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GetMeOutOfMN

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  1. We just stayed in a 2Br (H4) suite in the Haven on Epic. We also have a family of 5, but with teens and young adults. Space was fine - oldest slept on the LR couch. Storage for the second bedroom was a little tighter, but tons of space in the master. I'm still not quite sure why they give you a swanky bedroom with mood lights and no lock on the door... 🙂 I agree with Two Wheels that it's important to know what the butler /concierge can do for you to best benefit from the experience. They have a handy phone that you can use to call the butler (which I never did), but it was the last day before I realized I could also carry it around for the kids to find US (a feature that had some technical guffaw the day we finally tried it). Our cruise happened to be THE spring break booze cruise so avoiding the chaos of 4000 drunk college students from the relative peace and calm of the Haven was amazing. The restaurant was great for breakfast (a nice buffet of grab and go items and/or full service options) and dinner, but for some reason all the food ordered at lunch was so-so with fries and other hot food not served hot. The priority embarkation and disembarkation (for GSC too) was also awesome, but sometimes it was hard to follow the special instructions for Haven guests amongst the regular announcements and dailies. We have cruised Royal 3 times (in two rooms, and once in a Oceanview family suite) and Disney when we only had the one kid. I thought I wanted something different but I was not a fan of this experience and I don't know if the premium I paid was worth it. Being used to a full production show each night in the main theater, I was disappointed with the entertainment onboard. Priscilla was fun, but it and Burn the Floor were repeated over the week instead of a show each night. Howl at the moon was in a venue set up like a seminar, with rows of seating hard to get around. Some of the game shows were fun, but they were held in the atrium where it was hard to see or hard to avoid. Cool bars but again in public traffic spaces or by elevator banks that made it hard to visit and connect with fellow shipmates. Escape the Big top was fun and well done. My teens enjoyed the teen area and activities. We avoided the pool deck due to the aforementioned college revelers. Now some people say the Epic is a unique boat and isn't necessarily representative of NCL. Maybe so, but it just felt different, maybe less "happy" than Royal. I spoke to other first-time NCL cruisers who felt the same way. This ship's staff was seriously lacking in enthusiasm and even in general knowledge about ship amenities and policies. Drinks were well-made but lines took forever. Food was okay, but unlike the grab and go Sorrento's on Royal, you must check in and be seated at O'Sheehan's and then you cannot bring your food out (even to the counter overlooking the atrium). Found that odd. I both liked and didn't the freestyle dress code. All of us were glad to not have to change for dinner (especially the boys who would have had to wear, oh the horror, some pants). That said, shirtless and bikini clad people parading through public spaces all day was awkward. With the gratuity charges and exclusions, the freebies didn't really feel free. Make sure to check out the amenities on your boat and be sure they work for you. Our boat had a 18-plus sundeck but families with older kids were regularly up there and no one seemed to complain. Not sure if that is helpful to you, but it was our experience.
  2. Live to cruise... my daughter Emma from MN plans to stop by the 8pm 18-21 meeting at bliss. Maybe you will run into each other there. This place is packed!
  3. We'll be on board next week too! We also saw this on Royal so are glad to hear there should be something similar. Hopefully you two will run into each other... 🙂
  4. Traveling with my 21YO daughter on Epic this month. Our last cruise she was too old for the teens program and couldn't hang out with her brother/sister in the teen club. I haven't seen any mention, when I search, regarding opportunities for young adults to get together. We tried to find a friend to bring with but it didn't work out. Of course she will spend time with us, but if she wants to hang with someone her own age, do the ships (Epic, in particular) offer meet and greets for the young adult set? Thanks!
  5. Thanks! I saw the reviews for that were pretty good, but they did mention the whole thing was maybe 30 mins actually on the wave runners and no real "tour" of the area. Still worth it, though? Currently I am planning on a clamshell with my shore excursion credit. When we went to Royal's private island we took a long walk through the "woods" and saw iguanas and birds on our trip to a more secluded beach. My kids (even as teenagers) can spent hours digging in the sand. I just wanted to have the option to rent stuff if they decide to snorkel or something. I assume the equipment is all on property already and not shuttled over...
  6. We are hoping to be at GSC next week... We hope to wander around the island and explore. Has anyone recently been ashore? Have the renovations for the Haven area been completed? We kayak and SUP all summer in the lake behind our house so really are not excited about that, but can we rent equipment (snorkel gear and SUP's) on the fly if we get bored?
  7. OMG - the photos are keeping my soul alive right now! We just got 8-10 of much-needed snow, but the temps are dropping and the wind is picking up and we are looking at -35 windchills again tomorrow. Can you share how much the clamshells were? Is there two loungers in each?
  8. Do you know when construction is expected to be done? Is there a site or something to track that sort of thing? We cruise in Mid-March. Thanks OP for the review!
  9. I actually like the idea of random colors to keep everyone's card straight in a big group. We sail on Epic next month. I guess we'll see what we get then!
  10. What about a trip to Fajardo? We actually came into San Juan a day early to do a bioluminescent bay tour that was a kayak trip through mangrove forest out into a protected bay. The bay doesn't really light up as much as the ads say, but it was a beautiful night paddle. I would aim for first tour out. As the tours start coming back it makes for some interesting crosstraffic in the pitch black. 🙂 El Yunque is a cool park to check out too. There is a waterfall that is packed and hard to get to but the hiking around the park is fun. Not sure how late the park stays open...
  11. 2Beeze - don't go to any extra trouble on my account! It's been extremely helpful just to understand the bed setup. We cruise in March and can't wait!
  12. I'm sorry you took this as a criticism... I was just explaining why I had no idea. It's not really visible on the NCL floorpan either. I'm am pleasantly surprised and glad someone asked!
  13. My kids are 21, 17 and 14. They ALL need to be 18 for us to go in Posh as a family, correct? And thanks for the info on tipping. We are on 16th but have no trouble walking the extra set of stairs. thanks!
  14. This is really helpful. Most videos online only peek into the second bedroom and all I saw was artwork and mirror with no idea there is an upper berth in there too! That is great for our family so the kids can have their own space without "so and so on THEIR side".
  15. The videos never show the set-up of the second "closet" bedroom. There is a pullman upper berth? In all H4's on Epic? My kids thought they would have to sleep side by side on the twin pull out but the upper berth is a game changer!!
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