Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Epic Cruiser: A Mixed Review
Overall Member Rating
A Mixed Review
Destination: Western Caribbean
My Family: It was my wife and I (both near 50 years old), a 12th grader and an 8th grader. We took 2 rooms across the hallway from one another. My wife and I had a balcony room and our kids had an inside room. We considered a family suite, but decided against it because we were told it only has 1 bathroom.
Embarkation/Disembarkation: With so many passengers, it amazes me how often we simply walked right off or on without waiting in lines. The only problem we ever had was getting off in Miami the last day. They stopped the disembarakation process from time to time. We were told that it was due to slow processing by Customs.
Food: The included food is plentiful but generally mediocre. We splurged (i.e., paid a cover charge) for 2 dinners at the Chinese and Brazilian restaurants. Those were our two best meals by far. It was great to find soft-serve ice cream machines by the pool. You'd think that a basic non-alcoholic drink like soda would be included, but no. More You either pay as you go (inconvenient) or buy a soda card ($50 for all you can drink).
Pool Deck: The slides were great, all 3 of them. Mostly in the shade. Lines were reasonable for 2 of the 3. The Epic Plunge (the tube slide) had long waits of up to an hour. The slides were a welcome break from sitting on lounge chairs. Pools are small. Fine for getting wet but not for swimming. Other options for getting cooled off in the pool area are spriklers and outdoor showers.
Entertainment: I prefer the traditional cruise industry approach where you have a show every night in a large theater and no need to make reservations. What you have instead on the Epic are several smaller venues. You need reservations for Blue Man Group, Legends in Concert, Second City, and Cirque Dinner Show. In the case of only Cirque, there is a cover charge of $20 or $30 depending on where you sit. We saw all the shows and enjoyed them all, some more than others. Blue Man Group was great. Never seen anything like it. Legends was entertaining though the singers being impersonated would not be among my top choices. For example, we got Janet Jackson instead of Michael Jackson. The person imitating Aretha Franklin was the standout performer. Second City was good for a lot of laughs. The scripted material is funny and there's some good cruise humor in there. The ad lib is amazing and funny too. If there is one to skip, it would be Cirque due to the cover charge and a show/dinner that's not worth paying extra for. The acts themselves are pretty good, but the shannigans that go on between the acts was really hard to take. It was stupidity and the shreaking voices/singing was hard to take at times. The dinner was the worst on the cruise. A pre-fixed menu. Consider eating elsewhere before or after the show, and picking at what you want from the pre-fixed menu. You can only make reservations to each show once, so it leaves you with finding something else to do on 3 of the 7 nights. That's where we struggled. We enjoyed Howl at the Moon (sing along) and karoake.
Cabins: Too small for 2 people. Not enough place to put your things. No bathroom as such. Instead separate shower and toilet, each behind a frosted sliding glass door. Relative lack of privacy. Didn't like it. Not much to watch on TV due to limited TV channels and content shown on those channels (e.g., ESPN seems to show soccer all the time, which is different than the programming back home). On the positive side, the balcony was nice and the bed and bedding were very comfortable.
Service: I wonder if the staff outnumbered the passengers. The level of attention and friendliness of the staff was extraordinary.
Hardly All-Inclusive. Aside from the obvious (such as spa treatments and shore excursions), there are a lot of things you have to pay extra for if you want to do them, such as eating in better reasturants, drinking most anything (alcoholic bevearages and even soda are not included), the Cirque dinner show, gym classes, internet, etc. You can feel a bit nickeled and dimed. Also, the amount you pay in full prior to the cruise does not include gratuities for which they charge $12 per person per day. We booked our shore excursions with a third party yet still managed to run up an on-board tab of about $1,000.
Size: I think the larger size of the Epic is a positive thing. It didn't feel too big, yet there is more to do and see.
Kids Programs: My kids did not participate in them. Less
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Cabin review: BA12149 Mid-Ship Balcony
Location on ship was fine - - mid-ship and high deck. Room itself is small for more than 1 person. Not enough space to put your things. Comfortable bed. Good TV though not much to watch due to limited channels. Bathroom setup is bizarre and we didn't like it. There is no bathroom as such. You walk into the room and the shower is on your right and the toilet on your left, both behind frosted sliding glass doors. There is a relative lack of privacy as compared to a traditional bathroom. The sink is in the room beside the closet.Read All Mid-Ship Balcony (BA) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Appeared to be a lot of similar places on the same street.
Shopping at port just OK. Not much there. Cozumel is 100 times better. So I suggest waiting for Cozumel rather than shopping in Costa Maya.
Not sure what the attraction is for NCL to stop at this port. Staying on the ship is an option to be seriously considered in the case of this port.
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