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First of all, we let NCL book our flights and I don't think I will do that again. They would not schedule us to come in the day before embarkation. I was so nervous that a snow storm would delay our flights. Luckily we arrived in time. Although some people were very agitated at the airport about the delays in getting on the buses, they seemed to be very organized about the whole process. I was still a bit nervous until we arrived at the ship in time and our vacation began! Embarkation was a breeze! There was a substantial delay in leaving port and the rumors flew about the reason (a medical emergency, a death, a mechanical issue). Food - We ate primarily in the MDR or in one of the specialty restaurants. It only took a couple of tries for us to realize that the food in the buffet was very far below the quality of that on the Bliss. It was little things like there were no bagels at breakfast but they had the cream cheese and salmon mousse as though there were, and the bigger things like the day we tried a dozen different things one day at lunch and found that none of them had any flavor at all. We ate at Cagney's (the steaks were fabulous), Le Bistro (pretty good but not as fabulous as we anticipated) and Teppanyaki (good food and lots of fun). We at Shanghai's one night and thought the food was pretty good. We were told the restaurant was booked up that night until 9:30 but when we popped in early the restaurant was practically deserted! And we grabbed a couple of quick lunches at O'Sheehan's, which were very good. So many people complained on board about the service but we thought it was great given that it was a spring break cruise and was more than fully booked. There were only a few times that we had to wait very long for a drink at a bar, and because I have a special drink that I love at Maltings (the Matador) the bartenders got to where they would start mixing my drink as soon as they saw me walk up. Impressive when there are 5000 people on the ship! Ports - In Ochos Rios we went zip-lining and tubing on the White river. The excursion area in port was chaotic and has little shade. t seemed like each employee had a different idea for how this should work - no master plan and no one person calling the shots. The long drive to the site was an interesting look at Jamaica and our driver was entertaining. We ultimately were on a single lane, two-way road which meant occasionally having to back up to a wide spot for another vehicle to pass. Zip lining was handled well, and we always felt safe. The river tubing was fabulous fun. Kevin was a wonderful guide keeping everyone floating safely and keeping us laughing. I would recommend sturdy water shoes for the entire excursion. We were very disappointed that we did not have time to get anything to eat at the site. The jerk chicken smelled amazing, but it was already time to head back to the cruise terminal. No lunch for us! In George Town the excursion gathering area was incredibly well organized and had a variety of tourist shops to see and large clean bathrooms. We did the Turtles and Stingrays excursion. The turtle farm was enjoyable and we enjoyed getting to hold the baby turtles. We stopped at a very small store next that sold rum cakes (not Tortuga) and then went to Hell (which was seriously unimpressive). Then we took a boat for about 30 minutes out to the sandbar to see the stingrays and it was very crowded with other boats. The water was about 4 feet deep, which made it challenging for someone short to stand with the waves coming through. It was great to see the stingrays although we did not get to feed them at all. It was mostly a matter of taking turns to have pictures taken with a stingray. It was cool to have them swimming around you on the sandbar though. The lunch of grilled jerk chicken on the beach after the boat trip was so delicious - I recommend the local Mango Tango beer if it is available! Our excursion in Cozumel was on the Atlantis submarine and was a fabulous experience. After a short film, you have a 30 minute boat trip out to the sub. The sub was very comfortable, but it might bother someone with claustrophobia. It was amazing to go past the reef areas and the sunken ship and see all of the sea life down there. For people who don't snorkel/scuba, this is a great way to see the fish and coral, etc. under water and you go more than 100 feet below the surface. We were not impressed with the shopping in Cozumel and headed back to the ship. Entertainment - We really enjoyed the entertainment on board. We saw Burn the Floor (It was mostly entertaining but I was disturbed by some of the violence against women portrayed in the show. I had not expected that at all.) and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (A fabulous show. It is definitely not for those offended by shows with sexuality portrayed in humorous ways or by portrayals of homosexuality. I was honestly more concerned about the children in the audience for Burn the Floor.) We also were able to get tickets to the Cirque dinner show the day of the show. We arrived to queue early and were rewarded with front row seats to a fun show and a great dinner. (I will warn you that there is a splash zone!) I had read very negative reviews about the food but we thought it was delicious. We really enjoyed the comedy shows and the live music in Maltings and Shakers. My husband was thrilled to have a final excursion during our last sea day to tour the ship “Behind the Scenes”. He absolutely loved this excursion and had so many fun things to tell me that he had learned. He even got a fun picture taken of him with a huge whisk in the ship galley. Disembarkation - This was an unbelievably difficult process with definitely unnecessary chaos. I understand that getting over 5000 people off the ship will take time, but if we had followed instructions we would have missed the flight that NCL booked for us. During breakfast in Taste, we heard the cruise director making announcements about disembarking but could not hear well. We went by the front desk to check where we were supposed to go and were told, “We never can understand Mandy. Just go on down to 5 to disembark now.” We went down to 5 and happened to be at the end of 2 lines. We picked one of the 2 lines to join and no one knew if there was a difference between the two lines - including staff members. There was a 3rd line between the 2 lines heading the opposite direction, and it seemed wrong to join it because we would have line-jumping into the front of that line. We were in line for about 2 1/2 hours winding through the ship. At one point the line going the same direction we were turned and had to merge in with the line going the opposite way. I really was afraid there was going to be fights because the people already in the line did not want to let them merge in and thought they were cutting in to avoid the line. The staff did not seem to understand what was happening during any of this. Even the area for passengers needing wheelchair assistance was chaotic probably because too many of those needing assistance had 6 or 7 able-bodied people with them taking up room and seats in the area and then trying to follow them through the hallway full of others waiting to disembark. When we exited the ship, our color had still not been called to join the queues. After our bus transfer to the airport and getting through spring break crowds in TSA check, we made it to our gate about 20 minutes before our flight boarded. If we had wait our turn, we would have missed our flight by hours! Clearly something is not working with the process. We really like the options available on big ships and understand that there will be long waits and crowds quite often. NCL needs to hire a logistics expert and let them think outside the box to resolve the disembarkation process. It is a shame that after a wonderful cruise, passengers last memory is a 2 1/2 hour wait to get off the ship.

Relaxing - Most of the Time - Long Review!

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by detreesoh

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
First of all, we let NCL book our flights and I don't think I will do that again. They would not schedule us to come in the day before embarkation. I was so nervous that a snow storm would delay our flights. Luckily we arrived in time. Although some people were very agitated at the airport about the delays in getting on the buses, they seemed to be very organized about the whole process. I was still a bit nervous until we arrived at the ship in time and our vacation began! Embarkation was a breeze! There was a substantial delay in leaving port and the rumors flew about the reason (a medical emergency, a death, a mechanical issue).

Food - We ate primarily in the MDR or in one of the specialty restaurants. It only took a couple of tries for us to realize that the food in the buffet was very far below the quality of that on the Bliss. It was little things like there were no bagels at breakfast but they had the cream cheese and salmon mousse as though there were, and the bigger things like the day we tried a dozen different things one day at lunch and found that none of them had any flavor at all. We ate at Cagney's (the steaks were fabulous), Le Bistro (pretty good but not as fabulous as we anticipated) and Teppanyaki (good food and lots of fun). We at Shanghai's one night and thought the food was pretty good. We were told the restaurant was booked up that night until 9:30 but when we popped in early the restaurant was practically deserted! And we grabbed a couple of quick lunches at O'Sheehan's, which were very good.

So many people complained on board about the service but we thought it was great given that it was a spring break cruise and was more than fully booked. There were only a few times that we had to wait very long for a drink at a bar, and because I have a special drink that I love at Maltings (the Matador) the bartenders got to where they would start mixing my drink as soon as they saw me walk up. Impressive when there are 5000 people on the ship!

Ports - In Ochos Rios we went zip-lining and tubing on the White river. The excursion area in port was chaotic and has little shade. t seemed like each employee had a different idea for how this should work - no master plan and no one person calling the shots. The long drive to the site was an interesting look at Jamaica and our driver was entertaining. We ultimately were on a single lane, two-way road which meant occasionally having to back up to a wide spot for another vehicle to pass. Zip lining was handled well, and we always felt safe. The river tubing was fabulous fun. Kevin was a wonderful guide keeping everyone floating safely and keeping us laughing. I would recommend sturdy water shoes for the entire excursion. We were very disappointed that we did not have time to get anything to eat at the site. The jerk chicken smelled amazing, but it was already time to head back to the cruise terminal. No lunch for us!

In George Town the excursion gathering area was incredibly well organized and had a variety of tourist shops to see and large clean bathrooms. We did the Turtles and Stingrays excursion. The turtle farm was enjoyable and we enjoyed getting to hold the baby turtles. We stopped at a very small store next that sold rum cakes (not Tortuga) and then went to Hell (which was seriously unimpressive). Then we took a boat for about 30 minutes out to the sandbar to see the stingrays and it was very crowded with other boats. The water was about 4 feet deep, which made it challenging for someone short to stand with the waves coming through. It was great to see the stingrays although we did not get to feed them at all. It was mostly a matter of taking turns to have pictures taken with a stingray. It was cool to have them swimming around you on the sandbar though. The lunch of grilled jerk chicken on the beach after the boat trip was so delicious - I recommend the local Mango Tango beer if it is available!

Our excursion in Cozumel was on the Atlantis submarine and was a fabulous experience. After a short film, you have a 30 minute boat trip out to the sub. The sub was very comfortable, but it might bother someone with claustrophobia. It was amazing to go past the reef areas and the sunken ship and see all of the sea life down there. For people who don't snorkel/scuba, this is a great way to see the fish and coral, etc. under water and you go more than 100 feet below the surface. We were not impressed with the shopping in Cozumel and headed back to the ship.

Entertainment - We really enjoyed the entertainment on board. We saw Burn the Floor (It was mostly entertaining but I was disturbed by some of the violence against women portrayed in the show. I had not expected that at all.) and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (A fabulous show. It is definitely not for those offended by shows with sexuality portrayed in humorous ways or by portrayals of homosexuality. I was honestly more concerned about the children in the audience for Burn the Floor.) We also were able to get tickets to the Cirque dinner show the day of the show. We arrived to queue early and were rewarded with front row seats to a fun show and a great dinner. (I will warn you that there is a splash zone!) I had read very negative reviews about the food but we thought it was delicious. We really enjoyed the comedy shows and the live music in Maltings and Shakers. My husband was thrilled to have a final excursion during our last sea day to tour the ship “Behind the Scenes”. He absolutely loved this excursion and had so many fun things to tell me that he had learned. He even got a fun picture taken of him with a huge whisk in the ship galley.

Disembarkation - This was an unbelievably difficult process with definitely unnecessary chaos. I understand that getting over 5000 people off the ship will take time, but if we had followed instructions we would have missed the flight that NCL booked for us. During breakfast in Taste, we heard the cruise director making announcements about disembarking but could not hear well. We went by the front desk to check where we were supposed to go and were told, “We never can understand Mandy. Just go on down to 5 to disembark now.” We went down to 5 and happened to be at the end of 2 lines. We picked one of the 2 lines to join and no one knew if there was a difference between the two lines - including staff members. There was a 3rd line between the 2 lines heading the opposite direction, and it seemed wrong to join it because we would have line-jumping into the front of that line. We were in line for about 2 1/2 hours winding through the ship. At one point the line going the same direction we were turned and had to merge in with the line going the opposite way. I really was afraid there was going to be fights because the people already in the line did not want to let them merge in and thought they were cutting in to avoid the line. The staff did not seem to understand what was happening during any of this. Even the area for passengers needing wheelchair assistance was chaotic probably because too many of those needing assistance had 6 or 7 able-bodied people with them taking up room and seats in the area and then trying to follow them through the hallway full of others waiting to disembark. When we exited the ship, our color had still not been called to join the queues. After our bus transfer to the airport and getting through spring break crowds in TSA check, we made it to our gate about 20 minutes before our flight boarded. If we had wait our turn, we would have missed our flight by hours! Clearly something is not working with the process.

We really like the options available on big ships and understand that there will be long waits and crowds quite often. NCL needs to hire a logistics expert and let them think outside the box to resolve the disembarkation process. It is a shame that after a wonderful cruise, passengers last memory is a 2 1/2 hour wait to get off the ship.
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BB 9170
We actually liked the layout of the cabins on the Epic with the split bathroom. It made getting ready easier and if someone was showering the toilet was still available. The amount of storage in the room was incredible. We had a minor problem with our room but the staff went above and beyond to fix the problem and make it up to us. I have to say that on this cruise we hardly used the balcony. Except for when we we were pulling into port, there was nothing to look at - unlike our Alaskan cruise. That said for people who like sitting in the sun - this was a great room. It was relatively quiet considering this was a spring break cruise - except for the couple next door fighting.....remember that the walls are thin and if you go the balcony the whole ship can probably hear you!
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins