Disembarkation was the only thing that let the trip down, particularly at Southampton where unfortunately fights almost broke out because communication was poor and queues of passengers were not managed well enough, hence those jumping queues irritated those that had been waiting for long periods, the ramp to disembark was also single file and with too sharp a gradient. This may well have been the fault of Southampton port staff, but either way it could and should have been managed better as the situation became quite volatile. This was a shame as the trip was otherwise wonderful, loved the tribute bands, the ice bar was an experience and the pancake bar was the best! Will definitely cruise with NCL again, and thanks to Cruise Nation for a great price, including a lovely hotel in Barcelona!
Travel operator: Cruise Nation
The Manhattan Room is the main restaurant at the aft of the ship and is very classy with high ceilings. It is only open for dinner. Taste is more contemporary and has the same menu as the Manhattan Room. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. O’Sheehan’s Irish pub is open for food 24 hours.
Garden Cafe is the buffet and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Great Outdoors serves snacks and has tea and coffee 24 hours. Snacks are available at Spice H2O and the Atrium Cafe.
La Cucina the Italian is $10, Moderno the Brazilian churasscaria is $20, Le Bistro French restaurant $20, Cagney’s steakhouse is $25, Shanghai Chinese is $15, Teppanyaki, Wasabi, the Noodle Bar and sushi bars are a la carte. You can get pizza delivered anywhere on the ship 24 hours for $5. There is a room service menu with a $3.95 charge between 00.00-05.00.
The casino is the largest on an NCL ship with 340 slots and several table games. The slots range from 1c to 1$ and are the same machines they have in Vegas.
The balcony stateroom is really nice and modern. It is 205 sqft. The balcony was bigger than expected at about 9ft by 6ft with 2 chairs and a small table.
The stateroom is in a wave design with loads of storage space. The king size bed was extremely comfortable as were the pillows and there is room to store suitcases under the bed.
There is a toilet at one side of the door, shower at the other side, both with opaque glass, and a small sink in the room. There have been a lot of complaints about lack of privacy with this set up, but as a couple we didn’t have a problem and there is a curtain for additional privacy. There have also been complaints about the small sink, but again no problem here and any overspill was easily mopped up with a facecloth. Shower gel and shampoo are provided in dispensers in the shower at soap at the sink.
The waste bin is in a pull out drawer under the sink with a section for used towels. There are 2 110V US style sockets and 2 220V European style sockets under the dresser as well as a hairdryer.
There is a 4 cup coffee maker with cups and supplies and 4 glasses in the room.
There is a flat screen TV showing US programmes, News, a view from the bridge among other things and you can also view your account or book restaurants and shows on it.
The mini bar / fridge was fully stocked, but we asked our steward to empty it. There is a 15% gratuity / restocking fee for the mini bar.
There is a full length wardrobe with 2 hanging rails and another with one rail and 3 large drawers so nowhere to hang long clothes. A cupboard above the mini bar houses the safe and there is another cupboard with baskets in the doors under the dresser. There is a full length mirror on the wardrobe as well as one above the dresser and another above the sink which has storage for toiletries.
The sofa which is opposite the wardrobes can seat about 4 people and was the bed for a third person. There are drawers under the sofa for additional storage as well as storage behind the cushions and along the ceiling in hidden cupboards.
Boat drill was at 4.30pm on embarkation day and we didn’t need to take our life jackets to the muster station.
Cocktails were about $6.00-9.00 + 8% Spanish VAT + 15% gratuity. Beers were $5.50-7.00. Bottles of wine started at $28.
There is a service charge of $12pppd and gratuities are at your discretion.
Mobile / cell phones work onboard via satellite and the charges are down to your provider. It was £0.48 to send a text. There is wireless internet access throughout the ship at $0.75/ min although there are packages of 250 mins for $100 or 100 mins for $55.
Smoking is permitted on your balcony, in most of the casino on one side of the pool deck and in Humidor, the Cigar Room, on Deck 7.
There are several shows and other entertainment onboard. Cirque Dreams is a dinner show with a supplement of $20/30. There were other Vegas shows such as Legends in Concert, the Blue Man Group and Stephen Sorrentino.
There is a Svedka vodka Ice Bar which has a $20 cover charge which includes 2 cocktails. They give you a faux fur poncho and gloves to wear and it is advisable to wear closed toe shoes, socks and long trousers as it is only 17F. The glasses, tables, chairs and bar were all made of ice. There were ice sculptures of a polar bear and one of a Viking. The photographer comes in to take you photos when you arrive.
I think there are 3 pools, 4 hot tubs and 3 flumes with a huge bowl. Loads of activities and sports such as a rock climbing wall, table tennis, bowling lanes, basketball court, gym, a sport complex, jogging track,. During the day there were various activities such as trivia, line dancing, seminars and demonstrations by the spa.
As well as a spa, there is even a barber’s shop onboard with treatments for men.
Shuttle bus at Livorno was €5 or $7, it was free at Civitavecchia and you could walk from the ship in Naples. The ship provided a shuttle bus at Palma for $12pp, but you could walk for 15 mins or get the local bus.
Some of the meals we had –
Dinner at the Manhattan Room - fingerling potatoes with shrimp, NY strip steak and cheesecake. Mushroom soup, striploin steak and Key Lime Pie.
Breakfast at Taste - smoked salmon followed by pancakes and bacon, with orange juice and coffee. Special K, eggs, ham and hash browns. Unfortunately the coffee was cold.
Lunch at Taste - corn and potato chowder, penne Alfredo and strawberry shortcake. Calamari, fish and chips and strawberry shortcake.
Dinner at the Manhattan Room - prosciutto with melon and figs, hubby had smoked salmon tartare, both had sirloin steak, but mine wasn’t great. I had chocolate mousse truffle cake and hubby had ice cream.
Lunch at O’Sheehan’s – mozzarella sticks with salsa dip, fish and chips, chocolate brownie sundae. Vegetable soup and chicken pot pie.
Dinner at Taste – potato and leek soup, roast pork loin with mashed sweet potato, apple chutney and asparagus, cheese plate and coffee. French onion soup, grilled rib eye steak with baked potato and spinach, trifle and coffee.
Dinner at the Manhattan Room - smoked salmon tartare with toasted brioche / cream of broccoli soup, prime rib rare with baked potato and sour cream, green beans and diced carrots. It was excellent and one of the best meals we had. Cheese plate – brie, sharp cheddar and blue cheese – and coffee.
Lunch at Taste (on sea days only) - chicken noodle soup, penne Alfredo, strawberry shortcake and coffee. Corn and potato chowder, grilled NY strip steak, strawberry shortcake and coffee.
Dinner in the Manhattan Room – both had blue crab cakes, I had lamb shank and hubby had shrimp with NY strip steak. Didn’t bother with dessert and just had coffee
The Garden cafe buffet was excellent as everything was hot and fresh. There were 2 carving stations, one with chicken and the other with a different meat each day. There was also a made to order pasta station and freshly made pizza.
Snacks were available at the Great Outdoors when the buffet was closed.
Travel operator: Barrhead Travel
I slid on this but staff were happy to walk around it.
I have been on smaller cruse ships and found that there was a better chance to get to know people. The Epic was to large and impersonal.
Drink prices were very high ' 34dollars for the cheapest bottle of red wine and 15 Dollars for two Vodka,s without mixers.
Staff very attentive.
next cruise would be on a smaller ship
Travel operator: Co-op
On to the dining food in the freesyle garden cafe was always cold and repetative , if you like burgers , pizza and hotdogs they are always on .
If you want the 29$ bottle of wine(the cheapest) they will always try to sell you the 40$ bottle , and will come up with excuses like the other is sold out and we have run out of beer !!
The staff dont tend to engage in conversation as there is that many of them , if you complain or ask them a question you get a blank look .
By far from all this you do not find out when booking when you have to leave the boat ,when we asked about the last day ,the cruise consultant said you will leave the boat at 9am , when we booked we got one flight time 20.00 so only 8hrs to kill before our transfer to the airport, instead of waiting around we had to purchase another excursion for part of the day for 160$ . So if you do go on the epic make sure you do have a gold card and dont expect the usual cruise atmosphere .
Travel operator: coop
Travel operator: barrhead
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