This was my first cruise, and my moms 6th cruise (5th with Norwegian). It was her first time on the Epic. As a first timer, if I had to make a decision on cruising again, I wouldn't cruise again based on my experience on the Epic.
Here is a list of what we did not like:
- portions were small, and quality was lacking
- too many specialty restaurants you had to pay for and the menu was similar to the buffets and normal dining areas
- you had to pay for all beverages, even pop. 6 bottles of water were listed at $21 and this was supposed to be a deal?!?!?!?!?!
- dining areas were so loud, you couldn't hear the person across from you
- the food took so long to arrive if you were in a main dining areas. We waited a couple of times over half an hour for just an appetizer
- the dining areas on the top deck closed early
- room service food was lacking in quality and choices as well
- a lot of the restaurants didnt have coffee makers on site, so the servers had to go away to get coffee urns.. seemed like there was ample room to put one in the area
- a couple of the activity staff were quite ignorant, making rude comments about eachothers personal lives either based on sexual connotations, education levels etc, racial comments towards cabin stewards.
- food services manager waited for my 65 year old mother to get out of his way while we were walking down the narrow corridor to our cabin on deck 15 (no restaurants on this deck so what he was doing there Ill never know). Same guy spent most of his time chatting up the hostess at Osheeans restaurant.
- the biggest part of the cabin was the balcony
- there was very little room to maneuver around the beds
- the toilet and shower were right at the entrance, so if your travel companion, new/old friends or steward came in he/she may have had a shocking welcoming
- the couch was useless. if faced the toilet sink and a storage cabinet. You couldn't clearly see the television
- the cabin door did not close properly and you had to give it an extra push (security issue)
- hair dryer kept cutting out. Im not sure if this was a fuse or connection thing
- the mini bar was super expensive, even for pop and water
Ports of call
- Jamaica seemed nice. We went on an excursion to Goop Hope Cultural experience and it was informative. As for the port itself, it was well laid out and close to Ocho Rios.
- Mexico at Costa Maya was simple. You got off the ship, walked to the end of the pier to a shopping area, being bombarded by pushy salespeople, or a couple of overpriced bars, and a big pool in the middle. You really had no choice to leave the area if you didnt have an excursion booked. It seemed pointless unless you wanted to buy real gitchy gifts
- Mexico at Cozumel was better. It was well marked, and you could walk around the city. There was lots of shopping and the salespeople were not as pushy. We went on the Dolphin Swim and ride excursion. It was all inclusive and the food was great. The people and dolphins seemed happy.
As for what was good about the cruise:
-Embarkation was good, and organized.
-Ship overall appeared clean
- Our cabin steward was wonderful, welcoming and informative.
- the servers in the main dining areas were constantly on their feet and lifting heavy trays.
- considering the small cabin, there was a lot of storage
- the internet wifi was available, but expensive to buy
I heard from several repeat cruises, the Norwegian Epic was the worst they have been on, and they didnt like anything other then the weather.
This was a waste of a stop if you didnt have an excursion booked. It was ok for shopping for trinkets and stuff but thats about it. The sales people were pushy and all the shops were in a small area with a big pool in the middle. If you were at either of the 2 restaurants, you risked being splashed by people swimming. Its ok, but gross if the water lands in the food you are eating....
Probably the best part of the whole trip. We went to see Dolphins, even had the chance to go for a swim with one! He swam around us, and as we grabbed his flippers he swam with us on his belly while he was on his back. It was pretty awesome. The water was right from the sea. The dolphins seemed happy, and same with the staff. They were very intentive on the dolphins, as well as the visitors. An extremely safe environment. The grounds were very clean. I did find the pictures quite expensive if you wanted to buy some, and they didnt allow you to take your own pictures if you were down with the dolphins. Im sure if you were up on deck you could have. The meal was buffet style, but very good (better then the cruise ship) and the drinks were all inclusive.
As for Cozumel itself, we didn't venture too far, but where we were seemed safe during the time we were there. There was lots of shopping available, and the sales people were not pushy like they were in Costa Maya. I found the prices were a lot less expensive here also for gifts and souvenirs.
excellent tour, and the CHUKKA company representatives were very informative and educated. Our driver was great, and the hostess in the van even sang! Both very kind.
The people at Good hope itself were very kind, knowledgeable, happy, and catering. The animals appeared to be all in great health, and the grounds were very neat. We even had the chance to taste some Appleton Rum! Yum