Carribean Princess vs Norwegian Epic

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253 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
OK so we were all set to book our January 2013 Southern Carribean cruise on Carribean Princess (FLL-Princess Cays-Aruba-Curacao- FLL with 3 sea days) when we came across a deal on Norwegian Epic for Eastern Carribean (Miami-St Martin-St Thomas-Nassau-MIA with 3 sea days). The Epic looks like an interesting ship. We have never sailed NCL but love Princess (from our pre kid days). Now that we'll have a just turned 3 year old in tow and we are wondering what would be a better experience.

Pros for Princess: we already have a $100 cruise deposit which is expiring in Feb so we use it or lose it
Depart out of FLL
Cost For a Mini Suite we'd be paying $3150.41 on Dolphin deck ($2900 if we want to go to Emerald but I have heard these cabins can be noisy).
Flight - I can use miles and pay $300 for tax. It will blow out my miles but they're expiring anyway. Total = $3447.89 (or $3200 on Emerald). - $100 cruise deposit.

Pros for NCL: Flight plus transfers plus cruise for the three of us in a mini suite is $3835.05. We'd fly into FLL and they'd transfer us to Miami.
NCL kids club takes kids in diapers - my daughter is not yet potty trained (she may be by the time of the cruise, but we're taking a chance if she's not !) Advantage to NCL as we wouldn't need to worry about dropping her off in diapers if she's still in them. Epic has a lot of neat features but not sure if we'd utilize them.

Can anyone weigh in on this? I'm guessing both cruises won't have that many kids due to the sail date but NCL might have more simply as it's more geared to the family market .

Many thanks!
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Cruise History:

Carribean Princess - Southern Carribean - January 2013
Emerald Princess - Scandinavia and Baltics - September 2009
Sapphire Princess - Mexican Riviera - February 2009
Celebrity Xpedition - Galapagos - December 2008
Grand Princess - Western Caribbean - January 2008
Coral Princess - Alaska - August 2007
2,139 Posts
Joined May 2005
We love both of these ships and have cruised on them both with our DD - now 8 yrs old. I'd give a slight edge to NCL with a 3 year old. The flexibility of having the ability to enjoy a few hours to ourselves in the evening is important to us. Some children do great for 1 1/2 hour dinners - our DD is Inot one of these children.

The kids club on NCL is a very large room and the staff is fabulous. You are correct in thinking you will not utilize many of the "awesome" features with a 3 year old. I would say 5 or 6 is beginning age to enjoy all this ship has to offer.

Princess has always been great with our little girl and we really love the Movies Under the Stars. I think food and service are great on CB, but the EPIC has so much variety in dining.

The itineraries are both good with a 3 year old, Princess slightly better imho. Reading my post - I think I am probably no help at all. They are both great ships.
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[email protected] (Real Estate)
Pennsylvania and Florida
1,250 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
OP if the $100.00 deposit you are talking about is a Princess future cruise credit which expires in 4 years from deposit, they are refundable. Check your paperwork.
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July 1992 - Alaska - Regent Star
November 2006 - Bahamas - Disney Wonder
November 2007 - Western Caribbean - Grand Princess
November 2008 - Eastern Caribbean - Eurodam
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January 2014-Western Caribbean - Carnival Dream

May 2014 - Western Caribbean - Carnival Legend
October 2014 - Western Caribbean - Caribbean Princess
July 2015 - British Isles - Royal Princess
November 2016 - Western Caribbean - Caribbean Princess
208 Posts
Joined May 2001

We are booked on the Epic for January. We have sailed NCL and Princess. I'd go NCL all the way. It is a little more casual. There is a splash park for toddlers - will need to check the diaper rules. The restaurants are flexible. They have Dora and Diego characters onboard.

We've often sailed out of Miami from FLL. Not a big deal.

I would give credit to Princess for having a room that might be better suited to all three of you though.

Pic of shaded splash area for toddlers:

Coastal GA USA
21,704 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
I believe NCL will take your child in diapers, but they will call you if she needs a change. Don't worry about noise in the Emerald deck minis. We had E730 and only on one night did we hear some bass, but it all stops by 11pm. EM
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73 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
We loved Epic! The entertainment was wonderful. Our kids were older (11 and 7) but we all had a great time. I love the casual nature or NCL. The freestyle dining completely won us over.

I can't comment on Princess, since we have never tried that line, but I would do Epic again in a heartbeat.
New York
3,078 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
We loved the Epic - my littlest just turned 5 and enjoyed the splash area (and the pool - she liked both!). We booked it again because we loved it so much.

Here are a few pics of the splash area

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Prior Cruises
Monarch of the Seas - 10/96 - Honeymoon
Serenade of the Seas - 1/17/09 - Southern Caribbean - cabin 7600
Norwegian Epic - 1/15/11 - Eastern Caribbean - Courtyard 2BR Villa (S4) 16016
Norwegian Gem - 10/2/11 - Bermuda - cabin 11024 (SC)
Norwegian Epic - 2/16/13- Eastern Caribbean - Haven 2BR Villa (S4) 16016
Norwegian Breakaway - 10/13/13 - FL/GSC/Nassau - cabin 11910 (B1 Aft Balcony)
Norwegian Sky - 12/5/14 - 3-night to Bahamas & GSC - cabin 9058 (BC)
Adventure of the Seas - 2/1/15 - Southern Caribbean - cabin 9640 (D2)
Norwegian Getaway - 7/11/15 - St Thomas/Tortola/Nassau - cabin 11274 (BC with angled balcony)
Norwegian Escape - 8/20/16 - St. Maarten/St. Thomas/Tortola/Nassau - cabin 8126 (M6)

Harmony of the Seas 11/8/16 - 2 night pre-inaugural to Nassau inside 14327
Carnival Vista - 12/3/16 - Southern Caribbean - cabin 2261 (4B)
Harmony of the Seas - 10/28/17 - Western Caribbean (Falmouth, Cozumel, Labadee) - cabin 11305 (boardwalk balcony)
Trinity, Fl
2,360 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Your 3 year-old will LOVE LOVE LOVE the NCL Epic. Mine went crazy for spongebob, Dora, Diego and the Nick Activities. It was hands down our best cruise ever. There was so much to do for both adults and children. I havent sailed Princess yet but my parents and DH's parents both have and said the NCL Epic was unlike no other ship they have ever been on. I would vote for NCL
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