Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: July 2010
I'm going to make this short since I really don't have a lot of good things to say about my sailing on the Epic. It was a short 2 night trip to introduce the ship and show us all the WOW factor. Unfortunately, I left feeling like ... Read More
I'm going to make this short since I really don't have a lot of good things to say about my sailing on the Epic. It was a short 2 night trip to introduce the ship and show us all the WOW factor. Unfortunately, I left feeling like "WOW, that was not good!" Our balcony cabin was beautiful to look at, horrible to stay in. The bed was by the door/bathroom so there was hardly any space to stand and use the sink. If my partner was by the balcony and needed to use the bathroom we had to pass by one at a time, since there's only room for one person to walk near the end of the bed. The balcony was fine, not a huge space, and we could see next door since the separation wall was curved. I felt like I had to say hello to the neighbors every time I went out there. Not private at all. I did think that the rooms had a ton of storage space and that was impressive. But I would have traded all of that in for just a bit more room to move around. And the fact that I can be sleeping and my partner could come in at 2am and want to brush her teeth, which would be right next to my feet. Stupid design, period. As for the bathrooms, huge failure IMHO. But it's not because they are divided and have see-through smoked glass(not a problem for us, but I heard a ton of complaints about it from families). And it's not because of the 'privacy' curtain or the sink in the living space (although that is ridiculous). And it's not because of the curved bed(but anyone over 5'10" will have their feet hang over end). It's because you have to use the toilet and THEN open the door to go wash your hands!! Can you say unsanitary?? I sincerely hope that those door handles are scrubbed daily and between sailings! Just plain disgusting. As for the entertainment, they had plenty. As others have said, if you want to party and dance and gamble, this is the place. With Blue Man, Second City, and Cirque, you're good to go. Second City was ok, passed on Blue Man (we've seen them 3 times already) and loved Cirque, although the food was blah and the show a bit long. (but come on, the things those acrobats can do...) My other BIG issue was the smoking. It was everywhere. The cabin below and next to us were smokers and it kept us inside. In the casino, you might as well wear a gas mask to play the tables. O'Sheehans Pub is a great concept, but to allow smoking indoors with food? Come on, almost every state in the country doesn't even allow that anymore. And we tried to enjoy the pool bar on 3 separate occasions but there were always a ton of smokers there. So by the pool, casino, up on deck, on the balconies, everywhere. They need to look at cutting back on smoking areas. We live a smoke-free life and like to vacation that way. A land-based vacation includes non-smoking flights, non-smoking hotels, non-smoking rental cars, non-smoking bars and restaurants. But go on NCL, and you're constantly in a cloud of smoke. You go back to your cabin and your hair, your cloths, everything smells like smoke. It amazes me that others are allowed to ruin someone else's health all in the name of making them happy. (Sorry to rant, but honestly, the smoke really got to me-my contacts, my nose, my throat, all a mess-and this was only for 2 nights!!) The pool area was silly. They have 2 pools the size of postage stamps and they were crammed. It's crazy. They used most of the deck space for the slides. However, kids will love, love, love the water slides and activities. BUT the pool deck gets so over-flooded in certain spots that you can't walk without slipping. NCL actually has workers there all day just pushing the water out of the way. Again, poor design. They say "Freestyle Cruising" but not on the Epic. You have to pre-plan and PAY for most of the dining. How is that "Freestyle" if in the first hour you are on the ship, you have to book your whole week of meals or you'll miss out?? And at lunch, we tried to go to Wasabi but they only seat 20 people. So if you are not there right when they open, it's an instant 45 minute wait. Again, poor design. All in all, not my kind of ship. No quiet spots (unless you get a studio room or suite with the private pool area), too much smoke, very loud, lots of partying, and too much pre-planning. Most of my friends and family would never be around that much smoke, would want more healthy-choice options for activities and dining(and breathing), and would need some quiet time/romantic areas. This ship reminds me of adults reliving their spring break days combined with a thousand mini-vans unloaded in one spot. Fun for some, a nightmare for others. I prefer Royal Caribbean and I will stick with them. I like having a solarium for adults only, mostly smoke-free(however even RCCL needs to change their balcony-smoking policy), and plenty of space. The Epic just seemed crammed to the gills with too much "stuff". Families will probably do well if you have little ones(not teens), but other than that, you are really taking your chances by booking this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
First impressions: Seeing the Norwegian Epic tower over the pier in New York was impressive, in fact the Epic completely blocked the site of the Carnival Miracle docked in the next pier over. I knew the ship was going to be very big, and ... Read More
First impressions: Seeing the Norwegian Epic tower over the pier in New York was impressive, in fact the Epic completely blocked the site of the Carnival Miracle docked in the next pier over. I knew the ship was going to be very big, and what seems to always be among the first comments when you talk to someone is "wow this ship is really big". Having also been aboard the Oasis of the Seas with Royal Caribbean, in January, which is a much larger ship at 240,000 tons, it was interesting to compare the two. Oasis is the biggest, but you'd hardly know the difference when ships get this big. I think as ships get larger, the ocean seems smaller, because the focus onboard these giants revolves around numerous options, more amenities, more dining venues, more entertainment, more staterooms and suites, and of course more people. The key is to build a big ship with excellent attention to passenger flow, and I think for the most part, NCL has succeeded in developing spaces and lounges that flow together well. Wavy staterooms One of the big discussion points as the Norwegian Epic is revealed in all her glory, is her "wavy", staterooms with curved walls and separate compartments for the toilet and the shower. My first impression when I arrived at my room 9248, a deluxe Balcony stateroom, was that it felt small and narrow. I liked the wood-like paneling, and the lighting. There's a large domed-ceiling above the bed that offered a soothing glow, which reminded me of something from the future. I discovered plenty of storage space, and clever baskets in a couple of the compartments, which are perfect for storing the dirty clothes after a long day at the beach or exploring the Mayan Ruins. The bed linens were nice, but the beds, themselves, were a bit too firm for my taste. The balcony was a decent size, and from what I understand, the air conditioning for the room, is connected to the sliding balcony door, and the air shuts off when the door is opened so passengers aren't wasting or blasting cool air into the hot and often humid Caribbean. There has been much to say about the bathroom arrangement in the wavy staterooms, most of the comments being on the "uneasy" side. After speaking with seasoned cruise industry journalists who suggested that North Americans will have a problem with the bathroom arrangement, I came to the conclusion that maybe experienced cruisers might struggle with it a bit, but first-time cruisers won't notice anything terribly unusual. I have noticed when first-time cruisers board a ship for their vacation, everything is "different" and takes a little "getting used to", for example; the movement of the ship, the lips at the base of many doors, compact staterooms, even navigating around the ship. Because "things are different" on a cruise ship, many passengers won't notice or care that the bathrooms are unusual onboard the Epic. I think the staterooms are smallish, even the suites. This is most certainly a high-density ship, and I think it will be interesting to experience the ship when at full capacity. Additionally, I think even a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom would be a squeeze for three or four people. I enjoyed the stateroom dEcor, and after spending some time in the room, I was pleased with the overall "feel" of the room. At a press conference someone asked about the little sink outside of the shower and toilet area with the tallish spout. The answer was that it was decided and chosen, several years ago, by Colin Veitch, the previous CEO of NCL, to install these unique sinks, so that he could easily fill his tea kettle. It was suggested, in somewhat of a joking way, that perhaps this is why Colin is the "previous" CEO and not the current CEO. Entertainment Without question, Norwegian Cruise Lines has upped the ante industry-wide with their "branded" entertainment including Blue Man Group, Second City, Legends in Concert, Cirque Dreams, and Nickelodeon at sea. Entertainment on ships has certainly evolved over the last couple of years with full-scale broadway-style musicals, high-diving shows and now branded entertainment. I enjoyed Blue Man Group, it was so refreshing and cool to see on a ship this eclectic and wild show performed by these "Blue Guys". I have a theory about who the Blue Men are trying to be.....they are aliens from another world experiencing simple human interaction, and it's hilarious, particularly the scene with the twinkie and the volunteer (victim) from the audience. I found myself caught-up in the show, and that says a lot because I have seen the best of the best when it comes to big shows on cruise ships, having been a Cruise Director. The live bands around the ship are also a huge plus in my book. Many of the cruise lines still use piped-in music or tracks, but NCL is using live music. There are numerous live music venues around the ship including a "Blues" club. It will take a week just to experience all the unique entertainment onboard the Norwegian Epic. Another interesting thing I discovered onboard the Norwegian Epic is that the ship doesn't just have a Cruise Director, but also an Entertainment Director, because of the magnitude of entertainment offered. The Norwegian Epic will have wonderful entertainment options for families with children because of the Nickelodeon at sea experience and the spectacular water slides on the pool deck. The youth and the teens have their own spaces and rooms for hanging out and playing videos games and watching movies. There is a vast sports deck with bungee jumping, basketball, and NCL is even offering ice skating, which is a direct competitive move to compete with Royal Caribbean. Now NCL can say, "Hey we also have ice skating at sea". The Epic is packed from stem to stern with entertainment options from the shows, the live music and the very active bars with darts, bowling, and you can even play a game of pool on two pool tables. Freeze your butt off in the Ice Bar, enjoy dancing on deck with a giant TV screen, or find a quiet spot somewhere on deck for a romantic rendezvous, there's so many options. The key is that not only is there a multitude of options, but the quality of those options is excellent. Dining When I first experienced "Freestyle dining" on the Norwgian Pearl a couple years ago, I was skeptical, however, I was soon sold on the concept when I realized that I didn't have to go eat at a certain time if I didn't want to...I could eat later and have numerous choices of where to eat. The Norwegian Epic has truly taken Freestyle Dining to the level with a plethora of quality dining options throughout the ship. You can get pizza, fish & chips, a sizzling steak, sushi, Teppanyaki, Italian food, French food, you name it and they probably have it aboard the Epic. I think I heard there were 26 different restaurants onboard. During my short visit I didn't really have an opportunity to enjoy the fine dining in the restaurants because I was scrambling to get all my scheduled interviews, take pictures and video and explore the ship, so I just stopped briefly to grab a quick something and then I was off to my next meeting. I did, however; have a wonderful mushroom soup in the Bistro that is burned into my memory and taste buds. I don't think I heard any negative comments about the food onboard. I really enjoyed the Garden Cafe for breakfast on Deck Fifteen because of the vast options including: fruits, meats, eggs, cream of wheat, pancakes and waffles, cereals, breads, pastries, all divided into stations throughout the Garden Cafe, and you can't beat the views high above the sea. DEcor around the ship I found the dEcor to be very whimsical and modern, with some classically elegant rooms for dining and socializing. The ship is very colorful but tasteful from the carpets to the artwork on the bulkheads. I didn't think the dEcor was over the top like you might see on a Carnival ship, rather I felt the tone around the ship to be fun, classy, and modern. I enjoyed the way the interior areas were broken-up into nooks and very usable spaces. There wasn't much wasted space on this ship at all, in fact the Norwegian Epic was designed to truly maximize passenger-flow from one area to another. There's even an escalator to assist with this passenger flow midship. I could see an evolution in cruise ship interior design onboard the Epic that I haven't noticed on other ships. I could see that a tremendous-level of thought went into the passenger areas. Gone are the days of boxy lounges and specific rooms; on the Epic, one room flowed and transitioned into another. I almost felt like I was in a casino in Las Vegas the way the various areas seamlessly came together. There was also an excitement in the air, not because this was a brand new ship, but I think the dEcor and laughter, the music and general pulse of the activity onboard promoted a sense of relaxation, and fun. Conclusion When I first saw the artist rendering of the Norwegian Epic, I thought there must have been a mistake, the ship looked comically top heavy and odd with decks 15 and 16 above the bridge area. After visiting the ship, I had a sense that the ship was very solid, and someone cleverly pointed out to me that this ship was built from the inside out. It really is what's on the inside that counts, and the Norwegian Epic is truly a ship that will make a big splash in a very positive way with singles, couples, and families. And speaking about single cruisers, The Epic has these very cool pod-like, staterooms for single passengers, and there's no single occupancy supplement which is excellent news for single travelers. I met with Mr. Paul Priestman who designed these single occupancy staterooms, and he was very proud of his work on these compact rooms. These rooms are almost patterned after the pod-like spaces in Japan where someone can sleep and clean-up and not much else. Mr. Priestman made these single rooms very comfortable, with fun lighting and clever cubbies for storage and hanging clothes. There's also a private shower and toilet, so there's everything you need to basically spend the week on this ship in your own small stateroom pod. It will be very interesting to see how passengers receive the Norwegian Epic this year while she is cruising the Caribbean. The hardware is very interesting, there's a lot to do, but more importantly, the crew and staff are all very excited about their new ship. I also heard that a majority of the crew onboard has their own room, which is a huge plus for those who work on the ship for months at a time. What makes an excellent cruise vacation experience is not just the fancy hardware, but the care and excellent service of the staff onboard, which I am confident the Norwegian Epic will deliver with style! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
The NCL Epic is a wonderful ship - it's everything you heard. Both the good and the bad. Good: Teppanyaki --- Filet Mignon. Yum. Casino --- HUGE! Lost $200, but it was fun. Pool - Not very large, but awesome. Waterpark - The slides ... Read More
The NCL Epic is a wonderful ship - it's everything you heard. Both the good and the bad. Good: Teppanyaki --- Filet Mignon. Yum. Casino --- HUGE! Lost $200, but it was fun. Pool - Not very large, but awesome. Waterpark - The slides are very nice. Sports Complex - My wife went ice skating. 'Nuff said. Ice Bar --- totally worth it if you like Vodka drinks or just want to be very cold. Overall, the ship is awesome. Seriously worth it. BUT... The Not-So-Good: AVOID CIRQUE DREAMS. It was more of a nightmare. Food wasn't so great (no choice, you get what you get, and vegetarian option is a few veggies on a plate.) But the entertainment is AWFUL. The acrobatics are AWESOME, but the stupid plot that surrounds it is so ANNOYING!! Don't waste your money!!! AVOID THE BAR ON DECK 6: Waitress service is slow. The food is nasty. Chicken Fingers were soggy, the wings were either too spicy or too dry (tried them twice.) Chicken Pot Pie my friend said was great, but its not worth it. And the sounds of bowling right next door are loud. Every other restaurant is good (except Cirque Dreams, that is.) THE ROOMS. Well, they're nice... but the layout is weird. Toilet separated from sink and shower. Shower opens up into room, so expect a flood if you forget a towel for the floor. And the sink is weird - we couldn't figure out how to get it to drain. PLUS, no one tells you that you need to put your keycard in the slot for the electricity to work (cool feature to save energy, but for god sakes, tell someone!) plus no one tells you to dial TWO ZERO's on the phone to get the front desk. Ugh! NICKELODEON: If you have small kids, they will want to meet Spongebob. Sure, go ahead. But the food is mediocre and again, you don't get a choice. Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Croissants, and Green Slime Syrup. Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Very nice stuff on board, and if you avoid the circus (literally) and see Blue Man Group and Second City instead, you will have a great time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2010
It is easy to see why this ship has been so promoted in the media and by the cruise line. As a new ship it does have it's "bugs" which have to be worked out but your choices for entertainment, restaurants, bars, recreation ... Read More
It is easy to see why this ship has been so promoted in the media and by the cruise line. As a new ship it does have it's "bugs" which have to be worked out but your choices for entertainment, restaurants, bars, recreation seems to be endless or you can just choose to relax and do nothing. We were one of the first to board and not being able to make reservations for shows and restaurants on line (like longer cruise passengers can do 45 days in advance), we immediately went to restaurant reservations desk and reserved the ice bar and dinner in Moderno's. Went next to the box office and found out that with limited seating in the "Spiegel Tent" that confirmed space was not available but we could "standby" 30 minutes before performances. We were able to confirm Blue Man Group and Second City Improv. We were told that on the short sailing that Legends would be performing in the Manhattan Room Restaurant and no reservations were necessary. We then wend to our cabin and found the new Monden design to have its drawbacks. While it is 180 square feet in size the "curves" in the wall makes the cabin seem smaller. Found plenty of room for storage of clothes which was located across from the sofa. The major drawback seems to be with the bathroom arrangement. The sinks are very small and you can't help but splash water on the carpeting. (Spoke with the executives on board and this is the first to be changed as they realized after the fact of the problem). While having the sink outside of the separate compartments for the toilet and shower is a great idea in principle you are standing on the floot while drying off from the shower. There is a curtain you can pull for privacy but the water on the floor will soon flow to the new carpeting and create a problem. Also no toiletries or soap bars provided. Just shampoo and liquid soap in the shower and next to the sink. We found the balcony to be a good size. There are so many choices for entertainment, recreation, spa services, and food that no one should be disappointed. We reserved the ice bar before dinner and in my opinion it is worth the $20 charge per person. We had dinner at Moderno's and again I think the service and method of carving the meats at your table makes it worth the $25 charge. There is an extensive salad bar. The vegtables served family style at the table may need some improvement but we most filled up on the meats which were excellent. We were able to see the following shows; Blue Man Group (included at no cost) and the same 90 minute show people pay $100 per person and up on land. We sat in the front row and were given poncho's just in case. Felt like a VIP. Stood in the standby line and were able to see the Nickoledion Breakfast (if you have children well worth the additional charge of $15 for adults and I think $10 for children); The Murder Mystery Lunch by Second City (Worth the additional charge); The Circ Dreams and Dinner is definitely worth the additional $15 or $20 permium seats charge as the meal of filet mignon and chicken etc makes it seem like a free show which people again pay up to $100 per person for on land (and it lasted 2 hours non stop). Because this dinner conflicted with the time of the Legends Show we did not see but heard it was great at no additional charge (and you pay about $50 per person for that). We didn't get to sample the bowling or the aqua park but talking to others they say the water slides are exhilirating. I also am a poor bowler but 6 lanes are available. The casino is huge but I do not gamble so cannot comment on the pay out rate. I did see and would recommend Howl at the Moon with the dueling piano's and the great Blues music in the Jazz Club. The staff I found to be very friendly and as a new ships there are some "bugs" in the system. NCL will let passengers who have made final payment make on line reservations for all the shows and restaurants. I would recommend it since the show venue's are relatively small compared with other cruise ships of that capacity. Hope this evaluation is helpful. Read Less
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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