I wish there were a 3 1/2 star option for the rating, as the cruise was good (not very good or average). NCL is our favorite cruise line and this was our 25th anniversary, so a Transatlantic cruise was a no-brainer. First off, we did enjoy ... Read More
I wish there were a 3 1/2 star option for the rating, as the cruise was good (not very good or average). NCL is our favorite cruise line and this was our 25th anniversary, so a Transatlantic cruise was a no-brainer. First off, we did enjoy many facets of the cruise, but there are some things that need improvement.
1. Food was great whether you were in the Garden Cafe, Taste, Manhattan Room or O'Sheehans. Service was also excellent wherever we went. (The prime rib the last night was PERFECT!)
2. Cabin service was great. Inachino was our cabin steward and we could not be happier. We kept him guessing on when we would be in the cabin because we spent a lot of time in there (more on that later), so it was hard for him to get in to clean when we set the sign for "make up cabin" - but he took great care of us.
3. Common areas are generally clean and in good repair and the crew evidently do a good job keeping everything "ship-shape" (sorry, couldn't resist).
4. The fitness center is quite large (as it should be for 4000 passengers) and the free weights and machines are in good shape and are of good quality. However, when it comes to the elliptical machines, treadmills and bicycles need some attention. At least 3 out of 4 of the elliptical machines need repairs of some kind. Just in one section of 4, one had a "thunk" on the right side, one had a video screen that did not work at all and one had no audio in the audio jack (not the headphones, as they worked fine in my tablet and other elliptical machines). Frankly, for a premier ship, this is unacceptable.
5. Entertainment: The one show we were able to get into was good (Fly Boys). This is where there is a TON of room for improvement! It is nearly impossible to get into a show. If you do not reserve a show as soon as you get onto the ship, forget about getting into one. (Never had this issue on the Dawn, Star, Pearl, or Sky). We could not get into a show, but I overheard several people mention that they got into shows several times. That is a poor system. Hence, why we spent a good bit of time in our cabin - well, at least on the balcony.
6. Spa: We bought the Thermal Suite package (as we do whenever we cruise on NCL). My understanding is that they are only supposed to sell 120 spaces. I can say definitively, that is NOT the case. We usually spent an hour to an hour and a half at a time, and over 15 days I saw WAY more than 120 different unique individuals in that spa. I strongly suspect it was over-sold.
There was one thing that was unsettling to me. I am going to preface this by saying that I harbor no ill feelings toward homosexuals. Their life, their choice. That being said, there was a group of about 6 homosexual men that were ever-present in the spa and at times their public displays of affection were disturbing. (I would have had a problem with a heterosexual couple doing what these folks were doing in a public area). If you are going to do that, go to your cabin and do what you will. It seemed to me that they WANTED someone to say something so that they would have an axe to grind. It was also disconcerting that a couple of them spent an inordinate amount of time trolling (for lack of a better term) in the men's locker room. The closest I can describe it is if a man were to walk into a women's locker room and start walking about checking out the undressed/half dressed women.
Again, I do not hate homosexuals, but as a heterosexual man who does not leer at women, I think some decorum is a reasonable thing to expect - regardless of your sexual orientation. Really nothing NCL can do about this, but I felt it needed to be mentioned. I hope this came across in the vein it was intended and not hateful. If I did something that made someone uncomfortable, I would want to know.
7. Ship: I realize the race is on for each cruise line to build bigger and bigger ships. The only problem is that bigger does not equal better. Elevators were regularly packed to the extreme and lines for dining and standby for shows were beyond ridiculous. There is a limit to how big you can make a cruise ship before it becomes foolish. Frankly, I think Epic is there. When you factor in The Haven and the space it takes up, the rest of the available area on the ship is not that much bigger than a ship the size of the Dawn or Pearl - so you are packing over 4000 people into an area that should accommodate about 2200 - 2400.
8. Sell, sell, sell: I felt a little like I was at a time share sales pitch at times with all of the art auctions, cruise "sales", and jewelry sales being hawked over the intercom. A little less sell, sell, sell, would have made the cruise more enjoyable.
9. Cabin: The cabin was clean and comfortable. The shower was a little small for me, but I am a fairly big guy (6' 2" and 230 lbs). My wife had no issues with the shower. The balcony was bigger than on other balconies on other NCL ships, which was great. We spent a lot of time on the balcony enjoying the ocean and the sound of the waves and wind.
10: Excursions: We did an excursion at every port and had a great time. A couple of times the Epic Theater was very crowded and confused - but that was not the crew's fault. A lot of folks showed up over an hour early for their excursions which caused the crowding. In all fairness, one morning, the local port officials took longer than expected to clear the ship. An announcement could have been made that folks could show up 30 minutes later than originally scheduled.
I do not want to come across as saying that we hated the cruise. Far from it! We had a lot of fun and have some great photos and video and found a couple of places we want to go back to visit. However, I did want to mention the areas of concern and where there is room for improvement. I would cruise with NCL again in a heartbeat - but probably not on the Epic. Not because the crew was lacking, but because of the problems that come with being on a ship this size Read Less