20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want ... Read More
Have been sailing on the EPIC twice a year for a number of years, its a comfortable ship and suits me. I travel as a solo, love the studios and enjoy the get together in the solo bar at 5.00. It is as they say you can do what you want including nothing! I don't think I will be doing this anymore as I have now covered every excursion over the years. In my last review around the Caribbean from Orlando I complained about the disembarking, a mess and frankly quite dangerous but this time leaving at Barcelona was a dream and how it used to be. I wonder what causes the difference between disembarking in the USA and Europe? The ship is beginning to look tired but is probably due for a " remodel" . I would recommend this ship for its choices and freedom. I have enjoyed all my cruises except one on this ship, March this year as it was filled with Spring breakers so was noisy and crowded and I personally just couldn't get anywhere near the bars. I would therefore, recommend avoiding that time. Loved the shows and the food. Can't believe I was charged nearly $5 for a little bottle of water, about a $ off the ship, I was heading straight for HOHO bus in Palma and didn't want to miss the bus. One thing I did notice however, was that people were filling up their bottles at all the water machines on the ship, despite the notice, nobody was saying anything or stopping them. Plus nobody was following the dress code in the restaurants any more and nothing was said to them, which has changed since I first sailed on the ship. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes sailing on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC. In 2018, I took a break from NCL and sailed with Royal Caribbean and MSC with MSC Seaside being my last cruise. Pre-Cruise I met up with friends in Rome, Italy for a few days prior to the cruise. It was nice to explore the sights at a more leisurely pace than what you can do with it being a ship’s port of call. I flew into FCO (Rome airport) and transferred with a private company versus taking the train to Termini Station. I stayed at a hotel close to Termini Station in Rome and Termini is a great focal point for which to travel regionally as well as within Rome on the public transit system. I purchased the Roma Pass and with the ability to get into attractions cheaply and the use of the public transit system for 48 hours, it was a very wise investment. NCL EPIC CRUISE – Roundtrip Rome DAY 1 – ROME, ITALY Embarkation: The most cost-efficient way to get to the cruise port from Rome city is by train. I booked the Intercity 510 on TrenItalia arriving at the Civitavecchia port just before 11AM on 6/12. Unfortunately, the elevators on the platform at the train station were not working and you had to take the luggage up and down two flights of stairs to get to the outside. Minor inconvenience. Once outside, you need to purchase a ticket for 2 EU for the red bus to take you to the port entrance. Fair enough, but the line for the bus was disorganized and not all cultures understood the need for a proper queue when the bus arrived. It was rather chaotic. I would’ve just walked it and if you’re able-bodied to do so, you might as well as it’s not too far to the port entrance and with city traffic on port days, it would be easier to do so. At the port entrance, since there were 6 ships at least doing embarkations during this date, you had to get into a queue for a bus to take you to the designated terminal. How kind of the bus driver to allow us to load our own luggage under the bus and then tell us the bus for the NCL Epic only had one working compartment versus the other side for Holland America which had two. We were going to the same terminal so it didn’t matter what compartment it went into. How silly and disorganized. Upon arrival to the terminal, the bus unloaded for both ships and we were split up once inside the terminal. Luggage was taken finally and check in was upstairs further over. Latitudes members didn’t have a separate check-in line, however, the main check in line was moving swiftly so it didn’t matter too much. Once checked in, we were told to proceed to the gangway which was down the escalators. When we got to the bottom, there was another bus waiting to take us to the ship! Good grief already. The ship was a short walk down the pier from where the terminal was. Holland America had the gangways in use for their embark that was in the terminal. The bus was hot and stuffy and by this point, I just wanted to walk to the ship to get it over with. Crew were walking to the terminal so it wasn’t unsafe for passengers to do so as well. We had to wait for the bus to fill before we were driven an absurdly short distance to board the ship. All told from arrival at the train station to when we got on the ship and had drinks at Spice H2O, it was two hours. NEVER AGAIN!! A complete and utter mess with 2 transfers within the cruise port to get on the ship. Stateroom Balcony GTY: Room 13039 I’ve sailed on the Epic three times and all the other times were in a studio room. This was the first time I sailed in a balcony. I booked a guarantee and was put into this family room at the ships first bump out. The room had a very large angled balcony which I loved. I could see why this stateroom configuration wouldn’t work unless sailing with a spouse. The layout is funky and while it mirrors the studios design, storage was in the most random of places – including within the sofa! The electrical outlets are hidden under the counter by the coffee maker. The phone in the room also didn’t have a working voicemail button, it would take you to the voicemail and delete it instantly. I learned a trick to bypass it by mid-cruise. Charlton was my incredible stateroom steward. He did a wonderful job looking after any small request the entire cruise and for making sure everything was perfect. He even provided me with towel animals daily without request despite NCLs announcement they were getting rid of them on future sailings a couple months back. After unpacking rather quickly, it was time to head off to the theater for a joint muster drill for all stations embarking in Rome. It was mandatory for all guests who embarked and some didn’t like it that they were shut off from their alcohol until they attended. Rome embarking guests had purple cards so that’s how ship’s crew knew to stop serving you for the mandatory drill. After that, I went to the solos gathering with Julianna hosting for this portion of the cruise and then the LGBT meet up. A group of solos went to dinner at 7PM and we joined them in Manhattan Room. It was a leisurely dinner service since we were a big table and it took over 2 hours to dine but the company made up for the gaps between courses. The ship was supposed to sail at 7PM but some “scheduled maintenance” wasn’t completed in time and the ship would be delayed sailing until 10PM. After dinner was done, I headed back to the room to relax and it was getting close to 10PM. The ship didn’t sail at 10PM. I fell asleep on the balcony waiting for it to sail and when I awoke after midnight we were finally moving. DAY 2 – FLORENCE, ITALY The previous day’s delayed departure caused the Epic to arrive two hours late to Florence, Italy. The tour provider stated they would work with delayed arrivals so I wasn’t worried but there was a mass upheaval in the atrium where guests demanded to use the phone to contact their individual tour companies. The Epic staff caved in and did allow for usage of the phone for people to contact tour companies about the delayed arrival. We arrived in Florence at 9AM instead of 7AM. PRIVATE TOUR: Best of Florence and Pisa by ItalyTours.EU As was mentioned in the confirmation for the tour booking, ItalyTours waited for the arrival of our ship and when I disembarked, I found my name being held by the driver almost immediately. When he rounded up the rest of the guests, we left the port and headed for Florence. Once in Florence we met up with the tour guide from Vox who walked us around the city and took us inside the museum to see the Michelangelo statue. The tour guide provided us with insights about what we were seeing and the history as we walked around. The driver recommended a lunch pizzeria and took some of us there. After gathering the rest of the guests, we went to a scenic overlook of Florence before heading for Pisa. Upon arrival in Pisa, we had a small amount of time which was actually fine to see the sights before heading back to the ship. The tour accomplished everything it stated it would do, even with the time delay. I would highly recommend this tour provider for tours in Italy (they also have tours for Naples and Rome). The tour size is much smaller than what NCL offers (van with Italy Tours versus bus with NCL) and the cost is cheaper than what NCL charges. NCL’s shore excursion prices have skyrocketed since the introduction of the Free at Sea promo. If you take the shore excursion discount, you’re still paying what you’d be paying if you didn’t even bother booking with NCL. ItalyTours guarantees your arrival back to the ship prior to sailing or will get to you the next port for the ship at their own expense. You don’t see any private tour companies really offering such a guarantee! Back on the ship it was a quick change to get to the solo’s gathering in the studio lounge and then off to the LGBT gathering before a Platinum Plus Latitudes perk – Dinner with an Officer. Either there weren’t a lot of Platinum plus cruisers on this sailing or they weren’t interested in dining with an officer. I was the only person to sign up and had dinner with Brett, the Ship’s Training Specialist. It was a nice dinner and we talked about cruising past and present while enjoying dinner in Taste Restaurant. Grace, the Hotel Director’s assistant, arranged the dinner for us. It was a nice time and very well done! It was one of the highlights of the cruise. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The major production show on the NCL Epic is Priscilla, QOTD. I had seen the show just after it was loaded on the Epic back in 2015 so it was nice to see it again. It is definitely a PG-16 or higher rated show. Leave the kids in Splash Academy! It’s a good time to follow the gang to the Australian outback for their show. Lots of good dance numbers and a good storyline. The show has evolved a bit since it was first brought to the Epic but the overall production was enjoyable. I was surprised to see some of the original cast from the first loaded show still doing it nearly four years on! After the show completed, it was time to give Bliss Lounge a try. When we arrived, it was already busy and it wasn’t possible to get into the bar to order so the supervisor sent a bar waitress over to take our order. The service was incredibly slow in there but we did notice one bartender going faster than the others and that’s why people were queueing for him. It took forever for our first round to arrive. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered I was charged for the round of drinks. I did NOT have the beverage package and was shocked when I got the check for $20 for one drink. The last time I sailed on NCL in 2017, the cost was just shy of $12 having gone up from $10 for a Grey Goose and soda. A nearly 100% increase in drink cost? NCL you’ve gone mad. I don’t drink much and with the ridiculously measured pour you did for this $20 drink; you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not Vegas and with all the nickel and diming lately to justify the CEO’s salary, you should be doing much better instead of getting worse. The drink included an increased gratuity I’m sure the bartenders weren’t getting and an additional $1.50 for a port tax. Trying to fix this error at guest services later would result in the transfer of the $1.50 to the other person’s account. When that person complained about the $1.50 charge, it was reversed back to me with the full charge of the drink I didn’t have. Lesson learned… the waitstaff in Bliss were incompetent. Order directly from the bar staff to avoid this screw up, especially if you don’t have the package and are ordering with people who do. DAY 3 – CANNES, FRANCE I went to a highly-rated beach club from TripAdvisor on the Cannes beachfront. Riviera Beach Club was not far from the ship and for a small fee, you could have a lounger in front and have bar service. It was sunny when we arrived but became more overcast as the day wore on. The wind was kicked up so the sand from the beach was blowing on us. We had a few drinks and then returned to the ship. We did so just in time as the wind had kicked up quite a bit slowing tender service down. When we got in queue, it was just at the guard shack and after that, it was all the way up to the street. It was reported by some guests that it took two hours to get back onboard. Naturally, we sailed late again from Cannes towards Mallorca. Tonight, we had the solos gathering where we met Michael, the Filipino bartender who was dancing in Bliss the prior night and constantly had a line for service. He was very fast, efficient and remembered what you were drinking for all my friends and water for me as I wasn’t drinking. If he saw an empty glass he would ask if the person wanted another one. His energy was amazing and we became fans of his for the rest of the cruise in Bliss or finding him at Howl at the Moon. It was sometimes much faster to go to Howl at the Moon to get a drink than it was to get one from the rest of the bartenders in Bliss. The other bartenders in Bliss just didn’t seem to have the same energy or motivation Michael had. SPECIALTY DINNER: Le Bistro Tonight, we had the first of two specialty dinners given to Latitudes members Platinum or higher. We had a 9PM seating meaning most of the restaurant was just about finished their dinner when we came in. I had the duck which was nice along with escargot and crème brulee. The service was nice and our waitress had to leave after the main course to work in another restaurant. We finished up eating shortly before 11PM. It was a good dinner. You had to chose a main course less than $20 which meant four main courses to choose from – duck, chicken and two fish dishes. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Glow Party This was originally supposed to be up at Spice H2O but when we went up there after dinner, it wasn’t up there. It was down in Bliss Lounge. This is always the featured nightclub night of the voyage. Since Mallorca is a late arrival, the ship put the party on this night. This was the ONLY night of the voyage where the party was scheduled for Spice H2O. When the ship is in the Caribbean or Canary Islands as it had been in the past, Spice H2O was used more frequently. I didn’t feel compelled to go on the dance floor as the music just didn’t move me. It was hard to move anyone since the DJ was mixing in and out of songs so fast you couldn’t dance to one. While it shows a good DJ to mix smoothly, let a song play a bit more. I actually ordered two drinks tonight and it was accurately billed since I ordered it directly at the bar. It was an ok night but definitely not the greatest Glow (formerly White) Party I’ve attended on NCL. DAY 4 – PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN Our delayed departure from Cannes caused a delayed arrival into Mallorca. We arrived just before 3PM when we were supposed to be in by 1PM. This caused a mad rush when the ship arrived for people to get off. I went for an independent Hop On, Hop Off excursion. I walked one bus stop up as the line at the port was a bit crazy so I could get a spot on the bus. It worked as the next stop down was the port and the bus filled without clearing the queue. I took the whole circuit which didn’t take too long and then got off in town by the church to see the cathedral closer up. On Saturdays, the cathedral might not be available for viewing as it can be used for weddings. It was closed this day to the public because of a wedding. It was reported by people who had a shore excursion they received a credit for it. The artisan markets strewn about the area had all sorts of interesting wares for sale, from food to crafts. Save yourself the hassle and see Mallorca for 18 EU on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Back on the ship we dined with the solos we had made friends with during the voyage so far but were disembarking in Barcelona the next day. Tonight, we dined in the Manhattan dining room and I had the Prime Rib which was amazing. Dinner was leisurely as we had a big group and we watched the ship sail from there. I had a 9:30PM reservation for Burn the Floor but because dinner went longer, I missed it. DAY 5 – BARCELONA, SPAIN This is the main turn around day for the ship so guests were being told to disembark the ship. Surprisingly, I expected the ship to have more announcements than it did in the early morning hours. My friends and I headed off the ship to find some churros around 9AM to avoid any more announcements and to get off the ship before the new folks showed up to embark. We ventured up to the churros place, took the transit up to Parc Guell and discovered you now needed a ticket to enter it. The last time I was there in 2003, you didn’t need to have a ticket to enter. They were sold out for the day already so I headed for Palau Guell and my friend headed back to the ship. Along the way, I headed to Starbucks for a caffeine fix the ship doesn’t offer. Back on the ship, it was interesting to come on the ship as an in-transit guest. When I arrived to the terminal, I had to go through security in the terminal but then just bypassed everything else and went up the escalator back onto the ship. Very easy to do! Embarkation was well underway at that point for the new cruisers. During the ship’s lifeboat drill, I enjoyed working out in the quiet gym. Since I had done the drill on embark day in Rome, I didn’t have to do this one. It was a great time to use the ship’s services in peace and quiet. I met up with the solos and went to the LGBT meet up to meet the new cruisers. SPECIALTY DINNER: Moderno Churriscaria We had a dinner reservation for 7:15PM in Moderno. We figured it would be easier to dine specialty the first night where everyone was so new and getting their bearings. It was a nice dinner where the passador were fast and efficient at bringing all the meats. We were asked for what else we wanted. The waiter was attentive to my friend’s alcohol requests throughout the dinner service as well. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beattlemania Show The band who usually is setup in the Cavern Club was in the theater. I do know Beattles hits despite my age and decided to take in a bit of the show. It was just as you’d expect for the Beattles. The singers were really good in the band. The show was well attended. I went to Bliss Lounge afterward and hung out there for a short bit before strolling the ship. Bliss didn’t get all the kids out of it by 11PM like usual and so there were kids in there trying to get drinks off adults who had the beverage package. The crowd who embarked during Barcelona was decidedly younger than the crowd who was on the first leg of our voyage. Security was slow in removing the minors as well. We ventured to Howl at the Moon and then onto Cavern Club where Fire and Ice were playing. Not finding our groove anywhere, we decided to call it a night. DAY 6 – SEA DAY Finally, a full day at sea! It was nice to head up on deck and go to the quiet zone up front before most of the cruise passengers discovered it was there. I found a lounger immediately and setup shop for hours. It was nice and quiet to read and snooze while the room was being made up. I left for a late lunch at Taste with my friends before returning to my room and sitting on the balcony which was also in the sunlight. We passed through the Strait of Bonifacio around 1PM and had the land masses of Sardinia and Corsica between us. It was nice to be on the balcony for the last part of the transit. Tonight, we dined with some solos from the studio lounge in the Manhattan Dining Room before heading off to the 9:30PM showing of Burn the Floor. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor I couldn’t figure out why I disliked this show so much before. The dancers are so elegant to watch and technically proficient in their movements but the story is lacking. The dances don’t progress from one genre to a more upbeat genre, they hop around with no rhyme or reason. There’s no story that links them and the singers with this cast were horribly bad, especially the male vocalist. I stayed for about 50 minutes before giving up and leaving. I’ve seen Burn the Floor on other ships but this production just doesn’t make sense or have a flow to it. If Priscilla isn’t your cup of tea, this is the only other show on the ship you’ve got. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Norwegian’s Night Out Party This party was well attended and for a change, the DJ let a song play out. I finally got out on the dancefloor for the first time this voyage. The vibe was finally right to do so or at least early on it was. As the night progressed, the music changed again and just made me stay at the bar with my friends more while they drank. Michael, the Filipino bartender, had to come up and help get my friends drinks because the other bar staff couldn’t keep up. He was dancing around while he did so and having a good time on his own while still offering faster service than the rest of the bar staff who were stationed there. DAY 7 – NAPLES, ITALY We made it to the port ON-TIME! Hurray! The only problem was, I didn’t need to get off the ship early so it didn’t matter. However, I felt with the way this cruise had gone so far, a bravo to the Epic for an on-time arrival is warranted. After having a room service breakfast on the balcony, I went ashore and walked around Naples center for a bit. There’s a not-so-helpful tourist desk setup in the cruise terminal. Just walk out of the terminal and you’ll be hit up by taxi drivers offering tours. You’ll also have options from the Hop On, Hop Off Tour provider just at the end of the drive way to the terminal. It was here I discovered my grave mistake of booking a tour through NCL for Herculaneum for $100 USD when it would have cost 28 EU for the trip out there on my own and then admission cost at the site. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Herculaneum In 2004 when I returned to the Med, I was supposed to visit Herculaneum but skipped the tour and went to Capri with newly made cruise friends instead. This trip allowed me to redeem this and go. Since I didn’t have the logistics worked out before sailing, I booked with NCL. Since I am Platinum Plus, I went to the shore excursion desk to get the discount for booking. You can’t get the discount unless you go there and mention it. The tour started with a bus ride from the terminal at 1PM towards Herculaneum. It was a standard sized tour bus but it wasn’t full of passengers. Upon arrival to the ancient site, we waited while the tour guide purchased the tickets for our entry. She guided us around the site describing things we were seeing using a single earbud setup. The group was too large to fit into some spaces while she was talking so you had to go in afterward or squeeze in together. This is why small group tours were more advantageous. After we completed our summary visit to Herculaneum, we boarded the bus to head to a cameo factory. This is where I really dislike NCL’s tactics. The cameo factory and “teaching you how they do it” is a total joke. They put a video on and have you stare at someone who is sitting at a table near the TV and then take you around back to their showroom where you are expected to buy something from which not only does the vendor make money but NCL gets a kick back from. We could’ve spent more time at Herculaneum and seen more of the sites there versus needing this waste of time. It was when we stopped there that I remembered why I have steered clear of NCL excursions lately. My recommendation is you do the same. You can easily go to Herculaneum on your own for much less than what this tour cost and they have audio guides available at the site. Save your money and do it yourself. Just go earlier to get back and avoid all the port traffic. When we returned to the port, so many tours were returning at the same time that it was chaos for traffic with the containers and trucks coming in and going. It would’ve been faster to walk but we stayed on the bus for over a half hour just to get from the port entrance to the terminal building! Tonight, we dined with a large group of solos, some of whom were with us from Rome, in the Taste Dining Room. It was a fun dinner service after the solos gathering where Michael was bartending at. Service was surprising efficient given our table size. Our dinner moved right along and we were done by 9:30PM. I had time to return to see Priscilla at 10PM for one final time. I loved the production, so I wanted to catch it again on standby. I had no problems grabbing a decent seat. Afterward, it was the 70s dance party in Bliss. I stayed for a bit but was so exhausted from the tour in the hot sun, I called it a night at midnight. DAY 8 – ROME, ITALY Disembarkation was much smoother than embarkation for two reasons. We called the driver who picked us up from the airport to the hotel in Rome to see if he could pick us up at the terminal. He did at 9:30AM. The ship’s transfer option to the airport was to leave at 7AM and cost $60USD. For three of us with a taxi at a more convenient time it was 50EU per person and had door to door service. We disembarked the ship shortly after 8:30AM. You do have to be out of your room by 8AM so people were hanging out in public spaces and not leaving the ship at their assigned times. It caused the lifts to get backed up but we had our trick to get one and got off when we were supposed to. The terminal we were at wasn’t the same one we embarked at and had limited facilities. It was also quite hot outside so we waited in a semi air-conditioned area for the taxi. If you were taking the train, you’d have to go through the bus transfer to the port entrance and then pick up the city bus to head to the train station. I customarily close out my reviews by thanking those on the ship who provided exceptional service. This cruise, only two people stood out for me. The first was my stateroom steward, Charlton from the Philippines. His attentive service and his friendly nature from the first day’s greeting to me and to subsequent chats in the hallway were much appreciated and never forced. The nightly towel animals were a nice touch and the towel body one day was a new one for me after all these sailings! The other person who stood out was Michael Misargano (last name might be misspelled) who was a bartender with salt and pepper hair from the Philippines in the solos lounge, Bliss and Howl at the Moon. This man is to be commended for his energy and quick ability to sling drinks. He was incredibly friendly to those who got to know him and he knew everyone’s drinks without having to ask them for it, only if they wanted a refill. I’m not sure how NCL stole him away from Princess but he could do well training some of his peers to be faster and have more fun while doing so! Special thanks to Brett, Training Officer, for the officer’s dinner and making it interesting. All in all, the Epic isn’t the ship I remembered her to be from previous sailings. The room costs have gone up, the on-ship alcohol prices have gone up, everything has gone up exponentially on NCL. Originally, due to NCLs inflated pricing for their promos, I was booked on the MSC Seaview which sails the same day from Rome, Italy and also embarks there. I switched when after final payment NCL finally came down to be reasonably close (without perks) to what MSC was charging and to be with my friends. MSC is privately owned and while they’re struggling with service issues of their own, the NCL Epic minus the people mentioned above was no different in its service struggles. Cruise lines are expanding too fast and now that NCL is publicly traded, it’s all about squeezing the cruiser to make the investors happy. This cruise couldn’t have been more in your face about it. It’s sad because it’s not the NCL I’ve come to know over the years. While I do have two CruiseNext deposits to return in the future, I won’t be in a rush to use them. I will only sail from the Rome port again with flying in directly and using a NCL transfer directly from airport to cruiseport. It’s sad how every new CEO since Colin Veitch has come to NCL and cheapened the product by so much and yet commanded passengers pay so much more for it. Frank del Rio, CEO of NCLH, should be ashamed of what he’s turned this company into. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The worst designed ship ever. entertainment was terrific but venues and theatre were too small...long line-ups. yoga ($12) and art classes ($35) cost extra but prices are not listed, line- up at front desk for those (called operator many ... Read More
The worst designed ship ever. entertainment was terrific but venues and theatre were too small...long line-ups. yoga ($12) and art classes ($35) cost extra but prices are not listed, line- up at front desk for those (called operator many times, no answer ever). Bottles of water in room are not free - $5 each. Had room attendant clear out the booze and water from the room. If not on a drinks package, You pay US$16,19 and 23 per drink NCL offers daily drink at $9. At the The Garden Cafe on the 15th floor be prepared to be welcomed by a high pitched irritating greeting of “WASHY, WASHY, HAPPY, HAPPY, YUMMY, YUMMY” every single time you enter this place, shame on NCL for needing their staff to act so juvenile. The buffet meals are tepid at best, and staff behind the counter need to be reminded to replenish the food in the serving dishes. The Manhatten and Taste restaurants have the same menus and the smallest portions you have ever seen. Shanghai is the best free restaurant with great service and good sized portions. Half the warm chairs in the Spa weren’t working... and it doesn’t face the sea or anything, not worth the extra $$. Continuous marketing and nickel & diming you. Most surprising: Day 4 newsletter quote: “Very Important Guest Advisory: Additional taxes may apply while in certain ports and whilst the ship is sailing in territorial waters.” : sail route on TV screen showed an unscheduled sail to Rabbat (Morroco). Also, if you’re a Canadian passenger NCL will convert your invoice from $US to $Cdn plus a 3% margin...and charge this to your credit card - another NCL cash grab! Thank goodness I met and enjoyed some great people on this cruise, but that’s a usual experience on any cruise. Forget this ship...There are far better others out there... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this specific time/ship because of the Solo cabins that were so highly rated. This was actually a 7 day cruise to Great Stirrup Cay, Ocho Rios, Georgetown, and Cozumel. This was my 1st time sailing with NCL and it will be my ... Read More
I chose this specific time/ship because of the Solo cabins that were so highly rated. This was actually a 7 day cruise to Great Stirrup Cay, Ocho Rios, Georgetown, and Cozumel. This was my 1st time sailing with NCL and it will be my last. There was a serious lack of communication, disembarkation for excursions, and at the end of the cruise were a nightmare and not well organized, over all cleanliness was an issue, and energy level of the staff was seriously lacking. The solo room and spa were the best part of the cruise ship itself. Excursions were over booked and for the money you paid, didn't get the value. Food was average at best (I did not go to the pay restaurants), only to the complimentary options. Entertainment was awesome (Burn the Floor show and 2 comedy shows). I love to sail, but I will not be considering NCL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
After reading all the bad reviews of the Epic's February and March cruises, I was very apprehensive about my upcoming April 6 cruise. My worries were for naught. The cruise from Embarkation to Debarkation was very satisfying. ... Read More
After reading all the bad reviews of the Epic's February and March cruises, I was very apprehensive about my upcoming April 6 cruise. My worries were for naught. The cruise from Embarkation to Debarkation was very satisfying. Although the ship is huge, it didn't feel any more crowded than the smaller boats I've been on. Elevator wait times were not bad except when shows were finished. The wait for drinks at the bar wasn't bad, no more than 3-4 minutes at times. The specialty restaurants were excellent. The service was impeccable. Not only in the specialty restaurants but also in the free dining rooms. The food at Cagney's was very good, I had the lamb chops. The food and performance of the cook at Tepanyaki was excellent. The food at La Cucina was outstanding. There wasn't a dessert offering at Teppanyaki, I always ordered two appetizers since there was no additional charge. The food at the two free dining rooms was o.k., but the service was excellent. The entertainment was great. Broadway or West End equivalent. Pricilla Queen of the Dessert was not for kids.. It was up there with The Book of Mormon. Burn the Floor was fabulous and thats coming from one who i not crazy about dancing shows. I skipped the ports since I've been to them all before. Not a fan of most of the overpriced activities. Would go again on the Epic. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
first Norwegian cruise ! choose the Epic for the studio rooms for solo travelers - the room is perfect for one person and the use of the studio lounge was nice = met a lot of nice people there as well as on the ship - the shows were ... Read More
first Norwegian cruise ! choose the Epic for the studio rooms for solo travelers - the room is perfect for one person and the use of the studio lounge was nice = met a lot of nice people there as well as on the ship - the shows were great [as usual ] - my only complaint was that the food I ate at several restaurants was cold and had to be returned - this was at the Taste, Sheehans Pub & grill and the worst was at Stirrup Cays buffet - the hot dogs, and hamburgs were cold as well as the corn on the cob [also tough and not sweet ] - found the pools to be small for such a large ship !! also the food at Shanghais was also cold & sent back - I've been on 3 different cruise lines on 5 cruises and this was my first encounter with being served cold food - as I said I like the solo room and the price !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I have only cruised one other cruise line prior to this one, OMG was it different. Debarkation was horrible and the bed in my cabin slept like I made a pallet on a mountain of rock. The bed separated down the middle and made it very ... Read More
I have only cruised one other cruise line prior to this one, OMG was it different. Debarkation was horrible and the bed in my cabin slept like I made a pallet on a mountain of rock. The bed separated down the middle and made it very uncomfortable and restless. I was pretty tired and had back pain when I got back. On another note mostly everything else was good. I liked the cleanliness of every place even the restrooms outside of our rooms, and the buffet dining areas. KUDOS!!! THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!!!!! The beverage and dining packages were an added plus, we were able to try some exceptional cuisine. Being that this was my first Norwegian cruise I had no idea that I had to book my dining or entertainment prior to the cruise for optimum access, but I won't make that mistake again. I wanted to try so many things that were sold out like Escape the big top, send the cirque dinner show ( I paid 47.00 but the show's after mine were 36 dollars) I heard no idea why. My first NCL experience wasn't bad, the bed situation took it down a little because I had to work on my back when I got back, but overall the experience was pretty good. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been travelling on the NCL Epic since 2013 as the ship suits my needs if and when I am travelling alone. I simply love the studio cabins and lounge. I appreciate the fact that you can dine as a group in the evening, having ... Read More
I have been travelling on the NCL Epic since 2013 as the ship suits my needs if and when I am travelling alone. I simply love the studio cabins and lounge. I appreciate the fact that you can dine as a group in the evening, having previously experienced whilst travelling alone some good but sadly more often than not some "not so good" dining experiences. I love chatting to others but don't necessary want to spend the whole cruise with them or for people to feel sorry for me because I am alone and it is nice to speak to like minded people. I have also met and kept in touch with others over the years often meeting up again. Personally I wish they would perhaps change the itinerary on the EPIC as after my next trip I will have I think "done it all", I am due on my 11th or 12th cruise on this ship shortly. The studio cabins I must admit are getting ready for a face lift, doors missing and beginning to look tatty. Some of the "team organisers" also I think, try too hard sometimes in their pursuit to "organise" the solos, with games etc but apparently they need the good reviews. I cannot believe after reading cruise reviews that people are still complaining about the other cabins on this ship regarding the sink and bathroom set up. Yes its different and yes it has proved not so good and for that reason I believe no other ships were designed like that. Since I have been travelling on this ship and the introduction of the drinks package there are more lines for the bar but that is life I suppose. My only serious complaint with the ship is that since the "taking off your own luggage" was introduced and become so popular it is frankly a nightmare disembarking the EPIC. I agree with an earlier review in that I think it is dangerous. I am surprised they have not sorted this out by now. Perhaps stopping this practice altogether. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I can’t ever see myself or our group doing NCL again. Poor service many errors and overall poor customer service. Billing issues on my account before even leaving port. 2 drinks $74 bill. Had drink package. Lack of bar service. ... Read More
I can’t ever see myself or our group doing NCL again. Poor service many errors and overall poor customer service. Billing issues on my account before even leaving port. 2 drinks $74 bill. Had drink package. Lack of bar service. Only cruise out of 27 or so I had to visit the guest service desk 4 times. I am really easy going person. Food in the taste did not come out together from 1st person getting apps to last person was 10 minutes and the meal was 15. The pub should be a place to show up and have some drinks but you must check in to get table and wait. Freestyle Cruising has missed the Mark. You much plan all your items like shoes and tenders to shore. Don’t try to do what you want or when you want to do it. I will not say it ruined the cruise because our group still make the best of it. Looks elsewhere if you have cruised other cruise lines. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Worst vacation experience.! Overcrowded! Not enough room for people on the pool deck. Long lineups for everything. Not enough staff working very long shifts. The ship is under constriction taking up deckbspace with sounds of ... Read More
Worst vacation experience.! Overcrowded! Not enough room for people on the pool deck. Long lineups for everything. Not enough staff working very long shifts. The ship is under constriction taking up deckbspace with sounds of sawing and grinding metal. They stress hygine to avoid illness but can't keep the handsoap refilled in the washrooms (complained twice because ALL dispensers were empty). Add engine mechanical issues and we didn't make any of our ports of call. Hostages bouncing around the Atlantic with the same boring routine and every day more bad news from the captain. The one day we went to the unscheduled port of San Juan for repairs we hit the dock and finally made the news. Apparently things like this happen regularly a frequent cruisers are unfazed. An a first time cruiser, this is far from what I expected and not worth the hefty pricetag! Our return to our original port or Orlando would be 12 hours late which of course impacted flight schedules. After everyone rescheduled they announced we would return earier. Many of us could have made our original flights! How do so many mistakes happen? It very expensive waste of valuable vacation time. I have yet to see any type of compensation. Not for the ports we didn't visit, the excursions I didn't go on. The crappy ship. The extra expense of hotel and reschedule flights. I didn't get to swim in the sea or even walk on a sandy beach. DON'T DO IT!!! A cheap all-inclusive resort has the same quality of entertainment and you won't get screwed out of your hard earned vacation time and savings. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We just got off a 10 day cruise on the Epic. Just thought I'd share a few things with the group..... We booked this cruise because of the ship (we had been on the Epic previously and love her!) and the length of the ... Read More
We just got off a 10 day cruise on the Epic. Just thought I'd share a few things with the group..... We booked this cruise because of the ship (we had been on the Epic previously and love her!) and the length of the cruise......we had been to all the ports a couple times so we figured we'd get off if we felt like it, or not, so we felt no pressure to run around all over the place if we chose to just stay on the ship. I enjoyed that feeling of relaxation! Our cruise stopped at the usual suspects.....Jamaica, Grand Caymen, Belize, Cozumel, Costa Maya......we were supposed to stop at the NCL private Island (which we've been to before) but couldn't get in due to rough waters.....so we had an extra sea day which we enjoyed. Our favorite port was by far Costa Maya....they have an area for only cruise ships that was really done nicely, with shops, a pool, restaurants and bars, alot of activities and things to do and see. It was great! They had added so much since we had seen it a few years ago! Had a great time there! The best snorkeling I've ever experienced is in Cozumel.....we were told about a place called Money Beach our first trip there and have gone there every time since! It's a short cab ride from the pier and well worth it! Nice restaurant and bar, lounge chairs.....rent snorkeling gear for about $12 for the day and you're all set. Clearest water and the most fish I've ever seen!! Don't even get off the ship in Grand Caymen unless you just want to go to a beach or shop. Nothing much there IMO. Same goes for Jamaica, we got off to go to Margaritaville where we had some fun years ago, but it's really changed. Wouldn't go again, very run down, no fun, terrible service!! We're not fans of Belize either, but this time it was nice because they built a private Island which was nice, so we enjoyed it this time. Nice beach, pool with swim-up bar, shops, etc.......no comparison to Costa Maya but along the same lines. Now for the ship...... We are in the minority in that we never spend extra money to upgrade our cabin because it's just not worth it to us.....we are never in it but to shower, change and sleep!! So we keep our inside. We like to be up on the deck for breakfast, the pool, etc., we aren't they type to sit in our room by ourselves and look out at the ocean from our balcony, we like to be among the people! So my critic is for the inside cabin..... Don't listen to all the nay-sayers who complain about the set-up of the bath area.....it's no big deal! Yes, the shower, sink and toilet are all separated, but there's a curtain you can pull if you need to which only leaves the sink outside of it, but it worked fine for us. The toilet and shower also of course have their own doors, so who cares?! The room was probably the most spacious on any of the ships, the closet and drawer space was absolutely the best, and there is plenty of cabinet space for toiletries above the sink. If you can get by the unusual bath set-up, it's the best laid out room with the best closet and drawer space for everything we've had, and we've been on many NCL ships!! The food in the main dining rooms has come a long way from years ago. We were extremely impressed with everything we ordered in Taste and Manhattan Room. The buffet is average.....breakfast is breakfast and they had a good variety every morning, it's set up well in that there are quite a few "omelette stations" and they had eggs benedict every day so I was happy! Their breads are amazing, their bakery on all the NCL ships IMO is second to none. Lunch was ok, nothing special I will say for the lunch buffet but they have great chicken salad and they had a taco bar almost every day so that was cool! We ate in Le Bistro and Moderno this time with our two platinum free specialty dinners. Le Bistro wasn't as good as other ships IMO but Moderno was amazing! They have a fantastic soup/salad bar to die for!! My favorite part of the whole meal was the soup (Fiejoada)......unbelievable!! I couldn't wait to get back to that restaurant just for that. Make sure you try it!! Entertainment....the two main shows were not up to par with other ships IMO....but worth seeing......Burn the Floor and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Both interesting but mediocre compared to some other newer ships.....we saw Rock of Ages and Oh What a Night and Blue Man Group on other cruises. Rock of Ages is far and away my favorite, I think it's still on the Breakaway. We love Howl at the Moon so we stopped in there every night they played. The comedian Rodney L. (forget his last name, sorry) was the best I've ever seen, don't miss him!! What else......the casino......not my favorite but large and spread out, not the best selection of slots IMO and way too smokey and smelly when you got near the smoking section. Some of the games I liked were in smoking so I did have to venture in there sometimes but it was horrible!!! All in all, the Epic is one of our favorite NCL ships......we aren't fans of the pool area on the Breakaway class ships.....the Epic has a large area of outdoor tables so you can have breakfast and lunch while at the pool without having to sit in that stupid corridor or inside like on those others. That's a big deal to us, so I would choose the Epic, the Dawn, and others over that Breakaway class all day long!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Embarkation was a nightmare. Not a good way to start the cruise. Waited in line for an hour and a half to board in the heat. Cabin - was just ok. At least I had closet doors unlike a lot of other solo guests. The carpet was filthy and ... Read More
Embarkation was a nightmare. Not a good way to start the cruise. Waited in line for an hour and a half to board in the heat. Cabin - was just ok. At least I had closet doors unlike a lot of other solo guests. The carpet was filthy and stained. The 2 plugs are in wacky locations. My power strip did not fit the space they were in. I would have to unplug one thing to charge another or to use something. Annoying. The toilet kept stopping up and so did the sink. The lighting was awful in the solo cabin I had on Deck 11.The hallway was extremely narrow, smelled terrible and there was always at least 3 cleaning carts parked in them. Along with the stewards who were pretty noisy. My steward did a good job but he was annoying. He was constantly calling my cabin...even when the do not disturb sign was placed. I had the do not disturb sign out and he entered my cabin anyway. He said I called and you didn't answer. ????? One of the entrance doors to the solo area never worked with the key card. This was inconvenient and it was never fixed.There was something going on with the ventilation on the ship. So many people were coughing and hacking and complaining. I was one of them and I among others still have it. This made sleeping impossible...so did my noisy neighbor in the adjoining cabin and the stewards in the hall that were outside my door constantly. Food- I was not impressed with the food. My last cruise was on the Escape and I loved the food. The service in the Manhattan Room was very slow. The singer in the Manhattan Room was so loud on the last night of the cruise... it was borderline obnoxious. O'Sheehans is usually one of my favorite places.Our waiter "forgot" he was waiting on us one day midway through our meal. When we asked for service he said did you check in up front? Shows - I loved the cirque show...the food was not impressive. I missed Priscilla Queen of the Desert because I was miserable from coughing; and was unaware how limited the shows were. Did not get to see it. Pool area- actually liked the outdoor food they offered and usually the music. The bartenders were not very friendly and seats were scarce. H20 - Stairs to get to the bar? Not very well thought out.We spent most of our time there on the Escape. None was spent there on the Epic. My friend is disabled and that made it inaccessible. Solo lounge - was relatively small and needed a better variety of snacks other than cookies.The bartender during bar hours was a plus and he was very nice. Elevators - Need one mid ship. I did not enjoy going through the smokey casino to get to the other end of the ship. Tinders - Yikes Not fun.One of them actually caught on fire. We had to tinder into another side of Grand Cayman which made us have to taxi to the port we were supposed to be at. This cost us extra money and time was lost that could have been spent in the port. Nothing back from NCL for this inconvenience. Disembarkation - was the best experience. Easy and seamless. I could not wait to get off of the ship. I was counting down the days...that is pretty sad. Ports - other than Tinder ports the process went smoothly to visit the ports. The ports were nice and we had good weather for the most part. The company I shared on this cruise was nice. The solo coordinator Veronica was wonderful. I will not go on the Epic again. I had 3 future booked cruises that happened to be on the Epic. They are canceled. Perhaps the Escape spoiled me - The crew was nicer, the bartenders were nicer. The ship and my room were immaculate and the food was exceptional. This experience will not keep me from cruising with NCL ...I just won't cruise on this ship anymore. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
I returned to Norwegian for my second cruise in 10 years because as solo traveller I wanted to experience the solo studios and I also wanted to do a trans-Atlantic. Like before, the Norwegian experience is hit and miss. But on this ... Read More
I returned to Norwegian for my second cruise in 10 years because as solo traveller I wanted to experience the solo studios and I also wanted to do a trans-Atlantic. Like before, the Norwegian experience is hit and miss. But on this cruise two things were exceptional: the solo studio experience and the onboard entertainment. I never expected the solo traveller program to be so brilliantly organized, I never expected to make good friends, I never expected to never eat alone! NCL had a brilliant young Filipino named Ters Tesoro (or Terry) who held daily meetings in the solo lounge with solo travellers. The lounge is a great concept as the single studios are so small. You can hang out there, drink good coffee or nibble cookies or croissants (supplied daily) and chill with fellow cruisers. Several dozen attended the late afternoon daily meetings, when Ters would offer those who felt sociable a chance to have dinner together, avoiding the queues, or a show where seats were put aside for us. We could meet for all meals, and soon several small groups befriended each other and would do stuff together. It was huge fun and completely unexpected. Entertainment was also first rate: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Burn the Floor were excellent and with pianists, comedians, hypnotist, Beatles tribute band, and a wild Icelandic singer/violinist all available, evenings rocked on the Epic. Now for the bad stuff: I love to deck walk, and the narrow jogging track on one side of one deck is a joke. I so missed the Princess's promenade decks! I tried to walk on Deck 15 but was told no. The food was mainly poor to terrible. It was almost impossible to get warm, let alone hot, food in Taste, one of the main dining rooms. I don't blame the servers, it was a systematic failure from Kitchen to Table. You know things are bad when the plates are cold to the touch. And that was 90% of the time. Meals took forever: sometimes two hours to complete breakfast. I have cruised more than a dozen times, and this was by far the worst dining room experience. The other "complimentary" dining room, Manhattan, was a little better. The 24-hour pub always managed to provide piping hot food, but the wait at lunchtime was often very long. I was surprised when I first entered my studio room at 3 pm on sailing day to find it was not made up and clothing from the previous occupant was still hanging in the closets. He had apparently moved to another room for the TransAtlantic but no-one had removed his clothes. Weird. The other really annoying thing about NCL is the constant pressure to put money down on your next cruise. A phone message. Messages on the TV. Almost daily notes or letters encouraging you to put money down. The worst (and most disgusting) tactic was to send you a copy of your bill to date (showing your charges) to make the point that a future cruise deposit would waive these charges. Well I had prepaid grats and grats on the drink package, so my bill should have shown zero, not the $500 or so in charges the invoice said I had run up. I saw several people take these fake invoices to guest services who said it was nothing to do with them and had come from the NextCruise people. Shameful. I enjoyed my cruise overall but feel the experience was hugely enhanced by the solo program which allowed me to put up with the negatives. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
I choosen this Norwegian Epic becuse od western Med.Regions, Its provides the most terrible foods in the crusie ship history. I stronnglrg not recommended to anyone , single ,family and senoirs . JUST NO . By the way no good drinkings ... Read More
I choosen this Norwegian Epic becuse od western Med.Regions, Its provides the most terrible foods in the crusie ship history. I stronnglrg not recommended to anyone , single ,family and senoirs . JUST NO . By the way no good drinkings waters supply. Totaly terrible services the dinnig room foods were not foods just junkies . Terrible and horrible services . THe ship were gay desert queen just not foe family . Lousy shows its needs to be up graded or changes . the vendors macines were not working for the whole trips no one care about that .Foods services on the ship were just not not enough to eat . JUst terrible and horrible . I would not recommended anyoe to go on board for just a horrible ship. . By the wat in board the ship announced FREE bout it was not everythings needs to pay .The entrtainments just horrible noy na good shows to terrible shows for everyonre. Noe I found a good way to expressed myslf to everyone who like Western Med regions , Please don't go to Norweegian Epic that all.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past ... Read More
Overall this was a fantastic trip. All of the ports were awesome with embarkation and disembarkation really smooth with the exception of Naples. Getting back onboard was a chore. The ship itself was awesome. I’ve cruised in the past and I often found myself with nothing to do, or entertainment that wasn’t entirely entertaining. Not the case with the Epic. The shows were fantastic and the dining options were endless. I traveled with a large group and there were plenty of options for us to get together as a group for dinner or a show. The only thing that wasn’t 100% was the quality of the rooms. The ship is a little bit older and the wear and tear was pretty apparent in some places. There were a few spots throughout where it looked like a quick fix was in place, but it was nothing that would have turned me away from sailing on the Epic, or any Norwegian ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I took the 7 day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, and after spending 2 days in Barcelona I didn’t want to leave! However as soon as I got on the ship I was in total awe! Yes it’s massive but give that 2 days and you’ll navigate ... Read More
I took the 7 day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona, and after spending 2 days in Barcelona I didn’t want to leave! However as soon as I got on the ship I was in total awe! Yes it’s massive but give that 2 days and you’ll navigate just fine! As a solo traveller I was in the studio cabins and I was super happy with my room and the solo lounge. Our coordinator Ruby did a great job of bringing us together and although I didn’t see the entire group every night I had a base of friends I could spend my time with each night. My only recommendation is that dinner was too early at 6pm after a long day of excursion where I would literally arrive at 5:30. The excursions were amazing and well worth the price, I had some great tour guides which made the experience for me. The ship was beautiful and my favourite locations were Maltings Bar, older crowd and great drinks by Joseph! Shakers had amazing martinis and O’Sheehans was good for a late night snack or breakfast on the way to my excursion. In terms of food, I would say it was good not great and my favourite dinner location was The Manhattan Room and Cagney’s was great for a steak if you have the specialty restaurant package or just want to splurge was well worth it! Overall I had an amazing experience, met some great people and will definitely cruise again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great itinerary, going to places we have never been and wanted to visit. This cruise offered two locations for embarkation, and we chose Rome. There were several places that we wanted to visit in Rome and this gave us the opportunity to arrive in Rome a few days early and spend some additional time there. The City of Rome is actually quite a drive from the cruise port so using this as one of our ports would not have allowed enough time to see everything that we wanted to. The cruise port here in Civitavecchia had just opened so everything was brand new and the process went very smoothly. There also were not as many people embarking here as in Barcelona. so we were able to avoid the crowds. The ship was a bit different than others that we have been on. but there were no major issues. The toilet was in it's own little closet, as was the shower which was on the other side of the door of the cabin. The sink was in the room. The bed was comfortable for my husband and myself, but could be a problem for a tall person. There was plenty of storage in the cabin but very little walking room. One thing that we missed was a walking deck that went around the outside of the ship.There was a small "track" that went up and down one side of the ship on one deck. The upper deck and a few small pools, hot tubs, waterslide and climbing wall. The Garden Cafe Buffet was our choice for breakfast each morning and the food was excellent. We had a promotion for 3 nights of dining in the specialty restaurants and the food options offered were excellent. The regular dining room did not seem to offer very interesting options. The entertainment on the ship was very good, though several required reservations. This was a very enjoyable trip and I would highly recommend it. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Just got back from a 7 day cruise on the NCL Epic. What a great cruise. Started in Barcelona and did a week hitting Italy, France, and Spain. Few notes... The Ship: Hands down one of the best ship I have sailed on. The Epic has ... Read More
Just got back from a 7 day cruise on the NCL Epic. What a great cruise. Started in Barcelona and did a week hitting Italy, France, and Spain. Few notes... The Ship: Hands down one of the best ship I have sailed on. The Epic has everything for everyone. --The service is top notch with the Hotel Director Nelson on top of everything. Nelson is very visible all the time. Many times I saw him helping people, inspecting the food venues, and talking to guests. He is very approachable and like to interact with the guests to make sure everyone is having a great holiday. His assistant Agatha contributes alot and is also very visible. With over 4,000 guests, they stay very busy, and truly care about your experience. Hats off to NCL for hiring the best in the business for there fleet. Definitely, sets them apart from the competitors. --The Entertainment: Great shows including the "Priscilla queen of the desert". The shows are just like what you expect from Broadway productions. Also, the Circus dinner was fantastic. Amazing to the the talent that is on the boat. You definitely got to attend. Casio is very big. I think one of the biggest at sea. Very friendly staff with all the table games you want. The themed parties are great too. NCL has a white party that is real cool. Its held in the back of the ship in an open air venue. Live music is always playing. --The Food/Drink: One of, if not, the best food and beverage program at sea. Plenty of options including a complementary Chinese restaurant (we ate there twice). The Carney's steakhouse was excellent. Just what you expect with the same quality as Capital Grill or Morton's. This was my favorite restaurant. The buffet has everything you can think of with great hours. We didnt do room service but it had an extensive menu. The beverage package is the best deal in town. Open bar was a great value that offered an amazing selection and fast and friendly service. I would strongly recommend you getting the package. Plus, its nice when you are with a group not having a tab. --The Ports: The ports are great. My favorite was Barcelona and Palma. Ship is docked right in the middle of the action and plenty to see. We also stopped in Cannes and took the train to Monaco. It was very easy and nice to see. Rome is a little tricky to get to. Its about 45 min from the port. Need to leave early to enjoy the day. Naples has great pizza and nice shopping. Over all this was one of my favorite cruises that I took. I have been on all the big lines like Royal, Carnival, and Princess. I really think that NCL is the best not only for service but for value. They don't nickle and dime you and the staff are amazing. Would recommend you try the specialty restaurants. Looking forward to our next sail. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Wow, what a great cruise! I sailed with my wife, 16-year-old daughter, her best friend and another couple in a total of 3 cabins. We embarked on March 24th and arrived back at Port Canaveral this morning a very tired group. Embarkation was ... Read More
Wow, what a great cruise! I sailed with my wife, 16-year-old daughter, her best friend and another couple in a total of 3 cabins. We embarked on March 24th and arrived back at Port Canaveral this morning a very tired group. Embarkation was very quick. We arrived at10:30, spent about 10 minutes getting our sea cards and the rest of the time waiting for our group to be called at 11:30. Overall, the food on the ship was fabulous. Our favorite meals were at La Bistro and Shanghai’s. Cagney’s was pretty good, but I don’t understand all of the hype I have been reading. The restaurant itself was amazing, but the food was about a 7 out 10. I got the porterhouse and my wife got the filet which were both about the quality you might get at outback. O’Sheehan’s was a very cool place to be as far as atmosphere, but the food was definitely on the lesser side of our favorites. They seem to have a bad habit of bringing out cold food that would probably be very good if it were hot. Service was also very hit or miss, mostly miss. We ate at Cirque Dreams and had a very nice meal here, especially considering it being “show food” and coming out all at once for the entire restaurant. The show itself was amazing. The food on all of the buffets was always fresh and very tasty. We also had a sushi snack at Wasabi’s and was very impressed. Entertainment on the ship was some of the better we have ever seen. All of the theatre shows were worth seeing. We became groupies of “Siglo” who plays everything from contemporary rock to classic rock and are spot on with all of the songs they sing. Unfortunately, this was there farewell week on the Epic and they are on a plane right now to Germany to become the headliner on the Bliss. I would book my next cruise just to see these guys, they were that good. The band even helped me with a customized souvenir by autographing a broken bass drum. Epic Beatles is definitely worth seeing as is Howl at the Moon. We did not do the comedy club, but I heard it was great. During sea days, the pool is VERY busy and the Epic does not have a lot of hidden areas like you see on many cruise ships to get away from the crowd. I was told when we checked in at the port that our sailing had the second most number of passengers ever, so that did not help the crowd issue. The pool bars do become very busy but if you tip the bartenders and the waiters bringing drinks, they will definitely pay you more attention. If we sail again on the Epic, we’ll most likely upgrade to the Haven to be guaranteed a place to get away from the crowd. Our 16 year olds were not impressed with the teen club. That being said, all of the younger teens we spoke with loved it. Ours are just the age where they want to meet new people and "hang out", which was mostly done by the pool. The feedback from both of them was an awesome cruise. Overall, We really liked the Epic and would sail again. If you have specific questions, comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
About a month before my cruise on the NCL Epic, I was sitting in my office and thinking…I need a mini-vacation! I decided to go solo. I did not want to overthink it. 20 minutes later, I had a room booked in a solo cabin aboard the ... Read More
About a month before my cruise on the NCL Epic, I was sitting in my office and thinking…I need a mini-vacation! I decided to go solo. I did not want to overthink it. 20 minutes later, I had a room booked in a solo cabin aboard the Norwegian Epic for a March 7, 2018 departure for Port Canaveral. Break out the sunscreen, warm up my liver, buy bigger pants (for when I get home)….oh yeah! I was ready! Booking the trip: Booked online through NCL website for 4 day, 3 night cruise to Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay (NCL Island). Booked a Solo Cabin. These were actually about the same cost as if I booked a one person inside cabin, but I wanted the solo group experience and access to the solo lounge and meetings, which are exclusive to those staying in the Solo Cabins. I took advantage of the free Unlimited Beverage Package (UBP), which does require that you pre-pay 18% gratuity on $89 per day of the value, but it was worth the cost to me and it’s much easier to not worry about tipping on board. I prepaid gratuities. I printed out my confirmation (with the bar code) and luggage tags. I used packing tape to basically laminate my tags to avoid them tearing off. Transportation from Orlando Airport: I took Cortrans Shuttle Service from MCO. Cost $20 one way/$40 round trip (plus a few dollars voluntary tip). I paid cash onsite. I arranged in advance on their website. They gave easy instructions on where to meet. My flight arrived early (was at pickup location by 10:30AM for 11:15AM shuttle), so I had to wait about 45 minutes until my actual shuttle time. Arrived to cruise port at 12:15AM. They drop right at the cruise port and luggage porters. I highly recommend Cortrans. They use mid-sized buses. Great service! Arrival at cruise port: Shuttle arrived at 12:15PM. Porters waiting took luggage practically right off the shuttle. Busy time for boarding. Took almost a full hour until actually onboard. I recommend you check everything you don’t need with the porters. Otherwise, you will be carrying bags around for the couple of hours it takes to have your room ready. Boarding: Unless you are high status ‘Latitudes’ club member, you’ll have to wait in a long line to board which reminisces waiting in a Disney line for Space Mountain. They ask if you want to leave a credit card for expenses, similar to a hotel, which I did and recommend everyone do. It was so convenient to not have to go to the desk and settle my bill. I received an itemized receipt the morning of arrival and was just able to walk off. Since it was lunchtime, everyone heads up to the main buffet, which was very crowded. I went to O’Sheehan’s bar instead, which was good and fast table service. Had some wings and a ruben sandwich and a beer. Went topside to pool bar. Note that while in Port Canavaral, there is a small charge per drink for port taxes ($.70-$1.20 or so), so don’t be surprised to see some small charges on your bill for these. Food and drink: I didn’t use any of the restaurants that cost extra. Breakfast at ‘Taste’ was good and was table service (Eggs Benedict!). Had dinner at the Manhattan Room, Taste, the chinese place. All were OK, but not fantastic. Next trip I’m doing specialty service. Long pants and collared shirts in dining rooms at night for men. Women look great in anything. I liked the mixed drinks better at Bliss and Maltings Whisky Bar (which besides making a good Old Fashion was also the only bar to have IPA Beer). The drinks by the pool were good if you keep basic since these bartenders are very very busy. They had Tito’s, Grey Goose, and other high-end liquors. UBP includes all drinks up to $15 and you pay excess of that. Everything I wanted was within the UBP. Bottled water and canned soda as well as specialty coffees were not included in UBP (why not NCL?), but fountain soda, iced tea, water was included. Solo cabin: The solo cabin is small and funky. I’m a big guy…6’3” about 300lb. I found the bed comfortable and large enough. Taking a shower in the small telephone booth size shower for me was like washing a large van in a small carwash. Nonetheless, I liked the cabins. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in them anyway. After I booked, I saw that my cabin was far away from Solo Lounge. I called NCL and changed to one closer. This was a good choice since some folks were really far from the lounge and general gathering space. There are 128 Solo Cabins on the Epic. All people in Solo Cabins have exclusive use of the Solo Lounge. The lounge had an awesome coffee machine for free use, which included lattes, cappuccino, espresso functions. Baked cookies and danishes in the morning was nice. The first day at 6PM we had a meeting at the Solo Lounge to meet our NCL Solo host, Silvia. She made arrangements for those of us to go to dinner together a different restaurants at 6PM for each of the three nights. About a half dozen of us, which is a relatively small group compared to the 128 Solo Cabins on board, decided to go. We ended up hanging out together the rest of the cruise…dining together, going ashore, etc. New friends whom I’d like to cruise with again. There is also a happy hour in the Solo Lounge every night from 5-7PM. This was a good opportunity to meet others staying the solo cabins. Some folks were truly solo travelers. Some were friends who are staying in the solo cabins. Others were traveling with their others, but wanted their own cabin. Some of the cabins are connecting. Ports: In Nassau, my new friends and I decided to head to Junkanoo Beach and hang out at the Tiki Bikini Hut. We enjoyed the drinks, beach area, DJ, and free wifi. Great server (Amanda) from South Africa. We also went ashore at Great Stirrup Cay. This is an NCL island, which means food and UBP was included there. We hung around the Bacardi Bar. If you want to go early to the Great Stirrup Cay, you should reserve a tender. These are reserved in groups…tender 1,2,3 etc. If you reserve Tender 1 and decide to go later than the first tender, you can still go in a higher group. Shows: The cruise was short so I only went to the ‘Burn the Floor’ dance show on the second night. We showed up about 10 minutes before the show and were able to sit in third row center section. Great show that lasted about an hour. Disembarking: You can either carry your bags off in the morning, or use NCL’s color coded system, which takes your bags for you. You then disembark according to you color coded time. I just walked off with my bags. The schedule said disembarking begins at 7:30AM. I left my cabin at 7:15AM and was through customs/immigration and off the ship by 7:45AM. It was very easy and much quicker than boarding. My Cortrans shuttle had to wait about a half an hour, but I was back at Orlando Airport by 9:15AM. On my flight back, I was already missing being on the ship and my new friends. I was also curious on why the seatbelts were now smaller than before! ;) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was my first ever cruise, I went with two friends that have been on many cruises in the past and was looking forward to a good time. Their were far too many college kids on the boat on account of spring break, I heard 1500 kids on ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise, I went with two friends that have been on many cruises in the past and was looking forward to a good time. Their were far too many college kids on the boat on account of spring break, I heard 1500 kids on board and had I known in advance I would have never chosen Norwegian as my first cruise. Because of the excess of college kids we were unable to enjoy the pool or hot tub . They were quick to grab the available pool side chairs and then not spend any time in them. The crew was not friendly or helpful when called upon especially the servers at the ship`s restaurant. On the positive side , the food was good at the buffet and at the restaurants I was able to attend.. My cabin was comfortable and clean and I enjoyed the many shows that I attended. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We were encouraged to accompany a friend on the cruise--a milestone birthday celebration. And one member in our party also ran into a former work colleague. As such, we always enjoyed great company during our cruise, falling into a regular ... Read More
We were encouraged to accompany a friend on the cruise--a milestone birthday celebration. And one member in our party also ran into a former work colleague. As such, we always enjoyed great company during our cruise, falling into a regular schedule to meet for meals, sunbathing, happy hours, and evening entertainment. Having previously cruised on other lines, we really enjoyed NCL's variety of meals (package-deal buffets, readily available thru the day, package-deal restaurants, etc.) and especially the flexible timing for dining (no assigned "early vs. late" shifts). We also opted for the drink package, again enjoying the variety offered (especially as the rougher Nor'easter seas nixed our island stop and delayed our Nassau day-in-port). As such, the variety of beverages and locations of bars made our days at sea quite relaxing. Speaking of the drink package, we found our mixologist, Vladimir, to be a most cordial and talented server thruout the cruise. Also adding entertainment to our review, guitarist/vocalist Ben was a nightly treat for us (especially his tributes to Tom Petty and the Rolling Stones). I regret I didn't get the names of our servers in that centrally-located bar, but they also were first-rate, especially in so promptly serving the many patrons who likewise were there for Ben's sets. And per the reports it spawned, the ship's Captain and crew are to be highly commended for their handling of the final evening's challenging recovery at sea. In short, we definitely recommend NCL and look forward to return cruises with the line, thanks. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
The solo cruisers program hosted on this cruise by Morne Carstens was great. There was a good selection of dining choices and entertainment events. However, there was often not enough space in a particular venue to view and enjoy some ... Read More
The solo cruisers program hosted on this cruise by Morne Carstens was great. There was a good selection of dining choices and entertainment events. However, there was often not enough space in a particular venue to view and enjoy some events, O'Sheehans bar and grill had too narrow a selection of entrees. For me this ship was too big. I will choose a smaller ship in the future. Although I did enjoy several features unique to the size ship, such as the multi-level water slides and the ice room, they are not enough of an incentive for me to recommend this ship to others. I also enjoyed the therma spa but felt it was overpriced. Also the bar service was consistently slow as it seemed the bars were understaffed. One positive was guest services - staff here were always available and responsive. I also felt the on board shopping choices were less attractive than other cruises I have taken. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
Recently, had the pleasure of cruising the Epic in February. I love Norwegian and really like the Escape and Getaway. I’m definitely a megaship fan. The Epic is different-no waterfront (which I knew ahead of time-but will say was a ... Read More
Recently, had the pleasure of cruising the Epic in February. I love Norwegian and really like the Escape and Getaway. I’m definitely a megaship fan. The Epic is different-no waterfront (which I knew ahead of time-but will say was a nice add to the more recent ships). Also, somethings seem backwards-when comparing to the Getaway and Escape (such as Atrium-in back of ship, same with Maltings Whiskey Bar). Spice H20 is different-it has a pool and hot tubs. However, stadium layout makes it challenging to have big parties-such as the glow party. Still, it has its upsides-such as the pool and no children. Embarkation in Port Canaveral was different than Miami-seemed easier. I was on around 1130-1145 with ease and definitely not a Group 1. I went to Taste for lunch-was nice. I also very much enjoy the Garden café-the pizza I so good it is grabbed up as soon as the crew can place it out. I was a solo cruiser and NCL does that well. My steward, Bryan, was wonderful. My solo coordinator, Lester, was also fabulous! I met some great people over the week-both cruisers and crew! Unfortunately, I did not get to dine in any of the specialty restaurants. Unfortunately, cruisers have taken to booking all their reservations when they get onboard at the latest. It makes it hard to “freestyle”. I don’t want to book that early-as its unknown when various events will be such as fun gameshow, Deal or No Deal. Sure, I could obtain the Daily newsletter in advance but I enjoy reading it for the first time each night. Freestyling is the NCL way and cruisers need to be less anal and stop booking all dinner reservations in advance-this is not Disney World. Alternatively, NCL could restrict reservations to same-day. However, I still think they should be like the Cheesecake Factory and not take reservations. I watched the musical Priscilla of the Desert-it was good. It is adult-themed. Overall, I think NCL needs to work on finding more shows for the 20, 30s and 40s crowd. Legally Blonde was good, Priscilla on this cruise was good and Brat Pack was ok. But overall, stuff like Million Dollar Quartet, Burn the Floor-just not appealing to the young professional crowd (IMO). This brings me to another piece of feedback. I understand some like live music-but that is not a universal pleasure. I think that is also more appealing to an older crowd. I was disappointed that EVERY bar on the EPIC had live music EVERY night. I just wanted to enjoy cocktails and chat with my friends. I would hope that in the future NCL would only schedule live music at some bars-not all. I will say the demographics on this cruise were also strongly an older crowd (not retired -more so had kids and they are now teens or older and families with small kids-I will probably stick more to sailing out of Miami. I just don’t think Port Canaveral has a large young professional demo-but of course it could have just been this cruise. Glow party was fun-it’s important to have parties. I hope they keep it. However, I think the schedule needs revision-many game shows were during the dinner hours-and then we had a big gap from 9 to almost 11. Rather than having game shows at 5, 6, 7-push them to 8, 9pm. I will also add that the studio cabins are great-very modern but the closet doors do not appear to be holding up well. A number of us did not have any closet door-bc they had stopped moving well and were removed. This should be addressed next dry dock. Also, I would not recommend Passion Island beach excursion in Cozumel-they only have a handful of real beach chairs-all of which were taken before we arrived. I would rate that excursion-not good at all! Overall, the Epic was a fun cruise. I love NCL and I think with a few tweaks we can make it even greater. 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

Find a Norwegian Epic Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise