At Sea Day #10

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

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Flag of Bahamas  , Bimini,
Friday, November 2, 2012

Got up at 1:38 p.m. aboard Norwegian Epic. My first thought was: "It's the last day of the cruise!" :-( Hard to believe my 13-night journey across the Atlantic Ocean from Barcelona to Miami via the Azores and U.S. Virgin Islands is coming to a close.

Went upstairs to the Garden Café at 2 p.m. to grab lunch one final time from the buffet, then spent the waning hours of daylight aboard Epic reading on Deck 15 and going down the three waterslides with Craig. It was a beautiful day as we sailed through the Bahamas en route to Miami – lots of sunshine and cooler temperatures now that we’ve left the tropics behind. A great final day enjoying the aqua park.

For the final trip down the Epic Plunge, I “accidentally” lost my grip on the bar in the starter pool and came down the slide immediately behind Craig in my inner tube. I managed to pass Craig was we spun around in the bowl, and emerged first down the final pipe and into the ending pool. That was quite fun (normally only one tube is allowed down the Plunge at a time).

Returned to my cabin at 6:06 after the waterslides closed at 6:00. Showered, then went up to the Garden Café to enjoy some coconut ice cream with cookies as an evening snack while sorting photos and doing stuff online.

Back to my cabin at 7:34; filled up my thermos with pineapple juice, mango rum, and guava rum; then proceeded downstairs to Shakers bar for the final Friends of Dorothy gathering. A large group went to dinner at Le Bistro premium restaurant ($20 cover charge), but Craig, Jim, and I weren’t interested in doing that so we ate dinner in the Manhattan dining room instead. We had to wait a little more than 30 minutes for a table, during which we enjoyed two glasses each of complimentary champagne. For my final dinner aboard Epic, I started with crab fritters, then had a Mediterranean salad followed by a main entrée of shrimp scampi. My last dessert was peach cheesecake with pineapple sherbet.

Stuffed full, I was back in my cabin at 10:29 to pack. Let me tell you – packing up your cabin while buzzed = no fun whatsoever! I stuffed my large suitcase to the max and left it in the hallway to be transported off the ship in the morning.

Craig called to let me know there’s hardly any people at the farewell party outside at Spice H2O, and suggested we meet in the Headliners comedy club instead. Some performers were playing the piano and singing. I had a three-fourths-full bottle of Absolut vodka I had claimed last night in Bliss after the rich Swedish man who purchased it left and said, “Enjoy!” My luggage was already crammed with eight bottles of duty-free liquor from the Virgin Islands, so I didn’t want to take this opened bottle of Absolut off the ship. Craig took a small shot. Seeing no other friends to share it with, we placed it next to the tip jar of the piano player, who gave me a large smile and nod.

We popped briefly into Bliss nightclub, but there was only about a dozen folks there. This is the sad final night on a cruiseship – everyone’s in bed early due to the early disembarkation tomorrow morning. Craig and I took a final walk outside to enjoy a last view of sailing under the moonlight. Fortunately neither of us will be away from cruiseships for long. Craig is returning to Norwegian Epic for a holiday cruise in December, and I will spend four weeks cruising in December and January from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires via Valparaiso, Chile, aboard Celebrity Infinity and Star Princess. I’ll be on land for just 35 days until my next cruise departs!

In my cabin at 11:36 p.m. Bed prep, then online. I used 280 total minutes of my 300-minute Internet package, leaving 20 unused.

We’re presently sailing through The Bahamas; current position is 26º06.73’ N, 78º40.85’ W. Bed at 12:30 a.m.

Let me take a few minutes to describe my cabin since I haven’t done so yet. I have an interior cabin on Deck 13 -- # 13223. Cabins on Norwegian Epic are designed in an unusual way, namely there is no bathroom. It is a bizarre design and I’m not the only passenger who doesn’t like it. It worked out okay for me since I was traveling solo and not sharing my cabin; but I reckon it would have been a bit uncomfortable if I were cruising with a friend.

When you walk into the cabin, there are two compartments covered with frosted glass. The shower compartment is to the left; the toilet compartment is to the right. There is a burgundy curtain you can pull across to separate the rest of the cabin from the shower and toilet compartments. The sink, however, is in a little white bowl that sticks up from the counter to the left adjacent to the shower compartment. If you are suing the sink, there is no way to block the view from the bed as the privacy curtain is immediately in front of the sink.

Other cruiseships I’ve been on have all had a separate bathroom with door containing the toilet, shower, and sink. I prefer that traditional design. And apparently Norwegian will return to the dedicated bathroom in cabins on its next two ships, the Breakaway and Getaway, which both launch next year. This is what I’ve heard.

The rest of my cabin was okay. For one person, the closet was sufficiently sized. It would have been tight with a second person however. My bed was another thing that could be better. The bed consists of two twin mattresses zippered together to form a queen-size bed. The bed isn’t quite long enough to be comfortable for me (I’m 5’11” tall). There are strange gaps between the two mattresses where they meet in the center at both the head and feet, so laying right in the center was not comfortable. The other problem I had with my bed is the sheet isn’t fitted; it would always come off the front of the bed as soon as I laid down. And every morning I’d wake up with my pillow laying on bare mattress as the sheets had come off and ended up around my chest.

All in the all the cabin was less than impressive for Norwegian’s flagship. And as I’ve noted on other blog entries, the Epic overall was a disappointment. I do not expect to ever sail it again unless it has an incredible itinerary that I really want to do. It’s interesting to note that Epic is one of a kind – its sister ship was never constructed. Norwegian apparently canceled the contract to build it, which seems to indicate the company is aware of its numerous flaws. Perhaps I’ll get to sail aboard the Breakaway or Getaway in the future and see how those new ships compare.
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