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NCL Epic studo cabin experience?

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Hi everyone. I'm booked to sail on a 7 night Med cruise out of Barcelona on the NCL Epic in August 2021.  I'm staying in a studio cabin.  This is my first time cruising solo, and not sure what to expect with the studio and studio lounge experience.  I'd appreciate hearing about other people's experiences in a studio, and what the studio lounge experience was like (how many organized activities were there and their variety, number of folks that participated, demographic make up of other solos, etc)  I look forward to hearing back!  Thanks!

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My first solo was a studio on the Epic about 18 months ago.  I really enjoyed it.  

The cabin is smaller but I really didn't spend that much time there.  The bed was the same size as in a regular cabin but there is only a little room between it and the storage closets and shelves.  I had plenty of storage but maybe you wouldn't.  The shower is a little smaller than usual. The sink is tiny and the nook with the toilet is small but those things weren't a problem for me.  The one annoyance was that the bright bathroom light was turned on and off by a motion sensor.  If you were in there more than a couple minutes, you had to wave your hand around to stay lit.  To prevent the bright light fully waking me, I hung a washcloth over the sensor with a magnet and used a magnetic dim nightlight I always pack.

There must have been almost 100 people there for the first solo meeting.  Too many for me.  It slowed  down some later.  They had sign up sheets for several activities each day and also took a group to the evening show.

If the perks and price make the studio a good deal, go for it.  The lounge always had coffee, tea and cookies.  All solo cruisers are welcome to the lounge for the evening solo meet and dinner.  Studio cruisers have 24 hour access to the lounge,

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Thank you so much for your response!   I don't think the small cabin will bother me.  I already live in a pretty tiny apartment as it is. Plus, I'll be on a very port-intensive itinerary.  I won't be in my room, too much.

 

It's also interesting to hear that 100+ people came to the initial solo meeting. I wasn't expecting there to be so many solo travelers on board.  

 

I guess I'm curious, what the typical solo demographic is going to be.  I'm a male in my early 40s.  Am I going to be surrounded by 80-something year old widows en masse?  Which isn't a horrible thing. I just like to know what I'm walking into. :-)

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Well I was almost 69 then and there were younger and older.  I have been on 5 solos now and the longer the cruises tend to get more retired folk.  I will say that on my last solo in late February we had people from 25 to 80 and we all got along fine.  The solo host or hostess have been very good at getting all to participate.  Over the 5 solos women from 45 to 80 tend to outnumber the men but I have found fascinating conversations from women from the whole spectrum.

The Epic crowd was huge the first night but got smaller and more manageable.  Also we kinda made our own groups at times.

I would think that there will be fewer older people until there is a vaccine but I could be wrong.

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5 minutes ago, NSnJW said:

Well I was almost 69 then and there were younger and older.  I have been on 5 solos now and the longer the cruises tend to get more retired folk.  I will say that on my last solo in late February we had people from 25 to 80 and we all got along fine.  The solo host or hostess have been very good at getting all to participate.  Over the 5 solos women from 45 to 80 tend to outnumber the men but I have found fascinating conversations from women from the whole spectrum.

The Epic crowd was huge the first night but got smaller and more manageable.  Also we kinda made our own groups at times.

I would think that there will be fewer older people until there is a vaccine but I could be wrong.

Thanks. It sounds like I should expect a little bit of everybody, which is what I prefer.  I was a bit apprehensive that I'd find myself in a room full of seniors, and me.  Or, a room full of spring breakers, and me.  I wasn't sure if there was a typical "solo cruiser" on NCL.  

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I did a Trans-Atlantic last year on the Getaway.  I loved the Studio experience. 

  1. The first thing to note is it is not a singles place, it is a solo travelers place.  There are lots of single people in the Studio's and in the Solo groups but not all of the people are single they are traveling solo. 
  2. The rooms has everything you need in a small room.  I am 300 lbs and there was plenty of room for me and the bed is one double size bed and not two singles.  Makes it nice for spreading out.  The only real complaint is the toilet room (the shower and sink is in the room) is way to small.  I had to keep the door open when I used it.
  3. There is a studio lounge.  It is a small lounge area where people would gather in the morning and evening.  They have a free espresso machine, juices and snacks there all day.  In the morning there would be muffins, rolls and coffee.  In the evening there is a bar in the studio lounge. The only complaint is they took the cookies away about 11 pm at night.  I would get up at 4 am to do some work and there was no snacks.  All of this is in a locked area that is only accessible with a Studio Room key.
  4. There is a Solo Cruise Director.  They have a cruise director dedicated to the solo travelers; not just studio rooms.  On our cruise we ended up firing the Solo Cruise Director and getting a new one.  Our first one was new and could not get anything we wanted setup or going.  We went to the Cruise Director and he switch us to an experienced person.  The second one setup a standing dinner and reserved 3 large tables that would hold about 45 people.  Every after noon they would have games for the solo travelers.  In the evening they would do shows together.  Most of the nights we would stay at the dinner table talking for hours then move to the night clubs together.

The short answer is the Studio Rooms and Solo Groups are what you make out of them.

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I had a studio cabin on the Epic for a Caribbean sailing out of San Juan and loved it. I was part of a singles group, but met other singles outside the group through the solo lounge and meet-ups while onboard. People planned seeing shows together, specialty dining together, etc. I found the room to be perfectly suited for a solo traveler. The only thing I might have preferred is having a single bed instead of a full size to allow more space between the bed and closets. Bring hangers.... there aren’t nearly enough and I pack light. Stop by the lounge in the morning or after coming in from your excursion to get refreshments, meet other solos. Have fun and post a review about your experience.

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I've had a studio cabin on the Epic twice and have a booking for a third time. It has worked well for cruising on the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean - I'd be less optimistic about a cruise with few port days or when the weather is likely to be cold and wet.

 

Some other NCL ships also have studio cabins. There is one drawback to the Epic, in my opinion: it has less outdoor space than other ships of similar size. If you like to walk around a ship on the promenade deck, well, there isn't one.

 

You may see complaints about the bathroom layout but these pertain to standard inside or balcony cabins - they're all like the studios in that respect. The Epic has no non-balcony oceanview cabins, and the balcony cabins are more expensive than a simple OV would be, so some of the people discomfited by the bathroom layout feel that for what they paid, it should have been different.

 

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I had the studio on the Epic in 2011 (and another one on the Encore in 2018- note I had studios booked on 3 other times but a week before called and upgraded for around $100-$200 to a balcony when space was available- but was still able to use the studio lounge.)

 

It was a great cruise- Epic has 128 studios and we had perhaps 25-30 people that always particpated in things. Plus, we had Howl at the moon at the time, Fat Cats , bowling alleys and Blue Man Group-

venues are changed but Spice H20 had a nice pool.

 

I flew from Philadelphia to Miami for it- it was my favorite of the 6 cruises- I should have done it in 2010 vs. going on the Jewel from NYC> Most of our group was perhaps 35-65. great people

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There has been a meet and greet in the past.  every evening.   Don't expect any "activities".    It sounds like you are on the port intensive 7 day med cruise?     You may get a dinner join option,  that in these times,  wouldn't be of interest for me.   I also don't like them because they are usually too early,  too long, and sometimes not too pleasant.   🙂  🙂      Frankly  you are better off being being ok with being "solo" and go your own way,  especially making your own plans in your ports-   which are excellent.       If you happen to find some solos,  who you want to spend more time with-  a bonus.   

 

Many times,  the solo lounge is empty.   I've found the food and drink not to my preference,   but some find it a highlight.   

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Thanks for the feedback. I'm curious to see what kind of social distancing restrictions they'll have in place, if any at all, come August 2021.  I'd expect that would impede much of any solo traveler programming.  We shall see. :-)

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I'm recently retired (but at a relatively early age, imo-lol) and was planning on starting to solo cruise this coming Dec but then Covid 19 hit and shut cruising down so I didn't book anything (glad I didn't).

 

I'm mainly on this CC board because I found out about NCL's solo cabins, solo lounges and dedicated solo hosts/hostesses. With that said however, "I love me a balcony" so when cruising resumes (when we all can get vaccinated) I will probably look for balcony cabins with a reduced solo supplement. So, I would be willing to cruise with any cruise line, if it was the itinerary, length of cruise, time of year, size/age/amenities of the cruise ship that I wanted.

 

I'm intrigued by RCL's ships that have solo studio cabins with balconies (Anthem OTS, Quantum OTS, Ovation OTS, Odysey OTS & Spectrum OTS). I will definitely look at them in the future.

 

I would be willing to try NCl's studio cabins but I'm not too keen on the tiny size of the cabin (although I will be by myself, I still would prefer to have the extra space of a standard balcony cabin) and also the fact that they are interior cabins with no OVs or balconies. But I do give NCL credit for incorporating these studio cabins and studio lounges on some of their ships and marketing them to us solo cruisers.

 

 

Edited by farmersfight

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Have sailed Epic 3x, only once in the studio.  It was fine for a short 4 night cruise for me and felt very cozy and cocoon like, but, I do prefer a balcony.   I've been solo on several NCL cruises and have used the solo coordinator and Happy Hour sparingly because I tend to organize a dinner or two from solos on my roll call instead, but,  I do love that espresso machine!  There used to be grab and go sandwiches stocked in a mini-fridge in the lounge near the Espresso machine, too.  On Epic, there is an access door to the solo hallway further forward than the main door off of the elevator lobby.  This used to never latch properly, allowing me access to the lovely coffees at all hours, even after I moved out of the studio to a balcony on a B2B.  I'm sure it's fixed by now, though. Sigh.

 

Have also sailed in a solo OV cabin on RCCL Harmony of the Seas and had one of the solo balconies booked at one point, but, changed to regular balcony with a price drop.  The OV was nice and spacious.  The only thing missing was a proper chair or sofa to sit on.  The bathroom was normal sized.

Edited by Steeler Nation At Sea

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6 hours ago, Steeler Nation At Sea said:

Have also sailed in a solo OV cabin on RCCL Harmony of the Seas and had one of the solo balconies booked at one point

 

@Steeler Nation At Sea  Hi. Just a quick couple of questions. I thought that the unique solo balcony cabins were only on RCCL's Quantum-class ships (Quantum OTS, Anthem OTS, Ovation OTS, Spectrum OTS & Odyssey OTS)?

 

I thought that the Oasis-class ships (i.e. Harmony OTS) had  the solo OV's & solo inside cabins?

Edited by farmersfight

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3 minutes ago, farmersfight said:

 

@Steeler Nation At Sea  Hi. Just a quick couple of questions. I thought that the unique solo balcony cabins were only on RCCL's Quantum-class ships (Quantum OTS, Anthem OTS, Ovatio OTS, Spectrum OTS & Odyssey OTS)?

 

I thought that the Oasis-class ships (i.e. Harmony OTS) had  the solo OV's & solo inside cabins?

 

My fault.  It was Q class that I had booked a solo balcony then later upgraded to a regular balcony for a lot less fare and double points. The solo cabins don't offer double points.  Q class has solo insides in addition to the balconies except the insides don't seem to be available on Odyssey which has also done away with the suites adjacent to those solo insides. 

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27 minutes ago, Steeler Nation At Sea said:

 

My fault.  It was Q class that I had booked a solo balcony then later upgraded to a regular balcony for a lot less fare and double points. The solo cabins don't offer double points.  Q class has solo insides in addition to the balconies except the insides don't seem to be available on Odyssey which has also done away with the suites adjacent to those solo insides. 

 

@Steeler Nation At Sea Thanks for the reply. Was it difficult to book the solo balcony cabin on the Q class ship (I know they are popular and go fast)? And, how did you book it - did you book it on line or did you have to call RCCL directly or book it with a TA?

 

Yeah, I guess you have to keep an eye out because sometime regular cabins (even with a discounted or full solo supplement) will be less than a solo cabin.

 

I think I did see somewhere that the Odyssey OTS didn't have the solo inside cabins like her other Q class sisters. Strange since the Odyssey OTS is a bigger ship? Perhaps RCCL realized that their solo inside cabins were not as popular as the solo balcony cabins. Or, just some other design change that necessitated the elimination of the solo inside cabins (as well as the suites adjacent to them, as you pointed out).

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The time I booked the solo balcony on Quantum, I booked it within the first couple of days, if not the first day, that the sailing was released. It was a TA which can be enormously popular in terms of booking up all the choicest cabins in all categories very quickly. That said, I was recently looking at a sailing where some of these were still available months after booking opened on the obstructed deck. (Deck 6 or 7, I forget). By all accounts, they are still worthwhile even with the lifeboats.

 

The time I booked in the Harmony solo OV, I think that at least one of those remained available for a while and the inside studios didn't fill until closer to sailing.  That sailing was an April 7 day Caribbean.

 

I booked both online, I think.  If I use a TA, I usually move my booking afterwards.

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On 9/5/2020 at 8:48 PM, Budget Queen said:

There has been a meet and greet in the past.  every evening.   Don't expect any "activities".    It sounds like you are on the port intensive 7 day med cruise?     You may get a dinner join option,  that in these times,  wouldn't be of interest for me.   I also don't like them because they are usually too early,  too long, and sometimes not too pleasant.   🙂  🙂      Frankly  you are better off being being ok with being "solo" and go your own way,  especially making your own plans in your ports-   which are excellent.       If you happen to find some solos,  who you want to spend more time with-  a bonus.   

 

Many times,  the solo lounge is empty.   I've found the food and drink not to my preference,   but some find it a highlight.   

Well said- When you say "go your own way"- I am thinking of the song and whenever I heard it at Fleetwood Mac or Lindsey Buckingham concerts (as it is my favorite song of theirs)- it felt like they were singing it to me.  Sometimes I felt as though I had a tunnel vision and just did by own thing by day based on habit vs having others come along.

I found on most of my solo cruises- with the exception of one- I would do my own thing during the day and then join people from 5pm on. 

 

On my last Escape cruise to Canada/NE- the host did an excellent list of things - really put in the effort I just didn't really want to be on someone elses schedule. I did a dinner with people who seemed to have colds- and got one myself.  The lounge itself I didn't really spend anytime in on the Escape.

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Here's my experience as a 42 y/o guy. Last year, I did a cruise to Bermuda in a NCL Escape solo cabin. I loved the lounge, it was nice to have a big space to relax in after a busy day on the ship. I used it to stop and grab some water/juice with cookies/fruit before heading back to my room. Hardly any people used the lounge on a long-term basis. It was more of a place to meet others to go out and have dinner together, excursions, etc.

 

My only gripe with the solo cabin is that the walls are paper thin compared to a regular cabin. It felt like I was staying in a glorified cubicle. I could hear everything my neighbors were saying and doing. I'm never able to hear my neighbors in a traditional cabin.

 

Apparently one of my next door neighbors made a love connection with another solo cruiser right away on our trip. I could hear them playing mattress Olympics all night long, every single night! I didn't get much rest on that cruise. For that reason, I don't think I'll ever book a solo cabin again. In the future, I will book a traditional cabin if I travel solo.

 

The funny part is that on this particular cruise, booking a solo cabin wasn't much cheaper than booking a traditional interior cabin by myself. I just did it to experience the mini solo cabin out of curiosity. Boy, did that one backfire on me. Bermuda was awesome, by the way.

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11 hours ago, HowardK said:

When you say "go your own way"- I am thinking of the song and whenever I heard it at Fleetwood Mac or Lindsey Buckingham concerts (as it is my favorite song of theirs)- it felt like they were singing it to me. 

 

Love Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham! Do you remember when Lindsey Buckingham left Fleetwood Mac and when the band subsequently went on tour, it took 2 musicians to replace him (1 for his unique vocals, the other 1 for his awesome guitar playing). Bought Lindsey Buckingham's album before I bought any of Fleetwood Mac's albums. Had a big crush on Stevie Nicks, as well 😳. Wow, it's been a long time since I've listened to Fleetwood Mac - I need to reconnect.

 

Apologize for "hijacking this thread".

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5 hours ago, Chicken_Lips said:

My only gripe with the solo cabin is that the walls are paper thin compared to a regular cabin. It felt like I was staying in a glorified cubicle. I could hear everything my neighbors were saying and doing. I'm never able to hear my neighbors in a traditional cabin.

 

Yeah, I've never cruised in one of NCL's studio cabins and I'm not interested to because: 1. too tiny (and I'm not claustrophobic) and 2. don't like interiors (or OV's for that matter - give me a balcony). If NCL's studio cabins have paper thin walls, just another reason for me not to book one. Thanks for the additional info on them.

 

5 hours ago, Chicken_Lips said:

Apparently one of my next door neighbors made a love connection with another solo cruiser right away on our trip. I could hear them playing mattress Olympics all night long, every single night! I didn't get much rest on that cruise.

 

"mattress Olympics", lol! Hope someone won the gold medal (at least a silver or even a bronze). You know what they say - "if the ship's a rockin', don't come knockin".

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Seems there were 2 tours '87 and '90 where they had 2 people who had to replace Lindsey (Rick Vito was one) and then the recent tour where they did the same thing . It was nice in 2014 when everyone got along and all 5 toured.

 

Back to the studios-I had one on the Escape to Canada/NE '18- couldn't upgrade that week as it was sold out. My gripe was at that point they probably cut down on help and it was a pain getting my room cleaned or getting towels- some managers actually had to do it.

 

When I return though- I saw many of the studio ships won't be going from NYC mostly Alaska, or  Breakaway from Florida so I'll take my chances and hope I can upgrade.

 

What I preferred about the balcony was more space to unpack and not having to cram things into the wall closet.

However, I don't think having a balcony made the ship better than another one.

 

I had an AFT and sometimes it was too warm and someone was smoking near me so I couldn't use it much

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23 minutes ago, HowardK said:

Seems there were 2 tours '87 and '90 where they had 2 people who had to replace Lindsey (Rick Vito was one) and then the recent tour where they did the same thing . It was nice in 2014 when everyone got along and all 5 toured.

 

Back to the studios-I had one on the Escape to Canada/NE '18- couldn't upgrade that week as it was sold out. My gripe was at that point they probably cut down on help and it was a pain getting my room cleaned or getting towels- some managers actually had to do it.

 

When I return though- I saw many of the studio ships won't be going from NYC mostly Alaska, or  Breakaway from Florida so I'll take my chances and hope I can upgrade.

 

What I preferred about the balcony was more space to unpack and not having to cram things into the wall closet.

However, I don't think having a balcony made the ship better than another one.

 

I had an AFT and sometimes it was too warm and someone was smoking near me so I couldn't use it much

 

Wow, I didn't know Fleetwood Mac even toured in 2014. Glad they patched things up and they all toured together again.

 

That's also why I like the balcony cabins - more space. And of course, the balcony. I would like to try one of RCL's Quantum-class ships and book a studio balcony cabin. RCL definitely had the right idea, I just wish they had more of them. Also wish other cruise lines had studio balcony cabins (I'm not aware of any other cruise line that does).

 

I know there are ways and means to book regular balcony cabins with reduced/no solo supplements. As you said, upgrades are another way. I would mention a certain way but I got "in trouble" here on CC when I did previously, so "mums the word".

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