28 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Singles Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

I have only cruised one other cruise line prior to this one, OMG was it different. Debarkation was horrible and the bed in my cabin slept like I made a pallet on a mountain of rock. The bed separated down the middle and made it very ... Read More
I have only cruised one other cruise line prior to this one, OMG was it different. Debarkation was horrible and the bed in my cabin slept like I made a pallet on a mountain of rock. The bed separated down the middle and made it very uncomfortable and restless. I was pretty tired and had back pain when I got back. On another note mostly everything else was good. I liked the cleanliness of every place even the restrooms outside of our rooms, and the buffet dining areas. KUDOS!!! THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!!!!! The beverage and dining packages were an added plus, we were able to try some exceptional cuisine. Being that this was my first Norwegian cruise I had no idea that I had to book my dining or entertainment prior to the cruise for optimum access, but I won't make that mistake again. I wanted to try so many things that were sold out like Escape the big top, send the cirque dinner show ( I paid 47.00 but the show's after mine were 36 dollars) I heard no idea why. My first NCL experience wasn't bad, the bed situation took it down a little because I had to work on my back when I got back, but overall the experience was pretty good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have been travelling on the NCL Epic since 2013 as the ship suits my needs if and when I am travelling alone. I simply love the studio cabins and lounge. I appreciate the fact that you can dine as a group in the evening, having ... Read More
I have been travelling on the NCL Epic since 2013 as the ship suits my needs if and when I am travelling alone. I simply love the studio cabins and lounge. I appreciate the fact that you can dine as a group in the evening, having previously experienced whilst travelling alone some good but sadly more often than not some "not so good" dining experiences. I love chatting to others but don't necessary want to spend the whole cruise with them or for people to feel sorry for me because I am alone and it is nice to speak to like minded people. I have also met and kept in touch with others over the years often meeting up again. Personally I wish they would perhaps change the itinerary on the EPIC as after my next trip I will have I think "done it all", I am due on my 11th or 12th cruise on this ship shortly. The studio cabins I must admit are getting ready for a face lift, doors missing and beginning to look tatty. Some of the "team organisers" also I think, try too hard sometimes in their pursuit to "organise" the solos, with games etc but apparently they need the good reviews. I cannot believe after reading cruise reviews that people are still complaining about the other cabins on this ship regarding the sink and bathroom set up. Yes its different and yes it has proved not so good and for that reason I believe no other ships were designed like that. Since I have been travelling on this ship and the introduction of the drinks package there are more lines for the bar but that is life I suppose. My only serious complaint with the ship is that since the "taking off your own luggage" was introduced and become so popular it is frankly a nightmare disembarking the EPIC. I agree with an earlier review in that I think it is dangerous. I am surprised they have not sorted this out by now. Perhaps stopping this practice altogether. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Worst vacation experience.! Overcrowded! Not enough room for people on the pool deck. Long lineups for everything. Not enough staff working very long shifts. The ship is under constriction taking up deckbspace with sounds of ... Read More
Worst vacation experience.! Overcrowded! Not enough room for people on the pool deck. Long lineups for everything. Not enough staff working very long shifts. The ship is under constriction taking up deckbspace with sounds of sawing and grinding metal. They stress hygine to avoid illness but can't keep the handsoap refilled in the washrooms (complained twice because ALL dispensers were empty). Add engine mechanical issues and we didn't make any of our ports of call. Hostages bouncing around the Atlantic with the same boring routine and every day more bad news from the captain. The one day we went to the unscheduled port of San Juan for repairs we hit the dock and finally made the news. Apparently things like this happen regularly a frequent cruisers are unfazed. An a first time cruiser, this is far from what I expected and not worth the hefty pricetag! Our return to our original port or Orlando would be 12 hours late which of course impacted flight schedules. After everyone rescheduled they announced we would return earier. Many of us could have made our original flights! How do so many mistakes happen? It very expensive waste of valuable vacation time. I have yet to see any type of compensation. Not for the ports we didn't visit, the excursions I didn't go on. The crappy ship. The extra expense of hotel and reschedule flights. I didn't get to swim in the sea or even walk on a sandy beach. DON'T DO IT!!! A cheap all-inclusive resort has the same quality of entertainment and you won't get screwed out of your hard earned vacation time and savings. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
i chose this cruise to celebrate my late mothers birthday who loved to cruise, i began cruising Norwegian Jan 2016 using the money she left for me to travel and spread her ashes, this cruise port is close to my home and the date as well as ... Read More
i chose this cruise to celebrate my late mothers birthday who loved to cruise, i began cruising Norwegian Jan 2016 using the money she left for me to travel and spread her ashes, this cruise port is close to my home and the date as well as entertainment that was onboard along with my favorite destination the Virgin Islands is why i chose this trip, the ship is very large and i prefer smaller ships , the studio cabin was my 1st experience and i actually was comfortable, i met other solo travelers but did not attend any dinners or shows but did enjoy the cocktail hour before dinner i had in mostly upscale dining rooms, i was sorry to see the menu has changed in Cagneys and Le bistro and since i dine alone most night this will effect my purchasing the dining package in the future, the main dining room Taste was lovely when i visited, i loved the pate, and the manhattan room was a nice restaurant. My biggest enjoyment were the shows onboard, my favorite was the Cirque Dreams as well as Burn the floor, i enjoyed Priscilla as well. The ultimate beverage package is what i do not enjoy!!!i Many people had been served too much . my biggest problem is when i booked my excursion to Jost van Dyke only 1 time of day was available it was suppose to be a longer stay at the beach as well as a longer sail to get over,for 139.00 pp it said 5 hours, instead they booked up a 2nd time excursion and we were only on the beach 3 hours, given a rum punch on the way back and hurried so they could go back to get the others...we barely had time on shore on st thomas and the stirrup Caye was missed all together so it was 5 1/2 days at sea....that was very disappointing .,The cruise became a booze cruise.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I have been looking at the Epic for about a year because of the single occupancy studio rooms. Sometimes I want to cruise but don't have anyone to go with, so when I arrived in Port Canaveral to take my Carnival Aruba cruise for the ... Read More
I have been looking at the Epic for about a year because of the single occupancy studio rooms. Sometimes I want to cruise but don't have anyone to go with, so when I arrived in Port Canaveral to take my Carnival Aruba cruise for the third time in a year, I saw the Epic docked at Port Canaveral. Booked it immediately before it returned to the Mediterrean in April. So impressed that this company gets the fact that there are a lot of singles out there who want to cruise but don't want to pay double. The cabins are great, mood lighting, great bed, ample storage if you are creative, toilet in separate enclosed area. Even though I am almost Platinum on Carnival, I am searching for my next Norwegian Studio Cabin. They have a private studio lounge that has coffee, pastries and yogurt in the morning and in the evening they have a bartender and a host to organize groups for dinner, activities etc. Wonderful! The entertainment on board was fantastic, Cirque, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Beatles, and Burn the Floor shows, my favs first to last. Met great people in the group. The specialty restaurants were delicious, never did that on Carnival but it seemed like many more options here. I will definately book them again. Here's a few things I like better on Carnival, the buffet choices with the Mexican, Wok, Pizza and general food quality. Much better deserts on Carnival. The mood in the general dining room with the show is more fun, the food about equal. The adult pool on the Epic was never full and at full capacity this ship was very crowded and seemed so. But did I mention, they had a free drink package. That was fantastic because I did not have a huge bill at the end. Will be back for sure! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was my second cruise with NCL and both cruises have been extremely lack luster and not worth the money I spend on them. If it wasn't for the group I went with, I would be completely disappointed. I went on this cruise with a ... Read More
This was my second cruise with NCL and both cruises have been extremely lack luster and not worth the money I spend on them. If it wasn't for the group I went with, I would be completely disappointed. I went on this cruise with a large group of 300 people. The entertainment was amazing, the food was great. Our room steward was the best - thanks Alex! Several of our group toured the Virgin Gorda Baths, this excursion was so over crowded and hard to really take in the beauty around you do to people constantly passing back and forth in-front of you. I am average height and my feet hung off the bed also there was a mere 2 inches separating the beds! If that's not bad enough the bathroom set up is horrible! The only privacy you have while showering or using the toilet is frosted glass, not sure who designed the bathroom area but I would not use them again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I did the cruise as a solo. The Solo program with a coordinator and Barteneder in the lounge was excellent. Front row seats for theater events! Group dinners were great. We did change ports, and missed Stirrup caye, We were told it ... Read More
I did the cruise as a solo. The Solo program with a coordinator and Barteneder in the lounge was excellent. Front row seats for theater events! Group dinners were great. We did change ports, and missed Stirrup caye, We were told it was for an electrical issue. but more likely for an unfortunate death involving alchol while at sea. We did not disembark until late only after the authorities came onboard. It was superbowl week, we had three giant screens to watch on. Some were miffed that their regular schedule for shows was dissrupted. Cagneys, Moderno and Le bistro were my favorites. The best breakfast was the Buffet omelet station at the outdoor pool area. He made me an egg sanwich everyday!. Osheehans was another very good breakfast location, you could eat there well before 7 when everything else was still closed. Abi beach break in St Thomas was great 13 people went, we had 250 chairs to ourselves, transport was via a little pirate schooner Cane beach in Tortola was lovely Loved the Blue lagoon with lunch at Nassua. Dissembark in port was a disater, only 4 cutoms agents for 4000. Not the fault of the Epic or NCL. I nearly missed my 1:40 flight. I had a crafty porter who got us to skip the line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I chose the Epic because it has Studio cabins on two decks. Excellent for a solo traveler. Someone from the cruise directors staff looks after the solo travelers with restaurant and theatre reservations. The studio Lounge bar is ... Read More
I chose the Epic because it has Studio cabins on two decks. Excellent for a solo traveler. Someone from the cruise directors staff looks after the solo travelers with restaurant and theatre reservations. The studio Lounge bar is staffed from 5;PM TO 7:00 pm each evening. Wonderful staff on the Epic. Lots of activities on board. i was able to sit in on Drums with the Jam Rock band and the Party and Soul band. Great highlights of my cruise. The Norwegian Breakaway and Escape have Studio Cabins too. The food and restaurants are very good. There is never a lack of food to eat. The ship is very clean and movement is barely noticeable. The theatre shows are very good. Burning the Floor is an excellent dance show. Do not miss Priscilla Queen of the Dessert. It is a fabulous production. Very funny. Not for children or people with closed minds. Enjoy the Epic. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Norwegian did something really smart by creating the Solo Studio for people traveling alone without hitting them with a single supplement. Recently took 7-day cruise on Norwegian Epic with 3 older lady friends. We have the means to travel ... Read More
Norwegian did something really smart by creating the Solo Studio for people traveling alone without hitting them with a single supplement. Recently took 7-day cruise on Norwegian Epic with 3 older lady friends. We have the means to travel but also enjoy the perfect mix of privacy and sociability that the Solo Studio provides. We each had our own room with stand-up shower, toilet, queen-size bed, sink, safe and storage areas but the Solo Lounge provided a great venue to meet other single travelers for coffee, snacks and, from 5-7 PM, drinks at our own fully stocked bar with personable bartender. We met a married couple who were also sailing in the Solo Studios. They liked that they each had their own shower and bathroom and their studios had a pass through door that gave them double the space and facilities for the same price as a double cabin. The food on Norwegian was excellent. I have cruised 4 times on Disney - which retains the crown as best cruise - and once on Royal Princess which was just OK but I'd definitely cruise Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Our cruise experience was good but the ship is different to the point of not comfortable. Upon entering the stateroom there is a shower to the right with frosted glass doors and a sliding frosted glass door on the left containing the ... Read More
Our cruise experience was good but the ship is different to the point of not comfortable. Upon entering the stateroom there is a shower to the right with frosted glass doors and a sliding frosted glass door on the left containing the toilet. Then there is a curtain you can pull for privacy. The sink is the size of a turkey platter and only about 5 inches deep so I could not even rinse out my bathing suit in it. Also, it sits on the desk below the medicine cabinet. The lighting in the cabins is very dim. I did like the closet configuration. The public venues such as the Atrium and the Cavern did not have enough seating for the events planned there. We arrived 45 minutes early to the Cavern and got a seat but the next time we arrived 30 minutes early and there were no seats, people were even sitting on the windowsills. Taste Restaurant is weirdly configured and if they seat you in the center around the piano (where I never heard anyone playing) your table is open to a three story atrium and quite noisy as Sheehans Irish Pub and the Casino are located on the floors directly above. H20 Spice pool was so small it was not even worth getting into it and the other pools were immensely crowded. While the room steward was wonderful, service in the complimentary restaurants was very slow. Embarkation day was a disaster as we waited in line after line for almost 2 hours before finally boarding the ship. I have sailed on many Norwegian ships in the past but I will NEVER sail on this ship again and would not recommend it to anyone either. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was my first experience on a Norwegian cruise, and I was very pleased with my experience. So much so that I have booked another trip in December aboard the Norwegian Dawn. We sailed out of Miami, which is your stereotypical tourist ... Read More
This was my first experience on a Norwegian cruise, and I was very pleased with my experience. So much so that I have booked another trip in December aboard the Norwegian Dawn. We sailed out of Miami, which is your stereotypical tourist trap city, but we enjoyed the white sand beaches there. Getting aboard the Epic certainly had its fair share of long lines to get on and off the ship, but that is the same with almost any cruise, and this is an extremely large ship. At the time, the Epic was the largest ship in Norwegian's fleet. The activities on board left much to be desired though. I specifically recall going to an origami class and they did not even have a Japanese crew member teaching the course. Bless the crew members heart, but he could not do origami well enough to effectively teach a course on it. I feel like the Epic was depending a lot their shows to keep people entertained and gave very little thought to many of their other activities. Don't get me wrong, the entertainment (which included Cirque Dreams, Second City, and the Blue Man Group) was wonderful and made for a great evening, but when you have a couple sea days to kill on board, you need a lot more things to distract you during the day. I often found myself just staying in my stateroom or on the outer decks reading my Kindle during the day rather than participating in activities. The Epic definitely has room for improvement in this area. I have no complaints about the service on the Epic. My room steward was wonderful and attentive, and knew what I needed before I did. This is the only ship to offer single traveler staterooms, which I stayed in, and those staterooms were beautiful. Very purple, but beautiful. The cuisine on the ship covered all bases and if you have a craving for something, it was only a short walk from your stateroom and you could get it. Overall, I enjoyed my experience on board. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Just went on my second solo cruise. Found Norwegian Epic searching for ships with studio cabins. I was not disappointed at all. The cabin had enough room for one. Shower and toilet room were tight, but large enough for me. Favorite ... Read More
Just went on my second solo cruise. Found Norwegian Epic searching for ships with studio cabins. I was not disappointed at all. The cabin had enough room for one. Shower and toilet room were tight, but large enough for me. Favorite highlights from the trip. Embarkation was super fast, with friendly staff. Entertainment was top notch. I actually liked the entertainment around the ship as good or better than the "main" entertainment. Though Blue Men was great too. Highly recommend checking out Jim Capik (guitar), Howl at the Moon, and Fernando Vazquez (piano and vocals). I had no problem finding deck chairs but am not one to be right by the action. Plenty of seating in the cafe, just avoid the times of highest volume- 8 am, noon, and 5-6. Literally a half an hour earlier or later makes a huge difference. Nice gym with plenty of machines- treadmills, elipticals, and bikes (plenty of each) plus weight machines, classes, etc. Specialty restaurants were very good. I only ate once in a main dinning room, but heard others complain about them (only complaint I heard). Especially loved Cagneys and Moderno. Opportunities for various groups to get together and meet (singles, Lgbt, etc). I was most impressed about not feeling lonely as a solo cruiser. Staff was very friendly with me and engaged me in conversation. Also, I chose not to buy the drink package and was treated exactly like other cruisers who did, which was lovely. On another cruise line I tended to be ignored because I didn't have the "sticker" which means staff have to make extra effort to take my card and write up a receipt. Bravo! I will cruise with this line again just for this reason alone. I'm not a huge drinker, but when I want a drink, I want to be waited on and not ignored. I had an overall great experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
It has been a couple of weeks since I had my Epic Adventure!!!! Yes very cliche I know but it couldn't be helped as the name just fits :) This was my first cruise in over 3 yrs. My last cruise was on NCL Pearl in Sept 2010 which was ... Read More
It has been a couple of weeks since I had my Epic Adventure!!!! Yes very cliche I know but it couldn't be helped as the name just fits :) This was my first cruise in over 3 yrs. My last cruise was on NCL Pearl in Sept 2010 which was my honeymoon cruise and overall it was a fantastic cruise. So I had little trepidation about booking NCL again this time around. It has been over 6 yrs since my last solo cruise which coincidentally was my first cruise on CCL Freedom. Boarding: Arrived at 10am. Check-in was simple. Sat in waiting room. A terminal crew member brought my carry-on suitcase which I left at check-in...Whew!!! Glad to get it back as it had my medications and other necessary items. Boarding began about 1130am. Other than getting caught by photographers for boarding photo, boarding was a great expience. It was surreal boarding this time. It felt very familiar but very strange too. Ship: From the outside Epic is still an ugly ship, but that ugliness doesn't appear to be inside, although I didn't pay much attention to decor. The decks are loooooooooooong. Feels like one walks for hours to get from Bow to Stern. There is no deck that is open at both ends. There is no proper walking/jogging track. There is no mid level deck that one can walk around outside. Epic seems to be designed to be more internal than external. Perhaps Caribbean is not the best place for such a ship. It would seem sailing out of colder climates like Northeast USA would have been better :) Spice H2O was at the back of deck 15 and it was adult only till evening. It has a big screen, bar and grill that served meals and snacks. It had a small pool and two hot tubs. Every evening the pool floor raised up and water was emptied which created more usable deck space which was handy during the FABBA, Disco and White Hot parties. There were 3 slides on Epic. Purple, Green and Orange. Purple was a slide that was covered till splashdown, so like Disney's space mountain it was all in the dark. Green was a coiled slide for most of it with a couple of direction changes. The Orange slide reminded me of a toilet bowl flushing. You ride an inner tube through a covered area before being dumped into bowl area where you spin round and round until entering drain and splashdown. All the slides were great, but the orange one was my favourite. As an aging human circling the drain, it was fun actually circling the drain :P :) Deck 16 was above Spice H2O and was the sports deck. It was a split deck with another part being Haven suites. Deck 17 was forward and was haven suites. Deck 18 was forward and had to areas. There was a public area for lounging. Nice padded wicker type loungers and chair at the front of the deck and the usual loungers along the sides. The other part of Deck 18 was the Posh Area which allowed Haven Suite guests some private space away from everyone. There was a bar and people could order food. There was Posh Passes available to us heathens for the week. I believe it was $60 or so. Christine Gorman bought one and believe got full use. Deck 19 was the Serenity deck and adult only. I believe Ray Covenant got full use of that deck :P :P Deck 14, was the kids zones and also had the spa/gym area. Deck 13, 9, 8 was all cabins. Deck 12, 11 was where the studio suites and studio lounge were. Deck 7 contained public areas like Bliss lounge, Cagney's. Deck 6 contained casino and restaurants. Deck 5 contained Guest Services, Wii wall and restaurants and bars Studio Lounge : Well worth the extra money for solos to have a place to meet fellow solos and be able to have a drink, get a coffee, tea, hot chocolate or water without going elsewhere. Also available was continental breakfast, sandwiches, salad and cookies during the day. The bartender Gede also from Indonesia was very funny and a great bartender. The solo concierge wasn't what I would typically think of a concierge. The only thing they really did was ask who was ready to go to dinner and it was either Manhattan or Taste. A couple of activities were organized but nothing like I expected. Food: Is very subjective. Overall it was great. Ate at Manhattan only first night as it was lobster night and dress code was relaxed so I could wear shorts. Lobster tail was very tasty. Ate at Taste the rest of the week and always found something to eat and very tasty. Did have to ask for extra sauce as things tended to be on the dry side. Desserts were kinda blah, although cheesecake was always good :) Garden Cafe food was typical buffet food, but I will say the Indian food was very disappointing. Lacked taste and spice. Lots of variety to most tastes especially burgers, hot dogs, fries, and mac and cheese. Really liked the Pretzel Rolls. There was a deli, salad bar, hard and soft ice cream. There was a crepe station, asian food, pasta station and entree station. Most were doubled which led to little to no lines. Just outside of Garden Cafe was Great Outdoors which had a couple of stations that served breakfast, lunch and late night snacks...serving basics like Denny's would serve. Spice H2O would serve food during the day but according to the menu would serve appies after 6pm but I went there a few times and the serving area was closed. O'Sheehan's Pub food was typical Irish food. All very tasty. Breakfast was quick and good. I was glad I brought my own hot sauce as Tabasco just isn't good enough. Ate at two pay restaurants Wasabi and Moderno. Wasabi is the sushi bar that was a la carte cost. I think it cost me $8 for the meal. I am no fan of sushi, but did find other things to eat. Food was pretty good and plentiful. Christine said the sushi was good. The other restaurant I paid for was Moderno the Brazilian Churrascaria or steakhouse. Cost was $20 and that included all you can eat salad bar, bread and MEAT. I felt the salad bar was disappointing and the items didn't always match the description card. I was there for the MEAT anyway. There was a group of 8 of us and once we were all ready we flipped these cards from red to green which let servers know we were ready for the procession of MEAT to begin. We were also served sides family style pots containing Rice, beans, mashed potatoes and deep fried bananas. We were offered filet mignon, ribs, chicken, pork, sausages, other cuts of steak, lamb. All totalled there was 10 different MEATS offered. After all MEATS were served they came around and asked if there was any items that seconds were wanted. Once NO MAS was claimed you turned the green card to red side and they stopped bothering you. Great food. All MEAT was tender. Crew: Steward was great, no complaints. Bartenders were great but never really established a go to bar other than Studio Lounge Bar. Crew was always cleaning all over the ship. Plenty of alcohol washes in bathrooms and entering eateries. Happy Happy Washy Washy!!! Servers in restaurants ranged from very attentive to inattentive. I had a server in O'Sheehan's that kept pushing my cup of hot chocolate, glass of water towards me, while I was creating space for the plate of food. I then complained about her to guest services cause she was so rude to a Japanese couple who spoke very little English and she wasn't taking the time to listen to the wife or speak to the wife so that she could understand. Husband spoke no English that I could tell. Ate breakfast at O'Sheehan's a few more times and never saw this server again. Once in Taste I felt the server we had was just going through the motions and really didn't care about our table. She would stand at the end of the long rectangular table and ask what we wanted rather than at least come mid way. Also perhaps it is me being wrong but I thought servers served food by almost standing behind the seated person and swinging the food around the person and setting it on the table. I saw a lot of servers serving almost backhanded which seemed very awkward. Again I could be wrong. Every crew member that I made eye contact with always said hello. Lots of smiles. Entertainment: Live bands, DJs and production shows. There was lots to do at night. Blue Man Group was excellent. Have seen the show in Orlando and while not the full show, it was 90 mins long on board. Saw the Legends show and it was ok. Steven Tyler was pretty good. Young Elvis was ok(not a fan of Elvis), Katy Parry was blah. She should not be considered a legend. I found the back-up singers and dancers were good but there was a couple of dancers that seemed to be going through the motions and really not that into what they were doing. Perhaps they were nearing the end of their contract and were just tired. As for DJs I just don't get all this techno funk stuff. Spent a bit of time in Bliss and very few people would actually dance to the music. Yet during the disco when the DJ just played music the dance area was packed with people. Makes me wonder who the DJ thinks is his audience. I missed the comedy magic act and Second City. I also didn't go to the Cirque dinner show or the Murder Mystery Lunch. Activities : There was plenty to do on board if you wanted. Trivia, dance lessons, bingo, personal development courses, exercise classes, movies and others. I was never bored, found lots of things to do. There was a pub crawl and also learning about beer, martinis and margaritas Ports : St Maarten - organized an excursion to Orient Beach for a few hours. Great beach, weather was perfect. Everyone had fun. After Orient beach we took a taxi to Maho beach(place where planes land) and spent about an hour or so there. We stayed long enough that we saw and some felt a 747 take off. Maho Beach is a spectacle as all the brave, drunk fools will cling onto whatever they can when the jet wash of any large plane blows them down the beach and some even into the water. One of our group was cut by flying debris from 747 and he also lost his camera that was in a bag ripped off him and blown down towards the water. After the 747 took off most of us headed back to ship but myself and a couple others got dropped off in town as I wanted to look around. It was a long tiring day so browsing was kept to a minimum and we all made the walk back towards the ship. St Thomas - is a great port but I have been here so many times I just wanted to browse around Havensight mall looking for white shirts as it was laundry special day on the ship and needed it. Thankfully the crew had a drill so Wayan was delayed in cleaning rooms and picking up laundry bag. Other that browsing, I walked to a nearby grocery store to pick up some tan lotion, pop and salty snacks. Was back on the ship in about an hour and enjoyed my time using the slides, sitting in hot tub and baking :) Nassau - is a much maligned port. Once you get away from the crowded port area, Nassau really is a nice port. If I never left the port I would never want to get off the ship either. I have been to Nassau 3 times and while I have never been to Atlantis, there is so much to do. This time around a solo passenger was organizing a trip to Pirates of Nassau(Pirate Museum). I hummed and hawed all week before deciding Thursday night that I would go with him Friday. We managed to drag Christine along too. I will say Nassau has really built up since I was last there. I had a vague idea where the museum was but the new buildings were confusing me to the point where we almost gave up. Great history of Pirates in the Caribbean. Well worth the money for entrance fee. After exiting the museum we made our way back to ship but not before wandering quickly through the Straw Market. Even with a new modern building I dislike going through the straw market as everyone sells the same crap but they are grabbing you offering you the 'best' deal in town. Fellow Passengers : Most passengers were friendly, courteous and used their manners well. Was a couple of issues of chair hogging, but most people had one lounger per butt. I was the cause of some irritation for passengers when I was saving some loungers expecting friends that never showed(at one point Ray was a row away) and wouldn't release them. One particularly rude group behind me were chirping for a long time loud enough for me to hear. Not sure they thought I couldn't speak English or they just didn't care. When I was getting ready to leave I noticed a family a row in front of me trying to figure out how they were all going to be together. So the two daughters who were facing both their parents and me noticed that I was giving up two of my loungers for them as I waved them and pointed. They accepted but were taking their time collecting their stuff so I said better hurry there are people heading over. So they tossed their stuff and got the loungers. The rude bunch behind me got the other two. Felt pretty guilty until the group behind me started chirping. If they had just asked about the other loungers I probably would have given them up :) Clothing: WOW!!!! quite something. Some very well dressed men and women especially on Dress up or not night(formal night). Most people were casually dressed but women seemed to enjoy dressing up most nights...good on them. On the lido deck well common sense seems to leave some people. I saw men who shouldn't wearing speedoes, fortunately never saw a banana hammock. Women seemed very confident in what they wore. Some really shouldn't. Saw some rather heavy women wearing teeny tiny bikinis. Saw some young girls wearing bikinis probably passed down by their older sister as they were not suitable. Material what little there was was high up the front and high up the backside. It is my opinion and judgement. :) Weather: Heading out of Miami it was chilly, but once second day arrived it was very warm and sunny. Usual temps was above 81F. I was told there was a sudden rain storm as we were leaving ST Thomas but I was napping in my cabin and missed it. Nassau was chilly around 74F Disembarkation : I stayed on another week doing a B2B. Reported to Guest Services as the letter I got in my cabin stated and was given my new card for next week. On Saturday morning I was to wait till all other passengers got off them meet up at Comedy club at 10am. Around 945am I was getting antsy waiting for lots of people to leave. Talked to assistant hotel director and she ushered me off the ship and passed me onto a terminal employee who walked me through customs, and back to waiting area. He kept apologizing for his delays due to passengers with baggage issues. While back home it would have been very upsetting but I was on a cruise for another week so it was just a minor annoyance :) There was a total of 8 B2B cruisers with only two of us getting right back on. I was first on...was a cool experience. On my actual disembarkation day I had bought into the bags program, which is you pay $20 and put your luggage out last night and you never see your bag again till your arrival airport. It worked pretty well. I had slight concern when I was waiting at baggage carousel and my bag wasn't there. So I went to lost bags ready to rip the crew a new one and looked to my left and there is was...it arrived on earlier flights. Baggage guy was too busy to ask what route the bag took. Getting off the ship was hurry up and wait. Being part of the bags program allowed me an earlier time around 830am. It was busy in customs long snaking lines. Got through customs pretty fast as CBP guy basically waved me through. Once outside walked across the street and looked for best deal to MIA which was $10. Once getting to airport, went to dolphin mall for a few hours and then it was homeward bound leaving MIA at 530pm and arriving in Seattle at 1145pm via Chicago Final thoughts: I really enjoyed the cruise. Met a couple of great people who have become good friends to the point that we are all cruising together this September to Alaska. Epic is an great ship and it will be sad when it gets moved to Med permanently. Was it a perfect cruise? No, there were issues, but nothing bothered me enough to ruin my cruise or threaten to take off the tips. In fact I paid Wayan extra over the two weeks including giving him one of my bottles of hot sauce. He seemed happy. Gede got the other bottle and hugged me. I tipped him for every drink he gave me so didn't feel I needed to tip him more. Pros: Freestyle cruising, with the understanding that at times there will be waits to eat. Never waited more than 10 mins but we ate at 6pm. Studio cabin and lounge - great setup for solo travellers. I especially enjoyed looking out the door to people feeling left out and actually knocking on the door wanting in. The cabin is only 100sq ft but compared to 2 in a 128sq ft inside I felt it was very spacious. Hot Tubs were very hot and so nice to soak in all night long. Very addictive!! :) All 3 slides were great, lots of fun People Watching!!! Lots of diversity among passengers :) Future Cruise Certificate...$250 each, includes $100 on board credit on cruise you are on and full $250 to use as deposit on cabin next cruise. 4 yrs expiry date Cons: Cruise director and his staff - never really noticed them. When they were noticed Cruise Director Richard was forgettable. Only time I heard anything on overhead speaker was to remind passengers about bingo, art auction. Desserts were blah, other than cheesecake Indian Food was tasteless Mixed drinks were expensive...My favourite Long Island Iced Tea was almost $10. I bought mostly beer after that :( Disembarkation is always a con :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I've been on 2 other Norwegian cruises that were great, but the Epic is awful. The inside cabin was very nice, but that's where it ends. The food is not good and lacks flavor, but here is the worst. To get to one of the 2 main ... Read More
I've been on 2 other Norwegian cruises that were great, but the Epic is awful. The inside cabin was very nice, but that's where it ends. The food is not good and lacks flavor, but here is the worst. To get to one of the 2 main dining rooms (Taste) from our mid-ship aft. cabin we had to walk through a smoke filled casino as the elevator did not stop at that deck. Next the Atrium lounge where they had entertainment did not have anywhere near enough seats for a 4,000 passenger ship. They had oversized chairs too large for one person, but not large enough for two with huge spaces in between that they could have put in many more single seats. The large round tables also took up a lot of space where they could have put in seats. People had to sit on folding chairs to view game shows, music etc. The same was also true at the Bliss lounge, not enough seats, but room for two sofa beds where they could have fit at least 30 more single chairs. The dance floor at the Bliss lounge was so dull you could not dance on it. Most of the live dance music was in Fat Cats saloon and other lounges where people sat in long rows, and no dance floor in any of them. All this dance music should have been in the Bliss lounge if they had more single seats, small round tables and not the huge chairs for one. They had huge round tables that could have been used for more seats. They had stools without backs that should have been in the children's playroom instead of the Bliss lounge. Most ships have a free show every night in the theater at 7 and 9:00, this ship had one "the Blue Man Group" that you had to make reservations for. "Cirque & Dinner" charged $29.00 or $39.00 with reservations, and only surf & turf on the menu. They had a free comedy show only at 11 p.m. as well as the " Second city" in an over crowded lounge with rows of seats. (boring, not even funny). The White Hot dance party on the open H2O aft deck was windy, and again nowhere near enough seats, although there was plenty of open space for them. They always had a free cocktail party for bronze members, but not on this ship. I may try another Norwegian cruise, but not on the Epic..   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was my 17 cruise, however my first solo cruise. I sailed in the solo cabin 12578 sailing out of Miami on 16 Nov 2013. We had a couple of sea days + 3 land days in ST Maartin, ST Thomas and Nassau. Checking was smooth, efficient and ... Read More
This was my 17 cruise, however my first solo cruise. I sailed in the solo cabin 12578 sailing out of Miami on 16 Nov 2013. We had a couple of sea days + 3 land days in ST Maartin, ST Thomas and Nassau. Checking was smooth, efficient and quick....30 min from bagged drop-off till I stepped onbaord. Cabins were ready at 1pm. Overall review FOOD Poor to average except for speciality (extra fee) restaurants. I ate at two speciality restaurants and both were excellent....Cacneys and Tapenyaki. SHOWS Blue man group: Enjoyed parts of it, Im just glad I did not pay to see the show...it is overrate. More hype than entertainement value. Ledgends in Consert: Lively and fun. All three impersonators are good however ...Steven Tyler was superior in terms of his look and voice. Cirque du Dreams: A MUST see show. Move over Cirque du Soleil...this intimate show allows the audience to experience the best of the art of circus up close. Music: Pool side band and musicians playing in Shakers bar were all excellent. Parties: FABBA and White Hot Party is a must. Stay awake till the early hours of the morning...the most fun you will have at night on the Epic. The DJ at these parties was excellent. Ice Bar: Good fun. The barman, coat check man and the lady who booked us in are all efficient, friendly and fun. A different experience you should have at least once in your life. SERVICE Overall very good. Heidi in Shakers bar is caring. Michael my cabin attendand was one of the best Ive ever had. Chef Christopher will do whatever to please you and cater to your cullinary needs. CABIN The solo cabin is spacious enough for one person. With colour changing lights, leather padded walls, very comfy bed and lots of storage space....I loved staying in this cabin. Solo travellers have a private lounge where you meet for drinks, arrange meals and activities together. Many "none solo" travellers treid to get into this lounge as this was the "in place" to be. You can either join in or remain on your own...its what you make of it. Well done to NCL for being an industry leader in the solo cruising market. Im hooked on solo cruising! SPA The day pass is worth it....only 120 available per cruise, get yours early. I had a massage with Mario, he has a magical touch. I did find the spa very expensive comapred to land based spas. OVERALL The ship is kept clean. The staff are friendly and they really seem to care about your well being. Shore excursions are over priced. Plan your own. Walk off the ship and do any tour for much less than charged for by NCL. The pools are far too small for 4000+ passengers. Finding deck chairs were not a problem as reported by others. Waterslides are fun for all ages. NCL is not the best cruise line in my opinion....having said this, they try hard and overall I had a great experience. I will sail with NCL again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Ok Lets start with what I liked. I thought the ship was clean and nice. The staff were all very helpfull and plesent. I liked the shows, (that part was a better experence than on other ships). I liked that they had hand sanatizers located ... Read More
Ok Lets start with what I liked. I thought the ship was clean and nice. The staff were all very helpfull and plesent. I liked the shows, (that part was a better experence than on other ships). I liked that they had hand sanatizers located every were, This is a simple and briliant idea! I traveled in the "SOLO" cabin and it was very nice up to date. It is small at 100SQ FT total, but if you don't have a problem with tight space it is clean and nice! It is a very nice Idea that NCL has come up with to help us SOLO cruisers, Every day you can meet up at the Solo lounge and go to dinner togther. I did that every night. It was helpfull. I am sorry to say at cruise end I did not find a nice woman to have a relationship with but thats not any ones fault. Now for what I don't like and why I will NEVER book NCL again The food is just not very good! It is NOT bad, But I have cruised for manny years and had MUCH better tasting food. I personaly like Princess food the best so far. I found the freestyle is NOT my style. I like to eat late, and if you do that you will have to hold a beeper to get a table AND miss the 7pm show. If you have a early seating and a late seating then BOTH get to have there show time, No missing out! I am OLD school about this Restaurant Idea on the ship. I don't go for it! I feel I paid for my food and entertainment when I paid my ticket! If I go pay for another dinner on top of that I feel they wrote SUCKER across my head! LOL. In the dinning rooms included in my ticket price the menu is about 97% the same from night to night. I would guess this is a move on NCL part to push you into there paid restaurants? I endured and never paid for the same dinner twice! ( SUCKER) I don't like having to reserve a show time! CRAZY! Have a theater big enough in the first place! Never in all my years of crusing has this been a problem! I LOVE to dress up, and once again the freestyle is just to for that, This is not a complate as I knew this booking the cruise. I put on my TUX anyway but will not book freestyle again. Bill M wkm4200@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I am a solo traveller based in London, England. I booked this cruise through an internet agency inclusive of flights and transfers from London. Due to connecting flights my luggage got lost , this was a stressful start especially due to ... Read More
I am a solo traveller based in London, England. I booked this cruise through an internet agency inclusive of flights and transfers from London. Due to connecting flights my luggage got lost , this was a stressful start especially due to the fact that the ship was leaving the next day ! I got to SOFITEL MIAMI late night ( without my luggage) so went straight to bed , instructions for the cruise were given to me at reception , staff were great and very friendly and helpful. The hotel room itself was showing signs of age , though clean and tidy and perfectly functional. The common areas were much nicer such as the lobby and the poolside. To be honest for such a short stay it didn't really matter. The free hotel shuttle to airport came in handy as I needed to go back to the airport and find my luggage the next day. I was not able to use the NCL transfer from hotel to Port , but the NCL staff at hotel arranged for me to take their shuttle from the Airport instead which was really helpful. NCL Epic is a truly massive ship , the third largest at the moment I believe. Looks really impressive from a distance on approaching the Port of Miami. Check in was a little slow and the lines were fairly long , all in all I don't think it took more than 45 mins or so. Once checked in , the cruise terminal was fairly organised and peaceful. It was strange entering the ship straight into the casino area, this does not do the ship justice , it would be far better to enter the ship on a more aesthetic looking floor , the casino is dark and not as impressive an entry as could be. The sail away from Miami is really picturesque as you sail out of the port alongside the McArthur Causeway. I did note however that the sailaways and arrivals were not celebrated as much on NCL as other cruise lines, perhaps because the outer decks are rather ' inner- centric'. You cannot walk around the entire top deck on the Epic as it is segmented at either end with higher decks . The solo/studio cabin was such a pleasant surpise , it was full of clever storage spaces and was very funky and modern in every way. Every space had been made use of , in fact there was more storage space than needed. The mood lighting was different and clever, there were ample power sockets and a seperate toilet and shower cubicle, and the cabin was spotless. Everthing had been thought of -- even a cover on the bed to protect the bed from luggage whilst unpacking. The studio lounge was great, what a brilliant place to meet other solos and plan stuff together. There is a dedicated solo coordinater who holds a meeting every evening and can help out with tables for diner etc , though admittedly for me the group dinners were way too early at 6pm , I don't know why the solos were able to dine together at this time only-- there were other large groups travelling who were seated easily at other times. NCL needs to look into this. Perhaps our solo coordinator needed to free herself up for other duties as they do multi task a lot ,but we would have appreciated her just making the booking on our behalf as we didn't need a chaperone as such. Due to this early dinner time I hardly ever ate with any of my solo companions. The technology side of things was impressive, the iConcierge app is really handy as you can view your account and the activities, restaurants etc all on your smartphone, you can even talk to other passengers on their smartphones at no cost. You can make reservations etc via this too as you can on the smart touch screens all over the ship. Dining was fine , I didn't try the speciality restaurants as there was so much choice available otherwise. Taste and Manhattan have the same menu but both venues are nice. The garden cafe is also nice and handy for when you cannot be bothered for a proper sit down restaurant meal. Plenty of choice buffet style , plus outside buffet on almost constantly by the pool. The Irish Bar had good food too and was one of the complimentary venues. I did not use any of the Port or Shore Excursions , neither did I take part in activities.We tried bowling one day but were told that there was a wait to even get on the wait list! Due to Spring Break the ship was very crowded with children on Deck 15 , and it was hard to find a spot to relax in peace. There were some quieter areas higher up but seemed a bit of a hassle. I would never book a cruise in the school holidays again. The Spa seemed astronomically expensive , I didn't use it at all. The itinerary was good with a balance of sea and port days. Disembarkation was organised and fast and the arrangements for post cruise excursions were convenient, especially the baggage storage facility that is provided for those flying later in the day. All in all the vacation was great , I made good friends and enjoyed my cruise very much. I will definitely cruise NCL again and recommend them and already bought two further ' cruise rewards ' on board to use for two more cruises! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Enjoyed the ship very much. Food was very good in the Taste dining room, good service and many options to choose from. Plenty of chairs available at pool once you moved away from the main pool to Spice H2O, enjoyed the bar/grill at Spice ... Read More
Enjoyed the ship very much. Food was very good in the Taste dining room, good service and many options to choose from. Plenty of chairs available at pool once you moved away from the main pool to Spice H2O, enjoyed the bar/grill at Spice H2O, no children allowed in this area, so it was very nice. Entertainment was good, especially enjoyed the Legends show, Blue Group was OK, could of missed that show. Public rooms are all very nice, spent time in Shakers and enjoyed the Martini tasting on the last sea day-great value 4 Martinis for $20+. Ate at one speciality restaurant-Shanghai and it was also very good. Had a pedicure done at the spa and it was one of the best pedicures that I have had-expensive but worth it. Had a large balcony room-balcony was great, lots of room and a great place to sit and watch, especially our entrance into Nassau. Room is small and compact,but nicely decorated. Only complaint was that two people couldn't be in the same area at the same time and the double beds were too close together, felt more like one bed.... Overall I would say that it was a great cruise and I would cruise on the Norwegian Epic again. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Sail date 2/18/12 Prior to being married, I cruised once or twice a year and loved every minute of it. My wife declared she "hated" cruising (even though she never had), and put the kibosh on my favorite vacations. Last ... Read More
Sail date 2/18/12 Prior to being married, I cruised once or twice a year and loved every minute of it. My wife declared she "hated" cruising (even though she never had), and put the kibosh on my favorite vacations. Last year, I put the kibosh on my now ex-wife, and I am now back to cruising! After much research (thank you Cruise Critic), I chose to make my long-anticipated return to the sea aboard the Norwegian Epic. Here are the primary reasons I chose the Epic: 1. New and innovative ship. 2. Eastern Caribbean route has great ports and 3 whole sea days. 3. Seemed to be the only ship at sea that accommodated singles with their studios (even though I will only sail with a balcony). 4. Harrah's Total Rewards is partnered with NCL's Casinos at Sea; As a Total Rewards Member, and INCREDIBLE discount was offered to me. This is what put me over the line on booking on this ship. A lot has changed over the 11 years from when I last cruised. Most notably, cruising is a lot less formal than it once was, for better and for worse. I kept feeling a twinge of Carnival at many moments on board the Epic, but perhaps some of that irritation is me being a 40-something now instead of a 20 or 30 something. Gentleman, leave your suit and ties at home, no need to dress up on the Epic. Major improvement to past cruise experiences was the ease of disembarking. Using the "walk-off" system, I grabbed my bags and was off the ship and through customs within 8 minutes of leaving my cabin. Also, there was never a wait to board or disembark at each port; very quick and organized. I booked and aft-facing balcony cabin (trying something new). First of all, the cabins and the entire ship were spotless. Cleanliness gets an A+. There was a ton of storage space for clothing, and I liked the separate toilet/shower configuration. While the rounded cabin walls were cool looking, the rounded bed is an issue if you are over 6' tall. While I love the balconies so much to make it a requisite, the aft-facing experience won't be repeated. The view was great, and I found it fascinating watching us pull in and out of port from my balcony, but don't plan on relaxing on your balcony when the ship is at sea. I had read the sound was like a waterfall, which I thought I'd enjoy. The noise of the wake from the props is like Niagra Falls! Also, if you're not an early riser, don't book an aft balcony; when the ship begins to slow, the cavitation feels like a 7.0 earthquake, rattling your room and everything in it. Next cruise, back to my mid-ship balcony... NCL's Freestyle Cruising allowed me the freedom to eat when and where I wanted, and the food was quite good in every restaurant, from buffet to bistro. The strict assigned seating and dinner times of the past were certainly not the case on the Epic. You can eat well at any hour, 24 hours a day. The up-charge dining is worth the price of $10-$25, just for the improvement in service you'll receive over the Taste and Manhattan Room's wait staff (which was downright rude at times, with several staffers struggling with English and giving serious attitude while taking orders). The restaurants were all well decorated and again, the food was consistently good. NOTE: Be sure to book a dinner in La Cucina during a sunset; dining looking out the front of the ship during the sunset is simply bellisima! There was a wide range of entertainment, which ranked from awesome to "what we're they thinking". Legends In Concert was by far the best show on the ship, and Blue Man Group and Circ Dinner and Dreams (book early!) were also quite good. The lounge acts were at best average, and I thought sub-par for a ship this grand. The DJ's were horrible, unless you are under 30. Don't expect to dance to anything but the synthesized-pounding club music of today at Bliss or Spice; there was nowhere to dance to the "club standards" of the 70's-90's (as a former ship and club DJ, I was very disappointed). Essentially, if you're over 30, you won't really enjoy the nightclub experience on board. The band in the Manhattan Room was excellent, playing standards and big band hits, but no one danced as the room is primarily a dining room and the band stops playing and the room empties out at the end of dinner service after 10PM. The casino had a good variety of table and slot games, but the staff was very amateurish, from the hosts to the dealers, and especially the pit staff. There's no excuse for stacks of dirty ashtrays and empty glasses sitting on tables for hours on end, and if you ask them to remove them or clean the ashtray, get ready for attitude and a dirty look. I had to teach several of the dealers how to properly deal Let It Ride Poker; mind your bets when you're playing as they're not very good with payouts and pick-ups. The slots were extremely tight; jackpots were non-existent and substantial hits were just as sparse. If you are a player, sign up immediately for Casinos at Sea, which will score you free drinks while you play. If you lose enough, the casino will give you about 1% back as a credit toward your room bill as a member. I also recommend that you proactively introduce yourself to a casino host; they will not seek you out (even if they are supposed to). Once you do (and make a "friend"), they will help you with reservations, send you goodies, and perhaps even pick up a dinner up-charge. Bottom line, if the casino experience is a big deal to you on a cruise, I would not give the Epic a high recommendation. Most disappointing of all was the deck and pool areas. I live for the days at sea, but even traveling alone, getting a seat in the sun was impossible. There was no enforcement of the time limit on holding chairs, and people had towels across chairs all day long, and no one on the staff was willing to assist me. The main pool area is for kids, period. And there were a TON of kids. It's noisy, crowded and anything but relaxing. The pool at Spice H2O (the "adult" area) is a small hole in the deck, not really a pool, and it is completely shaded by the massive video screen that blocks the view off the back of the ship. Hey, I'm cruising, I want to see the ocean, not a 3-story video screen. I did manage to enjoy the deck while we were in port, but the at sea days were ruined by the chaos on deck. This was my first solo-cruise, and thanks to Sol, one of the cruise directors, it was all-in-all a good one. She went out of her way to get the solo-travelers together, and there were opportunities every evening for singles to gather and go to dinner together. If you're a bit outgoing, you'll make new friends and have a great time, but don't expect the Love Boat. Most of the singles/solos on board were staying in the studio cabins, and all I heard was rave reviews from them, and many of them travel regularly on the Epic because of these cool and affordable accommodations. If you're solo and book a cabin other than a studio, be sure to go to the Living Room at the Studios on the first night for the solo traveler gathering; it's not just for the studio solos and it's the best way to meet other solo-cruisers! To sum up, the Epic is a gorgeous, well-laid out, and innovative Super-Ship. Sailing was smooth, decor was very good and not over-done, and it was extremely clean. The entertainment is perfect for the under 35 crowd that wants to party hard, but falls short for us in our 40's and over that want to have a good time without a migraine. Expect a TON of families and lots of kids; If you are looking for peace and relaxation, look elsewhere, unless you've got a balcony to retreat to. I'd say if you're a 20 or 30 something cruiser and want a step-up from Carnival, Epic is your ship. If you're like me, and enjoy a bit of serenity and class from the ship and especially its staff, paired with fun for ALL ages, Epic is probably not your best choice. I hope this review was helpful, and I'll probably see you next time back on RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I had previously cruised on the Norwegian Sea in the 90's and the RCL Voyager soon after it was introduced in the early 2000's, so I was aware of the challenges posed by a ship the size of the Epic. So even though it was ... Read More
I had previously cruised on the Norwegian Sea in the 90's and the RCL Voyager soon after it was introduced in the early 2000's, so I was aware of the challenges posed by a ship the size of the Epic. So even though it was marginally larger than Voyager, all the previous comments about the ship's layout proved very true. On arrival at the port of Miami, I was awed by the height of the boat - and rightfully so, as a total of 19 decks are in play onboard (though passengers use only 5-19). Boarding was terrific compared to past experiences, but I was puzzled that there wasn't an awesome "grand entry" or 15 story chandalier....just a bank of elevators, which took me to my cabin easily. I found the studio experience to be very good, though the throne-room was a tad cramped. I was also in the dark for about 3 minutes trying to figure out where the light switch was, as nobody had mentioned that the lights only work when you put the room key in a slot by the door. Once I figured that out, the lighting didn't seem quite bright enough for wide-awake stuff other than by the sink. The odd backlighting was fine, I guess, while puttering around, but not bright enough for reading. As there was really no place to sit in the room other than on the bed, the reading could be moved to the studio lounge about 50 feet away (through a couple of doors) where the lighting was more useable and the seating more agreeable. Incidentally, several events posted on the ship's scheduling screens and on the daily paper referred to a place called "The Living Room", which I learned, was the Studio Lounge. But when asking crew members where the 'living room' was, nobody had a clue, and this boat has been cruising for almost 2 years! After getting the lay of the land onboard, I couldn't understand what the engineers were thinking when they put the two banks of elevators about 750 feet apart, at the front and rear of the ship, so that sore feet were guaranteed. And, of course, I always found myself at the exact wrong end of the boat for whatever event I was attending. It took me 2:15 from my cabin to the rear elevators at a decent walk, and that's a long way, for sure. I was about 50 feet forward of the front elevators, but to get to the spa, the Manhatten, Moderno or Cagney's restaurants or the rear 'adult' section of the ship,foot power was the only way to do it. And a shore visit caused a foot condition that made the walks most uncomfortable. More on that later. I was terrifically impressed by the studio's bed (exceptionally comfortable) and the shower, and yes, you couldn't do anything at the small sink without getting water all over the floor, but the steward always was invisibly leaving new towels and bathmats, so for me, the wet floor was of no consequence. Another mystery was the TV in the room which had 4 cable news shows and a sports channel. The news shows were always commentators, never news people, and to find out what was happening in the world, you had to watch the scroll at the bottom. I wasn't in the room that frequently, but a better selection of news programming would be an improvement. I found the food to be unremarmkable and plentiful, as others have noted. But I didn't expect the 'skating rink' in front of the breakfast buffet areas when I was in my sandals. It was truly treacherous at certain times, though it was attended to frequently. Not sure if it was my new sandals or the grease/oil from the grill migrating, but I found the footing unaccaptable at times. Other venues were as expected; I enjoyed the Italian, French and Brazilian dining experiences and the food was very good. I had mentioned my bucket list, and two things were on it: Blue Man Group and the Princess Julianna airport landing approach at St Martin. Truly enjoyed the BMG show, and heard many comments that it was just as good as any out in the world. Really cleaver and entertaining. My experience at St Martin was damp to begin with, as it was pouring, forcing the purchase of a $3.00 plastic poncho sold by housekeeping at the gangway. Finally hooked up with a tour I had booked outside of NCL (Jo-Junie Tours) which was very well done. Circumnavigated St. Martin with the rain finally letting up as we approached spectacular Orient Beach (a part of which is clothing optional). We got to the airport just as a 747 was going to take off. (Lots of images on U-Tube) My issue was that the sand on St. Martin is of an odd consistency which stuck to my sandals so tenaciously that I couldn't get it out no matter what I did; even after I used the shower on board at full tilt, a little sand remained. Unfortuantely for my feet, it formed a sandpaper which chaffed my feet to the extent that I had to revert to tennis shoes and socks, because my new Teva sandals hurt my feet so badly. Thus, the complaints with the long walks on Epic. Saw their Legends show. Not as good as BMG. But I also need to suggest the packing of ear protection, because everything on board, from entertainment to announcements tended to be earsplitting and aggravating. The Studio Group went to dinner at the Manhatten eatery, and we couldn't hear each other because the band was at full tilt at 6pm (including a very marginal trumpet player whose definition of quality music was how loud he could belt out his tunes.) Choke points on decks 6 (casino) and 7 (Ice Bar) seemed more like speed bumps when traversing the ship front to back. I didn't feel as affected by smoke in the casino as others have commented; maybe NCL improved the ventilation. My final bitch is the posting of the location of rest rooms. I remember seeing them on the deck plans, but trying to find them was a challenge. Finally caught on that there were always facilities at the elevators, but deck to deck, the location of the women's and men's restrooms alternated, and it was difficult to remember on which side they were on any given deck. Went right by the ones mid-ship on 6 and 7, as the signs are essentially hidden. Not a good thing when you 'have to go'. No more promenade decks, by the way. Walking/jogging track was on deck 7. We parked next to Disney Dream in Nassau and that didn't seem to have a promenade either. It's given way to balcony suites, I guess. Next time around, nothing the size of Epic. Something a bit more intimate will do. Service on Norwegian was terrific; every door or passageway had a "disinfector" lady spraying hands. And every staff member seemed pleased in their environments. Good job, NCL. Finally, I really enjoyed the Everglades tour following docking in Miami. I had a 5:30 flight and the tour cut about 4 hours out of the wait. Learned a lot about how the Everglades is suffering as an environment. Heartily recommend the tour. Probably not cruising again in the near future, but as competitive as the market is, I don't forsee returning to NCL. Next cruise: Panama Canal! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Let's see. Where do I start? Let's start with embarkation. Ours was a nightmare. The ship is so large there are 2 terminals, one for odd decks, one for even. It took us about an hour just to get into the terminal after standing ... Read More
Let's see. Where do I start? Let's start with embarkation. Ours was a nightmare. The ship is so large there are 2 terminals, one for odd decks, one for even. It took us about an hour just to get into the terminal after standing outside in line for most of that time. Once we got into the terminal there was another wait to get to an agent. We finally got to the agent, and thought all was well. Wrong!! We went upstairs to the waiting area which was pretty empty. We were told by one of the staff where to wait and that we would be called soon. After waiting an hour and seeing everyone who came in after us being able to get on the ship, we were asked for our boarding number. "What number?" we asked. We had been given a number. We were finally able to board. Once on the ship it seemed like mass confusion no matter where you went. We finally found the Garden cafe, and a place to sit. Once we got our food we enjoyed it. That wasn't too upsetting as no matter what ship you're on, the embarkation lunch is always crowded. On the positive side, we were able to get to the cabin by 2:00 or so, giving us a chance to explore the ship as they had a place that we could check our carry ons. The cabins are European style, meaning the toilet, shower, and sink are all separate. When you're done with your shower, you had to stand in the cabin by the front door to dry off. The sink was in the bedroom with not much space on the counter by the sink to store things. Our king size bed took up a big portion of the cabin and didn't leave much room to walk by to get to the sofa. The bed was very comfortable though. I am less than 5' tall so had trouble reaching the hangers. If you were on the balcony and wanted to come in, if someone was sitting on the couch, there was no way to walk by.We did not try Cagney's so I can't report on that. The Manhattan Room was only mediocore, and our waiter did not seem to be happy doing what he is paid to do. He never smiled. Garden Cafe was always good but being so large (a good thing) I had a hard time finding things in there without asking. We had some breakfasts and most dinners in the other restaurant (I can not remember the name of it) on the main deck. It was designed like a Trattoria, and there was a pianist there some nights. The food was good, but there didn't seem to be a very big choice on the menu. However, the servers made up for it by being very friendly and efficient. I enjoyed the Legends production so much I went to it twice. Don't miss it. The music and performances both were excellent. Everyone that went to the Blue Man Group enjoyed it. I didn't go as I had a non contagious cough and didn't want to disturb any one. I have been so negative until now, I want to add some positive comments if you're still reading this! Being very directionally challenged, I thought the idea of one color carpeting on port and another on the starboard side was great. At least that way I would know when I was on the correct side of the ship! I also liked the many directional signs placed everywhere. The cabin door had something I wish every cabin had. Instead of having to hang a "Make Up Cabin" or "Do Not Disturb" sign on the outside of the door the Epic had something by the door, and all you had to do was turn the wheel to several choices of what needed to be done. No more signs on the door. The cabin stewards were wonderful as were the front office people, and almost every staff member on the ship. This cruise did show me that I am not a fan of the mega ships. I cruised on the Sun in 2010 and enjoyed that cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
To gauge the experience from my eyes, first you need to know a little about me! I'm a 29 year old male who sailed solo for the second time with NCL. This was my 21st cruise. It was perfect for me as there were solo studio cabins ... Read More
To gauge the experience from my eyes, first you need to know a little about me! I'm a 29 year old male who sailed solo for the second time with NCL. This was my 21st cruise. It was perfect for me as there were solo studio cabins available which helped me avoid the single supplement I paid last year onboard the Norwegian Jewel. I'm a non-traditional student and this was my college Spring Break and as such my review will be geared to both relaxation and partying! This was my 11th NCL cruise and my 10th for Latitudes recognition. I have sailed on other lines including Princess (5x), Celebrity (3x), RCCL (1x) & Carnival (1x). My last non-NCL cruise was in 2009 with Princess Cruises. My entire cruising history is in the last 10 years so cross comparisons (if present) are fairly current.Pre-Cruise I flew into Fort Lauderdale on JetBlue who had a weather delay out of Boston. My flight was delayed and didn't arrive in until after 1AM on Saturday morning (the day of departure from Miami on Epic).Pre-Cruise Hotel: Hyatt Summerfield Suites - Fort Lauderdale Airport-SouthGreat hotel for the short time I stayed in it and the price paid. Recently re-modeled with a more contemporary and trendy feel. It is centrally located to a shopping plaza and other eateries nearby. The room was very spacious. The only funny thing about this hotel room was the bathroom doors. There were two and they didn't close tight without a fight.Pre-Cruise Transfer: SAS TransportationThis company was a hidden gem a few years ago and now has really developed. I received a phone call from a driver stating he was running early. The driver didn't sound like the owner and sure enough it wasn't. Good for them to keep the company in such great working order and to blossom in this economy. Smooth uneventful ride to the port of Miami. I do recommend using their service as it is $15 per person from FLL area hotel to Miami cruise port.NORWEGIAN EPIC E. CARIBBEAN REVIEW (3/12/11 to 3/19/11):Embarkation:I arrived to the cruise port around 11AM on 3/12/11. Upon arrival to the port of Miami, the Norwegian Epic was the first stop. Both terminals B & C were utilized. Even number decks went to Terminal C and odd number decks went to Terminal B. I entered Terminal B as I had studio cabin number 11532.After a quick security screening and completing the health questionnaire I was at the counter. I didn't have a wait as the Gold & Platinum NCL line was empty! I had my keycard and within 10 minutes was standing outside the EPIC Theater on board. Fabulous embarkation and it couldn't have been any faster.Norwegian Epic Public Rooms:All of the public rooms were very well decorated. With the amount of money that went into this ship, I would have expected nothing less. Attention to detail was everywhere. My favorite restaurant main dining room at night was Manhattan Room. The combination of live music with dining is something of retro-cruising years. Having the option to dance at dinner is something I truly liked.Bliss Ultra Lounge was another area where when you walked in the door the fog blowing down from the door and the projection of Bliss made it a special venue. The whole layout there was great with pool tables on one side and bowling alley on the other and dancing center on from the bar.For specialty restaurants, the best dEcor I found was La Cuccina which you get to through the Garden Cafe. Other areas with great dEcor included O'Sheehans, Maltings and Wasabi.My absolute favorite part of the ship was Spice H2O ADULTS ONLY! It was functional no matter the time of day or night. It worked so well and reminded me of a charter company at night that I sail with from time-to-time and how they setup their pool deck parties. This is STANDARD on Epic! I hope its standard on their upcoming new builds as well!Norwegian Epic's layout was completely different than I was accustomed to and I don't wonder why the Epic will be a one-hit wonder for NCL. On Deck 6 aft the bathrooms are setup one way and on Deck 7 they are polar opposites so if you were not paying attention to which deck you were on, you were going into the wrong gendered bathroom! Bathrooms on this ship were always an adventure to find during the first few days in the public spaces. My only other issue with the Epic was the elevators. I didn't mind walking to either forward or aft to get one as I have long legs. However, the elevators were quite slow in coming. From Deck 7 to 11 and then 11 to 15 or just from 7 to 15 was a lot to do via the stairs but I constantly found myself doing that as the elevators were just so slow. Going between Bliss and Spice H2O got to be far too much work and I'd pick one and just stay there until the club closed.STUDIO Cabin 11532:My favorite room inside onboard the ship actually turned out to be my INTERIOR studio cabin! Never in my life would I actually find an interior cabin cool to be in but as a 29 year old, the lighting in this cabin was funky and well downright genius! I wish they had a control for more colors and to make them go faster. Heck - I could turn my cabin into a disco!While the cabin has some quirks to it, such as the vanity light being in the second from the top cubby hole and so are the outlets - the positives far outweigh any funny placement of things. Having the mood lighting be visible in the shower was great. Nice setup for the studios onboard the Epic and this is what I truly love about the Epic! The room is small at 100 square feet and being a tall guy I thought this would be an issue but for the most part it wasn't. I just wish the space between the bed and the closet was a little bigger. I have size 14 feet and well I can't get through that space easy since it's only a foot in diameter. I heard some suggestions to have some solo balconies on the next ships have been made - sign me up for that as well but keep them looking like this or at least keep the lighting system the same.Studio Lounge came as part of the studio cabin booking. For some it was known as the Living Room. A goof on the ship's diagrams was made and it was called the "Living Room" on them but when the door signs were made for the space it was called "Studio Lounge." This resulted in some confusion during the first two days but people eventually figured it out. Anyway, back to the space itself. The area was decorated with the same lighting system as the cabins which switched color - only the studio lounge had green (cabins do not). There is a bar there and a continental breakfast is served there every morning from 7AM to 11AM. Yvette Adanna is the Junior Waitress who was assigned to the lounge in the morning and she recognized me from the Norwegian Spirit. I was very impressed with that! During the day for munchies there were cookies available and vending machines to dispense soda, Gatorade and water. At night there is a bartender available and a happy hour coinciding with a social for singles hosted by a fabulous woman named Natalie Hammond. Without her help and some others who will be mentioned later, this week would not have flowed smoothly and nor would I have met any of the people who are now friends for life!Fellow Passengers: I sailed during a traditional college spring break week. The Epic because it's a newer ship priced out higher than all other ships in the NCL fleet and as a result I think this deterred a lot of college kids to book. The energy was different year over year for Spring Break but it was still loads of fun! In the Studios, the age range was from a younger 20s all the way up to the mid-70s. The average swung younger as some of us were actually non-traditional spring breakers who booked solo cabins. Now for a run down of what I did day to day and what I experienced so you can see why I rated this ship the way I did:Day 1 - Embarkation - Saturday - Miami, FL, USA: Embarkation was a breeze and I was onboard in near record time! Entered EPIC through the front entrance of Terminal B and waited until a person I was traveling with arrived over the gangway from Terminal C. We met up and explored the ship and dined for lunch at Taste Restaurant. It opens at noon. It's much easier to have a quieter lunch at Taste and be away from the crowds in the cafe while waiting for the rooms to be ready.Rooms were available shortly before 2PM and I went up and dumped off my carry-on and played with the lights a bit and was just totally in awe at the size of the room but also the trendy lights! Back off to explore the ship and take pictures and head up to Spice H2O where I met Immclaudio (aka Claudio), the best bar waiter of the entire cruise at Spice H2O, for my first drink.Watched the ship cast off for the Caribbean from Miami at Spice before heading down to check out the deck party where Paul Scally, Cruise Director was. I recognized Paul Scally from two previous Norwegian Spirit cruises and Scott Mikelonis, Cruise Staff, also from the Norwegian Spirit. In the fun department I knew this would be a good cruise with good cruise staff on board!Headed back to the cabin and freshened up before stopping by the studio lounge gathering, nightly from 5:30PM to 6:30PM hosted by the wonderfully talented Natalie Hammond. The first night I wasn't so crazy about the meeting because it was the ice breaker and felt very pushed. As the week progressed, the feeling went away as people got comfortable with one another and initiated conversations on their own without needing a whole "Where are you from? What's your name? Why are you cruising?" line of questioning to get things going.Met up with a few people I'd met online before the cruise and headed off to Friends of Dorothy at Shaker's Martini Bar. It's a great bar to have it at but nightly it was always a struggle to find seating there and to mingle. The bar has great sightlines of the very expensive chandelier and nice decor.Tonight's dinner was in the Manhattan Room. This is the first time ever I had received a pager for dining in the main dining room on board any Norwegian ship. After about a 15 minute wait and a code alpha call to the Epic Theater, we were seated. Dinner flowed smoothly and the food was hot, cooked to order and served with appropriate speed. Unfortunately we could not stay for Legends Unplugged but tonight was Motown Unplugged with Aretha Franklin's impersonator. Instead it was off to the Epic Theater for…BLUE MAN GROUP: 10PM showing. After having seen Blue Man Group six times in Boston at the Charles Street Playhouse, I was hoping this performance would be different than the shore-side performances. It's a great time if you have never seen Blue Man Group. It's an energetic, insanely techno, light and well physical (depending on seating) show. It was nice to see it again but if you've seen the land-based versions, this is no different. It's still great to have something like this onboard a cruise ship and it's definitely different!After Blue Man Group, I checked out the Bliss Ultra Lounge to see what was going on with the Celebrity DJ there and it wasn't hopping too much so I went up to Spice H2O and met the other Celebrity DJ (Reaction). I hung out up at Spice for a short while and retired to bed. I was in need of sleep.Day 2 - Sunday - Sea Day:After a later than usual start to the day, I was up and off to the Garden Cafe. While walking through the studio lounge, a junior waitress was standing there and said, "Sir, have you cruised before?" Still waking up I turned to look at her. I said if so it was the either the Jewel or the Spirit (two ships I tend to frequent) and sure enough it was the Norwegian Spirit. Yvette Adanna is a wonderful person and while I was still waking up, a quick jog of the memory recalled her great service from the Spirit cruise in May 2010. Every morning I would see her and say hello and talk. She even remembered the relatives I was sailing with and asked how they were doing! Very special person to have a memory like that!A quick breakfast at the Garden Cafe and it was off to the Cruise Critic Meet N Greet in Bliss Lounge. Here I got to meet Paul Scally who recognized me instantly and warmly welcomed me. What further struck me with awe was Denis Prguda, Hotel Director, walking up to me and greeting me by name without me ever saying who I was! This wasn't the first time a member of the senior management on board the Epic would do this and I was quite impressed with their overall warm reception. Matthias, Assistant Hotel Director (now a Hotel Director on one of the Jewel-class ships) was another shining star from this week. All of them were present at the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet and encouraged us to contact them if any of us had problems and provided their handy phone numbers.An afternoon of laying out at Spice H2O was great and enjoying the hot tub there before returning to the cabin for a quick disco nap and so started the evening of gatherings. First the solo gathering in the Studio Lounge with Natalie, it was much less formal the second night and I got to meet some really great people. Off to the Friends of Dorothy gathering at Shaker's Martini Bar before the evening's entertainment of…CIRQUE DREAMS & DINNER: 8:45PM showing. This acrobatic, cirque show was fairly entertaining. The storyline jumped from finding acts for a show to on board life and then back to the acts. There was one portion of the show which literally drove me nuts and that was the puppeteer part where the actor's voice just made me want to scratch nails on a chalkboard. The rest of the performances were outstanding and the cast were very interactive with the audience. I did the standard seating and found myself in a booth on the first floor along the circle. I had great sightlines of the stage because of my height. Also, use the mirrors along the walls to see what's going on close to you that are out of eyesight. I would recommend this show overall. Its well worth the price paid. The dinner was very salty but otherwise ok. I had read complaints about the food during this show being sub-standard but I thought it was fine (minus the excessive salt).A quick change of clothes and it was off to FABBA: Fabulous ABBA night at Spice H2O. What a blast this was! A must for any fan of ABBA or for any disco music as after the initial ABBA performances, other disco songs are played. It was a great retro night onboard the Epic and a great way to kick off the theme parties in Spice for the week. I closed the party before retiring just after 2AM.Day 3 - Monday - Sea Day:After a breakfast / lunch on the pool deck at the Great Outdoors, it was time for some sun. I spent the whole day relaxing in the sun and snoozing. Talked with some great new friends made onboard and then it was time for all the social gatherings before heading to tonight's big event…MODERNO CHURRISCARIA: 8:30PM Reservation: For keeping the complex schedule of the week down for evening events and reservations, my friend and I goofed and showed up at Moderno on the wrong day. The reservation was booked for Tuesday night which was in conflict with the solo dinner in the Manhattan Room. Luckily the Maitre'd found us an available deuce and sat us. For $20, this meal was outstanding. It all starts with a comprehensive salad bar and then you start in on the meat. Meat is brought tableside and you chose just how much and what type you want when it comes by. Since we were one of the last tables to be sat for the evening, it came down to them asking us what other meats we wanted. My friend stopped long before I did. When I finally turned my card to red, I ate a cow and a half! What an incredible meal! The fixings were great and I tried all the desserts too! I recommend all the desserts. They're quite tasty! This restaurant was quite popular the entire cruise and I can fully understand why. DO NOT MISS THIS RESTAURANT!!!After a quick change of clothes, it was off to Spice H2O for the Caribbean Theme Party. Met up with familiar cruise staff faces and spent the night mingling with new friends and dancing. What a great night at Spice!Day 4 - Tuesday - Philipsburg, St. Maarten:After a quick breakfast, it was off the ship to explore downtown Philipsburg and some shops before going to Maho Beach. What an incredible time Maho Beach is but whatever you do, DO NOT put your items or beach towels or anything between the signs marked danger! There's a reason for this! In true epic style, we watched a plane take off and I got blown backwards and all of our belongings got blown into the water - including the beach towels. Greatest exfoliation of your life with sandblast but I can understand the danger sign now! It's something you have to do at least once in your life. I have been to St. Maarten many times but had never done this. It was quite a thrill!Back onboard, I realized a logistical nightmare again for Wednesday night. I had booked Legends in Concert against the White Hot Party. There's simply no way that could happen and so after a quick call to Monica (Epic Concierge Extraordinaire), I was squeezed into Legends in Concert tonight. After a quick shower it was time for the solo gathering dinner at Manhattan Room hosted by Natalie. It was a great dinner with my fellow solo travelers and a great way for everyone to get to know one another. I had to quickly run back and change to get ready for…LEGENDS IN CONCERT: 9:45PM Show. Three celebrity impersonators included Janet Jackson, a younger Neil Diamond and Aretha Franklin. Of the three performers Aretha Franklin was the best voice and looked so much like her. Neil Diamond was right on with his performance. I thought it funny that a back up dancer caught my attention more during the Janet Jackson number than the actual performer did. I thought there was a Britney Spears impersonator as a back up dancer. Turns out, she wasn't a Legend (or isn't one yet) but very much could be. I met Casey McConachie later on at Spice H2O and asked her if she did Britney Spears for Legends and she said no, but wow, what an incredible resemblance. I wish her the best of luck on getting a role with Legends in Concert as Britney. This is a MUST-SEE show onboard. Legends Unplugged gives you a rough idea of the main event but you really do have to catch the main show to get a full appreciation of the entire cast.BURLESQUE: 11:30PM - BLISS: Epic's singers and dancers put on a great show for the male crowd. I was invited by our fabulous social hostess Natalie who sang a number from the Broadway smash hit "Chicago" and danced. It was a great way to kick off the night in Bliss. I stayed for a while after the DJ took over and then called it a night for another early rise in St. Thomas. Day 5 - Wednesday – St. Thomas, USVI:I was off the ship early to do some quick browsing of shops downtown and then I quickly headed over to Magen’s Bay before two other ships arrived. Magen’s Bay was quaint. Found the private beach but decided to head to a more deserted part of the main beach to lie out. As the day wore on, the beach became more crowded as two other ships arrived. I headed back to the ship and decided to try out the Norwegian Epic waterslides!I tried the EPIC PLUNGE first. While in line for a tube at the bottom of the slide, I got word from other folks that the color of the tube indicates size and speed. I wound up with a blue tube, which everyone told me would result in me getting stuck in the plunge. They were right. I went around about twice and then missed the whole and had to bounce off the middle of the plunge to get down the hole at the other side. I wound up going down the last portion backwards and it freaked me out! If you want to go faster, get the red tube! I tried the green slide next and that was a ton of fun with lots of twists and turns in it. Lastly I tried the purple slide. It was a simple and straight forward slide and it was still a lot of fun. The water park on Epic is definitely not kids only! Adults loved it just as much!!After the social gatherings and a quick dinner at Taste Restaurant, it was time to run off to the Bliss Ultra Lounge for the Dating Game. Usually I am the one who turns up to watch these events and never am I a participant but since Natalie was the one who was doing it and she knew I was in the solo cabin, why not? Stage fright aside, I did it and well I won a fabulous date out with another person staying in the solo cabins (who I had already met). Too funny and a great time nonetheless!Time to change for what is the HOTTEST and BEST dance party on the high seas…NCL’S WHITE HOT PARTY!! – SPICE H2O – 10:15PMA night of high energy mostly house music under the stars. The intelligent lights were going; the white hot angel dancers were out and about. Paul Scally (Cruise Director), DJ Patrick (Epic’s DJ Coordinator) and Celebrity DJ Reaction made this party such a great time. I had a blast and danced the entire night away with all the new friends made on board. This night is all about wearing white and being creative with it. I had a blast and the after party moved to Bliss at 2AM and I followed it all the way up until the last song played shortly after 4AM. HOTTEST White Hot Party in quite a few NCL cruises! Way to go NCL for getting it right on this cruise! This was truly the highlight nightclub night of the entire cruise! Very very well done!!!Day 6 – Thursday – Sea Day:I didn’t roll out of bed until just shy of Noon and got some lunch at the Garden Café. I sat out up on deck for a while before heading down to O’Sheehans to get some food to bring back to the Studio Lounge meeting so there would be a somewhat catered event for a solo traveler’s birthday. Natalie got a cake for the traveler as well and a special guest showed up too! Comedy Magician Jeff Hobson stopped by and did a show for her and the rest of us at the Studio Lounge courtesy of Natalie.Jeff Hobson was truly a great all around magician and comedian. I was astonished at the illusions he performed and I wished I caught his entire show which ran nightly at 11PM in the Epic Theater but couldn’t get the timing to work out with other activities. I would recommend catching his show if at all possible. I’m still trying to figure out one of the tricks he did and how he did it right in front of my face!! After he performed, we dispersed and went to other evening socials and then headed to…TEPPANYAKI: Always a great food show. Your main course and fried rice are prepared in front of you along with a show put on by the chef. For $25 it’s a good thing to try out at least once. Our waitress looked very familiar and sure enough Ana Isabel was from the Norwegian Spirit. It was a great night with great service and great food. I had the surf and turf combo and it was cooked to my liking.SHIP ‘N MALES – BLISS: An all male revue of the ship’s hottest guys (who volunteer) for stripping down to their boxers, briefs or in Geronimo’s case (from Cirque) a g-string! Definitely a must-attend for the late night crowd! You may even see Paul Scally, your Cruise Director get a little frisky.I headed up to Spice H2O shortly after this was done and found it to be closed. No one was up there and so I walked back across the ship and back to Bliss for a while before retiring.Day 7 – Friday - Nassua, Bahamas:Woke up early enough to meet up with friends on the pool deck and have some late breakfast. I watched the Epic pull into Nassau and then grabbed some lunch before leaving the ship. There was nothing on the agenda today outside of vacating my room so the carpet could be changed. I wound up at Senor Frogs which is not too far from the port area. For a spring break week, this place was deadsville! Usually the crowd is a bit livelier but this time it wasn’t.I headed back onboard to meet up with the other solos for a trip to the Epic’s bridge thanks to the wonderful work of Natalie. Natalie also arranged for a special treat afterward and it was celebrity legend impersonator Neil Diamond stopping by and singing a few tunes. It was a great time in the Studio Lounge all week long and Natalie did such an incredible job orchestrating the whole thing!Friday night a big group of us solos dined together in La Cucina as a way to say farewell, exchange contact information and to just spend one more night together. Out of all the restaurants I went to on the Epic, the greatest décor was La Cucina but the worst service was also found there. The time between courses was painfully long. I realize we were a large group but one of the other tables in our group of people was served everything at least 10 minutes before our table was. The whole dinner service took two hours and while I missed the Second City performance I had booked, I was NOT going to miss the adult scavenger hunt Quest! I had to run out of there and get back to the cabin to change and get the bags out for collection before I ran off to Quest.Usually Quest is a well-attended and fun game show. I don’t know if guests were just packing up and getting ready to leave and turned in early or what but this was the worst attended Quest game show I’ve ever been to! Three teams of people were all that could be formed. There wasn’t really much else going on that night except an 80s & 90s party at Spice H2O. Either way, I stayed the night at Bliss for a while and then headed to bed shortly before 1AM.Day 8 – Saturday – Miami, FL:Since I chose the NCL transfers to Fort Lauderdale airport for my 1:30PM flight, I was the first bag tag (RED) to be called off the ship shortly after 8AM. I woke up and had breakfast at the Garden Café which opened at 6AM. It was funny to be dining that early in the morning before the sunrise out at the Great Outdoors.The disembarkation time was fairly accurate and I was through customs in a breeze and then it was off to the busses. Thankfully the older lady who is cranky and has no clue what she is doing wasn’t working on the Fort Lauderdale bus and I got on the bus and within ten minutes we were leaving. This is the smoothest an NCL transfer has ever gone for me! The driver got us to the airport quickly and I had an uneventful trip back home.Conclusion: The Norwegian Epic is a great and wonderful new ship with great décor found throughout. I was hesitant to sail on her at first with all the negative reviews she got but outside of a funky layout of the ship, I didn’t see where all the negative issues were. She has the most dining options at sea with just about every food you can imagine. Her layout takes a bit of getting used to but once you do then navigating the ship is manageable. A mid-ship elevator bank could be useful on the new builds and figuring out a way to make the elevators operate faster or at least have the doors close quicker on the current ones on the Epic would help out immensely to them moving between decks faster.The Epic was built for having a choice of entertainment options available and it really didn’t disappoint. Every night there was several things going on and there was simply no way to do it all. I missed the Ice Bar, Second City, Howl at the Moon and never once stepped foot into Fat Cats where Slam Allen was. This cruise was more about meeting new people and having a great time while doing so and I did that. I must return to the Epic to try out all the things I missed (specialty restaurants and entertainment) and to enjoy the great nightlife found at Spice H2O and Bliss.Lastly, I want to thank all these individuals who made the Epic so much fun and without any of whom, this cruise wouldn’t have been as great as it was. First and foremost a thank you to Natalie Hammond (Cruise Staff & Nickelodeon Staff) for her incredibly out-going personality and making sure us solo cruisers have a blast and make lasting friendships! Second I would like to thank Denis Prguda (Hotel Director) for making sure my Epic experience was just that – EPIC! No matter where I was on the ship, if Denis was in sight he would always take a moment or two to check out how things were going. His assistant/secretary (can’t remember her name) was also checking in with me periodically to see how the cruise was going. Matthias Holz (Assistant Hotel Director) was training his replacement but both were always out and about and always cordial with a friendly hello and inquiring about my experience as well. Paul Scally has taken the reigns off of Paul Baya (no longer with NCL) and become my new favorite NCL Cruise Director. Great guy he is! Thanks to DJ Patrick (NCL employee, not Celebrity DJ) and Celebrity DJ Reaction for making nights at Spice H2O so hot and spicy and exciting and making the White Hot Party so memorable!Other people involved in making my guest experience memorable were Yvette Adanna (Junior Waitress – Studio Lounge & Cagney’s Restaurant), Ana Isabel Abbano (Teppanyaki), Casey McConachie (Dancer – Legends in Concert), Adriana Laba (Bartender – Bliss Lounge), Scott Mikelonis (Cruise Staff), Caitlyn Owens (Broadcast Supervisor), Kyle (Broadcast Technician), Raluca (Manhattan Room Waitress), Immaclaudio (Bar Watier – Spice H2O), Errol Nelson (Executive Housekeeper for changing the carpeting in my cabin and working with me to make sure it wasn’t an inconvenience) and Monica (Epic’s Concierge who got me out of a two perplexing scheduling problems).Norwegian Cruise Line is the line for me because compared to all other brands, NCL gives me so much flexibility to do what I want when I want and to dine where I want and now see whatever entertainment I want. No other cruise line gives me more choices and no other cruise line knows how to do nightlife like NCL and especially the Norwegian Epic. I can’t wait to sail again on her some day again soon! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The parking and entering of the Norwegian Epic could not have been any easier. In less than thirty minutes, we were on board and enjoying a sit down lunch at the Taste Restaurant. Rooms were ready at 2:30. We had an inside cabin on ... Read More
The parking and entering of the Norwegian Epic could not have been any easier. In less than thirty minutes, we were on board and enjoying a sit down lunch at the Taste Restaurant. Rooms were ready at 2:30. We had an inside cabin on the twelth floor. It was tiny and the split bathroom did not make much sense. Also, the sink was extremely small which resulted in much water spilled on the floor. There was no coffee maker. My son, also on the twelth floor, in a veranda room, had a coffee maker. Go figure!! We tried two Specialty Restaurants and three regular restaurants during the week. Lets talk about La Cucina first. The food was very average, just like the no extra cost restaurants. Service was slow, and the servers really didn't pay much attention to providing excellent service. Our dessert orders were taken while out table was still full of entree dishes. We were disappointed. Cagneys, the Steakhouse, was a DISASTER! I am a frequent Cruiser, and have been to Cagneys on the Norwegian Sky, and the Norwegian Pearl. Cagneys was always special, but not this time. Our reservation was for 8:15. We arrived on time and checked in with the girl handling reservations. At 8:25, I checked again, and she said it would be a few more minutes. I checked again at 8:35, and finally we were seated at 8:40. I was already pissed. We were offered complimentary champagne which we acceted. Things did not get better. Our orders were first taken at 9:15, and the service was slow. My son's Prime Ribs were not tender. My wife's Caesar Salad was consisted of all white inside leaves of Romaine lettuce, and the Lobster Bisque did not taste like Lobster Bisque, and was not edible. We enjoyed better salads at the regular restaurants. This was not a specialty Restaurant. Kevin Sheehan, are you listening? The entertainment was top quality. Blue Man Group was terrific! Legends in Concert was super! I enjoyed Slam Allen and his Blues Group. The onboard facilities were great. We tried the bowling Lanes, the gym, and the smaller restaurnts like O'Sheehans. The casino wasn't as smoky as people say. One negative about the gym. In order to use the steam and sauna, you must pay a weekly fee..First time I've seen that!! All in all, it was an OK cruise, with both pluses and minuses. The ports were fun, and the hot tubs were not as crowded as I had imagined.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I consider myself a "fair" person and I realize it is not possible to please everyone all the time. And, I truly regret that I cannot say that I was at all impressed with my experience on NCL - EPIC cruise to the Eastern ... Read More
I consider myself a "fair" person and I realize it is not possible to please everyone all the time. And, I truly regret that I cannot say that I was at all impressed with my experience on NCL - EPIC cruise to the Eastern Caribbean during the first week of January 2011. Perhaps my expectations were out of proportion compared to the conversations that I have had with friends and relatives. They showed me wonderful phots of their luxuary cruises, the fabalous food presentation and beautiful ports of call. I don't think I experienced that kind of beauty that you hear about on the EPIC freestyle crusing. It was a "very common" everyday type of experience--filled with the latest technologies and parties, but nothing of more of any beauty. Everything I could find at home, at the malls, shopping, and dining out was right there in my face again. You couldnot excape it. The overbearing music and shipboard interuption announcements reminded me of being at WALLMAT's. My everyday life is so much more sophistocated that this vessel. I eat better at home and I can so much more selective about my entertainment. There is no solitude on the vessel--only in my solo cabin where you cannot see the water. Topside the deck arrangement is very poor indeed. It is like a community park where the children scream and play while the adults lay around and listen to calipso music. Very common indeed. I did hear however, that for a much higher price, you could be excluded from all this in a more first class secured and much more posh forward part of the vessel. The worst part for me was the fact that the manystaff and management mistakes spoiled my overall enjoyment of anytime that I was there. Particularly, the fact that the deck staff failed to remove towels left by passengers overnight to save deckchairs. They neglected to do anything about this for three days and nights. When you got up in the early morning there was no one on the deck and there was no where to sit down. I didn't think the deck staff was cleaning up properly. Freestyle is no really more like no style at all. The class on this vessel is just above the cellar. When I asked the deck staff to towels so I could sit down, they said they couldn't do that and it was unlikely that the towels would be removed by them. I paid the full fare for this cruise and had no place to sit on the deck at 9:00 am in the morning. Duh! The ports of call were filled with ramped poverty that shocked me and many other Americans that flooded into the ports. I did enjoy being on the high seas. However, the food preparation, service and presentations were definitely below average from what I am use too. It was more like Holiday Inn, not every the Express. On the other hand my cabin steward was just fantastic and the other solo passengers were great to be with. That part worked. Everything else failed for me. I would definitely rate my experience as 30% fair and 70% unacceptable for what I paid for it,$2600.00 including shore excursions, additional charges for food and alcohol and air fair both ways. I will be much more selective the next time I cruise. Sorry to disappoint you! 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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