This was our 6th cruise with Norwegian, and as far as the Epic goes, probably our least favorite ship. I think we'll be looking at smaller ships in the future, and maybe move away from NCL. Not sure the few Latitude rewards they give you really make up for the thousands of dollars you spend, and get a so-so experience. This voyage was to include a stop in Bonnaire, but it was taken off the itinerary without explanation, and the time spent in Curacao was originally a more reasonable 8am port time, than the 6am time that had us rolling our eyes...Sometimes I wonder if the head honchos at NCL try and make their employees that serve us on the ship make up for their own lack of "keeping the customer satisfied" with communication. Frank Del Rio...Why was there a change in the ship's itinerary??? No one else seems to know!
5 out of 5
Got there a little early, but no lines, no waiting. Of course it was about 1PM, and the ship wasn't leaving until 9PM, so I suppose folks wanted to spend more time in San Juan.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Because of a promotion, we got to dine in 3 specialty restaurants without any extra charge. Enjoyed them very much, especially La Bistro. Veal Medallions were amazing....very tender and flavorful. Main dining rooms were ok, some nights better than others. O'Sheehans had their usual fare. Can't go wrong with any of their food. Burgers, Wings, Nachos....great for lunch or late night snack. The bars and bartenders worked they're behinds off...especially in the outdoor bars. Only good things to say about them!
3 out of 5
Played some shuffle board. Joined the Bean Bag competition...came in 2nd and got a keychain WooHoo! This ship doesn't have an extra outdoor deck, or any deck that you can walk around the back of the ship and go from port to starboard sides. It was either port side, or starboard side on level 7, and everything else outside was levels 15 and above. Had the usual Chair Hogs, so there was no lounging by the pool. H2O lounge, while crowded, you could usually find a place to sit.
4 out of 5
Kudos to the Comedians! They had us in stitches!! And the adult shows were the best! Also had a magician. Saw one of his acts and really liked him as well...would've like to have seen him a second time.
Seen the "Burn the Floor" show on other ships. No interest in paying extra for the Cirque show. Nothing else enticed.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
These folks are simply amazing. They work almost non-stop for countless hours with very few days off, and yet most are able to put a smile on their faces and be as pleasant as can be, to try and make you happy!
3 out of 5
Wish they had separate categories for these 2 items. First off, the ship was always clean, everywhere and anywhere you went. Always someone with the anti-bacterial soap getting you to clean your hands before entering a dining area, especially the buffet....Washy Washy!
The design of the ship, I didn't care for. No actual bathroom. Sink was part of the main cabin, and there were separate "Booths", 1 for the shower, and 1 for the toilet, with frosted glass doors encasing them. The shower was ok, but there was absolutely no privacy, especially sound-wise in the toilet area. Unless you were out of the cabin, you could hear every tinkle, plop and fart that took place in there. No outdoor bar on the 6th or 7th decks of other NCL ships. Places that aren't normally as crowded as up in the 15th deck...Overall, not a great design. I'd give it 1 star, but don't want to take away from the cleanliness....
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Standard size cabin, but a nice size balcony. Didn't have to sit with your knees in your chest because other NCL ships have very narrow balconies. Housekeeping forgot to replenish our towels one day, but that wasn't a big deal. Otherwise it's the same complaint about the toilet as above....
Make time for the comedians. They are student for Second City TV, and many are fairly well known.
Not sure why so many people were raving about Aruba. Outside of the 2 resorts. Palm Beach, and Eagle Beach (where we got off the bus for a couple hours), the rest of the island didn't have much to see.
We were in port here from 6AM-12:30PM. I couldn't get an answer from anyone in the crew as to why we were there so early....even getting into port at 8AM is a bit on the early side for us night owls. So we booked a private tour that began at 8AM and had an abbreviated tour of the island and a short 40 minute stop at a beach, before heading back to the ship. My wife and I actually liked Curacao better than Aruba. Still not sure why people were raving about Aruba...
NCL really dropped the ball here. We were there from 2-8PM, and went on their "Green to Sand" tour. Problem was we were to meet at the Epic theater at 2:20...we got there 10 minutes early, and waited a full hour before we got called to go out on the dock and look for the person with the sign for our tour, then waited another 20 minutes before heading to the bus. So now its around 3:30 and the tour was just starting. By the time we got to the beach, it was around 5:30PM, and in February, it starts getting dark around 6PM, so no real beach time here. I wrote NCL about this and they kept trying to deflect the problem to the company that ran the excursion, but it was fully NCL's fault! I still don't understand why we had to meet in the Epic theater. They could've just instructed to go outside and look for the person with the sign for your tour on the dock...and St Lucia is a pretty shabby, dirty island to boot...next time, maybe we'll stay on the boat.
This was our favorite stop! Instead of doing an excursion with NCL, we got off the boat and there were plenty of independent tours to choose from. We took a city/beach tour, and it was a blast. Got to see parts of the island both good and bad. Before driving through a rain forest, we stopped for some Rum Punch, included in the tour, a special recipe made by our driver. We all had a couple of those and the sing-along commenced! Stopped at the beach and had some conch chowder and conch bisque. My wife and I shared both, and Oh MY were they good!!! This was another tour that I wish could've lasted a couple hours longer. In an area near the dock was a market, and an area with many many street food vendors. We so wanted to go there and explore, and try more of the fresh fish dishes, but alas, that wasn't to be....
5 out of 5
No problems here. Carried our own bags and got right off the ship and through customs without a hitch.
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