8 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

This was our 4th cruise together (with my better half having 4 more) and we all agreed that it will be the LAST cruise on this size ship. "Bigger ain't better", as the saying should go. Let's start with the ship ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise together (with my better half having 4 more) and we all agreed that it will be the LAST cruise on this size ship. "Bigger ain't better", as the saying should go. Let's start with the ship itself. It's dark. It's loud. Oh, and it's big. Basically the ship is a design disaster. Lines were everywhere. We lined up to: eat dinner, to get drinks, to even see shows. Thank goodness my mother-in-law had the smarts to book as many reservations as possible. I feel bad for anyone who didn't book in advance because of all the lines. Once we just gave up waiting, and we were pretty good about keeping ourselves occupied with games or conversation to make the wait time pass. Now for enjoying the sun on a Caribbean cruise. What sun? The promenade deck was essentially unusable because of scant doors to it, and there was no natural light coming into the dining and entertainment decks either, then add all the people going to dinner and shows on those decks and the ship quickly becomes a dark, noisy trap box. The quiet sundeck towards the forward section was a pleasure to find (because it was away from the pools, had it's own bar staff, and was _quiet_) but basically inaccessible because of a hidden elevator and single, small stair leading to it. The aft "sun deck" was really an outdoor theater with massive, loud TV blocking the gorgeous views. I'm not sure how folks enjoyed sitting in the hot spas back there ... plenty of alcohol helped, for sure. One more point on ship design that speaks volumes: Need to potty? Best to go back to your room and use your own because the public bathrooms were full during dinner and show times. The toilet situation and long lines speak volumes to the ship's design failure. On the other hand, if you stay in your state room, order in for dinner, and watch your personal TV, then you're all set! Hah! Now for the good stuff: we went for the ports and our excursions made memories. And the staff. The wait, bar tending, and room stewards were all great! Not sure why others are complaining about the staff. We made sure to become repeat customers of the best waiters/waitresses and bartenders, and tipped them! By the end of the cruise they would come up to us with smiles / small-talk and put in our orders without us even asking!! Our room steward had difficulty with English but we were still able to get an extra pillow top for the bed from him, and the room was always spotless when he finished cleaning up our mess. :) Also the entertainment was top notch. The sheer talent of the actors and circus, plus the volume of costume changes and props was outstanding. The performers got well deserved applause and shout outs throughout. Others have complained about one show being not-family friendly / rated-R, and "gay", but did folks not read the Freestyle itinerary? It clearly states which entertainment is family friendly and its content. This is like someone going to the Guppies and complaining about alcohol-free drinks (at a kids event!). So why did we cruise on Epic? For the ports, like others said. It's not like we didn't know the ship was big, but we won't be going on it again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My husband and I wanted to take our 3 children and nephew on a pre-Christmas cruise. We had the 2 bedroom villa in the Haven and my son and nephew had a balcony cabin. The staff was not nearly as friendly compared to the previous cruises ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to take our 3 children and nephew on a pre-Christmas cruise. We had the 2 bedroom villa in the Haven and my son and nephew had a balcony cabin. The staff was not nearly as friendly compared to the previous cruises we’ve taken with NCL. This was our 3rd time getting the 2 bedroom villa in the Haven. My daughter and I decided to go up to the Haven’s private area where it was quiet. A NCL staff member walked over to us, (we’re African American) and asked if we’re supposed to be up there. I asked him how many of the Caucasian people did you ask if they belong? He immediately started back peddling. I was embarrassed for myself and my daughter. Our family has sailed NCL since 2011. We have NEVER been treated so disrespectfully. I will NEVER sail Epic again. I waited to post my review because I wanted to give NCL time to respond to my complaint and I have heard nothing back. When people who work hard to provide a great life for their family go on vacation and spend the money to relax, they should not have to get to the middle of the ocean and be humiliated for their skin color, religion, beliefs or sexual orientation. By the way, the Haven 2 bedrooms for 4 people is not a cheap thrill. It’s EXPENSIVE!!! I have to rethink my stance of only traveling NCL after this. It’s hurtful that you can be loyal to a brand but they’re not loyal to their long standing customers. Ports: The ports were ok, I don't if repairs were still going on due to the storm that hit September 2017. We did enjoy the stop in Tortola. Our children chose to do the Virgin Gouda Baths and my husband and I chose to do the speed boat tour around Tortola. Ship: This was the first time since 2009 I had a complaint about the ship. The ship was ok, not what I expected at all. The interior decor, especially in the Haven areas were nicely furnished. I loved the whole Haven experience being away from the crowd and relaxing in the air conditioned lounge. Thumbs up for that. Dining: Surprisingly enough, the food was not that great on this ship. We were highly anticipating going to our favs. We went to Cagney's and the food wasn't good at all. The next night we went to the Italian restaurant and they didn't have the lasagna anymore, the food we chose was not good. After 3 nights of bad experiences and customer services, we opted to eat in the buffet and room service. Disembarkation: Horrible with a capital H. Again, I have NEVER had a complaint since 2009 with NCL. It took us 2 hours to disembark. We did not understand why we didn't have the same experience getting on than getting off. When we arrived, as promised, we had someone escort us to our cabins. Getting off, we were with the general public and had to stand in long lines. As a Haven Suite customer, I would think that we would get to have a certain privilege to disembark. Children: We brought our 21, 20, 20 and 18 year old children with us. They mainly played basketball and stayed in the arcade. After 3 days they were bored and just watched movies and played on their phones. They did say for them, the best part of the cruise was the port visits where they could roam and not be confined to the ship. If you have older children, let them choose some of the excursions that they like to do. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My husband and I normally cruise with RCCL but took two cruises on Norwegian Escape. The first one was June 2016 and it was amazing, to a large degree because of the cruise directory and assistant cruise director (Tyler G and Andre ... Read More
My husband and I normally cruise with RCCL but took two cruises on Norwegian Escape. The first one was June 2016 and it was amazing, to a large degree because of the cruise directory and assistant cruise director (Tyler G and Andre respectively). The second one was February 2018. We had fun, traveled with 2 other couples, and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, but the cruise directory was boring. It makes a difference but still, we had a good time and the ship was great. We especially loved The District. So we booked this 10 day cruise on the Epic and overall it was a little disappointing. We had a good time - we were on a cruise, how could you not have a good time?? - but we have definitely had better experiences. The ship is very dark. Unlike Escape, which has tons of outside seating via restaurants, there is very little outside seating other than on deck 15. So if you are walking around the ship on the inside, you rarely see daylight. When you walk into the cabin you are basically standing in the bathroom. It is the strangest design I have seen so far. You walk in and the toilet is on the left, then a sink next to it, and the bathtub/shower is on the right. There is a curtain you can pull shut to separate this area from the rest of the cabin, but there really is no privacy or no separate bathroom as such. We had booked a mini suite and on Escape, in a mini suite, we had a beautiful, big bathroom, which double sinks, and a nice shower. There was enough room for both of us to get ready. I am really not sure what the big difference was on Epic regarding the mini suite vs a regular cabin. The food at Cagney's was amazing, Moderno was just ok, and the food at the Garden Cafe was really disappointing. There was a much better selection at the Garden Cafe on Escape and the food tasted better. We were excited to see that Andre (the assistant cruise director from Escape) was actually the cruise director on this ship, but even this was disappointing. On EScape we constantly ran into Tyler and Andrew, they were hilarious, and they interacted with the passengers. While Andre mentioned at the end of every announcement his made that it was his mission to meet each and every one of us, we rarely saw him on the ship. My husband and I were actually discussing going back to RCCL. WE have a lot of loyalty points accrued with them, but after our first Norwegian cruise we were so thrilled we decided to give them another try. However, after the last two Norwegian cruises we decided to stick with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The smoke on deck 6 made us sick, had to see the onboard doctor, which really messed up our cruise. We love the Cavern club, but it was so packed that we couldn't enjoy it. People went to the show before and just hung out. Food from ... Read More
The smoke on deck 6 made us sick, had to see the onboard doctor, which really messed up our cruise. We love the Cavern club, but it was so packed that we couldn't enjoy it. People went to the show before and just hung out. Food from the Cirque was not good at all. The meat was cold. The biggest disappointment was that they only had two scuba (we are advance divers) excursions. They did not have any for Cayman or Belize which are amazing dive sites. We had to do our own for Jamaica, Cayman, and Belize. That was a huge disappointment. When we travel on Carnival they are working with us on the ship to schedule dives if they do not have any set up. Norwegian staff would not. The TV vacation planner did not work. We would have things schedule and it would not show up and then we didn't think we had it when we did. This happened in regards to a show and in regards to a dinner reservation. The iConceirge Ap said there was an upgrade and I was never able to use it. We did the Blackjack tournament and asked to get into the one of the rounds on a table that was not filled up and she said it was after 12 when our watches said 1158 and she would not budge even showing her the time. I was penalized in the Blackjack tournament for pushing two stacks of chips in one move onto the betting space when the lady running it told me I could not and then the next lady that took over told people to do it. Bathrooms on deck (not in the room) were often out of paper towels. The embark and disembark were nightmares. I've never had that kind of problem on any other ship. My wife said she would never want to travel on Epic again but I probably would (but not without her). After the experience, I prefer Carnival and the way they do things. I wanted to like Norwegian more. The stateroom and ship and staff were awesome. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was my second cruise experience. My first experience was on a Carnival Cruise out of Tampa. There was a wide variety of age groups on this ship for Thanksgiving including lots of families, young adults, and /older people in their ... Read More
This was my second cruise experience. My first experience was on a Carnival Cruise out of Tampa. There was a wide variety of age groups on this ship for Thanksgiving including lots of families, young adults, and /older people in their 60's and 70's. Embarkation: The drive down to Orlando from Atlanta took about 7 hours. We traveled through many toll roads that cost money, we should have gotten the pass. We parked at a lot and took a shuttle to the port. There was a long line but it moved fast. Ship: The ship itself is massive and huge, I believe there were over 4,000 passengers on board. It never felt like it was overly packed until we went on the pool deck/Deck 15 and it was pretty packed. The layout of the ship and elevators are a little confusing. Make sure you know if you are in the front, middle, or back of the boat and take the appropriate elevator to get to your room otherwise you're gonna be walking for a little while to get to your room. Sometimes the elevators were packed full of people so we took the stairs often. Room: We had an inside cabin. It was small but it fit our needs. The shower was separate from the bathroom and the sink. There was plenty of storage underneath the beds and in the closet. Our room steward did a great job. I would definitely pick a balcony on the next cruise so I can chill in the room on sea days and not be stuck in an inside cabin. Entertainment: We went to the Cirque Dreams show ($) and the Burn the Floor dance show. Both were great shows and we really enjoyed them! We made reservations ahead of time before we boarded the ship. We heard from others that Priscilla Queen of the Dance Floor was long and boring. We did not do any comedy shows. Gambling: We did the quarter machine and also played a few games of slots. We didn't spend much time gambling but there are plenty of machines to choose from as well as craps tables. A lot of the elderly people were gambling from sun up to sun down. Food: I thought the food was pretty decent. We always found something to eat in the Garden Cafe buffet on Deck 15. We always ate lunch and breakfast at the Garden Cafe. There was a selection of pizza, hot dogs, chicken, burgers, pasta, sandwiches, salad bar, etc. Dinner service at the Manhattan Room and Taste was slow and dinner could take upwards of 1.5-2 hours for appetizers, main course, and desert. We did not care for the Irish pub O'Sheehan's and Shanghi's was an hour long wait. Bars: The pool bars were always packed, I felt bad for the bartenders. We found the service to be better at Spice H2O in the back of the ship. The bars were also busy by deck 5 near the atrium. Mixed drinks were from $10-$12, and beers were $5-$6, thank god we went with someone who bought the drink package because we were able to get free drinks the entire cruise. Otherwise, our bill would have been astronomical!! Ports: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, Grand Cayman Island, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexcio. My favorite port was Cozumel, the people were nice, friendly, and I enjoyed the shopping. You could always bargain with them. We did not book any excursions for Grand Cayman and it seemed like all they had to offer was diamond shopping. The people in Jamaica are very aggressive when you're shopping, I always told them no and kept on going. A lot of people on the ship complained about Jamaica and said they didn't like the pushy/aggressive people trying to get you to buy things. Bahamas was nice and the water was cold, we went to Norwegian's little private owned island and by noon it was packed. Disembarkation: We chose to carry our own luggage. We left around 7:30 and went through customs/immigration and ended up getting to the parking lot around 9:00. There was a long line to get through customs but it moved and all you had to do was show your passport and off you went! Nickle & diming: I felt like Norwegian tries to nickle and dime you for everything. I didn't feel this way when I went on Carnival. From the daily gratuities, to the 20% charge on literally everything (drinks, mini-bar, etc.) It was $10 to rent a movie on on your TV. $7 to bowl at the bowling ally. Then they are pushing photo packages and packages for you to deposit money and sail on a future cruise. We drank a few sodas and water from the mini-bar (no alcohol) and somehow our mini-bar tab was $69. Be sure to check your bill at the end of the cruise. Quiet time: If you prefer to lounge around and look at the ocean, head up to Deck 18 (near the great outdoors buffet on deck 15 and take the elevator to deck 18) it was very quiet, relaxing, and no kids. Overall, we had a good time and the weather was fantastic. It never felt like there were 4,000 people on the ship. We also enjoyed the ports and the excursions. The wait times at the bars need to improve or they need more staff members. It would also be nice if they offered lobster or crab one night at dinner time but this was never offered. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
7 day get-a-way. Food, in 95%, was great, Foods service was great, except for an poorly trained waitress in The Manhattan Room. She was overwhelmed about the group size (11), and table was poorly set up from the start. Blame should ... Read More
7 day get-a-way. Food, in 95%, was great, Foods service was great, except for an poorly trained waitress in The Manhattan Room. She was overwhelmed about the group size (11), and table was poorly set up from the start. Blame should be reflected on Dinning Management, for watching and not giving support or assigning help. She was truly in the wrong place. Each shore excursion started off and ended (debarking/ embarking) entering/exit the ship itself was good, but no ground support, or directions or signs to which line one should be in a close proxamtion to the excurtion you were headed to.. 3000 people heading to double set of doors and not knowing where to go. Tenders, Long line down the middle of the boat, then sit for another 45 minutes in the Epic room, to await on a boat. Returning to the ship.. No signs on where the line starts, lines crossing other lines. and very long. Could see Norwiegian crew staff standing around, but not trying to help. Each shore excursion, we planned, was great, once you got into the correct line... The cruise depends on yourself. Want to have a great time, you can, and will. It's what you make it... My advise to Norwegian staff, We are your employers during the trip. Keep your attitude in your cabin. Keep you options to yourself. Smile when you hate it, If you don't know the question/ answer, state that you don't understand, don't lie, or give false information. Your jobs are tough and your hours are long, we commend your services. Many people will work a whole year just to have a week of peaceful time. Don't make their hard effort's go to waste, That's you jobs, if you can't do it, get another job. There are thousands more waiting to have your job, and, without attitude... Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We just came back from our 1 week trip with the Epic from Dec 7th to Dec 14th. We were on the Norwegian Pearl in Dec 2011 which was a great trip and we were hooked on Cruising so we had high expectation for the Norwegian Epic. On the Epic, ... Read More
We just came back from our 1 week trip with the Epic from Dec 7th to Dec 14th. We were on the Norwegian Pearl in Dec 2011 which was a great trip and we were hooked on Cruising so we had high expectation for the Norwegian Epic. On the Epic, we stayed in the Mini Suite and had a balcony on Deck 12, which gave me excellent opportunities to take many great photos of the Ports. Unfortunately this ship did not live up to the standards the Norwegian Pearl had set... The Ship: The ship capacity is 4500 passengers, it is designed to maximize the carrying capacity and maximum balcony options on the ship, the ship is boxy in design. When we were docking on the 3 ports that were visited, I saw some other ships which were longer in length and or bigger in size from other cruise lines (Royal carribbean and Disney) but had less passenger capacity, then I noticed that these ships had lower decks where you can walks around the ship and enjoy your views where the Epic did not except on deck 15 where the pool and buffet is located (which all other ships had as well). One thing I really missed from the Norwegian Pearl was being able to walk around the lower decks and enjoying the views with my family, unfortunately this was not an option on the Epic... You can forget about doing this on Deck 15 as there is not much walking room for a leisurely stroll with all the hustle and bustle of people sunbathing/eating or having a drink, it was always busy. Swimming/Sunbath is located on Deck 15, they have a shallow splash area for small children, 2 small pools which is not really long enough for swimming and a few hot tubs as well as 4 shower stalls outside. The highlight of the pool area is the large water slide which gives you a great ride with a great view while your sliding down. One annoying part of this deck is that sometimes you can smell sewage near the back near the engine exhaust pipes area, I noticed this many times so I can conclude this is an ongoing issue. One other note about the sewage smell, my father who was staying in a Studio room had a sewing smell coming from the vent in his washroom, he couldn't sleep the first night because of the smell. The next day, he taped it up during the night and it helped. Food/dining options: Garden Café: this is where the buffet is located the area is open for breakfast lunch and dinner, there are 4 corners with basically the same food. The food is a hit and a miss, there is variety but not really much quality, I have worked in the restaurant business before and from the way the food was prepared, the staff were probably poorly trained or plain lazy. The food was similar to the Norwegian Pearl, but on the Pearl, the food tasted better. The staff seems disengaged, and slow moving, or they usually just stand there, you can see that most of them are not happy to be there especially the wait staff, on the Norwegian Pearl, almost every staff member had a big smile and were enthusiastic about doing their job and making your stay enjoyable. I noticed on the Epic, for the most part, the staff usually just stand around, sometimes chit chatting with each other, slow to clear the tables, then all of the sudden I see an increase in their movement when a senior staff passes by (usually in the white uniforms) then they slow down again when the coast is clear. The tables are usually not very clean because they do such a poor job of wiping the tables. I did notice staff members who offered exceptional service but those were few and far in between... the Manhatten room: We ate there twice for Dinner, the first time was on the first night aboard the ship, it took us about an hour to get a table(they told us half hour wait), then it took more than an hour to get the main course meal, by then my children fell asleep at the table and my wife had to take them back to the room to sleep. Our waiter did apologize for the wait, I guess it was quite hectic the first day, the food was tasty. We ate at the Manhatten room the second night, the wait was shorter, only about half an hour to get our table and another hour for the main course. they put us in the left side of the dining area, there was a strong mildew smell, I don't remember much about the food because it ruined my appetite, suffice to say that was the last time we went to dine there. Taste: We went there twice, once for lunch and once for dinner. for lunch, our waiter didn't really speak English well and got one of the appetizers wrong but immediately got it corrected and it came out quickly. For dinner, we went early so there was no wait time and we got our food out quickly as well. The staff was professional and courteous. Teppenyaki: The chef was funny and engaging, the portions were generous, but the taste was lacking. The staff was fast and efficient. le Bistro: We made reservations for 8:30, so there was no wait for the table, the wait for the food was long, about an hour. The staff were busy, I see them moving around constantly doing something. The bread was cold, the food we ordered were cooked perfectly. One note about the bread, I did notice all bread got during all the dinners were always cold, on the Pearl, it was always warm or hot when we it came out. Cirque Dreams Dinner: There's no option for food, everybody got the same meal. we didn't get an option for how the filet mignon would be cooked, most of ours came out well done. The show was great and a must see, it makes up for the mediocre dinner. The Casino is located on the 6th floor, elevators on the aft of the ship only goes to the 6th floor and missing the 5th floor and the stairs are blocked off from the 6th floor to the 5th floor, to get to most the dining rooms, theatre, bars etc, you would have to pass by the casino. In the middle of the ship, the 6th floor opens up to the 5th and 7th floor, there are stairs from 6th to 7th and escalators from 5th to 6th, all conveniently bringing you to the casino on the 6th floor. I think the ship is designed this way to maximize the number of people gambling, If you have a gambling issue, this ship is not for you as you will pass by the casino or hear it on the 5th, 6th and 7th floor. I have 2 young children and I had to think of many detours that would not take me across or near the casino (the smoking being my biggest concern), suffice to say, after analyzing the many options, the ship is designed to take you through the casino or at least near it on many of your dining/shopping/drinking options. Housekeeping: Our Steward for housekeeping was very clean and efficient and always did a good job with our messy rooms, with 3 and 1 year old, the room was always a mess, we got our rooms cleaned 3-4 times a day. We had many valuables lying around and nothing was ever missing, our safe was also unlocked at one point and we had about $3k in cash and it was all there when we came back. We had also tipped our steward a few times as well for doing such an excellent job. Safe: We noticed that our safe did become unlocked twice during our trip and our combination reset, once was after a power outage, the second time was in the morning so we don't know if there was a power outage, nothing was missing but it's doesn't give me much trust in those safes. I would give our stay a 6 out of 10, whereas our previous stay with the Pearl I would give a 9. Suffice to say we will not going to be going back to the Epic.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My initial interest in this cruise was in seeing the Blue man group, and trying out the "mega" ship experience. I read many of the reviews on Cruise critic. There were A LOT of pro's and con's, but the overriding ... Read More
My initial interest in this cruise was in seeing the Blue man group, and trying out the "mega" ship experience. I read many of the reviews on Cruise critic. There were A LOT of pro's and con's, but the overriding thought that was expressed was a cruise was like anything else in life, it is what you make it. We arrived to the terminal early, before 11AM. We were checked in, were issued our room key cards, and given group entry cards. We were group 16. This process was very well handled by NCL, and we were on board and heading up to the buffet in less than 30 minutes. They had a nice variety of items on the buffet, and before we were done eating they announced all the cabins were ready. WOO HOO, this is looking better by the minute. THE GOOD: Entertainment: Overall, I would say the entertainment on this cruise was the best we have ever experienced, and we didn't get to see it all. Second City was very good. The show we saw poked fun at life aboard a cruise ship. Some of their jokes I was surprised got past NCL "censors". Like the one about greasing each other down, and squeezing each other tight, now we can get around in our cabin. Legends in Concert: Was very good. The guy who did Jimmy Buffett really looked the part. The Michael Jackson guy did a great job, as well as the gal who did Whoopi Goldberg, and Donna Summer. Blue Man Group: A bit abstract at times, but EXCELLENT non the less. You just didn't know what to expect next. The audience participation really added to it. The little old lady they chose for our show REALLY added to the performance. Circue Dreams: INCREDIBLE, best we have ever seen. I didn't know the human body could be bent into those contortions. The performers just absolutely hit it out of the park. We opted for the premium seating. The one disappointment was the food. Their version of Surf and turf at this venue is a medallion of beef the size of a silver dollar, and TWO large coconut shrimp. They also seemed to be experiencing some service issues, as our table didn't get served until most everyone else was done. The comedian in the Epic theater was VERY good. Actually kept it G rated, and used an 8 year old boy from the audience. Both unusual I thought for an 11 PM performance, but very good non the less. He asked a couple times, so, anybody winning in the casino? Finally TWO people raised their hands. I was talking with someone in the elevator who was mad that after he won and decided to leave the casino, there was nobody to cash him out. He had to take his winnings on his ship card. Food: Overall, I would rate good, to very good. BUT, NO COMPARISON to others we have been on. The Crew absolutely are there for you. All ranks being friendly and courteous when you walk past, and the dining rooms staff, and room stewards are VERY attentive to your every need or desire. We were at the buffet one morning when a 5 or 6 year old lost his breakfast. The crew immediately swung into action, cordoning off the table with chairs, and they had a special team there in minutes with a special cart loaded with cleaning supplies to sanitize the area. THE NOT SO GOOD: First night out was lobster night in the Manhattan main dining room. Actually, surf and turf they called it, with a steak. The steak itself was VERY good, but it was a very small portion, again the size and shape of a large coin. My lobster was border line under cooked. My wife's was not edible. She sent it back, and the replacement was no better. In years past, each time, we left an NCL boat, it was with the impression of finally being "released" from the non stop assault on our wallets, this time was no different. Granted, ALL the cruise lines are there to make money, and sell you as much of everything as they can while they have you captive. But, NCL has refined this into an art form. From cheaping out on the balcony furniture, to trying to steer you to buy at the most over priced stores in port (which they get a cut of), to microscopic steak portions, to constantly pushing their excursions, the casino, shopping on board, future cruise bookings, bingo, specialty restaurants, drinks, to each time you changed the channel on the TV you had to endure some stupid little 10 second delay with a commercial for something else they were trying to sell you, etc, etc. The casino seemed to be everywhere. I believe it was on three decks in the middle of the ship. There were ALWAYS slot machines, even at a bar in the middle of an atrium. I half expected to see a slot machine attached to inside of the public toilet stall doors. This ship didn't seem to have the formal main lobby area, the long flowing polished staircases, the atrium with glass elevators etc. That area was all taken up by casino. The Epic's design is all about crammin as many cabins as possible on board. Looking at the ship's overall silhouette, it looks like a shoe box turned on its side with a point stuck on the front of it for a bow. All the other ships out there have their decks sloped inward as they rise. I can only imagine how much of a handful the Epic would be to control in heavy winds with that boxy profile. Maybe that was why it DID seem to take longer than normal for the ship to dock using its noisey side thrusters, maybe because of the wind resistance? Regardless, the thrusters turns out to be an alarm clock each morning when docking. The cabins are pathetically small, at least the entry level balcony rooms. There is NO way two people can pass between the bed and the cabinets. Normally a room like this will have a small desk top area and a chair, for doing make up, or writing, or computer work, or? Our room had a tiny counter top space and a small stool. I had read a number of reviews about the layout of the bath facilities, and quite frankly didn't know what to expect. When I walked into the cabin for the first time I was shocked. There is NO bathROOM!!!! When you open the door, there is a small shower stall on one side of the door, and a small toilet area on the other side. Each with half round sliding doors. These are separated from the "main" cabin by nothing more than a drape. The sink, about the size and shape of a football, is in the main cabin area at the end of the bed. What they did in the design of this ship is to take EVERY possible inch of deck space they could from wherever they could to add more cabins. The room walls are curved. This is so the areas that REQUIRE space (bed length, walkway, cabinets) can have it, but yet they can "take back" some of that floor space in the sitting area. That is why the ship is shaped like a huge shoe box. That is why all the compromises in the cabin "amenities". On their own TV recorded sales pitch for future cruise sales the gal even pointed out that all future NCL ships were being built with BATHROOMS. We were disappointed with our balcony. We were in room 8195, and it has some sort of a drain pipe coming down from the above decks that stops over a drain flange in the floor of the balcony of this room. It makes a rather loud gurgling noise all the time. We have come to enjoy at least one breakfast on the balcony on each cruise. I have shoulder issues, and end up having to get up out of bed and go back to sleep in a recliner at home. On numerous occasions of other cruises I was able to fall asleep on the balcony in a recliner, or the chair in the sitting area, niether of which this ship had. The deck furniture was disappointing. Two small chairs, and a tiny table that might be suitable to hold two drinks and muffin. NO WAY to order a tray of breakfast, or to recline on your balcony like on most other ships. I went to the fitness center (deck 14 aft) several times. I use a recumbant bike, but it was different from what I was used to. After much frustration with setting the resistance level, I finally went up and asked for help. Realize, I'm there for free, not buying spa stuff, or anything else, just using an excercise machine. No tip potential, but the staff went out of there way to show how to use this machine. Also, much to my delight, they showed me a "locker room" area WITH a real sized shower. I found myself timing my workouts to late afternoon (before dinner etc). When done, I used the full size shower and toilet facilities and found myself grinning like I had gotten away with something LOL. They did not have any rating forms like other cruise lines almost REQUIRE you to fill out before you disembark. If they did, overall, I would give this cruise a 5 or maybe a 6 at best, saved by the wow of the entertainment. I'm not usually to hard to please, but, I do expect certain things. One of which is a BATHROOM, a useable balcony would be nice, and over the top food is always good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
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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