Chose this cruise for a five year couples trip. Got the "included" unlimited drink package in the cruise fare. (The one that doesn't include bottled water or coffee by the way-- absurd). We regularly cruise Royal Caribbean and Carnival but had an amazing experience with Norwegian on the Pearl a few years ago to Alaska. Chose the Epic based solely on the Pearl experience. Sadly, there was no similarities between these trips other than the Norwegian logo on the side of the ship.
Lows of the trip:
- Ship was extremely over crowded and has one of the poorest layouts I have ever experienced. Seriously- so unbelievably crowded. We couldn't attend most activities.
- The Epic was tired with wear and tear seen throughout. I heard 5 years since dry dock from other passengers.
- There was zero deck space nor enough chairs to accommodate even a fraction of the people onboard. Sea days are typically a highlight, but a nightmare on the Epic.
- The adults "Spice H20" is a complete disappointment when compared to the Solarium on Royal Caribbean ships. The pool was tiny and it did not feel upscale or premium at all.
- The evening entertainment options were lacking for a ship of this size and the venues could not accommodate the demand from passengers.
- Disembarkation was nothing short of horrendous. It took one hour and forty minutes from the time we walked out of our state room to the time we made it back on land. (Think day after Thanksgiving shopping crowds on a cruise ship with luggage) We stood in one overcrowded stair wells for over 30 minutes before Norwegian staff encouraged people to board elevators going up only to ride back down. It was an embarrassment and so unprofessional. I walked off the Carnival Conquest and the RCCL Oasis of the Seas last year no sweat so I have no idea why this chaos existed on the Epic.
- Received a $60 bar charge (remember we had a drink package) on my invoice the day of departure which lead to an additional 20 minutes at guest services to dispute and resolve.
- Room attendant was polite and attentive
- Dining was acceptable overall and timely
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert was edgy and fun
- Facilities were enjoyable on port days when everyone else was off the ship
- Maltings Bar was peaceful and had good service
- Buffet handled capacity well and could always find a seat.
I recommend that you all weigh your options before you put down your hard earned vacation dollars on the Norwegian Epic. Norwegians innovations and concepts were flawlessly executed on its smaller ships like the Pearl. I don't think they were able to scale their services adequately on these newer mega ships and therefore I'd look elsewhere.
Tiny cabin compared to other ships but it does have a modern look. Not much else good to say that makes it stand out against competitors. In general the Epic has a very awkward and non-discrete bathroom setup that quite frankly isn't really a bathroom. Would not recommend this ship for travelers that are not completely comfortable with one another.