4 Barcelona to Caribbean - Western Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews

If you like to party, gamble, drink, eat and have onboard entertainment, this is the ship for you. If you expect a rich cultural experience in the countries you visit, you may be disappointed. The ship offers very little information on ... Read More
If you like to party, gamble, drink, eat and have onboard entertainment, this is the ship for you. If you expect a rich cultural experience in the countries you visit, you may be disappointed. The ship offers very little information on ports, and is not very helpful if you wish to do your own excursions. It's all about the dollar. Norwegian has taken soaking passengers for every single imaginable extra to a new level. The service everywhere was superb, including the wait staff and steward. The food was good in the "included" restaurants. We chose not to spend an extra $30 each per meal on specialty restaurants. The public areas although crowded were clean. We never saw a dirty restroom. There are no quiet areas. There is also no daylight comfortable seating anywhere except in bars. There is a library that seats about 20 people (this on a ship that had 4200) with artificial light. Don't even think about sitting in your room -- there is no comfortable place. This criticism is somewhat unfair, because Norwegian never pretended to be anything other than what it is -- a giant party all the time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our 8th cruise, in 3 years, I have aimed to try a variety of Cruise Lines including P&O,Thomson, RCL, Celebrity, Princess, Costa and now NCL. My partner and I went with out mothers, having booked two balcony cabins (our ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise, in 3 years, I have aimed to try a variety of Cruise Lines including P&O,Thomson, RCL, Celebrity, Princess, Costa and now NCL. My partner and I went with out mothers, having booked two balcony cabins (our first), and it came with the ultimate drinks packages and $100 on board spend. Embarkation was the easiest I have ever experienced we arrived at the Barcelona cruise port at about 11.30am and were on board by 12.15pm, virtually no queues, went straight to our cabins which were ready although the mothers cabin must have still being prepared but the steward let them in without any issues at all. Ship was a true giant of the seas, felt very proud when in ports to be on her. Maybe the flow of the ship was not fantastic but okay. Just so much to do on her, would like to do a repositioning cruise on her so that we fully explore all the activities The cabins were good (both on deck 13) , possibly a little cramped but for the first time we had the balcony, Wow, funny enough that gave us some extra space. Our balcony near the front of the ship was a good size with 2 chairs, small table and 2 sun loungers behind. The mothers cabin balcony, mid ship was about half the size but they were really happy with theirs as well as we are not really the sun loungers type of people.. The bathrooms in my opinion were fine, no complaints at all, the added bonus is that one person could use the shower while the other could use the loo, if needed. Also as mentioned previous there was a curtain divider so you could have some privacy if required. The storage space in out forward cabin was fine although we could have done with some more drawer space. However our mothers cabin had a joining door to the next cabin so they were missing a small wardrobe (not the main one) and 4 drawers which meant they had virtually none, but they managed and it didn't spoil their holiday one bit.. The beds were great and really comfortable if you like them on the firmish side (which we do). Both our cabin stewards were excellent and could not do enough for us. In fact all the crew on the ship were top notch, to such an extent that when I spoke to the mums cabin steward about a few things, he travelled halfway up the ship to our cabin to advise the situation. Fantastic service!! We had most of our meals in the buffet restaurant (Garden Cafe). The meals were all excellent, if I was being picky I do not think the variety at each meal was as good as NCL (the buffet champions IMHO). But was still great. There did not seem to be as many drinks servers on this cruise as others we have been on which was slightly annoying as this was the first cruise that we had the included drinks package, however it meant we are not interrupted so much.. On the plus side you could just go to the dining room bar and get drinks there. In fact a special mention to the Bar Lady there, she was the best on the ship. Friendly but up for a laugh, always anticipated (correctly) what I wanted and the best service I have ever received on a cruise ship. We also had a meal in the Circus night which was excellent although only one choice, although alternatives were offered if requested. We also eat once at the Pub style restaurant which was a little disappointing as in pub style restaurants you would expect generous portions but not the case here... On the penultimate night we eat in the Taste restaurant which was also disappointing because it was fantastic! Why did we leave it to almost the end of the cruise :(. I had a mixed grill and it was excellent! :) We never eat in the main dining room, so cannot comment, also we were going to eat in the now complimentary Shanghais Chinese restaurant, but my partner is a bit fussy, especially with seafood so we gave it a miss. One of the reasons is because there was just so much to do on this ship. A mention of the NCL freestyle concept, it was fantastic, I do not like to dress up, i.e. Tux or Suit and although there were people that did, the vast majority didn't and I just felt so comfortable with this... On to the shows, in a word brilliant, Burn the Floor were incredible I have to say it was one of the best shows I have seen at see!! Wish I'd seen them earlier in the cruise so that I could have seen them again. Howl at the Moon though were on a another level, in case you do not know they are dueling pianists with drums at the back, they sing/play requests from the crowd and also do jokes which was absolutely fantastic, my partner and I saw them 3 times.. And they also got my mum on the small stage to sing her happy 83rd birthday.. We also saw a Beetle tribute band which Carolines (my partner)s mum thought were very authentic and very good. I think possibly the worst show was Legends, they had Sting, Rod Stuart and Gloria Estifan. (sure there was one more but cannot remember), however they were also very good, but the best at what they do, I am not sure... We also went to see an Il Divo band which were good but not really my cup of tea, however the three ladies in my group loved them :). There was just so much you could see or do, entertainment was fantastic, something for everyone. One of the other things I liked was we had a quite diverse range of passengers, young, old, families, Singles, lots of different Nationalities, it was great and NCL catered for all of them , with Spanish act.. Ports, all the ports were great, we went to Naples (or is it Napoli, can never remember), port for Rome, port for Pisa and Florence, Cannes and Palma Mallorca. I was a little disappointed that a map and brief guide was not left in the cabin each night. Also in Palma that although they did lay on shuttles to the centre there was a cost of $12 per person which I thought was pretty steep, although to be fair there was plenty of taxis about which if there were 4 of you would have worked out much cheaper. We did our own thing at each port and booked a guided trip with Cruise Excursions for Pisa and Florence which was far cheaper then the NCL equivalent. I also went on the waterslides which were great especially because you were 15 floors up. We do not really do sun bathing so I cannot comment on this aspect but everybody seemed to be having a good time. We went to All White Party on the H20 deck which was well attended and was really good fun with plenty of participation by the entertainment team. The Gym was another excellent area, I did not go as much as I would have liked, but it was quite big with plenty of running and cycling machines, and weight equipment. I cannot comment on activities because I never stayed long enough find out. Disembarkation was a breeze, just remember to get your coloured tags from near customer services (from 4pm on the Friday) and out put your cases out by 11pm. All carry of your own cases, whichever is best for you. A nice touch is that you did not have to vacate your cabin at a ridiculous early time, so you could go for breakfast and come back for your hand luggage. Downsides, you can only use your On Board Credit for purchases on the ship and not use it to pay for the service charges (although those purchases do include the shops and duty free). If i had known this I would have paid for the tips pre cruise before the service charges went up. I wish they could have made clearer what was included in the Ultimate Beverage Packages, as I did not know fully until half way through the cruise what you could have, i.e. Any drink up to $11.00, excluding coffees (which I did know about) and fresh squeezed juices. Also I wish they had a full cocktail menu as all the menus only had about 10 cocktails on and they were the same ones). Pre Cruise I expected Headliners which was supposed to be a comedy club to be purely for comedy, but it showed a variety of shows.. (small gripe) My only big negative about the whole cruise was an incident in the Garden Cafe where we did not have much time, we got a table, and I put my insulin pen (I'm a diabetic) and Caroline put her sunglasses on a table so I could get the drinks while the ladies were getting their meals. Some elderly couple came along and removed them and (to their credit gave them to a steward). When I came back obviously I couldn't find the table I had reserved. In the end this couple asked if I had lost something and told me they gave them to this steward. I was fuming I wanted to hit them but didn't.. Obviously, I felt a bit sorry (not at the time) because what could she do.. It really put a dampening on my holiday and the worst part was on ship of 4000 people we h=bumped into them twice more.. Not Happy!! Although please note this is not a complaint against NCL. For our travel to and from the airport I used pre booked taxi's, via viva transfers) they were far cheaper then the transfers with NCL (if you have 4 people). And I think they were cheaper then the taxi's outside the airport, based on the 39 Euro standard charge that I think someone advised on here previously. They were very good, sent reminders close to the pickup times, our flight was late on arrival and they were still there, on the return they were about 5 minutes late, but did apologise.. Very happy with the service provided. Anyway my party had a fantastic cruise, and I would highly recommend NCL to anyone, I cannot understand the negative comments, I think it all depends on personal tastes and you should bear in mind how much you paid for the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Having been on several cruises now I have to say that the Epic is not my favourite. I think the younger generations might find it hyped and fun with crowds and noise but we couldn't find a quiet place outside of our stateroom and ... Read More
Having been on several cruises now I have to say that the Epic is not my favourite. I think the younger generations might find it hyped and fun with crowds and noise but we couldn't find a quiet place outside of our stateroom and balcony. No promenade deck was a big disappointment, just a one-way return jogging strip, top deck was open air but the space seemed smaller than on other ships, could be that there are just too many people filling it up. The music was blaring so loud up there that we couldn't eat or drink outside and carry on any kind of conversation. On two different occasions in the library bar I was next in line for service and both times overlooked for the next, younger, person in line, I've never experienced this anywhere in my life. They need to train their barmen to be polite to the older travelers (I'm 65 years old, not exactly at the doddling stage yet). I don't think they even register that you're there unless you are under 40. We were disappointed that the mini bar is not replenished each day, even when we left an order form on our desk before heading out at 7:30 am. for our tours. Returning from a long hot day leads to disappointment when the much anticipated cold drink isn't there. I called room service and told them of my plight so they delivered the drinks to us. Trying to get one of the charges dismissed by phone resulted in being told I had to report in person to Guest Services where I was met with by a most uncharming lady who told me I shouldn't be calling room service for drinks. She did remove the $15.00 charge (this was for one bottle of Pellegrino and two cans of tonic water, not cheap!). The room service people were fabulous. As we were going on tours most days we had to be on the dock by 7:45 a.m. and so had room service for our breakfast (nothing hot on the menu which was disappointing but the fruit and yogurt was fine.) The people who delivered the trays and the people who took our orders were lovely. We always received a call asking if it arrived and was it all fine. Very nice! The welcome back to the ship each day was wonderful. They greeted us with beautiful smiles, even some of the officers were there, and nice cold drinks of lemonade and water, cool face cloths, and happy chat, we loved that. The food on the ship was excellent. We loved the Manhattan Room, our waitress ( Yera, or Hera, very wonderful on every count), the food was great and the entertainment was always just perfect. Also the Garden Cafe buffet up top was amazing, and the food at O Sheehans was superb for the touch of traditional pub style dining. We didn't use the 'pay for' restaurants as we were very happy with the included restaurants. The cabin was the smallest I've ever experienced on a ship. The curved ends of the bed left my husband's legs hanging over the sides, not good. The frosted glass shower and separate frosted glass toilet enclosure were a little unnerving. If room service was delivering breakfast they walked right past you, the privacy issue is lacking for sure. We booked our Italian shore tours with Share a Shore Excursion in Italy. I highly reccommend this company to anyone wishing great tours, reasonable prices, excellent vans for 8 people (two of them were Mercedes), and all three of our drivers were absolutely fabulous. The tours not only included the described sights but they also added so much more. For instance, on our Pisa/Lucca tour our driver David helped 3 of us find a bike rental so we could ride along the top of the medieval wall surrounding the city, awesome! He also took us to a winery for wine sampling, a tour, and lunch. We arranged it with Oana the lovely company contact person who emails with you to set up your tour just the way you'd like it before you leave home. In Rome we had skip the line tickets for the coliseum and the Vatican. We also had an extraordinary guide named Max to take us through the Vatican. Our driver Manny then took us to Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and so many other Roman sights, far more than I dared hope that we could actually see in a day. And who wouldn't love our driver Carlos who took us to Pompeii, Sorento, and Positano, the home of the now disgraced captain of the cruise ship Concordia. Positano, by the way, is one of the most picturesque little villages I have ever seen, as is the gorgeous Amalfi drive to get there. Carlos was a lot of fun, very witty, great stories, with lots of stops for photos. We were met at the ship each morning, it was easy to find them, and we spent wonderful days on each tour.We loved the flexibility of this company and we made some lovely friendships amongst the 8 passengers. 5 stars for Share a Shore Excursions in Italy!! We didn't take a tour out of Cannes but we did hop on their little sightseeing train at the dock where the tender dropped us off. It's an hour long tour winding throughout the city, Cannes is very pretty, and quite prominently part of the film events from around the world. We booked a ship excursion from Marseilles and saw Les Baux des Provence. This was a good choice, it's not only a very picturesque medieval village but also very interesting. We enjoyed the 4 hour tour very much. Barcelona is well worth spending at least 2 days for, 3 is even better. The hop on hop off buses are the way to go, there is so much to see, fabulous really. Sorry for the long diatribe, once my memory goes back it's almost like being there all over again. Thanks for allowing me to re-live this almost perfect trip, it really was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
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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