My First Cruise Post CoVid was EPIC .. Norwegian Epic
This was my first overseas trip in 19 months and the fact that it was a Cruise and involved me crossing a gangway, had me very excited. That coupled with the fact that whilst I sell Norwegian Cruise Lines, I have never had the pleasure to experience an NCL Cruise.
I must say, the Dublin airport experience was seamless. This was also down to the fact that I was full prepared, knew exactly what documents were required and had everything loaded onto MyTC (our customer travel app).
Having enjoyed Barcelona on a few occasions in the past, we opted to stay one night pre-cruise and I would always encourage my clients that regardless of destination, to incorporate at least one night pre-Cruise. This makes way for any unforeseen flight delays, changes, or lost luggage. But the main advantage of this for me, you have a great night sleep after your flight, and you arrive at the port fresh. and you can board the Ship as soon as its ready for boarding. You get great value out of that first day on board when you are not tired, and you can start exploring the Ship as soon as you cross the gangway!
A short taxi ride from centre of Barcelona, we arrived at the pier for boarding nice and early and it was great to see Norwegian Epic in the distance. Our luggage was taken from us and then we procced to an area to have our Antigen test. We then waited a short time for the result before we checked in and boarded Epic. As I had pre-checked in prior to sailing, this was a very quick process. I tend to check all my clients in for their cruise as it just leads to a very seamless check in. The check in is very similar to that of an airline check in, but on a cruise it’s much more organised. There is a lot of some misconception that it could take hours to check in on a cruise ship, but this is not the case, the check in lines which are organised in deck order, move very fast. You will have security photo taken if you had not pre-loaded a picture and you will be issued your key card for all your on-board purchases. And of course this key card is used for getting on and off the ship, opening your stateroom door and it also contains details on your “Muster Station”.
So I have finally crossed the gangway and am ready to dip my toes into new water and explore Norwegian Epic… She was built in 2010 and at that time was the 3rd largest Cruise Ship in the world, with 4200 passenger and a crew of 1750. Equivalent of a 16-story high building with a waterslide on top!! (Reminds me of the National Lotto add on TV!) The Ship was refurbished in 2015 and the Haven has had further revitalization in 2020.
Staterooms As with most Cruise lines when booking a Stateroom, you have many choices. I had a Balcony cabin mid-ship, and this is where I like to assign all my clients, you will feel less motion of the ocean. My stateroom had floor to ceiling glass sliding doors and a small balcony perfect for watching the Ship coming in and out of port, or just enjoying the glass of wine as the sun sets. The staterooms have American and European plug sockets and mine had a double bed and a sofa that converted into additional bedding to accommodation a 3rd passenger in the room. It was spacious and had ample storage and hanging space. The bathroom layout, however, was something I had never seen before. Each area was separate, toilet and shower had their own separate cubicles and the vanity sink itself, was in the stateroom.
If you are looking to add a bit of luxury to your cruise, I would recommend upgrading to a luxurious cabin and I’d be delighted to discuss the options with you. Norwegian Epic also has an excellent option for solo travellers. They pioneered The Studio staterooms, which Norwegian has added to each of their ships since. The Studios are rooms designed for a single traveller, getting rid of the unwanted single supplement fee. These staterooms are cosy, but also come with a private lounge where you can meet other single passengers over coffee, a TV show, or some pre-dinner snacks.
The food I experienced was amazing. NCL would be known for great food and Epic is no different, with over 20 different dining options on board, I didn’t have time to try them all. There are numerous restaurants, cafes and bars and I’d be happy to share more detail on each of them, just let me know and I will send on.
Norwegian Cruise lines are known for their award-winning entertainment, and I must say, I was blown away by what we experienced on board, particularly their two headline shows.
Please contact me for more detailed information on each of the dining choices and what other delights this ship has to offer.
From your cruise expert – Sinead.