4 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Canary Islands

We went Platinum this trip on NCL and no wonder with the incredible assistance they provided to me with my leg in a boot cast. I broke my ankle a few weeks before the trip. So I called my personal Cruise Consultant, who immediately stepped ... Read More
We went Platinum this trip on NCL and no wonder with the incredible assistance they provided to me with my leg in a boot cast. I broke my ankle a few weeks before the trip. So I called my personal Cruise Consultant, who immediately stepped up with a change of aft balcony to a handicapped aft balcony with no additional fee for the change. Then, she got me in touch with Special Needs At Sea for a motorized scooter which was delivered and retrieved from my stateroom. NCL arranged curbside wheelchair on/off assistance. So I was in business. What I especially appreciated were all the handicapped facilities from bathrooms to specially reserved easily accessible seats in the restaurants and showrooms. The buffet staff always assisted me and were very kind. The staff in Moderno were the very best. The stateroom attendant was also kind, leaving me ice each evening and morning to ice my ankle. The stateroom was fabulous with easily accessible bathroom and fold down seat in the shower. I can not imagine better treatment. The entertainment on NCL is always great but on the Epic there is so much to choose and to do. We did the Cirque Dreams and several shows. The pre-scheduling is a great idea with such a large contingent of passengers. I could not do some of the shore excursions but they were limited by the vendor buses which either could or could not transport the scooter. The pier in Tangiers was too long and without a tram, so I did not attempt that port. Instead I went to the Salon and had a wonderful day getting the works for my hair. Natalie was a treasure. I passed the whole afternoon there. We really needed this vacation after a long and difficult year. Thanks to NCL we more than got a great vacay. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
SHIP ITSELF Very large with lots of small capacity areas No soaring atrium like the smaller ships but mainly 1 storey with a few areas with open ceiling to next level so more of a hotel feel than traditional cruise ship The ... Read More
SHIP ITSELF Very large with lots of small capacity areas No soaring atrium like the smaller ships but mainly 1 storey with a few areas with open ceiling to next level so more of a hotel feel than traditional cruise ship The weather wasn’t consistently good enough to use the outside areas but when sun was out pool deck very busy .The waterpark area takes away from pool space but if you wanted a quiet area to sunbathe deck 18 was a good place Novelty ideas such as the Ice Bar never seemed to be too busy-not present at all on the newest ship The Escape so perhaps the novelty value is just that It took me a while for the light to dawn that starboard corridors had blue and beige carpets and blue lighting on the stairs and lifts whereas portside had orange and beige! There are no patterns of fish swimming in direction of travel which is a great idea on other NCL ships to give clue whether you are going forward or aft and if you head the wrong way they are long corridors Our muster station was the Casino which is a terrible idea I’m used to muster drills being done in restaurants etc but the Casino with its machines blocking view of crew members trying to demonstrate safety procedures and everyone squashed into a narrow hall would be dreadful in case of a real emergency BARS There are plenty of bars to choose from! The Ultimate Beverage Package [UBP] has been offered as a free perk for a long time mainly for ocean view and above so seemed many people had this-it was still being offered for $79 per day plus 18% gratuity and less publicised the wine and beer package at $10 per day less. Also available wine packages and soda packages For the first time we found getting served at the bars or waiting for a circulating bar waiter to take our order to be hit or miss-certainly not up to usual NCL standards. They seemed to be overwhelmed at busy times and even at quieter times the waiters seemed more interested in collecting dirty glasses than checking who was looking to order a drink-usually they do both with a smile and some quick conversation. RESTAURANTS We ate mainly at O Sheehans or the garden cafe for convenience and to be able to eat when we felt hungry. We only ate once in Manhattan restaurant for lunch to meet up with cruise roll callers which was fine Lots of people had the dining package as a perk so speciality restaurants busy and difficult to get a reservation at peak times We only eat in speciality restaurants if have a voucher-in this case we each had a platinum latitudes meal for Le Bistro .In the past this could also be used in Moderno or La Cucina but the only alternative now is La Cucina We preferred Le Bistro to La Cucina both for speed of service and ambience ENTERTAINMENT There is plenty going on day and night to appeal to all tastes We found our favourite band the Starlights-a rockn roll band playing in the Cavern Club most nights Duo Luna a guitarist and female vocalist were appearing in the atrium or Shakers bar and Paulo a guitarist/vocalist playing in Maltings We went to Howl at the Moon a couple of times and found them entertaining but not as good as previous performers we have seen onboard the larger NCL Ships Priscilla queen of the Desert was the signature theatre performance and was hilarious However there are numerous written and spoken warnings that the show is not suitable for children or the easily offended but the audience still had a high percentage of young children! It was school Easter holidays in the UK so expected a lot of children on board I didn’t notice too many during the day as avoided pool deck and the kids clubs were popular However late at night there were a lot of children running wild around the bar areas whilst their parents were nowhere to be seen or oblivious to their little darlings getting underfoot STATEROOMS We were in 12185 a large balcony. Due to the external shape of the ship this meant a triangular shape added to the regular balcony which meant could accommodate at least 1 lounger as well as the standard 2 chairs and table. The set up of the room was with couch next to balcony which did give easy access to the balcony The controversial bathroom set up was a non issue for us-we have been married 30 years! However I spoke to someone who was on the inaugural Epic trip about 6 years ago and said the frosting on the doors was a lot more transparent then! THERMAL SPA I pre purchased a cruise length pass for $179 a $20 reduction than if bought on board Epics Mandara Spa and Salon is supposed to be the largest spa at sea A unique feature of Epics Thermal spa is the open area at the aft with 6 padded loungers and 2 couches which give wonderful views and great to enjoy in good weather Inside the communal area are several heated tile loungers although 3 of them had signs on saying cold bed-ie needing maintenance Plenty of padded loungers and chairs,sauna and steam room with windows to open sea The therapy pool with hot tubs and pressure jets was always popular Inside the single sex area is another steam room and sauna with windows to sea which was hardly ever used so a good quiet area As you hand your keycard over at spa reception they give you a wristband with an allocated locker. The staff then store your room card in a file folder corresponding to that number which means it is efficient to return your room card at the end of the session That works fine until someone uses a random locker and “yours” is in use. Unfortunately the staff are inconsistent with dealing with this, some will give you a different free locker, others will suggest you use any free locker but don’t note which further compounds the problem and still others will open that locker and move the stuff to another one and lock it without informing the original occupant! I treated myself to a series of hot stone massages under the 10,20,30 offer whereby you get progressive discounts Still very expensive but I had plenty of OBC! EXCURSIONS We did private tours in 3 ports and can highly recommend Bruno from tripgrancanaria John Reid from Tenerifeprivatetours And Jeff from Hit the Road Madeira Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have just returned from this cruise and hope that any one with mobility problems will find this review helpful. We were a group of 4, both husbands have Parkinsons, one uses a rollator(walking frame on wheels) and the other is ... Read More
We have just returned from this cruise and hope that any one with mobility problems will find this review helpful. We were a group of 4, both husbands have Parkinsons, one uses a rollator(walking frame on wheels) and the other is wheelchair bound. My husband and I have been on many cruises, usually about 2 per year,but it was the first cruise our friends had ever taken so I wanted to make sure it would be a good experience. I made many enquiries before booking the cruise to ensure that it would be suitable. We had enjoyed a cruise on Jade some years ago, the only problem being the queue for dinner so I was pleased that we were able to make table reservations beforehand to avoid this problem. Buffet service is very difficult for us so I asked if a waiter service restaurant (complimentary) would be available every lunch time, and was told YES. Mobility in the mornings is very limited for people with Parkinsons so it was good that complimentary room service was available for breakfast.The all inclusive arrangement sounded an excellent option and it was a great advantage to be allocated accessible state rooms. So we were all looking forward to a relaxing holiday in comfortably adapted cabins, enjoying fine dining and trying various cocktails in one of the many bars. How different was the reality. 1)Firstly the state rooms; they were well adapted and spacious, but no table to eat on and only 1 chair. How were we ( or anyone with mobility issues ) supposed to eat this complimentary breakfast? We asked our room steward but he looked dubious and, knowing the limited powers of room stewards, I rang Tamara in Guest services and indeed an extra chair and suitable table eventually appeared. But that should be standard in an accessible room. 2)The bars; on the first evening we found seats in The Maltings and enjoyed a cocktail before dinner. But we subsequently realised that was because people were still embarking/unpacking. Apart from that evening we were never able to find 4 seats together, especially negotiating a wheelchair and rollator between the packed seating arrangements. So our friends gave up trying to join us in a bar before or after dinner. My husband and I managed a few times to get seats in Atrium and Bliss, but such a long way from our cabin and certainly not the relaxing quality time with friends. 3)Port Days; -waiter service restaurants were NOT open on Port days, contrary to what we had been told. Twice the comparative calm of a buffet in Moderno was available but mostly we had to face the rugby scrum of the Garden Cafe. Yes there were helpful staff who tried to find us a quiet table, and we eventually discovered that there were waiters to fetch drinks for us, but it was far from the elegant lunch experience we had anticipated. -We decided to stay on board at the first port ( Tunisia)to enjoy a less crowded ship.What we failed to realise was that the ship itself closed down. We found comfortable seats in Shakers only to find that it was closed... as were all the other bars! The only place open was the Garden Cafe and Snacks, what a disappointment! We thought about ordering room service for lunch but that would have incurred charges and, more important, our little table was too small for us all to eat together. -We decided to get off at Lanzarote so checked with Excursion desk the arrangements for accessing the town. We were told that wheelchair accessible shuttle buses would be available for $15 per person. So we got ready to go ashore, found the correct elevators and gangway with great difficulty, and waited for the shuttle. But it was NOT wheel chair accessible .... except that the chair could have been put in the luggage hold if our friend could have climbed onto the bus . But he cannot walk. So we had to get back on board the ship and endure the Garden Cafe again. -We were told the same story at Las Palmas, but again no wheelchair access bus. This time I managed to find a Port official who spoke sufficient English to understand our problem. He was kind enough to call a large taxi who was able to convey us all + chair to town centre. 4) On Deck; again difficult to find seats. We liked the back deck and by accident discovered a disabled lift between decks 15/16/17 BUT it wasn't working. We tried it a few days later and it worked but the cafe/bar was closed. My husband and I tried again when it was open BUT GOT STUCK IN THE LIFT. We were there for 15 mins and were so shaken by the experience we didn't feel like staying there or trying it again. 5) Dinner with Officer; we were all very pleased to receive this invitation and looked forward to discussing life on board from an "insider". We arrived promptly but rather surprised that we all had to wait in a line for quite some time. Our "officer" was in fact a cosmetic consultant from the Spa, a charming lady but not quite what we had expected. The other young couple at our table spoke little/no English so conversation was laboured. The bistro type chairs were very small, hard and uncomfortable. If those are normal chairs for Spiegel Tent I'm glad we didn't book dinner there. So another slightly disappointing evening, BUT the food and service was excellent. 6) Illness; the final blow was falling ill. I contracted a respiratory infection for which I saw the Doctor on March 3 and spent the rest of the cruise feeling very unwell. Luckily my husband was not affected but our friends came down with a stomach upset on March 4 so just kept to their cabin and drank boiled water. 7) Accessibility; -The disabled elevator for decks 15/16/17 didn't work. -There are no instructions to operate the doors in Disabled Restrooms. One evening my husband needed to go to the toilet before the Burn the Floor show and we couldn't get out!We couldn't work out the correct sequence of pressing buttons and panic set in. We eventually got out but weren't allowed to go to the show. We booked for another night but that was the night I was ill so we never managed to see this wonderful show. -The aft lifts did not go to Deck 5 so to access Taste or Atrium we had to go to deck 7 walk the length of the ship to forwd lifts go down to deck 5 and walk all the way back to aft. Then repeat the process to return. -There were no clear instructions on which lifts to use to reach the gangway in Port. This is most frustrating when you are pushing wheelchair/ rollator. -There were designated Disabled seats in Garden Cafe but these were always full In conclusion the ship is badly designed AND land based staff do not give the correct information and/or are insufficiently knowledgeable. The public lounge and bar areas are woefully inadequate to cope with the volume of people. We were so disappointed not to be able to listen to the music in the Cavern, or acts in Headliners but we could never get in. We had to avoid Deck 6 as it presented such a problem to get through the whole area. We felt that as disabled passengers, we were discriminated from participating in much that the ship had to offer and from enjoying the package we had paid for. We had been looking forward to experiencing all the bars and eating areas so publicised in the Ship's information but most were either closed or overcrowded. I have only once before been ill on a cruise and that was when we docked at Istanbul and it could have been something I ate ashore. There were a great many people suffering from illness on this cruise and I am convinced it is due to overcrowding, too many people breathing the same air and spreading infection. BUT it was not all bad! I would like to say that the food and service in Manhatton and Taste were excellent. Our room steward Renato was a gem. The shows we did manage to see were first rate. I have sent this full report to NCL in the hope that they can make some improvements to make the cruise experience less fraught for future disabled passengers. I will let you know if we get any reaction Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We struggled at first with the size of the ship but after a couple of days we had acclimatized to it. When everyone was on the top deck it was crowded. However, the food was excellent, we dined in the Chinese restaurant, ... Read More
We struggled at first with the size of the ship but after a couple of days we had acclimatized to it. When everyone was on the top deck it was crowded. However, the food was excellent, we dined in the Chinese restaurant, O'Sheen's bar and the garden buffet. Tea and coffee available all day up on the top deck. The prawns/shrimps were plentiful and fantastic. For my partner it was the Prime Rib. We have previously cruised twice on the NCL Jade but now the drinks package (excellent) is available we came back to NCL. There was no discrimination between those on the drinks package and those who were paying. We had an adapted cabin so my partner could bring his scooter on board and everything was excellent with the cabin and the staff who were very helpful. There is reserved seating are in the buffet restaurant for those with mobility issues. Overall the staff were excellent, polite, friendly and helpful. The ship is also very clean. There is something for everyone, we didn't go to the shows because we like to go in without booking but that was our choice, later in the cruise there was fewer crowds going in to the shows. For smokers there is an open area on the top deck, a closed room on deck 7 and access to deck seven (unless sea is rough) from several doors. Passengers came from all over the world which we enjoy as we like to meet and chat to other nationalities. You don't have to pay the tips if you feel that you do not want to. We always tip the cabin steward and bar staff whether we have paid the surcharge or not. Overall a very good trip and would recommend, but keep an open mind as we do. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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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