I very rarely get on the internet to review a product or service, but my cruise on the Norwegian "Epic" left me with such a felling of being financially raped that I had to put my thoughts down.
I traveled with my wonderful wife and beautiful 4 year old daughter on the Norwegian "Epic"'s Eastern Caribbean cruise just this past week (March 12-19) and am honestly glad to no longer be trapped on that ship.
From the minute I sat down for our first pre-sail away meal a scared looking waiter descended upon me with the agility of a harp seal... "you wanna drink? you wanna drink?" Yes I would like a Corona please was my reply. "I get you six in a bucket for 24 dolla ok?" "no", I replied 1 beer will be just fine. "but we have special sir, 6 for 5...."
So here I am eating burgers with my 4 year old daughter just minutes after embarking and I am being hustled by a waiter who has all the tenacity of a times square crack dealer, and this is just 20 minutes into our trip.
Here is another fun little factoid, our little family decides to go downstairs (to deck 5) to check out what excursions they might have at our ports, when we discover that you CANNOT get anywhere near deck 5 (where all of the important service desks are) without making a long meandering journey through the casino. in fact, they even rope off the "down" stairwells on deck 6 (the casino deck) that would allow you to bypass the casino to force people to walk through the casino to get to the central staircase. and there are no elevators that travel to deck 5.
Now I'm somewhat of a gambler, and a smoker ( I always smoke outside my house), but who wants to trot their 4 year old kid through 600 feet of smoke filled gamblers so that she can pick out where she wants to pet the dolphins? it made my wife and I very upset when our child cried because she could not play the unicorn slot machine amongst the puffing masses.
upon our return we noticed we had a message waiting on our stateroom phone, we immediately checked it because we had a friend caring for our elderly dogs, no emergency, just a message from the onboard jewelry store informing us of their SALE! woohoo! I went on vacation to get away from this crap and now they are telemarketing at sea?
We ate at the buffet for most meals, I am a big eggs benny fan so eggs benedict every morning and fresh fruit for the kidlet was nice, but norwegian here's a clue... if you are going to offer indian AND mexican food for every lunch and dinner menu, you might want to consider putting a FAN into the porta-potty you plunked into every room. Don't want to be too graphic, but there were many a time when we had to air out our balcony stateroom.
I had the filet at Cagney's, my wife had the crab legs. My steak was just nasty, tough and gristly, I did not eat it. My wife's crab legs were freezer burnt and had a slight whiff of ammonia, so she didn't eat them either. My daughter liked the soup tho, which is something I guess.
I am a big Churrascaria fan having lived in Brazil and was excited about our meal there. Our waiter/host had all the charm of a used car salesman, by which I mean he made a point of calling my daughter "princess" (which she hates) in the hopes of getting a good tip. the salad bar was meh... nothing special. I was there for the MEAT! the first meat came to our table, the "picanha", yes it was served tableside from a skewer and thats where the similarities to a brazilian churrascaria ended. Not only was the meat dry and over cooked, when I asked for a less dehydrated piece of meat I got a dirty look and sigh. in a REAL Churrascaria, the "passador"'s keep coming to your table with skewers of meat until you ask them to stop, not so here... we got one round of the different meats and were then ignored, in fact, I had to ask several times for a different sampling of the meats I liked and was always given the stink eye. This place was just a huge disappointment.
The one mixed drink I did buy on the pool deck (which is the smallest I've seen) tasted horrible, like it was made from whatever was left over in the bar sink mixed with rotgut rum...it was just BAD!
All in all, the crew seemed either scared as if they were going to be beaten below decks or overly friendly (see used car salesman above) and their presence and demeanor made us feel uncomfortable most of the time. The constant PA announcements urging you to buy more crap made us feel as if we were on a shopping mall at sea.
There is absolutely NOTHING "epic" about this ship except for the epic amount of hustling for your money. I seriously felt that they had done everything they could short of holding me up by my ankles and shaking me to get the loose change out of my pockets.
Got kids and want to let them have breakfast with spongebob? expect to wait online for 45 minutes and pay a $10 fee per person. Does your child want to have her picture taken with Dora the Explorer? another $20 please!
Seriously...Save your money and a little of your sanity and DO NOT step foot on this ship! there is nothing "epic" about it.