Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Deck Hand

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

A great cruise spoiled by NCL

Sail Date: August 14, 2011

Reviewed: 5 years ago

Traveled As: Family w/older children

Room Type: Balcony

A 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.

Pros: Ship's amenities/facilities and entertainment

Cons: Auto-Gratuities and also asking for additional tips on everything

Recommends Norwegian Epic? Yes!

Service and Staff
All very friendly and helpful. That may be due to the fact that they are 'working' for tips. What does let them down is that there is a constant 'hard-sell' mentality.
Food and Dining
NCL operate freestyle dining where you can have your meals at any time, as opposed tothe 'traditional' cruise concept of early and late sittings. This idea does work well however only 25% of the dining areas are included n the cruise price - Taste restaurant on deck 5 has a fixed menu (3/4 starters, 4/5 main choices) but it is the same menu for the entire week. The Manhatten restaurant on deck 6 has exactly the same menu, but is slightly more formal (trousers and shirts for men). On each menu there is a daily special but it is all very similar to the standard menu choices. O'Sheenans is also included but this is nothing special unless you like eating fried food sitting next to a 3 lane bowling alley and a major thoroughfare - it is good for breakfast though. The fourth inclusive dining area is the Garden Cafe buffet area on deck 15 which is a similar experience to every other cruise - in my opinion it is good for breakfast / lunch but not for dinner. As with every buffet finding a seat
Children's Programs
Our son enrolled in the Teen club - we very rarely saw him!!
Entertainment was excellent - the Blue Man Group show was very good (you need to book this but it is free), there was an excellent Blues band playing every night in Fat Cats Blues/Jazz Club, lots of live music spread around the ship - Beatles Tribute band, Spanish guitarist (who was brilliant) and cabaret acts. The Cirque dinner show was excellent and it included dinner. This also requires to be booked and has a supplement of $20pp plus tax. However the shows is on whilst you are eating so you are constantly looking at the show and your plate.
Cabin / Stateroom
Good size stateroom with balcony. We had passengers in the room and there was plenty of hanging space and drawer space for our clothes. Beds were also very comfortable. There is a large shower are and a separate toilet area with a dividing curtain between the living/sleeping area and the shower/toilet area.
Ship Quality
Very large ship holding 4130 passengers but we always managed to find a sun lounger and spotlessly clean.
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.
Naples, Italy
Visited Pompeii for half-day tour - very good guide although 2 passengers decided to make their own way back to the ship witout telling anyone. Despite being told the meeting point and final time, we hung around for a further 40 minutes which was disappointing

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