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We chose the Epic for its itinerary, which worked out very well. The ports visited allowed us to get a great overview of Europe for our first time to the area. Waking up in a new destination each morning without having to pack and unpack or the stress of organizing transportation between destinations was fantastic and our primary reason for taking this cruise. As a mobile hotel room the cruise worked well. The cruise itself had little else to offer. We have stayed at multiple all inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean and the Epic did not come close to the resort experiences we have at in those land based vacations (which admittedly may not be a fair comparison). The food on the Epic did not meet expectations. We ate at 3 specialty restaurants, both main dining rooms and the buffet. Cagney's and Le Bistro were better than the rest but far from excellent or memorable. If they were restaurants near my home I would not return after eating there the first time. Our meal at La Cocina was not good especially given the premium paid. The main dining rooms had uniformly poor service with staff that was a mix of inexperienced staff with poor training and seasoned staff with less than stellar skills or motivation. The food ranged from inedible to passable with not one appetizer or entree being a standout. Our family of four would generally have one of four appetizers and entrees being good, 2 OK, and one really bad at each meal. A buffet breakfast is usually a fantastic start to a vacation day and hard to mess up. There were some good items here, but my wife appropriately compared the quality to the free breakfast at a Holiday Inn. The entertainment options were generally poor. Our teenage kids often stated that they were bored after dinner. They would go off and wander on their own for an hour but invariably end up back at the room well before we expected them. The two shows offered in the theater were not to our taste. We did go to see Queen of the Desert but left after an hour, not because of the subject matter (which did send many guests headed to the exits early in the show) but because the show was long and not entertaining. The pools are incredibly tiny, warm, crowded and oddly cloudy. Our stateroom metal ceiling panels rattled so much that we had to wedge sneakers in to prevent being woken up at night. Our room only had hot water in the sink. The customer service desk was a complete disaster with huge lines at all times even 3 days into the trip. We frequently received wrong information or contradictory information from different crew members. It felt like a bad department of motor vehicles parody. You would get to the front of the line only to be told you were waiting in the wrong line. After switching lines you would be directed back to the first line you were in. This happened more than once. There were many more small issues that would have been minor by themselves but when taken as a pattern showed a lack of commitment to customer service or a desire to please the traveler. There was some positive. The ship and our room were very clean. The bathroom layout, while odd, worked very well for us. Someone could be showering while someone else was using the toilet and a third person was brushing their teeth all at the same time. A great setup when rushing to get to and excursion or a dinner reservation. The balcony in our room was large and relatively private. The flip down bed gave each of the kids their own space without having to share a bed. Embarkation and disembarkation were incredibly easy, with no lines and efficient and timely handling of our luggage. We used room service breakfast a few mornings as a time saver when we had an early excursion and they were right on time. Overall our experience was fair to poor. We may just not be cruise people. If I was to try a cruise again we would book with a different line in hopes of a better on ship experience.

First (and maybe last) time cruisers

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by glawless

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose the Epic for its itinerary, which worked out very well. The ports visited allowed us to get a great overview of Europe for our first time to the area. Waking up in a new destination each morning without having to pack and unpack or the stress of organizing transportation between destinations was fantastic and our primary reason for taking this cruise. As a mobile hotel room the cruise worked well.

The cruise itself had little else to offer. We have stayed at multiple all inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean and the Epic did not come close to the resort experiences we have at in those land based vacations (which admittedly may not be a fair comparison).

The food on the Epic did not meet expectations. We ate at 3 specialty restaurants, both main dining rooms and the buffet. Cagney's and Le Bistro were better than the rest but far from excellent or memorable. If they were restaurants near my home I would not return after eating there the first time. Our meal at La Cocina was not good especially given the premium paid.

The main dining rooms had uniformly poor service with staff that was a mix of inexperienced staff with poor training and seasoned staff with less than stellar skills or motivation. The food ranged from inedible to passable with not one appetizer or entree being a standout. Our family of four would generally have one of four appetizers and entrees being good, 2 OK, and one really bad at each meal.

A buffet breakfast is usually a fantastic start to a vacation day and hard to mess up. There were some good items here, but my wife appropriately compared the quality to the free breakfast at a Holiday Inn.

The entertainment options were generally poor. Our teenage kids often stated that they were bored after dinner. They would go off and wander on their own for an hour but invariably end up back at the room well before we expected them. The two shows offered in the theater were not to our taste. We did go to see Queen of the Desert but left after an hour, not because of the subject matter (which did send many guests headed to the exits early in the show) but because the show was long and not entertaining.

The pools are incredibly tiny, warm, crowded and oddly cloudy. Our stateroom metal ceiling panels rattled so much that we had to wedge sneakers in to prevent being woken up at night. Our room only had hot water in the sink.

The customer service desk was a complete disaster with huge lines at all times even 3 days into the trip. We frequently received wrong information or contradictory information from different crew members. It felt like a bad department of motor vehicles parody. You would get to the front of the line only to be told you were waiting in the wrong line. After switching lines you would be directed back to the first line you were in. This happened more than once.

There were many more small issues that would have been minor by themselves but when taken as a pattern showed a lack of commitment to customer service or a desire to please the traveler.

There was some positive. The ship and our room were very clean. The bathroom layout, while odd, worked very well for us. Someone could be showering while someone else was using the toilet and a third person was brushing their teeth all at the same time. A great setup when rushing to get to and excursion or a dinner reservation. The balcony in our room was large and relatively private. The flip down bed gave each of the kids their own space without having to share a bed. Embarkation and disembarkation were incredibly easy, with no lines and efficient and timely handling of our luggage. We used room service breakfast a few mornings as a time saver when we had an early excursion and they were right on time.

Overall our experience was fair to poor. We may just not be cruise people. If I was to try a cruise again we would book with a different line in hopes of a better on ship experience.
glawless’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Ages 13 to 15
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Private Tour
    Great experience. A private tour through LivItaly Tours with a incredibly knowledgeable guide (Gio). We wouldn't have been able to see half of what we did or get as much out of what we saw without Gio's expert guidance. Fast paced tour that hit all of the highlights with more than enough depth for us. Really made the most out of our time in Rome. Not inexpensive but it included our drivers, professional guide, and all admissions tickets (head of the line) for about the same as the cruise's large bus tour that saw far less. Plus we could customize the itinerary and go at our own pace without 60 other people in tow.
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