Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Contributor Level: Third Mate

Experience
2-3 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
6

2 out of 5

NCL Epic lacking in service

Sail Date: November 22, 2015

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Family (young children)

Room Type: Inside

We had built up quite an expectation and excitement as we learned more about the ship. We should have picked up on the push towards buying into the specialty restaurants. The complementary food was disappointing, with the focus on quantity not quality. The free food areas also closed early, except for one restaurant, O'Sheehan's., but the menu was the same every night so it got boring. If you want anything else, there's the room service, but you'll be charged for most items (except for basic continental breakfast items) plus a delivery charge of $7.95 on top of the typical 18% gratuity and other fees. The service was lackluster in both main dining rooms from the hostesses and the wait staff. I think a hostess smiled once or twice, but aside from the perfunctory "Good evening," they usually had quite a scowl. One hostess at O'Sheehan's completely ignored my daughter for several minutes even though she stood slightly to the left of the check-in podium. Once done with the previous customer, she immediately addressed the couple behind her. It took a few seconds of awkward eye contact between my daughter and the other couple, before the hostess even bothered to acknowledge my daughter without so much as an apology.  A couple more visits later resulted in not correctly delivering items ordered, denying they were ever ordered. Going to the complementary restaurants do not evoke any pleasant feelings. There was an evening when they seated my family of five at a table only to be told we had to move because no waiter was scheduled to serve that table. Weird, but okay so we moved. A few minutes after got reseated, we saw another group get seated to our old table, and was promptly serviced. The wait times between our courses got so bad that my granddaughter started running the stopwatch on her phone. Average wait time between appetizers to main course and main course to desserts were 23 minutes.  You do get what you pay for. I hope the specialty restaurants had better service at least. 

 

My daughter who is great finding deals could not be convinced to participate in the future cruise promotion they run, which she even admitted was a good deal. Our bad experience left such a bad taste that she's not willing to take an NCL cruise again in the near future. She says Carnival has better service and food for even lower prices, but she's willing to spend more with Princess or Royal Caribbean  in order to avoid NCL. 

 

The ports of call were definitely the highlight of the cruise along with the entertainment staff at Burn the Floor, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Cirque. Kudos to the entertainment staff! 

Cabin / Stateroom
It's an inside cabin - not great, but not the worst. It's what met our budget.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Both were at least seamless processes. The lines moved quickly and efficiently.
Ship Quality
We liked the layout of the rooms and staff were quick to pick up and clean after messes.
Destinations and Excursions
The destinations were great, but we didn't book excursions through the ship due to exorbitant prices. My daughter booked all our excursions through local businesses and was able to really personalize each private tour according to our interests.
Onboard Activities
Lots to do, but since it's basically one port a day, we were too tired to do much else except rest or see the shows.
Children's Programs
My 10 year old granddaughter enjoyed it enough that she wanted to go every night, but not so much for my 12 year old grandson. Perhaps need to revamp programs geared towards preteens?
Entertainment
Burn the floor, Priscilla, and Cirque were very enjoyable. The staff worked hard and put in quite an effort to entertain and they succeeded.
Service and Staff
The cabin steward, a bartender, and a couple of wait staff were friendly, courteous, and professional. However there were many more we interacted with who were not friendly, quite rude, and just did not seem to like their jobs and it showed.
Food and Dining
It was mostly misses than hits. Outrageously large servings of food that had very little taste. Large amounts of pasta, but not much else. Prime rib that can feed 2-3 people. Desserts were better, but not very creative. If you're into large quantities of food, then this is it. If you're looking for quality, then go somewhere else.
Barcelona, Spain
Stay 2-3 extra days before or after the cruise. There's so much to see and do to cram in one day. You'll likely want to visit this beautiful city again someday.
Naples, Italy
If you can afford it, better to get a private tour in a smaller vehicle rather than the large groups and buses through the cruise line.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Better to get a private tour if you want to see more of Rome. The drivers and their smaller vehicles can more easily navigate the narrow streets.
Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
Private tour will allow you to see David, do some shopping, enjoy crazy photo time at Pisa, and have a leisurely lunch, along with a gelato stop on the way back.
Cannes, France
Enjoy a leisurely walk along the shopping area. We chose not to do a tour since the city had a great self-guided walking tour.
Palma De Mallorca, Balearic Islands
Pretty, bust most businesses were closed on a Saturday. We had a good long walk from the docks, enjoyed a very leisurely lunch, and took a taxi back.

Tip

NCL Epic Mediterranean has great itinerary, but don't have high expectations of the quality of the food nor the service. Set such expectations low so you can get pleasantly surprised if and when you eat something good or get good customer service.



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