Norwegian Epic Review
A huge ship that is great for families and does a particularly good job catering to the solo traveler.
There are two children-only areas on the Epic: Recess and Entourage. Recess is for smaller kids, while Entourage is for teenagers 13 to 17 years old. Both areas feature the newest gaming consoles, TVs, and board games. Some days, the big, two-story TV in the Atrium serves as a Wii screen. Other activities include the water slide, rock climbing wall, and sports courts. The Norwegian Epic also offers Nickelodeon at Sea, where the little ones can meet their favorite cartoon characters, like Sponge Bob or the Avatar.
Recess is overseen by crew members, and open long hours, so mom and dad have time to enjoy themselves too. Older kids can explore on their own.
Tradewinds is a typical duty-free shop, and only open when the ship is at sea. It’s divided into two big stores and several smaller ones that are all connected. It’s one of the only duty free shop at sea to have a small Guess boutique (Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, notably, has its own Guess store). You can also get sports gear, accessories, knickknacks, and souvenirs. Prices range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars for brand-name jewelry, watches, glasses, and the like. Special sales are available almost every day.
Duty-free cigarettes, some prescription-free drugs, and alcohol are available in a smaller shop midship, next to the barber shop.
Click Photo Gallery
The Epic’s photo gallery makes the traditional shipboard procedure of searching for your pictures much easier: you simply put your key card into a slot and all the pictures taken by the ship’s photographers appear on a screen. You can print them out or get them on CDs and DVDs.
Mandara Spa Shop
At the Mandara Spa, passengers can purchase all kinds of creams, lotions, facial masks, and exfoliations. All products are from Elemis, with prices starting at $49
On sea days, weather permitting, a part of deck 15 is transformed into a market place. The duty free shop offers the same products as Tradewinds, and there are no special prices.
Staff & Ship Policies
The service on the Epic is spot-on, keeping it in line with the better cruises we’ve taken. The wait staff, in particular, is friendly and attentive. The only complaint we would have from a service point of view is with our room steward, who came off as just a little creepy. But hey, one person’s creepy is another person’s charmingly eccentric.
After a few hours on board our cabin steward knew us by name, which is impressive. He kept the room neat and clean, and we got a little towel animal every night. Stewards are available until 9pm.
A $12 per person, per day service charge is added automatically to your bill. This money goes into a pool and is divided between the whole crew. A gratuity of 15% also is added to drinks, specialty restaurants, and spa services. If you’re particularly pleased with a crew member and want to give him extra tip, it’s best to give them cash, as every tip on the receipts are also going into the money pool.
Norwegian likes to boast that its ships offer “freestyle” cruising, which means everything is flexible and there is no formal dress code. Everything is very casual. The only restrictions are that for any of the dining rooms, no shorts or sandals are allowed.
The more you sail with Norwegian, the better, and the more rewards you get. The Latitudes Program is divided in four tiers: Bronze (1 cruise), Silver (5 cruises), Gold (9 cruises) and Platinum (14 cruises). Benefits include a members-only cocktail party, on-board credit of up to $250, priority debarkation and a complimentary “Behind the Scenes” Tour, depending on your level. Upon completion of the first cruise, Norwegian offers complimentary enrollment into the Latitudes program.
Health & Safety
There are several closed life boats with room for almost 300 passenger a piece on deck seven, as well as inflatable and floating boats. A mandatory drill is held on embarkation day. Life vests are spread all over the ship, and in every room in the closet.
The medical center is on deck ten. Opening times vary and depend on the ports of call.
Public areas throughout the ship are smoke-free. Cigarettes can be smoked in one’s cabin, on cabin balconies, in the casino, and in the Humidor cigar lounge. The Humidor is also the only place to smoke cigars. Open decks have designated smoking areas. Smoking is not allowed near food venues and kids ares.
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