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We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought it was a good opportunity to try a mega ship. We had just come off a cruise with 900 people and hence felt the bigger crowds immediately. Embarkation, the crowds and queues were huge and it felt like mayhem but soon lines got organised. For the first time ever we needed printed ESTAs which was a pain but they had computers with printers. Finally onboard we went to the restaurant for lunch and it was obvious from the start that the crew were not as experienced and trained as on other ncl ships. Our first course (shrimp arugula salad) came without shrimp and arugula. These sorts of errors became common place at almost every meal. One lunchtime we were the first in the restaurant but had not seen a server after 20 minutes and had to get the maître d to move us as it appeared nobody knew who was looking after that area, basic things. Queues for the restaurants at night were huge and wait times were at least 30 minutes but then the buzzers never functioned so you usually waited longer unnecessarily. Unfortunately small problems continued all cruise, our account was wrong every single day of the cruise and guest relations seemed to be trained to either deny there was a mistake or accuse the customer of making the error. Eventually a meeting with the hotel director where he admitted to the ongoing problems they were having with the restaurants and dealing with port taxes at least acknowledged some of the poor training and supervision and led to some of the problems being rectified. We were given a meal in the Epic club in the Haven as an apology, interestingly while the food was amazing the service problems continued there. As platinum members our meals in French Bistro and La Cucina we were treated as second class citizens, with countless comments about our meal being a “voucher meal” and constantly being told we were limited to certain courses taking the shine from what should be superior dining experiences. The food in the Bistro was very mixed (mains excellent, starters average and dessert poor). La Cucina was disappointing after loving it on our last 2 Jade cruises, the pizza was no better than that in the buffet. Pasta dishes were good. We liked the atmosphere of the Manhattan dining room, tables were well spaced and there was often music. Unfortunately the supervisors never picked up on small things like missing cutlery, broken table lamps, missing condiments. Several fellow guests made similar references to the lack of management and supervision on the ship and in the restaurants in particular and it lead to a feeling of slackness and lack of care by the management. The telephone messaging system broke down, the one night we wanted to watch a movie in our room the channel broke down, the outdoor movie screen was a good concept except they refused to put chairs out for it. The indoor movie was about people using sign language except they put Spanish subtitles up. Osheehans regularly opened half an hour late for lunch. Originally we just laughed off these mistakes as the cruise was so cheap but after a week it starts to grind you down and just takes away from the fun you are generally having. On all our other cruises we have written at least a dozen hero cards for our favourite staff on this cruise we only wrote 2. As with many others we didn’t really like the ship itself, the main problem was it was difficult to see the ocean which is what we love about sea days. There is no real promenade, the small area there is has life boats blocking the view, exhaust fans blowing out kitchen fumes, and smokers. There are very few windows. Upstairs you have to get one of the few deck chairs on the upper level to see the sea. There is no forward facing bar and the screen in the h2o bar at the rear of the ship blocks most of the view. Public venues are too small, the theatre only holds 700, the restaurants less than 500, most of the bars only cater to about 50 ... on a ship that was full with 4,500 guests! The worst aspect is you smell smoke everywhere, the casino is mid ship and open so smoke fills surrounding bars and restaurants, disgusting. No mid ship staircase or lifts. We only use stair cases and thankfully most didn’t so they were easy to manoeuvre about. Entertainment is excellent but because the venues are so small the same acts are repeated over and over to allow for people to see the shows but if you went to more than one show (eg the afternoon matinee and then maybe a comedy show later that night) for the first few days you were out of options after a week. As usual the activities were plentiful, we liked the water slides as well, the pools were all heated despite us being in the Caribbean???? Gym was a good size but very busy especially as so much of the entertainment staff using it. Only one walking track for 4000 people and the staff use it to get to their smoking spot. We were given 3 loads of laundry which was s nice surprise. We had an inside cabin which had a comfortable bed and plenty of storage but we didn’t like the unusual bathroom design which is hardly romantic or practical. The sink is a joke. Our cabin steward was excellent. There were only 3 ports and of course NCL made this as difficult as possible as per usual (they are the worst line for port experiences). Took more than an hour to get back on the ship in Funchal with everyone forced to stand in the rain. St Maarten was cancelled due to weathe (fair enough) and we changed to Antigua, they did a good job of accomodating this change on short notice, St Thomas I can’t comment on as we had to do US immigration on the shortest port day and were in the last group so had less than 3 hours ashore. We of course still enjoyed ourselves as the weather was good and we met some great people. This was the first time we have not bought future cruise deposits as it was just a little too underwhelming and we are trying MSC to compare.

Epicly Average - slack onboard management

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by teamflames

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2018
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought it was a good opportunity to try a mega ship. We had just come off a cruise with 900 people and hence felt the bigger crowds immediately.

Embarkation, the crowds and queues were huge and it felt like mayhem but soon lines got organised. For the first time ever we needed printed ESTAs which was a pain but they had computers with printers. Finally onboard we went to the restaurant for lunch and it was obvious from the start that the crew were not as experienced and trained as on other ncl ships. Our first course (shrimp arugula salad) came without shrimp and arugula. These sorts of errors became common place at almost every meal. One lunchtime we were the first in the restaurant but had not seen a server after 20 minutes and had to get the maître d to move us as it appeared nobody knew who was looking after that area, basic things. Queues for the restaurants at night were huge and wait times were at least 30 minutes but then the buzzers never functioned so you usually waited longer unnecessarily.

Unfortunately small problems continued all cruise, our account was wrong every single day of the cruise and guest relations seemed to be trained to either deny there was a mistake or accuse the customer of making the error. Eventually a meeting with the hotel director where he admitted to the ongoing problems they were having with the restaurants and dealing with port taxes at least acknowledged some of the poor training and supervision and led to some of the problems being rectified. We were given a meal in the Epic club in the Haven as an apology, interestingly while the food was amazing the service problems continued there.

As platinum members our meals in French Bistro and La Cucina we were treated as second class citizens, with countless comments about our meal being a “voucher meal” and constantly being told we were limited to certain courses taking the shine from what should be superior dining experiences. The food in the Bistro was very mixed (mains excellent, starters average and dessert poor). La Cucina was disappointing after loving it on our last 2 Jade cruises, the pizza was no better than that in the buffet. Pasta dishes were good.

We liked the atmosphere of the Manhattan dining room, tables were well spaced and there was often music. Unfortunately the supervisors never picked up on small things like missing cutlery, broken table lamps, missing condiments. Several fellow guests made similar references to the lack of management and supervision on the ship and in the restaurants in particular and it lead to a feeling of slackness and lack of care by the management.

The telephone messaging system broke down, the one night we wanted to watch a movie in our room the channel broke down, the outdoor movie screen was a good concept except they refused to put chairs out for it. The indoor movie was about people using sign language except they put Spanish subtitles up. Osheehans regularly opened half an hour late for lunch.

Originally we just laughed off these mistakes as the cruise was so cheap but after a week it starts to grind you down and just takes away from the fun you are generally having.

On all our other cruises we have written at least a dozen hero cards for our favourite staff on this cruise we only wrote 2.

As with many others we didn’t really like the ship itself, the main problem was it was difficult to see the ocean which is what we love about sea days. There is no real promenade, the small area there is has life boats blocking the view, exhaust fans blowing out kitchen fumes, and smokers. There are very few windows. Upstairs you have to get one of the few deck chairs on the upper level to see the sea. There is no forward facing bar and the screen in the h2o bar at the rear of the ship blocks most of the view. Public venues are too small, the theatre only holds 700, the restaurants less than 500, most of the bars only cater to about 50 ... on a ship that was full with 4,500 guests! The worst aspect is you smell smoke everywhere, the casino is mid ship and open so smoke fills surrounding bars and restaurants, disgusting. No mid ship staircase or lifts. We only use stair cases and thankfully most didn’t so they were easy to manoeuvre about.

Entertainment is excellent but because the venues are so small the same acts are repeated over and over to allow for people to see the shows but if you went to more than one show (eg the afternoon matinee and then maybe a comedy show later that night) for the first few days you were out of options after a week.

As usual the activities were plentiful, we liked the water slides as well, the pools were all heated despite us being in the Caribbean????

Gym was a good size but very busy especially as so much of the entertainment staff using it. Only one walking track for 4000 people and the staff use it to get to their smoking spot.

We were given 3 loads of laundry which was s nice surprise.

We had an inside cabin which had a comfortable bed and plenty of storage but we didn’t like the unusual bathroom design which is hardly romantic or practical. The sink is a joke. Our cabin steward was excellent.

There were only 3 ports and of course NCL made this as difficult as possible as per usual (they are the worst line for port experiences). Took more than an hour to get back on the ship in Funchal with everyone forced to stand in the rain. St Maarten was cancelled due to weathe (fair enough) and we changed to Antigua, they did a good job of accomodating this change on short notice, St Thomas I can’t comment on as we had to do US immigration on the shortest port day and were in the last group so had less than 3 hours ashore.

We of course still enjoyed ourselves as the weather was good and we met some great people. This was the first time we have not bought future cruise deposits as it was just a little too underwhelming and we are trying MSC to compare.
teamflames’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IC 9131
Small cabin, no USB chargers. Good storage, nice shower and bed. Open bathroom concept terrible, no privacy and disturb your partner in the middle of the night. Poor tv choices but at least can check your account. Great steward.
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