My Wife and I have enjoyed Norwegian Cruise Lines for more than 6 years. We usually find just about everything right for the way we enjoy traveling. So we were really disappointed with the quality of our recent cruise on the Epic. Nothing really terrible but the old Norwegian friendliness, warmth and feeling of being at home in luxury was missing.
Little things kept coming up which detracted from the whole cruise experience. It began with finding someone else's used bar of soap in my shower upon boarding, unvacummed carpets in the stateroom, worn and torn carpeting in the passageways, surly responses from the photographic counter clerk, assumed gratuities (I should have caught this one) each day, low quality and lack of taste of the food in the premium restaurants, and less than responsive guest services clerks when they misplaced a $75.00 credit we received from Vacations To Go.
In addition to the quality of the food, housekeeping details and personal service, the shore excursion we had in St Thomas with the "CAT Sail and Snorkel Tour" trip to Turtle Cove was a disaster. First the representative of the company took an hour to book us in and gather our tickets for our group. Then, because of this poor scheduling, we were held up by the Coast Guard for an hour while they supervised docked a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship and a Carnival Cruise Ship. As we finally departed the pier for the 45 minute trip to the island it became very obvious that the wind, rain and extremely high waves were a danger to the passengers' safety. Upon our arrival at the island, it took the crew 30 minutes to get us in the water and we had to forgo the beach portion of the tour due to the earlier delay.
We did visit St Maarten, a simple, pleasant destination. Plenty of commercialism on the prier and the small township. Good beaches exist on the St Martin side of the island. I would not go back for an extended stay but it was enjoyable even the third time around. And the Twelve Meter Sailboat Excursion was wonderful in 2005.
We did not go ashore in Nassau.
Now, there were indeed some very good experiences aboard the Epic. The Blue Man Group Show was amazing. The Cirque Dreams and Dinner Show was superb. August, of the Casino Bar, was very good. The cruise was a very good price and the ship credits were quite generous.
I think the Epic is just too large for the normal Norwegian Experience we have enjoyed over the years (at least five sailings in the past 6 years for our family). I will go on a Norwegian Cruise again in the future but I doubt I will ever go on the Epic, or any other similar sized ship, again.