Posted May 21st, 2012, 08:48 PM
I’m way behind on posting this, but wanted to share my experience on the Epic for the May 6-13 Western Mediterranean sailing.
We did this cruise as a family to celebrate my little sister’s graduation from college. They have never been to Europe before and I had only been to Copenhagen, but my sister has wanted to visit Barcelona and I wanted to visit France, so this itinerary seemed like a good fit. My parents normally cruise Celebrity (we heard endless comparisons – both good and bad – to Celebrity the whoooooole cruise), so NCL was a big change of pace for them and the Epic was maybe too different for them. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, although we were exhausted by the end of it.
After reading so much about Epic and previously sailing on the Gem and loving it, I really wanted to try the Epic. It’s definitely different from any other cruise ship out there with a fair share of minuses, but overall I liked it and would strongly consider sailing it again, but on a Caribbean itinerary when there’s more time to enjoy the ship and its offerings.
We originally booked 2 inside rooms, but after final payment, the prices for all categories dropped dramatically and our travel agent was able to get us complimentary upgrades to balcony rooms on Deck 8, which was great for being able to easily walk downstairs to the main dining rooms, Bliss lounge, and Epic Theater. Our cabins were covered, although there are some balconies on Deck 8 that are not.
The room was a bit surprising how small it felt when we first walked in and I can’t imagine more than 2 people sharing it, especially with such little clearance around the bed. However, as everyone else has noted, the rooms are designed with a ton of storage space. Our room was the “less desirable” design where the bed is closer to the door, but we found one big advantage was that we had a much deeper closet and drawers across from the couch than our parents’ room, which was the “more desirable” bed-by-balcony design. Their second closet and drawers were about 8 inches deep while we had much more space in that area. I really liked the storage area behind the couch for bigger items.
The bathrooms weren’t too much of an issue, other than the fact that when someone had the curtain closed, the other person couldn’t really enter/exit the room without disturbing privacy. I really liked how spacious the shower was, although we had draining issues and stood in about an inch of water every shower. The fact that the shower had DOORS though is something very nice that NCL cruisers make take for granted, but after sailing the Crown Princess, shower doors feel like a very nice amenity! I also would prefer a bar of soap to be provided rather than shower gel, but brought my own. The cabinet over the sink had a good amount of storage space as well, which was fantastic.
My sister and I could sleep through a rock concert, so the tiny blue lights on the reading lamps didn’t bother us in the slightest. If you’re really that sensitive to light you a) may be a vampire and b) might think about bringing an eye mask. I really liked the keycard slot to keep the lights on as well – hopefully it saves a lot of energy from people who leave their lights on – plus, you always knew where your key was in the room!
The TV in the room is a bit bizarre – we couldn’t get the volume to be very loud and our parents had the same issue, which the room steward took care of. On the interactive menu, we tried viewing the dining room menus and the whole system froze and then re-started itself. After that, the volume could go much louder – so strange! I really liked being able to book restaurants/shows and view your folio on the TV though.
Up next, the Epic herself…
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
Norwegian Getaway - Inaugural CTN
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway - Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN
(Review w/ pics
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic - E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic - W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)