To begin, this is not the first time we have sailed with NCL it is the 7th for me and the 9th for my Wife dating back to 2005. It is the very first negative review I have submitted on NCL.
We have even sailed on the Epic before and enjoyed it very much. But alas, that is old news.
To begin with, the Epic is a Large Ship. Built in 2010 and refurbished in 2015, it is 155,873 tons, 1,081 feet long, and holds 4,100 passengers. To support this ship it claims a crew strength of 1,724. Now, I will not argue with them on their stats but I must wonder where they hide all these crew members because they were not evident throughout our cruise.
The down side began when our first night.
As background, I had put a bottle of cheap Pinot in each one of our bags hoping to game the system. Yes, I know, should not do that. But some of our recent cruises on other lines had allowed a bottle in each suitcase and we just forgot. Well, we got all but one of our bags and two had a note that they had caught us and would be giving them to us if we paid the corkage fee. But they could not find our last bag. They all had tags attached identifying them but they could not find it. We called, were told and they had us go to Guest Services to retrieve it. Not there. They promised to call at 8:30 pm when they would know more. They didn't call. At 10:30 pm, frustrated on not receiving any information, I went back to Guest Services, and after a rather warm discussion, Dario, the agent we spoke with, found our bag in back of the office within 3 minutes.
Now, during this same time, an apparent injury of some sort at the H2O area on Deck 15 had delayed our departure. We did the Life Boat Drill. Still no update on new depature time. We had dinner. Still no update. Finally, at about 8:30 pm we departed the pier without one single update.
The Balcony Cabin we had on Deck 13 was "different." A wave is the best I can say. Toilet in a shower-like enclosure open to the whole room. Same for the shower enclosure - open to the whole room. The sink, outside the usual area and in the middle of the cabin, was tiny. Also, I have no idea what happened to the water pressure but it was almost non-existant.
The crew members taken as a whole were disinterested in us as passengers. Our CAbin Steward was responsive but didn"t wow us as in the past. Wait staff were distant and inattentive. (With the wonderful exception of Shanta Mathieu of the Taste Dining Room - This Lady was wonderful, made my two under 8 years grand children feel as though they were the most important people aboard.) In one dining area I actually had one waiter literally blow our party off with an unacceptable hand sign. I must add that the food was unanimously good - just the service. Even the Garden Cafe was not what it had been just 6 months ago on a different ship.
We did not take advantage of any entertainment or shore excursions.
We did take advantage of the SPLASH program for the children and it was amazing.
I think it may be a long time before we cruise with NCL again and that is sad. If we do we will not go on one of their large ships fro certain.
Strange. Wavy from door to balcony. Bathroom facilities separately placed around the entire cabin. Adequate storage areas but located behind the couch back, above the bed, under the sink, etc. I guess it was sufficient but very different.
Friendly. Enjoyed shopping and sightseeing.