Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by CruisenOso
- Sail Date: May 2017
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Owner's Suite
We initially were in a mini suite with balcony, but about 45 days before departure, received an email to bid for an upgrade. As this was a big birthday, we decided to bid and bid on 3 rooms, aft penthouse suite, deluxe owner's suite and spa suite. While I won't tell you the amount of the bids, we bid in the lower part of the suggested bid pricing. To our amazement, we got the owner's suite! The final cost was approximately twice what our original cabin cost was.
As I am a total nerd, I read this forum and others to find out about Norwegian as well as the ship. I admit at first I was a bit concerned because of quite a bit of negative reviews and feedback about this ship, food, staffing, etc. I will tell you about our experience from the moment we arrived at the docks in Barcelona:
Firstly, since we were in the Haven, we went through security along with all of the passengers, but it was quick and did not take much time. We arrived at about 11:45am so there were quite a lot of people embarking. Once we were through security, we presented our confirmation slips and were escorted right to the Haven check-in.
I should go back a few days; we were called by the concierge desk at Norwegian as we were headed to the airport. We spoke with a lovely agent who asked us what type of pillows we would like (firm, soft, temp control, down, etc), then asked what type of liquor we would like (we got 3 complimentary bottles of our choosing), as well as what type of snacks we would like when we arrived. Such a pleasant surprise.
Once we were checked in (there was no one in front of us), we were escorted to a holding room for less than 5 minutes before we were taken aboard the ship. We were taken to a priority elevator and went right up to the 16th floor. We went into the Epic Lounge for a few moments before then getting a tour of the Haven and all of the amenities, private pool & decks, bars, restaurant, gym, etc. We then had lunch in the Epic Dining Room. We simply presented our room keys and everything was taken care of. Our first meat was quite impressive, as was the service and the room was very elegant.
After lunch we were taken to our stateroom. What an impresson! We were in 17004 and it was literally at the top front of the ship with a double balcony on the side. I am uploading photos and will provide a link once done. We met our butler, Maria and cabin steward, Michael and both were pleasant and gracious.
As this was our first cruise, I can say we set the bar very high! We had more storage than even we could use (and we packed heavy because we believe in dressing appropriately for dinners out and evening wear).
Since there were hardly anyone else on the ship at this point, we explored it with hardly seeing anyone. There are other forums here to see about the shops, pool, etc, so I won't go into much detail.
As far as food, we ate most of our meals in the Epic Dining Room. The service and food quality was absolutely top notch and we found it to be the best on the ship. We did eat at Cagney's Steakhouse and had a very good meat there. We also ate at the French bistro and it was just ok. We ate at the Teppenyaki room once also and again, just ok.
We found the boat was crowded outside of the Haven, but not too crushing. We did not eat at any buffets (just not our thing), but heard some stories that would not encourage us to try them. We did have a group dinner in the Manhattan Room one night and it was not nearly as good as the Haven, both from a food quality as well as service perspective.
We had fun in the Casino and won a slot tourney!
We went to Burn the Floor and it was outstanding! Honestly, with the shore excursions and fun we met with new friends we did not have enough time to do everything that was offered! Our concierge had no problem getting us seats in any restaurant or show that we wanted to go to. We also did take advantage of priority embark/disembark on and off the ship. Big plus! Also found that our key card could call an elevator and give us priority to our floor (we opted to wait with others using the elevator as we found once we used our card, the other floors were removed) kinda cool though in a rockstar kinda way.
The Haven bartenders on the top deck, Andy & Nelson were awesome! Knew our names day one (as did almost all of the staff) and remembered our drink preferences as soon as we arrived and kept the glasses full the entire time. Also passed out fresh fruit skewers and would spray us with water while laying on the sunbeds. Sweet! The Haven never felt crowded or full at all and contrary to other reviews, children were not a problem and for the most part well behaved the entire time.
We had breakfast in our cabin on days with shore excursions (we did these privately, not through the ship) and ordered from the Epic dining room menu (except one day) and it was perfect to eat while getting up early and ready to start the day. We did order pizza one night after the club and that was yummy too.
Our butler,Maria was awesome! On the first day she asked us our preferences for mid day and evening appetizers and we requested:
fresh brewed iced tea with lemon
cheese and sausage
from that day on, we had these (and usually 2-3 other things) waiting for us when we came back to the room.
We also had guests over to our room a few nights and Maria brought us additional passed snacks, additional ice, glassware and whatever else we needed. This has compared with some of the best hotels we have stayed in from a service perspective. Also, the room was cleaned spotless twice a day.
We tipped Maria, Michael and Andy and Nelson on day one ($40 and $20 each), then another $80 for Maria and Michael and $20 each for Andy and Nelson on the last day. Also $60 for the concierge. The service was flawless.
We had a great time overall and the Epic was truly Epic in many ways. Our Haven experience made all the difference and we have already booked a trip on the new Bliss for next year and will only travel Haven from now on. We work hard in our careers and have no problem paying a bit extra for the enhanced service and food.
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