1,250 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews

I have been on many NCL ships and had a outside balcony previously on the EPIC. This time I booked a studio which was awesome. the room had a lot of space to store belongings. The cruise person for studio folks was great. the lounge had a ... Read More
I have been on many NCL ships and had a outside balcony previously on the EPIC. This time I booked a studio which was awesome. the room had a lot of space to store belongings. The cruise person for studio folks was great. the lounge had a white board in which we could post get togethers and the cruise guy also did as well. If I could I would book studios on all my cruises if the the price is right. The itinerary was good, although the booked shore excursions from the ship were disappointing; except for the underground walking tour through the tunnels in Naples was terrific. I had been to Italy previously a few times so I wanted to try something new. The other tours were too rushed and the guides were not good. Because I had been in Rome last summer and years ago, wanted to try something new.. My tour to Orvieto was canceled so I did another small town tour instead. If I do it again and in a group, I will book a private tour instead. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
EMBARKATION Transfer to ship with Norwegian was slow but then we were not in a rush due to the booking in process not starting till 12. Then Luck was not on our side as we had the slowest check-in line but this is to be expected too with ... Read More
EMBARKATION Transfer to ship with Norwegian was slow but then we were not in a rush due to the booking in process not starting till 12. Then Luck was not on our side as we had the slowest check-in line but this is to be expected too with everyone turning up to het onboard at the same time. Once we were booked in and received or onboard cards we were quickly on our way and pleasantly surprised to be able to go directly to our cabin. Our suitcases had arrived by the time we had returned from lunch. CABIN Inside cabin 11026 was beautifully decorated to a 4 star standard, spotlessly clean and well attended by our cabin attendant Richard. We requested the beds to be separated to provide two singles and there was plenty of room for the 2 of us throughout our stay. The beds were extremely comfortable and spacious. Of course the separate toilet and shower area was peculiar at first but to be honest it proved much better than standard cabin bathroom layouts. Once the curtain is drawn there is more than ample space for drying, putting on creams and dressing in private. By the end of the cruise we took no notice of the configuration of the facilities and would say overall we preferred this layout. ONBOARD CARD As with all cruises you are given a card to allow access to and from the ship and to pay or purchase any item on board. We chose to pay by cash. We topped up the card at reception on arrival and thankfully they were no set amounts. When there was no money left on the card we topped up again at reception. The TV in the cabin showed account information detailing where the money has been spent. DRINKS PACKAGES As I do not drink I purchased the Soda Package. Unfortunately because of the rule that both people in a cabin must purchase the same drinks package my sister could not get the alcohol drinks package. This to me is a very unfair policy. DINING On arrival we made our way up to the Garden Café. Food was delicious and the selection of dishes would satisfy anyone’s appetite. The inclusion of ice-cream was a pleasant surprise and we took full advantage of it throughout our holiday. The staff works really hard here to make sure all tables were well attended and cleaned away in no time. We never experienced any difficulty getting a table at any time of the day. We ate here every day for breakfast and lunch. We alternated dinner between the Garden and the other complimentary restaurants. Taste/Manhattan/O Sheehan’s – all excellent restaurants. We were always seated immediately on arrival to our own table for two. We do not like sharing tables on cruises as we like to do our own thing. This was a big positive for the Epic. Food in all 3 restaurants was always served promptly after order was taken and always hot. The staff again in all 3 restaurants cannot be faulted. Fast, friendly and totally efficient – they all worked well as a team. Every night we dined in a different restaurant making our dining experience always something to look forward to. POOL AREA There are plenty of sun beds in the pool areas and never once did we have to search for a bed.. We had plenty of space even on the day at sea which was a pleasant change from the other ships we have cruised on. The pools themselves while on the small side were never over full that you could not go in for a dip. Ok swimming was a bit of hit and miss but still a cooling dip was always nice. There was always plenty of activity around the main pool area but there is also the adult only pool if you wanted peace and quiet. ENTERTAINMENT The one thing that was unusual with the Epic was the need to book your entertainment which I would recommend doing early. On other ships you could turn up when you want and get a seat but the epic is different. The entertainment actually gets booked out and once the doors are shut there in no entry to latecomers. Over all we enjoyed all the entertainment on board at night. 1. **DO NOT MISS OUT ON SEEING HOWL AT THE MOON** They had everyone singing and laughing at every show and every show was different due to the audience deciding what music they played by send up song requests and they will play anything! They were FANTASTICELEY EPIC! 2. CIRQUE DREAMS & DINNER Well worth the cover charge for Premier Seats. I would recommend getting here early to get the better seats. This is an excellent show, full of energy and entertainment from start to finish. We sat upstairs to the right of the balcony area. Best Seats in the House! Get to these seats if you can. 3. LEGENDS This was entertaining but Christina Aguilera a legend? I wouldn’t think so! But Diana Ross and Prince were very entertaining so overall we did enjoy this show. 4. BLUE MOON Was okay but it just did not hit reach the high expectations we had for the show. We went; we saw and that’s where it ends. We would not see the show again. We attended numerous other shows such as the Best Couple and Battle of the Sexes Competition which had us in stitches, Beatle Tribute and Epic Stars..There is lots and lots of things to do on this ship..Even if it is just a quiet drink at the piano bar or the casino or even just to watch a movie on their cinema style screens. PORTS As we have cruised many times we prefer to do our own thing when we arrive at the different ports. Getting off was always fast except for the day we were using a tender boat for Cannes which is to be expected. As such we cannot comment on any of the organized trips. We enjoyed all the ports stops especially Cannes and Palma which were to be our 2 beach days. Cannes is lined with beaches so spoiled for choice the minute you get off the tender. Palma transfer will drop you at the Cathedral and the beach is not far from there. We have visited Naples before so we stayed on board in the morning and after lunch when to the shops at the port then back to the pool. Civitavecchia transfer drop of point is a bit further away from the centre of town than previous cruises but you can walk or get the transfer which will bring you to the train station. We always enjoy this port for its shops, markets and beach. Livorno again transfer is fine and your drops off in the centre of the town, plenty of shops etc here too. Disembarkation We were up early for 5.30am breakfast as we had a transfer organised with NCL and we were the 1st off at 6am. The whole process was very fast and we were on the way to the airport at 6.20am. HELPFUL HINTS: 1. Book a forward room if possible as it is away from the dining areas but close to all the entertainment and pools. 2. Pack a change of clothes and sunscreen so that if needed you can change and sit out at the pool. 3. Bring sufficient Dollars and Euros if paying by cash as there is a 10 Dollar Commission charge for every currency conversion. 4. There are plenty of drink stations on Board where you can get tea, coffee, water, lemonade and juice. 5. Arrive early for food at the Garden Café if you want it to be hot rather than warm. 6. Go to Deck 18 (adult only) deck area if you want a sun bed away from the noise, children and entertainment by the main pool. 7. Book the entertainment...Easily done on the TV in your room or the screens around the ship. No need to queue at the booking office. 8. CIRQUE DREAMS & DINNER BEST SEATS – sit to the RIGHT of the entrance either down stairs or up in the balcony. 9. If you are getting a transfer make sure which terminal you are flying out of as the bus will drop off at different terminals and there is quite a distance between them. Over all we both really enjoyed the NCL Epic and could safely say it was the best cruise we have had to date. It was a pleasant change from other cruise liners we have travelled with. I will without hesitation book another cruise with NCL in the near future.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Just returned from our 7 day Mediterranean Cruise Sunday July 6th, 2014. The Epic Ship has many wonderful qualities which I will list first. The crew at all levels were super nice and very accommodating to our needs. Getting on the ship ... Read More
Just returned from our 7 day Mediterranean Cruise Sunday July 6th, 2014. The Epic Ship has many wonderful qualities which I will list first. The crew at all levels were super nice and very accommodating to our needs. Getting on the ship and off was extremely organized and impressive from disembarking to getting us a cab/taxi to our hotel in Barcelona. The food on the ship was exceptionally good for cruise line food including the Garden Buffet on the Lido deck. All of our excursions went like clockwork and were easy to get to from the ship to the busses except for one bus which we called the bus from hell because it had seats so small that two small persons could not fit and the bus had NO shocks so for 6 hours in Rome we were bounced around like ping pong balls. We did get a minor adjustment after we complained but it did ruin most of our tour that day. We ate Sushi one night which was very good and also had breakfast in O' Sheehans which was okay, best to eat breakfast in the dining room or at the buffet. Our suite was smaller than some balcony rooms I have had but it had a wonderful balcony for three of us. The shows had to be reserved in advance and the BLUE MAN GROUP AND THE CIRQUE SHOW WERE excellent but the legend show was three impersonators doing CHAICERA, PRINCE AND DIANA ROSS. It would have been much more like a true legend show had they had more personalities that were truly legends......I did not consider these people legends at all. They were good but not the show I expected. The show room shows were okay, the dueling pianos, the Piano player in the bar area were very good. Little other than the big TV, a few games of bingo were things to do during the day. No tea time events were on this ship at all. The cons on this ship were the HORRIFIC CONFIGURATION OF THE BATHROOMS. There is a tub so tall that I had a very difficult time even trying to get into it to take a shower, and when you get out you are right in the middle of the room with a cheap curtain that goes from the tub to the TOILET which is across the room behind a glass door. The SINK is not even behind the curtain so if you want to wash you private areas after going to the toilet forget it.....you are right there in the cabin. I do not know who designed these bathrooms but it had to be a MAN because women like privacy when they bathe and use the toilet and sink areas. BAD DESIGN. Everything is primarily on deck 5,6,7 mid ship. The casino is not in a contained area but spread out down the center isle, around the corners etc. with children running through the area and even playing machines like a toy game until they get told to stop. The ADULT pool was more like a extra big hot tub and they water was so low that it barely covered your waist, again very bad design. There was a very large deck area surrounding the pool that on most ships is filled with water 8-8 inches deep so that you can sit in the water and sun bathe but this area was just dry and could never hold water at all. There were NO chairs to be had at the adult only pool or even at the mid ship pool on the one and only sea day. In fact I did finally find a chair but could never get to the water because of all the children jumping in and out of the water. The pool areas are both entirely too small for 5000 cruisers. I really missed not having my two formal nights on the ship, few dressed for dinner and it was just not a very elegant evening in the dining room. No lobster was served and not one night did they even have shrip cocktails which is an every night choice on all the other ships I have cruised on and that is 25 cruises on many different lines. All in all this was not a cruise ship that I would ever book a cruise on again because of the bathroom situation but it had many good points too.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My family and I just got back from our week long cruise on the Epic leaving from the Port of Civitavecchia. First piece of advice, use Rome's port as your cruise start and finish. The ship picks up passengers in two locations, Rome ... Read More
My family and I just got back from our week long cruise on the Epic leaving from the Port of Civitavecchia. First piece of advice, use Rome's port as your cruise start and finish. The ship picks up passengers in two locations, Rome and Barcelona with about 75% of their cruisers boarding in Barcelona. When you get on in Rome you don't have to do the whole Muster Drill and it is SO fast and easy. Once the ship hits Barcelona the madness begins. Bar tenders are pushing new drinks, the pool is PACKED (first day of Barcelona trip is an at sea) make sure you get your pool seats BEFORE 8:30am. If you want to do any slides or relaxing do it before you hit Barcelona. Don't be scared, its not horrible its just a lot to take in. When boarding in Rome you avoid all this hassle. The rooms are fine with lots of storage. My husband, Sister and I (all adults) shared one room and it was fine. The balcony's are very nice and the extra storage is helpful. Room was always cleaned in a timely manner and the room service hosts were very nice. Don't worry about the rooms. Plus you're hardly in you rooms. Excursions. Book them through the ship, cheap ass. The ship has the excursions uber organized and will put an info sheet in your room with details on what you will need and where to meet (on the ship) along with times in your room. If the bus is late getting back the ship will wait, it won't for non-ship bookings. Play it safe, you're in another country book through the ship. It is just easier. The food is good, we aren't foodies but everything was great and there was a huge range of options. Smoking - wasn't bad. I am rather young (30) and i remember smoking in restaurants. I am not a smoker nor do I like smoking but its manageable and you can avoid the smoke (casino) its not too bad. You will survive. Book on the 11th floor. Things are either on the 7-5th floors or 15th floor. The elevators are ALWAYS busy so be smart and book between where all the action takes place. Will make the steps not seem so traumatic. Plus you will be eating at a buffet for a week straight, you could use a few steps. Take binoculars. Water bottle - in Rome there are many public water fountains. You don't want to pay an arm and a leg for a bottle of water. Some cruise excursions include a free bottle, check the details. But regardless take a waterbottle. Wear running shoes. You won't get a tan line. Plus the boat sets sail at 6pm most nights which means you're back on the boat and by the pool before 5pm which actually leaves plenty of time to get rid of sock tans. Visit Nice and Eze. Most people overlook this stop. It was by far the best! Everything is closed on Sundays so if you are going to Barcelona on an excursion don't plan on doing any shopping. Wifi - hard to find. The port of Cannes has wifi so take any items you may want to check your email on to this port. If you book an excursion through the boat you won't need to schedule a time to leave the boat. This is the only stop you have to take a boat to get to shore. Another reason to book through the ship. None of the other ports has wifi and it was VERY hard to find any at shore. So leave your phones behind. Take small bills/ coins. Places HATE giving you change for 50Euro. Save the headache and take small Euros with you. Also at the end of your trip if you have Euros left over, pay your bill. They charge 10Euro but so will your bank when you return to convert the Euro back into $. We had enough Euro left over to pay our entire bill and saved ourselves the CC bill. There is a $12 service charge per person per day. This is all your tipping and cruise fees. Be prepared. Don't miss Blue Man, Cirque or Legends. Howl at the Moon is the perfect ending to an evening. Don't overpack. Have fun and bring a hat and sunscreen!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Travelled with my 7 year old daughter. We stayed in a family balcony on deck 13. Cabin was decent sized for the two of us. It was on the end of a hub in the middle of the ship so the balcony was huge. Room steward was friendly, ... Read More
Travelled with my 7 year old daughter. We stayed in a family balcony on deck 13. Cabin was decent sized for the two of us. It was on the end of a hub in the middle of the ship so the balcony was huge. Room steward was friendly, Embarkation was fast, we were in group 4. When I decided to go on a cruice for our holiday it was my daughter that decided wich ship we should go on. I showed her pictures on the internet of a bunch of cruice ships from alot of different cruice companys, Wichever ship she chose we would go on no matter where in the world it was sailing. Fun process and she chose the Epic because of the cool looking waterslides on the top. The ship was the holiday. I used to work on ships before so have been to all the ports many times before. We never went ashore. I had the ultimate beverage package and my daughter the soda package and it payed off. My bar tab was about 150 - 200 dollars pr day. I start with a Bloody Mary at 8 am and finish with a Becks Beer at 2 am in the casino and loads of different drinks in between. I dont get drunk, the drinks were fairly weak and I am a big man with a high tolerance for alcohol. Bar staff was great, they started calling me by my first name early on in the cruice. I never waited long and the pool bar waiters were never far away. Pool deck : Great fun. We used all the facilites. Epic bungee,, rock wall, climbing maze, video arcade, slides, pools and hot tubs. On the sea day it was cold and rainy so not much people outside. All other days most of the passengers were ashore so it was plenty of space and almost no lines for the slides. No problem getting a sun chair. Around 4 - 5 pm it started getting crowded but by then we had already spent the whole day there so time to get ready for dinner and show. Restaurants: Good food everywhere. We tried Manhattans, Taste, Moderno, Teppanayaki, Cirque, Shanghai and room service. Entertainment: My daughter loved almost everything. We did a show every night. Blue man group twice, she still talks about it. I tought they were cool too but once would have been enough for me. Legends twice, Shakira was her favourite and she loves Shakira so much we had to do that one twice too, Once really would have been enough for me but ok. Graffiti was fun. Soul show was boring, Aussie boys was ok. Box office staff was great! Casino: I like to gamble so spent 2 - 3 hours there every night. Daughter was in bed at around 11 pm so then it was casino time. It was never crowded, probably because I was always there late. Friendly dealers. I play blackjack 15 or 25 dollar minimum and we were never more than 3 at the same table. Alot of the time I played alone wich is what I prefer. I saw the 6 dollar tables were mostly full all the time. Smoking allowed on the sides, it doesnt bother me but I am sure it does bother other passengers. Lost the first few days and won almost everything back last night. They closed the casino 2 am last night before were back in Barcelona, we arrived early in Barcelona so they werent allowed to remain open. Ok by me, I was up and it was time to sleep anyways. Disembarkation was fast, we took our luggage self and just walked off, no lines.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We were three friends sailing on the transatlantic crossing to Barcelona on NCL's Epic. One of our group had booked a "solo" cabin which worked out well, as our balcony cabin was on the same deck 11mid-ship. This crossing ... Read More
We were three friends sailing on the transatlantic crossing to Barcelona on NCL's Epic. One of our group had booked a "solo" cabin which worked out well, as our balcony cabin was on the same deck 11mid-ship. This crossing was very smooth, hardly any motion to speak of. The captain actually stated that this was one of the smoothest, best weather crossings ever, with sunshine very day although too windy to spend much time at the pool. This trip had only one stop in Madiera before disembarkation in Barcelona and nine straight days at sea was a bit much, even with all the activities on board with which to be occupied. There were no movies to speak of, a few old ones on the TV in the cabin, and no way to find out what was playing or when. The slot machines in the casino were fun if you were careful not to lose too much. One machine with penguins was a lot of fun; kept me occupied for hours with just $ 20.00. The library is non-existent, glad I had my Kindle reader loaded up with books. The food was very good in all restaurants. We had dinner in Taste most of the time because it was quieter and there was never a wait. La Cucina, specialty restaurant, was just okay, could be that we didn't order the right things. Cappuccino was extra charge which I think should have been included in the specialty dining upcharge. Le Bistro was excellent, extra special and worth the extra charge. Entertainment was also very good, we especially enjoyed Taylor Kundolf in the piano bar (Shakers) where we always ended up hanging out almost every night. There is no request he cannot play and/or sing and it seemed like there were four hands playing the piano, rather than two. Two appearances by Bud Andersen, a comedian, were LOL funny. The cabin has plenty of storage space. Impossible for one person to pass the other in front of the tiny sink at the foot of the bed. You could almost sit on the end of the bed and brush your teeth. Beds were very comfortable, although I can see where a tall person would be hanging over the bottom of the bed; they do seem to be shorter than a normal bed. The lights are kept on by having a key card in the slot by the door, but any card will work, i.e. credit card, casino card, etc. We brought an outlet strip which proved invaluable for charging Ipad, reader, etc. all at once. The coffee pot and coffee packets provided in the room made very good coffee. One of the few things that had no extra charge. Shower is a good size, larger than most ships, good water pressure. Thank goodness for the curtain which could be drawn across the toilet and shower area for privacy. Disembarkation was probably the most organized and fast that I have ever experienced for the 20+ cruises I have taken. Amazing since the ship was full, approximately 4000 passengers. In Barcelona we had arranged a tour with Barcelona Day Tours and they met us at the agreed upon time, showed us the highlights of the city, and dropped us at our hotel by lunch time. This is the best arrangement if staying in Barcelona post cruise. You don't have to drag your luggage around until check in time at your hotel. Our hotel was a small boutique hotel called Regencia Colon, excellent location, lovely rooms, courteous staff, good breakfast. Would I cruise on the Epic again? Probably not. The price for this transatlantic crossing was too good to pass up. Would I cruise with NCL again. Most likely yes, just not on the Epic, mostly because of the strange configuration of the balcony cabins. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I have been on other cruise lines before mostly rc and I would say that the experience on the Epic was a step up. The freestyle cruising , relatively good value ultimate dining package and the pricing to be able to have a balcony made the ... Read More
I have been on other cruise lines before mostly rc and I would say that the experience on the Epic was a step up. The freestyle cruising , relatively good value ultimate dining package and the pricing to be able to have a balcony made the experience a very good one. We did the western med from Barcelona and the ports visited were all very interesting with a good choice of excursions or just having a good look around on your own. The food was excellent in all the speciality restaurants and buffet and whilst the drink felt expensive with added gratuity and vat added I suppose that is optional for everyone. We did bring 3 bottles of wine on board at Barcelona - one in a suitcase and two purchased in the boarding area shop and we were not asked anything about them or asked for corkage charges. Fortunately I had an opener with me so we had two of these whilst enjoying the view from our balcony, the third one we brought to a speciality restaurant and again we're not charged. It is not clear what the policy is exactly but even if you do get charged corkage it will still work out better value than buying on board. The blue man group, jazz and blues club and howl at the moon are must see entertainment and staff are generally very helpful and friendly I would Highly recommend NCl Epic Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We sailed on the 5-21 thru 5-28 cruise Civitavecchia round trip. We had 6 people with two spa mini suites and one spa balcony, all on deck 14. Everything was great. The vast majority of this ship embarks in Barcelona, so embarkation in ... Read More
We sailed on the 5-21 thru 5-28 cruise Civitavecchia round trip. We had 6 people with two spa mini suites and one spa balcony, all on deck 14. Everything was great. The vast majority of this ship embarks in Barcelona, so embarkation in Civitavecchia is very easy, with no wait at all. Keep in mind that this cruise is very fast paced, you are in port every day except on the port between Barcelona and Naples days 5 and 6. This is a welcomed day at sea when you transit between the island of Corsica and the Sardinia island coast. It is hard to get a feel of this massive ship until that day. NCL does a great job of offering guests options of dining. Their ala carte approach works very well on this type of cruise. You can choose traditional dining, which serves the purpose. However many other options are there for you. Some are at extra cost, others not. After cruising many other lines I believe that NCL’s food to be superior to the others. The crew on this ship is Awesome. Always good morning, how are you, what can I help you with. Very accommodating Be aware that all on board purchases including beverage and food will be charged the VAT (value added tax of 10%) and the traditional 15% Gratuity. The cabins are roomy and well appointed, beds are comfortable. The shower and toilet situation are different, there is no separate bathroom, the toilette and shower are separate and the sink is in the common area. If you are with someone not intimate with you it might be uncomfortable. We did have a glitch on tendering back to the ship from Cannes on day 3 of the cruise. We returned to the port after a day of touring the French Riviera and the water was extremely rough on our approach to the ship. After several attempts to dock with the ship in the harbor, most people were able to get off the tender. We were with several parties who were not easily able to get off. NCL was very concerned about the safety of this and several officers were soon on the scene to access the situation. Soon thereafter the captain maneuvered the ship around to assure a save exit. Although it was scary, we got off in a safe matter. We are very mobile, but chose to stay on board until everyone was off. To put it in a nut shell this is a great cruise to experience the Mediterranean in a compressed time. NCL does a great job of accommodating multiple people from all areas of the world. Obviously if you are going to the expense of this type of cruise you want the most of it. This is a fast paced cruise and port intensive, not a Caribbean type cruise. Be prepared and have fun.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
To give you some idea we are a family of six adults aged 42 to 70 and have all cruised on many ships before including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Thomson and Island Cruises. The EPIC she this is a large ship but apart from the initial ... Read More
To give you some idea we are a family of six adults aged 42 to 70 and have all cruised on many ships before including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Thomson and Island Cruises. The EPIC she this is a large ship but apart from the initial difficulties of navigating our way around you never really felt that is was that big, considering the ship was a full capacity for the entire cruise there was never a feeling of too many passengers. I also must add that contrary to other comments we did not feel any pressure to spend money on food, photo's, shows or anything else. One thing I must add is that this ship was the quietest and smoothest I have ever been on, it was very difficult at times to tell if she was even moving ! Embarkation - Very quick - Suite cases were delivered very speedily for most, Mine however was not and after calling Guest Services twice and speaking to our Cabin Steward twice I still have not received my case by dinner time. On the third occasion of actually going to guest services and asking where my case was I was directed to security who were holding it along with about 40 other cases because it had an iron in it which i removed and they kept until the end of the cruise. Why they couldn't have told me this when I made my first enquiry I have no idea. The Ship - Generally very nice, the inside cabins were spacious and yes the bathroom/toilet/sink set up is a little strange, not much privacy offered but it didn't really cause us a problem. Lighting in the cabins is very poor. The main thing missing is the ability to walk around the outside of the whole ship, which is a real shame and something a lot of passengers complained about. Pools are quite small considering the amount of passengers but again on this particular cruise (Italy and France) it wasn't a problem as most passengers seemed to go ashore on most days, leaving plenty of sunbeds for anyone wanting to stay on board. Adult only area at the back of the ship was nice. No large atrium in the middle of the ship but well designed central Irish bar and seating area made for a good place to meet up before dinner. The Food - One word excellent. It was possible to eat somewhere different more or less each night without resorting to paying extra for the speciality restaurants. Taste and Manhattan served a whole mixture of dishes (large portions!) from steak to shrimp with some excellent desserts, the Garden Cafe Buffet is probably the best buffet restaurant we have experienced on any ship, with excellent choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Irish pub food was also included and excellent. Because of the choices at no time did any venue appear to be packed and we waited only minutes for tables on each ocassion (we ate about 7,30 each evening). We did try the Steak restaurant and although it was excellent there is really no need as the Steak served in the other venues including the buffet was just as good. Plenty of snacks available during the day, including cream teas, cookies etc ! Drinks - Alcoholic drinks standard cruise ship prices, we bought the Soda package which was excellent value normally $6 per day but if you paid $9 it included all sodas and fresh juices. If you drink more than 2 soft drinks a day/night its well worth it, we were not treated any differently for having the drinks sticker than anyone else Dress Code - Yes this ship is casual but most passengers made an effort to dress smartly in the evenings , there are no formal nights but plenty of ladies (and gents) made the effort to wear nice clothes in the evening. Entertainment - This is where NCL have failed dismally, this is probably the worst entertainment we have experienced on any ship or in any hotel. None of the shows were professional , the Blue Man Group and Legends was disappointing there were no good comedians or musicians. The only show that is worth seeing is Graffiti Classics who where talented and funny and should have been the main attraction rather than a small side show. We only saw the cruise director once on the trip ! Ports of Call - excursions were priced similarly to other cruises. However we are used to Cruise Lines giving out a map for each port with information regarding local markets, buses etc, NCL did not do this at any port. Disembarkation - Now this is a big one.... We were kicked off the ship at 9am and our flight wasn't until 9pm, we asked our cruise representative, Virgin Holidays and Searched the internet for a somewhere close to the port to leave our luggage, the only option appeared to be lockers at the railway station. This is NOT TRUE , as soon as you get off the ship there is a stand with a small company called DW Consigna who will take your luggage from you for 10 Euros per bag and deliver it to any hotel or to the airport, this allowed us to have a day in Barcelona luggage free! When we go to the airport they were there waiting with our cases, excellent service ! Overall an good experience with NCL and I would definitely recommend particularly to first time cruisers and the younger generation who perhaps want as less formal dining and cruising experience.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
As part of our 30th wedding anniversary, Sherri and I were able to enjoy a week long Mediterrean cruise aboard the Norwegian EPIC sailing from Barcelona, Spain during mid-May. My desire in completing this review is to be a positive voice. ... Read More
As part of our 30th wedding anniversary, Sherri and I were able to enjoy a week long Mediterrean cruise aboard the Norwegian EPIC sailing from Barcelona, Spain during mid-May. My desire in completing this review is to be a positive voice. Without a lot of details, the week was good weather, good food, and outings without disasters. The crew was very accommodating and helpful. My favorite part of the week was the Cirque dinner show. I really appreciate the skills of that troupe. We did two shore excursions by an outside company (Joe Banana’s). They were a lower price and very good. The ability of the van to get closer than a bus means a lot. Thursday, we were on a Norwegian tour of Florence, Italy and that went very well also. We were in good hands. Our bus was only 25 people so not crowded. In observing, I felt that 80% of the passengers were from the USA. We were able to meet and tour with some great folks. The idea of a language problem is false. Our guides all spoke very good English and every restaurant had an English menu if you asked for it. I will cruise this area again if the airfare cost is doable. Our week in the Epic Haven 17006 was very smooth and we enjoyed it very much. We would recommend The Haven. It does cost a bit more, but we thought the cost justified what we received.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
28 May 2014, finally the big day had arrived. After four wonderful nights we left Rome with a heavy hearts but with high hopes via train for Civitavecchia. My Wife, Son (24) and I had stayed in the Best Western Presidential. The hotel was ... Read More
28 May 2014, finally the big day had arrived. After four wonderful nights we left Rome with a heavy hearts but with high hopes via train for Civitavecchia. My Wife, Son (24) and I had stayed in the Best Western Presidential. The hotel was both very nice and comfortable. Absolutely no complaints. The area surrounding the hotels was loaded with restaurants, shops and within easy walking distance of the Colosseum. The hotel was literally right above the Manzoni subway station. We took the A train to Termini (central station) and caught the Civitavecchia for six euros (I think). About an hour later we arrived in Civitavecchia train station which was quite small. We walked thru the station out the front door, and there was a Norwegian Rep. We boarded a city bus which drop us at the front of the port, boarded a private bus, and were taken to the ship. From the train to the ship, ten minutes. This was my only observation of Civitavecchia. We had stayed three nights in Zurich prior to going to Rome. Zurich was so expensive, it was hard to enjoy. A hundred bought you a snack in a bakery (Sprungli), although we felt it was too expensive we went three times in four days. It was unbelievably good. All the food we ate was of a very high quality. But my point here is when we saw Civitavecchia we wished we had stayed the three nights there instead of Zurich. There were what appeared to be nice hotels and restaurants right on the beach. The reception hall was basically empty of other passengers, and within a few minutes we were being taken onboard. We were escorted to the Heaven restaurant for what turned out to be the first of quite a few meals. As it turned out we ate most of our breakfests and lunches there. But we did not really care for the dinner menu. Although we did eat dinner there on Lobster night, my wife believes it was the best meal she had. For me I’m torn between the lobster or a roast pork dish I had in the Manhattan or a rib eye I had in Cagney’s as being the best dinner. To me those three meals were wonderful. In the Manhattan they had a desert call something along the lines of Chocolate Volcano. I loved it and the morning of Lobster night I had asked the Haven restaurant manager Prince Charles (I believe that is his name, I would like to know his parents) if I could have that desert with that night’s meal. That night he brought it to me, himself. 17013. What can you stay about a room where as you take your shower one wall is a sheet of glass which looks out over the Mediterranean Sea? The rest of the room was very nice, but that shower stall to me and the tub which had the same feature for my wife was what put it over the top for us. Would we spend the bucks again? We’re booked for a cruise next April same category of berth. Not to mention getting our Son out of our bathroom and not having to trip over him as he slept during the day. Because he had his own bedroom and bath. While his was not close to ours in “Suiteness” he was very happy. Chris our butler and Jules our room attendant topped off our lodgings. One negative was there are no lounge chairs on the balcony. Just two chairs and I think a table. I had really enjoyed sitting on our balconies in a lounge chair on our previous cruises. Our bedroom was ultra-comfortable, the linens throughout plush. My children have accused me of being OCD, there is plenty of storage. Second negative was self-inflicted and I take the blame. Seven day cruise with six in port days. Having spent the previous seven days of our vacation trying to see the “must see” sights. We were ready to relax, and so we did. When we did leave the ship, we didn’t do much. But when we didn’t leave the ship, almost everything was closed onboard. I believe this is a Mediterranean feature, because we don’t remember it being like that on our other two cruises. Mom and Dad had plenty to do at night. Onboard the NCL Star we had really enjoyed “Deal, or no Deal” cannot say the same about the Epic version. Not really sure why, I guess the personalities. We had gone to Bingo several times on the Star, but not the Epic. I only remember it being advertised one time and it conflicted with something else. Cirque Dreams glad we went. Not so much for Blue man. These we realize our just our opinions. Son, his length and soundness of his sleep during the day indicated to me he had a blast. He verbalized as much when we did see him. In addition to him seeing a little of the world. What I think is neat is for him it to meet people from everywhere, and for him to stay in touch with them. For instance when we were in Rome and Barcelona he met with friends he had made on last summer cruise. Crew, I cannot think of one incidence where we were treated less than professionally. And by far the norm was we were treaty royally. There were one or two occasions with some of the guest. And yes the elevators say busy. Parents of younger kids, please ask them not to play on the elevators. To sum it up, we had a great time. The food, activities, surroundings, ports, crew, literally everything was great. Should any Norwegian employees who were onboard the Epic for this cruise read this. Thank you for a wonderful vacation, and we really look forward to our next.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We chose this cruise because it was value for money and it was my wifes birhday and our wedding anniversary in the same week. Every day and night was an adventure.We went on all the shore tours at every port. Each one was perfectly timed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was value for money and it was my wifes birhday and our wedding anniversary in the same week. Every day and night was an adventure.We went on all the shore tours at every port. Each one was perfectly timed and organised. The onboard entertainment was top shelf quality. I have reommended this cruise to so many people as an awesme experience. We went to Rome ,Mt Vesuvious, Piza, Barceona, Miorca, The pools were fantasic day and night. Our cabin was one on the port side and had a balcony so every time we docked we could watch the whole procedure.In the cabin we had a double bed and large tv also a sitting area. We met another couple and dined with them each evening in a different restaurant after having our pre coctails. Even though this cruise was such a fantstic experience I dont think I could go on it again because it would spoil the memoroble experience we had Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
BACKGROUND: We are a British couple in our early 40's and have cruised several times mainly on Princess, as well as P&O, Celebrity and one fateful trip on Fred Olsen (never again). We had sailed on NCL 12 years ago, pre Freestyle ... Read More
BACKGROUND: We are a British couple in our early 40's and have cruised several times mainly on Princess, as well as P&O, Celebrity and one fateful trip on Fred Olsen (never again). We had sailed on NCL 12 years ago, pre Freestyle dining and all the new NCL enhancements and were somewhat apprehensive about what to expect. How wrong could we have been! PRE-CRUISE: We stayed 1 night at the JW Marriott Marquis which is in an excellent location, approx. 10 minute walk to Bayside for shops, bars and dining and within east reach of your staple shops in/around the hotel area. It is about a 10 minute cab ride (if that) to the Port and costs approx. $10. We couldn't have wished for a better pre-cruise stay. CHECK-IN & BOARDING: Upon arrival at the port at approx. 11am the bags were given over immediately to the porters who relabeled all of our bags with "proper" bag tags opposed to leaving the "print your own" ones on - this gave us more comfort since the "print your own" ones seem a bit flimsy! Since we were staying in an Aft Facing Haven Penthouse Suite we were taken to a separate small lounge area after security to complete the boarding formalities. This was great and within 10 mins we were all checked in and asked to take a seat in the lounge area, offered free tea, coffee, water, juice etc. as well as pastries and sandwiches and told to let them know when we were ready to board the ship. We stayed here for about 15 mins and at about 11.30/11.45 we asked to be escorted to the ship. We were taken up to just before the main gangway where we were met by a waiter who escorted us on the ship and to the Haven designated lift. The whole process couldn't have been easier and smoother, NCL really do have this perfected. Upon arrival at the Haven we were met by Ryan, the concierge who escorted a small group of us around the Haven and explained the facilities, locations of key things etc. This took about 10 mins and afterwards we were invited to have lunch in the Haven restaurant. This was our first taste of the food on-board and we were not disappointed. CABIN: After lunch we made our way to our cabin, which unfortunately was at the other end of the ship (Haven is at the front) however it did give us the opportunity to see and explore some of the ship as we made our way to our aft-facing penthouse suite (10326). And boy were we impressed, the size of the room was great, perfectly laid out, yes it was tight for 2 people to pass by each other in some areas of the cabin but nothing to really worry about. The bathroom was excellent, although on some of the more choppier sea days the glass doors to the toilet and shower made some noise. We soon figured it out and worked out ways in which to "silence the doors". Talking to others on the ship we all had this problem and it became quite a talking point and joke (in a good way). There's plenty of storage in the cabin, in fact way too much, we can't see that it would all be used!? The balcony was large, and consisted of 2 loungers and 2 chairs and small occasional table. Our only criticism is that the table could and should be bigger so you can really enjoy breakfast etc. out there, space on the small table was tight. FOOD: The food was to die for, we took advantage of the Ultimate Dining Package (UDP) and so glad we did. We ate in pretty much every specialty restaurant and sometimes ate in them twice over the course of the crossing. They all served excellent food and we didn't have one complaint. We always managed to get a table at the time we wanted and we don't think the restaurants were ever full. Of particular note are the French, Italian, Tepanyaki and Steakhouse restaurants; the food in these was particularly good and probably some of the best we have ever had at sea. DRINK: We decided after much debate to take advantage of the Ultimate Beverage Package (UB) and glad that we did. It was so easy to get drinks and the choice was great, in that it wasn't limiting to the brand of spirit you wanted (most top shelf brands were available within the package), there was a great beer selection and we were very impressed with the wines available by the glass. Our only criticism was that it didn't include bottled water, and the price for bottled water was expensive. ENTERTAINMENT: This was second to none and now think that we have been well and truly spoiled. Our favourite was Cirque Dreams, and this was out of this world. To have such a performance on a ship is outstanding, and the quality of the performers was excellent. Blue Man was great and definitely worth going to see. Legends in concert was good and again worth a watch. SHIP: Having read some of the reviews before we sailed on the Epic we were somewhat apprehensive but how wrong were we. This ship is out of this world, it's an entertainment city on water, it really does have something for everyone. The layout of the ship takes some getting used to, but over time that came and it really did feel like home from home after a few days. Yes there are things that won't be to everyone's taste but we can really recommend the ship. STAFF: They are probably the best thing about the Epic, they were absolutely superb. Nothing was ever too much trouble, everyone had a smile on their face and they all really made the trip memorable. THE CROSSING: Having read a couple of reviews about the crossing already we have to disagree with some of the weather reports. In general the weather was great, the sun shone every day and we can't recall a day when it rained during daylight hours (yes it rained overnight but that didn't matter). Some of the days were cooler than others but if you find the right spot on the ship everything is fine i.e. it's sheltered. We sunbathed every day, and if we weren't sunbathing because a cloud was inconveniently blocking the sun then we still sat out, it was warm enough! About 3 or 4 days in we had a couple of days when you could feel the movement of the ship more than we had done previously. And we seem to recall the Captain saying the waves were 3-5m in height and that it was the current that was causing the movement as it was quite strong. Overall the crossing was smooth and certainly nothing that caused us any concern. MADEIRA: Our one port of call on day 9 and it is a stunning place to visit. We had booked a car for the day before leaving the UK and arranged what we wanted to see. The driver was there waiting for us as we disembarked the ship and we spent a good 5 hours with him driving around the island seeing what the island had to offer. We were so impressed with the place we have added it to our list of places we want to go back to. DISEMBARKATION: Arrival in Barcelona was as smooth as the embarkation was in Miami. We were allowed off the ship at whatever time we wanted (since we were Haven guests) and we chose to disembark at around 8.30am. Again a lift had been designated for Haven Guests and we were escorted down to deck 4 in order to get off the ship. Whilst we had to wait in line there for 5-10 mins it really wasn't a problem and within about 20 mins we were off the ship, bags in hand and waiting for a cab to take us to our hotel in Barcelona. OVERALL: Overall we can't speak highly enough of NCL, the ship and all the staff that made this holiday for us absolutely superb. It really does rank up there as one of the best and we would certainly recommend this ship to anyone who is thinking about traveling on her. Hopefully one day soon we too can return for another epic sailing on the Epic! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We just cruised on the Epic from 4-13 to 4-20....drove to Miami & stayed at the Red Roof Inn by the airport. Warning: they only have ONE (maybe 2) "free" shuttles to the Port & don't start until 1PM. We took a taxi ... Read More
We just cruised on the Epic from 4-13 to 4-20....drove to Miami & stayed at the Red Roof Inn by the airport. Warning: they only have ONE (maybe 2) "free" shuttles to the Port & don't start until 1PM. We took a taxi (approx. $30, including tip) to the Port (parking was free for 7 days at the Red Roof.) Got there w/no problems & check-in was a breeze! Waited approx. an hour & then boarded. Amazed at the size! This was our 13th cruise & by far the biggest ship. Went to the Wave Bar on 15 until Cabin was ready. Did an inside (11252). HATE the bathroom arrangement! Unless you're deaf or REALLY like each other, the toilet is unacceptable for more than one person in the room at a time....we're not "shy," but this was beyond normal. Shower, mini-fridge, bed, etc., were fine....Room Steward was good & other than toilet, had no problems, other than the Key Cards kept "flashing" Red....had to try several times, numerous times a day. The Garden Café (buffet) was, by far, the best we've ever encountered! Also went to Moderno's (twice) & Le Bistro....food was excellent! Service, throughout the Ship, exceeded our expectations...think that's a tribute to the Captain & the F&B Director (who we knew from the NCL Sun). Check out the Spice H2O during the day (for adults only until 6pm). MUCH more quiet & relaxed than around the pool. Also check out the Bridge Viewing Room on Deck 13 - Starboard.....great stuff! Agree w/others re: Casino Smoke....you can smell it a long ways away! Other than that, plenty of bathrooms, shows were good, it has escalators, & 6 bowling lanes! Downsides: on Deck 7, you can't walk "around" the Ship....either bow or stern (which doesn't make sense to me!) Also, be prepared to walk a distance to get to places....2 main elevators at the bow & stern (front & back), & one in the middle, which only goes to certain floors. You'll get your exercise! All-in-all, a great cruise, with a great crew. Especially friendly for those with children!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Me and my Girlfriend stayed in Deluxe Owner's Suite 17033 onboard the Epic. Our Butler was Marlon, and our Concierge was David. We purchased Ultimate Dining, and Beverage. Suite: Awesome, huge, nice wraparound balcony, and our Butler ... Read More
Me and my Girlfriend stayed in Deluxe Owner's Suite 17033 onboard the Epic. Our Butler was Marlon, and our Concierge was David. We purchased Ultimate Dining, and Beverage. Suite: Awesome, huge, nice wraparound balcony, and our Butler even arranged a dinner from Cagney's with our neighbors from the other owner's suite next door. We had a large bathroom, king size bed, the only relatively mild thing we didn't like we had was that at certain times it was hot and thee wifi did not work everywhere in the suite (not that big of a deal, just lead to some dropped calls on the cordless phones, and we could just use the desk phones instead). I am biased because I keep my house at 62 degrees, but I would have to say putting it on low, we never saw below 68. But I guess that is what the ice bar is for. We paid $40 per bottle extra to get Grey Goose instead with our free 3 bottles that came with our suite. Balcony overlooking the pool was a plus and a minus due to noise, but definitely the best suite on the boat. Restaurants: Epic Club: We only ate breakfast and lunch there. I would have preferred they had lunch at breakfast as I don't eat breakfast. Not the end of the world, as our Butler used to get me what I needed in the room. Room Service/Butler Service: Many of our meals we ate in our room. They made me whatever I wanted. It was excellent food was always hot, no complaints. Shanghai: This was by far one of my favorite restaurants on the ship. It reminded me of dinner I had Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. I would say it was 95% there, the flavor was simply incredible on my Kung Pao Chicken. The General Tso's Chicken Lettuce wraps were not General Tso's but they had spices on the table for your convenience. Teppanyaki: We only went for lunch and once by Butler for dinner, it was $25 per person. We enjoyed it so much we got it 4 times total. Excellent food, excellent service, wish they had a bigger Sake selection (especially at place called Sake Bar). Cagney's: Had it for Butler delivery twice. Reminded me exactly of Morton's. Had a filet and chicken drumsticks (which are great because the drumsticks they shave off the ends so you don't have to get your fingers dirty, just like the Mandarin). Excellent. Le Bistro: We had an excellent meal and it was wonderful. We also had the company of the Captain and Staff Captain, who were class acts. Wonderful people, wonderful meal, and just an awesome experience. La Cucina: Excellent food, not the greatest Italian I ever had, but I am from New Jersey. I would give it a 8/10. Everything was very fresh, and we did eat there twice. Moderno: We enjoyed this meal as well. Their house sirloin is definitely the top item here. We had no complaints, and service was good and prompt. Shows: Blue Man Group: They were excellent as usual. Wish they would make more changes to the show, it is exactly the same as when I saw it off-broadway when they first opened in NYC god knows how many years ago. Cirque: We did not eat dinner, we just got drinks and desert, but the show was awesome. It was an excellent show. Bars: Cigar Bar: It was a little slow to get service the first couple days, but it drastically improved over the coming days. Ice Bar: It was really cool, drinks were good, and it was really cold which I loved (I wore shorts and a t-shirt, no jacket). It was again excellent and we had a great time the two times we visited it. Casino Bar: Quick. Casino Drinks = Slow (typical though even in Vegas). Spice H2O: I really wish the cruise industry as a whole had a better nightclub scene. Unfortunately, they never seem able to get it like Vegas or Miami has. The party was fun the night we went (Night Out). Bliss: Lackluster again, but it is the same on every cruise we've been on. Casino: The comp system they have in place is insanely bad. Do not come as a serious mid-range gambler. Perks are slim to none, and it took me 5 days to get a house drink card (which I didn't even need, but it's the principle of the thing). For reference, total play 15 hours, average bet $120-$140 on average 4% house edge craps table. Expected Loss is somewhere around $3000. We ended up with $19.00 in comped play, the entire cruise. To give you an idea in Vegas, the expected comp return (40%) would be in the neighborhood of $1400, if not more (since $1400 is the actual cash budget at cost, so it could be considerably more since most alcohol, rooms, etc are 300% mark up). With that in mind compare it to the lousy $19 we received it was not even worth tracking our play. We heard from some other players it may earn us an interior room comped, but even that has an average value of $600 on a cruise, not even half the $1400 budget in Vegas. In addition, premium drinks are free for everyone in Vegas, without even taking into account the $1400. Big difference here. Haven Services: The Butler, the Concierge, everyone was excellent. Everything worked like clock work, and we had no issues what so ever. The night butler, was a little lazy, but whatever, we only used him once anyway. Bags Program: We used this, and we received our bags at the airport with our First Class Priority Tags. Since we got 3 bags free, we put them all under my name saving a quick $20. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was my 6th NCL cruise, (2 on the Sun, 1 each on the Dawn, Pearl and Sky) but my first crossing ( by sea) and I totally enjoyed it! I did the repositioning from Miami to Barcelona. Because I had so enjoyed some of the specialty ... Read More
This was my 6th NCL cruise, (2 on the Sun, 1 each on the Dawn, Pearl and Sky) but my first crossing ( by sea) and I totally enjoyed it! I did the repositioning from Miami to Barcelona. Because I had so enjoyed some of the specialty restaurants on previous NCL cruises I decided to buy the Dining package and I was not disappointed. I ate at every specialty restaurant and they were all wonderful.....my favorite being Cagney's. The Steaks and Service were just fabulous!!!!! I ate there four times LOL and tried a different steak each time. (Filet Mignon, Strip, Ribeye and then the bone-in Ribeye) and each and every one of the streaks was mouth watering good and tender. But THEY ALL were good from the French to the Chinese to the Japanese.......ALL GOOD. Not to take anything away from the MDR's which were great for lunch (and I am sure dinner as well) but NCL's specialty restaurants are worth every penny in my opinion! Well as many seasoned cruisers here know The Epic's design is somehwhat unusual as it is a curvey design, BUT it was great for me as a SOLO traveller. Since we had so many sea days, I upgraded from the Studio Cabin as one of my favorite things to do on a cruise is order room service coffee(and sometimes breakfast) and take it out on the balcony. Speaking of the balcony, although my cabin was smaller than some of the other NCL ships I have been on, the balcony was nice, comfortable and spacious. There being so many sea days I got to really enjoy and explore the ship and it was all great. Some of my favorite places were H2O, The Epic Casino, Bliss Lounge and my nice large balcony on Deck 9 (forward). :) Overall again, great ship, great staff, great food, great cruise! And yes I would do it again, although I would (as I live in the USA) do it in reverse due to multiple time changes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We just got back from our Epic cruise in the Western Caribbean. Before we left, I checked out all the reviews and have some insights on the negative comments posted. First, we are not new to cruising. It is our favorite vacation. We have ... Read More
We just got back from our Epic cruise in the Western Caribbean. Before we left, I checked out all the reviews and have some insights on the negative comments posted. First, we are not new to cruising. It is our favorite vacation. We have always cruised small to medium ships and thought we would try a larger vessel. I'm mentioning this to let you all know we do have basis for comparison. Embarkation. This had me a little worried, 4,000+ people seemed a daunting task, but NCL has it down to an art. We arrived a little before 11:00 am having taken a cab from our hotel (near the airport). The cab ride was $20 for 4 of us. The porters we right on the spot and smoothly took all our luggage. We helped our friends up the stairs to their area, then went onto gate C. We waited no more than 10 minutes to be checked in. We sat in the lounge for about 1/2 hour. Very comfortable, plenty of seating, water and orange juice provided. Had a very nice chat with our neighbors and were called on board in the order we arrived. We were on board a little before noon. Very smooth entry onto the ship. Our stateroom was ready by 1:00. Embarkation day was the only day that the pool deck (15) was crowded, but even then we were able to find lounge chairs easily. H2O was not as crowded and quite a bit less noisy. We had a bite to eat in the buffet, busy, but easily manuevered, brought our lunch out to the deck and had a very pleasant time talking with the crew and our fellow passengers before making our way down one deck to our cabin. Overall embarkation was the easiest we have experienced, they have it down to an art. Stateroom. We had a spa mini-suite. Yes, I have heard how small these are, and how the bathroom is unwieldy. Nothing could be further from the truth. We always book a balcony, love sitting watching the ocean, docking, pier runners, stars. This balcony was large enough for two lounge chairs (provided by my wonderful cabin steward Winnie). Two chairs and two small tables. In fact we had two other couples over for afternoon drinks and we had room for all on the balcony. The room itself was slightly longer than other rooms we had, maybe a bit narrower, but with just the two of us it was great. We had no trouble manuevering around at all. There was so much storage, I often forgot where I put things! The bathroom layout was great, with the split shower/toilet design, we never got in each other's way when getting ready. And no, we did not have any problem with the sink. It is a little small, but we did not have any issues spilling at all. Separating the makeup area allowed my husband to shave while I was comfortably seated doing my own hair and make up. The lighting was adequate. We had no problem with the opacity of the glass in the shower and toilet areas. The shower was quite large, and with no curtain to wrap around you as you bathed, it was wonderful. There was little noise, and the ship movement was a nice gentle lullaby. I was also invited to the Haven and the forward suites on deck 17 were really spacious and beautiful. Posh and Haven are quite nice, the private pool deck was beautiful. All in all, our stateroom was very nice, we really liked it and would not hesitate to book it again. Crew. Hands down the best crew we ever sailed with, from our fantastic room steward who could not do enough for us, to the bar tenders, to the wait staff, to the spa staff, officers, I cannot say enough how much we appreciated them all. Kind, helpful, smiling, always, and I mean always, going out of their way to make our cruise special. Great stories! We visited with them every day, heard their wonderful stories, got great tips on where to go ashore, guys, if you are reading this, we love you all and miss you! We even encountered some on shore, and they would stop and chat with us where ever we were. Dining. If you can't find something to eat, you are not looking. I have dietary needs which these wonderful people met time and again. If it wasn't on the menu, they found it or a delicious substitute. Went to MDR twice, once for dinner and once for breakfast. Both were good. Le Bistro, however was great! Try the creme brulee! We also dined at la Cucina, delicioso! The chicken parmesian was so good, and the tiramisu great! Both were great dining experiences. We had dinner with friends at Tapenyaki. I don't care for Japanese food, but the chefs were fun to watch and the food was okay for me, but everyone else loved it. Room service had a limited menu, but it was good, fresh, and pretty quick to arrive. Overall, dining was very good! Onboard activities. There is so much to do on board, I can't begin to enumerate. Never had problems with chair hogs. Never had problems with kids, they were well behaved and fun to watch. Overall, this was the best cruise we have taken. We love freestyle. We will cruise Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Interior cabin was about the same size as other cruise lines and ships. The dressing bar was very well planned and provided adequate space for cosmetic products. However, if you aren't a person who can keep the dresser tidy, ... Read More
Interior cabin was about the same size as other cruise lines and ships. The dressing bar was very well planned and provided adequate space for cosmetic products. However, if you aren't a person who can keep the dresser tidy, you'll have a hard time finding space for 2nd day announcement/souvenirs and "stuff" your spouse just can't part with. The shower and toilet are in separate nooks on either side of the cabin entrance. There is a privacy curtain between the bath, toilet and the cabin proper. For some, that's a good use of space providing more overall cabin space. Some people like that "clink" sound that comes with a solid door and bathroom privacy - not available on the Norwegian Epic. The cabin provided good space and ambience for an interior cabin - a good thing. Ship - There lots of people on a ship this size - LOTS! I was able to find some common deck privacy in the early hours of the morning before people came walking by throwing down "towels and books" on lounges they never intended to occupy. American cruisers are among the most thoughtless folks on the high seas in my opinion. The athletic areas - spa, sport area etc are all really good. I thought that the gym machine area was very well equipped with the latest gadgets and weights. I didn't find it too crowded. For me the casino just was too much. Just too many machines, tables and SMOKE. You couldn't really go anywhere inside the ship by common deck without getting a snoot full of smoke. On the positive side, cruisers who gamble, smoke, and don't exercise won't be around much longer. I liked the various entertainment venues, but still had a hankering for the "big show" each night. BUT - the entertainment was great and well presented in all venues. Well done Norwegian. Crew - I thought the crew did a great job of making my vacation relaxing and a joy from day one to the day I took my bag off the ship. Activities - there aren't a lot of ports on a transatlantic cruise, that's not why we're on the ship. However, there were lots of things to do for almost every person on board. Including finding that cherished private space to share with just 10-20 fellow passengers. Food - just as good as any other cruise ship. Personally, I'm going to avoid this ship - 1. Too many passengers, 2. no place to just relax. 3. I like my privacy in the toilet and that "clink" the door makes.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
When I was researching and preparing for our trip, I pored over CruiseCritic for hours and hours, and searched by topics – and I don’t believe there was a review I didn’t read multiple times – both good and bad. I kept a running ... Read More
When I was researching and preparing for our trip, I pored over CruiseCritic for hours and hours, and searched by topics – and I don’t believe there was a review I didn’t read multiple times – both good and bad. I kept a running list of “secrets” and “Must do’s” – and printed everything and brought it with me – including the slot play coupon. I would love to pass that love along to all of you – and share with you our “Epic Adventure”! (Until this point, we had been LOYAL Royal Caribbean cruisers – we love everything about Royal Caribbean, and we took the Carnival Dream when it was brand new about 3 years ago and HATED it). Our traveling companions had never cruised before, and since I planned the whole thing, I was praying that they would love it! Special shout out to Ismay and Alan for posting so much fun and anticipation on the Roll Calls – such wonderful people! Thank you to EVERYONE on Cruise Critic who helped me prepare with your reviews – both good and bad. Let me begin by saying that our cruise was AMAZING – absolutely everything – from start to finish. We were a party of 11. Our family consists of my husband and I (45 and 47) and our 10 year old twins. We booked 2 adjoining balcony cabins (13026 and 13028). Our dear friends and their 10 year old daughter had the next cabin (13030). We also were traveling with friends who had two daughters – 10 and 8 – and were in the Haven in 17012. I will break the trip down for you in segments. We did the Western Caribbean departing on 4/20 (Easter Sunday). Travel to Florida We live in North Carolina and I didn’t want to take the chance on travel day of: so, we booked our flights from RDU to Miami, arriving about 4 pm on Saturday, April 19th. We gathered our luggage and hopped on the (free) shuttle and we stayed at the Airport Marriott – which was great value ($127) – and we got upgraded to Concierge level and enjoyed a free breakfast on Sunday morning. (our other friends were not flying in until Sunday morning. They flew Southwest to FLL and met us onboard – more later). I had packed the twins’ Easter “baskets” (collapsible Easter bags) and filled them with water wallets, sunglasses, waterproof watches, glow sticks, bubbles and goggles – all cruise items.) Embarkation We grabbed a van (we negotiated up front - $50 each way to/from port – for 8 of us). We left the Marriott about 10:15 and were at the port at 10:30. Our friends in the Haven were immediately escorted to a holding area where they started the party early! Ha ha – we could see them through the glass (we had bright yellow tee shirts made for all of our traveling party) – but they had priority boarding. We were in boarding group 9 – and, as fate would have it – our friends coming from Ft. Lauderdale were walking through the door when our boarding group was being called – so they were able to board with us. We were called at 11:30 and on the ship by 11:45. We had matching yellow shirts with “Our Epic Adventure” on it – and people recognized us through the week! I had let the twins wear their suits on the ship, so as soon as we were up on deck, they were in the water slides – and that is pretty much where they lived for 7 straight days! We hung out on the pool deck, partying with JC the cruise director, Sponge Bob made his appearance, everyone was having a great time and party. They announced about 2 pm that our cabins were ready – so down we went, and I had 1.5 hours to unpack before the muster drill. (note – I was a bit disappointed they didn’t have anything for kids – no Easter Bunny, or Easter Egg hunt- that would have really added to the festive atmosphere!) Ultimate Beverage Package That was an absolute no brainer. We had pre-purchased the package, so we wouldn’t have to deal with that bill on top of everything else. Since we already had the package, we got a sticker immediately upon boarding at the Atrium bar and had our first drink! (and didn’t stop for 7 straight days – haha!) We bought the soda package for the kids, so they could just have a soda whenever they wanted – and we brought home two really nice travel mugs to boot! In previous cruises, I had either purchased the wine package or just paid for drinks – so this was just AWESOME. Cabins Our adjoining cabins – 13026 and 13028 – were everything everyone had said. They ARE small – how someone puts more than 2 people in them is beyond me (our friends in 13030 had their daughter with them and my friend was going nuts having to find space to stow stuff, and tiptoe around her daughter in the morning). There is TONS of organizational space, hangars, etc. - plenty of room to store luggage and clothes. But knowing now what I know about this cruise, I would have packed less and put away clothes differently. I used lots of tips from CC – I brought magnets and put the dailies up on the wall. I decorated the outside of our cabin with cute Flip Flop signs (I brought hooks) – and Easter bunny magnets. We got lots of comments on our doorways (and easy to find at night – haha!) I bought a shoe organizer for $1 and stowed sunscreen, lotion, makeup in it, etc. I hung up my makeup bag on the shower door – and, another CC tip – brought my own bar of soap, toilet paper and conditioner. I brought clothespins to hang up my wet suits/ recently washed underwear, etc. The one critique I have is that the beds are HORRIBLY uncomfortable. I had our steward (whom I only caught a glimpse of one time – unlike Royal Caribbean and Carnival, we never connected – which was disappointing, as that connection is something I enjoy on a cruise) bring me an egg crate to make the bed softer. It isn’t long enough, my feet hung off and I rarely slept more than 4 hours a night. HOWEVER, I’m not a good sleeper to begin with, and it certainly wasn’t enough to put the slightest damper on my cruise – I’m just warning you – if you are a poor sleeper, bring your own pillow, or something to make you more comfortable. The famous bathrooms Yep, they are everything everyone says they are: small and no privacy. But so what? The water pressure was awesome, and everything worked (although my husband, who caught a nasty bout of food poisoning for eating Jerk Chicken from a street vendor in Jamaica – WHEN I TOLD HIM NOT TO – found it to be quite challenging to be ill in a bathroom that small….) The balconies We had adjoining balconies – and yes, they are closed off. They are a very generous size (if you look at the ship’s map, 13028 juts out a little bit – and our balcony was a bit bigger. It was a lovely place to view sunrise and sunset – something I took advantage of every single morning. We had two chairs, a table and a lounger. And still had plenty of room to move around. If we were ever in the room (which was infrequent) – I was either taking a shower or sitting on the balcony. That is one of my favorite parts of cruising. The Haven We were lucky, as our friends were staying in the Haven, and, what an incredible place that is. If you can afford to book The Haven – BOOK IT. The lounge, the restaurant, the bar, the private pool, spa, hot tubs and loungers – not to mention the AWESOME concierge, David. The entire experience is magnificent. I’m glad we got to see what it’s like – I would definitely book The Haven next time if the price was right. The Food We ate in Garden Café every day for breakfast. I cannot get enough smoked (Norwegian!) salmon, cream cheese, bagel and red onion! Not to mention the eggs benedict (another CC tip). My children LOVED the hash browns and endless bacon! (I loved the fact that Danny would bring me a Mimosa as soon as I appeared on deck!) I thought “what are people complaining about – there are about a million choices on the menu at Garden Café”. However, by Day 3, even though I was not tired of smoked salmon and eggs benedict, I would LOVE to have seen them change up the menu…even my children got tired of it. The first night, we ate at O’Sheehans – and I have to say, that was my ONLY disappointment throughout the week. Terrible food. Simply awful (except the mozzarella sticks) – our party ordered everything on the menu, and nothing was good. (we returned late night another night, just to see if we were wrong – we weren’t). However, the $4 ice cream sundae for my son – he reports – was awesome. We ate at Taste 3 times – and our experiences were: fabulous (first time), very good (second time), not very good (third time). The food was beautiful in presentation and absolutely excellent. My rating has to do with the service and attentiveness of the staff. Also, if you are prone to seasickness (I am NOT but one of our traveling companions was) – being in Taste can intensify your feeling of illness, or so she reports. We ate at the Sushi Bar (Wasabi) twice. OUTSTANDING and SERIOUSLY CHEAP. We ate at the Noodle Bar once. Same rating – outstanding and seriously cheap. We ordered room service twice – it was fine and fit the bill! The Entertainment I am a former professional actress and singer, so I am usually a very harsh critic and judge. The shows and entertainment were phenomenal (my husband remarked that the value of seeing the shows ALONE were probably more than what we paid for the cruise tickets!) Blue Man Group – astonishing. I can’t believe I’ve never seen them – but we were in the first two rows and that was awesome. Legends in Concert – Elvis is fantastic, Katy Perry is just okay, Steven Tyler is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! He blew us all away. Wow. Second City – saw it twice – once with the family at the early show (I volunteered and got called on stage, which made it the highlight of my daughter’s trip) – and once late night. Both times – HYSTERICALLY FUNNY!!!!! Cirque Dreams – totally worth the price of the Premium Seating. Truly amazing, amazing show. The food was good – and the show was so interactive and fantastic! We also visited Howl at the Moon 2 or 3 times (dueling piano bar), as well as ALL of the other bars and lounges. We were bar hopping all night, every night. Like my friends said “7 days is not enough – next time, we need 10 days on The Epic”. I saw Nadeen the Hypnotist twice – she was amazing! Stuff for kids and families My kids LOVED LOVED LOVED Kids’ Club and begged to go. However, one of our friends had girls who didn’t want to go there, so we weren’t able to use it as much as mine would have liked. It’s staffed really well – and that was one of our twins’ favorite things to do. The slides are, well, awesome. I went down all three multiple times. The lines – even on sea days (and we had 800 kids on our cruise) – weren’t bad. My kids did the rock climbing wall and the big bounce whenever it was open. My son did the Spider wall once. They spent $150 at the Video Arcade – oh well! (beware, make sure they don’t have charging privileges or set a limit! ) We did not do the Nickelodeon Pajama party, but our traveling companions did and they loved it. We did Slime Time Live on the last day, and that show was ADORABLE. Deck Chairs Yes, some of them are in disrepair and really need to be replaced. And yes, if you want a “prime spot” (I did), you need to come out and get your spot early in the morning. I love the sun – so I’d grab two chairs in the morning with my coffee around 7….and then go down and wait for the family to wake up, get the kids ready for the slides and go back up on deck around 9. There were always plenty of deck chairs, you just had to look for them (tip: I brought my own towels and some of those cute towel clips – easy to identify) Waves Pool Bar When preparing for the trip and scoping everything out, I thought “how can a bar so small accommodate so many”? I never had to wait for a drink – Danny, the bartender, knew our entire party’s names within the first few hours, and always had a fresh drink ready and waiting for us – with a big smile and a fun laugh. That is one awesome, awesome bartender! He would find me wherever I was camped out on deck, and made sure I was never waiting for a drink. The Elevators Considering I brought my gym shoes and NEVER hit the gym, taking the stairs was the only exercise I was going to get (note – I will NOT even look at the scale for at least a week – haha!) I never, ever felt crowded on the ship – I was up and down those stairs (we were on 13 – most entertainment was on floors 5-7 and 15-17) – thank GOD I had to use the stairs. The ONLY time I found the elevators to be crowded were on embarkation and disembarkation – and that’s to be expected. The Spa This is something my husband and I always buy on a ship. Spa passes. I try and go twice a day – to soak in the thelossotherapy pool (sp?), use the saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs and lay on the heated tile loungers. So relaxing – and good for soaking alcohol out of you – haha! The Ship Itself Contrary to people posting about its’ ugliness, I found it to be absolutely beautiful – inside and out. And so did all of my traveling companions. They marveled at all there was to do and see and explore and get into. We loved just walking around and exploring. And after 7 days, we STILL hadn’t seen it all. She is magnificent, and I would sail her again in a HEARTBEAT. The Ports Jamaica: My husband and I have done this same itinerary 4 times – and I would much rather have done Eastern Caribbean. However, this aligned with the twins’ school break. When we left the ship in Jamaica, my son said to me “Mommy, this water is so beautiful it makes me want to cry”. Really touched my heart. In Jamaica, we walked to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and had an awesome time in the swim up bar (the kids used the water slide) and hung out in the ocean. Free – just pay for what you eat and drink (and look out for the people trying to sell you pot and necklaces and stuff – the staff from Margaritaville tries to keep them away, but some get in.) This is also where my husband didn’t listen to me, bought Jamaican Jerk Chicken from a vendor, and paid for it the rest of the cruise. DO NOT EAT FROM ROADSIDE STAND. Costa Maya We just walked off the dock and into the swim up pool bar (do you see a theme emerging here?) Our friends did some shopping. Really not much to do unless you do a ship excursion. Beautiful weather and the pool bar is just fine. BEWARE OF THE WOMAN COMING AROUND POURING SHOTS INTO YOUR MOUTH…and then charges you $14 dollars. Cozumel We took a taxi ($50 each way for 11 of us) to Mr. Sanchos – it had been recommended to me, and I’d read great things about it on Cruise Critic. I was very disappointed. We had been to the Occidental Grand 3 years before and that was SIMPLY GLORIOUS. Mr. Sanchos was just “okay” – the kids liked the water park – and it was free for us to get in – as long as we paid for drinks. There was some shopping to do, and it was fine – just a disappointment for me – as my memory of Cozumel was so beautiful – and this – well, it was not. Sea Days So much to do – game shows, bingo (neither of which I did – but if the weather weren’t nice, great to know there’s so much going on) – movies in the Atrium and in Spice H2O. Just really, really, really SOOOOO many fun things to see and do. But more than anything, just seeing the joy on my children’s faces, and spending time with my husband. As my son said to me “mommy, the best thing about the trip was that you didn’t work and you were never on your phone.” Love. Norwegian iConcierge App Fantastic way to keep in touch. We burned that thing up – the three “girls” (moms) had the app – and we could find each other anywhere, meet up, make plans, stay in touch…. Final Thoughts We are the kind of people that believe life plays out from your intentions. And we all went intending to have a fantastic time – and it was the trip of a lifetime. All of the elements were in place – really great friends, fantastic weather, a beautiful ship and so much fun. My stomach HURTS from laughing for 7 days. And life is incredibly short. We met a man on board – he and his wife are nurses. They cruise every 3 months – yep, every 3 months. Because they see so much death, and realize that life is short – so they take every opportunity to drink from the marrow of life. Norwegian Epic is absolutely the right cruise for you – you just need to make it so!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have just returned from yet, another wonderful cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines. We sailed aboard the Norwegian Epic for the week of April 20th-27th, and would like to share some of our experience. This sailing took us to the Western ... Read More
We have just returned from yet, another wonderful cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines. We sailed aboard the Norwegian Epic for the week of April 20th-27th, and would like to share some of our experience. This sailing took us to the Western Caribbean. Now, just a quick reference to that Western Caribbean. We have sailed the Western Caribbean on previous occasions. When we booked aboard the Epic, 2 years ago, she was expected to call on the ports of the Eastern Caribbean. However, due to Norwegian releasing the newly built Norwegian Getaway earlier than expected, our voyage aboard the Norwegian Epic was moved to the Western Caribbean. We were given the option of cancelling, switching to the Getaway, or staying with the Epic, and joining in (once again) on the Western Caribbean itinerary. After giving the itinerary change careful consideration, and the fact that we really wanted to experience the Norwegian Epic, along with our theory that the ship really IS the destination for us, we decided to remain with our original plans and sail on her. It was a decision that I am certainly glad that we made. I have read many reviews in reference to the Norwegian Epic, and Norwegian Cruise Lines in general, and have come to the decision that there are just some people who love to complain, and were born into it. First and foremost we stayed in the Haven, and enjoyed the luxuries of the 2 Bedroom Suite. I mention this first because I don't want anyone to think that just because we stayed in the Haven, that the other categories were (or are) treated any less differently. Having sailed with, and meeting with other people staying in various categories aboard the ship, I can attest to the fact that everyone I talked with thoroughly enjoyed their experience, whatever cabin they called home. The embarkation process that I witnessed was by far flawless, considering the ship was sailing with a sold out crowd. We arrived early at the terminal, as this is just our style. Remember, 4000 passengers are traveling with you. Everyone uses the same gangway. You can either be number 1 or number 4000....but everyone goes thru the same door. I prefer early boarding, a nice lunch, a walk about the vessel, and then watching "the masses" as they are also arriving. Upon boarding, we immediately took advantage of signing up for the Ultimate Beverage Package. Having previously taken advantage of this "win-fall", aboard the Norwegian Sky last year, we knew it would be a winner for us, again. This Package must be purchased by everyone in the stateroom, and my partner and I had no reservations about purchasing it again. For $394.45 per person, or a total of $788.90 for the two of us, I can assure you it was money well spent. Just to "be me", I decided to save all the receipts of bar purchases, and see just how lucky we would be. Remember...we paid just shy of $800. And those receipts? A cool $1100, and that's not considering the receipts that melted in my pocket at the pool, were lost on those "happy occasions", or blown away by those lovely sea breezes. To say that we saved upwards of $300, and were not drunken idiots while doing so, is certainly a truthful statement. We chose the Haven dining room for our first night of dinner, as we felt we owed it to ourselves to at least experience it, considering that we were living there. It was wonderful to say the least. We joined other guests in the main dining room (The Manhattan Room) on two other occasions. The food and service were excellent, there also. I have read many reviews where people complained that "the wait was long, the food was terrible and the staff was rude." As far as our experience goes, this couldn't be further from the truth. We never waited to get in, the food was excellent, and the staff bent over backwards to make our experience here as pleasurable as one could imagine. Future dining experiences took us to Le Bistro, La Cucina, Teppanyaki, and Moderno. Each and every one of them was worth the added expense, and we will continue to visit these venues, (along with other specialty restaurants) on future sailings. We never waited for a lounge chair. We never waited more that a few minutes for a cocktail, and in fact, the staff were very well versed in meeting our "desires" when we were imbibing on an afternoon of sunshine, or trying our luck in the casino. As I stated earlier, the ship IS the experience for us, so I can assure you that we strolled every nook and cranny of this vessel. She is a fine ship. Well cared for, clean, presentable, and considering that we were sailing with a full load, we found many quiet areas to call our own. After reading many past reviewers posts of their "dilemma's", I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. You're on vacation! Is everything always 110%? Probably not. Am I going to complain that I waited for dinner for (perhaps) 10 minutes while they made up the table, knowing that we could enjoy the company of friends at a nearby bar? Probably not. Am I going to complain that guests service desk had a (small) line of people at 1:00 in the afternoon? Hello? Try going at 10 pm....let me know how that works out. I paid many a visits there at that hour (To put my casino winnings on my account), and can assure you, that I practically had the place to myself. I still think that my room steward slept under the bed. Even when we were away from the stateroom for a short while, we came back to a room of cleanliness. (Although we really never left it a wreck anyway as this is just how we live.) I went by some rooms that looked like a frat party had taken place, or a wild night of sex, so one has to consider how these individuals live anyway, and are probably the ones who complain the most. Treat people as you would expect to be treated. Don't book passage on the cheapest room available, then arrive like the "Queen of Romania", and expect to be waited on hand and foot. Ain't gonna happen, nor should it! We will be sailing on the Norwegian Getaway for my 50th birthday this October, as she happens to be embarking on that very milestome that I will be reaching. I can't think of a better way to spend it then with a handful of close friends, and most importantly those "friends" of Norwegian Cruise Lines, who I'm sure will make it a birthday that I shall never forget. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Oh my goodness I have never read so many picky reviews before a cruise! Listen if you are an easy going/fun-loving person just looking to do whatever you want on your vacation and have a great time then the Epic is a great fit for you. ... Read More
Oh my goodness I have never read so many picky reviews before a cruise! Listen if you are an easy going/fun-loving person just looking to do whatever you want on your vacation and have a great time then the Epic is a great fit for you. The food is AMAZING! I have been on Carnival, RCL, and Celebrity with over 9 cruises under my belt and this was our first NCL experience, we were so impressed by the food. We are also extreme foodies so take that into consideration. Cabins: Okay they are a little smaller inside, but the balconies are the largest we have seen at sea. Also it has the most storage I have seen in any room. We hardly had anything laying out and I felt organized for our week long voyage. The bathroom situation did not bother my husband and I not one bit! Actually the shower is also the largest we have seen in any standard balcony room. You can actually stand in there and turn around and all that. I swear some people just need something to complain about really. Beds were comfy, we had them empty out the mini-fridge on the first day so we could put our own stuff in there :) Stewards were very kind and always there for you. Food: AWESOME! The best part of this cruise! The food variety even just in the cafe is amazing. They have high quality food and change it every day. Of course there are always the staples, but the main course changed every day. We ate in the main dining room or O'Sheehans almost every night. We dined in La Cucina one night and I had the best Ribeye steak I have had in a longggg time! Service was wonderful. Only thing is the main cafe did feel a bit crowded on the first day for lunch (expected), and on sea days for lunch so be prepared for that. The layout could be a bit more spread out, but we didnt let it bother us. Entertainment: We did the Blue Man and Legends. Blue Man was great just what I expected. Legends was worth seeing only for the Steven Tyler. Katy Perry oh my goodness was so bad. I honestly felt bad for the girl haha. No one was clapping except me trying to make her feel better. If anyone is working for the Epic and reading this seriously take that into consideration. Steve Tyler was so good! Looked and sounded just like him. Easy entry, made our reservations online before hand. They will sell out so do this when you can. Pools: Okay there was 4 of us in our party (all adults) and we didnt really utilize the pool, a bit crowded with kids. This is like every cruise I have ever been on honestly. All the cruise lines need to make them bigger! But anyways we would go around 6pm and it would be dead! Went on the water slides with no lines and they were a blast!! These are legit water slides people! What an awesome addition at sea. During sea days we would just find a lounger in the shade and read or go play bingo (which we won $168!) and eat haha. I scheduled our shows for sea days which I liked. Overall we had a blast on the Epic. Take into consideration that yes there are a lot of people on this boat, but if you play it right you wont even notice honestly. Do NOT let these other cranky people scare you! If they wanted a super quiet vacation dont go on a boat with 4000 other people, go to a private resort come on. As long as the boat is super clean ( I am a clean freak! ) and the food is awesome, my vacation expectations are made. Which this one met all of them. Have a blast!!! :) Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
The ship was full which is unusual for repositioning cruises. Pre-Cruise. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Brickell the night before the cruise. It is about 10 minutes to the cruise port. It is near shops and restaurants in Brickell. ... Read More
The ship was full which is unusual for repositioning cruises. Pre-Cruise. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Brickell the night before the cruise. It is about 10 minutes to the cruise port. It is near shops and restaurants in Brickell. They have a shuttle to the port for $5 per person. You need to sign up for the shuttle the night before. The shuttle ride went smoothly. Epic Check In. We arrived about 11:30. You immediately hand over your checked luggage to the porter. We then proceeded to the check in area. There were no lines. We showed our passport and cruise documents and then proceeded inside the terminal where we went through security and received a health questionnaire. We filled out the questionnaire immediately and proceeded to the check in desks. They take a credit card to secure onboard purchases and take your picture. (I believe they immediately put a hold charge on your credit card for $300. If you want to use cash or a debit card you have to go to guest services to get that worked out.) You are given your access key card that is to be used for everything you do on board. We then proceeded to a terminal waiting area where you are put in groups to board the boat. By 12:30 we were sitting in a restaurant having lunch. At 1:00 you can put your carry on in your stateroom. If you need to do anything at guest services on Deck 5, they are open. We didn’t need anything, but it is the place to upgrade your cabin, handle your onboard credit, get posh passes, etc. We then walked around the ship to get oriented. Most of the common areas are on Decks 5, 6, 7. Internet/Messaging Access. We were given flyers at guest services with instructions on how to get access to the internet and/or the onboard texting/messaging/information service. You can also get instructions on your room TV. You can download iConcierge app anytime before or after arrival. Once onboard you register on the app with your stateroom number. The app is $7.95 and has several features. One is the ability to text others onboard. It worked pretty good. It’s important to keep the app open in order to get messages. If you close it, you may not get them. Internet access is available in the internet café or by wireless in your cabin. It is about .70 per minute or you can buy packages. We bought the 250 minute package for $100. It came with 20 free minutes. It never worked. We believe they were having technical difficulties on board. We were charged 25 minutes and never got beyond a spinning wheel. We asked for and received a refund. I don’t know if this was an issue because this was a transatlantic trip or whether they were just having problems. As we got within a couple of days of Barcelona, it worked much better. TV. TV channels are sketchy. They have MSNBC, FOX news, BBC, Nickelodeon in several languages, ESPN (rarely saw the actual ESPN. They lost the signal after a couple of days and they aired soccer from another channel.) There is also a TV and Movie Channel that show recent shows and movies. Unfortunately, we never found a TV/Movie schedule. They also have a pay-per-view Movie Channel. I believe the movies were about $10 each. We downloaded some movies onto our computer before we left. On bad weather days they came in handy. Cabin. We were in 13289, an aft-balcony cabin. They are much smaller than they appear. We chose one with the bed near balcony. You can differentiate where the bed is by looking at the floor plan online and noting where the curve in the wavy wall is. The wall will be curving out from the room and the bed fits in that curve. We didn’t want the bed near the door, because the toilet is literally beside your head. The bathroom setup is as weird as reported. Both the shower and the toilet have semi-opaque doors and there is a curtain separating them from the rest of the cabin. The sink is small, but we didn’t have any problems with it. There is a lot of storage. A decent sized closet, drawers underneath the couch, several cabinets and shelves, storage above the bed and storage behind the upper couch cushions and suitcase storage underneath the bed. There is only one electrical outlet with 2 plugs. We brought a plug-in that expands one plug in to three. The balcony is spacious enough for a lounge chair, two regular chairs and a small table. The bed is a queen size, firm and pretty comfortable, although very short. The cons of this particular part of the ship is when people smoke on their own balconies, the smoke comes right back at all the balconies. Norwegian needs to look at putting all the smokers on one side of the ship. Also, we were 2 decks below the outdoor Spice Dance floor. A couple of nights they played music that vibrated the cabin until 2 am. Take some time to really look at all the deck plans and what might be over or under you in terms of noise. Weather and movement. You can almost always feel the ship’s vibration in this cabin. We had some poor weather and rough seas for a few days. I believe that is typical for a transatlantic cruise. I understand this May 2013 cruise experienced 50ft waves. So it could have been worse. You can feel the rocking everywhere on the ship. It might have been slightly better in the middle of the ship a few decks down. The rough seas made it very difficult to sleep a few nights. Some motion sickness aids will be needed if you are prone to that. The weather gets cooler as you go east, so your Caribbean resort wear will not be worn a lot after the first couple of days. You do need a jacket and pants. Food. The food is just okay. And I am by no means a foodie or picky. I was a little disappointed. One caveat though, we ate only in the free restaurants (Taste, Manhattan, O’Sheehan’s and Garden Café) so I can’t say whether the food in pay restaurants was any better. Taste and Manhattan are waiter service. The food was okay, the food-to-table service a little slow, but the waiters were helpful and professional. Taste and Manhattan fill up at 6:00, so if you have an early show, you need to get in to those restaurants early. If you wait until 6:00 to eat, you won’t make it to your show. The Garden Café is a buffet and probably had the best, most consistent food and the greatest variety. O’Sheehans is a waiter and bar service. The food here was better than Taste and Manhattan. Try the Chicken Pot Pie. The 24/7 $5.00 pizza was barely okay. We did room service a few times and it was pretty fast and decent. The room service menu has 4 or 5 breakfast, lunch and dinner items. By all means, bring water and soda with you. We brought a 12-pack of water and a 6-pack of soda. (They only serve Pepsi products). Buying a 6-pack of water onboard will cost you a whopping $22! We wrapped our water and soda together with clear shipping tape and then printed out an extra luggage tag and securely taped that on to the water/soda package. Hand that over with your checked baggage and it will make it to your room. Entertainment. We made reservations before we left for all the shows we wanted to see. All except the comedy show had empty seats. We saw Legends in Concert featuring Elvis, Katy Perry and Steven Tyler. Elvis was very good, Katy Perry was awful and didn’t fit in and Steven Tyler was very good. Next, we saw Blue Man Group. We’ve seen them before and loved them. They did not disappoint and their show transfers to this small stage very nicely. We also saw the Second City Comedy show. It was probably the best show of them all and they do different shows every few nights. We dropped by Fat Cats a few times and the music was good. There was always something going on onboard, music, trivia, bingo, game shows, lectures, art auctions, a bowling alley, etc. It got too cold too quickly to try any of the outdoor activities. The gym is spacious and has every type of equipment and class imaginable. We did not use the spa. The library was not good as it had hardly any books. Time change. They turned the clocks forward 1 hour everyday for the middle 6 days. Port Call. Our one port call was Funchal, Madeira. We signed up for the shuttle ride into town for $8 each. After seeing where we ended up, we could’ve walked from the ship. It’s probably a 20-30 minute walk. There were a lot of wifi spots in town, but they seemed to be bogged down by all the visitors. We had a problem getting cash with our debit card. Everyone had problems at first, but the further they went down the street, some people were successful. We never did and haven’t figured out why yet. It seemed to have an issue with the fact that it was a Mastercard debit card. Also, our bank had us list the countries we would be in, and I’m not certain we listed Portugal. We ended up getting cash with a credit card and will figure out the why later. (Once we got to Barcelona, we did not have any debit card issues.) Disembarkation. We arrived in Barcelona around 4 am. You must get off the ship by 9 am. Breakfast is available. There are specific times to disembark for those who are flying out, depending on when your flight leaves. There is also a specific time for those who have made arrangements through Norwegian to stay in Barcelona. Independent travelers (those with no arrangements through Norwegian) can get off at any time between 5:30 and 9 am. You can have your bags tagged and taken from your room by the steward the night before or you can take them with you when you leave in the morning. Unless you are physically unable or have a lot of luggage, it’s easier to just take them with you. Going through customs was very quick. Once outside, there were numerous options for transportation.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We debated whether or not we would enjoy the transatlantic on such a large ship, but this is our 9th cruise, second transatlantic and we wanted to give it a try, we are very seasoned travelers and always have a good time no matter where in ... Read More
We debated whether or not we would enjoy the transatlantic on such a large ship, but this is our 9th cruise, second transatlantic and we wanted to give it a try, we are very seasoned travelers and always have a good time no matter where in the world we go. We flew into FLL the night before, arrived late due to a delay in one of our flights, so we had planned on staying close, Holiday Inn Express, Dania Beach, new hotel, excellent stay, and used Jiffy Jeff Transportation, they were on time, reasonable, nice van and great service. Embarkation was quick, easy, staff was pleasant, Norwegian has one of the best systems of getting on and off the ship. This ship is very different from other ships we have sailed on, but we would travel on her again. It is a large ship, wide, almost a hotel type layout, you could almost feel you were in a Las Vegas Hotel. It was clean, easy to get around, and enjoyed the change in other ships with large atriums. So many choices in entertainment, there is no way you can even compare this ship and line with any other cruise lines. It was excellent. Loved the shows, The Jazz Club, there is something to do for everyone, the variety is endless. The food, for the first time we thought we would try the pay restaurants since it was transatlantic with only one port stop. It was excellent, all of them, we tried every one, of course they are all different, some of course a different atmosphere, but all very good. We usually are fine with the included dining on all of our other cruise, but we were spoiled this cruise, not sure if we can not do this dining from now on. Service and Staff, beyond excellent this trip, positive, happy, seemed to be enjoying their job, lines minimal not one complaint. This really makes a difference in any vacation, politeness and a smile. Our stateroom, again we decided to upgrade to a mini suite this cruise, because of the price and lots of sea days. It was the spa mini suite. It was very nice, loved being close to the spa, thought I would use it more, but lots to do and keep busy with. We had some cool weather and a couple of sea days that the waves kicked up and it packed the spa. Our cabin steward was quiet, there was always polite, always ice and the room made up. If we needed anything extra, he was happy to bring it. He was not one of our best, but he was fine. Tipped him extra, know he works hard, they all do, and want them to know we recognize their efforts. Our day in Madera was spectacular, we walked, felt great, then on the Hop on Hop off bus and spent the afternoon around the city. One thing that was different from our last transatlantic with the larger ship, we were not as anxious to get off the boat for the day at our first and only port of call, that says a lot. Disembarkation in Barcelona again easy. We took our own bag off, so had a cup of coffee in the room and then headed out, customs was quick. We have spent several days multiple times in Barcelona, so decided to take the fast train south to Valencia, it was fantastic. Do yourself a favor and see this city on one of your adventures it was a treat. One thing I can add is there is multiple opinions about this ship. We loved it and would travel again on her. The bathrooms did not bother us at all, but, could see where it could for some people that needed their own privacy. The bed, little shorter then our king, but fine. It is a different type of ship but we enjoyed it as much as any of our others. It was a great experience, would have enjoyed a little warmer weather, and less winds, but the ship, staff and all it had to offer made up for it all.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I'd never been on a cruise before, let alone out of the Eastern US. I decided to take my kids on a cruise as a reward for such a hard year. A friend decided to join us. Cabins: We upgraded from a family balcony to a family mini-suite ... Read More
I'd never been on a cruise before, let alone out of the Eastern US. I decided to take my kids on a cruise as a reward for such a hard year. A friend decided to join us. Cabins: We upgraded from a family balcony to a family mini-suite and loved it. The bathrooms were a bit interesting but we managed just fine with four people in the stateroom. It just took patience and taking turns (but we all learned those things in grade school). The curtain acted like a changing room for us all. It was fun to say "and behind curtain number 2...." The beds were comfy and I shared mine with a friend. They seemed larger than a queen (and I'm used to having a king all to myself at home). The boy-child slept in the pullman and girl-spawn had the bottom. She was a little cramped but that's because she's nearly 5'10" and is also used to sprawling out on her own queen sized bed at home. Our steward, Michael, was beyond attentive. He went out of his way to make sure that he always said hello and greeted us warmly whenever he saw us. He even showed us how to make one of the towel animals. We always had ice, towels and the room was always clean and neat. Shows: We did the Blue Man Group and Legends in Rock. Loved both of them. Would have gone to Legends a second time except that there were so many other things that we wanted to take advantage of before leaving. The music in the Manhattan room was great. Pools: They were generally crowded during the day but that's to be expected. Everyone keeps complaining about how many kids there were on this ship and how crowded they were. I expected that. This ship is geared towards families with kids. Nickelodeon characters, kids programs, kids games poolside. Did you expect the to hide in their cabins? My kids loved the slides and we ended up just doing the pools around dinner time so that we had some space. Plus...we're pretty fair-skinned, so being in the blazing sun was something we tried to limit. Evening swimming was by far our choice. Finding chairs in the shade near the pool was a challenge. We did see so many people reserving chairs early in the morning and then not bothering to get them until later. We just moved on down towards the back of the ship where it was quieter and we were happy as clams. The kids would do the slides and then come back and hang with us to dry out. Food: Holy cow, the food. I don't know how anyone could be unsatisfied on all the selections they made available. We only ever ate at the Garden Cafe, the Pool Side buffet and the Manhattan Room. Our servers in the Manhattan room were always attentive and took good care of us. We had only one poor experience and chalked it up to the guy being new and a bit flustered. We loved Paulo as our server. Had him three times and even requested him because we loved him so much. I loved being able to try some new things for dinner and be waited on for a change. Waiting ten minutes for a table/waiter and thirty minutes for your food? Isn't that less than what you'd expect from any other decent restaurant on a busy night (Olive Garden can be a wait of an hour and nearly that for the food)? There were 4200 passengers on this ship and they have to cook the food. I'm still amazed at the "I need everything right now" attitude of some of the passengers that were sailing with us. You're on vacation, just take it easy and enjoy yourselves. We opted for the Ultimate Beverage Package because we planned on drinking 5 drinks a day (it pays for itself at about 5 drinks and after that, it's bonus to us!). Some people were complaining that the drinks were costing them a fortune and that soda cost a fortune. I think that my kids soda packages were $10 a day for BOTH of them. They were able to get soda, lemonade and even a boat load of frozen drinks that they never get at home because they're so expensive. The bars were pretty awesome. We tended to find Shaker's Martini Bar our favorite place to just have a quiet time and enjoy the amazing bartender, Lorelie. She went on break for an hour and we walked around until she got back (to which she got a standing ovation from the bar), simply because we enjoyed her taking care of us. She truly is amazing. She concocted a wonderful Almond Joy martini that was to die for. Her Key Lime Martini was just like having a piece of pie! The ice bar was a fun experience. We didn't last long in there because it was so chilly, but after a day in the heat, it was a fun little thing to do. The only thing that I wish was different was that there was a way to bypass the casino. You can't get between decks 5 and 7 from midship without having to go through the casino, unless you want to get off and walk the entire length (which is not that long when actually walked). I managed to enjoy walking a lot during this trip and learned my way around pretty well. I also managed to walk so much that I didn't gain a pound. And with all the drinking and eating we did, that's awesome! I probably wouldn't go on the Epic again, simply because the amount of people was overwhelming, especially to my small-town kids. I would do a cruise on a smaller ship though. Excursions were fun but I may do the next cruise with just a friend and stay on board when everyone gets off for a day. Maybe hit some shops for an hour or two off board and then get back on. Overall, it was very enjoyable! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I went on this cruise with my parents (in their 50's) and brought my nephew along (16). Due to the nature of the transatlantic, there were very few teenagers on board and my nephew was a little bored, but that was his own doing. The ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my parents (in their 50's) and brought my nephew along (16). Due to the nature of the transatlantic, there were very few teenagers on board and my nephew was a little bored, but that was his own doing. The embrakation took FOREVER, but that might be because we did not arrive until after 1pm. As we had 2 different cabins, and were traveling together we wanted to board together. However they had my parents notated in a different terminal and gave me greif over trying to enter together. The staff onsite in Miami were less than helfpul. There were alway so many activities to do, between bingo, playing in the casino, at the pools and water slides, bowling, trivia, scavenger hunts, and this was just the day time. They also offered beer, wine, martini and margaritia tastings for a price (about 15). WIth the dueling paino's at night, comedy club, the comeidan, hypnotisit, Legends in Concert, Blue Man Group, it was hard to not have something to do. I will say that the service in Le Bistro lacked in addition to the very poor service recieved in the Manhattan Room for lunch on afternoon. This was brought to the attention of various management employees and I was given free booze, which always makes up for bad service :) Made friends with many of the entertianers on the 11 day crossing and enjoyed spending the days with them. Was a very relaxing crusie. My only major issue was very very very poor internet connection. As I am persuing my Masters, I needed to be online. This was very tolling. But overall can't wait to cruise with NCL again and am booked on the Getaway in Februray 2015. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
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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