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The service onboard the ship was absolutely horrible. Waiting 20 minutes in line at bars, having to search for my server in restaurants, and recurrent hour long waits for a table. The Waves pool bar was ridiculous, terribly understaffed and the drinks were so obviously watered down. The servers working around the pool deck were also understaffed and this created a point of frustration throughout the entire cruise. The Waves pool bar was not the only bar that was understaffed, every bar that I approached resulted in a 10-20 minute wait just to be acknowledged. The only exception was at O'Sheehans Irish Pub which was the only place where we consistently received excellent service and timely attention at the bar. The Manhattan Room and Taste had great food, which was overshadowed by the terrible table service. Waiting 20 minutes for a refill on a glass of wine, or for a condiment for one of my kid’s meals is unacceptable. Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant was a headache to get into, the phone just rings when you call for a reservation, so you must go wait in an absurd line when they open at 5:30pm in the smoky casino to put your name on a list and then wait an hour to be seated. The first time we attempted to eat at Shanghai's we waited for more than 30 minutes in the smoky casino just to get to the hostess stand and be told that their tables cannot be formatted to accommodate a party of 8 so we would have to split our group among multiple tables and the wait for that was still over an hour. Also very disappointed when we took our kids up to the pool deck and found out that the kids Splash and Play Zone, and SplashGolf were closed due to environmental improvements being made to the ship. The kids Splash and Play Zone was reduced to a small kiddie pool and a splash pad that had no running water. The waterslides were also terribly understaffed, often only one of the three slides would be open creating long lines. The tube waterslide required waiting in two long lines, first to retrieve one of the roughly 2 dozen tubes available then a second line for the actual waterslide. The ship needs more tubes for that waterslide, it is really a ridiculous problem that is so easily corrected. The images on Norwegian’s website for the Guppies program should be removed because they are false advertising, the Guppies space was an empty windowless square room with a bedsheet hanging on the wall that had been painted with the word “Guppies”. There was a curtain that divided the room and behind that curtain were some toys that looked like they were acquired from a yard sale the day before we left port. After the disappointment of the kids Splash and Play Zone, and SplashGolf being largely closed off, walking into the Guppies program room was so deflating. Access to lounge chairs on the pool deck was also very frustrating. My kids are young, so we were awake before the sun came up every morning. For the 2 days at sea we were dressed, fed, and on-deck at the pool by 8am, only to find that people had “reserved” most of the lounge chairs by throwing a towel on them long before 8am. I even overheard another passenger bragging about how he had gotten up at 5:30am to “reserve” his loungers then went back to bed until 10am. The first day at sea this was an annoyance, and it took some looking and moving solo chairs around to put just 4 chairs together (nowhere near the kiddie pool area) and the adults rotated through supervising the one child in the kiddie pool, waiting in line with the other child for the waterslides, and waiting in the horrible line at Waves pool bar. But when lunchtime rolled around and I was seeing a lot of lounge chairs that still had not been occupied, it was more than annoying and I asked a server about the “reservation” practice. I was advised that passengers are not permitted to “reserve” lounge chairs, and that they leave their belongings at their own risk. So, when our second day at sea rolled around I didn’t feel the least bit guilty at 8am when I removed, folded and stacked 3 beach towels (each one stretched across 2 lounge chairs) next to the garbage cans. We were in those chairs next to the kiddie pool all day (8am-4pm), we even ate lunch in those chairs, and no one ever showed up looking for those towels. This was my first time on a Norwegian cruise, all prior cruises have been with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. It is highly unlikely that I will ever cruise with Norwegian again after this horrible experience.

Holiday Cruise with Terrible Service & Kids Area Closed

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by SmithLJ

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
The service onboard the ship was absolutely horrible. Waiting 20 minutes in line at bars, having to search for my server in restaurants, and recurrent hour long waits for a table. The Waves pool bar was ridiculous, terribly understaffed and the drinks were so obviously watered down. The servers working around the pool deck were also understaffed and this created a point of frustration throughout the entire cruise. The Waves pool bar was not the only bar that was understaffed, every bar that I approached resulted in a 10-20 minute wait just to be acknowledged. The only exception was at O'Sheehans Irish Pub which was the only place where we consistently received excellent service and timely attention at the bar. The Manhattan Room and Taste had great food, which was overshadowed by the terrible table service. Waiting 20 minutes for a refill on a glass of wine, or for a condiment for one of my kid’s meals is unacceptable.

Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant was a headache to get into, the phone just rings when you call for a reservation, so you must go wait in an absurd line when they open at 5:30pm in the smoky casino to put your name on a list and then wait an hour to be seated. The first time we attempted to eat at Shanghai's we waited for more than 30 minutes in the smoky casino just to get to the hostess stand and be told that their tables cannot be formatted to accommodate a party of 8 so we would have to split our group among multiple tables and the wait for that was still over an hour.

Also very disappointed when we took our kids up to the pool deck and found out that the kids Splash and Play Zone, and SplashGolf were closed due to environmental improvements being made to the ship. The kids Splash and Play Zone was reduced to a small kiddie pool and a splash pad that had no running water. The waterslides were also terribly understaffed, often only one of the three slides would be open creating long lines. The tube waterslide required waiting in two long lines, first to retrieve one of the roughly 2 dozen tubes available then a second line for the actual waterslide. The ship needs more tubes for that waterslide, it is really a ridiculous problem that is so easily corrected.

The images on Norwegian’s website for the Guppies program should be removed because they are false advertising, the Guppies space was an empty windowless square room with a bedsheet hanging on the wall that had been painted with the word “Guppies”. There was a curtain that divided the room and behind that curtain were some toys that looked like they were acquired from a yard sale the day before we left port. After the disappointment of the kids Splash and Play Zone, and SplashGolf being largely closed off, walking into the Guppies program room was so deflating.

Access to lounge chairs on the pool deck was also very frustrating. My kids are young, so we were awake before the sun came up every morning. For the 2 days at sea we were dressed, fed, and on-deck at the pool by 8am, only to find that people had “reserved” most of the lounge chairs by throwing a towel on them long before 8am. I even overheard another passenger bragging about how he had gotten up at 5:30am to “reserve” his loungers then went back to bed until 10am. The first day at sea this was an annoyance, and it took some looking and moving solo chairs around to put just 4 chairs together (nowhere near the kiddie pool area) and the adults rotated through supervising the one child in the kiddie pool, waiting in line with the other child for the waterslides, and waiting in the horrible line at Waves pool bar. But when lunchtime rolled around and I was seeing a lot of lounge chairs that still had not been occupied, it was more than annoying and I asked a server about the “reservation” practice. I was advised that passengers are not permitted to “reserve” lounge chairs, and that they leave their belongings at their own risk. So, when our second day at sea rolled around I didn’t feel the least bit guilty at 8am when I removed, folded and stacked 3 beach towels (each one stretched across 2 lounge chairs) next to the garbage cans. We were in those chairs next to the kiddie pool all day (8am-4pm), we even ate lunch in those chairs, and no one ever showed up looking for those towels.

This was my first time on a Norwegian cruise, all prior cruises have been with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. It is highly unlikely that I will ever cruise with Norwegian again after this horrible experience.
SmithLJ’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Ages Under 3
Ages 3 to 6
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Cabin Review

Family Balcony
Cabin B2 14097
Cabin was fine, and cabin steward was amazing. one of the overhead cabinet doors we broken and would not close fully, but otherwise the cabin was just as advertised.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews