Okay. Its not that serious but hopefully this helps you make a better decision especially if you are thinking about going on the Epic for the first time or cruising for that matter. Im not going to talk about ports, because Ive come to realize ports are very INDIVIDUALIZED.. what you like is your cup of tea, and you should really experience it yourself. I can say I have no favorites, every port even if I visit the same seems to bring different results. So here we go..
New boat, freestyle, new cabins etc You can read CC basic overview. Here comes the juicy and need to know.
A fairly decent large group of family and friends, with babies, kids, and single 20's-30s folks. Grandparents, and parents so we covered all opinions and experiences.
Type of Cabins we had?
Insides Rooms, and Balconies. Both sides, deck 10 and deck 13.
-Miami Port - Way too small, not sure who to blame but definitely chaos. Once inside, it was pretty smooth. Some groups had to wait like our deck 10 folks but we didnt, maybe cuz of the kids? or could be deck level priority
Wth were they thinking? I mean it, when I say this. Royal got it all right. Norwegian needs to take lessons. (read later on why I make such comment)
-Standard 4 + 4 elevator shafts located north and south. Some decks are not accessible
-Deck levels make no sense, you'll see what I mean.
Curvy, modern like walls. Love the theme/ colors but boy did they screw this one up bad. So Norwegian touts the fact that they separate the shower and toilet / sink areas so you can maximize your time and efficiency. How so? Let me explain.. if you are traveling with someone like your husband wife, most like you can share these areas on traditional cabin rooms. Now assuming you are traveling with friends or some stranger , this may make sense.. all until you realize the only thing protecting your privacy are frosted glass doors and a red curtain in the room. So if someone is taking a shower, with the curtain closed.. you are locked in the room, unless you walk on by and get to the cabin door. Now of course, could be nick picking BUT its a valid point because the rest of the room space suffers because of this separated idea.
-Sink issue - yes its an issue, water everywhere. use the towels as defense guards
-Shower issue -Look down on the fake wood floors just outside of the shower, you'll see bubbles. Hmmm wonder why.. maybe its because of all the WATER coming out.
-Darkness issue - Is this a JAmes bond movie, wth is it so dark? I get the comfy look, but dammit .. I just wanna find the $100 casino black chip that I dropped on the floor.
-Spotlight on top of the bed - Again, someone needs to be shot for this. Who in their right mind wants to lay down, looking up to halogen MR-16 bulb ( I know the part number, because I was trying to see if I can move it lol) gleaming down into your eyes. Good luck trying to watch TV
-TV - Geez, it cant get any worse. Granted, the TV is the last thing anyone should care but at least make it functional. Ever run to the first row seats at the movie? Why not? Crappy view right, wells thats exactly how the inside cabins tvs are
-Electrical outlets . 2 below cabinet, 1 in makeup mirror. Eh okay.
+Closet space - Plentiful, ding ding. They get a point
Okay, you know what they look like and etc. Lets skip this
+Bed - Very comfy and big, circle shaped like Shaquille O Neales house.
-No space at all - This can go both ways, if you are booking this room.. get the one where the BED is located further towards the balcony doors. If you get the one where the bed is in front, its like a clusterfck. Excuse my french
-Same thing as above with the bathroom, sink etc
+TV - Placed at eye level, ding ding +1 pt
+Close space - Another pt, lots of space
-Sofa bed - stinks. slide a curved couch out, and sleep on it. Just imagine it.
Okay so Norwegian brags about FREESTYLE and how you can do what you want, when you want etc. This is an ultimate fail. heres why
Taste / Manhattan Room
+Beautiful rooms , very classy and traditional but ..
-Do you enjoy 30 minute waits? How about a 45 minute wait? Why? Its FREESTYLE, you go wheneva you want, the problem is SO IS EVERYONE ELSE.
-Cant make reservations for dining rooms, only specialty restaurants. So they give you beeper thing like you get at Olive garden. great, appreciate it much. Again, someone explain how great Freestyle is?
-Speciality restaurants - Prepaid special totally screw us up. Max booking is 6 guests online, but you cant link rooms together. YOu have to get on the boat to do that, and when you do so.. they have to adjust times.
-Group seating - NON EXISTENT. Most restaurants including speciality has max of 6 to 8. some only 4. Anymore than that, you have to sit on separate tables. Not a biggie really esp if you are going in small groups, but even small groups make friends and want to hang with each other no?
+Food was above average, they get cookie points only to get it removed by...
-Poor Service - Terrible, terrible terrible. Slow, forgetful, rushed, etc. I dont blame the waiters, we found later by speaking to a few who confided that they are so short staffed its not even funny. you have 1 waiter serving 6-8 tables in one area. The best service we received was in LE Bistro , french cuisine because it was basically a ratio of 1 waiter to 2-3 tables max. Norwegian mgmt needs to look into this, looking at other reviews.. SERVICE is a BIG ISSUE
Best food of them all, try the duck and escargot. Lobster and Rib eye for two was also good
Very disappointed, sirloin dry. Ribeye dry, Lobster tail was so overcooked, it was almost a weapon. Prime rib was okayyyy
Best rib eye steak in the italian rest? Does that makes sense. Try the Osso Bucco
Yuck, if you like noodles w soy sauce, enjoy. Fried Rice wasnt too bad.
Beef Chow fun made with pad thai noodles. Need I say more?
It was okay, I dont know how else to explain it but if you like sushi, you will prob eat it once and not go back
I have not seen anyone eat at the Bennihanas style cuisine. Not sure why
Best place to grab drinks and burger. Ask for the wings with sauce on side, chopped salad wasnt too bad either.
This is the buffet area, very hit or miss. Some days good, some days great, some days are flip a coin. Flank steak was awesome. Fresh pineapple, dont miss out. Hard ice cream, yes real scooped ice cream. Lots of curry chicken, lamb and beef. Breakfast was typical , but Royal beats the living daylights out of Norwegian on simple concept ideas.
-Egg Station - Omelletes or fried egg, you have to wait on line. Lines could be as long as 5-10+ people. Royal gives you a ticket with number, so you come back and pick up your order. Makes sense eh?
-Utensils/Napkins - Norwegian has them wrapped and ready at your tables, problem is the service is so slow and bad, they cant keep up. So good luck hunting for utensils. Royal has them at the buffet counters where you grab your new plates. Makes sense eh?
-Seating Area - You need to be nimble and strong like Arnold. Steal chairs slow your table hunting down, and then once you find your table, good luck moving the chairs lol. No joke, they are unusually heavy.. think about metal chairs used outside on a patio deck
-Crowded Crowded Crowded- Granted its buffet so its expected, but theres no direction at all. Heres a tip, sit on the LEFT side when you walk in. No trick, just a matter of mental mind games as most people tend to go to the RIGHT. The GArden Cafe is shaped like an H so all sides are pretty similar.
+Pools are fine, cant expect much
-Pool layout however SCKS. Deck 15 is a complete cluster of people who either have no where to go, or just decide to stand in the middle and block traffic for the fun of it.
-Actually its because the Epic put a stage right by the entrance to the pool area. Within that area is also a bar, so now you have a both sides bars, with a stage and dance area thats completely blocking all of pool guests to go to the Garden Cafe or snack area. Royal does this much better because they put walkways AROUND the pool area so people can get by. Genius !
-Whirlpools - Someone should get fired for thinking that putting whirlpools so high up was a great idea. Not only does it kill the pool area, but now you BLOCK the sun.
-Loud as hell - I get it, they want the pool party theme with DJ or LIVE band. but sometimes its nice to have some peace and quiet. And sometimes we want to listen to great tunes, just not at EAR damaging levels.
-Of course, you can head to the tail of the ship to the private SUN bath, and tiny timmy pool. What a complete joke. When I first saw the pool, I overhead another guest ask if thats for the babies. ITs actually for the ADULTS, SENIORS per se.
-Its quiet back there, all until you hear the kids yelling and scream on the sports deck right above ya. The basketball courts, baseball, soccer etc.
Shopping located on Deck 7 is as special as your local Marriot Shopping Centre. Typical stuff, nothing to celebrate about.
Slides - They were fun, but after 2-3 times. They were eh.. the same stuff. The kids loved it though, so def a plus there. The toilet bowl thing created lines that Disney would be proud of. Expect a 15 min+ wait to grab your balloon raft, only to have to wait again up top. LOL
Bowling - Biggest marketing gimmic ever, barely anyone plays . $5 per person, loud for no apparent reason. Like if you enjoy bowling and hearing the ball slam into the lane, and rattle the entire walls and ceiling, then this is for you.
Bowling @ bliss is nonexistent. Either a special private event or its closed, and they push you to Osheehans bowling.
Ping Pong - Every play Ping Pong in a wind tunnel?
Arcade room - Like they found an empty space and decided to put some old games in there. Thanks !
Kids Room - Infants, this was a complete joke. They literally took a conference room behind the ART GALLERY, threw some foam mats, blocks, tent, and baby toys.. and had the nerve to say this was a dedicated ship with special activities for babies under 2.
Teens room - Weve heard much better, unfortunately we didnt have any teens to really experience the Recess Teen loung club thinge
Fitness Gym / Spa - Not too bad, equipment was fairly new but very crowded. Free weights located at tiny area, with 2 adj benches, 1 incline. Gym is located on one side of the boat, views arent too bad.
Raquet ball room - converted into some special workout gym.
Casino - Holy craps is it smoky. They have ORBECKS Air Purifiers all over the casino floor. What a shame
*Feel bad for the people in TASTE, especially all that smoke and dust falling on their food with that open area top. BAD LAYOUT DESIGN
Casino layout isnt bad, always busy so get in and good luck
GOOD TO KNOW STUFF
1) You dont have to dress up. However I have to say, I miss it. I saw some folks dress up, and it does create a unique experience .What I found humorous is seeing a couple dressed up, only to watch some beer belly drunk in slippers standing right next to them. Boy is that romantic huh
2) Boring - Epic is really boring. Blue Man Group was eh.. slow. The Legends concert put half the audience to sleep, untile Michael Jackson came on. Dont miss that, and the Comedian Magic show? What the hell happen there? Like do you really want to see another CARD TRICK?
3) Food - Food was suppose to be alot better, with so many choices .. and it was really disappointing more so because of the service. No one wants to wait hours or ketchup, or milk for their coffee. Or a drink or a knife, or just i dont know.. their entree .
4) Service - No matter where, buffet, dining room, speciality, free or paid, the service absolutely suck with the exception of 1 rest and 2 waiters. Really?
5) Atmosphere - I wont lie, I used to think it was annoying to see how happy Royal Carribean staff were on the boat. The good mornings, the hellos, the constant interaction but I MISSED IT. Man what a different in just those simple things and experience. Like if your waiter brings your food, and you say THANK YOU.. you would expect a response or gesture . NADA. Or if you walk down the hall, and ask for directions or help, its like you stole their cookie. What gives?
6) Layout - you'll start finding areas that just dont make any sense at all. Paths that are all over, or being blocked by people. Elevator wait times are ridiculously long. Somehow, Norwegian Epic design the ship so that youre going to be walking through or near the casino no matter what. If you want to go to guest services, take it to deck 6 casino and escalator down. Atrium for that lovely big movie screen, same area. And the only 3 levels that can get you north and south of the boat are deck 15 - pool, and deck 7 shopping, or deck 6 casino. All of which are congested areas ! In fact, many times.. we literally rather walk the hallways of the staterooms because it was faster, less smoky, and WAY LESS PEOPLE.
Anyways, hope this helps. Dont get me wrong, Im not complaining even though I am (critically that is). Anytime you can go on the cruise, its a plus but after awhile.. you wanna get your moneys worth too ya know. And then you kind of expect some basic and standard stuff as well. Next year, were going back to Royal Carribean... and if you are wondering why this year we didnt, like others.. we thought about trying something "different" or just seeing what else it out there, turns out that Royal seems to have alot of it downpack. Their ships make sense. Good luck, have fun.