12 Miami to Europe - Western Mediterranean Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was chaotic to get on board the ship. At one point, after methodically calling out group number in sequence, a GENERAL BOARDING announcement was called and a stampede ensued to the doorway. An employee stopped the herd at the ... Read More
Embarkation was chaotic to get on board the ship. At one point, after methodically calling out group number in sequence, a GENERAL BOARDING announcement was called and a stampede ensued to the doorway. An employee stopped the herd at the doorway saying the announcement came from a different terminal. It was at that point it was just impossible to turn the entire crowd around and back to their seats, as was insisted upon. As previously noted, the balcony room was extremely tight with no passing room for 2 people let alone 4 people. Lack of draw space for your clothes. I can understand the failed bathroom set-up. Walls and mirrors in the room were dirty along with with being chipped. I heard the ship was going through some refit in its permanent stay in Europe. Having sailed on both the new GETAWAY and BREAKAWAY ships, the bathroom set up is traditional and large, the balcony rooms are 1/3 larger than the EPIC’s balcony room. The wait staff in TASTE, O’SHEEHANS PUB, MANHATTAN ROOM, housekeeping, casino staff seemed tired, careless and quite bothered. The cabin stewart (Edmundo) was efficient in his work and quiet. He rarely said hello when I greeted him and never mentioned my name. Shanghai’s food was practically inedible. O’Sheehan’s food was cold. The buffet was just ok, at best. The entertainment was lack-luster. The most entertaining was Nadeen the Hypnotist. Legends In Concert had live musicians and were excellent. Some performers in Cirque Dreams were very good, however the dinner was poor. The constant-whistle-blowing-character was beyond annoying and painful. He turned the venue into a children’s show. The Murder Mystery Luncheon by 2nd City troupe was entertaining, but the food was frozen. The tour of the spa area was too constricted when all you wanted to do was to see the thermal spa suite especially after going through the prior embarkation process. The Spa staff were unrelenting in making each guest go through each sales pitch for each service. The usage fee for the Thermal Suite was $269 for the crossing. I understand from other guests, the cost varied without reason. The spa staff was constantly wiping down water and replenishing towels. It seemed the entire staff rarely smiled, except for the entertainers. The musicians on the ship were outstanding, displaying fine musicianship. Debarkation went flawlessly at 6:30am with no lines. I had a great time with some disappointments. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was the second time I had the pleasure of the EPIC and the first as a solo. I was much more impressed with the EPIC this time. Loved her the first time, but after having more time onboard, was able to find even better reviews and ... Read More
This was the second time I had the pleasure of the EPIC and the first as a solo. I was much more impressed with the EPIC this time. Loved her the first time, but after having more time onboard, was able to find even better reviews and places and entertainment. The fact I was solo, also meant I discovered the exclusive studio staterooms and lounge. I am only 26. Quite young for a solo cruiser. I travel solo as a it means I can do exactly what I want, but more importantly I don't have many family or friends who could afford a journey like this. I booked the cruise, as a fly cruise package, including flights with British Airways, transfers between the airport, hotel and port, a pre-cruise hotel, and porter fees at the hotel and at the port. A Very good package. I booked this through a local travel agent when they were offering 10% off. I flew to Miami the night before. A very nice flight, well served by British Airways staff. At the airport I was met by a NCL rep and transported to an airport hotel. (Sofitel Miami). This was a lovely hotel, room only, but had a starbucks in the foyer, outdoor pool, bar and restaurant. I believe there was also a fitness center. A shopping center was about 10 minute walk away. I was only here for 1 night and I was satisfied. The hotel also had a NCL rep who explained the procedure for embarking the cruise in the morning, and shuttle bus time. The next morning the hotel foyer was filled with passengers for the cruise buses. We were transferred to the port arriving around 12. It was unclear at the terminal where to go. On my documentation I had down a terminal for check in, but this was closed. As the ship was only half full I anticipated that one terminal was closed for this. There was a queue for security of about 30 minutes, but check in was quick. Unfortunately I wasn't directed to the latitudes check in. (I was entitled to). I somehow missed picking up a daily - noted passengers carrying these after security, asked and got one at check in. Was able to board the ship straight after check in. Had the cringing picture before getting on board... wish I could opt out of these. We embark the ship on deck 6 by the theatre. Met by officers welcoming you to the ship. Very nice atmosphere. Sooo, what facilities: The EPIC has pretty much everything you could ever need for a lengthy vacation: Mandara Spa and salon, fitness center 2 pools on the main pool deck, 1 pool in Spice H20 - bar at the back, adults only About 6-7 Jacuzzis, a couple adult only 3 water slides 2 main dining rooms, Irish bar (24 hour food) and 2 buffets (indoor/outdoor) all complimentary. Various locations for complimentary drinks: tea, coffee, some fruit juices - available all day on this cruise, iced tea and water. Cake and pastries - complimentary from the atrium cafe Amazing entertainment - Blue man group, legends, howl at the moon, jeff hobson, slam allen, twice as nice, and various other entertainment - music, comedy, improvisation.. lots and lots! Private access to studio lounge (for passengers in studio cabins) Could purchase access to POSH (haven area) Currency exchange Art gallery and auctions Photo gallery Cruise consultants available Gift and liquor shops etc etc etc Stateroom: I was in a studio stateroom. Ideal for solo travellers. On some cruises these are cheaper for a solo guest on others slightly more expensive. I view these as a upgrade to a inside stateroom as: -They have mood lighting - Lovely toilet/shower area - Free chocolate every evening - private access to the studio lounge - the only place for getting complimentary cappuccino, espresso based drinks, cakes/pastries/continental breakfast. This is an ideal space to meet fellow solo travellers and was the location of the daily solo travellers gathering. A very well used space. There was also a bar here, open during the evening. - the daily towel animal guessing game in the stateroom each evening was fun. The service on the ship was second to none. This stood out more than my previous cruise. The staff seemed willing to serve all the time. Anticipated needs well. And ALL staff even if walking past will say hello, INCLUDING officers. The officers were very visible and approachable. Several meet and mingles took place during our cruise, the officers even attended the cruise critic meet and mingle. For the cruise critic lunch, a chefs table special menu was created, which is part of the menu for the special captains table meals... very very impressed! I also noted several passengers were offered free bottles of wine, when enquiring at guest services about separate issues even if not complaining. This was especially true of passengers who were on back to back cruises. I totally believe NCL looks after its guests well. I only ate in complimentary dining options, there were numerous speciality restaurants but I didn't feel the need for these as the food was AMAZING!! I ate half and half between the main dining room, and the buffet and 24 hour bar O'sheehans. The menus seemed to be quite mixed, only issue for me was lack of Indian curry options in the main dining rooms, and lack of really spicy dishes. A comment could be made the English style fish and chips is nothing like the real thing... but it was all good quality and I didn't leave any food behind on my plate! Entertainment: Many complimentary options, a few with charges (second city murder mystery and cirque dreams) I was disappointed Blue Man show was exactly the same, so would prefer that show to be revamped with new content. There was an amazing magician on our ship - Jeff Hobson, now cruising NCL and alaska I believe. And many amazing musical acts, all very good. I didn't feel the legends show was upto scratch, was extremely disappointed by the adult feel of the madonna act, and would prefer this to be scaled back to be more family friendly. Activities: LOTS to do on boards, several things on every hour as per the freestyle daily listings. Game shows, talent shows, cooking demonstrations, quizzes, special interest groups... you name it you got it (or can suggest it) A very good team of cruise directors. The highlight for me was the solo travellers gathering lead by Meaghan. Only comment, lets meet just after lunch on a sea day so we can spend MORE time planning activities together, and later on a sailaway day as sailaway often clashed with the meeting. Pool area: I agree the pools could be quicker, but on my cruise perfectly adequate (I didn't go on the cruise to go swimming). Plenty of Jacuzzis, water slides had no queues. Easy to find loungers on this cruise (half capacity ship). Weather; The sea and weather conditions were very good for a TA. WE had a couple of days of windy and choppy conditions, but otherwise, cloudy, temperature mid 20C but due to breeze did give enough sunlight strength for tanning. Port Stop: Ponta Delgada Azores. Highly recommended stop. A unspoilt, island. Wonderful landscape. Ship docks right in the town, so no need for excursion if not required. I took an excursion for $59, took me to pineapple plantation, garden, and several crater lakes. We had a clear day - amazing landscape! Would love to revisit. The excursion, allowed enough time at the end to shop and get souvenirs. Disembarkment was quick, embarkment was quick. There was a alcohol drop off zone. I would definitely do this cruise again. The cost is less than a 7 day itinerary on EPIC and you get more time onboard. Very good value, and as the ship rarely sails full on this itinerary more space to enjoy the facilities without the ship feeling too full. I was able to buy a cruise reward onboard and I'm trying to work out if I want to book the TA next year (via Marseilles) or to try one of NCL's older ships without the studio concept... its a tricky choice. Definitely do the TA if you haven't had chance. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Our first time sailing with NCL and their freestyle dining system. We were very happy about everything pertaining to this cruise. The price was right. We had a balcony-forward which was partially enclosed for protection, but that meant a ... Read More
Our first time sailing with NCL and their freestyle dining system. We were very happy about everything pertaining to this cruise. The price was right. We had a balcony-forward which was partially enclosed for protection, but that meant a larger and more private area for our enjoyment. The embarkation went smoothly. As we had read online before departure, we knew the staterooms were on the cozy side and configured somewhat non-traditionally. Our room had the restroom area, then bed, then couch area, then the balcony. That was very uncomfortable as there was a choke point by the sink and vanity area. We did end up requesting the vacant room next door which had the flip arrangement with the bed nearest the balcony door. That felt more "right" and helped ease congestion. The ship was beautiful; the staff very professional, friendly and helpful; the entertainment opportunities were great. The ship did not sail full so we never experienced big crowds or lines. The food at the buffet was nice, but not as elaborate or varied as I imagined from what I had read. Even so, for the price and considering other eateries on board, the buffet was hardly a problem! We ate at the "free" Manhattan Room almost every evening, and were able to get in whenever we showed up. The option of sharing a table with others was terrific because we met so many great and interesting cruisers! We did have an opportunity to partake at the French Bistro (courtesy of our booking agent) and truly enjoyed the ambiance, service and delicious food. Overall, we were enthusiastic about our time aboard NCL's Epic and plan on sailing with this line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We've just returned from 22 wonderful days on the Epic. We found the staff exceptionally friendly with many greeting us by name. As advertised, the entertainment is superb. The big name acts were as expected: Blue Man Group, ... Read More
We've just returned from 22 wonderful days on the Epic. We found the staff exceptionally friendly with many greeting us by name. As advertised, the entertainment is superb. The big name acts were as expected: Blue Man Group, Legends, Second City. All were enjoyable, especially as the transatlantic sea days provided time for special "meet the performers" sessions for BMG and Legends. In addition to these, there were many other talented performers in bars and the atrium. Our favorite of all entertainment was the Slam Allen Band which performs in Fat Cats Lounge. This New Orleans style blues band was absolutely fantastic. Second City left after the TA. Stephen Sorrentino, a talented musical comedian came on and was very enjoyable. I did not care for the marionette group which also came on after the TA. We did not see the Spanish ballet which came on in Barcelona. Much has been written about the stateroom and bathroom issues. The standard balcony room was smaller than any we'd been in before. The bathroom didn't cause any problems for the two of us but I would not like that style rooming with a friend rather than spouse. Two days into our cruise we were notified that we would need to move due to noise from a repair on the spa above. At this time I requested a handicapped room to make using my knee scooter easier and having a place to park it. We had paid more in order to not have to move during the three cruise segments and I was not pleased to have to do so. No handicapped rooms were available. (I had not booked one since the accident happened after booking and I'd hoped to be well by the cruise.) None were available but the desk staff very kindly provided an upgraded room which helped a lot. I met someone during the cruise whose travel agent had booked them into a handicapped room because they are bigger. This is an unacceptable practice, IMHO. I had never before traveled or cruised as a handicapped person. I now admire those who seem to do it easily. The design of the Epic did not help me with my first such attempt. Our rooms were both aft at the very end. I never went to breakfast at the buffet as it was too much of a struggle to get there, going the length of the ship to get there and again to get back. I tried to coordinate meals and activities, minimizing the trips to the far end. Whoever designed this ship did not consider the needs of the handicapped. If you wished to go to the Taste dining room, you literally could not get there from the aft elevator. This is not a problem if you walk and take the escalator from the sixth floor. If you must use an elevator, you have to travel the length of the ship, take the forward elevator, and then go back half way. Mid-ship elevators would have helped me get around much better. I'd advise booking a forward room if you have mobility issues. Not all public restrooms had handicapped facilities. The ones which did were very nice, but if one needed wheelchair access, you might have to go up or down a floor to find one. There was no elevator available at the time of embarkation in Miami as it was still being used by those leaving. No reason was given for the delay but being told to sit and wait while others got on was not acceptable. Fortunately, I could stand, so my DH carried my scooter up the escalator so I could board rather than sitting for an unknown amount of time. I booked the spa package for the TA and found it well worth it. It was not at all crowded as the ship was not full. It was easy to get to for me as it is located aft which was right above our room. Food was certainly plentiful. We had one dinner at Cagney's which was excellent. Dining room food was not quite as good as on other NCL ships in past years. I do not know if the more limited menu is just the Epic or change fleet wide. However, if you didn't find something you liked, the "anytime" items such as salmon and steak were always good as was the garden salad. We booked this due to the Med itinerary. If you want time in Pisa, I'd advise not booking a tour that combines it with others. We had only five minutes there..would have been fifteen, but I spent ten in the bathroom. All tours varied according to the guide, I found by comparing notes with other cruisers. It seems there is not enough quality control on this. All in all, we had a great time. I look forward to returning to the Epic when I'm completely back on my feet and can enjoy all of it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was our first cruise with NCL after two previous cruises with Royal Caribbean.THE SHIP - Huge and very impressive. Layout and decor was excellent. We found it easier to navigate our way around the ship than we expected. Pool area was ... Read More
This was our first cruise with NCL after two previous cruises with Royal Caribbean.THE SHIP - Huge and very impressive. Layout and decor was excellent. We found it easier to navigate our way around the ship than we expected. Pool area was fine if under utilised due to the weather.CABINS - No problem with shower, toilet arrangements. I think the negative aspects have been over exaggerated. The bed was something of an issue as I am 6 feet 4 but I still slept reasonably well. The balcony was an adequate size but didn't get used as much as expected due to the weather. RESTAURANTS - We didn't use the premium venues so can't comment. The food and service was good in Taste and seating was always available. The freestyle concept worked for us as we ate there at a range of times. I thought the choice of food in the Garden cafe was excellent and we enjoyed our meals there. The food in the other bars was more than adequate for an afternoon or late night snackENTERTAINMENT - Although not normally lovers of jazz we thought the best and most entertaining act was the Slam Allen blues band. They interacted well withthe audience and everyone seemed to be having a good time.We were disappointed in the Blue Man group after all the hype and lost interest after about 20 minutes. The duelling piano players didn't really do it for us either although we only saw them early in the evening so maybe things livened up later.We enjoyed the Bliss club and thought the Cruise Director did a good job with the various theme nights. It was just a pity that the outdoor Spice H20 couldn't be used more due to the weather.We thought the daytime band by the main pool were too loud. ITINERARYWe knew what to expect but I still think there could be a better way to cross the Atlantic. One or two Caribbean Islands instead of the Azores would be better or maybe one or two Canary Islands. It would have guaranteed better weather for a few days.We had 50 mph gales for 2 or 3 days but the ship stood up well to them and although you could feel some rocking it didn't seem to affect most passengers.It was a bit laughable that the nightly magazine kept on predicting following day temperatures of 77 - 81 degrees and sunny weather whereas the reality was 61 - 65 degrees and almost complete cloud cover.Overall we enjoyed our cruise and will certainly consider NCL and the Epic in future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Overall Comment....This was our first cruise and I would give the cruse a solid B+ to A-. The ship was practically new and the staff was extremely polite and helpful. We were worried after reading a few critical reviews that were not very ... Read More
Overall Comment....This was our first cruise and I would give the cruse a solid B+ to A-. The ship was practically new and the staff was extremely polite and helpful. We were worried after reading a few critical reviews that were not very favorable. Again, we were first time sailors, (not travelers), so please factor that into the comments here. Cabin.....B+Our cabin was #8079 and it had a balcony. The balcony was a "bump out" which meant that it was longer than those cabins which were 4 or 5 floors above it. But being bumped out, we found things like cigaratte ashes and fruit loops on the floor just about every AM. I noticed that our cabin door handle was broken, and it was fixed within 24 hours of sailing, without us reporting it. Housekeeping delivered extra towels when requested. The "curved" cabin was spacious enough for 2 average size adults. The shower and toilet were a little tight. If your extra large, you will be tight. Your feet will go off the bed if you are over 6 foot in height. (minor inconvience) Our sink did not splash over, and it was located on the opposite side of room from the bed. The (6) TV channels were basic CNN, BBC, etc., with the Sales Channel (#16) being a little bit over-done. Sales pitches seemed constant....Discount VIP cards for onshore shopping.....silver, diamonds, rugs, resturants, etc. There is no better time to purchase diamonds. Really(?) A bit over done. Suggestion: When boarding the ship on day #1 they could have told us that the rooms weren't ready yet, but the "Garden" was open for lunch. Food.....A-The sit-down resturants were all very good. (B+ to A-) Think of it as being comparable, or better than, to an upscale urban restraunt. However, not better than "large city" dinning. (We have experience traveling throughout Europe and elsewhere, so we have an idea about good food) The Garden Cafe (buffet) was excellent for breakfast and lunch. (carving stations) We did just the regular dinning for most of the trip, and it was fine. We did go to the French Bistro one night. It was excellent. Escargo (the best ever), filet, and lobster. Well worth the extra money spent. We saw lots of large family groups at just about every meal. (7-10 people) Nice to see families on vacation.Entertainment....B+We did the Blue Man Show, Legends, Circus, and the Comedy Club twice. All were VG.We did the "regular seating" for the Circus show. First, be careful, there are two lines in front of the theater. One for regular, and one for special. The "regular seating" guests go upstairs and are seated in a "cicular balcony". Not a bad seat in the house. If you want to have a chance of being in the show on the bottom floor, do the special seating. Port Excurisions.....CPorta Maya....4 hour bus trip to Mayan Ruins. C(better choice would have been to take a bathing suit and gone swimming right at the port!)Roatan.....4 hour Maya Key Island Getaway.....boat ride to small Island for beach and animals. C (Roatan is a very small port....the beach had sand fleas (got us) and the water was dirty. (as in Hudson river) ....bus ride around island would have been better)Cozumel....3-4 hour Bus tour was OK. Little bit commerical and pushy. C (trinkets and tequiella) Downtown was really commerical. (more trinkets)Misc.....AWife had a manicure on board. One of the best she has ever had! A+Very large workout area with a digital scale. A+The 8 ships elevators were adaquate except when the shows let out. APool chairs impossible to find on sailing days! 1,500 towels, but no people! CNote for the Captain.....The first day we had to meet (H1) in the Epic Theater (in the bow) and it smelled slightly of cigarette smoke. Smoke doesn't really bother me, but it did surprise me. (9 month old ship) Several reviewers said that the smoke from the Casino was bothersome, and I would agree that it was noticeable. I couldn't believe that the smoke would travel 3/4 of the length of the ship and settle in the bow. Decks #5,6, and 7 are all open and connected. Didn't smell it that much out in the open, but did notice it down in the bottom of the theater.If they can't control it through engineering and filtration, they should restrict it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
If you're a new cruiser or a single cruiser, you might have a great time on Epic. My husband and I have taken 8 cruises with 4 different cruise lines. This was our 3rd with NCL. We enjoyed the other 2. We had a balcony cabin. We are ... Read More
If you're a new cruiser or a single cruiser, you might have a great time on Epic. My husband and I have taken 8 cruises with 4 different cruise lines. This was our 3rd with NCL. We enjoyed the other 2. We had a balcony cabin. We are both average size adults. The space between the bed and the counter was only wide enough for one person walking sideways. Smallest balcony cabin ever! This ship is designed with only a few exits to get out on deck so if you enjoy that outdoor stroll after dinner, you'll have a hard time finding a door that leads out except near the pool which by the way was the smallest pool we've seen on any ship by far. Speaking of dinner, sadly; the food was a huge disappointment; worst we've had on a cruise ship Except for the french restaurant where I paid an additional $30 to get Lobster and the Cirque performance dinner which was an additional $20 pp. Since I've brought up money, let me mention that we felt nickled and dimed to death on this cruise. We spent more money on this cruise than on any other we've been on and I still can't tell you exactly where or how. The money wasn't spent on shopping because for the tremendous size of this ship, the shopping is nil. Still, the small shopping area is center ship and impossible to pass without walking through or going up or down a level, and prepare yourself to have several retail clerks step right in front of you every time you try to walk through; asking you to try a cologne or come in to register for the free diamond giveaway, etc. It's constant and very annoying. Throughout the cruise we met several couples that we dined and socialized with. Sadly, all of them were as disappointed as us and said as we did, that they would never cruise on the Epic again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Let me start off by saying that this was my 8th cruise and this is the best ship I've been on. I completely recommend this ship. The few criticisms below are for you to prepare yourself for a slightly different experience or let you ... Read More
Let me start off by saying that this was my 8th cruise and this is the best ship I've been on. I completely recommend this ship. The few criticisms below are for you to prepare yourself for a slightly different experience or let you know how to get around the disappointments we had. I even offer solutions for you. Pros The Entertainment - and i am not talking about just the shows. The climbing wall, rappelling wall, Water Slides, Full sports court with dodge ball, basketball, soccer, wave pools, kids water park... wow Bliss lounge is the best lounge on the water. The main theater has NO COLUMNS to block your view! Comedy cub with several comedy acts! Awesome casino - lots of games and the smoke issue is solved! Club H20 an adult sun area and great outdoor nightclub - fantastic. Quiet sun area on deck 18. Took us a while to find but plenty of chairs and quiet. Use the glass elevator at the pool entrance to the buffet. The Food - I had no complaints about the food, I think it is standard cruise food -which is very good. We never paid extra for food and had more choices than any other cruise. Had we decided to pay more, the choices were phenomenal. The buffet is the best on the water. The ports - If you are a SCUBA diver, or enjoy cheap beach clubs with liquor, these are the ports you want. If you want shopping and not third world, go Eastern Caribbean. The room - nice room with a place for everything. I even liked the bathroom setup. Embarkation - did you really put 4000 people on the ship that day? I was on board in 15 minutes and did not see a line. The picture system. We didnt use it, but still admire the state of the art system. The overall experience - fantastic. The Cons. Space - While some things were great, the space came from other things. There is no atrium. There are no corridors on level 6. When you walk through the casino, there is only room for 2 single file lines between the blackjack chairs and slot machines. This is a main thoroughfare. Solution: during busy times use the level above (level 7) especially if you are in a hurry. Cabin space. I was impressed with the efficiency of the cabins, but my DW was becoming frustrated with the lakc of space between the bed and the counter. Solution: get a bigger stateroom or look at the plans when you book your room and get a bed near the balcony. The beds are located on the wider part of the room so look at the curved wall on the deck plan and pick the one where the wider part is closer to the balcony. Then there is no need to go in that aisle when preparing for the day. Beef - Most of the food is awesome, but if you want good beef, do not be afraid to eat in the buffet (where the roasts are cut for you and are awesome) or pay premium prices. The steaks at Manhattan and Taste were thin and tough. Solutions: Fish and Chips at the 24 hour pub, buffet, premium restaurants. Margarhita and beer tastings - you can get beer tastings for $15. They have 5 bottles lined up on the bar and say you get 1 of each. After you pay, they give them to you in 4 oz cups that are half full. you end up with 12 oz of beer for $15. Solution: just buy the beer you like. you probably already know which one it is. If you want to learn about beers, go to a brewery where tastings are free. The views for Cirque dreams and dinner. Only about 30% of the lower priced tickets can see the whole show. The lower priced tickets sit on the second level (30%)and the perimeter of the first level (70%.) From the perimeter of the first level you miss 3 of the 10 acts when they are hoisted out of your sight or too close to the floor. Solution: either pay for premium seating or get there an hour early. We got there 45 min early and were the first group to get the bad seats. We still enjoyed the show. The food was very good, but small portions. The Poker rake - 10% up to $25 and 25% of tourney buy ins. Solution: read up on how to play in a game with a big rake and when to quit. I ended the cruise up $500 so yes it is possible. Hint: It doesn't help to educate the fish about rakes or what the rake in Vegas is. Karaoke. The selection is limited and they cant use your CD-G unless you know the words. Solution: if you have a CD-G bring also a printout of lyrics or know the words. The tipping system. Sometimes the service was very good. Sometimes a little slow or uncaring. It would be better if tips were more individualized. Solution: don't let the little things bother you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We arrived a day early and stayed at the Hampton Inn, blue lagoon. It was OK for 1 night. The location was convenient to CVS, liquor store, publix and 3 restaurants (cuban-excellent, chinese and italian)I'm not sure I would stay there ... Read More
We arrived a day early and stayed at the Hampton Inn, blue lagoon. It was OK for 1 night. The location was convenient to CVS, liquor store, publix and 3 restaurants (cuban-excellent, chinese and italian)I'm not sure I would stay there again, though. EMBARKATION; we arrived at terminal around ll;00 and everything was extremely organized, and were probably get onto the boat by 11:30. Our first stop was the spa to buy passes (2 for $199.00) we were given a tour and it was probably one of the nicest spas I have ever seen. The thallospa pool was fantastic. they had the heated tile bed chairs, steam, sauna, a relaxation room, and an outside area that overlooked the back of the ship with about 6 lounge chairs. this turned out to be our favorite part of the ship! Our 2nd stop, was to go look at the "posh" sitting area. This is a private outside area for those in suites, with large padded lounges and cabana lounges. It was nice and for an extra $60.00 per person (or $15 daily) u can be away from the noise and crowds near the pools. They only sell a few passes, so we bought the weekly, although we hardly used it, due to poor weather (cold and rainy) but it was great for the few times we did use it. U have to buy these passes at customer service where we also changed our 19 year old sons room card key so that he had our permission to buy beer and wine. He loved this! 1 great tip that bares repeating is to bring bathing suits on with your carry on luggage. there were no lines on the slides and DH & DS just walked on numerous times. they said they were great. Rooms were available after 2:00. We had a midship room, which turned out to be slightly inconvenient since their were no nearby elevators, nor stairs midship. U had to walk either forward or aft. this made it hard to run back and forth to the room and we ended up shlepping things around with us so we wouldn't have go back.(HATE) The next, HATE was the room. I was prepared for the weird bathroom setup, but not until u have been in the room do u understand guests feelings for it. I thought it would be something we might get use to but unfortunately we didn't. It's just not romantic to have someone in the toilet area, while u are brushing your teeth practically right outside. Yes, u can't see in, but u can certainly hear! The room did have a lot of storage, but we had trouble figuring out a few things. We couldn't figure out where the light switch was for the sink area, and we couldn't find where the safe was. Whoever designed this room should be shot because otherwise the ship was beautiful and a great experience. Another tip is that at Moderno they have 2 for 1 martini's until 7:30 I believe for the last 3 nights. Moderno's was the only paid restaurant ($20) that we ate at and it was great. We liked the Manhatten room dining room but found that the service at Taste was inconsistent. We also ate at O'sheehans and thought the food was poor (except for the brownie sunday) and service was mostly poor. Entertainment: in one word - LOVED!! We saw the blueman group, Legends (the michael Jackson impersonator was unbelievable) Britney Spears and Rod Stewart were OK. The backup people were fantastic. We also went to Howl at the moon, fat cats and 2nd city which were good, not great. we skipped cirque as we have seen them 3x and the reviews on the boards were mixed. there is just so much to do on this ship. We had a few bad weather days and it really didn't matter. We would have liked to rock climb and repel, but the weather didn't cooperate. People have complained about the smoke in the casino, but we didn't find it that bad (and I hate cigarette smoke) The gym on the boat was unbelievable. U could always get a machine, and they had some interesting classes. I took the TRX class with my son ($20extra) which we liked. This cruise ranks up there as one of our favorite (this was our 12th) and it was our 1st on Norweigan. Disembarkation: Simple and easy. We did walk off as we had an early flight. We Loved the Epic, but hated the room! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This writing is basically for passengers on the Norwegian Cruise Line's Epic who are booked or are intending to book passage in the Solo Studio Cabins. The purpose is to show what the cabin presents to individual passengers. I will ... Read More
This writing is basically for passengers on the Norwegian Cruise Line's Epic who are booked or are intending to book passage in the Solo Studio Cabins. The purpose is to show what the cabin presents to individual passengers. I will probably write additional reviews on other aspects of the ship and the sailing from the Port of Miami, at a later time. THE EPIC'S SOLO STUDIO CABIN The concept of the solo studio cabins has been long-awaited by many single cruise passengers. Here to for, the best option for a single passenger was to either find a buddy or pay almost double for a cabin. Now, supposedly, a single person won't have to pay the supplemental fee if occupying a cabin by his or herself. One of the ideas fostered by the cruise lines, is to attract more single passengers who formerly balked at paying the extreme supplemental fee especially since they weren't eating double or using double the services offered by the ship. However, don't be fooled until you check the price comparison. On a sailing I've just investigated. The cost of the cabin, even when you pay double, was LESS than the price of a solo studio cabin on the same sailing. This, of course, is due to the current popularity of these cabins vs. the availability of other cabins, and in the future, I suspect the price will be more in line to what it should be. At least I have my fingers crossed. As others ship lines follow suit, I'm sure that the price of such rooms will be more in line to what they should be and, as a result, will begin to attract more single passengers. Below are some of my impressions of the solo cabins. You ,of course, can read better glowing information on the NCL publicity pages which is pretty accurate. So here, I am listing my impressions. [ http://www.epic.ncl.com/the-experience/accommodations/studios/ ] ====== Running down the middle of the ship, almost from end to end, on decks 11 and 12, are the all inside cabins (128) which make up the solo studio cabins. This area is not open to the general public as it requires a key card to open various narrow passageway doors. Servicing these cabins is the great two level Studio Lounge (discussed near the end of the article.) To get into the cabin you enter with a key card. Upon opening the door you insert the card into another slot which turns on the cabin lights. Unfortunately, the cabin lights, at this stage of the game, are not very bright. There are several more switches near the key card insert; one turns some of the lights off while the other two control a single overhead light and the shower stall light. There is some interesting indirect lighting on three walls of the room. This lighting changes color from red to blue to white and all shades in between and is supposed to simulate sunlight, moonlight, romance light (no directions provided [what's that for in a single cabin? Oh!]) - there are buttons to control these. There is also another control - which I couldn't figure out. These auxiliary buttons located towards the head of the bed allow you to freeze any color you want. When the light is frozen at white, the room is much brighter. There also are two night lights right over the head of the bed with their controls illuminated by blue lit buttons. Over the TV desk area there is a light controlled by a separate switch and, over the sink, there is a similar controlled light. The commode room also has a light controlled by a switch inside the small room. Probably this is not too important with the exception that the cabin room really has very subdued lighting and probably is not as bright as you would like. In order to make the room brighter, by changing the alternating lights to white, one has to travel around the bed, turn sideways and negotiate the very narrow passageway between the bed and the built-ins which is only one shoe +3 fingers wide before one can push the sunlight (or white) button. Each time the lights are darkened by either pushing one of the special switches or removing the key card from the lighting slots, the settings return to their original positions. Which means, one has to go through the same rigmarole each time they turn the lights off then on. SUGGESTION NCL: the bed for a single needn't be as wide as a double bed. A slightly narrower bed would allow more walking space by the closets, drawers, desk and TV. Having the initial indirect light be white (by default - instead of red), later to be adjusted to the various other modes including alternating colors, if desired, would be more ideal for normal use. THE COMMODE He commode is adequate but when in use, and the door closed, one of your legs get squeezed. Of course all you have to do is open the door -- since there is no one else there, not even a guest, Eh? The commode is vacuum flushed and rather fast. The walls of the small room (chamber) is rather sparse. SUGGESTION NCL: as storage is a premium this is a good place for additional shelves and wall hooks to take care of excess items. I would highly recommend this. THE SHOWER STALL The shower stall is quite an interesting, two walls are tiled and the remaining two consist of glass. The stall projects out into the room a little bit and if a person is taking a shower they are exposed to anyone else who was in the cabin. Well, almost exposed, part of the glasses frosted. But you can see outlines and shapes very easily. Now the shower stall is rather small. As the ship comedian said, "all one has to do is soap up the walls and glass and spin around a little bit to get clean." Warning, if you are a large person you will have difficulty in this small space. I personally had difficulty in closing the shower door. It wouldn't shut for me and remained somewhat ajar. However, the room steward finally instructed me and after I pulled the door with a little more force than probably should be necessary, the door would shut and water wouldn't be running on the floor -- anymore. That's not to say that the Pergo floor didn't get wet, it did. But a bath mat took care that. Some have reported that in other cabins the Pergo floor has started to buckle due to the water on the floor. THE DOOR BETWEEN THE ROOMS Between the shower and the John there is a locked door to another room it is faced with a floor-to-ceiling mirror. Unfortunately there is a big gap between the bottom of the door in the floor This is not present much of a problem except when your neighbor is playing the TV or radio loudly and you are trying to sleep. It happened to me as my neighbor came back to his room about 3:30 each morning and turned on his radio. Fortunately, he must've had it on sleep control for it went off in about 30 min. I did have to place a rolled up towel in the crack under the door to cut down on the noise. SUGGESTION NCL: place some sort of sound barrier at the bottom of this type of door. SUGGESTION PASSENGER: if your neighbor makes noise, roll up the towel and place it at the bottom of the door to block out the sound. When I mentioned this to my room steward, he did this for me daily -- although it may have been the same towel each day. THE FLOOR Part of the floor is a Pergo material and the remaining portion, mostly under the bed, is carpeted. Not much carpet to walk on. THE @#$! SINK The sink is the main contention, not only for people in the solo cabins but for people in other cabins too - IT IS TOO SMALL! The sink area measures about two shoes wide and about one shoe and three fingers in depth. The actual bowl is rather small. One can't help but splash on the Pergo floor. You must commandeer the bath mat or lay another towel on the floor. There is a large available mirror. Please note that there is very little room around the edges of the sink for one to place their toiletries, as the edges are narrow. SUGGESTION NCL: a larger sink is really necessary. If you are unable to make changes on this ship certainly consider a redesign on future ship buildings. In addition you might even consider additional hooks in the sink area for people to hang toiletry bags. An additional bathmat in each room would be a benefit. Here is also wasted mirror space so considering small shelves might be a valuable addition too. SUGGESTION PASSENGERS: you might consider taking along some of those removable sticking (non-marking) hooks manufactured by 3M; not only for the sink area but for other areas in the cabin. THE SHELVES ALONGSIDE THE SINK There are some cubbyhole areas running down the left side of the sink. Five of them are open, an additional one has a door, and the bottom one is really a slide out trash can. THE SHELVES UNDER THE SINK Underneath the sink there are two shelves covered by sliding doors. SUGGESTION PASSENGERS: it would be handy if you brought along quart size and gallon size plastic zipper bags to house some of your material that you could stuff in these cubbyholes or on the shelves underneath the sink to keep them somewhat organized and easy to reach. THE DRAWERS What drawers? THERE ARE NO DRAWERS! SUGGESTION NCL: what's up with that? SUGGESTION PASSENGER: you might consider doing this - use your suitcase(s) which you will store underneath your bed as a drawer(s). The bed clears the floor with ample space allowing you to store excess baggage underneath the bed. THE BED The bed is very ample. It is of double bed size. It is furnished with four regular pillows and three colored throw pillows and has a nice European type puff filled blanket. It is really too big for the room and its size is really a luxury. CLOSET NUMBER ONE This closet is not really a closet but a depression about as wide as the sink. The top part has a fixture for furnished or brought hangers. There are two shelves at the bottom. CLOSET NUMBER TWO This closet also contains a hanging area. On one of the shelves there is a combination lock safe and a shelf below that contains your life jackets. It's door slides to cover the desk and TV area. All the shelves, sliding doors, and cubbyholes are of the latest IKEA design but fortunately you don't have to construct them yourself. SUGGESTION NCL: you should add some removable shelves in the closet fixture, perhaps using small dowel hole metal, wood or plastic projections as shelf supports. You can ask for directions at IKEA. Additional shelving space would be welcomed and is needed by your passengers. THE DESK AND TV AREA Between the two closets is your TV and (cough) desk (cough). The TV has a remote control and brings in only a handful of stations other then the ships channels. The desk is about as wide as the sink and about the same area as the sink. Part of the desk is taken up by the ice bucket and its tray and glasses. The desk can only be pulled from the wall only a couple of inches. Remember, there is little room between that area and the side of the bed. So the desk becomes essentially useless other than storing a few items. One can't hang their feet over the side of the bed and operate their computer with the desk pulled out. No leg room left. NCL SUGGESTION: again, what's up with that? PASSENGER SUGGESTION: if you want to use your computer by placing it on your bed, remember that the airflow will be restricted and it might overheat. It would be best to use it outside the room, in the Living Room or some other area of the ship to keep the interior of the computer cool. OTHER AMENITIES There are two available towel bars and three electrical plugs. Two of the electrical plugs are housed in the cubbyholes alongside the sink and are hard to get to especially if you have items in the cubbyhole. There is NO HAIRDRYER in the cabin. (There is one in the normal interior and balcony cabins and I also saw a bunch in the men's bathroom of the gym.) PASSENGER SUGGESTION: you may not find that there are enough plugs or that they are conveniently placed. It might be wise to bring along a small extension cord or one of those 'Y' plugs which allow you to plug in more small appliances. Remember you may have many devices that need to be charged. For example: phone, GPS, computer, iPod/MP3 player, electric toothbrush, electric shaver, camera battery, and vibrating massager. MOON WINDOW There is a very unique fake window in each studio. It faces the hallway, has indirect lighting and has an electric adjusting Venetian blind. The purpose, I suppose, is to give you the impression of a large porthole looking out to a moonlit night. One can see shadows of people passing in the hallway, but you really can't see out or in. There are two sliding doors that shut off the view completely. QUICK DIAL PHONE There is a modernistic wall phone on the wall by the bed. It also doubles as the another night light. HOOKS There are only a couple of hooks on the door between the adjoining rooms. There is really no place to hang wet laundry, water shoes, bathing suits - not to mention other items of clothing that you might rinse out or hand wash. SUGGESTION NCL: add additional hooks throughout the cabin for people to hang various items of clothing. The retractable string line in the shower is too short and too close to the wall. SUGGESTION PASSENGERS: you might consider taking along some of those removable sticking (non-marking) hooks manufactured by 3M for all areas of the cabin. Remember to properly remove them when you leave. LOCKED CORRIDORS In order to get to your room you have to use a key card to enter a narrow blue-light lit corridor then, use the key card again to get into room. Finally, you use your key card to turn on your room lights. When you remove your key card upon leaving the room, the lights will go off - 'automagically'. ROOM BAGGAGE DELIVERY AND PICK-UP Superior. Probably the best of all my 24 cruise ship experiences. VENDING MACHINES At various locations in the area are some vending machines with snacks and soft drinks on a pay for product basis. THE STUDIO LOUNGE Many passengers will agree that it is the Studio Lounge that makes these solo cabins very desirable by adding that special touch for the single passenger. The lounge is really a two-story room where the upper deck (accessed via the deck 12) looks down to the bottom floor on deck 11, much like a balcony, and contains stairs leading down to the main floor. On the main floor one finds a bar area, a snack area, a fantastic coffee machine area, several sets of tables and chairs, several other sets of booth-type sitting and tables, long counter table with stool seats, two giant flat screen TVs on the wall, plus some showcases displaying various Epic available space items. Now for the magic of the room. This is a gathering place for all the occupants of the 128 solo cabins. It is a place not only where you can congregate, meet each other, make plans for the evening, get drinks, snacks, all sorts of coffee, and cookies, but a place where an assigned program director meets with you from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM each evening to tell you what's happening on the ship, making dinner arrangements, show arrangements, activity arrangements and acts as an interlocutor helping people meet each other. During the same early evening period a bartender is present, it is happy hour and drinks are 2 for 1 -- which in itself, is a boon to your pocketbook. He bartender is happy, you're happy, the cruise line is happy, in fact, everybody's happy. The bars completely stocked and there is necessary equipment for making all sorts of mixed drinks and slushy drinks. Of course, as the drinks are consumed, the noise level rises but who cares? The program director, Megan in my case, does an excellent job, and of course is full of cheerleading motivational energy, as is most of the crew. She is not only helpful with activities on ship, both daytime and evening time, but also off-ship and touring as well. She helps make this experience quite unique and quickly becomes our leader. The program director prepares a daily easel board upon which she writes various tidbits of newsstand directions for activities. The coffee machine turns out to be one of the best features of the room. It is a Super Duper Star Wars automatic Ring-a-ding-ding device that instantly prepares coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, hot water for teas, warm milk, hot milk, etc. -- at the push of a button after even steam warming your cup. Preparation activities are performed internal to the machine such as grinding, brewing, mixing, milk or cream addition, frothing, foaming, etc. You can believe that this machine is quite used. First, espresso and it's cousins are FREE here. In the rest of the ship, at the coffee bars and even dining rooms, there is a premium charge. No wonder that early in the morning, after exercising in the gym, one can find many singles using the machine. Then before and after breakfast a gaggle of coffee drinkers, and of course during the day. Even, after bar hopping in the evening. Did I mention before that all you do is place your cup under the spout and press the appropriate button, then stand back and watch all the conniptions -- and the drink and machine show is FREE. I'm sorry that my suitcase was not big enough to abscond with the machine off the ship, but I realized that my airline would charge me extra for the additional weight and it was probably not worth it (chuckle). CONCLUSION He studio In concept is an excellent idea which should be quite popular in attracting more solo passengers on this cruise line. Other cruise lines will copy with their new ships and all cruise lines should work out some ways of altering some of their smaller cabins to provide this service -- so the single passenger could (and should) travel at a more appropriate rate than they can at present. There are some fixes which might be made to the Epic's version (see Suggestions) to make the environments more user friendly, but these are somewhat minor and the traveler can, with some ingenuity, overcome the short fallings. But, come on NCL!, the price shouldn't be more for a solo cabin than the double one-passenger price for a normal cabin -- that defeats the purpose of making it more reasonable for attracting more single travelers. Let me suggest, if I may be so bold, please return to the 'old' days where the supplement was only 25 to 50% more for the single traveler -- especially since the cabins are much smaller, and, in the long run can, arguably, provide more potential passenger income for the cruise line when considering space occupied per individual and the additional income from drinks, fee shows, fee specialty restaurants, cruise sponsored shore excursions, specialty shops, photo sales, pay for services, etc. that are reflected in the heart-stopping final bill. Gary (LeVoyageur) Hayman Greenbelt, Maryland Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We just got back today...We booked this 7 day cruise a few months ago..and i think we jumped the gun. There were 7 of us traveling in 2 family balcony rooms and 1 single studio. This was the most disorganized cruise I have ever been on. No ... Read More
We just got back today...We booked this 7 day cruise a few months ago..and i think we jumped the gun. There were 7 of us traveling in 2 family balcony rooms and 1 single studio. This was the most disorganized cruise I have ever been on. No one ever knew anything, and maybe that was due to the majority of the staff not speaking English. The attitude from everyone from the dining staff, to housekeeping staff, to cruise directors left an awful lot to be desired. We were charged with items we never ordered and had to spend a ridiculous amount of time at customer service. We had 1 of the rooms with no housekeeping for over 24 hours, and after 5 calls someone finally showed up. Housekeeping supervisor refused to speak to us. On day 2 We wrote a customer feedback form and asked for a supervisor to contact us regarding numerous issues and no one ever got back to us. The food for the most part was regular banquet hall food...bland...under cooked..in general very poor quality. The most distressing issues was the lack of security. There is an on deck open air area called H2O Spice zone where dance parties are held at night. On the 2nd night there was a white party and 2 major brawls broke out. The DJ stopped the music twice as he was calling for security and the fights were spilling into the open corridors. It took more than 30 minutes for security to show up and once they showed up they just stood around asking people to stop. If you like sleeping where you shower and go to the bathroom, then book the cruise. There is no privacy in the rooms unless you have a single person studio, When you take a shower the whole room steams up and you have to sit on your bed in order to use the sink as water flies all over your bed. It is absolutely ridiculous... The only good thing about the cruise was the blue man group and the legends in concert. The highly touted circus is a TOTAL bust. It is a bunch of people running around the dining room as the feed you crappy food. I have to say...I've never seen a cruise director drinking and partying in the clubs every night with guests and other staff. Never again will do a Norwegian cruise..Royal carribean is the way to go.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
I just got home from my cruise on NCL Epic, and I liked it! As a solo traveler, the studios were a perfect fit for my budget. There was plenty of storage space (once I found the baskets under the bed). Granted, the room is SMALL, but I ... Read More
I just got home from my cruise on NCL Epic, and I liked it! As a solo traveler, the studios were a perfect fit for my budget. There was plenty of storage space (once I found the baskets under the bed). Granted, the room is SMALL, but I only use it for sleeping and showering anyway. I would NEVER book a studio for two people. The entertainment was great. I particularly liked the dinner theater options. I saw both the Cirque and the Murder mystery. As a solo traveler, I was seated with other families. It was a bit awkward at first, but I am pretty good at adapting and making small talk. The food was great (it was a set meal, but I like to try new things - so no complaints from me). I know the kids at the table didn't like the meal. Perhaps NCL should consider having a kids' menu for these shows. The adults' only pool (Spice H2O) was particularly awesome for me. The pool was a little warm and the hot tubs were a little cold. But the benefit of not tripping over little kids was a big bonus for me. I did wander over to the main pools to try out the water slides. They were great fun. One issue (not an NCL problem) was that mothers would wait in line for the Epic Plunge, and when they neared the front of the line, six little kids would appear out of nowhere and the mothers would smile and shrug at me as they let them into line. Needless to say, I only waited in that line once (I was afraid I might voice my disgust towards these people too loudly to attempt it again.) I heard complaints about the main pools and I can see their point. For a ship with over 4000 people, I think the main pools are way too small. The food was also very good, although a bit repetitive. It seemed like the buffet line never changed selections. Taste was tasty - but again, it was largely the same menu every night. I like the idea of the specialty restaurants, and I don't even mind that there is a small fee. But $20 is a lot! Especially considering that I already paid for my meals when I purchased by cruise. MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT - and I really hope NCL takes this into consideration... The majority of the parties (night life clubbing) catered to the 18 - 24 year olds. The theme nights were fun, but there were not enough of them and they ended at 11 pm. After that, your only real choice was Bliss. There was a lot of hip-hop and techno. There were a lot of drunken YOUNG adults - grinding, throwing up in the bathroom, and starting stupid fights. I understand the policy of allowing 18 year olds to drink with parent permission, but it needs to be monitored (and it didn't seem that the parents were doing so!) There needs to be a limit to how much they can consume - perhaps a punch card of some sort? Most nights, I ended up leaving because watching the young ladies getting drunk, showing off their thongs, and in some cases being taken advantage of, was very distressing. Please consider keeping Spice H2O open later into the night with dance music that is NOT hip-hop or techno. Let the young adults keep Bliss, but give us medium adults (over 30 year olds) a place to let our hair down. 80s nights, sock hops, anything! I am considering sailing Epic again, so it would be really nice to have options. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Norwegian Epic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.7

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