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  #31 (permalink)  
Old November 6th, 2010, 11:52 AM
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Wow, loved the behind-the -scenes report with photos Mike, very interesting, thanks for sharing!

donna
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old November 6th, 2010, 04:57 PM
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Mike,
GREAT JOB reporting!
Don't think this would be a ship I'd want to take a cruise on!!!
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old November 6th, 2010, 06:19 PM
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I think Epic is a great ship to take at least one cruise on - but depending on your personal tastes of course.

The entertainment is really the best at sea. I liked Blue Man ( of course) but also Howl at the Moon, Legends and Second City. A lot of people rave over Fat Cats and I certainly understand why (the reason only I don't is because I play blues guitar and there isn't much in blue I haven't seen already), but if you are not a regular blue clubgoer you would find this really inspiring.

The food is good - especially if you try the alternative restaurants. But even the buffet is good. Great breakfast buffet with omelet stations for example.

O'Sheehans Pub is largely overlooked by the food is excellent, plus the selection of ales, and the game atmosphere makes it a really cool place just to hand out. I would say my favorite pub at sea.

And if you are single you cannot beat the studio staterooms.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old November 7th, 2010, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
The food is good - especially if you try the alternative restaurants. But even the buffet is good. Great breakfast buffet with omelet stations for example.

O'Sheehan's Pub is largely overlooked by the food is excellent, plus the selection of ales, and the game atmosphere makes it a really cool place just to hand out. I would say my favorite pub at sea.

And if you are single you cannot beat the studio staterooms.
Paul,

I have to agree with you about the food. The buffet was good and the omelet stations were my wife's favorite but they are a standard on most ships. My only complaint about the buffet was that there was little change in the offerings from day to day.

O'Sheehan's is a great venue. The food there, while limited, was overall the best prepared and most consistent in quality. It is not gourmet or prime meats but everything is enjoyable. We ate there, a number of times, for breakfast, lunch and once for late night during the course of the cruise. The service there was also the most friendly. We became friendly with one of the late night waitresses, Maria, who did make us feel special. She did her job well. The pub portion is a great place just to sit and people watch, play a game of darts or air hockey. There is a also a couple of pool tables. I was amazed that more people were not eating there. On disembarkation day we ate breakfast there and while there were long lines of people waiting to get off the ship, long before walk-off disembarkation started, O'Sheehan's was almost empty. My wife had gone up to the buffet earlier and she said it was packed. I'll take a good leisurely breakfast with personal service rather than fighting the hoards in the buffet.

Take care,
Mike
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old November 7th, 2010, 08:14 AM
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I have now returned home and had a few hours sleep in my own bed. Even though cruise ship beds are comfortable it's always nice to sleep in your own.

Yesterday's disembarkation was delayed because of the, weather imposed, overnight in Cozumel. Initially, the Guest Relations staff told everyone with a flight before 3:00 p.m. to reschedule their flights to after 3:00 p.m. This caused a lot of confusion, chaos and an overload of the Internet and Cell system. This lock up of the system saved me $300. We had priority disembarkation and once I contacted the concierge she informed me that we would be leaving the ship at 10:15 a.m.. Our flight was 1:15 pm and I figured this would give us enough time to make it. It turned out that this gave us plenty of time to make our flight. At 11:00 a.m. we were through security at MIA and killing time before our flight. I had signed up for the luggage program where you set your luggage outside your cabin and the cruise line takes care of getting it to the airport and the next time you see it is on the baggage carousel at your destination. I spoke with guest relations about canceling this and I had to go through three people at the desk to get the point across that I wanted this canceled and the fee refunded. The first two people gave me the "deer in headlights" look until an officer knew what I was talking about. A number of hours later a letter appeared that they canceled the program for everyone.

I do wonder what the ramifications will be for those who changed flights and had a long wait at the airport and what NCL will do about the change fees. Their initial response to the "change fee" question was to contact the corporate offices. I do believe there will be some unhappy people.

We did have one main baggage issue, that was of our own creation, and I need to resolve that with NCL today. I won't go into details because after 30 years of travel I was one of those people who had their head up their rears and didn't pay close enough attention to what they were doing.

I do have to say that the disembarkation was easy and quick but similar to many other disembarkations. I do not know if it stayed that way later in the process.

I will write up an overall review and impressions of the trip but I will overall say it was "Good". I can't give it an "Excellent" but I had a good time and enjoyed myself. I believe Epic is something that should be done once but, at least in my case, it will be a while before I try it again. There are many other ships and itineraries that are still to be enjoyed.

Take care,
Mike
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old November 7th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Hey Gang,

I want to thank everyone who came aboard my first cruisemates cruise. I had a great time. You are all the most wonderfull people I have ever met. Linda love ya you and Bruce are aces.
Epic. I though the staff served up the best customer service I have ever experianced. being in the hospitality business myself i was very impressed. Also Julia who is a group cordinator and Exec Chef Peter made sure our group had more then the corporate office said we could. The group actually had sample plates of my recipes. I was so happy. Also at the cocktail party 2 of my drinks were served. (Mike it was malibu rum, vodka, midori and pinapple juice). The other was a Morrocan Mojito.
My wife and I loved the ship. I also did not mind the bathroom set up. Although walking down the corridors you can smell the stench of others. Storage in the cabins were great. I overall loved the ship.
Food Le Bistro was my fave. I do not mind paying extra for speciality restaurants. the reason being I see the value in it. When we go to these restaurants on non vacations we pay a fortune. I loved the noddle bar. I liked the food more in the restaurants then the main dinning room. I also had the Japanese restaurant. i swore I would not eat there since they were a dime a dozen back home. I ate there and thought it was the best I ever had. I do not go out of my way to eat rice. i ate 2 bowls.
Hope to do this agian with all of you and more.
thanks
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old November 7th, 2010, 11:42 AM
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Matt,

I too hope that we do another cruise with you. Perhaps on another ship and hopefully the staff will be as accommodating at the staff on Epic was. I really enjoyed your demo and I do wish we could have spent more time together but it was hard to experience the ship, meet up with people and handle the issues I had.

Also please say hi to your lovely wife. She is a great lady.

Take care,
Mike
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old November 7th, 2010, 11:47 AM
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Oh yes: I have to add one thing about the cruise. The bar service. There was one little thing that drove me nuts and was irritating. If you ordered a soda (without the soda card) they would automatically give you a fountain soda and not a can and charge you the same $2.20 price. I finally had to make sure I ordered a can instead of a fountain soda. I had one bartender, at the casino bar on deck six, who wasn't happy that I wanted a can because he had to go somewhere else and get one.

I can imagine that this practice this really increases the profit line.

Take care,
Mike
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old November 7th, 2010, 12:08 PM
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Matt, I will agree with Mike, and second the hope, that we can meet up again at sea, enjoying your demo's. I know from all our groups comments, everyone enjoyed your presentations,and would love more.

The staff was superb,and made what could have been tricky, a true group effort, to showcase your tasty recipes. Chef Peter was wonderful, in getting this all done, so smoothly.

Meeting you and Ellen, only enhanced a great friendly cruise...thanks so much...
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old November 7th, 2010, 01:46 PM
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Default Hey all ---

I'm glad you made it home, OK. I was a little skeptical when you said NCL advised all with late flights to cancel them - what a hassle that was...

In any case...

Matt giving praise to the NCL premium restuarants and saying he sees the value in them may be some of the best advertising NCL has ever had. They get a fair amount of criticism for focusing so much on alternative, extra-cost dining. I have always said it is worth it, but I am not a highly trained chef like Matt. He can have a meal and know exactly what it is "worth" in terms of what it would cost a restaurant to prepare and present that meal.

The only reason Epic is something of a one-cruise ship is because the entertainment is such a big part of the experience - but once you have seen it there is no reason to rush back and see it again. I have seen BMG five times, but each times was many years apart.

The new ships will have the variety of restuarants, the studio staterooms, and the same diversity of entertainment as Epic. I don't know what they have planned for a headliner, but I would predict it will be something pretty good because Blue Man Gtroup is one of the most consistently praised aspects of the ship.

Good to have you back!!!
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