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Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Epic

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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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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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

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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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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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May 29, 2014

Eastern Mediterranean

This is a self service, buffet style, canned cruise. Anything you want you will need to be prepared to get yourself. freestyle cruising means you can eat at the buffet, or pay extra to eat somewhere else. Yes, there are two other non-charged restaurants with mediocre food and really difficult and ever-changing opening hours. Do not plan on engaging with an honest and forthcoming cruise consultant if you are booking through NCL. Do not plan on

service of any type while on board the ship. The answer will always be "I'm sorry sir/madame". There is a fee for everything, except air. Night time entertainment, the kids program, the ice bar, bowling, etc., all comes with a fee. We paid $40 USD for two of us to play bingo along with approximately 150 other people. There were three games with an average prize of $120 per game. The ports were nice, although the cruise itinerary changed after booking. They did not feel the need to advise us of this. We found out when trying to book our shore excursions. Remember that your "service fee" or tip is automatic and non-negotiable. There is no reason for staff to offer excellent service, they are getting paid no matter what. I do not recommend this cruise to anyone other than a first time cruiser. Repetitive on the buffet. Same thing every day for breakfast and lunch. Alternate venues are not generally available during lunch time. The pay to go to restaurants were markedly better, although Teppenyaki was the only one that stood out above the norm. Midnight buffets, desserts that make you ooh and ahh were not present anywhere. Generally, the same food you get at the average restaurant at home. We had a family mini-suite. It was more mini than suite, but that was not a huge surprise on a cruise. The bath is odd, right at the door, and completely see-through. Our coffee pot did not work and after three requests was never corrected. We resorted to room service coffee. Order twice as much as you want to get the right amount. There was left over food and dirty glasses in the refrigerator from the previous guest(s). Our mini-bar refreshments were located in a pillow case under our bed. (Seriously - I can't make this stuff up!) Totally self-serve here. You had to read all of the fine print on the daily print out, which wasn't always correct and sometimes had stuff for today and tomorrow on it. Very confusing. Most of the evening entertainment is in the bars, and not where we wished to be with our child. Blue Man Group was fantastic. Cirque was very good, but was $40 per person extra. Other than that, there were generally no family oriented night time entertainment items. We could have placed our child in "Splash" but there was, of course, a fee for that. The bowling alley has 3 lanes, and there is a fee. The rock wall, etc. are on the top deck and are open limited hours due to high winds, generally during the day in port, when everyone is out on shore excursions. The good news is there is no fee for this. If you MUST go on this cruise, don't miss Blue Man or Cirque. Pack snacks. Pack tons of patience and low expectations. Do not book a tour in Rome through the line. Book privately - you will see more, hear more, and have a better experience. Skip Palma de Mallorca if you go there. Book your own transport to/from the port. Taxi is approximately 25 Euro and NCL charges $30 USD per person AND you have to load/unload your own luggage. Do not pay for the "all you can drink" packages; we simply were not on board enough to make the cost realistic. We enjoyed our ports of call and made the best of this very expensive lesson. On board, it became a game to spot the next deception, insult, fee, or lack of service. We knew it would be a cruise to remember on our first night when we asked a wait staff member at the dinner buffet what time the shops would open. They replied "I don't really know". We asked if they could tell us what level the shops are on, so we can check (there are no maps provided for this ship). They replied "I don't know - I only work here in the buffet". And so it went. Fees for so many items that on my previous cruises were included, such as dinner venues, and shows. I would not recommend this cruise to anyone.

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Apr 30, 2014

Miami roundtrip

A great cruise ship and a good cruise that could improve. Eastern Caribbean Christmas cruise From Miami 21/12/13 Like many other reviews of cruises with Norwegian Epic this one is a mix of positive and negative experiences. The ship The Epic is simply a great ship built for enjoyment at sea. There are plenty of creative features that really adds on to the pleasure of cruising. If moving horizontally is a problem on other

ships then moving vertically is a big issue on the Epic. Such a long ship could do with twice as many positions for lifts (elevators), because finding your way on the Epic is easy. Actually getting there is another story. The entertainment Sailing on The Epic was a great over all experience. What makes her so special is that she is designed for pleasure and entertainment like no other ship we've been on. With so many options for things to do and enjoy one could say that entertainment has gone freestyle. We enjoyed the shows in the Epic theatre as well as in the Headliners comedy club, the Atrium, Fat cats and on the outdoor stages. The people running the box office are doing a great job trying to meet all the different wishes of the guests. If a place like Headliners is sold out, and you really want to go then it's quiet easy to just slip in ones they've started and still get a seat. Sometimes it gets a little too much with so much happening all around, especially around the Aqua park during the day and on decks 5&6 at night, but one can always slip away to other areas for relaxation instead. The sun decks are marvelous, in that there so many different areas to chose from. We stayed away from the bustling centre section since we'd left the kids at home. Sometimes we were in the front section on deck 18 where it's extremely quiet, but most of the time we spent in H2O spice. The food The grill in H2o spice serves delicious Indian dishes, and it is superior to other outdoor restaurants that we've encountered on other ships. It's similar to Great outdoors that also generously offers tasty zero calories-drinks free of charge. The main dining rooms were disappointments both in quality and in service. we tried the meat a few times, but it was so bad that we had to go for fish instead. We heard the same complaints from other cruisers about the restaurants specializing in meat, Moderno churasceria and Cagney"s. The dining club Taste was really messy. Up to five waters would come up and speak to us, but no one was able to take an order. There are other restaurants worth mentioning; The buffet restaurant was impressive, apart from the meat of course. There is a really nice front section, there is a massive selection and everything is operated so well. In contrast to this impressive giant my second favorite along with Spice H2o is another restaurant with a limited menu: O'Shehan's. Great food, great service and a great location. It's a mixture of your regular British isles pub, a round the clock eatery, bowling alley and theatre bar all at the same time and a total smash hit. To my surprise we went there several times; before an early gym class, when we were running late for a show etc. One could even eat there and watch an Atrium show at the same time. Embarkation etc. Getting on the ship in Miami is like boarding a plane, and I've been to a number of airports that are smaller than The Epic's Terminal B. The security check is so strict that I could not even finish my bottle of water that I had in my hand. The check-in procedure at the desk is minimal, but it doesn't mean that you can board the ship, you will have to wait for about half an hour more. First you have to wait to get a group number, and then you can move on to the next lobby. There was 12 more groups ahead of us before we could move on. This procedure is probably arranged to avoid congestion as more than 4000 people are trying to board the ship. In spite of this arrangement trying to make our way to the cabin from the entrance was chaotic. We didn't seem to be able to move out of the spot. An advice to cruisers at this point is to NOT use the lifts (elevators), because it can easily delay you for another ten minutes. With this experience I started to wonder how disembarkation would be, but it was excellent. In all the ports and back in Miami leaving the ship was amazingly easy considering the 4000+ fellow passengers. NCL had plenty of staff helping out on the piers. They also handed out wet towels and free drinks, a very nice gesture. Cabins (staterooms) on the Epic is is a popular topic. We took a few days to try the odd arrangement out before we formed our own opinions. Even from our cabin a mixed report came out. I thought that it was inconvenient not to have a bathroom. The stuff that you normally get out of sight by closing the bathroom door ended up in the bedroom area, which made the cabin look disorderly the whole time. The lack of a proper door on the toilet allowed noise and odors into the rest of the cabin, in the case of the toilet, and plenty of water on the floor in the case of the shower. A visit to any one of the three functions disturbs the other person much more in an Epic cabin. My wife had the opposite opinion. She loved the design and the arrangements. One thing in the cabin that I seldom care about is the TV, but the Epic has got really smart smart TV's. You get information about everything that goes on, get all kinds of practical information, keep track of your on board accounts a.s.o. on the screen. The info-leaflet Freestyle daily is great, sometimes we misplaced it, but we never had a problem with a lost TV screen. If we still wanted a paper copy we could always pick one up at the reception. The English copies were always out of stock, but there was always a copy in an alternative language like Spanish, German or French. Cleaning The cabin was always cleaned well throughout the cruise by our steward Jose' who always tried to look after us. The cleaning of public areas was a different story. The ship was clean from the departure, but it got gradually worse as the cruise went on. Towards the end there was pieces of food in a staircase that was left more or less the whole day without any action from the staff. Several cruisers also complained about the poor cleaning of the public areas. Service Most of the time the service was good, but remarkably often it wasn't. Time after time it happened that the staff just didn't want to help out. A behavior that we just are not used to and certainly didn't expect on a flagship. As well as the bottoms the service also had a number of peaks where crew members went the extra mile for us, like the occasion when we were given a private art class, or the night when the waiter was fighting the worst rain storm I could ever imagine just to give us shelter so that we could watch the movie. The ports We went to beaches as well as the capitals during all three stops. In addition to this we also toured both sides of St. Martin with public transport, a great way of meeting locals and getting a better understanding of the place. There are two sides to this one. You are really on your own if something would happen, there is no staff to take care of you, but no one knows your route or would expect you to be at a certain time at a given place, which is also good. This particular day six gigantic cruise ships visited St. Maarten including two out of the three largest passenger ships in the world. In spite of this massive tourist invasion and our extensive traveling throughout the day we didn't meet a single tourist on any of the buses. On an organized tour you are however a sitting duck if anyone would decide to attack, and that's exactly what happened that day. Some fellow cruisers became witnesses of an attack on a group of tourists from the cruise ship. One cruiser got severely stabbed with a large knife and then robbed right in front of his tour group. A tip for European cruisers bound for St. Maarten; apart from the fact that the French side is the more beautiful side, it could be worth making a loop around the island if you need or want to make some phone calls. You will only pay a fraction of the cost of making a call to Europe on the "Dutch" side. St. Maarten is an independent nation within kingdom of the Netherlands without being a part of the country of The Netherlands. This is the right opposite of St. Martin which is as much part of France as anything else and therefore also territory of the European Union and under such European regulations that puts limits to how expensive telecom charges between the EU members can be. NCL signatures There was an amazing precision in the shift of tiers in the loyalty program as we after exactly the right number of nights started to receive chocolates on our pillows. There was however a number of things that we missed: There was no Latitudes party, no chocoholic buffet and no lobster night. The lobster got replaced with shrimp (!) There is a general tendency for NCL to charge for services that used to be free. To jump into the sauna after your workout will now set you back 42 dollars! What we did not miss was the false seminars of the past that were actually disguised "Tupperware parties" where they tried to sell you something. The crowd N.B. This is was a Christmas cruise, which is different to any other week of the year. Cruising out of a U.S. port for the first time in a number of years we were amazed to see how fit people seemed to be. The buffet restaurant was empty and the gym was full. Crew members told us that this cruise was an exception, normally it's the other way around. We met relatively few couples, but a lot of families and large family groups and single travelers. The studios for single travelers sold out quickly, and the ship carried a large number of kids: about 1300- no kidding! Very few people originated outside of North America.

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Mar 10, 2014

Eastern Caribean

Thought the ship was awesome. Not a lot to do in the evenings. Same thing every night. Went to Karoke every night because lack of anything else to do. Enjoyed the Blue Man Group. The food was good. I was in a studio room and it was very nice and adequate. The lounge in the single area was very nice. They had a lot of things planned for the singles. Didn't do too many on board activities. I would recommend this ship.

The only downfall would be smoking in casino is right where everyone walks through. It was a very enjoyable cruise.

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Mar 2, 2014

Eastern Caribbean

Eastern Caribbean Christmas cruise From Miami 21/12/13 Like many other reviews of cruises with Norwegian Epic this one is a mix of positive and negative experiences. The ship The Epic is simply a great ship built for enjoyment at sea. There are plenty of creative features that really adds on to the pleasure of cruising. If moving horizontally is a problem on other ships then moving vertically is a big issue on the Epic. Such a long ship

could do with twice as many positions for lifts (elevators), because finding your way on the Epic is easy. Actually getting there is another story. The entertainment Sailing on The Epic was a great over all experience. What makes her so special is that she is designed for pleasure and entertainment like no other ship we've been on. With so many options for things to do and enjoy one could say that entertainment has gone freestyle. We enjoyed the shows in the Epic theatre as well as in the Headliners comedy club, the Atrium, Fat cats and on the outdoor stages. The people running the box office are doing a great job trying to meet all the different wishes of the guests. If a place like Headliners is sold out, and you really want to go then it's quiet easy to just slip in ones they've started and still get a seat. Sometimes it gets a little too much with so much happening all around, especially around the Aqua park during the day and on decks 5&6 at night, but one can always slip away to other areas for relaxation instead. The sun decks are marvelous, in that there so many different areas to chose from. We stayed away from the bustling centre section since we'd left the kids at home. Sometimes we were in the front section on deck 18 where it's extremely quiet, but most of the time we spent in H2O spice. The food The grill in H2o spice serves western fast food and delicious Indian dishes, and it is superior to other outdoor restaurants that we've encountered on other ships. It's similar to Great outdoors that also generously offers tasty zero calories-drinks free of charge. The main dining rooms were disappointments both in quality and in service. we tried the meat a few times, but it was so bad that we had to go for fish instead. We heard the same complaints from other cruisers about the restaurants specializing in meat, Moderno churasceria and Cagney"s. The dining club Taste was really messy. Up to five waters would come up and speak to us, but no one was able to take an order. There are other restaurants worth mentioning; The buffet restaurant was impressive, apart from the meat of course. There is a really nice front section, there is a massive selection and everything is operated so well. In contrast to this impressive giant my second favorite along with Spice H2o is another restaurant with a limited menu: O'Sheehan's. Great food, great service and a great location. It's a mixture of your regular British isles pub, a round the clock eatery, bowling alley and theatre bar all at the same time and a total smash hit. To my surprise we went there several times; before an early gym class, when we were running late for a show etc. One could even eat there and watch an Atrium show at the same time. Embarkation etc. Getting on the ship in Miami is like boarding a plane, and I've been to a number of airports that are smaller than The Epic's Terminal B. The security check is so strict that I could not even finish my bottle of water that I had in my hand. The check-in procedure at the desk is minimal, but it doesn't mean that you can board the ship, you will have to wait for about half an hour more. First you have to wait to get a group number, and then you can move on to the next lobby. There was 12 more groups ahead of us before we could move on. This procedure is probably arranged to avoid congestion as more than 4000 people are trying to board the ship. In spite of this arrangement trying to make our way to the cabin from the entrance was chaotic. We didn't seem to be able to move out of the spot. An advice to cruisers at this point is to NOT use the lifts (elevators), because it can easily delay you for another ten minutes. With this experience I started to wonder how disembarkation would be, but it was excellent. In all the ports and back in Miami leaving the ship was amazingly easy considering the 4000+ fellow passengers. NCL had plenty of staff helping out on the piers. They also handed out wet towels and free drinks, a very nice gesture. Cabins (staterooms) on the Epic is is a popular topic. We took a few days to try the odd arrangement out before we formed our own opinions. Even from our cabin a mixed report came out. I thought that it was inconvenient not to have a bathroom. The stuff that you normally get out of sight by closing the bathroom door ended up in the bedroom area, which made the cabin look disorderly the whole time. The lack of a proper door on the toilet allowed noise and odors into the rest of the cabin, in the case of the toilet, and plenty of water on the floor in the case of the shower. A visit to any one of the three functions disturbs the other person much more in an Epic cabin. My wife had the opposite opinion. She loved the design and the arrangements. One thing in the cabin that I seldom care about is the TV, but the Epic has got really smart smart TV's. You get information about everything that goes on, get all kinds of practical information, keep track of your on board accounts a.s.o. on the screen. The info-leaflet Freestyle daily is great, sometimes we misplaced it, but we never had a problem with a lost TV screen. If we still wanted a paper copy we could always pick one up at the reception. The English copies were always out of stock, but there was always a copy in an alternative language like Spanish, German or French. Cleaning The cabin was always cleaned well throughout the cruise by our steward Jose' who always tried to look after us. The cleaning of public areas was a different story. The ship was clean from the departure, but it got gradually worse as the cruise went on. Towards the end there was pieces of food in a staircase that was left more or less the whole day without any action from the staff. Several cruisers also complained about the poor cleaning of the public areas. Service Most of the time the service was good, but remarkably often it wasn't. Time after time it happened that the staff just didn't want to help out. A behavior that we just are not used to and certainly didn't expect on a flagship. As well as the bottoms the service also had a number of peaks where crew members went the extra mile for us, like the occasion when we were given a private art class, or the night when the waiter was fighting the worst rain storm I could ever imagine just to give us shelter so that we could watch the movie. The ports We went to beaches as well as the capitals during all three stops. In addition to this we also toured both sides of St. Martin with public transport, a great way of meeting locals and getting a better understanding of the place. There are two sides to this one. You are really on your own if something would happen, there is no staff to take care of you, but no one knows your route or would expect you to be at a certain time at a given place, which is also good. This particular day six gigantic cruise ships visited St. Maarten including two out of the three largest passenger ships in the world. In spite of this massive tourist invasion and our extensive travelling throughout the day we didn't meet a single tourist on any of the buses. On an organized tour you are however a sitting duck. If anyone would decide to attack, and that's exactly what happened that day. Some fellow cruisers became witnesses of an attack on a group of tourists from the cruise ship. The victim got severely stabbed with a large knife and then robbed right in front of his tour group. A tip for European cruisers bound for St. Maarten; apart from the fact that the French side is the more beautiful side, it could be worth making a loop around the island if you need or want to make some phone calls. You will only pay a fraction of the cost of making a call to Europe on the "Dutch" side. St. Maarten is an independent nation within kingdom of the Netherlands without being a part of the country of The Netherlands. This is the right opposite of St. Martin which is as much part of France as anything else and therefore also territory of the European Union and under such European regulations that puts limits to how expensive telecom charges between the EU members can be. NCL signatures There was an amazing precision in the shift of tiers in the loyalty program as we after exactly the right number of nights started to receive chocolates on our pillows. There was however a number of things that we missed: There was no Latitudes party, no chocoholic buffet and no lobster night. The lobster got replaced with shrimp (!) A sad development is that less things seemed to be included in the cruise price, instead specific extra charges applied,like in the case of some entertainment and the sauna. In the beginning of the year we could enjoy the sauna after a session in the gym without any extra charge, but on the Epic the cost was 45 dollars, which is a lot. The ridiculous service charge is still in, even if has a freestyle twist in the sense that you can adjust it at the end. What we did not miss was the false seminars of the past that were actually disguised "Tupperware parties" where they tried to sell you something. The crowd N.B.This is was a Christmas cruise, which is different to any other week of the year. Cruising out of a U.S. port for the first time in a number of years we were amazed to see how fit people seemed to be. The buffet restaurant was empty and the gym was full. Crew members told us that this cruise was an exception, normally it's the other way around. We met relatively few couples, but a lot of families and large family groups and single travelers. The studios for single travelers sold out quickly, and the ship carried a large number of kids: about 1300- no kidding! Very few people originated outside of North America.

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Jan 18, 2014

Carribean

This was the first supersize ship we went on. It was supersize great even with the weird bathroom setup. Excellent food. great cabin except the weird bathroom set up. I like the traditional ship bathrooms not the split sides - its just a matter of personal preference and what you are used to. ship activities were fine

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Nov 28, 2013

Transatlantic

This was our first transatlantic cruise, and we didn't know what to expect as far as the seas or our ability to relax for 14 days, but everything ended up fantastic & we had the cruise experience of a lifetime thanks to NCL and the Epic staff. This was my 6th NCL cruise, so I reached Silver status this cruise and was treated to a bottle of wine waiting in the cabin & chocolate covered strawberries that night with turn-down service - what a surprise!

We have always enjoyed the freestyle dining and casual atmosphere on NCL, and the Epic did not disappoint. This was actually our 2nd cruise on the Epic, the first being in the Caribbean 3 years previous, so we knew what to expect with regard to the ship, and we were comfortable with the layout already. It is awkward to have to go through the casino at all times it seems to get to dinner or wherever we wanted to go, but at least it helped us to become oriented and learn our way around. The staff were all courteous and helpful. The only thing that I don't like about the Epic is the lack of an evening show in the main theater each night. The Epic has Broadway style productions and smaller venues, but you have to make reservations for those shows (Blue Man Group, Second City, Legends, Terrance B the hypnotist, Graffiti Classics, etc.) and can't always get the time you desire. We missed having a show to go to each night, but other than that, our cruise was ideal! Two weeks of relaxation, fun and sun! We can't wait to book another transatlantic cruise and another NCL cruise for sure. The food in the main dining rooms was delicious, and the service was wonderful. We only tried 1 specialty restaurant, the Charascaria (all you can eat meats - a carnivore's dream come true!), and it was our 2nd time doing that on an Epic cruise. We got there earlier this time, because we were with my parents, and it seemed the meats came around slower than expected. They seemed to be speeding up as were ready to leave, like we had arrived as things were still cooking. So if you want the skewers to come around constantly, I would suggest making a 7pm reservation. The main restaurants are Taste & Manhattan. Both have almost identical menus, with only minor differences. We chose to eat at Taste 10 of our nights, because the atmosphere was more to our liking. Manhattan's ceiling is lower, and with the live music it got very loud in there, difficult to hold a conversation. Taste is multilevel, open to 2 other decks in the center, and was more comfortable for us. We never ate dinner at the buffet, because I don't "do buffets" if I can help it. I ate at the buffet twice for lunch, and it was good, as far as buffets go. It was not disappointing. But for dinner we prefer to get dressed and make an evening of it, so the buffet is for a quick breakfast or lunch only. For breakfast we prefer the sit-down style of Taste. Wonderful food, and it fills you up so that you really don't want lunch usually. My parents had an aft balcony on the starboard side. They wished they'd been on the port side, because they would have seen the ports coming and going on that cruise. They did not like the bed, because it was curved, and my Dad's feet hung off the end of the bed. I know they did that to make it easier to walk through to the balcony, but it was awkward for sleeping. We had an interior cabin & were thrilled with the size of the cabin and the amount of storage. Once we put our suitcases under the beds, the cabin was so roomy, and there were oodles of drawers, shelves & cabinets to put everything away. And the beds were to die for - so comfy we couldn't wait to go to sleep each night! We liked the split toilet and shower concept. One person could be in the shower stall while another person was in the separate toilet stall. Anyone who complains that the curtain divided bathroom area is weird and offers no privacy has no business being in a cabin with another person obviously. We loved it. You can shut off the curtain and someone can be showering or using the toilet while the other person is at the vanity area in the main part of the room. Great for getting ready. And the Epic offers studio rooms in the center of the ship for singles, so if you want privacy, book a studio. They were getting rave reviews from fellow passengers we met. There was always something going on, so it was impossible to be bored, even after 14 days, but we spent most of our time at the adult pool (Spice H20). Very relaxing and sunny. It's a bummer that people show up early in the morning to plop a towel down & reserve all the loungers, even if they never show up, but that's true on most cruise ships. We learned to do the same or we'd wait until later in the day, and several lounge chairs would have cleared by then. I've already mentioned the lack of nightly show, but the ones they have are mostly awesome. To get the time slots you want, book all the shows online ahead of time. We knew we didn't really enjoy Blue Man Group last time we were on the Epic, so we didn't bother this time. They are very loud, and the show is at least 30 minutes too long. They drag the same jokes/bits on and on and on. We were lucky enough to have both Legends shows available this cruise and saw both. They were fantastic! My only complaint would be that Katy Perry is Not a Legend. Some people say Adele isn't either, but I love her, so I'm not going to gripe. The shows were fun & excellent. Graffiti Classics was a hoot and 1/2! Wonderful! Second City was fun too. We really enjoyed Terrance B the comedy hypnotist. We participated in the show and had a great time - I was Cher & apparently made quite a spectacle of myself! LOL! We saw 2 of his seminars on weight loss and stress relief, and he's great. We weren't all that impressed with the comedy magician on board. The slides onboard are so much fun and a good way to get some exercise, climbing all those stairs. We never book excursions through the ship - too expensive! In the Caribbean, we step off the ship & book less expensive cruises at the dock. We've never been disappointed. Just make sure to always be on "ship time" and get back to the ship in plenty of time! Some examples of what we do in the Caribbean.... Cozumel: take a cab to Chankanaab park for beach, dolphins, snorkeling or to Paradise beach or San Francisco beach. In Montego Bay take a cab to Doctor's Cave beach and then walk over to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville for drinks, the water slide/trampolines. Cayman: Moby Dick tours for snorkeling & Stingray City. Roatan: cab to fantasy island resort or Tabyana beach. Belize: book a snorkel tour at the port. The catamaran snorkel tour through the ship was the final straw for us in deciding never again through the ship! Well that 1 and their cave excursion in Belize - what a boring joke that was! So either dive or snorkel Belize on your own or just get off the ship & shop and have a drink at the cute little Iguana "something" bar at the port. For this transatlantic cruise, we only had 2 stops: Madeira island and St. Thomas. In Madeira we took a bus that dropped us off in town, and from there you can walk around and shop/eat/drink, or we hired a cab for $45 EU each to drive us around the island for several hours. We got to see & do all the highlights for much less. We did the toboggan ride down the hill, which was so much fun, and we did the smaller gondola ride that went directly down the cliff to the ocean & didn't require a 2nd cab ride like the other more popular gondola & toboggan ride does. We had some of the local rum drink (poncha de Madeira) at a cute little bar in the seaside fishing village where Winston Churchill liked to visit and paint. We really enjoyed Madeira and would visit again when cruising. St. Thomas is 1 of our favorite stops, and we always go to Magen's Bay. It's inexpensive & absolutely stunningly gorgeous! Get there early & reserve a picnic table or just a sandy area under the shade trees. Love it! We were amazed at how calm the Atlantic was for all but 1 of our cruise days. Most days we felt we were in the Mediterranean, it was so calm. The Epic is easy to get around once you figure it out. It's a little chopped up & it seems you always have to go through the casino. To find your stateroom, remember blue carpet is Odd numbers & red carpet is even numbers. Download the iconcierge app to your mobile device before you cruise and activate it onboard to keep track of reservation and daily activities. You can make reservations and check your charge on your TV in the room too. There's a mini fridge in the room. Ask your steward to empty it so you can use it to cool your own drinks. Order room service! It's awesome and will spoil you rotten. Bring a shoe holder, the kind that hangs, so you can keep your sunscreen, toiletries, etc handy & clear up counter space. Bring a European electrical converter so you can take advantage of all the power plugs, like behind the bed in inside cabin, in the medicine cabinet & under the counter. That's all I can think of right now - we had a blast & would totally do it again in a heartbeat! Thanks NCL!

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Nov 21, 2013

Eastern Carribean

This was our 8th cruise, but our first with NCL. I want to first say, THANK GOD WE UPGRADED TO THE HAVEN! If you book the in the Haven suites, note that there is a VIP check in for Haven only guests. So you won't have to stand in the long lines for check in. This is not clearly marked so if you are embarking from the port of Miami, when you walk in, there is a little sign on the left on the wall that says VIP CHECK in. This is where you need to

go. They will have everything ready for you, and then whisk you away to your very own VIP holding room where they have juice and snacks for you to partake in while you are waiting to get on the ship. This was very nice. Within about 15 minutes our butler came to show us to the HAVEN suites, and show us around the HAVEN area. BUT!¦. Before even the HAVEN guest were allowed to get on the ship, they were letting visitors on the ship to show them around, and they were all kinds of in the way during our tour. Anyway, by the time the tour of the HAVEN was over, we were able to get into our room. Room 16017. This room is beautiful. It's a two room family suite, with two bathrooms. The master bath has a full size tub and separate shower. Both with full length glass walls looking out at the ocean, and other ships at port. The second bathroom had a full shower as well, which was a good thing because we brought our 16 year old daughter with us. The second room was a little cramped but who spends a lot of time in their rooms anyway? Oh wait. We did. One of the reasons was because the ship was SOOOOO crowded everywhere else BUT the HAVEN. 4200 people on the ship and only a couple hundred in the Haven. We only had four people in our pool at any given time and always one of the hot tubs to ourselves. We talked to other guests who said they couldn't get in the lower pools or get a pool side chair due to the overcrowding. A few of us were a little sea sick because this ship rocks like crazy. But they have puke bags in every stairwell. Nothing like the OASIS of the SEAS. Let's talk about the food. First in the 'Garden Cafe' I can explain this in one word. YUCK. The same food was served all seven days we were on the ship. Hamburgers cooked so well done that you could use them for hockey pucks. Hot dogs were well done as well, and the buns, (if you could find one) were hard and stale. There was a spot where you could make a salad. Not much to choose from to dress your salad up. And some days you were lucky if there was even any lettuce to make a salad with. The lines are horrible. You don't know where one line starts and where one ends. With this being our first time on a NCL cruise, we weren't sure what the process was. We thought that you stood at the end of a line, and worked your way through until you got where you wanted to. This is not the case. The lines start where there are stacks of plates and ends where that section ends. Then there are more plates. Good luck getting in line. That's all I'm saying. Trying to find a seat after you have picked out our not so delicious food is also a real treat. Good luck. By the time we would find our seat, our food was cold. So now we had cold, over cooked food to try to choke down. Not fun. There are also little buffets in the pool areas. (With the same well done thing that are on the buffet in the garden cafe By Thursday I was all ready to not eat again until our dinners we had booked. I was so done with cold tasteless, over cooked food. And then we remembered We have the Haven restaurant. So we ended up going there for Breakfast. It was like lights came down from heaven and angels were singing. The food was great. It came out fast. And it was hot!! Great food. I wish we would have remembered the Haven restaurant sooner in our cruise. O'Sheehan's pub served the same dried up hamburgers with hard stale buns. My husband ordered meat loaf. What came out to our table was something that didn't resemble meat loaf at all. It looked like it was sliced off a slab of spam, kind of resembled dog food. My husband said it tasted like it as well. The Moderno: In this restaurant they bring different slabs of meat that you can choose from until you are full. They give you a card. One side of the card is green, the other is red. When you want more food, turn your card to green. When you are finished, turn it to red. And they should stop coming. (But they don't) They have a salad bar (very small salad bar, with very little items to choose from) that you get to visit before they start bringing out the meat. We were not impressed. I give the food a C- in this restaurant. The Teppanyaki: This is a hibachi style Japanese restaurant. This restaurant was great. It was nice to finally get some good food. The cook put on a great show. However it was real loud in there. All the cooks were putting on the same act and banging their salt and pepper shakers on the grill. But, the food and entertainment all in all was fantastic. Cirque Dreams & Dinner Premium Seating: (no cameras or video recorders allowed) The show was AWESOME!! I cannot say enough good things about the entertainment here. The performers were great. Some of the things they did just blew my mind. I was picked to go on stage and preform with their group in one of their acts. Later on in show, my husband was also pulled up on stage during a little skit. It was very cool. I wish we would have been able to take some pictures. Even without a flash, they would have still turned out. The food however was just okay. You couldn't order what you wanted. They had a set menu that they would serve you. If you don't like what's on the menu, you're out of luck my friend. When you book a room in the Haven, you get a butler, room steward, and a concierge. The butler brings in the room service, evening snacks and fruits. And he didn't do much more than that. Plus he had no personality to speak of. Our Concierge (Ryan) was amazing. Any questions we had, we could go to him. If you book shows like The Blue Man Group, Cirque Dreams and Legends at sea, the concierge will take you down to the show before everyone else is allowed in, so you can pick where you want to sit. (Front row center stage) Or you can choose to sit in the section marked off for Haven guests only. If you book and excursion, the concierge will also take you down the magic elevator to where you can get off the ship quicker than you would if you had go down with everyone else. This was a big bonus to booking in the Haven. Our room steward Eric was great. Eric had a great personality, and wouldn't hesitate to talk to you if you were around when he was turning down or making up your room. He also left towel animals for us every night. The only bad thing about our room, and I'm not sure if it was like this all over, but it shuttered nonstop. It made my husband feel like his heart was in A-fib the entire time the ship was in motion. You could feel every movement on the ship, and you could hear the ship making this creaking sound. It reminded me of being in an old house or an antique store where you would walk on the floor and hear the boards moving and creaking. One last bad thing about our room. The toilet room in our bathroom. It is also shut off from the regular part of the bathroom. When you open the door, it smelled like a rest stop's bathroom. Almost like someone urinated in the drain next to the toilet and it was never cleaned out. The smell was just there the whole week. Entertainment: Legends in Concert. Steven Tyler, Katy Perry, and Elvis were the Legends during our cruise. (Again: No camera or video cameras allowed.) The guy that was impersonating Steven Tyler was great. He looked and sang just like him. The Katy Perry impersonator was more irritating than the real Katy Perry. (To be a legend, don't you have to be in the business for a while or is that just me?) Elvis looked like Elvis, Kind of if you were about a ¼ mile away going 30 mph in the rain! He kind of did. When you got up closer, not so much. I'm not sure why you couldn't take pictures here, because they aren't the real thing after all. I guess it's just another way for NCL to make money off the cruisers. (Editors note: all shows are copyrighted which makes taking images illegal unless you have a license to do so). You can take you picture with the performers after the show, But then you have to pay 20.00 for the picture. Second Comedy show. One word. LAME. They were not very funny. It was basically an hour of my life I will never get back. It was terrible. Blue Man Group: Awesome show! The show lasted a little over an hour and it was the best entertainment I have ever seen on a ship. It's definitely a must see. We saw it twice. Teen Club: Our 16 year old daughter thought the teen club was great. There was always something going on. They had fun games which made the kids interact with each other. Not just sit in a corner by yourself. They had a scavenger hunt where they had to go through the ship and talk to other cruise passengers or crew, have them sing 10 seconds of a song, get it on video and take it back. She is it was a lot of fun. Like I said before, the ship was very crowded. I have read past reviews where they describe it as being like down town New York City, or as busy as Black Fridays are. They were so right on with that description. The elevators are stupid busy. We usually walk the stairs. We have no problem taking the stairs, a little bit of exercise to work off all the food we have eaten that week. But sometimes we wanted to take the elevators. Everyone tries to cram into them. There could be 12 people already in there, and 6 more cram their selves in. Not a very comfortable place to be with hot, sweaty, people breathing on each other. No mid ship lifts. That would interrupt the flow through the casino. A random guitar player, fiddler, piano player at the weirdest places in open public areas. I think I even saw a kazoo band.

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Nov 18, 2013

Transatlantic

I've been on numerous cruises with several cruise lines, including a 16-day transatlantic on the Norwegian Star and Caribbean cruises on the Norwegian Star and the Norwegian Spirit, which I enjoyed very much, so I was shocked by the appallingly bad quality of entertainment, food, and service on the Epic. The beef and steamed vegetables were great, but unless you are prepared to eat that twice a day, the fare was a great disappointment. The

lobster was overcooked and dried out. The duck was undercooked and bloody The lamb was good one day and dry the next. They even managed to overcook and dry out the salmon. The cabin was small, but efficiently designed with ample storage space. The balcony was larger than on the Norwegian Spirit or Norwegian Star. There were only 2 main-stage productions + a birthday-party-level magician and a third-rate hypnotist for the entire 13 nights, instead of the nightly shows on all other cruise ships I have sailed on. When I complained about the lack of entertainment to guest services, I was told: "You need to get a hobby so you don't have to depend on others to entertain you." Additionally, the sound equipment was such poor quality that it kept on breaking down. They couldn't even keep the karaoke machine going, which broke down after a few nights and was never repaired. Appallingly bad service, indifferent management, and low-cost entertainment seem to rule on the Epic. Moreover, the Epic is very cramped. The public spaces are few, poorly designed, and therefore uncomfortably crowded. For example, the so-called jogging track is a thin strip on one side of the ship, wedged between the lifeboats and the kitchen exhaust fans, with a single track each way and no view, no room for passing, and greasy kitchen vapors blasting out over your head. Likewise, unlike all other cruise ships I've sailed on, there was a $198 fee for use of the steam room and/or sauna during the cruise, which I found outrageous. Additionally, empty bottles of beer and assorted trash could be found throughout the ship. When, after numerous complaints and a particularly nasty bit of trash left on the shuffleboard court overnight, I tried to leave a message for the hotel manager, the response by guest services was "The ship looks clean enough to me."

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Sep 19, 2013

Rome

The ship was overcrowded. Also had new passengers at every port which made the whole cruise seem chaotic with luggage always in the narrow hallways. The 1 day at sea was a nightmare. way to many kids. The food was a huge disappointment, Cold and generic. Even at Cagney's which is a $30 upcharge. Service was horrible and the staff seemed exhausted and not friendly at all. Not a big fan of carnival but a much better experience than norwegian

State room was nice. entertainment was ok, but overcrowded and always booked This trip was a huge disappointment, especially after paying $1800.00 airfare on top of the airfare, Also filled out a review Norwegian sent me and pretty much blasted them and have not heard a word from them. Pretty Sad Cruise would not recommend.

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May 3, 2013

Transatlantic

Overall our transatlantic cruise on the Norwegian Epic was awesome, but of course there were pros and cons. Pros: The food was amazing, the buffets had tons of variety and everything was very tasty. I don`t suggest oSheeanes for lunch or dinner, food was bland (ex. Burgers without sauce). We never ate at any of the restaurants that cost money, so I cannot speak for them but we heard good things. The free sit down restaurants were wonderful

as well (steak, lamb, prime rib, gnocchi). The entertainment was also above average. Some of the shows (like Legends in concert) had good and bad acts, but overall they were a great way to spend an evening. The crew had games going all the time, jeopardy, the newlywed game and the perfect couple were all interesting and entertaining. They also have activities such as trivia and dance lessons to fill your day with. Cons: The booze was very expensive. Yes I guess you can get a beer for $5, but it’s a Fosters… if you want anything good, like a pina colada, it is $7.95, and $8.50 after auto gratuity. Water is also outrageously expensive. The staff is pretty wonderful for the most part, our housemaid was awesome and the chefs at the buffet were great. But often it seems like the waitresses and hostess` don’t have the time of day for you. Almost like a Mexican resort type of service. Advice: Do the NCL University tastings, 4 large martini`s for $15. Keep in mind auto gratuity is always added (additional 15%). We snuck on booze. We put vodka into a sprite bottle and tucked it into the bottom of our check luggage, surrounded by clothes. If they find it, they confiscate it and give it back the end of the cruise, so really what's the loss if you get caught anyway. We also brought booze back on when we made a stop on the cruise. It seemed like people in front of us were getting stuff confiscated if they were blatantly carrying it, but I shoved it to the bottom of my backpack and it wasn't an issue. Would I recommend Norwegian No probably not. But if the price is right, its and good ship and cruise line but its not like I would go out of my way to book with them. If the price is right, I would go on Norwegian again in a heartbeat.

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Feb 24, 2013

Caribbean

I would compare my experience on this ship with that of the malls on Black Friday or Boxing Day. Customer service just as pleasant and productive too. Lots of variety, and pretty good by cruise ship standards. Big eaters may need to order a second serving! Very average, including the very hard bed. Not a fan of the washroom set-up. Our assigned Housekeeper "Reggie" stood out for his friendliness and service.

We were impressed, especially with the Cirque Dreams (additional charge but well worth it). Premium seating gives unobstructed views of performance, but general seating allowed us to interact with the performers. Blue Man Group, Legends of Rock and Jeff Hobson provided good variety entertainment, suitable for all ages. Other performances at smaller settings also very entertaining. Rather disappointed with the Epic, and Norwegian in general. With few exceptions, we found the staff to be very stoic, unengaging. Customer "service" staff are well trained on the corporate line, and made issues worse, rather than attempt to resolve. The ship may hold 4,000+ passengers, but only has about 3,000 deck chairs. Big problem during days at sea. Biggest complaint was that our stop-over/port of call in Nassau was cancelled due to "over booking" at the Nassau Port. How that happens is apparently beyond explanation. Passengers were provided with a "shrug of the shoulder" explanation with two hours notice, a promise that Norwegian would write the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, and given a credit of $20.00 (refund of port fees).

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By gail_CR

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Feb 17, 2013

caribbean

disappointing. They advertised that the ship interior was smoke free, except casino. HOWEVER, they failed to mention that the casino is central to the interior, adjacent to several main areas: all three dining areas, the atrium, customer services and bookings. It is designed completely open, so that you must go thru it to get to anything on that floor, and so that the cigarette smoke invades every public area on decks 5, 6, and7. I was sick

and congested starting 3 days into it. I do not appreciate the damage to my health. I despise smoking, and they could have either closed in the area or forbidden smoking. I am going back to Princess. At least the casino area can be avoided. good food tiny cabin. Fine if you are married. Due to lack of privacy in toilet I would not take it shared with roommate. activities were great for children. Bad for dancers- no regular music and only 2 dance floors, and then only in early evening except for disco. no zumba or other exercise classes. did not like shows- no song and dance except one night. there are only 3 venues, which repeat. so in 7 day cruise you only get 3 shows. no more cruises on this ship. smoking kills it, However the employees were great and service the best.

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Dec 1, 2012

caribbean

I traveled on the Norwegian Epic the week of Thanksgiving. It was a fully packed ship. I am a frequent cruiser and this was my first time on the Norwegian cruise line. This will also be my last time. Of all the cruises I have taken, this was my least relaxing. Imagine vacationing on a NYC street and you will understand how this boat feels. I agree totally with the other reviewers. The pay restaurants were great! Excellent service to match the

delicious food. The complimentary restaurants were the opposite. After waiting 30-45 minutes for a table, you get OK food with terrible service. At one restaurant, I ordered pasta with butter for my niece and they brought out plain pasta and said, "butter is on the table." Water glasses were never refilled, even when repeatedly asked. At one restaurant, my order was forgotten completely. I would have told them when they came to refill my water but despite desperate attempts, no one ever came back. The rooms are tiny, even for cruise ship rooms. It is very uncomfortable to be using the toilet in ear shot of everyone in the room. Heaven forbid someone comes in while you are in the shower and they all get a show. My brother in law was tall so he had to come out of the bathroom before pulling up or down his pants! You have to sit on the bed to brush your teeth and water runs down your arm all over the bed and floor. The bed also becomes the way to get from end of the room to the other as there is no room to really walk in front of it. No worries if you don't want to pay all the extra charges for activities, there are free things to do. There is Blue Man group which is the only free night show worth seeing. You can desperately search for a deck chair by the pool. Just bring ear phones because the DJ is so loud, I had to yell at my spouse who was next to me just to be heard. Want to watch a movie, they start at 11:30PM in the middle of the ship, with the lights on, as people pass by making all sorts of noise. Care to hang out by Spice at the rear, sure but your view will be blocked by the giant screen showing commercials. You can jump in the pool. It is tiny and cramped and be prepared to be thrown into other guests once the waves start. Want to take a run, the track is really back and forth on the same deck and you get to enjoy the views of the beautiful life boats. The hallways are very small but they are still better to walk through then the main ship hallways. The feeling of the ship is like the mall at Christmas. People everywhere and just as the mall has those middle aisle Kiosks, that is how the ship is set up. To walk anywhere, be prepared to walk through the smoky casino, or the picture studios, or the ICE bar changing area, or the lobbies and bars of restaurants. It is so crowded and loud in the hallways, it is overwhelming. The elevators are far and few between and always packed. There are almost no quiet areas on the ship. I went on this cruise to get away from the hectic life, it turns out I went right back in it.

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Nov 27, 2012

Eastern Carib

Too big, Only had elevators at front and rear, expect to wait at LEAST 30 min for an elevator. Main activities on floor 5 thru 7. Very CROWDED and LOUD. Food over all was soso. However the shows were great. The ICE bar, a JOKE . $20. each to walk in a freezer tiny. The design of the ship is not for relaxing, busy busy busy.... The employees did their jobs, and did it well. But their attitude thru out 85% of the ship seemed as if the

customer was a pain to them, no happy attitudes, as we had seen on other Norwegian cruises. We had 4 cabins, would NOT ever go on this ship again. Soso food, have had much better on other ships, including Norwegian Very nice cabin, but the down side is they allow smoking on decks of cabins, a plus if you like smelling others smoke. Very Good shows and entertainment. Very good excursions especially the power boat rides. Would not suggest this ship, too big, busy and very hard to get around on . Expect a LOT of walking and climbing stairs. Average wait for elevators 30 min

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Oct 25, 2012

Mediterranean

This was my first real cruise, ever. Therefore I cannot compare it to other cruises, but I don't think that is necessary to have a reason to say that this ship is amazing. My cruise was like nothing I've ever experienced before. To make a long story short, it was like all my travels mixed together in an amazing week. I can't say it in any other way, unless I want to write an entire book about it. If it was something that weren't on the same

level as everything else, it must have been the food. I have to mention that the overall level of everything else was extremely high, though. The buffet, for example, included approximately everything you would ask for in a buffet. Something for everyone, but of course not gourmet food. However, this was absolutely available on board the ship. And it was very good, considering that this is not their special theme or anything like that. Very elegant served, and of course unique service. The meat was, in my opinion at the places I ate, a bit tough. Only one tenderloin was really tender (at the Cirque Dreams and Dinner in the Spiegel Tent). And one salad felt some dry and lame. Otherwise the food we got served was like the food you get on very expensive restaurants, and among the desserts there were some real pearls, I won't tell which. Basically like every stateroom. Only bigger, more furnished, with nicer light, a lot of smart solutions (which I am very fond of) and last, but not least a very elegant design. Even though our balcony was not the prettiest, with exfoliation paint on the railing, two simple chairs and a small table, and not to forget an always wet floor due to the everyday cleaning, we really appreciated it every day and every night. Just waking up in the morning, stepping outside and feel the wind in your hair and the smell of the very fresh ocean beneath you in your nose was incredible. Including the fact that you can see for example Hotel Carlton or Martinez in Cannes from the best view from your very own balcony. The stateroom was cleaned very often, to our appreciation. The iTv was genius, and from here, or by your telephone, you could check anything or make almost every reservation, which is originally the tasks you think is for the reception desk. It simply makes you feel so relaxed and non-stressed, like you should be on board a cruise. Only negative thing may have been the toilet, which was very noisy when it flushed. Hard to get used to, but easy to tolerate when everything else is so perfect. You can say the activities made you feel like you participated in an endless festival. At the same time as you should relax, take a swim or watch the sea from your stateroom like in a very nice holiday, you should also go ashore and see a new city when you could, or even join a shore excursion. You would think this would be enough to spend your time. It is actually enough, but it is also not. Because there is a big thing in between, to take the rest of your spare time. The activities. And they are many, and very different. I wanted to join as many of the activities of my interests as I could. I can tell at once, it was impossible to join them all. I checked the Freestyle Daily, the surprisingly informative newspaper of the ship, marked the activities I would like to join, and again and again I had to choose between two or three, including the relaxing- and going ashore-part. On the other hand, the activities I got to participate in did not disappoint. I got to join a Ping-Pong tournament, watch movies from the bar on the two deck-high big screen, join a dance class, play bowling and more. Only once the activity organizer came some minutes late. Otherwise everything was well scheduled and set up, with good information and admirably friendly and humorous staff. The staff is in fact a chapter for itself, a very positive chapter. I can say that I felt very welcome, everywhere I went. About this subject, I don't have that much to say. To us, the excursions were way too expensive, especially when we found out that it went very well to go around ashore by ourselves. However, we joined one excursion. The Pompeii Excavations in Naples. I got my suspicion about that the excursions were overpriced confirmed. Other than that, it was in fact a very nice excursion, not a bad word about it. We had a funny, probably pretty local guide with us. It was difficult to loose your group, while you at the same time got plenty of opportunities to get the impressions of this very special city by your own. Since we travelled in October, the temperature was perfect, with beautiful weather. Otherwise I would strictly not recommend going here in the middle of the season with way too high temperatures and amounts of tourists. To say it short, this excursion was neither a don't miss-excursion, nor a stay away-excursion. We had booked an airport transfer in advance. This felt very safe, both when we ordered it and when we were there. Right outside the luggage claiming area, two representatives from NCL waited for us, and told us what to do. We had to wait an hour or so, because of somebody else who had a delayed arrival. Then we got time to get some lunch and sort out our travel documents. It was nice not to be in a hurry. At the time we were supposed to meet afterwards, the representatives came a bit late, but it was easy to see the other cruise passengers, with their yellow luggage tags. This made us feel even more safe, and sure that we were in the right place to the right time. That is always a good feeling. When everything had turned out well, we were led, very fast since we were now in a bit of a hurry, to a bus and then from the airport to the boat. We were some of the last passengers to get on board, and had missed the lifeboat drill. Therefore we got our own personal one. On our way home, there was a bit more we had to be aware of. This was never a problem. A very smart, colored luggage tag system, exceptional organization and good information made our way back to the airport very smooth and with no stress. The only negative was that we got two extra hours on the airport.

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Aug 11, 2012

Mediterranean cruise

This ship is advertised as a large cruise ship with something to do at all times full of entertainment. This is true, but misleading. The ship is huge and has enough cabins for 4,000 people, but the restaurants, ESPECIALLY the pool, etc are not nearly big enough for that many people. This ship is so over crowded it is ridiculous. If you don't make dinner reservations, forget about eating dinner that night. And the buffet? Forget about it. Every

time I went there I could not find a seat. There are probably 200 pool chairs on a ship for 4000 people. And the actual POOL isn't even a pool. Instead of a real pool, the ship has 2 or 3 kiddie sized pools that can fit about 20 people each shoulder to shoulder. Everything was SO expensive and after a short time I realized that the purpose of this ship was nothing but to suck in as much money as possible. BUT, I would go back just for Spice H20, a bar my day dance club by night. The drinks were amazing and the experience was spectacular. The DJ was great also. By far my favorite part of the trip. Mediocre food. Small menus and every restaurant had about the same food. TINY and CRAMPED cabins

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Apr 16, 2012

carbeem

We eat in the normal dinning room the food was ok was sub par to any other cruise we been on,for the good food you have to pay and pay and pay! The shows were good but the dinner show was book up by the first day for the hold cruise, so it pissed us off that there are not a enough sltting though out the 7 day trip for everybody or the cruise. The smallest you will find ever if this is the new trend in cruising I will stop cruising. Beds were

hard and only three in. Take the dolphin at Alantis it was the best excursion. Will never go on the epic ever.

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Apr 16, 2012

Caribbean

All I wanted was to try one of the BIG ships, so we booked The Epic almost a year in advance I wanted to post this short review so that I could include two photos I have of the cabins bathroom facilities. So many people in forums are asking about the frosted glass in NCL"s showers and toilet stalls. Here are pictures, where I stuck my boyfriend in each compartmet so that people considering this ship can see for themselves how transparent that are.

If the glass isn't private enough, there's a curtain you can pull to seclude yourself from other people in the cabin. The food is fantastic, out of this world! Love the variety of restaurants, half of which are free. Room was fabulous, see the photos. So many diverse acitivites, NCL did themselves proud on this ship! The staff on The Epic really did make me feel like family. Will be booking NCL again for next cruise.....and I'm a 10 + Carnival person with other cruise lines tossed in. I am not so sure it was the ship, Epic, or the staff thats making me book again, but whatever it is, it worked to their benefit (Prior to sailing Epic, I'd done NCL and wasn't impressed...that's changed now)

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Jan 4, 2012

Eastern Caribbean

This is really a mix of Good, Bad and Ugly. The Epic is a beautiful ship with incredible entertainment, but there were too many flaws in the service and experience to overlook for families. I think this would be fun and good for young folks looking for a "good time" and not concerned with setting good examples for children. After this experience on the Epic, we are now planning two cruises on Princess for 2012, where customer service is

priority number one. The food in the specialty restaurants was very good: the Japanese Hibachi and Brazilian Barbecue in particular. While the specialty restaurants were very good, do you want to drop $20 or $25 per person per night at these restaurants after spending $$$$ for a cruise with food included? The dining room food at dinner was so, so (really the same quality as a Boston Market or Applebee's). Whatever you do, avoid the dinner buffet - it is like eating at IHOP. We had three mini-suites. They were very small. The sink and shower are in the room by the door and folks can see you dressing or coming out of the shower if someone enters the room suddenly. While there were many activities, good luck in getting on a slide or in a bowling alley unless you wait a couple of hours. The pool area was just chaos and no room to really swim. The Dolphin Swim at Blue Lagoon in Nassau was excellent. The "snuba" adventure in St Thomas was also very good. We just completed a family cruise on the Norwegian Epic over Thanksgiving in 2011. There were 8 of us in 3 mini-suites and a studio. The ship is beautiful with many activities. And, the entertainment was exceptional: Blue Man Group and Cirque Dreams. Best entertainment we've ever seen on 20+ cruises. There was too much pushing of alcohol and gambling. Teen-agers were openly drinking and sitting at casino machines. The casino has no physical boundaries, and kids enter as they wish. They even have gaming tables on the pool deck in front of the kids' pool area - do they need revenue that badly? The customer service was by far the worst we've experienced on 20+ cruises. There is just too much focus on making money and pushing booze and gambling regardless of age. The Captain did depart, so maybe new leadership on the Epic will address the many weaknesses. It is a beautiful ship that just needs a soul and moral compass.

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Sep 20, 2011

Italy and Spain

Overall, we had a wonderful time. It was due 100% to the cruise itinerary. Access to wonderful places like Pisa, Florence, Rome, Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast -- was the cruise's No. 1 redeeming quality. The nickel and diming for everything on the ship, like seltzer water or yoga class, was sad. My last cruise was 10 years ago, it seems that the staff were less enthusiastic than last time. I bet that has to do with the fact that

they're not working for their tips much, it was all charged to our account automatically, every day. As for paying for "extras," like cocktails, virgin or not, I'd prefer to pay more in my main ticket price (with everything inclusive) than deal with the charges during/afterward. Our "tab" was more than $1,300 (for two ppl, I didn't drink much alcohol). The food was average. We ate at three premium restaurants-- Teppanyaki, French Bistro & Churrascuria. French & Churascuria were good, Teppanyaki was not. Food in the regular restaurants reminded me of Dennys/Sizzler. Above average were the desserts. The pastry/dessert chef deserves a gold star for mass producing such wonderful creations-- some of my favorites: panacotta, chocolate mousse, flan. I really liked our stateroom. The rooms were nicely designed. The bathroom had a full bathtub, that was nice. The bed was great. Loved the balcony. It was on the small side, but, adequate. The chairs could afford to be more comfortable on the balcony. The lighting and the drawer/closet space in the room was really great. Since my last cruise in 2002, the onboard activities were lacking. Now, with additions such as the Cirque Dinner Theater & Blue Man Group, we were pleasantly surprised. Beyond those two events, the rest of the onboard activities were pretty lackluster. The cruise recreation director, Richard, was a clown. My husband and I cringed everytime he came on stage or talked into a microphone. Being glib is one thing, but, making fun of people and laughing at them, made me feel uncomfortable. I can handle a lot, I live in New York, but respect is something I appreciate most in another person. Perhaps, I respond best to someone who also acts like an adult. Maybe I have graduated from Norwegian. Maybe it's time for a more premium cruise line. 1) "Florence on your Own"-- do not recommend. They were supposed to drop us off in the center of Florence. We were dropped at the end of town. We had to walk a long distance (15 mins) from the bus drop off just to get to the muster point at the edge of town. Again, a long walk back to the bus at the end of the tour, too. The bus should be able to drop people off at a better location. 2) Rome-- did this on our own. Bought a train ticket for $9 per person, roundtrip. Took us from port to Rome. 1 hr train ride. We developed our own walking tour based on what we wanted to see. This "worked out really well for us. 3) "Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii" -- WE DO recommend. Capri was not as great as we wished, since long wait for funicular. Only spent about 40 mins of free time on Capri. 4) Mallorca-- we did this on our own. we walked around, found a great restaurant "La Cueva" for lunch, enjoyed siesta in a sunny, yet palm surrounded plaza, with a pitcher of sangria. On the whole, we had a wonderful time. The major pluses-- the itinerary, the nice room, our balcony, the desserts, the two shows (Blue Man & Cirque), and my husband and I can entertain ourselves. The major cons-- nickel and diming, non enthusiastic crew, buffoon of a cruise director, lack of information for day 8 (disembarkation), excursions need enhancement, hard time finding loungers on sun deck, and the ship constantly tried to upsell on things-- photos, spa services, jewelry, art, shops. I'm on vacation, if I wanted to listen to commercials all day, I could have done that at home instead of go on a cruise. Leave me to my enjoyment without trying to shove "sales" for everything... it was not a high end experience. It was reminiscent of K-Mart blue light specials. Something you don't see in a place like Neiman Marcus. I think it's time to upsell ourselves to a more premium Neiman Marcus-like cruise line.

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Jul 26, 2011

Med

This was our first cruise and was such a disappointment, it felt like the butlins of cruise ships, noisy and too many people everywhere, basically too many people in too small a space. The buffet was very average and very busy a bit like a three star hotel on the med, le bistro was quite nice for me but not my husband, but extra to pay, the manhatton room was the same every night very bland and average although the service was quite good. Our balcony

room at the atf of the ship was a disaster, we were awake every morning the ship docked from 4.30 or 5.30am until the docking was complete. A smoker had occupied our room before us and the smell was stale and awful. We hated the smoking in the casino we could smell it everywhere. There was nowhere to sit when the weather was not good, we had one bad day at sea and we ended up sitting on our wet balcony. We hired a car at the port of Livorno and went to Lucca and Pisa, this was an easy day out and we enjoyed it. We took the train to Rome (9 euro) and purchased a ticket on the open topped tour bus (17euro) this was also fairly easy and worked well. We thought Naples was a dirty little town and the open topped bus was not great value at around 20 euro. Very average and bland in the inclusive restaurants and quite expensive in the others as vat and service charge is added to everything, although in our experience it was not a lot better quality, my husband had his worst meal in le bistro. The funny thing is you are so bored during the days at sea that you just sit and eat for something to pass the time. Not much room when we were both getting dressed, smelt of smoke and on the surface clean but it became obvoius that only the visible areas were cleaned prior to our arrival. The toilet and shower were not great but adequate. Not what we were expecting. Mostly catered for younger or party people We did our own thing but the ship was quieter when in port which was good Overall we were very disappointed and it has put us off trying again.

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By S L_CR

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Mar 12, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

We have cruised on 4 other differnent cruise lines, and this was by far not the best! The food was the same thing every day in the buffet, and on many occassion cold when it should have been hot food. The fruit was not even fresh! They did have many different choices for dining. The cabin was cramped and having the sink outside the bathroom (next to the couch) was not convenient with water splashing on the floor, very small sinks. Horrible,

no variety, fruit was terrible. If you choose to "pay" for your dinner it was definitely better than eating in the common dining area. The breakfast was the same thing every day along with lunch. Promised a barbeque cook out - which never took place by the pool (disappointing). Cramped, sink was the worst and the sliding door to the toilet would rattle at night if not shut tight at all times. The flat screen TV was nice along with the balcony. The queen size bed was extremely comfortable. Our room attendent did a nice job every day replenishing towels, cleaning etc. The shows were fun, plenty to do at all times. This area was fine. We knew in advance what we were going to do and the tickets were in our room - no issues. Shopping in St. Thomas is the best. We've cruised on several other lines and this was by far the least excitiing. I would not recommend NCL and felt that they nickel and dimed you for everything. The food was just terrible, the staff was fair, the spa was nothing special. My husband choose to have a facial/shave for 45 minutes and the girl completed it in 25 minutes, you pay for a service like this and they "rush" thru it!! I will not ever cruise with NCL again.

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Mar 6, 2011

eastern

I want to thank norwegian cruise line so much for fixing what could have been a disaster ! you see we made a mistake and went to the wrong port that was our fault for not checking . we flew to miami thinking we sailed out of port miami we were to sail on the SUN from Port Canaveral but some how we got confused and booked flights to miami not Orlando when we arrive to the port we realized our mistake we are 220 miles away and we only had two hours

to get to Orlando that ment either fly or drive... it was impossible for us make it on time at 4:00 sailing my son who made the arrangements to sail to start with call NCL toid them of our perdicament They put us on the ship that was in port of miami which was the Epic we didn't have the back of the ship Staterooms as planned but we were happy we were still going on a cruise not all was lost. THANK YOU NCL!!!!! the Food was very good as always loved the deserts enjoyed the hamburgers at the Garden cafe . The steak at cagneys was perfect and the cheese cake was to die for beautiful, loved the towel critters our stewardess Myrene was very detailed to our needs she made sure we had Ice and any thing we left lying around was placed neetly on our beds Since we didn't start out on this ship we didn't book any ahead of time so lot of the events were booked already I so wanted to see the Blue men but I didn't make on time and my reservation was given away becouse my watch was of by a few minutes that I didn't like was very disapointed worse things can happen. over all it was great enjoyed it all.

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Feb 20, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

We have been cruising for a number of years now on four different cruise lines and this was by far the worst cruise we have ever experienced! I am not sure where to even begin. This was our third NCL cruise and the Epic being the newest and biggest ship, we figured this would be a no brainer. Who ever designed the rooms must have been a Little Person because there is NO room to move in them what so ever. We always wanted to have a state room in the

back of the ship which we had this time. All I can say is OMG! Spice H2O which was two floors above us kept us up most of the night with the music Bass as loud as it could be. My parents, who are basically deaf and wear hearing aids, could hear it no problem! The staff are friendly enough, but my wife was on the pool deck when one of the workers spill a huge bag of Orange Juice all over her back. No "Im Sorry" no nothing. He just went back to working. Worst of all, there was a ships officer standing near by on her cell phone and never got off the phone to help! The whole cruise is about Nickle and Dimeing everyone to death. EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING costs extra. What ever you do DO NOT use the on board computers to check your email!!!! There is a $3.55 charge just to set up an account, then its 75. Cents a minute to use it. It will take you at least three minutes just to get the computer to come up. I ended up paying $10.00 and NEVER got to see one email. When I asked the guy running the place about this, he just gave me a smart ass remark and went back to playing on his computer. The entertainment(Other than Blue Man Group and Second City) was the WORST I have ever seen. After the third night, we were all bored stiff. Legends is a joke and risque. You cant just walk in and see a show, you have to make reservations and can only go to one show unless there are cancelations! I could go on and on but I think everyone gets the point. PLEASE if your going to spend all the money to have a good time......... go Royal Caribbean or Celebrity!!!!!!!!! The food was TERRIBLE period. The same thing every single night and it was bland. If you enjoy eating Hamburgers and Hot Dogs day in and day out, well then your in for luck. On board activities were boring and horrible and the staff could not even run them correctly. WORST cruise I have ever taken and will NEVER go NCL again!!

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Feb 11, 2011

W Carib

We wanted to check out the Epic and experience a big, new ship. Whereas other ships have that 'summer camp' atmosphere ( opening ceremony/show/crew introductions, theme nights ( formal, toga, 50's), 'sad' closing ceremony of crew waving good bye, the Epic is much more of a hotel atmosphere. NCL prides itself on its freestyle ways and they have met that goal here on the Epic. We only saw the Captain at a cocktail party for returning NCL cruisers. We

did not see or interact much at all with the cruise director or the other cruise staff. Since we have been on many cruises, it was great to experience cruising in a a slightly new way. NCL really wants to get people into their alternative/cover charge restaurants. One of the reasons we began cruising was because of the all inclusive food concept. How great is it to have most of your vacation all paid up before you leave! We wonder if that concept may be on its way out. The cover charges are typical of other ships, but it was interesting to see the sushi place charge by the piece...just like on land! We noticed in the 2 main dining rooms that the menu choices were fewer and maybe not as exotic as we remember. However, the food quality was very good and the 'freestyle' wait was minimal. They do an excellent job of giving you a beeper and the 20 minute waits were never more than 5-10. Quite impressive. The new staterooms on the Epic are very cool. They are long and narrow with curved walls and nice lighting. The bathroom fixtures are all separate, with the toilet ( a true 'water closet') on one side of the cabin and the shower on the other. The shower actually felt bigger. The sink is part of the room and some reviews have mentioned that it was too small. it is fine for the basic toothbrushing /hand washing/shaving, but for more complicated use, it might limit some. All in all we liked this new configuration. It was unique and it was easier for two people to get ready at the same time. We really aren't Bingo or Poolside contest people. I loved the pool area...lots of chairs, and 3 interesting water slides. Be sure to go on the big orange one that requires a tube! The jogging track was on one side of the ship only with two lanes for people to run back and forth. The view of the sea was obscured by the life boats and there were lots of kitchen smells blowing around. However on the plus side, no shuffleboard to run into, and because it was not scenic, not too many walkers strolling about. We did not participate in any excursions. We like to explore on foot as much as we can or find a taxi to take us to a beach somewhere. Costa Maya was the greatest port! The Epic pulls right up to the town . The pier and shopping area was rebuilt after the area was hit by a hurricane. Right off the pier is a nice shopping area and a huge, great, pool with a swim up bar. The pool and chairs are all free! Lots of shops. We were surprised by a visible, natural dolphin pool right at the seawall. We sat 10 ft from the dolphins and watched the trainers and tourists in the water. It is free to watch, but there is a fee to interact or ride the dolphins. It seemed to be cheaper $79? than the ship excursion. There are taxis, but also golf carts for about $50 that you can access, which looked fun! We opted for an easy 40 minute walk to the Malecon and the beach. At the security point turn left and head towards the lighthouse. At the base of the lighthouse is a small open air bar/restaurant with swings for bar stools . To our delight we met the owner, Caesar, who spoke beautiful English. He is the President of the Chamber of Commerce and is planning to run for Mayor of Costa Maya. Caesar spoke eloquently with us about Costa Maya, and Mexico, in general. He was a true highlight of the trip for us. Minutes later we arrived at a the Malecon and beautiful beach with only a few vendors and lots of restaurants and shops. Again, chairs are free. We thoroughly enjoyed the dolphins, Caesar, and the whole experience of Costa Maya.

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Jan 22, 2011

eastern caribbean

This was our first cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines. We have always gone on Royal Caribean for our former cruises. I was concerned as to how this ship would compare to Royal Caribean and also was concerned with the amount of people onboard and how that would be handled. We were very impressed. We never waited in line for anything! It was amazing how smoothly everything went. The employees were all friendly , accomodating and professional. The

food in the regular restaurants was okay, but the buffet was excellent! And the restaurants were amazing. We loved Cagney's and Tempanyaki Restaurants!! The food was really great and the restaurants themselves were so nice. The Moderno bar had half price martinis for happy hour and that was good. The Ice Bar was a fun experience. Food in the Manhattan Room and Taste were okay. Buffet was excellent! Restaurants were wonderful - especially Cagney's and Tempanyaki! GREAT! We had a family balcony room. The bed was very comfortable!! Enjoyed the tub and shower - it made it roomier. Great balcony. Room was small but very sharp looking. Plenty of closet space and places to store things. Plenty to do. We did not take advantage of many of the activities, but did enjoy watching the playoff football games on a huge TV at the rear of the ship. Casino was fun - huge compared to any other ships we have been on. In Ste. Maarten take a ta

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Jan 22, 2011

eastern caribbean

This was our first cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines. We have always gone on Royal Caribean for our former cruises. I was concerned as to how this ship would compare to Royal Caribean and also was concerned with the amount of people onboard and how that would be handled. We were very impressed. We never waited in line for anything! It was amazing how smoothly everything went. The employees were all friendly , accomodating and professional. The

food in the regular restaurants was okay, but the buffet was excellent! And the restaurants were amazing. We loved Cagney's and Tempanyaki Restaurants!! The food was really great and the restaurants themselves were so nice. The Moderno bar had half price martinis for happy hour and that was good. The Ice Bar was a fun experience. Food in the Manhattan Room and Taste were okay. Buffet was excellent! Restaurants were wonderful - especially Cagney's and Tempanyaki! GREAT! We had a family balcony room. The bed was very comfortable!! Enjoyed the tub and shower - it made it roomier. Great balcony. Room was small but very sharp looking. Plenty of closet space and places to store things. Plenty to do. We did not take advantage of many of the activities, but did enjoy watching the playoff football games on a huge TV at the rear of the ship. Casino was fun - huge compared to any other ships we have been on. In Ste. Maarten take a taxi to the French side to go to the beach. or just take a water taxi to the beach on the Dutch side. You can rent lounges at both of these. Shopping was great too! St. Thomas - take a cab to Magen's Bay - nice beach. You can rent lounges here also. Good shopping. Don't miss Senor Frog's in Nassau :) Great time. I would go on the Norwegian Epic again!!

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By PB_CR

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Jan 18, 2011

Western Caribbean

Overall, cruising on the Epic was OK, with the exception of a few very annoying details that could easily spoil the whole vacation. Food was good to great, although I couldn't help noticing that the meals served in dinning rooms were not the same quality as they used to be in the past. Buffet was OK, but the menu was the same every day. However, the specialty restaurants offered a top notch service, as usual. It is obvious that ship designers

wanted to maximize the usable interior space, reducing the cabin square footage to a minimum. Placing the lavatory outside the toilet area was the ridiculous idea and a major flaw in the design. The stateroom's entrance area was too tight. As many of the reviewers already stated, the NCL Epic is a brand new, nicely designed ship. The service, food and entertainment that are offered on this ship are decent, but none of them rises up to expectations of the promised "epic" experience. The ship was obviously designed with one goal in mind- to make as much profit as possible, as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this underlaying concept has been brought to the extreme, dangerously threatening to ruin the whole idea of the "free style" cruising. Many of the Epic's guests complain about being nickeled and dimmed, and they are somewhat correct. My impression was that the cruising on Epic was over-commercialized. Except for the food, orange juice, and tasteless coffee, everything else on the ship has to be paid for. Particularly annoying was the unavailability of drinking water, for which guests needed to go several floors up to one of the restaurants to get, otherwise they would be charged $6 if taken from the mini-bar in the stateroom. The reduction in food quality, although not significant, was noticeable as well. On the day of disembarkation, everybody was rushing to kick us out of the ship, so many of the guests (including myself) left the vessel without having a breakfast, simply because the restaurants closed much earlier than usual. Although not directly related to the NCL, visiting the Roatan island in Honduras turned out to be an unpleasant experience because of the army of aggravating locals, who the guests had to deal with upon disembarkation.

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Jan 14, 2011

Western Caribbean

Great big ship but small tiny cabin Excellent very small best entertainment at sea zip line in Roatan Before I begin the actual review I will give you a little background so you can see where my thoughts are coming from. We are a family of three, my husband and I are in our late 40’s and our son will be 18 next month. We have been cruising at least twice a year for over 20 years so we have been on a multitude of ships. For the past

five years or so we have cruised exclusively in suites which definitely effected our impression of our cabin. All the suites on the ship were sold out when we booked so I took the next best thing, a D2- deluxe balcony AKA mini suite for the week. With a son and husband who are both over six feet tall that was a big mistake. If we return to the Epic I will insist on a suite or get my son his own cabin, there simply was not enough room for three adults to move about in the mini suite, I can’t even imagine four people in the cabin-someone would sleep in the bathtub or on the balcony! Twice we have sailed with NCL over Christmas, once on the Sun in a penthouse suite and then on the Jewel in a two bedroom (two bathroom) suite, this summer we were on Holland America in a very large suite so it was definitely culture shock going to a cabin that was about a quarter of the size. I will say that by the middle of the week we did grow accustomed to it although we were still bumping into each other all the time. The cabins esthetically are very attractive; I liked the curved walls and the décor. The dark built in cabinets reminded me of the bedrooms on my aunt’s yacht. There was a ton of storage and a large flat screen TV. The couch is curved and although neat to look at, according to my son, impossible to sleep on. At 6’1 his feet hung off the bed by about a foot. The master bed was very comfortable with nice linens but again it was quiet short for my husband. I found that if you snuggled right into the curve of the padded headboard there was plenty of room, however I am only 5’3 and my husband measures in at almost 6’3. The bathroom situation did not bother me in the least. I know a lot of people get worked up about them but we spend a lot of time in Europe and compartmentalized bathrooms are the norm there. I actually found them convenient as one person could be taking a bath or shower while another used the toilet. I suppose if one focused really hard you could see the shadow of someone through the frosted glass but it really was not an issue. I think it would be nice if the privacy curtain was burgundy to match the slider curtain which would take away the “hospital” feel. We had no issues with the room steward walking in while using the facilities, it is simple to discourage this by turning the notification wheel to “privacy please” or just by dead bolting your door. The tub was an interesting curved shape which was quite comfortable I brought along my own bath salts and spent a good half hour soaking and never felt claustrophobic. The bathroom area was just fine in my opinion, although I did miss the nice lotions and amenities you get in a suite. Besides all of the great built in cabinets one thing I really liked was that the balcony drapery had magnets on it. This was such a great idea! I am the one who usually sleeps on the balcony side of the bed and would always be woken up by a beam of light hitting my eye each morning on other ships. In this cabin that was not an issue, just line up the magnets and no light gets through! One other thing I really liked about the cabin was that it had wireless internet available, I always bring my netbook with me to keep up with my clients and it is so much more comfortable to do so sitting in bed rather than having to go down to an internet café. I did have the opportunity to take a look at the studios and found them to be a great idea. They are small but perfect for on the go singles. They have a one way window that looks out in the hallway so you don’t feel claustrophobic and the shade can be drawn if you don’t want to watch the world go by. What is great about the studios is that there are several that connect. So if two single friends are traveling they can each have their own space or open up the doorway for a “mini suite” of sorts. Without the traditional single supplement these cabins are a great bargain! I also liked the idea of the lounge area that is reserved only for studio passengers. This is a great way to meet other single travelers and have a sense of community while on this massive vessel. I never got up to the courtyard, much to my dismay, but I am certain it is as amazing as the one on the Jewel was, next time I am on the Epic that is where I am certain to be found! On to the ship itself, well it is huge. This is one cruise that I went on that I didn’t gain even a pound from all the walking we did while exploring the vessel. The set-up is very good except for the casino. In order to get to some areas like Shanghai and Teppanyaki you must walk through the casino which as others have noted is a dense fog of smoke. I did see air cleaning machines so I think they are working on the issue but they may need bigger machines or more of them. The ship was full but it never felt like we were with 6000 people. (Except when you were on an elevator I kept waiting for the weight limit buzzer to go off as people kept pushing their way in but that is more about rude guests than the ship’s design) The waterslides are great fun for adults as well as children and surprisingly there were only very short lines, that may have had to do with our weather which was not the best but we enjoyed them cloudy or not. The cruise line has done a great job of creating areas for different age groups. I saw a waterpark that was focused on very young-preschool aged children that was shaded so mom’s wouldn’t have to worry about them burning, it was situated where the little ones would not be run down by older kids, I thought that was great planning. A larger water park with fountains and all types of sprays and sprinklers was on deck near some smaller pools for the other children. In the back of the ship was an adult's only pool which was very peaceful. We sat back there and played cards. On the giant TV screen they had the neatest channel called the “window channel” it was like looking out a window at various relaxing scenes like waterfalls, the ocean, a man fishing etc. You could also access that channel in your cabin. I would love to have it at home as it was so calming. Following the lead of other NCL ships the carpeting is color coded depending on if you are port or starboard (red or blue) they have expanded on that idea and have the elevators color coded as well. This saves a lot of “getting lost” time. If you “live” on deck 12 red just make sure to take the red elevator and you will end up on the right side, great idea! When it comes to dining there are a multitude of choices. We loved the Brazilian steak house but be sure to go there hungry. It is a meat lover’s heaven! First you are brought some delicious cheese bread balls and are told you can help yourself to the fantastic soup and salad bar. This was no ordinary spread; there were the usual salad items but also several varieties of cheeses, fish chowder and a bean soup, marinated veggies and all sorts of treats. The salad bar could be a meal in itself. But as I mentioned the meat is the star at this restaurant. Each person is given a card, one side is red and the other is green. You place your card colored side up depending on if you want more food (green) or need a break (red). They served two type of chicken, (all meat is presented on long shish-kabobs and appeared grilled) garlic beef, filet mignon, pork ribs, beef ribs, lamb chops, two types of sausage, prime rib. This is an all you can eat set up and my husband took it as a “man verses food challenge” he definitely got his $18 cover charge’s worth and then some. There were some side dishes such as rice, beans and French fries but we did not bother with them between the salad and the meet. We didn’t have dessert; there just was no room left! We ate in all the specialty restaurants and really enjoyed trying out Shanghai for the first time, the sweet and sour pork was so tender and I am proud to say I have mastered chopsticks. The only meal we did not like was the Cirque Dreams dinner. To be honest we did not care for the show either. Possibly the acrobats were unable to perform to the best of their ability due to rough seas (it had to be closed down one night as we were rocking and rolling away) but honestly I just did not get it. We loved the other entertainment though, the Blue Man Group was great, Legends amazing (especially Michael Jackson you would have sworn he was still alive) and second city hilarious. We found out that you can go see the shows more than once even if you don’t have reservations. I had pre-reserved all our shows and dining at the 45 day mark. After seeing second city the first time we knew we wanted to see them again and the next day we went in the “no reservations” line. Once all the people with reservations were seated they began letting in other line. The club they perform in is quite large and we were able to see them three times. We never got to the ice bar as it didn’t open until 5pm, I really didn’t want to have two cocktails right before dinner and it was crowded after dinner. I would like to see them open it like at noon, especially after spending the day walking and shopping in Cozumel it would have been great to cool off and have a drink in there but for some reason it is closed until 5:00. We did bowl several times, the alley in O’Sheehan’s was open much more than Bliss. I didn’t mind paying the $5.00 to bowl per game but think it should be $5.00 per family not per person. I was looking at some larger families, people with four children, and thinking they would have to drop $30 just for one game. The alley is already built and the shoes and balls paid for so I just didn’t see the need to charge each person per game- that way all families could give it a shot if they wanted not just people with one child like me. All in all we enjoyed the ship. I think if the weather had been better and if I had been able to get the size cabin we are used to we would have loved it. Sadly no one can control the weather and it was a learning experience on the cabin. The staff did seem to be a bit overstretched and not as friendly as we are used to but in fairness it was Christmas week and the seas were rough so I am sure they had their own challenges they were dealing with. If you would like to ask me any other questions or view some of my photos feel free to email me at dreamvacation@charter.net

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Jan 11, 2011

Western Carabbean

This was the worst cruise I have ever experienced, the ship is a massive failure in design and engineering. There is very little to do other than gamble and eat. They have tried to maximize their revenue by shrinking the cabins to the pint that they are not even sutable for little people much less average height passengers and they knicke and dime you to death, they even charged for coffee!!!! Average, nothing like the other NCL cruises and definetly

nothing like a Royal Caribbean cruise, even the specialty restaurants the food was nothing espacial and aside from the already high cover charge you had to pay extra for things like lobster or filet mignon. We even found appetizers and Desserts that were being served at the free restaurants on the specialty restaurants. We had a premium balcony stateroom, it was smaller that an inside bargain basement cabin on a carnival ship (you know the ones that cost $199, only I paid 1750 for it) It rattled when the shipped was in motion and we could not sleep and the bathroom design is a disaster, it was like having an open bathroom inside your room if you can imagine how disgusting that is. Not that many that were free, pool area is small and the slides take most of the space and really caters to children. All bars and most restauants are off of the Casino that takes most of the Sixth floor and because of that the entire ship smells like cigarretes not pleasant. The shows needed to be booked way in advance like before you even sail and if not no luck getting in. Everything else you have to pay extra, the ice bar, the cirque show, bowling you name it it will cost you extra. Stay away from this Ship alltogether, it was deigned really bad and everyone we encountered said how awful it was. Let me begin by stating that I have been a loyal NCL client for several years traveling in older ships like the Sun and the Sky as well as some of their new ones such as the Pearl the Dawn and the Pride of America, and always enjoyed the entire experience from start to finish. I especially enjoyed the freestyle approach to traditional cruising and their casual and friendly atmosphere. It was with great anticipation that I waited for the chance to sail in their newest and much publicized ship; the Epic. Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me any free time during the year except for the holidays so I decided that a Christmas/New Year cruise would be a great way to spend the holidays, yes it was almost double the price of regular sailing but I thought from previous experience that it would be a special trip. From the very beginning it seemed that everything went wrong, the check in process was horrendous although we queued behind the line that was marked as “Latitudes Express Check-in” we quickly noticed that the other two lines for regular check in were moving quite speedier than ours. It then became obvious what the issue was, there were three sets of desks with four agents each; the express line with four agents was handling twice as many number of guests than the regular lines because there seemed to be more latitude members than not, so the express check in became the wait forever check-in. After the hour and a half wait to check in (double the regular line) my wife and I finally were able to board, we could hardly contain our excitement as we almost sprinted to the gang way and onboard. It was as if someone had deflated the tires out of our brand new car, to our surprise and disappointment when we entered the ship there was no great entrance, no beautiful atrium or lavish lobby, whereas most ships would give you the best possible best impression upon first boarding; this ship decided that entering through the Casino was the best possible impression. The air was thick with the stench of cigarettes and it was dark and uninviting. Rows and Rows of Slot Machines and card tables was what we saw for as far as we could see. There was no one welcoming us aboard, in previous trips there was always crew members that with warm smiles welcomed us aboard, offered us a complimentary drink and directed us where to go. Absolutely no one even acknowledge us, the few crew members we could see were nowhere near the entrance and seemed pre-occupied with other duties. This was a Christmas/New Year’s trip, I had paid premium for this because the same cabin at any other date was 40% cheaper than what I paid; and there was nothing to signify that this was in any way special. Because no one directed us where to go we tried to go to our cabin, it was already past 2:00pm and assumed that the cabin was ready but the doors leading to the state rooms were locked so we instinctively went to the pool deck were we knew from experience to congregate until the rooms were ready. A novice passenger would have no idea where to go as there was no directions given upon boarding. At bout 4:00pm the overhead announcement was heard advising that there was going to be a drill in 30 minutes, there was no announcement that the cabins were ready. Upon entering our balcony stateroom we were pleased, the room was bright, sleek and modern looking. It wasn’t until we were all the way in that we noticed how narrow the cabin was, there was very little floor space and noticed we could both barely move about the cabin at the same time; it felt very cramped. The cabin was curved like an S I assume to give it a modern look but it made for a weird bend on the couch that made it very uncomfortable to sit and it added to the feeling of being tightly packed. Later that night we concluded that this stateroom was considerably smaller than any of the other balcony staterooms we had ever been in, it was about the same size as an inside cabin that we had stayed in at an earlier cruise with a smaller ship, on that occasion we paid $299 for it and thus expected to be small and cramped and therefore met our expectations. This definitely did not feel like a $1750.00 per person cabin, when we went to bed that night another discovery was abound when my 5’4’ wife laid in bed and found out that her feet dangled over the bed when she laid flat, mine dangled considerably more since I measure 5’10”; we had to curl up in fetus position to fit in the bed. The bathroom was a major problem for us, at first although it was a little different than what we were accustomed to, it looked innovative and we thought it would be a good idea that we could use the shower independent of the toilet. This fact then became embarrassingly painful later on when it was time to use the facilities and we realized that it is basically a very thin plastic see-through door and wall. The feeling was unmistakably uncomfortable even with your wife of more than 16 years. There are things that are just private, going to the bathroom is one of them, it is not glamorous, it is not pleasant but it is natural and as natural as it is it is also the most private act a human should be able to do and to feel that someone can not only tell what is going on, but also hear and forgive me for my bluntness but also smell was disgusting. The worst part was that when the Cabin’s door opens the first thing everyone sees is the toilet, we made every effort to make sure we were not in there whenever the other opened the door. As we walked through the hallways I cannot tell you how many times we walked by an open cabin and had to look away in order to avoid uncomfortable situations. After the mandatory drill which is something we normally dread as it is usually chaotic, but I must admit was very well handled in an organized and expeditious way, we returned to the cabin to freshen up only to discover that the TV was not working. I tried to use the phone and call guest services but the phone touchscreen was also not working, I dialed 0 but it gave an error and would not dial. I checked the room for any type of directory or information on how to contact the guest services but there was nothing other than to use the phone’s touchscreen. I went down to the guest services desk where I waited in line for over 30 minutes because there were only Two service representatives actively attending to the guests, there were others but they were so engrossed in their computers that they rarely even looked up or acknowledge the growing line in front of them. I reported the problem and asked for an extension I could call in the future, I was told to dial 00. After dinner we returned to the cabin, the TV and phone still were not working, I called 00 and again reported the problem, they said someone would check it and call me back. We left our Cabin again and came back about an hour later, still no change in the state of the phone or TV. I dialed 00 again and this time the person who answered was able to fix the problem on the spot while I held with them on the phone for a few minutes. The phone took a while longer to get fixed but it was obvious that this was a minor problem that could be fixed remotely and easily yet it took me several hours and three attempts before I reached someone who knew how to fix the problem. We decided to explore the ship’s amenities, this was not very difficult or time consuming as all of them were concentrated in the middle of the ship on floors 6 and 7 directly off the casino. It was definitely crowded; it was hard to get through the mass of bodies to get from the back to the front. Who in the right mind would put most of the public areas right smack in the middle of a ship that holds 6,000 guest and 1800 crew members? Next was the overwhelming cigarette smell; it was always present because as you must very well know most of the guests that frequent the casino are also heavy smokers. In other ships this had never been an issue as the Casino was situated separate from the other public areas and enclosed on its own. Again, why in the world would you put the casino right smack in the middle of everything? It was so bad that we noticed that there were portable air purifiers on the floor every couple of feet on each side of the halls; we tripped on them several times. This was appalling, how can you have a brand new state of the art ship with portable air filters on the floor, how more ghetto can you get? It was a clear sign that the ship had not been designed for the guests it was designed for the profits. In the next few days we began to dread having to go down to the restaurants or bars because we knew we would pass through the cloud as we came to refer to it, of smoke. Our clothes reeked of smoke within a few minutes and no matter where we ate with the exception of the Garden Café upstairs we could at least have the faint aroma of it. As soon as the ship left port we began to feel the swaying of the waves, it was surprising to us that we were able to feel the strong waves as we did, We had been on smaller ships with rougher seas and not felt it so bad; It was very hard to walk about without holding on to the railings. For the first Two days the boat rocked and swayed uncontrollably and it was causing guest to get sick, we decide to stay in our cabin as much as possible to avoid getting sick ourselves. I would never think of blaming a cruise line or a ship for bad weather, it happens, we understand that and we rolled with it, however the following days the seas were calmer and the weather was clear and mild but to our dismay the ship continued to sway from side to side. When we inquired to the crew as to why the ship was swaying so hard, we were told that it was normal for a ship this size to sway a little. I am not an engineer by any means, but it was clear even to me why this ship swayed this way, it is by all accounts the tallest ship in the sea however it has a relatively narrow base for its height thus causing a pendulum effect when confronted with moderate wind speeds. We also discovered that the thrust engines on the sides of the vessel vibrate violently, we compared it to being on a plane undergoing turbulence. The worst part is that when the ship is docking it is these engines that do the bulk of the work and the vibration was so hard that our cabin rattled and shook feverishly. The noise was deafening as the flimsy shower and bathroom doors hit their respective frames; the first morning it was so startling and scary that we thought there was something wrong happening. We jumped out of bed half asleep and went out to our balcony to see what the whole ruckus was about. It was soon evident what it was and we were relieved when we realized that the ship was attempting to dock. The feeling of relief quickly turned to anger as we now realized that our $1750.00 per person stateroom was louder than a construction site downtown in the middle of rush hour. The docking process took 30 to 40 minutes and thus the shaking continued for that long. I have a recording of this, I knew it would be hard to believe by our friends and family and so I have had to play it numerous times. Since the ship docks very early in the morning we had to endure this on every port of call and consequently had our very own wakeup call complete with special effects. On the second day of our vacation we had reservations for the Cirque dreams show, which was cancelled due to the weather. We were disappointed but understood why it had to be cancelled, what I do not understand is why when I tried calling the ticket desk to see if I could re-schedule no one answered. I stayed on the line for over 45 minutes being very patient and no one picked up. I decided to go to the box office personally to inquire only to be told that there were no more available shows. Like I said I do understand that unforeseen circumstances arise and it was prudent to cancel the show for safety reasons, however I cannot understand why it could not have been re-scheduled for another day. Certainly all of the evenings were already booked but how about adding a matinée performance or two, again we were met with disappointment it was becoming a pattern. Since we are now speaking of entertainment lets continue, our experiences before had always been that there was always a show or production available every evening, what we discovered was that there were about 4 shows available for free and they had to be reserved way ahead of time, but no longer were shows available if you wanted to see them again or if you missed the reservation. Was it not the concept of freestyle cruising to do whatever whenever you wanted? Now everything has to be reserved and scheduled and if for whatever reason you can’t make the reservation then you are out of luck. There are 4 free shows, the Blue Man Group which we saw on the first night, it was very loud and we were not particularly impressed with the show; basically it is Three guys painted in blue paint spitting paint at each other and the audience. The big highlight of the show was when from the back of the theater Toilet paper begins to roll down and the audience must push this paper to the front of the theater until at the end the entire theater is covered in toilet paper. This was to say the least not a very sophisticated production that I would have imagined was worthy of what was called a luxury liner. The only Theater on board was the Epic Theater which was all the way on the front of the ship, it was very small compared to the size of the rest of the ship and it probably only held 600 to 700 people, it was shabby and not very visually appealing, again not what I had imagined a brand new ship would offer. Other shows included a Legends in concert which were Three artist impersonating Rod Stewart, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. The Michael Jackson impersonator was pretty good but the others especially Britney Spears were amateurish and not very good. There was also the Second City Comedy group that did improve comedy sketches; it was just OK, nothing special. There was also a Comic Magician, this show did not need reservations so anyone could come provided you got there early enough to get a seat. With such a small theater we realized that we probably needed to be there early to get a seat , however there was a performance by the Blue Man Group right before this scheduled performance and although the daily cruise newsletter instructed you to go to deck 6 the actual entrance to this show was on deck 5. Of course no one knew this including the crew members standing outside the door not letting anyone in. When the previous performance let out there was a large crowd waiting to get in and as you can imagine there was a big commotion. By the time we got in the theater it was completely full, apparently some people knew to go to the 5th floor and wait to enter the theater when the previous performance ended. We were not able to attend this show so we had to wait for the next day he was only performing Twice on a seven day cruise so if you miss them, too bad. The next day we aited in the 5th floor but again no one really knew where to go, finally I went to the Guest services and someone came over to guide everyone through a hidden corridor that led to the back of the theater where the performers enter and exit. We waited there for 45 minutes for the other show to end, it was very hot and very uncomfortable. By the time we entered the theater everyone around us including us were very aggravated, I really can’t tell you if the show was any good because I was in such a bad mood that it would not have mattered how good the show was the whole experience had left a bad taste in my mouth, my conclusion was that this theater was not designed for the guests comfort. Aside from that there was the Circus dinner show which we did not see but that will cost you an additional $25 per person and the Murder Mystery Lunch which is performed by the Second City Comedy Group, it is just another improve performance that will also cost you $20 per person. There were a few performers playing the piano or the guitar from time to time at different bars or restaurants but again none that I would consider great performers. The other thing that became painfully obvious was that if you wanted to take advantages of the amenities they will cost you extra. If you wanted to bowl, there was a fee, if you wanted the circus show there was a fee, if you wanted to go to the Ice bar there was a fee. This was such a big hype during previous cruises; this would be the only Ice bar at sea and pictures of a very cool and sophisticated place had been shown and frankly it was something we were dying to see. Well it cost us $20 each to don a furry poncho and walk into a walk-in freezer with a bar on the side. It was not lined with large Ice blocks and ice sculptures as we were led to believe. It was lined with acrylic blocks and acrylic statues made to look like Ice but far from it. This was just another way to get you to spend money and a photographer was there the entire time taking pictures by the statues of everyone in the bar. In other words we paid to get our picture taken and then we would have to pay more if we wanted the picture. Even the specialty restaurants which we were used to paying a little extra for better quality food had an extra fee if you wanted the lobster or the filet mignon. One night we were charged for a hot chocolate, I never felt so nickelled and dimed in my life. Worse yet I never felt so robbed in my life! One of our favorite things of course is the food, who doesn’t gain a few pounds after sampling so many delectable options as you have on a cruise? Normally I would rave, but the truth is that although the food was fine when we went to the specialty restaurants we would often encounter the same appetizer or dessert choices as the regular restaurants. On one occasion I specifically asked for a fried Calamari appetizer at La Cuccina, it was the exact same one I had had the night before at Taste; in fact it was the same chewy and rubbery consistency as the one I had sent back the night before. How can they consciously charge extra for something that is included free to begin with? There were plenty of restaurant choices however most of them were specialty and needed to be reserved well in advance and like I mention earlier the truly specialty dishes will cost more on top of the cover charge. And also at Cagney's Steak House we were told we could only have two sides, pardon me but hasn’t it always been that you could eat whatever you wanted even at the specialty restaurants. The Free restaurants were OK, Taste, Manhattan Club, The Garden Café on the pool deck level and an Irish pub style restaurant on level 6. This one was always very crowded and reeked of smoke. Like I mentioned earlier, most public areas were directly off the Casino on levels 6 and 7, there were several bars but they never felt separate it felt like just one large contiguous space so it was very difficult to feel like you were is a different environment. If music was playing in one of the bars it could be heard from the others and if it was a live performer it was obviously louder but you still heard the ambient music from another location. The main Atrium had a very large Projector screen TV where sports or movies would play from time to time, except they could not be heard over the massive loudness of the people traffic, music from all the bars or the overhead speakers. We tried to watch a movie once because we were so bored but could not hear a single syllable. The entertainment in the room was not better, there were only 5 available channels, 3 were news channels, 1 was the e! network and 1 is a continuous loop of all TV shows. Not to mention that the satellite feed was down most of the time so it was hit or miss. The Pool area was something else; aside from the water slides which I am sure a big hit with the Children there are only three main pools and 6 hot tubs not including the private Villas which are private. Remember there are over 6000 guests, these pools look and feel miniscule. One of the pools is located on the back of the ship along with 2 hot tubs and a Gigantic TV Screen. This are is called the H20 Spice club and it is advertised as an adult’s only section. Since my wife and I are childless we assumed this would be a good place to hang out and take some sun or read; however as we found out adults only is merely a suggestion. When we tried to lay on a deck chair we saw and heard a large number of kids running around. When I asked the bartender, who quickly came to see if I wanted a drink, why there were so many children in this are he gave me a vague response and walked off. The wait staff for the most part was polite and friendly unless for the bar staff and waiters. We had purchased the unlimited soda package as we have done on all of our other trips because we are not big alcohol drinkers; but every time we asked for a soda and shown our card we were met with a frown and at times hostile attitude. Of course they would not be getting the extra tip they would normally get from a premium drink so they were not shy about showing their disappointment. We would end up waiting 20 or 30 minutes for our drinks because they would make it a point not to go to the bar and get our order until they had another order for a premium drink. The service at from the Cabin Stuarts was not much better, our room was not made up until very late in the morning, one day it was 2:00pm and it was still not made up. Turn down hardly ever happened; it was done twice in our entire stay. Since we had already been to these ports we did not book any excursions thinking that there would be enough activities during the day to keep us busy; that was not the case. During the days at port the ship was basically a ghost town, there was nothing at all to do. The first Two ports we stayed onboard but by the third port at Roatan we were stir crazy and needed to get off even if to just be on firm ground. When we returned later in the day we sat in the atrium on the 5th floor to rest and suddenly the lights went out, we were suddenly sitting in pitch black conditions. We stayed put where we were and the lights came back up within a few minutes but by then there were a great deal of confusion going on as to what happened. There was no explanation offered by any of the crew members nearby or the overhead speaker, it was as this had not happened or it was such a common occurrence that they were not fazed by it; they continued with what they were doing prior to the power outage. After about fifteen minutes the captain came on the overhead speaker to let us know that the elevators were non-operational and they were working on it. The elevators were down for about one hour and a half, it was very difficult to get around. After the elevators were restored there was still not an explanation for what happened, this made the rest of the trip a little uneasy as the question certainly remained as to what would happen if this occurred while at sea? Given the way the week had gone we were cautiously optimistic about new year’s eve, it was one of the main reasons we had booked this trip to be at sea at a great party for New Year’s, we were told there would be several parties going on during the night. On New Year’s Eve we found out there were Two, one on the Pool at H20 Spice and the other at the atrium. The festivities began at 10:00pm and at that time we went upstairs only to discover that a rock band was setting up to play, we remained optimistic that the music would be enjoyable. The longer we were there the more young adolescent and teenage kids we say gathering and by the time the band began to play it was obvious that this party was not geared to adults so we decided to go to the party being held at the atrium. When we arrived it was actually the other way around the band was playing a very nice selection of old classic standards and the crowd was considerably older. It seemed that the cruise director decided to cater to only two age groups and since we did not fit either we decided to spend the new year in our cabin. I never felt worse than that very moment, I felt robbed not just monetarily but I felt I was robbed emotionally. Instead of enjoying a great vacation I was dreading it, instead of relaxing I was aggravated and that was when I decided I had to write a review and let everyone know what a poor designed ship this is. I only wish someone would have warned me. This is not a ship designed to make guests feel comfortable and happy and relaxed, it was designed to bilk as much money as possible from their captive audience, it was designed as a pretty art project with it’s over decorated restaurants and lounges but not for how people would feel or get about or enjoy it. If I was running this company I would seriously consider whether this ship held true to the fundamental concept of free style cruising and therefore belong on this fleet. If it was up to me, I would sell this ship to a budget cruise line, it would suit that style; it belongs with that trashy, tacky and ghetto clientele I would have never thought it belonged to NCL. I don’t think I will be cruising NCL again, certainly no time soon but definitely never on this ship again.

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Dec 12, 2010

eastern carribean

Please be prepared for little room and lots of standing around. At one point during the morning, we saw smoke pouring out of the sky. Then the smoke turned into heavy blackish brown smoke and the power stopped. The engines stopped and the loud speaker said " CODE BRAVO CODE BRAVO". We had previously all been warned during our mandatory fire drill that a fire on the ship was the most dangerous thing that could possibly happen. Naturally, the

passengers started to get nervous and the staff seemed nervous. After about half an hour or so, power was restored, and everything was alright , apparently. We never heard another word about it. The food was forgettable and sometimes a dissappointment. The Garden Cafe was a large buffet which is accessable without a wait, which we found ourselves gravitating to more and more. Besides, it was free. This was hit or miss with quality, but I was okay with it. I had a few things that were pretty good here. Each night they featured a different theme. I cannot think of one thing that was outstanding however. Cruises I had gone on in the past featured lavish ice carvings and chocolate buffets. None of that here. Customers do notice details. It was modern and functional. It was compact and rounded with a good size deck. The bedding was a duvet type white coverlet and quite cozy. The television did not have much to offer besides about three channels and pay movies. Our room was right off the back of the ship and I dont know if that has anything to do with this but we felt a lot of movement and noise. The cabin creeked and shifted everytime the boat veered and it made lots of noises all night. Sometimes the deck door would come flying open in the middle of the night despite being locked scaring me half to death.....sounds of the crashing wake below me. I thought that the stateroom service was good. Blue Man Group was the highlight of the trip and it was FREE. Cirque of Dreams should be renamed Cirque of Nightmares, because it was a gigantic mess from start to finish. Run , do not walk, from this band of gypsy acrobats and vaudvillians that change their costumes every three minutes in the same kitchen that is preparing your food! At given points throughout the show, the poor waiters, who they have dressed up like organ grinder monkeys, have to perform in the show. All of this is happening while you are sitting in the midst of it, in an overcrowded garrish small room with swinging acrobats and a man with a huge puppet on his lap trying to talk to you while you are eating your meal. The show has a dark edge with a show girl that keeps making suggestive "casting couch" type remarks, and a couple of shady type producer characters. This is all presented in an "opereta style" singing, if you can imagine. The show makes no sense from start to finish and is annoying . Very amaturish! We went to the French side of St Maartin and were dissapointed. There is no infrastructure and it is rundown and nothing neat there to see. We ate lunch at a French restaurant and it was nothing special and it was expensive. However, St Thomas was beautiful and much nicer. Much more developed and I thought prettier. We took an open type transfer up the hills to Magans Bay. The bus ride up was fun and very scenic. The scenic overlook of the bay was breathtaking and worth the price of the excursion. The trip down to the beach itself was dissapointing though because they allow too many cruise visitors on the beach at once. It was packed. The water was very cold, which I was too stupid to realize ( cause I am from florida I guess ) , so that surprised me. I thought if I ever return someday to the carribean, I would fly to St Thomas and stay at a resort. For me, 7 days is just too long to be a on a ship. Thats all. Also, for me, alcohol and gambling isnt my bag. But if you like to blow lots of cash and drink and gamble, then it is the place to be!

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Oct 26, 2010

one week

wow, what a horrible experience, and that's saying something considering you're in a beautiful part of the world. the FREE STYLE word is only a word, the restaurants all close early, they make you buy things from their stores, even the stores at the ports are all the same as the ones on board and are owned by NCL. food was ok, nothing great and nothing terrible. staff all seem miserable and overworked. even some of the officers i talked to said they

hate this cruise line and they hate this ship even more. filled me up. FOUND RAT POOP ON THE TOWELS!!!! i am from nyc, i know rat poop when i see it. and it doesn't actually bother me too much as i 'm a msician and used to living in unhealthy conditions. shows were good. just go where all of the other tourists don't go and you'll be fine. room service took forever, food not available all the time - no orange juice after 11 am?! even the big ship felt really small after a day or two. i wanted to check out the crew areas since i like seeing what goes on behind the scenes, but was told by everyone there was no way i could go into a crew area. what is NCL trying to hide? Geez. Come to think of it, i don't think i ever saw a crew member who wasn't working. where do they eat? where do they walk around? maybe i am too socially conscious, but i care about where my money goes, and my money WILL NEVER EVER GO TO NCL AGAIN.

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By jenn_CR

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Oct 26, 2010

one week

cruise staff was uninformed, and seemed depressed and scared about getting into trouble by the "officers" apparently, even someone as lowly as a restaurant manager can walk around with a uniform and tell everyone what to do - no wonder there's so much confusion - all chiefs and no indians! food was greasy, no healthy options, but i don't think people go on cruise for healthy food. small, wierdly shaped. only good thing was the shows, but do

yourself a favor and see Cirque and blue man in a real theatre in a real city. stay away from this cruise line, the staff all talk about how poorly they are treated. waste of time and money, will go back to Carnival, should never have tried NCL, it seems like it's run by incompetent rich kids whose parents gave them their very own ship to run as a reward for cleaning their room.

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By Lee_CR

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Oct 26, 2010

western route

wow, horrible all around, food was bad, crew was bad, officers were rude and overworked. if you are forced to travel on this ship bring your own! fine lots of things for kids, gym was nice, shows were really good check out the beaches in roatan, stay away from monkey zoo, they keep the monkeys trapped in cages, very cruel. i've cruised a bunch over the years, and this is definitely the worst cruise ship i have ever been on. officers walked

around like nazis telling these poor young girls what to do, i hate to think what happens behind the scenes! drinks are overpriced, restaurants are ok, for the money just book your own trip somewhere, the "freestyle" thing is total c__p.

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Sep 18, 2010

Eastern Carribean

We traveled as a group, 7 families with teens aged 13-17. Overall, everyone had a fantastic time. Some were first time cruisers and others experienced cruisers. Food was good. We had some finicky eaters in our group - only complaints were the dinner served during Cirque Dreams. Two groups tried the noodle bar - one liked it and the other not so much. We ate at Taste, Manhattan Room (twice), O'Sheehan's, and at the Buffet - didn't eat at the

restaurants that charged a fee. Food was very good. We were disappointed that they couldn't our group of 23 on our final night so that we could all sit together - even though there seemed to be empty tables. We made reservations, but we always got the time we wanted and didn't have to wait. Two adults and two teens in our room - family balcony suite - we went in knowing it would be tight; but seriously, how much time do you spend in your room. The ship was new, so there were few minor issues - sink was leaking, patio door handle was loose, but these issues were promptly taken care of when we reported these issues. Room was nicely decorated, and shower, sink, and toilet being separate were not an issue. Great variety - kids loved the teen club activities. Entertainment was great. Blue Man Group and Legends in Concert were great. Spice H20 was great. The guys enjoyed the casino and the pub crawl. Sail and Snorkel in St.Maarten was enjoyed by all. Captain and crew were great. Great rum punch. Went to Paradise Point in St. Thomas - it was nice. My husband enjoyed the Bushwacker - nice view at the top. Avoid Coki Beach area - a 14 year old passenger from Carnival was shot in the area the day before our ship arrived in port (she was shot by a gang member - wrong place, wrong time). Thus our reason for not leaving the Havensight Mall area. In Nassau we went to Atlantis - supposed to start at 12:30 but we didn't get to the beach until 2:00. Very disappointed with the short time we had there as this was a fairly expensive excursion. Three hours is not long enough for Atlantis! Overall we had a lot of fun. Like freestyle cruising.

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By DAVE_CR

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Sep 13, 2010

WESTERN CARIBBEAN

The worst cruise of my life. I have been cruising for more than 20 years, and have been on all the mayor cruise lines, and this one was by far the worst. To make a long story short, super small rooms, bad food, bad shows (3 nights in a row they had the same show, Legends in Concert). The only good show was "Blue Man Group", but that does not compensate the other things. Also the Ship distribution was super confusing, very small spaces (they filled

up everything with inside cabins). The "Freestyle Concept" is also a big fake, you end up having to make Reservations in advance for everything - and you only do things when they let you - in other words, you have to go to the Show Monday, because Saturday and Sunday there is no space - you go for dinner and have to wait 40 mins to get a table - trust me a complete nightmare. The food in the Buffet was mediocre. Breakfast was OK. The rest was TERRIBLE,In the Buffet every day the same food, like if they wanted to get you tired for you to go to the paying restaurants.They offer 20 Restaurants, only 4 are free, and the other 16 you have to pay up to 25$ per person. The Buffet was Ok for Breakfast, terrible for lunch and dinner. Also I noticed the lack of freshly cooked food - it seemed to me like the majority of the food was like stews, and "reheatable" things that could be put there. In the "Main" Dinning Rooms - Aka "The Manhattan Rooms" and "Tastes" (which where offered like 2 separate restaurants), they had the same food in both restaurants (different floor of the ship, thats it). Terrible Food - and like you are "Freestyle" you have to WAIT for 30 or 40 min to get a table. Thats all I have to say about the food - they want you to spend for the good food. In my other trips on other cruise lines (Royal Caribbean), in the Buffet they had Sushi, Chinese, etc, - here none of that was offered, if you wanted sushi, pay, if you want Chinese, Pay, etc. VERY BAD. The Staterooms were very clean (its a new ship), but very, very small and unpleasant. They had a Curve design (I presume to save space and make more staterooms). The most unpleasant part was the bathroom, the toilet on one side of the door, the shower on the other side, and the sink in the middle of the room. Total lack of privacy. The worst stateroom I have ever been, and I have been on more than 20 Cruises. For me they were nonexistent They take advantage of the "freestyle" to basically do nothing all day. Never saw the cruise Director, the "Daily Program" was confusing and unfriendly. Excursions were very expensive. I would never - ever - go again in NCL, had the worst cruise of my life (you give me a free cruise and I DONT GO). I have never written a review, but last weeks experiences makes me obligated to do so. I hope this info helps out people. I am not saying people didnt have fun, but maybe like I have other cruises to compare it to I see what others didn't.

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Sep 8, 2010

Caribbean

EPIC is OVER RATED!! Very disappointed! NO more NCL! Garden Cafe & O'Sheehan are just OK, Manhattan Room and Taste are the same and BAD. Le Bistro is the best but you have to $20 pp. The room is tiny! The design is BAD! The swimming pools are small, so people just sit there cause there is no space to swim. The waterslide is OK. The Blue Man Group and the Legends are OK, other shows are BAD. And, you have to pay for the Bowling,

Pool Table & Games. Icebar charges $20 pp includes 2 drinks, so we didnt go. Nothing you cannot miss! Dont join the shore exursions. This ship charges everything, when we got onboard, there're waitress giving drinks (welcome cocktail) , I took one and thought it was free, (I had it free from most of the resort) , & she said "NOTHING IS FREE, EXCEPT WATER" how rude! Since we had more than 3 full days at sea, we're so bored, cause nothing you can do, except Casino! The bottom line is, EPIC is Big and New, but, Boring, Pricy, Service/Communication/Food is BAD!

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By Gary_CR

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Sep 7, 2010

eastern carribean

I have been on a lot of cruises and this was one of the worst. So many things were bad. The room cabin was extremely small, you couldn't open a closet at night when the beds are down. The balcony was filthy with hair and dirt when we arrived. The food was the same in both restaurants, if you wanted variety, you had to pay extra. My luggage was damaged and they are not taking responsibility. Service was terrible, most didn't even speak English. No

washing machines.The cruise was way over priced for what you received. I would not recommend this at all and will not be taking another ncl cruise again! poor, no variety small You had to walk through casino filled with smoke to get anywhere, then you smelled like smoke, No washing machines to clean your clothes. Bad experience, will never go on ncl again!

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Sep 6, 2010

Western Caribbean

Seven day cruise to Mexico and Roatan. Very nice ship with well organized staff. I have been on all major cruise lines including Regency and Queen Mary 2. NCL is my favorite for the kids club, and great staff. Costa Mya was a waste, Do Not take dune buggy excursion. Long trip, break downs, dangerous vehicles, seat belts don't really work and destination beach was full of trash including the water. They were giving people 20% refunds because of the

complaints. Cozumel off road vehicle excursion was outstanding, included a swim in a cave. NOW the reason that I would never take this ship again and would recommend that you avoid it. The rooms are the smallest that I have ever been in by far. In an effort to pack as many rooms as possible they basically eliminated the bathroom. When you enter room there is a small shower on left and small toilet on right with the sink being in room. The way they get two double beds is to separate the full bed by about two inches, which is as far as it can go. Folks who were just friends were complaining about basically being in the bed with their cabin mate. Whoever designed the toilet area went very very wrong. It was like going to the bathroom with the toilet free standing in the middle of the room. The sink is it the room and when you use it water splashed all over the floor and counter. And those looking for a quiet place to relax and read, skip this ship. Food was great. All kinds of whatever you might want. The worst arrangement in my cruising experience. Too small and the worst and most uncomfortable toilet privacy that I've experienced by far. For such a small room they did cram in many storage spaces. Did not find some until cruise was almost over. Check coach backs, and under coach. The entertainment was the best ever. Blue Man Group, Legends concert and one of the best Blues Bands that we have ever heard on or off ship. We found ourselves snuggling up in a corner and watching the lead guitarist blow our minds!!! Stay away from Dune Buggy excursion Costa Maya and don't miss off road vehicle trip to cave swim in Cozumel.

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Aug 25, 2010

Western Caribbean

The Norwegian Epic is a very strange experience. Generally, it was similar to a smaller Norwegian vessel, except that the number of rooms were doubled and the size of each of the venues was doubled (or halved). The design of the ship is EXTREMELY confounding. It has a 690 seat theater to accommodate 4600 passengers. The Cirque Show (one of the most popular attractions) is in a 150 seat theatre. Most ships have a Grand Space (of some sort). The

Epic has a three story atrium. The grandness is minimized by the sound of air hockey tables and bowling alleys. The ship is absolutely sooo crowded that time spent alone in the cabin was a welcome relief. The food in the smaller venues was quite delicious. It was nice to be able to choose between such a large variety of restaurants. The larger venues (Taste and The Manhatten Room) were just examples of large industrial-style food service...small portions, impersonal service. Oddly, the Manhatten Room and Taste have identical menus (although the Manhatten Room is advertised as a "supper club" and Taste is advertised as "contemporary cuisine'. The Garden Place (normally called "Lido" on other ships) is WAAAAY overcrowded...hordes of people swarming and waiting for the next available table. The food was mediocre. They ran out of soft-serve ice cream by the fourth day of the cruise. Desserts were a rather plain selection of mousses. I think the outdoor snack bars had a far superior quality of food (hot dogs and hamburgers and pizza). The stateroom was unacceptable for many reasons. The designers of the ship put the toilet in one corner of the room and the shower/bathtub in another corner of the room. Translucent panels separated the toilet and the shower from the living space. No one should expect even the most minimal amount of sound-proofness by the toilet walls (I think a bed sheet would have provided most privacy than the slide panels). There is incredibly minimal room in the toilet area. I don't think that anyone over 300 pounds would be able to fit. During the course of our cruise, we lost power one day, water another day, and flushing ability still another day. When we lost power to the cabin (controlled by a key card inserted into a slot), our cabin steward reported the problem at 7:45, we reported the problem at 10:30, we went to the front desk at midnight, and it was repaired by 1:30. Good thing we did not need power at that time. Otherwise, the short bed was very comfortable, there was considerable storage space (although only a minimal number of hangers), and the room seemed large enough. The ability to schedule activities through the television set was fantastic. There was no DVD connection possible to the TV. One other strange thing, the sink and faucet are of an ultramodern style. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid saturating the area around the sink. Water splashes continually out of the sink basin and throughout the surrounding area. Norwegian tried to do something unique with the cabins on this ship. Unfortunately, they just don't work right. I believe that the cabins themselves would keep many people from ever repeating another cruise on the Norwegian Epic. The entertainment was oddly minimal on a ship of this size. For music, there was a dueling piano bar (great!), a blues band (fantastic), a piano player (stuck in a corridor), and a duo playing elevator music. We would have liked to have had a few more musical options than this. Even small ships have more musical entertainment than the Epic. Many times, the blues bar and the dueling piano bar was packed to the limit with people. The theatre has only 690 seats. This is incredible for a ship that has 4600 passengers. If you don't jump on a reservation early, you may miss a major performance. Blue Man Group and Legends were fantastic. I am glad I had a seat. The magician Jeff Hodgson was a surprise during the cruise. Norwegian evetually moved him to the theatre to accommodate the growing legions of fans. I did not see the Cirque performance since it was already sold-out by the time I boarded. Another strange thing about this cruise...many of the activities that would be free on other cruises were charged on this cruise. The Ice Bar (a great experience) was $20 per person (just to enter). The Cirque show was $20 per person. I think this shows a disturbing trend in the industry. My wife and I ran up a tab of $1800 for the seven day cruise. It is very easy to overspend. The tips are automatically added to your charges. Similarly, there is an automatic $12 per day per person charge for the room steward and others. Since the tips are automatically included, there seemed to be less urgency on the part of the staff to please the customers. It was easy to be ignored at the bars. Norwsegian needs to be careful about this policy. The casino was fine. I hit a straight flush in three card poker. The dealers seldom were more than sullen. Don't expect cheery casino personnel on this cruise. Another strange thing...the Epic has MISERABLE internet access. When I was on-board, I longed for the day of dial-up speed. The wi-fi did not work for several days. The computer terminals were horribly slow. Since Norwegian charges $0.55 per minute, I tried to be on-line as little as possible. I spent a half-hour trying to send three e-mail messages. I never had this "slowness" problem on other cruises. I hope it wasn't just a revenue producing measure. This was a very expensive cruise. I think I would have enjoyed a less expensive cruise far more. I see no reason why anyone would choose the Epic over the smaller Norwegian ships. For the same price, the huge Oasis of the Seas was a far superior experience. This ship is just too over-crowded, too expensive, and lacks sufficient entertainment. I was expecting a truly superior experience on the newest ship on the market. Instead, I got a very strange and twisted version of a cruise ship.

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Aug 21, 2010

Cruise To Nowhere

This cruise was a 2-night inaugural christening cruise out of New York City. During it's first season the NCL Epic will sail from Miami sailing alternating Eastern and Western seven day cruises. Next summer she will sail from Barcelona doing seven day Western Mediterranean cruises and return in the Winter of 2011 back to Miami to do a seven night Eastern itinerary. EMBARKATION - Check-in at the New York terminal has improved immensely since

my previous cruises out of New York Manhattan terminal, pier 88. I arrived to the pier around 11AM and found very little lines. Check-in is quick when you have already done the pre-registration on line. The agent checks your proof of citizenship, swipes you credit card for onboard purchases, takes your picture for your boarding pass, then fetches your boarding card. The process of taking your picture at check-in saves a step, which some cruise lines are still doing after security, by having you step up to a kiosk and inserting your card to take your ID picture. After check-in we proceeded to the security point, then we were directed to the gangway. Photographers were set up to take Bon Voyage pictures which you can later buy. Having been on many cruises, I always bypass this step. The NCL Epic had two gangways for entering the ship. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in ten minutes. THE SHIP - My first impression upon entering the ship on deck 5 was WOW. The atrium and guest relations area was very spacious and reminded me more of a large resort hotel. "Spacious" was an adjective I would use to describe the ship many more times in the next two days. The innovative NCL Epic offers 19 decks of world class entertainment, more than 20 unique dining options, and 20 bars and lounges. The ship boasts a lot of firsts. The first true Ice Bar at sea, largest tube and bowl slide at sea, largest spa and fitness centre at sea, first repelling wall at sea, first Big Top at sea, the most bowling alleys at sea (6 lanes), and the first time Blue Man Group performs on the sea. The ship is well laid out and easy to maneuver. Hallway carpet colors will help you learn the ship with red and brown carpets on port side, blue and brown on starboard. There are plenty of quiet spots on the ship. The Posh Beach Club on deck 18 offers a secluded retreat area with cushioned chairs and bar service. A plethora of deck chairs (2,395), are spread out in several areas on decks 15,16, and 18. Some areas providing more privacy with only 12 lounges in the area. The casino and shopping area were two other areas that were spacious. These areas made me feel I was in one of the large Las Vegas casino hotels and not on a ship. The casino runs length wise down deck 6, flanks out left and right in the center at the atrium and continues length wise. This is the largest casino I have ever seen on a ship (350 slot machines). The design should eliminate the cramped quarters typical of most ships casinos. I believe the spread out design should also help the closed in smell of smoke. The shopping area is reminiscent of a large department store. A very large make up counter serves as a hub in the center. A number of large shops spoke off the hub. A liquor store, candy store, logo shop, fine jewelry, and name brand stores all are generous in square footage. No bumping into each other to pass through. Cruise passengers can stay fit in the fitness center which sports 42 treadmills with 24-hr access. Fitness classes like stretch and relaxation, Yoga, Pilates, and spinning. Some have a nominal fee. If pampering yourself on vacation is your cup of tea, then head to deck 14 where you'll find the Mandara Spa and Salon. It offers facials, massages, body wraps, teeth whitening, hair and nail treatments, and new medi-spa cosmetic treatments including Restylane, Botox, and Perlane. All done by a certified physician. ENTERTAINMENT - This is where the NCL Epic really shines. There was far too much entertainment to see it all in my short two day cruise. I chose to see Blue Man Group the first night. BMG is free on the NCL Epic and would cost $100 per person to see this show in Las Vegas. They have a three year contract to perform on the Epic. The second night I enjoyed listening to Slam Allen in the Fat Cats blues/ jazz bar. An excellent band. You'll want to make advance reservations for major entertainment. Reservations can be made 45 days in advance. You'll need reservations for BMG, Legends in Concert, Second City Comedy Troupe, and the Spiegel Tent Cirque Dreams & Dinner show which has a surcharge of $20pp. They also have a Murder Mystery show with a cover charge. The Headliners lounge where Second City performs also is where Howling at the Moon dueling pianos is held. Spice H20 up on deck 15 & 16 is where you can enjoy a pool bar and grill while watching themed movies on the big screen. Theme nights and karaoke are held in the very exotic Bliss Lounge. My favorite place was the Irish bar, Sheehan's. The pub was split into two sections; one side was more of the bar area with pool tables and dart boards. The other side was more for the complimentary dining where one could order items like fish & chips, chicken pot pie, meatloaf, Chef salad, burgers and hotdog with chili, chicken breast sandwich, honey smoked salmon, and corn beef on rye. Several Irish, English, German, and Belgium beers were on tap. This seemed to be a popular spot. Part of Sheehan's (deck 6) over looks the two deck atrium which starts on deck 5. A two deck large broadcasting screen, also used for Wii games, is the center of attention in the atrium area. In Sheehan's one can sit on tall bar stools that circle the atrium and have the perfect seat for watching major sports events. There are numerous other bars throughout the ship to partake of your favorite drink. Pool bars have six pre-made daiquiri machines. The newest and most innovative bar on the seas though is the Svedka Ice Bar. Inspired by ice hotels in Scandinavia. The Ice Bar is totally ice and requires it be maintained at 17 degrees. A surcharge of $20 per person will get you two drinks and a fur coat to wear. Make your reservations early to experience this unique bar. Children have plenty of their own entertainment too. The Kid's Crew and teens programs will keep them busy with pizza parties, treasure hunts, dances, wii, and xbox games. Teens have their own Entourage teen club and video arcade, and the wee ones a Kid's Aqua Park. Young and old alike will enjoy the rock climbing and repelling walls, full basket ball court, ice skating, bungee trampoline, spider rope climb, and the large Aqua Park with three tunnel slides. Also new to NCL this year is a partnership with Nickelodeon. On the Epic kids can watch live Nickelodeon shows, get autographs with their favorite character, or even have breakfast with them. DINING - The NCL Epic offers over 20 dining options. Eight of the dining venues are specialty restaurants and have a surcharge. On my short 2-nt cruise I wanted to try one of the speciality restaurants and one of the included with fare restaurants. The first night I ate at the new Moderno Churrascaria Brazilian style restaurant. $18 PP surcharge. The meal starts with a trip to the salad bar. The concept at Moderno is similar to Bubba Gump's 'Go and Stop'. Diner's are given little cards red one side, green the other. When you are ready for your main course flip it to green. The waiters then start coming around with several different meats on the spindle. Chicken, sirloin, filet, pork ribs, beef ribs, Chorizo sausage. They will continue to keep serving until you flip your card over to red for stop. Dessert is also included with the meal. The Taste and Manhattan dining rooms would be considered more like a main dining room on the Epic. I ate in the Manhattan Room on night two. The dining room is in the aft of the ship on deck 6 and has large windows for viewing. Music is performed in the dining room at 9:30PM. I was pleased to see many tables for two in the dining room, and several of them were up against the windows. The right side of the menu changes every night with appetizers, soups, salads, and entrees. The left side of the menu stays the same and is the anytime items, some are an additional surcharge. I ordered prime rib and it was cooked to order and very good. The other restaurants that are speciality with surcharge are LaCucina Italian, Le Bistro French, Wasabi/Shanghai's/Teppanyaki all Asian, Cagney's Steakhouse, and the Cirque Dreams Dinner show. Pizza is complimentary on the ship if you get it on the buffet. You can also have it delivered anywhere on the ship for a $5 service charge. The other included restaurants in addition to Taste and Manhattan are Sheehan's Pub, Garden Cafe, Spice H20 (Latin and Asian), Epic Club for suite/villa guest, Atrium Cafe & Wine Bar (light fare & snacks), Courtyard Grill (suites/villa), Great Outdoors and 24 hour room service. The Garden Cafe was another spacious area. This is one of the best buffet areas I have seen on any ship. The design is set up to alleviate lines. Upon entering the Garden Cafe the stations separate to the left and right. Each side identical. Separate stations for each, Asian, Indian, Salads, Desserts, breads, Pizza, Carved meats and hot dishes, Beverage station, and soft and hard ice cream. Signs above label each station. The Great Outdoor grill by the pool is an extension of the Garden Cafe and serves hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages and grilled chicken breast. In the morning there are several omelette stations in the Cafe. The seating area in the Garden Cafe is plentiful. A nice feature are table caddies at the tables that hold wrapped silverware, ketchup, mustard, and steak sauce. No need to fumble with your silverware while balancing a plate in the buffet line. CABINS - By far the most talked about new feature on the Epic is the Wave Balcony cabins and the split bathrooms. Much has been written in the media about the cabins, and many are pre-judging these cabins before even seeing them in person. Cabins on the NCL Epic are designed to be energy efficient. Upon entering the cabin you will insert your key into the slot on the wall to activate the lighting system. This design is used widely in hotels in Europe and Asia. The easy slide balcony glass door is treated to deflect heat from the sun. The air conditioning system is also designed to automatically shut off if balcony doors are left open. I was in a regular balcony cabin on deck 8. There are also family balcony, deluxe balcony, family deluxe balcony, and spa balcony. The regular balconies are short on square footage, but I feel are manageable for two people. The cabins have plenty of storage space. You'll have to really look though, as some storage is built into the facade and doesn't look like it opens. Cabin amenities include a stocked refrigerator, a coffee maker with coffees and teas, hair dryer, push button safe, and floor to ceiling windows. The split bathroom design is the contentious thorn that is the talk of the town. The shower and toilet are each a separate compartment with frosted doors. The area in between the two is where the cabin door opens and also serves as a dressing area, which can be closed off to the bedroom by pulling a drape across for privacy. The new vessel sink sits outside this area in the bedroom on the counter. Some have complained about the frosted doors be too "see through". I found them no more than my shower door at home. Others complain of the split toilet and shower not being private. How so? They each have doors and there's the curtain to pull shut. I see the new bathroom design as an opportunity for two people to use the facilities that previously, would have had to been used one at a time. Mrs Jones can now do her make up at the sink while Mr Jones showers. And no fogged up mirror! Minor notes about my balcony cabin was the hard to reach plug hiding under the counter inside a cabinet, the flat almost hidden light switch under the medicine cabinet, and no regular towel bar to hang up wet towels (claw hooks only). The NCL Epic has broken tradition with the new solo traveler cabins. The inside Studio cabins are a comfortable 100 square foot each. They provide a full-size bed, sink and shower. The 128 solo cabins are grouped together in one section and have their own private access lounge to mingle. Those that are looking for a private, pampered experience may want to book the Spa Suites, Courtyard Villas or Penthouse. You'll have exclusive access to your own private Villa Courtyard pool and sun deck, spa, and fitness center, along with a private access Epic Club Courtyard Grill and Epic Club Lounge. Your accommodations come with butler and concierge service and upgraded cabin amenities such as upgraded linens, pillow-top mattress, fresh flowers, your own cappuccino/espresso machine, and plush bathrobes. These accommodations are great for those wanting added space and separate bedrooms for families. OVERALL - I found the crew on the NCL Epic to be friendly and attentive. They always smiled and greeted you in passing. The NCL Epic is an innovative and amazing ship. The variety of entertainment and activities provide something for everyone. The numerous dining options provide something to satisfy all palates. NCL definitely has hit a home run with the NCL Epic and I look forward to sailing her again on a longer cruise.

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By Sue_CR

  • New

Aug 16, 2010

western caribbean

I was very disappointed. First..food was pretty bad. Same thing everyday with a maybe one or two new things added in. I got to the point where i dreaded going to eat. Didn't gain any weight on this one! They have two complimentary dining rooms, but they serve the same menu! The left hand side of the menu stays the same everyday. The right hand might add 1 or 2 new dishes. If you don't care for the new dishes..well guess what? You're back

to eating the same thing again. I ate the steak and baked potato almost every night. The Garden Oasis buffet has the same thing all the time. SOOO boring! Then O'Sheehans only has a limited menu. Room service has a few sandwiches and the same hamburgers and hotdogs you get all day in the buffet. The Outdoor Grill is just another hamburger and hotdog, pizza place. If you want to get something better or different you have to PAY! The rooms are so small that two people cannot pass each other without one crawling across the bed. The toilets are no bigger than porta potties and the shower is small as well. Both have frosted glass doors so if someone comes in the room while you are showering or using the potty, they see you. Nowhere to change after you come out of the shower. A curtain can be pulled, but still you are exposed to the door if it opens. The balconies are huge. They could have used some of that space for the bathroom or room. Shows were ok. They have 6 lanes of bowling for over 4,000 people. There are lines for everything. Lines to get a dinner table, see the shows, etc. The pool is smaller than most home pools..for 4,000 people. They are always packed full. The slides seem nice, but of course, you are standing in line to wait for the tubes, so that takes away some of the fun. The ship is not what you would call glamourous or even beautiful. It is the plainest ship I have ever sailed on. They have one pretty chandelier and that about sums up beauty. Everything is really plain. Even the dining rooms are just plain. The Manhattan plays the same music soundtrack every evening until the band comes in. Then they pretty much sing the same things. Room service was very slow and one time they delivered my order to the wrong room and just left it there. My steward noticed it and told me because I was complaining of not getting my order. They do have clubs for dancing. We enjoyed that, but the 18 and over clubs get over crowded with teens who have crashed the place, so the dance floor is crowded with kids. The Cirque show was nice. I enjoyed the food, but heard alot of people complaining that steaks weren't right or something. Ours was good. Excursions are at least 60 dollars per person. All in all it was an ok cruise. That's because I was traveling with alot of family. But the food will definitely bore you to tears! Man was I disappointed with that! I can't think of anything that stood out as outstanding. The kids refused to go to the kid zone. They went one day and refused to go again. I also heard other kids complaining about that. Never can find a deck chair if you don't go throw a towel over one before the sun comes up. I would not go on the Epic again. Too expensive and not worth the cost. Food was boring and not very good. I was ready to go home for something different Stateroom was very small. No privacy in bathroom or shower. Two people cannot pass by one another Just ok. Shows were ok. Not worth all the hype surrounding them Excursions way too expensive.

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  • New

Jul 27, 2010

eastern caribbean

The Epic is a beautiful, gigantic ship. That is as far as it goes as far as I am concerned. The cruise was just alright and average. My husband and I took the 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise last week. We expected luxury for the price we paid and all the hype of this enourmous ship. What we got was disappointment after disappointment for the most part. The food, entertainment, service, and amenities were average at best. We did hear that the private

deck of the ship, which costs extra and has it's own private dining and pool, was wonderful and the passengers were treated like royals. We believe that ALL passengers should be treated as such. We all work hard for our money and are paying for an experience like no other. Us low lifes in the $5000 staterooms complained a lot amongst each other. The food was average to boring. You know it's bad when you miss your home cooking or think you can cook better than the "fancy restaurants" on the ship. The buffet was average. The two main dining rooms that were included in your cruise were average as well. What blew my mind was that they both had the exact same menu! That is so wrong. If you want better food you have to pay extra for it at one of the many upscale restaurants onboard. We ate at Le Bistro and that was the best steak we have ever had. We paid $100 extra for it, but it was hot and melted in your mouth! The other upscale restaurants were a huge disappointment. Room service was ridiculous. Half the time they never answered the phone. When they did answer it was a 50/50 chance they'd have what you asked for. I ordered a muffin basket and glass of juice one morning and she said it would be there in 45 minutes!!!!!! The stateroom was decorated nicely BUT, the design was too far out there. If you wanted electricity you had to keep your keycard in this slot by the light switch. There was only one standard outlet in the room. The bed was very short. I am 5'2 and my feet went to the end of the round bed. There was no privacy in the bathroom!! The toilet area felt like a porta potty. No vent/no privacy. The toilet seats onboard the ship were AWFUL!!!! The seat was the same size as the rim!! You had to balance b/c you felt like you were falling in. Surely a woman did not design such an awful, flawed seat! There is no iron or ironing board in the room. No one tells you this and it is not written anywhere! Bring hangers. Lots of closet space....no hangers for them all. Just hangers in one closet only. They do provide you with a robe, which is nice. The entertainment was a huge diappointment. We usually cruise with Royal Caribbean and love their shows!! So we had something to compare it to. The Second City, which is what they advertise as one of their big acts, was so boring. We heard numerous people complain about them. The show was only 35 min. or so. It was not a good one. A comedian onboard would have been much more fun! The Blue Man group was alright. Some parts were amazing and other parts were so weird and out there. We sat and watched them eat Captain Crunch for 15 minutes! That is not what I call entertainment! I watch my two year old eat it all the time! The Cirque Dinner was alright. It ran way too long and it was if they inserted off the wall parts to take up time. Stick to the acrobats and leave out the nonsense. The best two shows were the celebrity impersonators and the magic show!!! OUTSTANDING! The magic show should be booked as a feature act....not an 11 o'clock at night show only! The other highlight was Bernie Martini the piano man who sang Sinatra, Billy Joel and Michael Buble. He should also be a main act on the ship. Not stuck in a hallway of traffic while he's trying to sing for us! I had no problems with our ports. They were beautiful. My advice is do not book an excursion on the ship! It is highway robbery! Get off the ship and I assure you a cab driver of some sort will approach you and for a mere $10 a person will take you on a fabulous, private tour of the island. We had the best tours of each island doing it this way. The pools are not pools at all on this ship. They are more like 4 ft. hot tubs. It is a shame. The water slides are amazing! The adult pool is so pitiful. Three couples and it is full. There is a huge tv playing the exciting caribbean game of golf. Fun times huh? Golf? Really? The next day they played a cartoon? Cartoons at the adult pool? There is only one pool bar, located at the family hot tubs, I mean pools, to serve 4,000 guests. That is poor planning. There should have been an adult only bar and tropical music playing. The kiddie pool area rocked! Those kids were hooked up! Meanwhile the adults had to draw numbers to see which three couples could get in the pool next. So, we will not be traveling NCL again. We will stick to our trusty Royal Caribbean Voyager.

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