NCL Epic – Eastern Caribbean (Feb 2017)

Since I am little behind adding trips to the blog, I am going to make them short and sweet.  Basically I want to focus on the key positives and negatives of the cruise.

We flew out of Ottawa on Westjet and it was a pretty stress-free experience.  I don’t mind flying Westjet for short flights and the Ottawa airport is such a breeze.   We landed in Orlando a couple days early so that we could spend a day at Downtown Disney and do some shopping.

We once again used Wheelchair Vans of America and had an good experience using them.  They met us at the airport and then picked up the rental van at the Port Canaveral cruise port.

Prior to the cruise we stayed again at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista hotel.  Last year we had a great experience but this time not so much.  Upon check-in we were told that the wheelchair accessible room that we booked months ago was given away to an able bodied guest and due to the hour it was not possible to have them change rooms.  This seems to happen way to often and obviously we were very upset.  I always put in the comments of any reservation that the reservation is for a wheelchair user but it never seems to matter much.  So we checked into a regular room and were promised we could switch to another room in the morning.  Well the next morning we were told that they were not sure when and if we could switch but they would let us know.  I explained we had plans to be out all day so that was unacceptable.  The supervisor I spoke to was pretty indifferent to our situation and to check back at the front desk when we returned to see what they had for us.  After spending the day shopping and visiting Downtown Disney we returned to the hotel to find that they could offer us a roll-in shower but in a completely different room type than we booked.  Still unacceptable.  I did speak with the Guest Services Manager who was very apologetic and comped our entire stay.  We ended up having our attendant stay in the small accessible room they offered and Shawn went there in the morning to shower.  I am always baffled why this happens.  Anyways, on to the not so great cruise portion of the trip.

We received a text from NCL stating due to fog the ship was late getting into port so not to arrive too much before 1pm.  As we had made arrangements to meet up with the driver for the van rental we didn’t have much choice but to be leave Orlando around 11am.  As we were driving to the port we could see the ships but the traffic came to a dead stop.  We literally were 15 minutes from the port parking but due to the incredible amount of traffic we sat in a complete highway parking lot for over an hour and a half. Someone I spoke to says it is always like that at the NCL port.

Once we actually got to the port the embarkation process was fairly easy and then we were on and getting ready to enjoy the cruise.

The ports we chose were not the most accessible, if accessible at all.  We stopped at St Thomas, Tortola and Great Stirrup Cay (NCL’s private island).  We had been to St Thomas many times and just chose to stay in the port area and had lunch at Señor Frogs.  Tortola had no accessible excursions and there was very little to do at the port.  Great Stirrip Cay was a tender port but also very rocky.  The passengers were called back to shore almost an hour after we got there because the water was so rough.  Apparently this happens a lot at this port so I have no interest in going back.

As for the ship, we did not enjoy the layout and found it very rocky.  Our stateroom vibrated constantly to the point I thought the engine was underneath us but we were up on deck 12.    It was probably the smallest stateroom and balcony we have ever had. We ate in the main dining room and a few of the specialty restaurants.  Overall the ship was our least favourite and probably won’t go on it again.

 

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