I could spend the better half of an hour explaining in detail all the positive and negative aspects of the Norwegian Epic but judging from the litany of reviews making the same criticisms, it would be pointless. Besides, the cancellation of a second Epic-class ship would suggest that the message has resonated with NCL. Elevators slower then a low-rent apartment, confusing corridors, an undersized dining room, a promenade deck blocked by lifeboats, and a jogging track that abruptly ends at a dead end. Seriously, did the architects take their inspiration from the Sarah Winchester Mansion? Let's not even discuss the bathroom situation in the cabins...
All of these design mistakes however were not what irritated me the most on my most recent experience. NCL in itself has a few bizarre operational procedures that could be easily corrected that would make the Epic less of a white elephant (wearing an ugly boxy hat) then it is. And that is the premise of this review in hopes that a few simple changes might be executed to at least compensate from some of the uncorrectable physical flaws of the ship.
1) Keep the pools open longer! Seriously, 10pm? Royal Caribbean keeps their pools open 24 hours on rotation. There's no reason why the pools should close this early.
2) Don't close the buffet restaurants when people are getting back from shore excursions. We're hungry!!!
3) Internet usage shouldn't be pay-per-minute. What is this, 1995?!
4) The sensory faucets in the bathrooms don't work plain and simple. Get taps!
5) Two words: SATELLITE TV!
6) Abolish the automatic gratuity and make the staff earn tips.
7) Stop letting people hog the deck chairs all day. Yeah, I was the one who moved your ship when you were gone an hour! Most cruise lines have policies against saving deck chairs.
8) The data is in, second hand smoking kills. So stop letting the casino be an incubator for lung cancer and emphysema.
9) Don't spray down the decks when passengers are still up and walking around. My friend nearly got his face tore off by a high pressure sprayer without so much of an apology or "are you ok".
10) Stop using the term "sorry for the inconvenience". This is not a substitute for service. Acknowledge and address our complaints, don't tag line us with exhaustive and meaningless excuses when things go wrong.
Was it all bad? No. The entertainment and food were outstanding. The decor of the ship was elegant, tasteful, and beautiful. However, I would have taken some of the budget from the reported $800,000 mega chandelier and invested in some garbage cans. There was too much crap floating around on the outside decks. The Cirque show was beyond anything I'd expected and well worth the $20 (although I think the premium seating is a bit of a rip-off). I was also glad to see that NCL isn't nuts about having the ex-paparazzi photographs shoving cameras in your face at every turn, as is customary on Royal or Carnival.
In closing, I hope Norwegian Cruise Lines has learned from their mistakes and recognizes that they're at the bottom of a very steep learning curve.