Cruise Ratings
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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We took this cruise because of the extras offered by NCL. I think there were 17 bars and many restaurants. I was ready to be disappointed because of the number of passengers 4100 thinking that service would be slow. Not! The bartenders ... Read More
We took this cruise because of the extras offered by NCL. I think there were 17 bars and many restaurants. I was ready to be disappointed because of the number of passengers 4100 thinking that service would be slow. Not! The bartenders were already making the drinks before we were seated. The dining was not up to par, seemed the staff were overwhelmed and not enough help. The Matradee was very helpful on several occasions to solve any issues at the table. We always joined others who we did not know and some were more fussy than others. The food was very average but way to much on the plates. I don't need 10 pieces of bacon with two eggs. The steak house was the best. The filet 8 oz just fell apart, no knife needed. Bar service was instant and servers were always around. Room was the smallest we ever had, balcony was good size but needed two tables as one 12 inch was insufficient for two people. Room service was quick but after 10 AM you had to pay $8 for each order (a first for us). We had the drink package included but was not allowed to have canned soda's in our room. I would have brought my own but your not allowed to even bring water on the boat. Not good! If your over 200 lbs you might have trouble fitting in toilet area. Smallest on any cruise ship in industry. Couch very uncomfortable, back is curved out not in. Used it for storage. You should get this cruise for less than twelve hundred per person with drink package, balcony, four specialty restaurants and internet minutes included. One last thing there are only 8 elevators on each end of the ship. None in middle of ship. Usually two are out of service. This ship is over 1000 feet long so book at one end or the other. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Cabin - was fine plenty of storage - yes bed is not long enough but not terrible for people under 5' 6". Food - food in specialty restaurants was good. Service a little slow - seems like not enough servers. Japanese ... Read More
Cabin - was fine plenty of storage - yes bed is not long enough but not terrible for people under 5' 6". Food - food in specialty restaurants was good. Service a little slow - seems like not enough servers. Japanese restaurant was my favorite - was fun and the food was very good. Though again it is really dragged out. O'Sheehans -hit or miss - most of the time they did not bring out the right food or brought out some of it and the rest a good 30 minutes later. Service terribly slow on the bar side - not sure what the difference is why it was so slow on that side. The quality of the food was not that great either - but my husband loved the wings so we had to go a few times!! Entertainment - shows were pretty good. Sadly I didn't stay up for most of the entertainment that was after 10pm. Wish some of the dancing things started early. Didn't like where they did the 'entertainment' in the main pool area. If you wanted to watch what was going on you had to stand around the area and it was three deep or more most of the time. Didn't like this layout for that area at all. The Dawn and the Breakaway were much better for this type of entertainment. Embarking - confusing when getting off the shuttle - too many others trying to crowd to get on the shuttle back to the AVIS rental - terrible traffic so shuttle to and from Avis was really bad. Person loading luggage on the 'carts' to bring to the ship was an old guy that we didn't trust to ensure the bags got on. We had some that was trying to leave on the shuttle we just got off of try to take one of our bags!! Was such a mess. But once we got into the terminal it was fine - plenty of seats for everyone to wait. disembarking is always a pain - was painful at Port Canaveral since they only had 2 customs people for the over 4000 leaving the ship. Plus the way the lines are mixed into where you have to search for your luggage made it confusing and terribly disorganized. I do not recommend the 11 day cruise for people 16 thru 25. There were very few teens to early 20's on the cruise. There were lots of walkers and scooters and people with canes! Also I just don't recommend the EPIC - too big - not enough seating for everyone - didn't like the pool setups at all in either the main pool area or the H20 pool -terrible ladder to get into the H2O pool and the water was way too warm. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Different itinerary for my family and hubby is a Bob Marley fan. Had on-boarding issue with our birth certificates not from us but with the computer system caused about a 30 min delay for us. Would recommend using passports as they had no ... Read More
Different itinerary for my family and hubby is a Bob Marley fan. Had on-boarding issue with our birth certificates not from us but with the computer system caused about a 30 min delay for us. Would recommend using passports as they had no issues. Our Room Steward never introduced him/herself to us so we have no idea who they were and I was not a fan of this even though I am sure some folks are. I will say our room was always kept clean, towels were fresh, and ice container was always full so overall not a deal breaker. Only major issue we had was during our Thanksgiving dinner. A very large (30+) group was seated near us for dinner and the amount of noise they generated was intolerable. In fact we did not linger like we normally would have and chose to enjoy coffee and tea on the deck instead. Wish they had designated quieter areas for those diners that prefer it to the absolute bedlam we were seated near. After that I noticed that almost all meals in Taste were very loud occasions. Not the same in Manhattan but it is only open for dinner. I will say this is our 2nd time on this ship. First time with a 10 + size group this time only 6 and being seated was never a major issue only minimal waits. However at Shanghai they actually encourage you to make a reservations now to avoid any delays so be aware. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Primarily chosen for the reduced rate, I was, as usual, pleasantly surprised at the variety of quality entertainment, game shows, great entertainment staff, parties and ports of call. I went to a cardio dance class every morning on the ... Read More
Primarily chosen for the reduced rate, I was, as usual, pleasantly surprised at the variety of quality entertainment, game shows, great entertainment staff, parties and ports of call. I went to a cardio dance class every morning on the dance floor in the Manhatten dining room. Food was very delicious and we are vegan, but there was always something to preorder with Alex, our personal liaison waiter for Taste restaurant. We don’t do extra pay restaurants and so never ate at any other venues than what were included— food was excellent anyway! We became groupies of the Epic Beatles shows and enjoyed the stellar rock guitar of Albatross Air band, I was also in a guest choir which performed as the opening number for the Crew Talent Show. Only criticisms have to do with the design of the ship which can’t be changed. The walking track was more like a dog run, going back and forth on half a deck where lifeboats blocked most of the ocean view. The pools were as hot, sometimes hotter than the hot tubs, and are pretty small for the ship population. The bathrooms are just weird, but we learned to manage... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
The Epic is one of the oddest looking ships from the outside. It looks as if it was designed with nice lines, then they plunked the Haven area on top like a mis-fitting hat. Inside, the oddness continues, with the glass enclosed toilets ... Read More
The Epic is one of the oddest looking ships from the outside. It looks as if it was designed with nice lines, then they plunked the Haven area on top like a mis-fitting hat. Inside, the oddness continues, with the glass enclosed toilets and showers, separated in your cabin. After awhile, you will find these quirks endearing. And, because the Epic is a bit of an outlier, costs for voyages on her are more affordable than other ships. One of the best features of the Epic is the ongoing Priscilla Queen of the Desert show. The Beatles cover band at the Cavern Club is one of the best entertainment venues I've ever been to on a cruise ship. But the really outstanding feature of the Epic is the Shanghai Restaurant and Noodle Bar. This is included as one of the complimentary dining options and does not exist on other ships. The Maitre D, Aris, will work hard to ensure you have a delicious and wonderful experience. The food is fresh and superior - especially the red bean pastry and ice cream. This was my first transatlantic trip and I would do one again in a second. A nice relaxing trip over the calm and warm (surprisingly!) Atlantic ocean. A great itinerary that takes you from amazing Barcelona, through the Madeira isles, a couple of island stops in the Caribbean, and then to Port Canaveral where you are a short way from Orlando and Disney World. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I gave "Very Good" for this cruise because the price was awesome: 1450$ for 13 day transatlantic cruise in balcony room. Ship and cabin: + unique ship design, everyone is looking on it + nice stylish rooms + nice ... Read More
I gave "Very Good" for this cruise because the price was awesome: 1450$ for 13 day transatlantic cruise in balcony room. Ship and cabin: + unique ship design, everyone is looking on it + nice stylish rooms + nice location of buffet: great view in front of the ship + even if ship was full, there are was always free place near the pool - separate wc and bath (and the fact that wc is designed like a shower corner is terrible) - some furniture was broken, nothing special, very minor - shower was broken (water leaking) and this was not fixed during whole cruise Dining; + Super testy asian restaurant and noodle bar. And it is for free, without additional payments. +/- main dining restaurant was good, but nothing special. Food was pretty the same day by day - buffet food was of limited variety and of intermediate quality (comparing to italian Costa, where you get salami, spanish jamon, variaty of expensive cheese etc): burgers, pizza, chip cheese, fruits are of limited variety Service: + friendly personnel + 2 time per day cleaning of rooms Activities: + different activities across all day: live music, comedians, funny shows in atrium, theater. All was good enough to not be bored in 13 day cruise Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I am going to preface this review with a note that I had sailed on Epic in August 2017 for a 7-day Western Mediterranean. That said, I boarded with certain preconceptions and expectations. This 13-day cruise across the Atlantic as a solo ... Read More
I am going to preface this review with a note that I had sailed on Epic in August 2017 for a 7-day Western Mediterranean. That said, I boarded with certain preconceptions and expectations. This 13-day cruise across the Atlantic as a solo traveler gave me ample time to compare my previous voyage against today’s NCL Epic. Embarkation in Barcelona seemed chaotic with little information being shared with passengers. Lines seemed to go on forever and it was rather warm when they left me standing in the sun. That said, I was onboard within 30-minutes of exiting my taxi cab, so overall, not that bad of an experience. It appeared much worse than it actually was. The remainder of this evaluation is going to be by venue, show or experience. Food & Beverage As a solo traveler, I tend to dine alone. NCL needs to figure out that us solo travelers have nothing to do while we wait to order or receive food except to watch what is happening around us. Then they need to figure out that some of us solo travelers are “in the business” and know how things should operate. I have been in Hospitality / Food & Beverage for the better part of 40 years. Many times on this journey, I wondered if I had become invisible. After a few instances where I wrote it off to me being “hangry,” I introduced myself to F&B Management. I sought out the Restaurant Manager whom we met at the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet. I was handed off to Aris, the assistant Matre’d. I had some time to prepare notes prior to this meeting, so I did exactly that. I reviewed my notes with Aris who listened intently. He apologized many times, offered me excellent service in Shanghai’s which happens to be my favorite on the ship. I’ve always had excellent service there as well as The Noodle Bar. I assured him I would; of course it’s my favorite! That afternoon at lunch, I was sat in Taste. I received some water and waited to place my order. The hostess, Pretzil, sat another couple a few minutes after me. I then watched her instruct the server to “take good care of them.” The server then proceeded to take their order, whisk right by me and return shortly afterwards with their food. I voiced my concern for all to hear. I reintroduced myself to F&B Management. How could this be happening after I just had a conversation with Aris? I again sought out the Restaurant Manager, but again handed off to someone else. I reviewed what had discussed earlier that day with Nikola, the Matre’d. I told him of this episode as well as all that I had covered with Aris. How could this be happening? Nokola listened intently, apologized and assured me he would take care of it. Take care of it he did. That evening and for the rest of the cruise I was treated like a king. Most times, two servers were assigned to me. It was almost embarrassing. I wonder if they somehow flagged my name for all to know. Why should I care? I was receiving excellent service now. Dining Reservations I purchased the 4-pack of specialty restaurants. I knew I needed to reserve early as my preferred times would quickly become unavailable. Amin Shi was most helpful with my first week’s reservations and she made the Taste & Manhattan menus available to me so I could schedule around meals I would have there. Genette was dutifully stationed in Le Bistro most afternoons and she helped me reschedule one meal from Moderno to Cagney’s for reasons that I’ll get into later. Genette remembered my name for the remainder of the cruise and she could be my Super Hero if not for my favorite bartender, Zoron. O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill This place is very good for late night snacks. The hot wings are excellent and have, what I call, personality; they’re not just hot. The nachos are also very good. Last year, this place was my favorite. This year, not even close. Lunch on embarkation day wasn’t as bad as most other travelers were figuring out how it works. I managed to get a stool next to the bowling alley. Another gentleman was sat soon after and then placed his order before anyone even said “hello” to me. Eventually, someone came to take my order. I was warned that my Chipotle Chicken Sandwich might take a bit, but it was served with relative speed and was very good. On one occasion, I was sat at the same location for lunch. I waited and waited for service. When the couple a few stools over were sat and placed their order before anyone even noticed me, I spoke up. A server was dispatched to me immediately and Michele did her best to ensure that my needs were met. Again I was warned that a burger at this time could take a bit as it was busy, but I’m OK with that as long as I have my order in. Soon, a gentleman was seated close to me at the same bar. As I waited for my burger, he placed his order, received his chicken wing appetizer and then his BURGER as I continued to wait. Am I invisible? I spoke up once again and shortly after someone came running to me with a burger, but it wasn’t my burger as I ordered no tomato and this one had tomato. Now it was time to demand a manager. Rosalia, the Matre ’d listened carefully as I explained my dissatisfaction. I took the damn tomato off and ate the burger and Rosaria got me another beer. Once at breakfast, I was sat and counted three other tables. There were at least four servers on the floor. Another solo diner sat at a nearby table a few minutes later. We were both offered coffee and juice. Then, she was asked what she wanted and soon thereafter received her food as I continued to wait to place my order. Only four tables were occupied and this happens; inexcusable. Maybe I am invisible? This is when I finally decided to introduce myself to F&B Management, so I returned to my cabin to write down some notes regarding my poor service experiences. This was covered in my introduction. Taste Restaurant I could never seem to get a window seat here but that’s OK. I only asked that I could see out a window. The service is a bit slow but with a full-service restaurant, included, on a ship, you need some patience. At lunch I had the Cheese Steak Sandwich, the Meatball Sandwich and the Cheeseburger. They were all pretty good, but the fries always seemed to be just under done. I ordered Eggs Benedict here with country potatoes. The eggs were slightly over done and the hollandaise sauce was almost non-existent. I counted exactly six pieces of potato in my order; far less represented than all the peppers and onion. Once at lunch, I was sat and offered water. Another table was sat after me by a hostess named Pretzil who then instructed the server to “take good care of them.” I sat and watched the server rush over to them and take their order. She whisked by me and returned shortly with their food. That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back; when I reintroduced myself to F&B Management. This was only hours after I had my conversation with Aris. I went to Taste for Chicken Parmesan one evening. Bryan and Leroy were assigned to me. I was confused at first, but Leroy explained that they would tag-team me. Maybe there was a big red flag on my Sea Pass as this became the trend for the remainder of the cruise. I ordered the French Onion Soup and the Chicken Parmesan. The soup was bland, hardly any onions and I actually had to add salt! Crazy. The Chicken Parmesan was crispy which I liked but I had to ask for more red sauce as it was otherwise dry except for the meat. The side-order of spaghetti was over-cooked and mushy. Manhattan Restaurant This is another full-service restaurant included with my fare. Rey was a server who took care of me at least twice. He is worth noting as he remembered me after only one previous visit. He was very attentive and I never felt invisible as in other venues. This was before I met with F&B Management, so it’s even more impressive in hind-sight. The short-rib bolognaise was excellent and the wine was flowing thanks to Rey. The Garden Café I really despised this place last year. With all the kids running around and sticking their hands in the food, I avoided it at all cost. This year, I was pleasantly surprised and had both breakfast and lunch there on more than one occasion. The staff was gracious and helpful, especially at breakfast and the made-to-order omelets. Shanghai & Noodle Bar The Noodle Bar was one of my favorite places last year but it was difficult to get a seat. This time I found it relatively easy to dine there and did on two occasions. My favorites were the Fried Pot Stickers, the Beef Chow Fun and the Char Siu with Rice Noodles. Shanghai served many of the dishes that the noodle bar did but when eating here I chose the Kung Pao Chicken. The portion was much smaller than I recall from last year, but I didn’t leave hungry. It was still yummy either way. After meeting with Aris, Sheila was sure to make sure I was happy. In fact, if I were simply walking past her post, she would rush over to hug me and ask me how I was. It was a little embarrassing but I had paid for it early, right? Cagney’s Steak House My first “premium” meal was at Cagney’s. I had high expectations and was not disappointed. Merrie was my server and I left quite content. I had the Pork Belly appetizer then Filet Mignon with Béarnaise Sauce with Au Gratin Potatoes. Everything was well seasoned and cooked to perfection. Rosemarie served me on my second trip to Cagney’s. Rosemarie was excellent as was my food. This time, I had the porterhouse steak with onion rings. Rosemarie talked me into the 7-layer chocolate cake, which I ate every bite. Rosemarie got an additional tip from me. Moderno My second “premium” meal fell flat and I was very disappointed. I had a great seat where I could see the entertainment in Manhattan, but the gauchos kept passing me by with the freshly cooked, hot and steaming meats. They would head off to the far corner of the restaurant and when and if they ever got to me the meat was already cool if not cold. Maybe I WAS becoming invisible. I had to speak up to my server, Sandeesh. He asked me what I wanted and I explained to him that I didn’t want to feel invisible. He was a very good server but the gauchos turned me off completely. I cancelled my second reservation at this venue and booked in Cagney’s for a second time as I knew I wouldn’t be invisible there. For Sandeesh, I left an extra tip to express my satisfaction with him. Hopefully, he gets all the extra tips and doesn’t have to split it. La Cucina This was my third “premium” restaurant. This experience was after all of my invisible visits to other restaurants. I was sat with at a forward-most deuce looking out over St. John, Antigua. The clouds were looming by now and it was getting dark, but I would have a great view as we backed out of port and headed to open waters. I was served by both Rohan and Jeff and they ensured that I was not feeling invisible. Rohan suggested the Italian Red Blend, so I ordered that immediately. I ordered the Bresaola but was informed that there was no more Arugula and it would be served with Mixed Greens. Is this really happening? As a second appetizer I ordered the Penne Amatriciana. The Bresaola came out with spinach, so I wasn’t thrilled about that, but I went with the flow. They were trying. I was disappointed, very much so, that they were out of Osso Buco. I don’t eat seafood, so my other options were very limited. I didn’t come here to have Chicken Cacciatore; I don’t even eat that at home. The Filet Mignon in Peppercorn Sauce is served with bleu cheese ravioli which I wouldn’t like, so Jeff had the kitchen serve it to me with the Tortellini appetizer as a side. In the end, I enjoyed my dinner here very much. Rohan and Jeff could not have treated me better. I had the Tiramisu and it was to die for. I left a good extra tip for Rohan to show my appreciation. BEVERAGE SERVICE I’m happy to say that I never had an issue at any of the bars on the ship. While sometimes it was busy and we had to wait, we all waited together and I never saw a bartender give preference to another passenger that wasn’t ahead of me to begin with. Some passengers, on the other hand, were just rude and selfish. Karma baby, Karma. O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill Last year’s favorite place dropped to last within the first couple of days of this trip. Once I was passing by and stopped at the service bar. I was told by the bartender to come around and order from the area where people were seated. As I did this, another passenger stepped up to the service bar and was served immediately while I was still waiting where I was told to wait. Honestly, over time, I started going to this place more often because of it’s location but I never felt like a regular as in other places. Spice H20 Last year’s cruise was so hot, I rarely went outside let alone sit at a bar outside. This year, quite the opposite happened. First of all I found Zoron at Spice. Zoron was my vacation hero last year when he worked O’Sheehan’s. When we saw each other this year, it was kind of funny. I found myself at Spice H20 quite a bit this cruise. Nestor was another bartender at Spice. Nestor quickly learned my name and the drinks that I like. Zoron, Nestor and the rest of this team really made us feel welcome, like regulars. Waves Pool Bar Last year, I never even tried to visit Waves. It was so hot and so crowded all the time, I stayed below deck at O’Sheehan’s or the lobby bar. Waves Pool Bar was a place I visited often this time around. While it was crazy busy on those nice sunny sea days, it was much easier when the weather wasn’t as nice. We started out in rather cold weather but it warmed up progressively as we travelled south-west. Craig from Granada quickly emerged as the leader of this pack of bartenders. Although it was his first voyage on Epic, he had many good cruise stories to tell. Wayan & Govind were two other bartenders at Waves and they took good care of me whenever I was around. Cascades Bar I called this the Casino Bar. It didn’t have signage to indicate differently. Cascades was a quick elevator trip down from my cabin. I almost always found Ronaldo there. Ronaldo was a fun loving guy and a hard worker. JoJo was another bartender at Cascades that made me feel welcome at all times. ENTERTAINMENT I am not one to go crazy over entertainment. In fact, I only attended two or three shows in the Epic Theater. I like to stroll deck 5 and 6 and see what’s happening. Howl At The Moon Howl at the Moon was about the funniest thing I have ever seen; last year on the Epic. This year was a completely different story. The guys this year just didn’t even try. While they were talented piano players (and even some drums), they simply played songs. There was very little attempt at humor with the songs, rather in between and amongst themselves. Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical I enjoyed this show more than I thought I would. The storyline was fun and the production was on-point. Burn The Floor I didn’t last ten minutes before I got up and left. Having seen them perform in the Manhattan dining room, I thought I was going to see some entertainment. I was not entertained. Cirque Dreams I didn’t waste my time or money as I heard the show was great but the food was Prix Fix so very expensive for banquet food. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This ship is not very attractive looks like a block of flats. We had balcony cabin 8079 which has the bed nearest to the balcony, this is the best configuration as the toilet and shower are either side or the door as you go in then the ... Read More
This ship is not very attractive looks like a block of flats. We had balcony cabin 8079 which has the bed nearest to the balcony, this is the best configuration as the toilet and shower are either side or the door as you go in then the sink is opposite the sofa which isn't very comfortable so if you can choose your room make sure the bed Is furthest from the toilet you don't want to be sleeping within touching distance! There is plenty or storage in this cabin wardribes\drawers\behind the couch the suitcases wen under the bed no problem we had the IT range. Restaurants were fine I felt that as it is anytime dining in the main ones you got a service not necessarily the best as you had a different table\waiter every time you went. I personally don't like anytime preferring to have an 8.30 seating. Sunbeds well what can I say we were in transatlantic so every few days they put the clock back an hour so e were awake at 7 so hubby thought he would go up to have breakfast he came back saying we had better get some sun beds they had almost all gone! We always found a couple up in the balcony but you had to be at the pool by 9 or you had no chance. Shows ! Had read beforehand to book the shows and this worked well but some of the entertainment like at the headliners comedy club you had to queue to get in I felt I spent all my time queueing. Due to 4100 people being on board it was always crowded the public space was not big enough we never got a seat in any of the bars as they were too small. They had an LGBT informal get together at the back at h2o which we only noticed as I was the only woman at the bar but who cares we got served pretty quickly and they had a great 80's night here and everyone we spoke to were very friendly. This is also where the white party is held. We had bad weather going to St maarten so had to go to Antigua instead couldn't arguecwith that we had a tour round the island for$25 each what a lovely island. St Thomas the usual farce if having to wait to be called to see US immigration would definitely book a higher floor next time we docked at 10 but weren't called till 1 to queue again for over an hour to get our passports stamped. The higher floors and people in tours were called first. Overall this cruise was ok was clean just had too many people for the public areas and there is no promenade deck. I would only go in this ship again if it was a very good deal and wascgoing somewhere I wanted to go. Would I recommend this ship? No basically too crowded and cabins were small there are better ships out there I have been in the jade and spirit and these flow much better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our second trip from Spain to Florida the first was on the star a small ship and most recently on the epic a super sized one. This was our second cruise on the epic so we knew the balcony layout and the crowds that abound a 4200 ... Read More
This was our second trip from Spain to Florida the first was on the star a small ship and most recently on the epic a super sized one. This was our second cruise on the epic so we knew the balcony layout and the crowds that abound a 4200 guest cruise. There were no surprises. Although we would prefer a smaller ship the experience was wonderful. Balcony by the bed,Le Bistro delicious, great bar bar backs at casino and pool, and wonderful friends like don and Deb from South Africa and Louis from Dallas hey the double goose and cranberry made many memories even though I might not remember all of them. Taste restaurant very slow . Will do again loved this cruise however would do a smaller ship on next crossing . Balcony #10075 was mid ship and awesome embarkation ez and casino unforgiving a totally wonderful 13 nights Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise due to value for money and our interest in crossing the Atlantic. This was my first experience with NCL. The embarkation and disembarkation were the best of any cruise I'd been on. Swift and very pleasant ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to value for money and our interest in crossing the Atlantic. This was my first experience with NCL. The embarkation and disembarkation were the best of any cruise I'd been on. Swift and very pleasant personnel. I loved having a balcony. Fresh air and wide open view of either the Atlantic or one of the islands we visited. We stuck to all of the food venues that were complementary and the food at each location was excellent including an incredible variety of foods. The bar package was the best with top shelf offerings and a wonderful selection of good quality wines. We were never short of entertainment - which lived up to the reputation of having the best in the cruise business. We were disappointed that we missed St. Maarten due to weather but applauded the Captain for not getting us into any rough weather. The only thing we didn't like was that smoking was allowed in the Casino area which one has to walk through to get to dining options or bars. I noticed vents to remove the air but I think a separate room for smoking would have been much for comfortable for the non smoking guests. Our room steward was a really nice man who catered to our needs with excellence. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Review of our westbound transatlantic crossing 4th – 17th November 2018 Background We’re Peter & Patrick from Manchester U.K. who began cruising back in 2004. We sailed exclusively with Royal Caribbean for 11 years and then ... Read More
Review of our westbound transatlantic crossing 4th – 17th November 2018 Background We’re Peter & Patrick from Manchester U.K. who began cruising back in 2004. We sailed exclusively with Royal Caribbean for 11 years and then started to widen our choices to include Celebrity, MSC, Cunard, P&O and NCL. This was our 4th Transatlantic crossing (or TA for short), our 3rd westbound with another 2 eastbound booked for 2019 & 2020! As we booked in the U.K., we had what is known as the “Ultimate All Inclusive” package which provided the Ultimate beverage package, gratuities (both daily service charge and beverage package gratuity) and 2 litres of water per person per day and coffees with dinner. Itinerary This was 14-day, 13-night crossing from Barcelona, Spain with stops in Funchal Madeira, Philipsburg St Maarten, Charlotte Amalie St Thomas ending in Port Canaveral Florida USA. A total of 9 sea days were split as follows: - Barcelona 2 days at sea Funchal, Madeira 5 days at sea Philipsburg, St Maarten Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas 2 days at sea Port Canaveral Florida, USA I’ve split this review into sections dealing with embarkation, accommodation, dining, entertainment, activities, disembarkation with a summary and conclusions at the end. Embarkation We stayed in the city at the H10 Metropolitan hotel, next to Plaça Catalunya which is a large popular square at the northern end of the famous La Rambla. We checked out of our hotel just before 11am on Sunday, 4th November and took a taxi for the 15-minute ride to the port (Moll Adossat) where NCL Epic was awaiting us at terminal A. The cost was around €15. Upon arrival we lined up to leave ours bags with the porters loading cart after cart of numerous pieces of luggage to be taken onboard and delivered to people’s staterooms over the next few hours. We then joined the long line that wound around the side of the terminal building and shuffled continuously forward to the terminal entrance where our documents were checked, we, and our carry on were security scanned and then we completed the health questionnaire. As we were neither suite or Haven (‘ship within a ship’ accommodation) guests, nor higher level Latitudes members (NCL Loyalty program), we just joined a regular line for check in. Once we reached an agent, our passports and most importantly the paper copies of our ESTAs were checked (ESTA = Electronic System for Travel Authorisation approval which is mandatory for non-US citizens from visa Waiver countries to enable travel to the US), our key cards provided, and we were on our way to boarding Epic. As in all terminals in Barcelona we passed the various shops selling souvenirs, wine, spirits etc before having our boarding photo taken with a backdrop of NCL Epic. The whole process took around 50 minutes from our taxi drop off to stepping foot onboard the ship. Painless. Once onboard with our deck plan of Epic and copy of the Freestyle Daily for day 1 and the ‘1st week at a glance’ provided by the check in agent, we started to explore the ship as our cabins wouldn’t be available until 2pm. Of course, by now it was time for a spot of lunch for which I tried a burger from the outdoor grill of the Garden Café washed down with a beer (Peroni) from the Waves pool bar whilst sat at a table in the outside section. Good complimentary burger, far superior to some other lines we’ve sailed on. Accommodation At 2pm after it was announced that staterooms were available, we made our way to our cabin on deck 10 which was a category BB mid ship balcony – 10189. Please see cabin review section for more in-depth detail of this stateroom. Dining OK, Epic has so many places to eat that it can be confusing at first working out where all the venues are. Several are complimentary and then there are many speciality restaurants some of which are priced a la carte, others for a set fee. Here’s the breakdown of the places where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or 24-hour snacks! Complimentary dining Buffets Garden Café – breakfast, lunch & dinner (Deck 15 fwd.) Great Outdoor – breakfast, lunch and late-night snacks (Deck 15 fwd.) Spice H2O – light lunch (Deck 15 aft) Table Service O’Sheehan’s Irish Pub – breakfast, lunch, dinner and 24/7 snacks (Deck 6 mid) Taste – breakfast, lunch & dinner (Deck 5 mid) Manhattan Dining Room – dinner (Deck 6 aft) Shanghai & Noodle bar – dinner (Deck 6 aft) Speciality Restaurants – all table service dinner Cagney’s steakhouse (A la carte) – (Deck 7 aft) Modern Churrascaria ($24.95) – (Deck 7 aft) La Cucina Italian (A la carte) – (Deck 14 fwd.) Le Bistro French (A la carte) - (Deck 5 fwd.) Teppanyaki Japanese ($29.95) – (Deck 7 mid) Yakitori & Sushi Japanese (A la carte) – (Deck 7 mid) Spiegel Tent circus/dining (set fee) - (Deck 6 fwd.) As NCL is noted for its ‘freestyle’ dining concept, you can choose to dine whenever you wish during the restaurant opening hours for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are open seating in the table service venues. You can make reservations for dinner if you prefer, either online before you sail, or on the day. If you don’t, then you can just turn up and either wait in line or you will be given pager, so you can relax seated nearby, maybe enjoying a beverage. There are various ‘dining packages’ available for purchase and we chose a 6-dinner package online before we set sail. Once we had done this, we could make advance reservations at the speciality restaurants at our preferred time, taking into consideration the entertainment we had made advance reservations for (please see later). For those specialities that are priced a la carte, such as Cagney’s, we were allowed to choose 2 starters, 1 main, 2 sides and a dessert and this was covered by our dining package. For those with a set fee such as Teppanyaki, this was covered in total. We chose to eat in the following speciality restaurants. Cagney’s Steakhouse Teppanyaki La Cucina Le Bistro Moderno As food is very subjective, I’m not going to say which was best or worst in terms of food quality as that is down to personal taste. All were very enjoyable for what they provided, but service in some was a little lacking taking into consideration the up-charge being applied. We did consider that the service and ambiance in Le Bistro was the best though. As for the complimentary venues, we tried them all, except the Garden Café for dinner. O’Sheehan’s is popular at lunch so pick your time wisely, service at breakfast was sometimes good, another time so bad we walked out after 15 minutes of waiting for someone to offer coffee and take our order (the venue was not busy). Taste is always busy for breakfast, lunch and dinner and service differed enormously. We waited 55 minutes for our breakfast one morning, other days very prompt service. Dinner in Taste also varied, our 1st visit was excellent, subsequent so bad I left the restaurant to get my own drinks from the Atrium Bar. Manhattan Room service was better, especially after we complained about the service the previous evening in Taste. The Head Waiter came over, drinks were served promptly, the Maitre’d came and sent a complimentary bottle of wine to our cabin. Pity that didn’t happen after the extremely poor wine service in Cagney’s. We were studiously ignored by the sommelier who clearly only served tables where several ladies were sat. Not once did he come to us, even saying ‘no’ to our food waiter who was extremely embarrassed. Again, I went to the bar to fetch our drinks. It was mentioned to the door host, but no feedback was received until I mentioned it to Guest Services and as a result, we received an apologetic phone call. Entertainment There are so many options it is difficult list them all, from the production shows in the Epic theatre for which reservations, although not mandatory, are recommended (Priscilla the Musical and Burn the Floor) to the entertainers at many of the lounges and bars around the ship in the evening. There are other shows performed in the Epic theatre, Headliners, Atrium, Bliss Lounge or the Cavern Club that don’t require reservations, and as the venues are relatively small for the number passengers onboard (for example the Epic theatre only holds 800 which is pretty small with the possibility of there being 4100 guests on board) it’s necessary to get there early to make sure of getting a seat. There are numerous ‘events’, weather permitting, in Spice H2O or the main pool deck. These range from 80’s & 90’s music parties to the famous NCL Glow party which was a great event with complimentary face painting before the start of the event. However, unfortunately 5 minutes before the party was scheduled to start in Spice H2O, the heavens opened and so everyone (mostly dressed all in white) were sheltering undercover near the bar. The staff relocated the event to the Bliss Lounge, so it was a quite an amusing sight to see lots of us working our way from deck 15 aft to deck 7 forward, dressed in white with painted faces, especially by those sat in Maltings, Shakers and O’Sheehan’s! Every evening the Bliss Lounge hosts events too, turning into the main disco later until the early hours. All I would say is check the Freestyle Daily and the ‘At a glance’ sheet if you are given one at check in. As we’re not ‘show’ people we only saw ‘Priscilla’ and ‘Burn the Floor’ but can’t recommend ‘Priscilla’ enough. Absolutely fantastic, earning a standing ovation. Activities There were so many activities arranged that it was necessary to review the Freestyle daily closely to plan your day of you wish to take part. Apparently, there was some sort of ‘activity card’ you could get signed once you had attended or taken part in an activity, and on the last day of the sailing you could redeem the ‘points’ you earnt for prizes. A lot of the more popular activities would be highlighted in the Freestyle Daily such as Progressive Trivia (held each sea day from day 3 and ending on the final sea day when the overall winner was announced. The cruise director also hosted various specific trivia games in the Atrium at 1pm such as ‘Super Heroes’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Star Trek’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘One Hit Wonders’, ‘Comic Books’, & ‘Hollywood Golden era’ to name a few. There were various lectures held in various venues, culinary demonstrations, Ice carving, game shows, dance classes, ‘how to’ presentations, workshops and Q&A sessions following presentations (e.g. Ship technical presentation). There were the usual Art Auctions too. There were various activities where a fee was charged such as painting classes. As the weather improved more and more and more poolside activities/games were available such as Basketball, Pool Olympics, ‘Dash & Match Pool Game’, and Ping Pong tournaments. As Epic has 3 water slides and a sports court there were many opportunities for enjoying yourself on the pool decks, especially as we headed nearer to the Caribbean and warmer climes. Other entertainment included Comedy shows, Music renditions, Magic shows, Dance shows, ‘Howl at the Moon’, Hypnotists, Crew Talent shows, Cirque Dreams in the Spiegel Tent (fee applied for the dinner included) and the Epic Variety show. There were various ‘Beatles’ shows by the ‘Epic Beatles’ band too. Various activities were organised for ‘Friends of Bill W’, & LGBT+ etc throughout the sailing both hosted or not with the same time & location (where practical) being reserved for the duration of the cruise. Itinerary Change Due to a tropical storm as we headed West, instead of visiting St Maarten we were diverted to Antigua. Better safe than sorry. Great day, although we have also been there, last time in 2016 as port stop, but we have also spent time there on a land-based vacation years ago. Although it was raining when we arrived, it cleared to be a great day, then rained when we left. The Epic staff did a great job on organising new shore excursions at short notice (the captain only announced the change at around 4 pm the day before) and we did a great one booked via the ship with Heavenly Tours. Well recommended. US Immigration As St Thomas would be our first port of call in the USA, everybody on board would be required to clear immigration onboard before being allowed to disembark. US citizens were provided with a time slot to present themselves to the Bliss Lounge and Non-US citizens were to present themselves to US Border officers in the Manhattan Room, again having been given a specific time slot. Once we docked in Charlotte Amalie we waited to complete mandatory US immigration before we could go ashore. We were given a time slot of 10:45 am so still had a little while to wait after breakfast. Once called we lined up along deck 6, and the whole process took around 45 minutes. Relatively painless. Summary & Conclusions Taking into consideration we are NCL ‘virgins’ we would naturally make comparisons with the other cruise lines we have sailed on, as mentioned in the introduction (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, MSC, Cunard, P&O). The following are purely our observations and may not impact others and so please do not take the negatives as criticisms, none ruined our sailing. Positives Freestyle Cruising The ‘Freestyle Cruising’ ethos of NCL which gives you the option to dress up or down is a great freedom. For gentleman, long pants for dinner are only required in The Manhattan Room and Le Bistro. From experience this does not mean people do not don their finery, they do, and we saw everything from jeans, shorts to suits and tuxedos. Freestyle Dining There were a great selection of complimentary dining venues including the Garden Café buffet with indoor and outdoor options. Spice H2O also offered a reduced selection for breakfast and lunch. Three main table service restaurants, The Manhattan Room & Shanghai (dinner) and Taste (for breakfast and lunch) with open seating and O’Sheehan’s Pub for table service snacks. A numerous selection of speciality restaurants - Modern, Cagney’s, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Yakitori & Sushi Japanese & The Spiegel Epicurean / Cirque Dreams. It was great to be able to dine when you wanted, and also not being pressured into sharing a table if you did not want to. Also, the layout of the tables for 2 was really good, not as some other lines where, although you are seated at a table for 2, they are so close together, you might as well be sharing a bigger table! The opening times of the Garden Café and especially O’Sheehan’s (24/7) were really good. Cabin There were many nice touches in the category BB mid ship balcony cabin such as coffee maker, ice bucket replenished every day without asking, ample storage, lights in the closet, and a deep and roomy balcony with comfortable chairs. Turn down service included a towel animal every night and chocolates on the pillow. The door sign with its rotating indicator for ‘Do not disturb’, ‘Make Up Cabin’, ‘Turn down cabin’ or ‘Available’ indicators and letter rack is a nice touch. The beds were extremely comfortable and gave us a great night’s sleep. Venues Numerous indoor venues for relaxing and entertainment such as Spiegel Tent, Headliners, Bliss Lounge, The Atrium, O’Sheehan’s bowling alley, Card Room and Library. In terms of outdoor venues, Spice H2O was a great large adult only space during the day with its well-stocked and staffed bar and as mentioned before, providing food at lunch. Pool Deck Obviously, there was the main pool area and sports court together with the 3 water slides which, once the weather improved, were extremely popular. As we were not Haven guests, I can’t comment on that area but can report on a good quiet area on deck 18 accessed by elevator from the pool deck. As you exit the main doors of the Garden Café towards the pool deck, the elevator on the right is marked for Haven Guests only, but the one on the left is available to take you up to deck 18 and a spacious quiet area. Staff All staff were very friendly and helpful, the officers were also very visible, all of them greeting guests with a smile whenever passing you around the ship. The Cruise Director (Andre Gaffney) and his team were fantastic and ensured that all guests were encouraged to attend. Service Bar service was very good in all venues we attended, despite being extremely busy at times, table service was also good. On the whole table service in the restaurants was OK, again considering the amount of people being served by the wait staff. Good Laundry delivered ahead of time, wrapped in tissue paper in a wicker basket was a very nice touch. Décor The ship is attractive to look at internally, as are the cabin furnishings with many nice touches and so is pleasing to the eye and the venues have very comfortable seating. Bars / Lounges A great variety of cocktails to try and a high proportion within the limits of the Ultimate Beverage Package. There was also various entertainment provided by either a pianist in Shakers, to a vocal group at Maltings or guitar player. Negatives Cabin The design of the cabin in terms of layout (separate toilet and shower just behind obscure glass) with the wash hand basin in the cabin is not the best, but this was not a major issue for us. The main problems with the cabin was that the basin was far too small, the lighting abysmal and the location of power outlets, light switches and air conditioning control very awkward. The floor space was limited, but as only 2 of us it was manageable, but for 3 would be a little cramped in our opinion. Although ample storage was provided, it comprised of many ‘hidden’ cupboards such as above one bed nearest the balcony, drawers under the sofa. One small closet near the balcony door had no hangers, so if you needed to use it, then you would have to request more. Dining We found service to be really ‘hit and miss’ in the complimentary restaurants. Breakfast in Taste could be quick at times but taking 55 minutes to receive your meal at other times. We think the issue with this is that we just order for example Eggs Benedict, and no ‘starters’ such as cereal or fruit plates, but it would appear that you to have to wait until the other tables your server has orders for have had their ‘starters’ delivered and then the ‘mains’ are arranged. Lunch service on the whole was OK, but inconsistencies in terms of bread and water service did happen. Dinner in Taste was again inconsistent, some days good, other days awful to the extent I had to leave the restaurant to go to the Atrium Bar for beverages. Having mentioned this to the door host, service was exemplary on our next visit to The Manhattan Room, with the Head Waiter making sure everything was OK and sending a bottle of wine to our cabin. Our biggest disappointment was the service in the speciality steakhouse Cagney’s for the up-charge paid. On our first visit the wine steward would not take an order for wine, so for the whole meal I had to go to the bar for glasses of wine. The dinner service was very slow showing that the whole restaurant is understaffed. Despite reporting this to the door host, nothing was done until I reported it to Guest Services which resulted in the Maître D calling to apologise and ensuring us that our next visit would be better. Well, other than getting a window seat with a view of the wake, the service was only marginally better, but at least wine was served this time! Due to the popularity of O’Sheehan’s at lunch, there were often long waits, even if you wished to share a table which is understandable. However, the negative for us was Breakfast. Despite being very quiet no beverages (water or coffee) we offered, nor were orders taken despite waiting 15 minutes. This is acceptable when busy, but not when quiet. We felt that although there was a variety of food available in the buffet choice was a little restricted meaning that we were eating the same things for lunch. We also felt that fact that the Ultimate Beverage Package did not include coffee from the Atrium Café a disappointment, as the complementary coffee provided in the buffet, restaurants and beverage stations dotted around the ship to be awful. Far too strong and bitter. Only being available at the end of meal was a waste as we rarely wanted a coffee at that time. Despite the above, the service issues on Epic were no worse than we have experienced on a small selection of our other cruises with various lines over the years, but just an honest review of this one. Pool Deck Not enough upright chairs for relaxing in, the majority of seating was provided by sunbeds that do not offer enough support for those of us with back issues. Promenade Deck As above, no seating and shuffle board took up all the width of one deck making you unpopular if you wished to relax on the non-smoking promenade deck. Casino The design of the casino on deck 6 meant that the whole of that deck stank of cigarette smoke making it an unpleasant area to walk through. This permeated to decks 5 below and 7 above at times. Bars / Lounges We feel due to the ship design, there are limited places to relax in a quiet environment in the evening as all venues are busy, although the bar in between Moderno and Cagney’s was often quieter. Technology Obviously due to the reliance on satellite communication, internet access wasn’t the best, especially for the price charged but this is not unique to the NCL fleet. However, we did manage with the Social ‘package’ which allowed access to most social media apps. Although there are several interactive screens located throughout the ship where some reservations could be made, it was a little frustrating to be unable to make bookings via the interactive TV in your cabin, nor order room service via the options available. The Norwegian iConcierge app again was a little disappointing as it did not list all the activities available nor again could it be used to make reservations. Conclusions Did we enjoy the crossing? Yes, we did. Did we value what Norwegian Cruise Line offered for the price we paid, definitely. Would be sail with them again? Yes, of course, we already have Escape booked for 2019! Did we enjoy the company of our fellow sailors? Definitely, a great cross section of people, friendly and we enjoyed passing time with many of them. So, despite our observations above, would we recommend NCL? Yes, because it has more similarities to the other mass market lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival and MSC. However, if you prefer the more formal atmosphere of Cunard and P&O, I wouldn’t recommend it due to the more relaxed nature of ‘Freestyle Cruising’. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my third cruise on Norwegian this year: Jade Transatlantic in April, Jewel Alaska in June, and now the Epic Transatlantic in November. It was my first experience on a larger ship and my first Solo cabin adventure. The Solo ... Read More
This was my third cruise on Norwegian this year: Jade Transatlantic in April, Jewel Alaska in June, and now the Epic Transatlantic in November. It was my first experience on a larger ship and my first Solo cabin adventure. The Solo experience was what made the trip memorable. I knew that the solo cabins were compact, inside cabins, so there was no disappointment. The cabin was exactly what I needed. My cabin was in good condition, but a couple of fellow travelers reported that closet doors were missing in their cabins. Although card entry was required to get into the lounge (Deck 11) and the corridors to the rooms, the aft end door on Deck 12 never latched. The lounge was great allowing the opportunity to meet other solo travelers. There was a self-service coffee machine. A full-service bar and bartender was available from 5-7 pm daily. Continental breakfast was provided in the lounge daily, and after that, there were cookies available all day. The highlight was out Solo Coordinator Terry Tesoro who organized activities and group dining and did an excellent job. Dining aboard the Epic was mostly medicre. It was not uncommon for breakfast in Taste to take 2 hours, as they were often disorganized and confused. Dinners were no better, with the same inefficiencies in service with the addition of warm to cold food. Food was always served on cold plates. It took a discussion with the manager to get improvement, but he hovered over the serice to make sure we got our food efficiently and hot. Manhattan was better, but inconsistent. Food was usually served efficiently and on warm plates, but when they failed, they fell flat on their faces. On our las night, two of us didn't get our entrees. When we finally did, all of the others at our table had finished theirs. On the plus side, our entrees were served on nhot plates and exactly how we ordered. The service failure continued with my dessert not being served with the rest of the table and those who ordered Irish Coffee got their's tepid. I had to request the manager to voice our displeasure and get the Irish Coffees replaced. Other laughable things in Taste were serving teapots with sauces at lids because they had run out of lids, and on the last day, there were yogurt parfaits on the menu with a choice of fruits, but there was no choice. According to the waiter they had run out of all but one of the choices days beofe. Another disappointment was the Epic Theater. Our Solos Coordinator would routinely make a group reservation for shows, coordinating with the box office and making arrangements for seats with the Haven travelers who have a reserved section in the theater. It was always an effort to gain entry when Terry wasn't at the door to escort us in. The gatekeeoers at the Epic Theater are unpleasant and rather nasty. At a performance of Burn the Floor, they refused us entry that Terry had confirmed. Again, the cruise was memorable and enjoyable because of the Solo Traveler experience. It was an incredible experience and I will do it again on a future cruise. I just wish that dining experiences had been better. The Epic Theater people need an attiitude adjustment. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We booked this cruise a second time because of the solid value offered, and the generally friendly and active passengers we experienced last year. Numerous people remembered us this time as we went about activities and dining, and all were ... Read More
We booked this cruise a second time because of the solid value offered, and the generally friendly and active passengers we experienced last year. Numerous people remembered us this time as we went about activities and dining, and all were repeat passengers for multiple past cruises. The big values for us were the Burn the Floor dancers that performed in the Manhattan dining room, Epic theatre, and ballroom dance classes. Amazingly fast and complicated moves appeared effortless except for the heat they generated. Many other talent balanced out the performances, including more comedians than last year. Standout hospitality from Roderick in keeping our cabin in perfect shape, even though our schedule was a bit erratic, and from all the food servers in the Shanghai and Manhattan rooms were really appreciated. Wallfredo managed our wine selections with insight and attention, and we have only good memories of many Manhattan dinners. We were laughing one night about what a comparable dinner, Broadway show, late night disco, and hotel in New York would have required; compared to just strolling around the ship for a few minutes and saying thanks for the experience. That’s value. Counterpoints were the smokey casino right in the middle of the ship and the three amenities floors that NCL has not safely ventilated to protect their employees and non-smoking passengers like me. That’s a prime reason for choosing other ships. Secondly, although you can find some healthy foods, they’re re mixed in with hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, sweets and ice cream. Some deserts were labeled “No Sugar Added” but does that mean they are loaded with sugar-alcohols or toxic artificial sweeteners instead. More informative labeling or online ingredient lists would be greatly appreciated. Finally, the entertainment staff needs to expand their playlists to eliminate obnoxious repeats of over-played classics like “Hotel California.” Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have cruised 11 times with NCL and have certain expectations. As a mini-suite customer I felt that we were seeing the end of season service from the Epic staff overall. Our cabin steward was excellent, never received a visir from any ... Read More
We have cruised 11 times with NCL and have certain expectations. As a mini-suite customer I felt that we were seeing the end of season service from the Epic staff overall. Our cabin steward was excellent, never received a visir from any other service providers - we received daily service on our Alaska cruise two years ago - With 4500 passengers, I felt the staff was stretched thin to meet the needs of the customer base. I always had this feeling that the crew was looking forward to their transatlantic crossing in one week and was going thru the motions. Once again, the casino was smoke filled - Moderno and Lebistro was very good. The garden cafe needs to have some variety in its menu. The entertainment was excellent- the excursions were very good, but as usual, over priced and too much travel time. Overall, we had a good week, and will travel with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We only had a 1 week window of opportunity to holiday with friends and that was how we ended up on the NCL Epic. The ship itself is well looked after and everything is very clean. As a group of 4 adults we missed having somewhere to sit ... Read More
We only had a 1 week window of opportunity to holiday with friends and that was how we ended up on the NCL Epic. The ship itself is well looked after and everything is very clean. As a group of 4 adults we missed having somewhere to sit early evening before dinner or when we had come back from an excursion. Other ships we have been on (Celebrity and the NCL Jade) had a lovely lounge with floor to ceiling windows where you could sit in a comfy chair, chat and play cards with a great view of the sea outside the window. On the Epic through the chain mail curtains at the window all you could see were the metal walkway decks with no view at all. We went up a few times and once there was an Art exhibition on in there and the other times it was completely empty and freezing cold. There are bars around the ship with comfy chairs but we found they were near the Noodle/Teppanyaki bar and after sitting there for 5 or 10 minutes the smell of the cooking was over powering and not very pleasant. Our other biggest disappointment was the main dining room. There were a huge amount of people who did not make any effort to dress for dinner. One evening we sat next to a table where they had baseball caps on and one of the men had trainers, white sports socks and past the knee nylon sports shorts. He looked scruffy and as if he had come straight from the gym. We were by no means dressed up. The men had chinos and shirts and us women a dress or smart trousers - no dinner jackets or anything fancy - but we had showered and changed for dinner which half of the Main dining room seemed to have omitted to do. When I queried the dress code with the ladies who book you in there answer was (in a nutshell) we have a lot of Americans on board and we can't/won't ask them to dress appropriately for the MDR. How difficult is it if someone turns up in gym gear to say "I'm sorry Sir/Madam its long trousers and shirts for men and dresses/skirts or smart trousers for women in the MDR as stated on the website/daily bulletin. Please feel free to use the buffet or O'Sheehans if you prefer not to change tonight" O'Sheehans was a horrible place similar to a Wetherspoons. Always seemed to be queuing to get in when there were loads of empty tables. Overall the food was good in the MDR but definitely not outstanding. The cabin arrangement with the washbasin outside in the cabin was a bizarre idea and we really couldn't see the advantage in that at all. The shows were good but again not outstanding. Best entertainment on the ship was the Dualling Pianos - they were excellent. We also could not see any advantage in booking our seats on line before we sailed. There appeared to be no reason for this - what's wrong with turning up on the night and if you haven't got there early enough try again the next night. I think we would think twice about sailing with NCL (this was our 2nd time) we were all disappointed with the dress code and felt that it let the ship down. If people do not want to put on trousers and a clean top to eat - that's fine but don't use the MDR. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My daughter and I are 1st time cruisers so didn't know what to expect. The staff and cabin crew were excellent and I must mention "washy washy happy happy the Epic cruisers will know what this is. We ate most of the time in the ... Read More
My daughter and I are 1st time cruisers so didn't know what to expect. The staff and cabin crew were excellent and I must mention "washy washy happy happy the Epic cruisers will know what this is. We ate most of the time in the Garden Café which was well set out and the food was excellent however, not much for vegetarians . All the public places on the ship were very good and the entertainment and shows were excellent. We had a balcony state room, which overall was ok however, the curtain on the balcony was falling off on quite a few places as was the curtain which separated the toilet and shower. The shower was good and the room was cleaned at least twice a day a very compact cabin but ok for 2 people. The ports of call were stunning and beautiful we had amazing weather. I will mention , my mobility is not a 100% and I personally struggled a bit and I found the public places on the ship very hot. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
The Epic is a good ship but can be crowded, this doesn't help with having the havens expedite elevator service blocking others from that lift. This was my second time on the epic and although I have had great service as always on ... Read More
The Epic is a good ship but can be crowded, this doesn't help with having the havens expedite elevator service blocking others from that lift. This was my second time on the epic and although I have had great service as always on Norwegian the entertainment on the epic seems to lack with the same shows from over a year ago. The ship was starting to show some wear but was still well maintained. The itinerary was well suited for the meditrainine cruise and having two different ports for embarkation and debarkation made getting on and off a whole lot easier. Each ship I have noticed has their own way to own to board and get off the ship and again the epic has been the best at letting the passengers know the process beforehand. The food was excellent but did start to repeat halfway through. On this cruise, I did not use the excursions that were provided by the line but by talking with people and staff who did not recommend but said what they did provide great ways and places to visit. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I wanted to mark two things off my bucket list: Europe and cruise. Epic had studios a available which was perfect for me. Accommodations and food were 5 star. Entertainment was just OK. Best thing, in my opinion, was the string quartet. ... Read More
I wanted to mark two things off my bucket list: Europe and cruise. Epic had studios a available which was perfect for me. Accommodations and food were 5 star. Entertainment was just OK. Best thing, in my opinion, was the string quartet. Couldn't get into the Beatles, Priscilla Queen of the Desert was bizarre, heard Cirque and Dueling Pianos were good. Burn The Floor was good and also odd. Dancing talent was good. I went to art auction and bought a piece. Went to spa for acupuncture, another first. It was fine, expensive and added gratuity was a shock. Excursions were good in France and Naples. All ports of call were great with the exception of Livonia which was disappointing. Didn't prepare ahead of time to get to Florence. The cruise director and staff were awesome. The dances were fun! Elevators were very slow in Rome and Barcelona because of disembarking. We tendered in Cannes which was an experience in itself. Staff very efficient and professional. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Overall we had a delightful experience aboard the Norwegian Epic. However a few things to keep in mind if you have limited mobility: 1 - Rent a travel scooter before coming - this will give you full mobility on and off the ship. ... Read More
Overall we had a delightful experience aboard the Norwegian Epic. However a few things to keep in mind if you have limited mobility: 1 - Rent a travel scooter before coming - this will give you full mobility on and off the ship. 2 - Most of the excursions through the ship (even level 1) are not conducive for anyone with limited mobility 3 - Get a scooter that can collapse to keep in room - will make it easier than having guest services take overnight to charge (but this is a good alternative) If you can - definitely upgrade to the Haven suites. We booked the Haven spa suite and I was able to walk around the room easily because there were things to hold onto. Not conducive for wheelchair though. I also was able to get a shower chair to avoid soapy slippery floors. At worst case, you can get wheelchair assistance on and off the ship. Based on all of this, we did not know we could rent a scooter beforehand and ended up renting one on the ship for a large price (could have bought one for slightly more than we rented one) but I was grateful the ship had this as an alternative. Also very grateful to the Haven concierge team for their help with our excursions and ensuring that I could get around. Loved the Haven and Specialty restaurants as well as the afternoon treats brought to our cabin each day. Delicious food and great ambiance. As a couple traveling, this offered us wonderful romantic meals, a fabulous balcony off our room to enjoy the views, have quiet space to read and disconnect with each other and see amazing sunsets each day. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past ... Read More
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past and I often found myself with nothing to do, or entertainment that wasn’t entirely entertaining. Not the case with the Epic. The shows were fantastic and the dining options were endless. I traveled with a large group and there were plenty of options for us to get together as a group for dinner or a show. The only thing that wasn’t 100% was the quality of the rooms. The ship is a little bit older and the wear and tear was pretty apparent in some places. There were a few spots throughout where it looked like a quick fix was in place, but it was nothing that would have turned me away from sailing on the Epic, or any Norwegian ship in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Very good value, a package deal with cruise and airfare! Beautiful ship but almost too large! All the ding rooms were wonderful, with amazing wait staff and we liked the free style dining. The longest we waited for a table was 20 ... Read More
Very good value, a package deal with cruise and airfare! Beautiful ship but almost too large! All the ding rooms were wonderful, with amazing wait staff and we liked the free style dining. The longest we waited for a table was 20 minutes! On the down side we found the elevators very slow and usually full when they did stop on our floor! Also quite a lot of children onboard that were unsupervised and running all over the place. Couldn't understand this as the ship offered a kids club for most of the day! This was a very busy cruise as we were in a port almost every day and doing a land tour. Too tired to see the shows at night but what we did see was excellent entertainment! we probably would cruise with Norwegian in the future! Being handicapped & using a cane, I found that all the staff were very helpful, wish I could say the same for some passengers! I was constantly being knocked about on the pool deck, just couldn't go fast enough for some people! (where are our manners in 2018?) All in all a very memorable trip! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Check in at the Barcelona port was relatively easy. Took less than an hour total from when we got there and when we were physically on the ship. You enter the ship in the casino area, so it's tacky and smells like smoke but don't ... Read More
Check in at the Barcelona port was relatively easy. Took less than an hour total from when we got there and when we were physically on the ship. You enter the ship in the casino area, so it's tacky and smells like smoke but don't let that get you down, it gets better. Room was fine, balcony was great (I saw 4 shooting stars at night!) and there was a lot of salt all over the balcony that I wiped down. I agree the room's bathroom is not great, and the bathroom door can rattle so you have to be very precise making sure it's in a good spot not to rattle all night. The couch in the room takes up too much space- we never sat on it, but that's being picky. Room was clean, and attendant was great- laid back but happy to provide excellent service. There are two smoking areas- one in the casino and one near the family pool. Other than that no one should be smoking on the ship. Also note- they give you a shampoo/conditioner combo that is not that great- fine for a week but if you prefer to have your own stuff then you should bring what you want. Bring a USB charger/outlet. Our room manager gave us extra hangers upon on our request. We downloaded the app, tried to familiarize ourselves with the ship. You can use the app even if you don't have any wifi package. They really should have a ship map available on the app, or show you where your reservations are- so the app could use some work, hopefully that will improve soon. We wanted to watch NFL but they didn't show any of the games - they showed European Football. They also show cruise-event shows that can be embarrassingly hilarious. The "Mr. Sexy Legs" competition that we didn't see in person happened to be on the TV, so did a couples show and a dance show from the ship- funny and awkward stuff, if you sign up to be a contestant, just remember you might be broadcast to the entire ship! Dining was fine, better than I could make for 4000 people. Buffets were to be expected and main dining was nice but forgettable. The Manhattan Room had live music so if you like that I recommend heading there. Teppanyaki was pretty much the same you would find in any American Teppenyaki restaurant. I loved the freestyle dining though. I would sail NCL just because of how great the freestyle dining is, eat when you want. Also, they have dress codes such as no shorts in Manhattan but it's more of a suggestion and they let plenty of people in that were wearing shorts. We liked eating at O'Sheehans after an excursion, they are open all the time and the servers were fantastic. We never had to wait long for any of our food. Entertainment- as a former entertainer, I make sure to catch the shows. Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Epic Theater) was hilarious and I loved it- that cast has a damn good time out there, costumes and makeup are fantastic. If you have a sense of humor, make sure you check it out. Burn the Floor (Epic Theater) had some amazing dancers, Cirque (Spiegel Tent) was pretty good but very limited in what they can do, it's more like a few interesting acts, and if you sit close you may get wet because one guy has a weird bathtub act- Food was not good for the Cirque show, they just asked if Surf and Turf was good (I said yes) and that's what you get- no other choices unless there was a dietary restriction but they probably would have accommodated if I wanted something else. My favorite entertainment though was the Beatles cover band "The Epic Beatles". I wish I knew about these guys so I could have checked out all their shows, I was only able to catch 2. These guys were phenomenal and fun, my favorite was the one who played John Lennon- extremely talented, I wish I knew who he was. They play in the Cavern Club and had a show in the main Epic Theater (plenty of seating for this). The Cavern Club is pretty small and you had to get there at least 45 minutes before the show to get a seat. Otherwise you were stuck with a bunch of people off to the side hardly able to see anything. I think they could improve the seating in the Cavern Club or take away some of the large seating so more people can stand in there. A few folks got up to dance and it was a great time for all of the Epic Beatles shows. I liked the Beatles show so much I actually went to find all my old Beatles CDs and they have now made their way to my car so my kids can learn all the songs. (It's way past time for me to take out the Hamilton CD when my 4 year old knows the words) We paid for the spa pass and I think it was worth it- however I wouldn't do the spa if I had kids with me since you wouldn't get as much time to be in the spa. Spa was clean, had great showers, and a balcony in the back. The Mandara spa staff will walk you through everything spa has to offer. This cruise only had one sea day- we used Italytours.eu for our Best of Rome and then Best of Florence/Pisa days. This is a small family company that relies on Cruise Critic and word of mouth to get customers, so they really want travelers to have a good experience. I would definitely book with them again, everything went smooth and was as expected (they give you a lot of heads up info beforehand). The drivers and tour guides were friendly, knowledgeable and patient with us tourists. One of our drivers had free wifi in his car, so that was a hidden bonus. For Cannes and Palma de Majorca we wanted to have easy days. Cannes we just took their little train tour around and then walked around the area/checked out the yachts. Since we were lazy this day, we just took a later tender, they run often. Other people took the train to Monaco but we didnt have that ambition in us. For Palma de Majorca we took a taxi to Palmanova- a beach about 10 minutes away. Heads up - people in Spain aren't afraid of being naked so act cool. We rented chairs and an umbrella there (total about 14euro cash), there was also a nearby bar that we could grab some drinks at. Fantastic weather and taxis easy to get. The service is great on the ships- the people we met genuinely seemed to like being in the service industry and making sure our vacation was wonderful. I used the laundry service -they had a midweek special for a bag of laundry for about $20- ask your room manager for info if you don't see it. Disembarkation- if this was my first cruise I would have been very confused. We received no information on disembarkation and trying to get anyone on the phone is very hard. So when I finally got the info from Guest Services- you have to either take all your stuff off with you, or pick up some colored tags at Guest Services that have a designated disembarkation time for example 7:30-7:45am (and have your luggage outside your room midnight the night prior)- however if you don't make the exact time you'll be fine as long as you're close to it. We were late because we had breakfast. They just have the luggage waiting there when you do get off the ship. Taxi line is long but not horrible. We stayed in Barcelona and even though there are warnings about pick pockets, I felt very safe throughout the city and while using the subway. As for the whole experience- I would sail this ship again and I would sail NCL again. My preferred cruise line has always been Disney but if NCL has the price, entertainment, and destinations I'm interested in I will use them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Cruise departed out of Barcelona, great city to explore before the cruise! We did a wine and tapas tour and did a lot of exploring the city! We got on ship around 2pm and embarkation took five minutes and we were on the ship it was so ... Read More
Cruise departed out of Barcelona, great city to explore before the cruise! We did a wine and tapas tour and did a lot of exploring the city! We got on ship around 2pm and embarkation took five minutes and we were on the ship it was so easy! Clean ship,great service, Food just ok in main dining room, but very good in speciality restaurants, we did Carney’s steak house, Le bistro (French with fantastic service) and the Italian, which had a perfect location during the ships sail away (6:30 reservations) Fantastic ports, enjoyed all...... Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes and Palma de Mallorca! We chose to do tours privately in Italy and was well worth it! Cannes was a great beach day and fun to walk around town! Mallorca also great to walk around, go to beach or do a hop on hop off bus tour! The worst part of the trip was the cabin! The architect who designed these cabins DID NOT think about usability! We had a balcony room and to brush your teeth you basically had to sit on the bed! The shower was a little tiny closet which was located at the cabin door literally it was not in a bathroom in fact there was no bathroom, everything was completely separate, then a tiny I will call it a closet again with a toilet in it, one step from the bed. If you are at all a big person you will not be comfortable on this ship because of the cabins! We traveled with one other couple all four of us are in our 50’s and traveled quite a bit. Debarkation was also easy and fast! We chose this ship specifically for the ports and all ports were great! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The Epic is a large ship. Overall we really enjoyed the cruise. It was very port heavy, so I didn't catch many shows. The food was a step above Carnival & Royal. The buffet was very good, as were the restaurants. Highly recommend ... Read More
The Epic is a large ship. Overall we really enjoyed the cruise. It was very port heavy, so I didn't catch many shows. The food was a step above Carnival & Royal. The buffet was very good, as were the restaurants. Highly recommend the Steakhouse & Maderno Brazil Steakhouse...both were excellent. I didn't mind the room set up, but the beds are way too short. I'm 6.2 and my feet hung off the bed. The bed itself was comfortable, but too short. We were in a mini-suite. Dining room food was good, the only place I didn't care for was the French restaurant. Great service, but the food was a bit "meh". We did shore excursions to Pompeii/Analfi Coast, and David/Florence via the ship. The prices were high, in retrospect I'd book via Viator as it would have been MUCH cheaper. The shore excursions were great though via the ship, just expensive. It was annoying that specialty coffee/bottled water are not included in the beverage package, however you can fill water easily at the buffet. Also specialty coffee wasn't that expensive for a latte (like 3 bucks). This was my first time on Norwegian and I'd go again. We embarked in Rome, I recommend you stay at least 3 days prior to explore Rome...it's an amazing city. Most people board in Barcelona, so getting on the ship is a breeze. The Rome port is small and very new. They started boarding at Noon and it took like 15 minutes to get on the ship. Also, getting off in Rome only took like 10 minutes, you'll easily be off the ship by 830 if you carry your own bags off. If you have the ship take your bags, they will be waiting for you when you get off in the baggage area. Very fast due to only 1000 getting on/off in rome. 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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