EPIC - Transatlantic April 14-25

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#1
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
I arrived yesterday fresh from the Transatlantic crossing from Miami to Barcelona.

A few highlights from my trip below. I'll add things little by little as I'm still trying to get pictures and my blog together, but hopefully the below is helpful. Feel free to ask questions.


~xenagurl

Flew from New York to Miami on Friday April 13th as I always like to arrive a day early to the departure city. Delays come in all forms and it wasn't as if I'd even be able to fly into the next port.


Norwegian Epic Transatlantic
April 14-25 2012


I normally bring a book, yarn and notebook and laptop loading with movies so that I have something to fill in the gaps of time with between activities that I'm interested in on a cruise. Usually I spend very little time utilizing them but bring them anyway. This time I wish I'd left all except for the laptop home, and that only because I view it as an appendage.


The ship was half full, and there were only about 40 children. The makings of a perfect vacation! We started by making a pit stop near Bermuda to let off a “medical emergency” after that it was smooth sailing. We had a couple of days that were slightly bumpy but nothing much to speak of. Fortunately there was sun quite a few days and that combined with their being few kids meant that if you were interested in the water slide it was all yours. So for 3 days I was able to let out my inner 8 year old yelling, screeching and giggling all the way down zippy funnels. The Orange and Yellow slide that you use the inner tube on is great, but by far my favorite is the green one. It's mostly enclosed, has a lot of twists and turns and makes you go the fastest, what's not to love!


Afterward warm up in one of the many Jacuzzis that are nearby.


Solo Lounge


I'm a solo traveler that is comfortable on her own, however 11 days on a ship with only one port of call a week in, means that it would probably be a lot more fun if you took the time to get to know your fellow passengers.


Meaghan the Activities Director for the solos did a good job in providing things to do if you were interested. I think the best thing was that you could befriend those that you felt comfortable with and do a few things with them without feeling forced to hang out with the entire group of people.


There wound up being about 5 of us that would go dancing every night and considering how long we were there I'm pretty sure we burned up everything that we ate and drank during the day.


The lounge itself is quite aesthetically appealing. Very mod with clean lines and cool colors. It's right in harmony with the studio cabins which are rather sleek. Walking down the hallways under lit with blue lighting and going into my “pod” made me feel as if I was on the Starship Enterprise.


Best of all there was a great coffee machine there. Between the many Espressos and the dancing it's no wonder I was up all night!


Shows


Legends was really good. I went to see the first showing before they switched over. I particularly liked the Elvis impersonator, he was quite good, had a sense of humor, seemed like he was enjoying himself and really engaged the audience. “Steven Tyler” looked very much like him and one of the best things was that he seems to stay in character. I saw him getting coffee in the solo lounge and it was as if it was really Steven standing there. How funny!


There was a Madonna impersonator as well with whom I wasn't as impressed with.



Spank Acapella. Did a good job! Lots of harmony as well as audience engagement.


Jeff Hobson – Magician
Is also a comedian. Very funny and did a really good job with his illusions. He even showed how some tricks were performed, which for the most part still went over my head as to how to do them but was interesting to realize the methodology behind them none the less.


Blue Man Group


Fascinating and encouraged audience participation. While it's not really my style of entertainment I was glad that I went and had a chance to experience a Blue Man show. I think it's something that tweens would love!


The two following were the most enjoyable ways to spend an evening (besides dancing into the wee hours) Howl at the Moon and drum roll please... Slam Allen at his group at Fat Cats.


Just wow! The team of 3 at Howl are extremely talented talented and a lot of fun. Watching Drew DeFour play is enjoyable in itself as he really gets into the music. Cin has a gorgeous voice and plays the piano with heart. Michael is crazy talented & funny. Warning. Do NOT request him to play Piano Man unless you you're wearing pants. I totally forgot about this despite seeing what had happened previously. The last night on the ship I requested it. I was wearing a dress above the knees. Let's just say I hope that it's not on YouTube. LOL


One more tip. If you like Nintendo music, let Drew know.


It's nearly a tie between the above group and Slam allen at his band but after much deliberations I'm saving my favorite for last.


Slam Allen at Fat Cats Blues Bar


I'm not even a huge blues fan but I LOVE the way that they play. LOVE it! It draws you right in and becomes a part of you. It's just fabulous. What's neat too is that performers from other shows will often spend time there and he'll invite them to perform as well. It's an amazing show that really isn't to be missed. If you don't like the Blues, go anyway. If you don't like live music, go anyway. You won't regret it.


There were other very talented musicians playing throughout the ship. A latino band that kept the pool deck lively in the afternoons and even came to the Bliss lounge to play some favorite tunes. Lots of fun! A young pianist that played at a bar (I forget which, one near the Ice Bar) with smooth notes that while I never sat down to listen to would always enjoy hearing the notes linger in the air as a walked by. A guitarist that played around the reading area and more.


Other activities. Oh I can't even go into them all. Let's just say plenty.
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#3
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
I did, the Captain and Food & Beverage Director.

The Captain was very visible and audible around the ship. (I knew it was time to wake up when he made his announcements at Noon) I spoke to him once in order to take a picture and another in time in passing, both times he was pleasant and in general came across as a fairly approachable person, but I didn't really speak to him at length.

He was outgoing with his announcements, always had a smile ready and struck me as a happy person.

Meaghan the Solo Activities Coordinator arranged for the The F&B Director to stop by the solo lounge one evening. I got the impression that he is a reserved person, but he was friendly and would say Hello whenever I saw him about the ship.
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#4
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
The Cruise Director is Richard Abreu who has an amazing amount of energy and is very friendly and outgoing.

I didn't see the Entertainment Director as much Simon ? (he's pretty well known around CC parts, but I can't remember his last name.) Very helpful and pleasant.
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#5
lisbon, ohio usa
2,461 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
we saw Simon but his wife and daughter were on board so maybe that is why he wasn't too visible...they were all 3 on our tour in the Azores....



Marsha
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#6
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by marshabear
we saw Simon but his wife and daughter were on board so maybe that is why he wasn't too visible...they were all 3 on our tour in the Azores....

Marsha
How sweet! I noticed him holding a little girl but I didn't realize that she was his.
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#7
Miami
4,526 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Very nice
Thanks for the TA review. What a great experience to sail Epic half full and all those sea days. That would be heaven!
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#8
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
It truly was! I'd definitely want to do it again.

I'll post more on the other activities tomorrow.
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#9
Bermuda
3,557 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by xenagurl
I did, the Captain and Food & Beverage Director.

The Captain was very visible and audible around the ship. (I knew it was time to wake up when he made his announcements at Noon) I spoke to him once in order to take a picture and another in time in passing, both times he was pleasant and in general came across as a fairly approachable person, but I didn't really speak to him at length.

He was outgoing with his announcements, always had a smile ready and struck me as a happy person.
Who was the captain?
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#11
California
1,066 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
great review, can't wait to see more.
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a bunch of others.....
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#12
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by pkt1976
great review, can't wait to see more.
Thanks. Out to do some more exploring of Barcelona tomorrow, will put my thoughts together during the day and type it up when I get back to the hotel.

Funny thing is we kept losing an hour about every other day (once two days in a row) and I had a cold when I first got here so I slept for a while and now my internal clock is all over the place. It's 2:00am and I'm surfing and crocheting. LOL I think I'll try to make myself sleep now.
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#13
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by www3traveler
Did you get to meet any other staff members? What was your opinion of them?
I realize that I forgot about 3 or 4 other people! Shame on me, my memory is horrid. The Executive Housekeeper Errol Nelson and his assistant Jose Omer (sp?). Super friendly and would say Hi each time I would see either of them. There was also a young lady from Colombia, she is in this photo here. (Found her name!) Carolina Clavijo - Assistant Hotel Director. She's was just the sweetest person. Lovely smile and super friendly.

BTW I remember seeing the Captain in passing two more time, both occasions quite friendly. Once I was sitting down at a table with one of the musicians and the Captain mentioned that he was the best on the ship. (Very true)
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#14
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
Food
*
I mainly ate at The Manhattan Room MDR. I did also experience Taste (2nd MDR) Teppanyaki, The Buffet as well as the Chef's table, the latter I believe there were at least 2 and possibly three on this sailing. I assume due to the length.



Unlike on Jewel class ships (and perhaps most in general) the buffet was in the front which mean that if you got there before the crowd you could have a seat overlooking a lovely view of the ocean. Most people did so, a few though hogged the chairs for inordinate lengths of time playing games. While I don't begrudge anyone a seat I find it hard to understand the need to take up some of the best viewing spots if you don't plan on doing any viewing.


Buffet food was good. I basically stuck to the fish and veggies so I can't really give an opinion on much else. I preferred the Tilapia in the buffet over the Tilapia served in the MDR. Both were tasty, but the style of cooking in the buffet used less oil which I prefer.


There was also a daily offering of Indian food and plenty to choose from in the Salad bar. I noticed that the hot food choices were pretty much the same on either side so that kept lines at bay.


The Manhattan room is quite stunning. Sleek, elegant and the best looking MDR that I've seen. I found myself ordering appetizers as meals not because the Entrees weren't good but simply because the appetizers were quite tasty and after a while there's really so much you can eat. 2 Mushroom quesadillas and Coconut sherbert is a pretty good meal!


Taste is in an Atrium style area with a gorgeous chandelier in the heart of it that reminds me of the Crystalline Entity for the first episode of Star Trek TNG (don't laugh, Trekkies travel too) upside down Christmas Tree, Hula Hoops and Bowling Balls whatever it's supposed to be, however you may see it, it's visually stunning and a captivating work of art.


I had a lunch (1st day) and dinner at Taste. I enjoyed both and the main reason why I didn't get back there was simply because I loved the layout of the Manhattan room and when I did eat dinner would usually go there.


The Chef's Table was lovely. The food was absolutely delicious. I'm going to leave the description to the pictures.


I'll add a link with pictures soon.
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#16
Mijas Costa, Costa del Sol, Spain
978 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by xenagurl
Pictures. More to come, all pretty self explanatory. Chef's Table menu for the foodies.
Hello Xena Just thought to touch base. Had an amazing time on the Jade cruise 23rd March. Good enough that we've now booked for the Jade Med & Holy Land for 10th November. Also now looking at the Star for the Baltic from Copenhagen in June 2013!! Actually took 10 days to book this time for November - must be slacking!!! Will keep in touch - hope you are keeping well sounds like you are having a great time Esperanza
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#17
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by Esperanza7
Hello Xena Just thought to touch base. Had an amazing time on the Jade cruise 23rd March. Good enough that we've now booked for the Jade Med & Holy Land for 10th November. Also now looking at the Star for the Baltic from Copenhagen in June 2013!! Actually took 10 days to book this time for November - must be slacking!!! Will keep in touch - hope you are keeping well sounds like you are having a great time Esperanza
Hi Esperanza!

Awesome! I'm glad that you had a wonderful cruise! Would love to see pics if you've posted them online.

We're going to just miss each other! I'll be on the November 21st sailing! Fiddlesticks! One of these days we'll meet! The Jade is like a siren she keeps pulling us back to her.

Definitely enjoying the ride. With the Breakaway sailing out of NY, I do think I'm going to be in trouble. LOL
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#18
7,102 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Great review. Did you hear anything about Slam Allen leaving the ship? Rumors are he was getting off - I hope just for a vacation!
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#19
New York
2,350 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by willysgrandma
Great review. Did you hear anything about Slam Allen leaving the ship? Rumors are he was getting off - I hope just for a vacation!
Thank you. Slam will be there. I spoke to him the evening before debarkation and he said that he leaves for vacation but that's it. It's been two years now and they're really fortunate to have him, he's a definite draw!
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#20
Virginia, USA
3,456 Posts
Joined May 2007
Completely agree with you! Slam Allen is the absolute best!!! We enjoyed the other entertainment but we came back to Fat Cats every night to hear Slam Allen and the band. Slam is charismatic and his music is wonderful. We would take another Epic cruise just to hear his music.
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