Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Cruiserunner
- Sail Date: July 2015
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Owner's Suite
The good parts of the cruise was that the dining in the speciality restaurants was very good, specifically Le Bistro, Moderno and Teppanyaki was really good with very good waiters and personnel. Also the entertainment from the people in the comedy club with Howl at the moon were superb, probably the best entertainment we have had on the seas ever. The gym in the haven area was a hidden gem and I really used the treadmills there, very good.
However there were a number of things that really left a bit of a sour aftertaste.
We booked the cruise including the flights to Barcelona and since we wanted to stay a few days in Barcelona afterwards I thought I would ask if NCL could sort good pricing on some hotels since NCL offered that service..I got three suggestions of hotels and all of them were priced between 50-70% over the internet pricing.
Secondly to use the low cost airline like Jet2? Our vacation at Manchester airport started with an hours wait for the baggage drop off (we had checked in online to fasten the process) and then another 45 minutes for the security control. To start your vacation at 05:45 in the morning that way is not fun. (I never use Jet2, Easyjet nor Ryan air privately nor in business due to these things)
OK I realize this is out of NCLs scope but it was part of our vacation so…homebound with Lufthansa went superbly. Suggestion, to other passengers (and myself) book on your own.
To get onboard the ship went ok but then we got a very lacklustre feel for a number of things,
1) Life boat drill, I have never seen so relaxed drill on any ship before! Apparently since people are boarding at different ports half the activities were going on around while we were trying to figure out where to go, the personnel in charge of the drill were not particularly engaged in their job. Everytime I have done this before it has been people in every stairs, people stopping folks using elevators and a very prompt and professional behaviour.. This felt like the Ibiza version.
2) During the cruise I didn’t see any of the higher officers on the boat at any time..which is a first time ever that has happened. They probably did their job but usually you bump in to them on occasion and the feeling on a lot of the crew was that they did everything right but there was not much politeness or fun in what they were doing. It was still ok but I am comparing with all other cruises we have done. I got a feeling like this was somewhere between an old partyboat going to Mariehamn and a charter vacation..The thing isn’t bad but it is definitely not exclusive and on all the three cruises on NCL we have done before with Gem,Jade and Breakaway the mood on the ships have been far better.
3) Booked on a haven suite I got e-mails before about the dining package we had and I asked the concierge over the e-mail specifically if we should reserve tables on the speciality restaurants in advance whereupon her response was no need, you have priority on the ship being a Haven guest, well it was fixed on the ship every evening however we had to struggle with fully booked restaurants and had to eat times we didn’t prefer. On the second day of the cruise I booked the whole rest of the week with the concierge and it was eventually fixed. Same thing when we asked for a show we wanted to go on…oooh it is fully booked but we will try and come back to you later..and they did and we got the seats in a half full theatre. Again everything worked out ok but it wasn’t smooth or easy!
4) The haven facility, well apart from the Gym it was clearly the least exclusive of all the ships we have been on. There were a lot of kids aboard the ship and that meant that the haven pool also was occupied by kids almost constantly which I can understand and appreciate.
However a word for your own sake, there was no supervision around the pool area at all and it is a question of time before you will have an accident there because the kids were jumping into the pool like kids do without looking and I did see a couple of examples when serious crying was the results of two bodies trying to occupy the same space.
Also on one occasion there were clear evidence that some toddler had bathed in the pool with diapers because there were paper stripes in the pool. Again I guess I should blame myself for choosing the wrong time to have my vacation and the wrong ship since it just had too much people aboard everywhere.
Suggestion to other passengers, if you book a haven suite, you are better off on the Jade and Gem type of ships.
5) Every morning we were woken up in our suite sometime between 6:30 and 07:00 because we apparently had the suite underneath the posh club and I don’t know what the crew were doing.
If they were dragging sun chairs out or moving equipment around otherwise but feet on a metallic roof sounds make loud noises. We complained about it on the second day and it became somewhat quieter but the noise was still there every morning. Something to think about for future reference for NCL.
6) In our package we had a shore excursion discount of 75$ per excursion! What a joke! It doesn’t even take you halfway to a decent level. NCL should start thinking seriously about them because their pricing on them are skyhigh. We will not book any shore excursions with NCL ever. Better to grab a taxi in whatever destination you are in and go by yourself.
So as a summary, it was our second worst cruise vacation ever (we did Costa Concordia once) and it will take a long time before we consider paying this sort of money for a so not exclusive vacation.
At this time I think it is time for us to consider other cruise lines.
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