, but we were getting both free drinks and pre paid unlimited soft drinks so we didn't really need it. I think I left a couple of yogurts in there so if you're in that room and the yogurts are still in there you shouldn't have to pay for them. The beds are comfortable, though not the same comfort as my memory foam ones at home. The balcony is a nice upgrade, but it's a bit of an upcharge to have that, and not for everybody. Your neighbors can see what you're doing if they care to and some friends we made from the 3/30 epic roll call were telling us tales of woe from smokers and drunks above them using their balcony as an ashtray and drink coaster. We didn't have those problems, and I smoked a mini cigar out there once or twice without issue. We did look around at other balconies to make sure nobody would be upset by the cigar smoke and didn't see anybody when I smoked. We did a variety of things on the ship during the sea days, and we loved the entertainment. I spend some time in the casino while my partner spent more time at Shakers and spice2o. Starting on night one, we went to the main dining room for dinner and enjoyed the night's special sailaway meal, everyone at the table ordering surf and turf, each of us with an extra lobster tail. I've heard from one cruise critic member that her lobster wasn't as she liked it. I don't know if it's the time we went or if we or her were the exception but for us the lobster was perfectly done and delicious. They were larger than last years twin lobster tails and I ate my partners extra lobster while my friend at her partner's extra lobster too if I remember correctly. It was one of the best meals we had on the ship except for the Moderno nights and perhaps Cagneys. Some of the cruise critic roll call had decided on "Howl At The Moon" for our first night to hang out together and we had a blast. For some reason I was chosen to go up on stage twice, both times causing a lot of laughs and some embarrassment. The pianists thought my friend was my wife which further caused us all to crack up, since a good portion of us were cruise critic roll callers and we all knew she wasn't. I managed to trip on my way back from the second visit to the stage while trying to moonwalk and that was perhaps one of the funniest moments of the night. I knew just about every song they played and my voice isn't right this week, probably from singing so much on the ship. It was one of the best nights we had on the ship, plenty of drink flowing, many old and new friends surrounding us and good times for all. I was ahead in the casino for the only time I would be this trip, so it was really a nice, fun night. The next day was a sea day. I don't remember what we ordered or ate for breakfast, but there's certainly nothing to complain about. Room Service breakfasts are cereal, fruit, bready things like croissants and danish, coffee and tea. O'Sheehans has a good wholesome delicious typical egg meal breakfast selection with wonderful corned beef hash and good service, better service than we received last year in there. Buffet breakfasts we didn't have this year but I know from last year that the choices are good including plenty of bacon and an omelette station. I don't know if they had lox this year but last year all the typical lox / bagel choices were offered except maybe caviar. Lunch usually wasn't a huge issue for us. We tended to stick to O'Sheehans, the Noodle Bar or Sushi with occasional trips to the buffet for a snack or a dessert. Dinners were generally very good but we didn't have any in the buffet. On the first night we had Cagneys and that was nice. We have a lot of steak at home so it was good but not as good as Moderno for us. I had a 3 shrimp coctail and could swear I saw a bunch of 4 shrimp coctails up where they pick them up from. Perhaps one of mine fell and they didn't notice. I didn't complain about it because I fill easily anyway, and the shirmp were of a nice size. I also had the bisque and found it to be a bit more like tomato soup with a bit of lobster stock than a restaurant quality bisque. I've ordered it several times at several places and this was basically a tomato soup base with a little lobster flavor and no chunks of lobster. The steaks were very good as was the rest of the meal. Desserts were usually taken to the room to eat later on the balcony, and were always delicious for us. Moderno is the Brazilian steakhouse and in our opinion the best restaurant on the ship hands down. We booked it twice, each time very happy, full and more than satisfied with the exceptional service. Each time we left a tip of $10 and had very informative, fun and interesting conversations with the hostess, waiter and I think the maitre'd. Tbey have a most delicious salad bar with seafood ceviche, shrimp, the most wonderful cheese and so many different choices that it's easy to fill up just on salad fixings. Don't do it. Save some room for the meats, the signature meat and all the others which will come around to you during service so long as your card remains green. When you've finally had your fill, flip your card over and the waitress will offer desserts and very gladly accomodate any who want to take it back to their room. I did kind of think the hostess had an air about her of superiority until we spoke with her and realized it's just how she behaves for her job. She was a very nice lady who was more than polite with us. The night of the captains coctail party we had only an hour to eat and they got every meat to our table very quickly to help us make that party, which we'd only found out about upon our arrival to the stateroom. I would eat there tonight if it were near my house, it's so good. And going back again is perhaps the best compliment we can pay. With the exceptions of the specialty restaurants the overall quality of the types of food seemed to diminish since last year's spring break cruise. It didn't affect us as much as some other cruisers but we did hear multiple reports attesting to this from multiple groups of people we spoke to throughout the week. I hope this improves again as we like NCL and want to continue cruising with them. I don't drink like my partner can and really look forward to the food. So I'd like to visit the buffet more next cruise and see it improved a bit. The noodle bar and the sushi bar are both a la carte dining establishments which have great food at a reasonable up charge and while there was a wait the night we were going to legends, on several other times/days we were able to individually or together get in with no wait for sushi and never had more than a 4-5 minute wait at noodle bar, that wait being the same night the sushi place was filled up with a wait list. Legends was a great show and the highlight ((((spoiler alert)))) was a Michael Jackson impersonator. He was the best part of the show by far and there was such a line waiting to get a picture with him after the show that even though I really wanted one I didn't bother to wait. The show lasts about an hour and they will not let you in after it starts. I saw a cruiser out there arguing with a crew member after being denied entry because my weak bladder made me run out for the rest rooms. Speaking of which, the rest rooms are usually very clean and there's a handicapped stall in every single bathroom that has public access on the ship. There are select handicapped accessible staterooms as well, and if you need one I suggest you look into that as the regular ones will be a real challenge for those who use things such as a wheelchair to get around. I use a cane and the regular rooms are fine for those who have some mobility. the clubs on the ship are one of the biggest entertainment methods, and there is enough variety and different ambience to keep most people happy. I meant to get to the jazz club but didn't make it there. Bliss is the most reminiscent of a true club experience with a bar, dance floor and dj every night I think. During the day other things are held there such as the trivia and other entertainment. There are also several bowling lanes there as well as others in O'Sheehans. So if you like bowling you'll find an empty lane almost any time you seek one. But for me and my back bowling is out. Dancing isn't even though I shouldn't be doing it. A few drinks and a little help from my cane and I'm happy to move to the music a bit. I can't dance as well as most, but I can damn well have just as much fun. And I did. The dj at Bliss is very good, and makes the music and lighting along with the people and the dancing come together to make it the happening place on most nights. It's the after party spot on big Spice2o nights too. Spic2O on the other hand, is the on deck, take in the outside air, giant screen tv, mass party which you see in the ads and want to be at for at least a couple of nights. There's of course a bar, servers who come around and a giant tv screen along with a huge dance floor, plenty of table/chair setups and everyone who shows up is looking for a drink, a dance or just a good time. You'll find it hard to not enjoy yourself here. I saw people ranging in age from underaged kids trying to enjoy the adults only party to seniors and every age group in between. Everyone has a great time and the mood is a fun, party atmosphere. For us the 80s night was a lot of fun but the White Party, NCL's signature big deal party on the ship was the best. There are good looking men and women wearing angel wings, almost everyone wears white and there's plenty of people who are happy to embrace you while you attempt to dance. Some choose to be more mellow, sitting down at the tables with a small group and trying to chat over the music. There's a nice Friends of Dorothy meeting scheduled in the early evening, usually at Shakers, which is based on whom is traveling for how good it is. Last cruise we had over a dozen people who always hung out together when we'd find each other at a party, show, etc, but this cruise there were only a few. We did hang out a bit with a few other "friends" but on the White Party night we missed the larger FOD group from the year before. However, I didn't notice anyone from cruisers to crew who treated us any differently because of our orientation. cruisers tend to not be bigoted or against anyone based on things like race or orientation so it really hasn't ever presented as a problem on any of our 3 NCL cruises. Shakers is the upscale bar where my partner enjoyed spending his evenings while I was downstairs chasing my losses in the casino. Once again the bartenders are exceptional and remembered my name from the first time I visited. We met a wonderful couple and their son who were from virginia and invited us to visit them at one of their homes. Jose talked with them more than I did but I liked them as much as he did and they were very friendly, nice people. Speaking of people, we spent a good deal of time with a few different groups from the Cruise Critic Roll Call. I had brought some cigars with me and passed a few out at the meet and greet, which I'll talk about next. I intended on meeting up with some of the people I gave a cigar to but we only ran into them a few times throughout the week while headed off to something else. We did share a couple of meals and 2 full day excursions with our old friends. Along with them another couple from the roll call had booked the same excursions and we found them to be quite enjoyable company as well. We shared some meals and went to legends with them as well. One of the cruise critic people ran into us in Nassau and while we were looking at stuff in a store started handing Jose things off the shelf as if he worked there. It was one of the funnier moments I recall from the trip. There was another group, a woman, he son and mom with whom we spent some time as well and they were also a lot of fun. Many of the people I ran into in the casino were also at other events and even though I lost my money there, the casino provided a lot of entertainment and even a comped dinner for us including a bottle of wine after I lost enough money to earn it. The staff in the casino were tipped on every free drink we ordered, and the dealers tipped a good amount too. The pit bosses or hosts were all very friendly as were the dealers and the servers. Gusti and Joseph were my best servers, both being very attentive to me. All of the dealers were helpful, kind and courteous. When I found out that two dealers, Charita and Jason were engaged but call themselves married I made a mental note to mention them here. Verna was one of the more entertaining dealers as well with a funny response to every line I could come up with. I liked them all and they made it a little less painless when I gave them my money. When we stopped in St. Maarten we did, for the second year in a row, The Souliga Destinations Captain Bob snorkeling and lunch excursion. It's an all day excursion which we did last year as well. This year the water was choppy causing Captain Bob to cancel the small boat and tell us that if we felt it was too rough he'd bring us right back. I have no doubt had we opted to return we'd have received refunds. Because the water was so choppy we missed out on the stop where the turtles and sea rays congregate, but we had a delicious lunch on an island with a beach, time on the beach, snorkeling, and a trip to visit the little airport you can find on youtube where people get blown away by the jet engines. Even though the excursion wasn't as much stuff as the year before it was still a lot of fun and a much larger experience than the pricier St John champagne and snorkeling excursion we did the next day in St. Thomas. We will definitely book Captain Bob again. He takes us around the island through the water and told us the history, who was in some of the homes and yachts, what was french and what was dutch as well as keeping an eye on us and making sure we had a great time. He turned the boat into a 6 flags ride on the choppy water, making up for the stop we didn't make with a fun boat/flight around the island. We were too tired to do any more than stop and have a guavaberry rum drink on the way back at a little shack near the dock. In St. Thomas we did the other excursion, which lasted a shorter time, was through the NCL site and was still a lot of fun, just not as much stuff as Captain Bob gave us and for a bit more money. We were herded onto those open air buses and onto one of 2 or 3 pontoon boats where one may stay under shade or out in the sun. I was super fortunate. I'm friendly and offered some ginger candies to a family with a seasick prone child that forgot their seasickness medication on the ship. So when we got on the pontoon, they saved me space in the shade while my friends were out on the deck getting sun. So I had a shade and a sun spot to sit which was nice. They served rum punch, soft drinks, cheese and bread on the boat, brought us to a nice little beach on St. John where we could snorkel or swim to the beach. We had about an hour or so to snorkel, take in the sun on the beach or stay on the boat. We had our old friends and one of our new couple friends on both excursions, so we were super lucky to have had such a nice group with us. We all hung out together on both excursions, each of which was a bit of a bonding experience and the new friends will now be old friends soon whom we will hope to see again on one of our next cruises. The older friends we've hung out with on a previous cruise and also at another get together for a food festival at Epcot so we were very happy to again spend time with them. The crew on the St. John excursion was helpful, funny, and courteous. Both excursions seek a tip at the end. We tipped more to Captain Bob, but tipped at both excursions. Tipping isn't mandatory, but these people go out of their way to look out for your safety and to ensure you have a good time. They support themselves and their families on those tips, so I felt it was the least we could do. Garen on the St John excursion was a great crew member who made sure we were all safe and insisted that I give my athsma pump to the captain in case I had an attack while snorkeling. You're supposed to tell them and if you don't and have an issue, there's nobody who will know except those you're with. I got lost in both snorkeling trips watching the fish and even saw a ray both times, so lost in my own world that I didn't really hang with anyone while in the water. I have videos which i'll probably link to on the roll call for this sailing once I get them sorted out. The NCL Epic is beginning to show her age. One can smell the spilled drinks throughout the ship and that wasn't evident last year. The service is still great but the food has diminished in quality at most of the free dining places. We had a great steward and a wonderful experience with all of the crew we interacted with, but she is beginning to show her age a bit in the rooms, in the public areas and indeed all over the ship. It's still a lot of fun but I'm glad there's a couple of new NCL ships out this year and we've already booked the getaway. I think our oldest cruising friends (in meeting time not age) are also cruising with us on the getaway so we will be happy to see them again on the getaway. I'd still sail the Epic again, but probably on a shorter cruise, maybe a 3 or 4 day. All in all we were treated very well everywhere we went. Only one jewelry store in Nassau had an employee who was rude to us after we were indecisive and said we'd think about it and be back later. We were going to go back but he shot daggers at us when we didn't buy from him immediately and that turned us off so we decided since the prices were higher than we could pay in the US we would just skip it. The souvenir shops all had kind courteous people. We bought a coconut from a guy selling them out of his trunk and who gave us rum to put in them. A drunk guy behind us decided to lay on the street drunk, so we moved on quickly after getting our coconuts and rum. We bought our souvenirs in Nassau but the alcohol was more expensive than on the ship and the patron was more money than we pay near our home so we only took home the comp bottle of wine we received on the last night of sailing as part of our silver latitudes benefits. The people made this trip for us. We can do most of these things in South Florida where we live. We cruise to have fun and to meet people. We were not disappointed and were lucky to have made so many new friend and spend a good deal oftime with some of them. Our old friends were wonderful to see again and we'd have liked to do more with them but we tended to stay up later than they did which affected things. Still we had a couple of meals, a couple of excursions and some entertainment with them so we did spend a good deal of time hanging out with them as well. We can't do everything with everyone and wound up spending much of our time with a few sets of people whom we shared interests with. Some old friends, some new friends, many friends from cruise critic, some wonderful staff/crew/ship members all who treated us like royalty. That's what makes me come back time after time to cruising. There's nothing that can make up for meeting people, hearing their stories, telling them yours and just sharing some really good times together worried about nothing consequential. Yes the views and the stops are great too, but without the people we met, will meet and are fortunate enough to share experiences with, we'd not have had such a good time. So here's to everyone with whom we shared an experience with on the trip, we won't forget you. Some of you we will see again, others we will hope to see again and those whom we don't we will always remember for the fun we shared together. Because indeed the best part of any cruise is the company you are priveleged to keep. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I am 678 years old and use a manual wheelchair for mobility. We took a familly cruise with 4 cabins in 3/13 on the Epic. My wife and I had a handicapped room with balcony that was very rromy with a very large balcony. The balcony had a ... Read More
I am 678 years old and use a manual wheelchair for mobility. We took a familly cruise with 4 cabins in 3/13 on the Epic. My wife and I had a handicapped room with balcony that was very rromy with a very large balcony. The balcony had a bulkhead toward the front of the ship, but it did substantially obstruct our view. The balcony accomodated my wheelchair as well as the chair, 2 chairs, and a ssmall table and was easily accessible from the room. The shower and lavatory facility was easily accessible. Although the toilet seat was small with no split seat, it was very usable. The room has lots of storage capabilities anf a double rod closet that allowed the top rod to be pulled down for wheelchair access. Note the corridors by the rooms are pretty narrow when in a wheelchair, our room was very close to the aft elevator. Many floor coverings on the ship are carpeted, so rolling a wheelchair is a little strenuous when alone. Note that although the ship has a fore and aft elevator, not all floors are served by the aft elevator. We found that rolling from the aft elevator to the entertainment venues in the front of the ship a real long push over the carpet and thru the smokey and sometimes crowded casino, but discovered it easier to use the outdoor running or shuffleboard surfaces for quickly and easily rolling from one end of the ship to the other, although you may have utilize both elevators. The crew was extremely helpful to me throughout. They would carry my try and help select items at the buffet, accomodated my seating needs in resturants and shows, and ssjust showed exceptional courtesy. There are many haandicapped accessible restrooms throughout the ship. Shore excursions were limited, but was fully mobil the day I stayed alone on the ship while the rest of our party we ashore. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The funny thing is I wanted to rush home to write a review and post photos but as with most things I think it's better to wait a moment and try not to make knee jerk reactions. So after being home a week from my cruise I think I can ... Read More
The funny thing is I wanted to rush home to write a review and post photos but as with most things I think it's better to wait a moment and try not to make knee jerk reactions. So after being home a week from my cruise I think I can give my review. This was my first NCL sailing; let's begin with the ship. The Epic is a huge ship and from the outside it looks somewhat funny with the big black tinted windows at the top. Check in for the cruise went extremely quick, I think it took longer to board the plane to Miami than it did to get on the Epic. The staff here was friendly and seemed happy that we (and not them) were headed on our vacation. There were 12 family members in our party and we stayed on various decks, with my cabin being a studio suite on Deck 12. Great idea...sort of. A room for a single traveler is an awesome idea. The rest were on Deck 9 towards the front of the ship. My studio was nice, clean and modern just like the photos. Two things I didn't really dig were the lights and the TV info system (which didn't work until day 3). In order to keep the lights on in your stateroom, you have to leave your room key in the slot next to the door. (Which I wouldn't have known without my roll call family.) The lights switches are in various places around the room, some easy to spot, some... not so much and if you can't find the switch for the light over the sink it will just stay on until you find it again. For me it was two days n to the trip. Having to keep the key in the slot is kinda silly because I locked myself out a couple of times and that wouldn't have happen had the key been in my pocket. Not to mention, the door to the studios is locked and your need your key access the area. Then once inside you have to find the Steward to open your cabin. Which is another thing that drove me nuts, my Steward situation. It seemed like there were two stewards for the entire studio cabin area. I never got the names of my Stewards mainly because I saw them very sparingly. This was my 15th or so cruise and on every other trip my Steward for the week went out of the way to find me and make sure I had everything I needed. I had to find my Steward or call housekeeping way too much to get my room turned down or to get clean towels. Also, my Stew seemed not to know what trash to toss out and what to keep. I found out on the 2nd to last day where the trash can was, several times he left empty soda cans about my cabin, which I would have put in the trash had I known where to put trash. BTW way it looks like a file cabinet near the shower. Also it took them a while to remove the plates and trash from the hallway after people were done with room service. Not a big deal the hall is really narrow, so it's an issue...if two people are walking down the hall, with the cleaning cart in the way, plus the trash, so it can get tight. I have a theory why the Stews on the Epic were seem less engaging and it's the same reason the waiters in the dinning room were less attentive. Which brings me to the food and dinning experience on the Epic. One of the things I looked forward to were the alt dinning options. I love the fact that there were so many options and I tried them all. I ate in the Manhattan main dinning room the first night because it was steak and lobster night, another fact that my roll call peeps put me on to. My family and I would have missed it had I not known and had we missed it there would have been 12 upset people as this is one of our favorite nights. The wait staff was nice and did their best to accommodate the entire dinning area. The first thing I noticed was there was only one waiter for several large tables, including the 11 people with me. On other cruise lines with formal dinning, there's like 6 people waiting on you, the Maitre d', Waiter, the Asst., the Drink/Sommelier, his Asst. ...there just seems like a lot of people and because you sit with them every night you get to know these people, which in a funny way make's the trip more enjoyable. Freestyle seemed more like free-for-all. It's not a knock on the staff, but more that they don't have enough help to get the job done. My mother insisted that we all eat in the Manhattan room for Thanksgiving, which I thought was somewhat crazy because Americans like Thanksgiving and turkey, which was evident by the amount of people that showed up that night. THE STAFF IN THE MAIN DINNING ROOM WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS and neither was NCL because they were handing out free drink tickets to people in line because the wait was so long. If nothing else, people were going to show up to get turkey. The funny thing is the food was not that good (turkey was suspect to say the least) and took so long that some of us left early because one of the shows was about to start. I was on RCCL last year for Christmas, and let me tell you, Turkey and Christmas dinner was the best of the entire week. My thought behind this is, NCL wants you to eat in the specialty restaurants and not the main dinning room, because they get the extra $15 when you eat in a specialty restaurant. And thankfully so the food is better. We ate in Moderno Churrascaria, Shanghai's Noodle Bar (2x), Teppanyaki, each place had great service and lots of food for the price, and you couldn't get the amount of food they serve on land without a bank loan. Tips are included the second you step on the Epic and with that the Staff knows they're getting paid so they can slack a little. On other lines, the Staff knows they gotta work hard, be friendly and just plain old be around or they might not get paid. Which is why I didn't see my Stews as often and the main dinning room was overwhelmed I guess. Oh and why I didn't tip extra like I normally would. It's difficult to stiff someone knowing they bent over backwards to make sure my trip was awesome. So far it sounds like a bad experience, but that's not the case. There's so much to do on the ship and let's be honest that's the big draw in the first place. With 12 of us, we covered the ship and did all the Epic had to offer. I got to get my drink on ( the ice bar is awesome), swim, ride the slides... multiple times (yes, the lines are long but that depends on when you ride them.), catch the Blue Man Group, play pool side games, hang out the adult only Spice H2O, run with the CC roll call friends. My Grandparents, an Aunt and Mother got to gamble, eat, and have drinks. My two female cousins and other Aunt used the GYM, Spa, eat and drank. My pops and my cousin Jeff did what ever it is they do, which I assume is fun because they did it a lot. We all got to dance, listen to the band while enjoying the sun. We seemed to meet a lot of people this trip and I think that's because of this freestyle nature of the cruise.... we did some partying and dancing like no other. Oddly enough we spent a lot of time on the outside deck while at sea and so did everyone else. However this didn't seem to bother most people. If you wanted the slow quiet deck, you could hang in front of the ship on the sweet deck cushion chair/ mattress things. I feel asleep up there a few times. There were a lot of kids but that's to be expected during the holidays, if that bothers you then you should go at a different time. The last thing I will say is this and it's HUGE if you're traveling with a child/teen that has special needs like we do. My 15-year-old cousin Liz is blind and needs a wheel chair at times. However, this should not impede her ability to hang with the other teens, it never has before and this is her 4th cruise. For the first 3 days, she was unable to hang with the other kids because NCL didn't have anyone that could stay with her at all times. Which is somewhat understandable, but we offered to have a one of our family members take turns watching while she hung out with the other kids. NCL said that under no circumstances are there to be adults in that area other than NCL Staff. NCL was aware that she'd be on board and said they make special arrangements to make sure she could hang with the others. They didn't, it was a huge issue, and it went all the way to the headquarters before they found a dedicated person to watch over her while she hung with the other kids. Now some of you might say that's not NCL's problem, but it is, since they said it wouldn't be an issue prior to boarding. When we went on RCCL last year, they didn't have a dedicated person when Liz showed up but the teen cruise director took it upon herself to watch over Liz the entire week/ and found more staff to help. All so Liz could have unforgettable cruise as well. Nobody asked the RCCL Director and her staff to do so; they just did it. No extra tip, no extra paper work, no nothing. They treated Liz like any other teen on the trip, which let the rest of us have time to relax and do other things too...making everyone's trip that much more enjoyable. NCL made us jump through hoops. For me the people passengers and crew alike on the ship that adds to the experience. Most of the crew was good. Passengers were awesome In my opinion it's the small details that NCL failed at that prevented this cruise from being the best trip we've takken. That said, I need to try NCL again before crossing it off the list a 100%. I'd give it a respectable B, because bigger is not always better. Check out some photos.... http://www.flickr.com/photos/baisden3/sets/72157632156694734/ Ben Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Friday, April 6, South Beach: DH had to work. We live in Port Saint Lucie, and were looking for something that would save us from the drive, so our only concern was that. We wound up at Haddon Hall Hotel. Great location, kitchenette ... Read More
Friday, April 6, South Beach: DH had to work. We live in Port Saint Lucie, and were looking for something that would save us from the drive, so our only concern was that. We wound up at Haddon Hall Hotel. Great location, kitchenette included, rooms need updating. The rest of the hotel is great, and it has a pool. We arrived late, had a snack and went to sleep. Saturday, April 7, embarkation day!: We drove to Port of Miami, dropped our bags at Terminal C, drove to parking garage C and walked back. I am disabled with a bad back and migraines, but I can walk so I declined NCL's offer of a wheelchair. We went through the Casinos At Sea line, got our room cards and gave our info then the nice lady sent us upstairs where there were sandwiches and drinks waiting. Within a few minutes we had been called to board with our group number. We went on board and proceeded to Taste, where we had a nice lunch, then to our room after we heard the announcement that we could go there. Unpacked, got spa passes from the spa and checked out the ship before getting ready for Cirque Dreams and dinner, premium seating, which was excellent. Nice dinner, nice company, excellent entertainment. Loved it. Back upstairs to take it easy for a bit, then I went to the casino while DH went off to have a drink or two, then to bed. Sunday, April 8: We had breakfast at the Garden Cafe buffet on 15. Afterward we had a meet and greet set up. I was booked to do a short comedy set that I'd been asked to do at the meet n greet. Mingled, had coffee, met some great people and did my act, then the motion of the boat overtook us, so we spent the day resting. Missed dinner but felt up to Blue Man Group, and went back out at 10pm for that show. We had good seats for that (sit where you like), and enjoyed the show thoroughly. Stopped for Noodle Bar, had some type of ramen-ish food that I wasn't up to eating with my motion sickness. DH had a soupy dish he enjoyed and some spring rolls. Then off to bed. Monday, April 9: Breakfast on 15, I recommend the omelet station, hash browns and bacon along w/ fresh fruit. They also have lox which impressed me because it's always expensive and they have a lot of it here at the buffet. Ran into our friends from CC on the Sundeck, and should've hung w/ them, but instead stuck to our plan of going to the spa. Later we regretted it because we didn't get any time in at the water slides except one or two quick slides in the afternoon, but it is what it is. The spa was relaxing and quiet. No kids allowed. Teppanyaki: read Benihana at 5:45pm. Entertaining chef, nice people at our table. We enjoyed the evening. Friends of Dorothy meeting where we got to meet the others with similar orientation as us and had a drink, then relaxed back in our room and freshened up for Second City. We got there on time but all the good seats were taken, leaving us stuck behind a post and some woman's head near the back where we had an obstructed view. Maybe I was drinking slowly, but the show was over before my drink was finished. The show was pretty good though, an improve type experience with audience participation. Hit the casino for a bit then to bed. Tuesday, 4/10 St. Maarten: We had probably our best full day of the week this day. Got up early, had breakfast on 15 and went out to the main road after getting off the ship and over to Great Bay Marina, a little ways down the road on the left, where we were to meet Captain Bob from Trip Advisor Soualiga destinations where he has a docked boat (3 actually) next to a restaurant/bar that serves very reasonably priced drinks and food. Should've waited for breakfast here because from what I saw it was delicious. Spoke with a family, the hubby looked suspiciously like Matt Damon with a small child and they told us about their trip, and then our CC friends met up with us. We hit it off with our CC friends from the get go. I don't know if it's because they reminded us of some other friends we had, or if we just have complimentary personalities, but we got along very well, and ended up doing a bunch of things together that week. We got along so well that when they asked who was coming on their next cruise in a year, we booked the same one. Same ship, same room, same itinerary, everything. We're going back to finish what we've started and do some of the things we didn't get to do this time around. Checked in w/ Capt'n Bob, who was very friendly and nice, and enjoyed the weather and the restaurant until we headed out on the excursion. And what an excursion it was! Snorkeling, coral reefs, multi colored fish, sting rays, eagle rays, giant turtles, a ton of little fishes swimming all over us, lunch on Pinel Island with some very nice people eating chicken or ribs and homemade food that was delicious and unlike the meat we get here in the states. This was an experience not to be missed. The way we hear it from others, some of these excursions put you on a boat w/ 60 people, feed you rum punch and stick you in one spot which, while beautiful, does not come close to the experience we had on this day. We traveled all over the island, Dutch and French sides, plus Pinel Island, got to enjoy many different views and snorkel and swim in a bunch of different spots. After lunch on Pinel Island we got to feed our leftovers to iguanas who live behind the restaurant/bar and souvenir shop or swim or suntan on the beach for a bit before returning to the boat. One of our last stops for the day was the St. Maarten airport where we watched a few planes land. Then home to the ship. We went back w/ our new friends, whom we knew we were getting on good with, and made plans to go to St. John with the next day. Once back, we stopped at Taste for a snack, then showered and hit the casino before Cagneys. Taste was still in my belly, so I didn't have much appetite for Cagneys, but I'd already postponed them once, so we went. I had a delicious lobster bisque and a 5 oz filet, DH had a salad of some sort and a nice 10 oz (I think) steak. Crème Brulee for dessert, then back to the casino for me, to Shakers for DH. We also had stopped at Shakers earlier for FOD meeting, and had the chance to hang out with some of our gay and lesbian friends at Shakers for a while. We took an early nap in between hanging out with the FOD people and our last booked entertainment of the night, our 11:30 pm Ice Bar reservation. We arrived at the Ice Bar, put on gloves and parkas, and were given 2 drink tickets each. We were escorted inside, camera in hand, to one of the friendliest bartenders ever. Despite the fact that we came in while he was watching his baseball game on the tv, he was cheerful, offered to take our camera so we could get some pics together, and talked with us for quite awhile. We tipped him pretty well I think, and were offered samples of some of the harder stuff as the last customers of the night. After a larger sample than I really needed, we had to get out of there of risk potential frostbite (at least that's how I felt). The orange drink is the one people seem to like, and we liked it too. I've heard the other one sucks. From more than one person. I can say that the orange drink is delish, comes in a little ice glass, and although we didn't do it, some people take the ice glass with them when they leave. Wednesday 4/11: We were supposed to meet up w/ our friends at the 15th floor garden cafe buffet, but couldn't find them. We figured they overslept, and after about 40 mins, decided to get our stuff and go outside the ship. We waited outside but didn't see them there either, so since we didn't have a plan for the day, our previous plan being to go to St. John w/ the others, we decided to change it up and hired an air conditioned cab to take us around St. Thomas, giving us an historical account, stopping to let us take pictures, etc. Took a couple of hours for $100 then dropped us off in the shopping district where we shopped and had lunch (thank you Glenda). We then headed back to the ship, since we were tired and sunburnt. Went to the spa, ran into one of the FOD people who took pity on DH's sunburn and gave him some special ointment for his face. Got back to our room to messages from our friends. We arrived back sometime about noonish, had gone to the spa and returned to find a couple of messages from our friends about having missed each other this morning. We called them back, made arrangements to meet up for drinks and appetizers at O'Sheehans and stopped by their room to pick them up. We had a nice time catching up, and everyone agreed it was nobodies fault that we'd missed each other in the crowd of people that morning. We're on vacation, why get worried about such things? We had to go about 3 hours after that for dinner at Moderno. We were having a blast w/ our friends and made plans to meet at their room the next morning to do Nassau. Once again, my headaches decided to kick in and despite my waiting all week for Moderno, my head wouldn't cooperate. The salad bar itself was worth the price of admission. Chunks of exquisite cheeses, delicious breads and delightful veggies lined the salad bar, tempting one to fill up in advance of the delicacies to come from the servers who abound with seasoned meats on skewers awaiting your approval before depositing them onto your plate. I forced myself to sit, migraine and all, through about 6 courses of various meats before we had to go. I wasn't feeling well that night, so I spent the night resting and dealing w/ my migraine while DH hung out with the FOD crowd and had some drinks. Later in the night I may have stopped at the casino, but not for very long. I probably grabbed some buffet food to hold me over when I was able to and just tried to get through the migraine episode. Thursday 4/12 At Sea: We had breakfast at the buffet on 15, then the spa and casino for a bit, then we had plans to meet our friends for the murder mystery at the Spiegel Tent at 12:30 for Lunch and Entertainment. We ran into them in line, had no trouble getting seated together, we all sat upstairs this time, and it was a tight fit as all seating seems to be in Spiegel, but the food was good and the Entertainment was, well, entertaining. The same players who do the Second City show also do the Murder Mystery. They're quite good and use a lot of audience participation, which gave the Murder Mystery a feel of being an extension of the Second City show. Similar references in both shows such as references to the same Pop Culture Artists furthered that cause, and added to the comic relief. It was the night of the White Party, which we had been looking forward to, and I wasn't going to miss this no matter how bad my headache was. Thankfully, I had my imitrex injections with me so I took an injection, slept for a couple of hours and met DH at Spic H20 at midnight. He was with the FOD crowd, most of them anyway, and we looked around for some of our other friends, but didn't spot them. After an hour or so of enjoying the party, we noticed that the average age seemed to drop to about 14, so we took our little group and headed over to Bliss Ultra Lounge, where there was a DJ and some of the people from the St. Maarten excursion. We had a most memorable night. DJ Fly kept us in good music, our waitress kept us in drinks and our friends kept us in digital pictures. Some time about 3:30am we stumbled back to our room, tired, a little bit drunk, but happy. Friday 4/13: Nassau, Bahamas: Despite going to bed so late, we got up when we were supposed to, met our friends at their aft cabin for breakfast at O'Sheehans and had a nice country breakfast there, then headed off to Nassau, where we did some shopping for souvenirs, some bought licquor, then off to Senor Frogs. On the way there a woman ran up to me and put a necklace around me that was a "gift" from the people of the Bahamas, and handed me another, then demanded a donation. Her sheer audacity was amusing, and we gave her the money, but on the ship heard from many people that they'd been taken in by the same story. Apparently a $5 necklace is $4 too much. I'm pretty certain these people selling them paid less than $1 each. But it didn't hurt anything to help someone out who needed that money more than me, and I got something for my money, so I went for it. In fact everyone I spoke to that purchased one seemed happy enough with the quality of their necklace. One of the highlights of the day was the conch salad at Senor Frogs made fresh from a live conch right in front of me. They send a guy over with a mobile cart to make it. He uses a claw hammer to open a small hole in a conch, take out the meat and chop it into a salad w/ fresh vegetables, citrus etc. That's not the best part though. The best part is that if you ask, they will clean the conch, it involves putting another small hole in it to get the last bit of conch meat out and you can take it back as a souvenir. We ordered 2 so we could take the shells back. After a few drinks, lunch and some music, we were all exhausted from the day before and decided to get back to the ship. Took some pictures on the way and headed back to the ship. Embarkation, like all of the times we left or reentered the ship, was a simple affair. No fruits or veggies were allowed back and forth, even a banana I wanted to bring out for a snack one day had to be thrown away, all bags and metal things through the x ray machine, step through the metal detector and stick your room card in the slot. I think they take your alcohol from you if you purchase any on an island and deliver it to your room on the last day in Nassau, at night some time. After we got back to the ship, we had some time in the spa, which is always relaxing, and met up w/ the FOD group before heading to Le Bistro for dinner. I can't remember DH's appetizer, but I had escargot, he had a cipriani type dish, a type of seafood stew, French style, and I had swordfish. Once again, my migraine was taking over, so I took the coconut souffle to go. We were starting to get that feeling that the trip was beginning to wind down. We had felt for a couple of days that we were on the return leg and there was a feeling in the air of "we won't be here that much longer". One of the stewards we were friendly with said that he makes a new group of friends every week, then they go away and he makes new ones the next week. It kind of felt that way. Like we knew that many of these people we'd probably not see again, so it was more important to be extra nice and make the moments we all spent on this ship together extra fun for everyone. We spent some time with our group that was meeting nightly at Shakers, the Friends of Dorothy, and by this time we had a bunch of people within the group of whom we were more likely to gravitate to than others, but the entire group for the most part was pretty cool. It was the 'end of sail" or whatever it's called party at Spice H2O but the turnout was dismal. Not even many of the die hard FOD people were there. We went because our friends, another couple from FOD were there and we thought our other friends might show up as well. I left after an hour and went to take a nap, then off to the casino again. I made it a point of visiting the casino, where the waitresses would bring drinks over frequently, especially when they knew a customer is a tipper, I could build up credit for another cruise through Casinos At Sea, and maybe win a jackpot. I had good and bad days throughout the week, but luckily, on this trip, I did pretty well on the first and last days, which left me in a good position of having put a lot of play on the machines with nothing out of pocket. Also the bar in the casino became my 'go to' place for filling water bottles, getting 2 sodas at a time, things like that. I'd try to stick to the same bartender each shift, and my tried and true method of tipping a few bucks for a free drink and getting them 2 at a time meant I never had to wait, even when the bar got busy. I noticed that the main bar when you embark was a popular spot for people as their 'go to' place, and so were the pool side ones. So I guess it depends on where you spend a lot of your time and where your cabin is. Since we had a mid-ship and I was always heading off to the casino for a few minutes of slot machine play, that was the place that made sense for me. I hit in the casino on this last night of play, so I was quite happy. Earlier in the night we'd packed everything up we needed to, I'd visited the duty free and picked up our licquor as well as the duty free souvenir store for an extra beach bag, where the salespeople, some of whom I'd been drinking with the night before, had taken on an English accent that, not unlike a bug, only afflicted them when they were working in the shops. I'm certain they're under orders to affect that accent when at work in the store. DH had spent some time at the good bye party at Spice H2O then later on this, our last night together, hung out with me at the casino in the wee hours. I'd done well and wanted to play a bit more since I was ahead. Finally, after an hour or so of small hits, We decided we needed some sleep for the drive home tomorrow Saturday 4/14 We breakfasted through room service delivery for the first time all week. Order more than you think you'll want. A Danish is 2 bites to NCL. I found that even the plates of fruit were small after spending a week piling it on at the buffet breakfasts. We freshened up, took some pictures, and got ready to disembark. Disembarkation: When they called for those of us who wanted to drag our own crap off the ship, I think it was called 'easy off' or something clever, we went down to the floor they told us to with passports and filled out customs forms in hand and got into the wrong place in line, got yelled at by some woman who didn't see that it was an honest mistake and got pointed to the end of the line. On our customs forms we put the licquor by price, the souvenirs lumped together by price and the 2 conch shells, since someone, another cruiser, had said they might not let them into the states because "they're shellfish". I didn't want to argue, but the shellfish part was long gone and they were just shells, but erring on the side of caution, I wrote '2 conch shells" and valued them at what we'd paid for the 2 conch salads plus tip. Once the line moved, it was the slowest all week, lasted a good 30-40mins, we got to the customs agent, who waved us through after looking at our papers and giving our luggage a cursory glance. I've been told that they randomly check people unless they get their hackles up over something, so anything you have a question about on board, just ask people and anywhere there's a question put it on the customs form. It worked for us. I was nervous about the shells but figured as long as I declared them, if the person who said I couldn't take them was right, the agent would see them right away and tell me. We rolled our luggage to terminal c parking and got my handicapped parking validated at the office on the way out, which saved the fee for week long parking. We also took the car to the car wash later that day since the salt water may mess with the finish, especially on a newer car. Mid Ship Balcony Stateroom12177: Being our first cruise, we were concerned about seasickness. I'm disabled with 8 bad discs, migraines, athsma and a bunch of long winded medical terms related to my back issues that are hard to pronounce. I turned down the handicapped room that was offered us in favor of a mid ship balcony, which was upgraded from a comped inside or oceanview (I forget which) through Casinos At Sea. The room is listed on NCL at 216 ft I think, the balcony has a great view, although there are lifeboats below us, and the motion of the ship was much less pronounced than the forward or aft areas. There are rooms above us, so no worries about bowling balls or dancing or kids clubs right above us. Electrical outlets are quite limited, but for a week where you're living without most of your gadgets, you should be ok. We used a 3outlet/2 USB adapter that plugged into 1 outlet, had a 2nd outlet available and a 3rd under the medicine cabinet. For 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, a Kindle Fire3 and a walkie talkie set charger it worked out well. We didn't use the bar setup at all, took the licquor home with us. We have CAS drink cards and didn't want to run back to our rooms to refill drinks purchased in the bars, we felt that was in poor taste. If we wanted a nightcap, we'd just get it from the casino bar, order 2 and take them back to the room w/ us. I gambled almost every day so they all knew me there and it wasn't an issue. The balcony is a wonderful place where you can eat, drink, smoke, kiss, hug, watch the waves and reflect on the fact that you've spent thousands of dollars to float around in a boat in the middle of the water staring into the ocean. Lol. I only wish they gave us loungers. You get 2 chairs and a small table, enough for a plate, or 2 glasses. There's a couch in the room, curved, and more storage than even a troop of broadway performers would need for a month's stay. A safe which you can set your own code to, and the flat screen tv. Looks like maybe a 26 incher or so. You can get messages on it, emails, check the account, play casino games, get a view from the bridge, purchase pay per view movies and that sort of thing. What you can't do is use the built in composite inputs to hook up your iOS device or video equipment to view your own library of video material, such as movies you may have purchased or ripped, video you may have shot on vacation, etc. There's an input on the tv, but it's disabled. That's so that NCL can try to get you to buy a PPV movie. Me, I just watch on my iPad. I have a pico projector as well, but we didn't bother to use that. There are reading lights on either side of the bed and the bed itself can be separated into 2 singles or a double (cali king size, I think). There's a touch screen telephone which can be used as a nightlight, has buttons to call certain places like reservations etc. We used it to call our friends in other cabins primarily. Didn't set up a VM but it worked without need to set up. The bathroom/shower area separates from the rest of the room with a curtain. Using the curtain when showering or doing one's business gave the illusion of room separation. We brought a fresh can of febreeze and when one was using that area the other would 'choose' to take advantage of the balcony. Even couples should know when the other should have some privacy. Between the balcony and the curtan, and the door to the bathroom or shower, that's 3 separate barriers between you and your loved one or traveling companion while you do what you need to . Felt private enough for us. Norwegian iConcierge App for iPhone: We had problems with this app. It's a new app, and we had read on CC that there would be VOIP calling, chat and that's what we wanted in the app. Unfortunately for us, none of those features were available until the last full day of the cruise. On the Friday before disembarkation, chat worked, voip was supposed to be enabled but didn't work, and we used chat instead of walkies to keep in touch on the ship. We couldn't figure out how to chat w/ others in other cabins though. That is something NCL should add or make easier to do in an update. Also, we couldn't get the app working at first. We both downloaded the app before we embarked. We were supposed to register with a code from the tv in the room, but my app wouldn't take. DH's took the code but didn't work well. Finally, before we took off from Miami, I deleted and reloaded the app and it finally took the code and registered. It only worked for reservations, looking at excursions, looking at account info and that sort of thing. We hope that on the next cruise chat works better and works from day 1, VOIP calling to any phone works and for that we'd be happy to pay a small usage fee for the week. I wouldn't pay for it for just ship chat, because we've already purchased walkies that get the job done. All in all, the crew treated us like royalty, the other travelers made a great bunch to hang out with, we made a lot of casual friends and some that we'll have for a long time. We felt pampered and treated well, and didn't see any real instances except for a few isolated ones of people behaving inappropriately or getting too out of hand or anything like that. Certainly not much for the size of the ship. NCL should value their crew highly because inevitably, they're what made the cruise special and what caused us and our friends to want to go back. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Decent stay the night before leaving at Miami La Quinta. Many people stayed there that were leaving from Port of Miami. WORST restaurant next door - Bennigan's. We went on 3/16 - night before St. Patty's Day. I thought it would ... Read More
Decent stay the night before leaving at Miami La Quinta. Many people stayed there that were leaving from Port of Miami. WORST restaurant next door - Bennigan's. We went on 3/16 - night before St. Patty's Day. I thought it would be packed, but it was not. Very, very dirty; poor wait staff; unsanitary restrooms; holes in walls and restaurant generally in a state of disrepair. The two bright spots about the restaurant: excellent food and a good band. ++++++ The Good ++++++++ Great bar service and good mixed drinks. Ice cream available all the time at buffet. 24-hour room service was great and fairly prompt. Excellent staff, particularly our cabin steward, who was friendly and willing to share information about his ship experience and his family back home when asked. It was good that the staff was ethnically diverse - great experience for my children to interact with people from other countries. Good embarkation/disembarkation processes. Lots of people who moved fairly easily on/off the ship. Blue Man Group was excellent and was the Cirque Dreams show. Food was just OK at the Cirque show and our seats were not the best, but the entertainment made up for those. My sons loved the arcade area. The comedian/magician was excellent. My boys loved the bunk bed that retracted from the ceiling. So fun! 24-hour pizza delivery (although at a cost of $5) was a lifesaver more than once. The food at the buffet was excellent. The box office staff would phone the room if you were late for a reservation to provide a friendly reminder about your event. This was great. +-+-+-+- The middle +-+-+-+- The overall "Nickelodeon" experience was very disappointing. The activities they provided were good, but there were definitely not enough of them. NCL should consider doing at least 1-2 things a day that are Nickelodeon related. I liked and used the TV reservation system for excursions and booking tickets, which was convenient. However, the system was very slow and not user-friendly, so it was more difficult than it should have been. The Recess Kids Club was also a big disappointment. Although we felt it was safe and seemed like it would be fun, my boys hated it. They went the first day and refused to return. Possibly not the right age mix - my almost 10 year old with 7 year olds was not fun for him? Also rather than require a "location where mom/dad would be" - which is crazy, they should have some type of phone app or pager system for the parents to come pick up the child. Not very effective communication methods, in my opinion. --------- The Ugly --------- Rude box office staff Cranky guest services staff - great when cruise started, horrible, unhelpful and grouchy when cruise ended. Why no fries available with room service hamburger delivery? Seems strange they only had chips as a side. No sundries store - no where to buy small necessities/essentials. Not enough shopping stores in general. It was VERY WEIRD to have the bathroom immediately inside the cabin door. VERY awkward anytime we had a room service delivery or someone knocked on our door. They could basically see directly into the toilet area and shower. Weird layout overall. Very long hallways with strange "bumps" in the floor in random places that are NOT marked in any way. My elderly father-in-law tripped many times on those stpots. Why do they require people in the rear of the ship to go through the casino to get to the 5th floor (which doesn't go all the way through)? Makes no sense, and my son, who has major asthma issues, had to walk through this smelly, unhealthy area (exposed to gambling) just to get where we needed to go. Very hard, thin toilet seats. Unsure about the rationale for this, but it was basically like sitting on a toilet without a seat. Very uncomfortable - not sure why no one mentioned this in other reviews. The pools are ridiculously small - even staff commented on it/ apologized for it. Very poorly marked public restrooms - signage was in obscure, hidden places. Why doesn't NCL promote The Havens??? No tours, no pre-promotion. We might have stayed there, had we known about it - and we're Latitude Members. Speaking of that, we didn't get any benefits of membership. Why have a program, if there are no benefits???? Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
After 41 cruises on 7 different Cruise lines, we decided to return to NCL....boy was that a mistake. First the good...the entertainment was AWESOME..the ship is used to every inch and then some....now the bad THE ROOMS ARE SMALLER ... Read More
After 41 cruises on 7 different Cruise lines, we decided to return to NCL....boy was that a mistake. First the good...the entertainment was AWESOME..the ship is used to every inch and then some....now the bad THE ROOMS ARE SMALLER THAN A CLOSET...and Ray Charles designed them...I mean who puts a sink in the middle of the room and when you turn it on it spays the entire room....tinted glass to cover a toilet...the shower was adequate...the TV is useless, they show 30 minute reruns of certain shows and BBC,Fox and Dora....ESPN if you like 'CRICKET" who the hell does...? NO COMMUNICATION...oh they have a print out...it describes art auctions, and etc. but try to find out where the debarkation deck is ...NO...try to find out when to put luggage out...NO..try to find out anything you didn't have to pay for extra...NO.. back to entertainment, the Blue Men, Second City , Legends and "WILDFIRE" PLAYING IN THE ATRIUM...wonderful.. Same ole same ole menu in the Manhatten and Taste..but if you sprung for $25 bucks you could get a steak and the Murder Mystery lunch was ok... Now back to the "Ray Charles Designed rooms"...I'm serious, go to your closet and practice sleeping before you go on this ship.... NCL really needs a lesson from RCCL on how to treat their guest and most of all their dining staff....my wife ask in the buffet if she could have some tea and was told, it was right down there in the corner....! and I asked for some butter and was told where to get it... NO WAY WOULD I GO BACK ON THIS SHIP..I'D GO BIG RED BOAT BEFORE GOING BACK... Don't waste your time...RCCL has them beat hands down....we made a mistake and that's my story and I'm sticking to it... Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We picked the Epic as my partner is in a wheelchair and we thought a new ship would be very wheelchair friendly. We only really had the Caribbean cruise to pick from as this is mainly where the Epic goes and no ports there are tendered. If ... Read More
We picked the Epic as my partner is in a wheelchair and we thought a new ship would be very wheelchair friendly. We only really had the Caribbean cruise to pick from as this is mainly where the Epic goes and no ports there are tendered. If they where we would not of been able to get off. The ship was lovely and our wheelchair room was nice. All the other cabins were extremely small. Movement around the ship was ok. The sun deck was difficult to move around and was often full so we couldn't get a spot to sun bathe. I would like to say we had a great time but two things ruined it and we would never return. We were unable to do any shore excursion as NOT ONE was wheel chair friendly! this was extremely upsetting because we travelled so far to do this cruise and were left to just wander around the ports. This wasn't easy on the poor paths and in fact when we returned to the ship after one port my partner had lost one screw from his wheel. The wheel was falling off and this made him completely immobile. We rang for assistance. None came so I rang again. I was told they could not help us as they are not allowed. Couldn't believe what I was hearing. I asked to speak to the captain. They sent a duty manager who also said they couldn't help. I then demanded to see the caption and as we were now stuck in our room and my partner stuck in bed I wanted them to fly us home immediately. This tantrum got us the one small screw we needed and all was fixed in seconds. So simple!! We then got to speak to the second in charge. He tried to explain that policy stated they can't help because if it went wrong we may sue. What a joke. The next joke was when we went to a talk on Shopping in Ports. We thought this would give us hints on shopping. Was surprised us that the talk was 90% about diamonds. Well i was convinced, the speaker said diamonds brought in Mexico were at least 50 to 70% cheaper than anywhere else. It took him an hour to explain why. I believed him and set out to get my self a bargin. I spent a lot of money on a ring and was horrified when I got home and had it valved. I had saved $500, not $1000's as I was lead to believe as the ring was not cheap. I wrote back to complain and first was completely brushed off. This man told a whole room a complete pack of lines and NCL were not interested. Or they weren't until I mentioned my lawyers name. Then I quickly received a small refund. As I said we travelled a long way to get to the cruise and spent as much getting there as we did on the cruise. Communication before and after the cruise was shocking. We are not from USA but did expect some confirmation of our booking. We did not even get our labels for the suitcases. Once they received our money we lost contact. Nice Ship but beware of their lies and beware if you have any problems while on board!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Norwegian Epic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.7

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