TRAVEL THERE: NOW THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!
OK. I’ll admit, Bill and I have been a little persnickety about Norwegian Epic, but as one of the highest rated and most rewarded cruise ships on the seas, they had a lot to live up to. It’s not that things were awful, it’s just that we showed up with high hopes for the cruise and some really great on-board experiences in our past. Some things the Epic did well. Others it didn’t.
Finding Your Seat
Well, Cirque Dreams lived up to the hype. The premiere show on the ship, according to NCL, is Blue Man, but I think they should give top billing to Cirque Dreams. If you’re alive, you’ve heard of Cirque du Soleil. Well Cirque Dreams is Norwegian’s answer to the more famous show. I’ve seen both cirques and Cirque Dreams doesn’t have anything to apologize for.
Of course, Cirque Dreams is played out on a smaller stage, but it’s a stage that rocking on the open seas, so I found everything that much more exciting. The costumes were enchanting, the acts were thrilling and we had a very, very good time.
There’s some logistical challenges for the passengers though. I’d read that even if you paid for Premium seating, you needed to line up early for a good seat. Well, let me tell you, EVEN IF YOU PAID FOR PREMIUM SEATING YOU NEED TO LINE UP EARLY FOR A GOOD SEAT.
The real question is: What’s a good seat? I assumed premium seating meant you’d be in the tables surrounding the stage. I didn’t know there were tables on two levels and both levels had seats surrounding the stage in close proximity. So, I didn’t know what to tell Bill when the hostess asked him which level we wanted to sit on. We’d been in line, talking to other passengers with premium seating, and everyone was anxious about what exactly they’d paid for. In fact, there was no line for regular seating, which made the extra amount we’d paid a little suspect.
I really don’t know what to tell you. Confronted with a choice, Bill asked the hostess where she’d choose and she told him she liked the upper seats. He trusts those kinds of suggestions more than I do. I assume the hired help is not going to have my best interests at heart. In a restaurant, unless it’s somewhere I go frequently and I trust the waiter, I assume he/she is either going to recommend what will net them the best tip or the dish the chef has told them to get rid of. That’s pretty cynical, but that’s me.
The upstairs seats are not bad seats. The stage is directly below you and much of the action happens above the stage, right in front of your face. Before the night was over, I got a little tired of looking down to see the non-aerial acts, but I bet the audience down below got tired of looking up for the aerial acts.
If you want to be one of the audience members tagged to be a part of the show – and there are many who are – then you’ll want the downstairs seats. I’m not sure where the regular seating is. For that, you’re on your own.
The show is wonderful and the seating isn’t that big of a deal, but the food wasn’t very good. It was easily the worst meal we had on the ship. That still doesn’t mean it was terrible or anything. It just didn’t measure up to the other meals on board the Epic.
When you sit down, you’ll find a big, fancy menu at your place, but I’m not sure why, because all it does is tell you what you will eat. A small menu card would have done the same thing and we wouldn’t have been tricked into anticipating a choice. Then they’ll come by and ask you if you have any food allergies, since the main course is coconut shrimp and beef.
The party to my right opted for vegetarian. The men in my party asked that their shrimp be spared the coconut and were informed that because of their special request, they’d be served last. Deb doesn’t like coconut either, but she and I made our own arrangements. She gave me her two shrimp and I gave her half my steak.
She got the better end of the deal. When I read “coconut shrimp,” I thought of what I always order at Red Lobster. What I got on the Epic may have been rubbed against a coconut or dunked in coconut milk, but it wasn’t that delightful treat I was hoping for. To tell the truth, with folks risking their very lives right in front of you, I think it would be better sans the meal.
Anyway, I loved Cirque Dreams and as exciting as it was, it just so happens that it wasn’t the most exciting thing to happen to me that evening. Come back next week and I’ll tell you about an unexpected adventure.