Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by morganrg
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Inside
The most notable problem is the general lack of supervision by the management team. This has allowed a number of problems to fester. Taken in their totality, these minor problems add up to a poorly run cruise ship. Examples of these minor problems are discussed below.
When we got into our cabin, there was something obviously wrong with the beds. The mattress pads are designed to be zippered onto the mattresses. Ours were not attached to the mattresses because they were mis-shapen (shrinkage from washing?) and would not fit. Instead, the mattress pads were turned upside down and more or less centered on the mattresses before the sheets were added on top. Not only could you feel the unevenness of the pad underneath the sheet, but they moved and bunched up during the night if you moved in the bed. After going to guest services and explaining the problem, a housekeeping supervisor checked the situation and new pads were properly placed on the bed and zippered into place. The cabin steward knew the pads were not placed on the bed properly and would not fit. But obviously this is a condition that is lived with by the crew. It is a problem that is so frequent it has become “normal” to just make do and hope the guest doesn’t complain.
Another example or poor supervision is the cleanliness of the public areas around the deck. At certain times throughout the day crew members would go around to pick up the numerous glasses, cans, plates, and towels left behind on or near the deck lounge chairs. In between these “assigned” times, crew members would walk by and not bother to pick up the mess. This has lots of ramifications. One being that clean towels are not always available because they are not washed throughout the day, only when they are gathered up. Another is that that you do not know if a chair or lounger is being saved or not because used towels are on the chairs. Finally, how relaxing is it to look at a mess (plates, glasses, and cans on the deck) when you are trying to catch a few relaxing moments? The crew needs to be in a constant cleanup/pickup mode of operation. Officers walking around and observing the mess should ensure resources are made available. But more importantly, a crew mind set needs to be established so they do not have to be directed to do the correct thing. Once again, inadequate management oversight and training of the crew is the problem.
While watching an evening movie in the Spice H2O area I needed a cold Miller Lite. I walked up to the area bar where several guests were already waiting for service. The bar maid was cleaning the bar by moving all the liquor bottles and bar supplies to wipe everything down. She did not pause to see if she could get a beer out of the cooler or even smile and tell us she would be right with us. Another couple walked up an asked if they could have a couple wine glasses for their bottle of wine they were holding. The bar maid did not respond or even look at them. She just continued cleaning the bar. By this time there were 6-7 people just standing there waiting for some service. The bar maid obviously forgot or did not know why she was there. It wasn’t to clean and set up the bar, it was to make the customers happy. No officer or management was around, just this one person ignoring the guests. Having another bar tender present would allow both things to proceed uninterrupted. But again, the crew member thinks this is just normal operations. When she is ready, she will attend to the guests. Period.
On 3 different occasions, the ice machines in the Garden Café buffet area were either not working or empty of ice (1 out of 4 may have been working). I even mentioned this to crew members placing glasses in the drink area. Nothing was done. Usually the same area had drink dispensers that were out of drink mix and only water came out of the dispensers. This inattention to detail is again the result of low expectations from the management team.
Finally, the ultimate example that Epic’s management team has no clue on how to run a cruise ship. Disembarkation for self-assisted guests was a fiasco. We stood along with hundreds of other guests in the stairwells waiting to get off the ship for over an hour. No officers or management was anywhere to be seen. Not only was it just a disembarkation left to happen on its own, it was a serious safety issue if medical help or an emergency occurred and people had to get around the ship. The stairwells were totally blocked by people wanting to get off the ship. The only announcements came from the Cruise Director who read from a script saying what color luggage tags could now leave the ship. It was a total farce. Could this be the first time this ship ever had guests disembark?
This next concern may or may not be related to the management team. I have not decided the cause, but the food onboard this vessel was at best, mediocre. The Chinese restaurant was anything but Chinese food. It was bland and tasteless. The food in the buffet was always the same and also uninspired. We did have 3 good meals. The Japanese steak house (Teppenyaki), the French restaurant (Le Bistro), and the meal served before the Cirque de Dreams show in the “tent” were very good.
I looked at the history of the Norwegian Epic when I got back home. It has had more than its share of serious mechanical problems and other issues like hitting a mooring while docking, guests and crew members falling overboard or dying onboard. Norwegian needs to change out the entire officer staff of this ship in order to turn its dark past around and make it worth the money. It will take drastic measures to fix this ship. I may continue to cruise with NCL on other ships, but only if the problems I encountered on the Epic haven’t spread to the other NCL ships. Attention to detail is a mind set. If the crew and officers don’t have it, it is not being demanded at the highest levels of the Company.
In my opinion there is a model of success in the cruise industry. The Carnival cruise line has over the last 10 years or so created a cruise line that far exceeds expectations. The food is some of the best I have experienced onboard a cruise ship. The crew is always smiling and ready to do what it takes to make the cruise a success. Norwegian can learn a lot from Carnival.
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