My wife and I are veteran cruisers. We have been cruising since 1984. We have been on many different lines and many different sizes of ships. We have been on mega ships before, such as the Dream, which has about 50% more cruisers than ... Read More
My wife and I are veteran cruisers. We have been cruising since 1984. We have been on many different lines and many different sizes of ships. We have been on mega ships before, such as the Dream, which has about 50% more cruisers than the Epic, and yet he Dream still seems to be able to handle the crowds easily, which the Epic does not.
Too Few Crew:
The Epic is a disaster. Main problem: way too many people on board and way too few staff to serve them. At its rated capacity of 4,100 passengers (at double occupancy), 1,400 crew, which is the number actually serving the passengers and excluding the crew members in areas such as the engine room and so forth, there are about 3 passengers to one crew member, which is very short handed. However, the ship usually sails with at least 4,900 passengers, such that the ration is almost 4 to one. This stretches the crew way too thin. Added to this problem is the factor that the Management has not enforce3d consistency standards upon the crew so service is very haphazard.
Cabins are exceedingly small. In addition, the configuration of the cabins, that is being curved, wastes additional valuable cabin space and enhances the smallness feel of the cabins. The curve of your cabin bulges is where your bed is; the bed of the next cabin is where the curve of your cabin bends in. Thus the curving of the cabins, rather than being style or fashion statement, is merely a way to cram more cabins in on the ship. Your comfort is sacrificed for more profit for Norwegian.
The bed is ridiculously small-far too short for a normal man to sleep in. I am 5’11’’ tall. My feet hung over the end of the bed by six or more inches. The bed is curved to fit the curve of the cabin and thus the bed losses important length. My wife at 5’6’’ could just fit the bed.
See our Cabin review.
Nowhere to go on ship, because they close off all the lounges during the day, unless the lounge is being, used for an activity. Thus, there is nowhere to sit, except the main lounge on deck five. This Atrium lounge has about 60 seats-hence is always full!
Lines, long lines for everything. You must have tickets to go to shows. Even with tickets you must wait on long lines to go into show. Long lines for dining rooms. Waits of 20-30 minutes each night.
We were on the ship for 30 days on three different cruises, so the problems we dealt with are not specific to a one cruise.
Our cabin steward was the worst cabin steward we have even had in over 30 years of cruising. We repeatedly spoke with him to try to get him to remember to do every part of his job each day. Every day he forgot to do several things. He forgot to empty garbage pail and forgot to replace towels the towels he took away. He would leave balcony door open. He would leave his key card in our room, and so on. How about the security of other cabins! He constantly apologized for not being able to get to our cabin, because we were the last of 16 cabins. He would promise to come back. When he did not come back, he would then tell us he forgot to come back. We spoke twice with his supervisor. He was sent to additional training-nothing worked. We understand that other cabins in our area had same complaints.
Cabin steward was taken off of our area for the last week of our cruise. The replacement steward was excellent.
The configuration of the ship forces you to walk to the restaurants on one of three decks. Each of these decks are so cluttered that it is so hard to walk to the restaurants, especially with tons of unsupervised children running around. You cannot walk a straight path from one end of the ship to the other.
There is no restraint placed upon children who rove the ship in bands. Children 12 and under are not permitted in the hot tubs unless accompanied by an adult. However, there is no enforcement of this rule.
These were not the only issues. We took 14 excursions. We were entitled to a discount of 10%. Yet each time we were charged the full price. We went back to excursion desk repeatedly to get the right amount charged. This occurred even though we put the discount in writing on our order forms.
We booked an excursion six months before getting on the ship. About a month later, it was canceled. A week or so later, we were emailed that that excursion was available again. We booked that excursion, only to find on board that the Excursion desk had no record of it, even with our confirmation and thus because the excursion was full we did not get to go. We missed the very Excursion which was why we wanted to take this cruise.
The Excursions gather all excursion takers in the theatre (the theatre holds 606 people-is this a proper meeting place for 4,800 people?) The meeting place is always overcrowded.
The person giving instructions on the excursions is the worst English speaker of the
Excursions staff. As instructions were only being given in English, it made no sense to use the person whom they used as everyone complained about his poor English. They have at least one native English speaker and yet he never led the Excursions.
The food was excellent. In fact, this is the best food my wife and I have ever eaten on a ship. The food is beautifully presented. This is almost enough to overcome all the other faults of this ship.
We went to the specialty restaurants 6 times. The food was excellent. Each restaurant had a beautiful ambiance and excellent service. The average meal, without wine or liquor, and which is al a carte, is $75.00 for two including gratuity.
These experiences were ruined, however, because each time, these restaurants had many babies toddling around during the meals or crying throughout their meals and often with diapers that needed changing. Nothing will destroy the aroma of a fine meal more readily than the smell of human excrement. This ship should have not allowed such small babies to be brought to what is clearly an adult experience. We have raised 3 children and have grandchildren, but there are times not to bring a small child along.
Cirque is excellent. I would recommend buying the premium seats to be able to look down on the main stage. Being on the first floor means that you will have an obstructed view.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is also excellent. Its theme, however, might be offensive to some.
Howl at the Moon is an unmitigated boor. The two piano layers whined time and time again for tips. They threatened the audience with not playing if not tipped. I would skip this. The music was only fair, their voices were raspy as they screamed rather than sang each song.
The problem with the entertainment is that the theatre only holds 606 people. Thus, you must get tickets at the very first opportunity, because most shows are only done a couple of times. Not everyone will see a given show, because the show would have to be done at least 6 times for everyone to see it.
Having said that, Burn the Floor is excellent and is a must see. However, be aware that sometimes a Burn the Floor Show is done in the Manhattan Dining Room at 7:00pm. Giving you more chances to see this don’t miss.
The Epic is a quirky ship which is best demonstrated by its elevators. There are only two elevator banks, one aft and one forward, which have 8 elevators per bank, four on each side of the ship. Having said that, the elevators are quite slow. So, they are always filled to capacity. In addition, not all the elevators go to all of the floors. One elevator on the starboard side of the ship did not go to the 13th floor. Another did not go to the 6trh floor. Several skipped the 5th deck, which is the most important deck because it houses Guest Services, the Excursion deck, and one of the main restaurants. A couple of elevators skipped other decks, such that you had to try and figure out which bank and sub-bank of elevators you had to go to in order to get to the floor you wanted. On other elevators, you would push a deck number and the elevator would by-pass that floor, leaving the floor number you pressed lighted up. Highly annoying!
We have decided not to sail again on Norwegian. The experience on the Epic was so disappointing in virtually every aspect. This is very sad, because, before this cruise, we would have probably said that Norwegian was our favorite line. There is something seriously wrong with the Epic, because so many things went awry. Read Less