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cruisegeek1974

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About cruisegeek1974

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    Toronto, Canada
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, Celebrity, HAL

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  1. I had posted this on my small review thread previously, but I was on the Dec 22nd sailing and arrived at the pier around 1:30pm. There was somewhat heavy traffic getting to the drop off point due to the single lane for cars. However, once out of the cab, the check in process was pretty quick. I think these letters are new (we did not get a letter like this but our edocs did say to check in for 1pm) but I would listen to the letter and not rush to get to the ship too early.
  2. Comments regarding entertainment - much like food, it is so personal and depends on your taste, but here goes. Priscilla - enjoyed it but thought some portions could have been cut to shorten the show. I was however very impressed that NCL put on a show that could be considered too "edgy" or "controversial" to some. My wife and I were saying we can't believe that when this show was pitched to some executives at head office that they actually said yes, let's go with it. Positive marks to NCL for this. Burn - Didn't love it, but I enjoyed it. My wife couldn't wait for it to end. Again, depends on personal taste. Cavern (Beatles show) - we peaked in on it and it was pretty good, but we were standing and didn't feel like staying. Comedians - I don't think I have yet to see a bad comedian on any cruise ship. The two comedians on Epic were hilarious. Juggler/Comedian guy - he was pretty good actually but if you have been on enough cruises the novelty of the juggler/comedian guy starts to wear off. As far as senior officers, we don't pay that much attention in all honesty, so I'm not the best person to comment on that. As far as standout meals, funny enough, the last night in the MDR had ribs with pasta salad and coleslaw. Have never seen ribs offered before on a cruise ship. My wife and I both ordered it and it was amazing! I was so impressed. Hope these comments are helpful!
  3. Ports were good. For us, two new ports were Barbados and St. Lucia. Barbados sand was like baby power and the water was so clear, just amazing. Second time going to Tortola and it seems like it has not recovered from the storm. We looked back to pictures from our visit many years ago and it was a beautiful place. Now, not so much. Was sad to see. We typically don't do any excursions, just catch a taxi to a beach. This cruise, we never do this, but we decided to completely stay on the ship during the St. Kitts stop (been there twice) and it was pretty nice having the peace and quiet of a half empty ship. Weather was slightly below the normal perfect Caribbean weather as the second last day it was cloudy, and the last day it rained off and on all afternoon. And as Mira28 said, reasonable expectations is the key. I just have a baseline expectation for my cruise, which is always met, and then typically there will be at least a few really bright spots that will stand out by the end of the week.
  4. Hi all, wanted to comment briefly on our recent Epic cruise from San Juan. Just for background, I have sailed on 4 NCL cruises (last one on the Epic in 2014), 3 Celebrity, 3 HAL, 1 Princess, 1 RC and 1 Carnival. Before boarding I had read a bunch of poor reviews and was actually a little anxious that the cruise would not live up to expectations. I consider my wife and I to be very easygoing and overall we had another very enjoyable cruise in general, and we enjoyed the Epic in particular. First thing to comment on is the arrival and departure that might help others going on the Epic. As others noted, the port is not built to handle the two ships that are docked there. That being said, we left the airport around 12.30pm to go the port and while there was traffic as you started to get to the port, it wasn't terrible and we ultimately boarded the ship around 2pm. Once out of the taxi it was fairly quick to check in and get onto the ship. The cab driver did tell us that he took another couple to the port in the morning and he said traffic was so backed up that when they got close to the port the couple just got out of the cab and walked the last bit to the ship. On departure day, we did the self walk off option leaving the ship around 8am and had no issue getting into a cab and getting to the airport for our 12.50pm flight. The ship condition was good and kept clean. Despite some opinions we read, we found the staff to be friendly and had no issues at all. Does every crew member run over to us say hi? No, but I don't expect that. 95% of the crew we encountered would be polite, say hello, etc. The other 5% didn't, and that is fine. I always wonder what people expect from the crew. I understand that no crew member should be rude, but other than a polite hello, i don't expect much else. The food, as we find on every cruise ship, was very good. My wife is a little picky compared to me so a few dinners just didn't have an option that jumped out at her, but again, she finds that on every cruise for the most part. Having last sailed NCL in 2014, I really can't remember small details going that far back. One thing my wife and i were wondering however is that since NCL seems to be pushing these "Free At Sea" perks on a consistent basis, are they cutting back on some other things to balance out costs. For example, no smoked salmon at breakfast; cut up fruit was very limited in both the quantity and selection; no lobster night; the food choices at dinner seemed slightly more limited/repetitive. Again, i'm not an NCL expert, but in comparison to say Celebrity and HAL, the food was just maybe one notch lower. Don't misunderstand me, I really enjoyed the food, but in some ways I would just give a slightly lower rating. I just think of one reviewer saying the food was "inedible", I just shake my head at a comment like that. For this person, nothing would make him/her happy. One thing I don't understand is the whole signing out for the pool towels. Despite having to sign them out, they don't seem to actually track them upon return so I really don't understand why they do it. It just creates one more lineup you have to stand in. One thing I still love that NCL does is to really try and force people to use the sanitizer when heading into the buffet; i don't know why every cruise line doesn't do this. I get that it is not a silver bullet to avoid sickness, but it is still a great policy. This is already discussed enough, but we have no issue with the bathroom design but i can see it being an issue if say two friends are travelling together. I would also say that for entertainment, NCL is still tops in this department. Not going to detail out what we did, but again NCL gets high marks for entertainment. While my wife and I are only able to cruise during the high price season, we often have to seek out our cruise based on pricing, and I would certainly go on another NCL cruise in the future.
  5. It's unfortunate that before a cruise even starts you are anticipating some issues. That being said, from reading over all the posts on this thread, it seems that while the December 8th disembarkation/embarkation was terrible, it was a one time issue. However, getting in and out of the port area seems like it will be a weekly problem and therefore if you are flying out on the day the cruise ends you should probably walk off with your luggage and try and get off the ship in the first group to make sure you don't miss your flight. I always like to try and enjoy a final breakfast before disembarking, but looks like I may have to skip that this time. Not sure what others have, but after doing my online check, which was about one month ago, our e-docs say we can board the ship between 1pm and 1.30pm. I wonder if NCL (and maybe Royal) were hoping to stagger arrival times in anticipation of the bottleneck.
  6. sandycruzr, when you say self assist I assume you mean the option of carrying your own luggage off the ship? I have a flight to go home for 12.50pm (i can't change my flight time) and am somewhat worried by your post. I hate the thought of having a feeling of pressure to 'run' off the ship first thing on the last day, but I guess I may have to do that so that I don't run the risk of missing our flight back. Do you think this is certainly an ongoing issue then, or something isolated for whatever reason?
  7. Can anyone that either ended or started their cruise today on the Epic from San Juan post an update on how the disembarkation/embarkation process was today? Was it chaotic like last Sunday or are things back to normal? Thanks in advance.
  8. I don't disagree. I have done both ways, bringing wine on board and buying packages. Since I always fly in the day of my cruise, buying wine is a bit of a chore and this time I just don't feel like going through the effort. Also, while I enjoy wine I am not a huge aficionado so I am okay with being limited to the choice on the ship and I do understand the markup. I do like to try and get the wine list in advance though as I will see if i can try a few of the choices on the list if I can find the bottles locally beforehand.
  9. Thanks very much. I found some photos online already but I think they were older lists so I was looking for something very current. Thanks again.
  10. Hi all, second attempt at this as my first post was several weeks prior to the Epic moving to do cruises from San Juan, which starts tomorrow Dec 8th I believe. If anyone going on the Epic from San Juan could post a picture of the Viva Vino Wine List that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  11. You are correct. Starts Dec 8th from San Juan. Hopefully someone might remember and post the list then. Thanks.
  12. Would be much appreciated if someone that is on the Epic now, or in the next few weeks, could post a copy of the current Viva Vino menu. I understand the menu changes from ship to ship, and over time as well, so I would love to get a look at a current list before my upcoming cruise. Thanks in advance.
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