Not what I would expect from NCL
Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
Sail Date: February 12, 2011
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Family (young children)
Reviewed: 6 years ago
Review SummaryI have been on at least 13 cruises and 8 of them have been on NCL. This was the least favorite of all the cruises and has greatly impacted our desire to do another NCL cruise. Some of the reasons we were disappointed include:
* The design of the ship was annoying (sink in the bedroom??), curved walls, poor visibility in lounges
* The staff didn't seem like they were happy. Not sure why, but there was a different feel to this cruise. If I had to assess the mood of the staff I would say "grumpy" or "put off". What makes this really surprising is that we heard the CEO of NCL was on board! Plus, I was surprised at how often I saw staff/crew on cell phones versus attending to customers.
* The entertainment was so-so, except for Blue Man Group and Second City. Having to make reservations was annoying and inconvenient. We ended up not having anything to do later in the week because we booked our shows for earlier in the week. We were actually bored on this cruise!!
* The activities were poorly run. Example: we went to a Family Pictionary game that was so poorly run that we almost left after the second round. What was supposed to be fun, ended up being stressful and confusing.
* If they are going to charge extras for a dinner show, at least provide food that is different than what you would get in the Garden Cafe. We did two of the extra charge shows and did not feel they were worth it.
* It felt like everything was an extra charge.
* Speaking of extra charges - make sure to ask for your drinks NOT in a souvenir glass. You get charged an extra $2 per drink. They will automatically bring your drink in the souvenir glass unless you ask them not to. If you forget and they bring the drink in the souvenir glass tell them to take it back and make you one not in the souvenir glass.
* Not sure if this is now the new industry standard or just an NCL thing, but to change the "gratuity" to a "service charge" is also annoying. Is the expectation that we tip above the $12 pp/per day?? We have always provided the recommended gratuities and given extra for especially good service, but this new language is confusing and I am wondering if this is why the quality of service wasn't as good this time. Perhaps the motivation to provide excellent service just isn't there when you are guaranteed to get your portion of the "service charge". Don't insult me, by requiring me to pay a "service charge". Instead train your staff to provide exceptional service and allow customers to control who they feel deserves extra.
* Internet cafe was a total rip off and the crew member running it was rude (I certainly hope he didn't receive a portion of the "service charge"). My husband was charged $15 for internet usage and never saw one email. Turns out is takes at least 3 minutes to access comcast email. Hmmm, that would have been nice to know before being charged to "set up an account". Yes, yet another extra charge that didn't used to exist.
I usually have more of a balance between the positives and the negatives, but overall this trip was a disappointment and has changed my perception of NCL. I would expect this type of experience from a lesser rated line, but NCL should have mastered the cruising experience. Instead it felt like they just don't care anymore and are all about squeezing as much money out of you as they can.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Ports of Call
Pros: Blue Man Group, Second City, Kids Club
Cons: extra charges for everything, below average service, not enough to do