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Back in 2013, my wife and I took a 7-day Mediterranean cruise. We had been on several other cruises with different cruise lines, but no real loyalty to any of them. After the trip, this was the ship and experience that sold us on the Norwegian experience. Since 2013, my wife and I generally took 1-2 cruises a year with Norwegian. Fast forward to this year and we saw the Epic was going to Port Canaveral, which was exciting. We were going to take the Epic cruise over Thanksgiving with friends and family. It should have been a sign of the ‘unique experience’ we were in for with the embarkation process. While I cannot completely fault Norwegian for this, it would appear that a large ship like the Epic was unable to accommodate the number of passengers traveling over Thanksgiving. While we were waiting for the ship to clear out the previous guests, there were so many new guests waiting that people were left standing around or sitting on the floor. This also caused craziness with guests still trying to check in. Once on board, we continued to run into issues. The average meal time took about ~2.5 hours for 6 people. The worst offender was ‘Taste’. There were times that our food would come out room temperature or slightly colder. Eggs Benedict should have poached eggs and not hard boiled eggs. While most staff were helpful, there was a lot of flirting between crew members. Things such as making dinner plans or talking about when to call each other while guests were waiting for service. The shower area in the Spa had black mold growing on it. The spa also had a band-aid that was stuck to the side of a hot tub that managed to stay on the entire trip. This was reported to staff every day along with pictures. Any time these challenges were discussed with officers, they generally brushed it aside and would say that it’s Thanksgiving and we are busy. The staff made us feel like we were in their way and did not want to help. Again, it is not that they wouldn’t help, they would sigh and run tasks lethargically. There were places on the ship where things ran smooth and our time was enjoyable. Shanghai restaurant, La Cucina, The Whiskey Lounge, and the Martini Bar were all fantastic spots to hang out. The level of excitement the staff in these areas exhibit was the exact reason we bought into the Norwegian brand back in 2013. It is unfortunate that their enthusiasm isn’t wide-spread on the ship. Excursions: We got off at every port. Our stops were Great Stirrup Cay, Jamaica, Grand Caymans, and Cozumel. - Great Stirrup Cay: o We just hung out on the beach. Since the beverage package worked here, we found the beach an enjoyable time with our kids. The water temperature was perfect and our kids didn’t want to leave the water. - Jamaica: o We went to the Dunn River Falls hike with our kids. This was a blast. We were climbing up a water fall, which was pretty strong at places. However, the guides for our group were awesome and helped out when necessary. - Grand Caymans: o We did the sunken ship snorkeling. This was an amazing experience. There were barracuda ~20 feet down that were 4-5 feet long. There were several schools of fish swimming around. The water was salty enough that you could float without the need to inflate the snorkeling vest. This made it easier to swim around and dive under the water. - Cozumel: o We just went shopping at the mall outside the port. This was more of a lazy day for us. When we went back to the ship around lunch, the pool deck was mostly empty. We used this time to play on the slides and in the pool with family. As it stands, we will not be traveling on the Epic again with the current staff in charge. I can handle an older ship, but they clearly do not meet typical standards. It was almost like we were on a totally different cruise line. Could it be that they send the good staff and officers to the newer ships? That’s definitely what it feels like.

Unique Norwegian Cruise Experience

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Mkoegel

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2018
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Mini-Suite with Balcony
Back in 2013, my wife and I took a 7-day Mediterranean cruise. We had been on several other cruises with different cruise lines, but no real loyalty to any of them. After the trip, this was the ship and experience that sold us on the Norwegian experience. Since 2013, my wife and I generally took 1-2 cruises a year with Norwegian.

Fast forward to this year and we saw the Epic was going to Port Canaveral, which was exciting. We were going to take the Epic cruise over Thanksgiving with friends and family. It should have been a sign of the ‘unique experience’ we were in for with the embarkation process.

While I cannot completely fault Norwegian for this, it would appear that a large ship like the Epic was unable to accommodate the number of passengers traveling over Thanksgiving. While we were waiting for the ship to clear out the previous guests, there were so many new guests waiting that people were left standing around or sitting on the floor. This also caused craziness with guests still trying to check in.

Once on board, we continued to run into issues. The average meal time took about ~2.5 hours for 6 people. The worst offender was ‘Taste’. There were times that our food would come out room temperature or slightly colder. Eggs Benedict should have poached eggs and not hard boiled eggs.

While most staff were helpful, there was a lot of flirting between crew members. Things such as making dinner plans or talking about when to call each other while guests were waiting for service.

The shower area in the Spa had black mold growing on it. The spa also had a band-aid that was stuck to the side of a hot tub that managed to stay on the entire trip. This was reported to staff every day along with pictures.

Any time these challenges were discussed with officers, they generally brushed it aside and would say that it’s Thanksgiving and we are busy. The staff made us feel like we were in their way and did not want to help. Again, it is not that they wouldn’t help, they would sigh and run tasks lethargically.

There were places on the ship where things ran smooth and our time was enjoyable. Shanghai restaurant, La Cucina, The Whiskey Lounge, and the Martini Bar were all fantastic spots to hang out. The level of excitement the staff in these areas exhibit was the exact reason we bought into the Norwegian brand back in 2013. It is unfortunate that their enthusiasm isn’t wide-spread on the ship.

Excursions:

We got off at every port. Our stops were Great Stirrup Cay, Jamaica, Grand Caymans, and Cozumel.

- Great Stirrup Cay:

o We just hung out on the beach. Since the beverage package worked here, we found the beach an enjoyable time with our kids. The water temperature was perfect and our kids didn’t want to leave the water.

- Jamaica:

o We went to the Dunn River Falls hike with our kids. This was a blast. We were climbing up a water fall, which was pretty strong at places. However, the guides for our group were awesome and helped out when necessary.

- Grand Caymans:

o We did the sunken ship snorkeling. This was an amazing experience. There were barracuda ~20 feet down that were 4-5 feet long. There were several schools of fish swimming around. The water was salty enough that you could float without the need to inflate the snorkeling vest. This made it easier to swim around and dive under the water.

- Cozumel:

o We just went shopping at the mall outside the port. This was more of a lazy day for us. When we went back to the ship around lunch, the pool deck was mostly empty. We used this time to play on the slides and in the pool with family.

As it stands, we will not be traveling on the Epic again with the current staff in charge. I can handle an older ship, but they clearly do not meet typical standards. It was almost like we were on a totally different cruise line. Could it be that they send the good staff and officers to the newer ships? That’s definitely what it feels like.
Mkoegel’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages Under 3
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience

Cabin Review

Family Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M2
The cabin was the perfect size since we only spent enough time in there for sleep. The shower was terrible. It constantly overflowed into the cabin and initially it would only serve scalding hot water. More times than not, we ended up using the ‘Spa Shower’ instead of the cabin shower.

The sink faucet was so loose, it would move all around and from side to side. It simply needed the bolt underneath tightened. I have no idea why the room steward wouldn’t fix this or report it when cleaning the room. It was reported to the steward, but needed to be escalated to the assistant hotel director to get it tightened.

There was moldy looking tiles and the countertops were chipped / cracked.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews