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  #1  
Old February 3rd, 2015, 01:28 PM
CoilyNewbie CoilyNewbie is offline
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Smile 1st Time Cruisers Want To Be Alone

Please don't judge us! lol!!! Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and hubby won't cruise unless I can convince him that we can dine alone and find places of solitude during a seven day cruise on NCL Epic. Travel agent said we can get ALL our meals in our stateroom and someone said there are several places on the ship where we can find solitude. I have been wanting to do this for YEARS. Please help me convince hubby that although he hates crowds, he will love this. Thanks!
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Old February 3rd, 2015, 01:56 PM
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Hi there, I'm not sure that I would pick NCL for the sort of experience that will keep your husband happy.
Okay so with NCL we have only been on the Jade, but based on that I would urge you to look again. On our cruise there was a good party atmosphere, but that does of course mean people everywhere, add to that the fact that the Ents officers were VERY pushy when it came to nickle & diming the passengers and it all added up to a less than perfect experience - hopefully others will rebuff this experience.

For privacy, yes there will be plenty of spaces both inside & out where your husband can get the peace & quiet that he craves, but like anywhere, the more pax the less guaranteed that is.

If on NCL it may be worth looking at paying for access to the adults only retreat (Spice H2O ?) which should guarantee a more relaxing environment.

Please let us know how you get on, and good luck
Alan & Katrina
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Old February 3rd, 2015, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by CoilyNewbie View Post
Please don't judge us! lol!!! Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and hubby won't cruise unless I can convince him that we can dine alone and find places of solitude during a seven day cruise on NCL Epic. Travel agent said we can get ALL our meals in our stateroom and someone said there are several places on the ship where we can find solitude. I have been wanting to do this for YEARS. Please help me convince hubby that although he hates crowds, he will love this. Thanks!
It is important that you understand what a cruise on a large mainstream ship is, and is not, or you are setting yourself up for disappointment. It is not a cruise on a private yacht, or a cruise on a premium cruise line with very low passenger counts, but very high cruise rates.

If you are going to sail on a ship which carries a few thousand passengers, truthfully, it is going to be more like being in a large resort hotel. There will be many people in the areas of the ship which house the main atrium, bars, shops, casino and restaurants. That said, it is still possible to find quiet corners. The ship is very large and there are lots of places, activities and space that people spread out over. Not everyone is dining at the same time, at the same place or seeing a show at the same time, etc. And if you can afford a balcony cabin, you have your own private space to retreat to from time to time.

NCL is Freestyle meaning you really don't need reservations for much of anything. You eat where and when you want. You can have a table for 2 or join friends you just met. Unless you have a suite, you cannot have every meal in your cabin unless you can make do with a meager room service menu. Not sure where your TA got that info! But NCL has some of the best suite perks, and if you want a very special anniversary, book one and get some extra pampering like breakfast or dinner on your balcony.

As far as the comment that was made re "nickel and diming", this is absolutely untrue. ALL cruise lines have extra charge items like spa services, alcoholic drinks, specialty restaurants, activities like Bingo or Wine Tastings with a fee. This is how they make their profit. But there are many, many other free entertainment options offered. There is a dinner show on the Epic with a cover charge, and perhaps a luncheon show of some sort. But these would be the ONLY entertainment other than what I previously mentioned with a fee. I have cruised 7 times with NCL and have NEVER been pressured by anyone to pay a cent for anything extra or even been ASKED if I would like to, nor have I ever witness this behavior by staff.

What NCL does have is a lot of choice in entertainment and dining. There are several entertainment venues/shows to choose from. There is high caliber live music in some of the entertainment venues and even the bars. There are various themed parties held during the week.

There are several dining venues which are included in your fare. The large MDR is beautiful, but is huge and therefore noisy. Instead, you might try the small MDRs, Taste and Savor, which are more like a very nice restaurant you might go to at home. If you want something more exclusive and in a more quiet and elegant venue than a main dining room, buffet, etc, I would encourage you to consider a few meals at somewhere like Le Bistro or Cagneys. La Cucina, the Italian restaurant is beautiful and with wrap around windows in the bow of the ship. The price is from $15 per person to $30 per person. We usually budget an extra $150 total to cover a few nights of specialty dining. Well worth it, but not something you have to do, and no one will be standing outside the door as you pass by trying to cajole you to come inside or pestering you to sign up for bingo.

Spice H20, despite what was posted elsewhere, is free, and is an adults only area during the day great for quiet sunbathing. At night it is converted to an open air venue for parties, such as 80s Night etc. Families welcome during early evening hours for parties. Later on, it is supposed to be Adults Only.

One tip for breakfast. You can dine in one of the MDRs, or if like us you like the variety of the buffet, but hate the crowds, after you have gotten your food, look for the staircase down inside the seating area. It is the entry to La Cucina. We dined there every morning on our Epic cruise with a small handful of other passengers. No one else knows this secret, so shhhh!

I really enjoyed our Epic cruise. It has THE best Thermal Suites area on any ship I've seen. Located on the aft of the ship. Huge thermal pools and spas, the usual steam rooms, etc., heated stone loungers, and a wonderful huge open air balcony with day beds and loungers overlooking the aft wake. If you both bought a weekly Thermal Suites pass, you would indeed have a luxurious area of absolute quiet to relax in. ( book a spa balcony or spa minisuite category and get 2 admissions included in the cabin price ). About $400 per couple for the passes. No advance purchase. Go to the spa for a tour and to buy passes when you board. Limited number sold.

If I can answer any questions, let me know.
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Old February 3rd, 2015, 04:51 PM
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As far as the comment that was made re "nickel and diming", this is absolutely untrue.
I was thinking more of the scratch cards & drinks pushers in the shows & casino, they really p*ssed us off that was VERY true. Hopefully, based on your comments, they are not so bad now.

Alan.
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Old February 4th, 2015, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kandajones View Post
I was thinking more of the scratch cards & drinks pushers in the shows & casino, they really p*ssed us off that was VERY true. Hopefully, based on your comments, they are not so bad now.

Alan.
Never saw anyone offer a "scratch card" on any NCL cruise. I don't even know what it is.

By "drinks pushers" are you referring to waiters who prior to the show are in the isles taking drink orders for passengers who want to enjoy a beverage with the show and then delivering them so that they do not have to get out of their chairs to schlep to the bar to get it themselves? Or leave their "hot" machine in the casino to get a drink? Most people would consider this "good service". They do not approach anyone who does not signal them to do so. More people complain about the opposite, wanting a drink and not being able to catch the attention of a waiter, or seeing none in your immediate vicinity.

Guess you just can't make everyone happy.
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Old February 4th, 2015, 07:03 PM
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I notice this more on the pool deck, but that is their job...
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Old February 5th, 2015, 08:32 AM
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NCL and Epic are great choices for dining. You will not have to share a table with anyone if you don't want to. I STRONGLY suggest adding $100 pp to your cruise budget to enjoy the specialty restaurants. You can have a great steak in Cagney's. Go into a meat coma in Moderno. Have a romantic dinner in Le Bistro and enjoy a number of other included and additional charge eating venues. There are plenty of no additional charge restaurants.

There are also places on the upper deck where you can just relax and enjoy yourself. The main pool deck is crowded so stay away from there if you don't want to be around a lot of people.

You can have total privacy and go for the big bucks and book a Haven Suite. It is a ship unto itself where a limited number of cabins have access to their own pool, bar and restaurant. You also have larger suites, with butler service and you can have your meals served to you, course by course, or all at once in your suite. You would never really have to leave but you would miss so much that the ship has to offer. Epic has some of the best entertainment at sea and I think you can find enough privacy without booking a high end suite, unless that's what you want.

Enjoy your cruise,

Take care,
Mike
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Old February 5th, 2015, 02:36 PM
CoilyNewbie CoilyNewbie is offline
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Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
NCL and Epic are great choices for dining. You will not have to share a table with anyone if you don't want to. I STRONGLY suggest adding $100 pp to your cruise budget to enjoy the specialty restaurants. You can have a great steak in Cagney's. Go into a meat coma in Moderno. Have a romantic dinner in Le Bistro and enjoy a number of other included and additional charge eating venues. There are plenty of no additional charge restaurants.

There are also places on the upper deck where you can just relax and enjoy yourself. The main pool deck is crowded so stay away from there if you don't want to be around a lot of people.

You can have total privacy and go for the big bucks and book a Haven Suite. It is a ship unto itself where a limited number of cabins have access to their own pool, bar and restaurant. You also have larger suites, with butler service and you can have your meals served to you, course by course, or all at once in your suite. You would never really have to leave but you would miss so much that the ship has to offer. Epic has some of the best entertainment at sea and I think you can find enough privacy without booking a high end suite, unless that's what you want.

Enjoy your cruise,

Take care,
Mike
Thanks all great advice! But now I'm totally bummed bc I was lurking around the "internets" and found another cruise review site. MANY cruisers totally dogged the NCL Epic, so now I refuse to cruise NCL Epic. I know you can't please everyone, but the recurring these was super long lines for elevators, horrible food, super long lines in MDRs and inattentive, non-caring staff. So now I'm considering another line. This has to be perfect for hubby or he will probably never want to cruise again. Besides, I'm paying alot for this. I'm actually considering the Haven Suite, but don't feel I have to pay that much just to have a really wonderful first time cruise experience.
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Old February 5th, 2015, 03:54 PM
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There is a lot of great advice on this thread that was worth reading especially from Mike M and Travelbuggs. Thanks for taking the time to compile that. My advice to the cruiser would be, DONT take too much from cruise reviews on sites, as there are a lot of *****y people out there, If you go down that road you will never cruise if you base it on what other people think of the ship and the line. Above you have good unbiased folks giving you advice, I would listen
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Old February 5th, 2015, 05:35 PM
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I would fully support David's comments re a lot of websites, remember it is human nature to only speak (or post) if they want to complain about something rather than giving useful or lifting comments.

There is however one site that I have found very useful in the past as they purely state the facts as provided by the cruiselines rather than opinions.
They are Cruise Ship Finder - Over 500 Ocean ships and riverboats with itineraries and ship details and if you look to the upper left there is a dropdown under the words Ship Facts, and you click in the vessel you are interested in.
You are then shown the ratings, size, facilities, officer nationalities, pax demographics, dress codes, style of entertainment etc. etc.

It may help you narrow down the very wide choice of ships out there.

HTH,
Alan.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 10:11 AM
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CoilyNewbie, I don't know what port you are sailing out of, and what other options are available to you. I know Epic is switching to a European itinerary.

But, as far as NCL ships go, Epic is a one of a kind. There were many bad and over the top reviews when the ship was new. People could just not wrap their minds around the cabin design, and other elements of the ship. We read those same reviews and were a little apprehensive. Just let me say that once we sailed the Epic I can say that these people were either gross exaggerators or were completely off their rockers. We mostly did not wait to be seated or the wait was very brief, as in 5 minutes or less. I have waited much, much longer at home. Food is very subjective, and someone who eats every meal at Burger King would probably say that the food was terrible, so consider the source. We liked most everything, but if something does not suit, you will quickly be given something else. No need to suffer in silence. Service was good and the staff went out of their way for us. The entertainment was fantastic and we had a ball. That said, this is not my favorite NCL ship. I much prefer the new Breakaway, Getaway and Escape design which puts much emphasis on a connection to the outdoors and has a traditional cabin design.

You are going to find these over the top reviews for any ship on any cruise line. You made a statement, "this has to be perfect for hubby". Just a little advice, it does not matter which ship you choose, I can almost guarantee you will have a "bad" cruise if you board with this attitude, because every "little" thing will be over exaggerated in your mind. Some people just seem to go around looking for things to be aggrieved about. Don't be one of them. No cruise is or ever will be "perfect".
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Old February 8th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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A brilliant and honest post re perspective of what to find and expect when you go cruising, and well said. The thing is you make it your own when there (having made some basic calls on is this for me), once that line is dropped from the sail off, its down to you to make it want you want, only you
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Old February 8th, 2015, 04:43 PM
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A brilliant and honest post re perspective of what to find and expect when you go cruising, and well said. The thing is you make it your own when there (having made some basic calls on is this for me), once that line is dropped from the sail off, its down to you to make it want you want, only you
I have found this to be very true. 2 people taking the same cruise on the same date can have two totally different experiences based on: what they chose to do on board, how well they did their research on the ship and ports, how flexible they were, and most importantly what their attitude was when they set foot on board.
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Old February 8th, 2015, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CoilyNewbie View Post
Please don't judge us! lol!!! Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and hubby won't cruise unless I can convince him that we can dine alone and find places of solitude during a seven day cruise on NCL Epic. Travel agent said we can get ALL our meals in our stateroom and someone said there are several places on the ship where we can find solitude. I have been wanting to do this for YEARS. Please help me convince hubby that although he hates crowds, he will love this. Thanks!

No judging here! My DH and I also like to be alone. On most ship's you can eat at a table for two in the "anytime" dining room. (On NCL they're all "anytime".) On most ship's the Room Service menu is not as complete as the dining room menu, except on the Premium line's (such as Crystal).


Although we've cruised NCL a couple of times, I, personally, wouldn't recommend them for a first cruise. I'm thinking you might enjoy Princess more.


I agree that if you go into a cruise (or anything else) looking for trouble, you'll find it! If you're a "go with the flow" type, you'll enjoy yourselves!


Like Travelbuggs and DavidB, said, it's really up to you to make your cruise something wonderful!


Hope you find the perfect cruise for you and DH,
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Old July 16th, 2015, 07:23 AM
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Cruises are all the rage and more and more people are taking cruise vacations as an alternative to their usual panama trip.
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Old July 19th, 2015, 12:58 PM
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We have met lots of new friends having had them spend the night in our cabin.
It is possible to eat alone, and be alone, but ask hubby to try something new.
.

Now this is something I just can't recommend! But, you go, girl!
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Old July 21st, 2015, 03:02 PM
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Kanda - such good advice!

I would have recommended a line like Oceania, Seabourn orAzamara if you want meals in the stateroom. You need a butler, really.

The Haven (on Epic) will work though.
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