27 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

My friend was turning 50 so we got together for the cruise. The embarkation and disembarkation were the worst part of the trip. It took a long time and I felt sorry for older people and those with small children waiting so long in ... Read More
My friend was turning 50 so we got together for the cruise. The embarkation and disembarkation were the worst part of the trip. It took a long time and I felt sorry for older people and those with small children waiting so long in line. The entertainment was very good. We saw Priscilla, Burn the Floor and the comedians three times. I found the air conditioning very cold and as I spent a lot of time indoors I did not feel as if I was down south at all. The only outdoor space is really deck 15 and up with the pools. The loungers were all taken most of the time so we didn't stay there. It would be nice if there was an outdoor public quiet area just to sit and read and have a drink. We would go to a bar to get drinks and then go back to our room and balcony. The complimentary dining was very good mostly. We enjoyed Taste for breakfast as opposed to the buffet. The staff were all very amiable. Our stateroom housekeeper was very pleasant and happy to help with requests and questions. Our excursion in Tortola was informative and fun. The hour at the beach was great. Wish we could have stayed longer. We had an excursion booked for Great Stirrup Cay but it was cancelled because of weather conditions. Overall it was a good first time cruise experience. If we went again I would book restaurants in advance and maybe another excursion. For sure I would book a room with a balcony. I thought I might feel seasick but I didn't. I did feel the motion of the ship but it was gentle. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because it was the one my cousin picked for their 10yr anniversary. They chose this cruise because it went to St Thomas, which is where they went on their honeymoon. Boarding was delayed because someone knocked out ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was the one my cousin picked for their 10yr anniversary. They chose this cruise because it went to St Thomas, which is where they went on their honeymoon. Boarding was delayed because someone knocked out one of the bridges. Engine failure on second day, which they apparently knew about and set sail anyways. They lied to us the entire time. Tugs pushed ship into docks when we arrived at Puerto Rico. That was the only poet we went to so they could try to fix ship, not on itinerary. We were supposed to still hit our last stop at Grand Stirrup Cay, and they cancelled that stop the night before. We slowed and were given stamp at international port so they didn’t get fined $700 per passenger. Disembarkation was a completely nightmare, as they had no control over who got off when. All of that, and they are only offering a credit. They refuse to give me my money back. Everything was terrible except drinks, food and weather! They could have handled the communication of the issues way better. If they had then all issues would have been overlooked, as we understand things are unpredictable. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were on the Epic Fail Cruise, meaning the engines died on the 2nd day, we didn't go to any of the 3 ports we paid to see, and they took us, limping, to San Juan to work on the engines, where the Epic crashed into and sank 2 docs ... Read More
We were on the Epic Fail Cruise, meaning the engines died on the 2nd day, we didn't go to any of the 3 ports we paid to see, and they took us, limping, to San Juan to work on the engines, where the Epic crashed into and sank 2 docs while trying to come in to port. The cruise was an epic fail and the service by NCL was very much below average after the chaos began to ensue. However, my review is going to be based on the ship, not the mechanical problems or the lack of planning and care for customers on the part of NCL. The Epic gets horrible reviews. We didn't think it was nearly as bad as what people say, so I want to address the main concerns I read before our departure: Cabins: Yes, the cabins are uniquely laid out. The separate shower and toilet was awesome! No, you can't see through the glass. The room curtain will block whatever you need. Because the shower is separate, it comes with glass doors!! This means to moldy shower curtain sticking to you and WAY more shower space than any cruise I've been on. The separate toilet is also kind of nice. The sink is separate and placed by the end of the bed, but this was in no way a problem for us. Of all the rooms I've had, this room had TONS of storage space!! We had no problem finding enough room to put things. AMAZING! The beds- yes they are shorter than normal and rounded at the end. There's not a fitted sheet in the universe that would fit on that oddly shaped mattress. My husband is 6'5. His feet were off the end of the bed. If this is a deal breaker for you, this is not the ship for you. Layout of the ship: People complain that the layout is confusing. It's no worse than any other ship. Everything you need is either on Deck 5, 6, 7, or 15. That's it! A common complaint is that you have to walk through the casino on Deck 6. This is true. The casino is spread out all over deck 6 and you do have to walk by machines and tables to get from one end to the other. It's hard to avoid deck 6 because not all elevators go to deck 5, so if you get on the wrong one, you'll have to walk to the escalator to get to 5, which is where Taste is at. Elevators: People complain that the elevators are too slow. We were on the ship with 4200 people. With the exception of getting on the ship, we had no issues. Our ship didn't do a normal port of call because of engine issues; I would imagine that elevators would also be slow on port of call days as well. Other than that, they are fine. Tip: USE THE DOOR CLOSE BUTTON. It dramatically speeds up the process. Food: Food was great! Buffet was wonderful, and I've had some crappy NCL buffets. This one was very good. They made crepes every night in the buffet. Trust me and go indulge at least once. Taste was excellent. We ate there 4 nights and once for breakfast and didn't have a bit of trouble. Food and service were fantastic. Taste and Manhattan offer the exact same menu, so we did not eat at Manhattan because we do not like dressing up. Shanghai and O'Sheehans got mixed reviews. I loved O'Sheehans, hubby hated it. I hated Shanghai, he loved it. It's free, so just go try them and decide for yourself! Pool deck: Lots of people complain about the layout and size of the pools. Yeah, the pool is probably on the small side, but most pools on ships are small. Not uncommon. We loved the layout and had a great time. We never had trouble finding deck chairs, as most people complain to have that problem. Bars: We had no issues getting drinks. There are servers everywhere taking orders and they are very efficient. Sometimes H20 and the main pool bar get crowded, but what do you expect on a sea day? Lighten up! They have mobile carts that do frozen drinks, so if you are a frozen drink person, hit up the carts. They are very fast! Our cruise was pretty much a disaster from start to finish and I fault NCL for that. But I wanted my review to be specifically about the Epic because the reviews are so horrible. It's not nearly as bad as what people say, and I'm a regular cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I was on the Epic Fail cruise of 2019. This cruise was best with problems that I mostly, luckily, avoided. I got to the terminal early and was checked in and seated in about 20 minutes total, very efficient. I was also among the first ... Read More
I was on the Epic Fail cruise of 2019. This cruise was best with problems that I mostly, luckily, avoided. I got to the terminal early and was checked in and seated in about 20 minutes total, very efficient. I was also among the first hundred regular people on the ship. Here is where the problems started. There was a "computer glitch" which inconvenienced me in that the servers were slower because they had to write everything down. What I didn't know was that this glitch was keeping people from boarding the ship. Huge crowds waiting in the terminal for about two hours, dodged that bullet. A little about me, I am 50 year old male traveling solo with an group of disc golfers. I have taken about twenty cruises now, mostly on NCL. I love cruising and try to cruise twice a year. I ate in the specialty restaurants almost the whole week, I never went to the buffet. As a solo I tested the freestyle concept and was pleased with the results. I purposely didn't make reservations and was still seated in Moderno inside ten minutes! The food as always was fantastic, and I choose new entrees from what I usually do to expand my pallet and was very pleased. Back to the ship, so day two we lost motor power and sat in the ocean for a couple hours. Then we slowly limped into port and crashed into the pier. My friends and I made lemonade out of the situation and went to a beach resort had beers and played putting games. Even before we left port I knew we were not making the private island, distance divided by speed means nope, so when they announced we were getting in to PC late I was laughing. Finally there was the fiasco with the arrival time. Originally told it was going to be eightish everyone scrambled to change flight plans, the next day we find out it is more like three-ish when we get in and everyone scrambles again. I drove so I didn't have to deal with that, but the level of negativity on the ship rose to astounding heights. There is a reason the ship docks at 5am, having people camped out in all the public areas waiting to get off and getting angrier all the time is probably one of the bigger reasons. I saw a woman forcing people to look at her kittens and puppies to keep them from getting angrier. Overall my worst cruise hands down, communication from the bridge was inexact and only occasional. I never saw the Cruise Director once after the first mechanical. The comedians were eating it up and hilarious but it really wasn't that funny. Finally Epic is not the ship to be stuck on, with its small outside areas and persistent smoke smell inside I was more than ready to get off the ship and that has never happened before. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the Epic after reading so many reviews of people who didn't. The "bathroom situation" turned out great. I was traveling with a friend and we simply pulled the curtain when ... Read More
I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the Epic after reading so many reviews of people who didn't. The "bathroom situation" turned out great. I was traveling with a friend and we simply pulled the curtain when either one of us was using the shower or restroom. And the area in between the curtain and door made for a roomy changing area as opposed to trying to change in the regular bathroom. Food was really good, our cabin steward Vino was fantastic and took care of anything we asked for. The only thing that kept me from giving this cruise an excellent rating is that I felt the shows overall were just not as enjoyable as the shows on the Pearl and Spirit that I had seen on previous cruises. Other than that, my group of 6 had a great time! My advice is, don't pay attention to all the negativity and don't be afraid to book the Epic! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of Port Canaveral and the ports of call. The Epic, while not the most beautiful ship, offered lots of dining and entertainment options. I think it is better suited for couples. The best ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of Port Canaveral and the ports of call. The Epic, while not the most beautiful ship, offered lots of dining and entertainment options. I think it is better suited for couples. The best advice we were given before the cruise was to book shore excursions, dining and entertainment early. We had no problem on board because we planned ahead. Those who did not make prior reservations were disappointed. Most of the entertainment was not really child friendly in my opinion. They did offer family themed movies and family dance parties on certain nights. The biggest drawback of the ship to me is the lack of areas to view the ocean. There were not many quiet relaxing spots in the public areas. The staterooms were nice with adequate storage. The open bathroom layout was not a problem for us a a couple; however it probably would be for families. We found the dining to be very good. The food in the specialty restaurants was especially delicious. I don't really understand all of the bad reviews involving the staff. Overall they were very friendly and attentive to our needs. Our cabin steward was one of the most friendly and attentive we have ever encountered. He definitely made our experience so much more personal and enjoyable! The dining staff was also quite friendly and very knowledgeable of the menu and options for food allergies. They went above and beyond to accommodate our needs. We loved our ports of call and our ship days as well. Even on nights that we did not book shows, there was enjoyable live music all over the ship. We would certainly cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This cruise was chosen by the group I was with. Terrible layout for the rooms - entry was in the middle of the bathroom. This made it awkward when ordering morning room service. Told it would be there in 30-45, hopped in shower and they ... Read More
This cruise was chosen by the group I was with. Terrible layout for the rooms - entry was in the middle of the bathroom. This made it awkward when ordering morning room service. Told it would be there in 30-45, hopped in shower and they showed up 10 minutes later. Also did not like the $7.95 delivery charge. Paid for the dining package which was a waste. The best meal was in the main dining room though the service was spotty. Went to Cagneys with a 7:30 seating, was not served my meal until 9:30. If I wasn't with a group I would have left. At the Italian resturant the service was also slow and when the entree arrives it was so salty I could not eat it. The next day in talking with the person at the other end of the table, her soup was so salty she could not eat it. Again we had a 7:30 dinner and the service was so slow that a table of 10 no one wanted to order desert as it was after 10 when dinner was complete. Other than your room, there is no place to go for a quiet area that you don't have to pay extra for. We bought the unlimited wifi and had to consistently keep logging in. Sometimes 6-7 times in a 10 minute time period. Made it not worth the trouble. Paid extra for the dinner with the Circ show. The show was excellent but the food was inedible- disappointed for the $40 extra per person. Also did not like having to 'reserve' other shows in advance because the dining service was so slow, we missed the shows. The only highlight was our cabin steward. Ian always was happy with a smile on his face. The embarkation process went smoothly but the disembarkation was a nightmare. Stood in lines over 90 minutes even after paying a porter to expedite us through the process. Having cruised on several other cruise lines, I think I'll skip the trip if the group wants to go with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We ate at cuchina, Cagney's, and La Moderno. Great service at these restaurants, coffee was amazing at La Moderno. Food and service at Taste was excellent. Ate most of our lunch and breakfast meals at The Garden Café. View was ... Read More
We ate at cuchina, Cagney's, and La Moderno. Great service at these restaurants, coffee was amazing at La Moderno. Food and service at Taste was excellent. Ate most of our lunch and breakfast meals at The Garden Café. View was great, food was good. Embarcation was nightmarish. Not the fault of NCL but started us off on poor footing. It took an hour and a half to get from our hotel in cocoa Beach to the Epic. The embarcation procedure following that made us feel like we were cattle being herded into the corral. Was not impressed with the 50-100 people who were ushered in front of us because they had a Casino pkg. NCL should've had a separate check in for them instead of having them cut in front of us, pushing our wait time to 45 minutes just to get our key card. Again, not a great beginning. The entertainment was excellent. We saw circus dreams on the first night, it was pretty good. Saw the Priscilla, Queen of the desert Broadway show. It was amazing!! Also saw Burn the Floor, it wasn't bad. Quick note on circus dreams, do not bother paying for the premium ticket as they let premium and standard ticket holders sit wherever they want. Excursions were very good. Took a simple beach excursion for Tortola. It was perfect. Second excursion, we went snorkelling on the catamaran called castaway girl. Again excellent excursion, we were well taken care of. My only regret is it was such a short time in the water to go snorkelling . But aside from that, excellent! The last excursion was great Stirrup Caye. Wow!!! What a great excursion! Ship set up: was a little confusing. We were never sure when we got off the elevator whether to go to the left or to the right. Would've liked to have had a map of the ship, this would've helped out a lot. Social: the people we met on this trip were some of the nicest people I've ever met in my life. They made it fun, everyone was friendly, met lots of people, did a lot of talking. Overall this was an excellent cruise. Thank you to all the NCL folk who put it all together. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise because our car club wanted to go someplace warm together. The Epic was chosen because of the itinerary and cruise length. The wife and I had never been on what I would call a "Mega-Ship" before and thought ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our car club wanted to go someplace warm together. The Epic was chosen because of the itinerary and cruise length. The wife and I had never been on what I would call a "Mega-Ship" before and thought this would be as good a time as ever to give one a try. Embarkation was a madhouse. We stayed at the Radisson because they offered a cruise and park option with a free shuttle to the port. Well, that didn't work out as planned. We got there around 3 PM the day before departure and were informed that the earliest shuttle the next day we could get was 12 noon. Our cruise documents stated we needed to be there between 10 and 10:30. We nixed the "free" shuttle and hailed a Uber driver instead. Took almost an hour to go 4 miles. Driver was great but BE PREPARED! Actual embarkation went fairly smoothly, some waiting and lots of walking, sort of like Disneyworld in the summer. Had to wait for cabin to be ready and the luggage to arrive, which is typical and not a problem for us. I will sum up the pros and cons below: PROS: Great service. Superior food. Attentive staff. Good entertainment. Nice balconies. Super cabin steward (Thanks, Putu!!) Reasonable embarkation and disembarkation times. Clean ship condition. CONS: SHIP IS TOO BIG! Lots of smoke in casino. Terrible cabin layout. Not enough elevators. Drinks very expensive (like $18.00+ for a Budweiser and a Rum and Coke). Useless features like bowling alleys, rock climbing walls, ice room. Too many glitzy, overpriced shops. Not enough restrooms in public areas and they were not well marked. Access to attractions and main dining routed you through either the smokey casino or the pub area where people were just milling about. Main dining was not open at the same time every day or was closed. Just our personal perspective from an active retired couple in their mid 60's: Very crowded ship. Wait until the mob leaves and then go ashore and find your own private shore excursions OR: stay on board and enjoy being able to actually get into the pool! Others may not agree but we prefer a mid-sized ship, less than 2,000 passengers. No need the shiny, bright objects to make an impression. One last thought: WHEN WILL SOMEONE WISE UP AND OFFER A SMOKE-FREE SHIP????? Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was my much anticipated first cruise. The first day of the trip I spent an agonizing 5 hours freezing aboard ship. By dinner, I was too cold to stay in the dining room and spent the rest of the evening in my room trying to stave off ... Read More
This was my much anticipated first cruise. The first day of the trip I spent an agonizing 5 hours freezing aboard ship. By dinner, I was too cold to stay in the dining room and spent the rest of the evening in my room trying to stave off the bone-chilling cold.This would be the same for the next 3 days, As time went on I heard the familiar hacking cough that I and numerous other guests developed. Six days after the trip ended, I still can't completely shake it. On to the food of which I had heard so much. While plentiful, it was more often than not bland, over-cooked, and boring--except for the desserts which were uniformly good but one cannot live on sugar alone. This includes both the MDRs as well as the specialty restaurants we tried after purchasing the 3-dinner package. I don't eat meat other than fish so I can't attest to those items except to say I observed a fair number of brownish-grayish steaks being served, The fish, however, was generally bland and overcooked. The sea bass at La Cucina was tough and served with the slimy skin still on, The gnocchi appetizer should have been little potato pillows drizzled with pesto, instead they were globs of potato paste literally drowning in a bowl of pesto sauce.The lobster bisque at Cagney's was served with a small piece of rubber that served as the only hint of lobster in a soup that smelled and tasted of metallic fish stock. Neither my companion nor I could eat more than a few small sips before sending it back, My main course was simply 6 skewered unseasoned shrimp served with clarified butter ($25). At Le Bistro, the small slightly over-cooked scallops were served on something that looked like it had congealed. The mushroom soup was tasty but had an off-putting grainy texture. They did, however, serve the best dessert, a chocolate napoleon. The seafood skewers and the swordfish at The Manhattan Room were well-executed, but the final dinner there, penne alfredo, did not live up to those other dishes. The pasta clumped together and the mushrooms and scallops were sparse. Taste and the Garden Cafe were serviceable but not particularly memorable. We had a balcony room which I highly recommend. It was lovely and we made good use of the outdoor space. But beware of the bottled water that is left out on the countertop. There's no sign, but it is part of the mini-bar and they charge you accordingly (almost $13 for sparkling water, $4 for still). The shore excursions were fine, but if you're just going into town, it's much cheaper to grab a taxi on your own. We booked the excursions for Tortola and St.Thomas and we would have had a much better time site-seeing on our own schedule. As for St Thomas, it was the one place we would have liked to explore but the ship left port at 2pm. This was disappointing to most of the guests. The third excursion was to NCL's private island. This was a nice relaxing day but the bars and food closed by 2:30, and we didn't have to leave until 5pm. Needless to say, we returned to the ship early. On board entertainment was fine but nothing we couldn't find at home. I'm not a big gambler but I do like to play the slots--just not while sitting next to someone smoking a cigar. Unfortunately, smoking is also allowed on deck which defeats the purpose of going out to enjoy the fresh air and exacerbated my hacking cough. The service overall was excellent with very few exceptions. NCL received basically this same information on the post cruise survey they sent me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Service was awful from the moment we checked in at Port Canaveral to the last day. Most of the staff was unfriendly, lacked a smile and just rude. We had bad weather day 2, yet Norwegian shut down all outdoor activities, including pools ... Read More
Service was awful from the moment we checked in at Port Canaveral to the last day. Most of the staff was unfriendly, lacked a smile and just rude. We had bad weather day 2, yet Norwegian shut down all outdoor activities, including pools and slides for the first 4 days. They could have compensated by adding more kid friendly activities. The slides were fun for children and adults alike. The food was mediocre at best. The main dining didn't have a large variety. I went to 1 specialty restaurant, which wasn't any better. The ship was beautiful, but the rooms were extremely tiny. We purchased an excursion out of Stirrup Cay. The wave runner adventure should have been 90 minutes, yet we rode for 35 minutes. The shows, casino and the overall elegant feel were the best part of the ship. Unfortunately, not enough to make me use Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
About 50 members of my running group and my best friend chose to go on this cruise. Overall, I had a good time, but it was largely in spite of the service on the Epic. I suspect that they have built a ship that simply holds too many ... Read More
About 50 members of my running group and my best friend chose to go on this cruise. Overall, I had a good time, but it was largely in spite of the service on the Epic. I suspect that they have built a ship that simply holds too many people for the public spaces available. I bought the drink package and dining upgrade. At times I waited more than 30 minutes for a drink before the bartender would serve me. Most of the restaurants with the upgrade were constantly booked. It took more than three hours to get off the boat in Grand Cayman, and that destroyed our original plans for my best friend's birthday. (I've never had such a long wait on other cruise ships.) The room was tired and not clean--there were smears on the wall by my bed that looked like boogers, the carpet was stained in multiple places, there was paint and dried food on the balcony (either they are washing Froot Loops off an upper deck or kids are throwing them), the door between our deck and the adjoining one banged in the wind, the lights in half the room turned themselves off every 30 minutes (electrical short?) and the thermostat was broken (though they fixed that one.) While the room was well stocked when we checked in, that was the last time that we had a full assortment of towels, coffee and stirring sticks. After a couple of days of using the same towel (and reusing a wet one after a two shower day) I took to restocking our room myself from the carts in the hall. They are strangely bureaucratic. My friend ordered a diet soda with no ice, and they refused to serve it without ice. There was no alcohol, and no reason to be so rigid and inflexible--all he wanted was a diet soda that wasn't watered down. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My wife and I are in our mid 30's with two children (ages 2 and 5) This is our 5th cruise (and second with our kids) Our previous cruises included 2 RCCL and two NCL cruises. This trip also included two other families. 11 people in ... Read More
My wife and I are in our mid 30's with two children (ages 2 and 5) This is our 5th cruise (and second with our kids) Our previous cruises included 2 RCCL and two NCL cruises. This trip also included two other families. 11 people in total(6 adults 5 kids) I must say that after this experience this will most likely be our last cruise with NCL. No disrespect to any others that enjoyed this cruise. This is merely a review based on my friends and family's experience on this vacation. Pros The embarkation and debarkation process was very quick, organized, and hassle free (although we did have to wait a while on embarkation day for a porter to take our luggage) The price was very good (kids sail free with each adult) Entertainment was pretty decent. The kids enjoyed Blue Man Group (went twice) also they liked Howl At the Moon Cons The cabin was very awkward and small, but we made the best of it. We had a balcony room on the 13th deck. It was hard to pass by each other w/o bumping into each other. The cabin was not very tidy when we checked in. The bathroom was in less than clean conditions. Fortuantley my wife packed clorox wipes so we were able to wipe down alot of the cabin before we unpacked. The layout of the ship. fzreestyle cruising means more dining options. However when you cram in a million restaurants you sacrifice common space. We loved how on RCCL they had the promenade(explorer of the sea) The oasis class has central park. NCL Epic... um..i felt like a rat in a maze the whole trip. corridors everywhere.. only decent common areas was the pool area (which was obviously crowded) and the casino (not kid friendly) Not even a jogging track.. only a jogging strip on deck 7? really? and you get to stare at teh lifeboats... great job NCL Restaurants. Many choices , and they all sound good on paper. However when you pay an upcharge for a specialty restaurant, you kinda expect something halfway decent. Moderno was probably my favorite of the restaurants. The food was great, and the service was decent.La cucinia was decent, Le Bistro was not as good as our past cruise, same with Cagneys. on the Gem these two restaurants were our favorites. Shanghai? dont bother...its worse thank chinese take out. Manhattan room was nice from a visual perspective. Food was eh.... Same with Tastes... it was"eh" the garden buffet was okay, except it was always VERY crowded and hard to get a table. Onboard activities. You have a boat with over 4000 people on it. water slides were fun (if you dont mind waiting a while) same with rock climbing... just be prepared to wait Kids activities... the kids club in theory is a great idea. the older kids in our group were all signed up and did okay with the playtime activties. However we question how experienced the staff is when it comes to child care. They had a parade and there were children crying, not wanting to participate, and it seems like the staff just placed those kids on the pay no mind list. not even stoping to console or ask if they were okay. and the little kids programs? the guppies room? that broom closet that they tried to pass off as a playroom for infants? NCL is not that kid friendly. Go with Disney if you can afford it Room Service... the bane of my existence... my 5 year old wouldget hungry at times so we tried out the room service. On the same night we ordered room service and pizza from the pizza 24/7 service. we were quoted 40 minutes for room service, and 30 minutes for pizza. 35 minutes later room service came, and my son was eagerly awaiting the pizza. after an hour... nothing...but by that time he fell asleep. houlr and a half..i called and inquired and they said it has not been prepared as of yet.... so i told them "i ordered it an hour and a half ago.. just cancel it" two nights later same situation...passed on the pizza cause room service seemed more dependable... 30 minutes was promised, but it did not show up until an hour and 25 minutes later. ice cold... who likes cold hot dogs? not me or my son. my wife called to complain and there was barely an apology to be had. the following day we received a call from Gary the restaurant manager who was very helpful and made amends by setting us up with a nice dinner in the manhattan room with free wine and super fast service. he also said to contact him prior to having dinner every subsequent night and he’ll ensure things are taken care of properly. So kudos to him. The Staff… Aside from Gary (and his asst mgr Roman) the staff is by far the worst we have ever encountered on the boat. Nancy the box office manager has to be one of the most miserable people I’ve ever encountered on a boat. Long story short, there was a misprint in the daily cruise guide leading us as well as many other families to believe that the nickelodeon pajama jam was a free event. We show up at 9 am to find out that you need a reservation, and its 20 dollars a person!?!?!?!?! It was not stated in the “freestyle daily” printouts that everyone carries around. That is considered to be our daily cruise bible so to speak. You can only assume that what they print is what is the truth. So we show up with 5 disappointed children and my wife attempts to find out what can be done. Apparently nothing states the gentleman at the podium. He has to speak with the box office manager Nancy. She is unapologetic and although its clearly misprinted, its our fault for not checking with the box office and there is nothing she can do. Not good enough, after us as well as two other families complained she told us “fine.. go in…you don’t have to pay” as if shes doing us a favor. She then proceeded to cop an attitude with my wife… she even had the audacity to bark the word “whatever” at my wife. So naturally one would offended. When my wife said to her “did you just say whatever? You are a manager aboard this ship, you do not say that to ANY of your guests” and Nancy replies with “maam do you think its necessary to raise your voice in front of your children?” very unpleasant, and instead of putting out the fire immediately she fans the flames. She proceeds to get the cruise director involved who also tried to play the “its in the box office window card” until finally acknowledging the misprint Now lets move onto the gem over at the ice bar. She tells my wife that kids are welcome in the ice bar and there is limited capacity, so anticpate a wait. “is there anything else we need to know?”.. “no is the response” The following evening the mom’s attempt to take the older kids to the ice bar because the children want to see it. they get to the podium where blondie says “kids are allowed… and its 20 dollars per person…” my wife reminds her that just yesterday none of that was stated. She blurts back “its 20 dollars for everyone regardless.. u are paying for the experience… also.. can you step to this side of the podium please” keep in mind there was absolutely NOBODY standing in the general vicinity.. why does she feel the need to ask us to move two feet to the right. The people on the boat are MISERABLE.. we didn’t even know the name of our cabin steward… we might have seen him 3 times all week? We feel the daily gratuity is killing the customer service… why work hard and go the extra mile when everyone gets the same cut Unfortunately.. after three ncl cruises.. sadly this will be our last with them.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was my first time ever being on a cruise ship. I am a seasoned traveler for diving and was not sure how I would enjoy being on a cruise. The vacation was great overall but there were some troubles on fault of both NCL and Delta ... Read More
This was my first time ever being on a cruise ship. I am a seasoned traveler for diving and was not sure how I would enjoy being on a cruise. The vacation was great overall but there were some troubles on fault of both NCL and Delta Airlines that would have completely shot this vacation to the worst in history. To start off the vacation I live in Arkansas where it snows maybe twice a year. Well it snowed 8" the night/day we were scheduled to leave. Delta airline in anticipation of cancelling flights they rerouted us to Detroit. We were initially suppose to fly into Atlanta and then Miami. The flight to Detroit was an hour and forty minutes late due to de-icing and running out of de-icing agent. That delay made us miss our connecting flight to Miami by five minutes. There were no other flights to Miami that day. We worked with our great travel agent and the airlines and was placed on stand-by for a flight into Ft. Lauderdale. With five people traveling in our party we were unable to get onto the plane as they only had two seats available. We than made a flight to Ft. Myers and planned to rent a car to Miami. When we arrived in Ft. Myers we only had one of our six checked bags arrive. Delta had trouble tracking down the rest of our luggage and didn't know if it was on its way to Miami, Ft. Myers, or Ft. Lauderdale. Finally after 3 hours of tracking and waiting in Ft. Myers the airlines told us that our luggage was on its way to Ft. Lauderdale. We drove across the state and finally got our luggage. We spent the night at the Marriott near the port of Miami. For $200.00 a night the hotel was not that impressive. There was no free internet and the rooms were small. When we arrived to the port for the cruise everything was running smooth and as planned until we went to check in. One of the ladies in our group was 22 weeks pregnant. We had asked the booking agent for NCL, prior to our arrival in Miami, if her being pregnant was going to be a problem and he stated that it won't be and there are no restrictions for pregnant women on cruise ships. We found out later that this person was fired from NCL. However, the new booking agent also didn't mention any restrictions for pregnant women. When checking in at ship side they have a health questionnaire and it asked if you are going to be more then 24 weeks pregnant during the cruise. The pregnant lady in our group stated no as she was going to be 23 weeks at the end of the cruise. When we at the counter a person acting in a supervisory position, just walking by, noticed we were talking about her being pregnant. He asked if she was pregnant and stated that she had to have a doctors note to be able to cruise. He was not going to let her get onto the ship. We were escorted to another area of the check in and attempted to get a hold of her doctor for a note to be faxed. With it being Saturday the doctors office was closed and we were unable to get a note. This supervisor named Carlos pulled out the rule book on pregnant ladies traveling on NCL cruises. The way that we understood the rule is that if you are 24 weeks or over you are not allowed to cruise and you must provided a medical doctors note if you are over 24 weeks. Carlos was very rude and unhelpful in helping us provide a solution for this problem. It was after we stated that pregnant ladies were part of a special class and we would file a discrimination law suit against NCL and Carlos that another supervisor step-in and was very helpful. The pregnant lady was escorted to the medical bay on the ship and the ships doctor had no problem with letting her cruise at 22 weeks. There was no compensation from NCL for our troubles. The vacation was awesome after getting onto the ship. We were cruising with a group of 60 for a wedding. In our group of 5 we all had balcony staterooms that were beautiful. Mine was custom decorated with a bottle of wine, cake, and chocolate covered strawberries. There was plenty of room for all of our clothes and personal belongings. If fact we did not fill up half of the cabinets in our room. The balcony was awesome with two chairs and a table to relax and enjoy the sunsets and sunrises. There was only one outlet that we found in the cabin but we had brought a power strip so we were able to charge all electronics. The only down side to the cabin was that the bed was too hard for me. However, my boyfriend stated that it was comfortable. The cabin boy was great and he seemed available 24/7. He was very helpful with every question we had. He would make animals out of towels everyday that brought a smile to our faces. The activities on the ship were endless. From private hosted parties for the wedding guest to repelling. There were three great water slides. There was a lot of wind and rough seas that forced the Epic to close the water slides. The hot tubes were awesome and just the perfect temperature. They also never seemed to be too crowded. The recreational staff did a great job of having games throughout the ship including Deal or No Deal. Even though we didn't have kids with us everywhere we turned there was great activities for kids. We are currently planning a possible cruise on the Epic for the kids in our family because of the Nickelodeon characters and events. When we were on the ship there was food everywhere as expected on a cruise ship. However, the food was great. We mostly ate in the Manhattan Room. But the other dining areas were great as well. We loved the free style dining and choice to eat where we wanted. O'Sheehan had chilli cheese hot dogs that tasted like ones I loved as a kid. We were able to get room service free of charge throughout the day. We had the unlimited soda package and it was worth the money. We are glad that we did not get the alcohol package as we would have had to drink over $2100.00 for 5 people to make it worth it. It was stated that everyone in the same room and same payment method have to get the unlimited alcohol if one person got it. We spent about $400.00 in alcohol for 4 people because one was pregnant during the whole week. We did get to see several shows that week that ranged from awesome to not good at all. The Blue Man Group and Cirque Dreams and Diner show were awesome. Blue Man Group was more then I had expected. Entertaining and funny in a perfect combination. In the Cirque show we were unable to see part of the show due to sitting in booths on the floor level. The show itself was great with a lot of talented individuals. True athletes to be able to perform and flip on various surfaces including each other while the ship was rocking despite the ship stabilizers due to bad weather. The Second City Comedy show was alright but it was the 9:00pm show which is still suitable for kids. The comedy was scaled down and the poor comedians were trying to keep it PG. We tried to attend the late night show on another night which is suited for adults only but since we had already had attended the show we were unable to get in. The Legends in Concert was horrible. The initial performer was acting as Steven Tyler was great and we were thinking that the rest of the concert was going to be a hit. However, then came out Katy Perry and the singer destroyed the performance. She was acting stupid and valley girl like. She was singing out of tune in every song. They then had Elvis which could have been a lot better with a different singer. Elvis is rolling in his grave after that performance. We were sad to get off the ship at the end of the week. This diver is also now a cruiser. My only wish is that we were able to spend more time in the ports. We got to Miami four hours before we would be able to dock and those four hours could have been spent in the Bahamas. Getting off the ship and through customs was a breeze. The ship arranged for our transportation to the Miami airport and we had to wait four hours for our flight. I wish we would have arranged for other transportation and seen a little of the city. This diver who likes small boats with only a hand full of divers is now a cruiser. I would enjoy to go on another cruise with NCL. The week was a blast and the wedding was beautiful. A perfect week once we got on board the ship. Thank you to the crew of the Epic for making the voyage a great memory!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Just finished sailing on the Norwegian Epic departing from Miami on December 28th, 2013. This review will cover the Haven area as well as the Studios area, along with the rest of the common areas. Embarkation: As we were traveling in a ... Read More
Just finished sailing on the Norwegian Epic departing from Miami on December 28th, 2013. This review will cover the Haven area as well as the Studios area, along with the rest of the common areas. Embarkation: As we were traveling in a party of 14, where 10 of the passengers staying in the Haven and 4 staying in the Studios, we were invited to use the priority check in lounge at the pier. The system was down when we arrived but we were welcomed into our own private room with juice and cookies until the problem was solved. 20 minutes later we were being escorted onto the ship by some very friendly check in agents. The Haven: This is probably the single greatest idea in cruising. Having a completely isolated area of the boat for suite guests with private amenities is a very nice luxury, and the private pool, gym, steam/sauna, restaurants, etc... are worth the extra money. Upon entering the ship we were greeted by our butlers (more on them later). As we went up the elevators we were greeted by the concierge (more on him later) and some more butlers. We were taken on a quick tour of the Haven, with the staff showing off the private areas such as the pool, jacuzzis, fitness "centre", the Courtyard and the Epic Club. The Haven area is located on deck 16 in the forward part of the ship and features 2 security doors which require keycards for entry. Overall the Haven is a wonderful part of the ship. Not having to wake up at 6:00am to get deck chairs by the pool is always a plus, and all the villas and suites are only steps away from the pool. Drink service by the pool was scarce most of the time. There was maybe 1 server who would come around every 20-30 minutes, and fruit was only offered a couple of times a day. The Courtyard is a very nice place for lunch. They offer a wide variety of small lunch items, and of course whatever you want from the regular dining room menus. The funny part is getting food delivered to the pool is a hassle. You MUST make the order with the servers who work the pool, but because they aren't around that often, it becomes very hard. The waitresses told us they were not allowed to take the food outside. Weird. The Epic Club is also a very nice dining room. Private, quiet, good food, nothing too special. The Posh club on deck 18 is very nice. Great place to tan. Not much else though. Haven area : 8/10. Very nicely laid out area, but the service is just not up to par with the accommodation. 2 Bedroom Family Villa: Very large room that easily sleeps 6. Large shower and tub, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, very lovely cabin to sleep in. Concierge: You might think having this is a very cool feature. Unfortunately, if you didn't make your reservations on day one, the concierge seems to forget to make any other ones. In one instance they forgot to schedule an excursion and in another they forgot to reserve dining plans. They say they will do it but don't actually so my advice is to wait there and ask for a printed confirmation. The early access to shows and priority seating is nice, if they didn't require you to show up at the theatre 30 minutes before the show. 10 minutes before the show they release the reserved haven seats to the general public. This is pretty useless since I would like to enjoy my night and not have to wait in a theatre for half an hour before a show. Butler: Nothing more than a room steward who delivers you cookies at night and is a little bit more responsive. Very friendly and nice but nothing over the top amazing. Overall, the Haven is wonderful overall experience. I just wish that Royal Caribbean could implement this type of area on their ships, because their level of service is top notch. Studios: To be honest we were a little hesitant to stay in the Studios. When you walk into the room, most of the online videos do not do it justice. It is actually quite large for 100 sq ft. There are extra storage bins under the bed and everything seems to have a place. Didn't use the lounge much but looked very nice. The room easily sleeps 2. Dining: We dined at the following restaurants: 1) Epic Club: Very nice and good food. Service was lacking. 7/10 2) Manhattan Room: Good food, nice music, good service. 9/10 3) Teppenyaki: Food was mediocre, the show was fun but very long. Our fried rice took 25 minutes and just sat of the grill as our hungry faces looked on. Not worth the 25$ a head. 6/10 4) Moderno: Fun restaurants, good service, equally good food. 20$ a head. 8/10 5) Cagney's: Great appetizers, to be desired steak, service is creepy and the wait staff acted very funny (in a bad way). 30$ a head. 6/10 6) O'Sheehans: Lovely little pub. Great food (same as buffet but sit-down). 8/10 7) Garden Cafe (Buffet): Hard to find seats, harder to find waiters for anything. Food is decent. 7/10 8) Taste: I separate taste because we had one of the worst dining experiences ever. We sat down as a party of 14 and was told that due to our large party size the service will be very slow. With no other place to go we put accepted that starling fact and sat down. Everyone ordered food, we waited 20 minutes, 30 minutes, finally appetizers, a hour later kids dishes come out. hour and a half later main courses. All of them were cold, overcooked, and wrong. The worst part is that one item on the menu read Fettucini with shrimp in alfredo sauce. 2 guests at our table ordered this meal without the shrimp. They received their meals, one was just boiled noodles with no sauce, and the other had a weird smell to it. As they took a bite, they immediately spit it out. After asking the waitress to ask the chef what sauce it was, she informed us it was a lobster sauce, even though the menu said alfredo. This passenger happened to be allergic to shellfish. Luckily everything was alright, but Taste was most definitely the worst restaurant on board. We could not believe that an empty restaurant could not handle a party of 14 at 5:15pm. Entertainment: Blue Man Group was great. What an amazing show. Legends: Steven Tyler and Elvis were good. Katy Perry didn't look or sound like her. Chip Romero: Meh. Ok. Didn't see Second City. We noticed that clubs on this boat played very awful music and that the parties were already done by 11:15-11:30. Kind of a bummer to want to have fun late at night but nothing really be going on. Overall: This ship suffers from a severe lack of service. Everything seems to be extra and a la carte, and reservations are required just about everywhere, which kind of goes against the whole "freestyle" concept. Epic kind of let us down. 6/10 for the whole ship.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first NCL vacation and I had anticipated great times. The mini-suite cabin was difficult to move around in due to the curvy set-up. We expected a bathtub and had just a shower. The walls for the shower and toilet were opaque. ... Read More
This was our first NCL vacation and I had anticipated great times. The mini-suite cabin was difficult to move around in due to the curvy set-up. We expected a bathtub and had just a shower. The walls for the shower and toilet were opaque. You could see whomever was using either area, so not a plus when others were to visit the cabin. The available areas to store clothing, etc. were not well planned. Some of the shelves were about 8 inches deep, not wide enough to lay shirts or shorts on. There were no amenities that would have been standard on other cruise lines. The lines for the main dining rooms were long at normal dinner times and after waiting to be seated we thought the food was "ok", but not up to the good quality meals we have been served on other cruises. Paying to eat in one specialty restaurant, we had a better meal, but found that simple things like uncooked veggies in the coq au vin was not acceptable. Luck of the draw, we were seated near the kitchen doors at 3 dinners. The noise level was annoying. With freestyle dining, we missed the servers who knew our names and our preferences. We didn't like all the smoke in the casino area. We noticed a small air filter in the corner of one part of the casino, but it really didn't help much. Entertainment was available, but for major events there was the requirement for making reservations. There was certainly not freestyle fun! Other events needed no reservations, but lack of seating kept us from standing around to watch. The night before arriving back in Miami we had not been given any instructions as to what we should do with luggage, etc. When we located our cabin steward and asking him, he promptly told us that he gave some information to the friends in the next cabin and to ask them. Really? We stood in line for about a half hour in order to ask the staff at the desk what we needed to do. They finally came up with a sheet of information and told us to choose luggage tags on the wall. We were not impressed by the lack of concern. The main pool was so small, we never dipped a toe in it. A ship this large should be able to accomodate a larger amount of customers. We also had trouble when asking directions..... the staff misdirected us several times. People in the photo gallery gave us conflicting information too. Not everyone was cheerful or helpful. On the plus side, we found the food selection at the buffet was the best food we ate. However, trying to find a place to sit was a chore. We rarely got to eat hot food because of all the walking around to find an available space. Frequently there were single passengers taking up large booths. We would not travel on the Epic in the future, nor would we advise anyone to choose this ship. It was the least enjoyable experience we have had in cruising. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This cruise was sponsored by Park West Gallaries VIP program, consequently I can't comment on the value of the cruise, other than they were correct, this was the most expensive free cruise my wife and I ever taken. The ... Read More
This cruise was sponsored by Park West Gallaries VIP program, consequently I can't comment on the value of the cruise, other than they were correct, this was the most expensive free cruise my wife and I ever taken. The embarkation was a snap because ... this was a VIP cruise, so they whisked us right through to board the largest ship we had been on to-date, over 4000 passengers plus crew; the Epic was certainly an impressive ship. We went to our balcony room, which turned out to be almost perfectly amidships on the port side; it was definitely surprise. The cabin was the smallest I have seen and its set-up the strangest. Stepping through the door, I saw the toilet behind a translucent door/window on the right and shower behind a similar enclosure on the left. A couple of more small steps brought us to the queen bed where we spied the wash basin below a reasonably sized medicine cabinet to the left. Moving to the left a little, we worked our way single-file and a little bit side-ways between the bed and the counter until it opened up a little, where both of us could more or less exist side-by-side between the couch and the clothes closets. From there, you could take about three or four steps out onto a small but adequate balcony. What the cabin lost in human space, it made up for cabinet space; there were cabinets and cubby-holes everywhere, more than we could fill. (BTW, (by the way), I didn't like the toilet set-up, but my wife actually liked it. The shower and wash basin were actually practical.) Most of our time was taken up with Park West Gallery activities, getting introduced to artists, viewing their work, and participating in their auctions. Parts of the activities were cocktail parties and dinners in the main dining rooms, but grouped together. I offer this as a lead in to the ship's service. At the cocktail parties, you couldn't ask for better service, I would definitely rate it a 5. In the dining room, except for the last night, I would say a 4; the last night, a 2. But, as a regular passenger it was probably the most mediocre service of the nine cruises my wife and I have enjoyed. The staff simply wasn't around when you needed service or they stood around when you clearly needed help. Consequently, it was easy remaining sober at the pool or at the casino; and they were by far the unhappiest crew we have had the pleasure of sailing with. The food? The food was adequate; no better. The specialties each night on the menus were rarely that special. Having said that, the Epic did have the best selection of specialty restaurants of any ship we have been on. We only ate at one, the teppenyaki restaurant; which was very good. The reports we received about several of the other venues were just as positive. The only problem that I see is the cost is similar to what you would see off the cruise ship. The size of the ship allowed it to be rather creative. The Epic had the standard rock wall, the most elaborate set of water slides I have yet to see, an outdoor market, wind-protected, more-or-less, ping-pong (Carnival needs to take a note), and more hot tubs than you can shake a stick at. They also had a rather spacious adult's only area, which strangely ended at 8:30 PM; after which it was open to all. Missing was a main pool section, a la Island Princess, that was covered and conditioned keeping it in comfortable light shade for those of us who don't find the bright sun ... fun. Another detractor, for me anyway, was the constant beat of loud, raucous music -- everywhere on the Lido deck, even in the adult area; I don't how well that set with the mainly over 55 passenger cohort, but I didn't like it. Below the Lido deck they had an Ice Bar kept at minus 17 F°, a two-deck high TV screen in the middle of the ship for movies and sports, and one of the largest casino's I have seen; it even had Pai Gow, which is the last game of chance I have a chance of lasting more than five minutes before losing my bank; you simply cannot conceive how bad my luck as gotten over the last 30 years. Unfortunately for Norwegian Cruise Lines, the most memorable part of the cruise, besides the Park West experience, was the disaster called "walk-off disembarkation". Because we had an early flight and Norwegian had no other accommodation for this fact, we had to use their walk-off feature which means we take all our bags with us but get off an hour and thirty minutes earlier than anybody else. Their written instructions were to be at disembarkation point at Epic Casino "forward". Well there is no casino in the front of the ship, there is a theater, and the casino is amidships, where we boarded; and that is where people began lining up at 6 AM. We arrived about 7:10 AM to find the line was all ready around the rear end of the casino heading back down the other side; that is where we took our place and began patiently waiting. More people showed up and we sent them to the back of the line. 7:30 AM went by, then 7:45 AM. Finally there was an announcement they were about ready to disembark at casino forward. Did I mention there was no crew in sight to provide information or crowd control, which were beginning to get unruly? Around 8:00 AM we found the passengers we had been sending to the rear of our line, which was the forward of the ship, were now debarking through door near the Epic Theater, NOT the Epic Casino; we had to wait another 20 minutes. To say the least, we were not happy and if we had been at sea, there might have been a mutiny! The last thing I would like to mention is the elevators, or the lack thereof. The Epic is a very long ship, to say the least. When you are in your cabin amidships, you have to walk almost the whole length of the ship to anywhere above you, where much of the activity is, like the casino, the garden buffet, etc. Now, if Norwegian has your health in mind, and feels it is necessary to walk off all of that food you eat, they did a good job by not allowing passenger access to the central elevators. What they did have were two sets of eight elevators, four on each side; one set forward and one set aft. Then they put them on slow for the whole trip. OK, that wasn't the last thing, this is. The life-vest safety drill before sailing was scary. When the announcement to assemble finally came, the crew wasn't ready, we didn't know where to go, because they had to set up the signs in the casino still, unlike Carnival and Princess which had these places permanently marked. Once we located the right place, the crew made no attempt to make sure they had the right number of people, it was impossible as we were comingled with the group to our left just sort of gaggling around the blackjack and pai-gow tables. Then the barely audible instructions on how to use the life vest were given and some of the crew followed them ... As I said, it was scary and I am glad we didn't sink. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This is my first cruise so I don't have a lot to compare it to but I'll just write a bit about each day, the good and the bad. Day 1 Day one embarkation was easy. No hassle orderly and relatively quick. The line moved ... Read More
This is my first cruise so I don't have a lot to compare it to but I'll just write a bit about each day, the good and the bad. Day 1 Day one embarkation was easy. No hassle orderly and relatively quick. The line moved along and I didn't lose patience, the staff was friendly. It was a lot easier getting on the ship then on an airplane in my opinion. We were allowed to our cabins not long after boarding. Finding my cabin was easy, I didn't get lost or confused, they give you maps that fold easily into pocket size or purse size, I only needed it for the first couple days, once I was familiar with the layout of the ship I stopped using it. I found the Studio Cabins to be roomy enough for one person and very comfortable. I did spend some relaxing time in there because this trip was supposed to be some much needed R & R for me. The studio areas were quiet and you could be as sociable or reclusive as you wanted. My luggage hadn't arrived yet, but it was nice to be able to drop off my carry-on and have freedom of luggage. It wasn't long and we had to go to the muster drill. Finding my muster station was easy and the staff was at the stairwells directing everyone and on the deck(s) making sure everyone got to the correct station for direction/instruction on what to do in case of an emergency. I met a lot of new people there and talked to them a few times during the cruise. The sail away party was a taste of how much fun I was going to have, the dancing the music, the laughter. I bought a week Spa package, WELL WORTH IT. I loved going to the spa every day to relax for a few hours before dinner. It was great after shore excursions. Being my first cruise, this was all so exciting, I didn't even have time to be anxious or apprehensive on this cruise with the staff and other guests being so friendly and helpful I soon forgot this was my first cruise. We ate in the Manhattan the first night, the food was really good, the only complaint I have is it took 35 minutes to get our desert, we didn't have time for coffee and had to literally run from dinner to the Blue Man Group show. I HIGHLY recommend this show. The beats were catchy, the guys were funny, and you couldn't help but crack up at their lack of facial expression. The audience participation was a show in itself. I wanted to go a second time. I ended my first night there and went back to my Cabin to sleep. Day 2 I woke up early and went up on deck 15 to take pictures of the Ocean and the deck. We had rough seas the first day and now the second day we were having rough seas again. Seasoned cruisers told me this wasn't normal and the swaying and rocking of the ship is usually not so noticeable. I was feeling a bit ill but nothing that made me want to just sit in my cabin, so I put on anti-nausea wrist bands and continued to enjoy my cruise. A fellow Solo cruiser and I signed up for the champagne tasting event and I found after that even I didn't notice the ship was rocking so much. Go figure should have started drinking the moment I stepped onto the ship! I was with a group of people from Cruise Critic and Facebook who had organized a cocktail party/meet and greet at Fat Cats, but somehow, the powers that be, double booked our party with a high end art auction. So we were stuck waiting outside of Fat Cats for almost an hour. Eventually we were displaced to the Havens which was nice but some of our party couldn't attend due to the wait outside of Fat Cats being so long, they had dinner reservations elsewhere and couldn't attend our cocktail party. Dinner that night was at Manhattan again, all went well, dinner was wonderful, service prompt and the entertainment Manhattan Motown Cabaret, very entertaining. We thoroughly enjoyed it. After dinner I went back to my cabin to relax and get some sleep. We were still in pretty rough seas and I was ready to call it a day. Day 3 Our group organized a cabin crawl so we could see the different types of cabins from our roll call. It was pretty funny, we were still in rough seas and there was no walking down a hallway without swaying from one side of the hall to the other. I ate in Taste today and enjoyed it, also had the Buffet on Deck 15 all was very good. You can easily eat in all the main restaurants and skip the specialty restaurants and still eat very well. That night we planned to go to the FABBA: Fabulous ABBA Party but the rough seas and storms moved the party indoors to Bliss Lounge but they were having Karaoke Madness, so it was moved to a later hour, I tried to stick it out during Karaoke but the DJ for that and the singers weren't just bad they were horrible I ended up leaving and going back to my cabin skipping both Karaoke and FABBA. Day 4 We arrived in St. Maarten today. The island did not impress me. I had been to the USVI and BVI several times and if I ever get to travel to St. Maarten again I'll probably stay on the ship. Our tour was with Bernard's Tours. We broke into two groups because half wanted to spend the whole time at the beach while the other half wanted to shop. I was on the shopping bus and our bus didn't shop we just drove around the island. We made a pit stop at Orient Beach and Maho Beach. We stopped at one store and were given a short time to pick up a few items and we were given 1 hour to find a place to eat, eat and get back on the bus. I'm sure the beach tour was probably fun as they were able to go straight to the beach and lay out, but if you want to shop, you're probably better off to find a different tour. After returning to the ship I went to the Cirque Dreams and Dinner and it was awesome. The food was fantastic, the beef tenderloin was so tender I was able to be cut with a butter knife and the entertainment was top notch. I highly recommend this show; it's not a free show but well worth it. I paid for premium seating and sat in the balcony. After dinner I finished my night up by going to the spa to relax, perfect ending to a long day. Day 5 We arrived in St. Thomas, I was up early to watch us dock and take lots of pictures. I do have to say disembarking and embarking this ship is so easy to do. To move that many people off the ship and on the ship is incredible that it runs so smooth. I went on the Champagne Catamaran Sail and Snorkel to St. John. Out of all the visits to the Eastern Caribbean that I've made, this was the most fun I've ever had. I highly recommend this excursion. When I got back to the ship, I went to the spa to relax and then ate at the Wasabi Sushi Bar. This is a specialty restaurant. I was able to fill up on Sushi for under $20.00 including my beverage. Well worth the price and Shashimi and Sushi was excellent. Day 6 Unwind day. I relaxed today, I hung out in the Spa, the pool deck and the water slides. Waits to ride slides weren't too bad but be prepared to wait if you want to ride. I ate light today because I felt like all I had done all week is pig. In the evening I went to White Hot Party. If you like to dance, I recommend this party, it goes late, but it's so much fun. I danced until 2:30am, but when I left there were still a few hundred people dancing. Day 7 The Bahamas was exactly as I pictured it, beautiful water, lots of street vendors, speed boats, catamarans, and tourist. I wish we would have had more time here, as we arrived later in the day it only gave us about 4 or 5 hours. So if you wanna do some exploring of the city, skip the excursions, they'll take up your whole time in port. That night we had a group dinner in Taste. This was probably the only real negative I have of my eating experience. It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to be seated and another 45 minutes to get our food. It was quite obvious the ship is short staffed in both Manhattan and Taste. We felt bad for the servers because they are doing what they can but the EPIC needs to hire more staff in order to meet the needs of all their guests. Positives: Atmosphere, Shows, Food, Stewards, Activities, Disembarking and Embarking, Freestyle cruising, Studio Lounge. Negatives: Wait staff being short, overbooking private functions, broken vending machines never being repaired in the Studio area, rough seas cancelling out door events. All in all for being my first cruise, I loved the freestyle cruise. I was able to come and go as I pleased without schedule, since I didn't have a clue about what to do cruising. The daily freestyle info that was left in my cabin every day was so helpful to plan out what I was going to do. I enjoyed Epic so much I bought two future cruise credits because I want to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I recently cruised to the Easter Caribbean aboard the Epic withe my wife and three teen kids. This was my second cruise, the first being to the Mexican Riviera. The most obvious aspect of the Epic is how large it is. We were sailing in ... Read More
I recently cruised to the Easter Caribbean aboard the Epic withe my wife and three teen kids. This was my second cruise, the first being to the Mexican Riviera. The most obvious aspect of the Epic is how large it is. We were sailing in semi-rough seas and the motion was not that bad. I think this was due to the Epic's size. Also, the entertainment and amenities onboard was excellent. The shows were up to par with Las Vegas entertainment as we had The Blue Man Group, a Cirque du Soleil dinner show and Legends In Concert as well as a great comedian and the Second City comedy club. There was a blues lounge that was loads of fun. The Epic also has two bowling allies as well as plenty of bars and lounges as well as two giant TVs for watching movies, one inside and one on the stern of the ship. There were also three waterslides with one of them a giant funnel that mu kids really liked. I was told before my cruise that the food on NCL is not as good as other cruise lines and comparing this to the only other cruise line I've used (Carnival) I can verify this to a very small degree. However, the food was very good and I was pleasantly surprised. There were plenty of cover charge options including a Brazilian Steak house and a Teppanyaki Japanese steakhouse as well as other options. Overall I would say the food on the ship was very good. The hospitality was good as well and NCL treated all of us who were cruising together very nice. The only negative criticism I would give the Epic was in room design. The ship has more than its share of balcony suites which is nice, but I think that the modern design of the rooms with curvy walls, while creating a nice aesthetic effect, produced a somewhat crampy living space. This wasn't that bad, but the placement of the toilet and shower in separate corners of the room with thin glass doors and a curtain for privacy was the worst part. We all dealt with it and it really wasn't that big of a deal for us but it could be for some. The incredible entertainment and ample amenities more than made up for the lack of privacy while using the toilet. I would definitely sail on the Epic again and I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Decent stay the night before leaving at Miami La Quinta. Many people stayed there that were leaving from Port of Miami. WORST restaurant next door - Bennigan's. We went on 3/16 - night before St. Patty's Day. I thought it would ... Read More
Decent stay the night before leaving at Miami La Quinta. Many people stayed there that were leaving from Port of Miami. WORST restaurant next door - Bennigan's. We went on 3/16 - night before St. Patty's Day. I thought it would be packed, but it was not. Very, very dirty; poor wait staff; unsanitary restrooms; holes in walls and restaurant generally in a state of disrepair. The two bright spots about the restaurant: excellent food and a good band. ++++++ The Good ++++++++ Great bar service and good mixed drinks. Ice cream available all the time at buffet. 24-hour room service was great and fairly prompt. Excellent staff, particularly our cabin steward, who was friendly and willing to share information about his ship experience and his family back home when asked. It was good that the staff was ethnically diverse - great experience for my children to interact with people from other countries. Good embarkation/disembarkation processes. Lots of people who moved fairly easily on/off the ship. Blue Man Group was excellent and was the Cirque Dreams show. Food was just OK at the Cirque show and our seats were not the best, but the entertainment made up for those. My sons loved the arcade area. The comedian/magician was excellent. My boys loved the bunk bed that retracted from the ceiling. So fun! 24-hour pizza delivery (although at a cost of $5) was a lifesaver more than once. The food at the buffet was excellent. The box office staff would phone the room if you were late for a reservation to provide a friendly reminder about your event. This was great. +-+-+-+- The middle +-+-+-+- The overall "Nickelodeon" experience was very disappointing. The activities they provided were good, but there were definitely not enough of them. NCL should consider doing at least 1-2 things a day that are Nickelodeon related. I liked and used the TV reservation system for excursions and booking tickets, which was convenient. However, the system was very slow and not user-friendly, so it was more difficult than it should have been. The Recess Kids Club was also a big disappointment. Although we felt it was safe and seemed like it would be fun, my boys hated it. They went the first day and refused to return. Possibly not the right age mix - my almost 10 year old with 7 year olds was not fun for him? Also rather than require a "location where mom/dad would be" - which is crazy, they should have some type of phone app or pager system for the parents to come pick up the child. Not very effective communication methods, in my opinion. --------- The Ugly --------- Rude box office staff Cranky guest services staff - great when cruise started, horrible, unhelpful and grouchy when cruise ended. Why no fries available with room service hamburger delivery? Seems strange they only had chips as a side. No sundries store - no where to buy small necessities/essentials. Not enough shopping stores in general. It was VERY WEIRD to have the bathroom immediately inside the cabin door. VERY awkward anytime we had a room service delivery or someone knocked on our door. They could basically see directly into the toilet area and shower. Weird layout overall. Very long hallways with strange "bumps" in the floor in random places that are NOT marked in any way. My elderly father-in-law tripped many times on those stpots. Why do they require people in the rear of the ship to go through the casino to get to the 5th floor (which doesn't go all the way through)? Makes no sense, and my son, who has major asthma issues, had to walk through this smelly, unhealthy area (exposed to gambling) just to get where we needed to go. Very hard, thin toilet seats. Unsure about the rationale for this, but it was basically like sitting on a toilet without a seat. Very uncomfortable - not sure why no one mentioned this in other reviews. The pools are ridiculously small - even staff commented on it/ apologized for it. Very poorly marked public restrooms - signage was in obscure, hidden places. Why doesn't NCL promote The Havens??? No tours, no pre-promotion. We might have stayed there, had we known about it - and we're Latitude Members. Speaking of that, we didn't get any benefits of membership. Why have a program, if there are no benefits???? Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
HOTEL: We(my boyfriend and I)stayed at the Marriot Courtyard Oceanfront on Miami Beach. We booked this through Ncl. All cabs are set fare $33 from airport to beach. The pool was beautiful and the beach was just past the tiki bar, a short 3 ... Read More
HOTEL: We(my boyfriend and I)stayed at the Marriot Courtyard Oceanfront on Miami Beach. We booked this through Ncl. All cabs are set fare $33 from airport to beach. The pool was beautiful and the beach was just past the tiki bar, a short 3 min walk away. I did have a few friends stay at Best Western a few hotels down the road. They were also happy with their stay. The transfer from Ncl was easy and comfortable. EMBARKATION:Since we were in a aft-facing penthouse suite we went through security and were escorted to V.I.P. area where the process was a breeze. There was juice and ice water as well as comfy chairs and no wait. we were ready to be escorted onto boat with no lines. THE SHIP and ammenities for the Haven:We were escorted into the Epic Lounge for a full tour of the extras while waiting for our rooms to be ready. This is where and when we met Adrian, our concierge. He told us he would take care of booking shows, dinner reservations and shore excursions as well as spa treatments. He walked us through the private pool area with beds and comfy loungers. Then through the private gym, sauna and steam room. Next to the adult only decks known as Posh. This is where we spent most of our time. All the chairs and beds had cushions. There was plenty of shade if needed. This place was great. They even handed out cold towels and fruit kabobs during the day! They also allowed my friends not traveling in suite to join us. THE SHIP: With 3 water slides and 3 pools it was easy to cool down. There were video arcades and video games in the bars. The bowling alleys were cool but never used them. The casino was huge but was not smoky like other reviews complain about. We never even entered the sports complex or tried the rock climbing/reppeling walls.There was too much to do we could not do it all. The Penthouse Suite: The best feature was the huge balcony overlooking the back of the boat. We had 2 chairs, a lounger and a table and there was still room to move around. On port days it was great watching people scrambl to get on boat and the views as we pull away from port. The room had plenty of storage space. We had our own expresso machine that we used daily. There was full tub and shower. Flat screen tv was nice but had limited channels. Great vanity area for getting ready. Chairs and small table were great when snacking in room. Our butler,Randy was great. He stopped by daily to make sure we had everything we needed. He also brought us chocolates nightly. yummmm. Also the view of the ports, sunrise and sunset from the round bed overlooking the balcony was amazing.We loved the suite. No more inside rooms for us. ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed the entertainment. Blue Man Group was incredible. Possibly funnier at sea. Slam Allen in the Fat Cat Blues Club was great. He was funny and a great blues singer. Our favorite was the HOWL AT THE MOON. We enjoyed giving them challenging songs to play. They were fun and got nthe crowd involved. We enjoyed the talent these musicians had. They would just switch from piano to drums to mix it up. We went to see the dueling pianjos every night they played. Second City was very funny. Go to the late show, it's adults only and dirty!!! So much fun! We also enjoyed the contests daily by the pool. They were entertaining. ?And we had front row seats on the Posh deck every time. FOOD/DINING: We decided previously to cruise that we would try a speciality restaurant but really enjoy whats included. We(6people) ate at Taste for breakfast lucnh and dinner most of the time. Service and food was great. Some days we ordered 4 starters each and no meals. They were nice and didn't seem to mind. Lunch at Taste was great. Fish and chips and the burgers especially. Manhattin room was similiar but with different meat options. No shorts, flip flops or tank tops allowed here. Live music was played here during dinner hours. Many of these days we did not have reservations and the wait was much shorter than they said. Also they offered complimentary champagne for the wait. We ate at Cagneys ,$25per person charge, and one friends filet was overcooked. The rest of us enjoyed the steaks but we could have gotten free steaks in the other restaurants for no extra charge. In my opinion, not worth the surcharge. The buffet had quite a variety of different fruits, cereals and food for all appetites. We ate here a few times but prefered to sit down and be waited on. Room service was slow but served great BLT's. After midnight they charges surcharge $3.95 per order for room service. This was very reasonable. THE EPIC CLUB: This was so good it needs its own section. If you are staying in a suite or villa go here as much as you can. Breakfast was small, delicious portions made fresh and hot for you. There was small buffet with cereals, pastries and fruits. They coffee was in a french style small perk pots right on your table. I miss the coffee the most. Dinner here was amazing. I had the best prime rib here. My boyfriend enjoyed the grilled shrimp. This was way better than any speciality restaurants. My favorite thing on ship to eat were either the homefries or the chocolate croissants. O'SHEEHANS: Also so good it needed to be highlighted. Hot comfort food all day and night. This place never closed. It is a bar with lots of the important sports being broadcasted. We traveled during NFL playoffs so this was very important. Late night we would have snacks over beers. They would happily wrap food to bring back to room if requested. The mozzerela sticks, Chicken sandwich, tuna melt, and chicken tenders were our favorite and we stopped thgere nightly. They had pool tables, darts and some video games that adults could enjoy. Ports: St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau,Bahamas were all beautiful ports. We went to the beach in all 3 place. They were tropical and beautiful. Easy and affordable to get around. DISEMBARKATION/CUSTOMS: When time to exit ship, I called Adrian who met us at his desk and he escorted us off the boat on different floor than the crowd. This was very helpful considering my friend was traveling with a broken leg. He escorted us off the boat and we grabbed our luggage and went through a seperate customs line. Actually no line at all. Getting a cab at the port could not be easier. THIS WAS A GREAT TRIP AND WE WILL DEFINATELY CRUISE NCL AGAIN. ONLY NCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We booked this cruise with NCL directly. We have a 1 year old and a 2 year old. Yes, we were brave enough to start them cruising early! We were forced to obtain a balcony cabin, since there were no inside staterooms left that ... Read More
We booked this cruise with NCL directly. We have a 1 year old and a 2 year old. Yes, we were brave enough to start them cruising early! We were forced to obtain a balcony cabin, since there were no inside staterooms left that accommodated 4 (less worries of a balcony). We traveled with a group of 15 people. The stateroom was much smaller than expected. We were really tight. They put in "2 cribs" in our room, only one fit (really a pack and play). The sofa can turn into a bed and you could ask for a bed rail, which worked out for our 2 year old. The balcony was really not a huge concern since the handle is purposely is made that the handle is moved up instead of down to prevent toddlers from opening it themselves. Additionally, there is a lock lever on the top which prevents any accidents. The toilet and the shower were separate. I think I liked this, or not sure if I did not care either way. The sink is in the stateroom in front of bed. Don't wash your mouth and then dress without shoes, you'll have wet socks. The "Freestyle" cruise is not impressive at all. Although they state that the entertainment on board was "EXCELLENT", I couldn't disagree more. No kidding....I must say that 90% of the cruise, my group was like...ok, it's 9:30 pm..what are we going to do. The shows MUST be booked ahead of time, and you need reservations. We never could book the show on the same day, and even harder for the same time for not even 1/2 the group. They make a big deal about how you need to book only one time slot (free shows) and that if you do not arrive 10 minutes before, your ticket will be forfeit. Makes you think "Wow, high demand, must be a must see show". The Legends Concert was "ok", with some look a likes. The Blue Man Group.......Zzzzzzz. In the Blueman show there were one or two things that made you say, ok...that is somewhat cool. 80% of the show you are saying "Ok, I know they are going to wow me any minute". Wait sitting. Boring show. The Comedy Magician show was a guy with card tricks. That's all. We saw the Cruise Director 3 times. Twice for 4 mins in our dining room, reminding us to book our shows. Not motivational AT ALL. His name was Andy Stranhauser or something like that. We were all REALLY BORED on this cruise. Waiting for a table for 6 was about 30 min wait on average. The theme restaurants were ok, but I preferred eating in the free main dining room. Not to save the $10-$25 per person fee, but because there was live music (very nice) and a Signature menu that changed daily. The food was amazing. I must say higher quality than other pricier cruises. DO NOT check in strollers. If it breaks, or a wheel gets damaged (like ours), there are no loaners or replacements on board. Get ready to carry your kid around the ship and the islands!! A "MUST DO" is getting off the ship early when you arrive in St. Maarten and take the ferry to St John. There is a beach there called Trunk Bay that is soooooooooo worth it. Nicest beach I have seen! Overall, an "ok to below average cruise" is better than none at all, but at $4000 I expected more. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
NCL Epic Review-Mar.26-Apr.2, 2011—Cruised from Miami Cabins 13034, 40, 42, & 56 We are frequent cruisers(our 10th cruise--4th on NCL) who took our kids and grandkids. Our friends who were in our wedding 45 years ago ... Read More
NCL Epic Review-Mar.26-Apr.2, 2011—Cruised from Miami Cabins 13034, 40, 42, & 56 We are frequent cruisers(our 10th cruise--4th on NCL) who took our kids and grandkids. Our friends who were in our wedding 45 years ago cruised with us(13total). This was a new experience for our grandkids(5) ages 7-11 and they loved every minute.We read many reviews before booking and cruising, so had some idea of what to expect from the Epic. Being a new ship, we realize that there are issues and that is why we are sharing our experiences. Embarkation was VERY EASY! 6 of us are Lattitudes members, so that may have helped the process. We all traveled to Miami on Friday...we highly recommend going a day early because of airline schedules. We stayed at LaQuinta and ate at Bennegans, just across the parking lot from the motel...in the morning the bus(included) took us to the ship..we arrived around 11am and were on board by 11:30. We went to Recess to register the kids(no lines)..in case they would want to go there. Kids only went a couple times because of the other activities on the ship...the water slides, pool, climbing wall, repelling wall, spider(climbing rubber bands).dodge ball(both families played), bowling(extra $5pp per game). We ate at the Garden Cafe and were off to the water park. We highly recommend going on embarkation day because the lines were shorter. Never had a wait for the hot tubs...there are 4 by the slides and 2 in H2O that we went to. Our luggage came by the time we got back from the water park. Reserve deck chairs by 8:30am...otherwise they were all taken. As far as the cabins...13056 was very small for 2 people..between the bed and counter, it was impossible for 2 people to walk there. The balcony was larger than the other cabins..& had 2 chairs and a lounge. The other cabins...13034, 40, & 42 were side by side.. we opened the balcony doors so the kids could go between our cabin and their cousins cabin. When we booked, NCL told us that was not possible to open the doors. We asked the steward and he said he would open them, but didn't, so we did. There were only 2 chairs for our cabins which held from 3-4 people..there was a small table also. There was lots of storage..more than we could use..it was so confusing where we put things...the 'cubbies' were not very deep, so some went unused...we moved the life preservers from one, so I could put my folded t-shirts on a shelf. We didn't use the lower rod because it was impossible to hang anything on it..it would have been laying on the bottom! NCL also told us that none of our cabins had a tub(for the kids?), but were surprised to have a tub in our cabin(13040). It was hard for me(5'3")to get in and out of it to use the shower..took me awhile to figure out the handles to turn on the water too. The other cabins all had showers only. No bar soap was provided..just soap & shampoo dispenser on the wall...very difficult if you wanted to take a bath. The hot/cold water at the sink was reversed from what we have at home. Lighting was terrible..the small hallogen lights by the sink and mirror were very dim and eventho I am short, I could not style my hair standing up...had to sit down to see the mirror and use the hair dryer...something I am not used to doing at home...besides, if anyone wanted to walk by me, I would have to get up...then down and continue. Hair dryer was mounted below the counter...awkward. Bring a power strip to charge your camera, phone, or hair iron. Bathrobes were in our rooms because we asked for them ahead(no x charge) The outlet in the medicine cabinet by the sink might not fit your plug..we couldn't use it. We had different room stewards and had very little problems. Our oldest son came back from dinner two nites and their room wasn't turned down yet..so the family had to sit in the hall until the steward was done(pulling down their bed) so the kids could go to bed. We are thinking that someone turned the lever outside their door to DO NOT DISTURB...we had that happen to our cabin one day too...so our cabin wasn't turned down. We all loved the towel animals each nite...cute! We highly recommend booking shows and excursions as soon as you can before the cruise...we did it 45 days before we sailed..otherwise you might not get a seat! Blue Man was #1 on our list..went on Sat. nite. Kids were in the front row and grandparents in 2nd...all of us got ponchos...but didn't get wet. Howl at the Moon was great! Legends was so-so—was far too loud! Slime Time Live was super and Second City ok, but Jeff Hobson(Magician/Comedian) was great. See Him! If you don't plan an excursion for Nassau, take a cab to the public beach next to Atlantis($4pp). It had perfect white sand, waves, crystal clear water. The parasailing excursion was canceled because of high winds. It would have been nice to be notified sooner of the cancellation. Because we booked the cruise 8months in advance, the price decreased...but NCL took away some of our onboard credit. We did not purchse any ship photos...far too expensive! If NCL offered smaller photos at a package price, more of us would purchase them. We uploaded our digitals to Walgreens. Hand Sanitizer was all over the ship...there was no sickness among us. I usually take a generic motion sickness(from WalMart-cheaper than Dramamine) pill each morning. But there was little need for it on the Epic..we felt very little movement. Garden Cafe(buffet) was so easy to get around in...lots of different stations...never had to wait long to fill our plates. They had the buffet in the pool area open during the day and later at nite so you could get food without going inside. We liked Taste better than Manhattan.(service slow) With 13 of us, we made reservations during the day for the evening meal...but seemed that they never were ready for us. Selection of food was not as good as we experienced on Princess. The kids loved it tho...had mac&cheese, burgers, fries,& pizza available all the time...and of course ice cream(hard & soft) was available all the time in Garden Cafe. The Pizza 24/7 button on the phone really worked...even for breakfast..a 30 minute wait tho.The Casino noise was loud in Taste. We brought pop with us instead of purchasing a pop card...far too expensive for the couple times we drank pop. I missed the food selections we had on NCL previously...no filet, cold soup, & lack of desert variety in main dining rooms. We did not go to any of the specialty dining areas...our experience is that it isn't better quality there. The library is right next to the cigar room, so is full of smoke. Also, there were no childrens or young peoples books in the very small library. We used the customer service desk several times and had a good experiences there... NCL had the wrong cruise listing on our cards. Since we are not drinkers, and were given wine, we asked for Pepsi instead...and we got it. Disembarkation was so EASY! We took our luggage off by ourselves because our flights left early..around noon. Walked right off..crew told us where to go...no problem with customs...so much easier than letting the ship take your luggage the nite before...then you have to find it in a large room..then stand in line for customs. There were many taxis waiting for us..we paid $24 to go to Miami airport. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Epic. I am 34 and my husband is 37, and this was my 4th and DH's 3rd cruise. We previously sailed with Carnival on an ill-fated honeymoon cruise, and I sailed twice on ... Read More
I just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Epic. I am 34 and my husband is 37, and this was my 4th and DH's 3rd cruise. We previously sailed with Carnival on an ill-fated honeymoon cruise, and I sailed twice on Holland America. We were traveling with a large group of almost 30 adults who were celebrating my brother's wedding which was to take place on St. Thomas. There were no children in our group so there will be very little in this review about the kids activities on board. Getting to Miami: We traveled late on Friday night from DFW and arrived in Miami after midnight. By this time the shuttle running from the airport to the hotel (the Fairfield Inn Miami West) had stopped running, so we hailed a cab and payed the $32 with tip to take us to the hotel. The hotel was clean, but apart from that, was not particularly impressive. It must have previously been a motel. Hubby walked to a nearby gas station in the morning to buy a couple 12 packs of diet coke to bring aboard. We did enjoy a light complementary breakfast before taking the hotel shuttle to the port ($10/pp). The shuttle to the port left around 11. When we arrived at the port, we were on board within about 15 minutes. Swiftest embarkation yet. Once on board we briefly considered leaving our carry on bags at Headliners which was offered as a convenience, but we felt uneasy about leaving our passports, cash and medications out of sight. Instead we brought them with us up to the spa in order to sign up for the couples spa pass. For $199 you get access to the spa facilities such as the hydrotherapy pool, hot tubs, heated tile loungers, saunas and steam rooms. There is also a lovely outdoor balcony with cushioned loungers overlooking the aft of the ship. After securing our spa passes, we went up one floor to the Garden Cafe (the buffet) for lunch and to rendezvous with my parents and brother who we already on board. We had a very nice lunch at the buffet, and relaxed and got caught up with family until the announcement that our rooms were ready. Our cabin: Our cabin was #9029 which is a balcony cabin on the starboard side near the front of the ship. The cabin was about what we expected from reading reviews on Cruise Critic. We did have a very large balcony which was wonderful. Our room steward's name was Valentino and he did a fantastic job keeping the room looking spotless, and had an amazing ability to have our room made up no matter how long we had been gone! My sister and her husband were two doors down from us in #9025 and also were impressed with Valentino. They requested a lounger for their balcony, and not only did he bring them one, he brought us one as well! It made the balcony such a nice place to catch a cap nap in the afternoons! My brother and his fiance were in an owners suite (#17032) and we got the chance to check it out and it was spectacular! To quote Ferris Beuller, "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." We do not, however, have the means, and were quite happy with our balcony stateroom. Speaking of the staterooms, the bathrooms were a complete non-issue. The sinks were a non-issue, and the beds, although short, were very comfortable and a non issue. I recommend booking a balcony stateroom with the bed near the balcony so you will have more room to stand near the sink. There was tons of storage space. My other brother stayed in a Studio room. We checked that out and it is perfect for one. Pretty cool area. He did attend a couple of the daily mixers for singles, but he was one of the youngest people there. My parents stayed in a deluxe balcony (#8049), and they had a longer room with a little bit more storage, but a smaller balcony than we had. I wouldn't have traded cabins. Pay Restaurants: La Cucina, the Italian restaurant: The reviews were mixed from our group. All 28 of us were eating (and for that the servers get big props from me for accommodating such a large group)... however, some people were not impressed with the food. My brother and mother got the penne with sauce, and said it was not very good. On the other hand, I got the Osso Bucco which was delicious. Many people enjoyed the Ricotta Cheese Cake, and I liked the Lemon Sorbet. Cagneys: I ate here with my husband (one of our only meals just the two of us) while the rest of our group went to Teppanyaki. We had a fantastic meal. I had the shrimp cocktail (huge), the t-bone with Cagney's fries and asparagus and was so stuffed I couldn't order dessert. The restaurant is really nicely appointed with lots of dark wood and windows overlooking the Manhattan Room downstairs. Le Bistro: This is where the rehearsal dinner was held, and it was delicious! The room they gave us, although not completely private was on one side of the restaurant that was enclosed with huge curtains. They accommodated our party of 28 at two huge tables (one oval and one rectangular) such that we were able to feel like one cohesive unit. Service was great, and the food was awesome. I had the escargot, the lamb chops (delicious) and my husband and I shared the fondue for two. This may have been my favorite meal of the trip. Moderno: Unfortunately we booked this restaurant on the one day the ship was really rocking and several people were feeling queasy. Our waiter, Wilfredo, was extremely accommodating and didn't even charge us for all the ginger ale we ordered or for my sisters meal even though she had already had the salad when she left feeling ill. The lamb chops and tenderloin were delicious, and my husband loved the sausages and the beef ribs and chicken wrapped in bacon. Several people in our group tried Teppanyaki but were underwhelmed by the "show" and the organization. Several people in our group tried Shanghai, but were not impressed A lot of people have mentioned being "nickled and dimed" on the cruise, and I really did not feel this way. I think mostly because I read so much on the NCL boards and we budgeted carefully for the restaurants and activities that cost money so that there were no surprises. No charge restaurants: We also ate in O'Sheehans, Taste, the Manhattan Room, and the Garden Cafe. O'Sheehans: Loved this place for a quick snack at anytime. We enjoyed dinner there one night when they were showing the Notre Dame/Villanova men's basketball game on ESPN there. It was a lot of fun and the Irish were victorious so all was right with the world! :) They also serve hard cider there and a bucket of beers/hard ciders was bought here once and brought down the hall into headliners for one of the Second City improv shows. It's buy 5 beers and get one free mix and match, so 3 hard ciders and three coronas ended up being $28 (a steal!) The left overs ended up in our fridge for another day. Taste: We ate breakfast here once, and lunch once. Breakfast was pretty nice. Lunch took too long in my opinion. It took about an hour and a half (although I had one of the tastiest drinks of the cruise there (something like a Lemonjito?). Manhattan Room: We ate dinner here once. It was the wedding dinner. The Restaurant manager was again very accommodating in reserving five tables by each other and right by the dance floor for our wedding group. It was perfect timing, as right when we arrived, the band went on break (just long enough for us to order and enjoy our meal). Then, when they returned they announced my brother and his new wife and sang their song "unforgettable" as they had their first dance. We all joined them for the dancing and then it was cake cutting time. It was really a nice evening and the band in the Manhattan Room really made it special! Garden Cafe: We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches here. The choices never got old to me. I could eat chocolate croissants every day and twice on Sunday! The curries were always delicious although the naan left a lot to be desired. I loved the coconut ice cream. They had smoked salmon, a make your own Caesar salad station, omelette stations, crepe stations, etc. It never felt crowded except the first lunch when everyone boarded and the last breakfast before everyone left. We never tried room service, 24 hour $5 pizza, or the Noodle Bar. . We also ate at the two dining/entertainment venues, the Murder Mystery lunch, and Cirque Dreams dinner. The food at both were less than stellar. That brings us to entertainment. We were extremely impressed overall with the entertainment on board. The Blue Man Group: Spectacular and fun. We had no idea what to expect and really enjoyed ourselves. (I saved the day for my parents by passing them ear plugs before the show started because I read a review that it was going to be extremely loud... thanks Cruise Critic reviewer!) Murder mystery lunch with the Second City crew: An entertainment success, but a dining failure. The Second City folks were awesome and we ended up seeing them five times over the course of the cruise (including the Murder Mystery show). The other shows were even funnier as they were more improv and less scripted. We really enjoyed them and it was fun to see them around the ship and say hello! Cirque Dreams dinner: This was a bit annoying. We bought the standard seating ($20) and were seated on the first floor in one of the booths. Because of this we could not see about half of the performance. (Several people buying premium seats also could not see the second floor parts of the show because they were sitting at the end of the tables.) The show is a bit hard to follow and the main narrator gets a little grating, but on the positive side, the costumes are fantastic, and the acrobatics (that we could see) were amazing! I would recommend buying premium seats AND getting there very early, or skipping this altogether. The food was "surf and turf". The Surf was two large shrimp that were tasty, but the turf (beef tenderloin) was disappointing. Howl at the Moon dueling pianos: Were great and we saw them 2 or 3 times. We never stayed for a full show, but enjoyed dropping in for 30 minutes here and there. After 11 the show is for Adults only, and they mean it. One lady had a toddler in there and finally took the hint that it was inappropriate and ducked out after getting uncomfortable glances from many audience members. Children were welcome at earlier shows that were more PG. (Speaking of children, as far as I could tell, there weren't that many on board. They were either extremely well behaved, or hidden away in the kids club. They were also probably hanging around the pool areas with their parents, and honestly, I'm not a sun-worshiper so we avoided the pool areas most of the time. I did go on the yellow water slide and thought it was a lot of fun.) We participated in trivia one afternoon and enjoyed that. The kids loved the beach balls and key chains we got for winning one game. Karaoke: One night we checked out the Karaoke and although it was fun, the song selection is extremely limited. When we asked one of the activities crew members about it, she said that they were trying out several different Karaoke systems, and that they were recommending the one from the previous week (!) which has a great system etc. Well, that's great for future cruisers, but not great for us! ;) Comedian/Magician Dana Daniels: He was entertaining, but it was a bit more stand-up than magician. I laughed. It wasn't hilarious, but it was fun and also it was kid friendly (for those who were wondering) Guitarist Kurt Hunter: Caught this guy performing in Maltings while waiting for the rest of our group to finally get out of Teppanyaki and thought he was great so we caught up with him later on in the week at Fat Cats bar and loved his music. Seems like a really nice guy. He took requests (and had book of suggestions that was WAY longer than the Karaoke repertoire!) He also played a couple of original songs that were quite good. Fun time! Legends in Concert: We saw Janet Jackson, Neil Diamond, and Aretha Franklin doing their thing. If you've cruised before, this was more in line with the kind-of entertainment you would get from Carnival or HAL. The cast (especially the back up singers/dancers, were very talented), and the three impersonators were alright. Aretha was the best of the three. My parents loved this concert, although they are older and didn't know many of the songs. Slam Allen: My husband and brother saw three or four songs one evening and thought they were great. I'm kicking myself for not making it a point to go see them. However, there are only so many hours in a day and this ship has a lot to keep you busy! Bowling: We did this one afternoon and it was pretty fun. It was on one of the more turbulent days and that made the bowling extra challenging. (I think I scored a 58). FABBA party: We went to this and it was super fun. Lots of dancing and singing along. White Hot Party: Tried to go to this, but it was raining so we left. Seemed like fun though and lots of people enjoyed it despite the rain. Burlesque Night: This was packed and I only saw a bit of it. They were doing "He Had it Coming" from Chicago, and it was a mixture of the legends back up dancers and crew entertainment staff. Michael from Undercover Boss was shaking it too! Seemed like a lot of fun. BINGO: Avoid this at all cost. We played the first day and the cheapest cards cost $39.99! This was only on the first day. After that, when my mom played again, the cheapest cards were $69.00 and the works were almost $100. (this would be forgivable, except that the first winner only got $92!) I'm guessing that NCL is making big bucks on BINGO with these lame payouts. This was the only time during the cruise that made me long for HAL where BINGO is $20 and is more a matter of entertaining guests rather than functioning as another revenue stream for the cruise line! Ports of Call St Maarten: We got off the ship and took a water taxi ($6 all day pass) to the town from the dock and tooled around the town doing a little shopping for the kids at home and also looking for an internet cafe to email the family back home. (internet on the ship is a total rip off, in my opinion, and if you can stand it, wait till you get off the ship and find an internet cafe to use and save big bucks.) We found a place called Cyber Surf which was located on Front Street #42 in Philipsburg. There prices were $3/15 minutes, $4/30 minutes, or $5/hour. We being the big spenders that we are, forked over the $5, and had ample time to get caught up on our email and get in touch with the family back home. They also had Skype available although we did not try it. St Thomas: This was the day of my brother's wedding and the entire port day was organized by them. We were picked up by Air Force One tour buses and driven to the Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas. This resort was BEAUTIFUL. The staff there were top notch and the beach wedding was beautiful and the wedding lunch provided by the Ritz was one of the best we had during the cruise. After the wedding lunch we got back on the tour trolley and headed up to the Mountain Top for a view of the city, some souvenir shopping, and a banana daiquiri. Then, it was back down to the dock to get on board. Note: U.S. cell phones work in St. Thomas so it's a good place to call home. Nassau: About 11am we got a message from Captain Vooren that because of heavy winds and choppiness they were going to be unable to dock in Nassau and we were going to be skipping this port. Several people I witnessed seemed pretty steamed about the cancellation, but I didn't really care as I had been to Nassau and didn't have any plans on the island except to do some souvenir shopping. They announced that they were refunding the port charges for Nassau which came to $22.66 per person and later in the afternoon they provided free Rum Punch courtesy of the Captain for an hour. They also revised the on board activities so that there were more things to do. My sister and her husband we bummed though because they had planned to do the Segway tour (the only excursion they booked while on board) and my brother and his new wife and my other brother were planning on a day on the beach. They instead took advantage of the Posh Sun Deck that afternoon, which was lovely. Miscellaneous: Cruise Critic Meet and Greet: Attended this and there were many Ship officers there during the mingling part along with the cruise director Paul Scally. They provided a nice spread of my favorite chocolate croissants (did I mention that I love them?) and other assorted pastries, along with Ice Water, Tea and Coffee. The captain showed up at the end when all the officers were introduced and mentioned that they know cruise critic folks write about their cruises and that they hope we write good things. He also mentioned that they read what is written! It was very nice and I'm glad we went. We were also given a card with the direct numbers of all the heads of various departments with the request for us to call with any and all questions or concerns we might have on our cruise. Smoke on board: This was not a problem for us while on board. I was very concerned because several reviews said it was outrageous, but it was a non-issue for us as well. We were also able to use our balcony and only once in 7 days of use noticed any of our neighbors smoking. We never made it to the Ice Bar, the Rock Climbing Wall or the Epic Bounce. We never tried room service or the 24 hour $5 pizza. ATM on board: We wanted to get some cash out to play the slots but the ATM charges something like 5.5% to get out cash but we discovered a work around. If you go to the casino cashier, you can have a minimum of $100 put on your on board account and they will issue you certificates you can use to play the slots or at the tables. Once you have played to your hearts content, take your leftover certificates to the ATM and it will exchange what is left for cash at no charge. If you get your $100 out and suddenly realize you would rather have cash instead of playing in the casino (wink, wink) just turn around and exchange them back for cash. Loved this cruise and would love to go back soon! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
I was the Tour Conductor for a group of 16 for the Norwegian Epic's January 29th sailing from Miami, Eastern Caribbean itinerary. I had been anxiously reading the critiques of this ship and this itinerary prior to our departure. The ... Read More
I was the Tour Conductor for a group of 16 for the Norwegian Epic's January 29th sailing from Miami, Eastern Caribbean itinerary. I had been anxiously reading the critiques of this ship and this itinerary prior to our departure. The age range for our group was from 63 to 80, all of whom had been on multiple cruises in the past, and some of whom had some physical limitations and mobility issues. We left Phoenix on January 27. Upon arrival in Miami, we took the hotel shuttle to our home for the next two days. We were staying at the Best Western International Airport Inn and Suites, which had only been operating for two months. The facilities were clean and new, and the staff was very accommodating as far as recommendations for restaurants and transportation companies to take us where we wished to go. On Friday, we took taxis at $7 a person each way to South Beach and spent most of the day enjoying the sights, sounds and food. Saturday morning, Sun and Moon Express transported us to the ship. Unfortunately, the van was not large enough for all of us, so Edwin willingly acknowledged he would have to make two trips. I'm not sure how he thought we would get 16 in that van - 16 kindergartners, maybe, but not 16 senior citizens. We had allowed plenty of time, however, and this little "glitch" presented no major problems for the group. Embarkation - Embarkation at the Port of Miami was seamless. We walked through Terminal C and did what we needed to do to clear security, present Passports, and provide the information for our on-board charges. We boarded the ship very quickly, waiting only 10 minutes in the "holding" area. As we stepped on board, we were welcomed by a group of crew members. As expected, our cabins were not ready for us yet, so we met at Taste restaurant for a nice lunch. Staterooms - Following lunch, we heard the announcement that all cabins were ready for occupancy, so we went to check them out and start unpacking. We had the D2 Deluxe Balcony or Deluxe Family Balcony staterooms. We were delighted to discover an amazing amount of storage in the cabins. There were two closets, upper and lower cabinets all along the straight wall, bins beneath the couch, as well as storage behind the back cushions of the couch, a sizeable "nightstand" on one side, and more small cabinets over the headboard. There was a long counter below the wall-mounted flat-screen TV. The cabins are narrow, and allow the bed to be located only in the part where the "wave" design curves outward. This means that every other room has the bed nearest the balcony, and the rooms between have the couch nearest the balcony. The beds were comfortable, but a little short, and my husband's feet hung over the end, but he didn't mind. The linens are very nice. Prior to the cruise, I had read all of the negative information about the split-up bathroom design on this ship, and I was prepared to hate it. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to find that this was not a problem for us at all. I knew the sink would be located out in the main room of the cabins, and I assumed that anyone visiting our cabin would witness our toothbrushes, hair gel, medications, etc., but I was pleased to find a large medicine cabinet above and four drawers below for toiletries. The sink was small, but large enough for most things; however, one would not want to be washing out clothes in it. Another "alternating" feature was the bathing facilities. Every second cabin had a tub-shower, and the cabins between had showers. The area occupied by each of these was the same, so the showers were the size of a bathtub, which was very nice. If you had the tub version, you had to climb over the side, which was difficult for some of us. There were, however, several grab bars in the tub to assist with this. The toilet area was adequate, and larger than the toilet areas on the Pearl. In short, we do not understand why everyone has been so upset about the bathroom arrangement. Our balconies were considerably deeper than those we had experienced on other NCL ships. Entertainment - Most of the group attended the Blue Man Group. Some were disappointed in the show, and some just didn't like some of the content - the parts involving spitting paint, regurgitating marshmallows, or having icky stuff squirt out of tubes in their chests. I was glad to have seen them, but glad I didn't have to pay the prices in Vegas to see their show. We did attend the Cirque "Dreams" show in the Spiegel Tent, and enjoyed it immensely. One of our group members was selected to participate as the "investor." This was a sweet but shy fellow who felt uncomfortable at being "singled out," but the others in the group loved it, and he did a fine job, in spite of his reticence. My husband was selected for the bell-ringing part of the show, and we were surprised by his ability to do this well, in spite of the fact he is "musically challenged." We recommend this show for anyone sailing on this ship. The dinner was quite good, with three small appetizer/salad items to begin the meal, beef tenderloin and shrimp, green beans and potato for the main course, and three tiny desserts. Many of us also saw Legends at Sea, featuring Janet Jackson, Neil Diamond, and Aretha Franklin. All of the performers did an excellent job, but the Aretha performer was a show-stopper. It was an excellent show. A few snuck in for Howl at the Moon, which was probably the most entertaining show on the ship. You could not make reservations for this, and it was just a continuous dueling pianos and comedy act, with a lot of interplay with the audience. This show was a real surprise to us who went, and we felt it did not get the attention it deserved. I must warn that it is intended for adult audience, and becomes more "adult" as the evening progresses. But these guys are really funny! Those who went to Fat Cats found the music to be very good, but also very loud, and did not stay very long. It is unfortunate that people can't listen, have a drink and socialize in what is billed as a Jazz and Blues Club, but the volume made conversation impossible. Dining - We ate several meals at Taste and the Manhattan Room, which are the main restaurants on the ship. The quality of the food was quite good, but not as good as that in the "specialty" restaurants. The improvement in the design of The Garden Cafe is worth mentioning; we have found this buffet to be very congested and crowded on other ships in the NCL fleet, with the possibility of finding an available table for more than two people almost non-existent. On the Epic, there are four separate "circuits" offering the same foods, which helps with the flow, and we did not experience the crowding that we had found in the past on other ships. It was a good choice for meals any time. O'Sheehan's Pub was also a nice choice for breakfast and lunch, although the menu was a bit limited. We did eat there a few times, and we were able to accommodate 8-10 people together very easily. Some ate at Shanghai's and reported it was very good. 8 of us had lunch at the Noodle Bar and we enjoyed it, as well, although it seemed to cause a problem for them to seat 10 of us together. We met the Restaurant Manager, Christian Schagerl, one evening during dinner, and he offered our group a tour of the galley area of the ship. We took him up on this tour, and it was an amazing experience. The food standards are very high, the sanitary procedures are meticulous, and it was clear they go to great lengths to provide meals that are healthy, attractive, fresh and safe. The breads, with the exception of the croissants, are made on-board fresh daily, and anything not used within a very short period of time is discarded. (The croissants are brought aboard frozen prior to the cruise.) As an example of their fastidiousness, we ordered some bananas at breakfast one morning, but were unable to get them because they had been deemed "over-ripe." We had dinner at Le Bistro one evening, and it was an excellent meal. This restaurant has never disappointed us, and it is always a high point of any of our cruises. I mentioned the meal served at The Spiegel Tent earlier. The other specialty restaurant we did try was Moderno. It was definitely a "do-over" for most of us, and if we had eaten there earlier in the cruise, we would have returned for another meal. Teppanyaki, Cagney's, and La Cucina were all restaurants we had tried on earlier cruises on other ships, and most of us did not eat there this time, with the exception of one couple who did go to La Cucina. In the past, we have really enjoyed Teppanyaki and Cagney's. So many restaurants, so little time!! The Ice Bar - Five of our group did go to the Svedka Ice Bar, and enjoyed it immensely. Recreation - We found the pool deck was very crowded, not necessarily with people, but certainly with deck chairs. Deck chairs were plentiful, to the extent that they perhaps did not need to have so many out all of the time. The traffic flow on this deck was like an obstacle course. The pools are quite small for the number of people on the ship, but they were not crowded, for some reason. Three of us went down the big "bowl" slide on the tubes, and it was really fun. One of our group went down the green slide, and said it was very dark and twisty, and you couldn't see what was coming. But it was all fun out there. Fitness - Two members of our group went up to the Fitness Center, and reported it was excellent and uncrowded. Ports - Most of us had been to these ports of call in the past - Philipsburg, Sint Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Nassau, Bahamas. We did go ashore and purchase some souvenirs, but did not stay long off the ship and returned early to enjoy the amenities when most people were onshore. Disembarkation - This was a snap. Everyone traveling home on the day of our arrival back in Miami enrolled in the BAGS program. This meant we put our luggage outside of the door before 1 a.m. the last night, and we did not have to see them again until we claimed them in Phoenix. There are several advantages to this program; NCL obtains the airline boarding passes for those enrolled, and participants receive special tags for their luggage. Airline luggage charges are added to your on-board account. The cost of the BAGS program is $19.95 per person, and it is worth it to not have to hassle with luggage on a tour or at the airport. One thing I think NCL should be aware of is that when instructions for disembarkation are given, they do not make any reference to those who are using the BAGS program, and for whom the process is a bit different. Some of the instructions given orally were in conflict with the procedures for those using the BAGS program, and it was confusing. Many of our group thought they still needed to clear customs and claim their bags. Although there are written instructions given with the BAGS luggage tags, there should be specific oral instructions given for those using this service when everyone is gathered and ready to get off the ship. Little Things Mean a Lot - This is a really big ship!! It stood head and shoulders above others when we were in port. However, we rarely felt crowded or had to wait in line, as might be expected when there are over 4,000 other passengers on board. I was pleased to find that when a large number of us (8-14) chose to dine together without a reservation in the main restaurants, the staff did an excellent job of seating us together, usually at adjacent tables, which was fine. This was a pet peeve of mine on the Pearl in 2009 - it was always a huge problem to even try to get a reservation for a large number of people, but on the Epic, they were able to accommodate us at a moment's notice without a problem. Our Cabin Steward, Marlon, gave us towel animals five times, and did an excellent job of taking care of our room. The generous storage and counter space in these cabins eliminates much of the clutter found in cabins where there is nowhere to put things away, and therefore cabins stay much neater, and I am sure they are easier for the Stewards to manage. For me, the storage in the room and the lack of stuff lying around was an important "plus" for this ship. We were not badgered by the photographers, as we have been in the past. Some people simply don't enjoy having their pictures snapped every time they turn around, and I appreciated that the photographers were not at all aggressive on this ship. They also have a very efficient electronic way for you to locate your pictures by your stateroom by simply inserting your key card, rather than wandering around the gallery trying to find your photos among thousands of others. The Down Side - There was one constant complaint that we had about reaching Deck 5, which was, after all, the "heart" of the ship. The ship has 20 elevators, 5 on each side forward, and 5 on each side aft. We rarely had to wait very long for an elevator. However, the most convenient elevators for 14 of us were the aft elevators, and these 10 elevators were not programmed to make a stop at Deck 5, which is where the Atrium, Taste, and the Manhattan Room are located, as well as an ATM and other areas we wished to access frequently. Therefore, in order to get to Deck 5, one had to take the elevator to Deck 6 and walk through the Casino to get to an escalator which took you down to Deck 5. Most of us found this annoying and irksome; the Casino was noisy, smoky and congested, and we simply did not appreciate the fact that we were required to walk the length of the Casino so frequently to reach our destination. I am sure this is a way to get people into the Casino and tempt them to toss a few quarters in the slots, but we would have liked access to Deck 5 which did not include fighting our way through the Casino. We were disappointed that we could not get CNN on the TV; the news channels on board were Fox, and BBC and CNBC. The Egyptian situation was all over the news during our week at sea. E! and Windows were enjoyable. We missed having contact with the Cruise Director on this ship. He was only a voice on the PA system, or a "talking head" on the television. Our groups have usually been able to have some relationship with the Cruise Director in the past. We also heard very little from the Captain, as he was rarely on the PA system. On a Panama Canal cruise on the "Pearl" in 2009, we always enjoyed the Captain's witty announcements and reports of how much his wife had spent in port the day before, and other personal observations and entertaining comments. The port information was a bit sketchy, mostly describing the NCL-recommended shopping, and mostly about jewelry stores. These cruises seem to be a lot about buying jewelry, both on the ship and in port. But Overall... we had a really fun cruise, and everyone agrees they would go on the Epic again. We were very fortunate to have a pleasant and cohesive group of 16 wonderful friends, and no "whiners." This was my husband's and my 9th cruise with NCL, sailing on the Wind three times, the Pearl twice, and the Dream, Star, and Sky each once. This was the fourth "group" I had put together, varying in size from 16 to 33 people. Most of the others had sailed on NCL 1-3 times, but for one couple, this was their first experience with NCL. There were a few things they preferred on other cruise lines, but they seemed pleased with their first NCL experience, and said they would cruise on NCL again. I certainly would not hesitate to recommend NCL and the Epic in particular to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
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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