14 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

Restaurants well kept, some more luxurious than others. The French and Italian especially nice. The taste restaurant for evening meal and breakfast had good selection of food and service was very good. This year we noted that the ... Read More
Restaurants well kept, some more luxurious than others. The French and Italian especially nice. The taste restaurant for evening meal and breakfast had good selection of food and service was very good. This year we noted that the ultimate beverage package had changed from last year. Champagne and speciality whiskies were no longer included neither was Cava. This was disappointing, also I drink prossecco and although a large glass was still under $15 I was only entitled to a small one which didn't make sense. I have to say that generally a lot of the bar staff appeared tired and fed up, often being on the verge of rudeness when serving you, I did not find this on Jade ship last year. The ice bar was a big disappointment, if you like going into a large freezer with a few ice blocks and a choice of 4 ready made cocktails with a t.v on for a cost of $26 dollars then this is for you. It was poor in every way and definitely not worth the money. The shows are top notch and worth going to. We saw the beetles and motown tributes which were excellent. We also saw dance show and princella which were also good, be mindful that princella does contain a lot of swearing and sexual innuendo so not ideal for children has I found out. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We just returned from our great cruise on the Epic! The ship is massive and beautiful! The layout is logical. The staterooms are modern and well-planned, although not huge. The crew is very friendly and helpful! Our steward was very ... Read More
We just returned from our great cruise on the Epic! The ship is massive and beautiful! The layout is logical. The staterooms are modern and well-planned, although not huge. The crew is very friendly and helpful! Our steward was very attentive and hard-working. The food is delicious and there is a lot of variety! The complimentary restaurants are very well-appointed and serve great food. The buffet has so many choices and the food is consistently fresh and tasty! The entertainment options are quite good and we really enjoyed the singers on the ship. We did wish that the pools were bigger and the pool loungers were often hard to find. However, there was never a wait at the restaurants and the ship did not feel crowded, even with 4200 passengers onboard. The Nutella crepes were amazing and an absolute must! The White Hot party is fun and there is always something to do. We enjoyed the Deal or No Deal game too. This was our 5th cruise and we really enjoyed it! The Epic is a great ship! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I had read a lot of mixed reviews on the Norwegian Epic and our family of 4 found it to be outstanding in everyway with absolutely no complaints. We knew it was a large ship but they have it orchestrated perfectly in all areas. It was ... Read More
I had read a lot of mixed reviews on the Norwegian Epic and our family of 4 found it to be outstanding in everyway with absolutely no complaints. We knew it was a large ship but they have it orchestrated perfectly in all areas. It was clean, with outstanding staff and food. Although we had the specialty dining package we found the food in the main dining rooms excellent and feel in the future that it is not needed. Our favorite venue was Teppanyanki, the hibachi restaurant, which was delicious, entertaining and a lot of fun. My grown children thought it was the best hibachi they ever had! We chose the ship for its intinary and enjoyed all the ports. We spent 3 days first in Barcelona and fell in love with the city. We arrived at the ship early afternoon and embarkation was very quick. When we left the ship on the last day we chose to take off our own luggage and found a taxi quickly. We were at the airport in less than a half hour for a 10:20 flight....3 hours early, no problem. We had private drivers pick us up at the ship at all 3 Italian Ports. From Naples we drove the Amalfi Coast, stopping in Positano and Sorrento and went to Pompeii in the afternoon. In Rome we had pre-paid tickets at the Coliseum and a guide at the Vatican. In between our driver took us to many highlights. In Livorno, we drove through the vineyards in Tuscany, went to Florence and Pisa. In Cannes, we spent the day wandering the harbor and streets. In Marseille we took a taxi to the harbor and went on the Petit Train, which was great, then spent time wandering the harbor and streets. A fabulous cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This Cruise I chose to take my Dad and sister to have some quality time. The ports were amazing, the Ship was amazing, is amazing. is HUGE, has many things to do, you never get bored, the staff are something else, We sailed the EPIC ... Read More
This Cruise I chose to take my Dad and sister to have some quality time. The ports were amazing, the Ship was amazing, is amazing. is HUGE, has many things to do, you never get bored, the staff are something else, We sailed the EPIC from NCL. We boarded in Rome, excellent, light boarding process, and did the whole turn until we debark in Rome the following week. The staff are amazing, there to help, Whom I had excellent chemistry with were: Hernan Gonzalez, Maiter D at Garden Cafe, SASA CVJETICANIN, Asst Maiter D, Joy Ramirez, and Josephine Siew at Oshehans, Andre at the Shore Excsurson desk, excellent Human Being, there to help, super nice, My Cabin Stwart, Hadi, always there to serve you, I mean, the staff are well trained and are people you can count on on that Ship. Everybody are very nice. Ports of Call, Love them every single one of them. Shore excursions very nice, when In Livorno, Florence Pisa, take the Tour with John super nice guy, this was the Pisa and Wince Tasting, excellent light tour, pretty complete actually. The Monaco, Cannes Monte Carlo experience, Marseille we went on our own, nice stop. This is a very cool cruise, I recommend. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I had not experienced the Mediterranean before so chose this cruise to cross off my list of destinations. I was suitably impressed with the ports of call...especially at seeing Pompeii ! I had no hesitation in choosing Norwegian (my ... Read More
I had not experienced the Mediterranean before so chose this cruise to cross off my list of destinations. I was suitably impressed with the ports of call...especially at seeing Pompeii ! I had no hesitation in choosing Norwegian (my line of choice) based on previous cruises with them....Panama Canal, Alaska, Westen Caribbean, Hawaii. Being a solo traveller, I enjoyed being made to feel special by the attentive staff and making new friends with other passengers. The only downside to my latest cruise was the size of the ship. It is massive and I prefer a smaller vessel. The Epic accommodates over 4000 passengers...just a little overwhelming for me. The Epic is a beautiful ship and one need never be bored. The food is spectacular, the bars are fun, the crews were wonderful. I did the tour of the behind the scenes on the ship....the kitchens, engine room, laundry....the bowels of the ship and it was fascinating. I would be remiss if I didn't applaud the entertainment presented in the beautiful theatre....amazing evenings !!!! All in all, it was a satisfying experience and I'm now planning my next cruise on Norwegian with my usual excitement. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We ended up on this particular cruise when it was chosen by family for a get-together/celebration. Positives: cabin was comfortable, but daily cleaning was often very late (like 5pm) which can be rather inconvenient and items within our ... Read More
We ended up on this particular cruise when it was chosen by family for a get-together/celebration. Positives: cabin was comfortable, but daily cleaning was often very late (like 5pm) which can be rather inconvenient and items within our cabin were never re-stocked (mini-bar, teas, coffees, etc). One has to assume that the stewards have too many cabins to clean each day. Food was very good considering the mass catering. Negatives: Being ripped off for amenities one should reasonably expect when staying as a 'guest'. For example, an 18% gratuity levied on everything + a 13.5 Euros per day, per customer 'service charge'. For goodness sake, Norwegian, stop hiding these charges unti people are on board and 'captive'. Lastly, and these were the killer blows for us: We have to work online, 365 days per year as we own our own small hotel and must therefore have access to email and our online reservation system. Upon embarking, we checked the internet provision: either we took the 60 minutes or 200 minutes for $75 or $125 USD, or at $200 USD, an 'UNLIMITED 7 DAY' package. We were worried about not being able to answer our business queries, so we went for the 7 day package. Internet service was sporadic and unreliable but we accepted that as it is satellite-based being at sea on and off. However, what we did not allow for was the 'quick, get rid of the last guest' attitude of Norwegian Cruise lines. We woke early on our last morning. The night before, we had been forced to pack our cases and leave them outside the door before 11pm for the crew to collect (so get ready to choose all your clothes for the evening and the next day, and have to re-pack your case after you have left the ship so as not to have items in your hand baggage like toiletries). You are expected to be off the ship by 9am or even 7am if you are with a group (not really a fair deal as you supposedly cannot check in before 2.30pm) Upon waking, we tried to log in to the internet to check our business emails. We found the message 'your internet has expired on the 28th of October' (we only checked in on the 25th and were checking out on the 29th). Basically, we had paid for a 7 day service @ $67 USD PER DAY. Our 'service' was terminated 2 hours BEFORE we were even supposed to check out. I went immediately to the guests services desk to complain. I was told that an internet manager would come and talk to me, who did not show up. The Dutch girl behind the desk was unsympathetic or apologetic and did not even try to raise a tiny smile. She gave me the impression that we were at fault for expecting to still have a connection before check-out. I insisted our complaint was logged into our account, got the complaint number and left the boat. This is not a cruise to choose if you care in the slightest for a degree of personal care. It is all about quick and dirty. In the gym, the exercise equipment was shocking: badly calibrated machines and touch screens that did not work so you had to jump machines several times to find one that did. Moreover, no water bottles were available even when there were two dispenser machines there, completely empty. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We went on this cruise with our two "twentysomething " children. We originally had planned on going in June and I had priced two suites with balcony for then. We changed our minds and opted for September and with the June price ... Read More
We went on this cruise with our two "twentysomething " children. We originally had planned on going in June and I had priced two suites with balcony for then. We changed our minds and opted for September and with the June price in mind I found I could book a two bedroom suite in the Haven for the same price so I went for it. Honestly I was a little nervous about the butler and concierge not knowing what I would need them for - boy did I learn! David are Concierge was everywhere. We got priority disembarkation at every port. He booked any performance we wanted even if they were marked filled and escorted us in early to get the best seats. We literally sat 10 feet away from the Cirque du Soleil performance which was amazing. Randy was responsible for the room. From the first day when we walked in the room and were greeted with a bottle of sparkling wine and a bowl of fruit to the snacks each day that greeted us when we returned from an excursion. It doesn't seem like a lot but believe me it is a nice touch. Need hot chocolate or four shot glasses ask Randy and a few minutes later they are there. My husband broke his flip flop and asked for glue, Randy took the shoe and had it repaired! Now to the Epic Club, the private restaurant for Haven residents. I have read where people complained because the menu didn't change - they have 8 different entrees and appetizers plus two specials which do change each day. the entrees are things like roast duck, beef filet and grilled salmon. We loved their food. You could go to any of the other restaurants on the boat many which come at an additional cost. We tried the buffet once never to venture from the Epic Club again. The staff there were awesome. The manager greeted us each day somehow remembering what we had planned and checking on how it went also sharing some of her adventures from the day. We loved Susan our waitress who was funny and cheerful always worrying that we weren't eating enough. Our last night saying goodbye was like leaving family - quite a feat for a week's stay. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
well our 49th cruise and you would think we would no better, the epic i am sorry to say big is not beautiful this ship looks like a container ship and may as well be. the ship has rammed in to much and left no space to chill out, the ... Read More
well our 49th cruise and you would think we would no better, the epic i am sorry to say big is not beautiful this ship looks like a container ship and may as well be. the ship has rammed in to much and left no space to chill out, the photos of areas give a grand sense but is far from it, the staff do the best but is still going down hill due to the tipping ways being charged and its pretty clear. (the added charge per day per person) has the ship got a cruise director if so where is he, spent a lot of time in his cabin i think. which is a really bad point the cabins deck 14, happy days done alright here not. ask the cruise rep on the ship about them "there exclusive to the epic" good will not be going in them again, they are student bedsits the toilet and shower are in the cabins not a separate room but is a shower cubicle and toilet cubicle with a shower screen door to each and a curtain in the room so that when the cabin boy enters you can be seen , and whats worst can be heard by anyone sharing the cabin. the other problem seems to now be the times and amount of people they are trying to cater for in the garden food court this is the way cruise eating is going but there is limited space and there seems to be no adjustment in opening times for guest these areas must be able to extend the opening times to fit in with the guest that's what they promote freestyle cruising. so sorry NCL AND THE EPIC ITS BACK TO THE JADE Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
First impressions - when we arrived at the Barcelona airport the representative was confused as to which bus the passengers were going - total chaos in the bus loading station - first sign that things were not good. Arriving at the port ... Read More
First impressions - when we arrived at the Barcelona airport the representative was confused as to which bus the passengers were going - total chaos in the bus loading station - first sign that things were not good. Arriving at the port there are no signs to indicate separate lines for those who have already downloaded the luggage tags - so if you were standing outside in the heat waiting in line - like we were until I saw some people lifting their baggage onto the trolleys - then you were in for a long wait. Inside the arrivals area there was even more chaos. Building is not air conditioned, attendants walking around or just taking their sweet time, supervisors not doing anything, cameras to take pictures are hand held!!! We waited another 1 hour in line - so for older people thinking of taking this trip be forewarned. The only good thing was that there were refreshments on the table. Ship - Regular inside cabins are so small that two people will knock into one another. If you plan on taking your clothes out from your suitcase forget it - tip - put all your clothes away in the drawers provided then put the empty suitcases in the closet. There is also a safe but sometimes you think the safe is closed but it will open by itself so beware. There is no bottled water provided, the washroom sink is on top of the tv stand so anyone opening the tap while the other is sleeping is a problem - very bad design! Washroom flushing sound is the loudest I have encountered in all my cruising experience - sounds like an earthquake all the time. Staff- room attendant Staff are not as pleasant as on other cruise ships - did not introduce themselves or try to get to know you. Staff at the main area also not very friendly.Entertainment - very limited things to do or see. Blue Man Group is not the real thing so beware - they were just okay. The better of all the entertainment provided. My sons took a picture with them at the greet after - went to look for the pictures after - could not find it-they lost it!! The photographer we had to take our picture was also not very good. Pictures turned out a little blurry - for the money they charge, this is not good. Food - The two main dining rooms - Taste and The Manhatten Room basically serve the same food, the Manhatten just a little bigger and seems more formal and had a band/singer some nights. Not a big selection, food not piping hot, coffee lukewarm at all times don't know why. The only good thing is their cheesecake. Shore excursions - We opted to take the private tours by car in each port which is the way to go. The one time that we went with the ship was on the last day for the Barcelona 1/2 day tour. Took us to the top of the mountain which was a great view but totally not enough time. Then she dropped us off at the wrong terminal - did not know where Sunwing operated out of I guess and just took a guess!! Overall - If you are a first time cruiser I guess it is ok but after you have experienced Disney and Royal Caribbean you will note that Norwegian is sorely lacking in all aspects of service and worth for money spent - Be forewarned! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
I just did a 7-night cruise on the Norwegian Epic and have mixed feelings about it. I loved, loved, loved my room! I traveled with friends and family and choose the option of a studio stateroom and could not have been happier. The room ... Read More
I just did a 7-night cruise on the Norwegian Epic and have mixed feelings about it. I loved, loved, loved my room! I traveled with friends and family and choose the option of a studio stateroom and could not have been happier. The room was great for one person and very well kept. Two people could share it, but it would be tight. There's lots of storage stage and the phone, interactive television technology is excellent. The ship is huge, so expect to do a lot of walking. My room was aft so I often did not use the studio lounge because I just couldn't be bothered to walk the distance. However, it was not difficult to access the open buffet and pool areas from my room. Staff: Having cruised on Royal Caribbean before, I was expecting a similar level of high staff involvement. However, NCL falls short! Staff was aloof, spent more time talking to each other than to passengers and didn't make an effort to get to know us. The only two people who seemed genuine was my stateroom attendant and he never bothered to address me by name, and a security guard who said hello whenever we met. Most other staff members seemed overwhelmed by the sheer number of passengers and often tried to brush away concerns and inquiries by hurrying us along to the next staff member or to get us away from the guest services area. One staff member at guest services even rolled his eyes at a passenger because she returned to ask him a question. Entertainment: The cruise director tried his best to get the crowd going, but hardly anyone seemed to be paying attention. The music selections were not great as the DJ at the evening parties played mostly techno/ house music, and the pool side games/music were oldies and dry. I only attended the first night and for the white hot party which was nice. Get the premium seats for the Cirque du Soleil, otherwise you will miss some of the performance. Blue Man Group was good. The Spanish Ballet was great, but the venue was poor so unless you get in early you have to look at tiny television screens. I would have liked the staff to do a farewell performance. Excursions: I did the Amalfi Coast & Pompeii, Rome on Your Own, and Pisa & Florence on Your Own. I think they were all worth it. The tour companies that NCL used were excellent, guides were very informative. It would be possible to do excursions on your own, but the ports are so far out that I would worry about getting back on time, so doing the excursions through NCL provided peace of mind. Dining: Food was 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the open buffet options immensely but the sit-down dining situation was bad because unless you had dinner between 5 and 6pm, you pretty much had to wait for 15 to 45 minutes depending on time and you could not make reservations in advance for the free main dining rooms. The two main dining rooms basically had the same menus (maybe 2 things were different) which was a bit of a let down because I was expecting to have different choices. All in all, though, the food was good. Would have liked to have a poolside bbq.Poolside: It feels like there are a million people milling around. Lounge chairs were literally touching each other with little to no room to move around. But I spent most of my days on excursions so it wasn't too problematic for me. If you plan on sunning, plan to go out by 10am the latest to ensure a good spot. It seems that NCL's main goal is to ensure that the ship is jam-packed to capacity at all times as they pick with passengers in Marseille and Rome as well. (Don't expect any cabin upgrades) Summary: Rooms are fabulous. Studios awesome. Staff was cold. I felt like I had to have everything planned in advance or I would not have been able to enjoy this cruise. Make sure to reserve entertainment and excursions arriving. Get the premium seats for the Cirque du Soleil. Get to the Spanish Ballet early to get front row seats. Be prepared to wait for dinner. The only port that was not way out was Cannes. You have to reserve tender tickets for Cannes. You have to pick up your tags for disembarkment on Friday as early as possible so that you don't end up leaving at 7:15am. If Royal Caribbean had better looking cabins, I would prefer to sail with them. However, I would take another cruise on the Epic. I just wouldn't get my hopes up regarding the staff and would plan to be reserve EVERYTHING except dinner. I would have loved an extra day at sea. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My husband and I went on the epic to the Med to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and we were not disappointed!the ship was amazing~ this was our 17 cruise and we loved this ship~ Our room was spacious and I myself liked the layout ... Read More
My husband and I went on the epic to the Med to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and we were not disappointed!the ship was amazing~ this was our 17 cruise and we loved this ship~ Our room was spacious and I myself liked the layout of the bathroom in our stateroom~ Its different but like that more then one person can use the bathroom facilities at one time~ they only thing I recommend is a power strip for your room as there is only one! In our day of electronics cell phone,computers and cameras this does not cut the mustard~ The entertainment on the ship was awesome~ We went to the Cirque dreams, blue man group, the Mexican comedy group, the Beatles out by the adult pool~ All were amazing~ Ill have to say NCL is the best at entertainment at sea by far~ Dining is also very accommodating on board, so many restaurants to chose from~ We ate at the french bistro, Japanese sushi, the Brazilian BBQ and the taste one of the main dining rooms~ all were excellent~ The shore Excursions we did not use we hired a private tour company all around Italy who were amazing~ Fabrizio our tour guide was awesome~ He met us in each port of Italy~ His passion for his country showed in his explanation and humor in his tour~ we chose not to do the excursions on the cruise ship as they charge way to much for each one~ we did four for what it would have cost to do one on NCL, that's my only complaint~ The ship itself was beautiful,well laid out and lots to do~ Boarding the ship and disembarkation were done with in 10 minutes the easiest its ever been~ Tehy have got it down to a science~ thanks again NCL for an awesome trip will be back soon Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We arrived by train from Alicante to Barcelona on the euromed. Taxi to port and within a very short time we were through and on the ship. Very efficient with the amount of people booking in. Went with the rest of our family to Garden Cafe ... Read More
We arrived by train from Alicante to Barcelona on the euromed. Taxi to port and within a very short time we were through and on the ship. Very efficient with the amount of people booking in. Went with the rest of our family to Garden Cafe where we relaxed and enjoyed the meal. Was a little bit worried about our room - a mini-suite on the 12th floor because of the reviews etc., but we were very pleasantly surprised. It was larger than we had anticipated and yes there was a little sink, but we only washed hands and cleaned teeth etc., We had a sofa by the sink with the bed at the end so no problem. My husband is over 6ft but he said he never sleeps straight out so he was fine. There is also a "modesty" curtain which separates toilet and bath, and although the toilet has a glass door you can pull the curtain. Lots and lots of cupboard space. Bath robes as well. The ship is very impressive, although not as ornate as others we have been on. We found the Manhattan rather boring as if they had skimped on the dEcor. The Taste was much nicer. We ate in The Manhattan, Taste, El Bistro, Moderno and Shanghai and every meal was wonderful. The staff were so polite and nothing was too much trouble. We also dined in The Spiegel Tent to see the show which was outstanding, although from our point of view the food was bad. A tip is to not give food, possibly just a drink because the show was well worth the $30 we paid. We saw Blue Moon, Los Locos and Stephen ?, all of them well worth a visit. Only downside to me was that I always had to wear a cover up in the evenings and anywhere we were in the ship because the air conditioning was so so cold. I do not think we have anything to say against the Epic except for the cost of wine which by other ships standards was far higher - but would we go on it again - probably not. It loses a lot in its size. Our next NCL will be on one of their smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Myself, my wife, our two teenage daughters, and a family friend, just returned from the Norwegian Epic, having taken a back to back sailing, from the 14th to the 28th August. On the whole, we had a superb couple of weeks, went to some ... Read More
Myself, my wife, our two teenage daughters, and a family friend, just returned from the Norwegian Epic, having taken a back to back sailing, from the 14th to the 28th August. On the whole, we had a superb couple of weeks, went to some amazing places, and met some great people. However, this being the inaugural sailing, the ship has issues. We've never cruised with NCL before (the only other cruise ship we've been on was the Disney Magic, last summer... and the ferry crossing from Dover to Calais probably doesn't count), so I can't say whether the problems are line-wide, or to do with the Epic being a brand new vessel, that's still finding it's sea legs. A lot of issues people have mentioned in other reviews - the small sinks, the smoking (even though we're non-smokers, aside from one woefully misguided visit to the cigar lounge, in a bid to try everything the ship had to offer/make ourselves throw up...), the nickel and diming, the omnipresent casino etc. - weren't a problem with us. Perhaps expectations have been lowered by all the complaining, or maybe we're still feeling guilty about returning to a luxury cruise ship, after witnessing the incredible poverty around the port in Roatan. It feels churlish to complain about a sink that makes your socks wet because it was too shallow, when you've just driven past a family of 20, who wave and smile, despite apparently all living together in a rusty sceptic tank about the size of a small tumble dryer. Either way, while the Epic itself may be uglier than a box of fried kittens on the outside, it's beautiful where it counts. That might not matter if you're a lonely, acne-ridden teenager desperate for a date, but it's important for a cruise ship. Admittedly, there are no big, open spaces inside, but the smaller areas mean that it only really gets crowded in the casino, or before and after shows (if you want good seats, you really have to be in line at least 45 minutes beforehand - and that's just for the restrooms... ba-dum-tish!). Plus, it gives the ship a sense of intimacy. When you're below decks, on 5, 6 and 7, you never sense you're lost in some big, faceless, resort. Areas such as O'Sheehan's really do evoke their templates - it honestly did feel like a pub. Most of our problems with the Epic could by solved pretty easily, as they're logistical issues. We had a few wobbles with some of our bookings - two of our shore excursions were missing when we got aboard, so we had to re-book them, for instance. Also, it's a shame our initial impression of the ship wasn't better - you're shuffled into the 'box office' on deck 6, and straight into a bottleneck of all the other clueless saps trying to get their bearings. The muster drill on our first week was something of a shambles too - equivalent to a free music festival, as organised by a bunch of drunk five year olds. Admittedly, it was slightly tighter the following week, so maybe they're learning what does and doesn't work (DOES WORK: telling people how best not to drown in a tight, hassle-free manner... DOESN'T WORK: gathering them in their meeting place, and then just letting them mill around for 45 minutes without any instruction, while they wonder whether they can go yet - and then startling them with a series of high-pitched horn blasts). I was sharing an interior stateroom with my friend, while my wife and two daughters had a standard balcony cabin (we booked a little late, and also forgot to win the lottery in order to afford a villa). Contrary to what many have said, unless you're Jabba the Hutt or Godzilla, the size of the cabin is fine, and there's plenty of storage. Although we were able to laugh about the infamous split-bathroom issue, I'm not sure it's a good sign that we had to laugh about something in order to tolerate it ("I just chopped off my hand... ha ha ha! It's ok - I can laugh about it! Ohhh... that really smarts... Ha ha ha!"). In some respects, the biggest issue - far more than the frosted glass - is that the locks on the cabin doors simply don't work. On more than one occasion I was in the shower or toilet, with the curtain closed to keep out my cabinmate, when housekeeping came in through the cabin door, due to the useless lock. At least twice I had to shriek at somebody to get out, lest they be confronted with a hazy, semi-obscured image of me struggling to pull up my pants (or worse). It wasn't just our cabin with a dodgy lock; it was also happening across the hall, with my wife and daughters. The other big issue for us was the racket up on deck. Now, I like a party as much as the next guy, but I also value audible conversation. There was no chance of getting sunburnt on the Epic, because we couldn't stand the noise on Deck 15 for more than about ten minutes during the day. It would only have been marginally less tolerable if the captain had been up there, flinging buckets of horse intestines at people. Honestly, it was like being trapped inside an iron drum with a live howler monkey, while a thrash metal band hammered on the outside with their instruments and fists. We used the main pool twice - once very early in the morning, and the second time late morning. On the first occasion it was fine - though I lasted about five minutes, due to a bunch of kids who insisted upon squirting water directly into my contact lenses. The second occasion was beyond dreadful - it was as crowded as it usually was (the pools are the size of the average footspa, as you've doubtless read), but the thing that sent us fleeing was the music. Does it really need to be that loud? Really? Whose idea was it to play it at that volume - Beethoven?! Fair enough if you're trying to drown out the sound of agonised screaming, but these are people trying to enjoy themselves. We literally had to shout at the top of our voices in order to be heard - it was like being in a nightclub, or the front row at rock concert, or strapped to a jet engine, in the middle of a bomb testing range. It was utterly needless, and I rarely went up on deck because of the noise. Seriously, NCL - lay off the decibels a little. We spent more time in the Spice H2O pool, which was better, but even in there they had a tendency to play movies during the afternoon, which meant that there was nowhere on the ship to just soak and relax. The pool is directly below the screen, and I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to unwind while a couple of hundred people are staring right at me while I'm wearing nothing but a pair of swimming shorts. Spice H2O, we felt, was a missed opportunity all round. It's a great area, at the back of the ship - and very relaxing in early evening around sunset (despite a weird choice to play grisly nature videos on the big screen... which is kind of akin to attending a yoga class by somebody who's just been thrown through a window, constantly picking glass out of their face while instructing you to "Breathe... and relaaaaaax... ow! Ow! Fffftt!"). Unfortunately, most of the alleged night club-style events in Spice were an embarrassment - people were seemingly put off from dancing because they'd end up being projected onto the main screen in unflattering close up (and then edited into the souvenir DVD so future generations could laugh at them), or shunted off to the side like cattle, so the entertainments staff could perform some weakly choreographed dance routine (and then you'd be bellowed at if you chose to stay seated, as if you'd wandered into a disco run by the Gestapo). Most awfully, Silas, the Cruise Director, seemed to know that this was a bad idea, his gravely bark vacillating between promising "More choreography coming up shortly, folks" and assuring us that "You'll get your chance to dance soon". We felt the entertainment staff was lacking somewhat overall. Some of them rather lacked in enthusiasm to the point of appearing like they were barely able to resist launching themselves overboard, while others - chiefly the aforementioned cruise director - had too much, and it felt like you were being ordered to enjoy yourself ("Ve hev ways of making you have fun...!"). Likewise, Michael "The Bingo Godfather" was on the tannoy seemingly every five minutes, angrily threatening us with severe punishment if we failed to attend his apparently endless bingo sessions... "This is Michael your bingo godfather... come to bingo, or I'll turn up at your cabin with a baseball bat and break your ankles...!"... "Play bingo, you lazy slobs, or I'll set fire to your clothes...! While you're still wearing them!"... "Play bingo - I have your children"... One final negative that I should mention... we took the behind-the-scenes tour ($55 - no visit to either the engine room or the captain's boudoir, in case you're wondering) during our second week. We got to visit the poop deck - or, at least, the deck where everyone's poop ends up. We learned that the waste is processed by being burnt down to a powder, before being flushed out to sea. Well, my advice is don't bother with the water slides on a day when the ship is in port, as this would appear to be the time they choose to do the processing. And the start of the slides is right next to the funnels. From which the fumes are emitted. However, if you happen to like the stench of burning human waste, you'll be in your element. I, however, made two trips down the Epic Plunge that day, before giving up entirely, as it was difficult not to feel like a turd in a toilet bowl. That said, plenty about the ship is pretty perfect. The entertainment was second to none - Blue Man is as great as we've ever seen it (and we'd already seen it three times) even in this stripped down form. Legends, as cheesy as it is, we enjoyed more than we expected, Slam Allen is fantastic, Jeff Hobson was a real highlight (my wife was dragged on stage one night - which was very, very funny... especially as he dragged her up by her hair), and Cirque, though utterly bizarre and the gayest 90 minutes of my life (heck, it would probably be the gayest 90 minutes of Jeff Hobson's life too, and he's camper than a field of tents), was never less than enthralling. I also loved Howl At The Moon, though my companions only really enjoyed it once they'd had a bit to drink... and a few shots of testosterone. The only slight misstep was Second City. Some of the sketches work, while others are just baffling, and the improvisation sections are very much dependent on the audience shouting out funny things. All too often, the suggestions are pretty predictable (admittedly, I didn't shout anything, so I should probably shut up). The food, on the whole, was good. We're not going to complain about the cover charge for restaurants - we knew what we were getting into - but we ate at all of them apart from, obviously, the Epic Club (we peered through the windows like grubby urchins, tears rolling down our soot-encrusted cheeks, hoping forlornly that some wealthy widower would adopt us). Though Manhattan and Taste were clearly a step down from the pay venues, some of the best food we had was in the Garden Cafe and O'Sheehan's. The fish and chips in the latter, and the quality of the carvery meats and the delicious curry, in the former, were fantastic. We weren't enamoured with the wings in O'Sheehan's, though - they always arrived lukewarm, and we weren't going to risk a gutful of salmonella. Though tasty, we felt the steak in Cagney's was quite fatty, and we didn't much care for the relentless meat barrage in Moderno. Our plates at the end of the meal looked like the scene of some terrible accident. The salad bar was superb, and the final steak they served was very good - though by that stage we had semi-digested meat filling every available space in our bodies, and the only way to fit any more inside was to risk pushing it out somewhere else, like a grim twist on the Play-Doh barbershop. We enjoyed Le Bistro, La Cucina, and the noodle and sushi bars (though watching my friend attempting to eat sushi for the first time was a high point of hilarity - you'd think he was trying to force a jar of raw marsh slugs down his neck), though Shanghai's didn't really do it for us, and we felt Teppanyaki was disappointing -the 'show' was impressive, but pretty much all the food tasted identical, with the same sweet sauce poured over it. The only other downside is that two weeks felt slightly too long for us. We were ready to get off the ship a couple of days shy of the end of the cruise. We'd been to every restaurant, every bar, seen all the entertainment more than once, and it was a shame that the Freestyle Dailies don't have more variation between the Eastern and Western itineraries; we could've done with that. Ten or eleven days would've been perfect. This review probably sounds like a long catalogue of complaints, but we honestly had a great time. In fact, I defy anyone not to have a good time on the ship. On the whole we liked the cabins, we ate well, saw some great shows, and made the most of the ship where possible - the rock climbing and rappelling walls were a hoot, we had fun at the martini tasting, and on the behind the scenes tour, took some of the enrichment classes, and tackled the waterslides on the days when our sinuses weren't being assaulted by the acid tang of roasting excrement. On the whole the crew were very friendly and helpful (despite one or two sourpusses), and my kids, in particular, spoke very highly of the counsellors in the teen club (though that might be because none of the counsellors enforced the 1am curfew...). Would we sail the Epic again? Maybe. I think we'd have to wait for the entertainment to change (on the behind-the-scenes tour we were told that the initial contracts for the main shows are all five years...), and for some of the other issues to be resolved or tightened up. Though we enjoyed NCL's Freestyle approach, overall the Epic lacked the magic of the Disney ship. If we're lucky enough to cruise again, we'll try a different line, and a different ship, and probably a different itinerary. Not because we hated the Epic, but because we feel we've done it now. In some respects, the problems on the Epic gave it character - it's kind of like a newborn baby deer; all the pieces are there, and unless somebody shoots it, it'll grow into a majestic stag. Inevitably, right now it's having trouble keeping upright, and keeps bumping into trees. Also, the deer in this metaphor is horrifically deformed, with a massive, oversized head. And it occasionally smells of poop. Reply With Quote Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Eastern Caribbean Epic Adventure Trip Report We traveled as a group of 10 occupying 4 different rooms. This was a well planned trip with many dining reservations made in advance. Below is a list of highlights related to this trip. ... Read More
Eastern Caribbean Epic Adventure Trip Report We traveled as a group of 10 occupying 4 different rooms. This was a well planned trip with many dining reservations made in advance. Below is a list of highlights related to this trip. Things that went well: 1. Cagney's is by far the absolute best dining experience around. 2. The rock wall is a huge hit with the kids with short waiting lines. 3. The Garden Cafe is a wonderful place to visit any time of day for the missed meal, or just a quick hand-scooped ice cream. 4. The giant Wii wall doubles as a large screen cinematic theater in the afternoon and evening hours. 5. The ice bar is quite the experience. While it is billed as the only ice bar at sea, it lives up to the experience with fantastic photo opportunities inside. 6. The pools are filled with fresh (salt-free) water. 7. I am a fan of the locker room near the workout room. This room was very nice in amenities and offered 2 full size showers. The locker room is even better when the stateroom facilities are in use. 8. The work out area is very crowded at the beginning of the trip but dwindles as the cruise progresses. There were never any problems getting the desired equipment. The cold (chilled in small refrigerator) wash clothes post-workout are delightful. 9. Having made dinner reservations prior to the trip, we were please for all seating to fully accommodate the group party of size 10. 10. Embark/Disembark is a breeze. 11. Soap and Shampoo are provided in all shower areas. 12. Having the large group, we requested the room servant to open the balcony doors so that the adjoining rooms could freely walk from balcony to balcony. 13. Understandably Blue Man is a popular show, however the meet & greet with the Blue Men later in the cruise (not in costume) was unexpected and very interesting. What didn't go quite so well... 1. Table service at the Taste and O'Sheehan's(24 hour) restaurants is very slow. 2. The water slides always had a very long line. 3. The Circus was absolutely terrible. Do not even consider spending the $20 for this event. The couple in front of us "saved" space for an additional 17 people to cut in line. Once pointed out to NCL staff nothing happened. The entertainment is horrendous, bordering on inappropriate, and the food is salty. My wife sent hers back to the kitchen twice and finally gave up. 4. The Euro Bungy is an oddity in itself. Once discovered by the teens this is hugely popular. Again, so is line-cutting, long waits, and short hours. 5. Room layouts are also odd. I would strong suggest picking an outside stateroom with the bed closer to the windows. Ours was not, rather it was in close proximity to the sink which was always a tight area to traverse. 6. Recommended service charges have gone up. Just 2 years ago they were 10/pp/day. Now the adder is automatically 12/pp/day. These can be adjusted, but are a hassle. 7. EPIC arrive at Nassau around noon, departing around 5pm. This isn't enough time to get your money's worth on an excursion. While we did think about this, we ultimately chose island shopping instead. 8. I wish there were a better way to prevent passengers from stealing the nice beach towels provided to everyone. Instead of giving this some thought, the $25 replacement cost added to the bill is used as a threat. 9. No matter what the venue (pool, dinner, shows, etc) there are constantly servers asking to take your drink order. 10. Understandably Pepsi drink cards are very popular with the teens, but service for the teens is very difficult. They are waited on last. They are accused of sharing, and often downsized into smaller cups or refused service. Kids are integral to cruising and need to be treated better by NCL. 11. There is no game/card room if interested in this. 12. Smoking is permitted on ship. 13. There is no promenade deck to walk the perimeter of the ship on. 14. The spa looks fabulous, but does come with a $199/couple/week charge. I came back a couple days later to see if a pro-rated charge was available, but NO, it was still $199. 15. The 2 common area pools are quite crowded. Yes, there is another adult pool at Spice-H20. 16. The repeater party (for NCL previous cruisers) is only available to those who have sailed a minimum 5 previous cruises. 17. Warning, in-room movies are $12 each. 18. Elevators are at the front and rear of the ship. However, since she is so large, mid-ship elevators are also needed. 19. At St. Maarten the mandatory water taxi was unexpected. How can fully paid cruise passengers all are surprised with more fees to get to the port? Round trip was $6pp and not expected, we paid enough, and NCL should negotiate these into fares or include in port charges. Overall this trip was very enjoyable. Would we do EPIC again? Certainly. Would we do things differently? Absolutely. I'm sure that everyone can find something to-do on this magnificent vessel and create their own special vacation. 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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