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We returned from our cruise in the Med (26 June-3Jul) on the Epic and I was epically surprised (in a good way). We travelled with our two children (7 and 10) and we all had a ball. We had spent months reading reviews on this website and were feeling a bit apprehensive about our trip based on the negative feedback that seemed to pervade a number of the reviews. I am very pleased to report that our experience, from start-to-finish, was nothing but amazing. The facilities, staff, organisation, activities, accommodation and the Ship itself were superb and I do not feel I can fault them in this regard. I think what did make it that extra bit special was being a part of the Haven. The Haven perks cannot be underestimated and we did feel like we were on a separate cruise to most due to this fact. Check-in Haven guests have a separate check-in area. We were escorted by a butler onto the ship, through a dedicated lift for Haven guests, to David the concierge. David gave us a personal tour of the Haven and introduced us to all the facilities. A perfect way to start the day which we were appreciative of. Check-in was ‘smooth sailing’ – pardon the pun. Food The food was, generally, very good. We ate at the Haven restaurant every morning for breakfast as well as one evening and one lunch. The food was great at all times and we were very satisfied with the choice. Our package included four Specialty restaurants so we also chose to eat at Teppanyaki which was lots of fun and my daughter loved it. The food was good but the show was better. We tried La Cucina next and the food was good but not memorable. Mary, our waitress, was great and our meal was much better thanks to her service. Next was Moderno where the concept sounds good but the delivery not so much. The meat was not that enjoyable and the service hit-and-miss. We requested a back table as we were sailing out at dinner time. They managed to accommodate us and the view was the highlight of that meal. Our final night was spent at Le Bistro. The food again was good without anything to write home about. The desserts were a disaster. We also ate at O’Sheehans which was great. Excellent burgers, service and meal. Its fast food but was great for what it was. Good vibe there as it was middle of the ship as well. We also had the dinner package at the Cirque show. Food was not great but the show made up for it. Drinks We had the Unlimited Beverage Package (UBP) which includes everything but cappuccinos, water and bottles of wine basically. We were more than satisfied as we enjoy cocktails and there were ample options to choose from. There was a ‘cocktail of the day’ which I tried every day as well. The standard spirits and beers were also available and were of good quality (not the cheap stuff). Every meal has a water option from the jug which is free and our kids had that most of the time even though we bought them the soda package. There are a multitude of bars on the ship and we never struggled once to get a drink. Service was always prompt and pleasant. I highly recommend the UBP to take the stress out of drink budgeting. Facilities Our kids (and myself) spent a good amount of time on the slides. They were great and not too busy (10-15 in a queue). Some weren’t always open when they should have been which was a pain. We also went bowling which was fun. $7 seemed reasonable to me to bowl and the kids enjoyed the break from the slides. We never used the rock climbing and there was no batting cage as expected. My biggest gripe with the ship is the size of the main pool. It is tiny for the size of the ship which is a pity. We did have the Haven pool which we spent a lot of time at but I would not have been happy if I didn’t have the Haven. The kids enjoyed the air hockey and entertainment area but we didn’t spend much time indoors. I never gambled but the casino was never full when we walked through to get to the other side of the ship. The Haven facilities were great. We liked the privacy afforded to us and the pool area was very pleasant. There were always deckchairs and towels available and the Jacuzzis and pool were nice. Some loud kids/families but didn’t bother me too much. The best facility for us was the Posh Beach Club (Haven Only) with direct lift access to the main pool deck. It was never full, had its own bar and was perfectly situated (Deck 18) for sipping cocktails while leaving port in the evenings. Another great perk of the Haven. Entertainment We went to the Cirque show. The quality of artists was great and the show was fantastic. As good as any other Cirque shows that I have seen (See my comments about the food). We also went to see Howl at the Moon with the kids but the music was more old school so we left after 80min. The performers were excellent though and the wife and I would have enjoyed it had it been just the two of us. The highlight for us was Burn the Floor. We thought the dancing was world class and my wife (ex-dancer) and daughter we mesmerised. Great show. Another perk of the Haven was priority seating and escorts to the shows. This was a nice touch which made us feel special. Service The service on the ship was a bit hit and miss. Some staff couldn’t wait for you to leave and some just wanted you to stay. Bookings we made were kept, complaints we made were adhered to, requests we made were done. On the whole we were very happy with the service but didn’t feel that anyone warranted any special mention (besides Mary). The Ship The ship itself is enormous (and not very pretty). That said, we found everything to be in perfect working order and in great condition. The ship is extremely well run and it shows in everything they do. With so many people coming and going, it is a wonder to behold the organisation going in to this to make sure it runs smoothly. We had no (real) problems with anything on board. The refurbishment last October seems to have done the trick. Everything looks new and we barely encountered anything tatty or threadbare. The carpets in the Haven were especially lush which is always a good sign. We were very worried about the quality of the ship (based on previous reviews) but I found that to be unfounded – we were very pleasantly surprised. The Haven The Haven (as I said before) is what made the trip. Besides everything above, we also had the dedicated use of a Butler, room steward and concierge. Concierge helped with bookings, escorting to shows and on/off the ship. Very useful. The Haven also provides priority seating at shows and priority boarding at tenders. There are even dedicated lifts for Haven guests on days at port. We were suitably impressed and felt the cost was justified. Overall Overall I would say that the Epic gets a bad rap. Perhaps my view was clouded being part of the Haven but I have nothing but happy memories to share with my children for many many years to come. You can’t put a price on that!

Great Memories in the Haven

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Packlist

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We returned from our cruise in the Med (26 June-3Jul) on the Epic and I was epically surprised (in a good way). We travelled with our two children (7 and 10) and we all had a ball.

We had spent months reading reviews on this website and were feeling a bit apprehensive about our trip based on the negative feedback that seemed to pervade a number of the reviews. I am very pleased to report that our experience, from start-to-finish, was nothing but amazing. The facilities, staff, organisation, activities, accommodation and the Ship itself were superb and I do not feel I can fault them in this regard. I think what did make it that extra bit special was being a part of the Haven.

The Haven perks cannot be underestimated and we did feel like we were on a separate cruise to most due to this fact.

Check-in

Haven guests have a separate check-in area. We were escorted by a butler onto the ship, through a dedicated lift for Haven guests, to David the concierge. David gave us a personal tour of the Haven and introduced us to all the facilities. A perfect way to start the day which we were appreciative of. Check-in was ‘smooth sailing’ – pardon the pun.

Food

The food was, generally, very good. We ate at the Haven restaurant every morning for breakfast as well as one evening and one lunch. The food was great at all times and we were very satisfied with the choice. Our package included four Specialty restaurants so we also chose to eat at Teppanyaki which was lots of fun and my daughter loved it. The food was good but the show was better. We tried La Cucina next and the food was good but not memorable. Mary, our waitress, was great and our meal was much better thanks to her service. Next was Moderno where the concept sounds good but the delivery not so much. The meat was not that enjoyable and the service hit-and-miss. We requested a back table as we were sailing out at dinner time. They managed to accommodate us and the view was the highlight of that meal. Our final night was spent at Le Bistro. The food again was good without anything to write home about. The desserts were a disaster. We also ate at O’Sheehans which was great. Excellent burgers, service and meal. Its fast food but was great for what it was. Good vibe there as it was middle of the ship as well. We also had the dinner package at the Cirque show. Food was not great but the show made up for it.

Drinks

We had the Unlimited Beverage Package (UBP) which includes everything but cappuccinos, water and bottles of wine basically. We were more than satisfied as we enjoy cocktails and there were ample options to choose from. There was a ‘cocktail of the day’ which I tried every day as well. The standard spirits and beers were also available and were of good quality (not the cheap stuff). Every meal has a water option from the jug which is free and our kids had that most of the time even though we bought them the soda package. There are a multitude of bars on the ship and we never struggled once to get a drink. Service was always prompt and pleasant. I highly recommend the UBP to take the stress out of drink budgeting.

Facilities

Our kids (and myself) spent a good amount of time on the slides. They were great and not too busy (10-15 in a queue). Some weren’t always open when they should have been which was a pain. We also went bowling which was fun. $7 seemed reasonable to me to bowl and the kids enjoyed the break from the slides. We never used the rock climbing and there was no batting cage as expected. My biggest gripe with the ship is the size of the main pool. It is tiny for the size of the ship which is a pity. We did have the Haven pool which we spent a lot of time at but I would not have been happy if I didn’t have the Haven. The kids enjoyed the air hockey and entertainment area but we didn’t spend much time indoors. I never gambled but the casino was never full when we walked through to get to the other side of the ship. The Haven facilities were great. We liked the privacy afforded to us and the pool area was very pleasant. There were always deckchairs and towels available and the Jacuzzis and pool were nice. Some loud kids/families but didn’t bother me too much. The best facility for us was the Posh Beach Club (Haven Only) with direct lift access to the main pool deck. It was never full, had its own bar and was perfectly situated (Deck 18) for sipping cocktails while leaving port in the evenings. Another great perk of the Haven.

Entertainment

We went to the Cirque show. The quality of artists was great and the show was fantastic. As good as any other Cirque shows that I have seen (See my comments about the food). We also went to see Howl at the Moon with the kids but the music was more old school so we left after 80min. The performers were excellent though and the wife and I would have enjoyed it had it been just the two of us. The highlight for us was Burn the Floor. We thought the dancing was world class and my wife (ex-dancer) and daughter we mesmerised. Great show. Another perk of the Haven was priority seating and escorts to the shows. This was a nice touch which made us feel special.

Service

The service on the ship was a bit hit and miss. Some staff couldn’t wait for you to leave and some just wanted you to stay. Bookings we made were kept, complaints we made were adhered to, requests we made were done. On the whole we were very happy with the service but didn’t feel that anyone warranted any special mention (besides Mary).

The Ship

The ship itself is enormous (and not very pretty). That said, we found everything to be in perfect working order and in great condition. The ship is extremely well run and it shows in everything they do. With so many people coming and going, it is a wonder to behold the organisation going in to this to make sure it runs smoothly. We had no (real) problems with anything on board. The refurbishment last October seems to have done the trick. Everything looks new and we barely encountered anything tatty or threadbare. The carpets in the Haven were especially lush which is always a good sign. We were very worried about the quality of the ship (based on previous reviews) but I found that to be unfounded – we were very pleasantly surprised.

The Haven

The Haven (as I said before) is what made the trip. Besides everything above, we also had the dedicated use of a Butler, room steward and concierge. Concierge helped with bookings, escorting to shows and on/off the ship. Very useful. The Haven also provides priority seating at shows and priority boarding at tenders. There are even dedicated lifts for Haven guests on days at port. We were suitably impressed and felt the cost was justified.

Overall

Overall I would say that the Epic gets a bad rap. Perhaps my view was clouded being part of the Haven but I have nothing but happy memories to share with my children for many many years to come. You can’t put a price on that!
Packlist’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Courtyard Villa with Balcony
Cabin H4 16019
The Haven 2 Bedroom Suite was great. We spent a good deal of time choosing our room location and it turned out to be just right. Not too far from concierge or the pool. If you plan to use the pool, then stay on level 16 as its easier to access than on 17. The room was a perfect size for a family of 4 and we thoroughly enjoyed the space it provided. The bed was comfortable and there was enough space for everything. There were a number of complaints about lack of tv coverage but we discovered the movie channel (included on the interactive screen when you switch the tv on). There were loads of the latest cinema movies to choose from (for free) and the kids used this a lot while in the room. Having a bath and shower was great and we loved the view it afforded us every morning and/or evening. The bed was rounded but comfortable and we had ample space for everything. There were only European and American plug outlets (we had read there were UK as well) but this was rectified with an adapter quickly. The lights were a challenge as they are preset. I, somehow, could not quite figure out how to get the settings I wanted. We used our espresso machine a lot (as cappuccinos are additional cost) and brought along our milk frother from home. The safe was a bit small.
The turndown with towel animals were a highlight for my kids.
Deck 17 Suite Cabins

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