I sailed on the November...
Sail Date: November 12, 2011
Reviewed: 5 years ago
Traveled As: Large Group
Room Type: Suite
I sailed on the November 12supth/supEastern Caribbean departure. Let me say right away that the Epic is a one of a kind ship and people generally like it very much or donrsquo;t care for it. I am one of those who think that the entertainment concept is a great addition to the original Freestyle program that was mostly about dining. But if you are a ldquo;two dinner seating, two shows, same table, same waiterrdquo; type of cruiser then the Epic may not be your cup of tea. There are lots of choices and non-traditional cruise ship entertainment on this ship.Cruising on the Epic or any of the NCL ships is best with a little planning.
We had an aft Penthouse which is considered a suite and so we had access to the Haven which is the private area on the forward bow where the Courtyard and Owners Suites are located. The drawback to the aft Penthouses is that it is a long walk to the Haven so make sure you donrsquo;t forget your book or suntan lotion when going to the private pool areas. The Haven has the feeling of an elite, country club setting and plays on the ldquo;ship within a shiprdquo; concept pioneered by NCL and recently copied by other lines.
During the week, we ate dinner in almost every alternate restaurant starting with our favorite, The Bistro on the first night. It is always a good idea to make reservations for the specialty restaurants the day prior and to make dining plans around your selected entertainment venue. Reservations for the major shows ndash; Blue Man Group, Second City, Legends in Concert and Cirque Dreams are available in advance on line before you sail. On subsequent nights we dined in Moderno ndash; the Brazilian style Churrascaria. TIP ndash; go light on the salad bar to save room for the 10 meat entries served on skewers tableside. We did skip Cagneys steakhouse, because we sailed on NCL previously and wanted to try some other places. Teppanyaki is always a hit and re-creates the Benihana type experience. Shanghai serves up good, predictable Chinese food served by a predominantly Filipino staff. We had an excellent Asian lunch mid week at Noodles and could not resist going for Italian at La Cucina. For some cruisers, alternate restaurants are viewed as a means for the cruise lines to sell food. The cover charges range from $10 to $25 per person. There are 4 restaurants onboard that offer dining at no charge ndash; Taste, the Manhattan Room, Orsquo;Sheehanrsquo;s, and the Garden Cafeacute;. This is about the same number of restaurants on the earlier generation of cruise liners. So, nothing really got taken away but more dining options were added. I do think that dining at least one of two nights during vacation is a great idea especially if you are celebrating a special occasion or just want a ldquo;night on the townrdquo;.
We dined one evening in the Spiegel Tent which hosts the Cirque Dreams dinner show. This is a wonderful adaptation Las Vegas type Cirque shows and is good for all ages. They even manage to pull off some high wire and aerial events in the two story dining hall. Another great entertainment venue is listening to Slam Allen and his group at the Fat Cat Jazz Club. No cost or cover charge and he plays 6 nights on the cruise. If you can take a nap the last day of the cruise his final set which goes from 11:30 PM to 12:30 AM is usually a jam session that brings other on-board entertainers up to the stage. Slam Allen is simply one of the finest blues and jazz groups I have ever seen and gets regular standing ovations. The White Hot Party on deck (weather permitting) has rock and rollers of all ages enjoying a pulsating party under the stars. Bliss. Is the shiprsquo;s all purpose disco and entertainment lounge and there are theme events there a couple of nights during the week.
The secret to having a great time on the Epic is to make sure you plan your day around the many activities. Of course just sitting by the pool with a book is one of my favorites. If you are looking for an energetic week tempered with lots of down time and 3 sea days then the Norwegian Epic may be just the answer.
Recommends Norwegian Epic? Yes!
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