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Overall Rating
Food
Service
Cabins
Entertainment
Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions
Value
Dan

Age: 47

Occupation:Project Mgr

Number of Cruises: 11

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Crown

Sailing Date: 2011-02-5

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

We greatly enjoyed our experience on the Epic. We were concerned after many of the negative reviews, but to each his own. We believe these ships are built for a lot of people to travel on and expect that the cabins will be tight, there will be lines and some inconveniences. The ship is large and has many amenities, there is always something to do. We had our 9 year old son along and the water slides were a huge plus for him, we spent a lot of time there. The staff on the ship was beyond friendly. The itinerary was so-so, but still we enjoyed it.

Overall the food was good if not great. If you go for the specialty restaurants you will be very happy with the food and service. We went to the a la cart sushi place twice and it was very nice. The second visit was a little less so, but it was Super Bowl night and it was crazy. We also went to La Cucina where we had bad timing. The food and service were wonderful but there were two large groups with young children and it became very loud. One poor youngster kept crying out loud and it was distracting. Unfortunate. We also ate at Shanghai, the Chinese restaurant, and were very impressed.

When it came time to eat at Taste and Manhatten, the included meals, its was just OK. The service was quick and efficient but not over the top in any way. The steak I had one night was tough and sub par. Otherwise it was fine, but clearly the emphasis is on the specialty restaurants, can't say enough about those places.

The Garden Cafe was very good for buffet style dining. Plenty of seating most of the time and the food was plentiful, hot and delicious. No complaints here at all. O'Sheehans offers a nice pub ambience with basic food fare. We ate here a number of times and were satisfied.

We are not lovers of the Freestyle dining style, though we realize many prefer it. We like the fact that set dinner times on other lines create more of a dinner 'event' experience. Also it allows you to get to know your servers better and even get to know your tablemates as friends. This is just personal preference.

We loved the stateroom. Lots of hollering and screaming about these rooms in reviews but we found it completely unfounded. The bathroom set up is different than what you usually see, but for us it worked wonderfully. How nice to be able to use the toilet in privacy when someone is showering. Try that in a typical cruise bathroom! And the sink set outside the shower and bath area worked terrific! While I was in the shower my wife had the sink and mirror to herself. I don't get the complaints on the bathroom set up at all.

The balconey room we had was not large, I'll give you that. Three people existing in this room made for tight quarters. But so what. This is not a hotel or apartment. Its a cruise ship. Despite the room being smallish there was ample storage space. There were cubbies and little cabinets all over the place. There are 3 mirrors including one that is full length. There are two closets with 10 hangers each. We don't pack light but we had plenty of room to stow everything.

We loved our balconey, it was plenty large and was a big factor as it was somewhere to go when it got a little crowded. Its a must have!

Lastly the bed was very comfortable if a little short. I am 6-0 and if I was a complainer I could tell you how if I stretched out I could hang my feet off the bed. Well just curl up a bit and there is no problem. Again, these are commercial cruise ships. They are packing us on board and its going to be a little tight. Smile, you're on vacation.

If you can't find something to do while aboard you aren't trying. The pool area is ample. Of course on sea days it gets a little crowded, but there are deck chair areas all over this ship. This level and that had areas to lounge. The pools were not real large but we never had a problem finding space. And beyond the pools were wading areas. There were 6 hot tubs and we were in them several times, never had a problem finding a spot. In the back of the pool was the adult pool area and it was wonderful. There is crescent shaped stadium type seating filled with lounges. There are 2 more hot tubs and a small pool. Additionally there is a very large outdoor screen, maybe 12'-15' tall. When there wasn't a movie playing they had beautiful nature scenes playing. There is a bar out there and it is very nice.

For the kids they have Recess a very large, well staffed children's area. It is organized and a place I would have loved to hang out if I was a kid. Lots of video games, movie nights, organized activities, etc. etc.

Pulse, the workout room, is terrific. Tons of equipment and plenty of opportunities for yoga, spin, personal training or being on your own. I am a big work out person and found this facility top notch.

The entertainment aboard is excellent. We, like many, did the Cirque show. It is excellent although the story line is campy to be sure. But so what. Food is served cafeteria style, everyone eats the same. Its alright, not the greatest meal, but the focus is the show. Saw Blue Man Group and it is very original and a must see aboard. Also saw the comedian/illusionist and he was awesome. Funny, fun, really a born entertainer. You can bring the kids. He had lots of people in the crowd involved in the show. Bring the kids, its good stuff.

Our first stop was Costa Maya. This is a cruise port purpose built for cruisers. It sprung from nowhere. Thats not to say it isn't nice. It is. Bring a swimsuit along, there is a large pool incorporated into the village. Also nice rocky beach with sandy areas for laying out and relaxing. There is a free dolphin show and, of course, plenty of shopping. There are some fun restaurants. You will easily be able to take the whole place in within a couple of hours. We did the Mayan ruins tour and it was well worth it. Its requires a 50 mile coach bus ride each way but this was no issue. The tour guide did a nice job and the ruins were fascinated. Our 9 year old enjoyed as well.

In Roatan we just stuck to the new shopping area built at the pier. We have been to Roatan before and it is beautiful. But it is borderline 3rd world. Its not quite ready for prime time yet. It is mountainous and lush, a very pretty place. We did no tours or excursions here this time.

Last stop was Cozumel, this is the opposite of Roatan. What is may lack in natural beauty it makes up for in commercial developement. Lots of shopping, lots of tours, lots of restaurants. We chose to do the Atlantis submarine excursion. It was pretty cool. We went down about 110'. This is a real submarine, it travels on its own and you see beautiful scenery. We saw sea turtles and rays as well as incredibly beautiful fish and coral. This is not an inexpensive tour, but really fun.

We were happy with our trip and our choice of the Epic. Im not sure I loved the ship, it so large and there are lots of waits for elevators. Some of the decisions the designers made to put bars and the casino in the middle of primary traffic areas were questionable. But these were minor things. Activities and dining choices were endless. The staff was wonderful. In the end we would recommend the Epic.

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