At Sea Day #1

Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
Trip End Nov 03, 2012

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Flag of Morocco  , Oriental,
Monday, October 22, 2012

Greetings from the Atlantic Ocean! We passed through the Strait of Gibraltar about four hours ago, exiting the Mediterranean Sea and starting our 12-day trans-Atlantic crossing to Miami aboard Norwegian Epic. It's currently 11 p.m. and we are at 3601.96’ N, 647.88’ W.

Got up at 11:56 a.m. on this first full day aboard Epic. We had departed Barcelona yesterday evening. Today was a really laid-back, do-very-little type of day. It started badly as I found a puddle of water on my counter adjacent to the sink and saw water was leaking from above, where the elevated small refrigerator is located. I checked the fridge and couldn’t find the source of the leak, so I called for maintenance. The leaked water destroyed my Freestyle Daily, Epic’s daily newsletter, which was sitting on the counter. My journal was sitting just to the right of the newsletter and escaped with only a wet corner. My laptop was sitting immediately to the right of the journal. Thank goodness the water did not damage either of these important items.

My stateroom attendant was the first to respond. He also couldn’t identify the leak source, so he called for more crew members. Two maintenance supervisors arrived and quickly found the culprit – a bottle of Pellegrino sparking water I had from removed from the fridge yesterday (along with all other minibar items to clear way for my water bottles and Coke cans). I had laid the Pellegrino on its side in a nook above the fridge along with the other cleared-out minibar products. The seal on the Pellegrino bottle apparently was broken, and the water had seeped out overnight and resulted in a little waterfall down the side of the cabinet and then onto my counter. The offending Pellegrino was removed and my stateroom attendant cleaned up the leaked water. Disaster averted.

While my stateroom attendant was present, I also pointed out the gap between the two mattresses that were pushed together yesterday to create my full-size bed. I was not comfortable trying to sleep last night because the mattresses had not been properly joined, resulting in this gap in the middle. Milton showed me a zipper mechanism that is used to connect to the two mattresses and apologized for forgetting to take care of that yesterday after moving the beds together. Hopefully I’ll get a better night’s sleep tonight now that I have a properly unified bed.

I met Craig for lunch at Taste at 12:50 p.m. Another man, Ian of Toronto, also joined us. This was my first experience dining in one of Epic’s two main dining rooms. I wasn’t impressed by the menu, which did not contain many selections. The food was okay. I had Vietnamese fresh rolls to start followed by a shrimp caesar salad and then penne pasta with marinara sauce. We had bread plates and knives, but no bread was ever offered. I miss the enormous gourmet salad bar at lunch in the main dining room aboard my last cruiseship, Voyager of the Seas. Nothing like that here on Epic.

After lunch, I wandered around all public areas of Decks 5, 6, and 7 to acquaint myself with the ship. I continue to be very underwhelmed by Epic. The ship is very constrained and has few open areas. Most stunning is the lack of a lower-level outdoor space to walk around the ship and enjoy the view of the sea. Of the lower decks, only Deck 7 has any outdoor space and it does not go all the way around the ship. One side has shuffleboard courts and the other features a jogging track. Views from both sides are totally obscured by the massive lifeboats, which hold about 270 passengers (compared to the standard lifeboats of about 120 passengers I’ve seen on other cruiseships). Inside the ship, there is no large central space such as the Royal Promenade on Voyager of the Seas. Also, Epic’s elevators face inward rather than outward, meaning no glass elevators with views of the ocean as you ascend or descend. Shockingly for a ship of Epic’s gross size (the third-largest cruise vessel in the world), there’s only two sets of elevators – one mid-forward and one mid-aft. Most ships have three banks of elevators at forward, aft, and midship. I’m most annoyed by another elevator quirk – the elevators in the aft (where my cabin is located) do not go down to Deck 5, where Taste restaurant, Guest Services, and other public facilities are located. To reach Deck 5, I have to take the elevator down to Deck 6, then walk through the smoke-filled casino to an escalator down to Deck 5. The only other option would be to hike a long way through the corridor on my Deck 13 to the forward elevators, which do run down to Deck 5. My first impression of Epic being very poorly designed has been affirmed today during my exploration of the lower decks.

I returned to my cabin at 3:45 to blog and watch TiVo on laptop, during which I dozed off. At 5:44 I dragged myself out of bed and went down to The Living Room for the nightly solo travelers’ gathering. After that, Craig, Ian, and I went outside to watch the ship pass through the Strait of Gibraltar at 7 p.m. That is the highlight of our cruise in terms of viewing things from the ship – we won’t be seeing much land at all for the rest of the journey!

Next was the Friends of Dorothy gathering in Shakers bar. A group of 10 of us then proceeded downstairs to dinner at Taste. The restaurant was full, so we were given a pager and asked to wait about 20 minutes. The hostess was nice enough to give us a coupon for one free glass of champagne each while waiting. That was a nice surprise. I didn’t check my watch, but our table was ready in about the time promised. Service was slow. I ordered a fried spring roll to start followed by a caesar salad and then Thai chicken and shrimp in coconut curry sauce. The main course was outstanding. For dessert, I had "zesty lemon sherbet" – we all laughed at the term “zesty” being included as part of the dessert’s name; what exactly makes a sherbet zesty? – as well as a slice of strawberry cheesecake.

Back to my cabin at 10:45 to write this blog entry. We are now approaching the Spain/Portugal border to our north. We’ve got two more sea days before arrival into our first port of call – Punta Delgada, Azores Islands.
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Holly on

Maybe there is lemon "zest" in the sorbet? ZESTY! lol

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