We had planned this cruise 8 months ago and were waiting with great anticipation. I had read mixed reviews about the ship but the pictures and the entertainment looked great so I decided to book it. We decided to splurge and stayed in the two bedroom villa in the Haven courtyard area. Our cabin was 16017 and it was a beautiful room. The part I loved the most was the bathroom which had floor to ceiling glass windows and you could see the ocean while you were taking a bath or showering. So no complaints at all about the room.
The courtyard area was very pretty too; however, this is where all the bad things started with this cruise. The service in the Courtyard was inexistent. I saw a waiter once and even that once, I had to chase him down in order to put a drink order in. Other times I had to go to the bar inside the Epic lounge, not even the courtyard bar, in order to get a drink. The Courtyard grill is also sort of a joke. there is no grill there and nothing is being grilled. Besides being quiet and pretty, the courtyard was just a dead area.
We had a butler who went through the motions and did what he was supposed to, but he wasn't friendly at all. In fact, I felt like I was imposing on him every time I asked for something. So the whole butler experience we had been looking forward to, wasn't much of an experience. The room steward was wonderful on the other hand. There were also two concierge people that assisted everybody in the Haven area with dinner and show reservations. The girl, Karen, was very nice and tried hard. The guy, Anoop, was helpful but had an attitude and made you feel like he was being bothered if you asked for anything. I'd say Norwegian has to do a much better job in training their butlers and concierge personnel if they are going to charge exorbitant amounts of money for those rooms.
This was the first week to the Caribbean for Norwegian Epic after it had arrived from Europe. Apparently, that was a major issue since nothing that Norwegian Epic promised to deliver for children's enjoyment was there. And that's where "we feel cheated" comes from. Norwegian Epic is supposed to have Nickelodeon characters on board and provide things such as breakfast with the characters or the meet and greet. both of our kids were looking forward to meeting Sponge Bob and the other ones. well, they were nowhere to be found and we were told by the concierge lady that they didn't have their act together since they had just arrived from Europe. Furthermore, the camp councilors were terrible. They were the coldest, all business and no play people I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Worst experience with camp our kids have ever had.
Another thing that they didn't have their act together was the photographers. In most cruises, Photographers hunt you down and annoy you to death with taking pictures. On this cruise, you could not find a single photographer for 3 days. We wanted to have a family portrait done and possibly order Christmas Cards like we had been able to do the year prior on Carnival. Not only did the only photographer we found on the 4th day of the cruise do a terrible job, but when we tried to order Christmas cards, we were told they didn't have the capability yet to do that!!! Unreal!!
The food was very good in the specialty restaurants and decent in the Epic Club. In my opinion, the most significant problem with Norwegian is that the food quality and taste in the main restaurants is poor. You pay this pretty high price for a cruise where all the food is supposedly included. In order to get good food, you have to pay extra in the specialty restaurants. So technically, nothing with Norwegian cruise line is included in the price, except for the room.
The service throughout the ship was also very poor. all of the crew seemed to be pissed and not willing to help at all.
The ship was poorly designed as well. Warning to anyone who is planning on booking a cabin on the higher decks!! DON'T DO IT!! There are only two sets of elevators on this cruise ship, one in the very front and one in the very back. Our cabin was on deck 16. If we tried to go to deck 6 where shops were, the elevators stopped on every single deck. It felt like you were going to suffocate. No air movement inside the elevators-you entered normal and came out a sweaty mess!! I swear I am not exaggerating! The wait for the elevators was always several minutes long and the ride down and up was equally long.
We probably will never sail Norwegian again.