Sail Date: October 16, 2010 Ship: Norwegian Epic Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Family (older children) Reviewed: 7 years ago
I had the pleasure of sailing on the 2010 National Conference onboard the beautiful Norwegian Epic. WOW! What a tremendous experience! Although I've been booking travel for over 25 years, and a Cruise Specialist for 7 years, this was my first opportunity to attend our annual conference. I learned SO much over the past week, met some great new friends, and reconnected with some old friends.
We sailed out of the Port of Miami, visiting the ports of Costa Maya, Mexico, Roatan, Honduras, and Cozumel, Mexico. Our days at sea were chock full of classes and workshops with staff, cruise lines, and other vendors. All of them had fantastic information to share, all of which is geared to benefit YOU, the client! is creating new relationships with land suppliers and shore excursion suppliers, as well as improving relationships with cruise lines, existing land suppliers, and travel insurance providers. These efforts mean a better value for YOUR vacation dollars!
The Epic is only a few months old, and she is a beautiful ship. Although she holds 4,100 passengers, you really don't feel like there are that many people onboard. From check-in and embarkation, to buffet and dining rooms, getting off on the ship in port, all the way through disembarkation, there were no real lines or long waits. This is a well oiled machine! Not to mention the incredible customer service that we experienced throughout the week...staff literally went out of their way to be helpful.
The entertainment available on the Epic is ridiculously awesome! From the Blue Man Group (included/FREE), The Second City comedy/improv group (included/FREE), and Legends in Concert (included/Free) to the Cirque Dreams Dinner experience (surcharge of $20erson for standard seating $30erson for premium seating - and worth it)...these were the things that we had time for.
We also managed a visit to La Cucina, the Italian specialty restaurant onboard. The service was excellent and the food was delicious. While we didn't have time to hit Cagney's Steakhouse, we have previously been to this restaurant on another Norwegian ship it is fabulous - well worth the surcharge! The two main dining rooms - The Manhattan Room Taste - were both beautiful, and very different experiences (but same menu, so take your pick). And the Garden Cafe was a sizable buffet restaurant that offered lots of variety, plenty of stations to accommodate the number of passengers, and very good customer service.
But let's talk about some of the other features: lots of different bars nightclubs, including adults-only areas; a great teens-only area, and wonderful kids' area; Nickelodeon for the kids; a huge sports deck with full size basketball court, bungee jump a contraption called a spiderweb; rock climbing rapelling walls; AND....the waterpark! There are 3 waterslides on the Epic - the purple one is great for smaller kids or beginners, the green is fast fun, and the yellow one is the optimum slide because it pours you right into the Epic Plunge! This is basically a funnel - you use a tube for this one, and when you leave the slide you go round and round and round the funnel until it drops you down the chute - TOO FUN!! I'm so glad we found time to play one afternoon.
Costa Maya and Cozumel were both beach excursions for our group, and we had a lovely time. But Roatan was a free day, so my friend Lorie (my travel buddy that everyone thinks is my sister) and I decided to go ziplining!! I had originally introduced Lorie to this fun activity when we went on a Hawaiian cruise, and we are both hooked. With no shore excursion booked in advance, we ended up going with Pirates of the Caribbean Canopy (www.roatanpiratescanopy.com), and had a blast! We did the Extreme Canopy with long zips. The staff was excellent, the safety was top notch, and the adventure was FABULOUS!! They did allow me to do tricks be the monkey I am, so I had a super good time. At the same time, they were taking excellent care with the couple that went on the adventure with us - Matt and Marcy had never been ziplining before, and Marcy has a little fear of heights. Seeing the rest of us go, about 10-15 minutes of patience on everyone's part, and Michael piggy-backing her on the first line, is all it took to show Marcy that she could do it - by the 3rd line she wasn't hesitating, and she was SMILING! I highly recommend this company!!
There is so much more that I just don't have the energy to share, but if anyone has specific questions about the Epic, or any of the ports, I'm more than happy to answer them.
Next year...the Allure of the Seas on Royal Caribbean!! WOO HOO!!!
Until next time, bon voyage!
P.S. Ever want to zipline, but wanted to know what it's like first? Check out this video I made while I was zipping!
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