Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: November 2009
This cruise was for my husband's 40th birthday and we traveled with his two sisters (25 and 45) and another couple in their 40s. Having been on Commadore Cruise lines about 16 years ago with one sister, this was by far a extraordinary ... Read More
This cruise was for my husband's 40th birthday and we traveled with his two sisters (25 and 45) and another couple in their 40s. Having been on Commadore Cruise lines about 16 years ago with one sister, this was by far a extraordinary ship! Unfortunately we encountered the same thing we did 16 years ago as we passed right by Nassau due to the high winds and the Captain's decision to be on the safe side and forego this island. On top of that our St. John trip was also cancelled due to weather. Thank goodness we were on an active ship with lots to do. Well, now for my ship review. The ship is beautiful, the rooms are great as far as looks go and the bathroom set up was no problem at all. My shower didn't work for a day and a half as it was scalding or freezing. On day two they finally fixed the lines that were crossed. Now everyone's complaints about the walking room between the bed and the wall is totally true! I would have to wait off to the side while my husband walked by. Having been on several Carnival ships in the past, they by far, have the room sizes right. Storage is great-we didn't even know about the two drawers that pulled out under the sofa until the second day. The balcony was very spacious-too bad there wasn't a lounger, but otherwise my coffee cup fit just fine in the little table. Having a coffee maker in the room is also a fantastic thing. On other ships I had to dress and walk up to get coffee every morning. The dining rooms were good, we ate at Taste once, The Manhattan Room 2-3 times and the buffet many times. My only complaint is as everyone else complains about-variety. My big complaint is the desserts-same thing every single night-Carnival has won that hands down. No creme brulee, whah! As far as specialty restaurants we ate many times at the sushi bar (fantastic!). I had a few appetizers from O'Sheehan's and they were good but I didn't get to try the favorites. Moderno was excellent-the best salad bar I've ever had! To top it off, La Cucina was by far my favorite. Due to my husband's complaints about the non-working shower, we were given a complimentary pass for La Cucina on the last night-too bad we didn't go's well worth twice the price of $10. We saw the Blue Men and Legends in Concert-both fantastic!!!!!!! Howl at the Moon is also good, but of the two men that played one was by far a professional, excellent and the other was horrible! I think they need a replacement-sorry to say. Overall my raves: The Epic has it hands down when it comes to entertainment (Princess has to be the most boring cruise ships I have ever sailed). Carnival is a ton of fun, but after multiple cruises there are only so many Men's Hairy Chest contests you can watch. We like the assigned dining better than freestyle but the food on the Epic was probably a notch above Carnival. I haven't been on any of the new RCCL ships so I can't comment as it's been about 10 years since I was on the 4 day cruise to the Bahamas on the older ships. My only complaints: the weather which was nobody's fault and the wave rooms, I think a standard wall would give you the room needed. My biggest complaint of all are the chair hogs! There would be tons of empty chairs with towels for hours! There was even a fight wherein an officer had to be called! The pool layout is not very good for the number of passengers. Finally after a few days we found the quiet zone-take the elevators up to level 18 and go out the door opposite the private area. SMOKING!!!!!! Everything is smoky and your clothes will all have to be washed when you get home! NCL had the easiest boarding and disembarking process I ever encountered-probably less than 10 minutes both ways! I would recommend this ship to people who like Carnival over Princess. It's a ton of fun and not stuffy!! The staff are by far some of the friendliest I've encountered and the food is very good....really no need to pay for the specialty restaurants and if you want to, try the sushi bar and La Cucina. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Based on all the hype I was expecting a great experience while on the EPIC. This is what I received: The housekeeping staff did not honor the "Do not Disturb" sign on more than one occasion, even after I explicitly asking ... Read More
Based on all the hype I was expecting a great experience while on the EPIC. This is what I received: The housekeeping staff did not honor the "Do not Disturb" sign on more than one occasion, even after I explicitly asking them to honor it. The answer was always "OK" but because they had so little understanding of the English language, as soon as anyone uses a word they are unfamiliar with, they just nod in agreement and smile although they have no idea what anyone is saying. When an attempt was made to escalate the complaint to the housekeeping supervisor for the floor, I was told he "isn't there". When I persisted to speak to someone at a supervisory level all I got was run in a circle for 20 minutes. When I saw all that was being done was an exercise designed to simply wear me out, I then said I was undeterred and still wanted to speak to someone in authority. They found me a supervisor, but not the one that was appropriate under the circumstances. The ship's Security Officer came and advised me that if I didn't stop complaining I would be "turned over to the Coast Guard at the next port and fined". They took a customer service problem and failed to address it. Then when I wouldn't accept that as the outcome, they then turned it into a "security" issue. They never did address my problem but they did manage to get me to stop complaining. Moral of the story, if you are having a service related problem on this ship, bring someone with you when you go to complain so you have a witness or simply wait until you are off the ship and write a review warning other passengers as I am doing here. As noted in several other reviews things you normally take for granted as being free on a cruise ship, based on the currently existing industry standard, are not free on this ship or when they are free they build in so much inconvenience that you are discouraged from using them (eg having to "pre-register" to attend a "free" show-see below) or they limit access to it so you are more likely to use an alternative that is not free (eg non-self service dining with extremely limited menu options-see below). All the ships that I have been on have entertainment which consists primarily of some headliner shows where you show up shortly before show time, select a seat and enjoy the show. On this ship, its not that simple because you have to pre-register. The worst part is no one tells you that pre-registration is required until you get to the show and by then it is too late to pre-register. You then have to wait until the next day (because the desk where you pre-register is closed by the time the evening shows start) and then the next day you must go stand in line during the designated times (a two hour period in the morning and another two or three hour period in the afternoon) in order to pre-register. Nowhere is it explained why someone can not "pre-register" for the shows at the customer service desk (which is open 24 hours) or at the "shore excursion" desk (which is open all day long during the day). The "pre-registration" desk is the size of a mall kiosk (sp?) and normally has between two and four workers when it is open (there are over 4000 passengers on the ship so do the math when figuring out how long you will be waiting). The customer service and shore excursion desks are similar to what you see in an airport, where there are many people behind a long counter about twenty feet long, always with at least five workers at each one. After you stand in line to register for the shows at the "pre-registration" desk, you will stand in line again when it is time to see the show since there is no assigned seating (nowhere it is explained why pre-registration is required since it is all based on general admission anyhow). This "pre-registration" process, in my opinion, is designed to cause so much confusion and inconvenience for people that they are less likely to go see the shows. The cruise line should be required to advise people UPFRONT of this "pre-registration" requirement in their advertising of this ship since this practice of requiring "pre-registration" is outside the current industry standard. If it is a day the ship is in port, someone may not want to cut into the middle of their day to go back on the ship to stand in line to "pre-register" for show attendance and if not, they have a right to know that they will have to make a choice, spend the full day off the ship at whatever port the ship are at, or, spend part of that time on the ship in order to complete the "pre-registration" process. The other area briefly mentioned above deals with places to eat on the ship. Most ships have some main dining rooms, at least one main buffet and a few specialty restaurants which cost extra. The idea is that the specialty restaurants are not designed to be where you go to eat most nights but are instead to be used occasionally depending on the circumstances. On this ship, only one free restaurant offers waiter/waitress service for breakfast and it is normally only open for a few hours in the morning and some days not at all for breakfast (Taste). Accordingly, passengers are left with the buffet. For lunch, same thing, the only free restaurant offering waiter/waitress service (Taste) is open for a few hours and on some days this restaurant is not open at all for lunch with the alternative being buffet service*. Please note that the breakfast and lunch menus in Taste normally have about six main dishes to pick from. For dinner, two free restaurants offer waitress/waiter service (Taste and Manhattan), once again, based on a menu containing about six main selections to pick from. There are also about a half a dozen pay restaurants open for dinner (*There is also a Pub with three booths and about six tables that is open 24 hours which has about six bar food type selections(eg burger, buffalo wings, etc.) to pick from, however with a ship containing over 4000 passengers these three booths and six tables do not put much of a dent in the demand for alternative dining selections). In my opinion, anyone who wants any type of varied selection is going to wind up eating most of their dinners in one of the specialty restaurants and the limited "free" alternatives to the Specialty restaurants for anyone seeking variety should be disclosed in the ship's advertising but it is not. The room was very nice but there were a few concerns. Having my personal effects rearranged by the housekeeping staff just so it would appear they did something, rather than leaving my personal effects where I left them (and consistent with both the "do not disturb" sign and my explicit instructions), and can find them, would have been much preferred. I found the shower stall to be very small. The folding "iced" shower stall door contains a vertical gap in the middle (by design) of about 1/4 of an inch when it is fully closed, which guarantees that water will go outside the shower stall and onto the floor. For the life of me, I can't imagine how no one noticed this as it appears to be an obvious design flaw, sort of like designing a cup with a built in hole in the bottom of it. The TV was nice but, as mentioned in other reviews, it had nothing watchable on it due to the extremely limited channel selection (this is a good example of how the cruise line spent a lot of money on a nice TV, but is then unwilling to spend a few extra dollars to buy the rights to anything worth watching). Although the advertisements state there is a "window" facing the hallway, this is very misleading since someone can not see in or out of this "window". This window is covered by two panels that are not designed to open, sort of like two closed shutters. Functionally, it is the same as if someone simply drew a picture of a window on the wall and then advertised that there is a window in the room. Because space is so limited, the only place to put a suitcase is under the bed, which means you will need to lug that suitcase out from under the bed every time you need something from it, which will be quite often since there really is very little space to unpack most things. A few more things worthy of mention: if you are any taller than 5 feet 7 inches tall, you should expect to be sleeping with your feet hanging over the edge of the bed and, as noted in other reviews, if you want to watch a movie on the TV in your room, expect to pay about $10.00 per movie. I found the bed to be very uncomfortable based on the quality of the mattress. As time goes by, and that bed is used by more passengers, I would bet that the quality of that mattress will deteriorate considerable further very quickly. There is a large screen in the Atrium that is almost the size of a drive in movie screen (if not larger). As mentioned in other reviews they can put this screen to good use by showing many movies. However, instead most of the movies shown are animated kids movies and they only show, on average, one a day. The cruise line's limited use of this large screen for movie viewing purposes reminds me of a person who goes out and buys a $10,000 plasma TV, then when he wants to watch a movie, he will only select from the $1.00 bargain box rental counter. Overall this is a very impressive looking ship. The quality of the food is not as good as Royal Caribbean but better than Carnival (then again dog food might also be better than Carnival food). The folks who run this ship spent a lot of money on it. However, the way they handle customer complaints, the severely limited menu selections at the full service restaurants, the limited availability of free full service restaurants, the severely limited entertainment selections on both the Atrium's big screen and the in room televisions and the way the cruise line intentionally inconveniences passengers for no good reason when it comes to gaining access to the shows collectively prohibit me from giving this ship anything but a poor rating. This ship (and the way it is managed) remind me of a kid who gets all dressed up in a nice suit, then as soon he opens his mouth, and curse words and slang come out, your impression of him immediately changes. This is what happened with me on this ship. My first impression, and the one I now after, bear no resemblance to one another. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
flights from newcastle to heathrow over night hotel at separate cost from cruise. then on to my flight from heathrow to miami via change over flt in boston all good. hotel overnight in miami sofitel this hotel was not up to standard for a ... Read More
flights from newcastle to heathrow over night hotel at separate cost from cruise. then on to my flight from heathrow to miami via change over flt in boston all good. hotel overnight in miami sofitel this hotel was not up to standard for a sofitel, rooms were quite grubby beds were good though very comfortable. pickup was good from hotel to port miami. Got on ship for 12.30 rooms not ready so just went on deck and to garden cafe 1st impressions fab! Then on to solo cabins they are small but lovely very trendy more than enough room for 1 person plenty storage space and a comfortable bed (no fridge) shower and toilet in room nice. solo lounge attached to solo corridor totally the best, meet here at 5 to 7 happy hour drinks, Sol our rep was there to meet us every day introduced us all to each other, there's a board in there shows when the group dinner is ours was on weds night ice bar get together Fri. if you want to do dinner with anyone just put your name and cabin no someone will come with you if not more and have another group dinner. lots going on for solos in here it is the most important place to mix with other solos. coffee & tea maker in here and cookies and snacks all day cereal & pastries in the mornings. 24 hour room service free. lovely ship nice adult area at back for day and nightclub, white hot party is fab the place was jumping. good shows blue man group excellent, circus tent and dinner really great show food just average sat in cheaper seats could see just fine. casino good size won lots on slots. Jewelry shopping was cheaper on islands. food in french le bistro was good, manhattan and taste was about average chinese was not so good. garden cafe was good for snacks, lunch and breakfast. didn't do ships trips as expensive, st maarten walked off ship walked to beach just off ship & a little shopping, st Thomas taxi to magens bay (gets very busy here) then a little shopping in town near ship, Nassau we took water taxi then its a long walk to public beach on other side of Atlantis hotel(get a taxi from ship its cheaper and no walking) shopped in Nassau town for a bit before boarding. there is a deck at top of ship called posh you pay for this its soft sun beds and quiet book in for week as soon as on board this gets full very quick.transfer to airport was painless although i was told by travel agent that i would get day room but didn't get one, too soon for flight i was at airport by 10am flight not till 4.30. when i do this again would prob book hotel for after cruise for 2 days on beach. this is a great ship for solo passengers great fun made a few friends in cruise critics before i went but made so many more on board nice mix of people from 20 - 80years. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Overnight, Rotterdam to Southampton There's no doubt about it: Norwegian Epic is a beautiful ship. The crew are wonderful, the food is excellent and the entertainment is probably the best you'll ever see at sea. The bad news is ... Read More
Overnight, Rotterdam to Southampton There's no doubt about it: Norwegian Epic is a beautiful ship. The crew are wonderful, the food is excellent and the entertainment is probably the best you'll ever see at sea. The bad news is the embarkation at Rotterdam took almost four hours and was the most chaotic we've ever encountered in all the years we've been cruising and the disembarkation at Southampton wasn't much better. And the much-vaunted "wave" cabins leave quite a lot to be desired. It has to be said, though, that the positives far outweigh the negatives and even though it was just one epic night on the Epic, my wife and I had a fantastic time (when we finally did get aboard). So let's get the negatives out of the way first. To be fair to NCL, there was a technical problem with a propeller shaft on the ship, so part of the delay in checking us in may have been down to them deciding what was going to be done. The fault meant that our voyage took about five hours longer than scheduled (though for us that was a bonus as it meant we got to sample even more of the ship!). But we had to queue in a long line for almost two hours outside the terminal to have our documents checked and be given a coloured card before we were allowed in to the building and up the escalators to actually check in. We then queued in another long line for another hour, listening to announcements calling for passengers with different colour cards to begin embarkation, before we were finally all told that it was actually the check in that was by the colour of our card and we should all sit down till it was called. As we did, more and more people came up the escalators and joined the long line we had just left! Total chaos with a complete lack of any organisation. Getting off at Southampton was nearly as bad - just one gangway was open to get everyone off, and because everyone's key card had to be scanned a huge queue soon built up. Fortunately someone had the good sense to open another gangway further down the ship but it still took almost 45 minutes to disembark. All this is (hopefully) a one-off with a port NCL don't use very often (Rotterdam) and a new ship. But a much bigger negative is the "wave" cabin. They have curvy walls and where the wall curves out, the wall in the adjacent cabin curves in, and vice versa. The theory is that by putting the bed in the space where the wall curves out, the cabin can be narrower and deeper than standard cabins but appear to be as spacious. The reality, though, is that it doesn't. Both my wife and I had the same thought when we first stepped through the door: "It's a bit narrow, isn't it!" Even worse, there's a "no passing zone" bottleneck at the foot of the bed, which means that even with just two people in the cabin, you're forever getting in each other's way. I don't know how a family with children would manage - or even if I could for more than a week. Another big problem is the lack of a proper bathroom. The tiny washbasin is situated in the main part of the room, not far from the "no passing zone" at the foot of the bed, while the shower and toilet are opposite each other just inside the room's doorway (both concealed by sliding translucent glass doors). More modest types can spare their blushes with a curtain that pulls across to hide the area from the rest of the cabin but it does mean that when you have a shower all the water that normally ends up on the bathroom floor now ends up on the cabin floor. It's not helped by the fact that all the towels are stored by the washbasin in the main cabin anyway. So if you forget to pick up a towel before you step into the shower, stand by for a flood! The plus about the cabins, though, is that they are nicely decorated in an elegant, modern fashion, there's plenty of storage space and they have quite a big flat screen LCD TV. And the bed is really comfortable. Five stars all round in that respect. Now for the positives. Apart from the flaws in the cabin mentioned above and the embarkation/disembarkation Norwegian Epic deserves five stars all round. I don't know whether NCL picked the crew from the best of the crews on their other ships, but it certainly feels like they did. And best of all everyone we saw looked really happy and excited to be working on the Epic. We tried to sample as many of the dining options and as much of the entertainment as we could in our limited time and it was all excellent. We had (a very delayed) lunch in the Garden Cafe buffet after lifeboat drill on the first day and the variety of food available was probably the best we've seen in any ship's buffet. Lunch on the second day (because of our extended voyage time) was in the main Manhattan Room restaurant and again was first rate - and made even more enjoyable by a special performance of Legends In Concert, an excellent tribute show featuring the likes (or should that be look-alikes) of Madonna, Elvis, Tina Turner et all. And for breakfast we went to O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill, the 24-hour cafe, and had their excellent country breakfast. And as for dinner, well, we had it at the very best show we've ever seen on board a ship - and one of the best we've ever seen on land either: Cirque Dreams. Think Cirque du Soleil in a much more intimate fashion and then some. It's billed as the first "big top" at sea, and it's a dazzling two hours of acrobats, muscle men, trapeze artists, music and comedy all taking place in a 10ft-wide circular area in the middle of the room just feet away from the audience at their dinner tables. Even the waiters take part in the show - as do some lucky people plucked out of the audience by the cast. Like me - I got to play the bells in one of the musical numbers! Before that, we saw the excellent Second City comedy and improv show, from the legendary Chicago breeding ground of many of America's top comedy stars, like Bill Murray and Tina Fey from 30 Rock to name just two. It's very American and as there were a lot of Dutch, German and French passengers on board the audience was quite small - but those who didn't go missed a damn fine show. After Cirque Dreams we tried to get in to see the end of the Blue Man show but the theatre was packed out, so instead we stopped by Howl At The Moon, billed as "the world's greatest rock 'n' roll duelling piano show," for one quick drink and were certainly glad we did - we were still there two and a half hours later having fun singing some of the greatest songs of the last 50 years in another amazing show. So there you have it. Norwegian Epic, the good the bad and the beautiful, and definitely well worth a try. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2010
What a trip certainly the GOOD the BAD and the UGLY. Let's get the UGLY out the way yes the EPIC will never win any prizes for her external looks - slab slided like many with the Garden Villa's perched on top adding to the odd ... Read More
What a trip certainly the GOOD the BAD and the UGLY. Let's get the UGLY out the way yes the EPIC will never win any prizes for her external looks - slab slided like many with the Garden Villa's perched on top adding to the odd look. The trip on Sunday to Rotterdam was a breeze we got the Eurostar at 1157 and caught our connection in Brussels at 1518 and were in our Hotel room by 1710 so 4 hours 10 minutes allowing for time difference. Hotel Manhattan was in a great location and for a small charge we got an upgrade to the executive floor with free bar. Let's say we more than drank the amount charged. Ate out at a restaurant suggested by the hotel and the food was good. On Monday had a good breakfast - which was to prove a smart move. We walked down from the hotel knowing that their should be some good options for photos as we crossed the Erasmus bridge. So first sight was a bit of the GOOD and the UGLY, GOOD the EPIC is here, UGLY the external view of the EPIC. As we crossed the bridge it was busy with locals taking pictures. After crossing we were treated to the Erasmus bridge opening. Crossing the bridge gave the first suggestion of problems as a few people stopped us to say they were late getting off. On the E-ticket boarding was from 1000 we got there about 1045. The GOOD - first ticket and passport check nearly empty and get our colour card and head upstairs, the BAD - upstairs in Rotterdam Cruise Terminal very busy odd think I but we find a seat with another group of Brits and do what the Brits do best - yep gossip and moan about the situation. So suddenly just about 1140 they start calling card colours - GOOD. Hang on why aren't those people getting through passport control - BAD who knows as they call more colours. Then a message if you have checked in please sit down until called for embarkation - BAD - problem no seats left as they are filled by new comers so terminal is starting to heave. So our colour is called about 1210 and like all good Brits we charge as a group to the queueing ropes. They had two separate queues each served by about 20 terminals - GOOD think I. Hang on why are all those people still not through passport control - possible BAD looming. BAD - apology announcements start for delayed check in and boarding. I feel an UGLY coming on. UGLY - an announcement - we have suspended check in - so we stand for nearly an hour in the check in queue. Then the announcement we dreaded "EPIC has a problem which will not effect safety but will delay arrival until 1730. You have an option to cancel with refund and cruise credit, if you travel NCL will refund up to 100 euro's per person towards travel arrangements". Suddenly embarkation starts for some and the check in queue moves only 3 in front nearly us. BAD - why are they not calling people forward. UGLY - check in systems and ships security card scan system has failed another 45 minutes going no where you could cut atmosphere in terminal with a knife. By this time rumours of queue outside terminal and facebook and twitter are getting messages from all angles and sources, NCLs facebook is battered black and blue by all and sundry. GOOD - we are on the move again and checked in. Then through yet another passport control and we are on board. GOOD as we feared this cruise would be cancelled after the previous announcements. Who is to blame for the fiasco hard to tell, I think terminal panicked and started check in too early leading to the overcrowding, NCL did not help by not supplying information in the terminal. The Cabin We had a stern facing balcony cabin (9294). First thoughts were that it seemed smaller than the similar Eclipse cabins. OMG look at the toilet and shower - could be interesting. Oh look there is a modesty curtain that will be good sound proofing then. The shower and toilet were functional and the shower powerful. The big but here is the basin is the wrong side of the curtain so when you come out the toilet you touch the curtain before you can wash hands - probable noro virus source in the future I think. Good sized TV with stop start movies, a geek lovers phone to play with. 2 euro and 2 usa sockets hidden in a cupboard with a hole to feed cables up through - an idea which really works and keeps cables tidy. Tea and coffee in the cabin, storage ok not brilliant but not bad, Comfortable bed and some interesting lighting used. Balcony a good size but tiny table. As stern is vertical all balconies are private and cannot be looked down onto. Safe and minibar also in cabin. Hairdryer is powerful. Overall a good cabin if you can see past the shower toilet arrangements. In this instance you want the bed nearest to balcony, not the toilet area. And yes cabin is curvy. Pictures including a using toilet (with clothes on) example later. The vibration at night was terrible and when sailing the noise on the balcony very loud. I would not recommend a stern cabin and would certainly not book one. Many of the NCL favourites are on board we sampled the following. The Garden Cafe for late lunch on Monday and Tuesday breakfast. Very well organised and plenty of duplication of stations so no wait time. Quality of food was good. Head Waiters and Assistant Head Waiters wear head milkes to keep the area flowing and direct you to available seating the highlight is the bow facing sitting area with marvellous views forward. The Moderno Churrascaria Restaurant is a Brazilian style restaurant where your servers serve the meat from skewers. You start with a huge self-service salad and soup bar. Once ready for mains you have a green card face up and the servers start. There is a constant stream of food until you flip the card to red to stop the mains. You also get some sides of rice, garlic mash and re fried beans. Desert was a coconut creme caramel. This is something we have always wanted to try and the experience did not disappoint. More than worth the $18 per person surcharge. For Tuesday lunch we ate coming up the Solent in the Manhattan main restaurant. This is very contemporary styled with understated colours in fact a very beautiful dining room. As an added bonus the Legends (tribute acts were playing) and were really good. They had played the previous evening too and the dinner show or dance concept is a good idea. Bars and Entertainment We sampled a couple of the bars and found the service and selection good. I will add prices when I get the receipts out. H2O spice could be great on a warm evening. We tried the ice bar and enjoyed the experience. The $20 surcharge included 2 strong cocktails so was probably a fair charge for the 45 minutes you do need to book though. Bliss Ultra lounge is a very modern nightclub concept and was really busy. Projected the DJ onto a smoke screen at the front entrance before you go in - very quirky. Howl at the Moon in the comedy bar was great duelling pianos and a lively crowd so was great fun a simple concept that worked. Blue Man group Simply superb and great entertainment we really enjoyed their show. I think the Broadway at sea concept will really catch on across many companies. If pre-booked for the Blue man group you just present your room card at the entrance to the theatre There was lots of live music around the ship. Deck Space There were seats on the promenade deck but with the lifeboats hanging here next to no view. Top decks had a myriad of places to find a lounger as well as multiple flumes and pools, which looked great fun. Other Areas Spa is very large spa and gym certainly bigger than any we have seen at sea with all the usual facilities. Gym included a squash court which has now become an additional gym area rather than a squash court. Theatre - Not as large as you would think comfortable seating and drinks holders at each seat. Casino - verrrrryyyyyyy verrrrryyyyyyy verrrrryyyyyyy large. Shops - A wide selection laid out differently to other ships and they still manage to get the $10 tat out. They were selling at duty free prices with no VAT added. Photo area - Lots of screens but we never managed to try them. Other cabin types We did see into some of the other cabin types and there was not a great difference in size between them. Some had a bath behind the Perspex screens very odd. The studio rooms are a good concept and probably an OK size for one - a full king bed is in there. The lighting changes colour so if a single cabin not to sure about the love lighting mode. Unfortunately we could not get into the suites. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We came back from Epic yesterday afternoon. Rotterdam to Southampton. What a shamble at Rotterdam. We arrived at 10.30pm and only boarded at 1.15pm. People were all over de place, announcements you could not understand. They were asking ... Read More
We came back from Epic yesterday afternoon. Rotterdam to Southampton. What a shamble at Rotterdam. We arrived at 10.30pm and only boarded at 1.15pm. People were all over de place, announcements you could not understand. They were asking hundreds of people to seat down on 50 chairs. Girls from NCL based in Dover were on hand to help the very inexperience staff in Rotterdam. Around 12.30, they stopped the checkin. More delay. The were having a meeting about the situation. Finally that made an announcement to inform us the ship was tech and will arrive in Southampton at 5pm instead of 10 am.Passengers were offered to cancel the cruise or stay onboard. A few minutes later boarding started. The first thing we did was going to the box office to book the show for that night. First we wanted to do Spiegel Tent and after the Blue Man Show. One girl said it was possible to do both while the guy said it was not. It was like yes and no for around 5 minutes. You would imagine they would know. At the end we only booked Blue Man Show and it was great. Good fun. After that debate, we went to the Lido for lunch, the food was excellent and the views from the restaurant were amazing. After lunch we decided to go and see our cabin. The girl at the check in told us we were upgraded and at the end it was the same cabin as we booked. The cabin was an inside (why pay for balcony on a one night). The cabin was very small ( we later visited a balcony and it was not better) and not practical. When you entered the room, directly on your left you had the toilet with a plastic tinted door and on the right the shower cubical also with tinted plastic door. A bit further down, you had a sink (very small and not deep) with a mini fridge above and the tv near the fridge. Not the best set up if you are 3 in the room or don't know the other person if you are two. The phone only started working on Tuesday morning. Lucky we didn't have an emergency during the night. After checking the room, we started exploring the ship, the pool deck was very cramp. Not much desk place. The two pools were very small. We went down to explore the ship. Deck 5,6,7 were nice with restaurants, bars and shops. You could see the ship was not finished and some wires were apparent and a lot of workers were working around the passengers. In the evening we decided to go to the Churascaria and it was excellent. Service, staff and food. We could not fault it. The only problem was some staff from Dover and also a table of travel agents being very loud and making very upsetting comments. Lucky no kids where around for the language used. Before and after diner we spent a bit of time in the Martini bar. The Pianist was excellent. The bar staff had a bit of an attitude in that bar.This was the only place where we found unfriendly staff. During the morning, we had breakfast in the Lido and again the food was nice and tasty. After lunch we wanted to try the slides and jacuzzi and no luck as they were all closed. They only opened at 2pm for a 3 pm arrival. Instead we sat in the sun for a while before going for our duty free tax purchases. And yes they were selling duty free within Europe. We hope HMRC won't find out our big trouble ahead again if they need to pay taxes for all the sales they have done. A few minutes later my partner told me we were approaching Isle of White and I didn't believe it as we had another 5h00 to go before the arrival. When the sentence was finished, the Captain made an announcement and told us we made a very good progress during the night ( the announcement was around 12.00) was would now arrive at 3pm. Amazing he did not know that early to help passengers changing the travel plans. We decided to have lunch in the Manhattan restaurant. Once again the food and service was excellent. A band was also playing during the lunch. After lunch we all went to the deck and see the arrival of the ship, as it was the first time, the inaugural in Southampton, we were waiting for something exceptional and nothing happened. Maybe NCL was ashamed about the late arrival, or they just did not care. It was like a normal arrival. We were also surprised not to receive a certificate as it was the first sailing for the ship ( non promotional). When we sailed on Independence Of The Seas a few years ago. We all received a certificate with a picture of the ship in a very nice leather folder. We also received a video of the ship. It was great. Here NOTHING. During the cruise, we went to the front desk and asked if this was the inaugural, Maiden voyage, or ... and her answer was I don't know. She also said they haven't decided. Once again what is going on there. A little after our arrival, they started the disembarkation process and again it was chaos. Normal as nobody knew when to leave the ship. When we left the ship, we were expecting a big welcome in the terminal and again nothing. After this trip, we don't think EPIC made a big entrance like other ships for the Inaugural. Maybe NCL EPIC is a bit shy. What a shame as we were expecting more from this sailing and also by being the first passengers sailing from the ship. It looks like we were more Guinea pigs instead. The ship was just ok and not very well designed. It looks more like a rushed job. (Nothing to compare to Oasis Of The Seas who has got a WOW factor) The food and service were excellent. As we found out a 7 nights cruise onboard NCL can be very expensive as you need to pay a lot for the restaurants. We need to agree they offer for every taste, from French to Japanese. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We have just got back from first sailing from Rotterdam. It took a long time to board as we found out later that there was a problem with ship and had to sail slower than scheduled and therefore was due to arrive at 5.30pm instead of 10am. ... Read More
We have just got back from first sailing from Rotterdam. It took a long time to board as we found out later that there was a problem with ship and had to sail slower than scheduled and therefore was due to arrive at 5.30pm instead of 10am. So there was a delay in boarding to give people a chance to decide not to sail if there travel arrangements would not allow. then the computers went down so after arriving at 10.30am we boarded eventually at 2.30pm! The ship is huge and in the most, beautiful.we had a balcony cabin on deck nine which was the only thing that we did not like about the ship. we did not like that there was no bathroom and although the shower and Toilet doors were not see through they were not soundproofed! also the sink in the main cabin was very small. The TV and phone were not working but I am sure these will be ironed out before the transatlantic sailing. The Blue Man group show was great& full so make sure you make reservations on line before you cruise. We also because of delayed arrival got to see the cast from the legends show perform in the main restaurant during lunch on the day into Southampton. In fact all the entertainment around the ship was very good and the staff very good too. If you like this new concept of cabins I am sure you will love the Epic, as for us I do not know if we will sail on her again as we did not which is a shame because we could not fault any of the rest of the experience we had Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We went on the opening of Epic to the travel trade and as a travel agent i have travelled on all the competitions best offerings so am well placed to compare. The positives for the ship are many. It has a light airy feeling on board ... Read More
We went on the opening of Epic to the travel trade and as a travel agent i have travelled on all the competitions best offerings so am well placed to compare. The positives for the ship are many. It has a light airy feeling on board which gives the perception that you have more space than on most ships. The bars and restaurants are superb with such a wide choice and the truly revolutionary ice bar which looked stunning. The shows were amongst the best I have seen at see the Blue Man Group being the highlight of the trip. There are so many activities on board you would struggle to find nothing to do unless that is exactly what you wanted. The Aqua park is truly the best i have been on at sea, children and adults alike will love this with some true fast paced water slides. There is a great younger children's splash area and the other children's clubs looked fantastic. Children aged 2-12 are separated in one large room which is great for families with mixed aged children as siblings will be able to see each other. Staff were friendly and attentive and i was generally impressed so will i be sending clients on this ship?? If you just looked at the above it would be a resounding yes but then....... The Negative is almost baffling when such time was spent designing the rest of the ships. I can only imagine that the cabin were designed by someone who had never been on a cruise before. The staterooms are probably the worst designed i have ever been in and that is truly no exaggeration. Slightly frosted see through glass doors on a toilet makes it uncomfortable for sharers who are unrelated. The shower is just the same and to make it worse you step out of the shower straight into your stateroom soaking the floor and in full view of your cabin mate. Maybe realising the problem NCL have put a shower curtain across the middle of the stateroom to separate the bed from this shower but this compounds the problem because if you are on the outside of the cabin and step in while your cabin mate is in the shower you are virtually stepping into the shower with them in full view of anyone walking down the corridor....what were they thinking??????? Oh and the sink, cleverly NCL have placed the only sink, (yes you have to leave the toilet and walk across the the cabin to wash your hands or face), under a cupboard so you cant fit your head under it, the tap is fixed meaning there is only a tiny space to put your hands under it and all in all once you have stopped laughing at the stupidity of it frustration starts to set in!! So as it stands i can only see myself sending related clients and in room grades higher than balcony rooms as staterooms i saw below this are quite simply to poor in all faith to put a client in. This is such a shame because the positives for the ship are obvious to see and for families i couldn't imagine a ship with better facilities. Come on NCL there is still time to delay the sailings and re-design those cabins, i know it will be expensive but will make what is currently an average ship a great one!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
As we only had one night on board to sample this new ship from NCL I can only give my impressions on what we managed to see and do in the limited time available to us. So very hard to choose which ones to go and do but in the end this is ... Read More
As we only had one night on board to sample this new ship from NCL I can only give my impressions on what we managed to see and do in the limited time available to us. So very hard to choose which ones to go and do but in the end this is the review of our encounter with the not quite finished Norwegian Epic. I will start with the check in as this seems to have caused a bit of stir amongst many people. Our e-doc suggested that embarkation would start at 10.00 a.m. We arrived just after this and initially everything seemed to be running smoothly. We were given a colour coded card (orange) at the initial reception desk outside the terminal and then passed through security in all under about 10 minutes. It was then upstairs to wait for our colour to be called for the actual check in. We waited for near on an hour before the first colour was called and check in started. We were about the fourth group to be called forward. It was only then that the announcements started, initially asking people who had already checked in to take a seat and await their colour to be called again for embarkation. We checked in without problem and moved back to the area we had first waited only to find that now there were no longer any seats available, meaning we had to stand to wait. All the time the girl on the PA was asking people to sit down await the next stage. Quite where she expected us to sit, "God only knows! Anyway not long after that they announced that they were closing the check in desks, we assumed that this was because of the bottle neck that we were now caught up in. Possibly another hour passed before the big announcement was made about the new arrival time at Southampton. Full refunds were offered to those who had arrangements which meant they could not cruise along with an offer of up to €100 per person for any addition costs incurred. All this was conveyed by means of a typed letter which was handed out by NCL personnel. Not a problem for us and more of a bonus as it meant we had an extra 7 hours on board. Eventually embarkation did start but only after another long wait. All in all it took us over 4 hours to go through the embarkation process and when you consider what was going on behind the scenes then I don't see this as a big deal. I have read other stories of people who turned up later and didn't even get into the terminal building until after 1.00 so can only consider our selves lucky by comparison. Given the unprecedented circumstances, I am in the opinion the NCL handled it well enough, sadly though not well enough for many others. After we got on board it was a case of finding our cabin. We found moving round the ship very easy. The main through fares on the lower decks have ample room for all to get around and they also feel spacious too. There are one or two pinch points but none that will hold you up at all. Very interesting to see a pair of escalators between decks 6 & 5. The lifts at the aft don't stop at 5 but you can take the stairs down one flight in that area. The main elevators we used were at the aft and opened directly onto the main central area on decks 6 and 7. I thought this worked well and again gave the impression of space. The decks which contained accommodation had the usual set up for lifts and stairs. Surprised to see the buttons on only one side, not like the new Celebrity Solstice class ship where they are on both sides of the lift door. We found our cabin (9257) but unfortunately the seapass would not open the door. It was a case of going back down to customer relations and getting new cards issued. We were not the only ones that this had happened to either. First thoughts upon gaining entry to the cabin were "Wow". The wave balcony cabin certainly does look fantastic. A mixture of dark wood and mirrors with buff colour upholstery and worktops intermingled. There is loads of storage and hanging. 2 full height mirrors. The one nearest the balcony giving the impression that the balcony is even bigger than it is. Every little area seems to have a space to store something, even the back of the sofa has doors which house life jackets and extra bedding. There are coffee/tea making facilities in the cabin and the sockets are cleverly hidden under the worktop behind a door with a cable port to allow you to stand items on the top. A mini bar and safe are also incorporated into the wall of units which I personally think looks really impressive. I would give the cabin10 out of 10 for design and layout of this area. Now the bad bit, the washing and toilet area has been totally cocked up in my opinion. I will start with the layout of this particular area of the cabin that we stayed in. As you walk into the cabin from the corridor there are opaque glass doors and panels either side of you, one housing the toilet and the other the shower. Both cubicles are accessed by sliding doors and there is a non carpeted wet area between the two. Closing the area off from the main cabin there is a curtain which pulls across to obscure the goings on behind. Unfortunately, this does not cut down any sound especially from the toilet cubicle, either when flushing or conducting any other business. There is a small gap at the top of the doors by the sliding door track which seems to allow all the noises going on behind the panel to transmit to the rest of the cabin. The toilet flush seemed particularly loud even with the door closed. In order to then wash your hands you need to pull the sliding door open to get to the sink. You could argue that you need to wash your hands every time you go into the cubicle but it still seems an odd configuration. The sink is very small and when washing your hands, water goes everywhere including the bed! I feel this set up will not be very popular with many people staying in these cabins. A solid hinged door panel to the toilet in the style of the rest of the cabin would have been more appropriate. The shower I can live with but the toilet is a different matter. Indian shadow puppets spring to mind. I could tolerate this set up on a cruise but would have to say it not ideal and considering it is a brand new ship and design then some questions need to be asked especially WHO likes to been seen sitting on the toilet? Due to the short amount of time on board we elected to eat within all the free areas. The food in "The Garden Cafe" was on par with our experience on Celebrity Equinox and the layout enabled easy access with little or no queuing and the food was of excellent quality. Our only grumble was with the free drinks, the drinking water had a very strong taste of chlorine and the tea selection was short of other ships as there were some favourites missing. The other area we ate in was O' Sheehan's bar and grill (open 24 hours) which we found the fare to be very tasty albeit a bit slow on service. All the other eateries were only viewed and looked to be nicely laid out; maybe we will sample these in the future. The evening entertainment we booked was the Blue Man Group and we can only say is, what a fantastic spectacle. Not to be missed and thoroughly entertaining. The theatre is compact and the stage can be viewed well from all areas. Whether it was because of miss management or under staffing but no body had their booking checked on entering so we could have on this night just turned up and gone in. We were not able to view the Spiegel Tent and were turned away a couple of times when we asked to see inside, one can only assume they want your money before they let you see inside. The pool area has some really cool looking water slides which will give many folk hours of fun. Slightly confused by the amount of shaded sun loungers, there seem to me to be more shaded ones the ones in the sun but having said that we never got to see the area on Deck 19 as it was closed because the area had not been finished. I think that the kids will love this ship; the areas dedicated to them appear to be well thought out and look very appealing even to an adult like me. I am not quite sure what to make of H²O area, nothing happened here while we were on board and can only assume that it will be more of an evening venue with a big screen under the stars. To summarise, the Norwegian Epic will undoubtedly be talked about for some time to come and sadly not everything will be positive. The bathrooms in the cabins will cause much debate and can only be a negative thing for what I consider a really great ship in other areas. I would consider her for another cruise but the price would need to reflect the negative. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
I booked this cruise as i had already booked the transatlantic but had the cancel later.I printed out the tickets, i hate this, much nicer to get them in the post. especially the baggage labels but got proper labels later. GETTING TO THE ... Read More
I booked this cruise as i had already booked the transatlantic but had the cancel later.I printed out the tickets, i hate this, much nicer to get them in the post. especially the baggage labels but got proper labels later. GETTING TO THE SHIP i decided to go on the harwich-hook ferry overnight on the new superferry. plenty of space,outside cabin was lovely and free internet for an hour. next morning arrived in HOOK, just missed seeing the EPIC as we were both going the same way! i then got the train to ROTTERDAM, the chip cards on the trains and bus are confusing. 1 or 2 trips or day passes but the machines do not accept notes! got the train and bus straight onto the SS ROTTERDAM a hotel now. had a lovely outside cabin and did a tour of the ship. when i got there the EPIC was already there. i waited for her to leave, it was cold and windy i was FROZEN! by the time the ship left at 1930hrs. Next day i moved to another hotel "OCEAN PARADISE" a floating chinese hotel on the river(strange feel, actually moving!) the next day left the hotel and walked over the ERASMUS BRIDGE to the cruise terminal. EMBARKATION i got to the terminal at 1030 went thru x ray and handed my case to the porter thinking it would go onboard ship(I WAS WRONG! later it was still there!! had to carry in onto the ship!) then upstairs i had my colour coded card, light blue. there was a queue already but the terminals were not even ready! CONFUSING! they started calling the colours and they had to try and get thru this stupid queue despite making announcements to sit down. then another queue for passport we waited and waited and waited! an announcement that the ship had engine problems and that it would leave on time but not arrive to soton till 1730 instead of 1000! if we wanted to cancel would get a refund plus an onboard credit, not an option as i had to get home somehow! the photographer had put up his stand in this massive queue! WHAT A GREAT IDEA! i mentioned about this horrendous queue and was told ALL THE CRUISES HAVE THIS!(THEY CERTAINLY DO NOT!!) "HAVE A NICE CRUISE" he said HOW RUDE!) what got me was all the staff were passing cups of water amongst themselves while we just had to stand for 3 hrs! finally we got onboard! the cabins were not ready so told to have lunch before it finished with the lifeboat drill starting soon! leave your cases but there was no room to leave them! after a nice lunch of FISH AND CHIPS. which i later found was the same menu for breakfast and lunch, in TASTE AND MAHATTAN restaurants what would you do on a longer cruise if you did want to pay extra for another restaurant! CABIN i had a balcony cabin on 9 deck 9201. no sign of any steward! no phone in cabin!(later found it in the safe! the safe did not work! no ice! there was 2 glasses covering a toilet and shower but a tiny sink in the living area not big enough! a nice size of cabin with plenty of drawer space, balcony with 2 chairs and table. what i did not like was it was only half covered so if it rained not much good and could be seen from above which i do not like! FOOD i booked the cirque dreams and dinner this was fantastic like a circus cum moulin rouge show with dinner in between the acts. this was well worth the $15 charge. ENTERTAINMENT i only saw 2nd city which was good and cirque dreams which were good. DISEMBARKATION This was another mess, we arrived in SOTON at 1400 a bit earlier than they said. as soon as they said we could get off there was a massive crowd all trying to get off at the same time! 2 queues we joined one and then was told to go to the other one. carried off the cases and no sign of a shuttle bus to the station. the driver was fast asleep i think it was only for people going to the ship(MEDIA AND PRESS)so we had to walk to a bus stop get a bus to the station. Found the ticket office was closed so had to walk over to the other side! COMMENTS AN AWFUL CRUISE! NO ORGANISATION AT ALL! no proper reason given for the delay and things just got worse! i have done 3 other NCL cruises and THIS WAS THE WORSE! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Rotterdam-Southampton inaugural cruise of NCL Epic. Total chaos in Rotterdam as the terminal is way too small to handle such a big ship, waited in line for 2 hours outside on the pavement. Inside hardly any facilities, seating for only 100 ... Read More
Rotterdam-Southampton inaugural cruise of NCL Epic. Total chaos in Rotterdam as the terminal is way too small to handle such a big ship, waited in line for 2 hours outside on the pavement. Inside hardly any facilities, seating for only 100 people. Ship general: It's all about the size and how to put as many people as possible on. For me it lacked sophistication and grandeur, everything was functional, nothing had a real wow-factor. Lots of issues with finishings: pool water overflowing would not drain, part of the ship (villa complex) not finished; general feeling of rather cheap craftmanship, not finished to a high standard. Stateroom-Standard midship balcony: Smaller than comparable stateroom on Celebrity's Solstice class. The new bathroom design is in reality a way of covering up for the reduced size of the room, there's just no space for a separate bathroom. Sink area cramped and small, water would overflow easy; shower and toilet are plastic cabins, ok but nothing special. Balcony is fine, two standard seats and a small table; dividers were left open to ajoining balconies. Dining: at least a dozen options, but only 3 without a cover charge. We had dinner and breakfast at the Manhattan Room at the back end of the ship with a great view. Live music during the night, very nice. Quality of the food was good, nothing to complain about, same for the service, very attentive. Only point was the roar of the engines causing the tableware to ramble. For luch we used the buffetrestaurant, also no complaints, great choice, good quality. Entertainment: we visited the Blue Man group show and enjoyed it very much. Quite an unusual performance, lots of fun, highly recommended. Outside/pool area: it's all about the aquafun waterslides, great for kids, less so for others maybe? In general the whole area lacked atmosphere. Disembarkation: again not very smooth, about 1 hour waiting while the announcements indicated that immediate disembarkation would be available upon arrival. Summary: NCL Epic is not quite what we had expected, dissappointed in the general lack of atmosphere, it's all about size. Entertainment and food are good but that did not outweigh against the other points. I guess we are spoiled by Celbrity's Solstice class ships and had too high of an expectation of the Epic. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Limitations of this review I was kindly invited on a short UK preview cruise from Southampton in June 2010. This was a few days after Epic had been delivered from the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France (where the QM2 was built) and ... Read More
Limitations of this review I was kindly invited on a short UK preview cruise from Southampton in June 2010. This was a few days after Epic had been delivered from the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France (where the QM2 was built) and entered service. I obviously cannot comment on the quality of the full range of dining and entertainment options as one would ideally need two weeks to sample everything. Only 2,500 guests were invited so I also did not experience the ship operating at full passenger capacity. Norwegian Epic has an impressive 18 decks, although decks 1- 4 are not public decks. Decks 6 , 7 and most of 5 are almost exclusively dedicated to public rooms. Their are 18 bars and lounges, 20 dining options, plus multiple entertainment venues to choose from, in keeping with NCL's 'Freestyle' concept. Most of the public rooms are single height, but not all. Embarkation Although I arrived at Southampton's 'City Cruise Terminal' a few hours after embarkation had began I had to join a long queue which snaked out of the terminal building. It took me almost an hour of slowly shuffling along to actually board the ship. In contrast it took me just fifteen minutes to board 'Oasis' at RCI's new terminal at Port Everglades a few months ago. Maybe the Southampton cruise terminals organization is to blame rather than the ship? For example, I noticed that there were five X-ray machines but only three were being staffed. Such big ships clearly need big infrastructure to operate efficiently, which something that RCI has recognised and put in place with 'Oasis'. Passengers boarded via Epic's 'lobby' which is quite understated being only two decks high. It contains the usual reception desk, shore excursions desk and an atrium cafe. The first thing that struck me was how very wide and spacious the lobby was which instantly reveals the scale of the ship. The lobby has an enormous two story high-definition video screen which instantly signifies that you are on an informal 'fun' ship. It is used to show anything from tranquil seascapes to sporting events. The second thing that struck me is that NCL have re-branded their internal dEcor. The often 'garish' semi-Carnival-esq dEcor of the 'Jewel' class has been replaced with an altogether more sedate approach. Many of the interiors are quite 'classy' and often not as 'glitzy' as RCI, in fact some aspects of the dEcor reminded me more of 'Celebrity'. For example, stair landing featured giant oval mirror designs and many elevator landings feature dark wood panels, reminding me of the QM2 at times. Most of the carpets are much less 'acid-trip' inspired than on previous NCL ships. I will now give you a deck by deck tour of the ship: The front half of the first public deck, deck 5, is exclusively public rooms, the rear half being crew spaces. At the very bow of deck 5 is the 'Epic Theatre'. The Theatre is of course state-of-the-art, but somewhat smaller than you would expect from such a big ship holding just 900 passengers. We are of course used to seeing theatres that accommodate approximately half of a ships passenger compliment in one sitting. However this 'NCL Freestyle' and there are alternative entertainment venues. The theatre has raked seating spread across two decks; there is no balcony/circle. The Theatre offers excellent sight lines. However all the other entertainment venues are much smaller so can offer a higher level of intimacy, ideal for live performance. Working our way aft, after the theatre, there is a photo shop and a very large 'art sales' area. 'I-connect' the internet cafe is located adjacent to the 'art sales' (starboard) and a little further towards the aft is the 'Click' photo gallery, which has 'digital' printing facilities. Adjacent to the photo gallery (port) is 'Le Bistro', French restaurant which is featured on board all NCL ships. Continuing aft, we reach the main Lobby. Just beyond the lobby are two escalators (one up and one down) to deck 6, emerging in the Casino area. Continuing aft, we reach 'Taste' restaurant which like many of the dining rooms onboard, quite intimate. The tables are in its own atrium which has a very impressive 'contemporay' LCD chadelier hanging above it. However passengers above can look down upon the dinners, so it's not ideal for the paranoid. Deck 6 is entirely dedicated to public rooms. At the bow there is the upper level of the 'Epic Theatre'. Proceeding aft, we have the 'entertainment kiosk' which is a booking desk for all of the entertainment. All bookings are held on your pass card/room key, which is scanned on arrival to each show. Continuing aft a little there is the 'Speigel Tent' on the port side, which is a circular double height show lounge which offers the "Cirque Dreams and Dinner" show. The 'Speigel Tent' takes its name from a travelling tent, constructed in wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass, originally built in Belgium during the late 19th Century. It is a circular room, with tables, a small center perfornce floor space and a balconly with addotoiponal tables, looking down. Compared to the orignal artist renderings it does not look as circus-tent like and is quite a dark sparse room. It has just 275 seats, but this of course adds to theatmosphere of the live performance. The furniture is flexible; however there were some seats which had their back to the show, which made little sense. The show carries a $15-$20 surcharge, depending where you sit. Adjacent to the 'Speigel Tent' is the intimate 'Headliner's Comedy Club' which speaks for itself. 'O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill' is located amidships. This 'Irish Pub' style lounge, which serves food and is one of the the bigger lounges on the ship. It is very atmospheric and very popular. It looks down onto the lobby and it's video screen. It also has three bowling lanes, dart boards, pool tables, foosball and arcade games (a further three bowling lanes are located in Bliss). Continuing aft, there are two escalators emerge from deck 5 into the Casino area which is located amidships. It is very extensive with 340 slot machines and many gaming tables. Unusually the Casino overlooks the Atrium below, whereas most Casino's on other ships are an enclosed room. I often found myself having to pass through the Casino to get to front or back of deck 6. Unfortunaely it is often quite smokey. Moving further aft we reach 'Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant (starboard). The 'Cascade' bar serves the Casino and is located centrally, and 'Fat Cats' Jazz Club, which is an intimate 280 seat venue. The two level Manhattan Room Restaurant occupies the very aft of the ship. The Manhatten Dining Room is the biggest dining room on bord and takes up the full width of the ship. It has a two deck high ceiling in the centre, although dining is only on the lower level. It has a charming art deco design with square windows overlooking the ships wake. I was initially a little disappointed as the original renderings made the room look larger with an enormous dance floor - more like a Cunard 'Queens Room' with dining tables. In reality the dance floor is somewhat smaller than illistrated. The furniture is flexible so tables, chairs and buffet stations are often set out on part or all of dance floor, at times. In fact the room was used a lot as a meeting venue during the preview cruise with a theatre style chair layout covering the dance floor. I had breakfast in this reseruant and it was very good. Hot items are ordered from the menu. Cold items were available from some buffet stations. Deck 7 has two promenades raunning down each side of the ship. There are 'deck games' on the port side and a 'jogging track' on the starboard side. The Prom offers virtually no sea views as it is almost entirely obstructed by ten very big lifeboats, per side. However no cabins views are obstructed by the lifeboats. The lifeboat follows the modern tend of taking place in various public rooms without the passengers being required to wear lifejackets. The best sea views on Epic are from the many balcony cabins. There is no observation lounge, althoug unuseally the 'Garden cafe' (self service resterant) is located high at the front of the ship of the ship (deck 15) and has some good sea views. At the bow of deck 7 is the 'Bliss Ultra lounge' which is one of the biggest lounges on the ship, along with O'Sheehan's. It is a very trendy and very popular lounge/nightclub, being packed each evening during the preview cruise. The decor is more typical of the 'Bliss' lounges on other NCL ships (i.e. rather eccentric.) Continuing aft, we have the 'Ice Bar' on the port side. This is an interesting novelty. The room holds 25 people, although I think you could easily fit 30 in. The room is quite sparse with an bar (made of ice) a few large ice sculptures and a few ice chairs. You are given a thermal poncho with hood and gloves to wear. In fear of stating the obvious, it's very cold inside. I was dissapointed that our glasses were made of 'glass' not 'ice'. Passengers are allocated a 45 minute slot in the ice bar. Most of my fellow Brits withstood the full 45 minutes apart from women who were wearing skirts and or open toed sandals, who lasted around 20-30 minutes. The ice bar carries a surcharge of $20 but you do get two free drinks of flavored vodka. It was extremely difficult to get a booking for the ice bar on my preview cruise. The opening hours will be surprisingly limited: nightly from 5oopm -10pm. I wonder if the demand will outstrip capacity. I was expecting 12.00pm to 1.00am daily which might ber more realistic? Continuing aft we find the 'Tepanyakki' dining room, 'Wasabi Sushi Bar' and 'Sake' bar (starboard). I had Sushi for lunch which was very good indeed. Also on the port side is 'Shakers Martini Bar'. Continuing aft, we have 'Maltings' whisky bar, the 'Humadore Cigar Lounge', the shops and a barbers shop, where a man can get a haircut and wet shave. There were pictures on the wall of 1970's hairstyles, which now look humerous of course. At the very aft is 'Cagney's Steak house and Churrascaria' which overlook the Manhatten room. As NCL put it: "We've taken our traditional steakhouse and fused it with a trendy, energetic Argentinean-inspired Churrascaria". Decks 8 - 13 are purely accommodation decks, apart from the Medical Centre on deck 10 and the private studio lounge (formerly named the 'Living room') on deck 11/12, serving the 128 small 'Studio' cabins spread over both of those decks. Deck 13 also has a 'bridge viewing' window. Deck 14 has cabins located forward and the 'Recess Kids Club' located amidships. Moving aft is the first squash court at sea, then the 'Pusle' fitness centre/aerobics room, hair and beauty salon and fully aft, the 'Mandarin' Spa. This 'health & beuaty'complex is particularly extensive. Located on this deck are a total of 39 spa suites, which have private entry to the luxurious thermal suite and fitness center. Eight spa suites each feature an in-room whirlpool, although this compremises the cabin space available. Deck 15 features the first level of the very ungainly forward deck extension (sometimes known as the 'carbuncle'). The lower level contains the 'Garden Cafe & The Great Outdoors' which is the self-service buffet area and lido (open air) dining area. The Garden Cafe is is not unlike those on any other modern ship. It is of reasonable size, but not enormous. The food choice and quality is pretty good. The plates and cups were china, but trays were notavailable. However the Garden Cafe was prone to getting crowded on my cruise, so what would happen if most of the 4000+ guests decided they all wanted breakfst there at once? Unuseally when dining in the 'Great Outdoors' passengers get a view of the Aqua Park, rather thasn the sea. Having the buffet located forward, rather than aft, as on most modern ship caused me some navigational disorientation at first, but I soon got over it. The main entrance to 'La Cucina', the Tuscan-style eatery on deck 14 is via the Garden cafe buffet (deck 15) making it quite difficult to find, until you know. The centre piece of 'La Cucina' and its Italian decor is a real tree. The resterants also offers some nice sea views being purched high above the bow. Moving aft, into the open air is 'Waves bar' and 'Aqua Park/Kids Aqua Park' and 'Sun Deck'. The 'Epic Plunge', is the only tube slide with a bowl slide and a 200-foot long tube. The Aqua Park also includes two main pools five hot tubs, a wading pool and a kid's pool that features whimsical sculptures, water sprays and a slide. Behind the twin funnels are two rock climbing wall. We then pass through an area called 'The Marketplace' which was not in operation, but I belive it will be an open air sales area (is there no excape from consumerism?) Beyond that is the 'Spice H2O' pool and bar. This area has an aft pool which turns into a dance floor/disco at night. There is another giant video screen which is flanked by two of the biggest speakers that you have ever seen. It is likely to prove very poular in the warm Caribbean climate although the bar can quickly get over crowded. Of course if it's raining or windy, the passengers will all migrate to 'Bliss' which in all likely hood would already be full. Deck 16 forward, features the 'ship-within-a-ship' suite complex. This was not open or even complete on the preview cruise. Deck 17 Aft is the 'sports deck', full-sized basketball court, climbing wall and a very strange 24-foot tall enclosed climbing cage called the Spider Web. Deck 18 is the roof of the 'villa' complex. This features a private courtyard sundeck and public sundeck, port and starboard and the private 'posh beach club'. So I assume the 'have nots' can look at the 'haves' in envy? Cabins NCL have really though 'outside the box' with this one - no other ship in the world has anything similar. All outside cabins have balconies and many have their 'new wave' curved walls. All grades of cabin are uber-trendy and look great in my opinion. The cabin corridors are once again quite 'understated', although not unattractive. NCL still have that clever 'wheel' gadget next to each cabin door which is used to indicate "do not disturb", "please make up may room" etc. without the need for cardboard door hangers. Many of the cabins are an interlocking (mirror-image) design, a bit like a '69' configuration. This is not a new idea as many of the great ocean liners used this design to save space. However 'Epics' cabins have curved walls that help disguise the fact that the standard and deluxe balcony cabins are narrower than most cabins on other modern ships. I was in a deluxe balcony cabin, number 11080. Controversially in the vast majority of the cabins, including mine, have the toilet and shower split into two separate compartments, with frosted glass sliding doors, either side of the entrance door. This design cleverly saves space and allows the creation of a narrower cabin (hence more passengers). There is a vanity sink is next to the toilet cubicle. This wet area has a wooden affect floor, the bedroom area, carpet. Now the lack of toilet and shower privacy is an issue for some people. You can see a person's silhouette through the frosted glass doors of both the toilet and shower. However there is a curtain which can be drawn closing off the wet area (toilet and shower only, not the sink) from the bedroom area - so really it is a non-issue in my opinion. However it could be embarrassing if housekeeping is trying to gain access while you are towelling down as the cabin door is effectively in the wet area. The 'pedestal' style vanity sink looks trendy, but it is nearly useless. Firstly the water constantly leaves the bowl, flooding the surrounding surface and floor. Secondly it has a large fixed spout with does not move, so if you tried to wash you face directly in the sink you would head-butt the spout. (I have since heard that NCL will address this matter). There is a shaving socket by the sink and a mirror. The deluxe balcony cabin has a very large (in fact long) shower with a big shower head on a flexible pipe. The water pressure was very good for a shipboard shower. A glass door beats a curtain any day and the water did not tend to leave the shower and flood the floor. The vacuum toilet barked like a dog as usual, but at more decibels than normal. The deluxe balcony cabins appear to no wider than the standard balcony cabins, but they are much longer. You get an extra wardrobe and cupboards. In fact I counted 15 different cupboards of various shapes and sizes. However the wardrobes were not very deep which will be O.K. in the Caribbean but may cause problems for European garb. When opened, the wardrobe doors block the limited through-way. The shower has shower gel and shampoo dispenser and the sink a soap dispenser (no individually wrapped Molton Brown luxury bath products here). A large sofa (which takes up a disproportional amount of space in the cabins) pulls out to become a third berth. The main bed has rounded ends and tall passengers have complained that it is too short. The cabin lighting is trendy and quite effective, compared to some other ships. The balcony was of a very good size and easily accommodated two upright chairs and a very small table. The dressing table area has a hairdryer underneath it. There is a safe and mini bar. The only power socket (the US type) and under the vanity desk and are difficult to access. I believe the cabin LCD TV's are 'interactive' but none of them worked at all so I don't know. There was also a coffee making machine. The art was also missing from the walls of my cabin - but hey, this stuff will be fixed. The 128 studio cabins located on deck 11 and 12 are just 100 sq ft. They are the nautical equivalent of 'bedsits', yet they are very cute to look at, at least. Unusally have big round windows looking onto the corridor, but people cannot see in. The corridor itself is bathed in a blue light and looks very sci-fi. These cabins were originally designed for couples (obviously small couples) but are now redesignated as 'single occupancy' with no single supliment. Reducing the studio cabins capacity makes the 'studio lounge' twice as spacious, although it appeared rather sterile and univiting to me. (Contrary to the first press releases the studio lounge does not have two levels, just an upper stair case serving the studio cabins on the deck above.) Entertainment I saw the 'Blue Man Group' in the Epic Theatre which was a full 1.5 hour show. Now if you have never seen the BMG (which I had not) it is almost impossible to explain what they do - but here goes: It's a humorous musical and visual show, with no dialogue, featuring the Blue Men drumming, sometimes on plastic plumbing, some rock music, some avant guard slapstick and audience participation: see I told you it was impossible to explain. Anyway it's unique and unconventional which exactly matches how NCL have promoted Epic as being. I really enjoyed the show, although some traditionalists would probably prefer 'Chicago' (soon to be offered on 'Allure of the Seas'). It worth reflecting how much a ticket to this show would cost shore-side, but on board it's free. "Cirque Dreams and Dinner" show, held in the purpose built 'Speigel Tent' room is two hours long. It starts rather slowly with lots of comical dialogue and general tomfoolery. However, after 20 minutes, once the show got going and the proper circius acts performed, the show became a high-energy, interactive spectacle. The acts included a tight-rope walker with a very slack rope, balancing, juggling and strong man acts, to name but a few. There was even a man cavorting in a bath of water and flying on ribbons, much to the delight female members of the audiences. There was also a woman who can instantly change her clothes - I wish she could teach my wife that trick. At several points in the show I feared that I might have to say "waiter there is a performer in my soup" (although soup was not served). The 'dinner' on the other hand was one of the worst meals that I have ever had at sea. This was hardly a good move given the fact that the audience were journalists including Douglas Ward of Berlitz Guide to Cruising and me. Firstly It was a set meal of only three courses, so there was no choice. The first course was a quarter of an iceberg (or similar) lettuce with some mediocre dressing, so hardlyy a salad. The second course was chicken and beef: the chicken being a 'reformed' piece with stuffing in it, mainly tasting of salt. The beef was mediocre and cooked 'medium' with no choice being given as to how you wanted it. The vegetables were relatively stewed and tasteless. A brown gravy coved the meal. The desert was made such dense chocolate that three quarters of my table were unable to stomach it. I recall that NCL said in a press release something like: " you will remember the show but you will not remember what you had for dinner". If only that were ture. That meal is burnt into my taste buds! It's a pity the Chefs were not as talented as the circus performers. On a positive not the waiters did extremely well to work around the show and even joined in occasionally. So it was a poor meal, great show. I belive the surcharge is considerbably less than you would pay for the show shore-side. I walked past 'Howl at the Moon' show (dueling pianos) in 'Headliners' and the crowd seemed to be having a ball. Space /Layout Epic is a floating resort and a reasonably high density ship, in terms of passenger numbers. Another way to look at it, is that 'Epic' has a similar internal volume to the Cunard's 'Queen Mary 2', but will often carry up to 1500 more passengers. However It's not a fair comparison, although an interesting one, because that's the difference between 'Premium' and 'Mass Market'. Epic's fares are likely to be considerably lower than the likes of Cunard. Epic only has two stair towers and respective banks of elevators, so there is a very long walk between them. Some considerably smaller ships have three stair towers/elevators. The elevators are not the fastest or biggest that I've experienced either, those were on 'Oasis'. Oasis only has two stair towers but the speed and size of her elevators compensated. My preview cruise only carried 2,500 guests but the ship already seemed very busy. In fact I found it difficult to get served at any bar in the evening, although the invited guests probaly consumed more alcohol than the normal cruise passenger do. There did not seem to be a 'quiet bar' on offer. The TV screens around the ship which should display how crowded each didning room was were not functioning as yet. It will be essential to book your entertaiment, ice bar and dining choices in advance as all the venues and dining rooms onboard Epic are generally small and will most likely sell-out very quickly. Summary It is refreshing to see NCL finally build a ship which truly competes with the big two and close the gap. Essentially Epic is like an NCL 'Jewel' class ship on steroids. In fact Epic makes the rest of the NCL fleet feel 'intimate' in comparison. In my opinion 'freestyle' matches the tastes of the modern (often younger) passenger better than the traditional system: the inflexible 'two sittings' for diner followed by a main show. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and most cruise lines now operate a form of 'freestyle' on a more limited basis. However 'freestyle' is not perfect and restaurants can become crowded at peak times and queues can form. Epic's major selling point is her multiple dining and entertainment options. I would hesitate to call her 'truly' innovative as this particular innovation took place back in 2001 when NCL introduced 'freestyle' with the 'Norwegian Sun' being the first ship to be designed specifically for 'Freestyle' with eight dining options. However, Epic takes the 'Freestyle third generation' concept further with even more dining options, enhanced entertainment and multiple venues. The cabins may not be conventional or the most spacious at sea, but they are definitely the trendiest. Epic has all the advantages and disadvantages of a big ship. For example the corridors are endless and the stair cases go on forever, so not an ideal ship for those passengers with mobility problems. Epic is a relatively high density ship in terms of passenger numbers. I am not sure how well she will handle her full compliment in terms of embarkation, disembarkation, on board congestion and deck space. Whatever the outcome, you would certainly never be lonely onboard. I will also be interested to hear how the cruising public feels about the quality of her non-surcharge dining and cost of the various surcharge dining options. Although 'Norwegian Epic' with 'Oasis of the Seas' are very different ships, people are bound to draw comparisons. After all, they are the two biggest new ships, operating similar itineraries, in the Caribbean mass-market. So should you book 'Oasis' or should you book 'Epic'? Oasis of course wins on size and her groundbreaking public spaces such as the 'Royal Promenade', 'Central Park' and the 'Boardwalk'. Some aspects of the RCI experience are quite traditional: one main dining rooms, one main theatre with two sitting and two formal nights per week (although there are additional dining and entertainment options). Epic wins on the number of dining choices, dining flexibility and informality (no need to ever dress up if you don't want to) not forgetting the trendy cabins. Both ships have certainly upped the quality of entertainment at sea. Epic offers single 'Studio' cabins with no single supplement which is unique in the industry. Oasis has its 'Loft Suites' and Epic has it's 'ship within a ship' 'Villa' complex. So would I recommend Norwegian Epic? Yes certainly for the young, the young at heart and families looking for a more informal 'fun' experience, with a vast array of dining options, on a very impressive, floating resort. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
My wife and I boarded the not quite finished Norwegian Epic in Rotterdam to spend ten nights aboard disembarking in New York. Due to over running construction our first three nights were spent in a Spa Suite that was beautiful, it was ... Read More
My wife and I boarded the not quite finished Norwegian Epic in Rotterdam to spend ten nights aboard disembarking in New York. Due to over running construction our first three nights were spent in a Spa Suite that was beautiful, it was carefully designed to make maximum use of space, with masses of storage, a comfortable circular bed with a corner Jacuzzi bath; an ideal suite for two with access to the fantastic Mandara Spa and Salon just seconds away. The Spa and fitness centre provided every conceivable exercise and treatment facility we could want, staffed with the usual professional and knowledgeable staff that we have come to expect from NCL. Touring the ship we were simply over awed with the options to eat, drink, party and relax, everything we needed was on decks five, six and seven with fabulous outdoor entertainment on decks fourteen and above. As well as the NCL classic restaurants there are the new dining options including O'Sheehan's which has a terrific vibe overlooking the two story screen which was a must for the soccer fans on this cruise. The Garden Cafe complex is light airy and spacious with so many food stations to meet any taste requirements. Hidden at the forward end of the Garden Cafe down the stairway is the beautiful La Cucina Italian Restaurant which served us fantastic pasta. The Bistro on deck five seems out of the way but once seated inside the ambience, as well as the new menu was superb, and the addition of a wine sommelier made the experience a delight. Dinner in the Moderno Restaurant is a new twist with the classic serving one would expect in a Churrascaria, this restaurant shares space with the ageless Cagney's and overlooks the Manhattan Room, make sure you are hungry when you go to Moderno, and remember to turn the card to red otherwise the food keeps coming and you can't say no. The Asian complex of Shanghai's, the Noodle Bar and an enormous Teppanyaki included new menus and the food quality and taste were outstanding, our suggestion eat in Shanghai's but make sure you order at least one noodle dish. All of the restaurants we experienced were first class. There are numerous indoor and deck side bars and I was delighted that NCL has put in a reasonable Humidor cigar lounge which is tucked away so was not full of cigarette smokers but a great place for a cigar, my suggestion here is look at the Sun's cigar area and bring some of that to the Epic. Important to us was the casino, and the Epic Casino excels, it is huge and spirals off in four directions from around the famous chandelier. With many tables, lots of slots and two decent poker tables, the setup works very well, and the dealers looked fantastic on Fedora and Flappers night which is way superior to Monte Carlo night. We loved the design of the casino, it is situated on a major thoroughfare and is surrounded by restaurants, so occasionally when playing tempting food smells would be noticed. The entertainment is a key feature on this beautiful ship, on our first night we experienced dinner in the Spiegel Tent, and then Blue Man in the Epic Theatre. For two hours the artists in Cirque Dreams and Dinner enthralled us, this is the finest two hours entertainment afloat, if you do nothing else when you cruise on Epic go to the Tent. My wife still talks about the guy in the bath tub doing the washing up, which was probably why we had to see the show again later in the week, me I just wished she could get changed as quickly as the hula hoop lady! It's non- stop, you actually don't notice the food but that is excellent. Blue Man is a show you either love or say "what was that about?" we loved it, a scaled down more interactive version of the Vegas show we'd seen some time ago and worth the line to get in. The Legends in Concert show was a blast, Tina, Madonna and Elvis were very good but the band and the five backing dancers/singers were just as good. The other venues we had a blast in were the Ice Bar where my non alcoholic strawberry drink actually froze in the ice glass after ten minutes, we did feel funny dressed in the silver ponchos and gloves waiting to go in as people walked past, well worth the experience and frost bite. Great jazz was playing in Fat Cats when we went in and then stayed for hours. Bliss Ultra Lounge is for people slightly younger than us, but it's a great experience with a very cool entrance later in the evening which caused confusion to some people. At the start of the fourth day as we were due to leave Southampton we were moved to our Owner's Suite in the new Courtyard Complex. We knew they had worked tirelessly to finish the area and our first impressions were WOW. We have always loved the Courtyards on the Jewel class ships but the EPIC Courtyard is an entirely different and sublime experience. As we entered the reception area the muted colours and decor exude class and comfort, in front of us through the glass doors is a massive Courtyard (compared to the jewel class) with ample space for all the suites, further in front is the steam rooms, treatment rooms etc then the gym above which wasn't finished, but NCL acknowledged this and as always looked after us. From reception we walked around into a sitting area with a bar which has fresh air from the slated glass alongside, then Klaus greeted us as the first passengers to enter the sublime Epic Club Restaurant which in our view has a better design, ambience and location than any other premier cruise line dining rooms we've experienced. The menus and food quality in the Epic Club are first class with masses of choice and great taste. At the rear of the restaurant is the Epic Club lounge which is just beautiful and the perfect place for a pre dinner drink, or for relaxation overlooking the pool deck, and as always a grand piano - what is it with NCL and grand pianos? Above the Courtyard we discovered even more fantastic space for sun worshippers, as well as Posh. All in all the Epic courtyard complex has the feel of a super deluxe ship within a fabulous ship, we could relax, be pampered and enjoy the luxury and solitude behind the "gold and black door" but then go into the big ship to play......a perfect vacation for us. Then finally the famous Klaus took us to our suite, and OMG it is just perfect for us, six weeks ago we were in the Garden Villa of the Gem and loved it as always but this suite is even better. There are a few small things we miss from the Villa but the design, colour scheme, location, views, bathroom, furnishings etc.etc. are just awesome. We entered the living/dining room which felt like stepping into a luxury suite, which of course it is, the enclosed solarium balcony with open windows led into a beautiful bedroom, all of this accommodation had floor to ceiling views across and to the side of the bow, and what views. I always maintain that the best place to wake up in the morning is an NCL ship, and our wake ups on the Epic with the drapes drawn back were stunning even with the Atlantic fogs and rain. My wife tells me the bathroom configuration met all her requirements she could sit in the tub and look out to the sea forward, me I loved the walk in shower that has a massive glass window to the side, I've stayed in hotels that have a smaller bathrooms than this shower, and finally more storage space than we could possibly utilise. The finish of the suite exceeded our expectations, and the technology rich ship provided all the toys I could want including interactive television that access downloadable movies, account information and even casino games. Also on board is a sophisticated photo gallery that has easy to use kiosks that avoid the time consuming search through endless photos before you found the ones you wanted. There's so much to do and experience on this ship, she is designed for everyone, and yes of course on her first sailings there are bound to be teething problems, but NCL acknowledged them and dealt with them appropriately. The staff on board had worked tirelessly whilst the ship was in France to bring her into service, and during our time on board they continued to do so. It was a shame that some passengers clearly expected everything to be perfect and we witnessed lots of rudeness from passengers to crew which we believed was totally uncalled for. Overall though I think the majority of our fellow passengers (who were not deliberately looking for things to fault) had a brilliant time. The crew should be proud of what they've achieved so far and it will only get better, as the Epic settles down. Special thanks from us go to the girls and Ricky who served us in the Epic Club they were just so much fun, our steward Benjamin who did a fantastic job, Karan and Anshuman the Concierge who provided first class professional service, nothing was too much trouble for these guys, our butlers Chris and Ravi who were always only a call away. Not forgetting the team in the casino, they make it such fun whether we win or loose. The roll call of stars could go on but special mention goes to Captain Vorren a charming and professional mariner who's company we very much enjoyed and last but not least the irrepressible Klaus Lugmaier the man on 8888 who makes it happen, where he gets his drive energy and staying power from is a mystery to us, nothing is ever too much bother and he is so approachable, we are sure it helps that he has Sean with him as well! Thank you crew of the Epic we have spent nine days aboard and have one to go before we dock in New York and our only regret is we have to disembark. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We booked a Spa Deluxe Balcony to really relax and get away from it all. Unfortunately, in our opinion this ship was not ready to leave the shipyard. We expected a few teething problems on a new ship, but not to the extent we experienced ... Read More
We booked a Spa Deluxe Balcony to really relax and get away from it all. Unfortunately, in our opinion this ship was not ready to leave the shipyard. We expected a few teething problems on a new ship, but not to the extent we experienced on the Epic. We felt like paying customers on this cruise were treated as guinea pigs, and used to test the unfinished product. When we entered our room, it was apparent that a lot of things weren't working. We had no working TV, phone or safe. We visited Guest Services three times on the first day (with a twenty minute wait in line each time), but the staff appeared completely disinterested and just kept telling us that we'd been added to a list and would need to wait. Nobody took any ownership of the problems, they didn't seem to care and would say just enough to get you away from the desk. At 11pm we walked to the Spa and used the phone there to call for an update, and when we were told the same line we politely asked to speak to a manager. At this point, we were hung up on. Things went from bad to worse the next morning when we discovered we didn't have any running water in the shower. We therefore had to go to the Spa to shower, one at a time as we still had nowhere to lock our valuables. We lost count of how many times we visited Guest Services, but we got nowhere until we managed to speak to the night manager (who was very helpful and arranged for our safe to be fixed on the second evening), but the running water proved more of a problem. On Saturday evening we spoke to the Hotel Director, who was very understanding and sympathetic, and he arranged for somebody to work on this all day on Sunday to fix it. Away from the room, we were also looking forward to using the Spa facilities that came with our stateroom. Unfortunately, the Spa was so crowded at all times that this was almost impossible. Every single place to sit, every space in the pool and hot tubs was occupied whenever we went in there. We were later told by a Spa employee that in addition to the people with access from the Spa rooms, an additional 60 couples passes to the Spa had been sold. We would never choose to stay in a Spa room or buy a Spa pass until this policy is changed, as we found it impossible to use the facilities we'd paid for. The ship did have some very good points - the Entertainment was fantastic and the best we've seen on a ship. In particular, Legends in Concert and Howl at the Moon were brilliant shows. We also really enjoyed the Cirque Dreams and Dinner and the Murder Mystery. The food was also really good on this ship, and again, some of the best we've experienced on a cruise ship. Hopefully now that the early problems have been sorted out, the passengers on the next cruise shouldn't encounter the problems that we did. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Well I don't know what to say about this cruise ship, we have cruised on many ships over the last 25 years and I have to say this is the first time I have every been able to close the toilet door, adjust the a/c control, make a cup of ... Read More
Well I don't know what to say about this cruise ship, we have cruised on many ships over the last 25 years and I have to say this is the first time I have every been able to close the toilet door, adjust the a/c control, make a cup of coffee, dry my hair from the vanity unit, wash my and face in the sink all without leaving the comfort of my bed. To say our "large family cabin" was small is an understatement, the words "bed sit" is more appropriate to describe our stateroom. If you are standing at the sink getting washed or sitting on the chair looking into the mirror then no one can get passed you without climbing onto the bed, the cabin layout is a total joke. Now I would like to speak about the bathroom or should I say lack of bathroom, there is no separate bathroom at all, you have a small round toilet compartment as you enter the cabin on one side and another small round compartment on the other side both with frosted glass doors so when you are in either the shower or toilet the whole cabin can see what you are up to. There is a sink inside the cabin itself which is the size of a bird bath and when you turn the tap on it fills up in about 10 seconds and then overflows directly onto the floor next to your bed, this may be the way forward so they tell me but I am sorry to say this is not for me. What we do in a bathroom is private and should be separate to the rest of the cabin. The public areas on deck 5.6 and 7 are very nice but lack seating space, deck 5 is mostly taken up by the reception area, photo gallery, internet cafe leaving just a small amount of seating around the atrium. Deck 6 is almost all Casino with smokers scattered everywhere so its very hard to pass from one end of the ship to the other without inhaling all the smoke. Deck 7 has all the shops and a couple of small bars but once again a big lack of seating. The sun decks are great with plenty of seats and plenty of places to eat "free of charge" lol, and the kids area is wonderful. The ship has a lovely spa on deck 14 but you will need to make sure your bank loan has been put in place before you travel as everything is very expensive, you even have to pay for the steam room & sauna room. Everywhere you go on this ship you will have to stand in line, even for the dinner show (which has a $15 charge per person). If you have booked to see the Blue Men then you will have to stand in line, if you have booked for the comedy show then you will stand in line and when it came to disembarkation in New York, 5 hours we waited to get off the ship and clear customs. This was no holiday I can assure you, this cruise has left me very annoyed. With the hiked up prices of the drinks (£5 a pint and £8 for a cocktail ) good job its all DUTY FREE ha ha ha and the long lines everywhere I was so happy to reach my hotel this evening in New York. My hotel room is 4 times larger than my bed sit, the drinks are half the price and there are no lines I have to wait in to go anywhere. Sorry NCL, I don't think you will be seeing me again, you are taking the mick out of us all by over- charging for everything. Bigger ships mean more people to rip off. Lee Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
When you combine many moving parts, the risk of faults increases. When you launch a $1.2 Billion ship with over 3,000 guests onboard the opportunity for failure looms large. When you add 1700 employees from over 70 countries, and then ... Read More
When you combine many moving parts, the risk of faults increases. When you launch a $1.2 Billion ship with over 3,000 guests onboard the opportunity for failure looms large. When you add 1700 employees from over 70 countries, and then offer 20 bars and nearly as many restaurants in a completely new and innovative design the challenges raise their heads high. This is why the experience we completed yesterday on the Norwegian EPIC was so spectacular. Were there issues? Of course. Were they minor? Some yes, some a little more perturbing. Were they fixable? Absolutely, with minimal effort. We chose the Spa Suite as the least expensive entry-point which gave us access to the entire ship including the Courtyard, the Spa thermal suite, the Epic Club Lounge and the Epic Club itself, as well as suite-oriented amenities such as Posh. The services of a Concierge and a Butler made the experience even more enjoyable. The suite is beautiful. Neutral and muted tones with river-rock wall treatments, a large shower, in-suite jacuzzi tub looking over the ocean, and oodles of storage space (so much that we didn't even start to use 2/3 of it). We boarded the ship with the assistance of Karan, our concierge...and within 10 minutes of clearing security, were on the ship and in our cabin. The security lines at Southampton were such that a spa experience was really needed by this time.... 1.5 hours in line waiting to get through the metal detectors/x-ray. The ship is enormous, with niches and atria, and wavy walls to balance out the sheer size of the vessel. Deck 5 houses the art gallery, internet cafe, Le Bistro, Reception, and the Atrium Cafe. This space may be redesigned eventually, it was underutilized and perhaps this is where the library will eventually be installed. On a related note, its unfortunate the Park West is still operating this gallery, their customer service is nowhere near as good as NCL's. Further back on deck 5 is Taste, one of the main dining rooms on the ship. Escalators take you up to the casino on deck 6, which is where we spent most of our time (and money). We believe (firmly! ;) ) that the casino was trying to recoup the entire cost of the ship's construction from us, on this 7 day sailing and we helped them out as best we could. We really liked the atrium with chandelier, and although I've liked the Chihuly glass on the Jewel-class ships, I preferred the 3 level atrium on EPIC. Ice Bar was a fun experience, and we were pleased to see Canadian IceWine featuring prominently in one of the included drink options. There were certainly some ongoing construction issues throughout the ship (we had no television for a few days, and no telephone with which to report it!) but we didn't let that detract us from the enjoyment of our cruise. As usual, and to our expectations the crew and staff were superlative. From the unflinching commitment to customer service that Klaus instills in his staff, through the execution of this as exhibited by team-members all over the ship. We've only taken a single non-NCL cruise (22 days on Sapphire Princess) and although we felt they treated us as valued customers, on NCL we have regularly felt as though we were family, and that we were returning to a second home. An example? The Epic Club is a dining room reserved for the Suites, Courtyard Villas, and certain designated guests...probably available to about 10% of the ship....that's 300 - 400 people. Maria, the hostess, greeted everyone we saw by name starting at day 2. To me this shows a genuine interest in people, and her bright smile seems to confirm it. She was a highlight of our cruise, and a great way to start each morning. For those who propose that the Daily Service Charge negatively impacts the crew's incentive to try harder....I present Maria as an example of how that does not hold true...and she's not the only one, Ceceelio our room steward was excellent, and Cris our Butler was always at hand should we need something. Bravo NCL. With so many potential hurdles, you launched a wonderful and innovative ship where the only remaining issues are easily solvable, and you populated it with the best staff we've seen at sea. Congratulations, we can't wait to sail her again next year! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
You Never get a second chance to make a first impression. Trite, but true for the NCL Epic. Loyal NCL'ers told us time and again that this was NOT a typical NCL showing, and they would remain loyal to the brand. For cruise ship ... Read More
You Never get a second chance to make a first impression. Trite, but true for the NCL Epic. Loyal NCL'ers told us time and again that this was NOT a typical NCL showing, and they would remain loyal to the brand. For cruise ship veterans but NCL newbies, most will revert to their current loyalties. Yes, it was an inaugural voyage, and yes, anytime you get 4,000 people together you will bound to hear complaining, and yes .. despite all of this, it is still IMPOSSIBLE not to have a good time on a cruise. So while trying to give you my very biased opinions, i'll attempt to be brief and informative and offer as many contrasting opinions we heard along the way .. From a comparative point of reference, I'll inevitable compare to our many positive experiences with princess .. (Mediterranean, and various Caribbeans - all large ships .. Golden, Caribbean etc) Here goes: Travel party wife and I, and two kids . daughter 23 and son 18 next week. Spent a great 3 nights in London before traveling to Southampton Thursday morning. And so began our EPIC experience: Embarking: GRADE D - our first experience with NCL ability to handle crowds. An incredibly inefficient boarding process that took slightly less than two hours - way too long with too many choke points that slowed things to a crawl. Stood behind numerous European smokers, making the outside portion of the waiting even more unpleasant, and also being another portent of the future .. NCL is definitely NOT a smoke free ship. Welcome: What welcome ? You enter the ship on Deck 5 and are on your own .. no elevator in sight, no cruise staff to point you in the right direction, no handy map on the ship.. Welcome to "Free-Style' cruising ! Cabins: Grade B: We had two cabins on Deck 11, inside twin and BD outside balcony. Yes,there's frosted glass on the toilet and shower compartments, but NO, there's no bathroom door or dressing area (ala princess) .. so all personal bathroom sounds apply, as well as that wonderful cruise ship flush for those middle of the night runs your partner will thank you for. This is not the kind of cabin design to take your first vacation with someone. Balcony - very nice and private - can hear the people next door, but no one looking over you ( I could look over on the balcony a few decks below however) Couch - useless in my opinion, a great place to keep your unemptied luggage or your overflow from the closets. TV (very nice) is in front of bed, not couch. More than two people ? Good luck ! Try to squeeze four people ?why not just shoot yourself ? Inside cabin - functional, smaller TV. Overall, form over function - beds were okay, sink a modern designed oval with side faucet, perfect for spilling up and over on the counter space. We were very fortunate in that, other than a reading light that kept burning out, everything worked. Numerous people suffered issues with wet carpets,showers that only delivered scalding or frigid water. Reports from villas were that they were incredibly small, with some saying the location was annoying due to constant opening and closing of segregated entry access doors. Shove-off from Southampton: A great way to get familiar with the major outdoor entertainment area of the ship: Deck 15 which contains the slides and pools. Nice lively music with everyone treated to a buy your own drink (already on this portion of day one it was clear that there would be no inaugural specials or thank you's for cruising the new ship - guess we should have felt honored to be there - who was the customer anyway ??) POOLS: GRADE D ( I have to save the F grade for disembarkation) Adult without small kids perspective - The Epic is a very large ship, but in trying to be all things to all people, it really leaves gaps - there is simply no good "adult" pool area. We're told that the small area on 15 opposite the water park (Spice H two O ) which was cover over is the adult pool area .. with no hope of keeping any age groups segregated - (think Princess back of the ship pool on different deck for adults or well hidden pool attached to spa).. I don't know about the Posh Beach Club, since there are many many areas of the ship (majority or levels 17, 18 and 19 up front) that the high rollers access, and that contain some meager "public" lounge chairs for the masses in steerage. There are several hot tubs on 15, which got a lot of use by those braving frigid Atlantic temperatures to use the slides and then run into the hot tub to prevent hypothermia, which certainly wont be an issue for the eastern and western Caribbean sailings. there appears to be adequate lounge chairs .. but for those that like pool plus lounge chairs sans screaming kids ... not so much Dining: Food Grade B: Service Grade C Minus: Buffet Area on 15 - Grade B: Well Spread Out with Numerous Duplicate Stations. All cruise ships have food and lots of it. Lunch and dinner always had a couple of carving stations, sandwiches and wraps, cheeses, make your own salads, with recurring Indian and Chinese selections. Custom omelette's available for breakfast, hot dog, sausage, burger, pizza and pasta of day available as well. Desserts varied but not that impressive .. soft serve a big hit for the ice cream oriented. Numerous tubs of ice cream and sherbert offered as well .. Watermelon, cantaloupe and melon wedges always available as well. A very good note: while not Starbucks, both the coffee and ice tea were actually drinkable - props are in order O' Sheehans: an incredibly popular place mid ship on Deck 6, overlooking the big screen (which had all the world cup soccer games) and three of the bowling lanes on the other side. FOOD: Grade B, Service D .. good bar fare, wings, tuna melts, burgers, chicken tenders, fries , fish and chips (don't recommend the pot pie or meatloaf). indifferent wait staff (perhaps understaffed as well) with waits of up to 45 minutes just to place your order .. pool and air hockey tables available. nice to feed that late night hunger if you can stand the wait. Manhattan Room and Taste: Two nicely finished dining areas on Deck 5 and 6 for sit down service. Food: B minus Service C minus: Ambiance very nice, food variety limited. No breakfast or lunch specials - same menu items daily. Dinner had a standard menu, with a couple of specials nightly. If you like your food medium well or well, you would be happier than those of us that like it on the rarer side - just order turkey or pork and not steak or prime rib. No Specialty nights for lobster, Italian or something out of ordinary - that's what the many up-charge restaurants are for. First cruise I;ve ever been on where the dining rooms don't offer you shrimp cocktail - they did have some on buffet for dinner however. Like much on the Epic, there was a severe lack of coordination amongst the staff. Many indifferent staff, with a lot of new ship confusion apparent. What they really lacked, and other ships have, are strategically planted "head waiters" that had a section of the dining room assigned to them to make sure that everyone else was doing their jobs and that the customers were evenly served. If NCL claims they have them, then those folks should be replaced -I'm thinking they were non existent to save money and give you a better free style experience .. Oh, speaking of that, the Manhattan room has a dress code for dinner - which i didn't see in any postings or literature - no shorts for dinner - hmmm . I was turned away in linen shorts with a collared polo, but the guy with well worn jeans and an advertiser tee shirt was fine Specialty restaurants: Food C Service C: After a couple of experiences, we cancelled several reservations for up-charges, so I'll give you a limited view: Le Bistro - french - Food C, Service C: A really nothing special French restaurant at a $ 20 PP cost. Pretty bad mussels, ok escargot and tasty scallops for appetizers, overcooked rack of lamb and steak and a forgetful dessert and inattentive staff made for a mediocre dining experience. Food was something i would expect in the basic dining room on perhaps a formal night Cirque: Food C Minus, Service C: We were told that the up-charge for Cirque was for the entertainment, not the food. So while the food was arguably better at Le Bistro, the food comparison is to normal buffet and seating. There were no choices, an overdone chicken and steak dinner served mass wedding style while you watched the show. Show covered later, food supplemented by a trip to O'Sheehans shortly afterward. Sushi: Food C, Service B: Tried on Day 2, prepacked quality at a level of Costco's or Trader Joe's. definitely not upscale quality Shanghai - Not sampled - Poor impression as this was located off of a very busy area off the casino. So as you were inhaling the enormous amount of smoke walking on Deck 6, you passed the entrance area of this up-charge place. The smell emanating from that was one that you get when you enter your corner Chinese take out in anytown USA .. might be better inside, but after sushi experience that was a pass. La Cucina - Not sampled: A nicely tucked away area on Deck 14, accessed via stairs off of the main buffet. Beautiful views both forward and sides off of large windows and very nicely decorated. Did a very enjoyable Italian wine tasting there. Cancelled reservations there after looking at menu. This was one i really looked forward to, with my point of reference Sabatinni;s on the Princess - a magnificent two plus hour dining experience. The La Cucina menu was straight out of Olive Garden - I'm going to pay an up-charge for chicken parm ??? Please ! Cagney's and Moderno - Side by side Steak and Brazilian steakhouses. Again, fabulous decor - had a St Francis Wine tasting on the Moderno side - nice and comfortable. after all of the other issues with overcooked meats, decided to cancel. heard several people talk up Cagneys' steaks being cooked perfectly - I believe the upcharge was $ 25 pp there, unless you selected one of their upcharge to the upcharge options .. that was another ten or 15 ( bistro had the same upcharge to upcharge) No one goes hungry on a ship - I doubt anyone will rave about the food here either Epic - Entertainment Grade: C minus Cirque: A Minus: The Spiegel tent is a very thoughtful and well laid out area for a mid size crowd. Acrobats, juggling and some vaudeville comedy made for some good clean fun, enjoyable for all ages - with the females in the audience even more entertained by a couple of muscular hunks showing their stuff climbing ropes and what not - well worth the upcharge for the entertainment Jeff Hobson: Comic and Magician: Grade B Plus: Pleasant Surprise of Cruise: If you like classic sleight of hand / minor illusions Jeff keeps the crowd engaged for a little over an hour. He has certainly been in front of crowds for years and has a diversion and comeback for almost any situation. Left his show smiling. Second City: Grade F: Sorry folks, just NOT FUNNY .. This is an improv group - maybe gave a soft chuckle twice in 45 minutes. to be fair it was the first night, but there wasn't a laugh in the house for the first 10 or so minutes. NCL got sold a bill of goods on this one - i would recommend an early cancel and replace with old Abbott and Costello, Groucho Marx or Laurel and Hardy movies, or perhaps Office and Two and a Half Men reruns .. you'll get more laughs per minute than you get with their whole show. I predict a quick contract cancel here Blue Men Group: Apparent Minority View (Me, Daughter and Son) Grade D; Wife B Minus; Child Filled Crowd: B to B plus This is Nickelodeon GAK meets Gallagher playing with paint balls and drums. As the teenager said, three high school drop outs who paint themselves blue, throw ping pong balls filled with paint across the stage to a partner who catches it with his mouth and then sprays it on a piece of paper. Constant percussion from drums and PVC pipes augmented with lasers and some audience participation. You must like alternative theater like stomp to like this (with all apologies to stomp). The massive toilet paper finale was an incredible metaphor to my feelings about the show. Legends / Beatles Tribute: With the Epic theater not ready for the first several days of the cruise, I can only assume that the use of the Manhattan Dining Room for these acts was a last minute panic. My wife desperately wanted to see both, but we were unsuccessful. This was one of many signs that this NCL staff was woefully unprepared to handle crowds. If these acts were slated for the Epic Theatre, then things might work. If they continue to be placed in a dining venue, and overlap dining, it will remain a disaster. The assistant cruise directors assigned to settle angry throngs people (aka recent college graduates with no relevant hospitality experience) just didn't know what to do .. The dining staff didn't know how to separate diners from watchers, and the already acknowledged Manhattan room makes a great dining room ... a very poor entertainment venue. Planning and crowd control: F .. Entertainment quality: ??? Bernie Martini up at Shakers: Pretty comfy lounge chairs for those that like Sinatra, Bennett and that genre: Limited selections but Cruise Quality B Bliss: A minus Chic night club with DJ spinning anything from Lady Gaga and Nickelback to Neil Diamond and drunken favorites like Celebration ... A diverse 21 plus late night hangout with attentive staff and festive clients. Bowling: A 5 dollar hoot ! with the ship bouncing more than you might expect, you would swear the lanes aren't level, but who cares ? Three next to O sheehan's and two up at bliss a lot of fun if you don't care about your score ... they limit you to 2 games to keep waiting at a minimum .. And yes, at least one of the lanes have bumpers ! Big Screen decks 5 and 6: The world cup was going on, and this area got major play ! Too much of the time there were just generic pictures. happened to watch the opening scene of Quantum of Solace and it was really impressive on that two story screen .. Outside Big Screens: Great for TA Eskimos ICE BAR: A fun but quick 20 dollars gets you to put on a fur coat and have 2 of 5 predetermined vodka drinks and get your picture taken in front of ice sculptures .. yes, you have to do it once .. it is freezing in there, but its still fund for a half hour or so .. EPIC Wrap-ups Cabin Cleanliness / Steward: Grade A - Friendly, efficient and not obtrusive. Cabin kept as clean as our sloppiness would allow. SPA: Almost forgot: B Plus - Both ladies loved their numerous services, ranging from facials to massages.. made the other up-charges look insignificant, but a definite pleaser. However, wife not happy with lack of robes and shower service pre and post massage. Like princess, the EPIC has a relaxation room that involves an up-charge of approximately $ 200 / couple for the week. This gets you some heated ceramic lounge type chairs, two saunas and a steam room, as well as access to a very small (as in about 10 people) outdoor area and maybe 20 or so inside lounge chairs for reading .. On our last Princess cruise we used that, and felt we got our money;s worth. Epic says that they limit this to 60 couples, and we later found that is in addition to the people that paid for spa cabins. My first reaction was WOW, this is so much bigger than the princess area. IT also has a very large hot tub / spa area with swift moving currents and a waterfall to give yourself some tension relief. Incredibly impressive looking !Alas, as another failure in crowd control, NCL has no limitations on the use of the loungers or ceramic beds .. On Day 2 I used the spa, and other than it not being hot enough for my liking ( i Like 102 or above - it was probably 96), I liked it a lot. The outdoor seating was obviously taken by people that got there first thing and felt they owned the chairs for the day .. the ceramics were also hard to come by, and the heat generated by them was quite mild. Princess limits use to 45 minutes a visit, which would help quite a bit. The saunas were unique, as they had large expanses of windows looking out over the ocean. The steam room was stifling - no issues with heat or humidity there - however, it didn't have the eucalyptus that some steam rooms have. On Wednesday morning, the spa area was a disaster area, due to some rough seas. The entire spa was now empty, with the staff uncertain if they would refill for the rest of cruise. The rear seats and ceramics were all taken, and we decided to ask for a $ 400 refund, which the staff cheerfully did. I believe a day or so later they refilled the pool, but we didn't return up there. With a few minor tweaks, the whole SPA experience is well done and staff well trained. GYM: A: Large expanse of state of the art treadmills, ellipticals, stair steppers and weight machines. all looking out over the water. Offered boot camp, spinning and a few other classes for up-charges. Daughter was impressed with spinning class, as well as the various machines. Small staff of two kept busy, as they conducted a lot of classes and also did nutrition and other type classes. CASINO: Variety: A, Success Winning: F, Size A, Smoke F Casino occupies a good portion of the middle of Deck 6 a primary walking area. For a non gambler or non smoker, I'm sure it is annoying .. I'm a non smoker who usually can take smoke, but it gets a bit much there. Black jack, slot and Texas hold em tournaments (spoke with the overall hold em winner that said it buffered his craps losses), plenty of other table games .. first couple of days they had only one 5 dollar blackjack table, but then they must have figured out that most of their 25 dollar BJ dealers were sitting idle, so they opened more .. perhaps also as people ran out of money it appeared to be more accessible ? Craps personnel kept the games running smoothly and had some personality .. Made losing money there fun Not as busy as on other ships, with a mixture of people that love the game and people doing it for first time ,... Entry into New York City, Under Verrazano bridge, past statue of Liberty and into Manhattan - PRICELESS. Just positively awesome, with the crowd applauding as we seemed to squeak under the bridge, and then approach the lady .. Disembark: F .. if you could use letters G through Z i'd go to them. Just a total disaster in crowd control. Several hours past the itinerary given the night before, with a spartan staff at the terminal to guide you to taxis or pre paid buses to the airport. Must be coordinated by people fired from FEMA ... Hope you hung around to the end .. many will read this as another bunch of gripes .. I've appreciated others commenting in these blogs to help make informed decisions .. rely on trip advisor and have found good advice by and large .. By no means was this a bad cruise. Consciously went TA with NCL vs Cunard .. didn't want that stuffiness. Think NCL has a lot of work to do to decide what segment they want to attract: A TA by its very nature probably attracts an older crowd. This isn't the ship for them - unless they're bringing the grand kids. Not sure if its for newly married 20 or 30 somethings either .. the water parks might be fun once or twice, but the lack of pool is a negative .. Thanks Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We spent 7 days at sea with NCL's newest, 50% larger than any of the NCL ships on which we have previously sailed, holding 4200 passengers, all deck 8 or higher. We normally leave from New York, and are used to at least 3 sea days on ... Read More
We spent 7 days at sea with NCL's newest, 50% larger than any of the NCL ships on which we have previously sailed, holding 4200 passengers, all deck 8 or higher. We normally leave from New York, and are used to at least 3 sea days on any cruise we take. We were looking forward to 7 days at sea, enjoying the NCL hospitality to which we had been accustomed. The first thing we noticed (after not getting a glass of champagne which had been Norwegian's habit on our last several cruises, and which would have certainly been appropriate on a maiden voyage) was that the EPIC is not so much a cruise ship, but a floating casino. By having no amidships elevators or stairs, the EPIC Floating Casino designers insured that almost all passengers would have to pass through the deck 6 casino floor(it is NOT smoke-free). The casino/smoking area extends from the aft main dining room to past the atrium and takes up what would be, on most any other ship, a central promenade. The aft elevators and stairs do not connect to deck 5 which contains the front desk, excursion desk, the two tiny meeting rooms, internet cafe, main restaurant, French restaurant, photo gallery, and art gallery. Thru the casino is the only direct route to deck 5 from aft. You also need to travel through the casino/smoking area to reach the entertainment venues on 6 forward. Although the casino takes up only deck 6, the sound of the slot machines can be enjoyed from deck 5 and 7 restaurants around both the open atrium and the open hole that isn't the atrium. The gambling tables poolside on deck 15 were not open due to weather. As a 50% larger ship, we did not expect tiny entertainment venues. The Theatre (which had only one entrance, from deck 6) seemed half the size of theatres on other ships, and housed the Blue Man Group. The small dinner theatre in the round, which also had room for about 30 people up the stairs, houses the Cirque de Soleil and the Second City Mystery lunch. The Comedy Club contains the Second City, and the Art auctions. There were also Four Season and ABBA tribute bands, as well as the Las Vegas Legends (this week was Elvis, Madonna, and Tina Turner) There were no "Standard" cruise ship shows. The popular shows sold out, and many people were not able to attend. We had a hard time finding a quiet spot to read our own books. On the top decks were gambling tables next to two small pools, hot tubs, waterslides (the feature being a three-story high toilet you ride an inner tube into, swirl around one to four times, depending on you weight, then go down the center drain), rock climbing walls, bungee/trampoline jumper, sports court, including a Teflon-like ice skating rink, teen club, video arcade, and ping pong tables. We wanted to play ping pong, but by the end of the first day only one ball remained. I guess the others blew overboard. There is no circular jogging track. There is a short run/walk straightaway outside on deck 7 on the starboard and three shuffleboard courts on the port sides. Some of the shuffleboard discs almost went overboard when we played. There is a spa and gym which takes up a good part of deck 14 as well as a kids club which our granddaughter liked. There a six bowling lanes, and you will get a better score if there are rough seas. The food was very good, even better than other NCL ships. The restaurants did not feel crowded. The Italian restaurant was hard to get to. Most of the others were attached to, or within earshot of the casino. The cafeteria was very diverse, well stocked, and also had very good views - the best cafeteria food on any cruise we've ever taken. The rooms were new and different, curved, with separate shower and water closet, a tiny shallow sink, but plenty of storage space. Most cabins have balconies, which were relatively large. It would have been nice to have lounge chairs on our deck; they would have easily fit. There are also interior studio rooms which allow single travelers to avoid paying a solo traveler surcharge. There are no porthole rooms. Most of the negative issues we encountered, and are detailed in other reveiws, could be explained by the fact that we were on the maiden voyage, and were at sea for 7 days straight. The extra crew drills, mix-ups with key cards, and contractors still working everywhere were the types of things we expected. The new layout of the cabins seemed to work well. However, the small limited entertainment, specialty restaurants (and Ice Bar) times and venue size means many guests will not be accommodated. Freestyle Cruising Where You Want When You Want is not the case on the EPIC. If you want to sample the specialty restaurants and shows, book your reservation well in advance. Upon disembarkation, the EZ walk off was a disaster. It seemed like half the ship did not check their bags, and the crew had no clue this would happen. Two hours after the gangway opened, suitcases still clogged deck 5. We enjoyed our cruise on the Epic. But, on balance, if you like to gamble, I would recommend Las Vegas, or even Atlantic City. If you like sea days with little to do, book a cruise on a freighter (many take up to 10 passengers). If you like visiting different places, take a cruise that stops at more than 3 ports in 7 days. If you want to see live, big name entertainment, go to New York, Las Vegas, or wait for what you want to tour through your city. If cigarette smoke bothers you, cruise on a ship where indoor smoking areas are isolated from the rest of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
My husband and I were very excited to think we were booked on the NCL Epic's "Inaugural Maiden Voyage" from Southampton to New York City. Needless to say, there was a bit of a "what the heck?" moment when searching ... Read More
My husband and I were very excited to think we were booked on the NCL Epic's "Inaugural Maiden Voyage" from Southampton to New York City. Needless to say, there was a bit of a "what the heck?" moment when searching the Internet the day before our departure to see videos of the Epic sailing out of Rotterdam and to find YouTube videos from passengers on that mini-cruise journey. It just took a bit of the gleam off of our "new and shiny" and waited just-for-us expectations. Not to mention, it was our first cruise on NCL, having previously cruised with Carnival on three separate occasions; so we were looking forward to experiencing the freestyle cruising option...dining when and where we wanted and skipping the dressing up (formal attire anyway) parts. NCL handled our flight arrangements and flew us from JFK over to Heathrow on American Airlines. Of course, no seat assignments had been made for us; but I was all over that early on and had called AA and booked our seats weeks before. The flight over was smooth (although we didn't sleep on the flight...and it was a red-eye) and we were promptly greeted at the airport by an NCL representative after we had cleared customs. We had to wait about an hour to board the bus to take us from the airport to Southampton, but it was well organized and everything flowed smoothly. Once having arrived in Southampton, the check-in process was very efficient; although the lines were long, they moved at a steady pace. One important thing missing, however, was the distribution of ship maps and a Welcome Aboard bulletin. We found out later that some of the other passengers had been given them at check-in, but most of us had not. There were so many passengers storming the guest services desk on that first afternoon for maps and information that the staff members were just grabbing stacks of them and walking down the lines of people handing them out. I guess it seemed that many of us wanted the same things. We found the elevators without much to-do, and fortunately took the right set up to our deck. We found out the next day that all cabins on the port side could be accessed by the red elevators (hallway carpet was red and brown) and all cabins on the starboard side could be accessed by the blue elevators (hallway carpet on that side of the decks was blue and brown). It would have been helpful to know this the very first day...again something that could have been communicated at check-in and repeated in the Welcome Aboard bulletin and/or map. Our balcony wave cabin was beautiful to look at, but extremely tight on passing space at the foot of the very comfortable bed (as one cruise critic has already noted) and in front of the sofa. Hubby and I knew going in that cabins would be tight, so we agreed NOT to get annoyed at each other for always being in the other person's way. Our television did not work for the first 3 days of our cruise; although we requested service every day, it was not until the afternoon on the 3rd day that a technician came up to our cabin to look at it. Turns out it was a faulty remote (so we were told); such a simple fix and it could have been done the first day...if only. The toilet and shower were pie-shaped wedges behind frosted sliding curved doors at the front of the cabin, and did not offer the privacy that many shy family members might desire. The lack of privacy was not such an issued for an older married couple, but I was a little disturbed to think that every time one of us touched the door handle inside the toilet to step out and walk over to the sink, we were touching it with unwashed hands. The sink was another little adventure...too shallow to serve well when washing hands or brushing teeth or shaving, as water splashed everywhere. Our cabin steward, Alfonso, was AWESOME however; and kept us supplied with an abundance of clean towels so that we could deal with the splashes as well as cover the floor outside of the shower when stepping out to dry ourselves. Alfonso was unobtrusive and gave us everything daily that we had requested when we first met him, extra creamers for our in-cabin coffee and extra towels and laundry bags, as well as never knocking on our door on the days we slept in. We never even saw him again until the last evening, and we left him an additional gratuity for being so attentive to us. Freestyle dining was a pleasure everywhere we went: The Garden Cafe had an excellent buffet at all hours of the day or night, the dEcor was tasteful and the food delicious at both Taste and the Manhattan Room for every meal we enjoyed there, and the Moderna restaurant, Cagney's Steakhouse, and the Spiegel Tent meals were all outstanding and well worth the extra money we spent. We also ate one lunch and one breakfast at O'Sheehan's and found the food delicious, although the service was slow the day we had lunch. We attended the free wine tastings two days in a row, hosted by St. Francis winery. Loved the wine, and Chris was very fun and informative. It was disappointing, however, that the St. Francis wines we tasted were not included on the wine lists in any of the ship's restaurants. We asked on the last night, when dining at Cagney's, and they did locate a bottle of the Cab for us even though it was not on the list. But we fail to understand how NCL could allow St. Francis to host three wine tastings on three days in a row and NOT feature their wines...this is certainly an oversight on NCL's part. Entertainment on board was the best cruise ship entertainment we have ever experienced. The Cirque Dreams and Dinner show and Blue Man Group were well worth the extra $ we spent, and the free entertainment at lounges around the ship, especially the Howl at the Moon and in the Fat Cats club were first rate! Lines to book the entertainment tickets were very disorganized on the first full day, and we never got in to see the Legends in Concert show. We had been told to be in line by 8:30 pm for the 9:00 show; we were in line at 8:20 and about 100 people away from the doors when we were told the Epic theatre was full to capacity. I thought the price of cocktails was more than fair when compared to the prices charged in big city venues around the U.S., and every drink I had was delicious! The two-story high screen was incredible and absolutely enjoyed by all the World Cup fans on board. There was another screen outside at the H2O area on deck, but it was too cold for us to ever spend time out there for the evening entertainment options. The bingo staff were lots of fun, and special cheers go out to Jeff, Matt, and Kat for all their efforts to make us laugh. And the dealers in the casino are among the very best...Karen and Rachielle(?) were very patient and kept smiling through all the antics of the poker players. I only wish there could have been a non-smoking poker room, as many of the poker players were chain smokers. While they couldn't smoke at the table, they pushed the limits of all non-smokers by keeping one hand on their poker chips and one hand behind them stretched to an ashtray only 2 feet away. The smoke irritated by throat to the point that I developed a cough and now have bronchitis and congestion. Sure I could have stayed away from the casino, but it was my vacation; and I had as much right to enjoy all the ship's amenities as the smokers did. With such a large ship, I still say they could have had smoking on one side of the casino and no smoking on the other side. Too bad NCL missed the boat on this opportunity, but there's still time to adjust. We never got to experience the pool and the water slides, as we had cold winds and fog most of the way across the Atlantic. But there was plenty to do inside the ship to keep us busy. We did visit the Bridge viewing room and my husband, an air traffic controller, wished we could have had a full tour of the bridge, as he found it fascinating. When we sailed into New York on the final morning, the weather was beautiful, Lady Liberty was stunning, and we got some great photos. Getting off the ship was problematic, however, as it took customs a long time to clear the ship and there were too many persons who tried to rush off before their color-coded luggage tags were called. So the customs terminal on Pier 88 got over-crowded and they had to make all of wait another hour. Many persons who had flights to catch or hired cars waiting (and charging wait-time fees) to pick them up were getting quite annoyed. All-in-all, it is a beautiful ship on the inside, tastefully decorated throughout, with lots of first-class entertainment and dining options. The staff were wonderful everywhere, even though many of them had never worked together before the Epic launched. Although there were some kinks to be worked out on board, future cruise passengers on the Epic will enjoy the improvements and probably not experience all the frustrations that those of us on the maiden transatlantic crossing endured. Don't sweat the small stuff; just relax and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
As a "steerage" class passenger, traveling in an inside cabin, I would like to make a few comments. Worse cabins I have ever seen on any cruise ship. See-through toilet door on right-see-through bathroom door on left as you ... Read More
As a "steerage" class passenger, traveling in an inside cabin, I would like to make a few comments. Worse cabins I have ever seen on any cruise ship. See-through toilet door on right-see-through bathroom door on left as you enter the cabin Sink in bedroom area sits on top of vanity(my bird bath at home is bigger)Splashes all over vanity and floor when used. Public areas are very attractive and consider yourself fortunate if you can get a comfortable seat. Casino takes up most of Deck 6 and has smokers everywhere. Hard to even walk through for non-smokers. Maybe bring a gas mask if you decide to go. Entertainment--good shows if you are fortunate enough to get reservations and don't mind standing in line at least 45-60 minutes prior to assure you can sit together. Makes for a lot of cranky people. Crew was fantastic. They took the cream of the crop from all their other ships. Makes you wonder how service would be on those ships doesn't it. If you don't want to spend a fortune to eat, us "poor folk" can eat in the free restaurant--of course you have limited menu, poor quality of food served lukewarm to cold. Pool deck--two tiny pools and 6 hot tubs for over 4000 people double-occupancy and who knows how many with quad occupancy--NCL isn't saying. There were many problems with the brand new ship such as flooding cabins, non-working telephones and safes,lousy TV (must pay for any movie} poor disembarkation procedures, etc. These will be worked out hopefully. Pay Pay Pay for just about everything. The ship should have been named PAYALOT instead of EPIC. Would not recommend it for average person who saves to go on vacation unless they suddenly win the lottery. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
my husband and i started off on monday to represent our cruise agent on the epic. we were advised she was going to be late coming in as her engines had failed and so this would slow her down considerably. not a good start as we had heard ... Read More
my husband and i started off on monday to represent our cruise agent on the epic. we were advised she was going to be late coming in as her engines had failed and so this would slow her down considerably. not a good start as we had heard about 2 fires that she had already had before this, at this time she had not been officially named. we were due to board her at 1pm on the tuesday and eventually after several enquiries we were told she was coming in a bit earlier now than 6pm as she had managed to make up some time. we were the last shuttle bus to be taken to the ship, and were lucky we didnt have to go to the terminal where 2,000 other passengers were waiting to board her! it was lucky for us and when the driver told us the news a big roar of approval went up. we met the dj mike reid in the car park he was on our coach and told us that he and tony blackburn were guest djs on board for this trip. well finally checked in and in our cabin, we were aft on the spa deck. a nice room, but when i found out later that this was a cabin also for 3, i was amazed because it would definitely be too small. the new layout was quite nice but proved in some ways impractical. there was a sink just infront of the toilet area in its own area attractive, you had a separate shower/bath and toilet also, but the arm of the sink for water was unmovable which made brushing teeth as an example difficult. as a footnote i have since heard that these sinks have proved to be troublesome they leak etc, so are being taken out! our tv didnt work, our safe didnt open even though engineers were supposed to have fixed it. i found the spa to be quite small though spread out in several areas also extremely over priced in comparison to other ship spas. i thought the swimming area very much a copycat version of royal caribbean ships but not in a good way. no nice open spaces to sunbathe the tubes etc dominated this area. there was an ice bar which you had to book to go in for 45 minutes max. you were given a cape and gloves to wear and believe me you needed them, it was not for the faint hearted! i hadnt booked but they let me in for 5 mins to see it. it was all of ice the bar sculptures etc, nowhere to sit and extremely cold. the casino was huge but i have seen better layouts than this. the food we tried out in taste their everyday restaurant was not the best. we ate in cagneys, both nights and had the surf and turf amongst other things, it was very nice we were given a good window seat and managed to get in for 7pm as opposed to the 8pm everybody was told! it would have cost us $25 each normally to eat there, im not sure it was that good. the 24 hr bar was tried out for breakfast not very good it has a bowling alley huge screen and is quite a big open space but lacked atmosphere. the childrens area was quite well planned and my feeling of this ship was that it was for families, if they could afford to pay for all the extra things they may have wanted. most of the facilities carried a price tag to use. i call them little hidden extras! seems to be the way cruise ships operate now, a shame. the staff were not particularly helpful in the main especially the shops. they were very poor in comparison to other ships and quite pricey too. the ship was very disjointed and not easy to get round the bars were mainly in one area and we found it hard to find one as headquarters. everywhere was negotiated by lifts and escalators a novelty not sure though if an elevator is good going from the bar to your room?! i didnt find a library or cinema i did look!! on a final note many restaurants some not opening till 9pm this particular one was called manhatten and it was at the back of the ship on a lower level to the many others which all carried a surcharge for entry we tried the manhatten which had a band playing at night for breakfast, this was very slow, nobody seemed to know where anything was half an hour wait or more for your meal, so if going on a tour probably the garden room would best, no charge for there. there is a noodle bar £15 surcharge, sushi, chinese. the other steak bar was brazilian but very different to what you would expect if you have ever been there, spicy and steak served on skewers mmm. there was nowhere to go and have a dance unless you wanted to disco. this was on the whole a very disappointing ship. i have been on many NCL ships and awaited with bated breath for this one to be launched but for me she was not as good as the others, big is not always beautiful. lastly the theatre was very small and the shows we had both the same the blue men were not really very good slapstick at its worst. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
As someone who was really, really excited about cruising a new ship on it's maiden voyage I can not tell you how much I was looking forward to a royal time. Shipboard Entertainment: The ship's decor is beautiful! In fact ... Read More
As someone who was really, really excited about cruising a new ship on it's maiden voyage I can not tell you how much I was looking forward to a royal time. Shipboard Entertainment: The ship's decor is beautiful! In fact there are many instances on the ship where NCL went to extremes to get it right - the Cirque Dreams & Dinner for example, is by far the best show on the high seas. Combine a very good three course meal with the cirque performers and you get a dinner show that is family friendly and exciting. Nothing on the high seas comes close. This is a definite must for those cruising the Epic The Legends in concert is very good as well. Having seen the Legends show in Vegas the show on the Epic was of the same quality just shorter. In Vegas you'll see 7-8 performers doing 2-3 songs. On board we had Tina Turner, Madonna and Elvis. All were good performers and all did 4-5 songs with Elvis doing the most. This wasn't a cheesy show but a well performed show. No extra fee. Blue Man Group did an hour show. I hadn't seen it before and enjoyed it. I was told by a casino worker from Vegas that the BMG was only 10-15 minutes shorter than the Vegas show - but the Vegas show costs $100. On board the Epic it's FREE!! This was my first time seeing BMG and it was an enjoyable show. Second City improv performances - I enjoyed the group. There were 6 performers 4 guys and 2 girls. I thought that the brunette, skinny balding guy and larger guy were the funniest. If you like improve than you'll like this. If you don't like improv you may want to pass on this one. No extra fee The Murder Mystery show was ok. If you like Second City then you will like the murder mystery. The food was good for a fixed lunch menu. I wish the actors would have stuck to a script rather than done as much improve but overall it was an enjoyable 90 minutes. Additional charge. O'Sheehans: It is located on deck 6 mid ship. It has the looks of your neighborhood Beef O'Brady's (an American Sports Bar). You can get breakfast 24/7 as well as excellent , fish & chips, sandwiches and desserts. If you're looking for comfort food than this is your place. My personal favorite was the fish & chips. The fish was FRESH and fantastic, not the frozen fish sticks. I could go on and on about this restaurant - there wasn't really anything I didn't like at O'Sheehans. Most importantly is the staff who were working there. After 2 days one of the waiters, "Ricky", would greet us by name when we entered and would wave at us if we were walking by. He remembered our drinks and what we had ordered the day before as well. He was friendly, outgoing and really made our visits to O'Sheehans memorable. In fact we filled out two (2) comment cards, which we turned in, complementing the excellent staff and food for O'Sheehans. Now realize that this is a sports pub/restaurant. There is lots of ambient noise from the 2-story atrium behind, the casino at one end and the adjacent bowling lanes. If you're looking for quiet and cozy this is not the place. However if you're looking for comfort food, smiling faces and a place like Cheer's - O'Sheehans is the place to be. Surprisingly this is a no fee eatery. La Cucina: This Italian specialty restaurant was well worth the $10 cover charge. You go to deck 15, thru the buffet area to the very front of the ship and walk down the stairs. It has a nicely decorated entrance and inside if very cozy - lots of stone, trees, faux library books, etc., We were seated at the window in the very front of the ship. We observed several pods of dolphins, turtles (my wife said seals) and birds. It was a wonderful and romantic atmosphere. My wife and I weren't pleased with the dinner rolls, calamari or minestrone soup (the calamari was better at O'Sheehans). The assistant maitre' de did everything to make us happy. We had the Margarita pizza and we LOVED it! If you like a true Italian pizza, like you get in Rome, then go to La Cucina. Given the appearance of La Cucina and the service I would definitely return to this restaurant. The churaassioro restaurant, Moderno, was a pleasant surprise. This is NCL's version of Texas de Brazil. Our waitress was friendly, pleasant and provided us with excellent service. The "gaucho's" who brought the different foods around to the table were efficient. This was a very good dining experience and we enjoyed it as much as the Texas de Brazil. My only complaint is that I ate too much of the various meats before they came around with the filet mignon! considering the price for this restaurant I would definitely do this again. Our final specialty restaurant experience was Tappanyaki - the Japanese show/dining experience. The servers were friendly and efficient. The chef was nice. My only complaint is that I was tasting garlic the remainder of the night and the next morning. My impression of this restaurant was one of having been there, done that but not likely to return. Manhattan Club. The larger of the two no fee MDR the Manhattan Club is located in the rear of the ship. The dEcor is nicely done with lots of earth tones and wood. We dined in here twice, breakfast and lunch. On each occasion the service was slower than the other places that we ate and the food was not on the same level of the other areas of the ship. Legends in Concert played in this venue but we had seen them and we weren't about to fight the crowd. In a conversation with crew we learned that the galley that serves the Manhattan Club is located on deck 4 so the wait staff has to walk up and down. I guess that explains the longer wait for food. Taste. The smaller of the two MDR's located on deck 5 right under the casino. Taste has bricks and more color than the Manhattan Club. I think it pushes the envelop in color and I really liked it. The service was good and the food was better than what we received in the Manhattan Club. My only dislike about Taste is the seats in the open area that look upward to the casino and the 7th floor. Looking down on the diners it looks nice, however, seating there and looking up wasn't very comfortable and we asked to be moved. Of the two MDR's I preferred Taste to the Manhattan Club. The casino is rather long and unlike other cruse lines has dealers at their two (2) poker tables. There is an abundance of table games and this was the first time I can remember playing Pai Gow at sea (would have preferred an automatic shuffler). Table limits ranged from $5 to $25 and there were more than enough dealers present. The slot machines where placed throughout the ship with new slots in addition to the older 3-reel slot machines. My wife made the comment that she felt like this was a real casino rather than a "ship casino". As someone who has spent too much time on land based casino's I concur with my wife. The Epic's casino has a feel of Harrah's in A.C. My biggest complaint about the casino was the number of smokers on this cruise. While playing in the daily poker tournament there were a few players who couldn't stay away from the cigarettes for more than 10 minutes. One of the machines that my wife seemed to like was on the end and located right next to a cigarette receptacle. I kept wondered why she tolerated the smokers there but that machine was one of a few that actually gave her some profits. Unlike other ships there really isn't a lot of public outdoor space in which to walk, watch the water or to sit. Deck 7 leads outdoor where there is a jogging track but the presence of the lifeboats doesn't allow you to sit or relax. On Deck 15 there are the side rails but the back of the ship consists of Spice H2O and a pair of hot tubs in the ships corners. There is amphitheatre seating at Spice and the pool raises to a dancing area where they had a "Jersey Boy" group performing the first night. Unfortunately the weather was too cold and windy for me to spend too much time. They sounded really good and appeared indoors on other nights. The rock climbing walls and repelling walls are located on deck 15 towards the back and near the water slide exits. It seemed that whenever I was on deck there was at least an inch of water that was splashing out of the water slides. It was difficult to walk in that area without getting your shoes wet. According to workers..."we told them {NCL} they need more drains." The rock walls themselves are relatively short compared to those on RCCL. The repelling wall was a letdown as it took longer to put on the gear than it did to come down. For those who have never done rock climbing it's easy enough and should be fun. If however, you're looking for a challenge you may be disappointed. One of my disappointing encounters was going to deck 17 to try the Epic bounce, a bungee/trampoline. I got in line at 5:05 and watched 5 cruisers jumping. When it was my turn the worker in charge had me get on the scale and said, "I'm sorry but the limit is 200 pounds. (I weigh 230) It's a ship's safety rule." Having done the exact same bungee 18 months earlier at a vacation destination on land (and weighing in at 225) I know that the bungee could handle my weight but it was now 5:50 and after waiting 45 minutes I was upset. "How come there's no sign?" I asked. All I got was a shoulder shrug! So adults beware if you are 200 pounds and above don't bother standing in line. To NCL - Post a darn sign will you? Considering that this ship has around 5,000 passengers I expected a larger feeling ship. There are basically 5 public area floors, Decks 5, 6 & 7 along with decks 14 & 15. While I didn't feel cramped I was surprised at how difficult it was to find quiet spots on the ship in which to relax and watch the water. The fact that this ship has no library demonstrates that NCL was striving to maximize the entertainment and bar spaces. The color combination/decor of all the areas was nicely done. This is not the bright gaudy ships that you see with Carnival nor is it the bland colorless boring type of ship. It had a trendy feel. In my opinion I thought that Deck 5 was really a wasted/incomplete deck. Upon entering the ship I observed the 2-story screen (a wow factor) and a coffee bar. Unfortunately due to the layout of the atrium we were unable to find seats to sit and enjoy our lattes. In addition when movies or the world cup soccer was being played on the 2-story screen it was LOUD! I missed having a relaxing place to sit and enjoy a coffee and cake. The front desk was right across from the screen and it was packed with cruisers from the moment we arrived and throughout most of the cruise. Moving forward on Deck 5 was the Park West art gallery and Le Bistro along with the photo gallery and internet area. The cabin that we booked a deluxe family balcony for our maiden Epic cruise was very pretty. The color scheme and initial impression created that WOW effect when we opened the door. However, after using the cabin facilities I quickly learned that while it may be pretty to behold I was not completely comfortable with the toilet/sink privacy and the lack of space to walk around. Our cabin was not completed as we had no air conditioning and were unable to use our shower for the first two days of the cruise. This cabin also had a tub but there was no stopper. We put in several work orders at the front desk and after 4 days of complaining we just gave up. The lack of TV programming was surprising as well - only 10 channels were available; two being cartoons/Nickelodeon, two were Skynews, and Skynews Sports, two were ship related (view from bridge and ship information), BBC, MSMBC, CNBC and a channel of pre-recorded sitcoms (Friends/Scrubs). No movies unless you wanted to pay $12.95 each. Since I have written about the cabin short comings at length on other threads I will not beat a dead horse. I will say that unless and until cabin changes are made in the future I will not rebook on the Epic. An interesting concept with the photos in that they use facial recognition software. You turn over your room keycard to the photographer at the time of photos. When you go to view the photos, you swipe it and your accumulated photo's pop-up. In addition the printed photo's are in plastic envelopes in a pocket identified by decks and each cabin has its own folder of photos. This eliminates the need to constantly look for photo's night after night. Nice touch. On each cruise I have been on my wife and I look back as to what our WOW moment was. Some WOW moments have been the ships, our cabins and the views. On other cruises it was the itinerary or an excursion. We were disappointed because what we anticipated as being a WOW moment; sailing from Southampton on an inaugural cruise, and sailing into NYC on a maiden voyage, turned out to be nothing more than a "delivery cruise". This TA was no different than any other NCL cruise we have taken. The time and frustration in dealing with the front desk in order to correct the problems with our cabin detracted from our overall trip experience; especially since the problems should have never been allowed to slip thru the cracks if the company had taken the time to perform a proper "punch list". Considering all the pre-sailing hype that NCL did promoting the Epic I felt jilted. I will remember the excellent service that the staff of O'Sheehans provided. We will also remember this as an entertainment cruise that has set the standard for other ships to live up to. The Cirque Dreams & Dinner show is not only the most unique but finest dinner show on all the high seas. BMG & Legends do a fine job of living up to their land based shows. Second city does an admirable job as well. I give the crew of the Epic )with the exception of the front desk personnel) huge applause for their hard work, dedication and professionalism. It was refreshing to see their smiling faces wherever we went. You could tell this crew was the best of the best! Heck, I even saw smiling pit bosses in the casino! The ship itself I give a thumbs up for the entertainment value and innovations such as the cirque dinner show, the numerous water slides, the ice bar and a "real" casino. However, I still find it disconcerting that NCL would rush their flagship to market. It was a mistake to allow this ship to sail without crossing all their t's and dotting their i's. I would expect most of the problems that I encountered during my cruise to be ironed out and corrected in the future. The ship is new and exciting however my disappoint remains. I doubt if I will remember this cruise on the Epic as "special" or inaugural. Instead I will tell people that I sailed on NCL's newest ship: The GPIC - Guinea Pig Inaugural Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
We were sadly disappointed in the transatlantic cruise on the Epic which left Southampton on June 24. Embarkation and disembarkation were poorly organized and it took an unprecedented amount of time to board and disembark the Epic. We were ... Read More
We were sadly disappointed in the transatlantic cruise on the Epic which left Southampton on June 24. Embarkation and disembarkation were poorly organized and it took an unprecedented amount of time to board and disembark the Epic. We were not welcomed aboard after standing in line for hours in Southampton and had to find our cabin without any direction from the few staff that were around. We missed the champagne welcome too - something we enjoyed last year on the Pride of America. We had booked and paid NCL for transfers to the airport when we arrived in New York on July 1 but had to find a taxi as we were hours late disembarking and barely made our flight. The cabin had a few intermittent problems with the phone and television and the sink leaked (this was repaired mid-way through the cruise)but we were a lot better off than many cruisers who encountered more serious problems. We weren't too happy with the arrangement of the toilet, sink and shower being all separate and the sink is way too small. We found it very objectionable that we had to line up (sometimes for more than an hour) to get a seat even for those events for which we had reservations and for some activities that we had paid for in advance. We think the size of the entertainment areas like the Epic Theatre (seats 800) and Spiegel Tent (seats 120) are much too small for the number of passengers on a ship of this size and the reservation system and extra costs added to the bill for entertainment are objectionable. The lack of comfortable sitting areas, a library and games room are also issues. We were astonished to hear one of the senior entertainment staff unapologetically trying to explain these problems away to passengers who had waited in line and were unable to get into the Spiegel Tent for a performance by the magician by stating that the Epic is an "activity ship" and he didn't expect that people would want to "sit around". What else is there to do on a cruise where the entertainment venues are full, the pool is not available because of weather, other problems or occupied by children and the casino full of smokers so non-smokers or people with health problems can't even venture across that deck? We were really looking forward to this maiden voyage across the Atlantic and expected a few problems as the Epic is a new ship. The problems that we found didn't relate so much to the fact that the ship is not yet finished (one technician said he would be aboard for another 2 months to finish the work still to be done) but to disorganization, poor planning and lack of attention to customer service by NCL management. We are also concerned about all the 'upcharge' restaurants which outnumber other restaurants available to passengers, the problems with the entertainment reservation system and extra charges for some of the entertainment. The best parts of the cruise were the events organized by Cruise Critic members, we enjoyed the food and some of the entertainment like the Blue Man Group was fantastic. We will likely take another cruise on NCL as we enjoyed previous NCL cruises but it is highly unlikely we would want to sail again on the Epic. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Started our journey at Mancester and flight down to Southampton which was fine met at the airport and coach to the terminal. Checkin was ok but not given any information about the ship eg layout etc and on boarding huge queue at reception ... Read More
Started our journey at Mancester and flight down to Southampton which was fine met at the airport and coach to the terminal. Checkin was ok but not given any information about the ship eg layout etc and on boarding huge queue at reception desk,so managed to find our own way to the cabin. This was some what disappointing strange layout with the toilet and shower accessed via a glass door directly from the cabin.The sink was a disaster very small with a huge swan like tap which did not swivel making washing very difficult and the sink is too shallow.Not very much room between bed and cabinets.On the plus side the bed was very comfortable. Safe was unusable for 2 day and no telephone initially. The public rooms are very well fitted out but for a ship this size the theatre is too small approx 600 capacity this resulted in many passengers missing the Legends Show. This is also the only cruise ship I have travelled on that charges for entertainment,come on NCL this is just not on. Problems on the pool deck with water not draining away and frankly the size of the pools for a ship this size is pathetic, much too small. Food was generally very good but service in the Manhatton Dining Room was somewhat eratic waited 35 mins for a starter course and twice at breakfast service was very poor. Disembarkation in New Yorks was a disaster too many passengers opted to walk off with their luggage overloading the immigration hall leading to long delays for other passengers with colour coded luggage over 2hrs in our case! Not likely to travel with NCL again Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
I agree with the previous review regarding the Epic. The entertainment venues are too small for the number of passengers and you cannot just walk in and sit down you have to wait in line until showtime and then file in. I waited for one ... Read More
I agree with the previous review regarding the Epic. The entertainment venues are too small for the number of passengers and you cannot just walk in and sit down you have to wait in line until showtime and then file in. I waited for one show and almost reached the door only to be told it was full and come back in two hours for the later show at 11 p.m. Epic will have to sort out the queueing problem as the corridors were blocked with two or more queues and everyone was unhappy with the situation. There were lots of charges for everything, more than other ships, keep in mind all the food and entertainment has been paid for in the holiday price but once on board you find yourself paying a surcharge for some shows and restaurants and once inside paying again for select items on the menu and paying over the odds for drinks plus of course extra charges on top. We did enjoy the week, the food was as always excellent and we met some great people. The Blue Man Group were rubbish and were also on in New York and Las Vegas so who are they under all that paint? The Second City Group were fantastic as was the circus. We did not like the toilet, shower, basin, curtain thing going on and could not understand why we could not just have a bathroom as before, it would not take up any more room than splitting the appliances into three pods did. Whichever art student thought up that idea wants shooting. Too much thought has gone into the shape of the rooms and sinks and not enough into the capacity (or lack) of the venues taking into account the great number of passengers on board and where is the usual starbar like a showbar place which was greatly missed. We will not be choosing Epic again. 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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