Lovely ship but beauty is only skin deep. We have recently returned from a seven day cruise on Norwegian Epic. It was our silver anniversary and wanted this to be a special holiday, however it was very disappointing. This holiday was expensive and was advertised as all inclusive, but we found this to be false. There were 20 restaurants on the Norwegian Epic but only five of them were in fact complimentary, the rest involved paying an extra fee to dine. The five that were available to dine in did have good food, but were very limited in terms of variety and seemed to repeat the same menu almost on a daily basis, as if they were encouraging you to spend more money in their non-complimentary restaurants.
Another major disappointment was the lack of a decent swimming pool on the ship. There was an aqua flume on the ship but their idea of a swimming pool was a 4ft 7in deep tiny pool which most of the time was full of children. There was therefore nowhere to have a decent swim such as you would receive in even the cheapest package holiday.
Gratuities - We paid the gratuities before embarking on the holiday on the understanding that that would avoid us having to tip on the cruise. However this too turned out to be inaccurate as every time we bought drinks at dinner or anywhere there was a waiter service gratuities were added onto the bill We also received information in our cabin encouraging us to tip staff which we had already pre arranged and paid for.
Buses - At each port we were informed that a shuttle bus would be provided to take us into the centre of each location we visited but hereto we were charged 12 dollars per person for what on some occasions amounted to a trip of a couple of miles. We have since been told by friends that other cruise liners provide free shuttle buses.
Entertainment - The entertainment followed the same lines as everything else on the ship. You could sit in a bar and listen to someone playing a piano but if you wanted to go and see any of the shows again it was an added cost and the shows itself were not particularly attractive.
On the positive side the staff on the ship were extremely friendly and helpful, though the cruise director appeared on the ship's television channel and sounded like a sales person trying to promote excursions which were extortionate.
All in all this was a disappointing holiday, mostly due to misinformation which led to, in our opinion a rip off. However, this would not put us off in going on a cruise in the future as travelling on the open seas was a wonderful experience, but we certainly wont be going again with NCL!!!