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In 2013, we sailed the Epic and had a wonderful time. Our only “complaint” was the ship was too large for our preferences. We chose to sail her again due to the itinerary to a couple of ports we had not visited. Little did we know that this was an entirely different ship in crew, shows and policies. As for “a vacation of a lifetime,” it was an epic failure. Embarkation was a colossal failure, even to the point of causing safety risks. We arrived at Port C just before 11:00AM and didn’t get on the ship until 1:05PM. The problem for us was the lack of information as to the delay, and the lack of restroom facilities (before security). For others who waited 3-4 hours outside, dealing with new arrivals butting into line, arguments, lack of facilities, and no water for taking medications, it was even worse. At our CC Meet and Mingle, we sat through a roughly 30-minute apology/explanation from the Captain that quite frankly, was not plausible. The Captain started the delay was due to there being only 2-US Customs officials on duty, Port stevedores not starting until 8:00AM, with the last passenger not debarking until 11:38AM. All of his points were probably true, but the “blame” rests squarely on the NCL HQ officials that signed a contract with those limited port support services. Shame on you NCL for failing to accept responsibility for the failed Embarkation on Dec 5. Bear with me folks, I will get to the positives, though few and far between. Though we survived the Embarkation delay, we were not expecting the daily delays experienced in the Taste Dining Room. My wife (Pebbles) is a retired waitress of 20+ years, and my degree is in Food Administration (Restaurant Management), so I think that, plus 15 price cruises, qualifies us to make the following observations. We had multiple breakfast, lunch and dinner meals that took from 2-2 1/2 hours to deliver, with some orders not delivered or cold. We don’t blame the serving staff as they were hung out to dry by management. Two staff told us this was their first time as a waiter, and at none of the meals did we see a waiter/assistant waiter combination. Restaurant wait services can best be described as an “intricate dance” between the waiter taking orders and the assistant supporting services at the table. Clearly in the Taste Dining Room, NCL decided to cut back on wait staff and clearly did not train the first timers before throwing them to the wolves. On a good note, if you formally complain to the Maitre de, you’ll get chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine delivered to your cabin as an apology. We now have three bottles of wine to give away as we don’t drink wine, lol. The last negative is essentially a policy change that we found very disturbing. To accommodate 4000+ passengers, unlike in 2013, NCL decided to make most theater shows, specialty restaurants, and tender trips (Grand Caymans) by reservations only. Yes, you can do this from the comfort of your cabin TV, but it also meant lines as cabin pass keys were checked. It may not seem like a lot, but it definitely is not “freestyle” cruising. Also, we did not appreciate the “gay” theme main show “Priscilla...”. I’m sure most folks enjoyed the humor and colorful costumes, but we chose not to watch drag queens prancing on stage. Ok, now for the positives. Our cabin steward, Elbert, was top notch, one of the best. He got us a egg-crate mattress pad to soften our mattress and always kept our cabin spiffy. Cagneys Dining was one of the best meals ever. The 16oz Prime Rib was amazingly excellent. The Bistro was almost as good with excellent wait service. LaCucina was a major disappoint as there were no classic Italian meals on the menu (no lasagne or chicken parm). The Spa services were another positive worth noting. Although a little pricey for a 10-day cruise, the thermal suite was well worth it. Steam rooms and saunas were clean and hot, and the large jacuzzi was never crowded. Lastly, and one of the better positives, were the port disembarkation/embarkation processes that were virtually flawless. In summation, the overall experience was disappointing compared to 2013. As one of the CC members commented at our M&M, if your business model is dependent upon another business (Port C unions), you are doomed to failure. NCL failed and as such, lost our confidence, and our business.

Not the same Epic

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by bambam

Trip Details
In 2013, we sailed the Epic and had a wonderful time. Our only “complaint” was the ship was too large for our preferences. We chose to sail her again due to the itinerary to a couple of ports we had not visited. Little did we know that this was an entirely different ship in crew, shows and policies. As for “a vacation of a lifetime,” it was an epic failure.

Embarkation was a colossal failure, even to the point of causing safety risks. We arrived at Port C just before 11:00AM and didn’t get on the ship until 1:05PM. The problem for us was the lack of information as to the delay, and the lack of restroom facilities (before security). For others who waited 3-4 hours outside, dealing with new arrivals butting into line, arguments, lack of facilities, and no water for taking medications, it was even worse. At our CC Meet and Mingle, we sat through a roughly 30-minute apology/explanation from the Captain that quite frankly, was not plausible. The Captain started the delay was due to there being only 2-US Customs officials on duty, Port stevedores not starting until 8:00AM, with the last passenger not debarking until 11:38AM. All of his points were probably true, but the “blame” rests squarely on the NCL HQ officials that signed a contract with those limited port support services. Shame on you NCL for failing to accept responsibility for the failed Embarkation on Dec 5.

Bear with me folks, I will get to the positives, though few and far between.

Though we survived the Embarkation delay, we were not expecting the daily delays experienced in the Taste Dining Room. My wife (Pebbles) is a retired waitress of 20+ years, and my degree is in Food Administration (Restaurant Management), so I think that, plus 15 price cruises, qualifies us to make the following observations. We had multiple breakfast, lunch and dinner meals that took from 2-2 1/2 hours to deliver, with some orders not delivered or cold. We don’t blame the serving staff as they were hung out to dry by management. Two staff told us this was their first time as a waiter, and at none of the meals did we see a waiter/assistant waiter combination. Restaurant wait services can best be described as an “intricate dance” between the waiter taking orders and the assistant supporting services at the table. Clearly in the Taste Dining Room, NCL decided to cut back on wait staff and clearly did not train the first timers before throwing them to the wolves. On a good note, if you formally complain to the Maitre de, you’ll get chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine delivered to your cabin as an apology. We now have three bottles of wine to give away as we don’t drink wine, lol.

The last negative is essentially a policy change that we found very disturbing. To accommodate 4000+ passengers, unlike in 2013, NCL decided to make most theater shows, specialty restaurants, and tender trips (Grand Caymans) by reservations only. Yes, you can do this from the comfort of your cabin TV, but it also meant lines as cabin pass keys were checked. It may not seem like a lot, but it definitely is not “freestyle” cruising. Also, we did not appreciate the “gay” theme main show “Priscilla...”. I’m sure most folks enjoyed the humor and colorful costumes, but we chose not to watch drag queens prancing on stage.

Ok, now for the positives. Our cabin steward, Elbert, was top notch, one of the best. He got us a egg-crate mattress pad to soften our mattress and always kept our cabin spiffy. Cagneys Dining was one of the best meals ever. The 16oz Prime Rib was amazingly excellent. The Bistro was almost as good with excellent wait service. LaCucina was a major disappoint as there were no classic Italian meals on the menu (no lasagne or chicken parm).

The Spa services were another positive worth noting. Although a little pricey for a 10-day cruise, the thermal suite was well worth it. Steam rooms and saunas were clean and hot, and the large jacuzzi was never crowded.

Lastly, and one of the better positives, were the port disembarkation/embarkation processes that were virtually flawless.

In summation, the overall experience was disappointing compared to 2013. As one of the CC members commented at our M&M, if your business model is dependent upon another business (Port C unions), you are doomed to failure. NCL failed and as such, lost our confidence, and our business.
bambam’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

Family Balcony
Cabin B4 13150
Typical Epic “wavy” cabin with little room for two adults to maneuver. Plenty of storage, especially behind the couch cushions. Only two outlets for charging stuff, so bring a power strip. This was a corner balcony, so it had almost double the space of regular balconies. There was an overhang that prevented sunbathing most days. We were happy with the cabin and our room steward.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews