First of all I want to say that we cruise a lot. This was our first time on NCL and we had big hopes. We did have fun but that was because of the people we met not the EPIC or NCL.
Embarkation and Debarkation went rather well. We were worried about so many people getting on and off the ship in port, but that went surprisingly smooth with the exception of people coming down elevators have nowhere to go (but wait in the elevator) while other people are trying to get off the ship.
There are several design flaws with this ship: • The sinks and toilets are so small, that water flies everywhere when they are used. You need a separate towel to wipe off your clothes the counter and floor every time you use the sink. This includes sinks in the staterooms and public bathrooms. There is always water on the floor. I guess they are trying to make up for too small of pools. • The paper towel dispensers in the public bathrooms are located such that no one can enter the bathroom while another person is drying their hands. • The idea of splitting the elevators into different sections of 4 each, make wait time quite long. There are 8 in the main areas, but you can only get to 4 at a time as NCL has the area split and you cannot get across the ship to the other side before the door closes. • The slides look fun, but the seams were not put together (lined up) correctly and they act as a cheese grater on your back when going down them. • Some of the room configurations had to be designed by pigmies as two people cannot pass between the bed and counter at the same time. Not sure what the deal was behind the couch as there was a lot of unused waster space behind the couch that served no function. • Lighting in the cabin was terrible. I think that the lights had auto dimming, but I am not sure. Of course at night (when you needed the lights the most), the lights seemed to dim. The bathroom light was more of a night light than a light. At least during the day, we could normally open the balcony curtain to get more light. The problem was when in port, everyone could see in if we opened the curtain. • Do not get the 8th floor balcony rooms, as everything dropped by the people above hits you on the head.
The ship had one soft serve ice cream station open (in the Garden Cafe) but people in the pool had to get dressed to use it. The two ice cream makers out by the pool (on this new ship) were out of order. Go Figure! I don't believe it, both were broken.
The food was just so-so. Cagney's was great but the churrascaria (Moderno) was awful (almost to the point of inedible). The meals in the normal dining room left nothing to the imagination as the food was basically always the same. Everything else is extra charges, and at $50 per soda card, when half of the waiters would never return with your soda was just unacceptable.
The soups were a joke. European style. French Onion soups is made by quickly dipping an onion in beef broth, remove onion, serve. Black bean soup (now remember this ship departed from Miami) was a bean puree, with no so many beans.
This One is a Biggie: Security is nonexistent. There was a situation where a couple old ladies were being bullied by a group of 20 punks (over 18 years of age) and were terrified to get out of the Jacuzzi. Not only did the waiters do nothing (no one called security), but when it was insisted security was called, they put the "protector of the old" in jeopardy by having no discretion and making it abundantly clear to the punks who called for security.
Of course it took them over 20 minutes to get there. (I guess that was supposed to be the time we could get away so as to not be put in jeopardy when they finally arrived). Then to add fuel to the fire, security did absolutely nothing. They did not even help the old ladies out of the Jacuzzi or make the punks leave. When later that evening, head of security was asked for, no one showed up. Then, two "mall cops" appeared and said "we are sorry", acted like we were bothering them. I can only imagine the old ladies review. "We left Miami to get mugged on a cruise ship, and no one from the cruise line cared". I guess the new NCL company motto is: "If we close our eyes and pretend there is no problem it will go away"
Spice H2O - Adults Only, I guess security and the staff can't read English, as no one ever stopped the kids constantly running around, jumping in the pool, etc. Again a lady called security to complain about a kid jumping in the pool, security showed up and did nothing. So much for adults only (and so much for security).
While it seems the ship is very cold when people start to get on board, the air conditioning does not work so well when the ship has people on it. I guess some one undersized the cooling BTUH required.
The showers are great, lots of water, I guess I already mentioned all the water.
Don't look for a lobster dinner on this cruise ship unless you want to pay. Carnival and Royal have them beat hands down.
The Non Headline entertainment was good, but we did not care for the Head Liners.
Many people also had problems on the shore excursions, and when the problem arose, they got a big "We are sorry" from the customer service staff. One lady that went on a beach excursion in Cozumel left the beach she was brought to 10 minutes after getting there as the beach was unusable, was also given an "I'm Sorry" and 20% off her non-usable shore excursion bill.
Normally on cruise lines, you can buy things less expensively, than back at home. Not true on NCL. The duty free liquor costs more (even when you bought in bulk $ 37 for 3 liters of Bacardi), the camera gear was sold at list price
I would have to sum everything up as: I would highly recommend to anyone, to take another cruise line.
Rotan: Nice beach as long as you go with a tour. Cozumel: Always Fun Costa Maya: Very boring unless you are already drunk or go to the fishing village. Great food drinks and beach. Forget the tourist area.