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DandDM

Dawn vs Epic Transatlantic

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I've seen threads before from folks asking for help choosing a cruise and never really understood the purpose... seems like only the individual can really know what they are looking for on a cruise. But now I understand as my wife and I have been thinking about this for a couple weeks and cannot make up our minds!  Hoping that someone out there as that one item that will sway us one direction.

 

Here is our dilemma:  Quite a while ago we booked a14 night April 2020 crossing from New York to Barcelona on the NCL Dawn.  We were(are) happy with the ports of call and especially visiting Ibiza.  However, we are not excited about the smaller ship.  On previous crossings we have been on different sized ships, and on our last one on the Jewel of the Seas, realized that we prefer the larger ships and increased entertainment options they provide on the sea days.

 

Based on that, been monitoring prices of other cruises and found a price drop on a 15 day crossing on the Epic.  The cruise is a day longer (sea day) and itinerary is very similar - the material change is that it does not call on Ibiza.  Price for a mini-suite (same as we have on Dawn) is $350 cheaper than we originally paid (and about $1000 cheaper than current price for same category on Dawn).  Perks with booking are the same on either and we would fly to either port as we live on West coast.

 

Being a planner, made a detailed spreadsheet on pros and cons of each cruise and boiled it down to our biggest three items:

1) extra cruise day vs missing Ibiza

2) larger ship (Epic) vs larger cabin and balcony with a more 'traditional' layout on Dawn

3) sail away in New York harbor (which we have not done before) vs potential hassle dealing with logistic in New York compared to Miami (which we are familiar with)

 

Any and all thoughts are appreciated!

 

Cheers,

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44 minutes ago, DandDM said:

I've seen threads before from folks asking for help choosing a cruise and never really understood the purpose... seems like only the individual can really know what they are looking for on a cruise. But now I understand as my wife and I have been thinking about this for a couple weeks and cannot make up our minds!  Hoping that someone out there as that one item that will sway us one direction.

 

Here is our dilemma:  Quite a while ago we booked a14 night April 2020 crossing from New York to Barcelona on the NCL Dawn.  We were(are) happy with the ports of call and especially visiting Ibiza.  However, we are not excited about the smaller ship.  On previous crossings we have been on different sized ships, and on our last one on the Jewel of the Seas, realized that we prefer the larger ships and increased entertainment options they provide on the sea days.

 

Based on that, been monitoring prices of other cruises and found a price drop on a 15 day crossing on the Epic.  The cruise is a day longer (sea day) and itinerary is very similar - the material change is that it does not call on Ibiza.  Price for a mini-suite (same as we have on Dawn) is $350 cheaper than we originally paid (and about $1000 cheaper than current price for same category on Dawn).  Perks with booking are the same on either and we would fly to either port as we live on West coast.

 

Being a planner, made a detailed spreadsheet on pros and cons of each cruise and boiled it down to our biggest three items:

1) extra cruise day vs missing Ibiza

2) larger ship (Epic) vs larger cabin and balcony with a more 'traditional' layout on Dawn

3) sail away in New York harbor (which we have not done before) vs potential hassle dealing with logistic in New York compared to Miami (which we are familiar with)

 

Any and all thoughts are appreciated!

 

Cheers,

 

I am on the same Cruise as yourself. I have done the Epic from Port Canaveral to Barcelona, it's a great ship but I am looking forward to the smaller ship - for the fact of more relaxation. Also less people in the ports. 

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So Dawn is more expensive?  I'm surprised.

 

Hard decision.  Cruising from New York is a major plus.  

 

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Epic has little area in which to actually have connection out to sea on the public decks.  Are you informed about the bathroom set up you might want to look into that as well. 

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My DH and I have been on both twice in the past 3 years.  Dawn is our favorite.  The Epic was our least favorite. Love cruising out of NY.  We just like the smaller ships.  Dawn has a great selection of bars to choose from, too.  More intimate and personable and the crew on Dawn are the best!  I'm sure whichever one you choose your cruise will be wonderful.   

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I would never ever book the Epic due to the bathroom (or lack of) set up. Nope, sorry it is a deal breaker. Been on the Dawn more times than I can remember. Great ship and crew.

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Posted (edited)

I have been on both ships. We did a back to back 4 day Rome to Barcelona then 14 day transatlantic to Miami on the Epic. For first part of the cruise we had a reg mini suite hated it, my husband was very unhappy in that odd room with the bathroom setup and I remember the couch was rounded in the middle. It just wasn't comfortable. We had a 2 bedroom Haven for the 2nd part of the cruise luckily. That was fantastic.  Besides not liking the mini suite there was not a lot of areas on the ship to just hang out. If we hadn't been in the Haven I think I would have been really miserable with the sea days and lack of places to go and not being comfortable in the cabin.  The Dawn we did Boston to Bermuda and we had a DOS and only a couple of sea days. If I had to choose between the 2 ships and Haven was not an option on the Epic then I would book the Dawn.   Sailing out of NY isn't that bad surprisingly. 

Edited by jjmahaney
addition

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We have sailed on the Dawn twice and the Epic 6 or 7 times. For a TA, it is no question that we would pick the bigger ship. We have no problem at all with the Epic. And despite any complaints, 4500 passengers a week chose her for their cruise every week. 

 

Chose Epic. 

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Being a 2 week cruise and realizing that you prefer larger ships, choose the Epic. The Dawn is "scheduled" in Ibiza for 8 hours and who knows if that might change. If Ibiza is really important, fly there after the cruise. R/T from BCN-IBZ is less than $300 for 2. If a New York sailaway is important, the Escape and the Getaway also have TA's in April 2020.

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Thanks for all the great input, folks!  We ended up putting a deposit down on the Epic cruise to lock in the price, so now we have until final payment in December to make our final decision. 

 

Much to ponder...

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19 hours ago, kpms said:

 

I am on the same Cruise as yourself. I have done the Epic from Port Canaveral to Barcelona, it's a great ship but I am looking forward to the smaller ship - for the fact of more relaxation. Also less people in the ports. 

Hi kpms.  Even if we switch, still might see you - both ships are very similar schedules and share these ports:  Ponta Delgada April 25, Cadiz April 29, Malaga April 30, Palma de Mallorca May 2 and arriving in Barcelona May 3.  Kinda strange NCL would have two ships doing such similar stops on the same days!

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40 minutes ago, DandDM said:

Thanks for all the great input, folks!  We ended up putting a deposit down on the Epic cruise to lock in the price, so now we have until final payment in December to make our final decision. 

 

Much to ponder...

Hi DanDM  just a thought, but if you have the time and Ibiza is on your bucket list the flights from Barcelona to Ibiza are only around 40 dollars return (plus luggage) and just under an hour each way

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I just asked my DH which he prefers - Dawn or Epic for the TA - he says Epic. And I concur.

 

We've been on 5 TAs - 2 on Epic, one on Jade, one on brand new Escape and one on Getaway (in this order) and the Jade was, although good, was our least fave - for the TA crossing, that is. 

 

With so many sea days, the more multiple choices of dining venues comes in, so the Epic is better over Dawn. Also we STILL think the Epic has the best Garden Café all round (the Spirit's Raffles Court comes second).

 

The Epic has better dining venue locations than the Dawn.

 

We love TAs - we tend to pick the westbound ones - 25 hour days - so you won't be surprised that we'd pick Epic again over the other lesser ships one year. We're on the Encore this fall as we need to go to the UK first on personal business reasons.

 

 

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1 hour ago, deniseatnycs said:

Hi DanDM  just a thought, but if you have the time and Ibiza is on your bucket list the flights from Barcelona to Ibiza are only around 40 dollars return (plus luggage) and just under an hour each way

Wow, I just checked this out, and we can fly to Ibiza from Barcelona in the morning for $32 on RyanAir, then back to Barcelona in the evening for only $15 on Vueling.  Crazy!  We wouldn't have luggage for a day trip (just back packs). 

 

Since we are planning a week in Barcelona after the cruise, this could be a solid idea for a day trip.

 

Thanks

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15 minutes ago, bluesea777 said:

 

We love TAs - we tend to pick the westbound ones - 25 hour days - so you won't be surprised that we'd pick Epic again over the other lesser ships one year. We're on the Encore this fall as we need to go to the UK first on personal business reasons.

 

 

 

Thanks for your thoughts on the ships. 

 

Regarding the direction, we've done the crossing both ways and seem to be in the minority on preferring the eastbound.  Enjoy slowly dealing with the time change, so we are rested and adjusted for touring in Europe. 

 

Cheers,

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7 minutes ago, DandDM said:

Wow, I just checked this out, and we can fly to Ibiza from Barcelona in the morning for $32 on RyanAir, then back to Barcelona in the evening for only $15 on Vueling.  Crazy!  We wouldn't have luggage for a day trip (just back packs). 

 

Since we are planning a week in Barcelona after the cruise, this could be a solid idea for a day trip.

 

Thanks

 

Be very careful about those backpacks, they might be considered "luggage" and will have to be paid for.  Ryan Air will charge for just about everything. 

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22 minutes ago, Sauer-kraut said:

 

Be very careful about those backpacks, they might be considered "luggage" and will have to be paid for.  Ryan Air will charge for just about everything. 

Any thoughts on Vueling?  We can do a round trip with them for $55pp which includes 10kg 'cabin bag' and 'smaller bag'

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2 hours ago, DandDM said:

Any thoughts on Vueling?  We can do a round trip with them for $55pp which includes 10kg 'cabin bag' and 'smaller bag'

I've never flown on Vueling, but reading their allowances it seems they are pretty generous.  Looking at the way they keep up their interiors ... they use a lot of duct tape.  If its just a short flight it won't be bad, just know they have some of the smallest legroom in the air. 

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9 hours ago, DandDM said:

Any thoughts on Vueling?  We can do a round trip with them for $55pp which includes 10kg 'cabin bag' and 'smaller bag'

We live in Spain so fly Ryanair and Vueling a lot. Not had a problem with either. If we fly Ryanair we pay the small surcharge for priority, it gives you hand luggage and another (un- weighed and decent sized) bag. Pre booked seats the ability to print boarding passes early and priority boarding.   Well worth the extra.

 

Denise

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On 8/21/2019 at 9:01 PM, Sauer-kraut said:

Epic has little area in which to actually have connection out to sea on the public decks.  Are you informed about the bathroom set up you might want to look into that as well. 

"Epic has little area in which to actually have connection out to sea on the public decks" Bingo Bongo Boom, Epic might be ok for a port intensive cruise but outside of value the major reason we cruise is for the sea, sight lines, etc.  New York and the Dawn, that cant be beat, heck spend a day in nyc, nothing like it

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