A great cruise spoiled by NCL
Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean
Sail Date: August 14, 2011
Ship: Norwegian Epic
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 5 years ago
Review SummaryA very nice cruise liner that is well laid out - plenty of amenities for adults, teenagers and young children. The pool area on the deck 15 can get very noisy as there is a 'live' band that plays every afternoon from 13.00 to 17.00 and that can wear you down. There are quiet areas on deck 18 but they are not serviced very well by bar attendants and for example, if you want to get an ice-cream you have to get back down to deck 15 - by the time you get back up to the quiet area your ice-cream has melted!
There is an adult only area at the aft of the ship, which has 2 jacuzzis and a pool, and a massive cinema screen. It is well serviced by bar attendants but the food is additional cost.
The trips are very expensive eg the trip to Rome was $299pp plus tax. You can do these trips on your own using the local transportation, but NCL seem to have a policy of really pointing out the dangers of the local transport always being late etc - I think this is to scare people so that they take the vastly over-priced excursions.
I have mention 'plus tax' alot - this is because prices are just stated - you only find out about the tax when you are billed and at 18% it soon amounts.
In addition, there is an additional $12 per day, per person service charge added to your bill (this is for passengers aged 3 and up!). The service charge is supposedly distributed to all staff at the end of the cruise - how this works I am not sure. In addition to the service charge there is tax, and on each transaction - eg bar service there is an additional gratuity of 10% added to your bill. There is then an additional line for you to add your own tip which goes directly to the server. You even get asked for this if you are actually sitting at the bar!
One really big negative was our final bill - this was checked before we went to bed on our final night - all okay. I then received a paper copy final bill at 07.45, 1 hour before we were disembarking which had an additioanl $147 added for 'Housekeeping Merchandise'?? Guest Services had a queue of around 50 people and whilst waiting in the line, it became apparent that around 15 of us all had this additional charge. (The charge was towels that were handed out on day one before we could get into our stateroom.) Every person with this addition had returned the towels and the attendant tore-up the reciept - however the initial signed sheet for the deposit was not destroyed and it is charged on your bill, not on the day it occured, but at the end of your last night. I am afraid to say that many people will have disembarked not realising that this charge had been added. Also, nobody would tell me who the person in charge of this facility was so that I could discuss directly.
Overall, we had a good cruise but although it started out as a very good price in comparison with the same itinary on Royal Carribean Legend of the Seas, you actually pay the difference once you are on the ship.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
The lifts at the front end of the ship are manic as they bring you up to the buffet restaurant and into the pool area and down to the Epic Theatre! If you can choose a cabin head towards the aft as the lifts there are quieter - less waiting around in my opinion.
Cabin / Stateroom
Ports of Call
Pros: Ship's amenities/facilities and entertainment
Cons: Auto-Gratuities and also asking for additional tips on everything