Sail Date: January 2012
We sailed for our first ever cruise on the NCL Jade last year and are now officially hooked on cruising! So when we saw the Epic we knew we had to give it a go. We flew UK to Miami with KLM. This was a BIG mistake. Without prior ... Read More
We sailed for our first ever cruise on the NCL Jade last year and are now officially hooked on cruising! So when we saw the Epic we knew we had to give it a go. We flew UK to Miami with KLM. This was a BIG mistake. Without prior warning they farm their flights out to Delta airlines who are awful. If it had just been a domestic flight it would have been fine but to spend 9 out of an 18 hour journey on a cramped plane, only 1 film (during which they served us drinks and then some horrid food) and exceptionally rude staff was just a bad start to any holiday! Anyway, after getting past some of the most aggresive and intimidating homeland security guards I have ever encountered we headed to our hotel for a night. EMBARKATION The port at Miami was so easy. We walked straight up to registration and got straight through to the waiting lounge only to be ushered straight on to the ship ahead of boarding because we are latitudes members. I think a swift registration is speeded up by people having the correct paperwork ready and to hand by the time they get to the desk, which is oh so often not the case. By the time we had explored the cabins were ready, luggage followed very swiftly after, then a thorough muster drill. CABIN We were in a spa mini suite which was lovely. We didnt find the space or the bathroom situation an issue at all. There is far too much storage though! and all the overhead cupboards and the bathroom seperation curtain made it feel very caravan-esque! Our steward was nice but the cabin was not really that clean and we were charged mini bar items we hadnt had and spent ages between 2 departments arguing this fact. All because the steward had not restocked it properly before we arrived. We couldnt check this on arrival as there isnt a list of what is meant to be there. we were made to feel a bit like we were pulling a scam! FOOD Whilst on the Jade we learned quite quickly that to avoid the 'meat market' in the buffet (with everyone pushing and shoving like theyve never eaten before!) there is one major advantage to having a balcony room. Get a cabin near an elevator or stairway to the buffet and take your food home with you! you can sit and watch the sea in peace and quiet whilst having a relaxing lunch! The food was good but a bit too 'American' for us. The salad bar was ok but there were alot of very fatty choices or some very overcooked fish most days. The Jade wins on this one as it has more of an international and meditteranean feel. We had room service breakfast most mornings but the list of items missing off our tray got bigger every day until the last day we had no bowls, spoons or milk for our cereal! DRINK Drinks on the ship were cheaper than anywhere we went on shore in our 2 weeks away. (especially Miami which was very expensive). Also the same drinks were different prices at different bars which is wierd. THE SHIP The entertainment was good except legends in concert which was a bit rubbish. Howl at the moon was awesome. The casino was as good as any. OSheehans pub was OK but always seemed to be showing american football on the big screen when we wanted an afternoon drink. The screen is 2 stories so this also meant we coulndt go in the atrium for a few hours because of loud screaming and swearing (drunk) sports fans. Bliss lounge was ok but not enough seating for evening events. STAFF This was probably one of our main complaints. On the Jade we got to know staff in different bars and entertainment staff by name. they would remember us and ask us how are day was or what we were doing or just generally chatting. The Jade sanitising staff were always cheerful and gave you the 'washy washy happy happy' song. On the Epic we were met with alot of rude staff that just didnt seem to care at all. There was no 'extra mile' from any one. even the cruise director didnt want to strike up a conversation with us at the bar. he was more interested in talking to staff, about how drunk he was the night before, across the bar! SHIP ACTIVITIES The ship had a definate divide and we never fitted either category completely. On sea days the top deck was like a 18-30 ibiza booze cruise....ALL DAY AND NIGHT with a few hundred others just laying around trying to turn into leather! This is really the only outdoor area. The indoor activities were very sedate like crossword challenges and quizzes. After going to one evening game show though we quickly realised that the ship wasnt very international as the questions were all american (with a few canadian ones thrown in....that no one could answer!) so we didnt stand a chance. The bowling had quite restricted opening hours for the amount of people wanting to play. the art gallery was huge and everywhere you went seemed to be lined with easels of some quite awful art. The photos were expensive,as per, but with the new electronic screens I still dont understand why they print out every photo for every cabin of which hardly any really get bought. we did want some studio type photos so every evening we took up every photo opp whilst walking the ship then bought 2 of the best ones before we left. All in all though we did have a good cruise but we will try out a few more of the smaller ships again. The jade was more friendly, more intimate and more relaxed. (and not just one mass piss up at sea that you would expect in magaluf or ibiza) For the foreseeable future we are still sticking with NCL and have booked for NOvember already! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We just returned from a week cruise on NCL Epic this past President's week (2/19-2/26). We had a great time. We read all the reviews and have to agree with some of the comments but overall the cruise met our expectations. We have ... Read More
We just returned from a week cruise on NCL Epic this past President's week (2/19-2/26). We had a great time. We read all the reviews and have to agree with some of the comments but overall the cruise met our expectations. We have cruised NCL before on the Spirit out of NYC, and well the EPIC is definitely an improvement over the Spirit. The bed was comfortable and with the bunk bed down from the ceiling over the couch, the room did get tight. There is definitely lots of storage, but hard to get to once the bunk bed is down for the night. The sink was what I expected from hearing all the previous complaints, and the shower/toilet situation was awkward. We worked around it and we managed the four of us (2 kids ages 6+9). The balcony was huge. Twice the size of most balconies we've had in past cruises. Embarkation was smooth. We flew in the night before and stayed at the Fairfield Inn South Airport location, and took the 11:00am shuttle to the cruise terminal the next morning. We arrived at 11:30am, and waited just 10 minutes and boarded at 12 noon exactly. The first thing I did was go straight to the Spa and book the spa pass for the week for $199/couple. (Couldn't book the spa pass at guest services) Apparently only 60 such passes are available per week and they go quickly. Worth every penny. We used the spa's thermal hot tub, laid out on the thermal beds and the balcony of the spa overlooked the back of the ship. The spa opened until 10pm daily, go after 8:00pm and you had the whole place to yourself. The massages, treatments etc were overpriced. The spa pass was definitely worth it. We would work out it in the incredible fitness center and then relax in the spa afterwards. Huge gym, lots of machines TRX, etc. We were a large party for dinner (12) and booked reservations at Manhattan and Taste for our large party as soon as I boarded for our 1st two nights of the cruise. I was able to make early 5:30 reservations for our large party for Moderno and Cagneys for the days at sea. Aimee from dining was very helpful. The food at the buffet Garden Cafe overall was good, fresh salads, fresh fruit, lots to choose from. Breakfast options got old, and well by the end of the cruise a little tiring. We ate at the Noodle bar for lunch one day, it was good, and at Sheehan's for dinner one night. Food was good, nothing extraordinary. Moderno, the meat was very salty, but the chef did prepare for us the selections without salt and was still very tasty. Go for the signature sirloin, lamb chops and filet mignon skewers. Don't fill up on chicken and sausage. The salad bar was amazing there. Cagneys we were very disappointed. The meals at both pay restaurants were long drawn out 3 hour affairs. By the time our filet mignon arrived, the steak was lukewarm and overdone. ( we asked for medium rare). They did take off the price of the kids' meals to compensate for that, but that didn't really make up for our disappointment. We ate at Cagneys on the Spirit 4 yrs ago and had an incredible meal. We had a wonderful meal at Le Bistro, the best creme brulee, the chocolate fondue was soso, the lobster was worth the extra $10. The food at Manhattan and Taste were good, once again nothing extraordinary. Manhattan was nice with the live music. Entertainment was fun on the ship, Blue Man Group, Howl at the Moon, Slam Allen at Fat Cats Blues Bar, Slime time live for the kids all were very entertaining. Second city for us was a disappointment. Same material from the show we saw four years ago on the Spirit. Pretty lame and not funny at all. Did not go to Cirque Dreams, heard the show was great from friends, also heard Legends was good too. Breakfast with the Nick characters was cute, food was horrible, will be making a trip to the buffet right afterwards. The pool area was small, not enough lounge chairs for all. People were laying out stuff as early as 6am. We got there at 7 and most of the chairs were taken. Go early in the morning to get chairs. The slides were great, my children couldn't get enough of them. The Epic plunge, the lines got long, so go in the morning to get your fix. We didn't get around to the rock climbing wall or spider web, the kids did enjoy the camp at night. Gave us grown-ups a few hours to ourselves. There were apparently 1000 children aboard during this cruise. Lots of kids! So much to do. We did do Family Karaoke night which was great fun and went bowling another night. There were movies playing on a large screen daily in the afternoons and evenings. It would have been nice if the movies in the room were free to watch. Sometimes our kids just wanted to veg in front of the TV. Not much to watch but pre-recorded shows played over and over; you would think they would at least get Nicklodeon channel via satellite, so our kids barely watched any TV (not a great tragedy). Casino was not huge and allowed smoking if you sat at the tables to gamble, but not if you were standing. Did not understand the reasoning there. The drinks we did have were nice and strong. NCL makes great chocolate martinis and mojitos. The pictures were not overbearing. We met one family who got there picture taken at every opportunity available with the intention of buying the package of all pictures.Ports of call, were Costa Maya which we opted not to do a tour with NCL. We did the Chacchoben ruins Extreme tour with The Native Choice. We booked online prior to the cruise. Read great reviews on trip advisor. Great excursion. Spent 3 hours touring ruins with a very informative guide and then had a lovely lunch, drinks at Laguna Azul a small eco resort on a fresh water lagoon. We went kayaking and swimming there. A beautiful place, definitely the best tour we ever did. Very reasonably priced and we got to back to the ship 1 1/2 hours before we were scheduled to leave. At Roatan Honduras we did the ClipnZIp Zipline park right by Mahogany Bay terminal where the Carnival ship docks. We booked this online as well. The NCL Epic docks at Coxen Hole terminal which was a 10 min drive to CLip n ZIp. They provided us transportation to and from the zipline park. Unfortunately for the Carvnival ship that day, the ship was unable to dock due to high winds, so the zipline park was empty. To our advantage we got the best zipline tour ever. The guides, Bruce and Elder were very attentive to us. We felt very safe. There was an additional 3rd safety line that we were hooked onto. Highly recommend ClipnZip at Roatan. We did Xcaret excursion through NCL from Cozumel, too much to see, too little time. We felt rushed and we knew that going into the excursion. Xcaret is an incredible park, worth a second visit. Disembarkation was very smooth, booked transfers to Miami airport through NCL, and were the first ones off the ship practically. Found our luggage easily and right off to the bus for the airport. All in all very stress-free traveling. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
This is my fourth cruise with NCL, and my ninth cruise overall. I am a fan for Freestyle cruising, and will sail with NCL again. There are a lot of very bad reviews for the Epic. The ship is not perfect, but it's not as bad as some ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise with NCL, and my ninth cruise overall. I am a fan for Freestyle cruising, and will sail with NCL again. There are a lot of very bad reviews for the Epic. The ship is not perfect, but it's not as bad as some would have you believe. Embarkation/Disembarkation - This was the best on any ship, any cruise line. I never had to wait to get on or off the ship. This includes all the ports. Cabins - I was in a balcony cabin on the 10th deck with my wife. I usually choose inside cabins, but I wanted to experience the new shape. My first impression is that the cabin is too narrow. An additional six inches would have made a world of difference. While I applaud the effort to try something new, I wish they did not try to squeeze as many cabins per deck as possible. The splashing sink has been fixed, but the basin seems just a bit too small. The split configuration was not a problem. We have stayed at resorts with this same set up before. If privacy is needed, the other person can go to the balcony, or take a stroll around the ship. On a positive note, there is more storage than you will use. Dining - With only a few exceptions, we ate all meals at Taste. While nothing impressed me a fantastic, nothing was bad. My wife and I enjoyed all the meals I had. We ate at Moderno once, and loved it. I am a fan of this type of restaurant, and Moderno to not disappoint. Be sure to bring you appetite. We ate one night at O'Sheehan's. We ate here the last night of the cruise. Some other guest had been kind enough to give me their cold, and the chicken pot pie was just what I needed. We ate one night in the buffet. We also ate most lunches in the buffet. In my opinion, NCL's buffet is the best of any cruise line I have been on. For a ship with 4000 passengers, it never seemed overly crowded. Deck plans - I did not like that the elevators/stairs were only forward and aft. A central stair would have been nice. I also did not like that I was forced to walk through the casino, or go to the opposite end of the ship to avoid it. The pool deck was not as bad as I had read, but there could be bottle necks by the pools when a game contest was happening. Overall my feeling is that the ship designers never actually spent time vacationing on a ship. I'm not sure if this statement makes sense, but the ship just did not flow well. Staff - This is where NCL shines. The staff is always friendly and helpful. I was never hassled to buy drinks. I never waited long when I ordered a drink from one of the roaming servers. The dining room staff always did a great job, and did their best to accommodate us. It's a tough job working on a cruise ship. These are good people just trying to do their job. Treat them with respect and courtesy, and they will do the same. Entertainment - Another area where NCL shines. We only saw the Blue Man Group, but it was great. I had no trouble make reservations the night before the show. Don't believe the reviewers that say you have to book this before you sail. You can if want, but it's not necessary. I hope this helps others planning to sail on the Epic. It's not a bad ship, but it could have been so much more. Do not be scared by the extreme negative reviews. Read them for the entertainment, but take them with a grain of salt. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Let me first start off by saying that we stayed in a Spa Suite, which drastically altered our cruise experience. PROS: The benefits of being in a NCL Epic Suite are simply wonderful. You can literally cruise within the cruise. ... Read More
Let me first start off by saying that we stayed in a Spa Suite, which drastically altered our cruise experience. PROS: The benefits of being in a NCL Epic Suite are simply wonderful. You can literally cruise within the cruise. It's full of exclusivity - a butler, concierge, private areas, a private restaurant, lounge, priority embarkation & disembarkation, premium seating for popular shows etc.... Additionally, we had access to the common areas of an absolutely fabulous spa. The pampering is worth the additional cost (at least while on vacation :-). Customer service is A+ in those exclusive areas. Le Bistro was awesome!!! - great filet, great mushroom soup. The shows were very good. Blue man was different, but certainly entertaining. Legends was also good, MJ was the BEST, Britney was barely average, and Rod was fair, but certainly better than Britney. Second City....funny, funny, funny. We saw the Murder Mystery & a few of the improv shows and NCL picked a winner with that group. Cirque was good, but there could be less of a story line and more showcases of talent. I read another review that said the meal wasn't enjoyable. I think they've improved it, since we enjoyed it. The ship's decor, simply beautiful. There was so much cabinet space in our suite and the decor was our style preference, modern and interesting. CONS: The practicality of the room design is nonexistent. Every time one of us took a shower, we has a mini flood in our room. The drain is on the opposite end of the front curved door that doesn't seal, so the water piled up by the door (the floor is not level) and flooded, EVERY TIME we took showers. We felt awful requested that our steward come, who had to get down on her hands and knees to sweep the water into the drain and carry out 6 or 7 wet towels. After a few days of that guilt, I would stay in the shower an extra 10 mins. to use my foot to sweep the water into the drain. It was really bad. The curved doors look nice, but they get stuck on the track and don't seal, even when going to the bathroom. Awful combination. Again, the room is beautiful, but certainly not practically (with the exception of the cabinet space). Label these mystery light switches NCL, or leave user instructions. We were confused about the setup for a few days and had to request assistance from our Butler. Expand your room service menu options for Suite owners (in fact, for everyone). If I want to eat in, and I'm willing to pay for a meal from one of your specialty restaurants, or if the private restaurant two floors up is serving something I like, allow the Butler or steward to bring it to me. You profit from the specialty restaurant orders. Holland offered the option of having what was being served in the main dining room, as room service to suite owners, and we loved that option. The Spa employees need a bit of an attitude adjustment. I had every intention on paying for spa services, but quickly noticed that previous service customers, waiting spa services customers, or those who had purchased the high-priced products received great reception, but when I wanted to make use of the spa (that I paid quite nicely for), pleasantries declined. All is well though, I kept my additional money. Service in the public bars and restaurants was average, at best. We only ate in one public restaurant - O'Sheehan's. Great milkshakes, yummy, but the service was typical of a fast food restaurant. Teppanyanki (sp?) - A little bumpy. The hostess tried to get us to wait until 6pm, when we made reservations a month prior to sailing for 5:30pm. Apparently, another family was supposed to show, but was running late. WHAT?!? No, we will not wait an extra half hour for them. I was extremely hungry and I noticed that the server still tried to slow walk our appetizers to wait for them. That put a bad taste in my mouth, and while the food was fairly good, it was on the salty side. By the way, the family never showed. Yes, NCL will try to get you to spend as much as they can while on board, but they also offer a lot of perks and new/different cruise options. I was ill one night and my husband called our lovely Butler to request a ginger ale, she brought it of course, and the charge for a soda showed up on my account the next day. Really? I paid how much for a Suite, and NCL couldn't cover the $2.25 for a soda I requested for an upset stomach. LOL Bring spending money and expect this question at nausea, "Anything from the bar?" :) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2010
My family and I sailed on NCL's EPIC on 08/28/10 to 09/04/10. Embarkation was a breeze even when there were 12 of us booked on 4 different non-connecting staterooms. Having cruised with NCL twice before, I knew what kind of service to ... Read More
My family and I sailed on NCL's EPIC on 08/28/10 to 09/04/10. Embarkation was a breeze even when there were 12 of us booked on 4 different non-connecting staterooms. Having cruised with NCL twice before, I knew what kind of service to expect from the restaurant and housekeeping crew. However, to my disappointment, service at both main restaurants was horrible (Taste and Manhattan Room). The person in charge of making up my cabin/Turn down cabin was very lazy. He knew that there was 3 of us staying in my cabin, yet he didn't make up the there bed for the third person. When I reminded him that there were 3 of us, he said he ran out of blankets and linen and that his shift was over anyway. I insisted he remedy the situation as soon as possible and his response was that he would try. Also, I wanted to send some items to be pressed and when I called housekeeping to inquire about the charge for such service, I was told to check the laundry bag and slip left in my cabin. I explained to them that my cabin did not have a laundry bag or slip with any kind of pressing/laundry information. I was then asked to check carefully around my cabin, I then expressed my exasperation with them by informing them that I was not a child who couldn't find or look for things and that I had already checked my cabin. Called Room Service once and was on hold for 45 minutes and was never able to talk to a person at the time. Another thing that I didn't find pleasant was the smell on certain sections of deck 14 (close to staterooms 14109, stateroom 14109, stateroom 14073 and stateroom 14043). Although, I must admit I really liked and enjoyed my SPA Balcony (#14171) and access to the SPA. Also, the NCL commercials for EPIC make it seem that Nickelodeon characters are all over the ship at all times (at least the ones before advertising the two ALL NICK ALL THE TIME cruises that will sail in 2011). In order to see Sponge Bob you better take advantage of Breakfast with Nickelodeon or you will only get the opportunity to meet and greet Sponge Bob OR any other Nickelodeon character 3 scheduled times throughout the duration of the cruise (the meet and greet event is free but Sponge Bob may or may not be there, no guarantee). Oh, by the way, there's a cover charge for Breakfast with Nickelodeon. There is also a charge for Cirque Dreams and Dinner and there's also a charge to the Ice Bar. If you want to Bowl, there's a charge as well. There is no charge, however, for Blue Man Group or Legends in Concert (which is an awesome show, two thumbs up). Last but not least, I must say that had it not been for Silas Cook and his team (Cruise Director and his staff), our time on board the ship would have been a really bad experience overall. KUDOS to Silas and team they do a great job and inject a lot of energy in all they do so that vacationers enjoy their time on the EPIC. Disembarkation was no problem at all. I give the ship a 9 and I give a 6 to our overall time on the ship. Of course, time on shore was wonderful and much fun. Read Less
Norwegian Epic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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