Epic Dream no actually a EPIC NIGHTMARE
Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean
Sail Date: February 03, 2016
Ship: Norwegian Epic
Cabin Type: Suite
Cabin Number: 14118
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 2 years ago
The words "jump ship" became a reality when we found ourselves with no other recourse but to leave the Norwegian Epic after only 7 days of an 12 day cruise.
WARNING: DO NOT BOOK ROOM 14118 UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE IF YOU WANT TO SLEEP AT NIGHT. (Unless you are hard of hearing or an extremely HEAVY SLEEPER)
I booked the February 24nd sailing from Barcelona with the itinerary of Morocco and the Canary Islands for myself and my 16 year old son. I had read the varying reviews about the ship but had cruised on NCL's Pearl to Alaska, so felt confident about the carrier and what to expect on board. Sadly I was completely mistaken.
I booked a SPA mini-suite which is an higher category stateroom that provides access to the Spa/Thermal Baths and is located on the spa's 14th floor. Booking through a 3rd party it was not made clear that my son would not be able to use the Spa facility which was part of the Spa Room Package due to his age. I found this out upon embarkation and tried to remedy the situation the first day via Guest Services. Since I had paid a higher price point for this service I inquired whether an exception could be made to allow him in, or if some other type of compensation/benefit could be offered in lieu of him not using the facility. Guest Service indicated they would contact the Miami home office. They did, and the next day I was told there was nothing they could do and I was offered nothing -- not even some type of good will gesture on their part. From this point on things continued to go from bad to worst.
We were assigned room 14118 which is the last stateroom of the hallway. We choose this room using the NCL deck plan. The room is shown to border the SPA with a small dead end hallway. I choose it specifically for its location and for QUIET and SERENITY. What we received was completely the opposite. This room is DIRECTLY NEXT TO A KITCHEN PANTRY/GALLEY. What appears to be a stairwell on the deck plan is actually a 24 hour work area. This is where dishes are washed in the middle of the night at a sink which is DIRECTLY behind the headboard of your stateroom. The first time I heard water being sprayed at 3am I thought that the outside of the ship was being washed.
The noise of a metal door slamming throughout the night, and metal carts and cabinets clanging caused me to call and report this to the guest services. It was only after an officer responded to our complaint did we find out (and see for ourselves) what was on the other side of the wall to our SERENITY SPA MINI SUITE. What I thought could possibly be a stairwell,was a full fledged metal galley kitchen.
We were assured that every action would be taken to keep the noise down and the proper managers would be notified. Yet throughout the night the clanging and banging would begin, with metal carts shifting, heavy metal doors slamming and the dishes and water works going at full speed.
Day Four I called in the middle of the night having now had three miserable sleepless evenings, and we were escorted at 4am to a room on the 11th floor to get some sleep. The next day I spoke with the Assistant Manager of Guest Services, requesting to be moved to another room of an equivalent category. I was told that there were presently no rooms available, and that I would have to wait and see if guests who were checking in at the next port showed up or not. This did not quell my upset or distress. As expected no comparable room became available -- but I was offered a lower category mini-suite floor 11 but with no assurance that I would be reimbursed for the financial difference. This was completely wrong on the part of NCL.
I will say that as a goodwill gesture the Assistant Manager of Guest Relations did offer my son and I a complimentary dinner (with wine). She did what she had the power and ability to do.
Also on evening 5 she provided us with a room to sleep in, while allowing us to keep all our belongings in our original room.
Sadly, my physical and mental state was beyond repair at this point. Sleeping 4 floors down and having to walk the Epic in the morning to return to a room where you paid top dollar but could not even sleep in was just too much. The passing the buck to "Miami" -- to make decisions was a poor excuse for on-board customer service. We truly experienced an Epic Nightmare -- with no way out but GETTING OFF.
The hope of a wonderful vacation, was dashed by day two. The ship had a great deal of fun potential (including some very amazing shows), but when you are sleep deprived and exhausted nothing is really too fun.
There are thousands of people on the ship, and if you do not like crowds it is not the type of cruise you should go on. Stick to a smaller mid size ship. The food was good, although by day four the crowd at the Garden Cafe can become overwhelming. The special lunches (complimentary) that are held in the Maderno restaurant are worth seeking out, firstly because the food was wonderful, and secondly because there are very few people who attend them.
The Teen Club was nice for my son, and the times I did attend the Spa, it was busy but a good getaway from the crowds of ship. Unfortunately 3 of the 8 heated tile beds were out of service.
The seas were quite rocky during some of the nights, and this ship although as big as a large building had quite a bit of movement -- which was very surprising. We have cruised on other ships over half a dozen times in different locations including Alaska, I have never felt such an unstable journey.
By the time our ship docked in Tenerife, and no solution had been found to our our room situation, we decided to dis-embark and salvage our vacation on land. Interestingly enough another couple was at the Guest Service Desk at the same time I was notifying the ship of my departure, and they were doing the same - leaving early - since they could no longer bear the crowds, long queue lines and lack of customer assistance to their concerns.
NCL needs to address the concerns of their on-board passengers promptly and competently and make them feel acknowledged and reassured. When you are on a ship you are a captive audience -- and you are also at the mercy of those you are asking to help you -- there is no where else to go. Unless of course once you are in port -- like some of us...you JUST GET OFF AND GO! Less
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
This was a SPA MINI Suite -- booked for RELAXATION and CALM -- it provided just the opposite. AWFUL. And Shameful that UNITED and NCL did not have a proper ROOM DECk PLAN THAT CLEARLY NOTED WHAT WAS NEXT DOOR. There was NO NOTATION at All. (of course not -- as would ANYONE want to be next to a working kitchen?????)
The sink which is used to wash dishes is directly behind the headboard of your bed. The heavy metal door is constantly banging as are the cabinets and metal carts in the galley area.
BOOKING this CABIN was the worst mistake -- Yes there is a huge OVERSIZED balcony 3x the size of the usual balcony with two lounge chairs and 2 chairs and small tables...but this benefit is not worth it if you cannot sleep from all the noise in the next door "kitchen".
Do not take this ship if you do not like crowds. It is HUGE and the crowds are unbearable. Also it is not a ship for COLD WEATHER. There is not enough inside space -- and there is absolutely NO WHERE to go to relax quietly when it is full and the weather bad. Book your shows before you board.