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We recently completed a 13 night crossing from Barcelona to Florida on the NCL Epic, and the ship was beautiful. Not glamorous, but clean and pleasant throughout. The ship also provided us the best shows and entertainment we’ve ever experienced on-board a cruise ship. Broadway show, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, was stunningly performed and the Burn the Floor dance show was incredible. This cruise would have received 3 stars from us just on entertainment alone. In fact, it practically did. Many of our fellow travelers were disturbed by the Epic’s totalitarian attack on beverages being brought on-board. All bottled water was confiscated and disposed of – from half empty bottles to entire sealed cases. OK, I accept that a case of water could contain something nefarious and didn’t mind tossing my half bottle. Heck, we had already purchased the “Ultimate Beverage Package.” However, we were very disappointed to learn that water is not included as an “Ultimate” beverage and that we would have to pay $7 per bottle of water. Fortunately, bottled beer was included in the package so we stayed well hydrated. It seemed bizarre to us but one of the senior staff shrugged and said NCL has an deal with (or perhaps owns) their exclusive water vendor. The food, not much to say, it was mostly dull, poorly cooked, and tasteless. We did experience some tasty food that was also even warm when it was served at both the Chinese noodle bar and the Irish restaurant. The service, excellent from cabin stewards and most bartenders, but otherwise mixed. Food servers often seemed untrained and worried about their supervisors from whom we saw little support, but frequent quick criticism, even in front of passengers. We have both spent our careers managing large staffs and know well how managers can demoralize a staff charged with providing customer service. It appeared obvious the problems were a more of a management issue than a staff issue. Oh, and having Asian women staff members standing at restaurant entries repeating, “Washy Washy, Happy Happy” was at best, racially insensitive and unacceptable. Yes, we have also seen and heard the same on other cruise ships but that doesn’t ever excuse it. The gym was a good size and the exercise equipment good quality. The rooms for Yoga, etc were very small and inadequate. The outdoor jogging trail was a quarter mile and located on the nonsmoking side of the lifeboat deck. It was quite popular, but unfortunately shared the end of its space with the employee smoking section. This arrangement must have seemed logical to someone – in management. Between the clouds of smoke and the crowded conditions several of us decided to use the less crowded other side which was the passenger smoking side. It was far less smoky than the “nonsmoking “side. Maintenance, where to start? We entered the room to find a broken cabinet so we enjoyed our first two hours on-board conversing with the carpenter sent to repair the cabinet. Our electricity went out twice but was quickly restored by an electrician after a brief visit each time. Our air conditioner was never quite right and we complained twice to no effect. By the time we were in Puerto Rico outside temps were around 90 F with humidity the same and the AC was doing nothing. The capacitor was blown (literally blown out the side)and AC was restored after a couple hours with our friend, the HVAC guy. The next day our room door lock stops working. Fortunately our key cards still worked at the bar because that began a 5 hour ordeal with as many as three security guys and two customer service reps outside our door trying to help us. We ended up having to shower in the gym while our friendly carpenter from the beginning of the cruise replaced the lock under the strict supervision of two security men. Maintenance like that did have us wondering about the possible meanings of “Epic.”

A not so epic journey

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by kurts

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2016
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
We recently completed a 13 night crossing from Barcelona to Florida on the NCL Epic, and the ship was beautiful. Not glamorous, but clean and pleasant throughout. The ship also provided us the best shows and entertainment we’ve ever experienced on-board a cruise ship. Broadway show, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, was stunningly performed and the Burn the Floor dance show was incredible. This cruise would have received 3 stars from us just on entertainment alone. In fact, it practically did.

Many of our fellow travelers were disturbed by the Epic’s totalitarian attack on beverages being brought on-board. All bottled water was confiscated and disposed of – from half empty bottles to entire sealed cases. OK, I accept that a case of water could contain something nefarious and didn’t mind tossing my half bottle. Heck, we had already purchased the “Ultimate Beverage Package.” However, we were very disappointed to learn that water is not included as an “Ultimate” beverage and that we would have to pay $7 per bottle of water. Fortunately, bottled beer was included in the package so we stayed well hydrated. It seemed bizarre to us but one of the senior staff shrugged and said NCL has an deal with (or perhaps owns) their exclusive water vendor.

The food, not much to say, it was mostly dull, poorly cooked, and tasteless. We did experience some tasty food that was also even warm when it was served at both the Chinese noodle bar and the Irish restaurant.

The service, excellent from cabin stewards and most bartenders, but otherwise mixed. Food servers often seemed untrained and worried about their supervisors from whom we saw little support, but frequent quick criticism, even in front of passengers. We have both spent our careers managing large staffs and know well how managers can demoralize a staff charged with providing customer service. It appeared obvious the problems were a more of a management issue than a staff issue.

Oh, and having Asian women staff members standing at restaurant entries repeating, “Washy Washy, Happy Happy” was at best, racially insensitive and unacceptable. Yes, we have also seen and heard the same on other cruise ships but that doesn’t ever excuse it.

The gym was a good size and the exercise equipment good quality. The rooms for Yoga, etc were very small and inadequate. The outdoor jogging trail was a quarter mile and located on the nonsmoking side of the lifeboat deck. It was quite popular, but unfortunately shared the end of its space with the employee smoking section. This arrangement must have seemed logical to someone – in management. Between the clouds of smoke and the crowded conditions several of us decided to use the less crowded other side which was the passenger smoking side. It was far less smoky than the “nonsmoking “side.

Maintenance, where to start? We entered the room to find a broken cabinet so we enjoyed our first two hours on-board conversing with the carpenter sent to repair the cabinet. Our electricity went out twice but was quickly restored by an electrician after a brief visit each time. Our air conditioner was never quite right and we complained twice to no effect. By the time we were in Puerto Rico outside temps were around 90 F with humidity the same and the AC was doing nothing. The capacitor was blown (literally blown out the side)and AC was restored after a couple hours with our friend, the HVAC guy. The next day our room door lock stops working. Fortunately our key cards still worked at the bar because that began a 5 hour ordeal with as many as three security guys and two customer service reps outside our door trying to help us. We ended up having to shower in the gym while our friendly carpenter from the beginning of the cruise replaced the lock under the strict supervision of two security men. Maintenance like that did have us wondering about the possible meanings of “Epic.”
kurts’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MD 8062
Clean and well kept along the voyage. A Funky style of curved cabinets almost guaranteed I'd knock my head reaching for anything on the counter below. The design was intended to make things appear more roomy but failed.

Storage was excellent with plenty of closet, shelf and hidden spots behind the sofa back.

Show was large with room to sit. Toilet space was funky with a noisy spastic shutter for a door that assured no one ever had any toilet privacy and all nighttime visits were sure to wake the spouse.

Mechanicals were an issue with - Air Con not working, electricity going out, etc.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins