182 Norwegian Epic Repositioning Cruise Reviews

A transatlantic cruise is on my husband’s bucket list and this timeframe and ports worked for us. I provid more detail below in the cabin review section as I did not realize I was to place it here. PLEASE SEE THIS SECTION FOR ... Read More
A transatlantic cruise is on my husband’s bucket list and this timeframe and ports worked for us. I provid more detail below in the cabin review section as I did not realize I was to place it here. PLEASE SEE THIS SECTION FOR SPECIFIC DETAILS Cabin - good, no lounger on balcony Food - poor Service - mixed, from poor to good Shows - excellent Ship layout - Fair, swimming pools look so odd compared to RCL. They are really unappealing to the eye. Itinerary - great ports considering a transatlantic cruise Time change - no time change for 3 days and then a change 3 days in a row. I think this could have been spread out more. Dining experience - freestyle means no reservations in the main dining rooms; this does mean you will wait from 5-30 minutes for a table. Cleanliness - good Fitness - good selection of classes; exercise area is a little too warm Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First of all, starting from embarkation we came across with the same problem, again and again, we have Turkish special passport holders which do not require us to obtain a visa for certain countries. We told it each time to the embarkation ... Read More
First of all, starting from embarkation we came across with the same problem, again and again, we have Turkish special passport holders which do not require us to obtain a visa for certain countries. We told it each time to the embarkation personnel and passport officers but they cause us to wait sometimes 2 hours in order to get confirmation. Sometimes they do not accept official letters from embassies. So, they must update the visa requirements checklist including special passport holders. As a frequent traveler, I do not want to be treated as a missing visa issue again and again. Because I do not need to have a visa. Furthermore, as a premier guest, we experienced a lot of problems, some restaurant managers trying to tell me that there are 2000 platinum plus members staying on the ship. Therefore they can not give us a priority in the restaurants. Later I learned that this was a total lie. I reported the situation to the general hotel director and asked him that if I can not get any priority why do I need to choose Norwegian again. I received no response. Therefore you can not receive any priority even if you are too loyal to the cruise line. For thermal suite packages, the ship sold more than the available limits in the spa area. Everybody who finds the door open just jumps in. Everybody start having an argument about sitting in lounge chairs. I was assaulted twice by other passengers. I also reported this situation to the general director but nothing changed. The spa personnel most of the time left the door open or some other guests invite others to use spa for free. Therefore the majority f the passengers get really angry for why they paid extra for thermal spa if everybody can jump inside freely. At last, during the disembarkation process, everything becomes chaotic. The ship personnel can able to collect and make passport stamps while we are on the ship and inside the European premises for one week we traveled to Portugal and Spain ports. But they preferred to do EU entry passport stamps on our own during disembarkation at Barcelona. I have to wait a lot of lines, ship exit line, passport stamp line, baggage collection line and taxi stand time. It takes a complete 3 hours. I have been cruised many times but have not seen such a thing in Barcelona for the recent 10 years. I have been many times cruised with Norwegian but their loyalty seems to be nothing more than 2 free special dinners which are limited to 25 USD max order per cabin not per member. I expect them to give unlimited internet or some more dining night for free but once you get platinum, do not try to get higher because once you reach plat plus only thing you get is a dinning chance with an officer as a group of 3-4 staterooms in a main dining room. Especially in this cruise from Cape Canaveral to Barcelona, most of the passengers are really annoyed because only three shows were presented as unique for 15 days. For other days they repeat the shows again and again. Everybody goes to bed at 7 pm after dinner. So we call the ship as a ghost at late times. Epic is a good ship I have traveled with her 4 times in the past. But it was managed well and the level of the service and fun was great. Use to be Burn the floor took a showplace in Manhattan but no more. I have never heard someone playing the piano in the taste also. Furthermore, the waiters are not trained most of them newly joined to the company. Sometimes you have to wait 2-3 hours for a 3-course meal. For even the laundry they keep saying that every day they receive 5000 bags of laundry, they work so hard, they have no time to rest etc. I do not understand why are they acting like this. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
A friend recommended a transatlantic cruise since my husband was retiring. We had not cruised in years, never transatlantic, and never been to Spain. It was a spur of the moment decision without the research I normally do on every ... Read More
A friend recommended a transatlantic cruise since my husband was retiring. We had not cruised in years, never transatlantic, and never been to Spain. It was a spur of the moment decision without the research I normally do on every vacation we take. When I found the time to look into it further, I was a bit concerned with some of the reviews I read of the Epic, but knew we would make the best of it especially with the deal we got for a sail away balcony. I can honestly say that we got more than we paid for with the Epic. We were in cabin 11012 which is the 4th from the front and has the total metal surround on the balcony so when sitting down you cannot see the ocean. But this blocks the strong sea breeze crossing the Atlantic. The balcony is huge and we had a chaise, 2 chairs, and a small table with room to spare. I agree with other reviewers about the configuration of the cabin being a bit odd and probably a bit tight for larger people, but it was not an issue with us. We had storage we did not use. My husband likes to use the pool and hot tub area but I like to read and watercolor in a quiet place. We were both happy with the facilities. We ate the majority of our meals in the dining rooms but did not utilize the specialty restaurants. The food was consistently good. We did eat some meals in the Garden Cafe which was also pretty good. We did not have the beverage package as we only drink a glass or so of wine daily but we did buy the wine package on board the first day. I think that is the only time it is available. We enjoyed some of the entertainment but did not bother with anything labeled “not for the easily offended.” We enjoyed meeting others on board as it was just the two of us. There were many other couples traveling alone. In short, we really enjoyed the cruise and have, in fact, booked the same cruise for next April. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had never done a trans Atlantic and it won't be out last. Seas were calm and blue the entire trip. We chose this due to the many sea days and access to several unusual ports. A travel partner had relatives immigrate from Madeira ... Read More
We had never done a trans Atlantic and it won't be out last. Seas were calm and blue the entire trip. We chose this due to the many sea days and access to several unusual ports. A travel partner had relatives immigrate from Madeira and I have family to visit in Seville. Then add on Malaga, Cartagena, Palma, Barcelona and oops forgot Delgato! We had a marvelous lady give us advice about the history and how to see each port to our best advantage. Her chats were so popular they filled the Epic Theater and were broadcast in the Atrium and nearby bar. Staff from top to bottom, beginning to end, were all super friendly and excellent at their jobs. We had many activities to choose every day but mainly we relaxed, visited or people watched. Never were we prodded into participation. Problems in ports were never due to NCL but the number of ships being in small ports at one time. Hopefully limits will be set and held in the future. I left feeling like I had truly seen Spain aND been relaxing at a resort. Read Less
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
Sail Date April 2019
We have looked forward to a transatlantic trip and the itinerary was great. We were hesitant to book such a large ship but wanted to give it a try. Boarding was the easiest ever! But once on board, things started to grind slowly. We tired ... Read More
We have looked forward to a transatlantic trip and the itinerary was great. We were hesitant to book such a large ship but wanted to give it a try. Boarding was the easiest ever! But once on board, things started to grind slowly. We tired quickly of standing in lines to watch a show ( in a WAY to small theater), get dinner, or ride an elevator. Many people enjoyed the ship and really enjoyed the free drinks package. The cabins were odd. The frosted glass free standing toilet and shower were poorly thought through. Lighting in the cabin was dull. The short bed was curved at the bottom and my feet extended a good 6” off the end! The meals were good but we found the speciality restaurants left a little to be desired. The service was good and a few times we were really impressed by the attentiveness of the servers. Even though we had several complaints about the ship, We still had a wonderful time. But, we won’t be on the Epic again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
If you can cope with the strange cabin layout, love trivia games and slots machines, don't mind lining up, even for things you reserved, and like paying for services, then this ship/hotel is for you. Be prepared: Your shower and ... Read More
If you can cope with the strange cabin layout, love trivia games and slots machines, don't mind lining up, even for things you reserved, and like paying for services, then this ship/hotel is for you. Be prepared: Your shower and seperate toilet are immediately inside the cabin door. You will be visible and struck by anyone opening the door once you step from either glass doored facility. Make sure you travel with companions who do not mind seeing you performing your toilet functions. There is no basin in the toilet, there is a tiny one in the cabin area. If you use it, be careful not to strike your face on the tap which juts into and up from the sink. There are only 2 power outlets in the cabin. You will need to crawl under and reach inside the vanity to access them. The shaver outlet is inside a mirrored cabinet. Once you plug in a razor, you cannot close the mirrored door. The lighting levels are low with LED fixtures controled from various locations. The overhead storage is above the bed and sofa and cannot be reached. There is no place to store shoes. Cabin balcony doors are tight access. If any vanity drawer is opened a bit, you will not be able to get into the cabin from the bacony without climbing over the bed. The bed is curved and short. If you are over 5'10", your feet will overhang. There is nowhere in the cabin that 2 people can pass each other. There is no promenade deck going around the outer decks, if you like walking or a jog the best you can do is back and forth on one side deck. The fitness centre does not have steam rooms or saunas, yoy must pay $340.00 to use the spa area. The freestyle thing seems to be mostly an inconvenience. You still have to line up for everything, you will just be in a separate bigger lineup than guests without reservations. Hotel staffs try very hard to mitigate the quirky arrangements and do what they can to cope. Food is of good quality but often not hot enough, service is generally friendly and adequate with a lot of supervisory staffs drifting around not doing much of anything. Entertainment scheduling is progressive, so only one venue is open at a time which causes crowding. Anyone taking a trip on Epic needs to be accepting and open to something unusual. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a repositioning cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida to Barcelona. We had never cruised on a large ship, and won’t do so again, primarily because of the noise level. Why is trivia played in the atrium, where the sound of the ... Read More
This was a repositioning cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida to Barcelona. We had never cruised on a large ship, and won’t do so again, primarily because of the noise level. Why is trivia played in the atrium, where the sound of the microphones reverberate throughout two floors? The plus sides of this trip include: 1. Medical care (ear infection not responding to prescribed treatment). 2. Ports of call 3. Excursions (four out of four get thumbs up) The food in the Manhattan dining room was better than expected. The service there was excellent. The room configuration while unique, was acceptable. What wasn’t good about the room was the shortness of the bed. If anything, having a non-standard-length bed seemed bizarre. The worst part of the cruise was the noise. The card/game room had stone floors (voices and chairs scraping reverberated), and the room was much too small for a cruise of 4,000 plus passengers. We were allowed games in one of the private restaurants until 3:00 pm; but evening card or board games were just out of the question. The focus of this ship is casino and alcohol and constant noise. The pool is incredibly small, and again, there is always a band or DJ, so no escaping the noise there, either. Overall, we conclude “average”. Much better than prior Azamara cruise, but far below our favorite Oceania trips. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose the Transatlantic because we only had to fly one way across the Atlantic ocean.. Spent the night before the cruise in Orlando, and took am shuttle to ship. Got to Port at 11:00am. It only took 15 minutes after being dropped off, ... Read More
We chose the Transatlantic because we only had to fly one way across the Atlantic ocean.. Spent the night before the cruise in Orlando, and took am shuttle to ship. Got to Port at 11:00am. It only took 15 minutes after being dropped off, to sitting down and ordering lunch in the Haven. Fastest ever. Had just about all our meals in the Haven restaurant. We had the 4 specialty meal package, and 2 more for being platinum members. Used 2 each at Cagney's, La Cucina, and Le Bistro. All 3 were good! The haven had a snack bar by the pool. That was nice for the time after shore excursions and before dinners. Had some room service breakfasts, and the Butler delivered afternoon snacks daily to the suite. Ate 1 meal in the Chinese Restaurant, and once in Cirque of Dreams show. The entertainment on board was good. The main problem was the theatre was way too small for just the 2 shows, with 3,950 cruisers. Had to get to the shows at least 30 minutes before it started, to get a decent seat. And the smaller venues for other smaller shows was way too crowded, too. You can book reservations before cruise for some of the shows. Don't wait until boarding, unless you are in the haven. Ms. Google gave talks about the ports. Their history, things to do, pictures, etc. Not much else to do on 7 sea days. Those were given in the theatre and always full. About the only activity we participated in was gambling in the casino. It has a big casino compared to most other ships, and located right in the middle of ship. If smoke bothers you - dodge it if can. Everybody onboard goes there to smoke. Nelson (Hotel Director) knows about this problem and is working on it. OK! The machines pay out very little. So, NCL probably rakes in a pretty good profit from the casino. Like I said before the ship seems very crowded every where you go. There is no outside deck that goes completely around the ship. Not very much outside space at all, except at the top of the ship. That's the great outdoors and recreational area. The weather was kind of cool to be using the shallow pool, though there were sunbathers out most days. Just glad we were in the Haven where it wasn't so crowded. We booked our shore excursions with NCL for the ports. Platinum Members got 10% off, plus we had 2 $50 shore excursions per cabin per port. That made the prices very reasonable! Most of the tours were longer than the scheduled time allotted for them. Thought they were well worth what we paid. Well satisfied. Disembarking was a big mess! We had a 8:30am tour scheduled for Hop On / Hop Off Bus and drop off at Catalunya Square. We were over 2 hours late getting through cruise terminal to our bus. Then had to wait longer at bus before leaving, waiting for the tardy ones hung up in the cruise terminal. Purchased our cruise over a year out, for a very good price, with the extras. Wanted to be in the 2BR Haven, to be able to get away from the crowd. Liked the idea of having to fly only one way across the Atlantic. Also, had read reviews about the toilet and shower behind headboard, and sink in room. Heard a lot of cruisers complaining about that set up on board. We really enjoyed this cruise. Probably won't ever be back on the Epic again, though. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Just got back from the TA cruise to Barcelona. We cruised with Norwegian 3 times before, but first time on Transatlantic. Despite many negative reviews on Epic I have to say everything was almost perfect and exceeded our expectation. ... Read More
Just got back from the TA cruise to Barcelona. We cruised with Norwegian 3 times before, but first time on Transatlantic. Despite many negative reviews on Epic I have to say everything was almost perfect and exceeded our expectation. Embarkation took 5 min. because we spent the morning by the pool at a hotel and didn't come to the terminal until 2.30 pm. Nobody in the terminal by that time, of course. Went straight to our cabin that was ready waiting for us. The cruise was sold out, so we kind of worried about the crowds on board, but there was literally no lines nowhere except maybe at the pool bar in some afternoons, but even then the wait was like 5 min at the most. After a couple of days we were puzzled about where all the people are and even asked different crew members how many passengers were on board. The answers were consistent - about 4,320. So it was sold out, but it didn't really feel at all. Maybe has to do with the demography, but we never regretted that! All bars and restaurants were good. The music bands were awesome! Didn't see any of the shows in full, but sneaked in a couple of times to stand in the back and watch for a few minutes. Nothing really exciting as we've seen them before. The service was phenomenal with almost no exceptions. The crew did their best to accommodate the guests, and they succeeded in that in my opinion. Overall an awesome trip and a beautiful ship! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our first time in Haven on Transatlantic Cruise this April 2019. We had such high expectations based on everything I had read. Took two days until we met our Butler - were we supposed to track him down? Snacks we preordered before the ... Read More
Our first time in Haven on Transatlantic Cruise this April 2019. We had such high expectations based on everything I had read. Took two days until we met our Butler - were we supposed to track him down? Snacks we preordered before the cruise were never delivered. Did not prebook anything - was told to wait and let the Concierge do it. Finally met him on 2nd day and got 2nd choice on 3 of the 6 dining venues we wanted. Should have just done it myself prior to cruise. The food in Haven is quite excellent but on a 15 day cruise the Chef has got to change the menu up a bit!! It is an excellent menu but the same, day after day. There are two soup choices and three desserts for lunch and dinner. Can't the chef use some creativity and vary that up a bit. Ice cream - vanilla or chocolate -and we found out from a different waiter, also macadamia nut. Can also get lemon sorbet daily. We wandered thru the buffet one lunchtime and saw gelato and so many other flavors, that we can't get! A few more Butler issues- why did it take a guest on day 7 to tell us about the "express" elevators or day 10 when a guest explained to us about the special phone in our cabin? We only asked our butler for one thing. After a week of daily snacks - we asked for fruit and some chicken, egg or tuna sandwiches. We specifically said no chocolates, cakes,or ham or pork. Within the next week we got our request once and then back to the ham and chocolates again. Shore excursions were fine except for when our tour in Mallorca was cancelled. At Shore Excursions we picked out another tour and was put on the waiting list -#19. Settled for our third choice. Question - if NCL cancels a tour, shouldn't we be bumped to the top of the waiting list? We did make it down to #9 so there were some cancellations. Complained but told "Sorry, Corporate Policy"!!! There was one lecturer on board, a very dry British lady telling us about each port. After attending her first lecture, we had enough and waited until the Epic decided to show her lectures on the TV so we could watch from our bed. Would we go Haven again? If I'm on a 4100+ passenger ship, definitely yes! Would I ever go on the Epic again - never!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have sailed with Norwegian twice before on the Pearl and the Spirit and enjoyed both. The Epic was a huge disappointment. We wanted to experience a larger ship but will not make that choice again. The Epic certainly accommodates a ... Read More
We have sailed with Norwegian twice before on the Pearl and the Spirit and enjoyed both. The Epic was a huge disappointment. We wanted to experience a larger ship but will not make that choice again. The Epic certainly accommodates a lot more people but it does not match that increase in numbers with amenities on board. There are no lounges to sit indoors like the other ships. Seating is all outdoors with minimal shade available. I hate to think what would happen if there was bad weather on an Epic cruise! You hardly ever get to see the sea when inside the ship. It is very dark and gloomy. All views are only avasilable in dining areas but not all. We love O’Sheanans on the Spirit and the fact that booths looked out over the water, not on the Epic. Very dark and closed in. You don’t feel like you are on a ship. It felt more like a casino that manages lighting so you don’t know what time of day it is. It’s was hard to tell where the casino started or ended. Slot machines everywhere. So much space is wasted in shops. There could be lounges for passengers instead. Norwegian never stop trying to squeeze another dollar out of you. The theatre seemed smaller than on the Spirit that carries half the number of people) We never got to see one show because they were sold out before we boarded. We were told we could queue and wait on standby for a seat. Thanks but no thanks. The theatre is so small that even information sessions had to be broadcast to 2 other venues to accomodate people. The lifts were a nightmare and often out of service. There are only 2 lift wells on a ship this size? It was chaos getting on and off. Bad luck if you couldn’t manage a lot of stairs, you will spend a lot of time waiting for a lift. There is no promenade deck. The walking track is a section on one side of the ship with a 2 way path painted on it. We missed the games and bingo etc that are usually held in the lounge on other ships. Everything centred around the atrium (with little seating), which by the way is not what it is on other ships. No grand stair cases on the Epic. On this cruise we shared every port with the Star. That meant that around 6,000 Norwegian guests hit the port at the same time as all the other ships. The ship and the ports were way too crowded. I think it has put us off cruising all together. This particular cruise had a real discounted feeling about it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were asked to join a couple for their anniversary cruise. The cruise ship was very overcrowded with more than 4,000 rude and inconsiderate guests. There were very, very few quiet spaces anywhere except our nice but tiny stateroom. ... Read More
We were asked to join a couple for their anniversary cruise. The cruise ship was very overcrowded with more than 4,000 rude and inconsiderate guests. There were very, very few quiet spaces anywhere except our nice but tiny stateroom. Food was like eating in an army mess hall with people crowding in line and reaching in front of you for something they wanted. The food was poor unless you like mac and cheese. Many people using the dining hall had no manners or courtesy. After paying $2,000 each for this cruise, we got the mess hall dining experience unless we wanted to pay $25-$40 per meal each to eat in a "special" restaurant, a couple of which were nice. Most of the crew staff were surly, but our cabin steward was nice and did a good job. There were poor entertainment offerings. We went to a dinner theatre and ordered a tenderloin steak, medium rare, and it came to me well-done and dried out. Pools and deck spaces were overcrowded. The best parts of the cruise were the shore times at Mallorca, the Axored, and other stops reroute to Barcelona. NCL? Never again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have done 27 cruises but this has to be the worst designed ship we have sailed on, we picked this cruise for the terrific ports of call which did not disappoint plus NCLs ad 4 FREE AT SEA allowing us a free premium booze package pp. ... Read More
We have done 27 cruises but this has to be the worst designed ship we have sailed on, we picked this cruise for the terrific ports of call which did not disappoint plus NCLs ad 4 FREE AT SEA allowing us a free premium booze package pp. -4 free dinners at a specialty restaurant of choice- Free WIFI- AND $150.00. OBC. well 3 weeks after booking flights hotels etc. we received an email stating NCL was charging my CC $385 for gratuities on the booze dinner package don't know if this is legal paying for services you have not had yet and to add insult to injury you had to pay$3.00. for water as NCL does no cover this even on a premium booze package this seemed to be the theme with NCL nickel and dime you to death for everything. We had a family suite on Deck 13 unlucky for us the cabin as you opened the door had a toilet on the left when I sat down my head hit the wall overweight patrons beware its tight also the shower bath directly across had see thru frosted glass and a stupid privacy curtain connecting both, behind this was an open wash basin in the middle of the circular theme cabin? with a uncomfortable to sit round sofa and a circular bed where your feet hung out the bottom, on the other wall were circular cabinets and hidden electrical sockets underneath on the wall that was very hard to reach the person who designed these cabins and the ships layout should get fired. There were far to many people on this ship 4,200. so there were queues all the time for everything especially the complaints desk on deck 4 if you could find it? as the elevator did not have a deck 4 you had to get off at 5 and walk through the Casino to an escalator down to get to 4, the lines here were unreal the longest was the complaints, we gave up, most of the crew did an excellent job trying to keep the peace but just to many things going wrong to list here. The Buffet food was just the usual and cool I stuck to having fresh made omelets daily which were very good the special dinners were very good especially the Teppanyaki went here twice there again the maître de came with a bill with no charge on it but was he was looking for another tip ? the Italian restaurant you had to go all the way to the front of the ship and walk through the main buffet to a narrow stairway down a deck, the waiter here was quite rude and must have been new as he had no idea what he was doing but the food was good. On the plus side the Asian maître de in the MDR was so helpful the food and service here was excellent considering the size of the dining room also the casino bar is located at the entrance to the MDR so when it opened there was always a queue and everyone in the queue wanted a drink I was amazed at how the Head Barman and his crew served up the drinks and kept a every one happy, extra gratuities we left for this guy. The Beatles show was very good in the main theatre as the cavern club was small and always full up . Also this is the first time ever we never got an evaluation report card to fill in after the cruise. We will be going back to the Celebrity Millennium& Solstice Class ships from now on with fewer people and much better food and service no nickel and dime stuff with them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Primarily chosen for the reduced rate, I was, as usual, pleasantly surprised at the variety of quality entertainment, game shows, great entertainment staff, parties and ports of call. I went to a cardio dance class every morning on the ... Read More
Primarily chosen for the reduced rate, I was, as usual, pleasantly surprised at the variety of quality entertainment, game shows, great entertainment staff, parties and ports of call. I went to a cardio dance class every morning on the dance floor in the Manhatten dining room. Food was very delicious and we are vegan, but there was always something to preorder with Alex, our personal liaison waiter for Taste restaurant. We don’t do extra pay restaurants and so never ate at any other venues than what were included— food was excellent anyway! We became groupies of the Epic Beatles shows and enjoyed the stellar rock guitar of Albatross Air band, I was also in a guest choir which performed as the opening number for the Crew Talent Show. Only criticisms have to do with the design of the ship which can’t be changed. The walking track was more like a dog run, going back and forth on half a deck where lifeboats blocked most of the ocean view. The pools were as hot, sometimes hotter than the hot tubs, and are pretty small for the ship population. The bathrooms are just weird, but we learned to manage... Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We booked this cruise a second time because of the solid value offered, and the generally friendly and active passengers we experienced last year. Numerous people remembered us this time as we went about activities and dining, and all were ... Read More
We booked this cruise a second time because of the solid value offered, and the generally friendly and active passengers we experienced last year. Numerous people remembered us this time as we went about activities and dining, and all were repeat passengers for multiple past cruises. The big values for us were the Burn the Floor dancers that performed in the Manhattan dining room, Epic theatre, and ballroom dance classes. Amazingly fast and complicated moves appeared effortless except for the heat they generated. Many other talent balanced out the performances, including more comedians than last year. Standout hospitality from Roderick in keeping our cabin in perfect shape, even though our schedule was a bit erratic, and from all the food servers in the Shanghai and Manhattan rooms were really appreciated. Wallfredo managed our wine selections with insight and attention, and we have only good memories of many Manhattan dinners. We were laughing one night about what a comparable dinner, Broadway show, late night disco, and hotel in New York would have required; compared to just strolling around the ship for a few minutes and saying thanks for the experience. That’s value. Counterpoints were the smokey casino right in the middle of the ship and the three amenities floors that NCL has not safely ventilated to protect their employees and non-smoking passengers like me. That’s a prime reason for choosing other ships. Secondly, although you can find some healthy foods, they’re re mixed in with hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, sweets and ice cream. Some deserts were labeled “No Sugar Added” but does that mean they are loaded with sugar-alcohols or toxic artificial sweeteners instead. More informative labeling or online ingredient lists would be greatly appreciated. Finally, the entertainment staff needs to expand their playlists to eliminate obnoxious repeats of over-played classics like “Hotel California.” Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought it was a good opportunity to try a mega ship. We had just come off a cruise with 900 people and hence felt the bigger crowds immediately. Embarkation, the crowds and queues were huge and it felt like mayhem but soon lines got organised. For the first time ever we needed printed ESTAs which was a pain but they had computers with printers. Finally onboard we went to the restaurant for lunch and it was obvious from the start that the crew were not as experienced and trained as on other ncl ships. Our first course (shrimp arugula salad) came without shrimp and arugula. These sorts of errors became common place at almost every meal. One lunchtime we were the first in the restaurant but had not seen a server after 20 minutes and had to get the maître d to move us as it appeared nobody knew who was looking after that area, basic things. Queues for the restaurants at night were huge and wait times were at least 30 minutes but then the buzzers never functioned so you usually waited longer unnecessarily. Unfortunately small problems continued all cruise, our account was wrong every single day of the cruise and guest relations seemed to be trained to either deny there was a mistake or accuse the customer of making the error. Eventually a meeting with the hotel director where he admitted to the ongoing problems they were having with the restaurants and dealing with port taxes at least acknowledged some of the poor training and supervision and led to some of the problems being rectified. We were given a meal in the Epic club in the Haven as an apology, interestingly while the food was amazing the service problems continued there. As platinum members our meals in French Bistro and La Cucina we were treated as second class citizens, with countless comments about our meal being a “voucher meal” and constantly being told we were limited to certain courses taking the shine from what should be superior dining experiences. The food in the Bistro was very mixed (mains excellent, starters average and dessert poor). La Cucina was disappointing after loving it on our last 2 Jade cruises, the pizza was no better than that in the buffet. Pasta dishes were good. We liked the atmosphere of the Manhattan dining room, tables were well spaced and there was often music. Unfortunately the supervisors never picked up on small things like missing cutlery, broken table lamps, missing condiments. Several fellow guests made similar references to the lack of management and supervision on the ship and in the restaurants in particular and it lead to a feeling of slackness and lack of care by the management. The telephone messaging system broke down, the one night we wanted to watch a movie in our room the channel broke down, the outdoor movie screen was a good concept except they refused to put chairs out for it. The indoor movie was about people using sign language except they put Spanish subtitles up. Osheehans regularly opened half an hour late for lunch. Originally we just laughed off these mistakes as the cruise was so cheap but after a week it starts to grind you down and just takes away from the fun you are generally having. On all our other cruises we have written at least a dozen hero cards for our favourite staff on this cruise we only wrote 2. As with many others we didn’t really like the ship itself, the main problem was it was difficult to see the ocean which is what we love about sea days. There is no real promenade, the small area there is has life boats blocking the view, exhaust fans blowing out kitchen fumes, and smokers. There are very few windows. Upstairs you have to get one of the few deck chairs on the upper level to see the sea. There is no forward facing bar and the screen in the h2o bar at the rear of the ship blocks most of the view. Public venues are too small, the theatre only holds 700, the restaurants less than 500, most of the bars only cater to about 50 ... on a ship that was full with 4,500 guests! The worst aspect is you smell smoke everywhere, the casino is mid ship and open so smoke fills surrounding bars and restaurants, disgusting. No mid ship staircase or lifts. We only use stair cases and thankfully most didn’t so they were easy to manoeuvre about. Entertainment is excellent but because the venues are so small the same acts are repeated over and over to allow for people to see the shows but if you went to more than one show (eg the afternoon matinee and then maybe a comedy show later that night) for the first few days you were out of options after a week. As usual the activities were plentiful, we liked the water slides as well, the pools were all heated despite us being in the Caribbean???? Gym was a good size but very busy especially as so much of the entertainment staff using it. Only one walking track for 4000 people and the staff use it to get to their smoking spot. We were given 3 loads of laundry which was s nice surprise. We had an inside cabin which had a comfortable bed and plenty of storage but we didn’t like the unusual bathroom design which is hardly romantic or practical. The sink is a joke. Our cabin steward was excellent. There were only 3 ports and of course NCL made this as difficult as possible as per usual (they are the worst line for port experiences). Took more than an hour to get back on the ship in Funchal with everyone forced to stand in the rain. St Maarten was cancelled due to weathe (fair enough) and we changed to Antigua, they did a good job of accomodating this change on short notice, St Thomas I can’t comment on as we had to do US immigration on the shortest port day and were in the last group so had less than 3 hours ashore. We of course still enjoyed ourselves as the weather was good and we met some great people. This was the first time we have not bought future cruise deposits as it was just a little too underwhelming and we are trying MSC to compare. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our first Transatlantic and did not disappoint. We found the crew to be excellent throughout the Ship. Everyone appeared to want to make sure you were having a good time. Our room steward made sure our cabin was perfect at all ... Read More
This was our first Transatlantic and did not disappoint. We found the crew to be excellent throughout the Ship. Everyone appeared to want to make sure you were having a good time. Our room steward made sure our cabin was perfect at all times. The Cruise Director Andre was great fun! The specialty restaurants were very good. The service in Cagney's was slow both nights we were there but the food was excellent. We always found deck chairs by the pool or on the quiet deck 18. Danced the night away to different theme parties every night. Caught all the shows, Priscilla, excellent, Howl at the Moon, so much fun, as were the Cavern Club Epic Beatles! Queens of Rhythm were wonderful! Embarkation in Barcelona smooth and fast. Disembarked self assist, off in 20 minutes. Took an NCL transfer to Orlando, easy peasy! A wonderful cruise. Would do it again on the Epic in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise because it had lots of at sea days. We prefer those to the stops in ports since we're not keen on spending so much on the commercialized tours. It was a bit of travel down memory lane as well, because I had sailed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it had lots of at sea days. We prefer those to the stops in ports since we're not keen on spending so much on the commercialized tours. It was a bit of travel down memory lane as well, because I had sailed across the Atlantic several times as a kid. We were glad it was this ship because it was as large as the Escape on which we had sailed a couple years ago and we enjoyed that. This was our third cruise with NCL, the other one being on the Sun through the Panama Canal, This ship was great in terms of its design and features. However, our biggest complaint was that there was not a single lounge on the ship that was not loud all day and evening. On our first day, we asked at the guest services desk if there was a quiet place we could relax. The person told us, in an accent that was almost unintelligible, that the only place was the library. Great. We went there and discovered it was packed! Only about 20 seats all lined up. For a ship with 4,000 guests, one quiet room with 20 seats doesn't seem to be enough. We had difficulty imagining that we were the only ones on the ship that would have appreciated a lounge with quieter music where one could relax and read. We certainly were younger than most guests on the ship and we're not old-fashioned in our tastes. We found that the variety of food on the menus at the free restaurants was quite limited. The Garden Cafe (the buffet) was great but again there was not as much variety as we had previously experienced. One last thing... the luggage pickup part of the disembarkation process was an absolute disaster! Confusion reigned. Nobody knew where we were supposed to go or wait. The staff was arguing with each other. We decided we'd probably try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was my 4th trip on the Epic and my second Transatlantic Crossing. Faults report on the first day and on the Dear Nelson to hotel director were still there on the last day, 4 chocolates thank you for your feedback would have been ... Read More
This was my 4th trip on the Epic and my second Transatlantic Crossing. Faults report on the first day and on the Dear Nelson to hotel director were still there on the last day, 4 chocolates thank you for your feedback would have been appreciated if they were rectified. Broken Hairdryer, No Wardrobe Doors, Vents attached with sticky pads, broken shower door I could go on.....Felt the staff were tired, understaffed and wanted to do the transatlantic and head home. Shanghai restaurant was the highlight, excellent service, all the restaurant staff should work here to see how customer service should be. All other restaurants and service well below par compared to previous sailings. In cabin messages were not messages for myself buy spam from the revenue partners and were totally unwelcomed and not requested. To much queuing for Shows, Restaurants, Trips and Reception Area, better organisation could have made things better. Entertainment was passable but not top notch, everything appears to be going downhill. Can't say I'll be returning to the Epic anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I have taken 3 cruises on NCL before; 2 on Dawn and one on Getaway. The entertainment on these ships make the cruises a great vacation and entertainment value. On this one - the Epic - there were capacity crowds for a number of shows - the ... Read More
I have taken 3 cruises on NCL before; 2 on Dawn and one on Getaway. The entertainment on these ships make the cruises a great vacation and entertainment value. On this one - the Epic - there were capacity crowds for a number of shows - the Epic Beatles, for example. Those lads channeled the "lads from Liverpool" faithfuly and the crowd loved`em ! The violinist, Greta, from Iceland, was also talented and versatile and worth attending more than one of her concerts. Brenda Kay - hypnotist, was very entertaining. The comedians were first rate and funny ! The sea days on this cruise were filled with quality entertainment and activities. I "pinballed" from one scheduled event to the next with breaks for meals. The "game shows" like the "Not so Newly Wed Game" and the battle of the sexes were hilarious ! One of the most memorable things that I took part in was helping assemble a 5000 piece puzzle that the Cruise Director supplied. A group of "puzzlers" worked on this in their spare time and the group expanded as time went on. This took the entire cruise - it was completed on the last full night. I made several new friends as a result of the puzzle - we exchanged email addresses and I plan to remain in contact. Who knows, we may schedule another repositioning cruise to do another puzzle and catch some first rate entertainment. Thanks NCL and a special thanks to Andre - the Cruise Director ! Read Less
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 November 2018
This was my third cruise on Norwegian this year: Jade Transatlantic in April, Jewel Alaska in June, and now the Epic Transatlantic in November. It was my first experience on a larger ship and my first Solo cabin adventure. The Solo ... Read More
This was my third cruise on Norwegian this year: Jade Transatlantic in April, Jewel Alaska in June, and now the Epic Transatlantic in November. It was my first experience on a larger ship and my first Solo cabin adventure. The Solo experience was what made the trip memorable. I knew that the solo cabins were compact, inside cabins, so there was no disappointment. The cabin was exactly what I needed. My cabin was in good condition, but a couple of fellow travelers reported that closet doors were missing in their cabins. Although card entry was required to get into the lounge (Deck 11) and the corridors to the rooms, the aft end door on Deck 12 never latched. The lounge was great allowing the opportunity to meet other solo travelers. There was a self-service coffee machine. A full-service bar and bartender was available from 5-7 pm daily. Continental breakfast was provided in the lounge daily, and after that, there were cookies available all day. The highlight was out Solo Coordinator Terry Tesoro who organized activities and group dining and did an excellent job. Dining aboard the Epic was mostly medicre. It was not uncommon for breakfast in Taste to take 2 hours, as they were often disorganized and confused. Dinners were no better, with the same inefficiencies in service with the addition of warm to cold food. Food was always served on cold plates. It took a discussion with the manager to get improvement, but he hovered over the serice to make sure we got our food efficiently and hot. Manhattan was better, but inconsistent. Food was usually served efficiently and on warm plates, but when they failed, they fell flat on their faces. On our las night, two of us didn't get our entrees. When we finally did, all of the others at our table had finished theirs. On the plus side, our entrees were served on nhot plates and exactly how we ordered. The service failure continued with my dessert not being served with the rest of the table and those who ordered Irish Coffee got their's tepid. I had to request the manager to voice our displeasure and get the Irish Coffees replaced. Other laughable things in Taste were serving teapots with sauces at lids because they had run out of lids, and on the last day, there were yogurt parfaits on the menu with a choice of fruits, but there was no choice. According to the waiter they had run out of all but one of the choices days beofe. Another disappointment was the Epic Theater. Our Solos Coordinator would routinely make a group reservation for shows, coordinating with the box office and making arrangements for seats with the Haven travelers who have a reserved section in the theater. It was always an effort to gain entry when Terry wasn't at the door to escort us in. The gatekeeoers at the Epic Theater are unpleasant and rather nasty. At a performance of Burn the Floor, they refused us entry that Terry had confirmed. Again, the cruise was memorable and enjoyable because of the Solo Traveler experience. It was an incredible experience and I will do it again on a future cruise. I just wish that dining experiences had been better. The Epic Theater people need an attiitude adjustment. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our second time on Epic sailing transatlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Both times we had the best experience. All staff from officers to waiters to house keeping are excellent. Ship is very beautiful. We loved the ship so much that ... Read More
This was our second time on Epic sailing transatlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Both times we had the best experience. All staff from officers to waiters to house keeping are excellent. Ship is very beautiful. We loved the ship so much that we are going back in February 2019 again. Entertainment is excellent. Staff is friendly and welcoming always. Variety of drinks is excellent. Public lounges are nice. H2O adult pool are is excellent for those who want to have a quiet time. No problem finding chairs around pool areas. Garden cafe buffet has big selection of dishes and different themes dinners each and every night. Traditional main dining rooms are excellent. No problem getting a table when you want to. Just a little wait time. Great entertainment in the Epic theatre. Bliss lounge is very lively. Large casino area. Specialty dining restaurants are excellent especially le bistro restaurant. Excellent excellent experience on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Review of our westbound transatlantic crossing 4th – 17th November 2018 Background We’re Peter & Patrick from Manchester U.K. who began cruising back in 2004. We sailed exclusively with Royal Caribbean for 11 years and then ... Read More
Review of our westbound transatlantic crossing 4th – 17th November 2018 Background We’re Peter & Patrick from Manchester U.K. who began cruising back in 2004. We sailed exclusively with Royal Caribbean for 11 years and then started to widen our choices to include Celebrity, MSC, Cunard, P&O and NCL. This was our 4th Transatlantic crossing (or TA for short), our 3rd westbound with another 2 eastbound booked for 2019 & 2020! As we booked in the U.K., we had what is known as the “Ultimate All Inclusive” package which provided the Ultimate beverage package, gratuities (both daily service charge and beverage package gratuity) and 2 litres of water per person per day and coffees with dinner. Itinerary This was 14-day, 13-night crossing from Barcelona, Spain with stops in Funchal Madeira, Philipsburg St Maarten, Charlotte Amalie St Thomas ending in Port Canaveral Florida USA. A total of 9 sea days were split as follows: - Barcelona 2 days at sea Funchal, Madeira 5 days at sea Philipsburg, St Maarten Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas 2 days at sea Port Canaveral Florida, USA I’ve split this review into sections dealing with embarkation, accommodation, dining, entertainment, activities, disembarkation with a summary and conclusions at the end. Embarkation We stayed in the city at the H10 Metropolitan hotel, next to Plaça Catalunya which is a large popular square at the northern end of the famous La Rambla. We checked out of our hotel just before 11am on Sunday, 4th November and took a taxi for the 15-minute ride to the port (Moll Adossat) where NCL Epic was awaiting us at terminal A. The cost was around €15. Upon arrival we lined up to leave ours bags with the porters loading cart after cart of numerous pieces of luggage to be taken onboard and delivered to people’s staterooms over the next few hours. We then joined the long line that wound around the side of the terminal building and shuffled continuously forward to the terminal entrance where our documents were checked, we, and our carry on were security scanned and then we completed the health questionnaire. As we were neither suite or Haven (‘ship within a ship’ accommodation) guests, nor higher level Latitudes members (NCL Loyalty program), we just joined a regular line for check in. Once we reached an agent, our passports and most importantly the paper copies of our ESTAs were checked (ESTA = Electronic System for Travel Authorisation approval which is mandatory for non-US citizens from visa Waiver countries to enable travel to the US), our key cards provided, and we were on our way to boarding Epic. As in all terminals in Barcelona we passed the various shops selling souvenirs, wine, spirits etc before having our boarding photo taken with a backdrop of NCL Epic. The whole process took around 50 minutes from our taxi drop off to stepping foot onboard the ship. Painless. Once onboard with our deck plan of Epic and copy of the Freestyle Daily for day 1 and the ‘1st week at a glance’ provided by the check in agent, we started to explore the ship as our cabins wouldn’t be available until 2pm. Of course, by now it was time for a spot of lunch for which I tried a burger from the outdoor grill of the Garden Café washed down with a beer (Peroni) from the Waves pool bar whilst sat at a table in the outside section. Good complimentary burger, far superior to some other lines we’ve sailed on. Accommodation At 2pm after it was announced that staterooms were available, we made our way to our cabin on deck 10 which was a category BB mid ship balcony – 10189. Please see cabin review section for more in-depth detail of this stateroom. Dining OK, Epic has so many places to eat that it can be confusing at first working out where all the venues are. Several are complimentary and then there are many speciality restaurants some of which are priced a la carte, others for a set fee. Here’s the breakdown of the places where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or 24-hour snacks! Complimentary dining Buffets Garden Café – breakfast, lunch & dinner (Deck 15 fwd.) Great Outdoor – breakfast, lunch and late-night snacks (Deck 15 fwd.) Spice H2O – light lunch (Deck 15 aft) Table Service O’Sheehan’s Irish Pub – breakfast, lunch, dinner and 24/7 snacks (Deck 6 mid) Taste – breakfast, lunch & dinner (Deck 5 mid) Manhattan Dining Room – dinner (Deck 6 aft) Shanghai & Noodle bar – dinner (Deck 6 aft) Speciality Restaurants – all table service dinner Cagney’s steakhouse (A la carte) – (Deck 7 aft) Modern Churrascaria ($24.95) – (Deck 7 aft) La Cucina Italian (A la carte) – (Deck 14 fwd.) Le Bistro French (A la carte) - (Deck 5 fwd.) Teppanyaki Japanese ($29.95) – (Deck 7 mid) Yakitori & Sushi Japanese (A la carte) – (Deck 7 mid) Spiegel Tent circus/dining (set fee) - (Deck 6 fwd.) As NCL is noted for its ‘freestyle’ dining concept, you can choose to dine whenever you wish during the restaurant opening hours for dinner. Breakfast and lunch are open seating in the table service venues. You can make reservations for dinner if you prefer, either online before you sail, or on the day. If you don’t, then you can just turn up and either wait in line or you will be given pager, so you can relax seated nearby, maybe enjoying a beverage. There are various ‘dining packages’ available for purchase and we chose a 6-dinner package online before we set sail. Once we had done this, we could make advance reservations at the speciality restaurants at our preferred time, taking into consideration the entertainment we had made advance reservations for (please see later). For those specialities that are priced a la carte, such as Cagney’s, we were allowed to choose 2 starters, 1 main, 2 sides and a dessert and this was covered by our dining package. For those with a set fee such as Teppanyaki, this was covered in total. We chose to eat in the following speciality restaurants. Cagney’s Steakhouse Teppanyaki La Cucina Le Bistro Moderno As food is very subjective, I’m not going to say which was best or worst in terms of food quality as that is down to personal taste. All were very enjoyable for what they provided, but service in some was a little lacking taking into consideration the up-charge being applied. We did consider that the service and ambiance in Le Bistro was the best though. As for the complimentary venues, we tried them all, except the Garden Café for dinner. O’Sheehan’s is popular at lunch so pick your time wisely, service at breakfast was sometimes good, another time so bad we walked out after 15 minutes of waiting for someone to offer coffee and take our order (the venue was not busy). Taste is always busy for breakfast, lunch and dinner and service differed enormously. We waited 55 minutes for our breakfast one morning, other days very prompt service. Dinner in Taste also varied, our 1st visit was excellent, subsequent so bad I left the restaurant to get my own drinks from the Atrium Bar. Manhattan Room service was better, especially after we complained about the service the previous evening in Taste. The Head Waiter came over, drinks were served promptly, the Maitre’d came and sent a complimentary bottle of wine to our cabin. Pity that didn’t happen after the extremely poor wine service in Cagney’s. We were studiously ignored by the sommelier who clearly only served tables where several ladies were sat. Not once did he come to us, even saying ‘no’ to our food waiter who was extremely embarrassed. Again, I went to the bar to fetch our drinks. It was mentioned to the door host, but no feedback was received until I mentioned it to Guest Services and as a result, we received an apologetic phone call. Entertainment There are so many options it is difficult list them all, from the production shows in the Epic theatre for which reservations, although not mandatory, are recommended (Priscilla the Musical and Burn the Floor) to the entertainers at many of the lounges and bars around the ship in the evening. There are other shows performed in the Epic theatre, Headliners, Atrium, Bliss Lounge or the Cavern Club that don’t require reservations, and as the venues are relatively small for the number passengers onboard (for example the Epic theatre only holds 800 which is pretty small with the possibility of there being 4100 guests on board) it’s necessary to get there early to make sure of getting a seat. There are numerous ‘events’, weather permitting, in Spice H2O or the main pool deck. These range from 80’s & 90’s music parties to the famous NCL Glow party which was a great event with complimentary face painting before the start of the event. However, unfortunately 5 minutes before the party was scheduled to start in Spice H2O, the heavens opened and so everyone (mostly dressed all in white) were sheltering undercover near the bar. The staff relocated the event to the Bliss Lounge, so it was a quite an amusing sight to see lots of us working our way from deck 15 aft to deck 7 forward, dressed in white with painted faces, especially by those sat in Maltings, Shakers and O’Sheehan’s! Every evening the Bliss Lounge hosts events too, turning into the main disco later until the early hours. All I would say is check the Freestyle Daily and the ‘At a glance’ sheet if you are given one at check in. As we’re not ‘show’ people we only saw ‘Priscilla’ and ‘Burn the Floor’ but can’t recommend ‘Priscilla’ enough. Absolutely fantastic, earning a standing ovation. Activities There were so many activities arranged that it was necessary to review the Freestyle daily closely to plan your day of you wish to take part. Apparently, there was some sort of ‘activity card’ you could get signed once you had attended or taken part in an activity, and on the last day of the sailing you could redeem the ‘points’ you earnt for prizes. A lot of the more popular activities would be highlighted in the Freestyle Daily such as Progressive Trivia (held each sea day from day 3 and ending on the final sea day when the overall winner was announced. The cruise director also hosted various specific trivia games in the Atrium at 1pm such as ‘Super Heroes’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Star Trek’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘One Hit Wonders’, ‘Comic Books’, & ‘Hollywood Golden era’ to name a few. There were various lectures held in various venues, culinary demonstrations, Ice carving, game shows, dance classes, ‘how to’ presentations, workshops and Q&A sessions following presentations (e.g. Ship technical presentation). There were the usual Art Auctions too. There were various activities where a fee was charged such as painting classes. As the weather improved more and more and more poolside activities/games were available such as Basketball, Pool Olympics, ‘Dash & Match Pool Game’, and Ping Pong tournaments. As Epic has 3 water slides and a sports court there were many opportunities for enjoying yourself on the pool decks, especially as we headed nearer to the Caribbean and warmer climes. Other entertainment included Comedy shows, Music renditions, Magic shows, Dance shows, ‘Howl at the Moon’, Hypnotists, Crew Talent shows, Cirque Dreams in the Spiegel Tent (fee applied for the dinner included) and the Epic Variety show. There were various ‘Beatles’ shows by the ‘Epic Beatles’ band too. Various activities were organised for ‘Friends of Bill W’, & LGBT+ etc throughout the sailing both hosted or not with the same time & location (where practical) being reserved for the duration of the cruise. Itinerary Change Due to a tropical storm as we headed West, instead of visiting St Maarten we were diverted to Antigua. Better safe than sorry. Great day, although we have also been there, last time in 2016 as port stop, but we have also spent time there on a land-based vacation years ago. Although it was raining when we arrived, it cleared to be a great day, then rained when we left. The Epic staff did a great job on organising new shore excursions at short notice (the captain only announced the change at around 4 pm the day before) and we did a great one booked via the ship with Heavenly Tours. Well recommended. US Immigration As St Thomas would be our first port of call in the USA, everybody on board would be required to clear immigration onboard before being allowed to disembark. US citizens were provided with a time slot to present themselves to the Bliss Lounge and Non-US citizens were to present themselves to US Border officers in the Manhattan Room, again having been given a specific time slot. Once we docked in Charlotte Amalie we waited to complete mandatory US immigration before we could go ashore. We were given a time slot of 10:45 am so still had a little while to wait after breakfast. Once called we lined up along deck 6, and the whole process took around 45 minutes. Relatively painless. Summary & Conclusions Taking into consideration we are NCL ‘virgins’ we would naturally make comparisons with the other cruise lines we have sailed on, as mentioned in the introduction (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, MSC, Cunard, P&O). The following are purely our observations and may not impact others and so please do not take the negatives as criticisms, none ruined our sailing. Positives Freestyle Cruising The ‘Freestyle Cruising’ ethos of NCL which gives you the option to dress up or down is a great freedom. For gentleman, long pants for dinner are only required in The Manhattan Room and Le Bistro. From experience this does not mean people do not don their finery, they do, and we saw everything from jeans, shorts to suits and tuxedos. Freestyle Dining There were a great selection of complimentary dining venues including the Garden Café buffet with indoor and outdoor options. Spice H2O also offered a reduced selection for breakfast and lunch. Three main table service restaurants, The Manhattan Room & Shanghai (dinner) and Taste (for breakfast and lunch) with open seating and O’Sheehan’s Pub for table service snacks. A numerous selection of speciality restaurants - Modern, Cagney’s, Teppanyaki, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Yakitori & Sushi Japanese & The Spiegel Epicurean / Cirque Dreams. It was great to be able to dine when you wanted, and also not being pressured into sharing a table if you did not want to. Also, the layout of the tables for 2 was really good, not as some other lines where, although you are seated at a table for 2, they are so close together, you might as well be sharing a bigger table! The opening times of the Garden Café and especially O’Sheehan’s (24/7) were really good. Cabin There were many nice touches in the category BB mid ship balcony cabin such as coffee maker, ice bucket replenished every day without asking, ample storage, lights in the closet, and a deep and roomy balcony with comfortable chairs. Turn down service included a towel animal every night and chocolates on the pillow. The door sign with its rotating indicator for ‘Do not disturb’, ‘Make Up Cabin’, ‘Turn down cabin’ or ‘Available’ indicators and letter rack is a nice touch. The beds were extremely comfortable and gave us a great night’s sleep. Venues Numerous indoor venues for relaxing and entertainment such as Spiegel Tent, Headliners, Bliss Lounge, The Atrium, O’Sheehan’s bowling alley, Card Room and Library. In terms of outdoor venues, Spice H2O was a great large adult only space during the day with its well-stocked and staffed bar and as mentioned before, providing food at lunch. Pool Deck Obviously, there was the main pool area and sports court together with the 3 water slides which, once the weather improved, were extremely popular. As we were not Haven guests, I can’t comment on that area but can report on a good quiet area on deck 18 accessed by elevator from the pool deck. As you exit the main doors of the Garden Café towards the pool deck, the elevator on the right is marked for Haven Guests only, but the one on the left is available to take you up to deck 18 and a spacious quiet area. Staff All staff were very friendly and helpful, the officers were also very visible, all of them greeting guests with a smile whenever passing you around the ship. The Cruise Director (Andre Gaffney) and his team were fantastic and ensured that all guests were encouraged to attend. Service Bar service was very good in all venues we attended, despite being extremely busy at times, table service was also good. On the whole table service in the restaurants was OK, again considering the amount of people being served by the wait staff. Good Laundry delivered ahead of time, wrapped in tissue paper in a wicker basket was a very nice touch. Décor The ship is attractive to look at internally, as are the cabin furnishings with many nice touches and so is pleasing to the eye and the venues have very comfortable seating. Bars / Lounges A great variety of cocktails to try and a high proportion within the limits of the Ultimate Beverage Package. There was also various entertainment provided by either a pianist in Shakers, to a vocal group at Maltings or guitar player. Negatives Cabin The design of the cabin in terms of layout (separate toilet and shower just behind obscure glass) with the wash hand basin in the cabin is not the best, but this was not a major issue for us. The main problems with the cabin was that the basin was far too small, the lighting abysmal and the location of power outlets, light switches and air conditioning control very awkward. The floor space was limited, but as only 2 of us it was manageable, but for 3 would be a little cramped in our opinion. Although ample storage was provided, it comprised of many ‘hidden’ cupboards such as above one bed nearest the balcony, drawers under the sofa. One small closet near the balcony door had no hangers, so if you needed to use it, then you would have to request more. Dining We found service to be really ‘hit and miss’ in the complimentary restaurants. Breakfast in Taste could be quick at times but taking 55 minutes to receive your meal at other times. We think the issue with this is that we just order for example Eggs Benedict, and no ‘starters’ such as cereal or fruit plates, but it would appear that you to have to wait until the other tables your server has orders for have had their ‘starters’ delivered and then the ‘mains’ are arranged. Lunch service on the whole was OK, but inconsistencies in terms of bread and water service did happen. Dinner in Taste was again inconsistent, some days good, other days awful to the extent I had to leave the restaurant to go to the Atrium Bar for beverages. Having mentioned this to the door host, service was exemplary on our next visit to The Manhattan Room, with the Head Waiter making sure everything was OK and sending a bottle of wine to our cabin. Our biggest disappointment was the service in the speciality steakhouse Cagney’s for the up-charge paid. On our first visit the wine steward would not take an order for wine, so for the whole meal I had to go to the bar for glasses of wine. The dinner service was very slow showing that the whole restaurant is understaffed. Despite reporting this to the door host, nothing was done until I reported it to Guest Services which resulted in the Maître D calling to apologise and ensuring us that our next visit would be better. Well, other than getting a window seat with a view of the wake, the service was only marginally better, but at least wine was served this time! Due to the popularity of O’Sheehan’s at lunch, there were often long waits, even if you wished to share a table which is understandable. However, the negative for us was Breakfast. Despite being very quiet no beverages (water or coffee) we offered, nor were orders taken despite waiting 15 minutes. This is acceptable when busy, but not when quiet. We felt that although there was a variety of food available in the buffet choice was a little restricted meaning that we were eating the same things for lunch. We also felt that fact that the Ultimate Beverage Package did not include coffee from the Atrium Café a disappointment, as the complementary coffee provided in the buffet, restaurants and beverage stations dotted around the ship to be awful. Far too strong and bitter. Only being available at the end of meal was a waste as we rarely wanted a coffee at that time. Despite the above, the service issues on Epic were no worse than we have experienced on a small selection of our other cruises with various lines over the years, but just an honest review of this one. Pool Deck Not enough upright chairs for relaxing in, the majority of seating was provided by sunbeds that do not offer enough support for those of us with back issues. Promenade Deck As above, no seating and shuffle board took up all the width of one deck making you unpopular if you wished to relax on the non-smoking promenade deck. Casino The design of the casino on deck 6 meant that the whole of that deck stank of cigarette smoke making it an unpleasant area to walk through. This permeated to decks 5 below and 7 above at times. Bars / Lounges We feel due to the ship design, there are limited places to relax in a quiet environment in the evening as all venues are busy, although the bar in between Moderno and Cagney’s was often quieter. Technology Obviously due to the reliance on satellite communication, internet access wasn’t the best, especially for the price charged but this is not unique to the NCL fleet. However, we did manage with the Social ‘package’ which allowed access to most social media apps. Although there are several interactive screens located throughout the ship where some reservations could be made, it was a little frustrating to be unable to make bookings via the interactive TV in your cabin, nor order room service via the options available. The Norwegian iConcierge app again was a little disappointing as it did not list all the activities available nor again could it be used to make reservations. Conclusions Did we enjoy the crossing? Yes, we did. Did we value what Norwegian Cruise Line offered for the price we paid, definitely. Would be sail with them again? Yes, of course, we already have Escape booked for 2019! Did we enjoy the company of our fellow sailors? Definitely, a great cross section of people, friendly and we enjoyed passing time with many of them. So, despite our observations above, would we recommend NCL? Yes, because it has more similarities to the other mass market lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival and MSC. However, if you prefer the more formal atmosphere of Cunard and P&O, I wouldn’t recommend it due to the more relaxed nature of ‘Freestyle Cruising’. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
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