2 Southampton to Europe - British Isles & Western Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews

We first sailed on the Epic nearly 5 years ago when she was new. After spending 3 weeks in dry dock, she is young and new once again! This was a 6 day Iberian Peninsula repositioning cruise from Southampton to Barcelona calling at Vigo ... Read More
We first sailed on the Epic nearly 5 years ago when she was new. After spending 3 weeks in dry dock, she is young and new once again! This was a 6 day Iberian Peninsula repositioning cruise from Southampton to Barcelona calling at Vigo Spain, Lisbon Portugal, Cartagena Spain, and Barcelona Spain. Embarkation: Southampton is not a normal embarkation port for NCL. This, combined with the ship coming out of dry dock, resulted in a few glitches in the check-in process. There was no one in the terminal to help and direct guests. When we arrived, there was a line of several hundred crew members waiting to check in (which got us worried that a new crew would be unfamiliar with the ship). At the check-in counter, stateroom keys for Havens guests were not available. Butlers where walking through the terminal searching for Havens guest to get them their keys until just prior to boarding. Embarkation was “interesting” since the NCL had not arranged for the use of the terminal boarding gangways. Instead, passengers where led through a maze of crew luggage carts in the baggage hall and across a loading zone where fork lifts were busy provisioning the ship. We went up a narrow, steep gangway with stairs, up into Deck 5. We only had small handcarries, but it would have been a chore if you had to carry a suitcase up the steps. Crew greeting passengers indicated that staterooms were already ready for guests, which was not an accurate statement. And there was no real escort for Havens guests, we just wandered up to the Haven Lounge. This single dock-side gangway was a problem when the 4000 passengers disembarked in Southampton prior to the ship going into dry dock (3 weeks prior), and the cruise line did nothing to resolve the problem for the passengers returning to Barcelona. The Epic: This was our 4th voyage on the Epic (the last time in October 2014). The ship felt new and clean with new carpets and fresh paint in the public areas. Many of the public areas had been torn apart and rebuilt during the dry dock refurbishments. While everything looked familiar, there were many physical changes throughout the ship. All for the better! One of the biggest changes was that Fat Cats had been transformed to the Cavern Club. For this first cruise, the tribute band from the “real” Cavern Club in Liverpool preformed to standing room only crowds. Entertainment: Priscilla: We were at opening night of Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical (replacing Blue Man Group). The cast did a wonderful job and the staging was great. The number of costume changes during the show was amazing. The show played to a packed house and received a standing ovation at the end of the show. There were multiple announcements in both English and Spanish that the subject matter of the show was of an adult nature and not intended for children and sensitive adults. It really wasn’t too bad. And the ship had the Priscilla movie playing on stateroom TVs. Burn the Floor: Another high energy, dance show. Burn the Floor is new to the Epic (replacing Legends in Concert). This version of the show was different that those on the Getaway and Breakaway. Slightly more diverse dancing styles from ballroom to Latin. But great fun! Cirque Dreams: We attended the early show on the first night of the cruise. This was the first performance in over 3 weeks with a few new cast members. It played to a less-than-full house. High energy, amazing acrobatics and balancing on a moving ship! The show was fun and entertaining. Dining: We ate at the Main Dining Room, Specialty Restaurants, Cirque Dreams, and the Haven Restaurant. Service and food at Cagney’s, Le Bistro, and Monderno was excellent. Great food. Great service. Great experience. Food and service at the Cirque was o.k. – we were there for the show which was great. Service: Overall the service on the Epic was good. There were many new crew members on this voyage. The crew was still getting organized and accustomed to the ship. At the same time, it was a repositioning cruise, so some of the more “routine” activities like port talks, port maps, basic information on what the protocol at the ports were lacking. And we were told “this is not our normal cruise, so we are not going to do xxx or yyy” was a far too common excuse. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
my husband and i started off on monday to represent our cruise agent on the epic. we were advised she was going to be late coming in as her engines had failed and so this would slow her down considerably. not a good start as we had heard ... Read More
my husband and i started off on monday to represent our cruise agent on the epic. we were advised she was going to be late coming in as her engines had failed and so this would slow her down considerably. not a good start as we had heard about 2 fires that she had already had before this, at this time she had not been officially named. we were due to board her at 1pm on the tuesday and eventually after several enquiries we were told she was coming in a bit earlier now than 6pm as she had managed to make up some time. we were the last shuttle bus to be taken to the ship, and were lucky we didnt have to go to the terminal where 2,000 other passengers were waiting to board her! it was lucky for us and when the driver told us the news a big roar of approval went up. we met the dj mike reid in the car park he was on our coach and told us that he and tony blackburn were guest djs on board for this trip. well finally checked in and in our cabin, we were aft on the spa deck. a nice room, but when i found out later that this was a cabin also for 3, i was amazed because it would definitely be too small. the new layout was quite nice but proved in some ways impractical. there was a sink just infront of the toilet area in its own area attractive, you had a separate shower/bath and toilet also, but the arm of the sink for water was unmovable which made brushing teeth as an example difficult. as a footnote i have since heard that these sinks have proved to be troublesome they leak etc, so are being taken out! our tv didnt work, our safe didnt open even though engineers were supposed to have fixed it. i found the spa to be quite small though spread out in several areas also extremely over priced in comparison to other ship spas. i thought the swimming area very much a copycat version of royal caribbean ships but not in a good way. no nice open spaces to sunbathe the tubes etc dominated this area. there was an ice bar which you had to book to go in for 45 minutes max. you were given a cape and gloves to wear and believe me you needed them, it was not for the faint hearted! i hadnt booked but they let me in for 5 mins to see it. it was all of ice the bar sculptures etc, nowhere to sit and extremely cold. the casino was huge but i have seen better layouts than this. the food we tried out in taste their everyday restaurant was not the best. we ate in cagneys, both nights and had the surf and turf amongst other things, it was very nice we were given a good window seat and managed to get in for 7pm as opposed to the 8pm everybody was told! it would have cost us $25 each normally to eat there, im not sure it was that good. the 24 hr bar was tried out for breakfast not very good it has a bowling alley huge screen and is quite a big open space but lacked atmosphere. the childrens area was quite well planned and my feeling of this ship was that it was for families, if they could afford to pay for all the extra things they may have wanted. most of the facilities carried a price tag to use. i call them little hidden extras! seems to be the way cruise ships operate now, a shame. the staff were not particularly helpful in the main especially the shops. they were very poor in comparison to other ships and quite pricey too. the ship was very disjointed and not easy to get round the bars were mainly in one area and we found it hard to find one as headquarters. everywhere was negotiated by lifts and escalators a novelty not sure though if an elevator is good going from the bar to your room?! i didnt find a library or cinema i did look!! on a final note many restaurants some not opening till 9pm this particular one was called manhatten and it was at the back of the ship on a lower level to the many others which all carried a surcharge for entry we tried the manhatten which had a band playing at night for breakfast, this was very slow, nobody seemed to know where anything was half an hour wait or more for your meal, so if going on a tour probably the garden room would best, no charge for there. there is a noodle bar £15 surcharge, sushi, chinese. the other steak bar was brazilian but very different to what you would expect if you have ever been there, spicy and steak served on skewers mmm. there was nowhere to go and have a dance unless you wanted to disco. this was on the whole a very disappointing ship. i have been on many NCL ships and awaited with bated breath for this one to be launched but for me she was not as good as the others, big is not always beautiful. lastly the theatre was very small and the shows we had both the same the blue men were not really very good slapstick at its worst. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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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