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Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Epic

  • Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Epic Review

Norwegian Epic offers weekly round-trip Western Mediterranean cruises departing from Barcelona in summer months and weeklong Eastern or Western Caribbean itineraries—depending on the date—from Miami during the winter season. Transatlantic crossings are available when the ship repositions seasonally.

NCL's newest and largest ship is all about the entertainment. While Norwegian Epic has a unique new cabin design and more than 20 places to dine, entertainment options include Blue Man Group, Howl at the Moon (a dueling-pianos show), the Second City comedy ensemble, Legends in Concert, and a theatrical dining experience with Cirque du Soleil–style performers. For the kids, there are Nickelodeon characters on board and a character breakfast. The only extra entertainment charges are for the Cirque dinner show and the character breakfast.

Also epic are the numerous bars and lounges. For the coolest drinks at sea, Norwegian Epic has an ice bar (for an extra charge). Expansive areas are reserved for children and teens and the aft pool is exclusively for adults during the day. The other pool area has three waterslides and a plethora of lounge chairs. For the best view of the sea, there is a rock-climbing wall.

Norwegian Cruise Line (originally known as Norwegian Caribbean Line) set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept: regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established Norwegian as a winner for active adults and families. With the introduction of the now-retired SS Norway in 1979, Norwegian ushered in the era of cruises on megasize ships. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for four decades, and is as much at home in Europe as it is in the Caribbean.

Noted for top-quality, high-energy entertainment and emphasis on fitness facilities and programs, Norwegian combines action, activities, and a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. Now co-owned by Genting Hong Kong Limited and Apollo Management, a private equity company, Norwegian continues to be an industry innovator.

From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Restaurant and show reservations can be made prior to sailing
  • The ice bar is unique
  • Norwegian Epic’s The Haven of luxury suites features more private amenities than older fleetmates

Cons

  • With their frosted shower and toilet compartments, privacy can be an issue in standard bathrooms
  • The necessity of reservations for dining and headline shows eliminates spontaneity
  • Pools are great for cooling off but not adequate for swimming laps
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,708
  • Entered Service 2010
  • Gross Tons 153,000
  • Length 1,081 feet
  • Number of Cabins 2,114
  • Passenger Capacity 4,100
  • Width 133 feet
  • New

Oct 20, 2016

Western Mediterranean

My wife and I just disembarked the Norwegian Epic, I wish I could give a good recommendation, but I can't. Airline Accommodations: Very good, our trip started in San Francisco, minimal layover in Atlanta, both ways. Grade "A+" Pre cruise accommodation: We paid for the 3 day pre cruise visit of Rome. Stayed at the Crowne Plaza St. Peter's. 4 Star hotel. Transfers were included. Grade "A" Stateroom: Well designed, except for the TV.

It was mounted near the ceiling, but not tilted down, so some shows and movies were in "false colors." Steward was excellent. Grade "B" Food & Restaurants: Very crowded buffet with long lines and inadequate seating. Due to the lines your food will be cold if ever find a seat. The Specialty restaurants were top notch, with good service and excellent food. Very few passengers ate there. At Moderno reservations were required, even though only 5 of maybe 60 tables were seated. Reservations are required for all but buffet. This is a marketing error by NCL management. There is a moderate charge for them, which very few of the passengers are willing to spend. We ate a 3 almost empty specialty restaurants. C- Ship Security: They confiscated my Leatherman multi tool because it had a small knife blade. I've taken it on previous Norwegian cruises. They assured me it would be returned if I went to Guest Services immediately before before disembarking, at least that's what the written instructions said, they smiled and told me Ship's Security had it at the gangway. At the gangway they said they couldn't find it. It was wasn't "logged and stowed." That's police lingo for, "One of us officers stole it." They refused to return the receipt for the knife. Very unprofessional, not even a smile or apology. Why wasn't it at the gangway? I had to catch the transfer to the airport and couldn't wait for them to "look for it." Grade "F" Casino: One of the decks was a very large casino with hundreds is top modern high quality machines. Very few of the passengers were playing, lots of gaming tables with only a dealer. Waste of ships space. Grade "F" On board shows: Very good and high quality, if you could get a reservation. Since the ship was way too crowded, reservations were required from a box office with limited hours. The ship had to few shows for the number of passengers. The Cirque show with dinner was the best, an added fee was charged. I would rate them an A if there was an adequate "show to passenger" ratio. Grade "C" In room TV shows: LOL, Star Trek Beyond-the ship is destroyed by aliens, Interstellar-the ship is destroyed by a black hole, The Finest Hours-ship breaks apart and sinks in a storm and In The Heart of the Sea-Moby Dick sinks the ship. Who's the idiot who chose those movies? Couldn't really watch The Finest Hours due to TV not being angled down. Grade "C" Passenger load: The services on board were inadequate for the number of passengers, by about 1,000. On "Day at Sea," there was no quiet place on the entire ship. Everywhere, except the specialty restaurants was way too crowded and chaotic. Grade "F" Outside deck: Mostly bars, no real swimming pool, only good for children, had 2 of the 3 water slides working. They were great. The "Hot tubs" were tepid, after 10 minutes I was chilled, temperature was about 85-90F. Grade "D" Overall grade is due to unnecessarily having my Leatherman confiscated, then stolen by ship security Grade "F" Daniel Lewis I sent this to NCL also

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  • New

Mar 7, 2016

Canary Island

“Olympus has fallen”, “London has fallen” and now “Haven has fallen”. No, it is not another blockbuster for the movie series. Is what I sense recently in our 11 days Canary Island Cruise from Barcelona on Norwegian EPIC. For more than 4 years I’ve been one of the biggest supporter of the Norwegian Cruise Line. Their concept of “ship within ship” called HAVEN never let me down and the inscription on the ship card, “Welcome to

you sanctuary” was always backup by the reality on both JADE and EPIC. Until now! We did in December a canary Island Cruise from Barcelona and we left the ship with an imperious need to come back as soon as possible. And here we are, less than three months after, back on board, on Norwegian EPIC, in Haven, room 17017. What a joy this cruise could be! Unfortunately the reality was far away from our December experience and I am still trying to find what and how things on board can change in such a short time. The NCL website (https://www.ncl.com/thehaven/experience/#overview) describe de experience as “a private world of luxury at sea - a ship-within-a-ship reserved exclusively for Norwegian's special guests€. And as a guest you are informed that “from the moment you choose The Haven, your VIP treatment begins€ The embarkation was the first step on a journey, which contradicts the build-up expectations. A very “can't be bothered “check-in followed by a short stop€¦a very short stop in the Haven Check-in lounge where some tired staff invited us to “enjoy “some cold coffee and some breakfast leftover cookies from breakfast. In all our previous trips the Concierge or one of assistants were welcoming the guests at check-in or in Epic Lounge. This time nobody was guiding us and the check-in experience and arrival on the ship was far from the exclusive welcome for which Haven guests pay. Finally we arrived in Haven were a very “busy “concierge ask us to wait for other arrivals to “don't repeat “the information again. Why is so difficult to treat everybody as individuals and not cabin numbers or to check the information about Latitudes members on the guest list at least to provide a polite “welcome back “to them? Dining experience was again of mixture of good and bad. The Epic Club – a private restaurant dedicated to Haven guests exceeded our expectation. Justin and his staff were perfect. The new menu and China are very close to a high-class restaurant. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are now indeed an amazing experience in Epic Club and for sure when the crew will be more comfortable with the product the service will polish at the same level as the food (food knowledge, peace of service, wine knowledge, and recommendation system). But we come back again and again to enjoy the new menu and the service standards. Same story in Cagney's. The Maître D manager superbly his team and food match perfectly the service. Not too much waiting, a waiter always ready to serve or to recommend, new China, glassware and cutlery and an ambiance which made us to go for at least 6 times for dinner. The other side of the coin was two specialty restaurants were the disappointment was part of the menu. MODERNO – the Brazilian restaurant used to be our favourite spot with excellent food and great service. Now the service flow changed, the meat arrived in a chaotic order and if you are a first timer you have the chance to eat ONLY chicken and sausages and miss the excellent Fillet Minion or Picana. The salad bar changes and now NCL seems to give Brazilian passports for Sushi (Japan) or queso manchego (Spain), question of taste! The most annoying thing about Moderno was that the excellent quality meat was always cold. Even after we sent back twice some dishes the rest was still cold and as we didn't get any reaction from the Maître D or staff we ended abusing the salad bar. Not a good idea if you pay for the restaurant. BISTRO was another favourite of mine in old days. The French restaurant used to be an oasis of taste and style. Now only the escargots survived! Slow service, lack of customer service and cold food made us cutting the diner after the starter and save our figure in one night. Such a pity for old good days! The room (17017) was what we expected: lots of space, elegant, Elemis amenities, clean and welcoming. Great first impression but when you start looking around you realise that the maintenance of the ship needs to be reconsidered big time. First the toilets; the revolutionary bathrooms -- which split the toilet and shower into two separate units -- got most tongues wagging with much talk about the "see through" doors. In reality, the doors are translucent and couples and traveling companions of a nervous disposition can pull across a drape that effectively shuts off the bathroom area from the rest of the cabin. Never had any problems with the design or functionality and in the photos the bathroom area looks nice & trendy. In reality the translucent glass door was broken in a previous cruise and even the guests in a 2 bedroom villa pays a lot of money nobody at NCL found a proper door as a replacement and the result was a piece of plastic very bad cut which resembles a little bit with the original. And was there THE SMELL. Due to the bad design or bad maintenance the main toilet smell continuously no matter how many times was cleaned or how many air freshener were placed in the room. The Haven offers guests another touch of luxury: a cell phone contactable around the ship. Great idea even if a little bit exaggerated. But in previous cruises we used it proving to be an useful tool on a ship where free style cruise includes a lot of choices for everybody. This time the phone didn't work and any feedback give to the concierge ended with a lot of excuses and the blame place on the shoulder of “maintenance guy. So the posh cell phone on board was never functional. As a Haven guest you have free access to a TV system, which allow you to have free movies 24h. Excellent idea and the selection was impressive and, what a surprise changed since December, including now Oscars’ nominated productions. But again the bad maintenance (again a Concierge opinion) made necessary to spend 9 hours (indeed NINE hours) to watch the last James Bond. The system crashed every 5 minutes and I never spend in my entire life so much time with Daniel Craig and his funny running style! Right from the get go, we needed to have the clogged toilet fixed, later it was a ceiling tile with a light came down, the door needed to be fixed (and avoid to spend an extra 2 h in case of emergency to get out). The list goes on. So we got to know the electrician, carpenter, and plumber pretty well (all very nice people) The Haven supposed to be a quiet place, “announcement free “But once again the reality was different. A malfunction of the system brought the too many and in too many languages announcements every day in our cabin. Was funny but we wren€™t able to listen to the entire announcement€¦only the DING-DONG and the first half because after that the sound stopped. Don't say it, we spoke with the Concierge about that but I bet you can guess already the answer and the outcome. So Ding-Dong and Pedro's ½ sentence 5 times/day for us! Fortunately for us the only thing that made this Haven experience memorable, in a good way, was the excellent service of our butler and cabin steward. Polite, excellent manners, smooth service and very strong consistency made the room team an excellent asset for EPIC's Haven. Richard, the steward, was funny and chatty and Sahmed the butler was always there without being too much in to your face ready to assist with whatever you need: from laundry to organising a private party in our cabin. Haven has it’s own gym, sauna and steam room but, again, somebody miss the point of having such facilities on board. The changing room was always full with stuff for cleaning or sunbed cushions, the gym was not very clean and if you wanted to use the sauna or steam room you needed to wake up 1h earlier and switch on the facilities if you want to use them around 9AM. Reading again the NCL website I am still surprised by the Concierges€™s role description: “Once on board, a concierge will help plan your day whether it's hosting a private party or reserving a private tour ashore€. In our previous cruise was exactly like that with a Concierge having lots of genuine smiles and polite conversation even if the guests in Haven are not all the time “Premium Guests “and the feeling of “new money-bad manners “is quite common on NCL. This time was different. Both Concierge and a gentleman who was the Assistant Concierge were the perfect example for “Concierge Don’ts “I will need another review to write down everything so lets try some examples looking at main Concierge skills: - Active Listening : both of them all the time when we approach their desk were busy “doing something “on the computer. No eye contact, no interest in the conversation, having phone chats or conversation with others in the middle of our request and so on. One moment we decided to skip the Concierge desk and started to organise and sort our issues ourselves. - Service Orientation at the skill of being pro-active didn't find a space in their CV. When my partner was ill and we ask the concierge about medical emergency procedures and costs on board, her assistance was limited to a “put you through the medical centre” like a hotel operator. No follow up call, at least as a courtesy if “duty of care “was not in her language. - Social Perceptiveness & discrimination awareness : as gay market is a massive source of income for any cruise lines and NCL was brilliant from this point of view until now, I didn't expect such an aggressive and rude homophobic behaviour from both Concierge and Assistant Concierge. I was thinking that one can make a lot of money from complaining about gay discrimination and taking in the account all the rolled eyes, ironic smiles and close to the end of the cruise the constant “ignored “applied to us. Nothing to do apart of smiling when we didn't get any answers to our “hello “or “how are you? - Judgment and Decision Makin : or in simple words “The answer is NO, what's your question? That was a constant attitude at the Concierge desk. One of my friends wanted to change a booking for a show and the answer was NO. When we check later, directly in the theatre and with the help of an excellent Cruise Director they were plenty of seats and no problem with re-booking. We missed so much our previous concierges Adrian, Monica and all the others who really understand why and how they can make somebody experience in Haven an “experience truly first class”(https://www.ncl.com/thehaven/experience/#service). Maybe some training or a temporary demotion will do well to both Concierge and Assistant Concierge. More&Photos at leonardmiron.com

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Sep 14, 2014

med

If you like crowds and hidden charges then this is the ship for you. Prices shown on drinks menus do not include VAT and service charge. Total price for two beers nearly $16. The food was good as on most ships. The staff very nice but an incident when laundry steward came into our cabin at 12:20am when told not to but carried on to tell us how to fill bag told him to leave. Our cabin was called a mini suite but was no better than a standard cabin

with lumpy short (feet hanging out the bottom) bed. The bathroom you had to draw a curtain across. The food was good. We didn't like our cabin. We didn't avail ourselves on the onboard activities.

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By Nir _CR

  • New

Aug 31, 2014

Mediterranean

Overall, a pretty disappointing cruise. The entertainment was not great, the staff were not very helpful. When we went to the concierge desk, there was a long line since there were two dedicated staff for spanish speaking people. The tour director was not very interesting or seemed to care about our experiences. Very bland food, and in the Brazilian specialty restaurant, which cost extra, the food was spoiled. Small, but usable cabin.

The large balcony was a good idea to pay extra for. Boring activities. Not much there. We booked an excursion through a private operator, CruisingExcursions.com instead of with the cruise line. We were looking forward to this family trip that we have been planning for a year and were trusting that this company would meet our expectations that we had. Unfortunately, our August 2014 excursion with them to Monaco, Montecarlo and Eze made for a horrible experience and ruined the whole rest of the vacation for us. Our tour guide, who had such a thick accent that we missed most of her commentary and who failed to provide us with a local number, abandoned us in Montecarlo. She told us at 11:30 AM, to spend time on our own and meet at a certain point at 2:30 PM and we confirmed this time with her twice because it sounded like 3 hours was a long time to spend on our own. All three times she confirmed that she meant 2:30. At 2:00 PM we arrived at the meeting point and over the next hour were surprised that no one was there to meet us. We became desperate and made several attempts to find her. We asked several other tour guides there from the cruise line whether or not they knew where this guide was and they said they did not. We tried to get the cruise guides from our ship to take us back with them, but they refused since they weren't insured for us. We ended up having to take a taxi back to the port in Cannes and spent 180 euros to get back to the ship since we didn't want to miss the departure time. We later spoke to other people from the excursion and they said that she did say 2:30 but then changed her mind and gathered other people at 12:30 and left. She did not make any accommodations to make sure we were taken care of when it was her fault that we, a family of two adults and two children, were abandoned. We never completed the tour and my wife left her new jacket and my daughter her sunglasses on the bus since they were promised they would be safe. We have contacted this company several times only asking for reimbursement of the tour cost and the taxi ride, but they have made excuse after excuse to not reimburse what is owed us. Again, do not use this company. If you already booked with them, do yourselves a favor and cancel and use the ships excursion company, it is safer and they are more responsible. We learned our lesson. Don't make the same mistake we made just to save a few dollars. Overall, not as good as we hoped. Mostly, it was the cruise excursion that ruined it for us, however, we will also most likely not use Norwegian Cruise Lines, again. I would offer a tip to use the cruise excursion.

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  • New

Jul 13, 2014

Mediteranean

Crowds, crowds and more crowds. Absolutely ridiculous how many people were on that ship. You can't get a table to eat breakfast, heck, you can't even get into the line to get the breakfast. Kids running and screaming everywhere unfettered. This is Carnival for sure. We complained about it but they didn't seem to want to intervene. I paid for the ultimate dining package, without it I would have waited in more lines and fought more crowds.

My cabin was billed as a mini-suite but for NCL's latitudes program you aren't credited for a suite, go figure. Boring entertainment. All excursions were great.

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