November 2013 - Norwegian Epic to Caribbean - Eastern
We are experienced cruisers having been on almost every line from Cunard to MSC. We have been on at least six NCL cruises. This was our first on The Epic--and our last. The balcony cabin was tiny and we had the joy of the toilet enclosure (Opaque) visible from every part of the room and balcony! (There is no distinct bathroom; the facilities are integrated into the cabin. One can sit on the bed and brush one's teeth! What a thrill!)
The Garden Cafe Buffet on the first afternoon was FILTHY. Staff insisted that they spray our hands to fight germs, but no one thought to spray the tables to clean them! Tables sat for at least 30 minutes before any staff would clear them. We never saw a staff member "wash / wipe" the table with anything other than one of the napkins left there. The Board of Health would have a field day with this place!
The service was non-existent in the "complimentary" restaurants. Orders were rarely correct the first time and that added to the slowness of the service. It took two hours for two people to be served a four course meal--appetizer to dessert. No wonder the lines are hours long to get into the "complimentary" restaurants. Excuse me? "Complimentary"? What did I pay for? I paid for EVERYTHING at EVERY TURN. The surcharges were absurd and annoying: A $20 cover charge for the "Ice Bar"? (One drink included).
The food in the Pay Restaurants was average. We went to two (French and Brazilian) and had average food flavors (Escargot and Lamb that were flavourless) and average service. I guess the reason to pay the extra money is to avoid the lines in the other restaurants. Save your money. Stay home and eat out in local restaurants!
NCL has always been a reliable cruise line: The service had been good; the food great; the facilities clean and spacious: Not on The Epic. I recommend any other cruise line--including MSC and Carnival--rather than NCL's The Epic--for service and quality!