We were looking to go to Barcelona without flying there. Our goal was to spend some time in Europe when we got there, then board a ship from a different line to get back to the US. NCL used to be our favorite line. We hoped that our ... Read More
We were looking to go to Barcelona without flying there. Our goal was to spend some time in Europe when we got there, then board a ship from a different line to get back to the US. NCL used to be our favorite line. We hoped that our experience in Hawaii with them last year where the food and service was non existent, was an anomaly. Unfortunately, it was not.
They don't have enough staff to sneeze at and while most try to at least be nice to you, all have their hands out for tips. Why? Even though we paid gratuities in advance, they will tell you they get none of that. Instead, that's their compensation.
Our stateroom on the Epic was awful. They have some sort of wavy design, so the room is much smaller than it should be. The beds have this same weird oblong design and if you are over 5"10, your feel will hang off the bed. If you are 5'5" like me and you move from the center of the bed, your feet will hang off the bed. The lighting is horrible. My husband had to hope for a sunny day and take a mirror outside to shave. You weren't reading in there unless you had a back lit kindle. The bright spot in the room...the balcony. Loved the sliding door!
The dining...I have always loved the freestyle concept and it works better on NCL than any other cruise line. But once again, staffing was problematic. I've never seen so many lazy waiters in one space. Service was horribly slow. We had one who would disappear until she found another staff member to talk to. We didn't get water, coffee and most of our food that night. Yes. We reported her. Other wait staff was friendlier, but equally slow. You should not have to spend 2.5 hours in the dining room every night.
Entertainment...Who would know. What we saw was good and their main theater was nice without obstructions. But we didn't know until day 2 that you had to sign up for any type of entertainment and at that you had to fight for seats when you got there. Most were filled when we got to them, but we were able to get a couple of things in Unfortunately one was the comedians who admittedly wrote his show that day and it was so bad that most of the audience walked out.
I would have loved to go to the specialty restaurants, but they have a weird pricing thing where everything is overpriced and priced separately. We found it not to be worth our time.
The one really good experience was the onboard pub, O'Sheehan's. The food was good; the service was good; the lines were always long.
The Casino reeked of cigarette smoke which permeated everything around it. The second hand smoke on this ship could kill you. We would normally use the casino, but not on this ship.
The shore excursions, while well priced, were terrible. We signed up for the tour to Granada from Malaga, Spain and the tour to Seville from Cadiz, Spain. These were long, 9.5 hour bus tours but worth the time to see the Alhambra in Granada and the Alcazar in Seville. After we arrived, we found that tickets were not included in either, but were told we could check them out in our spare time (1 hour) and that waits just to get the tickets were upward of 2 hours! Add that to the number of people who should not have been on either tour. Both involved at minimum, 2 hours of walking over cobblestones and uneven pavement. yet people showed up who complained that there was too much walking. They, for whatever reason, left their wheelchairs and walkers behind thinking they would get wheelchairs there. Of course they couldn't so the rest of us waited for them to move along and missed at least half of each tour. NCL's descriptions did mention these things, but marked each tour as 'easy', which is the only thing these folks saw.
NCL really needs to get its act together. Just about everything has an up charge or a surcharge. Me? I've been nickle and dimed to death from them for the last time. Read Less