Middle age couple that loves to cruise! Our next cruise will be an eastern Caribbean on Norwegian Dawn. Norwegian is fast becoming our favorite cruise line!
Cruise Lines: Norwegian Cruise Line
Ships: Norwegian Dawn
Great cruise, our first transatlantic, though coming home (3 flights spanning over 24 hours from Barcelona Spain back to Texas) wasn't much fun! Epic is far from my favorite ship, not (in my opinion) enough quiet places to relax, read, play cards, etc, due to extensive space devoted to the "largest casino afloat", which wasn't extensively used, at least from what we could see. I asked one of the dealers one night (while she sat at an unused blackjack table) if she had trouble staying awake, to which she replied "you have no idea!". Card room was usually always packed, and in the internet cafe there were FOUR computers for a passenger load of over 4k (and not all of them were working). Food was fantastic, entertainment was as well, only complaint being that some of the more popular shows limited, for the most part, to small venues that severly restricted the number of people wanting to see the shows. Inside cabin was more than adequate (we always book inside) though the lighting left something to be desired, but shower was huge compared to other ships we've cruised, overall satisfied with the cabin. The overwhelming impression of Epic was, to us, the crew, everyone of them consistently smiling, polite, ready and able to meet your needs, can't say enough positive things about them. Can't speak for shore excursions, we took none through the cruise line, but we went for the repositioning cruise and the extensive sea days more so than for a specific port. That being said, we were interested of course in seeing places we'd never been. Again, not overwhelmingly impressed with Norwegian Epic, but I was more than impressed with her crew!
A short review of Serenade of the Seas, 11 nights starting (for most) 4/18/16. Due to massive amounts of rain in our hometown (Houston TX) we missed the ship (1st time in 23 cruises we missed a ship) and through a series of successes and mishaps, we were able to join the ship at it's first port of call, Oranjestad, Aruba on Thursday, 4/21/16. Overall, we were extremely pleased with the ship, crew, food, service, decor, operation, etc. Food was excellent for the most part, and this from the complimentary offerings only, we didn't avail ourselves of the specialty restaurants. Service equally so, staff was attentive, friendly, superbly professional, more so than we expected from something other than one of RCCL's "mega-ships". The shortcomings, if any, concerned the people connected with "Guest Services" who were, through no fault of their own, placed in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, actually at both "ends" of the cruise, at the beginning with those of us unable to complete initial boarding in Florida, as well as departing guests due to a medical emergency onboard causing an overdue arrival at the end of the cruise. Our only real problem (trying to be completely fair here) was getting caught in between ship vs shore personnel, with both sides "pointing the finger" as it were, in the opposite direction. Ship staff said it was up to RCCL's emergency staff in Florida to do or perform X, while on contacting the home office, we were told that it was something "ship personnel were supposed to take care of". As well, after a certain hour, a supervisor was unavailable at either office, onboard or ashore, no one in fact to make a decision other than to tell us either a) it was up to "the other guy"; or b) there was nothing they could do. The situation was, in fact, easily rectified upon reaching the airline the following day, leading one to believe that the ship personnel weren't, as they said, in contact with the airlines.
To finish on a positive, overall, we'd take this cruise, this ship, and this line again, secure in the knowledge of solid value for our vacation dollar. The circumstances and/or consequences of unforseen difficulties made it difficult at times for everyone, but I think Serenade's positives far outweigh any "less-than-superior" aspects.
Hope this helps someone considering this ship/line.
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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Epic cruise review - Crew were MVPs
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