NCL Epic - not Epic in any way
We flew to Barcelona to set sail on the Norwegian Epic to Florida. This ship is a love it or hate it ship, we had a Balcony cabin on deck 8, luckily we had the configuration of the bed by the balcony end which I feel is the best otherwise you have the sink at the end of the bed. The cabins are what I would call cozy with a separate toilet one side and separate shower the other side of the door but we had a large balcony on the jutting out bit of the ship which means the cabins above overlook your balcony which didnt bother us as we had a bigger balcony than normal. The ship was full on this sailing which took in Madeira/St Thomas/St Maarten into Port Canaveral. We had been to Madeira a few times so spent the day in the SPA which was just as well as it rained all day. The weather was bad getting into St Maarten so we went to Antigua instead which I was pleased about much better island. QUEUEING - I felt we spent all our time doing this on the ship, you had to book all your theatre shows before you went or you had to queue in the standby line, if you wanted to go in the comedy club you had to start queueing 30 mins before, there were over 4000 people on this ship and the outdoor space was not big enough on sea days, there is not wrap around deck so you had people jogging round the pool deck back and forth while you tried to sunbathe! The entertainment was excellent Priscilla Queen of the Desert was good but fully booked you couldnt get to see it if you had'nt prebooked. RESTAURANTS; the main restaurants you got a Service not a particularly good service as this was all inclusive and anytime dining you never sat at the same table twice so got different servers each time. This meant they never went out of their way to give good service as they knew no tip would be coming at the end as they might never see you again. We were asked if we would like a drink when we sat down but if we wanted another we had to ask the waiter and they would say I will send the wine waiter over and of course they never arrived! Food was plentiful and lots of choice but not overly exciting. This ship does not flow well and having the casino in the main walk through of the ship is a bit strange. We did the escape room which was an extra charge and good fun, the bars were always full we did not sit down at these for the whole 17 days ive no idea what time people got there to sit down. the 80's night was great fun at the back of the ship but when they tried to do the white night it was bad weather so this had to go inside still good though. All in all a decent cruise but the ship design lets it down, NCL Spirit and NCL Jade are much better ships. We had the usual queueing to get our passports checked and show the ESTA paperwork which the ship made a big thing about even though we had to show it at Barcelona before getting on the ship why I dont know considering this is electronically attached to your passport! this meant it took nearly all day to get off the ship so only had half a day in St Thomas. If you really want to see a destination and it is the first port of call which is American territory you will need to do a ship tour so you get through immigration and off the ship first. Do not book an independent tour as you will not be allowed off until your allotted time which they do in deck order highest first. Do not book this ship as your first cruise it will put you off there are better ships among them RCI Explorer of the Seas and Independence of the seas as well as the two NCL mentioned above.
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