February 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Epic
I have previously cruised in the NCL Getaway and was blown away by the amenities of the ship, the food and the room. So I booked on the NCL Epic to try a different itinerary. Bad move. It was not all bad. The entertainment on this ship was wonderful. The layout of the pool area was far superior to the Getaway and the food was great in the restaurants.
Now for the bad: the food was lacking on the buffet. Buffet food had little variety compared to the Getaway and was often stale. Seating in the buffet was very limited due to very large booths.
On board the Getaway you could always find a quiet spot to getaway. Not so on the Epic it was always like the mall at Christmas. The bathrooms were woefully lacking on the EPIC. They always wanted you to cleanie cleanie your hands but at least 2 soap dispensers in each bathroom were out of soap at all times.
They also forced you to go through the casino at ALL times by blocking the back staircase forcing you to go through an area that smelled like a bowling ally and often had the gamers blocking the traffic area. If you want to go on the ship to gamble that is OK but for those of us who don't smoke or gamble this was an unpleasant experience.
The room was well... unique. I was able to compare apples to apples as I had the exact same type of room on both ships. The Getaway was roomy and had a private bathroom. The Epic was an epic fail in this area. Upon entering the room you had an out house toilet to your right and a pod shower to your left. I am short but the shower was for munchkins and the toilet felt like you were on the Greyhound bus. The sink was in the room which made brushing your teeth and sneaking out before everyone else impossible. I have seen bowls on a salad bar bigger than the sink which was right next to the bed. More water went on the bed and the counter than in the sink. There was also very little privacy. We have a teen age daughter traveling with us and to change they offer the area between the shower and the latreen but directly in front of the entry door. You pull a curtain for privacy. This was the worst part of the experience. And before you say so what you are never in the room... we had very rough seas and could not even pull into Grand Caymen so we were in our room more than usual. The one time we experienced rough seas on the Getaway you could not get off the elevator with out someone offering you sea sick meds. The Epic suggested you buy them.
Many staff seemed like either they had not had their contracts renewed and were just working out the rest of their time or were in training and not very knowledgeable. Before this cruise I was a NCL loyalist. I will try them again, carefully looking at ship plans first, but will be much more open to trying someone else.
I give this trip 3 stars because I loved the entertainment and the specialty restaurant food and the freestyle dining.