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LisaLisa87

Which cruise would you choose?

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Hello, NCL cruisers! We planned our 2020 spring break trip months ago, but we decided over the weekend to change gears. I’ve spent the past couple of days looking into cruises that would work for our dates and budget. For the most part, we like newer, bigger ships (we loved Allure and Harmony). We don’t have much experience with NCL, but prices for the RCCL cruises that interest us are too high. Our priorities are as follows:

 

  • We want to visit some new ports, and we will get off the ship in every port. We like a mix of beach days and more adventurous activities (zip lining, ATVs, etc). 
  • We’d prefer to sail on a relatively new ship with lots of things to do. Fun activities, good shows, quality food options, etc. 
  • We like to lounge near the pool on sea days.
  • We would prefer a mini-suite since we’ll be sailing with our 16yo DD. 
  • Last but not least, cost is a factor. We would love to max out at $4k for the cruise but are willing to go a little higher. 

 

I think I have our choices narrowed down to these two cruises. Both come with all perks. I’ve listed the ports with the number of times we’ve already been. 

 

Epic 4/4-11 from Miami 

Roatán, Bay Islands - never

Harvest Caye - never

Costa Maya - never

Cozumel - twice

$3,675 for 3 of us in a mid-ship mini-suite (MA)

 

Breakaway 4/4-11 from Orlando

Great Stirrup Cay - never

Ocho Rios - never (but have been to Falmouth twice)

George Town - never (have wanted to go for years)

Cozumel - twice

$4,302 for 3 of us in a mid-ship mini-suite (MB)

 

Given our priorities, which of these cruises would you choose??

Edited by LisaLisa87

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If the itinerary is your priority, I would choose the Breakaway without hesitation. Having been to all the ports for both cruises, Breakaway’s itinerary is superior IMHO. I do prefer the Epic however, over the Breakaway. It is not everyone’s cup of tea due to the cabin layout. You can read much about that on the boards. For us, however, it remains one of our all time favorite ships,  particularly for sea days. 

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I tend to believe you'd enjoy both...

However, w/ your 16yr old daughter joining you, you may want to take a look @ the bathroom layout on the Epic. 

We enjoyed our time on the Epic & the bathroom didn't bother us - but we didn't have someone else with us who may be bothered by it...

Edited by Von & John

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I would do the Epic. Nice ship and I like the Itinerary better. Ochos Rios not so safe.

 

Also transportation is inexpensive from airport to hotels near ship.

I only go out of Orlando when I do Disney and stay in hotels at Disney then take a shuttle.

 

I think Miami has better setup for transportation as the hotels then habe cheap shuttle to ships.

 

Lastly the price is cheaper and would pay for shore excursions.

 

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On both ships, the "mini suite" room is about the same size as a balcony. On both ships, the additional space in the mini suite in in the bathroom space. E.g., a full size/bath tub size shower vs. small transporter tube.  On the Epic, there is no hard door to the bathroom. There is a curtain that can be closed to separate the shower and toilet stalls from the bed. We have been on the Epic 7 times and that aspect of the room does not bother us. 

 

Based on your criteria, we would pick the Epic. 

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1) Make sure you understand what the mini suite is before you're sold on it since price is an issue. The only difference is the bathroom - the room doesn't really have any more space than a balcony. 

 

2) While I haven't been on a regular cabin on the Epic, I'm not sure I'd ever want to share an open bathroom with my parents in a cabin at any age past like 10. It could be managed, but could be awkward as hell. 

 

3) I'd pick GSC over harvest due to everything being included on GSC (though harvest has a pier so it's less likely to be skipped). Maybe I'll change my mind after I go to hc next month. 

 

4) Ocho is a lot closer to cool stuff than falmouth - I actually took a catamaran to Dunn river falls which was cool. Lots of options for a non beach day

 

I haven't been on Epic yet but the kid might enjoy the ropes course on breakaway. 

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7 hours ago, Oceansaway17 said:

I would do the Epic. Nice ship and I like the Itinerary better. Ochos Rios not so safe.

 

Agree.  We did not feel safe at all at Ocho Rios.  Headed right back to the ship.

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We don't cruise the Caribbean since our first one in 2012.  We like historical places, not going to the beach.

 

The Mayan sites in Mexico would appeal to us more than anything.  Also, we prefer the smaller ships and paying the lowest fares.

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I happen to love the bathroom set up but as a family with a teen daughter I would be a bit leary about the bathroom set up. 

 

Itinerary: I like the Epic better. Just make sure if you do a tour in Ocho Rios do it with a tour company or NCL. BTW best part of that itinerary would be Ocho Rios and climbing Dunn River falls. It is an awesome experience. Just after you get to the top overlook the vendors that will try and sell you anything including a bottle of sand I bet. 

 

Poolside: The Breakaway pool ares isn't the best on sea days. It gets really crowded, but that is not unusual for any pool area on sea days I think. 

 

Looking at the price, knowing the activities on both ships etc, I would choose the Breakaway 

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I would go with the Epic itinerary, actually I am on that sailing.  🙂

 

The Breakaway itinerary has two tender ports.  As mentioned before GSC gets missed a lot and from what I've read on here Georgetown is hit and miss.

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1 hour ago, ColeThornton said:

I would go with the Epic itinerary, actually I am on that sailing.  🙂

 

The Breakaway itinerary has two tender ports.  As mentioned before GSC gets missed a lot and from what I've read on here Georgetown is hit and miss.

I was going to make this same point -- two tender ports, which we try to avoid.

 

I would choose the Epic with no hesitation. We didn't like GSC at all, but we did enjoy Harvest Caye. Ocho Rios is a great port if you want to see/do something in Jamaica (as opposed to Falmouth). There are plenty of independent tour operators there that are reasonable and will take you where you want to go, hopefully beating the crowds. We booked a private independent driver for the day to take us to Blue Hole, a tour, and lunch. Just make arrangements before hand. The Jamaica board will have plenty of suggestions. 

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Epic....personal bias, it was one of the most revolutionary ships I had ever sailed on when it first hit the seas.

 

I like both itineraries, so that’s up to you.

 

Plus, Epic is a bit less expensive, too.

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I haven't been on the Breakaway yet but I will be on that itinerary in February.  I have been on the Getaway and I liked it.  I also liked the Epic.  Both Itineraries are good so I would let price to be the determinant.

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If you do decide to go for Epic, you better change the mini-suite to either MB or MD.

 

Epic MA and MC mini-suites have bathtub (short kind and not exactly a soaking tub), whereas MB and MD have luxury (big) shower.

 

The minisuites on Breakaway have spacious bathroom with great large walk-in shower and long trough sink.

 

For privacy, I'd go for Breakaway.

 

 

 

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Huge thanks to all who have replied. You've given me a lot to think about! So far, it looks like more of you recommend Epic for a variety of reasons, including the price difference. I have to say that the description of the bathroom concerns me just a bit. I'll check out a couple of videos on Youtube to see what that's all about. On the flip side, I don't love the idea of tendering twice, and while I would love to go to Grand Cayman, Jamaica doesn't thrill me.

 

For whatever reason, mini-suites on both ships are priced just a bit higher than the lease expensive balcony cabins. I could get a BD on Breakaway for $4,182 or a BE on Epic for $3,275. Mid-ship balconies are just a smidge cheaper than the mid-ship mini-suites.

 

I generally use Cruisedeckplans.com for cabin and balcony square footage, although they don't differentiate between living space and bathroom space. Here are the specs they give for the two ships:

 

Epic

Mini Suite
Cabin: 189 sqft
Balcony: 56 sqft

  vs. 

Balcony
Cabin: 151 sqft
Balcony: 65 sqft

 

Breakaway

Mini-Suite
Cabin: 204 sqft
Balcony: 30 sqft << That is a seriously small balcony!

  vs.

Balcony
Cabin: 172 sqft
Balcony: 30 sqft

 

Is there any additional living space at all in the mini-suites, or is is literally all in the bathrooms? Is the amount of storage space the same? 

 

Thanks again for all your input!

Edited by LisaLisa87

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3 hours ago, bluesea777 said:

If you do decide to go for Epic, you better change the mini-suite to either MB or MD.

 

Epic MA and MC mini-suites have bathtub (short kind and not exactly a soaking tub), whereas MB and MD have luxury (big) shower.

 

The minisuites on Breakaway have spacious bathroom with great large walk-in shower and long trough sink.

 

For privacy, I'd go for Breakaway.

 

Thank you for this info! If I book Epic, I'll choose either an MA or MC.

Edited by LisaLisa87

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20 minutes ago, LisaLisa87 said:

 

Thank you for this info! If I book Epic, I'll choose either an MA or MC.

 

I got that backwards, and it's too late to edit. If I book Epic, I'll be sure to choose either MB or MD for the big shower!

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The Epic is a really fun ship! The bathroom set up is a little strange but it does have a curtain that pulls across. Any regular stateroom is too small for 2 adults and a teenager to get ready so I don’t know about that. I doubt you would all be in there at the same time anyway. I like the itinerary of the Epic better as well. Good luck! You can’t go wrong with any cruise. 

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Breakaway. I prefer the room layout and prefer the beaches on that itinerary. Grand Caymans has that white sand and crystal clear water and I like the cruise ship private islands. Great stirrup cay is relaxing and the Bahamas has that really blue water I enjoy. 

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Unless you are spending a lot of time on the balcony I don't think the size is an issue. We love our balcony cabins but only use the balcony for relaxing early in the morning and maybe reading a bit mid day. I just think the itinerary is so much better on the Breakaway. Yes, missing GSC is really hit or miss, but rarely have I heard on anyone missing Georgetown. WE certainly have not and have done similar itineraries about 6 or 7 times, all seasons. both ships should be fun for all of you, including a teenager. 

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On 9/25/2019 at 6:16 AM, billslowsky said:

Agree.  We did not feel safe at all at Ocho Rios.  Headed right back to the ship.

 

great minds think alike.  I avoid Jamaica if I can because of that island being a target by some groups from middle east.

It has been in the news so I did not make it up.

 

I see you did Pride of America.  I am doing that ship in 2021 and will go around twice. I have a solo room and I have not been to Hawaii since 1980.

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14 hours ago, newmexicoNita said:

Unless you are spending a lot of time on the balcony I don't think the size is an issue. We love our balcony cabins but only use the balcony for relaxing early in the morning and maybe reading a bit mid day. I just think the itinerary is so much better on the Breakaway. Yes, missing GSC is really hit or miss, but rarely have I heard on anyone missing Georgetown. WE certainly have not and have done similar itineraries about 6 or 7 times, all seasons. both ships should be fun for all of you, including a teenager. 

 

We don’t spend tons of time on the balcony, but it’s nice to have the option for all 3 of us to be out there at the same time. Balcony size is not a dealbreaker, though. The itineraries are kind of a wash to me... although the idea of tendering twice doesn’t thrill me. It would be very disappointing to miss GSC as we always enjoy private island days. 

 

I’ve actually booked Epic, but I keep second guessing because of the weird cabin layout!

Edited by LisaLisa87

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35 minutes ago, Oceansaway17 said:

 

great minds think alike.  I avoid Jamaica if I can because of that island being a target by some groups from middle east.

It has been in the news so I did not make it up.

 

I see you did Pride of America.  I am doing that ship in 2021 and will go around twice. I have a solo room and I have not been to Hawaii since 1980.

 

Yes, we sailed PoA in June and had an amazing cruise. The ship was not our favorite (although we thought she was in very good shape), but the itinerary was incredible. We enjoyed the experience so much that we’re considering doing it again in early 2021 for DH’s 50th. 

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48 minutes ago, Oceansaway17 said:

I see you did Pride of America.  I am doing that ship in 2021 and will go around twice. I have a solo room and I have not been to Hawaii since 1980.

We had a aft balcony on POA.  Kind of felt it was a waste of money, we were off the ship as much as possible and in some ports there was construction and loading going on.  The islands are the attraction much more than the ship.  I really enjoyed spending time at Poipu (and at the Kona Brewery).

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On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:

Hello, NCL cruisers! We planned our 2020 spring break trip months ago, but we decided over the weekend to change gears. I’ve spent the past couple of days looking into cruises that would work for our dates and budget. For the most part, we like newer, bigger ships (we loved Allure and Harmony). We don’t have much experience with NCL, but prices for the RCCL cruises that interest us are too high. Our priorities are as follows:

 

RCCL is really insane with their pricing, I have very strong anti-RCCL feelings, so full disclosure.  

 

On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:
  • We want to visit some new ports, and we will get off the ship in every port. We like a mix of beach days and more adventurous activities (zip lining, ATVs, etc). 

NCL has lots of great adventurous excursions. 

On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:
  • We’d prefer to sail on a relatively new ship with lots of things to do. Fun activities, good shows, quality food options, etc. 

NCL has lots of them... 

On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:
  • We like to lounge near the pool on sea days.

On the NCL Epic to the Med we lounged by the pool all day, every day.  No regrets.  No struggle getting chairs.

On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:
  • We would prefer a mini-suite since we’ll be sailing with our 16yo DD. 

NCL Mini Suites are SO MUCH BETTER than RCCL's Junior Suites (which would be the closest comparison).  SO MUCH STORAGE.  And the soaking tub is also a huge plus.  

On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:
  • Last but not least, cost is a factor. We would love to max out at $4k for the cruise but are willing to go a little higher. 

It makes my head spin how much it would cost for my 15 year old daughter and I to cruise on RCCL... and I really want to do Harmony because that's my name.  I told Royal I should be the namesake... they must not have read my tweets.

On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:

 

I think I have our choices narrowed down to these two cruises. Both come with all perks. I’ve listed the ports with the number of times we’ve already been. 

 

Epic 4/4-11 from Miami 

Roatán, Bay Islands - never

Harvest Caye - never

Costa Maya - never

Cozumel - twice

$3,675 for 3 of us in a mid-ship mini-suite (MA)

We have cruised most of the major lines (outside of Celebrity), and the NCL Epic is by far my daughter and my favorite ship.  WE LOVED our mini-suite... there was a stupid amount of storage... we were able to pack away two months of clothing and acquired goods from living in Paris all summer, and we had SO MUCH MORE space that we could have filled it with.  The couches were also super comfortable to sleep on (according to the kiddo at least).  

On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:

Breakaway 4/4-11 from Orlando

Great Stirrup Cay - never

Ocho Rios - never (but have been to Falmouth twice)

George Town - never (have wanted to go for years)

Cozumel - twice

$4,302 for 3 of us in a mid-ship mini-suite (MB)

I have not been on Breakaway, so I can't really comment on this, but we have done the Escape, and while the ship is great and we did love it, we would book the Epic before any other ship (and we did... and then cancelled for a different cruise because I struggled to justify an addition 2200 for airfare to San Juan... and we both are still regretting cancelling).

On 9/24/2019 at 9:28 PM, LisaLisa87 said:

Given our priorities, which of these cruises would you choose??

Hands down, I would pick the Epic.  Which I guess is funny because we were on the Carnival Miracle in the dock next door the day the Epic was christened in NYC and we could not stop making fun of just how ugly it was... and we'd pick it as our first choice ship in a head-to-head with any ship (maybe not HAL, but we were in their Neptune Suites so we had a different sort of experience).

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