Saturday, September 10, 2011

Norwegian Epic Cruise

Day 1-2: San Francisco-Barcelona
Day 3 AM: Barcelona City Tour - Pre Cruise
Day 3 PM: Norwegian Epic Cruise
Day 4: At Sea
Day 5: Livorno (Cinque Terre excursion)
Day 6: Rome (Rome city tour)
Day 7: Naples (Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii excursion)
Day 8: At Sea
Day 9: Palma de Mallorca
Day 10: Barcelona - Post Cruise
Day 11: Barcelona - San Francisco

We chose this cruise ship because it is one of the newest ships, and we like everything new :) The price was surprisingly reasonable and the timing worked out with everyone so this seemed like the logical choice. The ship was huge!! There was another cruise ship docked next to ours and the Epic was so much bigger. The check-in process was surprisingly very easy and painless. We were on board the ship in 15-20 minutes. They had tons of agents, so we didn't have to wait long at all. During the check-in process, we were given our room key card which also served as our on-board credit card.

The Norwegian Epic
The 411 displayed on board

Once we got in, we made our way to the Garden Cafe buffet for lunch (which later turned out to be our most frequented place for breakfast and lunch). This place was packed!! Guess everyone thought the same way as we did which was to get lunch buffet!

After lunch we checked out our room, which was located on the 9th floor towards the back of the ship. The reason why we chose the back of the ship is because supposedly you feel less of the movement on the back of the ship and on lower floors.

The room was furnished nicely with modern decor. Style-wise, this was probably the nicest balcony room out there. We loved the dark faux wood paneling and the flat screen tv. The room color was soft creme and blue, very relaxing and zen-like.

Their signature "curvy" room
Our balcony cabin
Love the modern design
Our balcony

The bathroom was interesting...the toilet and the shower were separated into 2 areas. We didnt mind it but from the reviews on cruisecritic, some people really didn't like it. We loved the modern sink style. Room size was a bit small but that's expected. Overall, we were very happy with the room decor and cleanliness.

After checking out our room, we roamed around to get acquainted with the ship. One of the central points of the ship was the main chandelier above Taste Restaurant. We then checked out the Main Dining Room for dinner (which we only visited once during the whole week).

Main Dining Room

They have a pretty big spa area - we ended up purchasing the weekly spa pass which was worth it! The pass cost $199/couple for the week which allowed us access to the spa lounge area, whirlpool, sauna, steam room and the relaxation room. We did this a couple times during our cruise. It's so relaxing and highly recommended! Next we checked out the gym which was just across from the spa. The gym was actually pretty big! Lots of equipment and the views overlooking the ocean was an added bonus. Too bad we hardly used the gym :p

Mandara Spa

There were a number of specialty restaurants where you have to pay a nominal fee to eat, such as the teppanyaki restaurant, steakhouse, French fine dining, etc. We took a peek at some of them and actually tried the teppanyaki restaurant later in the week. Afterwards we went to O'Sheehans Pub to grab a snack. We ordered chicken wings (free) and Diet Pepsi (not free) - apparently only water was included. Everything else cost extra.

Dan enjoying chicken wings at O'Sheehans Pub

For dinner, we pre booked tickets for the cirque dinner show, which was a cirque du soleil type entertainment with dinner. The show was held at the Spiegel Tent. The cover charge was $20 for standard seating and $30 for premium. We came around 30 minutes before the show started and there was already a line: one line for the premium seating and another line for the standard seating. The usher assigned seats, and we got seated on the second floor. The view from the second floor was not bad at all, we actually enjoyed it.

Spiegel Tent where they held the Cirque Dinner Show
Inside the Tent

Today was also my little sister's 17th birthday. We wanted to do something special but due to the format of the show, we couldn't really celebrate in this venue since we were watching the show the whole time. It was pretty entertaining and enjoyable. It was not typical Cirque du Soleil calibre but we were pleasantly surprised. Definitely try to see this if you are on board the NCL Epic.

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