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We just did the New Year’s cruise on the Epic, with stops at Stirrup Cay, St Thomas and Tortola. On board were my husband (50s), son (10), and me (40s). We travel twice per year on vacation and have done RCCL and Disney Cruise Line several times in the past. We select our cruises mostly for the ship and not the itineraries, and were excited to try the Epic. This is our first experience with NCL. For convenience, I have segregated feedback in three sections: the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Good 1. Ship is gorgeous. The EPIC is truly magnificent on the inside. The décor is subtle and tasteful, with dark wood and neutral tones. Every corner is impeccably clean and well maintained. 2. Mini suite on deck 9 was absolutely beautiful. Tiny, but with pretty décor and plenty of storage room (3 full closets and many, many drawers). The bathroom layout was not an issue as we knew beforehand and took plenty of air freshener (!). The bathtub in the mini suite was comfortable and spacious, but a word of advice – do not pick this room if you have mobility issues because getting in the bathtub is quite a climb. Balcony was of adequate size, and had a lock for child safety. 3. Buffet selection was consistently good. Not great quality, but decent variety. You will always find something for everyone. 4. The specialty restaurants that we tried were great (Teppanyaki and Moderno). The Cirque menu was also surprisingly good (shrimp and steak). Service in these venues was exceptional. Also, all of them have kids menu (you need to ask), which was appreciated by our picky 10 yr old. 5. Shows (Cirque, Magician Christian Miro, and Burn the Floor) were outstanding and the best we’ve seen in a cruise (including the Disney shows). 6. Pool deck was epic! The water slides were a lot of fun and we enjoyed our best family moments there. The bowl slide is a must. 7. Service was overall pleasant, with attentive employees and smiling faces (washy washy, happy happy!). 8. The NYE party for kids at Splash Academy was packed. They had glow sticks, kiddie drinks and games, and our son had a lot of fun! The Bad 1. There are no outer decks other than the pool and above. The ship feels a bit claustrophobic, as you can hardly see the ocean from the inside. 2. Desserts in the buffet and main dining room are inedible. However, fruit and ice cream (including soft serve) are readily available and make up for the pastry disaster. 3. Elevators could be a problem. There simply are not enough elevators for the amount of passengers in this big ship. Be ready to burn some calories using the stairs. 4. The Splash Academy was a disappointment. We went several times to leave our son, but the advertised activities were not taking place. It also seemed to be one big room with dividers, with very little visual interest. However, they would play movies that our son enjoyed and the staff was kind and multi-lingual. For those considering this program, be advised that the Academy closes from 12-2 PM and 5-7 PM. So, if dancing at the Atrium at 6 PM is your plan, be sure to include Jr. or have a plan B. 5. The layout of the ship is confusing. We could use deck 15 (pools) to go from aft to forward. But if raining, the only other main deck (without a labyrinth of rooms) was deck 7. Deck 5 and 6 are cut in half by the casino, so if you have kids, 7 is your deck. 6. Not too many shops, and very little NCL merchandise available. The Ugly 1. The third bed in the cabin is not a bed. It is a sofa. After turn down, it still is a sofa. Not a sofa-bed, but a sofa. With a sheet on it. It was hard and small. My son (a skinny 10 year old) fell off twice while asleep. We found this unacceptable and a deal breaker for future consideration of the EPIC as a family vacation. 2. Main dining room food is inedible. Service beyond poor (we were not offered ANYTHING to drink), waiter forgot about us mid-dinner. Bread was cold, soup had no taste other than salt, and sirloin was hard to chew to the point where husband had to either spit it out or choke. We had two sets of cutlery instead of 3, so husband had to wait a while to start eating and by then his food was cold. Waiter seemed overwhelmed. Really unpleasant experience. Make sure to have specialty restaurant reservations in advance if you expect a decent dinner with respectable level of service. 3. Other than the night shows, the entertainment offer was poor for the family oriented. My son was bored by the Splash Academy and mostly declined to go, so we ended up spending all of our time together. Unfortunately, we found really few options of activities that we could do as a family outside of the pools. A lot of “entertainment space” is given to the spa promotions (“seminars” on acupuncture, foot analysis, wrinkles, etc., that are nothing but a sales pitch). The spider slide and bowling alley were open at 4 PM, which is really late. 4. We witnessed one disgruntled employee openly ranting to another employee in the buffet. The poor receptor was trying quite unsuccessfully to redirect this person to another area, but she was not having it. Really bad impression on boarding day. Fortunately, an exception as we never saw anything like this again. Overall, the Epic is a fantastic ship, but not for us. Just not enough family or kid oriented spaces and activities. Couples, young adults and families with teens will definitely enjoy the clubs and adult areas.

Not for us...

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by bluecat1968

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2016
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Mini-Suite with Balcony
We just did the New Year’s cruise on the Epic, with stops at Stirrup Cay, St Thomas and Tortola. On board were my husband (50s), son (10), and me (40s). We travel twice per year on vacation and have done RCCL and Disney Cruise Line several times in the past. We select our cruises mostly for the ship and not the itineraries, and were excited to try the Epic. This is our first experience with NCL. For convenience, I have segregated feedback in three sections: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

1. Ship is gorgeous. The EPIC is truly magnificent on the inside. The décor is subtle and tasteful, with dark wood and neutral tones. Every corner is impeccably clean and well maintained.

2. Mini suite on deck 9 was absolutely beautiful. Tiny, but with pretty décor and plenty of storage room (3 full closets and many, many drawers). The bathroom layout was not an issue as we knew beforehand and took plenty of air freshener (!). The bathtub in the mini suite was comfortable and spacious, but a word of advice – do not pick this room if you have mobility issues because getting in the bathtub is quite a climb. Balcony was of adequate size, and had a lock for child safety.

3. Buffet selection was consistently good. Not great quality, but decent variety. You will always find something for everyone.

4. The specialty restaurants that we tried were great (Teppanyaki and Moderno). The Cirque menu was also surprisingly good (shrimp and steak). Service in these venues was exceptional. Also, all of them have kids menu (you need to ask), which was appreciated by our picky 10 yr old.

5. Shows (Cirque, Magician Christian Miro, and Burn the Floor) were outstanding and the best we’ve seen in a cruise (including the Disney shows).

6. Pool deck was epic! The water slides were a lot of fun and we enjoyed our best family moments there. The bowl slide is a must.

7. Service was overall pleasant, with attentive employees and smiling faces (washy washy, happy happy!).

8. The NYE party for kids at Splash Academy was packed. They had glow sticks, kiddie drinks and games, and our son had a lot of fun!

The Bad

1. There are no outer decks other than the pool and above. The ship feels a bit claustrophobic, as you can hardly see the ocean from the inside.

2. Desserts in the buffet and main dining room are inedible. However, fruit and ice cream (including soft serve) are readily available and make up for the pastry disaster.

3. Elevators could be a problem. There simply are not enough elevators for the amount of passengers in this big ship. Be ready to burn some calories using the stairs.

4. The Splash Academy was a disappointment. We went several times to leave our son, but the advertised activities were not taking place. It also seemed to be one big room with dividers, with very little visual interest. However, they would play movies that our son enjoyed and the staff was kind and multi-lingual. For those considering this program, be advised that the Academy closes from 12-2 PM and 5-7 PM. So, if dancing at the Atrium at 6 PM is your plan, be sure to include Jr. or have a plan B.

5. The layout of the ship is confusing. We could use deck 15 (pools) to go from aft to forward. But if raining, the only other main deck (without a labyrinth of rooms) was deck 7. Deck 5 and 6 are cut in half by the casino, so if you have kids, 7 is your deck.

6. Not too many shops, and very little NCL merchandise available.

The Ugly

1. The third bed in the cabin is not a bed. It is a sofa. After turn down, it still is a sofa. Not a sofa-bed, but a sofa. With a sheet on it. It was hard and small. My son (a skinny 10 year old) fell off twice while asleep. We found this unacceptable and a deal breaker for future consideration of the EPIC as a family vacation.

2. Main dining room food is inedible. Service beyond poor (we were not offered ANYTHING to drink), waiter forgot about us mid-dinner. Bread was cold, soup had no taste other than salt, and sirloin was hard to chew to the point where husband had to either spit it out or choke. We had two sets of cutlery instead of 3, so husband had to wait a while to start eating and by then his food was cold. Waiter seemed overwhelmed. Really unpleasant experience. Make sure to have specialty restaurant reservations in advance if you expect a decent dinner with respectable level of service.

3. Other than the night shows, the entertainment offer was poor for the family oriented. My son was bored by the Splash Academy and mostly declined to go, so we ended up spending all of our time together. Unfortunately, we found really few options of activities that we could do as a family outside of the pools. A lot of “entertainment space” is given to the spa promotions (“seminars” on acupuncture, foot analysis, wrinkles, etc., that are nothing but a sales pitch). The spider slide and bowling alley were open at 4 PM, which is really late.

4. We witnessed one disgruntled employee openly ranting to another employee in the buffet. The poor receptor was trying quite unsuccessfully to redirect this person to another area, but she was not having it. Really bad impression on boarding day. Fortunately, an exception as we never saw anything like this again.

Overall, the Epic is a fantastic ship, but not for us. Just not enough family or kid oriented spaces and activities. Couples, young adults and families with teens will definitely enjoy the clubs and adult areas.
bluecat1968’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M3 9262
Nice cabin, beautifully decorated, although small. Close to elevators and stairs. Aft location on top of Manhattan Room and Moderno. Quite a hike from the buffet and EpicTheater.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins