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This is our second time on the Norwegian Epic. Our first Norwegian Epic cruise was in January of 2017. This cruise was January of 2019. It was a 10 day eastern Caribbean. Although we prefer Norwegians Breakaway/Breakaway Plus ships slightly better, the cruise was a steal and the perfect length. Since this is our second time on Epic, we are able to compare the two cruises and found our most recent trip to be far better than our experience two years ago. The only major issue I have with this ship is the need to make reservations for just about everything and having to do it before you even get on the cruise. We like to plan each day out based on the activities going on. Some days we may want to eat very early to make a 7:00 show or some days we may eat after the show. Once we embarked, just about every reservation (shows and specialty dining) were either completely booked or only had 9:30 dinner options. But heres the thing, there is always space because guests book their reservations before they embark and either forget or change their mind. This is extremely frustrating as it leaves other guests without reservations and unable to enjoy their cruise. Multiple times we saw guests being seated for dinner at one restaurant and the hostess telling them they had a reservation at another restaurant. We were also able to walk in to La Cecina (which showed completely booked) and sit right down to a nearly empty restaurant. So make sure you book your entertainment and dining reservations before hand, but please for other guests go to those reservations. Dining: Of all of the quirks of Norwegian Epic, dining is one of the more frustrating. This is a ship that simply does not have enough dining options (during dinner mostly) to accommodate all of their guests. NCL prides itself on the ability to dine when you want. With Epic this is not the case. If you do not have a dinner reservation, you will most likely wait. Now wait times are not outrageous, we found anywhere from 10-40 minutes in the complimentary dining options. Unfortunately, for most of the specialty dining, reservations are hard to come by. This is most likely due to the fact that most people now have the dining package for free. Taste - One of the two main dining rooms, Taste is daily modern with white accents. It is located mid ship under the main chandelier. If you get one of the tables under the chandelier, it is quite nice. Manhattan Room - The other main dining room, Manhattan is the more upscale option and has a dress code (the amount of grown men getting mad that they couldn't eat there in shorts was mind boggling). There is a live band that plays at certain times during dinner and has a nice open feel. It is open to the decks above (Cagneys and Moderno above). The food at the main dining rooms is average. Most of the meals leave a little to be desired, but there were a decent amount of options. Cagneys - Probably the best meal we had on the cruise. The menu is heavily beef and fish so beware it is not for everyone. The cut of meat I had was amazingly tender and juicy. If you like meat and are going to choose specialty dining options, make sure you make it here. Note, we had a 9:30 reservations because that was all we could get. We showed up at 7:00, which tends to be the busiest time, and asked if there was anything earlier and were seated immediately. La Cucina - Our second favorite restaurant on the ship is strangely located deck 14 forward below Garden Cafe and is accessed from Garden Cafe (weird). The pasta dishes are amazing and definitely worth the extra money. We did not have a reservation, but figured we would try to walk in. The restaurant was empty around 7:00 and the host decided to basically scold us for not making a reservation (we tried but the guests that make them and then don't show up make it near impossible). Instead of just politely mentioning that the were completely booked, he made a point to tell us he would make an exception this time but we should eat somewhere else next time. The restaurant remained mostly empty for our entire meal. Moderno - This was our second time eating at Moderno (we had eaten there last year on Getaway) and were again disappointed. The meat is so heavily salted that most was inedible. The concept of a Brazilian steakhouse is amazing. If you do not know, servers walk through the restaurant with all types of meats and when you want one they cut a small piece for you. You can try as many or as few as you want. Unfortunately, most were too salty. I would choose a different restaurant. Teppanyaki - We ate here on the last evening for a birthday celebration. The chefs focus on music and singing to entertain and are not able to use fire like most hibachi restaurants. Our chef was very entertaining and you get a massive amount of food. Again, the meat was extremely salty. Shanghais Noodle Bar - One of my favorite places on the ship. The Noodle Bar has a few items (potstickers, egg rolls, noodles) to choose from and we would go here early or late for a snack or appetizer before or after dinner. Garden Cafe - Its a buffet. It isn't bad it isn't good. We would eat here for lunch and sometimes a quick breakfast. The buffet doesn't change all that much day to day. There is a themed dinner every night (mexican, western, asian, etc) but we prefer a better sit down meal for dinner. After about 5 days we were sick of eating here. Embarkation: We had no trouble getting on the ship. From arrival to standing on the ship was probably under an hour. We cruised right in (took an Uber to the port) and got in line in the terminal. We checked in at the desk after waiting in line for about 30 minutes (we arrived slightly early and had to wait). After checking in, we waiting for about 10 minutes for our boarding number to be called and walked right on. We boarded at about 12 and our room was ready at 2 or so. Have all of your luggage delivered so you aren't dragging it around prior to your room being ready. Just bring what you need for the day in a small bag. Sometimes your luggage won't arrive until later on in the evening, so be prepared to go to dinner without your luggage. This time, our luggage had arrived after the muster drill. Entertainment: The two main shows were Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and Burn the Floor. Priscilla is amazing. It is a drag show set in Australia and has a great storyline, great cast, and amazing musical numbers. Its slightly edgy and not for kids (or closed minded adults) but definitely a must see. Burn the Floor is just terrible. We've seen it before on the Epic and on Getaway and have been disappointed every time. I think others enjoy it but the dancing is sub par, there is no storyline at all (even though I believe they tried to have one), and the music is sub par. I found myself dozing off during the show. We hit up some comedy as well. Some bad some good. Cruise ship comedy is very standard. The other activities are typical of a cruise ship. Our cruise director Mandy was very good and kept us entertained. Service: Compared to the service we received two years ago, my expectations were low. I was pleasantly surprised with the service. It was by no means perfect, but was adequate. Crew was attentive and upbeat. We only had one issue, which is less a crew issue and more of an overall NCL issue. Our reservation called for 4 free offers (dining, drinks, shore excursion credit, free wifi) About 2 days in we tried to get on wifi and it was not showing on our account. We went to guests services only to find we were missing our wifi and shore excursion credit. Guest services is not able to do much on the ship. They emailed headquarters and were given a fairly generic response, leaving us without those two offers for the duration of the cruise. I will be calling NCL to see how they are going to fix this issue. Overall, we were very pleased with our experience. The value for this 10 day cruise was incredible. It cost about the same as we usually spend on a 7 day cruise. We had very few issues and had a relaxing and warm vacation. NCL Epic seems to have some great itineraries, which make up for some of its downfalls. The most important thing to do on Norwegian Epic is to go in with an open mind. There will be quirks and strange issues you run into, but don't let it ruin your vacation. The ship is known to be a blunder, but nothing on that ship will ruin a trip unless you make it. Happy sailing!

Overall better than our previous Epic cruise. Still some room for improvement.

Norwegian Epic Cruise Review by spenser.brosseau

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
This is our second time on the Norwegian Epic. Our first Norwegian Epic cruise was in January of 2017. This cruise was January of 2019. It was a 10 day eastern Caribbean. Although we prefer Norwegians Breakaway/Breakaway Plus ships slightly better, the cruise was a steal and the perfect length. Since this is our second time on Epic, we are able to compare the two cruises and found our most recent trip to be far better than our experience two years ago. The only major issue I have with this ship is the need to make reservations for just about everything and having to do it before you even get on the cruise. We like to plan each day out based on the activities going on. Some days we may want to eat very early to make a 7:00 show or some days we may eat after the show. Once we embarked, just about every reservation (shows and specialty dining) were either completely booked or only had 9:30 dinner options. But heres the thing, there is always space because guests book their reservations before they embark and either forget or change their mind. This is extremely frustrating as it leaves other guests without reservations and unable to enjoy their cruise. Multiple times we saw guests being seated for dinner at one restaurant and the hostess telling them they had a reservation at another restaurant. We were also able to walk in to La Cecina (which showed completely booked) and sit right down to a nearly empty restaurant. So make sure you book your entertainment and dining reservations before hand, but please for other guests go to those reservations.

Dining:

Of all of the quirks of Norwegian Epic, dining is one of the more frustrating. This is a ship that simply does not have enough dining options (during dinner mostly) to accommodate all of their guests. NCL prides itself on the ability to dine when you want. With Epic this is not the case. If you do not have a dinner reservation, you will most likely wait. Now wait times are not outrageous, we found anywhere from 10-40 minutes in the complimentary dining options. Unfortunately, for most of the specialty dining, reservations are hard to come by. This is most likely due to the fact that most people now have the dining package for free.

Taste - One of the two main dining rooms, Taste is daily modern with white accents. It is located mid ship under the main chandelier. If you get one of the tables under the chandelier, it is quite nice.

Manhattan Room - The other main dining room, Manhattan is the more upscale option and has a dress code (the amount of grown men getting mad that they couldn't eat there in shorts was mind boggling). There is a live band that plays at certain times during dinner and has a nice open feel. It is open to the decks above (Cagneys and Moderno above). The food at the main dining rooms is average. Most of the meals leave a little to be desired, but there were a decent amount of options.

Cagneys - Probably the best meal we had on the cruise. The menu is heavily beef and fish so beware it is not for everyone. The cut of meat I had was amazingly tender and juicy. If you like meat and are going to choose specialty dining options, make sure you make it here. Note, we had a 9:30 reservations because that was all we could get. We showed up at 7:00, which tends to be the busiest time, and asked if there was anything earlier and were seated immediately.

La Cucina - Our second favorite restaurant on the ship is strangely located deck 14 forward below Garden Cafe and is accessed from Garden Cafe (weird). The pasta dishes are amazing and definitely worth the extra money. We did not have a reservation, but figured we would try to walk in. The restaurant was empty around 7:00 and the host decided to basically scold us for not making a reservation (we tried but the guests that make them and then don't show up make it near impossible). Instead of just politely mentioning that the were completely booked, he made a point to tell us he would make an exception this time but we should eat somewhere else next time. The restaurant remained mostly empty for our entire meal.

Moderno - This was our second time eating at Moderno (we had eaten there last year on Getaway) and were again disappointed. The meat is so heavily salted that most was inedible. The concept of a Brazilian steakhouse is amazing. If you do not know, servers walk through the restaurant with all types of meats and when you want one they cut a small piece for you. You can try as many or as few as you want. Unfortunately, most were too salty. I would choose a different restaurant.

Teppanyaki - We ate here on the last evening for a birthday celebration. The chefs focus on music and singing to entertain and are not able to use fire like most hibachi restaurants. Our chef was very entertaining and you get a massive amount of food. Again, the meat was extremely salty.

Shanghais Noodle Bar - One of my favorite places on the ship. The Noodle Bar has a few items (potstickers, egg rolls, noodles) to choose from and we would go here early or late for a snack or appetizer before or after dinner.

Garden Cafe - Its a buffet. It isn't bad it isn't good. We would eat here for lunch and sometimes a quick breakfast. The buffet doesn't change all that much day to day. There is a themed dinner every night (mexican, western, asian, etc) but we prefer a better sit down meal for dinner. After about 5 days we were sick of eating here.

Embarkation:

We had no trouble getting on the ship. From arrival to standing on the ship was probably under an hour. We cruised right in (took an Uber to the port) and got in line in the terminal. We checked in at the desk after waiting in line for about 30 minutes (we arrived slightly early and had to wait). After checking in, we waiting for about 10 minutes for our boarding number to be called and walked right on. We boarded at about 12 and our room was ready at 2 or so. Have all of your luggage delivered so you aren't dragging it around prior to your room being ready. Just bring what you need for the day in a small bag. Sometimes your luggage won't arrive until later on in the evening, so be prepared to go to dinner without your luggage. This time, our luggage had arrived after the muster drill.

Entertainment:

The two main shows were Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and Burn the Floor. Priscilla is amazing. It is a drag show set in Australia and has a great storyline, great cast, and amazing musical numbers. Its slightly edgy and not for kids (or closed minded adults) but definitely a must see. Burn the Floor is just terrible. We've seen it before on the Epic and on Getaway and have been disappointed every time. I think others enjoy it but the dancing is sub par, there is no storyline at all (even though I believe they tried to have one), and the music is sub par. I found myself dozing off during the show. We hit up some comedy as well. Some bad some good. Cruise ship comedy is very standard. The other activities are typical of a cruise ship. Our cruise director Mandy was very good and kept us entertained.

Service:

Compared to the service we received two years ago, my expectations were low. I was pleasantly surprised with the service. It was by no means perfect, but was adequate. Crew was attentive and upbeat. We only had one issue, which is less a crew issue and more of an overall NCL issue. Our reservation called for 4 free offers (dining, drinks, shore excursion credit, free wifi) About 2 days in we tried to get on wifi and it was not showing on our account. We went to guests services only to find we were missing our wifi and shore excursion credit. Guest services is not able to do much on the ship. They emailed headquarters and were given a fairly generic response, leaving us without those two offers for the duration of the cruise. I will be calling NCL to see how they are going to fix this issue.

Overall, we were very pleased with our experience. The value for this 10 day cruise was incredible. It cost about the same as we usually spend on a 7 day cruise. We had very few issues and had a relaxing and warm vacation. NCL Epic seems to have some great itineraries, which make up for some of its downfalls. The most important thing to do on Norwegian Epic is to go in with an open mind. There will be quirks and strange issues you run into, but don't let it ruin your vacation. The ship is known to be a blunder, but nothing on that ship will ruin a trip unless you make it. Happy sailing!
spenser.brosseau’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 12177
We like the cabins on the Epic. You will see a lot of mixed reviews about the cabins due to the odd layout. We tend to like the layout with the split bathroom, although it can be strange for guests traveling with their family or friends as there is little privacy. The cabins are average size. Our balcony was a good size this time. The cabins have plenty of storage space. The bed was the one issue I had. Due to the curved cabin design, the bed is fairly small. I am 5'8" and my feet were hanging off the end. I also found the bed very uncomfortable and the pillows very flat. I was able to get a much nicer pillow from my cabin steward, who was very attentive.
Overall, we enjoyed the cabin. If you want your privacy or don't think you will like the layout of the room, go on another ship.
Deck 12 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins