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Cavalcade of Customer Service Blunders We took the 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on NCL Epic from December 8-15, 2019. The intention of our trip was a scouting cruise for planning our destination cruise wedding with wedding ceremony in St. Lucia in 2021. After taking two NCL cruises (Jade and Jewel) in the previous 12 months and having an amazing time (97/100), we were very excited about experiencing the Epic and creating a spectacular cruise itinerary for our wedding party of 40-60 guests. Unfortunately, there was an intolerable cacophony of customer service blunders. Following were our top-10 problems. 1. Bonaire was on the original itinerary we purchased, but then it was removed after we paid for the cruise. We checked the news and there were no problems at the port. Other cruise lines were docking in Bonaire. 2. The embarkation process was ridiculous and unacceptably lengthy – 4+ hours for most people. To exacerbate the situation, there was very little communication and an appalling lack of hydration and refreshment for people waiting in the sun. To make things worse, the lack of access to restrooms unfortunately lead to horribly embarrassing consequences for many elderly people waiting around us on line. 3. While correctly labeled, half of our luggage was delivered to the wrong room. We were finally able to find it outside another room at the end of our hallway on our deck. 4. Besides our room not being completely cleaned upon check-in (uncleaned coffee pot with old coffee filter, leftover trash, papers and napkins from previous guests), the sink was completely clogged and didn’t drain for the first 36 hours of the cruise. By the time maintenance arrived, the sink was 80% full. 5. The bed in our room was unexpectedly short. We are only 5’ 10” and 5’ 7” tall, yet our feet hung off the bed at night. We understand the cruise beds are small, but our feet didn’t hang over on the NCL Jewel or NCL Jade. 6. As the adult pool was closed on the first two days (reportedly because of PH balance issues), there was no (significantly limited) access to pool space. There wasn’t space to enter other pools, as people were standing side-by-side. 7. On day one, we tried to make reservations at premium restaurants. Our first two choices were full for the whole week. We asked to be put on waiting lists if there were cancellations or openings, and we were told there weren’t many in front of us on the list. We never received a call all week. While dining at another restaurant in view of one of our premium choices, we observed many open tables at our first choice during the whole time we dined. 8. Customer service around the pool areas was sorely lacking. Despite generously tipping the staff with cash for every round of drinks, we often waited 30-45 minutes to get our drinks from servers. It was faster to leave the pool area and retrieve drinks from other areas/levels of the ship. Sometimes we finished those drinks before the servers returned with our original orders. 9. One afternoon while lying in the sun around the adult pool, we were covered with diesel soot as it “rained black snow” in our drinks, on our clothes and in our hair. To add to the problem, when we went to exchange towels, the booth was open but there wasn’t an attendant at the exchange. We had to track down security to find an attendant. 10. Our final shore excursion was cut significantly short. We took the Old San Juan/Bacardi tour with the airport transfer – the most expensive tour meant for passengers who had flights after 5:00 pm. After waiting one hour after our 9:00 am morning gathering time in the theater, we had multiple people on our bus that had flights between 2pm-3pm. Therefore, our Old San Juan tour only had one stop. It’s ridiculous that they allowed this to happen. Other points of frustration that deserve a dishonorable mention were: • Additional tax for alcoholic beverages consumed during the unplanned, extended first evening in port - because of the significantly delayed departure from port • A regular lack of coffee cups at the coffee stations at the Garden Café • No “traffic control” in the Cavern Club allowing guests to clog the entryway and prevent access to open space in the club • Long lines followed by abrupt discontinuation of drink service during comedy shows • We encountered many angry guests on the final day who were waiting more than an hour past their scheduled disembarkation time. We contacted NCL customer service to see if our issues could be addressed for our upcoming destination wedding to endure that our 40-60 guests wouldn’t experience these issues. They replied with a “sorry” and issued us a $50 onboard credit for our next cruise. Because of the inept customer service reply, we are now looking at other cruise options for our destination wedding. There were some highlights on this cruise: • The food at the buffet and at the standard restaurants was fantastic (I would have liked to have seen “local” offerings per port.) • Cirque Dreams Epicurean is a must-see upgrade meal/entertainment. Bravo! • The Beatles tribute band in the Cavern Club was very good, performing different eras of the Beatles • Howl at the Moon piano bar was fun • Le Bistro French restaurant has attentive servers and an overall excellent dining experience. C’est magnifique! • Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazilian churrascaria offered about a dozen deliciously prepared meat choices While I will likely cruise with NCL in the future, I will be sure to avoid this ship.

Cavalcade of Customer Service Blunders

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by ChzHdPackersFan

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Cavalcade of Customer Service Blunders

We took the 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on NCL Epic from December 8-15, 2019. The intention of our trip was a scouting cruise for planning our destination cruise wedding with wedding ceremony in St. Lucia in 2021.

After taking two NCL cruises (Jade and Jewel) in the previous 12 months and having an amazing time (97/100), we were very excited about experiencing the Epic and creating a spectacular cruise itinerary for our wedding party of 40-60 guests. Unfortunately, there was an intolerable cacophony of customer service blunders. Following were our top-10 problems.

1. Bonaire was on the original itinerary we purchased, but then it was removed after we paid for the cruise. We checked the news and there were no problems at the port. Other cruise lines were docking in Bonaire.

2. The embarkation process was ridiculous and unacceptably lengthy – 4+ hours for most people. To exacerbate the situation, there was very little communication and an appalling lack of hydration and refreshment for people waiting in the sun. To make things worse, the lack of access to restrooms unfortunately lead to horribly embarrassing consequences for many elderly people waiting around us on line.

3. While correctly labeled, half of our luggage was delivered to the wrong room. We were finally able to find it outside another room at the end of our hallway on our deck.

4. Besides our room not being completely cleaned upon check-in (uncleaned coffee pot with old coffee filter, leftover trash, papers and napkins from previous guests), the sink was completely clogged and didn’t drain for the first 36 hours of the cruise. By the time maintenance arrived, the sink was 80% full.

5. The bed in our room was unexpectedly short. We are only 5’ 10” and 5’ 7” tall, yet our feet hung off the bed at night. We understand the cruise beds are small, but our feet didn’t hang over on the NCL Jewel or NCL Jade.

6. As the adult pool was closed on the first two days (reportedly because of PH balance issues), there was no (significantly limited) access to pool space. There wasn’t space to enter other pools, as people were standing side-by-side.

7. On day one, we tried to make reservations at premium restaurants. Our first two choices were full for the whole week. We asked to be put on waiting lists if there were cancellations or openings, and we were told there weren’t many in front of us on the list. We never received a call all week. While dining at another restaurant in view of one of our premium choices, we observed many open tables at our first choice during the whole time we dined.

8. Customer service around the pool areas was sorely lacking. Despite generously tipping the staff with cash for every round of drinks, we often waited 30-45 minutes to get our drinks from servers. It was faster to leave the pool area and retrieve drinks from other areas/levels of the ship. Sometimes we finished those drinks before the servers returned with our original orders.

9. One afternoon while lying in the sun around the adult pool, we were covered with diesel soot as it “rained black snow” in our drinks, on our clothes and in our hair. To add to the problem, when we went to exchange towels, the booth was open but there wasn’t an attendant at the exchange. We had to track down security to find an attendant.

10. Our final shore excursion was cut significantly short. We took the Old San Juan/Bacardi tour with the airport transfer – the most expensive tour meant for passengers who had flights after 5:00 pm. After waiting one hour after our 9:00 am morning gathering time in the theater, we had multiple people on our bus that had flights between 2pm-3pm. Therefore, our Old San Juan tour only had one stop. It’s ridiculous that they allowed this to happen.


Other points of frustration that deserve a dishonorable mention were:

• Additional tax for alcoholic beverages consumed during the unplanned, extended first evening in port - because of the significantly delayed departure from port

• A regular lack of coffee cups at the coffee stations at the Garden Café

• No “traffic control” in the Cavern Club allowing guests to clog the entryway and prevent access to open space in the club

• Long lines followed by abrupt discontinuation of drink service during comedy shows

• We encountered many angry guests on the final day who were waiting more than an hour past their scheduled disembarkation time.

We contacted NCL customer service to see if our issues could be addressed for our upcoming destination wedding to endure that our 40-60 guests wouldn’t experience these issues. They replied with a “sorry” and issued us a $50 onboard credit for our next cruise. Because of the inept customer service reply, we are now looking at other cruise options for our destination wedding.

There were some highlights on this cruise:

• The food at the buffet and at the standard restaurants was fantastic (I would have liked to have seen “local” offerings per port.)

• Cirque Dreams Epicurean is a must-see upgrade meal/entertainment. Bravo!

• The Beatles tribute band in the Cavern Club was very good, performing different eras of the Beatles

• Howl at the Moon piano bar was fun

• Le Bistro French restaurant has attentive servers and an overall excellent dining experience. C’est magnifique!

• Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazilian churrascaria offered about a dozen deliciously prepared meat choices

While I will likely cruise with NCL in the future, I will be sure to avoid this ship.
ChzHdPackersFan’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BD
Our room not being completely cleaned upon check-in (uncleaned coffee pot with old coffee filter, leftover trash, papers and napkins from previous guests), the sink was completely clogged and didn’t drain for the first 36 hours of the cruise. By the time maintenance arrived, the sink was 80% full.The bed in our room was unexpectedly short. We are only 5’ 10” and 5’ 7” tall, yet our feet hung off the bed at night. We understand the cruise beds are small, but our feet didn’t hang over on the NCL Jewel or NCL Jade.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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  • Island Tour
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  • Semi-Sub
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  • Bacardi Rum Distillery
    When I did this tour in 2015, I would have given it an "Average" rating. However, now you are allowed to take pictures on the tour, and the tour guides were excellent. If you like rum, be sure to add this as part of your disembarkation tour in San Juan, PR.
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  • Scenic Railway
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  • Island Tour
    We took the bus ride to see the Pitons. The views of the Pitons were spectacular. Unfortunately, the four hours spent driving to and from that side of the island was a "roller coaster" adventure through steep and winding roads. The Pitons are great - spend a few more dollars and take the catamaran to the Pitons instead.
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