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EPIC FAIL: Anyone who has been on cruises before will quickly realize that Norwegian's Epic is a rare standout for merging greed, gaudiness and total incompetence - literally the worse cruise I've ever been on. 1). CUSTOMERS ARE NICKLE-AND-DIMED TO DEATH. Where most cruises have good on-board dining houses that are already covered in the main fee, the Epic's dining rooms are constant pressure-cookers of up-selling. Basically, you can order a gross, substandard dish from the peasant selection of the menu, or you can order something resembling a real meal and pay an extra $30 or $40, in addition to what you already spent to be there in the first place. And while other cruise lines have indoor cafes that make you espresso drinks and morning pastries for free, Norwegian hits you with international Starbucks prices for the same thing. 2). LUXURY IMAGE HIDES PATHETICALLY CHEAP COST-CUTTING MEASURES: Enjoy a morning cup of coffee? Well plan to make 10 separate trips to the coffee spout, since Norwegian's recently replaced its mugs with ceramic thimbles. Seriously, they are barely bigger than shot glasses. When we asked one of the kitchen staff about it, he confided that "management" recently changed the mugs so customers would drink less coffee, creating a higher profit margin, despite the recommendations of the the actual crew. And, as pointed out by other reviews of this ship, to just get a bottle of water is $7. 3. SHIP EMBRACES A CLASS SYSTEM REMINISCENT OF THE TITANIC: If you're a middle class customer or the average retired person, know that the Epic's crew will treat you like 19th Century steerage or a refugee from Ireland's great famine. What do I mean? There are entire sections of the ship that are blocked off for only the wealthiest people on board. 4. TO CALL THE EPIC'S SERVICE 'POOR' IS CHARITABLE: Why does buying a small, badly mixed drink on the Epic cost $15? Because the tip is already included on each glass, which ordinarily would be fine, accept for the fact that the ship's waiters and bartenders all but ignore you unless you're consistently giving them extra tips on every order. This means that unless you want to actually pay about $18 for each drink, or $14 for each glass of wine with dinner, you can count on getting shockingly bad service without much apology. My wife's dinner order was completely wrong nearly every night of our cruise; even more concerning, when she was incorrectly given snails one night - and accidently bit into one - the waiter actually lied to her face and told her it was a mushroom. 5. NOT ONE QUIET OR PEACEFUL PLACE ON THE SHIP: Planning on relaxing, reflecting on the sites or just casually reading a book? Not on the Epic you're not! From morning to the late hours, every inch of this boat is blasting terrible dance music and cheesy 1980s songs at mind-numbing volumes. Even it's indoor coffee house area, at 7 a.m. in the morning, is blaring music videos or irritating commercials for the cruise line itself. 6 THE SHIPS EXCURSIONS ARE OFTEN MORE EXPENSIVE THAN HIRING PRIVATE DRIVERS: I didn't really believe this when a fellow passenger told me the third night of the cruise, but then I tried it the next day and it was absolutely true. I got a personal cab driver in Italy for an entire day for a third of what it would have costed to load onto one of Norwegian's crowded buses, where guides take you to the sites for the bare minimum of time and talk to adults like they're 3rd graders. 7. THE SHIP'S EMBARRASSINGLY LARGE SIZE MAKES FOR AN OVERCROWDED, UNDERSTAFFED MISADVENTURE: Locals sure give you a warm welcome when you pull up on a ship that's taller than the tallest building in their entire town. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if Norwegian purposefully set out to take the concept of "the ugly American abroad" and somehow manifest it into the very design of this floating monstrosity (Norwegian is based in California, where I live). Either way, they certainly told their ship-builder to include as few elevators as possible. As noted by other reviewers, there are lines and log-jams all over the Epic. 8. APPALLINGLY BAD MANAGEMENT: One night I went into one of the Epic's dining houses and was turned away for wearing shorts, which wouldn't have been a big deal except for the fact that after I went back to my cabin and changed into pants, I returned to have my meal ruined by a bellowing, spazmatic toddler constantly running in circles through the dining room yelling at the top of his lungs for nearly 50 minutes. REALLY? It's not ok for me to wear shorts, but it IS ok for some selfish, checked-out, absentee mother to let her kid have a wild fit in the restaurant? The staff did absolutely nothing about this ongoing scene, even though the toddler was repeatedly at risk for hitting his head against a table corner or having extremely hot coffee spilled on him by one of the waiters he kept nearly crashing into. Even if you take the comfort of the 60 or so people dining there out of the equation, this was genuinely a safety issue for the child.

'Epic' fail with Norwegian

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by traveling journalist

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Trip Details
EPIC FAIL: Anyone who has been on cruises before will quickly realize that Norwegian's Epic is a rare standout for merging greed, gaudiness and total incompetence - literally the worse cruise I've ever been on.

1). CUSTOMERS ARE NICKLE-AND-DIMED TO DEATH. Where most cruises have good on-board dining houses that are already covered in the main fee, the Epic's dining rooms are constant pressure-cookers of up-selling. Basically, you can order a gross, substandard dish from the peasant selection of the menu, or you can order something resembling a real meal and pay an extra $30 or $40, in addition to what you already spent to be there in the first place. And while other cruise lines have indoor cafes that make you espresso drinks and morning pastries for free, Norwegian hits you with international Starbucks prices for the same thing.

2). LUXURY IMAGE HIDES PATHETICALLY CHEAP COST-CUTTING MEASURES: Enjoy a morning cup of coffee? Well plan to make 10 separate trips to the coffee spout, since Norwegian's recently replaced its mugs with ceramic thimbles. Seriously, they are barely bigger than shot glasses. When we asked one of the kitchen staff about it, he confided that "management" recently changed the mugs so customers would drink less coffee, creating a higher profit margin, despite the recommendations of the the actual crew. And, as pointed out by other reviews of this ship, to just get a bottle of water is $7.

3. SHIP EMBRACES A CLASS SYSTEM REMINISCENT OF THE TITANIC: If you're a middle class customer or the average retired person, know that the Epic's crew will treat you like 19th Century steerage or a refugee from Ireland's great famine. What do I mean? There are entire sections of the ship that are blocked off for only the wealthiest people on board.

4. TO CALL THE EPIC'S SERVICE 'POOR' IS CHARITABLE: Why does buying a small, badly mixed drink on the Epic cost $15? Because the tip is already included on each glass, which ordinarily would be fine, accept for the fact that the ship's waiters and bartenders all but ignore you unless you're consistently giving them extra tips on every order. This means that unless you want to actually pay about $18 for each drink, or $14 for each glass of wine with dinner, you can count on getting shockingly bad service without much apology. My wife's dinner order was completely wrong nearly every night of our cruise; even more concerning, when she was incorrectly given snails one night - and accidently bit into one - the waiter actually lied to her face and told her it was a mushroom.

5. NOT ONE QUIET OR PEACEFUL PLACE ON THE SHIP: Planning on relaxing, reflecting on the sites or just casually reading a book? Not on the Epic you're not! From morning to the late hours, every inch of this boat is blasting terrible dance music and cheesy 1980s songs at mind-numbing volumes. Even it's indoor coffee house area, at 7 a.m. in the morning, is blaring music videos or irritating commercials for the cruise line itself.

6 THE SHIPS EXCURSIONS ARE OFTEN MORE EXPENSIVE THAN HIRING PRIVATE DRIVERS: I didn't really believe this when a fellow passenger told me the third night of the cruise, but then I tried it the next day and it was absolutely true. I got a personal cab driver in Italy for an entire day for a third of what it would have costed to load onto one of Norwegian's crowded buses, where guides take you to the sites for the bare minimum of time and talk to adults like they're 3rd graders.

7. THE SHIP'S EMBARRASSINGLY LARGE SIZE MAKES FOR AN OVERCROWDED, UNDERSTAFFED MISADVENTURE: Locals sure give you a warm welcome when you pull up on a ship that's taller than the tallest building in their entire town. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if Norwegian purposefully set out to take the concept of "the ugly American abroad" and somehow manifest it into the very design of this floating monstrosity (Norwegian is based in California, where I live). Either way, they certainly told their ship-builder to include as few elevators as possible. As noted by other reviewers, there are lines and log-jams all over the Epic.

8. APPALLINGLY BAD MANAGEMENT: One night I went into one of the Epic's dining houses and was turned away for wearing shorts, which wouldn't have been a big deal except for the fact that after I went back to my cabin and changed into pants, I returned to have my meal ruined by a bellowing, spazmatic toddler constantly running in circles through the dining room yelling at the top of his lungs for nearly 50 minutes. REALLY? It's not ok for me to wear shorts, but it IS ok for some selfish, checked-out, absentee mother to let her kid have a wild fit in the restaurant? The staff did absolutely nothing about this ongoing scene, even though the toddler was repeatedly at risk for hitting his head against a table corner or having extremely hot coffee spilled on him by one of the waiters he kept nearly crashing into. Even if you take the comfort of the 60 or so people dining there out of the equation, this was genuinely a safety issue for the child.
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