I've been on numerous cruises with several cruise lines, including a 16-day transatlantic on the Norwegian Star and Caribbean cruises on the Norwegian Star and the Norwegian Spirit, which I enjoyed very much, so I was shocked by the Epic. Some examples:
There were only 2 main-stage productions + a birthday-party-level magician and a third-rate hypnotist for the entire 13 nights. When I complained about the lack of entertainment to guest services, I was told: "You need to get a hobby so you don't have to depend on others to entertain you."
Additionally, the sound equipment was such poor quality that it kept on breaking down. They couldn't even keep the karaoke machine going, which broke down after a few nights and was never repaired.
I complained to the cruise director, who said that he has no control over the entertainment, as it is up to corporate.
Service: Some of the servers were well-meaning, friendly, but poorly trained, while some were simply rude and incompetent. Example: I ordered a green salad and was brought a garden salad (lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, etc.). When I told the server that I had ordered a green salad he told me that "Maybe not in America, but in Europe, that is a green salad." I complained to the restaurant manager, whose answer was "Americans wouldn't complain about that, you must be European."
The beef and steamed vegetables were great, but unless you are prepared to eat that twice a day, the fare was a great disappointment. The lobster was overcooked and dried out. The duck was undercooked and bloody The lamb was good one day and dry and overcooked the next. They even managed to overcook and dry out the salmon. I complained to the restaurant managers, who said it was the kitchen's fault and had nothing to do with them.
In general, the Epic is very cramped. The public spaces are few, poorly designed, and therefore uncomfortably crowded. Some examples:
The so-called jogging track is a thin strip on one side of the ship, wedged between the lifeboats and the kitchen exhaust fans, with a single track each way and no view, no room for passing, and greasy kitchen vapors blasting out over your head.
There was a $198 fee for use of the steam room and/or sauna during the cruise.
Empty bottles of beer and assorted trash could be found throughout the ship. When, after numerous complaints and a particularly nasty bit of trash left on the shuffleboard court overnight, I tried to leave a message for the hotel manager, I was told by guest services: "The ship looks clean enough to me."
Embarkation/Debarkation: There was complete disorganization at embarkation, but nothing compared to the chaotic debarkation. We were supposed to have 8:45 am priority debarkation, with a room set aside for waiting, special tags, etc. but when we went down, we were told that no one was going by that, so to just get in line. After 1 hour, a man walked up and down the line shouting a general announcement that it was not Norwegian's fault, it was Custom's fault, so stop complaining to them.
To round out the cruise from hell, I was told by a guest services person that I would not be allowed to cruise with Norwegian again if I continued to complain.