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My View: The Epic Beauty/Beast

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Enjoying your review of the Epic! Sailed twice and love her. Sounds like you came to enjoy the ship, too.


Oh, and the Rebellious Fish is one of my favorite drinks on NCL! Sailed Carnival last month and missed the fish!

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looking forward to reading your review! Sailing on her Next March and enjoying learning all I can before then. Can't wait to see all the tips that you have. Already learned a few things just from the first day of posts.

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Thanks for your review. Sailed the Epic in her inaugural year. Wasn’t my favorite NCL ship but didn’t hate her. LOL. My group of 65 will sail her from Barcelona on 8/19 and I appreciate your info!



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Really appreciate you taking the time writing your review of the Epic! Wife and I sail an 11 day in Nov 2018. This will be our first mega ship cruise. Loved the Star and Gem previously. Also did Royal, Brilliance of the Seas. Crew and ship were very good.


Thanks again for helping us get ready for our Epic cruise!

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First, a great big “Thank you” for all the comments and compliments. I enjoy writing reviews, as I re-live my cruise in pictures.


In the essence of time, I will not reply to every comment, but I do appreciate the feedback!


I will try to answer questions as I go, unless I have a plan for that specific question in the review.


Grab some coffee, we are about to start day 2...

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Before I enter day 2 of "My View", I have to backtrack on a couple of day 1 things I forgot about.


First, I read a great tip here on CC that you could turn the phone display off at night. It is pretty bright, so if you like darkness in the room, here is a video to turn off the display. :cool:


In a nutshell, the display is a touch screen, and you just tap on the icon of a light bulb to turn it off.


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Second, Latitudes:


Confession: We do not keep close track of our Latitudes level, as the benefits are not as good as Royal. We missed the exclusive cocktail party, because we were tired and did not want to get dressed up. There was no stated dress code, but I did not even want to fight the low lighting in the cabin to put make up on… LOL! Hindsight, I wish I had put that make up on and attended! I am a geek for all the info we usually get from events like these. Now my Type A personality will always wonder what I missed!


With that said, here is the welcome card and benefits for Silver:







Every Latitudes level gets a free bottle of Champagne/Sparkling wine/Brut (or whatever your term of choice is). TIP: You can exchange this unopened bottle for a chilled bottle of the same Brut at any bar or diningroom (Free):




TIP: Keep a close eye on the Dailies. You do not receive an invitation or notification of the Latitudes cocktail party. On our cruise, it was on day 4 at 5:45 p.m. in Bliss. Consider your dining reservation times if you are interested in the cocktail party.

Edited by APDMOM
tip in red
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The last thing before we continue with day 2: Make your reservations for dinner and shows before the cruise. You can always cancel, once onboard. We had 5:30 p.m. reservations for Manhattan for 6 nights. We ended up cancelling, as we enjoyed the laid back atmosphere in Taste more. However, if you want to eat in Manhattan or a specialty restaurant, make reservations in advance. I saw people turned away due to this being a sold out cruise.

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We started our day with breakfast in Taste. I do not have any food pictures of this morning, but will add some later this week. I know DH enjoyed the Croque Madame, I LOVED the multi-grain waffle, and DS had a ham omelette with corned beef hash. Side-note: NCL Corned Beef Hash is MUCH better than Royal’s.


Here is the menu for breakfast. It changes just a little bit with 3 “Daily Features" items:



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TIP: You can book tender tickets on any of the electronic displays on the ship, or at Headliners (before muster drill) on the first day. I would recommend you do this as soon as you are on the ship if you want one of the first tenders.


We opted not to get tender tickets, as we read many negative reviews here on CC. We decided to enjoy the balcony and ship until general tendering was called. We barely missed the first general tender trip, so we had to wait about 10 minutes in the Epic Lounge. We were on the tender by 10:30 a.m., and docked at Great Stirrup Cay at 11:01. They do wait a long time to fill the whole tender.




TIP: On the way to the island, get a seat at the bottom level - they debark the lower level first. On the way back to the ship, sit at the top level, as they debark the top level first to get onto the ship. We had it the wrong way, going to the island. We were first on the tender, but almost last off.


Arriving at the island - tender debarks from the bottom level first:



Beauty or Beast? (The verdict to come..., but I think you know she grows on you):


Edited by APDMOM
tips in red
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The only other visit we had to Great Stirrup Cay was in 2009 on Norwegian Dawn. It sounds like it is hit-or-miss for tendering at this port, so I am happy that we are 2 for 2 at this time. The area has been built up quite a bit, and we enjoyed exploring the new beaches.


When we got to the island, we thought we would have a hard time finding a beach and lounger, as we waited for general tendering. We took the advice of other Cruise Critic reviews to go past the Bacardi Bar. We found an almost empty beach with plenty of loungers just below the second bar (Not Bacardi bar):



The “other bar” (I don’t know the name) is seen in this picture, by the blue umbrellas. It was a short approx. 50-yards walk from our lounger.



Side-note..... Speaking of the bar: On day 1, we tried the Mango Meltdown (per CC recommendations) at the pool bar. It was icy and very watered down. It did not look anything like the pictures I had seen.


We tried it again at this bar on GSC, and it was very good. Still not strong, but definitely not icy. TIP: We had the worst service and drink mixes at the pool bar, except at the frozen drinks area, which I will point out later in the review. So, try the same drink at 2 or 3 different bars to find your favorite. The Atrium bar ended up being our favorite, with O’Sheehan’s coming in a close second. O’Sheehan’s tended to be slower due to being busy.


Back to Great Stirrup Cay:

It is totally out of character for me not to have a map of the island, but I assumed we would be able to pick one up on the island. When I asked the NCL excursions employee, he looked at me like I am crazy to think there is a map on the island… Go figure! Off the beaten path we went!

Edited by APDMOM
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To get to ‘our spot’, walk past the Pisa-looking tower. We took one of the loungers under the palm trees seen in this picture:



In consideration of our strict “cruise budget”, we bought an inflatable raft for $3 at our local grocery store. DH faithfully inflated it so that we could lounge in the water.


Oops! After inflating it, we realized the water was just too cold for our Florida blood, so we donated the lounger to a family who seemed to have northern blood.


DH is the only one who made it into the water for about 2 minutes. It got a little more busy during the time we spent there:



The view from my lounger:



Family time: There are many great spots for pictures with the ship in the background.



Beautiful island… the red umbrellas you see in this picture are by the Bacardi Bar:


Edited by APDMOM
tips in red
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