Sailing across the sea...


Rain and clouds as we cross the ocean.
The threat of rough seas has subsided for the time being.  The ill passenger was dropped off by tender in Bermuda.  Within hours the ship was back on course for the Atlantic crossing. We sighed with relief.


When returning from dinner each night we find these little towel characters on our turned down bed.
The Norwegian Epic, rated a five out of six stars by Cruise Critic, lives up to its reviews as a quality vessel with the utmost of amenities and services.  A few items we've observed in the three days on the Norwegian Epic include:

1. There are only two banks of elevators resulting in very long walks getting from one end of the ship to the other.

2.  One of the two pools is currently under repair.  This is located in an area where hundreds of passengers could conceivably relax on lounge chairs with no pool in which to cool off, weather providing.

3.  The evening meals, in the "included" restaurants, is mediocre at best.  Is this a ploy to encourage  passengers to use the "cover charge" restaurants ranging from $10 to $40 per person?  Breakfast in the Garden Cafe is quite good, cafeteria style, food is fresh with real eggs upon request and they have smoked salmon, a favorite of mine.

4.  On all of our prior four cruise ships since January 3, 2013, there have been traditional long decks on both the port and starboard sides of the ship, suitable for walking and lounging.  The picture we've always had in mind, was of crossing the sea, in expected inclement weather, covered in a blanket while lying on a lounge chair reading a book.  That's not possible on the ship.  Lounge chairs are near the pool areas only.

5.  No indoor daytime movies which would be a treat with the cool, windy weather.  Few educational classes are available (although Tom will attend a WWII seminar this afternoon).  Big push for the "pay for" services:  gambling, shopping, spa and cocktails.  None of this is unusual by cruise standards. 

6.   Limited evening entertainment as compared to our experience on the Celebrity ships when each night there was new entertainment options.  We went to the "Blue Man Group" on our first night aboard the Epic, which was quite enjoyable but it repeats every night in the main venue, leaving only two other shows with are included in the cruise fare plus,  one "pay for" option, a Cirque de Soleil type show at $40 per person including dinner for which we won't partake.

7.  Poor Internet connection, slower than old fashioned "dial-up."  Price for the Internet at $.40 per minute is outrageous, highest we've paid thus far.
 
This morning we attempted to attend a seminar entitled, "Running a Floating Hotel" presented by three top officers, including the captain. Without a seat available after arriving 15 minutes early, we only stayed a few minutes when Tom was unable to hear the presentation and I preferred not to stand for over an hour in a crowded area.  With the older crowd aboard this ship, we will need to arrive at least a half hour early for events in the future.

Some items we like about the Norwegian Epic:
1.  Our cabin steward, Arnold, is absolutely among the finest.

2.  Our cabin has tons of storage space, a huge shower, with a comfortable bed and exquisite bedding with extra pillows.

3.  The entire ship is impeccably clean and organized.

4.   All of the staff is friendly, saying hello when passing, ultra courteous when providing service, referring to us as:  Ms. Jessica and Mr. Tom

5.  Last night when dining with yet a new batch of four delightful passengers in the Taste Restaurant, the Assistant  Maître D, Steven Metzger, immediately tended to me when I had requested a gluten free, starch free, low carb, grain free, and sugar free meal. He couldn't have been more helpful, checking back several times during the carefully prepared meal and showing me the next night's menu to order in advance to ensure my order complies.  I didn't mind ordering in advance when doing so results in less attention drawn to my complicated diet while others are trying to order.  Tonight, when we meet our new friends for dinner, my order will already be posted with the chef, listed under of cabin number, streamlining the process.

6.   Due to the sheer size of this 6000 potential passenger ship (including crew) there's less sensation of movement.  With five days remaining crossing the sea until our first port of call in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, we expect rough seas, as warned by the captain over the loud speaker.  Yes, doors sway open and closed, along with the endless creaking and cracking sounds, day and night. One may feel they're losing their footing when walking as the ships rocks to and fro.  None of this bothers either of us, nor have we had a moment of seasickness thus far.   We shall see how it progresses.
Mr. Penguin.
Overall, we're pleased to be aboard the Norwegian Epic for the this cruise.
Breakfast this morning in the Garden Café.
Embarking on our next cruise on May 6th, we'll sail through the Suez Canal to the Middle East, ending aboard Royal Caribbean's Marnier of the Sea.   We'll visit Jordan and Egypt ending in Dubai, United Arab Emirates where we'll stay for 13 nights. 
Next time there's a seminar, we'll arrive a half hour early to ensure we are able to find seats.
We're doing well, meeting interesting people, relishing in our pleasant surroundings, living life one moment at a time, happy to be together and totally in awe of the world around us.  At times, we look at each other, shaking our heads one of us saying, "Can you believe we're doing this?"

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