NCL Epic Cruise

February 2015

We have been on a bunch of ships over the 17 cruises leading up to this one but all of them were in the 2,200-2,400 passenger class.  This time around we decided to try one of the "big" ships and booked a cabin on NCL Epic.  Epic carries about 4,500 passengers that are serviced by about 2,000 crew.  As you can see above, we cruised in February again only this time out of Miami.  It's been the usual cold in our area with a number of "nuisance" snows so it was good to get away from it all.  I should add that snow fall further up in New England (CT, MA, etc) has been massive with loads of canceled flights.  We heard a number of  horror stories the weather has caused.  But for us, everything went as planned.

Like previous cruises, we signed onto the Cruise Critic "Roll Call" for this cruise and began making contact with a bunch of fellow cruisers.  We participated in a Meet & Greet where a number of the officers came to introduce themselves to us.  In addition, there was a "Slot Pull" but we decided to pass on that this time around.


Be sure and click on any image for a larger view, some additional information about the image, some camera information and a satellite image of where the picture was taken.

The Ship....

As mentioned above, this was our first big ship experience.  Epic is five years old and has been spending winters out of Miami and summers in the Mediterranean.  This was, however, Epic's final season here in the states since she will be moved back to Europe for year round cruising.

Reviews for Epic tend to be a love/hate situation.  Some of the controversy surrounds the curved cabin walls, separate shower/toilet modules, sink, and just plain layout of the ship to name some of the issues.  Right up front, I'd like to say that we really enjoyed the ship and quickly learned where everything was and how to get around.  It was just plain fun exploring something totally new to us.  Our fear was that public spaces would feel crowded with that many people on board but our fears were unfounded, we never felt hemmed in.  Certainly wasn't any different from experiences we've had on smaller ships.  We suspect that the water park, climbing wall, etc draws a younger crowd.



Miami Florida Departure....

This was our first time cruising out of Miami and we enjoyed sitting out on the balcony as we sailed out.  Our port side balcony gave us a view of South Beach.     


Ocho Rios, Jamaica....

This was our  first time in this port and frankly we were at a loss about what to do.  Many of the excursions involved climbing some waterfall which we just didn't want to do.  As luck would have it, sent information about an excursion to the Turtle River Falls and Gardens so we booked that one.  The tour operator picked us up at the port and delivered us, and four other people, to Turtle River.  That's it, just six of us on the tour which was nice.  A guide was provided to take us around and answer questions.  Part of the tour involved spending time in an "aviary" and interacting with some birds.



George Town, Cayman Islands....

We booked an independent excursion out to "Stingray City" but Kathy wasn't feeling up to it.  I had already paid for the excursion so I found a young couple waiting to board the tender and offered it to them free.  They followed me to the tour operators office where I got names changed and off they went.  As for me, I found a wi-fi hotspot to check some mail and spent a couple hours browsing at watches.  Didn't buy anything.  This was a tendered port and much to my surprise, they didn't tender with the ships lifeboats.  The boats used were large and there was no waiting to board one of them.  I got back to the ship and decided this would be my afternoon for the NCL Epic Plunge!!!  It was great.... 



Cozumel, Mexico....

This was our 4th visit to Cozumel so we decided to make a beach day out of it.  In advance, we booked Nachi-Cocum which is a beach club that limits reservations to 100 per day.  That makes for a nice quite laid back day.  Their $55/pp rate is all inclusive, shade, chairs, food and drinks are all included and they'll bring it out to you so you don't even have to get off your chair.  Weather for our day at Nachi-Cocum was beautiful but the water was much to cold for us.  Even their pool was not warm enough.  No problem, the rum drinks, food, and our eReaders was all we needed.

NCL docks at Punta Langosta which is right in town.  Getting to/from Nachi-Cocum involved taking a flat rate taxi and I took a picture of the sign for future reference.



For the photographers among you:  We traveled light and left the DSLR's and lenses home.  Instead we packed our Nikon Coolpix P7700 P&S and Nikon Coolpix P7800 P&S cameras.  We found ourselves sharing these cameras so we were not able to define who took which individual image.  We also brought along our waterproof Fujifilm XP60 which is always fun to have around.  In addition, we also geotagged our images with a Sony GPS-CS3KA.
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 New February 2015