120 Barcelona to Transatlantic Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews

My husband and I arrived 5 days prior to the start of our cruise and loved Barcelona, giving us the opportunity to explore many of the sites there. We were excited about trying NCL, not ever having cruised with them before (we have ... Read More
My husband and I arrived 5 days prior to the start of our cruise and loved Barcelona, giving us the opportunity to explore many of the sites there. We were excited about trying NCL, not ever having cruised with them before (we have cruised on Holland and Princess before for a total of 10 cruises). The price of this cruise was fabulous and included free specialty restaurants, excursion credit in each port, free WiFi minutes, a free drink package and onboard credit of $150. However, the ship was not as we had hoped. Our embarkation took over 3 1/2 hours of standing in line, and then when we got to our cabin, the layout is different than what we’ve experienced on other ships with the bathroom divided, the toilet is on one side and the shower is in the other with only frosted acrylic doors that don’t provide ANY privacy and rattle when the seas are at all rough. The storage cabins are not deep, thereby limiting what fits in them. The couch and headboard are both curved so sitting on either is not comfortable. We knew the layout was different but did not expect it to be as unwelcoming as it was. In addition, the bed itself squeaked and the mattress was not very comfortable. The tv options are limited, the lighting is poor if you are trying to apply makeup, and the water temperature fluctuated to sometimes scalding levels. We always book a mini suite cabin because we like to relax in our own space. This particular cruise had 5 sea days crossing the Atlantic and were looking forward to spending time on our balcony or relaxing in our cabin, but this cabin layout is not conducive to that at all. As for the cruise itself, we liked the Free Style option with no set dining times and no formal evenings unless a person chose to dress formally. This type of cruising allowed us to try different restaurants on board, all wonderful, and plan our excursions or attend the on board shows, which we fabulous, how we wanted to arrange them. Even with 4100 passengers, we never felt overwhelmed with crowds because the layout of the ship has lots of areas to hangout in. The excursions offered by NCL were good and were reasonably priced. The cruise staff was very good and the only problem was trying to get a minibar change which wasn’t ours, reversed, that took 5 trips to Customer Service and 3 phone calls to Housekeeping and even when we left the ship, we still didn’t know till the final charge to our credit card if they had reversed the charge. We disembarked in Puerto Rico and again, this process was not very efficient and we had a 2 hour delay. We were told that the cruise line doesn’t manage this process and that the city is in charge of those arrangements but it’s still a reflection on the cruise line especially if someone is trying to make a flight, which were weren’t. Because we did like most of the cruise and the staff, we will entertain cruising again on NCL but will NOT EVER chose to go on the Epic in the future, it is thankfully the only ship with the cabin layout described above. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
You tell me if you think this cruise worth going for: Room door lock latches are hardly working every time it’s a hassle to open the door with the key card. There are no mattress covers, sheets are going directly onto spring ... Read More
You tell me if you think this cruise worth going for: Room door lock latches are hardly working every time it’s a hassle to open the door with the key card. There are no mattress covers, sheets are going directly onto spring mattresses, which is against all means of hygiene There are 2 floors of entertainment, though one is 70% covered with gambling machines and casino tables where people are actually allowed to smoke at tables, while the smoke goes all over the ship. Another level is more than half facilitated with shops of jewelry, watched and perfumes. As for pharmacy non-prescription medicines, there is none, unless you pay $150 to just to see a doctor, even if you want to only find out if they have any particular medicine onboard. Paid extra $210 to use the spa, but the cooled water and teas have been removed from there without explanation. There is no place on the ship to fill a bottle with drinking water. On every drinking station a sign warning that it’s not allowed. There are no daily water bottles in rooms either, only at $6 for 0.5L in the bar fridge. On the last days of the cruise, we have received a letter saying there is a $15 per person per day charge for services. And nowhere on that note, it explains that the fee is optional. At some ports, it takes hours to stand in a queue to wait for exiting the ship Every onboard radio announcement sounds unclear, for a ship full of foreigners to understand important announcement of someone with very strong accents is impossible. A lot of information is missed. On TV only two channels in English; one is news another is documentary, which repeats over and over. Another channel with movies in different languages, but there are around 5-7 of them and they repeat over every day. Buffets food is repeating itself and no variety of fruits, no fresh berries were during the cruise. As well there was no seafood at any point available in the buffet. ..... Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We've never been on a transatlantic cruise or to Barcelona, so when we saw this cruise at a good price, we couldn't resist. We spent several days in Barcelona - a great city - before getting on the ship. I've been on ... Read More
We've never been on a transatlantic cruise or to Barcelona, so when we saw this cruise at a good price, we couldn't resist. We spent several days in Barcelona - a great city - before getting on the ship. I've been on about twenty cruises; this is the first with Norwegian. I don't know whether this is typical of the line, but embarkation was very bad. We arrived about twenty minutes before the beginning of boarding (scheduled for noon) to a huge line and it took about three hours to get on the ship. Thankfully it had stopped raining earlier that morning; because there was no cover and it took about two hours before we were able to enter the building where we were processed. On previous cruises on different lines we were given an hour window when to show up and were on the ship in about a half hour. When we were finally on the ship we couldn't go to our cabin because it wasn't ready. We chose an MX category mini-suite (the line chose the cabin - it was significantly cheaper than choosing our own location) and that was spacious and clean with plenty of storage. The negatives of the cabins on the Epic are legend; the sink is next to the bed, the toilet and shower were on either side of the entry, making it noisy and less than private - but we were prepared for those negatives. Another issue is that the beds are short. Anyone taller than about 5'8" would have there feet hanging off the bed. The ship itself felt crowded and noisy, particularly 5th and 6th levels where most things happened. There were very few places that you sit quietly near a window and read. My biggest complaint was with the food. Unless you ate at specialty restaurants - at a significant extra cost - items typical at no extra cost on other ships I've been on (Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean) were not available in the main dining rooms. No lobster tails, crab cakes, prime rib, filet mignon, escargot or shrimp cocktails; salmon was on the menu once in 16 days. And what was available was on the bland side. The buffet was also lacking, with meat generally overcooked and dry. I saw no eggs benedict or smoked salmon (available daily at the buffet on my last Princess cruise), Perhaps they were available in the dining room, but that was only open for two hours and fairly early even on sea days. Entertainment was great and varied except the movies which were older and not very good. The Broadway show Priscilla Queen of the Desert was a delight. There were numerous musical venues, comedians, a magician and hypnotist. The singer NIcola Ward was fantastic. The casino was better than most, with plenty of machines and table games. However, when you made a room charge to play (who carries cash these days?), the charge was 3%. So $100 would cost $103 - $500 would cost $515, This is only time I've been charged a casino fee of this kind to make a room charge on a cruise. Considering a ten year CD pays less than 2% I found the charge exorbitant. Unfortunately I'm a cigarette smoker. There were only two areas, both outside and only one covered that one could smoke. The cigar lounge was banned to cigarette smokers - a first on any cruise I've been on. That means on cold and rainy days it was pretty miserable. Smoking was allowed in parts of the casino, but only when it was open and only if gambling. Service was fine. We were happy with our cabin steward Charles, and with the various waiters in the dining rooms. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We have sailed Norwegian once before (The Jade). Our cruise started with a 1/2 hr line to drop off our luggage and then 2 1/2 hours in line to checkin. Luckily it was not a rainy day but it was hot. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We have sailed Norwegian once before (The Jade). Our cruise started with a 1/2 hr line to drop off our luggage and then 2 1/2 hours in line to checkin. Luckily it was not a rainy day but it was hot. No adequate explanation- just blamed the port people. With 4100 passengers on board elevator access was often an issue. On disembarkation day there was over a 2 hour delay getting off due “to terminal congestion”. We had most of our breakfasts in the dining room and all dinners in the Taste dining room. We never had to share a table unless we wanted to. All dining staff were very good. We thoroughly enjoyed the Cirque Epicurean dinner show, Pricilla Queen of the desert and the dance troupe Burn the Floor. The Beatles cover band in the Cavern was very popular but seating was full typically an hour before show time. Over all entertainment was very good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Chose this cruise for the Itinerary, price and perks. Have enjoyed NCL in the past (platinum member) but this cruise was different. The embarkation was a disaster, 21/2 to 3 hours in line, with no communication as to what was going on! ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the Itinerary, price and perks. Have enjoyed NCL in the past (platinum member) but this cruise was different. The embarkation was a disaster, 21/2 to 3 hours in line, with no communication as to what was going on! And lack of communication was evident at other times during the cruise. The crew was hit and miss on friendliness, and we unfortunately had an outright unfriendly room steward, which is a 1st. The balcony room had plenty of storage but did not like the small sink out in the bedroom area. We found the specialty restaurants good, but the regular dining just Ok. And finally disembarkation was another disaster with long delays and lines.I prefer to do only positive reviews but this was a disappointment. I think NCL needs to look at how they operate. Communication on what is happening was lacking on this cruise and should be improved. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have been on previous repositioning Epic cruises. My cousin traveled with me and she has been on 9 repositioning Epic cruises at this same time of year. It seemed like a sure thing....BUT surprise! This cruise was a nightmare from ... Read More
I have been on previous repositioning Epic cruises. My cousin traveled with me and she has been on 9 repositioning Epic cruises at this same time of year. It seemed like a sure thing....BUT surprise! This cruise was a nightmare from start to finish! Embarkation was a nightmare. We are both disabled and the embarkation staff didn't know what to do with us. Then my cousin was asking for a wheelchair and she waited 3 hours for one. People were still boarding the ship during the lifeboat drill. Epic tried to blame this mess on the immigration staff, but they were the ones responsible for getting wheelchairs and helping disabled passengers through the line and they were non existent! The cruise only went downhill from there. As a disabled cruiser, I have always found NCL accommodating and helpful. Not this time! Hallways were exceptionally cluttered and impossible to navigate. Elevators were packed (with only 8 total elevators and 4000 passengers). Staff from those in the theater to excursions knew nothing and treated us rudely. There are many examples of this...while waiting for our excursion in the theater, one poor lady was begging for a chair and in pain. A crew member herded us in the corner and no one helped her, despite my efforts on her behalf! They never gave us instructions and we all finally left the ship on our own, found our way through the terminal and to the buses, no help from NCL at all! Our first excursion was a bus to the "city" for sightseeing and shopping. It ended on a 4 lane highway, a mile from the cathedral and no shops in sight. I returned to the ship via a different bus and had to retrieve my own walker from under the bus! Second excursion was no better. No one at all to help disabled people at entrance to theater, and we went on our own to find bus again. This is after battling elevators for 20 minutes. The tour was labeled activity level 1, minimal activity. Actually it involved a brisk 45 min.walking tour over a mile and included steps. With other passengers helping on steps, I managed, but my cousin had to sit and wait for us. The one good part was the shore excursion manager, Catalina...she refunded the first trip and half of the second, then personally looked out for us at the buses for the remainder of the trip. She was having quite the time training her new staff! Shows in the theater on deck 6 had a roped off seating area marked disabled for us. But no staff to move the rope and heavy stand. Our first show in the theater a crew member berated an elderly couple and said they couldn't sit there because they weren't in a wheelchair...they were very clearly unable to navigate steps! The rest of the trip crew stayed away, and healthy young people (not part of a disabled person's party) took over the area! Finally, I booked an excursion and asked the crew member if I was allowed to use my walker, showing him that the tour description said no wheelchairs due to space limitations. He glibly said sure that should be fine, but days later I got a call from the manager that I couldn't go on the tour. Totally disorganized, and with the exception on the wonderful manager, uncaring! The ship was filled to capacity and was as noisy as a school cafeteria in the atrium and dining areas. I couldn't attend many functions that didn't require reservations, despite early arrivals...just no space anywhere. It was like being a sardine in a can with screeching dolphins! Supposedly the ship was not filling up and since it was their first debarkation in Puerto Rico, they pushed deals there. 3200 Puerto Ricans came onboard, packing us to capacity. Most were large groups of celebrating families and friends, raising the noise level to intolerable levels. Let me tell you, I tolerate a lot of noise, as a former elementary teacher, but this was unreal!! I tried 3 times before I could squeeze into the cavern club for their Beatle group. Packed to the brim, even then. The entertainment for such a long cruise was pretty good, I will say. Different musicians, hypnotist, comedy, magic, etc. Nice variety. The standards were Priscilla and Burn the Floor. Those required tickets ahead of time. The first Priscilla was cancelled due to mechanical problems. Speaking of mechanical problems, the midship escalator was broken the first few days, which only added to the crowded elevators! Many crew were new to the ship and confused. Service was spotty everywhere, even in specialty restaurants. Food was inconsistent, not cooked to order, cold, someone else's order, you name it! Not what you'd expect for all of the extra fees. Oh, speaking of food, I had to order room service on my first night! I couldn't get in an elevator despite 45 min. of trying. They didn't charge me the service charge for the order, but it was a disappointment for my first night onboard. Communication was poor. NCL seems to only care about making money at this point. Phones flashed messages with ads for purchasing trip credits, attending functions, shopping, money, money, money! I felt it was an invasion of privacy. The ship announcements by the captain were difficult to understand due to his accent and impossible to hear from the dining room or atrium due to noise levels. On our last night we were delayed in port with police boats at our bow and stern for 6 hours! No announcements were made and passengers got quite concerned. Now for the medical situation...a letter was issued at embarkation saying that the norovirus had been present on the last cruise and they were disinfecting the ship. If anyone wanted to cancel their cruise, they would receive credit for a future cruise. OK, here is the issue...I was not told of this notice, only reading it after boarding the ship. Plus, I had traveled overnight for many hours, flying to Barcelona. Still, I might have elected to not travel if I had known before boarding. I definitely would have not gone if they had been courteous enough to notify me before I left home. With a serious heart problem and upcoming surgery it would have not been worth the risk. Naturally, they didn't tell us a day before because they would lose money! Now it gets interesting...onboard there were many sick passengers, some with norovirus, some with upper respiratory issues. Coughing was heard all over the ship. I was afraid to breathe! Norovirus patients were confined to cabins and given free medical care, not the others. My cousin was perfectly healthy upon arrival, but a week into the cruise she fell victim to the respiratory illness. Her trip to the sickbay netted her a bill of $2500, which was even more for her in Canadian dollars. Sure, she has insurance, but this bill had to be paid before disembarking and now she has to go through the insurance headache. AND the dr. visit didn't help. She was wheezing and having difficulty breathing the rest of the time. Getting a wheelchair to disembark was only available by traveling to the cavern club and began a 8 am, but her bus left at 7:45. Front desk replied, That's our policy. Sheesh! Some compassion, NCL! I hope you appreciate all the money passengers spent on medical care this trip! Debarkation in Puerto Rico was a disaster. 3 large ships in port, and no room in the terminal. After part of the first group headed for early flight departures had disembarked, they halted all disembarkation for 3 hours. It ended with free alcohol on deck 5 to compensate. Just what they needed with everyone packed on that deck, shoulder to shoulder, sprawled all over the floor, waiting to get to deck 4 to get off the ship. Drunk passengers should help that situation a lot...way to go NCL! I stayed on deck 15 with the patient, quiet few! Overall, if this is the new normal for NCL I will part ways with them gladly. Cruising has always been a joy, but I was never so glad to be back on land and at home. I did send NCL a poor review and asked for management to respond to me. We will see. My cousin had already booked the same cruise for next year, but says now she will cancel. It is such a shame. Cruising NCL at one time was a delight. Now I guess only the Haven passengers can expect a good cruise. Before you say anything, my hubby and I were in the Haven twice and loved it, but also have had many other wonderful cruises on lower decks! I am not a grumpy passenger and have never posted a poor review. Shame on you, NCL for this horrendous trip! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I like NCL cruise line just was not happy with this cruise experience this has not been my first cruise with the company. I do enjoy some things like free at sea that they offer and i didn not enjoy other this like they could have done ... Read More
I like NCL cruise line just was not happy with this cruise experience this has not been my first cruise with the company. I do enjoy some things like free at sea that they offer and i didn not enjoy other this like they could have done more activities during the sea days but it was kind of monotone thru the sea days. I was really disappointed with the glow party i was expecting a little more in the party. What i was the most disappointed was the fact that the club was separated with Latin music and the regular american music. We felt a little discriminated.The overall food was very decent, We enjoy very La cucina was my favorite and Moderno restaurant.. The music selection was awesome in howl at the moon and Sabor latino was amazing.The only negative i would have to say for very long days at sea they needed more activities. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ship after reading so many reviews, but during my time onboard I fell in love with this ship and wouldn’t hesitate to go on the Epic again. We boarded in Barcelona, and were met with long ... Read More
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this ship after reading so many reviews, but during my time onboard I fell in love with this ship and wouldn’t hesitate to go on the Epic again. We boarded in Barcelona, and were met with long lines checking in at the terminal. While I found this a bit of a speed bump to the start of our cruise I didn’t let it bother me. Everyone was doing their best to get us onboard as quickly as possible, and let’s face it sometimes that takes time. The layout of the ship didn’t bother me too much. Every ship has its own quirks. I did miss the lack of windows and quiet spaces to sit during the day, but they do make the specialty restaurants available to use when they are closed so there are still plenty of quiet places to go. I also missed the running track, but this ship has the biggest and best set up gym I’ve seen on any ship. I found it easy to find my way around the ship. I agree they are missing a bank of elevators, but I have no problem taking stairs. Also if you don’t mind walking a little you can usually find elevators that aren’t busy. The food was fantastic, and the service was amazing in the restaurants. I didn’t eat at the buffet because I just am not a buffet person. My only time up there was to get ice cream and I have no complaints there. Disembarking was a bit of a process. Not sure what happened but they halted disembarking for at least an hour just as we were going to get our stuff out of our cabin. Our cabin steward told us to just stay there and relax until they started to allow people off the ship again. Which was sweet that he offered this to us. We left our luggage in our cabin and walked around the ship a little so they could still get in and do as much as they could to get the cabin ready. When it was time to get off the ship we were off in 15 minutes. I think the crew got handed some tough situations on this cruise with the embarkation and disembarkation, but I feel that they handled everything as best as they could and very professionally. I was very impressed. I would also like to add that I haven’t see a crew work together so well and genuinely like each other. You could tell these guys are all family. Like I said earlier I wouldn’t hesitate to book a cruise on the Epic again. I loved my time with her and the crew. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
As I said, we particularly like cruises with time at sea. Also, I have always wanted to go to Spain, so this was a perfect combination for us. Additionally, The Haven (for us) is worth the additional cost. It's like being on a ... Read More
As I said, we particularly like cruises with time at sea. Also, I have always wanted to go to Spain, so this was a perfect combination for us. Additionally, The Haven (for us) is worth the additional cost. It's like being on a small ship if you choose to stay in that area, but if you want to enjoy the entertainment that's available on a large ship, you can do that. The Haven Our cabin was perfect for us -- a two bedroom suite. We have traveled in that type of a cabin before so we knew we would like it. The dining room for The Haven is delightful and the servers recognized us after the first day. The concierge & his assistant were very helpful as were the butler & cabin steward. We really enjoyed the entertainment. We went to most of the shows which were available. My favorite was "Burn the Floor". The only problems were the embarkation & debarkation. The Spanish gov't did not have enough customs officials to expedite the process & at debarkation we were not allowed to leave the ship because of some problems with customs Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Norwegian simply does not know how to manage a ship with 4,000 passengers. 3 hour wait outside to embark / check in 2 hour delay in disembarking (almost missed flight) A couple of ports that were just a waste because a ship the ... Read More
Norwegian simply does not know how to manage a ship with 4,000 passengers. 3 hour wait outside to embark / check in 2 hour delay in disembarking (almost missed flight) A couple of ports that were just a waste because a ship the size of Epic apparently has to dock far away from more convenient docks. After the embarkation disaster they made the statement, "We know it was terrible but it wasn't our fault. I'd like to tell you that this will not happen again this cruise but I can't promise that." He was right. One of the main dining rooms, Taste, seemed to be a hodge-podge of decor styles. The center section was white, classy and contemporary. The 2 wings of the dining area were exactly like a 1975 vintage Shakey's Pizza. Old fake brick with ugly-ugly colored plexiglass that vaguely resembles stained glass. Who decorated that mess? O'Sheehan's Pub had amazingly poor service. Twice we were seated but waiter never came to the table. We left after 15-20 minutes. And when it was slower / less hectic, staff was much more focused on chatting to each other rather than providing service. Similarly, in Cavern Club bar the drink service was always indifferent, at best. Positives: Good food, decent service in dining rooms, ship clean. Negatives: I've described a few of the serious problems but too many to mention them all. Activities loosely organized by one of many cruise director assistants. Lots of 'em, but none seemed experienced or skilled. They made an effort but did not seem nearly as capable as we've enjoyed on many past cruises on other lines. Needless to say, I would not go on the Norwegian Epic again. Strongly suggest you find another ship for your trip! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We took a 16-day cruise on the EPIC. An epic mistake. With no desire to impugn the people of Puerto Rico, the fact that what appeared to be ¾ of the passengers seemed to be from there, led to some of our complaints and culture shock. ... Read More
We took a 16-day cruise on the EPIC. An epic mistake. With no desire to impugn the people of Puerto Rico, the fact that what appeared to be ¾ of the passengers seemed to be from there, led to some of our complaints and culture shock. Here are some of the issues we found with this trip: • Embarkation was delayed hours due to there having been an outbreak of some illness on the prior cruise. This caused us to have to stand in line for a little over two hours to embark. • A note from the captain indicated that “more than 2 %” of the prior guests and crew were affected by the illness. (was it 2.5%, 25%, 50%????) The lack of communication was the beginning of a trend. • We were shown to our stateroom and were surprised at how small it was. Approximately 8’ x 20’. So small that two people could not walk past the bed at the same time. The bulkheads were curved to lessen the visual impact that you were in a cell. The toilet was on one side as you entered, the shower on the opposite side and the sink was in the middle of the room. A bathroom with a bed in it. • Then after standing in line for hours we boarded and discovered that if you want water, you have to pay for it. We did spring for a $6.00 bottle of water (+ 20 % gratuity). They will sell you a water “package” with bottled water (+ 20% gratuity). You are not permitted to bring water (or anything else) on to the ship • Our veranda was about 8’ wide by about 6’ deep. It held 2 chairs and 12” square table. • What really made the veranda fun was when the crew was hosing off the upper decks with fresh water and it cascaded down the side of the ship until it left up to an inch of water on the veranda. Incredibly, there were no drains to allow this water to escape. We had to wait for it to dry. • The headboard on the bed was curved to conform with the shape of the bulkhead, which meant your feet hung over the end of the bed. • There was a sofa, also curved, that was uncomfortable, and slid away from the wall once in a while. • With 4,100 passengers, there were lines for pretty much everything but especially elevators. • The ship has a public announcement system that is self-defeating. The volume is so loud, and the number of speakers so prolific, that only when the cruise director was delivering a message in English could we understand most of it. This was followed by a rapid fire Spanish translation. Then, just about every day our captain got on to give us information. Here the system really did him a disservice. Our captain was a native Italian speaker with a fairly heavy accent when speaking English. We were lucky to pick up a word here or there. If you are sitting or standing near one of the speakers when the announcements come on you will be deafened. • The guests from Puerto Rico seemed to be treated differently than we were. For example, one night the Bliss Lounge was closed for a private event attended by our fellow guests from Puerto Rico. On another night, with two other couples, we attended the Cirque Dreams performance with preferred seating for dinner and the show. We had to ask for wine to be served and the groups at two adjoining tables had servers hovering over them with bottles of wine for refills. We got one glass of wine. The tables next to ours were two groups of about 10 to 12 guests. • The volume of the music, largely salsa and latin, being played in the area around the pool and the waves bar was sometimes so loud you could not be heard by the person next to you • This cruise line seems to all about charging the guests for every possible thing. For example, you are charged $15.00 per day/person for gratuities, and then, you are charged an additional 20% gratuity on top of anything else you purchase. • You get phone messages telling you about sales being held aboard. The daily newsletter has inserts every day about things you can buy aboard. They hold sales at counters that are in the middle of the main hallway. One day the people were 3 and 4 deep at the counter making passage difficult. In short, they bombard you with sales pitches (don’t forget to add the 20% gratuity) • Our last day was a real treat. We were not able to stay in our staterooms after 8:30am. We were given color-coded tags for our luggage and told we would be called out by color to leave the ship and collect our bags. Without being told why, we were kept on the ship for close to 3 hours. The only announcement was that this was caused by a CBP issue. We did watch our fellow guests from Puerto Rico walk off the ship while we waited. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Although I have done many cruises with different cruise companies, this was my first time with Norwegian Cruise Lines. It started off very poorly. It took us over 2 hours standing in line, with my partner who has mobility issues, to get ... Read More
Although I have done many cruises with different cruise companies, this was my first time with Norwegian Cruise Lines. It started off very poorly. It took us over 2 hours standing in line, with my partner who has mobility issues, to get registered for boarding. We had an issue with our beverage package which was not accepted although I showed them the paper work. Guest services was not very helpful and just kept saying that they will send a note to head office. I had to get our travel agent involved and it still took 7 days to totally resolve. The highlight of the cruise was the very good entertainment available. Every evening there were a number of choices of live music or shows to attend. There were a number of good speciality restaurants however the Brazilian restaurant was excellent both is service and quality of food, I highly recommend everyone to try it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Trans Atlantic and stops at three island groups to which we had not been as well as departing from Barcelona to which we have not been - we choose cruises based upon itinerary first. We think the ship is too large and prefer smaller ships. ... Read More
Trans Atlantic and stops at three island groups to which we had not been as well as departing from Barcelona to which we have not been - we choose cruises based upon itinerary first. We think the ship is too large and prefer smaller ships. The cabins (we had aft-facing balcony) were smaller than normal and cramped. The food was not as good as expected. However, the crew/staff made everything worthwhile - they were great! We spent 3 days in Barcelona before the cruise. We should very much like to return. We took 2 TripAdvisor tours and were surprised at how good they were - very pleased. We applaud Max & Natalia (TripAdvisor). Embarkation was awful because of disinfecting the ship from previous problems. It seems hardly possible, but disembarkation was worse apparently because Norwegian failed to estimate baggage (we were told anyway) - delayed several hours. We were concerned about making our flight, but did so; however, we know some missed flights including a couple of friends. There was a high percentage of passengers who were local and the disembarkation should have been controlled instead of pandemonium allowing passengers with flights off first and then locals. Entertainment was good, but especially "Howl at the Moon" - the best I've ever seen on a cruise. The crew and staff were extraordinary and made things enjoyable. We have been 6 times with Norwegian and would go again but on a smaller ship (whatever cruise line as we are itinerary based)' Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was a repositioning cruise, so it had both a great number of ports, and a reasonable cost. On the Pro side: - Ports were Good. Arrecife and Tortola are a bit underwhelming, but otherwise, the ports were very nice. My ... Read More
This was a repositioning cruise, so it had both a great number of ports, and a reasonable cost. On the Pro side: - Ports were Good. Arrecife and Tortola are a bit underwhelming, but otherwise, the ports were very nice. My favorites were Palma and Funchal. - the ship was nice. Clean, lots of eating space. - the balcony was great. The weather allowed us to really enjoy it. - The food was good to great. One of the best steaks I've had in the main dining room - Entertainment was plentiful. We didn't partake in much, but that was our choice. They have lots for you to do. - Our room was perfect. Many complained about the layout, but it worked well for us. On the Con side: - Iced Tea was a disaster. Hardly drinkable. - Booze was expensive, as we didn't have the booze package. - Embarcation took 3.25 hours. Disembarkation took 2 hours to self leave... (NCL blamed Customs and Border Patrol - not sure if that's true or not, but it was a gong show) - A lack of comfortable places to just sit and relax. About the only choice was on deck in a deckchair which turned out ok once we got a bit south, where it was warm enough, but the first few days, well we couldn't find a quiet comfortable place to read. - O'Sheehans restaurant was poor I felt. It's super busy at lunch and during the day and quiet at dinner. The wait staff seemed disinterested, where we didn't get that feeling in the main restaurants. Overall we were pretty happy with our cruise and would probably do it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This ship is not very attractive looks like a block of flats. We had balcony cabin 8079 which has the bed nearest to the balcony, this is the best configuration as the toilet and shower are either side or the door as you go in then the ... Read More
This ship is not very attractive looks like a block of flats. We had balcony cabin 8079 which has the bed nearest to the balcony, this is the best configuration as the toilet and shower are either side or the door as you go in then the sink is opposite the sofa which isn't very comfortable so if you can choose your room make sure the bed Is furthest from the toilet you don't want to be sleeping within touching distance! There is plenty or storage in this cabin wardribes\drawers\behind the couch the suitcases wen under the bed no problem we had the IT range. Restaurants were fine I felt that as it is anytime dining in the main ones you got a service not necessarily the best as you had a different table\waiter every time you went. I personally don't like anytime preferring to have an 8.30 seating. Sunbeds well what can I say we were in transatlantic so every few days they put the clock back an hour so e were awake at 7 so hubby thought he would go up to have breakfast he came back saying we had better get some sun beds they had almost all gone! We always found a couple up in the balcony but you had to be at the pool by 9 or you had no chance. Shows ! Had read beforehand to book the shows and this worked well but some of the entertainment like at the headliners comedy club you had to queue to get in I felt I spent all my time queueing. Due to 4100 people being on board it was always crowded the public space was not big enough we never got a seat in any of the bars as they were too small. They had an LGBT informal get together at the back at h2o which we only noticed as I was the only woman at the bar but who cares we got served pretty quickly and they had a great 80's night here and everyone we spoke to were very friendly. This is also where the white party is held. We had bad weather going to St maarten so had to go to Antigua instead couldn't arguecwith that we had a tour round the island for$25 each what a lovely island. St Thomas the usual farce if having to wait to be called to see US immigration would definitely book a higher floor next time we docked at 10 but weren't called till 1 to queue again for over an hour to get our passports stamped. The higher floors and people in tours were called first. Overall this cruise was ok was clean just had too many people for the public areas and there is no promenade deck. I would only go in this ship again if it was a very good deal and wascgoing somewhere I wanted to go. Would I recommend this ship? No basically too crowded and cabins were small there are better ships out there I have been in the jade and spirit and these flow much better. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Pros: Dinning room food is very good, (breakfast, lunch and dinner) Heard the specialty restaurants are very good as well. (from other passengers) Entertainment is very good. Theater has good leg room.. best I've ... Read More
Pros: Dinning room food is very good, (breakfast, lunch and dinner) Heard the specialty restaurants are very good as well. (from other passengers) Entertainment is very good. Theater has good leg room.. best I've experienced so far. Don't need to dress up.. I like the free style dining. Lots of activities to keep you busy on the sea days. Ship is large and clean. Service is good. Good value for what I paid. Cons: Cabins are small and dark. Shower and Toilet are in the same room as the bed. Should have their own room. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are mediocre. (satisfies your hunger) Promenade deck does not go completely around the ship. Promenade deck views of the sea are blocked by life boats. No access to sauna or steam room unless your a Haven passenger or purchase the access package for $$$. Summary: I found the cruise was good for the fare I paid. Would I sail again on the EPIC, probably but it would not be my first choice.... Fare price would have to be low. The other NCL ships of similar size are better. I've been a NCL passenger for a while and will continue to sail NCL, just not the EPIC. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I am going to preface this review with a note that I had sailed on Epic in August 2017 for a 7-day Western Mediterranean. That said, I boarded with certain preconceptions and expectations. This 13-day cruise across the Atlantic as a solo ... Read More
I am going to preface this review with a note that I had sailed on Epic in August 2017 for a 7-day Western Mediterranean. That said, I boarded with certain preconceptions and expectations. This 13-day cruise across the Atlantic as a solo traveler gave me ample time to compare my previous voyage against today’s NCL Epic. Embarkation in Barcelona seemed chaotic with little information being shared with passengers. Lines seemed to go on forever and it was rather warm when they left me standing in the sun. That said, I was onboard within 30-minutes of exiting my taxi cab, so overall, not that bad of an experience. It appeared much worse than it actually was. The remainder of this evaluation is going to be by venue, show or experience. Food & Beverage As a solo traveler, I tend to dine alone. NCL needs to figure out that us solo travelers have nothing to do while we wait to order or receive food except to watch what is happening around us. Then they need to figure out that some of us solo travelers are “in the business” and know how things should operate. I have been in Hospitality / Food & Beverage for the better part of 40 years. Many times on this journey, I wondered if I had become invisible. After a few instances where I wrote it off to me being “hangry,” I introduced myself to F&B Management. I sought out the Restaurant Manager whom we met at the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet. I was handed off to Aris, the assistant Matre’d. I had some time to prepare notes prior to this meeting, so I did exactly that. I reviewed my notes with Aris who listened intently. He apologized many times, offered me excellent service in Shanghai’s which happens to be my favorite on the ship. I’ve always had excellent service there as well as The Noodle Bar. I assured him I would; of course it’s my favorite! That afternoon at lunch, I was sat in Taste. I received some water and waited to place my order. The hostess, Pretzil, sat another couple a few minutes after me. I then watched her instruct the server to “take good care of them.” The server then proceeded to take their order, whisk right by me and return shortly afterwards with their food. I voiced my concern for all to hear. I reintroduced myself to F&B Management. How could this be happening after I just had a conversation with Aris? I again sought out the Restaurant Manager, but again handed off to someone else. I reviewed what had discussed earlier that day with Nikola, the Matre’d. I told him of this episode as well as all that I had covered with Aris. How could this be happening? Nokola listened intently, apologized and assured me he would take care of it. Take care of it he did. That evening and for the rest of the cruise I was treated like a king. Most times, two servers were assigned to me. It was almost embarrassing. I wonder if they somehow flagged my name for all to know. Why should I care? I was receiving excellent service now. Dining Reservations I purchased the 4-pack of specialty restaurants. I knew I needed to reserve early as my preferred times would quickly become unavailable. Amin Shi was most helpful with my first week’s reservations and she made the Taste & Manhattan menus available to me so I could schedule around meals I would have there. Genette was dutifully stationed in Le Bistro most afternoons and she helped me reschedule one meal from Moderno to Cagney’s for reasons that I’ll get into later. Genette remembered my name for the remainder of the cruise and she could be my Super Hero if not for my favorite bartender, Zoron. O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill This place is very good for late night snacks. The hot wings are excellent and have, what I call, personality; they’re not just hot. The nachos are also very good. Last year, this place was my favorite. This year, not even close. Lunch on embarkation day wasn’t as bad as most other travelers were figuring out how it works. I managed to get a stool next to the bowling alley. Another gentleman was sat soon after and then placed his order before anyone even said “hello” to me. Eventually, someone came to take my order. I was warned that my Chipotle Chicken Sandwich might take a bit, but it was served with relative speed and was very good. On one occasion, I was sat at the same location for lunch. I waited and waited for service. When the couple a few stools over were sat and placed their order before anyone even noticed me, I spoke up. A server was dispatched to me immediately and Michele did her best to ensure that my needs were met. Again I was warned that a burger at this time could take a bit as it was busy, but I’m OK with that as long as I have my order in. Soon, a gentleman was seated close to me at the same bar. As I waited for my burger, he placed his order, received his chicken wing appetizer and then his BURGER as I continued to wait. Am I invisible? I spoke up once again and shortly after someone came running to me with a burger, but it wasn’t my burger as I ordered no tomato and this one had tomato. Now it was time to demand a manager. Rosalia, the Matre ’d listened carefully as I explained my dissatisfaction. I took the damn tomato off and ate the burger and Rosaria got me another beer. Once at breakfast, I was sat and counted three other tables. There were at least four servers on the floor. Another solo diner sat at a nearby table a few minutes later. We were both offered coffee and juice. Then, she was asked what she wanted and soon thereafter received her food as I continued to wait to place my order. Only four tables were occupied and this happens; inexcusable. Maybe I am invisible? This is when I finally decided to introduce myself to F&B Management, so I returned to my cabin to write down some notes regarding my poor service experiences. This was covered in my introduction. Taste Restaurant I could never seem to get a window seat here but that’s OK. I only asked that I could see out a window. The service is a bit slow but with a full-service restaurant, included, on a ship, you need some patience. At lunch I had the Cheese Steak Sandwich, the Meatball Sandwich and the Cheeseburger. They were all pretty good, but the fries always seemed to be just under done. I ordered Eggs Benedict here with country potatoes. The eggs were slightly over done and the hollandaise sauce was almost non-existent. I counted exactly six pieces of potato in my order; far less represented than all the peppers and onion. Once at lunch, I was sat and offered water. Another table was sat after me by a hostess named Pretzil who then instructed the server to “take good care of them.” I sat and watched the server rush over to them and take their order. She whisked by me and returned shortly with their food. That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back; when I reintroduced myself to F&B Management. This was only hours after I had my conversation with Aris. I went to Taste for Chicken Parmesan one evening. Bryan and Leroy were assigned to me. I was confused at first, but Leroy explained that they would tag-team me. Maybe there was a big red flag on my Sea Pass as this became the trend for the remainder of the cruise. I ordered the French Onion Soup and the Chicken Parmesan. The soup was bland, hardly any onions and I actually had to add salt! Crazy. The Chicken Parmesan was crispy which I liked but I had to ask for more red sauce as it was otherwise dry except for the meat. The side-order of spaghetti was over-cooked and mushy. Manhattan Restaurant This is another full-service restaurant included with my fare. Rey was a server who took care of me at least twice. He is worth noting as he remembered me after only one previous visit. He was very attentive and I never felt invisible as in other venues. This was before I met with F&B Management, so it’s even more impressive in hind-sight. The short-rib bolognaise was excellent and the wine was flowing thanks to Rey. The Garden Café I really despised this place last year. With all the kids running around and sticking their hands in the food, I avoided it at all cost. This year, I was pleasantly surprised and had both breakfast and lunch there on more than one occasion. The staff was gracious and helpful, especially at breakfast and the made-to-order omelets. Shanghai & Noodle Bar The Noodle Bar was one of my favorite places last year but it was difficult to get a seat. This time I found it relatively easy to dine there and did on two occasions. My favorites were the Fried Pot Stickers, the Beef Chow Fun and the Char Siu with Rice Noodles. Shanghai served many of the dishes that the noodle bar did but when eating here I chose the Kung Pao Chicken. The portion was much smaller than I recall from last year, but I didn’t leave hungry. It was still yummy either way. After meeting with Aris, Sheila was sure to make sure I was happy. In fact, if I were simply walking past her post, she would rush over to hug me and ask me how I was. It was a little embarrassing but I had paid for it early, right? Cagney’s Steak House My first “premium” meal was at Cagney’s. I had high expectations and was not disappointed. Merrie was my server and I left quite content. I had the Pork Belly appetizer then Filet Mignon with Béarnaise Sauce with Au Gratin Potatoes. Everything was well seasoned and cooked to perfection. Rosemarie served me on my second trip to Cagney’s. Rosemarie was excellent as was my food. This time, I had the porterhouse steak with onion rings. Rosemarie talked me into the 7-layer chocolate cake, which I ate every bite. Rosemarie got an additional tip from me. Moderno My second “premium” meal fell flat and I was very disappointed. I had a great seat where I could see the entertainment in Manhattan, but the gauchos kept passing me by with the freshly cooked, hot and steaming meats. They would head off to the far corner of the restaurant and when and if they ever got to me the meat was already cool if not cold. Maybe I WAS becoming invisible. I had to speak up to my server, Sandeesh. He asked me what I wanted and I explained to him that I didn’t want to feel invisible. He was a very good server but the gauchos turned me off completely. I cancelled my second reservation at this venue and booked in Cagney’s for a second time as I knew I wouldn’t be invisible there. For Sandeesh, I left an extra tip to express my satisfaction with him. Hopefully, he gets all the extra tips and doesn’t have to split it. La Cucina This was my third “premium” restaurant. This experience was after all of my invisible visits to other restaurants. I was sat with at a forward-most deuce looking out over St. John, Antigua. The clouds were looming by now and it was getting dark, but I would have a great view as we backed out of port and headed to open waters. I was served by both Rohan and Jeff and they ensured that I was not feeling invisible. Rohan suggested the Italian Red Blend, so I ordered that immediately. I ordered the Bresaola but was informed that there was no more Arugula and it would be served with Mixed Greens. Is this really happening? As a second appetizer I ordered the Penne Amatriciana. The Bresaola came out with spinach, so I wasn’t thrilled about that, but I went with the flow. They were trying. I was disappointed, very much so, that they were out of Osso Buco. I don’t eat seafood, so my other options were very limited. I didn’t come here to have Chicken Cacciatore; I don’t even eat that at home. The Filet Mignon in Peppercorn Sauce is served with bleu cheese ravioli which I wouldn’t like, so Jeff had the kitchen serve it to me with the Tortellini appetizer as a side. In the end, I enjoyed my dinner here very much. Rohan and Jeff could not have treated me better. I had the Tiramisu and it was to die for. I left a good extra tip for Rohan to show my appreciation. BEVERAGE SERVICE I’m happy to say that I never had an issue at any of the bars on the ship. While sometimes it was busy and we had to wait, we all waited together and I never saw a bartender give preference to another passenger that wasn’t ahead of me to begin with. Some passengers, on the other hand, were just rude and selfish. Karma baby, Karma. O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill Last year’s favorite place dropped to last within the first couple of days of this trip. Once I was passing by and stopped at the service bar. I was told by the bartender to come around and order from the area where people were seated. As I did this, another passenger stepped up to the service bar and was served immediately while I was still waiting where I was told to wait. Honestly, over time, I started going to this place more often because of it’s location but I never felt like a regular as in other places. Spice H20 Last year’s cruise was so hot, I rarely went outside let alone sit at a bar outside. This year, quite the opposite happened. First of all I found Zoron at Spice. Zoron was my vacation hero last year when he worked O’Sheehan’s. When we saw each other this year, it was kind of funny. I found myself at Spice H20 quite a bit this cruise. Nestor was another bartender at Spice. Nestor quickly learned my name and the drinks that I like. Zoron, Nestor and the rest of this team really made us feel welcome, like regulars. Waves Pool Bar Last year, I never even tried to visit Waves. It was so hot and so crowded all the time, I stayed below deck at O’Sheehan’s or the lobby bar. Waves Pool Bar was a place I visited often this time around. While it was crazy busy on those nice sunny sea days, it was much easier when the weather wasn’t as nice. We started out in rather cold weather but it warmed up progressively as we travelled south-west. Craig from Granada quickly emerged as the leader of this pack of bartenders. Although it was his first voyage on Epic, he had many good cruise stories to tell. Wayan & Govind were two other bartenders at Waves and they took good care of me whenever I was around. Cascades Bar I called this the Casino Bar. It didn’t have signage to indicate differently. Cascades was a quick elevator trip down from my cabin. I almost always found Ronaldo there. Ronaldo was a fun loving guy and a hard worker. JoJo was another bartender at Cascades that made me feel welcome at all times. ENTERTAINMENT I am not one to go crazy over entertainment. In fact, I only attended two or three shows in the Epic Theater. I like to stroll deck 5 and 6 and see what’s happening. Howl At The Moon Howl at the Moon was about the funniest thing I have ever seen; last year on the Epic. This year was a completely different story. The guys this year just didn’t even try. While they were talented piano players (and even some drums), they simply played songs. There was very little attempt at humor with the songs, rather in between and amongst themselves. Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical I enjoyed this show more than I thought I would. The storyline was fun and the production was on-point. Burn The Floor I didn’t last ten minutes before I got up and left. Having seen them perform in the Manhattan dining room, I thought I was going to see some entertainment. I was not entertained. Cirque Dreams I didn’t waste my time or money as I heard the show was great but the food was Prix Fix so very expensive for banquet food. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We booked this cruise a second time because of the solid value offered, and the generally friendly and active passengers we experienced last year. Numerous people remembered us this time as we went about activities and dining, and all were ... Read More
We booked this cruise a second time because of the solid value offered, and the generally friendly and active passengers we experienced last year. Numerous people remembered us this time as we went about activities and dining, and all were repeat passengers for multiple past cruises. The big values for us were the Burn the Floor dancers that performed in the Manhattan dining room, Epic theatre, and ballroom dance classes. Amazingly fast and complicated moves appeared effortless except for the heat they generated. Many other talent balanced out the performances, including more comedians than last year. Standout hospitality from Roderick in keeping our cabin in perfect shape, even though our schedule was a bit erratic, and from all the food servers in the Shanghai and Manhattan rooms were really appreciated. Wallfredo managed our wine selections with insight and attention, and we have only good memories of many Manhattan dinners. We were laughing one night about what a comparable dinner, Broadway show, late night disco, and hotel in New York would have required; compared to just strolling around the ship for a few minutes and saying thanks for the experience. That’s value. Counterpoints were the smokey casino right in the middle of the ship and the three amenities floors that NCL has not safely ventilated to protect their employees and non-smoking passengers like me. That’s a prime reason for choosing other ships. Secondly, although you can find some healthy foods, they’re re mixed in with hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, sweets and ice cream. Some deserts were labeled “No Sugar Added” but does that mean they are loaded with sugar-alcohols or toxic artificial sweeteners instead. More informative labeling or online ingredient lists would be greatly appreciated. Finally, the entertainment staff needs to expand their playlists to eliminate obnoxious repeats of over-played classics like “Hotel California.” Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We booked both the spring cruise from Port Canaveral to Barcelona earlier this spring and then did the opposite Barcelona to Port Canaveral 11/4. This review is the later Barcelona to Port Canaveral. First I will say both very good. Many ... Read More
We booked both the spring cruise from Port Canaveral to Barcelona earlier this spring and then did the opposite Barcelona to Port Canaveral 11/4. This review is the later Barcelona to Port Canaveral. First I will say both very good. Many venues for entertainment. Food good, service good. Room well looked after. Could have done another 2 weeks. I love the thermal suite on this ship. Very relaxing. The gym is big and I never had a problem using the machines. They have several pay classes for the gym or I can buy a package deal and attend as many as u want. The pool water was so warm. I don’t know if that’s typical or because we were crossing The Atlantic. Embarkation and disembarkation can be challenging. Try to avoid peak times for embarkation Also need patience for elevators. People that can use the stairs should give Consideration to those who can’t. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought it was a good opportunity to try a mega ship. We had just come off a cruise with 900 people and hence felt the bigger crowds immediately. Embarkation, the crowds and queues were huge and it felt like mayhem but soon lines got organised. For the first time ever we needed printed ESTAs which was a pain but they had computers with printers. Finally onboard we went to the restaurant for lunch and it was obvious from the start that the crew were not as experienced and trained as on other ncl ships. Our first course (shrimp arugula salad) came without shrimp and arugula. These sorts of errors became common place at almost every meal. One lunchtime we were the first in the restaurant but had not seen a server after 20 minutes and had to get the maître d to move us as it appeared nobody knew who was looking after that area, basic things. Queues for the restaurants at night were huge and wait times were at least 30 minutes but then the buzzers never functioned so you usually waited longer unnecessarily. Unfortunately small problems continued all cruise, our account was wrong every single day of the cruise and guest relations seemed to be trained to either deny there was a mistake or accuse the customer of making the error. Eventually a meeting with the hotel director where he admitted to the ongoing problems they were having with the restaurants and dealing with port taxes at least acknowledged some of the poor training and supervision and led to some of the problems being rectified. We were given a meal in the Epic club in the Haven as an apology, interestingly while the food was amazing the service problems continued there. As platinum members our meals in French Bistro and La Cucina we were treated as second class citizens, with countless comments about our meal being a “voucher meal” and constantly being told we were limited to certain courses taking the shine from what should be superior dining experiences. The food in the Bistro was very mixed (mains excellent, starters average and dessert poor). La Cucina was disappointing after loving it on our last 2 Jade cruises, the pizza was no better than that in the buffet. Pasta dishes were good. We liked the atmosphere of the Manhattan dining room, tables were well spaced and there was often music. Unfortunately the supervisors never picked up on small things like missing cutlery, broken table lamps, missing condiments. Several fellow guests made similar references to the lack of management and supervision on the ship and in the restaurants in particular and it lead to a feeling of slackness and lack of care by the management. The telephone messaging system broke down, the one night we wanted to watch a movie in our room the channel broke down, the outdoor movie screen was a good concept except they refused to put chairs out for it. The indoor movie was about people using sign language except they put Spanish subtitles up. Osheehans regularly opened half an hour late for lunch. Originally we just laughed off these mistakes as the cruise was so cheap but after a week it starts to grind you down and just takes away from the fun you are generally having. On all our other cruises we have written at least a dozen hero cards for our favourite staff on this cruise we only wrote 2. As with many others we didn’t really like the ship itself, the main problem was it was difficult to see the ocean which is what we love about sea days. There is no real promenade, the small area there is has life boats blocking the view, exhaust fans blowing out kitchen fumes, and smokers. There are very few windows. Upstairs you have to get one of the few deck chairs on the upper level to see the sea. There is no forward facing bar and the screen in the h2o bar at the rear of the ship blocks most of the view. Public venues are too small, the theatre only holds 700, the restaurants less than 500, most of the bars only cater to about 50 ... on a ship that was full with 4,500 guests! The worst aspect is you smell smoke everywhere, the casino is mid ship and open so smoke fills surrounding bars and restaurants, disgusting. No mid ship staircase or lifts. We only use stair cases and thankfully most didn’t so they were easy to manoeuvre about. Entertainment is excellent but because the venues are so small the same acts are repeated over and over to allow for people to see the shows but if you went to more than one show (eg the afternoon matinee and then maybe a comedy show later that night) for the first few days you were out of options after a week. As usual the activities were plentiful, we liked the water slides as well, the pools were all heated despite us being in the Caribbean???? Gym was a good size but very busy especially as so much of the entertainment staff using it. Only one walking track for 4000 people and the staff use it to get to their smoking spot. We were given 3 loads of laundry which was s nice surprise. We had an inside cabin which had a comfortable bed and plenty of storage but we didn’t like the unusual bathroom design which is hardly romantic or practical. The sink is a joke. Our cabin steward was excellent. There were only 3 ports and of course NCL made this as difficult as possible as per usual (they are the worst line for port experiences). Took more than an hour to get back on the ship in Funchal with everyone forced to stand in the rain. St Maarten was cancelled due to weathe (fair enough) and we changed to Antigua, they did a good job of accomodating this change on short notice, St Thomas I can’t comment on as we had to do US immigration on the shortest port day and were in the last group so had less than 3 hours ashore. We of course still enjoyed ourselves as the weather was good and we met some great people. This was the first time we have not bought future cruise deposits as it was just a little too underwhelming and we are trying MSC to compare. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was my third cruise on Norwegian this year: Jade Transatlantic in April, Jewel Alaska in June, and now the Epic Transatlantic in November. It was my first experience on a larger ship and my first Solo cabin adventure. The Solo ... Read More
This was my third cruise on Norwegian this year: Jade Transatlantic in April, Jewel Alaska in June, and now the Epic Transatlantic in November. It was my first experience on a larger ship and my first Solo cabin adventure. The Solo experience was what made the trip memorable. I knew that the solo cabins were compact, inside cabins, so there was no disappointment. The cabin was exactly what I needed. My cabin was in good condition, but a couple of fellow travelers reported that closet doors were missing in their cabins. Although card entry was required to get into the lounge (Deck 11) and the corridors to the rooms, the aft end door on Deck 12 never latched. The lounge was great allowing the opportunity to meet other solo travelers. There was a self-service coffee machine. A full-service bar and bartender was available from 5-7 pm daily. Continental breakfast was provided in the lounge daily, and after that, there were cookies available all day. The highlight was out Solo Coordinator Terry Tesoro who organized activities and group dining and did an excellent job. Dining aboard the Epic was mostly medicre. It was not uncommon for breakfast in Taste to take 2 hours, as they were often disorganized and confused. Dinners were no better, with the same inefficiencies in service with the addition of warm to cold food. Food was always served on cold plates. It took a discussion with the manager to get improvement, but he hovered over the serice to make sure we got our food efficiently and hot. Manhattan was better, but inconsistent. Food was usually served efficiently and on warm plates, but when they failed, they fell flat on their faces. On our las night, two of us didn't get our entrees. When we finally did, all of the others at our table had finished theirs. On the plus side, our entrees were served on nhot plates and exactly how we ordered. The service failure continued with my dessert not being served with the rest of the table and those who ordered Irish Coffee got their's tepid. I had to request the manager to voice our displeasure and get the Irish Coffees replaced. Other laughable things in Taste were serving teapots with sauces at lids because they had run out of lids, and on the last day, there were yogurt parfaits on the menu with a choice of fruits, but there was no choice. According to the waiter they had run out of all but one of the choices days beofe. Another disappointment was the Epic Theater. Our Solos Coordinator would routinely make a group reservation for shows, coordinating with the box office and making arrangements for seats with the Haven travelers who have a reserved section in the theater. It was always an effort to gain entry when Terry wasn't at the door to escort us in. The gatekeeoers at the Epic Theater are unpleasant and rather nasty. At a performance of Burn the Floor, they refused us entry that Terry had confirmed. Again, the cruise was memorable and enjoyable because of the Solo Traveler experience. It was an incredible experience and I will do it again on a future cruise. I just wish that dining experiences had been better. The Epic Theater people need an attiitude adjustment. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our second time on Epic sailing transatlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Both times we had the best experience. All staff from officers to waiters to house keeping are excellent. Ship is very beautiful. We loved the ship so much that ... Read More
This was our second time on Epic sailing transatlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Both times we had the best experience. All staff from officers to waiters to house keeping are excellent. Ship is very beautiful. We loved the ship so much that we are going back in February 2019 again. Entertainment is excellent. Staff is friendly and welcoming always. Variety of drinks is excellent. Public lounges are nice. H2O adult pool are is excellent for those who want to have a quiet time. No problem finding chairs around pool areas. Garden cafe buffet has big selection of dishes and different themes dinners each and every night. Traditional main dining rooms are excellent. No problem getting a table when you want to. Just a little wait time. Great entertainment in the Epic theatre. Bliss lounge is very lively. Large casino area. Specialty dining restaurants are excellent especially le bistro restaurant. Excellent excellent experience on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise because it had lots of at sea days. We prefer those to the stops in ports since we're not keen on spending so much on the commercialized tours. It was a bit of travel down memory lane as well, because I had sailed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it had lots of at sea days. We prefer those to the stops in ports since we're not keen on spending so much on the commercialized tours. It was a bit of travel down memory lane as well, because I had sailed across the Atlantic several times as a kid. We were glad it was this ship because it was as large as the Escape on which we had sailed a couple years ago and we enjoyed that. This was our third cruise with NCL, the other one being on the Sun through the Panama Canal, This ship was great in terms of its design and features. However, our biggest complaint was that there was not a single lounge on the ship that was not loud all day and evening. On our first day, we asked at the guest services desk if there was a quiet place we could relax. The person told us, in an accent that was almost unintelligible, that the only place was the library. Great. We went there and discovered it was packed! Only about 20 seats all lined up. For a ship with 4,000 guests, one quiet room with 20 seats doesn't seem to be enough. We had difficulty imagining that we were the only ones on the ship that would have appreciated a lounge with quieter music where one could relax and read. We certainly were younger than most guests on the ship and we're not old-fashioned in our tastes. We found that the variety of food on the menus at the free restaurants was quite limited. The Garden Cafe (the buffet) was great but again there was not as much variety as we had previously experienced. One last thing... the luggage pickup part of the disembarkation process was an absolute disaster! Confusion reigned. Nobody knew where we were supposed to go or wait. The staff was arguing with each other. We decided we'd probably try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The Epic is one of the oddest looking ships from the outside. It looks as if it was designed with nice lines, then they plunked the Haven area on top like a mis-fitting hat. Inside, the oddness continues, with the glass enclosed toilets ... Read More
The Epic is one of the oddest looking ships from the outside. It looks as if it was designed with nice lines, then they plunked the Haven area on top like a mis-fitting hat. Inside, the oddness continues, with the glass enclosed toilets and showers, separated in your cabin. After awhile, you will find these quirks endearing. And, because the Epic is a bit of an outlier, costs for voyages on her are more affordable than other ships. One of the best features of the Epic is the ongoing Priscilla Queen of the Desert show. The Beatles cover band at the Cavern Club is one of the best entertainment venues I've ever been to on a cruise ship. But the really outstanding feature of the Epic is the Shanghai Restaurant and Noodle Bar. This is included as one of the complimentary dining options and does not exist on other ships. The Maitre D, Aris, will work hard to ensure you have a delicious and wonderful experience. The food is fresh and superior - especially the red bean pastry and ice cream. This was my first transatlantic trip and I would do one again in a second. A nice relaxing trip over the calm and warm (surprisingly!) Atlantic ocean. A great itinerary that takes you from amazing Barcelona, through the Madeira isles, a couple of island stops in the Caribbean, and then to Port Canaveral where you are a short way from Orlando and Disney World. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Review of our westbound transatlantic crossing 4th – 17th November 2018 Background We’re Peter & Patrick from Manchester U.K. who began cruising back in 2004. We sailed exclusively with Royal Caribbean for 11 years and then ... Read More
Review of our westbound transatlantic crossing 4th – 17th November 2018 Background We’re Peter & Patrick from Manchester U.K. who began cruising back in 2004. We sailed exclusively with Royal Caribbean for 11 years and then started to widen our choices to include Celebrity, MSC, Cunard, P&O and NCL. This was our 4th Transatlantic crossing (or TA for short), our 3rd westbound with another 2 eastbound booked for 2019 & 2020! As we booked in the U.K., we had what is known as the “Ultimate All Inclusive” package which provided the Ultimate beverage package, gratuities (both daily service charge and beverage package gratuity) and 2 litres of water per person per day and coffees with dinner. Itinerary This was 14-day, 13-night crossing from Barcelona, Spain with stops in Funchal Madeira, Philipsburg St Maarten, Charlotte Amalie St Thomas ending in Port Canaveral Florida USA. A total of 9 sea days were split as follows: - Barcelona 2 days at sea Funchal, Madeira 5 days at sea Philipsburg, St Maarten Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas 2 days at sea Port Canaveral Florida, USA I’ve split this review into sections dealing with embarkation, accommodation, dining, entertainment, activities, disembarkation with a summary and conclusions at the end. Embarkation We stayed in the city at the H10 Metropolitan hotel, next to Plaça Catalunya which is a large popular square at the northern end of the famous La Rambla. We checked out of our hotel just before 11am on Sunday, 4th November and took a taxi for the 15-minute ride to the port (Moll Adossat) where NCL Epic was awaiting us at terminal A. The cost was around €15. Upon arrival we lined up to leave ours bags with the porters loading cart after cart of numerous pieces of luggage to be taken onboard and delivered to people’s staterooms over the next few hours. We then joined the long line that wound around the side of the terminal building and shuffled continuously forward to the terminal entrance where our documents were checked, we, and our carry on were security scanned and then we completed the health questionnaire. As we were neither suite or Haven (‘ship within a ship’ accommodation) guests, nor higher level Latitudes members (NCL Loyalty program), we just joined a regular line for check in. Once we reached an agent, our passports and most importantly the paper copies of our ESTAs were checked (ESTA = Electronic System for Travel Authorisation approval which is mandatory for non-US citizens from visa Waiver countries to enable travel to the US), our key cards provided, and we were on our way to boarding Epic. As in all terminals in Barcelona we passed the various shops selling souvenirs, wine, spirits etc before having our boarding photo taken with a backdrop of NCL Epic. The whole process took around 50 minutes from our taxi drop off to stepping foot onboard the ship. Painless. Once onboard with our deck plan of Epic and copy of the Freestyle Daily for day 1 and the ‘1st week at a glance’ provided by the check in agent, we started to explore the ship as our cabins wouldn’t be available until 2pm. Of course, by now it was time for a spot of lunch for which I tried a burger from the outdoor grill of the Garden Café washed down with a beer (Peroni) from the Waves pool bar whilst sat at a table in the outside section. Good complimentary burger, far superior to some other lines we’ve sailed on. Accommodation At 2pm after it was announced that staterooms were available, we made our way to our cabin on deck 10 which was a category BB mid ship balcony – 10189. Please see cabin review section for more in-depth detail of this stateroom. Dining OK, Epic has so many places to eat that it can be confusing at first working out where all the venues are. Several are complimentary and then there are many speciality restaurants some of which are priced a la carte, others for a set fee. Here’s the breakdown of the places where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or 24-hour snacks! Complimentary dining Buffets Garden Café – breakfast, lunch & dinner (Deck 15 fwd.) Great Outdoor – breakfast, lunch and late-night snacks (Deck 15 fwd.) Spice H2O – light lunch (Deck 15 aft) Table Service O’Sheehan’s Irish Pub – breakfast, lunch, dinner and 24/7 snacks (Deck 6 mid) Taste – breakfast, lunch & dinner (Deck 5 mid) Manhattan Dining Room – dinner (Deck 6 aft) Shanghai & Noodle bar – dinner (Deck 6 aft) Speciality Restaurants – all table service dinner Cagney’s steakhouse (A la carte) – (Deck 7 aft) Modern Churrascaria ($24.95) – (Deck 7 aft) La Cucina Italian (A la carte) – (Deck 14 fwd.) Le Bistro French (A la carte) - (Deck 5 fwd.) Teppanyaki Japanese ($29.95) – (Deck 7 mid) Yakitori & Sushi Japanese (A la carte) – (Deck 7 mid) Spiegel Tent circus/dining (set fee) - (Deck 6 fwd.) As NCL is noted for its ‘freestyle’ dining concept, you can choose to dine whenever you wish during the restaurant opening hours for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are open seating in the table service venues. You can make reservations for dinner if you prefer, either online before you sail, or on the day. If you don’t, then you can just turn up and either wait in line or you will be given pager, so you can relax seated nearby, maybe enjoying a beverage. There are various ‘dining packages’ available for purchase and we chose a 6-dinner package online before we set sail. Once we had done this, we could make advance reservations at the speciality restaurants at our preferred time, taking into consideration the entertainment we had made advance reservations for (please see later). For those specialities that are priced a la carte, such as Cagney’s, we were allowed to choose 2 starters, 1 main, 2 sides and a dessert and this was covered by our dining package. For those with a set fee such as Teppanyaki, this was covered in total. We chose to eat in the following speciality restaurants. Cagney’s Steakhouse Teppanyaki La Cucina Le Bistro Moderno As food is very subjective, I’m not going to say which was best or worst in terms of food quality as that is down to personal taste. All were very enjoyable for what they provided, but service in some was a little lacking taking into consideration the up-charge being applied. We did consider that the service and ambiance in Le Bistro was the best though. As for the complimentary venues, we tried them all, except the Garden Café for dinner. O’Sheehan’s is popular at lunch so pick your time wisely, service at breakfast was sometimes good, another time so bad we walked out after 15 minutes of waiting for someone to offer coffee and take our order (the venue was not busy). Taste is always busy for breakfast, lunch and dinner and service differed enormously. We waited 55 minutes for our breakfast one morning, other days very prompt service. Dinner in Taste also varied, our 1st visit was excellent, subsequent so bad I left the restaurant to get my own drinks from the Atrium Bar. Manhattan Room service was better, especially after we complained about the service the previous evening in Taste. The Head Waiter came over, drinks were served promptly, the Maitre’d came and sent a complimentary bottle of wine to our cabin. Pity that didn’t happen after the extremely poor wine service in Cagney’s. We were studiously ignored by the sommelier who clearly only served tables where several ladies were sat. Not once did he come to us, even saying ‘no’ to our food waiter who was extremely embarrassed. Again, I went to the bar to fetch our drinks. It was mentioned to the door host, but no feedback was received until I mentioned it to Guest Services and as a result, we received an apologetic phone call. Entertainment There are so many options it is difficult list them all, from the production shows in the Epic theatre for which reservations, although not mandatory, are recommended (Priscilla the Musical and Burn the Floor) to the entertainers at many of the lounges and bars around the ship in the evening. There are other shows performed in the Epic theatre, Headliners, Atrium, Bliss Lounge or the Cavern Club that don’t require reservations, and as the venues are relatively small for the number passengers onboard (for example the Epic theatre only holds 800 which is pretty small with the possibility of there being 4100 guests on board) it’s necessary to get there early to make sure of getting a seat. There are numerous ‘events’, weather permitting, in Spice H2O or the main pool deck. These range from 80’s & 90’s music parties to the famous NCL Glow party which was a great event with complimentary face painting before the start of the event. However, unfortunately 5 minutes before the party was scheduled to start in Spice H2O, the heavens opened and so everyone (mostly dressed all in white) were sheltering undercover near the bar. The staff relocated the event to the Bliss Lounge, so it was a quite an amusing sight to see lots of us working our way from deck 15 aft to deck 7 forward, dressed in white with painted faces, especially by those sat in Maltings, Shakers and O’Sheehan’s! Every evening the Bliss Lounge hosts events too, turning into the main disco later until the early hours. All I would say is check the Freestyle Daily and the ‘At a glance’ sheet if you are given one at check in. As we’re not ‘show’ people we only saw ‘Priscilla’ and ‘Burn the Floor’ but can’t recommend ‘Priscilla’ enough. Absolutely fantastic, earning a standing ovation. Activities There were so many activities arranged that it was necessary to review the Freestyle daily closely to plan your day of you wish to take part. Apparently, there was some sort of ‘activity card’ you could get signed once you had attended or taken part in an activity, and on the last day of the sailing you could redeem the ‘points’ you earnt for prizes. A lot of the more popular activities would be highlighted in the Freestyle Daily such as Progressive Trivia (held each sea day from day 3 and ending on the final sea day when the overall winner was announced. The cruise director also hosted various specific trivia games in the Atrium at 1pm such as ‘Super Heroes’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Star Trek’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘One Hit Wonders’, ‘Comic Books’, & ‘Hollywood Golden era’ to name a few. There were various lectures held in various venues, culinary demonstrations, Ice carving, game shows, dance classes, ‘how to’ presentations, workshops and Q&A sessions following presentations (e.g. Ship technical presentation). There were the usual Art Auctions too. There were various activities where a fee was charged such as painting classes. As the weather improved more and more and more poolside activities/games were available such as Basketball, Pool Olympics, ‘Dash & Match Pool Game’, and Ping Pong tournaments. As Epic has 3 water slides and a sports court there were many opportunities for enjoying yourself on the pool decks, especially as we headed nearer to the Caribbean and warmer climes. Other entertainment included Comedy shows, Music renditions, Magic shows, Dance shows, ‘Howl at the Moon’, Hypnotists, Crew Talent shows, Cirque Dreams in the Spiegel Tent (fee applied for the dinner included) and the Epic Variety show. There were various ‘Beatles’ shows by the ‘Epic Beatles’ band too. Various activities were organised for ‘Friends of Bill W’, & LGBT+ etc throughout the sailing both hosted or not with the same time & location (where practical) being reserved for the duration of the cruise. Itinerary Change Due to a tropical storm as we headed West, instead of visiting St Maarten we were diverted to Antigua. Better safe than sorry. Great day, although we have also been there, last time in 2016 as port stop, but we have also spent time there on a land-based vacation years ago. Although it was raining when we arrived, it cleared to be a great day, then rained when we left. The Epic staff did a great job on organising new shore excursions at short notice (the captain only announced the change at around 4 pm the day before) and we did a great one booked via the ship with Heavenly Tours. Well recommended. US Immigration As St Thomas would be our first port of call in the USA, everybody on board would be required to clear immigration onboard before being allowed to disembark. US citizens were provided with a time slot to present themselves to the Bliss Lounge and Non-US citizens were to present themselves to US Border officers in the Manhattan Room, again having been given a specific time slot. Once we docked in Charlotte Amalie we waited to complete mandatory US immigration before we could go ashore. We were given a time slot of 10:45 am so still had a little while to wait after breakfast. Once called we lined up along deck 6, and the whole process took around 45 minutes. Relatively painless. Summary & Conclusions Taking into consideration we are NCL ‘virgins’ we would naturally make comparisons with the other cruise lines we have sailed on, as mentioned in the introduction (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, MSC, Cunard, P&O). The following are purely our observations and may not impact others and so please do not take the negatives as criticisms, none ruined our sailing. Positives Freestyle Cruising The ‘Freestyle Cruising’ ethos of NCL which gives you the option to dress up or down is a great freedom. For gentleman, long pants for dinner are only required in The Manhattan Room and Le Bistro. From experience this does not mean people do not don their finery, they do, and we saw everything from jeans, shorts to suits and tuxedos. Freestyle Dining There were a great selection of complimentary dining venues including the Garden Café buffet with indoor and outdoor options. Spice H2O also offered a reduced selection for breakfast and lunch. Three main table service restaurants, The Manhattan Room & Shanghai (dinner) and Taste (for breakfast and lunch) with open seating and O’Sheehan’s Pub for table service snacks. A numerous selection of speciality restaurants - Modern, Cagney’s, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Yakitori & Sushi Japanese & The Spiegel Epicurean / Cirque Dreams. It was great to be able to dine when you wanted, and also not being pressured into sharing a table if you did not want to. Also, the layout of the tables for 2 was really good, not as some other lines where, although you are seated at a table for 2, they are so close together, you might as well be sharing a bigger table! The opening times of the Garden Café and especially O’Sheehan’s (24/7) were really good. Cabin There were many nice touches in the category BB mid ship balcony cabin such as coffee maker, ice bucket replenished every day without asking, ample storage, lights in the closet, and a deep and roomy balcony with comfortable chairs. Turn down service included a towel animal every night and chocolates on the pillow. The door sign with its rotating indicator for ‘Do not disturb’, ‘Make Up Cabin’, ‘Turn down cabin’ or ‘Available’ indicators and letter rack is a nice touch. The beds were extremely comfortable and gave us a great night’s sleep. Venues Numerous indoor venues for relaxing and entertainment such as Spiegel Tent, Headliners, Bliss Lounge, The Atrium, O’Sheehan’s bowling alley, Card Room and Library. In terms of outdoor venues, Spice H2O was a great large adult only space during the day with its well-stocked and staffed bar and as mentioned before, providing food at lunch. Pool Deck Obviously, there was the main pool area and sports court together with the 3 water slides which, once the weather improved, were extremely popular. As we were not Haven guests, I can’t comment on that area but can report on a good quiet area on deck 18 accessed by elevator from the pool deck. As you exit the main doors of the Garden Café towards the pool deck, the elevator on the right is marked for Haven Guests only, but the one on the left is available to take you up to deck 18 and a spacious quiet area. Staff All staff were very friendly and helpful, the officers were also very visible, all of them greeting guests with a smile whenever passing you around the ship. The Cruise Director (Andre Gaffney) and his team were fantastic and ensured that all guests were encouraged to attend. Service Bar service was very good in all venues we attended, despite being extremely busy at times, table service was also good. On the whole table service in the restaurants was OK, again considering the amount of people being served by the wait staff. Good Laundry delivered ahead of time, wrapped in tissue paper in a wicker basket was a very nice touch. Décor The ship is attractive to look at internally, as are the cabin furnishings with many nice touches and so is pleasing to the eye and the venues have very comfortable seating. Bars / Lounges A great variety of cocktails to try and a high proportion within the limits of the Ultimate Beverage Package. There was also various entertainment provided by either a pianist in Shakers, to a vocal group at Maltings or guitar player. Negatives Cabin The design of the cabin in terms of layout (separate toilet and shower just behind obscure glass) with the wash hand basin in the cabin is not the best, but this was not a major issue for us. The main problems with the cabin was that the basin was far too small, the lighting abysmal and the location of power outlets, light switches and air conditioning control very awkward. The floor space was limited, but as only 2 of us it was manageable, but for 3 would be a little cramped in our opinion. Although ample storage was provided, it comprised of many ‘hidden’ cupboards such as above one bed nearest the balcony, drawers under the sofa. One small closet near the balcony door had no hangers, so if you needed to use it, then you would have to request more. Dining We found service to be really ‘hit and miss’ in the complimentary restaurants. Breakfast in Taste could be quick at times but taking 55 minutes to receive your meal at other times. We think the issue with this is that we just order for example Eggs Benedict, and no ‘starters’ such as cereal or fruit plates, but it would appear that you to have to wait until the other tables your server has orders for have had their ‘starters’ delivered and then the ‘mains’ are arranged. Lunch service on the whole was OK, but inconsistencies in terms of bread and water service did happen. Dinner in Taste was again inconsistent, some days good, other days awful to the extent I had to leave the restaurant to go to the Atrium Bar for beverages. Having mentioned this to the door host, service was exemplary on our next visit to The Manhattan Room, with the Head Waiter making sure everything was OK and sending a bottle of wine to our cabin. Our biggest disappointment was the service in the speciality steakhouse Cagney’s for the up-charge paid. On our first visit the wine steward would not take an order for wine, so for the whole meal I had to go to the bar for glasses of wine. The dinner service was very slow showing that the whole restaurant is understaffed. Despite reporting this to the door host, nothing was done until I reported it to Guest Services which resulted in the Maître D calling to apologise and ensuring us that our next visit would be better. Well, other than getting a window seat with a view of the wake, the service was only marginally better, but at least wine was served this time! Due to the popularity of O’Sheehan’s at lunch, there were often long waits, even if you wished to share a table which is understandable. However, the negative for us was Breakfast. Despite being very quiet no beverages (water or coffee) we offered, nor were orders taken despite waiting 15 minutes. This is acceptable when busy, but not when quiet. We felt that although there was a variety of food available in the buffet choice was a little restricted meaning that we were eating the same things for lunch. We also felt that fact that the Ultimate Beverage Package did not include coffee from the Atrium Café a disappointment, as the complementary coffee provided in the buffet, restaurants and beverage stations dotted around the ship to be awful. Far too strong and bitter. Only being available at the end of meal was a waste as we rarely wanted a coffee at that time. Despite the above, the service issues on Epic were no worse than we have experienced on a small selection of our other cruises with various lines over the years, but just an honest review of this one. Pool Deck Not enough upright chairs for relaxing in, the majority of seating was provided by sunbeds that do not offer enough support for those of us with back issues. Promenade Deck As above, no seating and shuffle board took up all the width of one deck making you unpopular if you wished to relax on the non-smoking promenade deck. Casino The design of the casino on deck 6 meant that the whole of that deck stank of cigarette smoke making it an unpleasant area to walk through. This permeated to decks 5 below and 7 above at times. Bars / Lounges We feel due to the ship design, there are limited places to relax in a quiet environment in the evening as all venues are busy, although the bar in between Moderno and Cagney’s was often quieter. Technology Obviously due to the reliance on satellite communication, internet access wasn’t the best, especially for the price charged but this is not unique to the NCL fleet. However, we did manage with the Social ‘package’ which allowed access to most social media apps. Although there are several interactive screens located throughout the ship where some reservations could be made, it was a little frustrating to be unable to make bookings via the interactive TV in your cabin, nor order room service via the options available. The Norwegian iConcierge app again was a little disappointing as it did not list all the activities available nor again could it be used to make reservations. Conclusions Did we enjoy the crossing? Yes, we did. Did we value what Norwegian Cruise Line offered for the price we paid, definitely. Would be sail with them again? Yes, of course, we already have Escape booked for 2019! Did we enjoy the company of our fellow sailors? Definitely, a great cross section of people, friendly and we enjoyed passing time with many of them. So, despite our observations above, would we recommend NCL? Yes, because it has more similarities to the other mass market lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival and MSC. However, if you prefer the more formal atmosphere of Cunard and P&O, I wouldn’t recommend it due to the more relaxed nature of ‘Freestyle Cruising’. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Norwegian Epic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.7

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