February 2014 - Norwegian Epic to Caribbean - Western
I was a little worried about the Norwegian Epic based on recent reviews I read before the cruise. The cruise was excellent!!! Great service, not too crowded, food was good, music scene on board was excellent.
The food was good, but considering they feed 4000 people 3 times a day, it was very good. I ate at the Manhattan Dining Room 5 nights, food always hot and prepared as requested. Portions are a little small, so I ordered an extra appetizer or salad. Service was friendly, but dinner will take about 90 minutes, so plan ahead if you have reservations to see a show. Two other nights I ate at the Italian restaurant and the Hibachi reatuarant. Both excellent, great service, great food. Ask for a window seat in the Italian place, basically water level and beautiful.
The boat was almost full, but except for the life vest drill, never had a problem with elevators or dining options. The pool area does get a little crowded if you are not set up by 9:30 or so, but if you are patient, spots open up. Shows and restaurant reservtions were easy to make, plenty of availability.
The best part of the entertainment on the boat was the music. The blues club, "Fat Cats" had an amazing blues group who played 4 nights. They were screaming good!!! If you like blues, you'll love this band. They also had a "piano bar", which you should check out at least once. There are 3 piano players that play 2 at a time, so there are no breaks, just 4-5 hours of continuos music. They take requests, and encourage singing along, which most people do. Great way to meet people and have lots of fun. There are a couple of lounges where there is a traditional piano player, playing the standards, and a guitar player who is good as well.
The ports of call were all good, plenty to do if you are looking for day trips. The vendors in Jamaica are a little aggresive, one shop has the same stuff as the next, so you can bargain to get a good deal.
The Norwegian Epic is a great deal for the money. If your expectations are 5 star dining, you might be a little disappointed, but the food is good, as is the service. The ship is as much fun as you make it. People from all over, lot's of very interesting people to meet and talk to.