Norwegian Epic ISN'T

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 13

Overall rating:

2.6 out of 5
Norwegian Epic

11 Night Western Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip)

Sail date: January 12, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Epic

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 8051

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

To say we weren’t impressed and didn’t have a great time onboard Epic would be a huge understatement. I will never cruise with Norwegian again and may never cruise the Caribbean again. Period. Feel free to ask questions if you’d like more specific information on this voyage.

Embarkation

2 out of 5
We departed from Port Canaveral in January. It was an extremely hot day, and we stood in a line that wrapped around the front of the ship for 2 hours. We arrived at around 1 PM, and apparently so did everyone else. If you’re not interested in a long wait, come much earlier or much later.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

2 out of 5
The food on the Epic was not good. Everything that’s fried is drenched in oil. Eggs and bacon are undercooked, pancakes, waffles, and breads are bland, lines and waits at sit-down restaurants are unbelievably long, and if you find one thing you like or can eat, you get sick of it by the time you’ve had it every day of your cruise. If you plan to eat in the sit-down restaurants, make your reservations as soon as you get onboard. We went to Taste the first night and waited 50 minutes for a seat because we didn’t have a reservation. We went back another night when we had a reservation and waited 10 minutes for drinks after we were seated, another 10 minutes to have our order taken, and at least 15 minutes for the food to come. If you are not ordering alcohol, you will not get the same attention as diners who are. Here’s a story that perfectly illustrates food service aboard the Epic: My daughter is not a fan of breakfast food, so one day we slept late and decided to get an early lunch. There is one restaurant onboard that is supposed to serve lunch at 11:00 AM – O’Sheehan’s. We went down at about 10:55 AM, stood in line, and put our name in for lunch. We were seated and given breakfast menus, and our waiter came to ask for our drink order. We then told him the drinks we wanted and asked for lunch menus. He looked at us liked we’d grown two heads. (There’s a lot of that judgmental attitude from the crew on this ship!) The waiter told us they were still switching from breakfast to lunch and that it would be a few minutes. We told him that was fine. We noticed other diners around us ordering lunch food, but they were also ordering alcohol. The waiter had to get their alcohol, and that meant he could also get a tip from them when they cashed out. We continued to wait. Finally at 11:25, we ordered lunch from the restaurant that, according to their own materials, had been serving lunch since 11 AM. Our food did not arrive until 11:45! Again, other diners received more attention because their meal included alcohol. My daughter had ordered a burger and wanted mayonnaise on it, but the waiter dropped it off and disappeared. After waiting another 10 minutes, I went to the hostess desk and asked them for mayo. It was a full hour from arrival until we could actually start eating! If you’re prepared for that kind of delay and don’t mind the attitude, or if you’re a drinker, you should be fine on Epic.

Cagney's Steakhouse

4 out of 5

Nice ambiance. Steaks were a little under-cooked, and dessert choices weren't impressive, but the steaks were much better than the normal cruise options. Shrimp cocktail was covered in some sauce that made it not nearly as good as we expected.

Ice Bar

1 out of 5

There was an ice bar onboard sponsored by Skyy Vodka, and we were interested in going and enjoying a cocktail one night and seeing what an ice bar is like. Then we discovered there was a $25 cover charge. On a ship we had already paid to be on! Each! Never mind.

O'Sheehans Neighborhood Bar and Grill

2 out of 5

Terrible service. Here’s a story that perfectly illustrates food service aboard the Epic: My daughter is not a fan of breakfast food, so one day we slept late and decided to get an early lunch. There is one restaurant onboard that is supposed to serve lunch at 11:00 AM – O’Sheehan’s. We went down at about 10:55 AM, stood in line, and put our name in for lunch. We were seated and given breakfast menus, and our waiter came to ask for our drink order. We then told him the drinks we wanted and asked for lunch menus. He looked at us liked we’d grown two heads. (There’s a lot of that judgmental attitude from the crew on this ship!) The waiter told us they were still switching from breakfast to lunch and that it would be a few minutes. We told him that was fine. We noticed other diners around us ordering lunch food, but they were also ordering alcohol. The waiter had to get their alcohol, and that meant he could also get a tip from them when they cashed out. We continued to wait. Finally at 11:25, we ordered lunch from the restaurant that, according to their own materials, had been serving lunch since 11 AM. Our food did not arrive until 11:45! Again, other diners received more attention because their meal included alcohol. My daughter had ordered a burger and wanted mayonnaise on it, but the waiter dropped it off and disappeared. After waiting another 10 minutes, I went to the hostess desk and asked them for mayo. It was a full hour from arrival until we could actually start eating! If you’re prepared for that kind of delay and don’t mind the attitude, or if you’re a drinker, you should be fine on Epic.

Sushi Bar

3 out of 5

My daughter enjoyed this venue and went back a second time. I wasn't as impressed. The Miso soup is not good, and that's the simplest thing to make in Japanese cooking. They make the sushi in front of you, and the chefs are charming and pleasant, but I'm not a huge sushi fan to begin with, so I'd avoid it unless you're a hardcore fan.

Le Bistro

4 out of 5

The best customer service and staff attentiveness onboard can be found at Le Bistro. The food is French, so it's rich and unusual, and we expected more dressing up since there is a dress code. However, we wore black cocktail dresses and saw one couple where the gentleman wore a white dinner jacket, so it wasn't awful but there were other diners where the women were wearing slacks and men were wearing Hawaiian shirts, so the dress code is really all over the place. Food was cooked as ordered, but some salads were a bit salty.

Onboard Activities

2 out of 5
We could never find two chairs together on the pool deck. The three pools on the Epic were accurately described by a fellow traveler one night at dinner as “postage stamps”, and I would say that might be just a bit generous. There may be room for 10 adult people to stand in each of the pools, but you certainly will not be able to cram in more than that, or heaven forbid, to swim! They are difficult to get to, the water is cold, and they are cramped. “The pools are the most worthless parts of the ship. Why bother?”, was the opinion of one woman near me on our first day at sea. Needless to say, you will also find it hard to get a chair on the pool deck at high traffic times like days at sea, but you will be used to it, because you’ll never be able to find a seat in the buffet area at lunch or dinner time either. Casino: We would have loved to play the slots or maybe a hand or two of Black Jack, but please? Epic allows smoking in the casino, and it smelled like the bottom of an ashtray for the entire trip, so we passed.

Spice H20

1 out of 5

It's a swimming pool, and it's smaller than my private pool in my backyard. Ten people stood shoulder to shoulder crammed into that tiny pool. No thanks.

Casino

1 out of 5

We would have loved to play the slots or maybe a hand or two of Black Jack, but please? Epic allows smoking in the casino, and it smelled like the bottom of an ashtray for the entire trip, so we passed.

Entertainment

2 out of 5
You need to know now that unless you purchase premium seats for Cirque Epicurean, you will have obscured seating. Much of the performance takes place above the stage, and you can’t see much if you are both tall and seated in the back. They do not tell you when you purchase the seats that you are getting obscured seating, so either ask, or expect to miss quite a bit. The food for this dinner theater performance was a disgrace. The salad, an under-ripe sliced tomato with Mozzarella cheese and balsamic, included very salty prosciutto, and the entrée was a filet mignon that was so overcooked, it could have passed for shoe leather. There were three small desserts presented on one small dish, and my keen observation of the six people at my table indicated no one ate more than a single exploratory bite of any of the three, usually a sure sign of inferior flavor. I know I didn’t like mine. One couple at our table at Epicurean mentioned that she was going to see Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, another entertainment option, but her spouse wasn’t interested. I would imagine this is about par for the course considering the age and demographic of the travelers onboard the ship. Having a drag performance is probably not the best choice for middle American retirees. Older women won’t much mind the content, but older men are not known for being entertained by stories about drag queens. There was an ice bar onboard sponsored by Skyy Vodka, and we were interested in going and enjoying a cocktail one night and seeing what an ice bar is like. Then we discovered there was a $25 cover charge. On a ship we had already paid to be on! Each! Never mind. The one truly bright spot of the entertainment options is The Cavern Club, fashioned after the original in Liverpool, UK. Most nights, four energetic, talented young men do an excellent job of recreating the music and mayhem of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. On the nights the Fab Four aren’t playing, other gifted musicians recreate oldies hits and special requests that leave the entire audience cheering. This is a small club, and it fills up fast, so don’t let their late start time (10:30 PM) keep you from getting an early seat, and bring your dancing shoes. The Cavern Club is the most fun you’ll find onboard Epic.

Children's Programs

No children traveled with us.

Service and Staff

2 out of 5
The service staff had a very judgmental attitude, with the single exception being the staff at Le Bistro, the upgraded dining experience. Otherwise, we're not drinkers, and non-drinkers don't get nearly the attention that drinkers do. It was annoying the entire trip.

Ship Quality

2 out of 5
The cabins on Epic are poorly designed, and everyone onboard talked about it with amazing regularity, as in ‘How did they come up with such an asinine design?’. You see, when you enter your cabin, the toilet is off to your left, and the shower is to your right. They are both behind thin, opaque glass just inside the door of your cabin. They each have a sliding door to allow your passage in and out of the commode/shower and the rest of the cabin. However, when your room steward comes, as he inevitably will, when you are on the commode, you cannot get to the door quickly enough to stop him, and he will be able to see what you’re doing and where you are because of the opaque glass. It is a horrible feeling, and if you have a shy bladder, you will find this arrangement most disconcerting. One member of our party would only use the public restroom two flights below our cabin to ensure some modicum of privacy. If you are in the cabin when someone is in the bathroom, you will hear and share every moment of their experience. If you aren’t shy about these things then it won’t bother you, but from scuttlebutt on the ship, I’d say you’d be in the minority.

Cabin / Stateroom

2 out of 5
The size of the cabin would have been fine had it not been for the awkward arrangement where the toilet and shower are basically IN YOUR ROOM. They are separated from the main cabin by a thin, opaque glass wall, which you can see and hear through. Make your own assessments of how pleasant that was. One of our party went down two floors to a public restroom every time they needed to use the bathroom so they could have some privacy.

Ship tip

Don't cruise on Epic.

Ports of call

Port Canaveral, Florida

4 out of 5

Great Stirrup Cay (Cruise Line Private Island), Bahamas

3 out of 5

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

4 out of 5

George Town, Grand Cayman

4 out of 5

Harvest Caye, Belize

5 out of 5

Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

2 out of 5

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico

4 out of 5

Cozumel, Mexico

3 out of 5

Disembarkation

3 out of 5
We kept our luggage to get off the ship more quickly, and we never could get an elevator. People actually laughed in my face when the elevator doors opened. I had to lug a large suitcase that weighed about 80 pounds down the stairs to disembark. After that, the process was fairly quick, and Customs did a terrific job getting us through.

Traveler Photos

One of the Crew Doing Maintenance Outside our Cabin The Pool Deck at Night Shower. You can see right through. From the sofa/extra bed toward the shower. Note again the thin opaque wall around the shower. Towel animal in our cabin. Squeeze in and don't expect privacy. The Extra bed in our cabin. Notice the tiny size and bump in the middle.
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