This was my first cruise. I had no idea what to expect and I did use cruise critic as a resource. I sailed on the Norwegian Epic February 16th until February 23rd. This was their Eastern Caribbean cruise sailing to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau. I have not travelled much and this was a huge adventure for me. I am going on 68 years old and was traveling as a solo passenger.
The Norwegian Epic is a huge ship and can be very hyper. This did not work for some passenger but I was usually comfortable with it. I avoided certain areas of the ship during certain times of day and could usually find quiet and solace in my cabin and other places on the ship.
The food was excellent and I am talking about the complimentary food and restaurants. I spoke to other passengers and most of them agreed the food was very good to excellent. This is not true of the coffee which i would only describe as fair. I am a big coffee drinker and love a really good cup of coffee. Norwegian needs to use a better bean or use more beans or hire staff that really knows how to make a good cup of coffee. Tea was Lipton's and there were several varieties to choose from. There were complimentary juices and other beverages but they tended to be on the less expensive side but were tasty and acceptable. You can purchase higher quality non-alcoholic beverages if it is in your budget. it was not in mine.
Entertainment was ok. There was some good entertainment and some that was fair. The Blue Man Group was very good. The movies offered were fair. Television available was only fair unless you like sport. There only a few channels available to those of us who had no children and do not like sports.
The swimming pools and hot tubs were pathetic and an embarrassment to Norwegian. They were way too small. it was impossible to swim in the swimming pools and just as difficult to use the hot tubs. When I first saw the swimming pools, I though that they were the hot tubs. The hot tubs were always overcrowded and it was impossible to get in them. I do not understand why Norwegian spent so much money on such a lavish ship as the Epic and then skimped on the swimming pools and hot tubs.
Service from staff was fair. Many of the staff were unfriendly and rude. They were not smiling and did not seem to like their jobs. They treated us passengers like we were bothering them. Other staff, while smiling and cheerful, seemed to be robotic and faking it. Then, there were some staff who did seem to enjoy working on the ship and were very helpful. This was not just my opinion. I did speak with other passengers about staff and service. They felt the same way that i did which is that most staff did not like their jobs and did not enjoy working on the ship.
However, when it was all said and done, I was planning to give the Norwegian Epic very high grades until the Friday before the cruise ended. We were sailing towards Nassau, expected to arrive about 12 noon. Around 9 a.m., the captain came on to inform us that, unfortunately, the Epic was not going to be able to land in Nassau and we were going to have another "wonderful" day of sea. He said that The Port of Nassau had made a mistake in scheduling and there was no room for us at the dock. We would later, receive, a letter giving us similar information.
I was terribly disappointed and very angry. So were the majority of other passengers. None of us believe the story about a scheduling error. The Epic sails from Miami every Saturday arriving in Nassau every Friday for about 5 or 6 months of the year. How could this be a scheduling error?
We did not have a beautiful day at sea. Nothing extra was planned. Passengers hit the casino tables and slot machines. Passengers went shopping on last minute deals. Passengers went to the spa. Passengers had pictures taken. A lot of money was spent on board the Friday that we should have been in Nassau.
Some passengers felt that Norwegian had done this deliberately so as to make more money on the ship. One passenger felt that someone had paid the Port of Nassau much a great deal of money to use their dock and turn the Norwegian Epic away.
If it had been bad weather or some sort of catastrophe, I would have understood. As said, no one believed that the Port of Nassau had made a scheduling error.
I can not say that this ruined the trip but it has put a shadow on it. Up until then, I was giving my cruise very high grades but it has come down one or two notches all based on this experience.
I was a solo passenger in a solo cabin. It was small but compact and I was very comfortable in it. The bed was extremely comfortable and I slept very well. My cabin was attractive and I was able to control temperature and lighting. There was a large flat screen TV in the cabin but programing was very limitted.
Internet is available through through the ship but very expensive. I spent $55 for 100 minutes and the time goes fast. Turn off your cell phones even before getting on board or you might have a huge bill when returning home. You will be charged even for receiving a text message.
I did not find any problems getting on and off board.
Because of the situation regarding the Port of Nassau, I do not know if I would book another trip with Norwegian. Like most of the other passengers, I do not believe that Nassau was cancelled because of a scheduling error and I do not like how Norwegian handled it.