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This was our second cruise on Norwegian, and likely our last. We chose the Epic for a trip with my partner's mom mainly because of the excellent value of the Haven Family suite compared to getting two balcony cabins for only 3 people. We had sailed with Norwegian on the Pride of America in Hawaii years ago when freestyle and the ship were new - and we enjoyed little about the experience, but because of the good deal, we rolled the dice and took a chance again. Let's start with some positives. The Haven is a great idea on on a ship that is freakishly large, and that can - at times - feel crowded and a bit like being at the mall or Six Flags. The Haven gives you the chance to avoid most of the negative parts of the experience. The room was huge, fantastic, and very well designed, and our butler was fantastic about helping with virtually anything we needed. Additionally, the shows were pretty good and we enjoyed the restaurant in the Haven more than most of the pay restaurants. There was always food available somewhere nearby, and the staff overall were very helpful and friendly, even if they weren't always able to resolve whatever problem you might have. No for the negatives - and since I don't have all day, this is only a partial list. First, we were left to wait for 45 minutes in the sweltering port in Rome because someone forgot to call the butler to escort us to the trip. We had to wait longer than the regular passengers who were allowed to board immediately. Because of the size of the ship, it was generally a disaster every time we embarked or disembarked the ship - and a the one day when tendered, it was 10 times worse, resulting in some guests waiting more than two hours in 90 degree heat to get back on the ship. If you like chain restaurants and think that Applebee's and the Olive Garden are excellent, then you will love the food on the ship. We eat locally in in really good restaurants, so we basically found the restaurants to be total crap. Paying $25-30 per person was ridiculous considering the same meal in the US on land would not have cost that much (before drinks). It wasn't that the food was terrible, it was just that it was pedestrian and not worth the extra money. We found the food in the Haven restaurant to be as good or better than the dinners we shelled out $90 for. It is not unusual for us to spend $200 or more on dinner for two, so we aren't people who complain about the price, we just expect more based on our experiences in pay restaurants on lines like Celebrity. That all having been said the food was "fine" and the service was good, but not outstanding. Beware that if you do the Cirque dreams and dinner that the dinner part is basically banquet food with no choices of dining options unless you are allergic to something, and it is served during the show in a way that forces you to choose between watching a good show and eating a mediocre dinner, because the way its done, you can't really do both. The free restaurants were pretty much a nightmare. I've had better food and service at Denny's and I wouldn't recommend the ones we ate at to anyone - although the buffet had a huge variety of food and if you needed a snack, you could find something. The ship has many cool features that are fun - like the water slides and the ice bar. There's also plenty of shopping, and lots to do in general. It might be better enjoyed on an itinerary with more at sea days. The size of the ship combined with odd, poorly thought out design prevents you from getting the most out of the experience. It seems that they traded forcing guests to walk through endless corridors of cabins for forcing guests to wait endlessly on crowded elevators. This is a result of all the entertainment and dining venues being packed onto the lower two decks of the ship while all the cabinet are on the higher decks. Even with the "special" access to the Haven elevators, you end up waiting a great deal and being packed in like sardines once the elevator arrived. I'll admit to being a bit snooty when it comes to traveling, and I mention this only to say that if you are snooty, as well, and expect a certain level of service, then a ship where people walk around carrying pitchers of beer in their pajamas while others ask for ice for their red wine, then this may not be the ship for you. We brought nice clothes for dinner, but after a couple days, we simply gave up and dressed like everyone else. All this having been said, we had a very enjoyable trip - mainly because we were in the Haven. If we had been in a regular cabin we might have not rejoined the cruise after a few stops. We won't be going back on Norwegian unless its a gift, and the Epic may have ruined us on big ships forever.

Underwhelming but still good.

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by yellowdog04

Trip Details
This was our second cruise on Norwegian, and likely our last. We chose the Epic for a trip with my partner's mom mainly because of the excellent value of the Haven Family suite compared to getting two balcony cabins for only 3 people. We had sailed with Norwegian on the Pride of America in Hawaii years ago when freestyle and the ship were new - and we enjoyed little about the experience, but because of the good deal, we rolled the dice and took a chance again.

Let's start with some positives. The Haven is a great idea on on a ship that is freakishly large, and that can - at times - feel crowded and a bit like being at the mall or Six Flags. The Haven gives you the chance to avoid most of the negative parts of the experience. The room was huge, fantastic, and very well designed, and our butler was fantastic about helping with virtually anything we needed.

Additionally, the shows were pretty good and we enjoyed the restaurant in the Haven more than most of the pay restaurants. There was always food available somewhere nearby, and the staff overall were very helpful and friendly, even if they weren't always able to resolve whatever problem you might have.

No for the negatives - and since I don't have all day, this is only a partial list.

First, we were left to wait for 45 minutes in the sweltering port in Rome because someone forgot to call the butler to escort us to the trip. We had to wait longer than the regular passengers who were allowed to board immediately.

Because of the size of the ship, it was generally a disaster every time we embarked or disembarked the ship - and a the one day when tendered, it was 10 times worse, resulting in some guests waiting more than two hours in 90 degree heat to get back on the ship.

If you like chain restaurants and think that Applebee's and the Olive Garden are excellent, then you will love the food on the ship. We eat locally in in really good restaurants, so we basically found the restaurants to be total crap. Paying $25-30 per person was ridiculous considering the same meal in the US on land would not have cost that much (before drinks). It wasn't that the food was terrible, it was just that it was pedestrian and not worth the extra money. We found the food in the Haven restaurant to be as good or better than the dinners we shelled out $90 for. It is not unusual for us to spend $200 or more on dinner for two, so we aren't people who complain about the price, we just expect more based on our experiences in pay restaurants on lines like Celebrity. That all having been said the food was "fine" and the service was good, but not outstanding. Beware that if you do the Cirque dreams and dinner that the dinner part is basically banquet food with no choices of dining options unless you are allergic to something, and it is served during the show in a way that forces you to choose between watching a good show and eating a mediocre dinner, because the way its done, you can't really do both.

The free restaurants were pretty much a nightmare. I've had better food and service at Denny's and I wouldn't recommend the ones we ate at to anyone - although the buffet had a huge variety of food and if you needed a snack, you could find something.

The ship has many cool features that are fun - like the water slides and the ice bar. There's also plenty of shopping, and lots to do in general. It might be better enjoyed on an itinerary with more at sea days.

The size of the ship combined with odd, poorly thought out design prevents you from getting the most out of the experience. It seems that they traded forcing guests to walk through endless corridors of cabins for forcing guests to wait endlessly on crowded elevators. This is a result of all the entertainment and dining venues being packed onto the lower two decks of the ship while all the cabinet are on the higher decks. Even with the "special" access to the Haven elevators, you end up waiting a great deal and being packed in like sardines once the elevator arrived.

I'll admit to being a bit snooty when it comes to traveling, and I mention this only to say that if you are snooty, as well, and expect a certain level of service, then a ship where people walk around carrying pitchers of beer in their pajamas while others ask for ice for their red wine, then this may not be the ship for you. We brought nice clothes for dinner, but after a couple days, we simply gave up and dressed like everyone else.

All this having been said, we had a very enjoyable trip - mainly because we were in the Haven. If we had been in a regular cabin we might have not rejoined the cruise after a few stops.

We won't be going back on Norwegian unless its a gift, and the Epic may have ruined us on big ships forever.
yellowdog04’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Courtyard Villa with Balcony
Cabin H4 17012
This cabin is excellent. If it were on a Celebrity ship, I might never leave. I also can't say enough good things about our butler Sumehd. We would have enjoyed the cruise far more if we had simply spent all or our time in the room. I might consider this ship again on a repositioning cruise when there is nothing to do but hang out in the Haven and in the giant bathtub.
Deck 17 Suite Cabins