Stepping onboard I could see...
Sail Date: September 25, 2010
Reviewed: 5 years ago
Traveled As: Singles/Friends
Room Type: Balcony
Headliners was a great space, a bar in one corner, the stage in another and rows of chairs with small tables in between. Perfect for comedy and for Howl at the Moon. They take requests; in fact, there are slips for this purpose on all the tables that you complete and put in the request bowl on top of one of the pianos. So if you don't like the music they're playing you have no one but yourself to blame. Singing along is encouraged even if you only know the refrain, and there was some friendly competition among patrons when they divided the place in half for certain songs!
I went to see the 'Blue Man Group'. The show was very good, actually more so since I didn't pay the going price of $80 per ticket! Even if you saw them before go again. The show had some new material and some acts are funnier the second time around! If you haven't seen them this is a must do and is perfect for the entire family!
Cirque Dreams and Dinner held in the Spiegel Tent is comedy, acrobatics and dinner all in one! It has been compared to the famous Moulin Rouge in Paris and while I see the similarities, this show is fine for the entire family! Of course there is the one act with the gorgeous guy in the bathtub, and although some may think it's a bit steamy, it was not inappropriate! There was a fixed dinner of a salad with a thousand island dressing, an entre of filet mignon and chicken Florentine (both) served with scalloped potatoes and asparagus, and chocolate decadence for dessert. The show was quite long which may be an issue for families with small children and since dinner is served during the show you may want to consider this before making a reservation. Although my 5 and 7 year old boys were entranced by all of it and certainly didn't mind the length.
Wrapped in a furry coat I ventured into the Ice Bar and although I left with my toes close to frost bitten it was a fun experience! Bring socks and shoes! Flip flops won't do! It is a frigid 17 degrees! The cover charge includes two drinks and though I'm not much of a drinker, I appreciated the toasty warm feeling that spread through me after downing the first orange flavored one! They do offer non alcoholic beverages also. It's a great photo op so don't forget your camera. 'Second City', 'Legends in Concert', and 'Fat Cats', were also very good and surpassed my expectations.
The Manhattan Club and Taste Restaurant are the main restaurants that offer the "included" dining. We did enjoy the quality of food but the menus out side of the addition of 1 new item each night stay the same throughout the week. I do recommend venturing out to the specialty restaurants for variety.
We loved O'Sheehans, an Irish pub! Great food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. It is also open 24hrs and also included in your cruise rate!
The Garden Cafe is the buffet restaurant and is open from early morning until late at night with multiple stations offering a large variety of foods. I had breakfast here most mornings and was pleased to find eggs Benedict being served. The options are truly endless here. The cafe itself had lots of seating both inside and outside.
On Deck 5, one can find the Photo Gallery. No longer do you need to search all of the pictures on the wall - looking for yourself. The Photo Gallery uses facial recognition to locate pictures of you ( and people who may look like you) and displays those photos to you for quick and easy viewing. This approach also is "Green" since the photo staff no longer needs to print all of the photos and reduces the need for photo-processing chemicals and paper.
The Epic offers an incredible amount of activities for the young and the youthful at heart. Including Aqua Park with water jets, Pools and Hot tubs, 3 Water slides (the most at sea) The Epic Slide allows those young at heart to ride an inner tube down a sloping and winding pipe into a bowl shaped basin where tubers are twirled around a few times before existing the bowl. I did this and survived! I even video taped it! Quoits, Shuffle board, Tennis Court, Basketball Court, Bungee trampoline (it was too windy on the day I wanted to attempt this) Ice skating on deck (not real ice) Rock climbing wall, Movies on deck, 6 Bowling Alleys (indoors) and Pool Tables (Indoor - O'Sheehan's).
I had a balcony cabin for this cruise. To my surprise our cabin had an extended balcony that was double the size of a standard balcony! I love the fact that it had a coffeemaker in each cabin and I didn't have to rely on room service to bring up a pot. The cabin was sophisticated and contemporary, done in a palate of cream, teal, and wine I loved the powerful blow dryer although the lighting could have been better in that area. Overall, the concealed contour lighting added to the upscale design of the room. Storage was incredible! We discovered hidden cabinets usually by accident! Now I suppose I must address the bathroom situation as it seems to be what everyone is concerned about. The room had an opaque plexi-glass enclosed shower (with a great shower head which can be adjusted to 2 heights), and a separately enclosed toilet with the same style door. A vessel sink is located within the bedroom area. The segregated areas offer increased functionality, though some felt the design compromised on privacy. A curtain does allow division of the bath / bedroom. The only complaint I would have would be the sink the faucets were very high which caused the water to splash out onto the counter space and floor. In regards to that complaint though the cruise line was in the process of changing out the faucets on the lower floors so I believe they just hadn't gotten to ours yet.
Although I did not stay in the new studio style rooms, I did check them out and was very impressed. First of all, they are not buried in the bowels of the ship, but are on deck ten and eleven. The corridor of the studios is lit in blue; very cool. To achieve the proper balance of style and function a specific designer with experience in smaller accommodations (think private yachts), was called in solely for the design of these spaces. Tiny-no doubt about it-but hip and stylish and absolutely perfect for a single traveler! What really makes the whole concept work is the private 'living room' that studio guests share. This area looks like a lounge you'd find in a NYC boutique hotel! Morning cappuccino, pre dinner drinks, or just a great place to meet and make plans with new friends!
Recommends Norwegian Epic? Yes!
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