Published at Monday, June 04th 2018. by leonda avril in Cruise Ship Cabins.
Since all restaurants offer a variety of culinary choices any evaluation of food is influenced not only by personal taste but also by what items are selected from the menu. For example on the first night my wife and I ate at the Manhattan Room one of the ship`s main dining areas. She had a chicken dish which she evaluated as OK while I had scallops which were very good. Like all public areas on the Epic the layout and décor of the Manhattan Room was a tribute to the ship`s designers. Wide open and airy the Manhattan Room had the look and feel of a fine dinner theater. In fact I was somewhat surprised when our dinner host (one of NCL`s executives) informed us that the Manhattan Room was not a specialty restaurant. The other main dining room appropriately called Taste was also extremely well laid-out and pleasing to the eye. At the center of Taste is a beautiful chandelier (claimed to be the largest at sea) that spirals down from the deck above. Although I did not eat in Taste I am told that the menu is the same as the Manhattan Room so I would assume our assessment of the food would have been about the same (i.e. OK to very good depending on the entre` selected and of course personal taste).
There are actually some savings resulting from living aboard a ship. The ship`s executive chef buys food and kitchen supplies in bulk for the ship and can get better prices than the average shopper. Other savings result from the large freezers and the mobility of the ship giving the food service management the ability to stock up on supplies in countries where prices are low. Some crew and owners may choose to fish for leisure. This can supply some fresh food at even lower costs to the owners. Labor savings are realized when the crew is hired based upon the best global labor rates. The laws of supply and demand drive prices down in some places in the world. Proper ship management can capitalize on these disparities. All the savings would be passed on to the cabin owners resulting in an economical cost of living similar to what you could expect to spend with a conventional home. Ship management should have accounting transparency will all books (financial records) open and available for any owner to inspect. Also ship management should submit all financial records quarterly to an outside auditor for the peace of mind of the owners. Anybody in the chain who spends any of the ship`s operational funds should also be periodically audited. For example a good way to audit the executive chef would be for one or more of the live-aboard co-owners of the ship to go to the food market district of each port of call and they should try to haggle and get a better price for the same food than the price the executive chef was able to acquire. If the executive chef cannot find better deals than the ship`s co-owners then the executive chef should be given his walking papers. The executive chef position is a vital position on a cruise ship. This is a position of trust because he will bill the food he buys to the ship. He must never be tempted to accept bribes from vendors or suppliers. Therefore he should know that he will be routinely audited and any substandard performance will result in termination of his employment.
Another Epic first is Cirque Dreams and Dinner which is performed by an exceptionally talented group of acrobats in a special theater-in-the-round called the Spiegel Tent. Several of our staff members saw this show and said that it was very good but perhaps a bit too long. My wife and I saw a very different show in the Spiegel Tent. Our 3-year-old granddaughter who we were able to bring with us is a big fan of Dora the Explorer and Diego and she just loved the Nickelodeon character breakfast which in addition to Dora and Diego also featured Sponge Bob Square Pants Jimmy Neutron and others. In an exclusive deal with NCL the Nickelodeon characters are presently appearing on the Epic and the NCL Jewel (which now sails year-round out of New York City) and will eventually appear on several other NCL ships.
One of the hallmarks of NCL`s acclaimed Freestyle Cruising is the choice of dining options and not surprisingly the Epic takes this feature to a new level. In addition to the two main dining areas the Epic offers 17 other dining venues each with its own cuisine and ambiance. This includes the spacious main buffet area (the Garden Cafe) in which the food was consistently fresh and of high-quality (albeit with somewhat less variety than we`ve experienced on some other ships). It also includes the poolside grill (Spice H2O) O`Sheehan`s (a huge sprawling pub that became the meeting place and social nucleus for many of the ship`s guests) and several specialty restaurants such as La Cucina Italian restaurant (which was even more attractively decorated on the Epic than on other NCL ships) Tepanyaki Japanese grill (much larger than on other NCL ships) and Le Bistro French restaurant just to name a few. Each of the specialty restaurants has a cover charge (which ranges from $10 to $35 per person) but in my opinion they are all well worth the money.
The healing therapies include a variety of massages reflexology facials firming and many other body treatments. Plus a wide variety of services and wellness programs specially designed to meet the individual`s needs and desires. A full service salon offers all manner of hair treatments (including a certified colorist) as well as a variety of manicures pedicures and `facelifts` for your hands. Extensive skin care includes: Age Management Therapies including Glycolic Facial Anti-Aging Facial Peel Microdermabrasion; Facials including: Aromaplasty Facial Teen Facial Gentleman`s Facial Nutrisource Facial Regulating Acne Facial Vitamin C Skin Renewal Facial; Body Treatments including: Decleor Sauna Mask French Hydrotherapy Massage Andromeda Salt Glow Mummy Mud Mask Seaweed Body Wrap Safe Sun Treatment Herbal Wrap; as well as various hair and nail treatments.
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