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  #181 (permalink)  
Old July 12th, 2010, 11:04 PM
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Default Cirque, cont'd

Paul, obviously, my name is Graham, not "grandma..." a couple of days ago, you posted a bunch of legalese on here, FTC rules, blah blah. Just to be clear, I am not being paid by ANYONE to post on here....you call whomever you feel you need to. I believe I was on the same cruise you were on and afterward, I was curious to see what people thought of the ship, the freestyle cruising, the food, etc. Most blogs were very fair, objective and had negative and positive posts about many things about the Epic (I had likes and dislikes just like everyone else). As I said, my problem was with the fact that instead of objectively and professionally stating what YOU saw and felt, you decided to say what your friends andeveryone else felt about a particular show. In fact, you stated that you didn't even know you didn't like the show until 90 minutes after it started and your friends said THEY didn't like it. I could care less if people agree with me, it's a matter of principle, really, but I sure can form my own opinion without waiting to know what my friends think. Hopefully, your readers will do the same. Heresay is not adequate source material in writing, reporting and/or law (a clue to what I do professionally). When I attempted to source some other positive comments from other sites, I was told it was "not allowed," however you and the moderator are free to post yet more negative material from Maritime Matters and Frommers. I really don't care, I was just trying to be fair and get another side of the story out there to your readers. Afterall, isn't that why you do this or is it simply for your own self-satisfaction? And now some heresay from me: I have checked around and many in the travel industry simply roll their eyes when they hear your name...they, too, seem to know you for the blowhard you really are.

Best of luck,

Graham
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  #182 (permalink)  
Old July 12th, 2010, 11:29 PM
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Cool Location of Library

When we were on the Gem last year we found the locked library hidden away by the spa.. On the other hand.. the Library is a mainstay of the Celebrity ships..right in the middle and very welcoming.. I must admit that the Pacific Princess had a magnificent library when we embarked and found the newest releases of books.. I do like to take a book at the library.. only that I don't have to add it to my carry on bag.. plus I carry a small cross word puzzle book and Celebrity has a new crossword puzzle everyday. Parrot Pop is thinking of buying me a Kindle.. My little secret is that I love to grab one of those Readers Digest Condensed books onboard.. I can read a story or two and then leave the book behind..
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  #183 (permalink)  
Old July 12th, 2010, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Heresay is not adequate source material in writing, reporting and/or law (a clue to what I do professionally).
Wait - let me get this straight, you are implying you are a lawyer, and you don't know how to spell "hearsay?"

If you read my posts you know I have already SAID exactly how I felt about the show, both in the preview and afterwards. I don't have to justify my opinion, or anyone elses, to you or anyone else. I think I was completely fair about the show in my reporting. People are all welcome to their own opinions, and it isn't my place to change anyone else's mind.

The reason why your link was taken down was because it led to another message board that competes directly with us, and they also take downs links to our site.

If you want to link to any professional opinions about the show feel free.
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  #184 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2010, 12:32 AM
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I thought this was interesting....

Hearsay - Hearsay exceptions and exclusions

In the context of discussing "heresay statements" (By the way, maybe you were thinking of heresy, which is an entirely different legal concept popular with lawyers in the middles ages).

Hearsay exceptions that apply even where the declarant is available:

Excited utterances: statements relating to startling events or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition. This is the exception that may apply to the 'police officer' scenario listed above. The victim's cries of help were made under the stress of a startling event, and the victim is still under the stress of the event, as is evidenced by the victim's crying and visible shaking. An excited utterance does not have to be made at the same time of the startling event. A statement made minutes, hours or even days after the startling event can be excited utterances, so long as the declarant is still under the stress of the startling event. However, the more time that elapses between a startling event and the declarant's statement, the more the statements will be looked upon with disfavor.

Anyway - enough of this. I reported what my friends said about Cirque Dreams, Everyone should go and see it and see what they think about it!
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  #185 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2010, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
I have checked around and many in the travel industry simply roll their eyes when they hear your name...they, too, seem to know you for the blowhard you really are.
Thank you so much for that compliment. I will wear that badge of honor proudly. If I was universally loved by "people in the travel industry" then I wouldn't be very effective in criticizing them, would I?

But if you prefer fluff then you are welcome to return to those sites that are exceptionally good at repeating whatever it is the cruise line wants "reported."

I have a feeling you will feel right at home there.
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  #186 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2010, 01:09 AM
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Funny, I had not seen what Frommers had to say, but I have to say Matt Hannafin was exactly one of the people I was referring to when I said "friends from New York." When I first met him in 1996 he was living in 76th st and editing IDG guidebooks. Here is what he wrote...

http://www.frommers.com/articles/6876.html


Quote:

And then there's Cirque Dreams and Dinner.

The concept:
At a dinner-theater-in-the-round, with seating around the main space and on a surrounding balcony, a troupe of allegedly penniless circus performers put on a show using whatever they can find at hand, which mostly means the audience. Doesn't sound bad so far, but it gets there.


First Problem: The audience is trapped. An actor announces at the beginning that there will be no bathroom breaks; audience members/diners are required to stay in their seats for the entire two-hour performance -- most likely because the performers are constantly moving around the space, and don't want to be sued if they trip a guest.


Second Problem: Much of the performance is shrill, manic, and in-your-face -- not what I want from a dinner-theater experience. Now, let me qualify by saying it's not all bad: The concept of a dinner-theater-in-the-round aboard ship has a lot of promise. Secondly, several vignettes throughout the show feature talented acrobats, including three musclemen who hoist each other into impossible positions; trapeze artists and aerialists who do remarkable things in a confined space; and a woman who whirls what seems like dozens of hula-hoops from every appendage. If they put the emphasis more on the acrobatics and de-emphasize the silly accents and shrill speeches, they might have something. (And that's the beauty of live theater: If something isn't working, you can always change it). As it stands right now, though, I give Cirque Dreamsa thumbs-down. It's a clunker amid an otherwise great entertainment line-up.
Pretty much exactly what I had reported these people had said. He didn't hate it, but it was the only show onboard he didn't like.

Was this linked to before - because I don't think I saw it.


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  #187 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2010, 01:16 AM
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Anita Potter's Expert Cruiser...

Norwegian Epic | ExpertCruiser.com

Cirque Dreams and Dinner show that is a two hour theatrical dining experience held in the Spiegel Tent room. Cover charge is $15 for general seating and $20 for premium seating. This one of a kind interactive theatrical dining experience is performed in the air, while juggling a four course, fixed-menu dinner. The food and acrobatics were excellent; however, the pantomime show in between acts was loud and very annoying at times. Additionally some of the dialogue was not suitable for young people.
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  #188 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2010, 01:18 AM
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Anne Campbell's Shipcriticblog....

Quote:
What didnít work during my short preview cruise was Cirque Dreams and Dinner, an insufferable live two hour show that was unbearably loud and chaotic, with too many costumed performers for a smallish room. And, this was the only time I found the food was poor. However, I predict that the show will be modified and the food improved so, unless youíre sailing within the next few months, it will be safe to book. (NOTE: this is in no way connected to Cirque du Soleil, although there are similarities like acrobats).
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  #189 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2010, 01:22 AM
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Andrew Hickey... (Sorry to say I do not know this person, but this is what he wrote....)

My Review of the Norwegian Epic

Quote:
The entertainment on the Norwegian Epic includes the wildly popular Blue Man Group, Cirque Dreams & Dinner, Legends in Concert, The Second City and much, much more. I checked out Blue Man Group, which I had seen once on a trip to Toronto in 2005. I didn’t get it back then and I do not get it now. But a lot of people in attendance seemed to find their act entertaining, so what do I know?

As for the other show I saw, Cirque Dreams & Dinner, it had its moments with some amazing stunts and acrobatics, but the rest of the act fell flat with a majority of the people in attendance looking bored, confused and eying the exit signs. Plus the structure of the show was not my style (fixed dinner, sitting with strangers and not being able to use the restroom during the entire two hour experience).
Anyway - I just happened to post the reviews I could find. Everyone is welcome to post their own reviews. And thank you for your impartial opinions. - Paul
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  #190 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2010, 01:41 AM
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I think all of your reports are great, wish we were there. The bule hallway was really something, and the view of the bridge. Have a great trip.
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  #191 (permalink)  
Old July 13th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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Yes - do not let this little sidetrack get you off the subject of Epic being the best ship anywhere for onboard entertainment.

Blue Man Group is amazing (my opinion) and I also really enjoyed Howl at the Moon and especially Second City.
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  #192 (permalink)  
Old July 14th, 2010, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Serge...

I love the Queen Mary Picture - what day was it - 7?

I am very sorry we did not meet up during the cruise. I did manage to connect with a few other people who called or emailed me during the trip.

Sorry, but hanging out in Bliss after 11:00 was just not what I do. I stayed up for some Second City shows but that is the limit of my nighttime fun.

Yes, Paul it was the last night before very Big apple.
I got a lot QM fotos and if you need I can send them to you
next week .

Yes Bliss was hard for me too because I went to bed at 3-4 AM
already , but a lot of people like my dance.

And I must say "Disco" in Bliss was better as in any Chicago clubs.
A lot of old main stream but I get some nice dance possibilities to.
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  #193 (permalink)  
Old July 15th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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Her Serge - Bliss is a very cool nightclub - I love the decor, but I liked the decor even better on the previous NCL ships like Pearl, however. It is even more decadent, if you can believe that.

Serge, I'm surprised you didnt stay in a studio stateroom.
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  #194 (permalink)  
Old July 15th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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Default epic

Here are some interesting comments about the Epic from Stewart Chiron the cruise guy on this cruise podcast.

Episode 44 - EPIC Live | Cruise Radio
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  #195 (permalink)  
Old July 15th, 2010, 06:07 PM
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Doug....

I heard you interview the Blue Man Group musicians.

I knew about the chapman stick and in fact it is used for every perfromance of BMG.

I specifically asked him if the score of the show was written for Chapman stick and he said "yes." Very interesting.

You play it by pressing on the fretted strings, and you have two necks, one for each hand, but there is no strumming - only fretting.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 07:35 PM
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That was interesting when I learned that. I couldnt tell if those were real band members or animated, the way they were behind the screen.
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  #197 (permalink)  
Old July 16th, 2010, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Her Serge - Bliss is a very cool nightclub - I love the decor, but I liked the decor even better on the previous NCL ships like Pearl, however. It is even more decadent, if you can believe that.

Serge, I'm surprised you didnt stay in a studio stateroom.

Hi Paul

How can I do it if I booked balcony cabin 9157 ?
I like my balcony cabin very much and would never
"doungrate" (sorry) it to cabin without ocean.


Bliss was not really so cool, I need to "fight" for my glass water
every time - they take it away (5-6 times a night).
I spoke even with barkeeper but that does not really help.

Musik was OK but for cool club must be better - DJ make
some main stream instead to "make" simply nice dance
musik. But as I told that is a problem of all Clubs.
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  #198 (permalink)  
Old July 19th, 2010, 08:52 PM
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Paul We will be in 12075 which is across from the Studio living Room. Can we access the room for coffee? Also how can we tell if our room has the sink on same side as the bed in this Family Deluxe Balcony? Also we heard you can buy a week long spa pass. Do they have individual showers and tubs in the spa?
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Old July 28th, 2010, 08:25 PM
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This is an EXCELLENT "real-life" review! I have seen other reviews on other sites from people in the cruise industry who went on that promotional 2 day cruise but all the reviews seemed "cookie cutter" as if they were paid to just say just good things about the EPIC. I was very interested in the EPIC really because of the Studio cabins and - yes - I probably will be a "solo" cruiser and also a "first time" cruiser - if and when I decide to go! I also liked the whole freestyle concept which I think is great for solo travelors. I live in Miami and have seen the EPIC docked and it is a large ship but no where near the size of the monstrous Oasis of the Seas. Since I live in Miami, I have heard comments from tourists about the ship and the "bath room layout" and "very narrow cabins" issues of the regular staterooms are the #1 and #2 complaints from them. Personally, I think the whole "bathroom" thing had to be and it was not a "creative design idea" because, based on the real-life pictures I saw of the regular staterooms, they are too little and narrow to fit a private all-in-one bathroom! Maybe NCL, got too greedy and was trying to fit or "squish" as much people as possible on the ship by shrinking the staterooms! Anyways, thanks for such a great review!

Last edited by puggo63; July 28th, 2010 at 08:36 PM.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 04:00 PM
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Paul,

Thank you for the effort you put into this blog type report.

I traveled on the inaugural 2007 t/a on the Gem and there were far fewer problems. Of course that sailing had NCL's "A" team on it, as well, and I got to know the inestimable Sean W.; he deserves many shout outs!

The Gem (NCL Jewel class ship) has the unpublicized Bridge viewing spot. The feature I loved most was the full size tennis court/sports deck. We had a regular group of players playing fun doubles every morning on those many sea days!

My usual traveling companion is my pre teen son. I think the solo cabins will be a boon to us as he grows older, allowing guaranteed exclusive use of a cabin rather having to "hot bed" it.

Otherwise I will put up with the sterile bordello atmosphere of the ship so long as he's having a whale of a time on the water slides.

Let's see if we can get on for $1000 for the 2 of us in early December this year!

P.S. I am not going back to the other board.

And although I googled I could not find where you got snookered by Voyages to Antiquity, as mentioned earlier in the thread.

Last edited by BoughtMyPoints; August 5th, 2010 at 04:08 PM.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 10:54 AM
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Thanks for the comments - BMP.

Epic also has a bridge viewing area, something I was a little surprised to see. There is also a sports deck but in all honesty it was far too cold to get out there on my cruise - that crossing was freezing every day until the morning we arrived in NYC - and it was dead summer.

The older Voyages to Antiquity articles have been taken down, they were too glowing, but you can probably find them if you use the CruiseMates search box in the left-hand column.

That was just a case where I felt the product did not live up to the pre-cruise promises, and I found that a bit disturbing seeing as how I had written up a fairly glowing report based on what I heard - before I saw the final product.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Paul We will be in 12075 which is across from the Studio living Room. Can we access the room for coffee? Also how can we tell if our room has the sink on same side as the bed in this Family Deluxe Balcony? Also we heard you can buy a week long spa pass. Do they have individual showers and tubs in the spa?
You can buy day passes to the thermal suite, but as I recall it was not extensive (no hot tub). They have showers in there, but no tubs at all.

You "could" access the room for coffee, but is that a studio stateroom? If not then you technically shouldn't be going in there for coffee. But it is not locked, so they can't stop anyone.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Just bought the 2010 t/a crossing on Gem from Venice to New York, still hoping for Epic in early December.

My frequent flyer flights put me in Venice 3 nights early. I last stayed there in a hostel 40 years ago ... I think I am going to do the same now considering the hotel rates.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 11:21 AM
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We stayed at a great little hotel just 1/2 block from the train station (great for luggage) and it did not cost much. Let me see if I can find the name.

it was only a little more than $120/night.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 08:15 PM
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I have just gotten off the July 31-August 7th sailing on the (not so) Epic and I just wanted to inform everyone that most of the things mentioned in Pauls reviews have still not been fixed. In fact my shower went scalding hot, cold, scalding hot, cold in what seemed to be a repetitive beat that I could almost make it work out where I could rinse and shower to the beat by pulling away at the hot beats and hurrying in some water time at the cold beats. TV's worked most of the time, although only for television, the itinerary still was not in working order. In my opinion the paid restaurants were not worth paying for, with the exception of Le Bistro and Moderno, and 6/7 of my show reservations (including Slime Time and the character breakfast, I was traveling with my 2 kids, 5 & 2) were either cancelled on me moved to another day and/or time without notifying me. A woman from the reception desk did acknowledge this inexcusable kink, especially to my kids, and made arrangements for me and my kids to arrive early to the character breakfast on the last day of the cruise and be seated immediately without waiting in the forever long line for a 4th morning in a row, only to be turned away previously saying we had no reservation (which we did, I even had the printout to show them) This is where it goes from bad to worse. The (same) woman who had turned us away the prior 3 mornings was at the podium and we told her that so and so and made reservations for us and we were allowed to be seated early. (this was all confirmed in a message left in our stateroom). We were again denied entrance into the show and told to "leave her line". My husband who decided this was the last straw marched up to guest relations and brought back the lady who arranged everything to begin with. This is when I think my patience ran out also. The rude box office lady when told that we did have reservations by the nice guest relations lady (i know the names just dont know if its allowed or appropriate to mention them) still said no. The guest relations lady and the box office lady argued for about 10 minutes then in the middle of it, we were ushered into the show. With only 10 minutes left in the show (picture time by table order), my son decided to had to go potty and my daughter decided she wanted to go to kids club so we left only to be followed out by the nasty box office lady who firmly said we were not allowed in any shows for the remainder of the cruise. I, fuming at the ears now, replied quietly, but very very firmly that she was out of line and a crew member should not be speaking to a passenger like this. I was then called a ***** by the nasty box office lady. After I took a few seconds to make sure I had really heard what I thought I heard right and explain to my 2 & 5 year old that the word they jut heard was a bad word and that I didn't want to hear it come out of their mouths later on, I, more loudly this time, demanded an apology to not only me, but my kids. She said she would not apologize and my 5 year old started panicking when my 2 year old started crying from the obvious heating conversation. She then took my daughters shoulders and turned her away towards the elevator and stated that she would "not be allowed to see Spongebob on this ship again as long as (nasty girl) was on board".

To me thats inconceivable to be treated like this on a cruise ship by the staff. If I hadn't been standing right there and have it happening to me, I would find it hard to believe, but unfortunately it is true. The rest of cruise had its repetitive problems and crowded disembarkation hassle, and I can honestly say, this was the first cruise I was excited to leave and glad it was over.
Needless to say NCL has not returned my calls or emails and when I went to leave my review on the NCL Facebook page, I was immediately attacked and cussed out and called names. NCL's rep even called me a whiner on Facebook and said he did everyone a favor by deleting my posts. So now what was going to be a simple review on Facebook is a continuous battle of me leaving my review them deleting it and calling me names, etc for 2 days now. In my opinion just another perfect xample of NCL's customer service right there.
(heres the link to their Facebook page if anyones interested)

Norwegian Cruise Line | Facebook
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  #206 (permalink)  
Old August 12th, 2010, 09:11 PM
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I guess they are not only are deleting my bad review of the Epic but they also blocked me and 6 other past passengers that left a bad review this week. You can see however where they stated that they got the fly swatters out and Im gone.
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  #207 (permalink)  
Old August 14th, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Thank you for the update Rochelle.

Of course, I am assuming everything you say is true (why wouldn't it be?).

The fact that your reservations were messed up is the root of all your problems. This is something I noted all along about the ship - while the whole idea is "Free-style 3" the fact is that you are completely locked into your own reservation schedule. The portrayed concept that you can see any show and dine anywhere anytime you want is a fallacy, if your reservations don't work out you may miss the show entirely.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 01:42 PM
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Paul,

Now that the first school vacation/holidays are getting posted, we're getting confirmation of the inherent shortcomings of what you have dubbed as "Freestyle 3": not just the shows demand a radical change in cruisers' behavior but also the slides and possibly also the more popular dining venues, not forgetting the woefully inadequate ice bar.

Now for many people, lining up adds to the frisson of the cruise experience, or rather the Disney experience.

For me, not. Not at all. Cruising again on the Gem will be an utter delight. And rather than the Epic, I will treat my son (and myself!) to Carnival with a 2009 standard water slide at 40% off Epic's prices.

But I did read one hysterical passenger review complaining about a missed port call. The only 2 ports that matter with this behemoth are your embarkation and disembarkation ones!
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Old August 14th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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BMP...

I had a feeling this ship would be short on "free-style" when I realized I couldn't get in to two shows just because I arrived too late - and one of them I had a paid reservation for.

Imagine having a prepaid ticket and arriving at show just before it is starting only to be told it is full and you have missed it for the cruise. Not good. But that is what happens if they open up the smaller theaters to "the house" five to ten minutes before showtime. All the available seats are gone in no time. This is especially true with Cirque or Headliners.

Based on Rochelle's story, I get the feeling the staff is starting to feel the pressure of dissatisfied cruisers as well.

The problem is that two many things don't work - like the TV reservation system (on my cruise, and according to Rochelle it still isnt working). That was why the box office line was so long.

The price for cruising on Epic will be dropping soon enough - as soon as the pre-debut reservations are used up. At that point she will be a worthwhile ship (at a lower price) because of the great entertainment. But she will be competing with Carnival Dream, not Oasis as many of us expected.

And you will always have to be prepared to make your reservations well in advance - and be sure NOT to miss any shows - in fact, get in line 30 minutes early for every show if you want a decent seat.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 07:43 PM
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With the things that rochellekirk and Paul are talking about this sure does not sound like FREESTYLE to me, it sounds like if you want to do anything see anything you better make a reservation and that to me is definitely not freestyle. Especially the way NCL used to show on their tv ads, of doing what you want when you want, of course I have not seen an ad like that in a long time.
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