Cruise Ratings
1,243
1,009
866
578
310
Sail Date: December 2018
This cruise overall was a good bang for your buck. There are lots of activities, the staterooms are kept immaculate, and the ship is kept quite clean. My family’s biggest obstacle on this cruise was the length of the lines, and the ... Read More
This cruise overall was a good bang for your buck. There are lots of activities, the staterooms are kept immaculate, and the ship is kept quite clean. My family’s biggest obstacle on this cruise was the length of the lines, and the massive crowds everywhere. The theatres, atrium, comedy club, and restaurants are not large enough to hold the cruise patrons, so we had to get there a minimum of 30-40 minutes early for EVERYTHING. It made our cruise quite stressful because we knew we were not guaranteed a seat for any of the shows that didn’t take reservations, game shows, bingo, atrium presentations, etc. The food was alright, what we could eat was tasty. The trouble was that we are vegan, and it was quite complicated to eat onboard. We couldn’t simply note that we were vegan on our reservation (vegetarian is the only option). None of the foods at the garden buffet are marked vegan or list any allergies, let alone any ingredients. We couldn’t even order all of our meals for the week in advance, we had to come back every single day to make our orders for only dinner the following day. We were left to our own devices to track down chefs and ask uninformed waitstaff about the ingredients for the breakfast and lunch foods. The ship itself was clean, nicely renovated, a great size with lots of activities (if you could get there early enough), and had something for everyone. Our stateroom was lovely. We met so many wonderful staff members who were incredibly helpful and kind, namely Maie (dietary specialist/host/waitress) and Nurma (stewardess). The staff on this ship were wonderful. The show Priscilla was amazing, and such a great production value that we were not expecting. The comedy club shows were hilarious, although extremely cramped and not nearly enough seating for all the people there. The shore excursions that we did through NCL were fun and exciting. However, I would have liked a larger selection. The selection was lacking; I would have liked to see more options. Overall, I would sail with NCL again. It was a beautiful and immaculate ship with a great crew who made it great for me. Having distinct vegan options, adding seats in the theaters, and shortening lines will make this ship 10x more enjoyable. Had a great time overall. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We live in Orlando and chose this cruise for the holidays because it was close to our home. The ship is beautiful but way too crowded! We stood in line for two hours at embarkation, there were lines for everything from dining to the shows. ... Read More
We live in Orlando and chose this cruise for the holidays because it was close to our home. The ship is beautiful but way too crowded! We stood in line for two hours at embarkation, there were lines for everything from dining to the shows. Many restaurants were sold out by the second day! 4500 people was too much for this ship. Comedy club holds about 100 people and was always sold out. Specialty restaurants sold out! We felt like herded cattle the whole trip. The food was good only in the specialty restaurants. Good luck finding a table in the buffet. After 40 cruises our mid ship balcony cabin was the smallest we have ever had. My feet hung off the bed and I am 5'11". The sink is next to the bed and toilet stall is so small I kept hitting my head on the wall. 30 minute waits for the elevators and you wind up giving up and take the stairs on a ship with 17 floors! We had a great time but will never sail a large ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I have been on both Disney and Celebrity Cuise Lines in the past, this is the first on Norwegian. It is also our first cruise over Christmas. The good- lots to do and the Entertainment was the best we have seen on a cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have been on both Disney and Celebrity Cuise Lines in the past, this is the first on Norwegian. It is also our first cruise over Christmas. The good- lots to do and the Entertainment was the best we have seen on a cruise ship. We liked the balcony room design and our attendant was fantastic. If you have kids this ship is for you. Our favourite restaurants were The Bistro and Noodles. We have had a nice Xmas dinner at Manhattans. The bad- There was always a line whether we had reservations or not. It was annoying because the reservation system was abused by customers and the staff allowed it. Also some restaurants did not allow couples to reserve yet bigger groups were allowed,so while we stood in line big groups were brought right in. The ship was not very clean and the customer service was not up to the standards we are used to. Staff seemed confused and unsure. What we learned, we like specialized dining but with structured seating. We will probably return to Celebrity ( Reflection, Edge etc) and if we had kids go to Disney or Royal Caribbean. Celebrity should learn from Norwegians Entertainment package , Prescilla of the Desert, Burn the floor and the Comedians and magic acts were fantastic on Norwegian never saw anything that good on Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I wanted to take our 3 children and nephew on a pre-Christmas cruise. We had the 2 bedroom villa in the Haven and my son and nephew had a balcony cabin. The staff was not nearly as friendly compared to the previous cruises ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to take our 3 children and nephew on a pre-Christmas cruise. We had the 2 bedroom villa in the Haven and my son and nephew had a balcony cabin. The staff was not nearly as friendly compared to the previous cruises we’ve taken with NCL. This was our 3rd time getting the 2 bedroom villa in the Haven. My daughter and I decided to go up to the Haven’s private area where it was quiet. A NCL staff member walked over to us, (we’re African American) and asked if we’re supposed to be up there. I asked him how many of the Caucasian people did you ask if they belong? He immediately started back peddling. I was embarrassed for myself and my daughter. Our family has sailed NCL since 2011. We have NEVER been treated so disrespectfully. I will NEVER sail Epic again. I waited to post my review because I wanted to give NCL time to respond to my complaint and I have heard nothing back. When people who work hard to provide a great life for their family go on vacation and spend the money to relax, they should not have to get to the middle of the ocean and be humiliated for their skin color, religion, beliefs or sexual orientation. By the way, the Haven 2 bedrooms for 4 people is not a cheap thrill. It’s EXPENSIVE!!! I have to rethink my stance of only traveling NCL after this. It’s hurtful that you can be loyal to a brand but they’re not loyal to their long standing customers. Ports: The ports were ok, I don't if repairs were still going on due to the storm that hit September 2017. We did enjoy the stop in Tortola. Our children chose to do the Virgin Gouda Baths and my husband and I chose to do the speed boat tour around Tortola. Ship: This was the first time since 2009 I had a complaint about the ship. The ship was ok, not what I expected at all. The interior decor, especially in the Haven areas were nicely furnished. I loved the whole Haven experience being away from the crowd and relaxing in the air conditioned lounge. Thumbs up for that. Dining: Surprisingly enough, the food was not that great on this ship. We were highly anticipating going to our favs. We went to Cagney's and the food wasn't good at all. The next night we went to the Italian restaurant and they didn't have the lasagna anymore, the food we chose was not good. After 3 nights of bad experiences and customer services, we opted to eat in the buffet and room service. Disembarkation: Horrible with a capital H. Again, I have NEVER had a complaint since 2009 with NCL. It took us 2 hours to disembark. We did not understand why we didn't have the same experience getting on than getting off. When we arrived, as promised, we had someone escort us to our cabins. Getting off, we were with the general public and had to stand in long lines. As a Haven Suite customer, I would think that we would get to have a certain privilege to disembark. Children: We brought our 21, 20, 20 and 18 year old children with us. They mainly played basketball and stayed in the arcade. After 3 days they were bored and just watched movies and played on their phones. They did say for them, the best part of the cruise was the port visits where they could roam and not be confined to the ship. If you have older children, let them choose some of the excursions that they like to do. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our 4th cruise together (with my better half having 4 more) and we all agreed that it will be the LAST cruise on this size ship. "Bigger ain't better", as the saying should go. Let's start with the ship ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise together (with my better half having 4 more) and we all agreed that it will be the LAST cruise on this size ship. "Bigger ain't better", as the saying should go. Let's start with the ship itself. It's dark. It's loud. Oh, and it's big. Basically the ship is a design disaster. Lines were everywhere. We lined up to: eat dinner, to get drinks, to even see shows. Thank goodness my mother-in-law had the smarts to book as many reservations as possible. I feel bad for anyone who didn't book in advance because of all the lines. Once we just gave up waiting, and we were pretty good about keeping ourselves occupied with games or conversation to make the wait time pass. Now for enjoying the sun on a Caribbean cruise. What sun? The promenade deck was essentially unusable because of scant doors to it, and there was no natural light coming into the dining and entertainment decks either, then add all the people going to dinner and shows on those decks and the ship quickly becomes a dark, noisy trap box. The quiet sundeck towards the forward section was a pleasure to find (because it was away from the pools, had it's own bar staff, and was _quiet_) but basically inaccessible because of a hidden elevator and single, small stair leading to it. The aft "sun deck" was really an outdoor theater with massive, loud TV blocking the gorgeous views. I'm not sure how folks enjoyed sitting in the hot spas back there ... plenty of alcohol helped, for sure. One more point on ship design that speaks volumes: Need to potty? Best to go back to your room and use your own because the public bathrooms were full during dinner and show times. The toilet situation and long lines speak volumes to the ship's design failure. On the other hand, if you stay in your state room, order in for dinner, and watch your personal TV, then you're all set! Hah! Now for the good stuff: we went for the ports and our excursions made memories. And the staff. The wait, bar tending, and room stewards were all great! Not sure why others are complaining about the staff. We made sure to become repeat customers of the best waiters/waitresses and bartenders, and tipped them! By the end of the cruise they would come up to us with smiles / small-talk and put in our orders without us even asking!! Our room steward had difficulty with English but we were still able to get an extra pillow top for the bed from him, and the room was always spotless when he finished cleaning up our mess. :) Also the entertainment was top notch. The sheer talent of the actors and circus, plus the volume of costume changes and props was outstanding. The performers got well deserved applause and shout outs throughout. Others have complained about one show being not-family friendly / rated-R, and "gay", but did folks not read the Freestyle itinerary? It clearly states which entertainment is family friendly and its content. This is like someone going to the Guppies and complaining about alcohol-free drinks (at a kids event!). So why did we cruise on Epic? For the ports, like others said. It's not like we didn't know the ship was big, but we won't be going on it again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We were trying Epic before booking a TA next spring and the price was really too good to pass up. I won't praise Freestyle dining (not my preferred), but I chose NCL. To my surprise the Freestyle dining service in main restaurants had ... Read More
We were trying Epic before booking a TA next spring and the price was really too good to pass up. I won't praise Freestyle dining (not my preferred), but I chose NCL. To my surprise the Freestyle dining service in main restaurants had improved quite a bit since our last cruise (apart from the 2 hour 10 minute lunch and we didn't even get dessert served lunch). Food was pretty good in the dining room, could find something I liked every night. The food in the buffet was a different story. On 2 different nights, due to circumstances beyond our control, we ended up in the buffet. Neither night had any beef selections on the buffet (chicken and pork only), then I tried the stir fry station and no shrimp or beef. The buffet meat selections were very disappointing. Epic is not a well designed mega ship, it doesn't flow from place to place, the pool areas are very small for this large of a ship. The theater is too small as well. It is just not a well thought out layout compared to other lines mega ships. Service: This was the big letdown, our room steward was Ok, but we would leave in the morning around 9 and the room might not be made up until after lunch, but Ok. If NCL is going to charge the same level of gratuities per day for service that other lines are, then NCL should provide the same level of service throughout the ship. The buffet area never had anyone offering drinks (tea or coffee), picking up plates. The only service staff was cleaning tables after people left. We did not have a drink package, but this would have been a huge issue, so many cruisers we spoke with were very upset that they always had to go to a bar to get a drink, didn't matter where they were, pool, dining room or theater. The hotel director stated they only had 300 waiters on board, that is way to few! Entertainment was not very good, Burn the Floor OK, but Priscilla Queen of the Desert musical was atrociously bad and offensive. Dueling Pianos was good for a couple of nights, but then got to be monotonous. The activities staff worked hard and had a lot of energy. The good things, NCL still offers an indoor cigar bar. The price was ridiculously low. Even for a bargain hunter I would have a hard time picking Epic again, I would pay a couple hundred more for better food selection, entertainment and service. This cruise left me feeling like I did after my last Carnival cruise, "if that is what cruising is like on NCL, it doesn't matter how low the price is, it isn't worth it" Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Overall my wife and I have a great time on this particular cruise. It was mainly due to the ports we stopped at. However, there were a few areas that really bugged us. The embarkation process was took longer than in Miami. When we ... Read More
Overall my wife and I have a great time on this particular cruise. It was mainly due to the ports we stopped at. However, there were a few areas that really bugged us. The embarkation process was took longer than in Miami. When we arrived in the morning there were very few people outside the terminal to give us assistance. Even when we were about to enter the terminal the gentleman standing next to the escalator looked totally asleep and was telling people to go up the escalator even though there was no room at the top of the stairs. The main thing that really bothered us about this particular cruise is that NCL decided to bypass Great Stirrup Cay even though the weather was beautiful. They said the tenders couldn't do there thing safely. This really surprised me since the water was no rougher than any other time we needed to be tendered in. From the CC and You Tube reviews I have looked at it seems NCL skips GSC all the time, so I wondering if there really is a tender issue or they do some revenue calculations to keep people on the ship to gamble or spend more money. Hopefully that is not the case, but it was a beautiful sunny day when we were supposed to go to GSC. The ship itself is ok, but it's my least favorite of the NCL ships my wife and I have been on. There were many areas that needed maintenance, including the bathrooms. Many soap dispensers and faucets worked or barely worked. I also saw water on the floor a lot of the times I used the bathrooms. The decor is very dated and looked more like an old Carnival ship. There were very few bars which made getting a drink a challenge most of the time. Many times I had to wait at least 10-15 minutes before got our drinks. The bars seemed to be understaffed at times too. The food was good as usual though, but the Manhattan room was a nightmare most times we dined there. A couple times it took two hours to get through dinner. Two of the nights we didn't see a waiter for 15-20 minutes. That had never happened to us on any other NCL cruise. Plus some of the staff in the Manhattan looked terribly disinterested in working, which again was really odd for an NCL ship. The specialty restaurants were great as always. The staff in Cagney's and Teppanyaki were awesome! I did notice the steaks were much smaller and thinner than our last NCL cruise :-), but everything still tasted great and quite honestly the food was plenty for me. Some of the guests were saying there was a lot of training going on, which may be the reason for the bad service in the Manhattan room. These guests said one of the crew members said the training was the reason we didn't go to Great Stirrup Cay, which I'm not sure I believe. Something was definitely up since the service on this ship was definitely inferior as compared to the newer ships. The communication on the ship seemed to be poor too. We rarely heard announcements on the ship and when I called the front desk with questions they gave me wrong answers each time. The told us that self-disembarkation was on the 6th floor, but it was actually on the 5th floor. That made it a little tough when trying to get back on the elevator and we lost our place in line. Even the staff located on these two floors really didn't seem to know which was the right floor. Even though I pointed out some negative items on this cruise, my wife and I still had a good time on the ship, but an even better time off the ship. We're booked on a couple more NCL cruises, so we hope the bad service etc was a one-off and won't happen in 2019. We may cruise on the Epic again, but maybe after they refurbish it again. It definitely needs a lot of work. Oh, btw....they had part of the ship fenced off while they did some pipe work. The grinding and sanding was not exactly music to my ears, nor was the burnt metal smell. I hope this information was helpful and good luck on your next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
The smoke on deck 6 made us sick, had to see the onboard doctor, which really messed up our cruise. We love the Cavern club, but it was so packed that we couldn't enjoy it. People went to the show before and just hung out. Food from ... Read More
The smoke on deck 6 made us sick, had to see the onboard doctor, which really messed up our cruise. We love the Cavern club, but it was so packed that we couldn't enjoy it. People went to the show before and just hung out. Food from the Cirque was not good at all. The meat was cold. The biggest disappointment was that they only had two scuba (we are advance divers) excursions. They did not have any for Cayman or Belize which are amazing dive sites. We had to do our own for Jamaica, Cayman, and Belize. That was a huge disappointment. When we travel on Carnival they are working with us on the ship to schedule dives if they do not have any set up. Norwegian staff would not. The TV vacation planner did not work. We would have things schedule and it would not show up and then we didn't think we had it when we did. This happened in regards to a show and in regards to a dinner reservation. The iConceirge Ap said there was an upgrade and I was never able to use it. We did the Blackjack tournament and asked to get into the one of the rounds on a table that was not filled up and she said it was after 12 when our watches said 1158 and she would not budge even showing her the time. I was penalized in the Blackjack tournament for pushing two stacks of chips in one move onto the betting space when the lady running it told me I could not and then the next lady that took over told people to do it. Bathrooms on deck (not in the room) were often out of paper towels. The embark and disembark were nightmares. I've never had that kind of problem on any other ship. My wife said she would never want to travel on Epic again but I probably would (but not without her). After the experience, I prefer Carnival and the way they do things. I wanted to like Norwegian more. The stateroom and ship and staff were awesome. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I normally cruise with RCCL but took two cruises on Norwegian Escape. The first one was June 2016 and it was amazing, to a large degree because of the cruise directory and assistant cruise director (Tyler G and Andre ... Read More
My husband and I normally cruise with RCCL but took two cruises on Norwegian Escape. The first one was June 2016 and it was amazing, to a large degree because of the cruise directory and assistant cruise director (Tyler G and Andre respectively). The second one was February 2018. We had fun, traveled with 2 other couples, and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, but the cruise directory was boring. It makes a difference but still, we had a good time and the ship was great. We especially loved The District. So we booked this 10 day cruise on the Epic and overall it was a little disappointing. We had a good time - we were on a cruise, how could you not have a good time?? - but we have definitely had better experiences. The ship is very dark. Unlike Escape, which has tons of outside seating via restaurants, there is very little outside seating other than on deck 15. So if you are walking around the ship on the inside, you rarely see daylight. When you walk into the cabin you are basically standing in the bathroom. It is the strangest design I have seen so far. You walk in and the toilet is on the left, then a sink next to it, and the bathtub/shower is on the right. There is a curtain you can pull shut to separate this area from the rest of the cabin, but there really is no privacy or no separate bathroom as such. We had booked a mini suite and on Escape, in a mini suite, we had a beautiful, big bathroom, which double sinks, and a nice shower. There was enough room for both of us to get ready. I am really not sure what the big difference was on Epic regarding the mini suite vs a regular cabin. The food at Cagney's was amazing, Moderno was just ok, and the food at the Garden Cafe was really disappointing. There was a much better selection at the Garden Cafe on Escape and the food tasted better. We were excited to see that Andre (the assistant cruise director from Escape) was actually the cruise director on this ship, but even this was disappointing. On EScape we constantly ran into Tyler and Andrew, they were hilarious, and they interacted with the passengers. While Andre mentioned at the end of every announcement his made that it was his mission to meet each and every one of us, we rarely saw him on the ship. My husband and I were actually discussing going back to RCCL. WE have a lot of loyalty points accrued with them, but after our first Norwegian cruise we were so thrilled we decided to give them another try. However, after the last two Norwegian cruises we decided to stick with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This was a last minute vacation cruise, we live in the outskirts of Orlando and thought to tring to go out for first time out of nearby Port Canaveral. We chose this trip because of the price to visit 7 destinations in 11 days! Also ... Read More
This was a last minute vacation cruise, we live in the outskirts of Orlando and thought to tring to go out for first time out of nearby Port Canaveral. We chose this trip because of the price to visit 7 destinations in 11 days! Also thinking it was a "bigger" ship it would be even better! But it all started off the wrong foot with too many people so there were long lines in the morning to board and then didn't get luggage until 5-6pm others got it at 9. I missed 1x activities held that day, that I was REALLY looking forward to and not being able to get in my room but once able to, the itinerary was not left there and I didn’t want to waste time making lines in customer service to get it, so I missed it... The most EPIC feature is the jerking bed at night, you can’t sleep, it actually wakes you up, my husband CAN sleep through anything but not this! This cruise is only my 4th and I’m familiar to a soft rocking motion on the other ships. I look forward to it at night to sleep but on the Epic, this is quite different, in my husband’s opinion, it’s because it going too fast at night and it actually feels like a hard shaking of the bed, if someone is trying to get you up until mission accomplished! This is very important to us as resting is the main reason to getaway so simple as it seems, to us, having a good night's sleep would be a priority on our vacation. The last couple of "sea" days, the jerking was hardly felt, we think, it’s because they were able to take their time back home. We only wonder how much of this long term aggravation can cause a BIG ship handle without eventually harming any of its structures?! We were on middle side location of the ship #12194 and my son at the AFT deck 11? Who missed a lot of activities as to sleeping it off everytime the ship started to rock being he has sea sickness issues but I chose this “bigger” ship being he didn’t do too bad in the other smaller ships and I was told “bigger” ships would be better for sea sickness. So expecting it to be an even a better experience for him, it was NOT the case, I also chose for him the AFT section for the same reason but in comparison he did much better in the smaller ship. But again the question is was it because this ship was just going faster than it should be because it was an 11 day cruise compared to the smaller ship or of a 7 day cruise? I don’t want to blame the weather because we had great weather except for waves at Costa Maya! First port day came back on ship early, to find brown water coming out of shower. Others complained in the hallway not having "any" water, it seems there was pipe maintenance being done but I have read about this in older posts happening. I don’t understand why if this is a “common” procedure to do on the ships, that by now, they should know we’d appreciate to be given at least notice, so we know “when” to schedule our showers before or after or as housekeeping staff told me, to then just let the water run, until it’s cleared. Wouldn’t that be better than to make us think and take for granted we’re bathing in clean water and half way find out, that it’s dirty water or worse drinking that water from the sink!? The first days it was impossible to get through housekeeping by “phone”, it would go to automation saying they’re busy with other guests and after a couple of days of that. I just got use to contacting them faster by opening my door and calling out to them in the hallway and as busy as they were in a timely manner they did resolve all our issues (not that we had many). But I mention this because a phone call takes away the embarrassment of the day needing to contact them about the brown water, when realizing, it’s your only option, other than using clean towels to dry off brown water and/or getting back dressed with dirty clothes… My husband looking forward the game to watch on the H2O screen was not only disappointed with seeing some areas with dead pixels but missed the beginning of the NFL St Louis vs Cowboys after sitting for 45min at the H20 due to technical issues with receiving satellite feed but it eventually came on when score was 3-0. We noticed stained napkins in the Buffet, though cleaned but on the other hand, we didn’t notice at the Restaurants. We also wondered why dress code for men is no shorts but women are allowed, on a “freestyle” cruise in the Restaurants? My husband and son were addressed and had to go back and change, so were other guests. Garden Cafe Buffet was not as good as the Getaway, now don’t get me wrong, overall experience was a GOOD one but I just felt again, for a “bigger“ ship more stations especially omelet stations should have been opened, there was one that would open later than the others. I just expected a better quality and variety of food served in comparison to a smaller shorter ship cruise I was on before and disappointed to find it a little less than the smaller cruise ship. You can always find something fast and good on the Buffet but on the other hand, the Restaurants had a better quality food but the wait time the first days was close to 2 hours and after that at least an hour. Restaurant Taste was very disappointing waiting over an hour and it came cold or over cooked the same with Manhattan but I found the food somewhat better in Manhattan. It seems the ship had a lot of new people as I observed them being taught which we think didn't help the situation and probably understaffed, making the long wait. Even my own housekeeper, told me he just started to work there... Our inside room TV isn't only small but all of a sudden you sometimes you can't see it because of angle shadow that sometimes randomly appeared or you can't hear sound on some of the other channels. I guess I became jealous of my son’s much bigger TV in a “studio”. The studios have a private key entrance hallway only accessible to studio guests which we could not enter to visit our son whenever we'd wanted (maybe happy for him). We saw No Smoking signs on table casinos when not operating but when playing there weren’t any signs and people were smoking but as I know this is normal for that area which I hope one day they’ll change that… The complimentary shows were ALL very good! Seeing before “Burn the Floor” on the other ship, I thought it was so exceptional, as to wanting to see it again and so glad I did because I didn’t know they “change” it up which I’d say was even better! I also saw the Beatles, a look alike group making you just feel, you’re at a one of their live concerts and I just love singing along to the songs. I didn’t get to see Priscilla, and I saw the singer, Romano, has a very passionate opera voice who sang mostly in Italian and though I didn't understand the words you could still appreciate the feeling he conveyed. We paid for the Cirque Dinner show, the dinner wasn't that great but the show certainly made up for where the dinner lacked, it was really worth it! The guests sitting next to us on balcony didn’t even get to have their bread served. The show also was good enough to overshadow the worst feelings before entering that after waiting so long for everybody to get in, we were first in line as standby and interested in premium seating, we saw a couple behind us, somehow getting in without paying, having first floor sitting right in front of the piano! So close that they were picked again from stage to participate. They were on “standby” behind us (and they got in without paying because standby are LAST to pay)! We didn’t say anything because this is a cruise where we will still be forced to see each other and we didn’t want this to ruin it. They were also very well-known being participants on one of the earlier main shows, that was being constantly looped in your cabin TV. So we only decided to say something, if after such a long wait, that if there wouldn’t be any premium seats available, to then question their seating because that wouldn’t make it fair to us… I mention it now because I believe security is then lacking in this area, if they found a way to get in without paying. How many others will do the same or did they pay someone on the inside to get in? Making it unjustified, for those who are not only willing to PAY but to wait and make lines. When I got there ‘nobody” was on either lines (premium and basic). Knowing, it was a sold out show, I went early to be first on “standby” line for any available premium seating and it was way after both lines forming, that they came in as standby behind us. After recognizing them, we actually to kill time, were laughing about their earlier participation in the TV show. When he all of a sudden excuses himself and after a while, I see him come out of the theater, to tell his wife behind us, to leave with him and again both excuse themselves and disappear, to then see them inside the theater when we entered! This really bothered us during the whole dinner event but once the show was over, we were over it too, the show was that amazing! I did find it unusual for them to perform in such a confined area but it actually added to the challenge of pulling it off! It’s almost like the feeling of how many clowns fit in a small car, you think you can’t see anymore come out but they keep coming out and so you think they can’t do anything more in such a confined area when they defy it and go beyond! Stirrup was a bit challenging to snorkel, it was my first time there... Because of currents, the water was not very clear but if you swim out after buoy you'll find cement made turtles and a welcome to stirrup stone on bottom of sand floor where most of the fishes are seen. The buoy is held down by a big anchor which I overlooked when swimming looking for the ground ornaments (ask lifeguard where they're located) it's where some fish also gather. Plenty of lounge chairs to choose from and shady areas, BBQ was included and the ribs were the best! It was a very relaxing beach day and I found areas groomed and clean, they also have a small market area and an interesting tour offered there of Swimming with the Pigs! Jamaica tour with ultimate excursions, you can reach out to them and mention if you get a 10-12 ppl if they can give you a group rate of $30pp, it's what I chose called Freestyle Montego highlights, Including an hour and a half at Dr Cave beach was amazing clear still waters for snorkeling, sightsee hip strip and short visit to Margaritaville, a drive through town and stopped for quick authentic bite to eat (price not included). Cayman island by tenders. Went to Smith Cove, like 10min away, we went first thing in the morning and there was only one other family there as mid day approached more people started to come and then we left. This is just a small beach cove has clean bathrooms and semi outside private showers, shady picnic tables, loose chickens, they offer sup boards, snorkeling is great and used their public bus transportation (9-10 passenger vans $2.50pp ea way, in town). Lots of Tour offers at port to choose from ranging from $25-$50 taking you to at least 4 different places but I wasn't prepared as to know which to choose without knowing their reviews. I have read some reviews where they came off the ship and YES, you're bombarded with tour excursions at really great deals! But if you don't know anything about them or reviews, I've read previous reviews one stating they took them to 4 different places where they were supposed end at 7 mile beach, they were already a little annoyed at driver wasting time in small talk with others when they could be moving on and when dropping them at last stop, the beach, they told them that a ride back to port was not included, so they had to walk back or get and pay other transport... so you need to beware of the reputation these excursions have when choosing independent tours. Harvest Caye, we took ferry to Placencia (15min ride/ $20 RT pp). Bought the tickets on ship and was told it would leave 8:30 and to get there 15 min before (got there at few minutes before 8:15) turns out, after rushing to get there, we were then told at ferry dock, that it leaves at 9, they fortunately have shaded wooden benches we chose to sit and wait as we catched our breath! Once packed in this ferry boat, it wasn't long we arrived in Placencia and walked maybe 5 min down the main street to rent a golf cart for 2 hours at $25 from Barefoot rentals. I enjoyed the airy ride. We were just a little concerned about not having a horn but there's hardly no traffic. It's such a small quaint town, I would think I would have enjoyed better to have "walked" the side walk, checking out the small businesses of crafts, arts, along the way and food sold by local vendors, with the beach right next to it would have liked to stopped to enjoy a stay at the beach. Instead we ended stopping at a place to eat and shared a well size serving of their rice and beans made with coconut milk, BBQ chicken, and potato salad for $5 and we had each for $1.50 fresh watermelon juice YUM. The ferry according to the time you leave, for 9am, they gave us, a couple of set times to get back, 11:30 and then the last at 3:15 (no other hours in between) we were ready to get back at 1pm well they have you wear a color coded bracelet, to correspond with a time to return. Since 1pm didn't apply to our color, we were to wait for those to board and if any space left for us then they will take us, it looked like a full boat but a kind couple offered to ask, if they could trade with us being they wanted to stay up to 3:15 and so that's how we were able to get back at 1pm. Costa Maya, we've been here 2x before and loved going to Nacional or Carribean Life right next to each other in Mahawal but because the water was so rough, we were just walking around undecided, if to go or not. So we stopped right outside the gates, in a new establishment for ice cream, that was all organic and had unusual flavors of also natural drinks so after that, save on the Taxi fare and going to eat being the beach was rough so we decided to put it towards some T shirts instead and get back on the ship for food already paid for... But I was sad because it was the place I usually go for my $25 hour massage but the beach was just not justifying the means of going for everybody else so I missed that! Roatan we did free style excursion with Rony's Tours (driver Edwin &Tia guide) at a group rate of $25pp (4+ is group rate) excellent driving skills and the van very clean with AC. Tia also did a great job of sharing area and history, they never were in a hurry and went at our pace. Did free chocolate & Rum cake & Rum tours (with free samples). We went to Manawaki Park, after a brief interesting overview of different plant's medicinal properties and other native fruits, we were taken inside Poncho the monkey's habitat/cage who had a field day jumping on all of us! The highlight was holding a sloth! It only got better when ending it with a few hours at the beach where I found, the snorkeling, beyond my expectations at AI Infinity at West Bay beach. The beach is public, so it was free but if you want to use lounge chairs, bathrooms, pool and their facilities it's $25pp (this is to the left of Bananarama, others from the group stayed at Bananarama for $10pp to use their facilities but doesn't have a pool). When putting down our beach blanket by the lounge chairs the guard brought it to our attention, that we had to move it further up because it was within Infinity's area. We did all this from about 9am-2:30 and at a very casual pace, with time left over to enjoy the port shops before boarding the ship! Roatan, defenitely was the highlight of our entire cruise! Cozumel, we shared Taxi expense $18 one way to Mr Sanchos, (All Inclusive $50pp). It was 3 of us in our family and one other cruise critic member (so we split the Taxi fare in half). The food was really good, highly recommend the fried whole fish and the fish ceviche. The drinks, I don't think are top quality because for someone that doesn't drink, I didn't even get a buzz and glad about it because I would have had to stop (I'm not into getting drunk). Try their mojito, it's not on the menu because they don't have mint (they don't call it mojito either, it's a weird name they call it by). They have lockers at an additional refundable fee. The bathrooms were very clean and areas. I was disappointed with the beach water not being clear with waves, they say this is not the norm. The service from Julio was excellent, not constantly around but enough to keep us content, I did ask for a ceviche before leaving and I guess he forgot but it wasn't because I was hungry so I didn't make a big deal of it... But everytime at Cozumel it was the best deals, I was looking for 2 hammocks, the ones with wood at the ends at Roatan they wanted $160 for one, then at one of the shops at Sanchos, they wanted $80 but when I told them I'd have to get my husband, I went to the other shop across them, that also had hammocks and told them that I already got a quote of $80 for one and he went to ask someone and returned to offer it at $80 for 2!!! So you know who walked out with 2 hammocks?!! I don’t think I would choose this ship again, unless under different circumstances. Like if I begin to see better reviews that’s there’s more staff and maybe if I see 11 day cruises having sea days in between where maybe they’re not traveling so fast over night to the next day destination. Otherwise, I will continue to choose smaller ships where I feel there is a better over all service and quality but maybe less aggressive rocking? I’d also like to add, that I also did leave a comment to the Hotel Director, Mr. Martins, of my concerns and he was “really” accessible by leaving me a message on my phone and following up with a kind letter and trying to make it right. He wanted to even meet with him but I just wanted to spend my vacation on moving on and enjoying what I "can" enjoy. I didn’t want to continue taking away time from it with meeting him, knowing he must be so busy dealing with so many other more important things but thought I mention this because I found it refreshing to find him very accessible, if need be and for him to go out of his way to address any issue we had made us feel important even though we weren't even staying at the Haven, I truly appreciated his attention! I will end my review of the EPIC with “bigger isn’t always better” though my over all experience was a GOOD one, not all bad, we just personally have had a better experience with less is a little more... Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because several friends had booked the trip and we wanted to join them. Norwegian was offering "free" Ultimate beverage package, "free" premium restaurants and $100 onboard spending money. Not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because several friends had booked the trip and we wanted to join them. Norwegian was offering "free" Ultimate beverage package, "free" premium restaurants and $100 onboard spending money. Not mentioned in the headline is that you have to prepay the 20% tips for the beverage package, which turns out to be over $200 apiece considering the list price of the beverage package is $99/day. Norwegian didn't lose any money on that free beverage package. The unfortunate aspect of this ship's architecture is the lack of a promenade deck. It's nice that every outside room has a balcony, but that means there is no way to walk around the outside of the ship and see the ocean. The only deck that allows outside access also has the lifeboats, which blocks the view of the ocean. There is also no view off the rear of the ship or the bow (other than from inside the buffet restaurant). Restaurants were good, though the desserts were consistently disappointing. They looked delicious, but tasted like they were manufactured weeks earlier. The premium restaurants were excellent, with Cagney's steakhouse being the best. We also tried the French restaurant, which was very good, and the Teppanyaki restaurant, which was very entertaining. We made dinner reservations for 7:00 most evenings, which made it very difficult to take in the entertainment. Many of the shows were first come, first served, and by the time we finished dinner, the rooms were packed. The Cavern club is a great concept, but with 4000 people trying to squeeze into a room that fits about 200 people, we never came close to getting in. The shows we saw in the theater, including a Beatles tribute band, ventriloquist, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, were all excellent. Embarkation and debarkation were slow, and though we boarded before lunch, our bags didn't arrive at our cabin until after dinner. When we arrived in Port Canaveral, my brother in law's suitcase was missing from the lineup of bags for pickup. It turns out it actually fell into the water as it was being wheeled off the ship, and was fished out by the dock workers. Transporting a 100 pound soaking wet, dripping load of clothes on the parking lot bus and home in my car was a terrible way to finish the trip. Finding out that the cruise line limits their liability to a flat $100, regardless of actual loss or fault, made it even more painful. The staff onboard was generally friendly. Bar tenders and waiters were attentive and friendly, but many of the other employees seemed to only understand a few words of english. We never did meet our room steward on a 10 day cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was a distinctive cruise with great perks. The entertainment was great! Pricilla, Queen of the Desert was the best production show I have experienced on a cruise and Burn the Floor was very good also. The Circus experience was very ... Read More
This was a distinctive cruise with great perks. The entertainment was great! Pricilla, Queen of the Desert was the best production show I have experienced on a cruise and Burn the Floor was very good also. The Circus experience was very unique for a cruise ship as was the bowling. Some staff were great, some trying hard and others, well..... Lorenzo De Leon, Jr. and Novemar Peroja at Shakers were two of the best bartenders I had experienced. The washy/washy ladies were fun as was the cruise entertainment director. The Hotel Director was also engaging. The cabin and lack of sufficient elevators made the cruise less than it should have been. The bathroom, if you could call it that, was awful! Three seperate areas in the room, a frosted glass toilet enclosure, a frosted glass shower enclosure and a tiny sink at the foot of the bad. The room almost ruied our cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
7 day get-a-way. Food, in 95%, was great, Foods service was great, except for an poorly trained waitress in The Manhattan Room. She was overwhelmed about the group size (11), and table was poorly set up from the start. Blame should ... Read More
7 day get-a-way. Food, in 95%, was great, Foods service was great, except for an poorly trained waitress in The Manhattan Room. She was overwhelmed about the group size (11), and table was poorly set up from the start. Blame should be reflected on Dinning Management, for watching and not giving support or assigning help. She was truly in the wrong place. Each shore excursion started off and ended (debarking/ embarking) entering/exit the ship itself was good, but no ground support, or directions or signs to which line one should be in a close proxamtion to the excurtion you were headed to.. 3000 people heading to double set of doors and not knowing where to go. Tenders, Long line down the middle of the boat, then sit for another 45 minutes in the Epic room, to await on a boat. Returning to the ship.. No signs on where the line starts, lines crossing other lines. and very long. Could see Norwiegian crew staff standing around, but not trying to help. Each shore excursion, we planned, was great, once you got into the correct line... The cruise depends on yourself. Want to have a great time, you can, and will. It's what you make it... My advise to Norwegian staff, We are your employers during the trip. Keep your attitude in your cabin. Keep you options to yourself. Smile when you hate it, If you don't know the question/ answer, state that you don't understand, don't lie, or give false information. Your jobs are tough and your hours are long, we commend your services. Many people will work a whole year just to have a week of peaceful time. Don't make their hard effort's go to waste, That's you jobs, if you can't do it, get another job. There are thousands more waiting to have your job, and, without attitude... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my second cruise experience. My first experience was on a Carnival Cruise out of Tampa. There was a wide variety of age groups on this ship for Thanksgiving including lots of families, young adults, and /older people in their ... Read More
This was my second cruise experience. My first experience was on a Carnival Cruise out of Tampa. There was a wide variety of age groups on this ship for Thanksgiving including lots of families, young adults, and /older people in their 60's and 70's. Embarkation: The drive down to Orlando from Atlanta took about 7 hours. We traveled through many toll roads that cost money, we should have gotten the pass. We parked at a lot and took a shuttle to the port. There was a long line but it moved fast. Ship: The ship itself is massive and huge, I believe there were over 4,000 passengers on board. It never felt like it was overly packed until we went on the pool deck/Deck 15 and it was pretty packed. The layout of the ship and elevators are a little confusing. Make sure you know if you are in the front, middle, or back of the boat and take the appropriate elevator to get to your room otherwise you're gonna be walking for a little while to get to your room. Sometimes the elevators were packed full of people so we took the stairs often. Room: We had an inside cabin. It was small but it fit our needs. The shower was separate from the bathroom and the sink. There was plenty of storage underneath the beds and in the closet. Our room steward did a great job. I would definitely pick a balcony on the next cruise so I can chill in the room on sea days and not be stuck in an inside cabin. Entertainment: We went to the Cirque Dreams show ($) and the Burn the Floor dance show. Both were great shows and we really enjoyed them! We made reservations ahead of time before we boarded the ship. We heard from others that Priscilla Queen of the Dance Floor was long and boring. We did not do any comedy shows. Gambling: We did the quarter machine and also played a few games of slots. We didn't spend much time gambling but there are plenty of machines to choose from as well as craps tables. A lot of the elderly people were gambling from sun up to sun down. Food: I thought the food was pretty decent. We always found something to eat in the Garden Cafe buffet on Deck 15. We always ate lunch and breakfast at the Garden Cafe. There was a selection of pizza, hot dogs, chicken, burgers, pasta, sandwiches, salad bar, etc. Dinner service at the Manhattan Room and Taste was slow and dinner could take upwards of 1.5-2 hours for appetizers, main course, and desert. We did not care for the Irish pub O'Sheehan's and Shanghi's was an hour long wait. Bars: The pool bars were always packed, I felt bad for the bartenders. We found the service to be better at Spice H2O in the back of the ship. The bars were also busy by deck 5 near the atrium. Mixed drinks were from $10-$12, and beers were $5-$6, thank god we went with someone who bought the drink package because we were able to get free drinks the entire cruise. Otherwise, our bill would have been astronomical!! Ports: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, Grand Cayman Island, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexcio. My favorite port was Cozumel, the people were nice, friendly, and I enjoyed the shopping. You could always bargain with them. We did not book any excursions for Grand Cayman and it seemed like all they had to offer was diamond shopping. The people in Jamaica are very aggressive when you're shopping, I always told them no and kept on going. A lot of people on the ship complained about Jamaica and said they didn't like the pushy/aggressive people trying to get you to buy things. Bahamas was nice and the water was cold, we went to Norwegian's little private owned island and by noon it was packed. Disembarkation: We chose to carry our own luggage. We left around 7:30 and went through customs/immigration and ended up getting to the parking lot around 9:00. There was a long line to get through customs but it moved and all you had to do was show your passport and off you went! Nickle & diming: I felt like Norwegian tries to nickle and dime you for everything. I didn't feel this way when I went on Carnival. From the daily gratuities, to the 20% charge on literally everything (drinks, mini-bar, etc.) It was $10 to rent a movie on on your TV. $7 to bowl at the bowling ally. Then they are pushing photo packages and packages for you to deposit money and sail on a future cruise. We drank a few sodas and water from the mini-bar (no alcohol) and somehow our mini-bar tab was $69. Be sure to check your bill at the end of the cruise. Quiet time: If you prefer to lounge around and look at the ocean, head up to Deck 18 (near the great outdoors buffet on deck 15 and take the elevator to deck 18) it was very quiet, relaxing, and no kids. Overall, we had a good time and the weather was fantastic. It never felt like there were 4,000 people on the ship. We also enjoyed the ports and the excursions. The wait times at the bars need to improve or they need more staff members. It would also be nice if they offered lobster or crab one night at dinner time but this was never offered. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Pros: Dinning room food is very good, (breakfast, lunch and dinner) Heard the specialty restaurants are very good as well. (from other passengers) Entertainment is very good. Theater has good leg room.. best I've ... Read More
Pros: Dinning room food is very good, (breakfast, lunch and dinner) Heard the specialty restaurants are very good as well. (from other passengers) Entertainment is very good. Theater has good leg room.. best I've experienced so far. Don't need to dress up.. I like the free style dining. Lots of activities to keep you busy on the sea days. Ship is large and clean. Service is good. Good value for what I paid. Cons: Cabins are small and dark. Shower and Toilet are in the same room as the bed. Should have their own room. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are mediocre. (satisfies your hunger) Promenade deck does not go completely around the ship. Promenade deck views of the sea are blocked by life boats. No access to sauna or steam room unless your a Haven passenger or purchase the access package for $$$. Summary: I found the cruise was good for the fare I paid. Would I sail again on the EPIC, probably but it would not be my first choice.... Fare price would have to be low. The other NCL ships of similar size are better. I've been a NCL passenger for a while and will continue to sail NCL, just not the EPIC. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We had made up our minds several years ago to forgo cruising...they have just gotten where they are nickle and diming you to death. It all started with the "Pay to Eat" restaurants...cruise ships "claim to fame" was ... Read More
We had made up our minds several years ago to forgo cruising...they have just gotten where they are nickle and diming you to death. It all started with the "Pay to Eat" restaurants...cruise ships "claim to fame" was always the food, which was included with your cruise. When they decided to add the pay-to-eat restaurants, they spent a lot of time telling you how GREAT the food is and BETTER than the food inluded with your cruise. It was not better but the buffet food was pretty dreary as well. We ate once at la Cucina on Epic and frankly is was embarrassing. Cold 'Penny Piquante" that took nearly 45 minutes (come on...all the pasta is cooked ahead of time anyway...) an "Osso Buco" that was so salty it was inedible and had risotto cooked within and inch of it's life. Shrimp Fra Diavolo that they forgot to put the "Fra Diavolo" in...I was an Italian chef for 10 years and I can say with all honesty, the food was abysmal and all they wanted to do was sell us wine. The cabin: Whoever the idiot was that designed the "mini suite" they should have never hired him! The toilet is enclosed is a very small closet with opaque doors, on the left as as you entered the cabin from the corridor. If you are a large person, I feel very sorry for you because I am not large and there was barely room to squat. On the right side as you enter was another opaque closet that houses the tub/shower. So picture this in your mind...if someone knocked on your door, you had to open the door so that a person in either the toilet or shower was visible. Who designs a bathroom that has a open hallway to the outside, down the middle??? In addition, the wall in the mini suite is "curved" necessitating one of the shortest beds on the planet. My husband is 5"11 and his leg and foot hung over the end at least 9 inches! Oh, and by the way, the "stops" on the sliding toilet and shower doors were completely worn off and we had to stuff throw pillows and towels into them at night to keep them from slamming back and forth in rough seas. One last thing..."Free Sailing" IS NOT FREE. Because of the cabin we chose, we were allowed two "free" picks from several onboard offerings. We chose the "free" specialty dining and unlimited beverages.. Imagine my surprise when the "free" offerings were going to cost me $738.00, up front, non-refundable gratuities charged at 20% pr day for each of us. The last time I payed attention, "gratuities" were just that...if you feel at the end of the meal that the service was great, then you leave a gratuity and nobody twists your arm. I am not even sure it is legal to pre-charge a gratuity...a service charge is okay but a gratuity is your option. I informed NCL that I wanted neither of the "free" choices as I don't drink and we would have only eaten at maybe two of the "pay to eat" restaurants anyway (none after La Cucina.) The gentleman on the phone told me "I did not understand. They are two different things". I informed him I understood perfectly...If I did not pay the $738.00, non-refundable and upfront" there would be no "free" eating or drinking going on. Do you know you can ask to have the automatic room gratuities removed from your account? I suspect if one made a lot of noise, these RIDICULOUS charges would go away. Every since the crise lines started bulding these behemouth, multi-billion dollar ships, they are trying to scrape up every dollar they can and squeeze passangers until they bleed...just see it as they have a "straw into your credit card" and continually suck away. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We were very excited to take our second transatlantic cruise with Norwegian. We took one on the Star from Copenhagen four years ago and had a wonderful time. I want to say that this cruise was better, but it was not. I listed some ... Read More
We were very excited to take our second transatlantic cruise with Norwegian. We took one on the Star from Copenhagen four years ago and had a wonderful time. I want to say that this cruise was better, but it was not. I listed some things about the cabin below, but here are a few things about the cruise. There was quite a lot of rain on the trip, I believe 11 of the 13 days had rain. The 15th deck that has most of the outdoor amenities was almost impossible to walk on while wet. We observed several folks slip and fall on the surfaces, including in the Garden Cafe. It was OK when dry, but it was not that dry very often Entertainment was very good. We enjoyed all of the shows, especially all of the comedians (please do not have their shows in the large venues, they were great in the small venues). The Pricillia musical, the dance show, the Cirque show, the magician, the faux Beatles, the young lady with the violin were all great. The cruise director (Andre Gaffney) and his team were all fantastic. They were the best thing about the cruise (i do not know when Andre slept). Cudos to him and his staff, he saved the cruise from being a really awful time. We always enjoy the speciality dining and were a little disappointed this time. Teppanyaki was very good Moderna food was very salty and dry. There was no lobster or frankly anything else in the lobster bisque (although I heard that sometime later they fixed that). The Cirque show food was cold when it was served (we were in the balcony and food got to us last, which was fine, but it should have been a little warmer). Le Bistro on this ship is located under the bowling alley, which happened to be in use while we were eating. There was a dearth of dropped bowling balls during our meal, which was noticed by everyone sitting in our area. Our waiter need to be reminded more that one when we needed more water or wine. The TV display of our cruise is always great, but there was never any weather or sea conditions given. Would have been nice to have at least a next day weather forecast, especially with all the rain. During our "sales reception" for Latitude Silver members (which was very cheap and not very well organized) our Captain admitted that he did not know the members of his senior staff yet. I know it was his first time on the boat, but seriously, no notes? Our tour in Funchal was not very good (guide did not know very much English). Would recommend a on and off bus to tour the island. Re-boarding in Funchal was very poor. Took nearly an hour to get back on the ship. Only one boarding door and one security position at that door. While we were waiting, about 200 crew walked right past us to their dedicated door (while necessary, optics were very bad). Finally opened another door and sent customers down to the crew door. Norwegian has to fix this if they intend to bring their large boats to this port. The Space H2O area on deck 15-17 in the back has very nice. We spent time there and made some friends from the US and Europe. The UDP was a great perk and very much added to the enjoyment of the cruise. Again, we had hoped for better. This will not stop us from taking Norwegian, but it was disappointing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
I returned to Norwegian for my second cruise in 10 years because as solo traveller I wanted to experience the solo studios and I also wanted to do a trans-Atlantic. Like before, the Norwegian experience is hit and miss. But on this ... Read More
I returned to Norwegian for my second cruise in 10 years because as solo traveller I wanted to experience the solo studios and I also wanted to do a trans-Atlantic. Like before, the Norwegian experience is hit and miss. But on this cruise two things were exceptional: the solo studio experience and the onboard entertainment. I never expected the solo traveller program to be so brilliantly organized, I never expected to make good friends, I never expected to never eat alone! NCL had a brilliant young Filipino named Ters Tesoro (or Terry) who held daily meetings in the solo lounge with solo travellers. The lounge is a great concept as the single studios are so small. You can hang out there, drink good coffee or nibble cookies or croissants (supplied daily) and chill with fellow cruisers. Several dozen attended the late afternoon daily meetings, when Ters would offer those who felt sociable a chance to have dinner together, avoiding the queues, or a show where seats were put aside for us. We could meet for all meals, and soon several small groups befriended each other and would do stuff together. It was huge fun and completely unexpected. Entertainment was also first rate: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Burn the Floor were excellent and with pianists, comedians, hypnotist, Beatles tribute band, and a wild Icelandic singer/violinist all available, evenings rocked on the Epic. Now for the bad stuff: I love to deck walk, and the narrow jogging track on one side of one deck is a joke. I so missed the Princess's promenade decks! I tried to walk on Deck 15 but was told no. The food was mainly poor to terrible. It was almost impossible to get warm, let alone hot, food in Taste, one of the main dining rooms. I don't blame the servers, it was a systematic failure from Kitchen to Table. You know things are bad when the plates are cold to the touch. And that was 90% of the time. Meals took forever: sometimes two hours to complete breakfast. I have cruised more than a dozen times, and this was by far the worst dining room experience. The other "complimentary" dining room, Manhattan, was a little better. The 24-hour pub always managed to provide piping hot food, but the wait at lunchtime was often very long. I was surprised when I first entered my studio room at 3 pm on sailing day to find it was not made up and clothing from the previous occupant was still hanging in the closets. He had apparently moved to another room for the TransAtlantic but no-one had removed his clothes. Weird. The other really annoying thing about NCL is the constant pressure to put money down on your next cruise. A phone message. Messages on the TV. Almost daily notes or letters encouraging you to put money down. The worst (and most disgusting) tactic was to send you a copy of your bill to date (showing your charges) to make the point that a future cruise deposit would waive these charges. Well I had prepaid grats and grats on the drink package, so my bill should have shown zero, not the $500 or so in charges the invoice said I had run up. I saw several people take these fake invoices to guest services who said it was nothing to do with them and had come from the NextCruise people. Shameful. I enjoyed my cruise overall but feel the experience was hugely enhanced by the solo program which allowed me to put up with the negatives. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because it had lots of at sea days. We prefer those to the stops in ports since we're not keen on spending so much on the commercialized tours. It was a bit of travel down memory lane as well, because I had sailed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it had lots of at sea days. We prefer those to the stops in ports since we're not keen on spending so much on the commercialized tours. It was a bit of travel down memory lane as well, because I had sailed across the Atlantic several times as a kid. We were glad it was this ship because it was as large as the Escape on which we had sailed a couple years ago and we enjoyed that. This was our third cruise with NCL, the other one being on the Sun through the Panama Canal, This ship was great in terms of its design and features. However, our biggest complaint was that there was not a single lounge on the ship that was not loud all day and evening. On our first day, we asked at the guest services desk if there was a quiet place we could relax. The person told us, in an accent that was almost unintelligible, that the only place was the library. Great. We went there and discovered it was packed! Only about 20 seats all lined up. For a ship with 4,000 guests, one quiet room with 20 seats doesn't seem to be enough. We had difficulty imagining that we were the only ones on the ship that would have appreciated a lounge with quieter music where one could relax and read. We certainly were younger than most guests on the ship and we're not old-fashioned in our tastes. We found that the variety of food on the menus at the free restaurants was quite limited. The Garden Cafe (the buffet) was great but again there was not as much variety as we had previously experienced. One last thing... the luggage pickup part of the disembarkation process was an absolute disaster! Confusion reigned. Nobody knew where we were supposed to go or wait. The staff was arguing with each other. We decided we'd probably try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought it was a good opportunity to try a mega ship. We had just come off a cruise with 900 people and hence felt the bigger crowds immediately. Embarkation, the crowds and queues were huge and it felt like mayhem but soon lines got organised. For the first time ever we needed printed ESTAs which was a pain but they had computers with printers. Finally onboard we went to the restaurant for lunch and it was obvious from the start that the crew were not as experienced and trained as on other ncl ships. Our first course (shrimp arugula salad) came without shrimp and arugula. These sorts of errors became common place at almost every meal. One lunchtime we were the first in the restaurant but had not seen a server after 20 minutes and had to get the maître d to move us as it appeared nobody knew who was looking after that area, basic things. Queues for the restaurants at night were huge and wait times were at least 30 minutes but then the buzzers never functioned so you usually waited longer unnecessarily. Unfortunately small problems continued all cruise, our account was wrong every single day of the cruise and guest relations seemed to be trained to either deny there was a mistake or accuse the customer of making the error. Eventually a meeting with the hotel director where he admitted to the ongoing problems they were having with the restaurants and dealing with port taxes at least acknowledged some of the poor training and supervision and led to some of the problems being rectified. We were given a meal in the Epic club in the Haven as an apology, interestingly while the food was amazing the service problems continued there. As platinum members our meals in French Bistro and La Cucina we were treated as second class citizens, with countless comments about our meal being a “voucher meal” and constantly being told we were limited to certain courses taking the shine from what should be superior dining experiences. The food in the Bistro was very mixed (mains excellent, starters average and dessert poor). La Cucina was disappointing after loving it on our last 2 Jade cruises, the pizza was no better than that in the buffet. Pasta dishes were good. We liked the atmosphere of the Manhattan dining room, tables were well spaced and there was often music. Unfortunately the supervisors never picked up on small things like missing cutlery, broken table lamps, missing condiments. Several fellow guests made similar references to the lack of management and supervision on the ship and in the restaurants in particular and it lead to a feeling of slackness and lack of care by the management. The telephone messaging system broke down, the one night we wanted to watch a movie in our room the channel broke down, the outdoor movie screen was a good concept except they refused to put chairs out for it. The indoor movie was about people using sign language except they put Spanish subtitles up. Osheehans regularly opened half an hour late for lunch. Originally we just laughed off these mistakes as the cruise was so cheap but after a week it starts to grind you down and just takes away from the fun you are generally having. On all our other cruises we have written at least a dozen hero cards for our favourite staff on this cruise we only wrote 2. As with many others we didn’t really like the ship itself, the main problem was it was difficult to see the ocean which is what we love about sea days. There is no real promenade, the small area there is has life boats blocking the view, exhaust fans blowing out kitchen fumes, and smokers. There are very few windows. Upstairs you have to get one of the few deck chairs on the upper level to see the sea. There is no forward facing bar and the screen in the h2o bar at the rear of the ship blocks most of the view. Public venues are too small, the theatre only holds 700, the restaurants less than 500, most of the bars only cater to about 50 ... on a ship that was full with 4,500 guests! The worst aspect is you smell smoke everywhere, the casino is mid ship and open so smoke fills surrounding bars and restaurants, disgusting. No mid ship staircase or lifts. We only use stair cases and thankfully most didn’t so they were easy to manoeuvre about. Entertainment is excellent but because the venues are so small the same acts are repeated over and over to allow for people to see the shows but if you went to more than one show (eg the afternoon matinee and then maybe a comedy show later that night) for the first few days you were out of options after a week. As usual the activities were plentiful, we liked the water slides as well, the pools were all heated despite us being in the Caribbean???? Gym was a good size but very busy especially as so much of the entertainment staff using it. Only one walking track for 4000 people and the staff use it to get to their smoking spot. We were given 3 loads of laundry which was s nice surprise. We had an inside cabin which had a comfortable bed and plenty of storage but we didn’t like the unusual bathroom design which is hardly romantic or practical. The sink is a joke. Our cabin steward was excellent. There were only 3 ports and of course NCL made this as difficult as possible as per usual (they are the worst line for port experiences). Took more than an hour to get back on the ship in Funchal with everyone forced to stand in the rain. St Maarten was cancelled due to weathe (fair enough) and we changed to Antigua, they did a good job of accomodating this change on short notice, St Thomas I can’t comment on as we had to do US immigration on the shortest port day and were in the last group so had less than 3 hours ashore. We of course still enjoyed ourselves as the weather was good and we met some great people. This was the first time we have not bought future cruise deposits as it was just a little too underwhelming and we are trying MSC to compare. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We arrived a day earlier to explore Barcelona , Spain. The cruise was average at best. We have been on several cruises with different cruise lines.This ship was okay , but the entertainment was not that great. The food was average. The ... Read More
We arrived a day earlier to explore Barcelona , Spain. The cruise was average at best. We have been on several cruises with different cruise lines.This ship was okay , but the entertainment was not that great. The food was average. The staff was pretty good. The shore excursions seemed overpriced. We decided to do our own exploring in every port. We found it real easy to get around on our own. Also because of the weather we could not reach Naples Italy. There was basically an oh well attitude among staff in regards to us not getting to Naples. The entertainment on board was below par for a ship of this size. The dining rooms were large .There was a large variety of foods. The problem was that we seemed to have the same menu every other day. Our cabin steward Elton was the lone bright spot on an otherwise ho hum cruise. He was great at his job. My wife's suitcase was damaged by the staff while bringing it on board ship . When i went to customer service the initial response was read the fine print we really don't have to replace it. After some back and fort they finally found her a replacement suitcase that was smaller than her original one . I'm not sure if we will sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was my very first cruise and frankly I'm not sure I even want to go on another due to my constant not so good experience on the ship. I chose to book a studio room because they are displayed as a great experience for solo ... Read More
This was my very first cruise and frankly I'm not sure I even want to go on another due to my constant not so good experience on the ship. I chose to book a studio room because they are displayed as a great experience for solo traveling. While my friends I was traveling with had a standard interior room. The studio rooms location was okay and made since; however, the air in the hallway stunk the entire cruise. Not appealing to walking into stagnant sewage air before you get to your room everytime. They attempted to brighten things up with colorful lights and windows from the rooms into the halls. No point to a window beside someone's bed that goes directly to the hall. Needless to say, that stayed closed the entire cruise duration. Experiences outside my room, the ship had pipe burst prior to leaving the port, no water aboard for a few hours... They did their best to get it fixed as quickly as possible but not being able to use the restroom after traveling so long/far was not a great experience. Nonetheless, things happen. Walking throughout the ship, the positive atmosphere/attitude from crew members was hit or miss. As the cruise went on some attitudes became better. If you have on-board credit you want to use, you better know how to use it properly. I wanted to add a gaming package while on board using the on-board credit for my account. They refused to do so without a credit card on file. As a cash paying guest it did not matter how much cash available on your account unless you had a card on file. Which also brings me to of you want to purchase things while on the ship, again not cash user friendly what so ever. Overall, I was not impressed at all with my experience on the ship. I doubt I will be cruising with Norwegian again. It will take some real consideration before even cruising again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Lets start with the Cabin. I thought my cabin was fine and housekeeping excellent. The Taste dinning room was perfect the staff was great, waiters manager everyone their I loved. I don't think the menu always had something I wanted to ... Read More
Lets start with the Cabin. I thought my cabin was fine and housekeeping excellent. The Taste dinning room was perfect the staff was great, waiters manager everyone their I loved. I don't think the menu always had something I wanted to eat. The last few nights it really didn't change. I preferred the ambiance of taste more than I did the Manhattan room. Just my preference. I didn't think the Garden cafe had the best variety of what I wanted to eat. I did enjoy the specialty restaurants but felt I shouldn't have to spend so much more money on food when I spent so much on the cruise. I should have been giving more of a selection of included food. The gift shop was outrageously priced. I was feeling a cold coming on and had to pay $21.00 for a $5.00 bottle of Night quill. I ask to see the Dr. and was told it would cost me $190.00 just to see him. I have been on other cruises and to see the medic is free. This is after I paid for insurance on the boat, so what did I pay for. I paid for 5 excursions one for every port. The ones to Pompeii and Rome were excellent. Pisa and Cannes where horrible. When I complained they didn't really seem to care made me feel like we got your money, so to bad for you. It was so bad I didn't even bother to go on the last excursion. stayed on the boat and slept the day away. they tell you there is a party by the pool you get there no party. everything I wanted to go to was not where they said it would be. The best part about this trip was the staff and the other passengers were great. I have not one complaint about the crew who really hold it all together. Would I do Norwegian again? I think Not. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After a RCL cruise we decided on a NCL cruise. Our expectations were high. The Great : service always with a smile. The entertainment was amazing. The speciality dining was great. Rooms were very clean. Checkin prompt and ... Read More
After a RCL cruise we decided on a NCL cruise. Our expectations were high. The Great : service always with a smile. The entertainment was amazing. The speciality dining was great. Rooms were very clean. Checkin prompt and disembarkation was quick The Not so great: the food was not as expected. Frozen chips, onion rings and wedges is certainly not what you pay for. Each day there was a $15 transfer shuttle. You had to use these as the ports were a long way out. Shore excursions - be prepared to be ripped off. Not for us ... the freestyle dress code. Tips ... 1. Book train tickets for Rome and Pisa at home or use the train to these locations. Use the transfer buses to get to the stations. It will save a fortune and it’s easy to do 2. If you do Capri. Book the fast ferry before you leave home. The ferry is next to the cruise ship. 3. Hire a bike for €14 in Palma just outside the port (10 min walk from the ship) there is a fabulous cycle path all along the harbour. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Great itinerary, ship layout not for me! Embarkation was delivered smoothly and quickly. Level of service throughout the ship was good, with staff generally attentive. In service areas, I would say that there are dead zones, where if ... Read More
Great itinerary, ship layout not for me! Embarkation was delivered smoothly and quickly. Level of service throughout the ship was good, with staff generally attentive. In service areas, I would say that there are dead zones, where if you are at a bar or restaurant in a location were staff serve up to, you are often overlooked because of an assumption that another member of staff is covering that area, I experienced this several times myself and observed it happening to over clients. I felt the entertainment on ship was one of the best I’d seen over all cruises I’ve taken. With regard to restaurants, I felt I’d had better on other Norwegian vessels, in particular the layout of the Buffet I found particularly disappointing. I appreciate that with so many guests that a replication of the most popular stations is necessary, however the one off speciality areas would be better placed centrally, so that you didn’t need to walk the whole servery to obtain an item, there was also less choise in these areas. In La Cucina, used as an overspill for breakfast, I rarely saw a member of staff. My main disappointment was the overall layout of the Epic, which I feel does not put to best use the space they have. H2O which should have been a haven for anyone wanting a quieter location being adult only, had next to no shaded areas, so was just under used. I only saw the servery open on Embarkation day, and was closed thereafter. The Great Outdoors, located by the pool is the only other outdoor venue for food was so noisy and busy to be an assault to the senses. Mid deck there were large quieter areas that had little furniture available, which depending on orientation could have provided shade and quiet. To some up, I’d be unlikely to ever book another cruise on Epic, choosing one of their other ships in preference. Read Less
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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