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Our experience with this cruise was so disappointing in every area. If you're cruising, please do yourself a favor and go with ANY other company! Food/Dining:  The food was terrible. Truly. The pizza was like frozen from a grocer’s freezer  section, apple pies were like rubber, and every other dessert I tried had no flavor and came out  of a box.   Our food on Carnival (only other cruise we’ve taken) was AMAZING. We still talk about how  fresh, hot, and plentiful it was, and especially how we never had to wait in line.    Breakfast buffet—10-15 minute lines for everything, even cereal, and that was often half-stocked  so then I’d have to go to another cereal line on the other side of the dining area. Customers were  heard each day remarking that they had never had to wait EVER for food on Norwegian before this particular cruise.    The ship itself was terribly overcrowded and we received very poor dining service in every  venue. We didn’t eat one meal without having to hear a customer complaining about wait time,  tables sitting not bused, lines, or supplies being out—water, ice, silverware, plates, cereal,  etc.—or without experiencing for ourselves some, or all of those problems EVERY MEAL.    There was rarely, if every, any ice ever in any drink, except those with alcohol. We got the  beverage package upgrade and consistently stood in line for at least 15-20 minutes each time  for every single drink. If you got a drink, you then had to wait while the bartender processed  several cards at once and then that drink was melted completely down.  Drinks were over-poured every time to the point that they were hard to swallow because they  were so strong. The flip side of this situation was that many who booked early received the  drink package as an upgrade, but the bartenders couldn’t keep up with the demand. Perhaps  they over-poured to make it worth the wait?? Try to keep some people happy? Once we found  two different mixed drinks on two different days but then were told after one drink that the  machine froze up, they ran out of strawberries, and ran out of limes. Seriously?     We also had the dining upgrade package for 3 specialty meals. However, even with 24 hours ahead of time calling for the steakhouse dinner reservation, there were none one left except one  for 7:30. Thank goodness we jumped at that one, because there were NONE available for the  Japanese restaurant or Cagney’s AT ALL DURING THE LAST THREE DAYS of the cruise.    Even on port days—one in particular when we were docked an additional 5 hours for “routine maintenance,” and most people were on Tortola for even part of the day, there was STILL a 20  minute wait for us to get a table for lunch at O’Sheehan’s...at 3:25! Three tables sat there cluttered and full of dirty dishes that just needed to be cleared. We just kept looking at the host and he looked at us. Then he finally took us to a table. It was dirty and we then had to stand and wait for him to wipe it off with a cloth that only served to make the table sticky and gummy after  he left. While we ate, two different tables of customers complained about poor service and bad food.  Entertainment: Speaking of reservations, the shows were as bad as the wait for food. They were all advertised  as “acclaimed,” but we never got to have an opinion because they were all always sold  out--every 24 hours! A few signs said some were on “stand-by,” but we were never told what  that meant in terms of your chances to get a ticket. With all of the other endless lines all week,  we didn’t want to waste another hour or two of our vacation trying to MAYBE see one. As a  result of every single one being booked every day, we did not get to see ONE show the entire  cruise! SO disappointing!    Ship/Accommodations: Our stateroom had a balcony and that aspect was comfortable in size & privacy.  However, inside the room, pulling the bed down from the ceiling was a ridiculous way to sleep 4.  We all hit our heads trying to access the closet, balcony, tv, & bathroom every evening. The room was so unbelievably narrow that often times each day someone had to step out into that  balcony just so we could all change, move suitcases, or even dry our hair. There was literally  room for one person at a time to walk through.    Our room for two on Carnival with only one small round window looking out was twice as large and twice as wide. I would have much preferred to be in THAT room this week with all four of  us. It was obvious again that Norwegian cares only about the profit, not the consumer. Even an extra foot of space would have made a world of difference, despite meaning fewer people sailing each week.    As for the boat itself, it rocked and swayed EVERY DAY, and was worse that the Carnival ship that was one third the size. We saw countless people wearing seasickness patches behind their  ears.    No tables were ever open for any buffet meal. There were no deck chairs open at ANY time of  day. Each time we wanted one, even in the “adult only” section, we had to stand and watch for  people to leave to ask for their chairs. Ridiculous.  The elevators were ridiculous to wait for as well. They were full of people half the time you  actually had one stop and open the door. They also stopped on every single floor bc everyone  had pushed the buttons, then gotten frustrated and took the stairs.  Waits for ship’s bathrooms were also consistently that long—for both genders! And at times, the  stall floors were a mess with water, paper, etc. and it was evident that they hadn’t been properly  cleaned in many hours.    I paid $178 for the wi-fi service and was also sorely disappointed. It was very unreliable & never strong enough to access anything from basic news websites to email. The only thing that came  in was Facebook, but not strong enough to upload more than one or two pictures at a time.    In terms of ports, the first two were good (minus an INCREDIBLY brief time at St. Thomas and  another RIDICULOUSLY long line to re-board the boat that day). However, the private island was  another story entirely.  We never knew the Epic didn’t pull into a port there and that we had to arrange transportation for  ourselves. Luckily another traveler told us the night before.  We signed up for tender #3 and followed the announcements made to board, but those on other  tenders (4, 5, etc.) lined up whenever they wanted. No Norwegian employee stopped them or  made them go back to the back of the line for line jumping, even though the video on the cruise  tv channel said this would happen. Once again, those of us who followed the policies were  penalized for doing so. It took 36 minutes in line to get seated on a tender, never mind the travel  time to get to the island.    Once on the island, we were disappointed again. Just like on the ship, there were not enough  chairs and we had to RENT a beach mat? My son waited the entire trip to get to rent a jet ski or a  paddle board and there were none running that day or being rented with ZERO explanation given  as to why. Meanwhile, we looked over at the Royal Caribbean island right next door and they had  water slides, kids rides, zip lining, jet skis, AND a pier so no one had to tender over. Does Norwegian seriously not think consumers won’t compare options??     Disembarkation: This was the icing on the cake for our week. Not only was this complete and total chaos, but it  was SO UNSAFE.    It took us more than 2 HOURS of lines to leave the ship. This caused us to miss our scheduled  9:00 shuttle to the airport and we then had to wait an ADDITIONAL 1:36 MINUTES SITTING ON  THE SIDEWALK and coordinate with TWO COMPANIES to finally get another shuttle.     Meanwhile, new cruisers were already boarding the Epic all around us for their “adventure.” We  wanted to tell them all to just turn around and walk away. Norwegian cares nothing about its customers because we were STILL THERE, unhappy and without help, but here were new paying  customers! Good luck to them, is all I had to say.    We were hoping for great service at a great value. We wanted family fun without the hassle, hot  & tasty meals, and relaxation. Unfortunately, we only experienced every opposite.      I honestly feel like my husband and I threw away and completely wasted our time and the money that this week cost us for the cruise, flight, hotel stay, & shuttles.    Our trip on the “Epic” was an “epic” failure. 

Cruise on Norwegian Epic was EPIC FAILURE! Don't cruise with Norwegian!

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by Lafon Benton

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Balcony
Our experience with this cruise was so disappointing in every area. If you're cruising, please do yourself a favor and go with ANY other company!

Food/Dining: 

The food was terrible. Truly. The pizza was like frozen from a grocer’s freezer  section, apple pies were like rubber, and every other dessert I tried had no flavor and came out  of a box.   Our food on Carnival (only other cruise we’ve taken) was AMAZING. We still talk about how  fresh, hot, and plentiful it was, and especially how we never had to wait in line.    Breakfast buffet—10-15 minute lines for everything, even cereal, and that was often half-stocked  so then I’d have to go to another cereal line on the other side of the dining area. Customers were  heard each day remarking that they had never had to wait EVER for food on Norwegian before this particular cruise.   

The ship itself was terribly overcrowded and we received very poor dining service in every  venue. We didn’t eat one meal without having to hear a customer complaining about wait time,  tables sitting not bused, lines, or supplies being out—water, ice, silverware, plates, cereal,  etc.—or without experiencing for ourselves some, or all of those problems EVERY MEAL.   

There was rarely, if every, any ice ever in any drink, except those with alcohol. We got the  beverage package upgrade and consistently stood in line for at least 15-20 minutes each time  for every single drink. If you got a drink, you then had to wait while the bartender processed  several cards at once and then that drink was melted completely down.  Drinks were over-poured every time to the point that they were hard to swallow because they  were so strong.

The flip side of this situation was that many who booked early received the  drink package as an upgrade, but the bartenders couldn’t keep up with the demand. Perhaps  they over-poured to make it worth the wait?? Try to keep some people happy? Once we found  two different mixed drinks on two different days but then were told after one drink that the  machine froze up, they ran out of strawberries, and ran out of limes. Seriously?    

We also had the dining upgrade package for 3 specialty meals. However, even with 24 hours ahead of time calling for the steakhouse dinner reservation, there were none one left except one  for 7:30. Thank goodness we jumped at that one, because there were NONE available for the  Japanese restaurant or Cagney’s AT ALL DURING THE LAST THREE DAYS of the cruise.   

Even on port days—one in particular when we were docked an additional 5 hours for “routine maintenance,” and most people were on Tortola for even part of the day, there was STILL a 20  minute wait for us to get a table for lunch at O’Sheehan’s...at 3:25! Three tables sat there cluttered and full of dirty dishes that just needed to be cleared. We just kept looking at the host and he looked at us. Then he finally took us to a table. It was dirty and we then had to stand and wait for him to wipe it off with a cloth that only served to make the table sticky and gummy after  he left. While we ate, two different tables of customers complained about poor service and bad food. 

Entertainment:

Speaking of reservations, the shows were as bad as the wait for food. They were all advertised  as “acclaimed,” but we never got to have an opinion because they were all always sold  out--every 24 hours! A few signs said some were on “stand-by,” but we were never told what  that meant in terms of your chances to get a ticket. With all of the other endless lines all week,  we didn’t want to waste another hour or two of our vacation trying to MAYBE see one. As a  result of every single one being booked every day, we did not get to see ONE show the entire  cruise! SO disappointing!   

Ship/Accommodations:

Our stateroom had a balcony and that aspect was comfortable in size & privacy.  However, inside the room, pulling the bed down from the ceiling was a ridiculous way to sleep 4.  We all hit our heads trying to access the closet, balcony, tv, & bathroom every evening. The room was so unbelievably narrow that often times each day someone had to step out into that  balcony just so we could all change, move suitcases, or even dry our hair. There was literally  room for one person at a time to walk through.   

Our room for two on Carnival with only one small round window looking out was twice as large and twice as wide. I would have much preferred to be in THAT room this week with all four of  us. It was obvious again that Norwegian cares only about the profit, not the consumer. Even an extra foot of space would have made a world of difference, despite meaning fewer people sailing each week.   

As for the boat itself, it rocked and swayed EVERY DAY, and was worse that the Carnival ship that was one third the size. We saw countless people wearing seasickness patches behind their  ears.    No tables were ever open for any buffet meal. There were no deck chairs open at ANY time of  day. Each time we wanted one, even in the “adult only” section, we had to stand and watch for  people to leave to ask for their chairs. Ridiculous. 

The elevators were ridiculous to wait for as well. They were full of people half the time you  actually had one stop and open the door. They also stopped on every single floor bc everyone  had pushed the buttons, then gotten frustrated and took the stairs. 

Waits for ship’s bathrooms were also consistently that long—for both genders! And at times, the  stall floors were a mess with water, paper, etc. and it was evident that they hadn’t been properly  cleaned in many hours.   

I paid $178 for the wi-fi service and was also sorely disappointed. It was very unreliable & never strong enough to access anything from basic news websites to email. The only thing that came  in was Facebook, but not strong enough to upload more than one or two pictures at a time.   

In terms of ports, the first two were good (minus an INCREDIBLY brief time at St. Thomas and  another RIDICULOUSLY long line to re-board the boat that day). However, the private island was  another story entirely.  We never knew the Epic didn’t pull into a port there and that we had to arrange transportation for  ourselves. Luckily another traveler told us the night before.  We signed up for tender #3 and followed the announcements made to board, but those on other  tenders (4, 5, etc.) lined up whenever they wanted. No Norwegian employee stopped them or  made them go back to the back of the line for line jumping, even though the video on the cruise  tv channel said this would happen. Once again, those of us who followed the policies were  penalized for doing so. It took 36 minutes in line to get seated on a tender, never mind the travel  time to get to the island.   

Once on the island, we were disappointed again. Just like on the ship, there were not enough  chairs and we had to RENT a beach mat? My son waited the entire trip to get to rent a jet ski or a  paddle board and there were none running that day or being rented with ZERO explanation given  as to why. Meanwhile, we looked over at the Royal Caribbean island right next door and they had  water slides, kids rides, zip lining, jet skis, AND a pier so no one had to tender over.

Does Norwegian seriously not think consumers won’t compare options??    

Disembarkation:

This was the icing on the cake for our week. Not only was this complete and total chaos, but it  was SO UNSAFE.    It took us more than 2 HOURS of lines to leave the ship. This caused us to miss our scheduled  9:00 shuttle to the airport and we then had to wait an ADDITIONAL 1:36 MINUTES SITTING ON  THE SIDEWALK and coordinate with TWO COMPANIES to finally get another shuttle.     Meanwhile, new cruisers were already boarding the Epic all around us for their “adventure.” We  wanted to tell them all to just turn around and walk away.

Norwegian cares nothing about its customers because we were STILL THERE, unhappy and without help, but here were new paying  customers! Good luck to them, is all I had to say.   

We were hoping for great service at a great value. We wanted family fun without the hassle, hot  & tasty meals, and relaxation. Unfortunately, we only experienced every opposite.     

I honestly feel like my husband and I threw away and completely wasted our time and the money that this week cost us for the cruise, flight, hotel stay, & shuttles.   

Our trip on the “Epic” was an “epic” failure. 
Lafon Benton’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Balcony
Cabin B2 14092
Our stateroom had a balcony and that aspect was comfortable in size & privacy.  However, inside the room, pulling the bed down from the ceiling was a ridiculous way to sleep 4.  We all hit our heads trying to access the closet, balcony, tv, & bathroom every evening. The room was so unbelievably narrow that often times each day someone had to step out into that  balcony just so we could all change, move suitcases, or even dry our hair. There was literally room for one person at a time to walk through.   

Our room for two on Carnival with only one small round window looking out was twice as large and twice as wide. I would have much preferred to be in THAT room this week with all four of  us. It was obvious again that Norwegian cares only about the profit, not the consumer. Even an extra foot of space would have made a world of difference, despite meaning fewer people sailing each week.   
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Great Stirrup Cay
    Norwegian's private island is a joke. Don't waste your time.

    We never knew the Epic didn’t pull into a port there and that we had to arrange transportation for ourselves. Luckily another traveler told us the night before.    

    We signed up for tender #3 and followed the announcements made to board, but those on other  tenders (4, 5, etc.) lined up whenever they wanted. No Norwegian employee stopped them or  made them go back to the back of the line for line jumping, even though the video on the cruise tv channel said this would happen. Those of us who followed the policies were penalized for doing so.

    It took 36 minutes in line to get seated on a tender, never mind the travel  time to get to the island.    Once on the island, we were disappointed, just like on the ship. There were not enough  chairs and we had to RENT a beach mat. My son waited the entire trip to get to rent a jet ski or a  paddle board and there were none running that day or being rented with ZERO explanation given  as to why. Meanwhile, we looked over at the Royal Caribbean island right next door and they had  water slides, kids rides, zip lining, jet skis, AND a pier so no one had to tender over.

    Does Norwegian seriously not think consumers won’t compare options??  
    View All 1,136 Great Stirrup Cay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Great Stirrup Cay Cruise Port Review
  • Magen Bay Beach
    Our driver Hajjii was wonderful! Very informative (brief tour as we went to the beach), knowledgeable, funny, and friendly! Loved the chance to stop at Drake's Seat for gorgeous pictures. Beach time was only 2 hours, but not the tour company's fault. That was Norwegian's poor planning. However, we had a great time! Would definitely go again but would like to stay longer.
    View All 235 Magen Bay Beach Reviews
  • Tortola
    The Beach Break was worth the $ and time. Ample time at a beautiful beach (Cane Garden Bay) with lots for the kids to do. There are inflatable toys/trampoline/slide in the water run by locals. $10 each child for unlimited use. The gentlemen renting umbrellas and chairs are SO friendly! We loved them and their price of $15 per umbrella for very reasonable for 3 hours!! The water is clear and the island is clearly still recovering from hurricane Irma. However, the spirit of the locals is unaffected. We loved our time on this excursion in Tortola!
    View All 12,794 Tortola Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Tortola Cruise Port Review