Great first cruise

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 26

Overall rating:

3.8 out of 5
Norwegian Epic

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip)

Sail date: April 13, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Epic

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 14000

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Booked this cruise at the last minute when the Oasis was disabled two weeks before. It’s clear that the Epic is no longer a cutting edge ship, and it’s unlikely I would have chosen this as a first cruise. That said, it was a great vacation. The kids played loads of basketball and got to have an active adventure vacation. In spite of issues with services, we still had a great time

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Hit the tail end of the process. Line moved fast

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Buffet was great, along with outdoor dining option. Sometimes pretty busy but could always find a seat. Food was good and kids really enjoyed it. Tried Taste (one of the main dining rooms) one night. It was crowded, service was really bad (slow, unhelpful, curt). Meal was decent. Teppanyaki was not as good as most shore-based Teppan restaurants. Service here was pretty dismal too—waiter didn’t bother to ask if we wanted dessert or not. The worst was Le Bistro. Food good but staff was zero help. Basically here’s the menu. What do you want? Had to ask for more bread. No help with wines. Bar was really limited: “if you want Hennessy, it’ll be an upcharge and we don’t have it at this bar anyway. Was seated next to a table with screaming infants, which didn’t help. Moderno was great. La Cucina had great service but the food wasn’t all that impressive. Maltings and Shakers bars were great, but poolside bars were always slammed and had pretty watered down pre-mixed drinks

Garden Cafe

5 out of 5

Sometimes slammed but the food was varied, abundant, occasionally healthy, and well prepared.

Maltings Whiskey Bar

4 out of 5

Great spot to meet and relax. Did the Macallan whiskey tasting—nice experience

Teppanyaki

2 out of 5

Not worth the wait or expense. While the food was good, by the time you finally got it, you’d basically lost interest, and had filled up on fried rice. Antics were clearly unoriginal since you got to hear pretty much the same patter from all four chefs serving other sections while you were waiting for yours.

Taste

1 out of 5

Dreadful service. Food forgettable. Our waiter kicked things off by welcoming us to the “Epic Lounge”. I believe that’s a different venue in the Haven. Handsome restaurant though

Sushi Bar

4 out of 5

Great sushi. Inventive, beautiful rolls. (Surf & Turf). Service was achingly slow.

Spiegel Tent - Cirque Dreams and Dinner

5 out of 5

Show was off-the-charts. My son commented that he’d give anything to see it again. Food was forgettable. I’d recommend that they just do this as entertainment and skip the meal

Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant

3 out of 5

Food was great. Portions small. Service was glacial

Shaker's Martini Bar

4 out of 5

Fun, great bartenders.

O'Sheehans Neighborhood Bar and Grill

3 out of 5

Kids loved the arcade. The food we grabbed as a late night snack one night was pretty unremarkable. The apple pie, for example, was in some breadlike crust substance clearly designed to be microwaved.

Le Bistro

1 out of 5

Worst dining experience onboard.

La Cucina Italian Restaurant

4 out of 5

Best waitstaff on ship. Food was on the mediocre side though.

Ice Bar

4 out of 5

Fun experience. A little tricky to figure out scheduling since it seemed like it had to be open to book.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Slides were great. The rock wall was challenging. Pools and hot tubs were always at capacity. Not a single deck chair to be found unoccupied. The thermal spa was amazing—well worth the upgrade charge to get some adult quiet space with nice views.

Spice H20

2 out of 5

Crowded during the days. No place to get a chair. Bar was slammed. Didn’t really like having to deal with a smoking section to go up to the basketball courts.

Spa

5 out of 5

Do it if you need a place to escape from your kids

Entertainment

5 out of 5
Priscilla was awesome. Cirque show was awesome. Burn the Floor—dancing was great, but the individual numbers weren’t connected. Singers and other performers were very good

Bliss Ultra Lounge

4 out of 5

Fun, great music, great bartenders who were clearly enjoying the evening

Children's Programs

3 out of 5
Couldn’t engage my kids in the programs. The activities for 12-year olds seemed way too young. Maybe if they had a kick-off party to engage kids the first night, but my son, 15, never wanted to break into the cliques.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Room steward was pretty matter-of-fact. “Here are the four rules I will enforce...” l. The waiters were pretty curt as well, not interested in going beyond delivering food. Excursion desk was honestly rude. Mandy, the cruise director was great—fun, funny, energizing, and omnipresent.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Cleanliness was too-notch. Layout was hard to remember—and you could only find maps at elevators. So if you were midship you had to wander to find stuff.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Balcony door was broken. Had to really force it open. The room was nice. Loads of storage. Didn’t mind the bathroom being broken into separate units—shower/toilet/sink.

Ship tip

Get the thermal spa package. Totally worth it to get a hugely upgraded experience.

Ports of call

Port Canaveral, Florida

4 out of 5
Went to Kennedy space center after trip. Atlantis exhibit was visceral. Before the trip we stayed near the RonJon surf store. Great way to get in the Caribbean vibe, check out the beach, and load up on the sunscreen and other things you forgot to pack at the Walgreens/cvs across the street.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

4 out of 5
Booked a surfing lesson at BVI surf school. Ended up on a beautiful, uncrowded beach called Josiah’s bay. Had a great, patient instructor but never got the hang of it, but had a blast. The cabs getting to and from Josiah’s were a bit of a mystery.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

4 out of 5
Did the Discover Scuba excursion. Honestly a beautiful dive at a shipwreck with loads of fish and an appearance of a few turtles. Staff was great, but they did two dive groups with the other group snorkeling while the alternate group scuba-d. Made for a long trip

Great Stirrup Cay (Cruise Line Private Island), Bahamas

4 out of 5
Nice. Pretty basic, but clean, great food, great drinks, and fun snorkeling. You got to see first-hand how hard the crew works to keep things clean and well maintained

Disembarkation

1 out of 5
Chaos.
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