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Sail Date: October 2011
I received a promotional invite from Caesar's Palace for a "free" trip on either the Epic or the Jade. Since it was his big birthday, my H choose the Epic because his grandparents came from Italy. Free ended up costing me ... Read More
I received a promotional invite from Caesar's Palace for a "free" trip on either the Epic or the Jade. Since it was his big birthday, my H choose the Epic because his grandparents came from Italy. Free ended up costing me $500 USD with the upgrade taxes and fees. But that was better than the full price of $2600 USD. I really cant complain overall about my experience on the Epic. I ready nearly 100 of the reviews before we left, and was somewhat concerned about the negativity of these boards regarding the Epic. Yes the ship is BIG and it was full, but there were no crowds in any of the venues or restaurants. I did not experience any of the hogging of the pool chairs, but then the weather was not exactly warm enough to sit by the pool. Yes the pools were small but then I did not go to Europe to sit by the pool. Living in California, I can stay home to do that. About the only place that was crowded was the spa, and there were chair hogs there, but only in the afternoon. Go after dinner to avoid the crowds I learned. If you really liked the spa experience I would recommend buying the week long pass. The massages and other services rates were more than what I pay at Caesar's Palace, which frankly has probably the best spa I had ever been to and ten times bigger and better than the Epic. What really frosted me about the spa was on day that the 20% discount was offered, it turned out to be a joke. The ship then charged not only 18% VAT but then told you (after you have already made the reservation and showed up for the treatment) that there was a mandatory additional 18% service fee. So a 100 minute massage and treatment without the 20% discount would have cost $366 USD which is about $116 more than the same treatment (with the same product line of Elemis) and the same massage costs at Caesars Palace. Not cool in my mind. Especially when you were not warned at the time of booking about the 36% additional. Frankly, that is the only negative things about the cruise that I experienced. Food was ok, not exceptional, and yes the buffet was crowded and noisy. Ate dinner there one night, breakfast there one day and then never went back. Had breakfast most days at Taste, which while repetitive, was good. Ate dinner all but two nights at the Manhattan, which was ok except for the first night's paella, which was great. Ate at the Brazilian restaurant one night, and the food was excellent. My H big complaint was no decent movie theater, and tv movies were expensive and no choice. Also he was upset about the tv not having any US based sports (as in not ever the score of the World Series games) He also thought the shore excursions with NCl were expensive, and we got better service, smaller groups and a better time booking with people I had met on CC trips with Rome in Limo. I have cruise before with Carnival (three times) and Princess (three times). I would overall rate the Epic much better in all categories that Carnival (except for deserts cause NCL deserts were unremarkable) but not as high quality as Princess (where I never had a bad meal, or room, or poor service) except for one thing: the casino. The Epic Casino is beautiful, smoke and all, and the machines do pay off. The service was excellent in the Casino, from drink servers to the clean up crew, to the casino hosts, even more attentive than most of of the Harrah's properties. And having been sent on this cruise via Harrah's "dime" I can honestly say that I did feel like I was in a big Las Vegas style hotel the entire week. So if your idea of cruising is to eat yourself sick, this is not the ship for you. It is not quite and restful, nor is it designed for lounging by the pool. If you have "bathroom issues", you will find the rooms claustrophobic and no matter how much closet space there is, you wont like it. But if you are adventurous, like to gamble, and a fast paced daily tour schedule, this is the trip for you. Only be prepared for needing another vacation as you will come home exhausted from a week on the Epic, especially if you live on the west coast of the US like I do, Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We had an aft cabin on deck 7. We were really looking forward to this since we had never booked an aft balcony. I couldn't find much information before we left about the aft balcony. We wanted it because we knew it was a bigger ... Read More
We had an aft cabin on deck 7. We were really looking forward to this since we had never booked an aft balcony. I couldn't find much information before we left about the aft balcony. We wanted it because we knew it was a bigger balcony and we could enjoy seeing where we've been. On our second day (a day at sea) we noticed black ashes on our towels on the lounge chairs as well as on our table (between the chairs). I initially thought that people on the top deck were smoking on the rear of the ship and their ashes were being dropped on our balcony. As the day went on though, we had more and more ashes. We finally figured out that it was coming from the smoke stack on the ship. We reported it to the Purser's and the agent looked at us like we were crazy. She said that no one else on the aft ship had reported anything (which is entirely possible, since it seemed that we were the only ones who actually used our balcony) and she had no idea what it could be. She said she could send someone out to look at it. They had scheduled someone, but they never showed up. On the 5th day, someone actually showed up and she said that they had never had this problem before, however, as my husband continued to question her she finally admitted that it "could" be coming from the smoke stack. What really aggravated us was the fact that everyone tried to deny that they had ever had this issue come up before. It was clear that it was the smoke stack because on the days that the wind blew in a different direction we had no ashes. On our last day, someone from customer care called and said that she had left a previous message for us (although we didn't have any messages). She had indicated that they hadn't had this problem before but was willing to give us a credit on a future cruise. Since we didn't know when we would be sailing again she offered us a $100 discount for this cruise. What annoyed us more than anything was the denial by all staff. If they would have just told us that this was a drawback to an aft cabin, we would have accepted that, but the fact that everyone acted like this had NEVER happened before really irritated us. It was not our objective to receive any compensation, just an acknowledgement that this occasionally occurred and explanation of why. On a positive note, we LOVED our stateroom attendant and wait staff. Every time we ran into any crew members, they were always very pleasant. The food in the Windjammer cafe was almost always the same. That was a disappointment. The menu in the dinning room was the same everyday, except for a different flavored "pancake of the day." This was fine for us because we LOVED the french toast and omelettes. The food in the dinning room for dinner was good and offered a good variety. We felt VERY rushed to get off the ship on the last day. We got to port at 0530 (30 minutes early) and it was a very loud. The ship vibrated strongly as it felt that we came in and turned ourselves completely around. If the arrival hadn't woken us up, the numerous announcements made over the intercom definitely would have. We had asked previously if we could take our time getting off the ship, as we had no immediate plans for the day, and we were told that we had to pay to stay later than our departure time (which was assigned at 7am -- the first assigned departure). So, we left at our assigned time. Thankfully our local hotel checked us into our room at 0830 - that would never happen stateside. So, overall we had a great vacation and enjoyed our ports of call. We were a little disappointed with Royal Caribbean (we had sailed with them before with no issues). We were happy to learn that the ship was going to dry dock after our cruise, a little updating would help spruce it up. We liked the fact that it was a smaller ship and we were able to recognize crew members and get familiar with them, however, a larger ship does offer more amenities and more to do. Again, we couldn't have asked for better stateroom attendants and waitstaff. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
The ship was very impressive our room was larger than on other cruises we were on. we had a room with a Balcony which was a big plus. Even the bathroom wasn't a bad size. The food in the main restaurant in the evening was good but ... Read More
The ship was very impressive our room was larger than on other cruises we were on. we had a room with a Balcony which was a big plus. Even the bathroom wasn't a bad size. The food in the main restaurant in the evening was good but in the buffet one it was alway cold and the same menu every day no variety. The ports of calls were not great really enjoyed Kopei and Dubrovnik but should have stayed on board in Bari. It was not a very nice location especially the old town felt like we steped back in time but not for nice reason. It was like walking into a slum. The house were really run down and children tearing through the narrow streets on bike. The staff were very helpful on the ship until you had a problem. We returned to our room one day and the lad cleaning the room advised that the toilet was leaking and that he had reported it. We left the room and came back a few hours later to a flood. We rang maintenance 3 time and they kept saying they fixed it even though it was still flooding. Ended up going down to reception to complain and she got the same answer from maintenance. They promised to send up a man but a girl with a cloth to dry the floor arrive. She again had to ring before they believed us. Beware of buying watches etc on board. I bought a watch and when I got home it didn't work. Emailed them and they won't replace or refund as it was bought duty free on the sea. Its their rule if it is an expensive watch I would have to contact the maker no signs on board to this effect. Read Less

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