10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
It was our second time with the Epic and we thought it would be a great idea to spent new year on board. The crew was not polite even rude at sometimes the officers where rude and were apparently a bit tired, the food is almost all ... Read More
It was our second time with the Epic and we thought it would be a great idea to spent new year on board. The crew was not polite even rude at sometimes the officers where rude and were apparently a bit tired, the food is almost all extra charged ( not one price but almost all alla carte also in the Manhattan room) I don't mind this but then the quality needs to be much better. They changed a lot of staff apparently a lot of Romanian,Indian and Chinese crew instead of other European and Philippino crew it makes a big difference. The turkish head of the hotel officers was walking around like a dril sergeant and his french boss was never around. the ship was way to full it was impossible to get a chair by the pool because everything was taken. This ship is there to take your money and don't want to give you back any service. the rooms where not as clean as you suppose to have the balcony was never touched and the glass was dirty all the time in the BVI we where next to the Disney and then you think gee maybe I should have done that one how clean and pretty the spiegeltent show is great, but this ship is getting down in quality fast I could write more negative but i need to work and get ready for a next cruise the Epic was once great no its terrible so no more epic for us. this was not EPIC Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Traveled for the Christmas week on the Epic. Our group was a party of 6 with two large balcony cabins. We were 4 adults and 2 teens. Embarkation was very easy. No lines at 11 AM. Staff greeted us with a smile and we were easily on board ... Read More
Traveled for the Christmas week on the Epic. Our group was a party of 6 with two large balcony cabins. We were 4 adults and 2 teens. Embarkation was very easy. No lines at 11 AM. Staff greeted us with a smile and we were easily on board and on our way to the buffet area. We had the drink package and immediately began to use it with a cocktail of the day. Amazingly, there was outdoor food ready for us!! The buffet opened shortly after that. We did wait a long time to get to our cabins, and when asking how soon it would be, I was told "when it's ready we will let you know" A bit curt, but oh well! Cabin was as described...........strange but doable Lots of storage but awful lighting and outlets awful. Bring along some extra extensions of some sort.. Met our wonderful cabin steward, Rosalee, who remembered our names from the first time we met! How do they do this???? She did all that she could to meet our needs but was never intrusive. Will get back to cabin issues in another section of this review. Been on several cruises and feel this food was some of the best. Have read other reviews of this ships food and can't understand why all the complaints? Ate in 3 specialty restaurants and all were great!!! Mostly ate beef the entire trip, so after I have my arteries cleared, will stay off beef for awhile! Drinks were good and plentiful and service was very good for the most. Wonderful service in Cagney's and Tempanaki !!! Catered to our shell fish allergic granddaughter, always watching to be certain there was no cross contamination. Entertainment was as good as any ship we have been on and we were sure to have made reservations as we knew this would be a very crowded cruise. Husband liked the casino, but was unlucky! Felt some of the big events held in the Atrium should have been moved to the theater as there was just too much crowding and not nearly enough places to sit. Actual shipboard activities were just OK. As always pool deck very over crowded and seat savers the usual problem as on all cruises. Basically used my own large balcony instead. Bought admission for the adult only water spa and enjoyed the peace and quiet and huge water features for the entire week.Very clean! Thought Epic did a good job celebrating Christmas all week....music, movies etc. Did not do any tours this time as we had been to these islands previously. Also there was the need to tender and water was rough for me to safely get on and off the ship.Missed Jamaica due to high winds, so felt bad for my grand kids. Now the ugly! We noticed that our carpet in the cabin was very wet and reported it in the A.M. We were having room service in our cabin when maintenance knocked and asked if they could come in to check. No problem we said. They failed to mention that they were going to open a drain while we were eating!!!! Quite an odor! We quickly went outside on the balcony to finish our meal and when we went back in, they had left two very large pieces of equipment to quickly dry up the carpet. Now we all know how small these cabins are and it is next to impossible to get past the bed to begin with, so having a large fan and a dehumidifier in the ONLY walking space was quite a trick!! Also the volume of noise was unbelievable!!!!! So after we tried our best to get ready, we left the cabin for the day. They were still in place when we came back to rest and had to call maintenance to haul them away. Carpet never really dried and on the night of day 4 it happened again!! Really nasty!!! Back with the fans etc! Now on the last night of out cruise, while packing, I received a call from customer relations asking if we would please move out for the night to a cabin one flight up. Ummm, I don't think so! They then proceed to say they were concerned with our health...think MOLD.....really?? How about the last 6 days? If they had another cabin to move us to, then why didn't they? Originally said ship was at capacity. Where did the people who were in this new found cabin go? Did they leave them on last port? Were they sleeping on the pool deck? Did they jump ship? Made no sense and so declined. What they really wanted was to run those fans all night to cover up the wet carpet for the oncoming next day guest!!!! Well good luck with that as they never did find the problem. For a week of soggy carpet the generously compensated us $100 Probably not nearly enough to cover one of the medical tests we may need for mold disease!!!!! All in all it was a good cruise if you eliminate the carpet stuff and our inability to stop in Jamaica. Nothing is perfect. When dealing with 4,000+ passengers you must expect some blips, so get over most of these issues. Again, special thanks to our room steward, Rosalie!!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Pros: big ship, 3 water slides, 2 rock climbing walls, lots of hot tubs, huge gym, many restaurants, great food and service, excellent entertainment (Blue Man show is a must!), perfect for families with kids (young or teens). Cons: small ... Read More
Pros: big ship, 3 water slides, 2 rock climbing walls, lots of hot tubs, huge gym, many restaurants, great food and service, excellent entertainment (Blue Man show is a must!), perfect for families with kids (young or teens). Cons: small cabins, separated toilet & shower means you dry yourself off in the hallway of your cabin(!!), no large atrium or glass elevators, very crowded buffet at Garden Cafe on deck 15, sundeck area is small. First time on Norwegian, loved the laid-back "freestyle" cruise atmosphere. No need to dress up for dinner, no assigned dining times. Food was excellent -- lots of selections from a variety of countries (Indian, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, American). It's a party ship -- lots of dancing and music on the pool deck. Even if you're shy or feel you can't dance, they have simple line dances that anyone can join. The inside cabin is very small. There's storage, but not much room to open your suitcase on the floor. If you order room service, you'll have to eat on the bed(!!). The bathrooms = everyone hates them. The toilet and shower are separated. So, if you want to dry off after a shower and change into your pjs or fresh clothes, you can only do that in the shower, or in the small space right in front of your cabin door. While brushing your teeth or washing your hands or face, your cabin roommate will see you, as the sink is located in the middle of your cabin. Entertainment and variety of activities is excellent. Blue Man Group is a must see. I attended several lectures on board -- digital photography, upcoming cruises, Meet the Blue Men, etc and found them extremely interesting and useful. Families with kids will love the pools, water slides and rock climbing walls. Saw a lot of teens at the video arcade and basketball court. The ship attracts a lot of families, so if you prefer quiet cruises, please choose another ship. Couples who want privacy (meaning no kids), can use the Spice H2O/Haven area at the rear of the ship. It's quiet and there are 2 hot tubs, a bar and a heated (!) pool. This was my third cruise. I would highly recommend Norwegian Epic to those who: -- want great food and entertainment -- like a laid-back, relaxing cruise, without dress codes and assigned dinner times. -- like a big ship and don't mind crowds -- are traveling as a family with small kids or teens Don't chose the Norwegian Epic if you: -- like peace and quiet on your holiday -- hate small children -- hate large crowds About me: -- Late 30s, female, Canadian living in Asia. Traveled on a "girl's only" holiday with a female friend. -- My parents (late 60s, early 70s) joined me on this cruise. They loved the ship and didn't care about the small children or noise. -- I've cruised Western Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean and Middle East with Costa. This cruise was my first time with Norwegian. -- I was impressed with Norwegian and will likely cruise with this company again.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We are platinum members with Norwegian. We booked this Western Caribbean cruise for December in May. We arrived in Miami after spending a few days at Disney World in Orlando. Once we checked in our bags for our 12th floor balcony, we ... Read More
We are platinum members with Norwegian. We booked this Western Caribbean cruise for December in May. We arrived in Miami after spending a few days at Disney World in Orlando. Once we checked in our bags for our 12th floor balcony, we proceeded to the priority check-in. We took advantage of the kids sail free program, and we received great rates on the Balcony rooms. We were told our room was changed which had me concerned. I thought "it's already starting". The representative told us we were moved to the 16th floor. I thought, it's close to the pools so that is good for my daughter who is autistic and has a slight cerebral palsy and wears a brace on her leg. She has cruised many times including Hawaii on the Pride of America ship. We went to the fifth floor hotel staff once on the ship in the atrium to change our baggage delivery to the right room. Well, we were upgraded to a two bedroom two bath Haven complete with a butler, concierge, and more. We had double sinks with a soaking tub and a water jet shower which overlooked the ocean. We had a bottle of wine and champagne delivered to the room at no charge. Godiva Chocolates, chocolate covered strawberries. our own restaurant area. When we wanted to get off of the ship in port or tender, we were escorted right off the ship without any lines, we had exclusive seating at the shows, huge dining room and living quarters, we had our own sun deck and pool, spa to share with other haven owners. Too many things to mention, but this was by far the most relaxing we were due to the fact that we were secluded from the other 4,000 passengers or so to fight for a sun chair or a spot in the pool. In short the Epic was amazing ship and the Haven made it that much more special. What made it even more special was that we didn't even ask for it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
The cruise was ok, but three main critics of the ship and our experience: 1) Not enough space - It is a huge ship, but the proportion of people to features such as pools, slides, hot tubs, sun deck space, etc... is not good. Way too ... Read More
The cruise was ok, but three main critics of the ship and our experience: 1) Not enough space - It is a huge ship, but the proportion of people to features such as pools, slides, hot tubs, sun deck space, etc... is not good. Way too crowded. The number of people in the pools and hut tubs was just gross. The only way to get a chair on the sun deck on at sea days was to get out there and put your stuff on one before 8am. Lines for the slides (which are great) was way too long. 2) Food was blah - Huge selection at the buffet which was great, but overall the food tasted very blah. We found very few tasty things. We also paid for a dinner at Cagney's which is suppose to be their best specialty on the ship. Nice restaurant, but very long wait, and food was just ok. We expected a much better experience. The best restaurant we went to was a complimentary restaurant called "The Taste". 3) Unexpected charges - We were not aware of the $12 per passenger per day charges. For my family of 6, for 7 days, that was an extra $504. I tip well and expected to pay tips, but not this much. Don't like surprises. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
So this was my 2nd time on the Norwegian Epic. Sadly to say, I really don't recall too much of Epic the 1st time I took it as my experiences were marred by a bad sunburn at the beach. Basically, this time was me wanting to re-do ... Read More
So this was my 2nd time on the Norwegian Epic. Sadly to say, I really don't recall too much of Epic the 1st time I took it as my experiences were marred by a bad sunburn at the beach. Basically, this time was me wanting to re-do Epic. Embarkation was pretty simple and hassle-free at like 11:30am in the morning although being Latitude Gold also helps as you get your own line. However, we all must have arrived too early as we had to wait like 10 minutes while they called out a group number to board the ship. We have a mini-suite this time (we had a balcony last time). The obvious main difference is that the mini-suite is a lil bigger than the balcony. The mini-suite has a bath tub (as opposed to just standing shower in balcony rooms) while the sink is next to the sofa bed or king-sized bed (depending on layout of the room) as opposed to being in front of the bed. Having recently been on the Getaway, I definitely don't like how the sink is very small on the Epic while the sinks in Getaway mini-suites are humongous. Yes the toilet and showers are separated on the Epic but you get used to it pretty fast. I, however, still prefer the bathroom to be enclosed. The room does have a lot of storage but I am not sure if I am a fan of the curvature design. Unlike the Getaway mini-suites though, the balcony on the Epic mini-suite is easily twice the size of the Getaway mini-suite balconies. Despite the spacious balcony, I don't think I spend more than 10 minutes total on the balcony throughout the entire trip. Not sure if people know this (or maybe they do?). for the sofa bed, because the curvature of the couch takes away space, simply pull out the bed more to get more space. Like the Breakaway and Getaway, Epic also requires you to insert a key card (or whatever card) for power in the room. Instead of using your room key, you can use a previously used hotel room key or something similar. I thought the food was decent. For seafood night, unfortunately there were no lobsters. However, they do have lobster & shrimp pasta so if there's no one immediately behind you, you can take your time shamelessly picking our the lobster. I also really enjoyed the Asian soup station and I had that every lunch (it's not opened for dinner). Shrimp, chicken, egg noodle with soup tasted so good. One of my favorite things about the bigger ships (like Epic, Breakaway etc) is that they also have ice cream along with frozen yogurt. I really love the varieties of flavors they had every day. I particularly enjoyed their banana, dulce de leche, and peace flavored ice cream. Quick note, if you want ice cream in a cone, you had to go get the cone first for the ice cream server as they don't have a supply of cones on their side. I also noticed that after seafood night, they had shrimp in some sort of a new dish every dinner. Because I love shrimp, this was a pleasant surprise for me. I also love their grilled night on the last day as they had grilled shrimp, grilled steak, chicken and etc. O'Sheehans always makes for a nice midnight snack. I really like that the menu is the same as the day time unlike in Breakaway or Getaway in which the menu is limited at the wee hours of the night. I really enjoyed the chicken wings, fried mozarella sticks, and country potato soup. However, the service can be a hit or miss. I remember one night, I had to sit on the other side as O'Sheehans was full. I sat there with my menu for a couple minutes but no waiter ever came by. That was fine and all until I saw a group who arrived after I did got their orders taken first. I thought that was pretty bad and definitely ticked me off so I simply left. Sometimes I feel that the service at O'Sheehans needs to improve. I have gotten ignored at the podium a couple times on different ships while the waiters just kept walking back and forth and never greeted me. As for specialty restaurants, there were positives and super negatives. I enjoyed teppanyaki and Moderno. We have always gotten teppanyaki on NCL so it's same old although our chef this time seemed a little noob-ish compared to past teppanyaki chefs. If you really want lobster, just order the seafood meal as you get lobster, scallop, and squid. The service was kinda slow as we didn't get our salad until the chef had begun cooking. I also noticed the waiters had a tough time walking to the kitchen as there weren't a lot of room. They were also squeezing through (makes me wonder if guests noticed this and would moved their chair in a little?) and were probably like 5 seconds away from dropping what they were carrying. For Moderno, it's all about going hungry, pacing yourself, and avoid stuffing yourself at the salad bar. For me, I get some quick chicken salad, soups, and some mushroom before the meats officially come. Even with the side dishes like mashed potatoes, fried bananas, rice, and beans, I would eat some with my meat but my focus was still on the meat. I LOVE their lambchops, filet mignon, and cinnamon-flavored pineapple. The roast beef and prime rib (tasted like prime rib) were okay. I wasn't particularly awed by the prime rib as you can get it in Garden Cafe or O'Sheehans. The biggest native was Cagney's. This was my first time trying Cagney's and it just wasn't a great experience. It took 15 minutes to even get our orders placed (AND by someone working from O'Sheehans instead of our actual waiter wearing white) and then another 60+ minutes to get our main dish. We never once got a "Hey, be right there with you guys!" from the waiter before ordering. We eventually had to complain to the maitre'd after having waited for 15 minutes. The shrimp cocktail was delicious and you can order 2 of those or even 3 or 4 I imagine. The biggest disappointment was the rib-eye steak. Don't get me wrong, it tasted good but I feel as though the steaks from the free dining rooms (be it Manhattan on Epic or Breakaway or Tropicana on Getaway) tasted just as good. It was like...wait, so I waited 1.5 hrs total to eat a steak that tastes only as good as the free steak in the free dining rooms? This was a big waste of time. Next time I want steak, I will stick to the main dining room. Out of all the NCL cruises I have been on, Epic's gym is my absolute favorite...especially compared to Breakaway/Getaway's small and separated gym. I really like the different equipments the Epic gym has and how spacious it is. I have never been a fan of Breakaway's gym being separated (making it seem small) so Epic's gym is just a great sight. I really do wish they open up the TRX ropes room as they do make for great body workouts. Pointless complain here, I also wish the TRX training classes are free as they would help a lot of people. I know I know, it's a business. For entertainment, I only went to Blue Man Group and I enjoyed it a lot despite having seen it twice on the Epic. The show was like 90% same as last time I was on Epic but still very entertaining. I really like how they interact with the audience. Don't forget to attend behind the Blue Man event as you get to meet the Blue Man members and they will answer questions you have. They all have a wicked sense of humor. As for the rec staff, I didn't get a chance to really interact with any of them. Only person that really stood out to me was Nacho, the assistant cruise director from Mexico. The cruise director Armen seemed meh and he also seemed really standoff-ish at the events I attended. I think it may be because I have been spoiled by Joel Sanchez on the Getaway. I really like it when the rec staff tries to include everyone in an event and tries to get people to participate. Yes, you cannot avoid walking through the ship without walking through the smokes of the casino. I spent a decent amount of time there playing the coin pusher machine. For some unknown reason, I seemed to always draw a crowd of people watching me play but I digress. Do note that if you are playing at the coin pusher machine (aka not playing at a slot machine or a table), bar service folks aren't going to approach you to ask for your drink order. You will have to be on the lookout to stop them and get your drink order in. Tipping there is always a nice gesture as well. I did find some of the cashier staffers to be a bit rude. Because I do win bills from the machine, I would get change as I don't want 10 ones, 5 5's, 6 20's in my wallet as I do play slot machines too. At times, it would seem as though I am burdening them with me trying to get change. It's one thing if I am holding up a long line but I wasn't as most of the time, there was no one lining up behind me. For the port of calls, Dunn's River is a must visit although it can get congested and can be a bit dangerous. You will get very wet so make sure to get water shoes and go in bathing suit only (meaning no phones!). Grand Cayman was nice but some attractions were meh. Hell was extremely overrated and besides the rock formations, it was just a gift shop with a guy dressing up as the devil. I supposed I went so now I can say I have been to Hell and back along with all the other puns. The rum cake was very good though!! Cozumel was nice too and it was our 2nd time there (previously went to Tulum ruins). This time, we just chilled at a restaurant (yay wifi!) and walked around. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise and it was my first New Years cruise. I really enjoyed the countdown events as a lot of people attended and they made it fun. I know I also talk a lot about customer service and the lack of it in my reviews and this is only because I work in customer service and great service is always a plus. I feel the same way even if I didn't work in customer service. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
First time on the Epic on Norwegian cruise line. Cruised with my husband and 18 year old son. I read cruise critic reviews before boarding so I did not set very high expectations. Cruised Carnival 4 times (3 Caribbean and 1 Mediterranean) ... Read More
First time on the Epic on Norwegian cruise line. Cruised with my husband and 18 year old son. I read cruise critic reviews before boarding so I did not set very high expectations. Cruised Carnival 4 times (3 Caribbean and 1 Mediterranean) and a weekend cruise RCCL. Embarkation was terrible almost 2 hours on extremely slow lines. Once on board we went to our cabin on deck 9 Mid and was ready and luggage was there. Cabin was fine for two and yes, unique layout. No issue for us. My son was in a Studio cabin on deck 11 Aft. Studio Lounge is very nice. Studio cabin nice decor but it is a bit tight in there. Layout of the ship was unusual and took long to get to where we needed to be. Elevators were very slow. Food was average and honestly, extremely boring menu. Seafood options were not good. Wine list was OK. No lobster at all in main dining rooms. We ate at The Manhattan mostly for dinner which was OK but again, boring menu, Moderno Brazilian was very good, Cagney’s was OK and the Garden Café was good. At Cagney’s, option for a small lobster for additional charge. If you bring your own wine on board, you must pay a cork fee per bottle. I had a glass of wine for $13.50 plus gratuity and same wine by the bottle at Total Wine costs $19.99. Garden Café buffet was surprisingly very good for lunch and dinner. The buffet had Lobster with Shrimp and Pasta one night and much better food selection and desserts than the sit down dining rooms. One day at the Garden Café, my husband had paella for lunch which I missed out on and he said was very good. Breakfast buffet was always very crowded and hard to get a seat. Shows: Cirque show was excellent, food was good. Blue Man Group was OK (seen it in NY and FL). Book it early because it is not available every night and the theater is shared with the Legends show which was OK. Service was fine overall on the ship except a bit slow at Cagney’s. Very dim lit steak house, nothing to brag about. I would not consider it fine dining. Don’t bother calling Guest Services they never answer the phone. Our steward on deck 9 Mid was excellent and very helpful. He was very informative and always answered any questions we had and would go out of his way for any request we made. I can’t remember his name but he was great. Itinerary was Bahamas, Ocho Rios Jamaica and Cozumel. For some reason, this cruise did not offer Grand Cayman as a port which is usually included on this itinerary any other time but not for this Holiday cruise so we had four sea days. Very large ship, no elegant grand staircase, nothing really elegant about the ship. Casino needs better air cleaners you have to pass the Casino to get around. Lots to do on the ship but you really have to read your daily newsletter to know what is going on. We’re lucky we have cruised before because communication is lacking on this ship, you can barely hear any announcements on the PA. We knew what needed to be done to get ready to disembark (get luggage tags at Guest Services, leave luggage with tags outside cabin the night before disembarkation). I did not know who our Cruise Director was until the Deal or no Deal Game which was actually fun. Never got to see the Captain. Since I did not really read the daily newsletter in our cabin much, we missed performances at Howl at the Moon, Fat Cats Jazz singers, The Second City show, did not get a chance to go to the Ice Bar. We were in the Casino and Club Bliss every night. Disembarkation went very well. Overall, it was a good cruise. If you love an active nightlife, not having formal nights or assigned dining, not much of a foodie, do not mind crowds and do not mind paying extra for additional dining options, then you will enjoy the Epic. I would cruise on Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I will start by saying we arrived at the port at 11:15 and we were sitting down enjoying a lovely lunch on the EPIC at 12:15. This ship was everything we had imagined. The CREW were AMAZING! So friendly and helpful. The food was ... Read More
I will start by saying we arrived at the port at 11:15 and we were sitting down enjoying a lovely lunch on the EPIC at 12:15. This ship was everything we had imagined. The CREW were AMAZING! So friendly and helpful. The food was outstanding, second to none. We had a back aft cabin (balcony) the cabin was lovely for my husband and I with the kids next door.We were in 12309 and 12311. The bathroom setup was fine, don't listen to the foolish winers! We had a lovely view from our balcony and you could fit 6 chairs in it. Our room Steward Arnold was a doll, so helpful and pleasant. Even though you pay a $12 each day for gratuity you will still want to tip on top of that,these people are so NICE! The entertainment was very good. We attended all the shows and enjoyed each one. We did our own excursions which is quite a bit cheaper. There are lots of other people meeting the ship so you don't have to do the SHIP excursions. You can get a cab for $4 a person to take you to ATLANTIS in Bahamas then they will drop you at Atlantis beach, rather than paying the ship excursion fee of $69. There are lots of cabs. I would highly recommend wearing a patch as we felt a lot of movement. Overall I would give this cruise an A+. We had the Christmas of a lifetime! Thank-you NCL! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I read Cruise Critic prior to my cruise and - based on the reviews - expected a less than ideal experience. What a bunch of nay-sayers! I found my overall experience to be excellent. The crowds are a given - 4,000+ passengers is a lot no ... Read More
I read Cruise Critic prior to my cruise and - based on the reviews - expected a less than ideal experience. What a bunch of nay-sayers! I found my overall experience to be excellent. The crowds are a given - 4,000+ passengers is a lot no matter how you slice it, and I did find the elevators, buffet, and pool areas crowded (it was especially hard to get a lounge and a spot in one of the hot tubs). However, the staff does an excellent job of minimizing the effects of so many people. Embarkation and disembarkation were seamless, and I rarely had to wait on line for more than a few minutes for anything. The staff were patient and extremely friendly, and the ship was well labeled, which really helped with getting around and making the most of my time. The food was excellent overall and there were so many choices. There was enough variety at the buffet to keep me satisfied, but I recommend trying the specialty restaurants as well. For an additional charge of $15-$25 per person, you can order as much as you like, and the food and service are well worth it. We especially loved the Japanese (Teppanyaki) and French (Le Bistro) restaurants - delicious and very elegant! Make sure to try O-Sheehans, too, which does not require an extra fee (great fish & chips and ice cream sundaes!) One tip if you eat at the buffet. Finding seating can be a challenge at peak times, but there is additional seating in La Cucina restaurant, one floor below the buffet. Most people didn't seem to know about it, and it was a much quieter and more relaxing place to sit and eat. The entertainment on board was excellent as well. My favorite was Cirque Dreams. If you like Cirque du Soleil type shows, you won't be disappointed. Blue Man group was just okay for me, but the kids in our group LOVED it. Legends was fun - Steven Tyler stole the show and the others were good, but not exceptional. The on-board activities were plentiful and the cruise director and his staff did a great job of making everything fun and lively. I enjoyed bingo, Deal or No Deal, and Dancing with the Stars as well as the themed music parties on deck and at Bliss lounge. Regarding excursions, we had a positive experience overall and found them a good way to spend our time at ports of call since there's just not enough time to really explore the islands on your own. The snorkeling experience in St. Thomas was a bast and the dolphin swim in Nassau was amazing (surpassed my expectations). In St. Maarten we did the beach bash, which wasn't really worth it. It was really just transportation to the beach and a lounge chair. You can probably take a taxi on your own more inexpensively if you just want a day at the beach. We took this cruise with a large family group and it was ideal for this type of travel - lots of things for people of all ages to do and great balance of together and personal time. I can't say enough good things about the experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our first cruise with Norwegian and our first cruise with a balcony cabin and we had a fantastic time and will never go without a balcony again. If you do get a balcony on deck 8 this is a great area on that deck as your view is ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Norwegian and our first cruise with a balcony cabin and we had a fantastic time and will never go without a balcony again. If you do get a balcony on deck 8 this is a great area on that deck as your view is not blocked by the lifeboats like the mid-ship cabins are. The cabin was exactly as described and we liked the idea of separate toilet and shower. Lots of storage in the cabin and everything was very well maintained. The free-style dining was very good as it gives you the flexibility to dine when you want which means you don't have to plan everything else around your dinner seating time. We tried out Gagney's Steakhouse, Tepanyaki Japanese Grill, and Le Bistro French Dining (all at additional charge) and had fantastic experiences in all. We purchased the Ultimate Beverage Package and determined that it was a good choice following the cruise. With 4 days at sea we used the bars on the ship a fair bit. If you like to indulge a bit by the pool and have a few glasses of wine with dinner I would recommend this option. We saved about $500 this way. This is a very large ship and if it is full one of the problems you will probably have is finding empty loungers on the decks. Unfortunately too many people were putting their towels on loungers and then sometimes not even using them for hours!!! Also, I wouldn't recommend wasting your money on their internet service. We tried it out and the service was very slow, inconsistent, and at times not even available. It is quite expensive and definitely not worth it. This is really our only negative about the cruise. We would definitely go back to this ship again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
We had booked this cruise for our entire family over Thanksgiving--four cabins, nine people. We had one balcony of 3 and 3 inside cabins. Let me preface this by saying that we have cruised over 18 times and four counting this one have been ... Read More
We had booked this cruise for our entire family over Thanksgiving--four cabins, nine people. We had one balcony of 3 and 3 inside cabins. Let me preface this by saying that we have cruised over 18 times and four counting this one have been on Norwegian, but also have many on Celebrity, Royal, and Princess. We booked this cruise on Norwegian due to limited time constraints, and affordability for some younger members of the family. The room configuration for families is TERRIBLE. We had our 15 year old son in our balcony room and privacy is non-existent due to the bathroom and shower being in the absolute front of the room directly next to the door. When you exit the shower, you are standing directly in front of the cabin door. Wet. Naked. The third person literally sleeps on the couch. The room has been turned so that there is barely space to move or to change clothes. It is impossible to walk in front of another person, there is so little room in the cabin. Any time dining? Yeah, right. We did not have one night out of all seven that we were able to eat in the dining room without at least a half hour wait. And eating at Taste? I think I've had better more cheerful service at the McDonald's drive thru. Waiters and waitresses were irritated, surly, and short. And why shouldn't they be? Norwegian has created an atmosphere where the waitstaff have little if nothing to gain by being pleasant and conversational. You will NEVER have the same waiter or table twice, due to anytime dining. The waitstaff already HAVE their gratuities....no point making any extra effort at all. The Manhattan room is somewhat better, and definitely in terms of decor. Taste felt like eating in someone's basement. I can't imagine who designed that one. We ordered the wine package and their was no champagne available on either the first or second tier. We took the entire family to Le Bistro one evening and were terribly disappointed. We had been to Le Bistro on the Sun, but the one on Epic is not the same. There was an upcharge of $10 for half the menu. And that's after already paying $20/person. One of the kids wanted to order two entrees and was told that ordering more than one entree was not allowed in the specialty restaurants. But the WORST of the WORST was O'Sheehans. If you can avoid it, do so. It is simply the WORST service EVER. Even the bartenders are RUDE. The staff is irritated to have you there, and they let you know it. We were even asked not to sit at an empty table so that they didn't have to wait on us separately. You can't get a glass of water or soda (yes, we bought soda cards) that isn't 4 inches tall anywhere on the ship, and O'Sheehan's is no exception. The wings were raw in the middle and cold. The hamburgers were like rocks. One of my kids ordered a soda and gave it to the other who had left his room card with the soda sticker in the room and was "seen" by the waiter who then came over and threatened to "take his soda sticker away". Unless you are ordering beer or liquor the waiters make it clear they would prefer you leave. Ordering just food or using your soda card or asking for water earns you an attitude of disgust. Food and lines in the cafe were terrible and disorganized. The same food was served each and every day and was very obviously recycled dinner. The room stewards do their jobs, but look exhausted and put out. We consistently got two of everything in our room instead of three. We usually love our room stewards, and ALWAYS tip extra on top of the gratuities. This was the first time we have not written the compliment card out for at least several employees on the ship and tipped generously over and above the gratuities, but this was an entire shipload of employees who behaved as if they wanted nothing more than to get off the boat at the next port and never come back. When you are in the Caribbean, you might expect a reggae band on the pool deck, right? We got a polka band on the pool deck several days. No lie---a POLKA band. Huh?? We all HATED the layout of the ship and HATED the crush of all the people. It was like spending 7 days shopping on Black Friday with the crowds at a KMart bluelight special. Just YUCK. The ceilings are low everywhere, there is overwhelming smoke in the casinos and the library (THAT'S a library??) and everyone with allergies suffered continuously. Never again. Epic fail.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We cruised thanksgiving week 2013. First let me say we had a great time, despite the service being quite bad on our cruise. Due to the typhoon in the Philippines the ship was very short staffed, which resulted in the crew struggling to ... Read More
We cruised thanksgiving week 2013. First let me say we had a great time, despite the service being quite bad on our cruise. Due to the typhoon in the Philippines the ship was very short staffed, which resulted in the crew struggling to keep up with the demand. Your service experience may be quite better than ours and we chose to not penalize the crew for what happened to their homes and families. parking: we parked at safe cruise parking. same area as other non port parking facilities, close to port and very bad neighborhood. But parking lot was fenced off, easy to find, free shuttle to port. waited 10 mins for shuttle getting to port. no wait getting back to car. embarkation: very easy and quick. we got to port at 1030 am and did not have a line for security or checking in. we were on the ship by 1130. *traveling with kids- you cannot put a money limit on their card. its full access or no access. beware they can rack up video arcade charges extremely quick. rooms: curved walls give a unique look but limits space walking around. There is lots of storage. little space to walk around due to design. balcony was nice, the toilet and shower are split in the room with only frosted doors. bad design, floor gets wet and little privacy if traveling with more than a spouse. rooms do have hairdryers. Ship; the ships seems big at first but is quite easy to figure out after 2 days. Lots of space and the bars/ dining rooms were spread out nicely so it rarely seemed crowded. lots to do aboard. The ship does have some poor design flaws. example: no mid ship elevators, if your cabin is mid ship be prepared to walk a lot. swimming pools are small and were filled with kids. Spice H20 (adult area) pool is too small to enjoy with people in it. always some music playing on pool deck. slides were a blast. dining rooms: were very nice and food was great, but our service was horrible. at least 30-45 mins to get seated and another 1 to 2 hrs to get food and finish. only 1 server working each section. the buffets were the easiest place to eat, but the food was hit and miss. some days were much better than others. breakfast was always good but go early and always go to the back of the garden cafe to find good seats. *tip silverware is rolled and put on the tables during peak times its a nightmare trying to find silverware to eat with. *staff constantly spraying your hands with hand sanitizer around ship but i found it silly that napkins and silverware were left on tables where people ate. no 24/7 pizza or cafe specialty dinning: did not do any of these restaurants shows: shows are great. but book early to get time and date you want. entertainment on the pool deck was not very good. Staff: seemed over worked. hardly ever seen the cruise director or the support staff, they barely ever came out on the pool deck to mingle with the crowds. only a couple of drink servers walking around by pools. most of time you will have to go to the bar to get a drink. our room steward was great but others in our party were not so lucky. debarkation: was easy if you carry off luggage. took 10 mins to get off and through customs. ok. so we did have a great time. we have always sailed on carnival cruise lines. this was our first on ncl and it will be our last with them. for us carnival seems to be a lot more fun hanging out by the pools and enjoying the laid back island atmosphere. also we enjoy the fun staff being involved daily with the crowds. nothing against ncl. just not our things. ncl seems to nickel and dime you quite a bit. pay 5 for pizza, 25 deposit to get a beach towel by the pool. the pictures prices sky high to buy multiple ones. *tip order a usb for pictures, get all pics on a flash drive. they don't advertise that.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We quickly tired of the constant badgering to buy drinks, merchandise, etc. You have to walk through the spa (more selling) to get to the gym. Through the casino or gift shops to get to most anywhere. For dinner there was a minimum ... Read More
We quickly tired of the constant badgering to buy drinks, merchandise, etc. You have to walk through the spa (more selling) to get to the gym. Through the casino or gift shops to get to most anywhere. For dinner there was a minimum 30 minute wait for a party of four at Taste and the Manhatten Room; yes we tried a different time every night. We felt that this was designed to get us to make reservations at a specialty restaurant. Yes we received drink vouchers, frankly we were ready for dinner and just wanted to be seated. Plus we could not count on dinner timing vs. show times. Larger parties had reservations and waltzed right in to Taste and Manhatten at their appointed time while we waited. Service was efficient, impersonal and brisk. Dinner one night took over 40 minutes to arrive. Restaurants were very noisy with service noise. When we went to the buffet for dinner, it was quite limited. Did not appreciate this manipulation at all. Gym equipment was very poorly maintained -- one day I used five different cardio machines and the touch screens were not working on any of them. Husband had a similar experience. The batteries were dead on one of the two rowing machines. The staff person I approached about it was indifferent, and batteries (4 AA's) were not replaced for the duration of the cruise. I almost did it myself. Cardio equipment is in need of a total maintenance overhaul. Usually on cruises we meet other adults and socialize with them. Not this one -- we raraly saw the same person twice. Atmosphere was like an airport or bus terminal -- keep to yourself and carry on. Positives? Predictably pool deck was a zoo but there are places to go (Upstairs forward, Spice H2O) to get away from crowds. Passengers (adults with small children) who ignored the "over 18" at Spice were approached by security and asked to leave. We went to several shows on standby and got in. Embarkation/disembarkation was great. we liked the inside stateroom configuration and storage options. Outside rooms with the wave looked awkward. Our kids (14.5 and 17) did not find other kids to hang with -- their problem, not NCL's. Unanticipated dynamic for a 17 year, 10 month old: 18 year olds may drink on this cruise if parents sign a waiver. So daughter's peer group was drinking, she was not, and she did not like hanging out with "tipsy" 18 yo's. We think Epic is good for large family groups, people who want to spend the extra $$$ on Haven and specialty restaurants, and people with elementary and middle school age kids. We won't be back. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
For Christmas my family and I decided to take a 7 day cruise...I was the only first time cruiser in the group. My parents cruise at least 2 times a year. This however was their, and obviously my, first time experiencing NCL and NCL Epic. I ... Read More
For Christmas my family and I decided to take a 7 day cruise...I was the only first time cruiser in the group. My parents cruise at least 2 times a year. This however was their, and obviously my, first time experiencing NCL and NCL Epic. I had spent a month prior to our trip getting acquainted with the layout of the ship, reading reviews and Q&A from prior cruisers. Embarkation day: we fly to Miami, grab a cab and head for the ship. At the port, we are met by a guy that obviously is in partnership with the cab driver...he starts unloading our luggage and will not allow us to touch/handle our luggage and then demands a tip. Of course we tip him b/c he now has our luggage hostage...I tried to grab a piece of my luggage and the cab driver literally slapped my hand and said "NO". (I had read the day b4 we left home a cruiser's review on NCL FB page from a earlier cruise commenting on the same issue.) Check-In: went somewhat smooth. From my perspective once we got on the ship it was like being herded by people that don't know how to herd cattle, mass chaos, definitely short on staff and/or a lack of NCL/NCL Epic knowledge of processes, packages (e.g. beverage, etc.) in the customer service arena. The left hand did not know what the right hand was doing or suppose to do. We attended the Mandatory Safety meeting, the presenters, staff, were very unprofessional, unfriendly and unkept. Alarming to me! As the cruise progressed, the staff never went beyond the call of duty, they were cordial but not nearly what I would expect. (I have gotten better customer service at a Motel 6...and cleaner amenities.) Cleanliness: (I have pics to prove) There was mold growing in the corners in the hallways, the air filter in our stateroom was disgusting, the light switches were filty, long dark hairs on the balcony floors, walls, inside the rooms (my family...we are all blondes.). I could see long hairs hanging off chairs at the Garden Cafe. The utensils, etc at the Garden Cafe by the 4th day on the ship were less and less clean. Room service trays/dishes would pile up in the hallways throughout the day causing the stinch in the hallways to become overwhelming. The smoke smell from the Casino was in the Epic Theatre, in the staterooms. Not to mention at nights, the passengers were forced to go through the casino to get to the lower floors because the stairways/elevators were closed to the 6th and 5th floor so you had to take the escalator located in the casino area...most of the entertainment venues were on 6th floor and the atrium was on the 5th floor. No passenger should be forced to go through the smoking area! Which leads me into design: Design: Whoever designed the staterooms on the Epic and the keycard to have lights in the stateroom really should find a new profession. I would like to think most passengers are not exhibitionists even with their immediate family. The shower, toilet set up behind a curtain at the door entering the stateroom, who thought this up. The pull out bed was the couch that literally was smaller than a twin, curved and hard as a rock. In our room the couch/BED was situated beside the toilet so whoever slept there at nights had their head by the toilet. The keycard for lights how inconvenient! I would say there was a ton of closet space and I was amazed at how sound proof our stateroom was! Adult Only activity: Did it really exist? Clearly adult activities during the day that should have been in the adult only pool area were held at the kids pool area e.g. dance off competition with old drunk men in speedos lap grinding on old drunk women's laps...seriously in the kids pool area? I think "adult only" activities need to be revisited and redesigned! Not all adults want to spend time around children and there are activities that should be "adult only"! Very disappointed in the entertainment for adults! Even at night I attended events such as "dueling pianos" loaded with kids. It really would have been more appealing to an adult without kids to have entertainment such as dueling pianos for adults only. Food/Dining Service: The food was not great but it wasn't bad. There was just nothing special about it! I will say this, my father loves apple pie.. It was on the dessert menu for Manhattan and Taste. My dad ordered it for dessert the first night at Manhattan. When it came out it had not been warmed, looked like store bought yucky apple pie. I didn't think he would order it again but he did a couple nights later at Taste. He specifically asked the waiter for the Apple Pie and to have it warmed. When the waiter brought it out I saw it from the doors of the kitchen that it wasn't warm. I said dad it isn't warm and yep it wasn't warm. Seriously!?!?!? Our server the last evening in Taste was horrible. I would think it would be crucial to provide exceptional customer service through out for the passengers but critically the first night and the last night. The first night to make a great impression and to put your passengers in a great frame of mind and the last b/c the passengers are tired, ending their vacation AND it will be the most vivid of experiences that will stand out in their minds post cruise. When we would dock at the ports, the NCL crew put on a show at each port but it was a bit misleading to those that were getting off the other ships. It appeared that the NCL Epic was a happy, fun ship when in reality that was the most excitement out of the crew. It definitely wasn't like that onboard the ship. I'm sure the staff is tired, I don't personally know how they do it BUT that is a NCL issue...they are understaffed, the staff for the most part is not qualified in knowledge of NCL and NCL Epic processes, amenities, procedures and for the most part Customer Service. Communication on the ship: I thought communication while onboard was lacking, although there was stuff going on all the time, it was poorly communicated through out the ship, poorly planned. The amenities that the shipped appeared to emphasize was the spa and fitness facility or any "event" e.g. art auction, etc that generated additional revenue. There were large screens (TV) in the Atrium and the Adult pool, each one should have been playing movies during the day especially the days we were out to sea all day. One night at 5pm Cher's final tour was shown on the screen in Spice H2O adult pool area. Overall: I found it to be a poorly organized and run ship! We were told by other passengers that the other NCL ships are better but I'm not sure that I want to spend the money to find out. It was an expensive trip for the experience(s). My parents typically travel on Royal Caribbean and have traveled on Holland. They said out of the 3 cruise lines so far Royal Caribbean is by far the best. From people we talked to while on shore Celebrity looks and sounds like it would be worth a try. Highly doubt that I will ever give NCL a try again and I will make sure my friends don't. Excursions and Ports: Loved St. Maarten! We participated in the Beach Buggy excursion, we all had a blast! I have never laughed and giggled so much not to mention the views! I highly recommend this excursion!!!! St. Thomas was breath-taking. We participated in "The Cat" Catarmaran Turtle Swim. It was fun and we did see turtles. Nassua, Bahamas wasn't my favorite BUT I didn't think when booking the excursion about Atlantis being in Nassua. We walked into town which was dirty and the locals were coming at us from every direction. I was propositioned for drugs and my mom was propositioned for sex. I will say by the time we got to Nassua I'm not sure that Atlantis would have been appealing because there again it was focused on child entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
I went on this cruise as a getaway over Christmas break while my sons 17 & 5 were out of school. We made the rather long drive from Atlanta to Miami over two days. We had never sailed with NCL before and my kids were excited to try ... Read More
I went on this cruise as a getaway over Christmas break while my sons 17 & 5 were out of school. We made the rather long drive from Atlanta to Miami over two days. We had never sailed with NCL before and my kids were excited to try something different. We had previously sailed a few times on carnival. My oldest son wanted to try the epic because of all the buzz about its innovative design. I didn't do much research about the ship or the cruise line. I knew Norwegian was supposedly freestyle cruising where you don't have to dress up or eat at an assigned time, but I knew very little about the ship itself. The first thing that struck me when we arrived at the port was the shape. It was very.....square. Not exactly the most aerodynamic design. The odd configuration of the upper decks gives it a very top heavy appearance. I figured who cares about that as long as everything else is good. Embarkation- fairly easy although we waited for a decent amount of time. Not too bad I imagined given the ship's size and passenger capacity. We figured the ship had to be quite full given that many people had not started back to school yet. There seemed to be a good number of kids on board as well. The Ship- The epic is very cool with its vast number of lounges and restaurants. This was the largest ship I had ever been on and it was a bit overwhelming at first. One major gripe I had was the odor of smoke in the area of the atrium. The smoke seems to billow out of the casino and spreads through the whole area. Otherwise I thought this ship was very cool and modern in its design. None of that gaudy decor like on carnival's ships. The cabin- This was probably the most disappointing aspect of the ship. While the cabin looks very cool, it doesn't translate into being functional. I like the ceiling, I think it gives it the illusion of being taller. The wave design was meant to make the cabin look modern and more spacious, however I believe it has the opposite effect. In my opinion it looks cool, but it makes the cabin feel smaller. The wavy couch is ridiculously uncomfortable even for a cruise ship couch, and when folded out as a bed it makes the room feel very cramped. We originally requested to have the beds split apart to make 2 twin beds, but after seeing the room elected to keep them together to maximize space. I had read something about the epic having a split bathroom design but was I was totally unprepared as to what that would look like. The toilet and shower are in two different compartments which we jokingly said looked like 2 frosted glass phone booths. The sink is in the main cabin. I was expecting a split cabin design like Disney has, not this terrible setup. The frosted glass is still quite transparent and the glass offers no sound proofing whatsoever. The curtain helps a little. The way the cabin is arranged makes it so no one can come or go from the cabin while someone is using the bathroom or taking a shower. Dining- Freestyle Dining, an interesting concept, not sure I really care for it in practice. All of my previous cruises up until this point had been with carnival and we had always had set time dining. I found that I don't really care for the idea of just showing up at one of the dining rooms and waiting anywhere from 10-45 minutes. Besides the main dining rooms, epic has tons of other places to eat, some of them included, some not. I can't put my finger on it, but there's just something I don't care for about a ship loaded full of places to squeeze more money out of me. I know it was designed to provide flexibility, but there are just way too many places on board that cost extra... The quality of the food was pretty good, although I found the menus to lack variety. The buffet food was just fair. Service- The service was very good on board, although slightly impersonal. Our cabin was always kept spotless, but we never me our cabin steward. Never saw him once, don't even know his name. The wait staff was good, but at one dinner the waitress seemed perfectly happy to ignore us lol Entertainment- the quality of the shows were amazing. The blue man group and the legends show were both amazing. Much better quality than what you typically see on cruises. This is the first time I would say I have seen entertainment on board that is comparable to a land based show. However, that being said, the theater is not nearly large enough for the number of people on board. I thought the whole point of freestyle cruising is so that you could do what you want when you want. If you have to make reservations for shows, it seems to me like it defeats the whole point. I understand why they do it this way, but again I just don't care for it. Overall the epic just did not live up to my expectations. This ship has some amazing features but some major design flaws as well such as the wavy cabin walls, see thru bathrooms, a theater that is much too small, and public areas that are too cramped. This is just a personal preference, but I just don't like "freestyle" cruising. I don't like the waiting for a table, having to pay a majority of dining options, or having to reserve show tickets. I won't be cruising on the epic again or Norwegian for that matter. Freestyle is just not for me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
Enjoyed our Caribbean cruise on the Epic. It was Thanksgiving week so we were prepared for lots of children. I must say that NCL has a good handle on their kid program and kept the little angels very busy. This cruise had over 1200 ... Read More
Enjoyed our Caribbean cruise on the Epic. It was Thanksgiving week so we were prepared for lots of children. I must say that NCL has a good handle on their kid program and kept the little angels very busy. This cruise had over 1200 kids. Embark - easy, fast Debark - easy , fast. Off the ship by 7:30 am Because I've read so many reviews of the Epic before going, I just wanted to touch on a few items I was concerned about. I've cruised a lot and if you realize we are all one little city for a week, it's very easy for things to go awry. The service was outstanding. There wasn't one time that if I had an issue or needed something that these crew members would take care of it. Food at the cirque show - very good, served hot and on time. A combination of filet and shrimp. Most people would not eat this well at home Smoke in the casino - not bad, as they have air circulation that is good. I'm allergic to direct smoke so if it was tolerable for me, it wasn't too bad Small rooms - fortunately we had a balcony that was designated handicap so it was approx 246 sq ft It was larger than a mini suite and the balcony was huge, three Times the size of the balcony next door. Cabin 10275, wow. And only a BE cat balcony Adult areas - we heard the waiters in Spice H2O enforcing the rule which was very much appreciated. We could relax and read and it was never overcrowded. If you want to experience a mega ship, this one will keep you busy And happy. Enjoy ! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
Just got back from a Thanksgiving trip on the Norwegian Epic leaving out of Miami and sailing to the east Caribbean. When I read the other reviews here after I had booked, I was scared we would have an awful time. As is the case with many ... Read More
Just got back from a Thanksgiving trip on the Norwegian Epic leaving out of Miami and sailing to the east Caribbean. When I read the other reviews here after I had booked, I was scared we would have an awful time. As is the case with many online reviews, and especially on this site, is that you must take reviews with a grain of salt. The cruise was great. If you didn't have a good time on this ship you are the type of person that couldn't have a good time anywhere. Didn't do the roll call, I prefer to just spend time with the wife and meet people on our own so can't comment on it. I'd venture to say our cruise was 90% full. We don't have children so honestly don't know how it is for kids we were to busy just trying to dodge them as they were running around everywhere. We also don't shop much on cruises so I can't comment too much on the port shopping. It is a large boat, it is crowded, and there are lines. If that bothers you a lot pick another boat. Here is my findings - EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION Fairly speedy for the most part check in/out with your room key. Miami boarding was a little slow but if you get there early may be better. Our bags arrived timely in front of our rooms. Getting on and off the ship on ports was easy except for the Bahamas with a later arrival time everybody wanted off at the same time. You are greeted back at the ship with water and cold towels and some music outside the ship. If carry your own bags off the ship you can be off the last day very quickly. GETTING AROUND THE EPIC Its a monster. We did not figure out how to get around well until the last couple of days. Pay attention to the colors, signs, and keep track of which end of the boat you are on and its fine. You will wait for elevators at peak hours. Take the time to explore and read all the orientation information. Once you get the hang of the ship its not too bad. STATEROOMS We stayed in a balcony stateroom. As is the case with most cabins, we found it a bit small but the bed was great, very comfortable. There are lots of nooks and crannies for storage space but heavy packers may have a hard time. People complained about the toilet and shower areas being too transparent but we didn't find it that bad. The balcony offered a great view in every port and nice sunsets. Service was ok, the lady took care of our needs provided what we needed timely. We asked that she clean the bathroom area better one day and she happily obliged. They require you keep the same beach towels the whole trip. We lost one and I think they might charge you for an additional one but the towel guy said he wouldn't charge us after we lost one. Overall about average, nice smaller king bed. FOOD DRINKING AND DINING You are not going to go hungry. There is food all over the place. Quality was hit or miss. We never had a horrible meal but there were some dishes we didn't care for. Some of the beef is of lower quality at the free dining options. Lobster on the first day wasn't the best. The buffets are great. There is a great variety of food and everything you would expect on a cruise with carving stations, crepe stations, omelet stations. It gets crowded a lot and there is a lot of hustle and bustle around peak dining times. You will wait for an omelets. I enjoyed the freestyle and not having to dress up in many of the places. The main more formal dining room Manhattan was nice with piano music playing at night. The casual free dining often had many of the same dishes and was a good option. Get to all of the sit down free dining options early and you won't have to wait. The Irish pub is open late with pub fare. Out of the paid dining options we did the Cirque dinner and the Brazilian steakhouse which I found very good. Can't comment on the other paid options as we mostly stuck with the free stuff. Alcohol is very expensive on this boat as it is most boats and there is no alcohol package. We are drinkers and spend a considerable amount of money on drinking on this trip. Expect $8.50 cocktails and $40 bottles of wine that sell for $15 on land. If you plan on drinking be prepared to spend. ACTIVITIES The cruise directors staff does a great job and the head cruise director is a great guy. There is a lot to do on this ship. You will not do everything unless your plan is to attempt to. Aside from your activities list there are LCD screens on the ship showing whats going on. Bring a watch or phone so you dont miss out. We saw the "do you think you can dance" and other activities. There is plenty to do during the day if you wish to do so. They have a very repetitive way of getting the party started and people on the dance floor in almost every music activity. If you are familiar with dance and line dance songs you will hear "Cupid Shuffle" "Gangnam Style" "Cha-Cha Slide" "Wobble Wobble" and "Danza Kuduro" many times during this cruise. If you don't know what these songs are look on youtube. The white party was awesome. If you are not a fan of dance music or loud music in generally I would skip that. Plenty to do. ENTERTAINMENT This is were the Epic shines in my opinion. There are many great options here. Blue Man Group was very good. The Cirque dinner was great and the Living Legends impersonators were also. These are Vegas type shows. If you don't like them in Vegas you wouldn't like them here so I would disregard reviewers on this site about that. From what I read they seemed like a bunch of whiners that wouldn't know a good time if it smacked them in the face. The comedy show was mediocre. Music was all over the ship at any time. If you enjoy music you will be pleased and there is something for everyone. We especially enjoyed the Jazz and Blues club were a top notch Blues and R&B band played every night. These were the best musicians on the ship. I don't care for Howl at the Moon but if that's your cup of tea you would probably enjoy. We were out to 1 or 2 am every night and after midnight the Bliss nightclub is your option. If you like clubs you will enjoy, older folks might be put off. POOL & OUTSIDE The pools are small and hot tubs are usually full. This wasn't a big deal for us as we just had to wait a bit. There is an adult area pool which was nice as the area with the water slides is full of running crazy kids. You need to get up early to get a good beach chair, I think this is probably the case on most boats. Activities outside and generally a good time. Gets crowded avoid arriving at peak times and get there early. CASINO We aren't big gamblers. I heard it was one of the biggest casinos at sea. My only compliant is the lack of Texas Hold Em cash games. There was only one table open the whole time. I played a bit of slots. The hardcore gamblers seemed to be enjoying themselves and the slot zombies were there from morning till night. Casino staff is dead serious about handling chips and money as would be expected. If you practice good casino etiquette you will find them pleasant. About the smoking mentioned in many reviews - When is a casino not smoky? The whiners on the reviews again are exaggerating the situation. Yes there is a lot of smoking and you will have to walk through the casino to get to many things. Its not going to kill you and if you don't gamble you won't smell it on your clothes. Its the one of the only indoor smoking areas so what do you expect. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS If you book excursions with any cruise line you will pay more. The benefit however is getting right off the ship and to your excursion without having to negotiate and listen to the locals pitch their tours. ST MAARTEN We did our own thing in St Maarten and took an Island tour which was ok and went to the beach afterwards. St Maarten is a poor island and much of the tour goes through some run down areas. You also see the sights but don't spend much time on the beach on the tour. We went to Maho beach and saw a plane but not a jetliner. The beach on the boardwalk near the ship is decent, we got a bucket of beer and umbrella and relaxed until it was time to go. ST THOMAS We went on a catamaran snorkel and sail and had a good time. Rum punch on the way back and tunes. Swam in a cloud of Yellowtail Snapper and saw a shipwreck. Not tons of fish but a good variety. Scenery is excellent on the way out. We didn't shop here, we generally don't buy Island souvenirs or anything we could buy at home even if it is a little cheaper. BAHAMAS/ATLANTIS We did the Atlantis resort discovery and beach day. Buy your water outside of Atlantis, its very expensive once inside. The resort is impressive. I enjoyed all of the many aquariums. We skipped the water park as it was a short day and we heard there are a lot of lines. The cove beach for me was beautiful. I'm from Florida and its hard to impress me with a beach but I really liked it there. If you don't want a resort experience go somewhere else. Overall, this was a great vacation for me and we made plenty of great memories. Do your research and see if this is the cruise for you. Don't be jaded by the negative reviews, if you have some deal breakers and see them mentioned then pick another one. I will cruise with Norwegian again but will pick a smaller boat as this felt crowded. Happy cruising. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
First of all, I have to say that if you are planning a cruise, take the time to join a roll call here on the cruise critic board. The Thanksgiving Epic cruise was one of the largest threads on this board and it was wonderful to meet ... Read More
First of all, I have to say that if you are planning a cruise, take the time to join a roll call here on the cruise critic board. The Thanksgiving Epic cruise was one of the largest threads on this board and it was wonderful to meet people that we felt we already knew...just by following their board posts. A special thanks to JW and Jerome for making us feel so welcome. The Epic staff also recognized us as a special group which was really nice. Overall we loved the ship. Boarding was very simple. I believe we got to the port about 11:15. Parked in the parking garage which was pricey ($20.00 per day) but worth it to us. We dropped off our luggage, parked the car and walked over to the terminal. I think we walked in about 11:30. It took about 10 minutes to get checked in. We were in a waiting room for about 10 more minutes and were on board by shortly after that. One thing to note: the waiting room (holding area) restrooms were blocked. So, make sure you go before you get there. This could be a problem if you have a long wait. Once on board, our staterooms were ready around 12:30 so overall it was a great experience. The rooms were actually better than I expected based on what I had read in previous reviews. There is an amazing amount of storage. It's kind of like living in a IKEA room! The closets had plenty of hangers which was a nice surprise. Would I prefer a different style of bathroom? Yes, but it was still OK. We didn't get water all over the floor and had no problems with the sink. I wouldn't have a problem at all booking this type of room again. We found the service to be excellent everywhere we went. I don't think I ever passed an employee in the hall who didn't ask if we were having a good time. Everyone took the time to make sure we had a great experience. On day 2 we had a cruise critic meet and greet party where we met the heads of the different departments. This was great and they gave us everyone's phone extensions and encouraged us to call if we had problems. This party was also a chance to meet more new friends from the cruise critic roll call and make plans for dinners & events later in the week. The overall layout of the ship felt good to us. The ship feels very much like a "party" ship. We rarely took the elevators (we figured the stairs would help with all the calories) but the few times we did, we didn't really have much of a wait. Although the ship had a party feel, there were enough adult areas that you could easily find a quieter area. And there were more than enough deck chairs for everyone. Since we live in Florida, we weren't really looking for long days in the sun so we took advantage of two of the "extras" offered by the Epic. The first was the posh deck and the second was the couples spa package. I don't think we would buy both again just because there isn't enough time to use them. If you love the sun I highly suggest the posh deck package. It's wonderful. You can sit in the sun (or under cover) in an adults only area. It's above the pool (you have to take the elevator directly to the pool )but extremely relaxing. My all time favorite place was the thermal spa suite area. I believe this was $238 per couple and we loved it. Amazing hot tubs with pulsating water falls, saunas with a glass window out onto the ocean, steam rooms, heated lounge chairs, adults only atmosphere, soft music and the best salt scrubs I've ever found. There was an outdoor area that was a bit hard to get into due to the fact there are only about 12 chairs. But whether you made it outdoors or not, it was worth it. I wish it would have been open later but it was still great, even if closing at 10pm. By the way, we've seen this question so we checked it out. Around the corner from the posh deck is the "freestyle" deck and this does seem to be for nude sunbathing. It is marked adults only and there are about 14 deck chairs in this enclosed area. The entertainment was great. We loved the Blue Man Group and especially loved the question and answer session they held during the week. The legends in concert, second city comedy show and Cirque shows were all amazing. There are at least 3 different second city shows (maybe more), so you can see different types of shows if you have time. We never made it to "Howl at the Moon" or the Jazz Club...so much to do, so little time! The casino was great. I'm allergic to smoke so I was really worried about it, but I didn't find it any more smoky than most other casinos I've visited. However, that could be because I was winning. This is the first cruise that I came home with more money than I started. It was a blast! We took this cruise based on the fact it was going to St. Thomas and St. Maarten, just because we love this area. We took a taxi to Maho Beach in St. Maarten and it was a blast. Nothing like a 747 flying right over your head to land a few feet away. It's a great experience at a really low cost! Let me talk about a few downsides for us. Food - We were a little disappointed in the food overall. Don't get me wrong...it was good, but not great. The buffet was well laid out and we rarely had to wait in line. They had enough sections that you could usually walk right up to the food. I was disappointed all week not to see any pasta. It wasn't until the last day that we realized that the line we normally went to didn't have a sign marking that there was a pizza and pasta station (Other lines had the sign). We saw the pizza, just not the pasta, so if you're looking for pasta, just stop when you see pizza. I'm not a fancy eater...I can almost live on hotdogs so for a buffet to feel boring to me is a bit of a surprise. Like I said, it was still good, but boring. However, they did have the best cobbler I think I've had...along with great cookies that I loved at about 11:00 at night. I felt this way about O'Sheehans, Taste and the Manhattan Room also. The food was good...but just not mind blowing. The one exception would be the chicken pot pie in O'Sheehans. We had it on one of the cooler days and loved it. We LOVED Noodles and Moderno. The food at each place was great and Moderno was just fantastic. I guess I kind of felt like the plan was to drive guests to the specialty restaurants with mediocrity in the main rooms. Bingo...this was a huge disappointment to me. I've always played bingo in one of the larger venues. The Epic bingo is held in the Headliner Club and you seem to wait forever in line to buy cards. Then you sit in hard chairs to play. It feels very inefficient to me. And the cost evidently averages 39-70.00 for an hour of play. I can't confirm this because we walked out when we saw the line. I would love to see them move bingo to the Epic Lounge and make it a bit more affordable. Of course, my walking out didn't hurt them any because I left Bingo and went straight to the casino :). I did miss having a dress up night. There was a dress up or not night but nothing specifically fancy. This might be a plus for others though, that don't want to feel like they need to dress up. Dancing...there really aren't any venues for ballroom dancing with the exception of the Manhattan room, however the 2 times we looked their dance floor was filled with small children running in circles. Very few dancers. And they close at 9:30. It would be nice if their was some ballroom dancing somewhere else on the ship. However, if you like 70's & 80's music (which we do), this is absolutely the ship to visit. They had an ABBA review dance that was just wonderful. I could have watched it all night. It was in the back with a giant movie screen that showed guests as they were dancing. We really loved it. They also had a white hot dance party that we skipped due to the weather but we heard it was great. All in all, I would not hesitate to go on the Epic again. It's a fun ship with great service. But I suspect we'll try some other ships first. Again, I can't say enough that if you want the most out of the cruise, contact some other travelers through the cruise critic board first. It's an easy way to make your trip very special. Being away from home on a holiday can be hard. In this case, it was like traveling with friends. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
The funny thing is I wanted to rush home to write a review and post photos but as with most things I think it's better to wait a moment and try not to make knee jerk reactions. So after being home a week from my cruise I think I can ... Read More
The funny thing is I wanted to rush home to write a review and post photos but as with most things I think it's better to wait a moment and try not to make knee jerk reactions. So after being home a week from my cruise I think I can give my review. This was my first NCL sailing; let's begin with the ship. The Epic is a huge ship and from the outside it looks somewhat funny with the big black tinted windows at the top. Check in for the cruise went extremely quick, I think it took longer to board the plane to Miami than it did to get on the Epic. The staff here was friendly and seemed happy that we (and not them) were headed on our vacation. There were 12 family members in our party and we stayed on various decks, with my cabin being a studio suite on Deck 12. Great idea...sort of. A room for a single traveler is an awesome idea. The rest were on Deck 9 towards the front of the ship. My studio was nice, clean and modern just like the photos. Two things I didn't really dig were the lights and the TV info system (which didn't work until day 3). In order to keep the lights on in your stateroom, you have to leave your room key in the slot next to the door. (Which I wouldn't have known without my roll call family.) The lights switches are in various places around the room, some easy to spot, some... not so much and if you can't find the switch for the light over the sink it will just stay on until you find it again. For me it was two days n to the trip. Having to keep the key in the slot is kinda silly because I locked myself out a couple of times and that wouldn't have happen had the key been in my pocket. Not to mention, the door to the studios is locked and your need your key access the area. Then once inside you have to find the Steward to open your cabin. Which is another thing that drove me nuts, my Steward situation. It seemed like there were two stewards for the entire studio cabin area. I never got the names of my Stewards mainly because I saw them very sparingly. This was my 15th or so cruise and on every other trip my Steward for the week went out of the way to find me and make sure I had everything I needed. I had to find my Steward or call housekeeping way too much to get my room turned down or to get clean towels. Also, my Stew seemed not to know what trash to toss out and what to keep. I found out on the 2nd to last day where the trash can was, several times he left empty soda cans about my cabin, which I would have put in the trash had I known where to put trash. BTW way it looks like a file cabinet near the shower. Also it took them a while to remove the plates and trash from the hallway after people were done with room service. Not a big deal the hall is really narrow, so it's an issue...if two people are walking down the hall, with the cleaning cart in the way, plus the trash, so it can get tight. I have a theory why the Stews on the Epic were seem less engaging and it's the same reason the waiters in the dinning room were less attentive. Which brings me to the food and dinning experience on the Epic. One of the things I looked forward to were the alt dinning options. I love the fact that there were so many options and I tried them all. I ate in the Manhattan main dinning room the first night because it was steak and lobster night, another fact that my roll call peeps put me on to. My family and I would have missed it had I not known and had we missed it there would have been 12 upset people as this is one of our favorite nights. The wait staff was nice and did their best to accommodate the entire dinning area. The first thing I noticed was there was only one waiter for several large tables, including the 11 people with me. On other cruise lines with formal dinning, there's like 6 people waiting on you, the Maitre d', Waiter, the Asst., the Drink/Sommelier, his Asst. ...there just seems like a lot of people and because you sit with them every night you get to know these people, which in a funny way make's the trip more enjoyable. Freestyle seemed more like free-for-all. It's not a knock on the staff, but more that they don't have enough help to get the job done. My mother insisted that we all eat in the Manhattan room for Thanksgiving, which I thought was somewhat crazy because Americans like Thanksgiving and turkey, which was evident by the amount of people that showed up that night. THE STAFF IN THE MAIN DINNING ROOM WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS and neither was NCL because they were handing out free drink tickets to people in line because the wait was so long. If nothing else, people were going to show up to get turkey. The funny thing is the food was not that good (turkey was suspect to say the least) and took so long that some of us left early because one of the shows was about to start. I was on RCCL last year for Christmas, and let me tell you, Turkey and Christmas dinner was the best of the entire week. My thought behind this is, NCL wants you to eat in the specialty restaurants and not the main dinning room, because they get the extra $15 when you eat in a specialty restaurant. And thankfully so the food is better. We ate in Moderno Churrascaria, Shanghai's Noodle Bar (2x), Teppanyaki, each place had great service and lots of food for the price, and you couldn't get the amount of food they serve on land without a bank loan. Tips are included the second you step on the Epic and with that the Staff knows they're getting paid so they can slack a little. On other lines, the Staff knows they gotta work hard, be friendly and just plain old be around or they might not get paid. Which is why I didn't see my Stews as often and the main dinning room was overwhelmed I guess. Oh and why I didn't tip extra like I normally would. It's difficult to stiff someone knowing they bent over backwards to make sure my trip was awesome. So far it sounds like a bad experience, but that's not the case. There's so much to do on the ship and let's be honest that's the big draw in the first place. With 12 of us, we covered the ship and did all the Epic had to offer. I got to get my drink on ( the ice bar is awesome), swim, ride the slides... multiple times (yes, the lines are long but that depends on when you ride them.), catch the Blue Man Group, play pool side games, hang out the adult only Spice H2O, run with the CC roll call friends. My Grandparents, an Aunt and Mother got to gamble, eat, and have drinks. My two female cousins and other Aunt used the GYM, Spa, eat and drank. My pops and my cousin Jeff did what ever it is they do, which I assume is fun because they did it a lot. We all got to dance, listen to the band while enjoying the sun. We seemed to meet a lot of people this trip and I think that's because of this freestyle nature of the cruise.... we did some partying and dancing like no other. Oddly enough we spent a lot of time on the outside deck while at sea and so did everyone else. However this didn't seem to bother most people. If you wanted the slow quiet deck, you could hang in front of the ship on the sweet deck cushion chair/ mattress things. I feel asleep up there a few times. There were a lot of kids but that's to be expected during the holidays, if that bothers you then you should go at a different time. The last thing I will say is this and it's HUGE if you're traveling with a child/teen that has special needs like we do. My 15-year-old cousin Liz is blind and needs a wheel chair at times. However, this should not impede her ability to hang with the other teens, it never has before and this is her 4th cruise. For the first 3 days, she was unable to hang with the other kids because NCL didn't have anyone that could stay with her at all times. Which is somewhat understandable, but we offered to have a one of our family members take turns watching while she hung out with the other kids. NCL said that under no circumstances are there to be adults in that area other than NCL Staff. NCL was aware that she'd be on board and said they make special arrangements to make sure she could hang with the others. They didn't, it was a huge issue, and it went all the way to the headquarters before they found a dedicated person to watch over her while she hung with the other kids. Now some of you might say that's not NCL's problem, but it is, since they said it wouldn't be an issue prior to boarding. When we went on RCCL last year, they didn't have a dedicated person when Liz showed up but the teen cruise director took it upon herself to watch over Liz the entire week/ and found more staff to help. All so Liz could have unforgettable cruise as well. Nobody asked the RCCL Director and her staff to do so; they just did it. No extra tip, no extra paper work, no nothing. They treated Liz like any other teen on the trip, which let the rest of us have time to relax and do other things too...making everyone's trip that much more enjoyable. NCL made us jump through hoops. For me the people passengers and crew alike on the ship that adds to the experience. Most of the crew was good. Passengers were awesome In my opinion it's the small details that NCL failed at that prevented this cruise from being the best trip we've takken. That said, I need to try NCL again before crossing it off the list a 100%. I'd give it a respectable B, because bigger is not always better. Check out some photos.... http://www.flickr.com/photos/baisden3/sets/72157632156694734/ Ben Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
We had a disappointing start with embarkation. We were directed to Latitudes first, then sent to Casinos at Sea where we were checked in and escorted to VIP check in. We were not given any information or advance offers because we were ... Read More
We had a disappointing start with embarkation. We were directed to Latitudes first, then sent to Casinos at Sea where we were checked in and escorted to VIP check in. We were not given any information or advance offers because we were already checked in. We were then put on an elevator and told it would take us directly to our Concierge but were not told it would stop on 18 floors first and we would be squashed in a corner. WRONG! We should have had an express ride up accompanied by a Butler, Concierge or VIP person. It was an unpleasant and disappointing beginning. Being Thanksgiving week, the ship was jam packed full of extremely rude passengers and unattended children that had poor manners. We would have been unhappy had we been in the general population. Fortunately, we had a spa suite and were pampered with private spaces, private pool, pri ate bar, restaurant and lounge areas. The Haven was fabulous. We had a delightful spot to dine three meals a day with no reservation required. The food was a cut above regular dining. The staff very personable and attentive. The sunbathing areas were well appointed and comfortable. Refreshments were served during the heat of the day consisting of skewers of fresh bite sized fruits, cool cloths were offered, and an occasional spritz with a water bottle. A grill was available as was a private elevator to the common area outdoor grill should you want to venture into the crowds for food. The water slide was a blast and the wait wasn't objectionable at all. There were three choices of slides and my favorite was the one with the drain! Lots of fun. The suite was I treating. Took a bit to adjust to a round bed, but we did. The shower was large. There was a separate area for the head. A somewhat cramped but functional vanity was situated behind the bed for women to make up with ample lighting. A jacuzzi tub was situated in the suite but we stayed too busy to use it. The room was a nit cramped. I believe I would have preferred a table and chairs or a couch rather than the jacuzzi. The curvy walls were nice but left little space for storage. Few drawers and split closets made it is little troublesome to locate clothes. We loved the pizza served right to our balcony by the Butler at a fee of $5.00. Well worth it. Blue Man Group show and Cirque Show were excellent. Legends was typical but the Michael Jackson impersonator did an outstanding job. The Concierge took us to the theaters in advance of other guests and we were afforded premium seating before the rush of the crowds. We were not I pressed with the casino. It had a weird layout and the machines were tight. Not much fun there. The specialty dining was good. La Trattoria was our favorite. Cagney's was overbooked or understaffed and the service was awful on thanksgiving night. The food was good though. Le Bistro was very good. We walked through the buffet but didn't eat, it was typical of buffets and not interesting nor exciting to us, just full of rude people. Will try Epic again but not during a holiday week. All in all. We enjoyed the week and the ship but only because we were in a spa suite. We knew we would not have enjoyed the incredible crowds in the general population. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Since booking a Mini Suite on the Epic a few months ago I have been reading with interest the reviews on this site. How I wondered if we had thrown our money away; the awful cabins with strange bathrooms and no room at the end of the ... Read More
Since booking a Mini Suite on the Epic a few months ago I have been reading with interest the reviews on this site. How I wondered if we had thrown our money away; the awful cabins with strange bathrooms and no room at the end of the bed. The bland food in the Garden Caf. The expensive drinks and the overbearing sales techniques that have blithed the poor reviewers. Even the lack of central multi-storied atrium seemed to have concerned worried travellers. I read all the reviews with increasing woe and so with trepidation we set off the Barcelona on Sunday 2nd October 2011. Perhaps I should explain a little about myself. I am a bloke knocking on 50 and have travelled extensively both with my job and for holidays. You could say that I have certain standards that I dont wish to compromise and my friends would say that I am interesting to be with especially if I dont consider the price and promise to meet the actual offering. Yes I find I will often send food back (albeit I will not agree to a replacement, as the human being is not good at accepting criticism without revenge: I value my health). Embarkation was a breeze. Disembarkation was a breeze (we wheeled our own bags without any issues). We both thought the stateroom was just lovely and the curved lines a great success. Yes the toilet compartment was a little cramped and the acoustics were not great, but this was not so bad and I have stayed in many a hotel with the same issues. We have travelled on the Legend and Navigator before and the sinks on both of these vessels were pretty small, so I have to ponder exactly how large are the guests that have complained? Surely they can get their hands into the sink to wash them; their faces cannot be that big and are they using loofers as toothbrushes? Strangely NCL have provided a wonderful shower that I used twice a day. Sink not an issue. The length of the bed has been mentioned! I am 6 2 and hey presto I fitted a treat. Actually the bed was extremely comfortable. I liked the little reading lights on a stalk and especially liked the interactive TV where I could check my billing. However there could be a better choice of channels as it does appear that NCL would rather you spend a few dollars renting a movie! This point leads me nicely into the often criticised up-selling that can be found on-board. Yep they want to take photographs and make cash; yep they want to sell you expensive drinks and yep they want you to go to the surcharge restaurants. They certainly want you to go on the NCL organised excursions. But they are not in your face and we never got anything other than a polite OK when we said no thank you. Furthermore, the same up-selling is evident on the other mass market cruise lines. The food. What are people complaining about! The Garden Caf and the Great Outdoors. What a great selection. In fact it is such a great selection that I noted that many guests had filled their plates with a rare smorgasbord of dishes that would not normally be seen on the same plate. Such was the choice that these poor guests were so confused and bewildered that they were mixing such items as curry with fish and chips with a smattering of blue cheese salad dressing. I am sure these people are not the ones complaining of bland food! I broke all the man rules and actually ate salad at lunchtimes! Peculiarly I enjoyed it and suffered no ill effects! We decided that we would splash out on some the speciality restaurants. We found that the Italian on the first night was good and enjoyed excellent service. I can understand the comments regarding the food at the Cirque but I have this to say. These guys are trying to hit a happy medium! They have to. There is one starter, one main course and one desert to be served (pretty much at the same time) to a wide audience that ranges in age and culture. I attend Industry and Conference dinners in London at prestige hotels and experience similar. If you are complaining about the food at the Cirque venue then you have missed the real point. This being what is happening 15 in front of you not on the plate that is only 12 inches in front. We also paid extra for Cagneys, Moderno and Teppanyaki and found the surcharge to be reasonable and the service excellent. It is staggering the quality they come up with in the middle of the sea! Taste was reasonable, although the quality of the food was below that which you pay a little extra for. The biggest surprise was the quality of the food in OSheehans as this is included in your ticket. This is American Diner food and was excellent and you can order as much as you like! Entertainment was really very good. The big productions on other cruise ships are goodish and if you like the big theatre feel then you may prefer these. The Epic goes for a more intimate feel. We have seen Cirque de Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall for the past 3 years. Its a big production, or rather the set is a big production but with similar performances as you will witness on the Epic. We choose to sit up-stairs and the way the Spiegel Tent has been set up, everyone has a great view. For me this was better than the big London performances and believe me far cheaper! Blue Man Group was a revelation. Loved them and went standby to see them twice. The Beatle tribute band that was moved from H20 to Fat Cats due to weather were fantastic. Again the venue helps as you really get to see the performers up close. I dont really like the Beatles music, but loved the show as the personalities of band really shone through. This was also true of the Slam Allen Band who we hold entirely responsible for some late nights. I am an avid non smoker who occasionally can smell if the car driver in front is smoking. We didnt spend any real time in the Casino as I cannot gamble. This is not a religious thing I simply loose my money quickly! However if I had have wanted to drop a little cash I would not have done so as this area is quite smoky when busy! Oh well live and let live! We have a good dance at the White Hot Party although we did not spend a lot of time at H2O (too many other bars to enjoy). It defies belief that there are 3 flumes, and we particularly liked the one that you had to use the rings. It was good to shoot around the bowl many times! As you may have gathered there are more activities than time and we didnt get round to going the following: Bliss nightclub; bowling, Spa; Comedy Club and Duelling Pianos, Legends in Concert, Ice Bar; Chinese Restaurant; the Noodle Bar; the Sushi Bar. There are probably a few others that are tucked away. So can we recommend this ship? You may be surprised to learn that no we cannot; well that is if you like going to the same restaurant every night and delight in getting to know the waiter and other table mates! If you like the big Broadway shows! If you like a standard square cabin with little technology! If you like dressing in tuxedos and ball-gowns! If you like a chocolate midnight buffet! If you like a formalised Cruise Director! These are not bad things but if you do then this ship is not for you and it would serve you better to book a traditional cruise. I believe that NCL and their Freestyle Cruise is aimed at a very different demographic. We fall into this demographic and loved it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Getting there After a direct flight from JFK we stayed at Petit Palace hotel prior to the cruise. It was centrally located steps off Las Ramblas and quiet. The room we had was called an apartment it was on 2 levels, slept 8 and had a ... Read More
Getting there After a direct flight from JFK we stayed at Petit Palace hotel prior to the cruise. It was centrally located steps off Las Ramblas and quiet. The room we had was called an apartment it was on 2 levels, slept 8 and had a small efficiency kitchen that allowed us to do some light cooking. This was great since the Bouqueria market was just across the street. We also stopped in Carrefours supermarket on Las Ramblas to pick up soda and juice to carry onto the ship. Embarkation was very easy, even though our printed docs were in the checked baggage - somehow since they were called e-docs hubby figured he didnt need the paper :). We checked in separately from the kids and it took each of us about 20 minutes, vs about 5 minutes for those who had their documents. We were on the ship by noon and the rooms were ready at 12:30. Cabins We had a mini-suite and 2 interior rooms on deck 9. The balcony was completely covered and easily fit all 6 of us. The sofa was near the window, which I prefer, as I like to sit and look out the balcony when it is windy. The stateroom had lots of storage and there were no issues with the bathrooms. The balcony room had a larger shower and more counter space, the interior rooms felt very spacious and no one felt crowded. Our rooms were near the aft elevators, but we never heard any elevator or hallway noise. One negative is that the TV options were horrible - MSNBC, CNBC, Nick in 4 languages and one channel that played the sitcoms. Food and Drink We ate at The Manhattan Room, Taste and the Garden Caf. (We have been on NCL before and did not think the extra cost restaurants provided value.) Most of the food was very good to excellent. There were a couple of entrees that were not up to par (lobster tail and a beef dish). Service was excellent when the restaurants werent busy, but spotty during prime time which usually occurred after 8:30 pm when the early shows were done. We ordered room service for port-day breakfast and they were so efficient they arrived early, accompanied by a phone call to let us know they were on their way. We bought a wine package. It is available on embarkation day outside the garden caf and gives a 20% discount if you buy 6 to 8 bottles. Unlike previous cruises, they gave us a chit for that nights wine and delivered the rest to the cabin. We had ordered an NCL setup (brandy) a week before the cruise and were pleasantly surprised when the bottle of wine and vodka that we purchased in Barcelona and were prepared to leave in the naughty room was delivered to the cabin. Entertainment Steve Sorrentino was good but the venue Headliners was horrible and many of the seats had obstructed views. Legends was good. The Blue Man Group was mixed. Some skits were fun others seemed long and drawn out. Cirque Dreams was awesome, especially since there were 11 foot waves and the ship was moving around a lot during the performance. The view from the back seats was obstructed by the low ceiling. There was also music all around the ship at most times of the day. The casino is huge, running half the length of deck 6. You could smell some smoke, but not bad, as you walked through. We are not gamblers but purchased slot play coupons for each room. We had so much fun we wished we had purchased one per person. Pools, etc The deck chairs around the pool seemed to get crowded but there were always chairs available. The pools are a joke, as they are so small, but the water slides make up for it. I am not a sun lover and was concerned about finding a place to relax in the shade. It was not a problem. There is a covered area on deck 15 behind the video arcade that had oversized upholstered chairs that was great. It rained one day and we were totally dry in this area. Shore excursions Getting off and on the ship was a breeze at all the ports. For the Italy ports we used a private car and driver from Limo In Rome for the 6 of us. We saw everything on our list and more. It was definitely the way to go. We took the HOHO bus right outside the port gates in Palma. Three of our party also took a behind the scenes tour that is given on sea days. They show you laundry, kitchens, etc and provide you with lots of statistics. It was heaven for the techies in our group. Guest services These people were friendly and efficient. If there was a long line, there was usually a guest services person working the line to answer quick questions. One of our bags somehow didn't make it fomr the cab onto the ship. The Guest services people were very helpful in trying to find it, phoning the cab company and the port agent, although the bag was not found. Overall I was a bit concerned with the size of the ship and its interior focus. It seldom felt crowded and you could always find a quiet corner. I did miss the ability to walk around the outside of the ship but you could walk either side of deck 7 and it was fairly easy to walk the interior length of the ship on the public decks. The crew was outstanding everyone was friendly and offered to assist in anything we needed. There are not as many of the grand public spaces and atriums as other NCL ships, but it is tastefully done and there are a couple of multi deck chandeliers. We would definetly consider another cruise on this ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
Please read this review, knowing that we all want different things and what I like may not be what everyone else likes, and visa versa. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean last year as a taster, we had high expectations for the NCL ... Read More
Please read this review, knowing that we all want different things and what I like may not be what everyone else likes, and visa versa. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean last year as a taster, we had high expectations for the NCL Epic, 7 day cruise from Barcelona, to Pisa/Rome/Naples/Palma. There is no doubt about it, this ship is huge and lovely to look at. The embarkation and dis-embarkation procedures as usual were flawless. We arrived at 12.30pm, and were in our room unpacking by 2.30pm. We would always get a balcony now as it gives you the best view. We heard the internal cabins were tight and stuffy. However, our room was fine, more storage than most, but the bathroom area design has been over thought, There is a cheap and nasty curtain that separates the toilet area/shower area and the so called sink, which has no use as it's the size of a sauce pan. this really cheapened the room, and if you are a new couple, or friends, get prepared to have no privacy. Balcony was great, bed comfortable, however some of the worst sleeps I've had due to the constant clicking noise coming from curtain area - totally unexplainable. We asked about the drinks package, and most staff were quiet resentful in answering, however we go there in the end, on your 1st meal you order 6-8 bottles to get 20% off, then they put all the tax and whatever on top, and give you splits of paper for each bottle. This ship has face recognition on it for the over priced photo system, why can't they put the wine on my card and track this. After this we proceeded to the Mandarin Spa which was amazing, would recommend this, but wait a few days as all the over priced treatments are reduced by 20% later in the cruise. Staff very helpful though. We decided to check out the Friends of Dorothy (FOD) party for the LGBT gathering, which was at dinner time every night at 7.30pm. No entertainment was organised, you just turned up at 7.30pm. This should be later with some entertainment as live piano. Although we did appreciate the effort. The ship as I said is massive, some amazing cocktail bars, out door bars, and Ice bar which was fun. The entertainment is amazing, we saw the Blue Man Group which was the highlight, and the Cirque Dreams dinner which was one of the better meals. On that note, I should get the all important subject of food out of the way. Be surprised with the food on this ship.The free areas like the Garden Cafe, Taste and Manhattans offer the usual fair. Garden Cafe has a vast amount to choose from, but all very tasteless to us, and rather bland. Deserts all taste more or less the same, but we never went hungry. Taste and Manhattans, what can I say, a true disappointment, both menus don't change much and decor in taste is more a kin to a tex mex place. One night in Manhattans we were walked all around the room to find our 1 table, and the service is not great. It's worth mentioning here, you get what you pay for, and having read the reviews about this being a nickel and dime cruise, the paying speciality restaurants were very good. Wasabi was the best I've ever had, Teppanyaki was good, however the server kept dropping the food, and cirque dreams was pleasant. Obviously the best staff have been reserved for these areas. The evening entertainment is very good, the white party was one of the best nights, and the fabba party was excellent, as well as the bliss lounge which was friendly - although I have no idea why they have a DJ, as all the music seems to be on the same play list, same music most of the time, so quiet what the DJ is remixing on the "decks" pardon the pun - Id don't know. The cruise director at most of these venues was rather irritating and had a certain attitude which I did not like, but I'm sure others may like it. The drinks are the usual price, with tax etc added on top. The music in other areas like the live guitar lady was amazing in the Whiskey Bar, but please can we have an update from Twice as Nice as they were so dated, and that blond haired man on the piano (Danny Fabilow) is what we called him, attitude was not nice. Please read the excursion reviews carefully, the NCL offers the most expensive I have ever seen. Do your own thing, get the shuttle bus at most of the ports, then the train, and head to Florence/Pisa/Rome by train. By the way, we saw the pope, he always comes out on Wednesday about 11am, get off at the St. Pietro station and walk 10 minutes to the Vatican, take your seat and he will appear. Don't do what everyone else does and get off at Rome Termini. Do it the other way round. Trains are cheap and get a timetable off the Internet before you travel as train times are all over the place. We got back early (4pm) most days, however those who left it later had great trouble getting through the queues for the shuttle bus - don't miss your ship on the way back in other words. All in all, we had a great time on the ship, dinners were not formal as RCI, but some liked this some didn't, we liked the informal dining times, and the booking system from your TV was very helpful. I'm not damning the EPIC, as I said we all want different things, it's just end of the day, it's a pricey trip and I don't think you should have to pay over the odds for good food in addition to what you have paid. If they get the free food areas right, then they are onto a winner. Finally, people make this trip and you have to make the effort to meet them, and we did. We met some amazing lovely people and had some great nights. NCL did try and put on some great nights. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
First of all here was no lifejacket or safety muster and when we asked the crew shrugged their shoulders. I thought it was mandatory on board ship. Cabin.. we booked an aft facing balcony stateroom, no problem lots of storage and coat ... Read More
First of all here was no lifejacket or safety muster and when we asked the crew shrugged their shoulders. I thought it was mandatory on board ship. Cabin.. we booked an aft facing balcony stateroom, no problem lots of storage and coat hangers. Although when on the balcony it was noisy, and the ship rocked and rolled even though the sea was calm. Never experienced this on other cruises. Resturants..We felt the resturants were disappointing, Garden Terrace food cold and greasy. Taste and Manhattan ok but very repetitive.One meal in the Manhattan was so bad my husband had to return it and because we could not get any satisfaction from the waitress we called the Maitre ,d who after much deliberation finally allowed us a complimentary bottle of wine but for some reason we couldn,t have it until the next night! Trips.. The trip to Pisa was spoilt by spending 2 and half hours around an Outlet mail, 1 hour around a leather factory and only 1 and half hours around Pisa itself. Enjoyed the Rome and Sorrento trips. The ship is huge which lends itself to being a little souless and deck 15 is a nightmare.. whole deck taken up by the casino which was smoky and the smoke drifted up to the next deck and bar. Other passengers we spoke to seemed as disenchanted as us with the ship and its worth noting the Surcharge of $12 per day each is voluntary but it took 3 visits to the Guest Service to get this removed from our bill and Oh boy there were long faces. The saving grace of this ship is the cabin attendants, waiters and waitresses and bar staff whom we tipped generously. Finally would we sail with NCL again....NO NO Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
first let me just say this is a personal opinion of the epic cruise. we booked through virgin cruises which was a mistake poor interaction from them led to us getting our cruise/flight tickets 2 days before departure,after a long drive ... Read More
first let me just say this is a personal opinion of the epic cruise. we booked through virgin cruises which was a mistake poor interaction from them led to us getting our cruise/flight tickets 2 days before departure,after a long drive we stayed at the turret hotel in horley for the night and left the car there for the week, if anyone wants a place to stay before flying out of gatwick this is it, £75 for b and b and car parking for the week flights were with easyjet and they were great,transfer by virgin [well we will not say no more]. boarding the epic was painless and quick with boarding at 2pm we went straight to our cabin a inside backing on to the singles rooms on deck 11, no problems were found the room was spotlessly clean and smelt fresh, having eventually finding the plug sockets and looking around,our cases had arrived 30 mins after boarding excellent work by the stewards. the room was quirky with the shower curtain but caused us no problems at all food on the ship was good to great we ate in the garden cafe every morning only thing wrong here was the repetitive things for breakfast but you can't help that. we ate most evenings in taste we we found to be better than Manhattan but there wasn't anything wrong with the Manhattan restaurant we did have a splendid meal with some very good friends in the Italian restaurant on the last night entertainment!!!!! blue man group very good and entertaining. fat cats was very good and on the whole the entertainment was of a high standard. yes there is smoke from the casino but wasn't off putting the casino is large and took up alot of room. pictures. if you wanted your photo taking there was many places to have it done but was never pressurised into having it taken, a polite no and they understood.the staff and stewards were all fantastic and could not fault in anyway a special mention to our steward sorry didn't catch his name but room 11093 we were in. the pools on this ship are stupidly small for the amount of passengers on board. but on the whole the ship ticked all the right boxes. we had a little group of eight of us from the greet and meet forum doing the tours and must say we had a great time.a special mention to :your tours in Italy; ,first class service and at less than 50% of the cruise ship prices well done Aldo and colleagues so that's a personal opinion of the epic some may agree some may not.would we go on the epic again?don't think so only because there's so many other ship to try but loved the freestyle aspect Read Less
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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