8 Norwegian Epic Cruise Reviews for Spa Cruises to Caribbean - Western

I just got back from a cruise on the Norwegian Epic and I must say I enjoyed just about every second if it. This was my second cruise on the Epic. The first was in June in the Western Med. It is interesting how you can be on the same ship, ... Read More
I just got back from a cruise on the Norwegian Epic and I must say I enjoyed just about every second if it. This was my second cruise on the Epic. The first was in June in the Western Med. It is interesting how you can be on the same ship, but have different ship experiences. There was only one sea day on the Med cruise and there ended up being 5 sea days on this cruise after the port was closed in Grand Caymen the day we were scheduled to arrive ( Thanksgiving Day). This time I went with my 75 & 80 yr old parents and we all shared one stateroom. My dad walks with a cane and was worried that he wouldn't be able to get around and would have to stay on the ship during port days, so I convinced my parents to get spa passes. They loved the thermal spa and said that was one of the best choices they made for this vacation. They aren't much for laying in the sun, although they did go up to the Quiet Zone on deck 18 a couple of times. But they did go to the spa for a few hours every day. They loved how quiet and peaceful it was after seeing how chaotic the main pool area is with the smokers, kids, and constantly moving groups of people. We had an aft balcony and loved sitting on the balcony listening to the waterfall (waves created by ship engines). The steward brought us a third chair that first day and we spent many hours out there. My dad has to get up and go to the bathroom often at night and I chose a room where the bed was closer to the bathroom so my dad would have a short distance to go. Plus, since I was sleeping on the sofa bed, I didn't want him to stumble over me. I was worried about the three adults in one cabin, but it worked out well for us. The sofa bed was actually comfortable. It pulled out from the back until it was a full twin. We usually worked out a couple of hours of quiet time for each person and didn't have many issues. Although, I must say, we tended to use the showers in the locker rooms instead of the stateroom since we had the spa passes. We ate in the main dining rooms for dinner every night (twice in Manhattan) and the remainder in Taste as my dad like wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt to dinner instead of long pants. I made reservations for most nights in Manhattan or Taste before the cruise, but we only needed to use the reservations twice - First night craziness and Thanksgiving Dinner. All other nights we walked in and were seated within five minutes regardless of the reservation time. But it was nice, on those two nights, to avoid the long lines and get seated immediately. We went to O Sheehans, Taste, and Garden cafe for lunches and enjoyed all. My dad found the buffet a little hard to manage with his cane, so we ended up at Taste more mornings than the buffet. Entertainment: We did more shows than I had on the previous cruse including Mystery lunch, second city, legends, Blue Man Group, Manhattan band, the Blues group in Fat Cats. The entertainment was so good, but I am just not a Blue Man Group fan. I don't get them at all. I agree it is the same as the show in Vegas, but I didn't get it when I saw them here either. However the kids in front of me ate it up and were glued to the stage. Ports: Jamaica - my mom and I did the river tubing. It was fun. We went in flip flops and they tried to sell us water shoes before the ride, but we wore our flip flops and had no issues. It was very scenic with a few mini rapids. Two guides per group to help if you get stuck in still water and to monitor you as yo go thru the rapids. No one flipped over in my tour. Just saw some red marks on the arms from rubbing against the raft/rope as you go thru the tour. Grand Caymen - ship didn't stop and had rough waters that whole day. Excursion tickets were automatically refunded the same day Cozumel - ship docked at 7ish instead of 10 am. I had booked a snorkeling excursion, but it was cancelled because the sea was still too rough and it was windy. We did a little shopping, then went back to the ship and hung out in the spa, which we had to ourselves. I took a deck of cards with me - my family loves pinochle and we played many of games on those long sea days at the library/Maltings bar. It is amazing how something so simple can help you enjoy your cruise. My dad is already talking about booking the next cruise. He enjoyed it way more than he ever thought he would.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
After seeing all the bad reviews of this ship, I have to write my review as we had a marvelous time. We had The Haven Spa Suite 14151 on the Epic embarking March 9. Embarkation Process: There was quite a line at the pier. Since we were in ... Read More
After seeing all the bad reviews of this ship, I have to write my review as we had a marvelous time. We had The Haven Spa Suite 14151 on the Epic embarking March 9. Embarkation Process: There was quite a line at the pier. Since we were in a suite I had thought there would be a line for suite guests, but all go through the same security line. It was long, but as the weather was nice, standing in line was OK - although I miss the much easier embarkation that we experienced for the Jade in Barcelona on two occasions. Unfortunately, right after security, no one checks to find out if you are in a suite to direct you to the VIP area, so, not realizing there was a VIP area, we went to the regular lines to check in. There was hardly any line in this area and the check in lady took us to the VIP suite area where we were escorted onboard - much better. The Spa Suites are lovely. 14151 has a gigantic balcony. There were already 2 chaise lounges and 2 chairs along with 2 tables on the balcony. PERFECT! We went to The Epic Club for lunch which was great. After lunch, we explored the ship and my husband signed up for the Texas Hold-em Poker tournament the next day. We had dinner at Shanghai's - really great spicy Chinese food - don't know why anyone would complain about these dishes. Shanghai's acts as overflow for the Manhattan Room - don't know why NCL allows that as it negatively impacts the experience for paying guests in Shanghai's. Fortunately we were almost done with dinner. This did create an interesting discussion between me and my husband about the issue of capacity planning for this ship. It is much larger than other NCL ships, so based on previous ships, NCL would really just be guessing as to how many would go to the specialty restaurants as opposed to the free MDR and buffet. Once the ship is built, they are stuck. If demand for the MDR outweighed demand for the other restaurants, what do they do? That night, I noticed that the tub in our room was leaking. As it was near midnight I didn't want to bother our cabin steward, so we mopped up the water, put the towels in the tub and went to bed. The next day, I explained to our cabin steward that it appeared to me that one of the pipes must be loose (based on where the water was coming from.) She had only begun working in this area on this cruise as the regular steward was on vacation. She filled the tub and after about 30 minutes, there was water everywhere and she wiped up the floor and contacted a plumber who came and took our tub apart and found a disconnected pipe, just as I had said. I told our cabin steward that between the two of us, we'd have cabin 14151 in the best shape it had ever been in! I subsequently found a few other problems, which she was quick to have fixed. All I can think is that the previous occupants of the suite never told their steward that light bulbs were out or that the tub was leaking. One of the surprises of the room is that the headboard actually has 2 pullout extensions with drop down tables that turn into nightstands! I had not noticed these until the 3rd night - at which time, I found out one of the extensions was stuck - another minor repair. None of these issues detracted from our stay in the cabin as the needed repairs were all immediately organized by our cabin steward. Our cabin steward did such an outstanding job on organizing the repairs, I gave her an extra $40 on top of her regular tip at the end of the week. She was so thrilled she hugged me and thanked my husband profusely. But, in fact, she deserved the extra money. She was always cheerful, always positive and always did the utmost to help and I repaid her by finding every issue that needed to be resolved in our suite and also monetarily for her excellent work in getting the issues solved. The first morning we discovered how absolutely great the shower was! This was possibly the best shower we have experienced in an NCL suite! We also enjoyed the use of the DVD player. I had brought along several movies and TV series for us to watch. My husband attended Blue Man group. He said it was a good show, although, he thought he had seen this particular show before. We both went to Cirque and really enjoyed that show. The dinner was so-so with only one choice (steak and overly salty shrimp) but the show was amazing. I"m not sure why they serve food in this show because, honestly, it was so good, it was hard to eat because I wanted to just focus on the show. We went to the ice bar. It is 10F in there. Of course we had to go to the first ice bar at sea. It was fun, but oh so cold - as expected. Apparently some Canadian spent more than 3 hours in there without a coat! in Jamaica, we went zip lining and the tubing on the river. I have been zip lining before, but not where you had to self brake. I've got no talent for the braking at all. We went on to the river tubing which was excellent. The water is crystal clear and cool and the tubes are very safe. There are areas where the tubes go through some small rapids which makes the ride a lot of fun. I would do the tubing again in a heartbeat! We had sushi that evening, which was OK but the offerings are rather routine and boring. I think that if NCL would do some more exciting roles such as those without rice - rolled in cucumber and rice paper, they would have a much busier sushi restaurant. I would hope NCL might look at the menu at edokusushi.com - especially the Maki rolls to get some better ideas about what people who really like sushi and sashimi expect from a sushi restaurant. Again, the sushi they did have was fresh, but rather average sushi rolls are the biggest thing holding back the sushi bar from being one of the busiest specialty restaurants on the ship. We ate at Teppanyaki one night and noticed the family sitting with us had come in with someone with a soy allergy. I'm not sure why they would have chosen Teppanyaki with the edamame and Miso soup with tofu and the soy sauce in the stir fry. But they did. Teppanyaki was your typical Teppanyaki experience. The chefs have a script they work from and do a good job of entertaining the diners. The food was typical Teppanyaki food. This was the first time I'd gone to Teppanyaki on NCL. That's probably enough for us. I wanted to try it and my husband reluctantly agreed to go along. We tried it and that's enough. Kind of like Benihana - you go once and that's enough. We did have fun talking with the other people at the table. On one side of us was a young couple on their first cruise. Then the family on the other side with the person with the soy allergy - they were very nice and it was nice to hear that they were all enjoying their cruise. I had meant to go see the action on Lobster night in the buffet. I didn't want lobster - I just wanted to see how the buffet handled that. I had visions of masses of people grabbing 6 or more lobsters at a time. This is the largest buffet I've ever seen on a ship and most of the time, when I went to observe the operation, it was under control and seemed well managed. However, the previous reviews indicate that lobster night was out of control. Unfortunately, I never made it to the buffet to see what was going on that night. It probably would have been very interesting to observe. One day we did a cabin crawl. We saw everything from a Studio to the Owner's Suite. ALL of the cabins were extremely nice. If I were alone, I would definitely cruise in a Studio because they set up group events - such as group dinners, where you eat with others from the studios. In some cases, some of the studio residents were married couples who like to sleep in their own room at home - so each had their own studio! The rest of the studio residents ranged from 20-somethings to retirement age traveling alone. I really think the Studios are a great idea! As to the controversial bathroom setup, well, it is what it is. Some people like it, some hate it but for me, the way I look at it, I don't own this ship, so it's not like I have to live with this forever. I find it different but it doesn't really affect me personally as it is not my property. It just is what it is. The Spa area - the thalisotherapy pool, saunas and so on were fantastic. My husband has only experienced this type of thing once at Hotel 1898 in Barcelona. He was reluctant to try it, but I managed to talk him into going based on his experience at Hotel 1898 and lo and behold, he loved the thalisotherapy pool! So much so, he wanted to go everyday for at least an hour. It was NEVER crowded in there, and we looked forward to it greatly each day. We also ate dinner at the Epic Club - really great. There were various shops on the ship, but nothing I needed. Still, they were a step up from the shop on the Jade! I think one issue was that the duty free liquor store only offered lower end products - no Louis XIII cognac, nothing to tempt a higher end buyer. Our last dinner was in Le Bistro and was outstanding. At any rate, the entire cruise was very relaxing. The food was good to excellent. We lounged on our balcony and our butler, Juan, brought us anything we wanted. We enjoyed peace and quiet and the lovely Epic Club for breakfast and lunch. Overall, it was an absolutely wonderful cruise. For suite guests, debarkation is arranged by the concierge so that you don't have to wait in line. Unfortunately, when we were sent down in the elevator, the concierge had disappeared and none of the employees knew where Haven guests were supposed to go. Next thing we knew, we were pushed into a general debarkation line with a few other Haven guests, including a 91 year old man. When we reached the main dining room, I noticed one employee had a cellphone and asked her to please call the concierge for us and asked for a chair for the 91 year old man, which she immediately provided. The concierge came to us and took us through service passageways and elevators to get us off the ship without a line - much better. Along the way, a ship employee spontaneously grabbed my luggage and pulled it for me all the way to the exit of the ship, where he had to stop. Debarkation after that point was swift and easy with literally no wait for a taxi. All in all, the only two glitches in our cruise really were the embarkation process (not being sent to the VIP line immediately after security) and the debarkation process where we got separated from the concierge and no other employees knew what we were supposed to do. In both cases, employees did their best to resolve the problem. It was overall a really great and relaxing cruise and I'd definitely sail on the Epic again. I loved the spa suite, even though I'm not a fan of the bathroom design - it was fine - after all, I don't own it - and having the access to the spa overrides the value of actually being in a suite in The Haven. I would choose a spa suite over any suite in The Haven just because of the included spa access. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My wife and I joined another couple for this fantastic cruise! We'd sailed with them previously on the Norwegian Star to Alaska and immediately knew we had to cruise NCL again. We love Freestyle and couldn't wait to sail on ... Read More
My wife and I joined another couple for this fantastic cruise! We'd sailed with them previously on the Norwegian Star to Alaska and immediately knew we had to cruise NCL again. We love Freestyle and couldn't wait to sail on their newest ship. From the cold of Alaska, it was time for the warmth of the Western Caribbean and this cruise was my birthday gift to my wife.The Epic is enormous and enormously beautiful. Our spa deluxe balcony stateroom was spacious and comfortable. Interestingly, upon our initial booking the NCL web site showed this room as having a Jacuzzi tub in the corner and a round bed in the center of the room. As time went on and I'd check the web site regularly (partly due to being anxious!), the photos of the actual room changed and the centrally located bed and the Jacuzzi disappeared. The room initially portrayed as our stateroom then became displayed as a "spa suite" room. That was a bit disappointing. But, I digress...Let me just say that the ship is huge and fantastic as are the number of on-board activities. There is no shortage of staff to greet you and accommodate your every need with a smile! Our stateroom steward, Rolando, made sure our stateroom was immaculate at all times and towel animals were in no short supply.The dining options as well as the fare-included meals were all excellent!Equally wonderful was the on-board entertainment. The Blue Man Group was sensational as well as the Cirque Dreams dinner show. Legends in concert was okay but, why have Elvis on the poster if there is no Elvis in the show?The Epic Casino encompasses almost the entire area of deck six and is much fun even if not profitable...snicker, snicker.The Svedka Ice Bar was a bit disappointing in that it was crowded and our friend suffered from true claustrophobia in there. To make up for that, we found and enjoyed the wonderfulness of Shaker's Martini Bar and the warmth and attention provided us by bartender extraordinaire Armando! The Martini tastings were a world of fun, too!The ports of call were all magnificent, even if Costa Maya was a bit depressed - completely understandable as they are still recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Dean.There is one drawback to Freestyle cruising in international waters: Although cruising is truly a "family friendly" way of vacationing, there were children allowed in EVERY CORNER of the ship! I even had to sit next to a youngster (he had to be only about 12-years old) AT THE MARTINI BAR! I even saw one CHILD pick up a Martini for mommy and carry it to her from the bar to her seat. This was REALLY off-putting! It seemed there was no corner of the ship where adults could sit in comfort without the presence of youngsters. We are not crude -- don't get me wrong -- but, there are times when adults like the comfort of sitting around other adults to converse and relax without children present.The "Spice H2O" bar is stated as "adults only" but, children are allowed to transit back and forth through there on there way to the Epic Plunge and other areas. So much for adult camaraderie. I truly hope NCL will reconsider this...especially vocal teenagers and kids running through the casino, too.Even with these drawbacks, however, the Epic was truly a pleasant cruise that I would do again. I forgave the "kid" thing and we did find so many ways to have fun! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
About us DH and me, 40s, and DS, 8. This was our fifth cruise, DS's third, and we have previously been on Carnival, Seabourn, and Disney. Our last cruise was in a DCL concierge suite-- we enjoy being spoiled on our vacations. ... Read More
About us DH and me, 40s, and DS, 8. This was our fifth cruise, DS's third, and we have previously been on Carnival, Seabourn, and Disney. Our last cruise was in a DCL concierge suite-- we enjoy being spoiled on our vacations. Although we used to be big partiers, with a kid you have a different schedule, and we find that we are very low key on our trips now, so you won't get a great review of the nightlife from us! Plus, with a cabin like 17004, you find that you aren't as driven to leave your room!! A couple of caveats-- I suspect our experience was very much colored by how fantastic the Courtyard area is, and our cruise was nowhere near full, with only 3400 passengers and 500 kids. 17004 Overall Gorgeous!! Wrap-around windows on front and side. Huge, spacious balcony. Rooms are bigger than they look on a certain website that lets you post your own videos. King-sized bed!!! Bathroom is extraordinary, with two sinks, vanity area, tub up against the window (big enough for an 8-year-old to "swim" in every night!!) and glass-enclosed shower that is open to the view. Lots of bathroom storage, both drawers and shelves. Half-bath is good-sized. Huge, two-sided walk-in closet, with two hanging racks, two sets of floor-to-ceiling drawers and shelves, a luggage bench with drawers underneath, and space for two people to dress without hitting each other. Three thermostats control the temp-- you have to make sure you set all three to the desired temp as the rooms are connected. The ride was usually very smooth, in spite of being high up and at the front of the ship. However, a couple of nights we had 10-foot+ waves, and we could definitely feel them in terms of both rolling and occasional shuddering. We did wake up several times on these nights, but our son slept right through it all. Exhaustion from a full day will do that to you!! ;-) Water pressure was great. No overhead noise at all from the sun deck on 18--usually I wake up for deck cleanings in the AM, but I never heard it this time. Very quiet location-- 17004 is at the front of the ship with only a few pax passing by, plus it has its own entrance alcove shared with another suite, so there simply isn't any hallway noise. When we were getting off the ship, we took the opportunity to check out the cabin next door and discovered that it had been a smoker's paradise. We never noticed any smoke in the neighborhood while we were sailing, so the ventilation system works well for those cabins in that respect. I have to work hard to come up with less-than-perfect stuff here, as you will see. ;-) I knew that there would be a lot of ambient light at night from reading CC, but there was actually more than I expected. Even "turning off" the screens of the phones at night, there is still quite a bit from the various light switches, and you can't duct tape those since you might need them... we put post-it nots over them, which reduced the glare but still allowed access. They helped, but if you need pitch-black to sleep, bring a mask. Also, if you turn on a light at night, you will spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get it off so you probably should just use the ambient light to get around!! ;-) Could hear the toilet flush in one of the neighboring cabins, but it was infrequent and didn't really bother us. The first night, we couldn't figure out the hand-held nozzle in the tub or the lighting-- even our butler couldn't figure out the lighting. It took a few days.... Some shuddering/shaking that I didn't feel elsewhere on the ship-- it may have been the wind hitting the flat front area of the top hat, which is the front of the suite. Courtyard Cabin Helpful Hints Things you probably need instructions for before the first night: lighting, tub handheld nozzle, possibly shower, coffee machine. Don't forget about the front sun deck in the courtyard, deck 18-- it's a quiet, underused space, with tons of loungers and daybeds. It also has a shower so that you can cool off. Take your cabin cell phone when you're going out! It's great if one of you is out and the other in the room, because you can call each other, plus you can give that number when you check your kids in at the kids' club, so they can always find you. Courtyard Area Fantastic! The concierge (Ruth, who just left on vacation) was formal and efficient and provided all of the assistance we needed. Our butler was not particularly present, but that was fine with us-- our son asked for cheesecake every night, which he delivered, and we had friends up for drinks in our cabin one afternoon, and that was about all we asked of him other than keeping the coffee well-stocked. On the two occasions that we called him on his phone, we found him right away. Our cabin steward was lovely and I would swear that she tidied up the room 20 times a day-- it seemed that we always came back to a perfect space when we had been out. The Epic Club staff were great, very personable and friendly, and they knew everyone's names after the first day. They were also wonderful to my son. I should add that we had a medical emergency (we thought) when he slammed his finger in the cabin door, and everyone called or asked about him afterward-- fortunately, he was fine. They all seemed to care about how he was doing and whether they could do anything to help us or make him feel better. The pool is small, although sized very favorably compared to the other pools on the ship, especially when you consider how few were using it. The hot tubs turn on when you get in them and were a good temperature for us. DH enjoyed the sauna (after he figured out its technical side, as with so many things on the Epic). The CY has lots of different types of chairs, sun and shade, to choose from. I only saw it crowded a couple of times, and even then there were still some chairs available. I actually preferred deck 18 for sunning because of the view of the ocean, but it was breezy and didn't always offer shade. Shows BMG: great-- the only way I can think to describe it is the inspiration of young boys accompanied by percussion, except that doesn't do it justice! DS loved it! Cirque: we really enjoyed it, as did DS. There IS a story line, contrary to what many reviewers have said, but it's definitely secondary to the action. When we were there it seemed that the entire crowd (except for one couple seated right next to the action who were much more focused on their plates than the acrobat 18 inches from their heads ;-) ) was into it. There were quite a few kids of all ages who were laughing out loud and awed by the performers. There is some sexual innuendo/slightly dirty humor, but it is probably safe for most kids up to 10 or 12 years in the sense that it will go right over their heads. I would have no qualms about my son seeing it again. This might be an issue for teens, but it is not raunchy or graphic. The food was entirely marginal, but edible if you are hungry, otherwise just go somewhere else before/after the show! Second City: DS loved the early show!! There were probably 15-20 kids under fifteen when we went, so the comedians kept it clean and asked the audience to do so, as well. In fact, they aimed quite a few of their skits at the younger crowd, and my son liked it so much he asked to go to the Murder Mystery the next day, and then back to Second City for our last night on the ship!! Dining We ate most breakfasts and lunches, and a couple of dinners, at the Epic Club, which was has an unbeatable atmosphere and staff. You can go casual (but not poolside casual). The food ranged from nice to quite good by cruise standards, and of course you can order as much as you want as well as make off-menu requests. Breakfast has a good cold buffet in addition to the menu. The dining room is elegant, comfortable and spacious. The staff are great-- friendly, helpful, and they know your name after the first day. They also fawned over our son, which he just loved. We had two lunches and one dinner at the Garden Cafe, which we found quite good for a cruise buffet. Lots of stations and options, very clean, and the food was quite decent. Kudos to NCL for the Indian dishes, they were so good and an unexpected treat! Noodle Bar was very good for a quick bite-- well, we went for a small snack, but everything was so good DH ordered a couple of other things and it wound up being a meal. The dumplings are delish! O'Sheehan's was OK-- we didn't think it was good enough to go back a second time, but it was fine. Moderno was more food than a human being can possibly eat. We were there with a Brazilian friend who gave us good advice-- the salad bar is fantastic, but don't eat much or you can't eat much meat. But when you see all of the salad bar offerings, you have to try them.... so I probably didn't eat my money's worth of meat. But it was a fun meal, several of the meats were very good, and several items at the salad bar were excellent. The desserts didn't measure up, our table really only liked the coconut flan. Cagney's service was simply chaotic-- our orders came at different times, and baked potatoes came out and were sliced open about five minutes before the toppings were brought, by which time they had cooled down. The other sides came even later than that. Our steaks were served, but without the promised steak knives we waited a few minutes again to start eating-- but even with that wait, all was redeemed by the quality of those steaks. DH and I both thought that they were amongst the best we've had in our lives, and we've eaten at some good steakhouses. With the exception of the ice cream, I thought NCL's desserts were sorely lacking. They were well-presented, but just didn't measure up in taste and texture. I hope they will do something about this, because we generally thought the other food was quite decent for mass-produced cruise ship food!! Kid Stuff We don't actually know much about Recess because whenever we asked DS what he did in there, he said "stuff" or "had fun!" What we can tell you is that he always wanted to go and couldn't believe that some days there just wasn't time!! It is very large and airy, and although not as obviously packed with activities as DCL's kids' clubs, he went tearing in there without so much as a look back when we went to check him in, so I would rate it a success! The water slides are just amazing fun for the kids! DS rode them as often as possible, and on port days was able to get in lots of slides without waiting in line too much, which was great. The pool area on the main deck is small but nicely organized for kids to have fun and parents to keep track of them. All of the restaurants have kids' menus, and of course there is always somewhere open to get a quick kid-friendly bite to eat. Recess does take them to eat at times, but I never figured out what that schedule was, so don't assume that they'll get fed if they're in the club at meal time-- ask first. As mentioned often, the TV programming consists of endless loops of the same handful of shows. If your kid needs to spend an hour in a vegetative state after a full day of activity, like mine, it's OK, but if you spend a lot of time in your room, best to have other entertainment options. Nickelodeon Wasn't as omnipresent as I thought it would be-- for those of you who don't travel with kids and don't want to be surrounded by characters, the Epic is no DCL-- you probably won't see them unless you make an effort to do so. There is something Nick planned for every day, but a lot of it was stuff our son had outgrown, so we only participated in three things-- Slime Time Live (only offered once on this cruise), Nick Poolside Live, and a character breakfast. Medical Center Wasn't planning to review this!! ;-) DS got his pinky finger slammed in the cabin door, and of course all of our key cards were put away in safe places and it felt like it took forever to get one out and get the door opened, even though it was probably only a few seconds. After racing down 7 floors and then to the other end of the ship at the precise moment when everyone was trying to get off the ship for their excursions, with screaming kid in DH's arms and me running frantically behind hauling all of our stuff for our day's activities (it would probably have been funny if not for the screaming!), we arrived at the medical center, which is very large and efficient. As soon as we told them what had happened, a bag of ice appeared, and we were with Dr. Rey about three minutes later. He was very nice, gave DS his first Xrays ever, showed him his skeleton hands (kind of thrilling for a kid!), and gave us the good news that nothing was broken but that we might get quite a bit of bruising and swelling. He made a splint for the finger, which was a good thing as DS was sufficiently distracted after all this that we did head out for our day of zip lining and monkey-holding, and the finger did not slow him down. Both the medical center and the concierge called later in the day to see how he was doing, and we were very pleased with their service and the center itself. Ports Western Caribbean-- we didn't even get off at Costa Maya (we live in the Caribbean, so the offerings there didn't impress us as much as having the water slides onboard to ourselves!). We had been to Cozumel before, so DH and I just got off and walked around and did a little jewelry shopping. For Roatan, we followed the advice of so many others here and booked with Victor Bodden, and we had a great day with our guide Ollee. As mentioned, we were more than an hour late getting off the ship because of our visit to the medical center, but it was very easy to find the kiosk and get on our way! We went to Infinity Bay to get our day passes (thanks again to CC), then to Victor's for the zip lines and petting zoo, and stopped at Celeste's for lunch on our way back to Infinity Bay, which has recently raised its rates. We felt that if we had been there for the entire day it would have been worth the price, but we paid too much to just use the beach and pool for a couple of hours. There are several other beach properties on the same stretch that charge 1/3 as much. That said, if you are going to be at the beach for several hours, Infinity Bay is a beautiful property with a great infinity pool and gorgeous beach with very shallow water. What we didn't do that surprised us We thought we would do the spa pass, but with the CY treatment rooms right next to our cabin, we just never bothered. We had hoped to stay up a bit later for shows and activities at night, but our son was always on the verge of crashing, so the nightlife was a bit limited for us. We didn't do as many daytime activities as we thought we would-- I blame it mostly on the cabin, because we just didn't want to leave!!!! I have to say, we feel that we only took advantage of about half of what the ship offers-- we kept forgetting about the Ice Bar, never managed to go bowling, didn't make it to several restaurants and shows. So we are planning to do another cruise on the Epic so we can finish what we've started!! The Ship It's true, you don't see the ocean much from the public spaces, but there's so much to see and do, I wasn't struck by the fact that I didn't see the ocean except when I DID see it. I think because in our cabin we were surrounded by water, it's absence wasn't as noticeable for us, as well. The ship is really spick-and-span, everything is new and spotless and very well-conceived. Walking through the casino area was neither as smoky nor as crowded as I had expected from other reviews, but our cruise was not completely full-- only 3400 passengers, with 500 children. They had installed the new air filters a couple of weeks before we boarded, so this probably also reduced the smokiness of that area. I can't stand cigarette smoke, but I didn't find the whiffs of it that I noticed to be a big deal-- we didn't feel the need to detour to another floor to avoid the casino. In spite of the size and non-traditional layout, it wasn't hard to learn our way around, and there are info boards and maps at the elevators and other strategic areas. We didn't find the fact that there were only two banks of elevators to be a problem; we did have to wait several minutes sometimes in the evenings when a lot of people were moving around, but it wasn't bad. Embarkation and debarkation were very easy-- less than 30 minutes to board, and only 20 minutes from when we met at the concierge desk to when we were dropped on the sidewalk with our bags. I want to add that we found the staff to be excellent-- very personable, professional and attentive, both in the CY and in the main ship areas. Everyone was quick to greet us, always with a smile, and the service was generally quite good. In summary, we really loved the Epic!! So much so that we're planning to go again next year, and hoping that we will see some of the same crew who made this first trip so special!! Read Less
Sail Date March 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
Sail Date February 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 January 2011
I will start by saying that I had some concerns about the ship after reading some of the negative reviews. But I guess there are always people that will criticize no matter what. First I will say that I like NCL, and their free style ... Read More
I will start by saying that I had some concerns about the ship after reading some of the negative reviews. But I guess there are always people that will criticize no matter what. First I will say that I like NCL, and their free style cruising. We ate at only two of the restaurants that you had to pay for Le Bistro & Teppenyaki, and they were both EXCELLENT, not only the food but the service was superb. We ate the rest at the time at all of the different restaurants, and I can assure you that we did not have one bad meal. No matter where we ate the food was very good. The shows were incredible, the Legends Show (with Michael Jakcson), I couldn't believe how much he looked like Michael. The show was excellent. The Second City we went to 3 different shows as they are very funny. Enjoyed it very much. The cruise director and staff where great and lots of fun. The staff from the cabin steward to the restaurants, to the SPA, couldn't have been better. I splurged on this cruise by getting the week pass for the SPA and getting 3 massages & 1 facial, and I can tell you this was the best investment for me on the cruise. Regarding the cabins, they are to me normal size cabins, I don't know what all the negativity is about the cabins. I would say it was good for 2 people, 3 would probably be tight, but unless you get a suite most cruise ships have small cabins, at least that has been my experience. I can't wait to go back, but next time take my grand-kids, which I know will have a fabulous time with all the activities they have for kids. Thank you EPIC for a GREAT VACATION!!!! 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
Sail Date October 2010
Norwegian Epic Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.7

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