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Norwegian Epic Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
4,228 Reviews

Great Ports, Great Service, Big Ship, Big Crowds

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by wmeyer711

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2020
  • Destination: the Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Large Balcony

I am a NCL latitudes member and we wanted to take a February cruise with some Carribean ports we hadn't visited yet. The Epic's itinerary fit the bill.

We started our cruise by staying the night before embarkation in San Juan. The San Juan Airport has an easy to use taxi stand near the baggage claims. We spent $20 from the airport to our Old San Juan hotel called the Hotel Milano. I loved this hotel. If you go look at some of the review sights, this hotel gets mixed reviews, but it is in the middle of the Old San Juan and is not a chain hotel. It reminded my wife and I very much of a hotel we stayed in Switzerland. Because 3 ships were in port, Old San Juan was mobbed and we were not able to have dinner at the hotel, however, the hotel employees guided us to a very good restaurant for dinner that is more frequented by locals than by tourists. It is called Mojito's Restaurant around the corner from the hotel. Before embarkation, we had breakfast Cafeteria Mallorca, which is around the corner from the hotel in a different direction. A mallorca is like a sweet panini filled with ham and cheese. Very delish. Great coffee, too and local cops eat there. I highly recommend this place for breakfast.

After breakfast, the hotel looked after our luggage until it was time to go to the port so we could walk around the old city. The ride was from the hotel to the port was fine. No problems. Embarkation was a pain because they were screening everyone for the Coronavirus. They took us into the port building a few hundred at a time and sat us down to fill out surveys about where we had been and if we had any symptoms of the virus. By the time we got onto the ship, it was dinner time which we ate at the Garden Cafe.

I can't tell you anything about specialty restaurants on this ship. We ate only in the free restaurants and all were fine. The servers were very accommodating about letting us switch around the menu to our liking. For instance, for a few meals in the Manhattan room I got the pasta entree for my appetizer. One of your party members was indecisive about what to order so the server said, "I will bring it all" so it was not uncommon for our table mate to have a few appetizers and several deserts. One of the features of the evening dinner at the Manhattan room is that they had Burn Floor dancers do 30-minute shows as we were eating. This happened twice. Another night they had live music with dancing which was also very nice.

We didn't attend Pricilla Queen of the Desert or Cirque de Sole. We did enjoy very much the Epic Beatles, the comics, Burn the Floor and the Howl at the Moon dueling piano show. For the Cavern Club and Comedy Club shows, get there at least a half-hour early to get a seat.

We pre-planned excursions for St. Lucia and St. Kitts. In St. Lucia we booked the "Land and Sea Tour" with Edmund Tours. This tour took us to Soufriere by van, then by speed boat to a Sugar Beach between the Pitons. Wonderful snorkeling at the marine reserve at this beach. After the swim, we went back to Soufriere for a locally cooked lunch buffet. Then to the volcano, sulfur springs, and the waterfall. A great trip.

In St. Kitts we pre-arranged a taxi tour with driver Chris Brookes who did a great job of showing us his Island. We loved seeing the beautiful black rock formations and stopping by the Batik shop at Romney Manor. For the rest of the ports, we got taxi cabs at the port and went to the beaches. In Barbados taxi driver Merlene took us to a little tucked away beach and bar called Surfside a few blocks up from the Chattel Village shops in Holetown. Nice quiet beach with Steep Pan music, horses for hire and a nice local Bajan restaurant. In Tortola, we took a cab to Brewers Bay. It was a nice uncrowded beach with good snorkeling, a big flock of pelicans and a place to rent chairs and snorkels called Nicoles. The best beach of the trip was in St. Thomas. We took a water taxi from Crown Bay Marina to Water Island and spent the day at Dinghy's Bar and Beach. We snorkeled with turtles there and enjoyed the sugar sand and aquamarine water.

Closing out our week, we took the pre-arranged transportation to the airport which made debarkation super easy. Already planning my next cruise!

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Large Balcony

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