We were originally booked to go on the Oasis of the Seas the same week, but a crane colliding with the ship ended that and we were desperate to get away so we broke ranks from our friends who were doing an itinerary we've been on a few times already and decided to book the Epic because of the the stops in Tortola and Great Stirrup Cay. Two places we had never been. The other stop was St. Thomas. We were excited to get down to Orlando and get out to sea as it had been a long winter and both of our jobs were ramping up for a busy summer season. What a surprise we were in for. Below is my review that I sent on my survey.
I'm not a cruise newbie by any means. This was my 7th cruise. It was our first time on Norwegian. To be honest something just seemed off from the get go. The Norwegian staff at embarkation in Port Canaveral was rude. The man telling us what counter to go to, actually rolled his eyes at my husband because we stepped too close to spot 23 rather than 22. Everyone was jammed in and there was no where we could go, so we fanned out as the clerk finished with the group in front of us. This man rolled his eyes in disgust and looked at me and said, i told you to go to 22. He was an unpleasant piece of work. ! Next, we walk down to find a place to sit at the port before they started boarding and there were so many seats reserved for "priority" guests, that there was no room for those of us low lifers that were not priority. The woman who wouldn't let us sit in the priority section was completely ignorant and rude.
We've never experienced such a ridiculous boarding of a ship. The staterooms were not ready, everyone was crammed into the Garden Cafe like cattle, with again no where to sit and we were stuck with our carry on bags. The whole process was poorly executed and indicative of what was to be an ongoing theme the entire week. We nicknamed this experience the Epic Failure. Once we got to the rooms, we found the layout utterly disgusting. This is our fault for not researching, but who wants a bathroom area split from the shower and separated by a curtain from the sleeping area? Disgusting. I thought Norwegian was upper crust of the cruise industry. Once I saw this, I doubted that and was only provided more proof as the week went on.
NCL advertises the free style cruising, but dining areas are always packed and crowded and you wait forever! The way you have to reserve seats for shows and plan reservations just to see them is ridiculous. We were told by hosts at the restaurant doors that we had to have reservations, but you couldn't make reservations online. I called the dining number to make a reservation and was told I couldn't make a reservation.
Our other issue was the constant up charge for everything. You want to see a cool show, up charge. You want to use the hotubs in the spa, up charge. You want to set foot in the ice bar, up charge. You want a full face mask for your snorkeling expedition, up charge! I mean seriously, it became our running joke. There were not many fun free activities. Not everyone wants to get drunk.
The open air spaces were totally lacking. Come on, you have 4000 people on the ship and you cram them all onto one upper sun deck and one pool deck? There were hardly ANY open chairs in any of the open areas. We spent half our time holed up in a small area near the humidor lounge just to find seating and to stay out of our room. The whole atrium is stuffy and crowded. We tried to make reservations for the Escape the big top game and couldn't get in, we tried to see the musicals and could only get late late times and frankly the whole entertainment crew just seemed off and tired. Speaking of crew and staff, I was rudely and literally yelled at by some bus person on the Garden Cafe straight out over the bridge who told me I should go down stairs to the Italian restaurant instead of waiting for an open table. He then took his time to clear the 20 dirty tables that were in the area. I wasn't leaving that deck and losing touch with my husband, sorry. The only positive encounters I had on the ship with the crew were the interactions we had with Borgy our room steward (who by the way is the sole reason I do not give this sailing an absolute fail rating) and the young lady who greeted everyone in the cafe (washy washy, yummy yummy, coffee coffee) and a lovely woman who took some time to talk with us each morning and literally brought us juice to our table. The rest of the crew just seemed surly and angry at the world. We just didn't have that feeling of being welcome that we have on other cruise lines.
Now, let's talk about the worst of it. Debarkation day. What an ABSOLUTE disaster!!! We literally spent 2 hours in a stairwell trying to get off the ship with all of our luggage. We were on Deck 11 trying to make it to Deck 6 and could not get an elevator so we decided to hoof it down the stairs. No big deal, until we were stuck at Deck 9 and could not get down any further. People were fighting. Babies were screaming. All we wanted to do was get off that god awful ship. Then when we finally go to the right deck, someone told us we had to go down to deck 5. We then had to march the entire length of the ship in some mouse trap maze and back to where we just came down from, go through security and then deal with more security in the port. The entire process to get off your ship was over 4 hours! There is something really wrong there! What if you had had an emergency at sea?? I would be scared for my life. You can’t handle embarkation or debarkation, how would that crew handle a disaster? With all this in mind, I am not saying we would never sail with NCL again, but it would have to be one absolute hell of a deal and never ever, ever again on the Epic. That ship ought to be sent that ship to the boneyard.
I put this on us for not researching, but these cabins are LOUSY. I put bids in for upgrades and none of my bids were enough so we stuck with the interior room. Let me tell you, I was already pissed off that embarkation was so ridiculous but to walk in blindly not knowing that the cabins had closets on each side for a toilet and shower about put me over the edge. The rooms are also very very small. The bathroom sink is in your room at the vanity. I just found that completely gross. The only separation you have from where you do your business and where you sleep in a curtain to pull. How often do they take those curtains down and wash them? I'm still grossed out.
Worst port we've ever sailed out of. They need to go to Tampa or San Juan and see how it is done.
If you don't book an excursion, not much to do here. It is very lovely and the port area is pretty, but otherwise, not much to do.
I had fun on this. The boat was great. The crew was great. The beach they took us to sucked. Plus it was overly crowded. They went across and picked up people from the symphony of the seas as well and by that point the boat was overly crowded and just not as fun. The band was cool and they meant well, but it was really really loud. Much respect for the crew though, we really liked them and they seemed pretty authentic.View All 68 Kon Tiki Boat Reviews
$30 a person to rent crappy snorkel equipment is a rip off. If you wanted a full face mask...up charge. The reef is beautiful, the sunken garden was fun, lots of fish, but way over priced.View All 98 Snorkeling Reviews